Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
III. Upari Paṇṇāsa
3. Suññata Vagga

The Middle Length Sayings
III. The Final Fifty Discourses
3. The Division on Emptiness

Sutta 124

Bakkula Suttaɱ

Discourse by Bakkula

Translated from the Pali by I.B. Horner, M.A.
Associate of Newham College, Cambridge
First Published in 1954

Copyright The Pali Text Society
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[1][chlm][upal] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

At one time the venerable Bakkula[1] was staying near Rājagaha
in the Bamboo Grove at the squirrels' feeding place.

Then Kassapa the Unclothed[2] (wanderer)[3]
who had formerly been a friend of the venerable Bakkula
when he was a householder,
approached the venerable Bakkula;
having approached
and exchanged greetings of courtesy and friendliness
with the venerable Bakkula
be sat down at a respectful distance.

As Kassapa the Unclothed was sitting down at a respectful distance,
he spoke thus to the venerable Bakkula:

"How long is it since you, reverend Bakkula, went forth?"

"It must be eighty years, friend,
since I went forth."

"And how many times during these eighty years
have you, reverend Bakkula,
indulged in sexual intercourse?"

"Friend Kassapa, you should not question me thus:

'And how many times during these eighty years
have you, reverend Bakkula,
indulged in sexual intercourse?'

But you could question me thus, friend Kassapa:

'And how many times during these eighty years, reverend Bakkula,
did perceptions of sensual pleasure rise in you?"

"And how many times during these eighty years, reverend Bakkula,
did perceptions of sensual pleasure rise in you?"

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, friend Kassapa, [171] I am not aware of (any) perception of sensual pleasure rising in me."

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of (any) perception of sensual pleasure rising in him -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."][4]

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,[5]
I am not aware of (any) perception of malevolence
or (any) perception of harming
rising in me."

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of (any) perception of malevolence
or (any) perception of harming rising in him -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,
I am not aware of (any) thought of sensual pleasure,
(any) thought of malevolence
or (any) thought of harming rising in me."

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of (any) thought of sensual pleasure,
(any) thought of malevolence
or (any) thought of harming rising in him -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,
I am not aware of having accepted householder's robe-material."[6]

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of having accepted householder's robe-material -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,
I am not aware of having cut out robe-material with a knife."[7]

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of having cut out robe-material with a knife -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,
I am not aware of having sewn robe-material with a needle."[8]

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of having sewn robe-material with a needle -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,
I am not aware of having dyed robe-material with dye."[9]

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of having dyed robe-material with dye -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

[172] "During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,
I am not aware of having sewn robe-material on a kedhina-frame."[10]

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of having sewn robe-material on a kedhina-frame -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,
I am not aware of having been occupied with making up the robe-material
of fellow Brahma-farers."

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of having been occupied with making up the robe-material
of fellow Brahma-farers -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,
I am not aware of having accepted an invitation."[11]

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of having accepted an invitation -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,
I am not aware of a thought having ever arisen such as this:

'O that someone mignt invite me.'"

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of a thought having ever arisen such as this:
'O that someone mignt invite me.' -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,
I am not aware of having sat down amid the houses."[12]

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of having sat down amid the houses -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,
I am not aware of having eaten amid the houses."

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of having eaten amid the houses -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,
I am not aware of having observed in detail the characteristics of women-kind."

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of having observed in detail the characteristics of women-kind -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,
I am not aware of having taught dhamma to women,
even a verse of four feet."[13]

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of having taught dhamma to women,
even a verse of four feet -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,
I am not aware of having approached nuns' quarters."[14]

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of having approached nuns' quarters -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,
I am not aware of having taught dhamma to nuns."

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of having taught dhamma to nuns -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,
I am not aware of having taught dhamma to probationers."[15]

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of having taught dhamma to probationers -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,
I am not aware of having taught dhamma to female novices."

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of having taught dhamma to female novices -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,
I am not aware of having let (anyone) go forth."

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of having let (anyone) go forth -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,
I am not aware of having ordained (anyone)."

