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Saɱyutta Nikāya
5. Mahā-Vagga
47. Sati-Paṭṭhāna Saɱyutta
1. Ambapāli Vagga

The Book of the Kindred Sayings
5. The Great Chapter
47. Kindred Sayings on the Stations of Mindfulness
1. Ambapālī

Sutta 9

Gilāna Suttaɱ


Translated by F. L. Woodward

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[1][bodh] THUS have I heard:

Once the Exalted One was staying near Vesālī, at Beluva village.[1]

Then the Exalted One addressed the monks, saying:

"Come ye, monks!

Go ye and spend the rainy season
round about Vesālī,
where are your friends,
and bosom friends.[2]

I myself will spend the rainy season just here."[3]

[131] "Very well, lord," replied those monks to the Exalted One,
and went to spend the ramy season
round about Vesālī,
where dwelt their friends,
and bosom friends.

But the Exalted One passed the rainy season
at Beluva village.

Now when the Exalted One had begun to spend the rainy season,
there arose in him a sore sickness.

Strong pains came upon him,
like to end in death.

Thereupon the Exalted One endured them,
mindful and composed,
without complaint.

Now it occurred thus to the Exalted One:

"It is not fitting that,
without addressing my supporters,
without taking leave of the Order of monks,
I pass finally away.

What if I should by effort
bend down this sickness
and remain holding fast to my sum of life."[4]

So the Exalted One bent down that sickness,
and remained holding fast
to the sum of his life.

And the Exalted One rose up from that sickness;
and not long after he had arisen therefrom
he went forth from his lodging,
and sat down in the shade behind the lodging
on a seat made ready.

Then the venerable Ānanda came to the Exalted One,
and on reaching him
saluted and sat down at one side.

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

"I saw,[5] lord,
what the Exalted One had to endure.

I saw how he bore up.

Indeed, lord, my body became as if drugged.[6]

Indeed my bearings were confused.

Indeed the doctrines[7] were no longer clear to me
because of the sickness of the Exalted One.

Yet, lord, I had thus much of comfort in thinking:

'Surely the Exalted One will not pass utterly away
[132] until[8] he has made some pronouncement
concerning the Order of monks.'"

"What is it, Ānanda,
that the Order of monks expects of me now?

I have taught the Norm, Ānanda,
making no inner and no outer[9]

There is no 'teacher's' fist, Ānanda,
in the Tathāgata's teachings.[10]

If, Ānanda, anyone thinks:

'I will carry on[11] the Order of monks',


'The Order of monks is under my direction',[12] -

let such an one make some pronouncement
concerning the Order of monks.

It never occurs thus to the Tathāgata, Ānanda:
'I will carry on the Order of monks',
'The Order of monks is under my direction'.

What,[13] Ānanda?

Shall the Tathāgata make any pronouncement
concerning the Order of monks?

As for me, Ānanda,
I am now a broken-down old man,
far gone in years.

I have reached the journey's end.

I am come to life's limit.

My age is now turning eighty years.

Just as, Ānanda,
a worn-out cart
is kept going
by being tied together with helps,[14]
even so, Ānanda, the Tathāgata's body
is kept going by helps.

[133] Only at times when the Tathāgata,
by not attending to any features (of things),
by the cessation of feelings one and all,
attains and abides in that mental concentration
which is featureless,
only at such times, Ānanda,
is the Tathāgata more at ease.[15]

Wherefore, Ānanda, do ye abide grounded on self,

Taking refuge in none other.

Do ye abide with the Norm for your ground,[16]
taking refuge in the Norm,
having none other refuge.

Whoso, Ānanda, either now
or when I have passed away,
shall abide with self for their ground,
taking refuge in none other;
with the Norm for their ground,
taking refuge in the Norm,
having none other refuge, -
they, Ānanda, shall be my monks,
they shall be atop of the gloom[17]
[that is, they who are anxious to learn]."[18]


[1] Cf. D. ii, 98. 'A village on a slope at the foot of a hill near Vesālī.' Comy. Cf. Dialog. ii, 106; Buddhist Suttas, p. 34. Beluva is the vilva tree.

[2] Texts, both here and at D., read mittaŋ, etc., but Comy. MSS. mittā, sandiṭṭhā, sambhattā.

