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Saŋyutta Nikāya
I. Sagātha Vagga
1. Devatā-saŋyutta
II. Nandana Vagga

The Book of the Kindred Sayings
I. Kindred Sayings with Verses
1. The Devas
2. The 'Paradise' Suttas

II.
The 'Paradise' Suttas

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

 


 

Sutta 11

'Paradise'

 


 

[11.1][bodh] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

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

And the Exalted One addressed the brethren saying, 'Bhikkhus!'

'Lord,' they replied.

And he said:

In times gone by, bhikkhus, a certain deva of the Three-and-Thirty gods, while wandering as he listed in Nandana Wood,[1] attended by a troop of nymphs,[2] and supplied and provided with and surrounded by celestial sensuous enjoyments, uttered this verse: —

They know no bliss who see not Nandana,
Abode of folk divine, splended Thrice-Ten!

When he had so said, a certain deva rejoined with a verse: —

Dost thou not know, O fool, how saints[3] have said:
Impermanent are all conditioned things;[4]
Their nature 't is to rise and pass away.
They come to pass, they cease ...
Happy the mastery of them and the peace![5]

 


 

Sutta 12

Gladness Ariseth

 


 

[12.1][bodh] 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: —

Parent of sons in his sons is glad,
and glad is the swain in his herds of kine;
Gladness ariseth in man through sense,[6]
and gladdened is no man where sense is not.

[The Exalted One: —][7]

Parent of sons through his sons doth mourn,
and mourneth the swain through his herds of kine.
Mourning ariseth in man through sense,
and saddened is no man where sense is not.

 


 

Sutta 13

As We Love the Child

 


 

[13.1][bodh] 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: —

Naught love we as we love the child that's ours;[8]
No treasure rivals his who owneth kine;
Radiance to match the sunlight is there none;
The ocean among waters is supreme.

[The Exalted One: —]

Naught love we as we love the inner self;[9]
No treasure rivals his who owneth corn,
Radiance with wisdom to compare there's none;
The rain among all waters is supreme.

 


 

Sutta 14

Of Noble Blood

 


 

[14.1][bodh] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

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

Now[10] 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: —

Best of all bipeds[11] he of noble blood,
And best of things four-footed is the steer;
Best among wives[12] the maiden nobly bred,
And he of sons who cometh first to birth.

[The Exalted One: —]

Best biped he of full enlightenment,
And of four-footed things the finely trained,[13]
Best among wives she that best ministers,
And he of sons who parents' word obeys.

 


 

Sutta 15

Forest Sounds

 


 

[15.1][bodh] 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: —

'Tis the high hour of noon;
the birds rest silently[14]
Boometh the mighty forest;[15]
fearsome that sound to me.

[The Exalted One: —]

'Tis the high hour of noon;
the birds rest silently.
Boometh the mighty forest;
enchanting that sound to me.[16]

 


 

Sutta 16

Sloth, Drowsiness

 


 

[16.1][bodh] 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: —

Sloth, drowsiness, the languid frame, distaste
For noble effort, surfeit after meals;[17]
By all such things to creatures here below
The Ariyan Path is ne'er made manifest.

[The Exalted One: —]

Sloth, drowsiness, the languid frame, distaste
For noble effort, surfeit after meals:—
Expelling these by noble energy,
The Ariyan Path is cleansed and purified.

 


 

Sutta 17

Hard to Fulfil,
or
The Tortoise

 


 

[17.1][bodh] 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: —

Hard to fulfil, hard to endure for him
Who lacketh wisdom is the holy life.[18]
Many the difficulties, and 't is there
The fool doth falter verily and fail.[19]
How many are the days[20] when he can live
The holy life, if he cannot restrain
His impulses? Now in this thing, now that[21]
He'd sink[19] engrossed, slave to his purposes.

[The Exalted One: —]

E'en[22] as the tortoise in its own shell's shelter
Withdraws its limbs, so may the brother holding,
Composed, intent, thoughts in his mind arisen,[23]
Leaning on naught,[24] injuring ne'er his neighbour,
From evil freed wholly,[25] speak ill of no man.

