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Saɱyutta Nikāya
I. Sagātha Vagga
1. Devatā-Saɱyutta
I. Naḷa-Vagga

The Book of the Kindred Sayings
I. Kindred Sayings with Verses
1. The Devas[1]
I. The 'Reed' Suttas[2]

Suttas 1-10

Translated by Mrs. Rhys Davids
Assisted by Sūriyagoḍa Sumangala Thera
Public Domain

 

Honour to that Exalted One Arahant Buddha Supreme!

 


[1] [1]

Sutta 1

Ogha Suttaɱ

Crossing the Flood

[1.1][bodh][than][olds][upal] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

The Exalted One was once staying near Sāvatthī, at Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

Now a certain deva,
when the night was far spent,
shedding radiance with his effulgent beauty
over the whole Jeta Grove,
came [2] into the presence of the Exalted One,
and coming, saluted him and stood at one side.
So standing he spake thus to the Exalted One: —

'Tell me, dear sir,[3]
how didst thou cross the flood?'[4]

[The Exalted One: —]

'Unstayed, friend, and unstriving
did I cross the flood.'[5]

'But how didst thou, dear sir,
without stay, without striving,
cross the flood?'

'When I, friend, kept myself stayed,
then verily I sank;
when I, friend, strove hard,
then verily was I whirled about.[6]

And so, friend,
unstayed, unstriving
did I cross the flood.'

[The deva: —]

Lo! now what length of time since I beheld[7]
A perfect saint[8] [from evil] wholly free,
One who, nor stayed nor striving in the flood,
Hath safely crossed where all the world sticks fast.[9]

[3] Thus spake that deva,
and the Master approved.
And the deva, noting that approval,
made salutation 'by the right'[10]
and vanished there and then.[11]

 


 

Sutta 2

Kimokkha Suttaɱ

Deliverance

[2.1][bodh][upal] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

The Exalted One was once staying near Sāvatthī, at Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

Now a certain deva,
when the night was far spent,
shedding radiance with his effulgent beauty
over the whole Jeta Grove,
came into the presence of the Exalted One,
and coming, saluted him and stood at one side.
So standing he spake thus to the Exalted One: —

'Dost thou, dear sir, know for them that live deliverance, freedom, detachment?'[12]

'Yea, I know, O friend, for them that live deliverance, freedom, detachment.'

'As what, dear sir, dost thou know for them that live deliverance, freedom, detachment?'

When life-lust,[13] when becoming is no more,
When mind that marks and works by sense is dead,
When feeling's turmoil ceases, laid to rest:—
I know, 0 friend, that thus, to them that live,
Deliverance, freedom, and detachment come.

 


 

Sutta 3

Upaneyya Suttaɱ

Led to It's Doom

[3.1][bodh][upal] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

The Exalted One was once staying near Sāvatthī, at Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

Now a certain deva,
when the night was far spent,
shedding radiance with his effulgent beauty
over the whole Jeta Grove,
came into the presence of the Exalted One,
and coming, saluted him and stood at one side.
So standing, the deva spoke this verse before the Exalted One: —[14]

[4] Life to its doom is led.[15] Our years are few.[16]
Led to decay, for us no shelters stand,
Whoso doth contemplate this fear of death,
Let him so act that merit brings him bliss.

[The Exalted One: —]

Life to its doom is led. Our years are few.
For us, led to decay, no shelters stand.
Whoso doth contemplate this fear of death,
Let him reject the bait of all the worlds.
Let him aspire after the final peace.[17]

 


 

Sutta 4

Accenti Suttaɱ

Passing by

[4.1][bodh][upal] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

The Exalted One was once staying near Sāvatthī, at Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

Now a certain deva,
when the night was far spent,
shedding radiance with his effulgent beauty
over the whole Jeta Grove,
came into the presence of the Exalted One,
and coming, saluted him and stood at one side.
So standing, the deva spoke this verse before the Exalted One: —

The hours[18] pass by. Nights drive us ever on.
Stages of life in turn abandon us:—
Whoso doth contemplate this fear of death,
Let him so act that merit brings him bliss.

