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Saɱyutta Nikāya
II. Nidāna Vagga
XII. Nidāna Saɱyutta
VII. Mahā Vagga

The Book of the Kindred Sayings
Part II. The Book Called the Nidāna-Vagga
Containing Kindred sayings on Cause
and Other Subjects
12. The Kindred Sayings on Cause
7. The Great Chapter

Sutta 70

Susīma Suttaɱ

Susīma

Translated by Mrs. Rhys Davids
Assisted by F. L. Woodward

Originally Published by
The Pali Text Society
Public Domain

 


[119] [84]

[1][than][bodh] Thus have I heard:

The Exalted One was once staying at Rājagaha
in the Bamboo Grove at the Squirrels' Feeding-ground.

Now at that time the Exalted One was honoured,
revered,
beloved,
ministered unto
and reverently welcomed;
and he was obtaining supplies of the requisites
for clothing,
sustenance,
lodging
and medicaments.

This was also true
of the Order of the brethren.

But the heretical Wanderers[1] were unhonoured,
unrevered,
not beloved
nor ministered unto,
not reverently welcomed
nor obtaining supplies of the requisites
for clothing,
sustenance,
lodging
and medicaments.

Now at that time Susīma the Wanderer was dwelling at Rājagaha
with a great company of Wanderers.

And that company spake thus to Susīma the Wanderer:

"Come, friend Susīma,
live you the divine life
under the recluse Gotama.

When you have learnt his Norm
you will tell it to us.

When we have learnt that Norm
we will preach it to the laity.

Thus shall we become honoured,
revered,
beloved,
ministered unto
and reverently welcomed,
and we shall obtain supplies of the requisites
for clothing,
sustenance,
lodging
and medicaments."

"Even so, friends!"
responded Susīma the Wanderer
to his [85] company,
and he went into the presence of the venerable Ānanda,
greeted him
and exchanged the compliments of courtesy and friendship
and sat down at one side.

So seated, Susīma the Wanderer spake thus to the venerable Ānanda:

"I desire, friend Ānanda,
to live the divine life
under this Norm and Discipline."

Then the venerable Ānanda took Susīma the Wanderer
into the presence of the Exalted One,
and saluting him
sat down at one side.

So seated,
the venerable Ānanda said to the Exalted One:

"Lord, this is Susīma the Wanderer.

He has said thus:

'I desire, friend Ānanda,
to live the divine life
under this Norm and Discipline.'"

"Well then, Ānanda,
ordain[2] Susīma."

So Susīma the Wanderer obtained admission and ordination
in the Order of the Exalted One.

Now at that time
many brethren in the Order declared Aññā[3]
[with the confession]:

"We know that perished is birth,
lived is the divine life,
done is what was to be done,
there is nothing further in these conditions."

And the venerable Susīma heard
that many brethren in the Order had declared Aññā,
saying:

"We know that perished is birth,
lived is the divine life,
done is what was to be done,
there is nothing further in these conditions."

Then the venerable Susīma went to those brethren
and greeting them,
and exchanging the compliments of courtesy and friendship,
sat down at one side.

So seated he spake thus to those brethren:

"Is it true what they say
that the venerable ones have declared Aññā under the Exalted One,
saying:

'We know that perished is birth,
lived is the divine life,
done is what was to be done,
there is nothing further in these conditions?'"

"Even so, friend."

[86] "Then surely you venerable ones,
thus knowing,
thus seeing,
enjoy manifold mystic power[4]:

Being one ye become many,
being many ye become one;
here visible
there invisible
ye go without let or hindrance through wall,
through rampart,
through hill,
as if through air;
ye dive into earth
and up again
as if in water;
ye walk on water
without cleaving it
as on earth;
ye travel seated crosslegged through air
as if ye were birds on the wing;
ye can handle and stroke with the hand
this moon and sun,
mighty and powerful though they be;
ye can control the body
even to Brahma world?"

"Not so, friend."

"Then surely you venerable ones
thus knowing,
thus seeing,
with purified hearing of devas
passing that of men,
can hear sounds both of devas and of men
whether far or near?"

"Not so, friend."

"Then surely you venerable ones
thus knowing,
thus seeing,
know in mind the mind of other beings,
other persons,
ye know the passionate heart as passionate,
the dispassionate heart as dispassionate,
ye know the heart of hate as hating,
the heart of amity as amiable;
ye know the dull heart as dull,
the intelligent heart as intelligent;
ye know the confused mind as confused,
the intent mind as tense,
the lofty mind as such,
the mean mind as mean,
the far-seeing mind as far-seeing mind,
the cramped vision as cramped vision,
the concentrated mind as concentrated mind,
the desultory mind as desultory mind,
the freed mind as freed,
the bound mind as bound?"

"Not so, friend."

