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Saɱyutta Nikāya:
IV. Saḷāyatana Vagga:
42: Gāmani Saɱyuttaɱ

The Book of the
Kindred Sayings
42: Kindred Sayings about Headmen

Sutta 6

Pacchābhūmaka (or Mataka) Suttaɱ,

Westlander[1] (or The Dead Man)

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

Copyright The Pali Text Society
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[1][than]Thus have I heard:

Once the Exalted One was staying at Nalanda[2] in Pāvārika Mango Grove.

Then Asibandhaka's Son,[3] the headman,
came to see the Exalted One and,
on coming to him
saluted him
and sat down at one side.

So seated, Asibandhaka's Son, the headman,
said to the Exalted One: -

"Lord, the brahmins of the west,
who are carriers of waterpots,
wearers of lily-garlands,
purifiers by water,
fire-worshippers,
when a man has died
and made an end, -
they lift him up
and carry him out,[4]
call on him by name[5]
and speed him heavenwards.

But the Exalted One,
who is Arahant,
an All-enlightened One,
is able to bring it about
that the whole world,
when body breaks up,
after death
can be reborn in the Happy Lot,
in the Heaven World."

"As to that, headman, I will question you.

You may reply as you think fit.

 


 

Now what think you, headman?

Suppose a case
where a man is a taker of life,
a taker of what is not [219] given,
a wrong-doer in respect of sensual passion,
a liar,
a backbiter,
of bitter speech,
a babbler
and covetous,
of malevolent heart,
of perverted view.

Then a great multitude gathers
and throngs together,
aspires and praises him
and goes about with uplifted palms,
saying:

'May this man,
when body breaks up,
after death be reborn[6] in the Happy Lot,
in the Heaven World.'

Now what think you, headman?

Pray would that man,
owing to the aspirations and praises
of that great multitude,
owing to their going about
with uplifted palms, -
would that man,
when body breaks up,
after death be reborn in the Happy Lot,
in the Heaven World?

"Surely not, lord."

"Again, headman, suppose a man hurls
a huge, great rock
into a deep,
deep pool of water.

Then a great multitude gathers
and throngs together
and aspires
and praises it
and goes about with uplifted palms,
saying:

'Rise up, good rock!

Float up, good rock!

Float ashore, good rock!'

Now what think you, headman?

Would that huge, great rock,
because of the aspirations,
because of the praises,
because of the going about with uplifted palms
of that great multitude, -
would it rise up or float up or float ashore?"

"Surely not, lord.'

"Even so, headman,
whatever man is a taker of life,
a taker of what is not given,
a wrong-doer in respect of sensual passion,
a liar,
a backbiter,
of bitter speech,
a babbler
and covetous,
of malevolent heart,
of perverted view, -
however much a great multitude,
gathering and thronging together,
might aspire
and praise him
and go about with uplifted palms,
saying:

'May this man, when body breaks up,
after death
be reborn in the Happy Lot,
in the Heaven World,'

yet would that man,
when body breaks up,
after death
be reborn in the Woeful Lot,
in the Downfall,
in Purgatory.

 


 

Now what think you, headman?

Suppose that in this case
in a man who abstains from taking life,
who abstains from taking what is not given,
who abstains from wrong action
in respect of sensual passion,
who abstains from lying,
who abstains from backbiting,
who abstains from [220] bitter speech and babbling,
who is not covetous,
not of malevolent heart,
a man of right view, -
then a great multitude,
gathering and thronging together,
aspire
and praise him
and go about with uplifted palms,
saying:

'May this man, when body breaks up,
after death
be reborn in the Woeful Lot,
in the Downfall,
in Purgatory'[ed1]

what think you, headman?

Would that man,
because of the aspirations
and praises
and going about with uplifted palms
of that great multitude,
be reborn in the Woeful Lot,
in the Downfall,
in Purgatory?

"Surely not, lord."

"Suppose again, headman,
a man plunges a jar of butter
or a jar of oil
into a deep,
deep pool of water,
and breaks it,
and it[7] becomes shreds
or fragments
and sinks down to the bottom:
but the butter
or oil
that was in it
floats up to the top.

Then suppose a great multitude,
gathering and thronging together,
aspires
and praises it,
and goes about with uplifted palms,
saying:

'Sink down, good butter!

Sink in, good butter!

Go to the bottom,
good butter and oil!"

What think you, headman?

Would that butter and oil,
because of the aspirations
and praises
and going about with uplifted palms
of that great multitude, -
would they sink down,
would they sink in,
would they go to the bottom?"

"Surely not, lord."

"Even so, headman,
whatever man abstains from taking life,
who abstains from taking what is not given,
who abstains from wrong action
in respect of sensual passion,
who abstains from lying,
who abstains from backbiting,
who abstains from bitter speech and babbling,
who is not covetous,
not of malevolent heart,
a man of right view,
however much a great multitude,
gathering and thronging together,
aspire
and praise him
and go about with uplifted palms,
saying:

'May this man, when body breaks up,
after death
be reborn in the Woeful Lot,
in the Downfall,
in Purgatory',

yet would he be reborn in the Happy Lot,
in the Heaven World."

At these words Asibandhaka's Son, the headman,
said to the Exalted One: -

Excellent, lord!

Excellent it is, lord!

Just as if one should raise what is overthrown,
or show forth what is hidden,
or point out the way
to him that wanders astray,
or hold up a light in the darkness
so that they who have eyes may behold objects, -
even so in divers ways
hath the Norm been set forth by the Exalted One.|| ||

To the exalted One, lord, I go for refuge, to the Norm and to the Order of Brethren.

May the Exalted One accept me
as a lay disciple,
as one who hath gone to him for refuge,
from this day forth
so long as life doth last."

 


[1] Paccha-bhūmaka, probably of the land west of the modern Delhi.

[2] In Magadha, where afterwards was the famous university.

[3] 'Snake charmer.' At Ī 8 infra he is styled 'follower of the Unclothed.'

[4] Text uyyāpenti (they bring out the body). Sinh. MSS of text have ussayāpenti. Those of Comy. have this and ussuyāpenti, probably a confusion, of the first and ussāpenti Comy. says it is equal to upariyāpenti. With the following argument cf. Dial. i, Tevijja-Sta, pp. 309 ff.

[5] Text saññāpenti Comy. samaññāpenti.

[6] Text should read upapajjatū ti, as ill the next section.

[7] In the text ya and sa should be omitted. They rest on the authority of one MS. only, and Comy. omits them.

 


[ed1] Woodward has reversed this, having them wish him into the Heaven World.


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