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Kathāvatthu

Points of Controversy
or
Subjects of Discourse

IV 8

Bodhisatto Kassapassa bhagavato pāvacane okkantaniyāmo caritabrahmacariyo ti?

Of entering on the Path of Assurance

Translated from the Pali by Shwe Zan Aung and Mrs. Rhys Davids

Copyright The Pali Text Society.

 


 

Controverted Point. - That the Bodhisat had entered on the Path of Assurance and conformed to the life therein during the dispensation[1] of Kassapa Buddha.[2]

From, the Commentary. - This discourse deals with a belief, shared by the Andhakas,[3] with reference to the account in the Ghaṭīkāra Sutta of Jotipāla joining the Order,[4] that [our] Bodhisat had entered the [168] Path of Assurance under Kassapa Buddha. Now Assurance (niyāma) and the 'higher life therein' (brahmacariya) are equivalents for the Ariyan [Fourfold] Path. And there is no other entering upon that Path for Bodhisats save when they are fulfilling the Perfections;[5] otherwise our Bodhisat would have been a disciple when Stream-Winner, etc. The Buddhas prophesy 'he will become a Buddha' (as Kassapa is said to have prophesied concerning Gotama Buddha, then alive as this Jotipāla) simply by the might of their insight.

[1] Th. - If so, [our] Bodhisat must have been a disciple - i.e., one in the Ariyan Way - of Kassapa Buddha. You deny. For if you assent, you must admit that he became Buddha after his career as disciple. Moreover, a 'disciple' is one who learns through information from others, while a Buddha is self-developed.[6]

[2] Further, if the Bodhisat became Kassapa's disciple, [entering on the first Path and Fruit], it follows that there were only three stages of fruition for him to know thoroughly when under the Bōdhi Tree. But we believe that all four were then realized.[7]

[3] Further, would one who had entered on the Path of Assurance [as a disciple] have undergone the austerities practised by the Bodhisat [in his own last life]? And would such an one point to others as his teachers and practise their austerities, as did the Bodhisat in his last life?[8]

[4] Do we learn that, as the Venerable Ānanda, and the householder Citta and Hatthaka the Āḷavakan entered into Assurance and lived its higher life as disciples under the Exalted One, so the Exalted One himself, as Bodhisat, acted under Kassapa Buddha? You deny, of course.

[5] If they did so enter, under the Exalted One, as his disciples, you cannot affirm that the Bodhisat entered on the Path of Assurance, and lived its higher life under Kassapa Buddha without being his disciple. Or can a [169] disciple who has evolved past one birth become a nondisciple afterwards? You deny, of course.

[6] A. U. - But if our proposition is wrong, is there not a Suttanta in which the Exalted One said: 'Under the Exalted One Kassapa, Ānanda, I lived the higher life for supreme enlightenment in the future'?[9]

[7] Th. - But is there not a Suttanta in which the Exalted One said:

'All have I overcome. All things I know,
'Mid all things undefiled. Renouncing all,
In death of craving wholly free. My own
The deeper view. Whom should I name to thee?
For me no teacher lives. I stand alone
On earth, in heav'n rival to me there's none.
Yea, I am Arahant as to this w'orld,
A Teacher I above whom there is none.
Supreme enlightenment is mine alone.
In holy Coolness I, all fires extinct.
Now go I on seeking Benares town,
To start the Wheel, to set on foot the Norm.
Amid a world in gloom and very blind,
I strike the alarm upon Ambrosia's Drum'?

'According to what thou declarest, brother, thou art indeed Arahant, ["worthy" to be][10] conqueror world without end.'

'Like unto me indeed are conquerors
Who every poisonous canker have east out.
Conquered by me is every evil thing,
And therefore am I conqueror, Upaka'?
[11]

[8] And is there not a Suttanta in which the Exalted One said: "0 bhikkhus, it was concerning things unlearnt before that vision, insight, understanding, wisdom, light arose in me at the thought of the Ariyan Truth of the nature and [170] fact of Ill, and that this Truth was to be understood, and was understood by me. It was concerning things unlearnt before that vision, insight, understanding, wisdom, light arose in me at the thought of the Ariyan Truth as to the Cause of Ill, and that this Truth was concerning something to be put away, and was put away by me. It was concerning things unlearnt before that vision, insight, understanding, wisdom, light arose in me at the thought of the Ariyan Truth as to the Cessation of Ill, and that this Truth was concerning something to be realized, and was realized by me. It was concerning things unlearnt before that vision, insight, understanding, wisdom, light arose in me at the thought of the Ariyan Truth as to the Course leading to the cessation of Ill, and that this truth was to be developed, and was developed by me'?[12]

How then can you say that the Bodhisat entered on the Path of Assurance and lived the higher life thereof [as far back as] the age of Kassapa Buddha?

 


[1] Literally, teaching or doctrine (pavacana).

[2] This was the Buddha next before 'our' Buddha. See Dialogues, ii., p. 6. [see the table from this sutta: The Last Seven Budhas] On 'Assurance,' see V. 4, and Appendix: 'Assurance.'

[3] See preceding extract.

[4] Majjhima-Nik., ii. p. 46 f. Jotipāla was a Brahmin youth who, against his will, was brought by Ghaṭīkāra, the potter, to hear Kassapa Buddha, and became a bhikkhu. Gotama Buddha affirmed that Jotipāla was a former impersonation of himself.

[5] Cf. Buddhist Birth Stories, p. 18 f.

[6] Sayam-bhu.

[7] Op. cit., 109.

[8] Majjhima-Nik., i. 80, 245.

[9] We cannot trace this, but cf. Majjhima-Nik., ii., p. 54; Buddha-vaŋsa, xxv. 10.

[10] Br. and PTS editions read arahā'si; Majjhima-Nik. (Trenckner) has arahasi.

[11] Vinaya Texts, i. 91; Majjhima-Nik., i. 171; Pss. Sisters, 129.

[12] Saŋyutta-Nik., v. 422.

 


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