 


 

Sutta 18

Conscientiousness

 


 

[18.1][than][bodh] 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: —

Where will ye look throughout the world to find
The man by conscientiousness restrained;
He who at slightest hint forestalleth blame,
As mettled horse at shadow of the whip?[26]

[The Exalted One: —]

The [chosen] few, by conscientiousness
Restrained, constant in the heedfulness their life,
Have won the end of sorrow and of ill;[27]
Walk through th'uneven with an even stride.[28]

 


 

Sutta 19

The Hut

 


 

[19.1][bodh] 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: —

Hast thou no little hut? Hast thou no nest?
Hast thou no line stretched out? Art free from ties?

[The Exalted One: —]

Nay,[29] never hut is mine, nor any nest.
Nor line stretched out. Yea, I am free from ties.

[The Deva: —][30]

What do I mean who speak to thee of 'hut,'
And 'nest,' and 'line stretched out,' and 'ties'?

[The Exalted One: —]

Mother thou meanest when thou sayest 'hut,'[31]
And wife thou meanest whenthou speak'st of 'nest,'
And children, when thou sayest 'line stretched out,'[32]
And man's desires, when thou doest speak of 'ties.'

[The Deva: —][30]

O well is thee for whom no hut doth wait!
O well is thee who hast no nest at night![33]
Thou hast no line stretched out — O well is thee!
And happy thou who from all ties art free!

 


 

Sutta 20

Samiddhi[34]

 


 

[20.1][than][bodh] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

The Exalted One was once staying at Rājagaha in the Tapodā Park.[35]

Now the venerable Samiddhi as the dawn drew near arose and went to the Hot Springs to bathe. And after his bath, he came out of the Hot Springs and stood clad in a single garment, drying his limbs.

Then a certain deva, when the night was far spent, illuminating all the Hot-Spring lake with her effulgent beauty, came up to the venerable Samiddhi and, floating in the air, uttered these verses:—

Ne'er having had thy fill thou seekest alms,
O almsman; yea,, nor taking now thy fill
Thou seekest alms. O almsman, take thy fill
Then seek thine alms. Let not the hour slip by![36]

[Samiddhi: —]

Naught of thine 'hour' know I. Mine hour is hid,
Not manifest. Therefore I seek mine alms
Not taking first my fill, lest the hour pass me by.

Now that fairy took her stand on the earth and spoke to Samiddhi thus: Thou are young, bhikkhu, to have left the world, and callow, black-haired and blessed with the luck of youth; thou hast not in thine early prime had the fun that belongs to natural desires. Take thy fill, bhikkhu, of human leasures. Give not up the things of the present to pursue that which involves time.[37].

'I, friend, have not given up the things of the present to pursue that which involves time. Nay, I have given up that which involves time to pursue the things of the present. Things involving time, friend, as the Exalted One hath said, are the pleasures of the sense, full of ill, full of anxiety; that way lies abundant disaster. A thing of the present is this Norm, not involving time, inviting to come and see, leading onward, to be regarded by the wise as a personal experience.

'In what way, bhikkhu, hath the Exalted One pronounced the pleasures of the sense to involve time, to be full of ill, full of anxiety, conducive to abundant disaster? In what way is this Norm a thing of the present, not involving time, inviting to come and see, leading onward, to be regarded by the wise as a personal experience?'

'I, friend, am a novice;[38] I have but lately left the world, and am newly admitted. I am not able to explain the Norm and Rule in detail. But the Exalted One, who is Arahant, fully enlightened, he is staying at Rājagaha in the Tapodā Park. Go to that Exalted One and ask him of this matter. Bear in mind that wherewith he shall answer you.'

'Not easy is it, bhikkhu, for us to approach the Exalted One, so is he surrounded by other and mighty devas. If thou, bhikkhu, wilt approach the Exalted One and ask him of this matter, we too may come to hear the doctrine.'

