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Saŋyutta Nikāya
I. Sagātha Vagga
1. Devatā-saŋyutta
III. Satti Vagga

The Book of the Kindred Sayings
I. Kindred Sayings with Verses
1. The Devas
3. The 'Sword' Suttas

Suttas 21-30

III.
The 'Sword' Suttas

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

 


 

Sutta 21

By Impending Sword

 


 

[21.1][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: —

As one downsmitten by impending sword,
As one whose hair and turban are aflame,
So let the brother, mindful and alert,
Go forth, all worldly passions left behind.

[The Exalted One: —]

As one downsmitten by impending sword,
As one whose hair and turban are aflame,
So let the brother, mindful and alert,
Go forth, leaving soul-fallacy behind.[1]

 


 

Sutta 22

The Touch

 


 

[22.1][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: —

Who toucheth not, to him cometh no touch.
But if he touch, thence to him touch may come,
Hence if he touch, wreak injuryupon
The innocent, cometh on him the touch.[2]

[The Exalted One: —]

Whoso doth wrong the man that hath no guile:—
The pure in heart and from all error free —
On him, poor fool, his wicked act recoils,
Like fine dust that is thrown against the wind.[3]

 


 

Sutta 23

The Tangle

 


 

[23.1][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: —

Tangle within, without, lo! in the toils
Entangled is the race of sentient things.[4]
Hence would I ask thee, Gotama, of this:
Who is't can from this tangle disembroil?

[The Exalted One: —]

The man discreet, on virtue planted firm,
In intellect and intuition trained;[5]
The brother ardent and discriminant:
'Tis he may from this tangle disembroil.

They that have lust and hate and nescience spurned,
The Arahants immune from deadly Drugs,[6]
For them the tangle all unravelled lies.
Where mind and body wholly cease to be,
And earthly sense and sense celestial: —[7]
Here is the tangle riven utterly.

 


 

Sutta 24

Mind-checking

 


 

[24.1][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: —

Since whencesoe'er the mind is held in check,
It goeth not that way to misery,
On every side mind should be held in check,
Thus everywhence from woe is it set free.

[The Exalted One: —]

Not on all sides should mind be held in check.
Restrain it not if self-control be won.[8]
But whence soever evil things do rise,[9]
Thence should the mind be curbed and held in check.

 


 

Sutta 25

The Arahant

 


 

[25.1][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: —

He of the Brethren who is Arahant,
Who hath accomplished all there was to do,[10]
Who Drug-immune doth live the final life:
He might say thus: — "I" say'; 'they say 't is "mine"' ...[11]

[The Exalted One: —]

He of the Brethren who is Arahant,
Who hath accomplished all there was to do,
Who Drug-immune doth live the final life:
He might say thus: '"I" say'; 'they say 't is "mine."'
So sayng he, expert in usages
Of men, 'ware of the worth of common names,
Would speak merely conforming to such use.

[The Deva: —]

He of the Brethren who is Arahant,
Who hath accomplished all there was to do,
Who Drug-immune doth live the final life,
If he said thus: — '"I" say'; 'they say 't is "mine"' —
Would such a brother thereby show
Proneness to notions of a self or soul?

[The Exalted One: —]

For him who hath renounced them utterly,
Chains of illusion as to self or soul
Exist no more. Scattered are all such bonds.
He rich in wisdom hath escaped beyond
Conceits and deemings[12] of the errant mind.
He might say thus: '"I" say'; 'they say 't is "mine."'
So saying he, expert in usages
Of men, 'ware of the worth of common names,
Would speak merely conforming to such use.

 


 

Sutta 26

Light

 


 

[26.1][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: —

Hwo many things light up the world, making it clear and plain?
To ask this question, Sir, we've come. Thy word tolearn we're fain.

[The Exalted One: —]

Four things give lightunto the world; a fifth ye'll not descry.
By day the sun doth shine; by night the moon makes bright the sky.
And fire gives light by day and night, shining now here, now there.
But, of all things that shine, as best, light of a Buddha stands confessed,[13]
Glory without compare.

 


 

Sutta 27

The Tides

 


 

[27.1][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: —

Whence ebb the flooding tides? where whirls no more
The whirlpool? Where to utter ending comes
This compound thing of body and of mind?

[The Exalted One: —]

Where the four elements that cleave, and stretch,
And burn, and move no further footing find.
Hence ebb the flooding tides; here whirls no more
The whirlpool; here to utter ending come
This compound thing of body and of mind.[14]

 


 

Sutta 28

Goodly Treasures

 


 

[28.1][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: —

Princes with goodly treasures, ample wealth,
And broad domains, ever in sense-desires
Insatiate,[15] envey each other's goods.
'Mong these who thus in strain and ferment dwell,[16]
Drifting adown the current of rebirth,
Are any found who, having left behind
Envy and greed, serene and restful dwell?[17]

[The Exalted One: —]

There are who have abandoned home and child,
And herds, and all that heart of man holds dear,
Yea, lust have they abandoned and ill-will
And no more truck have they with ignorance.
These are the Drug-destroyers, Arahants.
They 'mong all men serene and restful dwell.

 


 

Sutta 29

The Four-wheeled

 


 

[29.1][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: —

Lo! the four-wheeled, the nine-doored fulsome thing,[18]
Guided by greed, begotten from a bog: —[19]
Great hero, say! how shall there egress be?[20]

[The Exalted One: —]

Let but the traces, let the thong be cut —[21]
Let but the evil wish, the greed, yea, let
Thy craving with its root be utterly
Drawn out and banned[22] — then shall there egress be.

