Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
III. Upari Paṇṇāsa
4. Vibhaŋga Vagga

The Middle Length Sayings
III. The Final Fifty Discourses
4. The Division on Analysis

Sutta 135

Cūḷa Kamma-Vibhaŋga Suttaɱ[1]

Discourse on the Lesser Analysis of Deeds

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][than][nymo][ntbb][upal][olds] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

At one time the Lord was staying near Sāvatthī
in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika's monastery.

Then the brahman youth Subha, Todeyya's son,[2] approached the Lord;
having approached,
he exchanged greetings with the Lord;
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 youth Subha, Todeyya's son,
spoke thus to the Lord:

"Now, good Gotama, what is the cause,
what the reason
that [249] lowness and excellence
are to be seen among human beings
while they are in human form?[3]

For, good Gotama,
human beings of short life-span are to be seen
and those of long life-span;
those of many
and those of few illnesses;
those who are ugly,
those who are beautiful;
those who are of little account,
those of great account;
those who are poor,
those who are wealthy;
those who are of lowly families,
those of high families;[4]
those who are weak in wisdom,
those who are full of wisdom.

Now what, good Gotama, is the cause,
what the reason
that lowness and excellence
are to be seen among human beings
while they are in human form?"

"Deeds[5] are one's own, brahman youth,
beings are heirs to deeds,[6]
deeds are matrix,
deeds are kin,
deeds are arbiters.[7]

Deed divides beings,
that is to say
by lowness and excellence."

"I do not understand the meaning in full
of that which was spoken by the good Gotama in brief
and the meaning of which was not explained in full.

It were well if the good Gotama
were so to teach me dhamma
that I should understand the meaning in full
of that which was spoken by the good Gotama in brief
but the meaning of which was not explained in full."

"Well then, brahman youth,
listen,
attend carefully
and I will speak."

"Yes, sir,"
the brahman youth Subha, Todeyya's son,
answered the Lord in assent.

The Lord spoke thus:

"Brahman youth, here some woman or man
is one that makes onslaught on creatures,
is cruel,
bloody-handed,
intent on injuring and killing,
and without mercy to living creatures.[8]

Because of that [250] deed,
accomplished thus,
firmly held[9] thus,
he, at the breaking up of the body after dying
arises in the sorrowful ways,
the bad bourn,
the Downfall,
Niraya Hell.

But if, at the breaking up of the body after dying
he does not arise in the sorrowful ways,
the bad bourn,
the Downfall,
Niraya Hell,
but comes to human status,
then wherever he is born
(in a new existence)
he is of a short life-span.

This course is conducive
to shortness of life-span, brahman youth,
that is to say
making onslaught on creatures,
being cruel,
bloody-handed,
intent on injuring and killing,
and without mercy to living creatures.

But, brahman youth,
here some woman or man,
by getting rid of onslaught on creatures
is one who abstains from onslaught on creatures;
the stick laid aside,
the sword laid aside,
he lives scrupulous,
merciful,
kindly and compassionate to all living creatures.

Because of that deed,
accomplished thus,
firmly held thus,
at the breaking up of the body after dying
he arises in a good bourn,
a heaven world.

But if, at the breaking up of the body after dying
he does not arise in a good bourn,
a heaven world,
but comes to human status,
then wherever he is born
(in a new existence)
he is of a long life-span.

This course is conducive
to length of life-span, brahman youth,
that is to say,
if one, by getting rid of onslaught on creatures,
abstains from onslaught on creatures,
(and with) the stick laid aside,
the sword laid aside,
lives scrupulous,
merciful,
kindly and compassionate to all living creatures.

Brahman youth, here some woman or man
is by nature harmful to creatures
with his hand
or with a clod of earth
or with a stick
or with a sword.

Because of that deed,
accomplished thus,
firmly held thus,
he, at the breaking up of the body after dying
arises in the sorrowful ways,
the bad bourn,
the Downfall,
Niraya Hell.

But if, at the breaking up of the body after dying
he does not arise in the sorrowful ways,
the bad bourn,
the Downfall,
Niraya Hell
but comes to human status,
then wherever he is born
(in a new existence)
he has many illnesses.

This course is conducive
to many illnesses, brahman youth,
that is to say
being by nature harmful to creatures
with his hand
or with a clod of earth
or with a stick
or with a sword.

But, brahman youth,
here some woman or man
is not by nature harmful to creatures
with his hand
or with a clod of earth
or with a stick
or with a sword.

Because of that deed
accomplished thus,
firmly held thus,
at the breaking up of the body after dying
he arises in a good bourn,
a heaven world.

