Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
III. Upari Paṇṇāsa
1. Devadaha Vagga

The Middle Length Sayings
III. The Final Fifty Discourses
1. The Devadaha Division

Sutta 108

Ganaka-Moggallāna Suttaɱ

The Discourse to Ganaka-Moggallāna

Translated from the Pali by I.B. Horner.
For free distribution only.
From Taming the Mind: Discourses of the Buddha (WH 51),
edited by the Buddhist Publication Society,
(Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1983).
Copyright ©1983 Buddhist Publication Society.
Used with permission.

 


 

[1][chlm][than][ntbb][upal] Thus I have heard:

At one time, not long after the Lord's parinibbāna, the venerable Ānanda[1] was staying near Rājagaha
in the Bamboo Grove at the squirrels' feeding place.

Now at that time King Ajātasattu of Magadha, the son of the lady of Videha,
distrusting King Pajjota,[2]
was having Rājagaha strengthened.

Then the venerable Ānanda,
dressing early in the morning,
taking his bowl and robe,
entered Rājagaha for almsfood.

Then it occurred to the venerable Ānanda:

"It is still too early to walk for alms in Rājagaha.

Suppose that I were to approach the brahman Gopaka-Moggallāna
and his place of work?"[3]

Then the venerable Ānanda approached the brahman Gopaka-Moggallāna and his place of work.

The brahman Gopaka-Moggallāna saw the venerable Ānanda coming in the distance;
seeing him he spoke thus to him:

"Let the good Ānanda come,
there is a welcome for the good Ānanda.

It is long since the good Ānanda made this opportunity,
that is for coming here.

Let the good Ānanda sit down,
this seat is made ready."

And the venerable Ānanda sat down on the appointed seat.

The brahman Gopaka-Moggallāna,
taking a low seat,
sat down at a respectful distance.

As he was sitting down at a respectful distance
the brahman Gopaka-Moggallāna spoke thus to the venerable Ānanda:

"Is there even one monk, Ānanda,
who is possessed in every way
and in every part
of all those things
of which the good Gotama,
perfected one,
fully Self-Awakened One,
was possessed?"

"There is not even one monk, brahman,
who is possessed in every way
and in every part
of all those things
of which the Lord was possessed,
perfected one,
fully Self-Awakened One.

For, brahman, this Lord
was one to make arise a Way
that had not arisen (before),
[59] to bring about a Way
not brought about (before),
to show a Way
not shown (before);
he was a knower of the Way,
an understander of the Way,
skilled in the Way.

But the disciples are now Way-followers
following after him."[4]

 


 

But this conversation
between the venerable Ānanda
and the brahman Gopaka-Moggallāna
was interrupted,
for the brahman Vassakāra,[5]
the chief minister in Magadha,
while inspecting the works near Rājagaha,
approached the venerable Ānanda
at the brahman Gopaka-Moggallāna's place of work;
having approached,
he exchanged greetings with the venerable Ānanda;
having conversed in a friendly and courteous way,
he sat down at a respectful distance.

As he was sitting down at a respectful distance
the brahman Vassakāra, the chief minister in Magadha,
spoke thus to the venerable Ānanda:

"What now, Ānanda,
was the talk for which you were sitting here?

And what was that talk of yours
that was interrupted?"

"As to this, brahman,
the brahman Gopaka-Moggallāna said this to me:

"Is there even one monk, Ānanda,
who is possessed in every way
and in every part
of all those things
of which the good Gotama,
perfected one,
fully Self-Awakened One,
was possessed?"

When this had been said,
I, brahman, spoke thus to the brahman Gopaka-Moggallāna:

"There is not even one monk, brahman,
who is possessed in every way
and in every part
of all those things
of which the Lord was possessed,
perfected one,
fully Self-Awakened One.

For, brahman, this Lord
was one to make arise a Way
that had not arisen (before),
to bring about a Way
not brought about (before),
to show a Way
not shown (before);
he was a knower of the Way,
an understander of the Way,
skilled in the Way.

This, brahman, was the conversation that was interrupted
between the brahman Gopaka-Moggallāna and myself.

For then you arrived."

"Is there, good Ānanda, even one monk
who was designated by the good Gotama
saying:

'After my passing
this one will be your support,[6]
and to whom you might have recourse now?"

