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Saɱyutta Nikāya
I. Sagātha Vagga
1. Devatā-Saɱyutta
I. Naḷa-Vagga

The Connected Discourses of the Buddha
I. The Book with Verses
1. Connected Discourses with Devatās
I. A Reed

Suttas 1-10

Translated from the Pāli by Bhikkhu Bodhi

Copyright Bhikkhu Bodhi 2000, The Connected Discourses of the Buddha (Wisdom Publications, 2000)
This selection from The Connected Discourses of the Buddha: A Translation of the Saɱyutta Nikāya by Bhikkhu Bodhi is reprinted with permission of Wisdom Publications, 199 Elm St., Somerville MA 02144 U.S.A
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Homage to the Blesed One, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One

 


[1] [89]

Sutta 1

Ogha Suttaɱ

Crossing the Flood

[1][pts][than][olds][upal] THUS HAVE I HEARD.

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthi in Jeta's Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika's Park. Then, when the night had advanced, a certain devatā of stunning beauty, illuminating the entire Jeta's Grove, approached the Blessed One. Having approached, he paid homage to the Blessed One, stood to one side, and said to him:

"How, dear sir, did you cross the flood?"[1]

"By not halting, friend, and by not straining I crossed the flood."[2]

"But how is it, dear sir, that by not halting and by not straining you crossed the flood?"

"When I came to a standstill, friend, then I sank; when when I struggled, then I got swept away. It is in this way, friend, that by not halting and by not straining I crossed the flood."[3]

[The devatā:]

"After a long time at last I see
A brahmin who is fully quenched,
Who by not halting, not straining,
Has crossed over attachment to the world."[4]

[90] This is what that devatā said.[5] The Teacher approved. Then that devatā, thinking, "The Teacher has approved of me," paid homage to the Blessed One and, keeing him on the right, disappeared right there.

 


 

Sutta 2

Kimokkha Suttaɱ

Emancipation

[2.1][pts][upal] At Sāvatthī. Then, when the night had advanced, a certain devatā of stunning beauty, illuminating the entire Jeta's Grove, approached the Blessed One. Having approached, he paid homage to the Blessed One, stood to one side, and said to him:

"Do you know, dear sir, emancipation, release, seclusion for beings?"

"I know, friend, emancipation, release, seclusion for beings."

"But in what way, dear sir, do you know emancipation, release, seclusion for beings?"

[The Blessed One:]

"By the utter destruction of delight in existence,
By the extinction of perception and consciousness,
By the cessation and appeasement of feelings:
It is thus, friend, that I know for beings —
Emancipation, release, seclusion."

 


 

Sutta 3

Upaneyya Suttaɱ

Reaching

[2.1][pts][upal] At Sāvatthī. Standing to one side, that devatā recited this verse in the presence of the Blessed One:

"Life is swept along, short is the life span;
No shelters exist for one who has reached old age.
Seeing clearly this danger in death,
One should do deeds of merit that bring happiness."

[The Blessed One:]

"Life is swept along, short is the life span;
No shelters exist for one who has reached old age.
Seeing clearly this danger in death,
A seeker of peace should drop the world's bait."

 


[91]

Sutta 4

Accenti Suttaɱ

Time Flies By

[4.1][pts][upal] At Sāvatthī. Standing to one side, that devatā recited this verse in the presence of the Blessed One:

"Time flies by, the nights swiftly pass;
The stages of life successively desert us.
Seeing clearly this danger in death,
One should do deeds of merit that bring happiness."

[The Blessed One:]

"Time flies by, the nights swiftly pass;
The stages of life successively desert us.
Seeing clearly this danger in death,
A seeker of peace should drop the world's bait."

 


 

Sutta 5

Kati Chinde Suttaɱ

How Many Must One Cut?