But if, at the breaking up of the body after dying
he does not arise in a good bourn,
a heaven world,
but comes to human status,
then wherever he is born
(in a new existence)
he has few illnesses.

This [251] course is conducive
to few illnesses, brahman youth,
that is to say
not being by nature harmful to creatures
with his hand
or with a clod of earth
or with a stick
or with a sword.

Brahman youth, here some woman or man is wrathful;
turbulent on being spoken to
even about a trifle,
he takes offence,
gets angry,
disagrees,
resists,
and evinces anger,
hatred
and resentment.[10]

Because of that deed,
accomplished thus,
firmly held thus,
he, at the breaking up of the body after dying
arises in the sorrowful ways,
the bad bourn,
the Downfall,
Niraya Hell.

But if, at the breaking up of the body after dying
he does not arise in the sorrowful ways,
the bad bourn,
the Downfall,
Niraya Hell
but comes to human status,
then wherever he is born
(in a new existence)
he is ugly.

This course is conducive to ugliness, brahman youth,
that is to say
being wrathful;
turbulent on being spoken to
even about a trifle,
taking offence,
getting angry,
disagreeing,
resisting,
evincing anger,
hatred
and resentment.

But, brahman youth, here some woman or man
is not wrathful;
not turbulent on being spoken to
even about a large matter,
he takes no offence,
does not get angry,
does not disagree,
resist
or evince anger,
hatred
and resentment.

Because of that deed,
accomplished thus,
firmly held thus,
at the breaking up of the body after dying
he arises in a good bourn,
a heaven world.

But if, at the breaking up of the body after dying
he does not arise in a good bourn,
a heaven world,
but comes to human status,
then wherever he is born
(in a new existence)
he is lovely.[11]

This course is conducive to loveliness, brahman youth,
that is to say not being wrathful;
not being turbulent on being spoken to
even about a large matter,
he taking no offence,
not getting angry,
not disagreeing,
resisting
or evincing anger,
hatred
and resentment.

Brahman youth, here some woman or man
is jealous-minded;
he is jealous,
revengeful[12]
and harbours jealousy
on account of others' gains,
honour,
fame
and the marks of respect and reverence
paid to them.

Because of that deed,
accomplished thus,
firmly held thus,
he, at the breaking up of the body after dying
arises in the sorrowful ways,
the bad bourn,
the Downfall,
Niraya Hell.

But if, at the breaking up of the body after dying
he does not arise in the sorrowful ways,
the bad bourn,
the Downfall,
Niraya Hell
but comes to human status,
then wherever he is born
(in a new existence)
he is of little account.

This course is conducive
to being of little account, brahman youth,
that is to say
being jealous-minded;
jealous,
revengeful
harbouring jealousy
on account of others' gains,
honour,
fame
and the marks of respect and reverence
paid to them.

But, brahman youth,
here some woman or man
is not jealous-minded;
he is not jealous
or revengeful
nor does he harbour jealousy
on account of others' gains,
honour,
fame
and the marks of respect and reverence
paid to them.

Because of that deed,
accomplished thus,
firmly held thus,
at the breaking up of the body after dying
he arises in a good bourn,
a heaven world.

But if, at the breaking up of the body after dying
he does not arise in a good bourn,
a heaven world,
but comes to human status,
then wherever he is born
(in a new existence)
he is of great account.

This course is conducive
to being of great account, brahman youth,
that is to say
not being jealous-minded;
not being jealous
or revengeful
nor harbouring jealousy
on account of others' gains,
honour,
fame
and the marks of respect and reverence
paid to them.

Brahman youth, here some woman or man
is not a giver[13] to recluse or brahman
of drink,
food,
clothing,
vehicle,
garlands,
scents,
unguents,
bed,
lodging,
light.

Because of that deed,
accomplished thus,
firmly held thus,
he, at the breaking up of the body after dying
arises in the sorrowful ways,
the bad bourn,
the Downfall,
Niraya Hell.

But if, at the breaking up of the body after dying
he does not arise in the sorrowful ways,
the bad bourn,
the Downfall,
Niraya Hell
but comes to human status,
then wherever he is born
(in a new existence)
he is poor.

This course is conducive to poverty, [252] brahman youth,
that is to say not being a giver to recluse or brahman
of drink,
food,
clothing,
vehicle,
garlands,
scents,
unguents,
bed,
lodging,
light.

But, brahman youth, here some woman or man
is a giver to recluse or brahman
of drink,
food,
clothing,
vehicle,
garlands,
scents,
unguents,
bed,
lodging,
light.