"There is not even one monk, brahman,
who was designated by the Lord
who knew and saw,
perfected one,
fully Self-Awakened One,
saying:

'After my passing
this one will be your support,'
and to whom we might have recourse now."

[60] "But is there even one monk, Ānanda,
who is agreed upon by the Order
and designated by a number of monks
who are elders, saying:

'After the Lord's passing
this one will be our support,'
and to whom you might have recourse now?"

"There is not even one monk, brahman,
who is agreed upon by the Order
and designated by a number of monks
who are elders, saying:

'After the Lord's passing
this one will be our support,'
and to whom you might have recourse now?"

"But as you are thus without a support, good Ananda,
what is the cause of your unity?"

"We, brahman, are not without support;
we have a support, brahman.

dhamma is the support."[7]

"When you were asked:

'Is there, good Ānanda, even one monk
who was designated by the good Gotama
saying:

"After my passing
this one will be your support",
and to whom you might have recourse now?

you said:

'There is not even one monk, brahman,
who was designated by the Lord
who knew and saw,
perfected one,
fully Self-Awakened One,
saying:

"After my passing
this one will be your support,"
and to whom we might have recourse now.'

When you were asked:

'But is there even one monk, Ānanda,
who is agreed upon by the Order
and designated by a number of monks
who are elders, saying:

"After the Lord's passing
this one will be our support,"
and to whom you might have recourse now?

you said:

'There is not even one monk, brahman,
who is agreed upon by the Order
and designated by a number of monks
who are elders, saying:

"After the Lord's passing
this one will be our support,"
and to whom you might have recourse now?'

When you were asked:

'But as you are thus without support, good Ānanda,
what is the cause of your unity?'

you said:

'We, brahman, are not without a support;
we have a support, brahman.

dhamma is the support.'

Good Ānanda,
what meaning is to be ascribed to what has been said?"

"There is, brahman, a rule of training laid down,
an Obligation appointed for monks
by that Lord who knows and sees,
perfected one,
fully Self-Awakened One.

On every Observance Day
we who live depending on the same field and village
each and all gather together on the same day,
and when we have gathered together
we inquire what has happened to each one.

While this is being told
if there was an offence,
a transgression on the part of a monk,
we have him dealt with
according to the rule,[8]
according to the instruction.

Indeed the revered ones do not deal with us,
it is the rule[9] that deals with us."

 


 

"Now is there, good Ānanda, even one monk whom you revere,
[61] reverence,
esteem
and honour
and on whom,
revering and reverencing him,
you live in dependence?"

"There is, brahman, even one monk whom we revere
reverence,
esteem
and honour
and on whom,
revering and reverencing him,
you live in dependence."[10]

"When you were asked:

'Is there, good Ānanda, even one monk
who was designated by the good Gotama
saying:

"After my passing
this one will be your support",
and to whom you might have recourse now?

you said:

'There is not even one monk, brahman,
who was designated by the Lord
who knew and saw,
perfected one,
fully Self-Awakened One,
saying:

"After my passing
this one will be your support,"
and to whom we might have recourse now.'

When you were asked:

'But is there even one monk, Ānanda,
who is agreed upon by the Order
and designated by a number of monks
who are elders, saying:

"After the Lord's passing
this one will be our support,"
and to whom you might have recourse now?

you said:

'There is not even one monk, brahman,
who is agreed upon by the Order
and designated by a number of monks
who are elders, saying:

"After the Lord's passing
this one will be our support,"
and to whom you might have recourse now?'

When you were asked:

'But as you are thus without support, good Ānanda,
what is the cause of your unity?'

you said:

'We, brahman, are not without a support;
we have a support, brahman.

dhamma is the support.'

When you were asked:

'Now is there, good Ānanda, even one monk whom you revere,
reverence,
esteem
and honour
and on whom,
revering and reverencing him,
you live in dependence?'

you said:

'There is, brahman, even one monk whom we revere
reverence,
esteem
and honour
and on whom,
revering and reverencing him,
you live in dependence.'

Good Ānanda, what meaning is to be ascribed
to what has been said?"

"There are, brahman, ten satisfying things[11]
that have been pointed out by the Lord who knows and sees,
perfected one,
fully Self-Awakened One.

In whomsoever of us these things exist,
him do we revere,
reverence,
esteem
and honour
and on him,
revering and reverencing him,
do we live in dependence.

