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Saŋyutta Nikāya
I. Sagātha Vagga
10. Yakkha-saŋyutta

The Book of the Kindred Sayings
I. Kindred Sayings with Verses
10. The Yakkha Suttas

Sutta 8

Sudatta Suttaṃ

Sudatta

Translated by Mrs. Rhys Davids
Assisted by Sūriyagoḍa Sumangala Thera
Copyright The Pali Text Society. Public Domain.

 


 

[8.1][ati] THUS HAVE I HEARD: —

The Exalted One was once staying near Rājagaha, in Cool Wood.

Now on that occasion the citizen Anāthapiṇḍika had arrived at Rajagaha to transact some business.[1]

And he heard it said that a Buddha had arisen in the world,
and he became desirous of going to see the Exalted One.

Then he thought:

'There is no suitable hour for going to see the Exalted One to-day;
to-morrow then at the proper time I will go to see him.'

And thus, dwelling in thought upon the Buddha,
he fell asleep.

Thrice during the night he awoke,
fancying it was daylight,[2]
and he went forth to the gate into the Cemetery,[3]
and creatures not-human opened the gate.

Then it seemed to Anāthapiṇḍika,
as he came out of the city,
that the light vanished,
and all was dark.

Fear and trembling and creeping of the flesh arose,
and he became desirous of turning back.

Then Sīvaka the yakkha,
himself invisible,
caused a sound to be heard[4]: —

A hundred elephants and horses too,
Ay, and a hundred chariots drawn by mules,
A hundred thousand maidens, in their ears
Bejewelled rings: — all are not worth
The sixteenth fraction of a single stride.
Advance, 0 citizen, go forward thou!
Advance for thee is better than retreat.

Then to Anāthapiṇḍika the darkness vanished,
and it became light,
and the fear and trembling and creeping of the flesh that had come over him were abated.

Now all this happened a second time,
and yet a third time.

And then Anāthapiṇḍika came to Cool Wood where was the Exalted One.

Now just then the Exalted One had arisen as the day dawned, and was walking up and down in the open air.

And the Exalted One saw citizen Anāthapiṇḍika coming while yet afar.

And seeing him, he came down from the terrace and seated himself on a seat made ready.

So seated, the Exalted One said to Anathapindika:

'Come, Sudatta!'[5]

Then Anathapindika thought:

'The Exalted One addresses me by my own name!'

and he fell at the feet of the Exalted One,
and said:

'Lord, has the Blessed One rested happily?'[6]

[The Exalted One: —]

Surely at all times happily doth rest
The Arahant in whom all fire's extinct.[7]
Who cleaveth not to sensuous desires,
Cool all his being, rid of all the germs
That bring new life,[8] all cumbrances cut out,
Subdued the pain and pining of the heart,
Calm and serene he resteth happily
For in his mind he hath attained to peace.

 


[1] Merchant's business. The story is given in Vin. Texts, iii, 179. The high importance attached by tradition to this first meeting of the great lay-supporter of early Buddhism with its Founder may be the reason for the repetition of efforts made by the excited merchant. There is an eerie atmosphere about the simple story that is Bunyanic. The Comy. amplifies the weird details and difficulties in the momentous quest of a millionaire breaking out of his groove.

Fuori le mure. Extramural. But a reference to 'The Papal Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls, commonly known as St Paul's Outside the Walls. The basilica was founded by the Roman Emperor Constantine I over the burial place of Saint Paul, where it was said that, after the Apostle's execution, his followers erected a memorial, called a cella memoriae.' — Wikipedia

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

[2] Waking, says B., after the first, and after the second watch, his rapture at the prospect of seeing a Buddha became a sensation of light. Going on to the open roof, he saw the moon, and returned to bed. The third time it was indeed daylight, and he went down to the 'seven-storied door' into the street. In the sequel of what was probably the traditional narrative, B. gives the population of Rājagaha, —of city, fuori le mure and the suburbs — as amounting to about 3-1/2 millions.

[3] B. supports this Singhalese reading by susānamagge, where the dead lay exposed and jackals howled.

[4] Like blows struck on a golden bell, says B., who does not make good the omission of referring the verse to the speaker.

[5] Sudatta was so exclusively known by the title 'given him by the people,' says B., of 'Feeder of the Forlorn,' that he judged none (even in Rājagaha; his home was at Sāvatthī) knew his personal name, and he had thought to test the Buddha's intuition by asking if he knew it. On the force in the welcome: EHI (come!), resembling Christ's 'Follow me,' see Pss of the Sisters, p. 67; Brethren, Index s.v. Ordination.

[6] A delightful touch is given by the naturalness of the nervous, wrought-up seeker faltering out this commonplace courtesy after all his prepared questions, broken night, and sensational walk. No less delightful is the way in which the gracious Teacher, by the same simple instrument, lifts him up at once to the lofty thoughts he wished to hear.

[7] Brahmāṇo parinibbuto. See above, I, 1, Ī 1.

[8] Nirupadhi. See above, I, 1, Ī 2.


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