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Saɱyutta Nikāya
4. Saḷāyatana Vagga
35. Saḷāyatana Saɱyutta
§ II: Paññāsaka Dutiya
4. Channa Vagga

The Book of the Kindred Sayings
4. The Book Called the Saḷāyatana-Vagga
Containing Kindred Sayings on the 'Six-Fold Sphere' of Sense and Other Subjects
35. Kindred Sayings the Sixfold Sphere of Sense
§ II: The 'Second Fifty' Suttas
4. The Chapter on Channa and Others

Sutta 87

Channa Suttaɱ

Channa

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

Copyright The Pali Text Society
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[55] [30]

[1][bodh] Thus have I heard:

Once the Exalted One was staying near Rājagaha
in Bamboo Grove,
at the Squirrels' Feeding-ground.

Now at that time the venerable Sāriputta the venerable Cunda, the Great[1]
and the venerable Channa,[2]
were staying on Vulture's Peak.

At that time the venerable Channa was sick,
afflicted,
stricken with a sore disease.

Then the venerable Sāriputta,
at eventide rising from his solitude,
went to visit the venerable Cunda,
and on coming to him said:

"Let us go, friend Cunda,
to visit the venerable Channa
and ask about his sickness."

And the venerable Cunda the Great assented, saying,

"Very well, friend."

So they two went to visit the venerable Channa,
and on reaching him sat down on a seat made ready.

On sitting down
the venerable Sāriputta said to the venerable Channa:

"Well, friend, I hope you are bearing up.

I hope you are enduring.

Do your pains abate and not increase?

Are there signs of their abating and not increasing?"[3]

"No, friend Sāriputta.

I am not bearing up.

I am not enduring.

Strong pains come upon me.

They do not abate.

There is no sign of their abating,
but of their increasing.

Just as if, friend,
a strong man[4] with a sharp-pointed sword
were crashing into my brain,
just so, friend, does the strong rush of vital air
torment my brain.

No, friend, I am not bearing up,
I am not enduring.

Just as if, friend,
a skilful butcher or butcher's 'prentice
with a sharp butcher's knife
were ripping up my belly,
even [31] so strong, friend,
are the winds that rack my belly.

No, friend, I am not bearing up,
I am not enduring.

Just as if, friend,
two strong men
should lay hold of some weaker man,
seizing him each by an arm,
and should scorch and burn him
in a pit of glowing charcoal,
even so scorching, friend,
is the burning in my body.

No, friend, I am not bearing up,
I am not enduring.

Strong pains come upon me.

They do not abate.

There is no sign of their abating,
but of their increasing.

I'll use the knife,[5] friend Sāriputta!

I wish to live no longer."

"Let not the venerable Channa use the knife.

Let the venerable Channa bear up.

We want the venerable Channa to bear up.

If the venerable Channa has no proper food,
I will search for proper food for him.

If the venerable Channa has no proper medicine,
I will search for proper medicine for him.

If he has no fit attendants,
I will wait on the venerable Channa.

Let not the venerable Channa use the knife.

Let him bear up.

We want the venerable Channa to bear up."

"No, friend Sāriputta.

I am not without proper food.

I have it.

I am not without proper medicine.

I have it.

I am not without fit attendants.

I have them.

I myself, friend, waited on the Master
for many a long day
with service that was delightful,
not tedious.

That, friend, is the proper thing for a disciple to do."

'In so far as he served the Master
with a service that was delightful,
not tedious,
blameless[6] (must be accounted)
the brother Channa's use of the knife':

so should you uphold, friend Sāriputta."

 

§

 

"We would ask a question of the venerable Channa
on a [32] certain point,
if the venerable Channa gives permission
for questioning and expounding."

"Ask, friend Sāriputta.

Hearing we shall understand."

"Now as to eye, friend Channa,
eye-consciousness
and states cognizable by eye-consciousness, -
do you regard it thus:

'This is mine.

This am I.

This is my self'?

As to ear, friend Channa,
ear-consciousness
and states cognizable by ear-consciousness, -
do you regard it thus:

'This is mine.

This am I.

This is my self'?

As to nose, friend Channa,
nose-consciousness
and states cognizable by nose-consciousness, -
do you regard it thus:

'This is mine.

This am I.

This is my self'?

As to tongue, friend Channa,
tongue-consciousness
and states cognizable by tongue-consciousness, -
do you regard it thus:

'This is mine.

This am I.

This is my self'?

As to body, friend Channa,
body-consciousness
and states cognizable by body-consciousness, -
do you regard it thus:

'This is mine.