What are the ten?

Herein, brahman, a monk is moral,[12]
he lives controlled
by the control of the Obligations,
endowed with (right) behaviour and pasture,
seeing peril in the slightest faults
and, undertaking them,
he trains himself
in the rules of training.

He is one who has heard much,
remembers what he has heard,
stores up what he has heard;
those things which are lovely at the beginning,
lovely in the middle
and lovely at the ending
and which, with the meaning and the spirit,
declare the Brahma-faring
wholly fulfilled,
perfectly purified,
such things are much heard by him,
borne in mind,
familiarised by speech,
pondered over in the mind,
well penetrated by right view.

He is content with the requisites
of robe-material,
almsfood,
lodgings
and medicines for the sick.

He is one who acquires at will,
without trouble,
without difficulty
the four meditations
which are of the purest mentality,
abidings in ease here and now.

He experiences the various forms of psychic power:

having been one
he becomes manifold,
having been manifold he becomes one;

manifest or in- [62] visible
he goes unhindered through a wall,
a rampart
or a mountain
as if through air;

he plunges into the ground
and shoots up again
as if in water;

he walks upon the water
without parting it
as if on the ground;

sitting cross-legged
he travels through the air
like a bird on the wing;

with his hand
he rubs and strokes
this moon and sun
although they are of such mighty power and majesty;

and even as far as the Brahma-world
he has power in respect of his person.

With the purified āeva-like hearing
surpassing that of men
he hears both (kinds of) sounds -
deva-like ones
and human ones,
whether they be far or near.

He knows intuitively by mind
the minds of other beings,
of other individuals
so that he comprehends
of a mind that is full of attachment,
that it is full of attachment;
or he comprehends of a mind that is without attachment
that it is without attachment;
or he comprehends of a mind that is full of aversion,
that it is full of aversion;
or he comprehends of a mind that is without aversion
that it is without aversion;
or he comprehends of a mind that is full of confusion,
that it is full of confusion;
or he comprehends of a mind that is without confusion;
or he comprehends of a mind that is contracted,
that it is contracted;
or he comprehends of a mind that is distracted,
that it is distracted;
or he comprehends of a mind that has become great,
that it has become great;
or he comprehends of a mind that has not become great,
that it has not become great;
or he comprehends of a mind that has (some other mental state) superior to it,
that it has (some other mental state) superior to it;
or he comprehends of a mind that has no (other mental state) superior to it,
that it has no (other mental state) superior to it;
or he comprehends of a mind that is composed,
that it is composed;,
or he comprehends of a mind that is not composed,
that it is not composed;
or he comprehends of a mind that is freed,
that it is freed;
or he comprehends of a mind that is not freed,
that it is not freed.

He recollects a variety of former habitations,
that is to say

One birth,
two births,
three births,
four births,
five births,
ten births,
twenty births,
thirty births,
forty births,
fifty births,
a hundred births,
a thousand births,
a hundred thousand births,
and many an eon of integration
and many an eon of disintegration
and many an eon of integration-disintegration:

'Such a one was I by name,
having such and such a clan,
such and such a colour,
so I was nourished,
such and such pleasant and painful experiences were mine,
so did the span of life end.

Passing from this,
I came to be in another state
where I was such a one by name,
having such and such a clan,
such and such a colour,
so I was nourished,
such and such pleasant and painful experiences were mine,
so did the span of life end.

Passing from this,
I arose here.'

Thus he recollects divers former habitations
in all their modes and detail.

With the purified deva-vision
surpassing that of men,
he sees beings as they pass hence
or come to be;
he comprehends that beings are mean,
excellent,
comely,
ugly,
well-going,
ill-going,
according to the consequences of deeds,
and thinks:

'Indeed these worthy beings
who were possessed of wrong conduct in body,
speech
and thought,
scoffers at the ariyans,
holding a wrong view,
incurring deeds consequent on a wrong view -
these, at the breaking up of the body after dying,
have arisen in a sorrowful state,
a bad bourn,
the abyss,
Niraya Hell.

But these worthy beings
who were possessed of good conduct in body,
speech
and thought,
who did not scoff at the ariyans,
holding a right view,
incurring deeds consequent on a right view -
these at the breaking up of the body after dying,
have arisen in a good bourn,
a heaven world.'

