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— UNABBREVIATED

Saŋyutta Nikāya
I. Sagātha Vagga
6. Brahmā Saŋyutta

The Book of the Kindred Sayings
I. Kindred Sayings with Verses
6. The Brahmā Suttas

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

 


I


 

Sutta 2

Holding in Reverence

 


 

[1.1][ati] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

The Exalted One was once staying near Uruvelā,
on the banks of the river Nerañjarā,
beneath the Goatherd's Banyan,
and he had just attained full enlightenment.

Now as he meditated in privacy,
the thought arose in his mind:[1]

'It is ill to live paying no one the honour and obedience due to a superior.

What recluse or brahmin is there under whom I could live paying him honour and respect?[2]

Then the Exalted One thought:

'For the perfecting of the moral code[3] [if] imperfectly carried out,
I should live under another recluse or a brahmin,
paying him honour and respect.

But I see not anywhere in the worlds of gods
Māras, Brahmās
not among recluses and brahmins,
not among the whole race,
human or divine,
any other recluse,
or any brahmin
more accomplished in moral conduct than myself,
and under whom I might live,
paying him honour and respect.

So, too, for the perfecting of concentrative studies,
for the perfecting of studies in insight,
for the perfecting of study in emancipation,
for the perfecting in contemplation of the knowledge of [my] emancipation,
[if] imperfectly achieved,
I should live under another recluse or a brahmin,
paying him honour and respect.

But I see not anywhere in the world of gods
Māras, Brahmās
nor among recluses and brahmins,
not among the whole race,
human or divine,
any other recluse or brahmin
more accomplished in any of these branches than myself,
and under whom [for that reason] I should live,
paying him honour and respect.

This Norm then,
wherein I am supremely enlightened —
what if I were to live under It,
paying It honour and respect![4]

Thereupon Brahmā Sahampati,
becoming aware in thought
of the thoughts of the Exalted One,
even like a strong man stretching his bent arm out,
or drawing together his outstretched arm,
vanished from the Brahmā world
and appeared before the Exalted One.

And Brahmā Sahampati,
draping his outer robe over one shoulder,
raised his joined hands towards the Exalted One and said:

'Even so, Exalted One!

Even so, Blessed One!

They, lord,
who in time past
were Arahants, Buddhas Supreme,
those Exalted Ones did also live only under the Norm,
honouring and respecting it.

They also, lord,
who in time to come
will be Arahants, Buddhas Supreme,
they will live only under the Norm,
honouring and respecting it.

Let the Exalted One also, lord,
who now is Arahant Buddha Supreme
live only under the Norm,
honouring and respecting it.'

Thus spake Brahmā Sahampati,
and thereafter he spake thus: —

They who were Buddhas in the days of yore,
And they who will be Buddhas yet to come,
And he who Buddha is in this our day,
Slayer of griefs for many multitudes:
All these have ever lived or[5] now do live
Holding in reverence the holy Norm,
Ay, in the days to come so will they live.
Wherefore let whoso fain is for his good,
Aspiring to be numbered 'mong the great,
Hold ever holy Norm in reverence,
Remembering the Buddhas' ordinance.

 


[1] Namely, in the fifth week.' Comy. See above, p. 171, n. 2.

[2] The Buddha was then about 35. In Manu, III, 1, the term for being in statu pupillari is stated to be from 9 to 36 years, for a brahmin — i.e. till the Vedas are mastered. Bandhāyana gives till over 48 years.

[3] On this and the four following branches of saintly studies, cf. above, III, 3, Ī 4.

[4] Cf. D. iii, 77: 'live ye having the Norm as your island, as your refuge, and no other.' The Dhamma or Norm came at one time and in one branch of Buddhism to be considered as a god (Hopkins, Religions of India, 249, 358; cf. Manu, XII, 50, 'the law'). It is just possible that this Saŋyutta passage may have been considered as bestowing the sanction for this view. (Dhammo, as a masculine noun, would be referred to as 'him,' and aid the growing myth. For the orthodox view cf. Vin. Texts, i, 91; M. i, 171, translated in Points of Controversy, p. 169.

[5] The text has ca, 'and.' B. guards the reader from seeing therein more than one living Buddha.


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