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

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

Sutta 7

Desanā (aka Khettūpama) Suttaɱ

Teaching

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 in Pāvārika Mango Grove.

Then Asibandhaka's Son, the headman,
came to see [221] 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: -

"Does not the Exalted One, lord,
dwell in compassion for every living thing?"

"Yes, headman, the Tathāgata,
dwells in compassion for every living thing."

"But, lord, does the Exalted One
teach the Norm in full[1]
to certain ones,
but to certain others
he does not teach the Norm in full?"

"Now, headman, as to this
I shall question you.

Do you reply as you think fit.

 


 

Now what think you, headman?

Suppose a yeoman farmer[2] here
has three fields,
one excellent,
one moderate,
and one poor,
hard,
saltish,
of bad soil

Now what think you, headman?

When that yeoman farmer wants to sow his seed,
which field would he sow first,
the excellent field,
the moderate field,
or the one that is poor,
hard,[3]
saltish,
of bad soil?"[4]

"That yeoman farmer, lord,
wishing to sow his seed,
would first sow the excellent field,
and having done so
he would sow the moderate one.

Having so done
he might and might not sow that field
that is poor,
hard,
saltish,
of bad soil.

Why so?

Because in any case
it might do for cattle-food."

"Well, headman, just like that excellent field
are my ordained disciples,
both men and women.

I teach them the Norm
that is lovely in its beginning,
lovely in its middle
and lovely in its ending,
both in spirit and in letter.

I make known to them
the righteous life
that is wholly perfect
and utterly pure.

Why is that?

Because, headman,
these people abide with me for their island,
with me for their cave of shelter,
me for their stronghold,
me for their refuge.

Then, headman,
just like that moderate field
are my lay-disciples,
both men and women.

I teach them the Norm
that is lovely in its beginning,
lovely in its middle
and lovely in its ending,
both in spirit and in letter.

I make known [222] to them
the righteous life
that is wholly perfect
and utterly pure.

Why is that?

Because, headman,
these people abide with me for their island,
with me for their cave of shelter,
me for their stronghold,
me for their refuge.

Then, headman,
just like that field that is poor,
hard,
saltish,
of bad soil,
are my[5] wandering recluses and brahmins
that hold other views than mine.

To them also I teach the Norm
that is lovely in its beginning,
lovely in its middle
and lovely in its ending,
both in spirit and in letter.

I make known to them
the righteous life
that is wholly perfect
and utterly pure.

Why is that?

Because if so be they understand
but a single sentence of it,
that would be to their profit and happiness
for many a long day.

 


 

Again, headman,
suppose a man has three waterpots,
one not cracked,
not leaky,
not letting (water) run to waste -[6]
and one waterpot not cracked,
but leaky
and letting water run to waste:
and one waterpot that is both cracked and leaky,
and letting water run to waste.

Now what think you, headman?

If that man wants to store up water,
which pöt would he put it in first, -
in the one that is not cracked,
not leaky,
not letting water run to waste?

Or would he put it in the pot
that is not cracked,
but leaky,
letting water run to waste?

Or would he put it in the one
that is both cracked and leaky,
and letting water run to waste?"

"Why, lord, that man would first store his water -
in the one that is not cracked,
not leaky,
not letting water run to waste,
then in the pot
that is not cracked,
but leaky,
letting water run to waste, and as to the one
that is both cracked and leaky,
and letting water run to waste
he might or he might not put it in that.

Why so?

At any rate the water
might do for washing pots."

"Well, brahmin, just like that waterpot
that is not cracked,
not leaky,
not letting water run to waste
are my ordained disciples,
both men and women.

I teach them the Norm
that is lovely in its beginning,
lovely in its middle
and lovely in its ending,
both in spirit and in letter.

I make known to them
the righteous life
that is wholly perfect
and utterly pure.

Why is that?

Because, headman,
these people abide with me [223] for their island,
with me for their cave of shelter,
me for their stronghold,
me for their refuge.

Again, headman, just like that pot that is not cracked,
but leaky,
letting water run to waste
are my lay-disciples
both men and women.

I teach them the Norm
that is lovely in its beginning,
lovely in its middle
and lovely in its ending,
both in spirit and in letter.

I make known to them
the righteous life
that is wholly perfect
and utterly pure.

Why is that?

Because, headman,
these people abide with me for their island,
with me for their cave of shelter,
me for their stronghold,
me for their refuge.

Again, headman,
just like that waterpot
that is both cracked and leaky,
and letting water run to waste,
are mv wandering recluses and brahmms
that hold other views than mine.

I teach them the Norm
that is lovely in its beginning,
lovely in its middle
and lovely in its ending,
both in spirit and in letter.

I make known to them
the righteous life
that is wholly perfect
and utterly pure.

Why is that?

Because if so be they understand
but a single sentence of it,
that would be to their profit and happiness
for many a long day.

At these words Asibandhaka's Son
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] Sakkaccaŋ

[2] Kassaka, lit. ploughman.

[3] Jangala (jungle), expl. by Comy. as 'stiff, not soft.'

[4] Comy. roads bhūmi for text's bhūmikaŋ. Tho parable reminds us of that of the Sower in N.T.

[5] Mayhaŋ of the two first comparisons is repeated Here, possibly for the sake of the framework. Nowhere else, as far as I know, does the Buddha call the heretics 'his.' One recalls the saying of Jesus. 'other sheep I have.'

[6] Ahāri, apatihāri. Comy. udakaŋ na harati, na harita-parihāriyeti. Pāli Dict. s.v. has 'worth (?) keeping.' Hāriŋ generally = capax.


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