"Then surely you venerable ones
thus knowing,
thus seeing,
can remember your divers former lives,
that is to say,
one birth,
or two,
or three,
or four,
or five births,
or ten,
twenty,
thirty,
forty,
fifty births,
or a hundred,
a thousand
or even a hundred thousand,
or even more than one seon of involution
or more than one aeon of evolution,[5]
or more than one of both involution and evolution:
such an one was I by name,
of such a clan,
of such a social status,
so was I nourished,
such [87] happy and painful experiences were mine,
so did the span of life end,
deceasing thence
so did I come to be,
there too was I such by name,
of such a clan,
of such a social station,
so was I nourished,
such happy and painful experiences were mine,
so did the span of life end,
deceasing thence
so did I come to be here:
ye can thus call to mind
in circumstance
and detail
your former lives?"

"Not so, friend."

"Then surely you venerable ones
thus knowing,
thus seeing,
can behold with purified deva-vision
past that of man,
beings as they decease
and come to be
mean or excellent,
fair or foul,
ye can know them going
according to their deeds
to weal or woe,
thinking:

'Lo! these good people
whose deeds were evil,
whose speech was evil,
whose thoughts were evil,
abusers of Ariyans,
having wrong views
and undertaking the acts that [come from] wrong views -
they at the breaking up of the body,
after death
have come to be
in the Waste,
the Woeful Way,
the Downfall,
hell.

Lo! those good people
whose deeds were good,
whose speech was good,
whose thoughts were good,
who abused not Ariyans,
of right views
and who undertook the acts that [come from] right views -
they at the breaking up of the body,
after death
have come to be in a good destiny,
in a bright world.'

Thus do ye behold beings
with pure deva-sight
passing that of men,
how they decease,
and come to be
mean or excellent,
fair or foul,
ye know them
as going according to their actions
to weal or woe?"

"Not so, friend."

"Then surely you venerable ones
thus knowing,
thus seeing,
are able to dwell in volitional contact[6]
with those states of deliverance
where the Rūpa [world] is transcended
and the Immaterial [world is reached]?"

"Not so, friend."

This is incomprehensible! See the Pali for a suggested explanation.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

"Now here, venerable ones,
is both your replying
and your non-attainment of these things?"

"There is none, friend."

[88] We have been freed by insight,[7] friend Susīma.

I do not know fully
the matter stated concisely by the venerable ones.

It would be well if the venerable ones
were to state it so that I might come to know fully
the matter they have stated concisely.

Whether you know it, friend Susīma,
or whether you do not know it,
we have been freed by insight.

Then the venerable Susīma rising from his seat
went into the presence of the Exalted One,
and saluting him sat down at one side.

So seated the venerable Susīma so far as he had conversed with those brethren
told all to the Exalted One.

First, Susīma, [comes] knowledge of the law of cause [and effect],[8]
afterwards [comes] knowledge about Nibbāna.

I do not know fully
this matter stated concisely by the Exalted One.

It would be well, lord,
if the Exalted One were to state it
so that I might come to know fully
the matter he has stated concisely.

Whether you come to know it, Susīma,
or whether you do not,
first comes knowledge of the law of cause [and effect],
afterwards comes knowledge about Nibbāna.

Now what think you, Susīma?

Is the body[9] permanent or impermanent?

Impermanent, lord.

But that which is impermanent, is it painful or pleasant?

Painful, lord.

But that which is impermanent,
painful,
changeable by nature,
do we well to contemplate it as:

This is mine,
I am it,
it is my spirit?

[89] Not so, lord.

And is not the same true of feeling,

of perception,

of activities,

of consciousness?

It is, lord.

Wherefore, Susīma, whatsoever body,
past,
future
or present,
internal or external,
coarse or fine,
mean or lofty,
far or near -
of all body to say it is not mine,
I am not it,
it is not my spirit: -
so is this to be regarded by right insight
as it really is.

And so too are feeling,

perception,

activities,

consciousness to be regarded.

So beholding, Susīma,
the well taught Ariyan disciple feels repulsion at body,
feeling,
perception,
activities,
consciousness.

Feeling repulsion he is not attracted by them.

Unattracted he is set free.

Knowledge comes to him freed as to being freed,[10]
and he knows that birth is perished,
that the divine life is lived,
done is what was to be done;
there is nothing further of these conditions.

Old age and dying are conditioned by birth:

Susīma, seest thou this?

Even so, lord.

Birth is conditioned by becoming:

Susīma, seest thou this?

Even so, lord.

Becoming is conditioned by grasping:

Susīma, seest thou this?

Even so, lord.

Grasping is conditioned by craving . . .

craving by feeling . . .

feeling by contact . . .

contact by sense . . .

sense by name-and-shape . . .

name-and-shape by consciousness . . .

consciousness by activities . . .

activities by ignorance:

Susīma, seest thou this?

Even so, lord.

When birth ceases, old age-and-death ceases:

Susīma, seest thou this?

Even so, lord.

When becoming ceases, birth ceases:

Susīma, seest thou this?

Even so, lord.

[90] When grasping ceases becoming ceases;
when craving ceases, grasping ceases;
when feeling ceases, craving ceases;
when contact ceases, feeling ceases;
when sense ceases, contact ceases;
when name-and-shape ceases, sense ceases;
when consciousness ceases, name-and-shape ceases;
when activities cease, consciousness ceases;
when ignorance ceases, activities cease:

Susīma, seest thou this?