Because of that deed,
accomplished thus,
firmly held thus,
at the breaking up of the body after dying
he arises in a good bourn,
a heaven world.

But if, at the breaking up of the body after dying
he does not arise in a good bourn,
a heaven world,
but comes to human status,
then wherever he is born
(in a new existence)
he is wealthy.

This course is conducive to wealth, brahman youth,
that is to say being a giver to recluse or brahman
of drink,
food,
clothing,
vehicle,
garlands,
scents,
unguents,
bed,
lodging,
light.

Brahman youth, here some woman or man
is callous
and proud;
he does not greet one
who should be greeted,
does not stand up for one
who should be stood up for,
he does not give a seat to one
meriting a seat,
he does not make room[14]
for one meriting room,
he does not respect,
revere,
reverence,
honour one
who should be respected,
revered,
reverenced,
honoured.

Because of that deed,
accomplished thus,
firmly held thus,
he, at the breaking up of the body after dying
arises in the sorrowful ways,
the bad bourn,
the Downfall,
Niraya Hell.

But if, at the breaking up of the body after dying
he does not arise in the sorrowful ways,
the bad bourn,
the Downfall,
Niraya Hell
but comes to human status,
then wherever he is born
(in a new existence)
he is of a lowly family.

This course is conducive
to being in a lowly family, brahman youth,
that is to say being one who is callous
and proud;
he does not greet one
who should be greeted,
does not stand up for one
who should be stood up for,
he does not give a seat to one
meriting a seat,
he does not make room
for one meriting room,
he does not respect,
revere,
reverence,
honour one
who should be respected,
revered,
reverenced,
honoured.

But, brahman youth, here some woman or man
is not callous
or proud;
he greets one who should be greeted,
stands up for one
who should be stood up for,
he gives a seat to one
meriting a seat,
he makes room
for one meriting room,
he respects,
reveres,
reverences,
honours one who should be
revered,
reverenced,
honoured.

Because of that deed,
accomplished thus,
firmly held thus,
at the breaking up of the body after dying
he arises in a good bourn,
a heaven world.

But if, at the breaking up of the body after dying
he does not arise in a good bourn,
a heaven world,
but comes to human status,
then wherever he is born
(in a new existence)
it is in a high family.

This course is conducive
to being in a high family, brahman youth,
that is to say being one who is not callous
or proud;
one who greets one who should be greeted,
stands up for one
who should be stood up for,
one who gives a seat to one
meriting a seat,
one who makes room
for one meriting room,
one who respects,
reveres,
reverences,
honours one who should be
revered,
reverenced,
honoured.

Brahman youth, here some woman or a man,
having approached a recluse or a brahman,
is not one that asks:

'What, revered sir, is skill?

What is unskill?

What is blameable?

What un-blameable?

What should be practised?

What not practised?

What, being done by me, is for long for my woe and anguish?

Or what, being done by me, is for long for my welfare and happiness?

Because of this deed,
accomplished thus,
firmly held thus,
he, at the breaking up of the body after dying
arises in the sorrowful ways,
the bad bourn,
the Downfall,
Niraya Hell.

But if, at the breaking up of the body after dying
he does not arise in the sorrowful ways,
the bad bourn,
the Downfall,
Niraya Hell
but comes to human status,
then wherever he is born
(in a new existence)
is weak in wisdom.

This course is conducive
to being weak in wisdom, brahman youth,
that is to say
having approached a recluse or a brahman,
being one that that does not ask:

'What, revered sir, is skill?

What is unskill?

What is blameable?

What un-blameable?

What should be practised?

What not practised?

What, being done by me, is for long for my woe and anguish?

Or what, being done by me, is for long for my welfare and happiness?

But, brahman youth, here some woman or man,
having approached a recluse or brahman, is one that asks:

'What, revered sir, is skill?

What is unskill?

What is blameable?

What un-blameable?

What should be practised?

What not practised?

What, being done by me, is for long for my woe and anguish?

Or what, being done by me, is for long for my welfare and happiness?

Because of that deed,
accomplished thus,
firmly held thus,
at the breaking up of the body after dying
he arises in a good bourn,
a heaven world.

But if, at the breaking up of the body after dying
he does not arise in a good bourn,
a heaven world,
but comes to human status,
then wherever he is born
(in a new existence)
he is of great wisdom.

This course is conducive to grcat wisdom, [253] brahman youth, that is to say,
having approached a recluse or brahman, being one that asks:

'What, revered sir, is skill?

What is unskill?

What is blameable?

What un-blameable?

What should be practised?

What not practised?

What, being done by me, is for long for my woe and anguish?