Thus with the purified deva-vision
surpassing that of men
does he see beings as they pass hence,
as they arise;
he comprehends that beings are mean,
excellent,
comely,
ugly,
well-going,
ill-going
according to the consequences of deeds.

By the destruction of the cankers,
having realised by his own super-knowledge
here and now
the freedom of mind
and the freedom through intuitive wisdom
that are cankerless,
entering thereon he abides therein.

These, brahman, are the ten satisfying things
that have been pointed out by the Lord who knows and sees,
perfected one,
fully Self-Awakened One.

In whomsoever of us these things exist,
him do we revere,
reverence,
esteem
and honour
and on him,
revering and reverencing him,
do we live in dependence."

[63] When this had been said,
the brahman Vassakāra, the chief minister in Magadha,
spoke thus to General Upananda;[13]

"What do you think about this?

If it is thus, General,
that these good sirs revere
what should be revered,
reverence what should be reverenced,
esteem what should be esteemed,
honour what should be honoured,
then these good sirs most certainly
revere what should be revered,
esteem what should be esteemed,
honour what should be honoured.

For if these good sirs were not to revere,
reverence,
esteem
or honour
this (monk),
then who on earth could these good sirs revere,
reverence,
esteem
and honour
and on whom,
revering and reverencing him,
could they live in dependence?"

Then Vassakāra, the chief minister in Magadha,
spoke thus to the venerable Ānanda:

"But where is the good Ānanda staying at present?"

"I, brahman, am at present staying in the Bamboo Grove."

"I hope, good Ānanda,
that the Bamboo Grove is pleasant,
with little sound,
little noise,
sheltered from the winds,
secluded from the haunts of men
and suitable for solitary meditation?"

"Most certainly, brahman,
the Bamboo Grove is pleasant,
with little sound,
little noise,
sheltered from the winds,
secluded from the haunts of men,
suitable for solitary meditation
as befits a guardian and warden like yourself."

"Most certainly, good Ānanda,
the Bamboo Grove is pleasant,
with little sound,
little noise,
sheltered from the winds,
secluded from the haunts of men,
suitable for solitary meditation
as befits meditators
and those disposed to meditation
like the revered ones.

The revered ones are both meditators
and disposed to meditation.

At one time, good Ananda,
the revered Gotama was staying near Vesalī
in the Great Wood
in the hall of the Gabled House.

Then I, good Ānanda,
approached the revered Gotama
in the Great Wood
in the hall of the Gabled House.

While he was there
the revered Gotama in many a figure
talked a talk on meditation.

A meditator was the revered Gotama
and he was disposed to meditation;
and the revered Gotama
praised every (form of) meditation."

"No, brahman,
the Lord did not praise every (form of) meditation,
nor did the Lord not praise
every (form of) meditation.

What kind of meditation, brahman,
did the Lord not praise?

As to this, brahman,
someone dwells with his thought obsessed
by attachment to pleasures of the senses,
overcome by attachment to pleasures [64] of the senses,
and he does not comprehend
as it really is
the escape from the attachment to the pleasures of the senses
that has arisen;
he, having made attachment to the pleasures of the senses the main thing,[14]
meditates on it,
meditates absorbed,
meditates more absorbed,
meditates quite absorbed.[15]

He dwells with his thought obsessed by ill-will,
overcome by ill-will,
and he does not comprehend as it really is
the escape from ill-will
that has arisen;
he, having made ill-will the main thing
meditates on it,
meditates absorbed,
meditates more absorbed,
meditates quite absorbed.

He dwells with his thought obsessed by sloth and torpor,
overcome by sloth and torpor,
and he does not comprehend as it really is
the escape from sloth and torpor
that has arisen;
he, having made sloth and torpor the main thing
meditates on it,
meditates absorbed,
meditates more absorbed,
meditates quite absorbed.

He dwells with his thought obsessed by restlessness and worry,
overcome by restlessness and worry,
and he does not comprehend as it really is
the escape from restlessness and worry
that has arisen;
he, having made restlessness and worry the main thing
meditates on it,
meditates absorbed,
meditates more absorbed,
meditates quite absorbed.

He dwells with his thought obsessed by doubt,
overcome by doubt,
and he does not comprehend as it really is
the escape from doubt
that has arisen;
he, having made doubt the main thing
meditates on it,
meditates absorbed,
meditates more absorbed,
meditates quite absorbed.