This am I.

This is my self'?

As to mind, friend Channa,
mind-consciousness
and states cognizable by mind-consciousness, -
do you regard it thus:

'This is mine.

This am I.

This is my self'?"

"As to eye, friend Sāriputta,
eye-consciousness
and states cognizable by eye-consciousness, -
I regard it thus:

'This is not mine.

This is not I.

This is not my self'.

As to ear, friend Sāriputta,
ear-consciousness
and states cognizable by ear-consciousness, -
I regard it thus:

'This is not mine.

This is not I.

This is not my self'.

As to nose, friend Sāriputta,
nose-consciousness
and states cognizable by nose-consciousness, -
I regard it thus:

'This is not mine.

This is not I.

This is not my self'.

As to tongue, friend Sāriputta,
tongue-consciousness
and states cognizable by tongue-consciousness, -
I regard it thus:

'This is not mine.

This is not I.

This is not my self'.

As to body, friend Sāriputta,
body-consciousness
and states cognizable by body-consciousness, -
I regard it thus:

'This is not mine.

This is not I.

This is not my self'.

As to mind, friend Sāriputta,
mind-consciousness
and states cognizable by mind-consciousness, -
I regard it thus:

'This is not mine.

This is not I.

This is not my self'."

"Now, friend Channa,
as to eye,
eye-consciousness,
and states cognizable by eye-consciousness,[ed1]
seeing what,
comprehending what,
do you regard
eye,
eye-consciousness,
and states cognizable by eye-consciousness thus:

'This is not mine.

This is not I.

This is not my self'.

As to ear,
ear-consciousness,
and states cognizable by ear-consciousness,
seeing what,
comprehending what,
do you regard
ear,
ear-consciousness,
and states cognizable by ear-consciousness thus:

'This is not mine.

This is not I.

This is not my self'.

As to nose,
nose-consciousness,
and states cognizable by nose-consciousness,
seeing what,
comprehending what,
do you regard
nose,
nose-consciousness,
and states cognizable by nose-consciousness thus:

'This is not mine.

This is not I.

This is not my self'.

As to tongue,
tongue-consciousness,
and states cognizable by tongue-consciousness,
seeing what,
comprehending what,
do you regard
tongue,
tongue-consciousness,
and states cognizable by tongue-consciousness thus:

'This is not mine.

This is not I.

This is not my self'.

As to body,
body-consciousness,
and states cognizable by body-consciousness,
seeing what,
comprehending what,
do you regard
body,
body-consciousness,
and states cognizable by body-consciousness thus:

'This is not mine.

This is not I.

This is not my self'.

As to mind,
mind-consciousness,
and states cognizable by mind-consciousness,
seeing what,
comprehending what,
do you regard
mind,
mind-consciousness,
and states cognizable by mind-consciousness thus:

'This is not mine.

This is not I.

This is not my self'."

"As to eye, friend Sāriputta,
eye-consciousness,
and states cognizable by eye-consciousness,
seeing ceasing to be,
comprehending ceasing to be
do I regard
eye,
eye-consciousness,
and states cognizable by eye-consciousness thus:

'This is not mine.

This is not I.

This is not my self'.

As to ear,
ear-consciousness,
and states cognizable by ear-consciousness,
seeing ceasing to be,
comprehending ceasing to be
do I regard
ear,
ear-consciousness,
and states cognizable by ear-consciousness thus:

'This is not mine.

This is not I.

This is not my self'.

As to nose,
nose-consciousness,
and states cognizable by nose-consciousness,
seeing ceasing to be,
comprehending ceasing to be
do I regard
nose,
nose-consciousness,
and states cognizable by nose-consciousness thus:

'This is not mine.

This is not I.

This is not my self'.

As to tongue,
tongue-consciousness,
and states cognizable by tongue-consciousness,
seeing ceasing to be,
comprehending ceasing to be
do I regard
tongue,
tongue-consciousness,
and states cognizable by tongue-consciousness thus:

'This is not mine.

This is not I.

This is not my self'.

As to body,
body-consciousness,
and states cognizable by body-consciousness,
seeing ceasing to be,
comprehending ceasing to be
do I regard
body,
body-consciousness,
and states cognizable by body-consciousness thus:

'This is not mine.

This is not I.

This is not my self'.

As to mind,
mind-consciousness,
and states cognizable by mind-consciousness,
seeing ceasing to be,
comprehending ceasing to be
do I regard
mind,
mind-consciousness,
and states cognizable by mind-consciousness thus:

'This is not mine.