Or what, being done by me, is for long for my welfare and happiness?

So, brahman youth,
the course conducive to a short life-span
leads to shortness of life-span;
the course conducive to a long lifespan
leads to length of life-span;
the course conducive to many illnesses
leads to having many illnesses;
the course conducive to few illnesses
leads to having few illnesses;
the course conducive to being ugly
leads to ugliness;
the course conducive to being lovely
leads to loveliness;
the course conducive to being of small account
leads to smallness of account;
the course conducive to being of great account
leads to greatness of account;
the course conducive to being poor,
leads to poverty;
the course conducive to being wealthy
leads to wealth;
the course conducive to being of lowly family
leads to being in a lowly family;
the course conducive to being of high family
leads to being in a high family;
the course conducive to being weak in wisdom
leads to weakness of wisdom;
the course conducive to being of great wisdom
leads to greatness in wisdom.

Deeds are one's own, brahman youth,
beings are heirs to deeds,
deeds are the matrix,
deeds the kin,
deeds the arbiters.

Deed divides beings,
that is to say
by lowness and excellence."

When this had been said,
the brahman youth Subha, Todeyya's son,
spoke thus to the Lord:

"It is excellent, good Gotama,
excellent, good Gotama.

It is as if, good Gotama,
one might set upright what had been upset,
or might disclose what was covered,
or point out the way
to one who had gone astray,
or might bring an oil-lamp into the darkness
so that those with vision might see material shapes -
even so is dhamma made clear
in many a figure by the good Gotama.

I am going to the revered Gotama for refuge,
and to dhamma
and to the Order of monks.

May the revered Gotama accept me
as a lay-follower,
one gone for refuge from today forth
for as long as life lasts."

Discourse on the Lesser Analysis of Deeds:
The Fifth

 


[1] Called at MA. v. 8, 15 Subhasutta, the latter passage saying that it is also called Culla-kamma-vibhaŋga sutta. There is a Subhasutta at M. Sta. 99 and D. Sta. 10. See S. Levi, Mahākarmavibhaŋga, etc., Paris, 1932, for an interesting dissertation on the Karmavibhaŋgas, and also Mrs. Rhys Davids, Wayfarer's Words, vol. iii, p. 1093 (reprinted from J.R.A.S., 1934). That the prefix Cūḷa here qualifies kammavibhaŋga (and not sutta) must be understood on the analogy of Mahā- in the next Discourse which, from internal evidence, is not a description of sutta but of kammavibhaŋga; see below, p. 264, n. 1.

[2] Todeyya was Pasenadi's brahman priest. He was very rich and very mean. Born as a dog in his own house, he barked at the Buddha when he was visiting Subha. The Buddha recognised him and identified him to the unwilling Subha by getting the dog to find some treasure he had hidden as a man.

[3] manmsānaṁ yeva sataṁ manussabhūtānaṁ. This of course assumes that human beings need not always be in human form, and this appears to have been the case with Todeyya. It seems clear that some distinction between the two words is to be made although in the sequel only human beings are dealt with. Pali is precise where we perhaps cannot be. Another word to be considered in this connection is manusaviggaha, taking up form as a human being, see Vin. iii. 73 where this word is defined, and Vin. iv. 214 = 269, where the compound tiracchānagata-manussaviggaha appears to be a man who has taken up animal form.

[4] Defined at Vin. iv. 6.

[5] Cf. A. iii. 72, 186, v. 288, Miln. 65. Kamma, here translated as deed or deeds, is equally the compelling force of kamma as inescapable recompense: one arises according to what one does, yaṁ karoti tena upapajjati, M. i. 390.

[6] As at M. i. 390.

[7] kammapaṭisaraṇa; cf. dhamnapaṭisaraṇa at M. iii. 9.

[8] As at M. i. 286.

[9] samādiṇṇa, explained at MA. v. 11 by gahita and parāmaṭṭha, which may mean that the deed and its effect had been taken and acquired in a previous birth. The word, together with samatta, "accomplished," also occurs at M. iii. 214.

[10] As at A. i. 126-127. Cf. also A. ii. 203 ff.

[11] pāsādika here instead of vaṇṇavant as earlier.

[12] upadussati. So Childers. MA. v. 14 says that because of his jealousy, being censorious he does wrong (dussati, or is corrupted). It is possible that the three verbs dussati padussati upadussati denote a gradual intensification similar to, e.g., jhāyanti pajjhāyanti nijjhāyanti apajjhāyanti at M. i. 334.

[13] Because he is stingy.

[14] maggaṁ deti, to make room or space for, to let pass, to give way; cf. Vin.


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