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Saŋyutta Nikāya
I. Sagātha Vagga
1. Devatā-saŋyutta
5. Āditta-Vaggo

The Book of the Kindred Sayings
I. Kindred Sayings with Verses
1. The Devas
5. The 'Burning' Suttas

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

 


 

Sutta 41

A-fire

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

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

There a certain deva,[1] when the night was far spent, shedding radiance with his effulgent beauty over the entire Jeta Grove, came into the presence of the Exalted One, and coming, saluted him, and stood at one side. So standing, he spoke this verse before him: —

With house on fire 't is for the best to bring
The goods outside, nor leave them to be burned.
So in this world, a-blaze with age and death;[2]
Bring out by gifts; what's given is well brought.
What's given bears fruit of bliss; naught given, no bliss.
Robbers may bear away [the goods ye keep],
Kings commandeer, and fire destroy the rest.

The end arrives; the body must be left,
And therewith all belongings: — let the wise
Discerning this enjoy his goods and give.
Hath he as he is able used and shared,
Blameless he may to radiant realms attain.

 


 

Sutta 42

Giver of What?[3]

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

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

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

What doth he give who giveth strength?
Or he that giveth comeliness?
What doth he give who giveth sight?
Or he that giveth happiness?
Who all doth give, what giveth he?
Asked art thou. Declare to me.

He giveth strength who giveth food;
Who giveth gear gives comeliness[4];
He giveth sight who giveth lamp;
And he it is gives happiness
Who giveth vehicles[5]; whoso
Doth give a dwelling giveth all.
Who in the Norm doth give instruction,[6] this
Giveth Ambrosia [undying bliss].

 


 

Sutta 43

Food

[43.1][bodh] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

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

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

'T is food both gods and men chiefly desire.
Who may that creature be, demon or sprite,[7]
Who, unlike them, hankers not after food?

The food that's given in faith, with heart made pure:—
That finds him out in this world and the next.
Hence[8] should he avarice suppress, and make
Off'rings of charity, mast'ring the taint.
Sure planted in some other future life
Rewards of virtue on all beings wait.

 


 

Sutta 44

Which Hath One Root

[44.1][bodh] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

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

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

That which hath but one root; which looks both ways;
With triple stain; and with arenas five;
An ocean; having dozen turns and twists;
Quaking abyss[9]: — past all the seer hath crossed.

 


 

Sutta 45

The Perfect One

[45.1][bodh] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

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

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

By name the Peerless,[10] Seer of subtlest sense,[11]
Giver of insight, loosed from the lair
Of sense-desires, behold him, known of all,
In wisdom rich, who wrought the mighty quest[2]
For all upon the Ariyan Way embarked!

 


 

Sutta 46

Nymphs[13]

[46.1][bodh] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

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

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

By troops of nymphs made resonant—not so!
Haunted by troops of fiends that paradise
Doth seem. 'Delusion' were a fitter name.
How shall there egress be?

[The Exalted One:—]

'Straight' is the name that Road is called, and 'Free
From Fear' the Quarter whither thou art bound.
Thy Chariot[14] is the 'Silent Runner' named,[15]
With Wheels of Righteous Effort[16] fitted well.
Conscience the Leaning-board[17]; the Drapery[18]
Is Heedfulness; the Driver is the Norm,
I say, and Right Views, they that run before.[19]
And be it woman, be it man for whom
Such chariot doth wait, by that same car
Into Nibbana's presence shall they come.

 


 

Sutta 47

Planters of Groves

[47.1][bodh] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

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

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

Say of what folk by day and night
For ever doth the merit grow?[20]
In righteousness and virtuous might
What folk from earth to heaven go?

Planters of groves and fruitful trees,[21]
And they who build causeway and dam,[22]
And wells construct and watering-sheds[23]
And [to the homeless] shelter give: —
Of such as these by day and night
For ever doth the merit grow.
In righteousness and virtue's might
Such folk from earth to heaven go.

 


 

Sutta 48

Jeta's Grove[24]

[48.1][bodh] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

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

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

This is the kindly Jeta Grove, resort
Of the [august] fraternity of seers,
Where sojourneth the Sovereign of the Norm,
And whence ariseth rapture in my breast.

Goodwill,[25] and wisdom, mind by method trained,[26]
The highest conduct on good morals based: —
This maketh mortals pure, not rank nor wealth.
Hence, his own good discerning, let the wise
Throughly examine how to train the mind.[26]
Thus and therein shall he find purity.
Even as Sariputta was supreme
In insight, morals and self-mastery,[27]
So may the Brother who hath won the goal
Rank even with the highest of them all.