'Very well, friend,' responded the venerable Samiddhi. And he went to the Exalted One, saluted him with obeisance, and sat down on one side. So seated, he spake to the Exalted One, telling him of the fairy's interview after his bathe in the Tapodā, and of his reply, and of the fairy's further questioning, and of her fear of not gaining access. 'If, lord, that fairy spoke truly, she is just here, not far from us.'

And when he had so said, that fairy said to the venerable Samiddhi: 'Ask, bhikkhu! Ask, bhikkhu, for I have won through!'

Then the Exalted One addressed the fairy in verses:—

Men, 'ware alone of what is told by names,
Take up their stand on what is so expressed.
If this they have not rightly understood,
They go their ways under the yoke of death.
He who hath understood what is expresssed,
Concerning him-who-speaks no fancies builds,
Nor do to such a man such things occur,
As might be laid, as faults, to his account.[39]

If thou knowest [such a man], tell me, fairy.'[40]

'Lord, I do not comprehend fully the matter of that which the Exalted One has stated in outline. Well for me if the Exalted One would himself declare in full the matter he has thus stated, that I may come to know it.'

[The Exalted One: —]

Whoso doth build fancies concerning values:—
'Equal [am I], better, or worse [than thou art]'—
Hereby he may quarrels provoke. But whoso
In all three ways holdeth his mind unshaken,
'Equal [am I], or "different" occurs not.'[41]

If thou knowest [such a man], tell me, fairy.'

'Neither of this, lord, which the Exalted One has stated in eoutline, do I fully comprehend the meaning. Well for me if the Exalted One would himself declare in full the matter he has thus stated that I may come to know it.'

[The Exalted One: —]

He hath renounced [bondage to] name and notion;[42]
His mind is not set to imagine vain things;[43]
For life in this world hath he cut all craving.
Him freed from bonds,[44] happy, and void of longing,[45]
Him gods and men here on this earth, or yonder,[46]
Or in the heavens, in every sphere of being
Seeking, they seek vainly, they will not find him.

If thou knowest such a one,fairy, tell me.'

'Of this, lord, that the Exalted One has stated in outline, I have come to know the meaning fully thus:—

Let him commit no evil whatsoevr
Throughout the world, in speech, or mind, or body.
Dropping desires, mindful and understanding,
Let him not work torment on self that is useless.'[47]

 


[1] Nandānā, corresponding in meaning to a paradise: the grove in Sakka's or Tāvatiŋsa heaven, lowest of the deva-worlds (alluded to both as of the Thirty-three, and the Thrice ten; cf. Dialogues ii, 241 f.; Pss. of the Sisters, vers. 121, 181). We have no list of the 33; there were hosts of retinue-devas. According to tradition, devas were sent to the park by Sakka, when their decease was imminent, there to dissolve like snow, or like a windblown lamp-flame, and be reborn.

[2] Accharā: 'daughters of devas.' (Comy.)

[3] Arahants.

[4] Sankhārā: everything belonging to life or the universe, living activities, natural processes. All deva-worlds are included. These famous lines recur below, IX, 6, and in VI, 2, §5, are put into the mouth of Sakka (cf. Dialogues ii, 176). [Ed.: an unfortunate mis-translation that has caused no end of confusion with regard to the conditioned nature of Nibbana. The word can be translated 'con-structed' or 'own-made' but should imply identification with constructing (khara = making) and the identified-with construction. Sankhara's are conditioned, 'paccaya' but not all conditioned things are sankharas.]

[5] Vūpasamo expresses both 'mastery' and 'peace.' A synonym for Nibbāna, says B.

[6] Upadhīhi; not usually rendered as above. Meaning 'bases, or substrate of rebirth,' it refers to such dispositions in character and conduct as form those bases, in other words, the common life of sense and desire. Thus the Comy. paraphrases it here by pañcakāmaguṇā (cf. §I: "sensuous enjoyment"), but in IV, 1, §6, by the five khandhas (mind and body). The term became also applied to the kilesa's and the kāma's (cf. Childers' Dicty. s.v. upadhi). The verses recur in IV, 1, §8, where an alternative rendering is given.