[3] Comy. says there was poor accommodation at Beluva, and the Master said this for their comfort; also that they might be at hand when he was to pass away, ten months later.

[4] Jīvita-, like āyu-sañkhārā.

[5] Here D. has a different reading ditthā me phāsu, ... khamanāyaŋ ... yāpanīyaŋ Bhagavato.

[6] Madhuraka-jāto, Cf. K.S. iii, 90 n. (where I have discussed the word). Comy. sanjāta-sarubhāvo, sanjāta-thaddha-bhāvo, sūle uttāsita-sadiso viya (he became heavy and lumpish, like one impaled on a stake); and below on text 162; Ānanda was all of a tremble like a cock escaping from the month of a cat.

[7] Dhammā = satipaṭṭhāna-dhammā mayhaŋ pākaṭā na honti; tanti-dhammā pana therassa suppaguṇā. At S. iii, loc. cit. Comy. says pariyatti-dhammā Cf. Thag. 1034 = Brethren, 356, and infra II, iii (Cunda).

[8] Text tāva, but D. yāva.

[9] Anantaraŋ abāhiraŋ katvā It is worth while quoting Comy. on the much disputed question of exoteric and esoteric in Buddhism. Comy. (reading anantara-sa-bāhiraŋ) 'It refers either to the teaching or the person taught With the thought: I will not teach thus much to another, one makes doctrine inner (antaraŋ). With the thought: I will teach thus much to another, one makes doctrine outer (bāhiraŋ). With the thought: I will teach this particular person, he admits another person (abbhantaraŋ karoti). With the thought: I will not teach this particular person, he bars out a person (bāhiraŋ karoti). Here the meaning is that he did neither of these.' Cf. JA. ii, 221, Bodhisattā nāma sippaŋ vācentā ācariya-muṭṭhiŋ na karonti; Mil. P. 144.

[10] Comy. 'Teachers on their deathbed confide to a favourite private disciple things they had kept back in youth, untold to any. Not so the Tathāgata.'

[11] Cf. DhpA. i, 139 (of Devadatta).

[12] Mam-uddesiko, 'indicating me as giving directions what to do and what not to do.' Comy.

[13] Text has sakim, but D. kim?

[14] Text vedha-missakena. Comy. vega-m. Cf. UdA. 330 n. The v.ll. are numerous. Buddhist Suttas, 37, 'with much additional care' (where see note, quoting DA. Comy. arahatta-phala-veghanena (?); our Comy. has -vaḍḍhanena); Dialog. ii, 107, 'with the help of thongs, by bandaging up,' where see note. Our Comy. bāḷha[v.l. bāhā]-bandha(? baddha)-cakka-bandhanādi-paṭisañkhārena vega-missakena, and adds that the Buddha was supported by the fruits of Arahantship (as at DA.).

[15] Text phāsutaraŋ but D. phāsukato ... kāyo.

[16] Dīpa = 'lamp' and 'solid ground' (island). This latter meaning seems preferable. Comy. 'by Norm, the ninefold transcendental Norm is meant (i.e., the four paths, four fruits and Nibbāna).'

[17] Tamatagge. This somewhat obscure phrase is thus explained by Comy.: tam'agge. Majjhe ta kāro padasandhi-vasena vutto (the t in the middle is euphonic). ... Ime agga-tamā, evaŋ sabbaŋ tama-sotaŋ (DA. yogaŋ) chinditvā, ativiya agge uttama-bhave ... sabbe te catu-vīsati satipaṭṭhāna-gocarā va bhikkhū agge bhavissanti. 'On the peak of darkness ... these are on top of the darkness; thus having cut off every stream of darkness they shall be "on the summit (of it)"' Our Comy. is nearly the same as DA., quoted by Professor Rhys Davids ad loc. I quote these parts of it as all may not have access to Buddhist Suttas, the note to which is later condemned in Dialog. loc. cit. Following Comy. (uttama-bhāve) he translated: 'They shall reach the topmost height,' but as is evident, and as Pāli Dict. s.v. has shown, the word refers to darkness. Agge = arahantship. Comy.

[18] This phrase in brackets, Professor Rhys Davids remarks, seems to have been added afterwards. Comy. however, has it in the paraphrase.

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