 


 

Sutta 49

The Miser

[49.1][bodh] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

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

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

They who 'mong men as misers count, who grudge
Their giving and who churlishly accost,[28]
Who bar the way for gifts to others given:
Here, and hereafter what is their reward?
To ask this of our lord we've hither come.
To know how he will answer fain are we.[29]

[The Exalted One: —]

They who 'mong men as misers count, who grudge
Their giving and who churlishly accost,
Who bar the way for gifts to others given:
In purgatory, or as animals,
In Yama's kingdom come they back to life.
Or if among mankind they live again,
In some poor family they find rebirth,
Where scarcely may they gain raiment, or food,
Or sensuous pleasures, or the joys of play.
Those things the fools do hope for by and by
Remain e'en here ungotten: such reward
Have they e'en now, hereafter woeful doom.

Sooth hast thou said and we have understood.
Another question ask we, Gotama.
They who have won rebirth among mankind,
Are affable and void of avarice,
Fervent believers in Buddha and Norm,
Holding the Order in deep reverence:
Here and hereafter what is their reward?
To ask this of our lord we've hither come.
To know how he will answer fain are we.

[The Exalted One: —]

They who have won rebirth among mankind,
Are affable, and void of avarice,
Fervent believers in Buddha and Norm,
Holding the Order in deep reverence:
Brightly they shine in heaven when there reborn,
Or if among mankind they live again,
In some rich family they find rebirth,
Where without toil they get raiment and food,
And sensuous pleasures and the joys of play.
They bask in plenty like those devas who
Joy in their own creations[30]: such reward
Have they e'en now, hereafter happy doom.

 


 

Sutta 50

Ghaṭīkāra[31]

[50.1][bodh] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

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

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

In the far heavens of Aviha[32] there came,
Beborn,[33] seven Brethren winning Liberty.
Lust and ill-will for them were perished quite.
Safe had they crossed where all the world sticks fast.[34]

And who were they who crossed o'er the morass,
The realm of dying, passing hard to cross,
Who having left behind this mortal frame,
Passed into touch with things celestial?[35]

'Twas Upaka, and Phalagaṇḍa too,
And Pukkusāti making three, besides
Bhaddiya, Khaṇḍadeva too, for five,
And Bāhuraggi, lastly Pingiya:
They having left behind this mortal frame
Passed into touch with things celestial.

[The Exalted One:—]

Fair things thou speakest of the Brethren seven
Who have abandoned Māra's traps and snares.
Whose was the doctrine that they learned, whereby
They smote in twain the fetters of rebirth?

Twas thine alone, Exalted One, thy Rule,
Thy teaching only 't was they learned; thereby
They smote in twain the fetters of rebirth?
'Where mind and body wholly cease to be'[36]: —
That learned they here from thee; thereby
They smote in twain the fetters of rebirth.

[The Exalted One:—]

Deep is the word thou speakest, hard to learn,
And passing difficult to understand.
Say then: whose doctrine is it thou hast learned,
That thou canst utter such a word as this?

[Ghaṭīkāra:—]

In former birth maker of jars was I,
In Vehalinga as the Potter known.
My mother and my father I maintained,
Lay-follower of the holy Kassapa.

Eschewing carnal things, unworldly, chaste.
I was of those men fellow-villager,
I was their comrade in those bygone days.
Wherefore I know these things, I know
Of us seven Brethren winning Liberty,
For whom lust and ill-will are perished quite,
Who safe have crossed where all the world sticks fast.

[The Exalted One:—]

Yea, as thou say'st then wast thou, Bhaggava![37]
In former birth maker of jars wast thou,
In Vehalinga as 'The Potter' known.
Thy mother and thy father didst thou keep,
Lay-follower of the holy Kassapa.
Eschewing carnal things, unworldly, chaste,
Of me wast thou the fellow-villager;
My comrade wast thou in those bygone days.

[The Editors of the Canon[38]:—]

Such was the meeting of these ancient friends.
Both having faculties supremely trained,
Both bearing bodies of their final life.

 


[1] The Comy. has nothing specific to say about the speakers of this and the next four Suttas. On this cf. Jāt. iii, 471.

[2] These are said to serve as types for all the eleven 'fires' of the world: lust, hate, illusion; birth, decay or old age, death; grief, lamentation, suffering, sadness, despair: a late category. Cf. Childers s.v. Aggi.

[3] Lit. 'what giver is strength-giver,' and so on. The auditory effect of the do, dado jingle is not reproducible.

[4] 'Even a handsome person looks plain if ill-clad or unclad; even an uncomely person looks like a deva, when well dressed.' Comy.

[5] This includes all means to move or be moved about: elephants, etc., and such things as umbrellas, sandals, walking-sticks, palanquins ... mending of roads, making of stairways, causeways, ... ships. Comy.

[6] B. quotes Dhp. 354.

[7] Lit. 'Now who may that yakkha be?'

[8] See above, I, 4, Ī 2.

[9] Taṇhā — natural, unregenerate desire, craving, thirst — is the answer to the enigma. The root is ignorance. Facing both ways are the opinions that there is a soul which (a) is immortal, (b) dies at each death. The stain is the triplet rāga, dosa, moha (lust, hate, unintelligence or illusion). The arenas, the five sense-pleasures. Ocean: insatiableness. Twelve turns and twists: organs and objects of sense. Abyss. See Pss. of the Brethren, p. 418f.