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of having ordained (anyone) -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,
I am not aware of having given guidance."[16]

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of having given guidance -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,
I am not aware of having had a novice to attend me."[17]

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of having had a novice to attend me -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,
I am not aware of having bathed in a bathroom."[18]

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of having bathed in a bathroom -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,
I am not aware of having bathed with chunam."[18]

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of having bathed with chunam -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,
I am not aware of having had fellow Brahma-farers massage my limbs."

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of having had fellow Brahma-farers massage his limbs -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,
I am not [173] aware that (any) illness has ever arisen even for an instant.[19]

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
that (any) illness has ever arisen even for an instant -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,
I am not aware of having carried medicine,
even bits from the yellow myrobalan tree."[20]

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of having carried medicine,
even bits from the yellow myrobalan tree -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,
I am not aware of having reclined against a reclining board."[21]

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of having reclined against a reclining board -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,
I am not aware of having lain down to sleep."

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of having lain down to sleep -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"During the eighty years that I have gone forth, your reverence,
I am not aware of having gone for the rains to a lodging near a village."[22]

["Inasmuch as for eighty years
the venerable Bakkula is not aware
of having gone for the rains to a lodging near a village -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"For exactly seven days[23] I, your reverence,
(still) having defilements,[24]
ate the country's almsfood;[25]
then on the eighth day
profound knowledge arose."[26]

["Inasmuch as for exactly seven days, the venerable Bakkula,
(still) having defilements,
ate the country's almsfood;
then on the eighth day
profound knowledge arose -
we regard this as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

"May I, reverend Bakkula, receive the going forth
in this dhamma and discipline,
may I receive ordination."

And Kassapa the Unclothed received the going forth
in this dhamma and discipline,
he received ordination.[27]

Not long after he had been ordained,
living alone,
aloof,
diligent,
ardent,
selfresolute,
the venerable Kassapa having soon attained here and now [174] through his own super-knowledge
that incomparable goal of the Brahma-faring
for the sake of which young men of family
rightly go forth from home into homelessness,
entering on it,
abided in it.

And he knew:

"Destroyed is birth,
brought to a close the Brahma-faring,
done is what was to be done,
there is no more of being such or so."

And the venerable Kassapa was one of the perfected ones.

Then after a time the venerable Bakkula took his key
and going from dwelling-place to dwelling-place,
spoke thus:

"Let the venerable ones come forward,
let the venerable ones come forward,
today I will attain final nibbāna."[28] ["Inasmuch as the venerable Bakkula took his key
and going from dwelling-place to dwelling-place,
spoke thus:
'Let the venerable ones come forward,
let the venerable ones come forward,
today I will attain final nibbāna' -
we regard this too as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

Then the venerable Bakkula,
as he was sitting in the midst of the Order of monks,[29]
attained final nibbāna. ["Inasmuch as that the venerable Bakkula,
as he was sitting in the midst of the Order of monks,
attained final nibbāna -
we regard this too as a wonder,
a marvellous quality in the venerable Bakkula."]

Discourse by Bakkula[30]
The Fourth

 


[1] Bakkula means "two families," dvakkula, dvikkula, for according to MA. iv. 190 ff. the king judged him to belong to his own mother and to the councillor's wife who had cherished him after he had been found, unhurt, inside a fish that was caught in a river; cf. ThagA. ii. 87 ff., AA. i. 304 ff. See the explanation of bakkula (as a word, not a proper name) at J.P.T.S. 1886, pp. 94 ff. At A. i. 25 Bakkula is called the monk foremost in good health. This gives rise to a dilemma at Miln. 215 f. Verses are ascribcd to him at Thag. 225-227.

[2] Acela-Kassapa, an ascetic. At the end of the Kassapa-Sīhanāda-suttanta, D. i. 161 ff.., he is said to have undergone a four months' probation (usual for members of other sects joining the Buddhist Order of monks) and then to have gained arahantship.

[3] DA. ii. 349 calls him a paribbājaka.

[4] According to MA. iv. 193 all these portions, beginning here were spoken by the Elders who made the recension of dhamma.

[5] āvuso, whereas formerly (with one exception) he had said āvuso Kassapa.