[5.1][pts][upal] At Sāvatthī. Standing to one side, that devatā recited this verse in the presence of the Blessed One:

"How many must one cut, how many abandon,
And how many further must one develop?
When a bhikkhu has surmounted how many ties
Is he called a crosser of the flood?"

[The Blessed One:]

"One must cut off five, abandon five,
And must develop a further five.
A bhikkhu who has surmounted five ties
Is called a crosser of the flood."

 


 

Sutta 6

Jagara Suttaɱ

Awake

[6.1][pts][upal] At Sāvatthī. Standing to one side, that devatā recited this verse in the presence of the Blessed One:

"How many are asleep when [others] are awake?
How many are awake when [others] sleep?
[92] By how many does one gather dust?
By how many is one purified?"

[The Blessed One:]

"Five are asleep when [others] are awake;
Five are awake when [others] sleep.
By five things one gathers dust,
By five things one is purified."[4]

 


 

Sutta 7

Appaṭividitā Suttaɱ

Not Penetrated

[7.1][pts][upal] At Sāvatthī. Standing to one side, that devatā recited this verse in the presence of the Blessed One:

"Those who have not penetrated things,
Who may be led into others' doctrines,
Fast asleep, they have not yet awakened:
It is time for them to awaken."

[The Blessed One:]

"Those who have penetrated things well,
Who cannot be led into others' doctrines,
Those awakened ones, having rightly known,
Fare evenly amidst the uneven."

 


 

Sutta 8

Susammuṭṭhā Suttaɱ

Utterly Muddled

[8.1][pts][upal] At Sāvatthī. Standing to one side, that devatā recited this verse in the presence of the Blessed One:

"Those who are utterly muddled about things,
Who may be led into others' doctrines,
Fast asleep, they have not yet awakened:
It is time for them to awaken."

[The Blessed One:]

"Those who aren't muddled about things,
Who cannot be led into others' doctrines,
Those awakened ones, having rightly known,
Fare evenly amidst the uneven."

 


 

Sutta 9

Mānakāma Suttaɱ

One Prone to Conceit

[9.1][pts][upal] At Sāvatthī. Standing to one side, that devatā recited this verse in the presence of the Blessed One:

"There is no taming here for one fond of conceit,
Nor is there sagehood for the unconcentrated:
Though dwelling alone in the forest, heedless,
One cannot cross beyond the realm of Death."

[The Blessed One:]

"Having abandoned conceit, well concentrated,
With lofty mind, everywhere released:
While dwelling alone in the forest, diligent,
One can cross beyond the realm of Death."

 


[5]

Sutta 10

Araññe Suttaɱ

Forest

[10.1][pts][upal] At Sāvatthī. Standing to one side, that devatā recited this verse in the presence of the Blessed One:

"Those who dwell deep in the forest,
Peaceful, leading the holy life,
Eating but a single meal a day:
Why is their complexion so serene?"

[The Blessed One:]

"They do not sorrow over the past,
Nor do they hanker for the future.
They maintain themselves with what is present:
Hence their complexion is so serene.

"Through hankering for the future,
Through sorrowing over the past,
Fools dry up and wither away
Like a green reed cut down."

 


[1]Mārisa, "dear sir," is the term which the devas generally use to address the Buddha, eminent bhikkhus (see, e.g., 40:10; IV 270, 16), and members of their own community (11:3; I 218, 34); kings also use it to address one another (3:12; I 80, 4). Spk explains it as a term of affection meaning "one without suffering" (niddukkha), but it is probably a Middle Indic form of Skt mad.rsa.
The word "flood" (ogha) is used metaphorically, but here with technical overtones, to designate a doctrinal set of four floods (see 45:171), so called, according to Spk, "because they keep beings submerged within the round of existence and do not allow them to rise up to higher states and to Nibbāna." The four (with definitions from Spk) are: (i) the flood of sensuality (kāmogha) = desire and lust for the five cords of sensual pleasure (agreeable forms, sounds, etc.-see 45:176); (ii) the flood of existence (bhavogha) = desire and lust for form-sphere existence and formless-sphere existence and attachment to jhāna; (iii) the flood of views (ditthogha) = the sixty-two views (DN I 12-38); and (iv) the flood of ignorance (avijjogha) = lack of knowledge regarding the Four Noble Truths. Flood imagery is also used at vv. 298-300, 511-13, and 848-49.