Even so, lord.

Then surely, thou, Susīma, thus knowing, thus seeing, dost enjoy divers mystic powers:

being one thou canst become many;
being many thou canst become one;
thou goest here visible
there invisible
without let or hindrance
through wall,
through rampart,
through hill
as if through air;
thou divest into earth
and up again
as if in water;
thou walkest on water
without cleaving it as if on earth;
thou travellest seated crosslegged through air
as if thou wert a bird on the wing;
thou canst handle and stroke with the hand
this moon and sun,
mighty and powerful though they be,
yea, even to Brahmaworld canst thou dispose of thyself
in the body?

Not so, lord.

Then surely, Susīma, thus knowing thus seeing,
thou canst hear,
with pure deva-hearing passing that of men,
sounds divine and human,
be they remote or near?

Not so, lord.

Then surely, Susīma, thus knowing thus seeing,
thou canst understand with thy mind
the mind of other beings,
other persons,
so that thou knowest the character of their thought?

Not so, lord.

Then surely, Susīma, thus knowing thus seeing,
thou canst remember divers former lives,
even one birth or many,
in circumstance and detail?

Not so, lord.

Then surely, Susīma, thus knowing thus seeing,
with pure deva-vision passing that of men
thou canst behold beings as they go according to their deeds,
deceasing,
re-arising? [91]

Not so, lord.

Then surely, Susīma, thus knowing thus seeing,
thou attaining by volition
canst dwell in those stages of deliverance
where the Rüpa-world is transcended
and the Immaterial [world is reached]?

Not so, lord.

Here then, Susīma:

This catechism and the non-attainment of these things:[11]
this is what we have done.

Then the venerable Susīma
falling prone at the feet of the Exalted One
spake thus:

Transgression, lord, hath caused me,
so foolish,
so stupid,
so wrong am I,
to transgress.

I have gained admission
as a thief of the Norm
into this Norm and Discipline
so well set forth.

May the Exalted One, lord,
accept this my confession
for my restraining myself in future.[12]

Verily, Susīma, transgression hath caused thee,
so foolish,
so stupid,
so wrong art thou,
to transgress,
who didst gain admission
as a thief of the Norm
into this Norm and Discipline
so well set forth.

It is as if, Susīma,
they had caught a robber,
an evildoer,
and showed him to the prince saying:

Sire, this is a robber, an evildoer.

Inflict on him what penalty you wish.

And the prince were to say:

Go, men, bind this man's arms behind him with a strong rope,
shave him bald,
lead him around in a tumbril
with a tam-tam
from street to street,
from crossroads to crossroads,
and take him out by the south gate
and at the south of the city
cut off his head.

And the princes' men were to do even as they were told.

What think you, Susīma?

Would not that man in consequence
experience woe and sorrow?

Even so, lord.

Whether he experienced woe and sorrow or not,
would not the gaining admission
as a thief of doctrine
into a Norm and [92] Discipline so well set forth
have still more woeful
and still bitterer results,
yea, conduce to downfall hereafter?

But inasmuch as thou, Susīma, hast seen thy transgression as transgression
and hast made confession as is right,
we do accept this from thee.

For this, Susīma, it is to grow in the Ariyan discipline,
when having seen our transgression as transgression
we make confession as is right
and in future practise self-restraint.

 


[1] On this term see Buddhist India, pp. 141-49.

[2] The Comy. represents the Master here as planning hereby to bring Susīma to confess his unworthy motive of doctrine-theft. 'Ordain' is lit. 'cause S. to go forth' (from the world). A Wanderer was not, as such, a religieux. On Ānanda's offices, see Pss. Brethren, p. 352.

[3] Aññā, lit. 'ad-science.' 'A name for Arahantship.' Comy.

[4] Iddhividhā.

[5] Saŋvaṭṭa-kappa, vivaṭṭa-kappa, rolling together, rolling apart aeons of this cakkavāṭa or world.

[6] The Comy. paraphrases kāyena phusitvā by nāmakāyena paṭila bhitvā, attaining by mental faculties.

[7] Cf. Dialogues, ii, 68, n. 2: 'emancipated without the aid of the eight grades of deliverance.' Comy. on Mahā-Nidāna Suttanta.

[8] Dhammaṭṭhiti-ñāṇaṃ. Cf. above, Ī 20. Here the Comy. has: first insight, then with active insight knowledge of the Path of procedure (pavattamagga). In other words, Path and Fruit are not necessarily a consequence of concentrative exercises. But they are a consequence of insight.

[9] Rūpa: the material part of the personality.

[10] Cf., p. 66.

[11] Susīma shows he has leamt (a) 'the knowledge about Nibbāna,' and also (b) 'the causal law,' yet has he neither the assurance of Aññā, nor any supernormal powers. Whether the Susīma above, i, 88, 281, was this man reborn, B. does not say.

[12] The formula of confession, Vin. Texts, ii, 260.


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