This is not I.

This is not my self'."

 

§

 

At these words the venerable Cunda the Great[7]
thus addressed the venerable Channa:

"Wherefore, friend Channa,
you ought to ever bear in mind
the teaching of that Exalted One,
to wit: -

'In him that clingeth,[8]
there is wavering.

In him that clingeth not,
wavering is not.

Where is no wavering,
there is calm.

Where is calm,
there is no bent.

Where is no bent,
there is no wrong practice.[9]

Where is no wrong practice,
there is no vanishing and reappearing.[10]

If there be no vanishing and reappearing,
there is no here
nor yonder
nor yet midway.

That is the end of ill.'"

[33] Thereupon the venerable Sāriputta
and the venerable Cunda the Great,
when this discourse was uttered,
rose from their seats and went away.

But the venerable Channa,
not long after the going of those venerable ones,
used the knife.[11]

 

§

 

Now the venerable Sāriputta came to see the Exalted One,
saluted him
and sat down at one side.

So seated
the venerable Sāriputta said to the Exalted One: -

"Lord, the venerable Channa has used the knife.

What is his rebirth?

What is his attainment?"

"Was it not face to face with you, Sāriputta,
that the brother Channa declared
that no blame attached to him?"

"Yes, lord.

This passage is rendered more clearly by Bhk. Bodhi where the meaning is that Sāriputta is questioning the outcome of Channa's suicide because he was intimate with many householders. The Buddha explains that this is a problem, but not a basis for saying that Channa's suicide was blameworthy.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

But there is a village of the Vajjis
called Pubbavijjhanam,
and there dwell clansmen of the venerable Channa,
who are friends and dear comrades to him,
clansmen who are to be blamed."[12]

"True, Sāriputta.

There are these clansmen,
friends and dear comrades of the brother Channa,
who are to be blamed.

Nevertheless, Sāriputta,
I am not one to reproach him, saying

'He is to blame.'

For whoso, Sāriputta,
lays down one body
and takes up another body,
of him I say

'He is to blame.'

But it is not so with the brother Channa.

Without reproach was the knife used by the brother Channa.

So should you maintain, Sāriputta."

 


[1] Younger brother of Sāriputta and one of the chief elders. Cf. Brethren, 119.

[2] Comy. says it is not the Channa (master of his horse) of the Buddha's 'forthgoing' (Cf. K.S. iii, 11 (sic. 111) n.) but another. Cf. M.ii, 193; iii, 260.

[3] Cf. supra. § 74.

[4] The stock epithets for unbearable pain. Cf. M. i, 243 (trans. in my Some Sayings of the Buddha, p. 20 ff.).

[5] Cf. K.S. i, 150 n.; iii, 105 n. I have discussed the ethics of suicide at some length in an article in the Buddhist Annual of Ceylon, 1922, and with reference to this episode. Cf. in this connexion, Edmunds, Buddhist and Christian Gospels, ii, 58, where I think he is wrong in regarding the deed as a sacrifice, for he misses the point of the Master's reply.

[6] Anupavajjaŋ. Here Comy. says anupavattikaŋ appaṭisandhikaŋ (not irremediable). See the Master's pronouncement at the end of the section.

[7] Comy. remarks that Sāriputta was aware, in spite of this reply, of the fact that Channa was still unperfected, but made no remark thereon, while Cunda, with the intention of testing him, gave him this sermon.

[8] To taṇhā-māna-diṭṭhi. Comy. 'As you feel your pains you waver, therefore you are still unconverted,' says the elder.

[9] Agati-gali.

[10] Cut'upapāto, in successive rebirths.

[11] 'Severed his wind-pipe. But that very moment fear overcame him and warning of his doom (gati-nimātaŋ). So, conscious of his unconverted state, he quickly applied insight, mastered the activities, attained Arahantship, and made an end of life and craving (samasīsiŋ hutvā and was so released.' The facts could not have been known, and it seems a rather desperate effort to work up a satisfactory reason for this supposed attainment. Cf. Comy. on v. 381 of Dhammapada, the case of Vakkhali.

[12] Upavajjana-kulāni. Comy. explains by upaaañ kamiabbakulāni, they have to be visited, and the constant intercourse with laymen was forbidden. They are to blame for this, not the elder.

 


[ed1] Woodward alters his translation here to: "... things cognizable by eye-consciousness that is in the eye, -" but the Pali text is the same as above. I am altering his translation to conform to the repetition found in the Pali.


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