[The Exalted One: —]

The hours pass by. Nights drive us ever on.
Stages of life in turn abandon us.
Whoso doth contemplate this fear of death,
Let him reject the bait of all the worlds,
Let him aspire after the final peace.

 


[5]

Sutta 5

Kati Chinde Suttaɱ

How Many Should He Cut?

[5.1][bodh][upal] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

The Exalted One was once staying near Sāvatthī, at Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

Now a certain deva,
when the night was far spent,
shedding radiance with his effulgent beauty
over the whole Jeta Grove,
came into the presence of the Exalted One,
and coming, saluted him and stood at one side.
So standing, the deva spoke this verse before the Exalted One: —

How[19] many should he cut? How many leave?
How many should he further cultivate?
How many ties transcending can he win
The name of Brother 'Who-hath-crossed-the-Flood'?

[The Exalted One: —]

'Tis Five that he should cut, Five should he leave,
And Five that he should further cultivate.
Five ties transcending, his it is to win
The name of Brother 'Who-hath-crossed-the-Flood.'

 


 

Sutta 6

Jagara Suttaɱ

Vigil

[6.1][bodh][upal] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

The Exalted One was once staying near Sāvatthī, at Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

Now a certain deva,
when the night was far spent,
shedding radiance with his effulgent beauty
over the whole Jeta Grove,
came into the presence of the Exalted One,
and coming, saluted him and stood at one side.
So standing, the deva spoke this verse before the Exalted One: —

How[20] many sleep, when others are awake?
How many wake, when others are asleep?
How many working, do we gather dust?
And through how many are we wholly cleansed?

[The Exalted One: —]

'Tis five that sleep for five that are awake,
And five that wake whenother five do sleep.
By work of five it is we gather dust,
By five again are we made wholly clean.

 


[6]

Sutta 7

Appaṭividitā Suttaɱ

Not Grasped

[7.1][bodh][upal] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

The Exalted One was once staying near Sāvatthī, at Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

Now a certain deva,
when the night was far spent,
shedding radiance with his effulgent beauty
over the whole Jeta Grove,
came into the presence of the Exalted One,
and coming, saluted him and stood at one side.
So standing, the deva spoke this verse before the Exalted One: —

They who ne'er having pierced[21] the truth of things[22]
Are led astray errant 'mong other creeds,
Asleep they waken not. Now is the hour
For them to wake![23]

[The Exalted One: —]

They who well having pierced the truth of things
Are nowise let astray 'mong other creeds,
Wholly awake are they, they fully know,[24]
Walk through th'uneven with an even stride.[25]

 


 

Sutta 8

Susammuṭṭhā Suttaɱ

Wholly Blurred

[8.1][bodh][upal] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

The Exalted One was once staying near Sāvatthī, at Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

Now a certain deva,
when the night was far spent,
shedding radiance with his effulgent beauty
over the whole Jeta Grove,
came into the presence of the Exalted One,
and coming, saluted him and stood at one side.
So standing, the deva spoke this verse before the Exalted One: —

In whom the truth of things is wholly blurred,[26]
And they thus led astray 'mong other creeds,
Asleep they waken not. Now is the hour
For them to wake!

[7] [The Exalted One: —]

In whom the truth of things is nowise blurred,
And they not led astray 'mong other creeds,
Wholly awake are they, they fully know,
Walk through th'uneven with an even stride.

 


 

Sutta 9

Mānakāma Suttaɱ

Desire for Delusion

[9.1][bodh][upal] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

The Exalted One was once staying near Sāvatthī, at Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

Now a certain deva,
when the night was far spent,
shedding radiance with his effulgent beauty
over the whole Jeta Grove,
came into the presence of the Exalted One,
and coming, saluted him and stood at one side.
So standing, the deva spoke this verse before the Exalted One: —

Are vain conceits[27] wished for by him and welcomed,
Ne'er wins he here taming [of mind and body].
Lone in the woods though he dwell, if he daily,
Ne'er may he pass over the Death-realm confines.