[2]Appatiṭṭhaɱ khvāhaɱ āvuso anāyūhaɱ ogham atariɱ. Spk: The Buddha's reply is intended to be paradoxical, for one normally crosses a flood by halting in places that offer a foothold and by straining in places that must be crossed.
Spk glosses appatiṭṭhaɱ only with appatiṭṭhahanto (an alternative form of the present participle), but Spk-pṭ elaborates: "Not halting: not coming to a standstill on account of the defilements and so forth; the meaning is 'not sinking' (appatiṭṭhahanto ti kilesādinaɱ vasena asantiṭṭhanto, asaŋsīdanto ti attho)." The verb patitiṭṭhati usually means "to become established," i.e., attached, principally on account of craving and other defilements: see below v. 46 and n. 35. Consciousness driven by craving is "established" (see 12:38-40, 12:64, 22:53-54), and when craving is removed it becomes "unestablished, unsupported." The arahant expires "with consciousness unestablished" (appatiṭṭhitena viññāṇena ... parinibbuto; see 4:23 (I 122,12-13)). All these nuances resonate in the Buddha's reply.
The verb āyūhati is rare in the Nikāyas, but see below v. 263df, v. 264d, and Sn 210d. It is an intensification of ūhati (augmented by ā- with -y- as liaison); the simple verb occurs at MN I 116,13-14, where it might be rendered "to be strained." Its occurrence there ties up with the present context: a strained mind is far from concentration. In the later literature the noun form āyūhana acquires the technical sense of "accumulation," with specific reference to kamma; in the formula of dependent origination (paṭiccasamuppāda), volitional formations (saŋkhārā) are said to have the function of āyūhana; see Paṭis I 52,14, 26; Vism 528,12 (Ppn 17:51), 579,31-580,4 (Ppn 17:292-93).
Spk: The Blessed One deliberately gave an obscure reply to the deva in order to humble him, for he was stiff with conceit yet imagined himself wise. Realizing that the deva would not be able to penetrate the teaching unless he first changed his attitude, the Buddha intended to perplex him and thereby curb his pride. At that point, humbled, the deva would ask for clarification and the Buddha would explain in such a way that he could understand.

[3]The Buddha's brief reply points to the middle way (majjhimā paṭipadā) in its most comprehensive range, both practical and philosophical. To make this implication clear Spk enumerates seven dyads: (i) "halting" by way of defilements, one sinks; "straining" by way of volitional formations, one gets swept away; (ii) by way of craving and views, one sinks; by way of the other defilements, one gets swept away; (iii) by way of craving, one sinks; by way of views, one gets swept away; (iv) by way of the eternalist view, one sinks; by way of the annihilationist view, one gets swept away (see It 43,12-44,4); (v) by way of slackness one sinks, by way of restlessness one gets swept away; (vi) by way of devotion to sensual pleasures one sinks, by way of devotion to self-mortification one gets swept away; (vii) by way of all unwholesome volitional formations one sinks, by way of all mundane wholesome volitional formations one gets swept away. Ñāṇananda suggests connecting the principle of "not halting, not straining" with each of the four floods: see SN-Anth 2:56-58.

[4]Spk: The Buddha is called a brahmin in the sense of arahant (see Dhp 388, 396-423). He is fully quenched (parinibbuto) in that he is quenched through the quenching of defilements (kilesanibbānena nibbutaɱ). Craving is designated attachment (visattikā) because it clings and adheres to a variety of sense objects.

[5]Spk: When the deva heard the Buddha's reply he was established in the fruit of stream-entry.


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