 


 

Sutta 30

The Antelope

 


 

[30.1][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: —

Limbed like the antelope,[23] lean, vigorous,
In diet sober, craving not t'indulge,
Like lion lonely faring, elephant,
Indifferent to the calls of sense: — lo! we
Into Thy presence come that we may ask,
How we from every ill may be set free?

[The Exalted One: —]

Five sensuous faculties are manifest
'Mong living beings, and the sixth is mind.
On these do ye no longer set desire.
Thus may ye be from every ill set free.

 


[1] In Pss. of the Brethren (vers. 39, 40, 1162, 1163) these verses are put in the mouth of Tissa (the Buddha's stepbrother), Vaḍḍhamāna and Vangīsa. In that work for 'fallacy of soul' we read 'lust of living' (bhavarāga, not sakkāyadiṭṭhi). B. ignores this, and makes the Master judge that the deva had poorly grasped the force of the metaphor. This is, that escape is only effectual when the real stumbling-block is surmounted — the soul-fallacy. This happens when the First Path is entered, the only right way of escape. 'Go forth,' i.e., 'leave the world.' The verses recur below, (II, 2, § 6.

[2] The little enigma bears on the double meaning of touch; active and passive — to make to feel, and to feel — the act (kamma) and its result-in-sentience (vipāka). On the latter, cf. Pss. of the Brethren, ver, 783 — phassa-phuṭṭha; 'touched by the touch, rendered 'all feel the touch.'

[3] These lines recur VII, 1, §4, and occur S.N. 662, Dhp. 125. B. does not explicitly place them here in the mouth of the Teacher. The case of the innocent seems to be given a fortiori, to wit, from the more general statement.

[4] Desire or craving is likened to the interwoven foliage of ferns or bamboos, 'within, without' being referred to self and others, organs and objects of sense. Comy.

[5] Developing concentration and insight. Comy.

[6] The Āsavas: — sensuality, lust for renewed life, delusions, nescience. The figure means a poisonous flux or ooze.

[7] B. explains this line as (1) kāmabhava, 'life in the worlds of desire' — i.e., from purgatory to the five lowest deva-worlds; and (2) rūpabhava, 'life in the higher (not highest) heavens.'

[8] The Comy. reads mano-yatattan. Both this and the following pada fail in scansion. The SS. MSS. omit ca, and the Comy. substitutes uppannan.

[9] The Teacher is made to think: 'I will better this deva's misguided talk by distinguishing (vibhajetvā, cf. the name for his School: — Vibhajjavādin) where mind should be (1) checked, (2) developed, fostered, made to grow.' Comy.

[10] Katāvī.

[11] This, says B., was a forest fairy, who had listened to the talk of the forest-dwelling brethren and heard them say like any worldling: 'I' am eating ... sitting ... 'my' bowl, 'my' robe ..., when they hold that not 'I,' but a compound of khandhas is in activity. 'Have they then,' is the further question, no māna at all? See above, I, 1, §9. This is reckoned as the eighth to go, of the Ten Fetters, before Arahantship is won. On conventional usage and philosophic meaning, see above, I, 2, § 10; also Points of Controversy, p. 68, n.2.

[12] Yamataŋ.

[13] The light, namely, of insight, of enthusiasm (pīti), of trust (pasāda), and of his taching. Comy. The verses recur II, 1, §4. Line 2, along with other similes, occurs, Dhp. 387.

[14] With these lines cf. the more elaborate versions in D. i, 223; (Dialogues i, 283), Udāna I, No. 10. B.'s comments here are brief. The streams = saŋsāra, the endlessly reborn life-flux of beings. The whirlpool (vaṭṭa) = the same (cf. S. iii, 63 f.; iv, 180: āvaṭṭa = the pleasures of the five senses). The four elements, in Buddhist doctrine, mean, not simply 'water, earth, fire, air,' but the elemental forces of which these are concrete manifestations: the cohesive, extending, calorific, mobile elements in matter. This appears in the Nikāyas, if unformulated till later — e.g. in M. i, No.62, the Buddha speaks of the internal 'earth' in each of us — i.e., the stretched-out surface in the phenomenon of body.

By 'hence,' 'here,' Nibbāna is meant; not the Nibbāna during life, known by the Arahant, but the absolute farewell to life, which can only be conceived or expressed as cessation of life.

[15] An-alaŋ-katā

[16] 'Who have produced divers works to bring about things that had notcome to pass, and have striven for power in that which had come to pass.' Comy.

[17] Anussukā.

[18] I.e. the body, with its four types of deportment — standing, sitting, lying, going — and its nine orifices. Cf. Pss. of the Buddhists II, vers. 1150-52, I and II passim.

[19] 'Bog, morass' (panka) and 'great hero' are associated also in op.cit. II, 1154.

[20] Yātrā. Cf. below, I, 5, §6.

[21] This pada occurs Dhp. 398; Sn. 622; both verses below, II, 3, §8.

[22] Reading abbhuyha, as in S. iii, 26, from abhi-ud-han. Cf. below, IV, 3, §3, n. 9.

[23] This was one physical characteristic of the Superman: World-ruler of Buddha. Cf. Dialogues ii, 14.


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