[The Exalted One: —]

All vain conceits leaving, well concentrated,
Lovely in heart,[28] wholly emancipated,
Lone in the woods dwelling at work and earnest,
Well may he cross over the Death-realm confines.

 


 

Sutta 10

Araññe Suttaɱ

In the Forest

[10.1][bodh][upal] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

The Exalted One was once staying near Sāvatthī, at Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

Now a certain deva,
when the night was far spent,
shedding radiance with his effulgent beauty
over the whole Jeta Grove,
came into the presence of the Exalted One,
and coming, saluted him and stood at one side.
So standing the deva addressed the Exalted One in a verse: —[29]

Who in the forest make their wonted haunt —
The saintly livers of the holy life —
Who by one daily meal do break their fast:
Tell me how look they so serene of hue?

[8] [The Exalted One: —]

They make no lamentation o'er the past,
They yearn not after[30] that which is not come,
By what now is do they maintain themselves;
Hence comes it that they look serene of hue.[31]
By yearning after that which is not come,
By making lamentation o'er the past,
Hence come it that the foolish wither up
E'en as a tender reed by sickle shorn.

 


[1] Devatā The term, literally 'diety,' refers to a being difering only in details of physical constitution, and in habitat from a human being, and may mean either a deva, devaputta, or a devadhītā (caughter of the gods, goddess; see below I, 4, § 9). This deva, says the commentatarial tradition, is one who in past ages had beheld, since the last Buddha, Kassapa, passed away, no other like him till this occasion. His beauty (abhikkantavaṇṇa) lay in the luminance emitted by his skin. As a Rūpa-world or higher heaven) deva, he had to assume a grosser materialization than a lower deva need do, or he could not have moved in this atmosphere (cf. Dialogues of the Buddha, ii, 244). Devas usually visited Buddhas and their disciples just beffore dawn. Comy. JetaGrove, presented by Anāthapiṇḍika the merchant millionaire, to theBuddha, implies the vihārabuilt there. This has been recently excavated.

[2] So named after the simile in Sutta 10, p. 8: 'a tender reed.'

[3] Mārisa. B. assigns to this word the meaning niddukkha, 'sorrowless one,' and calls it a kindly fashion (piya-samudācāra) of address customary among devas.

[4] I.e. the fourfold wave of craving for sensual joys, rebirth, erroneous opinions, and ignorance-begotten desires. Comy.

[5] The Buddhas, says B., teach either by reproving or by encouraging. This deva is conceited, deeming he knows all about the saintship of a Buddha. Hence he is reproved by an enigmatic reply, forcing him to put a further question.
The key to the little riddle is, that a wrong support of footing, and misdirected effort are as fatal as drowning straight away. 'Nor unstayed, nor without effort, absolutely, but rightly stayed with right effort, did I cross.' ... The Comy. names seven pairs of wrong supports and efforts.

[6] Nibbuyhāmi.

[7] Some Singh. MSS. read passāma 'we behold.' His beholding includes siritual discernment, says B.

[8] Brāhmaṇa, with all kilesa's (passions) extinct.

[9] B. here drops the false etymology of visa, 'poison,' in visattika Attasālinī, 264), and calls craving (taṇhā) the cause of cleaving āsatta-visattanādīhi kāraṇehi; /saj).

[10] Keeping his right side toward the saluted one as he passes round and away — a mark of respect.

[11] Lit. 'just there' 'There and then' is our equivalent idiom.

[12] These three terms nimokkha, pamokkha, viveka — are exegetically identified by B. with the Path, Fruition, and Nibbāna respectively, or all three of them, with Nibbāna alone. The deliverance is from kilesa's — let us say 'sin' — the 'detachment' is from misery, sorrow.