[7] The Master, writes B., seeing his false (or, rather, his one-sided) view, breaks into his speech with an opposite conclusion, as one may bring down a fruit by throwing another fruit at it.

[8] Though it be ugly, we deem it beautiful, cherishing it in spite of all its indecencies. Comy.

[9] Cf. below, III, 1, §8.

[10] The text henceforth omits even the fragment of introductory prose.

[11] Dvipadaṃ.

[12] 'Among other wives' (sesa-) says B., whether in one household, or generally, is not clear.

[13] Ājānīyo is literally 'the knowing,' 'intelligent one.' 'Who knows the reason why,' says B., whether he be horse, elephant, or steer. Such was King Kūṭakaṇṇa's horse, who, when drawing the royal chariot to the Hill of Shrines, would not cross the Kalamba river (see Geiger's Mahāvaŋsa Translation, Map of Anurādhapura: Cetiyapabbata, Kalamba-nadī). The driver assured the annoyed monarch that the beast was not mutinous, but so well trained that he feared lest, by wetting his tail, he might spurt water over his master. 'Lift up his tail, Sire!' The King complied, and the horse entered the ford. (This king reigned over Ceylon A.D. 16-38.)

[14] During siesta, creatures are weak (dubbalya-kālo), here symbolized by the perching birds.

[15] 'Sanate or sanamāno: sounds as though uttering a deep roar, the cause being the breezes among the trees, the stems of bamboos rubbing together, etc. Comy. Recurs below, IX, 12. We need, of course, the useful Teutonic rauschen:

'the sough of the crests of the forest
Swayed by the wind-gods.'
— Pss. of the Sisters
(372)

[16] 'Because of the opportunity ... of strenuous yet blissful practice in concentrated thought. To a brother who has penetrated to some empty spot, pure in heart, endowed with right insight, bliss not of men arises.' Cf. Dhammapada 373, quoted by Comy., also:—

If there be none in front, nor none behind
Be found, is one alone and in the woods,
Exceeding pleasant doth his life become.'
— Pss. of the Brethren,
(537).

[17] These two lines occur Jāt vi, 57. Cf. also Vibhanga 352, cited by B., and S. v, 64; A. i.3. Metri causā, I invert the order of the first two words.

[18] Lit. recluseship (sāmaññā).

[19] Visīdati, visīdeyya. Cf. this word in Pss. of the Brethren, 1154:—

... fail
And faint, as in a swamp an aged ox.

[20] Katihay.

[21] Pade.

[22] The Pali here changes in metre to the tri.sṭhubh. See S. iv, 177 f. In this Tortoise Sutta, referred to by B., the jackal and Māra, the tempter, are represented as getting no entrance, the former by the tortoise's action. The verse occurs in Jain literature: Sūyagaḍaṇgu Sutta I, 8, 13; cf. JPTS. 1891. 49. Presumably the Buddha is the speaker, but B. is not explicit.

[23] Manamhi uppannavitakko. Comy.

[24] Neither on natural desires, nor wrong opinions. Comy.

[25] The parinibbāna, or complete extinction, of passions (kilesā). Comy.

[26] = Dhammapada, 143. Cf. Childers' Dict. s.v. appabodhati; and see below * Index.

[27] 'Having attained Nibbāna.' Comy.

[28] See I, 1, §7. Presumably the Buddha's reply.

[29] Taggha. [Ed. This footnote is indicated by '*' in the text. (an artifact of hot metal typography, a footnote introduced in a second printing without the need to reset the numbers of the other footnotes). Is this the '*' intended in n.26 above?]

[30] 'He thinks: this recluse answers my enigmas with Yea and Nay, though I had girded on the armour of my wits to put them. Does he follow my hidden meaning?' Comy.

[31] Cf. the 'hut' stanzas in Pss. of the Brethren, e.g. LVII, CCXXVIII. No mother waits "10 months" for an Arahant's rebirth.

[32] Santānaka: a continuum.

[33] 'As birds ranging for food all day come homing to the nest at night.' Comy.