The Lord does not praise this kind of meditation, brahman.

And what kind of meditation, brahman,
does the Lord praise?

As to this, brahman, a monk,
aloof from the pleasures of the senses,
aloof from unskilled states of mind,
entering into the first meditation
which is accompanied by initial thought
and discursive thought,
is born of aloofness,
and is rapturous and joyful,
abides in it.

And again, brahman, a monk,
by allaying initial and discursive thought,
his mind subjectively tranquillised
and fixed on one point,
enters on
and abides in
the second meditation
which is devoid of initial and discursive thought,
is born of concentration
and is rapturous and joyful.

And again, brahman, a monk,
by the fading out of rapture,
dwells with equanimity,
attentive and clearly conscious,
and experiences in his person
that joy of which the ariyans say:
'Joyful lives he who has equanimity and is mindful,'
and he enters on
and abides in
the third meditation.

And again, brahman, a monk
by getting rid of joy,
by getting rid of anguish,
by the going down of his former pleasures and sorrows,
enters on
and abides in
the fourth meditation
which has neither anguish nor joy,
and which is entirely purified
by equanimity and mindfulness.

The Lord praises this kind of meditation, brahman."

"Indeed, good Ānanda,
the good Gotama contemned the meditation
that is contemptible,
commended that which is commendable.

But now, if you please, good Ānanda,
we must be going.

We are very busy,
there is much to be done."

"You, brahman, do that for which you deem it is now the right time."

Then Vassakāra, the chief minister in Magadha,
rejoicing in what the venerable Ānanda had said,
giving thanks,
rising from his seat departed.

Then soon after the brahman Vassakāra,
the chief minister in Magadha,
had departed,
the brahman Gopaka-Moggallāna spoke thus to the venerable Ānanda:

"The good Ānanda has not[ed1] explained to us what we asked him."

[65] "Did we not say to you, brahman:

"There is not even one monk, brahman,
who is possessed in every way
and in every part
of all those things
of which the Lord was possessed,
perfected one,
fully Self-Awakened One.

For, brahman, this Lord
was one to make arise a Way
that had not arisen (before),
to bring about a Way
not brought about (before),
to show a Way
not shown (before);
he was a knower of the Way,
an understander of the Way,
skilled in the Way.

Discourse to Gopaka-Moggallāna:
The Eighth

 


[1] āyasmā, venerable, omitted in the text, no doubt in error. After the distribution of the relics Ãnanda was at Rājagaha to go through the recital of dhamma, MA. iv. 70.

[2] This king was a friend of Bimbisara who was killed by his son Ajātasattu. At Vin. i. 276 ff. (referred to at MA. iv. 71) Bimbisāra sent his physician, Jīvaka, to tend Pajjota once when he was ill.

[3] Outside the city, MA. iv. 71.

[4] Cf. S. i. 191, iii. 66. The words pacchā samannāgatā, are not commented on by MA. here. SA.i. 277 however explains: paṭhama-gatassa Bhagavato pacchā samanugatā, they are following after (sam-anugatā from sam-anu-gacchati) the Lord who has gone first. Samannāgata is therefore here in its sense of "followed" or "following" rather than in its more usual sense of "possessed of, endowed with." Both these meanings of the word are noted by P.E.D.

[5] Cf. Vin. iii. 43, and see B.D. i. 68, n. 1.

[6] paṭisaraṇa, called avassaya at MA. iv. 72. I also recommend the word "mainstay" which J. J. Jones uses in his translation of the Mhvu., vol. iii.

[7] Cf. D. ii. 154.

[8] yathādhamma. For examples see s.v. "Rule, according to the" in Indexes to B.D. iv, v.

[9] dhamma. The context here seems to require "rule" in translation, which only shows the close inner bond of dhamma as teaching and dhamma as rule.

[10] Cf. M. ii. 5.

[11] Cf. A. ii. 22-23 for four things which make an Elder, thera.

[12] Cf. M. i. 355.

[13] This may be the sole reference to him in the Pali Canon. He was "commander-in-ehief of the Magadha kingdom," D.P.P.N.

[14] antaraṁ karitvā; MA. iv. 73: abbhanlaraṁ karitvā. See C.P.D., and cf. M. iii. 38.

[15] As at M. i. 334.

 


[ed1] Ms. Horner has this in the positive in error.


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