[13] Nandi, 'delight-in,' is the root, bhava, 'becoming,' is the kamma-bhava, or activities, whence comes rebirth. B. sees in these, and in the next two lines, as he is apt to do, a statement of the four 'khandhas' making up our mental personality.

[14] The text leaves us to upply the introductory description as in §§1, 2.

[15] The verb is in either the middle or passive voice: approaches death, as cattle are led by the cowherd. Comy. Cf. Dhammapada, 135. The verses recur below II, 2, §9; the former half occur A.i, 155; the first quarter, Jātaka iv, 398.

[16] A span of life is short as a whole and also in its component procedure, for at every moment of consciousness a being ceases and is reborn: such is the gist of B.'s discursus here. The deva, he thinks, considers his own heaven as a 'bait' to stimulate deeds of merit. The rejoinder sweeps aside all heavens.

[17] 'The final peace (accanta-santi) termed Nibbāna. Pekkho: wishing for, aspiring to.' Comy.

[18] Lit. times. 'Nights' corresponds in Indian poetry to our 'days.' Cf. the repetition of the first three lines, with varying conclusion in Jāt. iv, 487.

[19] Dhammapada, 370; Theragāthā, 15. The four Fives are by B. explained as in the Commentaries on these works, viz.: (1) the first 'five fetters,' (2) the second do., do.; (3) the five spiritual powers; (4) the five ties (sangā). See Pss. of the Brethren, p. 20, n.2. Cf. Also Rhys David's American Lectures, 1896, pp. 142-50.

[20] This riddle is held to refer to the Five Hindrances and the Five Spiritual Powers, which sleep and wake respectively, and soil or cleanse, according to the spiritual health of the individual. 'Dust' (raja) is always symbolical of worldly interests. Cf. below, VI, 1, § 1.

[21] Nāṇena paṭividdhā. By an exegetical pun, B. indicates the intuitional nature of the cognitive act in paṭividitā.

[22] 'The doctrines (or matters) of the Four Truths.' Comy.

[23] I.e. the great conjuncture of a Buddha's advent. Comy. To waken and to be wise are both conveyed by the word pabujjhanti.

[24] The wholly awake, the rightly buddhā, says B., are the enlightened who are (1) omniscient, (2) paccheka (i.e. cannot save others), (3) masters of the four truths, (4) learned. The lines refer to the first three.

[25] Lit. 'Walk evenly in the uneen.' 'The uneven' may refer to one's environment, one's sphere of being, or to moral corruptions. Comy. Thus in A. i, 35; iii, 50, it is rough or inaccessible places; ii, 74 f. astronomical irregularities; i, 154, conduct. Cf. M. i, 36; S. iv, 117. The Mininda frequently uses the term.

[26] Su-sammuṭṭhā, a strong term from muyh; cf. moha. B. illustrates by a man who having ploughed two fields and sown one, sees only the other lying fallow and laments that no crop appears.

[27] Māna, often rendered pride, but always implying the illusions or conceits besetting pride. 'Imagining a vain thing' in Psalms ii, 1, is māna. Error about the soul is often referred to it.

[28] Sucetaso: 'A beautiful consciousness conjoined with insight.' Comy. B. has here a discursus making out that the first three phrases refer to the three-fold sikkhā, or training in ethics, mental control, and insight (cf. Buddhism, Lond. 1912, p. 199 f.).

[29] This devatā, unlike those of the preceding verses, says B., was just a forest-dwelling fairy, impressed by witnessing the simple life of brethren in the woods.

[30] Pajappanti = patthayanti. Comy.

[31] After their meal, they retire to meditate, and attain to 'one-pointed' consciousness, distractions to the attention being overcome; and thought becomes coherent and concentrated. Thence the mind grows serene, thereby the blood is soothed and physical results generally are cleansed, and the complexion is cleared and beautified — so the Comy.


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