[34] The verses on the next page are verbatim those in the Samiddhi Jātaka (vol. ii, No. 167). The story is the same, the diction a little different. The devatā of the Nikāya is shown in the Jātaka to be a deva-dhītā or 'goddess,' and the Burmese MSS. so allude to her: — 'anuppattā,' 'yakkhī.' The Singhalese MSS. ignore the Jātaka, and write anuppatto and yakkha.

[35] A Vihāra built near the river Tapodā (hot waters), which ran beneath the Vebhāra of Vaibhāra Hill near Rājagaha (Pss. of the Brethren, pp. 45, n. 1; 364). It broadened into a pool where was a hot sring due to its proximity to the Brazon Purgatory beneath. Comy.

[36] The little riddle turns on the ambiguity of bhutvā, having eaten,' 'having enjoyed thyself in general,' — in other words 'sown your wild oats.' The significance of the 'hour,' or 'moment' recalls the 'Psalms' (I, p. 12 f.; II, vers. 231, 403, 653, 1005), albeit neither commentator on this story brings out that point. The hour that is hidden is that of Samiddhi's death. Cf. below, IV, 3, § 1. Hence we have three points of time: — season ofyouth, opportunity for the Nibbāna-aspirant, death. Cf. the riddle of the flag, Pss. of the Brethren, LXIV.

[37] Kālika, lit. 'time-ish' (cf. the Greek chrōñ-ios). Of the negative form — akālika, often used in describing the Dhamma — B. says 'the Dhamma of the Ariyan Path gives its fruit (fruition-bliss) immediately after process' (or procedure to attain). In other words, the Path-graduate has his heavens at hand, not as postmortem events. Cf. Pss of the Brethren, 314, n.1.

[38] B. names alternative terms for noviciate, medium rank and theraship, vis.: to 5, 10 years, and after, or to 10, 20 years, and after.

[39] The verses occur Iti-vuttaka, § 63. The last two lines are quite different:—

Touched hath his thought the goal of liberty,
The station of incomparable peace.

The Buddha rebukes the fairy for her suggestive ambiguities.

The burden of the verses is doctrinally and philosophically of high importance, and the bewilderment of the frivolous fairy, abruptly confronted with them, is ironically pathetic. 'Told by names, ' lit., 'what may be expressed' (akkheyyāni, from ā-khā, to pro-claim); cf. D. i, 4; Dhammapada, 275; A. ii, 17, etc. Mankind, says B., have many notions (saññino — are 'ware of) about the many compounds of the five aggregates (i.e., of mind and matter), expressed in names, e.g. god, man, layman, recluse, person, individual, Tissa, Phussa, etc. He who understands sees in these compounds as such no realities, nor a permanent entity in the declarer of them. The only realities are the several components (the five khandhas), and these, though real, are ever changing.

[40] Yakkhī; cf. below, Chapter X.

[41] These are the three forms of false opinion and strife springing from māna. See above I, 1, § 9; S. iii, 48; Bud. Psy. Eth., p. 298 f. Expanded also to nine: Vibhanga, 389 f. Comparisons invalid in the ever-changing collocations that make up individuals.

[42] Sankhā. The arahant has put away such notions as 'lusting,' 'being angry,' 'confused.' Comy.

[43] The Comy. reads na ca mānam ajjhagā, and it is very likely, since this agrees with the context, that Feer read vi- erroneously if he consulted here only Singhalese MSS. Nevertheless B. allows the alternative sense, in mānan of an abode, i.e., in rebirth, a matrix, as if he had a v.l. = vimānaŋ before him.

[44] Cf. Sutta-Nipāta 219.

[45] Ibid. 460, 1060, etc.; a frequent half-line in S.N.

[46] Huran, i.e., other worlds. With 'heavens' added, cf. ibid. 224.

[47] The fairy has rightly discerned, says B., the Middle Path between self-indulgence and self-torture. In fact she gives the whole Eightfuld Path: — 'in speech, or body': Angas 305; 'mindful': Angas 6-8; 'understanding': Angas 1,2. 'It was in fact the occasion of a mighty teaching.'


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