Ii 14. King Milinda and Naagasena Come to an Understanding

Translated from the Milindapa~nha (28.28)

Said the king, "Bhante Naagasena, will you converse with me?"

"Your majesty, if you will converse with me as the wise converse, I will; but if you converse with me as kings converse, I will not."

"Bhante Naagasena, how do the wise converse?"

"Your majesty, when the wise converse, whether they become entangled by their opponents' arguments or extricate themselves, whether they or their opponents are convicted of error, whether their own superiority or that of their opponents is established, nothing in all this can make them angry. Thus, your majesty, do the wise converse."

"And how, bhante, do kings converse?"

"Your majesty, when kings converse, they advance a proposition, and whoever opposes it, they order his punishment, [129] saying, 'Punish this fellow!' Thus, your majesty, do kings converse."

"Bhante, I will converse as the wise converse, not as kings do. Let your worship converse in all confidence. Let your worship converse as unrestrainedly as if with a priest or a novice or a lay disciple or a keeper of the monastery grounds. Be not afraid!"

"Very well, your majesty," said the elder in assent.


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