[6] This layman's gift (of robe-material) is the easy way to obtain it, the difficult or ascetic way, dhutaŋga, being to collect rags from the refuse-heaps. Cf. M. i. 31, A. iii. 391 f., Vin. iii. 172. At MA. iv. 193 this kind of robe-material is said to be for the rains-residence.

[7] MA. iv. 193 explains satthena by pipphalikena, with scissors (?). Cf. pipphalaka at DA. i. 70.

[8] Needles allowed to be used by monks at Vin. ii. 115.

[9] Rules for dyeing by monks are given at Vin. i. 286.

[10] Allowed at Vin. ii. 116 where regulations for the use of this kaṭhina are given. See B.D. v. 158 ff. MA. iv. 103 here asks how the thera got his robes if he did not accept material from householders and did not cut out or sew robe-material; and it answers that he was well known in two towns and that the people made and dyed the robe-material for him and then hung it out. while he was bathing. He then clothed himself. So he got things as easily as did the thera Nigrodha from Asoka.

[11] I.e. to a meal.

[12] MA. iv. 194-195 says that in the Mahāsakuludāyi Sutta (M. Sta. 77, MA. iii, 240) "amid the houses" means from the village post, but here it means from the nimbodakapatanaṭṭhāna. The thera simply went up to the doors of the houses with his almsbowl and the people filled this with foods of various flavours.

[13] At Vin. iv. 21 monks are prohibited to teach dhamma to women in more than five or six sentences. MA. iv. 195 says that the thera did not do this even though it was allowable, and although practically all the theras who depended on families did so.

[14] Although it was allowable to go if asked by an ill nun (Vin. iv. 67, Pāc. 23), the thera did not do this.

[15] Always women; defined at Vin. iv. 332.

[16] nismyaṁ detā; rules for giving guidance are laid down at Vin. i. 60 ff.

[17] See Vin. i. 62 ff.

[18] Procedure for bathing in a bathroom and using chunam is laid down at Vin. i. 47.

[19] gaddūhanamattaṁ, explained at MA. iv. 195 and SA. ii. 224 as the time it would take to got one drop of milk by pulling a cow's teat. The word occurs at S. ii. 264 but in another connection. That the thera was free from illness is said to be due to the deeds of healing done by him under the former Buddhas, Padumuttara and Kassapa.

[20] harītakīkhaṇḍa, Monks allowed to eat the fruits of this tree when they were ill, Vin. i. 201. Cf. also Vin. i. 206.

[21] When he was sleeping he therefore maintained the sitting posture (one of the dhutaŋga and called nesajjika), as the next also shows. Reclining boards allowed at Vin. ii. 175.

[22] Cf. M. i. 31.

[23] As at S. ii. 221.

[24] Sāṇa. MA.IV. 186, reading saraṇa ( = sa + raṇa, desire or fault), explains by sa-kilesa. SA.ii. 199 reads sāṇno ti sakileso, sa-iṇo (with a debt) hutvā. I think Bakkula means to point to the suddenness with which aññā, profound knowledge or gnosis, arises and thus wipes out the debt, to the past and to past kamma. He is now free of this, being an arahant. See a-raṇa in M. Sta. 139.

[25] The gifts of those with faith; cf. Dhp. 308.

[26] He was therefore no longer just a thera; he was also an arahant: na thero ahan arahā ti āha, MA. iv. 196.

[27] MA. iv. 196 explains that though the thera (Bakkula) did not himself let go forth or ordain, he got this done by other monks.

[28] ajja me parinibbānaṁ bhavissati.

[29] He did not want his body to be a burden to any other monk after his parinibbāna so he entered into the condition of heat, tejodhātu; a flame sprang from his body, and his skin, flesh and blood burnt like ghee and were destroyed, MA. iv. 196.

[30] Also called Bakkulatheracchariyabbhuta sutta and Bakkulassa acchariyabbhuta suttanta. MA. iv. 197 says idaṁ pana suttaṁ dutiyasaṇgahe saŋgahītaṁ, "this Discourse was included in the second collection (or recension)." It will be noted that there is no mention of the Buddha in this Discourse.


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