[10] Anoma-nāmaṃ. Cf. Rhys Davids, Buddhist Birthstories, p. 85. See also Sn. 153, 177; the latter verse a replica of this. According to B. it means 'absence of defect,' perfection (paripūra), endowed with every good quality.

[11] Nipunatthadassin.

[12] Usually rendered 'great seer,' or rishi. But B. explains the context by esī, not isi. See *Mahesin.

[13] The quaint legend associated with these lines is that of a bhikkhu who, striving to emulate his Teacher's strenuous life, strove to excess and died suddenly as he leant against the terrace-post. His life-work unfinished, he is reborn in the heaven of the Thirty-Three Gods, leaning against a doorpost there. Accosted as their lord by nymphs with song and music, he believed himself still a bhikkhu, till they brought a cheval-glass (lit. a 'whole-body-ish mirror') and revealed the god-like figure. Bitterly disappointed at his earthly failure, he went, escorted by celestial attendants, to report himself to the Master, de- preciating celestial delights in his verse. The grove was Nandana, Cf. above, I, 2, Ī 1. He renames it Mohuna. See also I, 3, Ī 9.

[14] Cf. S. iv, 291 f.

[15] Lit. the 'uncreaking,' unlike a chariot where axle fits badly into naves, or which squeaks when mounted. Comy. Road and Chariot are both interpreted by B. as the Eightfold Path.

[16] 'Dhamma'-cakkā is so interpreted by B.

[17] Cf. R. Morris in JPTS, 1886, 128. 'That the warriors may not fall out.' Comy. Conscience = conscientiousness: I, 2, Ī 8.

[18] Such as a lion's skin, etc. Comy.

[19] To prepare the way. Comy.

[20] The question of merit growing in the donor's karma (or karmic force) in proportion to the utility of his gift is discussed in Kathāvatthu. VII, 5 (see Points of Controversy, 200, 250). The orthodox view is that merit grows less by utility of the gift, than by the benevolent thought and wish of the donor before, during, and after the giving. If he 'sends such a disposition after' his gift, his merit grows.

[21] 'Flowering and fruit-bearing.' ' They also who enclose groves of such self-sown trees.'

[22] Lit. '-setu-makers' expanded into a line. Setu, from si, to bind, includes both causeway, dam, and bridge. But B. includes ships.

[23] Papan, etc.

[24] According to the legend given below, 11, 2, Ī 10, the donor of the Grove, Anathapindika, reborn as a deva, revisits the familiar scene — a charming by-product of Indian eschatology.

[25] Kamma, here defined as the will (cetanā) belonging to the Ariyan Path. The motive behind the deed is in Buddhism of chief importance. See preceding Ī 7; M. i, 371 (Upāli-sutta).

[26] B. explains dhammo here by doctrines belonging to samādhi, otherwise called adhicitta-sikkhā, see Buddhism, 1912, 199: 'the second grade.'

[27] Upasamena: 'the calming, or suppressing, of the kilesa's (lower nature, passions).' Comy. Moggallāna's verses (Pss. of the Brethren, 1182) praise him in the same terms. The exegeses of Dhammapāla there, and of B. here differ.

[28] Frightening the bhikkhu at their gate with: 'What have you ploughed or sown or reaped? We don't get anything, whence should we give to you? Be off!'

[29] Cf. I, 3, § 6.

[30] The Vasavattī gods, next to the topmost devas in the lowest heavens included in the universe of Desire. See Compendium, 138.

[31] The verses recur with introduction, II, 3, Ī 4. B. comments on the present Sutta only, being curiously silent as to the legend of the deva and his seven friends. Of these we can identify only two: Upaka, husband of Cāpā; concerning him Dhammapāla quotes these very lines (Pss. of the Sistets, p. 131, see Commentary on Therīgathā, ibid.); and Pukkusāti (M. iii, 247; cf. Buddhism, 1912, p. 67 Pss. of the Brethren, p. 91). Of the others Bhaddiya can be neither of the Arahant Theras so named. The other Bhaddiyas, Licchavi and Sākyan, were at this time on earth. The other four names are not elsewhere associated with the Aviha heavens. Perhaps the Pingiya is he of the Sutta Nipāta. Ghaṭīkāra and his friend Jotipāla, who was the Bodhisat in a former life, are the subject of the Ghaṭīkāra Sutta, M. ii, 45 f. The Buddha reminds the modest deva of this past friendship. We know of only three other such references to the Buddha's former births in the Four Nikāyas. See Buddhist India, 196. Kassapa was the Buddha then.

[32] Twelfth of the 16 Brahmā-worlds. 'Immobile' in Compendium. 139.

[33] Upapannāsi.

[34] Cf. I, 1, Ī 1.

[35] Dibbayogaṃ.

[36] See above, I, 3, Ī 3. This line occurs five times in this volume.

[37] Name of the potter of Rājagaha in M. iii, 327. Ghaṭīkāra means 'jar-maker.'

[38] So the Comy.


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