Majjhima Nikaya

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Majjhima Nikāya
1. Mūla-Paṇṇāsa
2. Sīhanāda Vagga

Sacred Books of the Buddhists
Volume V
Dialogues of the Buddha
Part IV

Further Dialogues of the Buddha
Volume I

Translated from the Pali
by Lord Chalmers, G.C.B.
Sometime Governor of Ceylon

Humphrey Milford
Oxford University Press
Public Domain

Sutta 11

Cūḷa-Sīhanāda Suttaɱ

The Short Challenge



[1][pts][ntbb][upal][than] THUS have I heard:

Once when the Lord was staying at Sāvatthī in Jeta's grove in Anāthapiṇḍika's pleasaunce,
the Lord addressed the Almsmen as follows:

Lord Chalmers has got this completely wrong. It's: 'We have these, empty are other systems'. See the other translations.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

We have in our very midst a recluse,
yes and a second,
and fourth recluse
who are empty and heretical -
no true recluses! -
in these words
let your indictment ring out
like a lion's roar.

If now it happens that Wanderers (paribbājakā) of other sects than yours
ask you by what inspiration
and on what authority you say this,
then your answer to such should be this:

Unto us, reverend sirs,
the Lord who knows and sees,
the Arahat all-enlightened,
has revealed four states of mind
which we have realized
and therefore speak thus;
and those four states of mind are that we
(i) believe in our Teacher,
(ii) believe in his Doctrine,
(iii) have fulfilled the code of virtue, and
(iv) love all our dear fellow-believers,
be they lay or be they Pilgrims.

These four states we have realized,
and that is why we speak thus.

If now the Wanderers of other sects
were to rejoin that,
in like manner,
they believed in a teacher of their own
and in his doctrine,
had fulfilled their own code of virtue,
and loved their own dear fellow-believers;
and if they went on to ask you
what was the distinction
or divergence
or difference
between them and you; -
then, you should ask them
whether the Goal[1] was one or many.

If they answer aright,
they will say
the Goal [43] is one and not many.

Is it, you will ask,
the Goal of the man with,
or of the man without, passion - hate - illusion?

If they answer aright,
they will say it is the Goal of the man without passion, hate, or illusion, -
as they will also say,
in answer to your further questions,
that it is the Goal of the man without cravings,
without attachments,
of the man who is without fractiousness
and without a combative spirit,
and who is free from obsessions.

There are the two speculative ideas, -
of eternalism
and of annihilationism.

Every recluse or brahmin who is attached,
and given over to the first view
is an opponent of the other;
and vice versa.

Recluses or brahmins
who know not the real nature
of the rise and wane of these two speculative ideas,
who know not their lure,
their perils,
and their outcome, -
harbour passion,
and attachments,
are empty of lore,
are foes to peace,
take pleasure and delight in obsessions,
nor do they win deliverance from birth,
depression of body and mind,
or from tribulation; -
they win, say I,
no deliverance from Ill.

Whereas, all recluses and brahmins
who do know the real nature
of the rise and wane of these two speculative ideas,
their lure,
and outcome, -
are void of passion,
and illusion,
void of cravings
and attachments,
are rich in lore,
combat not the unpeaceful,
take no pleasure or delight in obsessions,
and win Deliverance from birth,
depression of body and mind,
and from tribulation; -
these win, say I,
Deliverance from Ill.

There are four attachments, -
to sensuous pleasure,
to speculative ideas,
to works,
and to soul-theories.

Some recluses and brahmins profess to understand them all,
but fail to show understanding of the whole set of four;
for example,
they show an [44] understanding of attachment to sensuous pleasures,
but not of the other attachments.

And why?

Because these good people do not understand aright what the others are.

In such a creed and rule as theirs,
it is clear their belief in their teacher is not perfect,
or their belief in his plan,
or fulfilment of the code of virtue,
or love for their fellow-believers.

And why?

Because this must be so in any creed and rule
which has been wrongly revealed
and wrongly preached,
which does not bring salvation and peace,
which has not been preached by the All-enlightened.

Now the Truth-finder,
Arahat all-enlightened,
not only professes to understand all attachments
but also communicates to others
his understanding of all four.

In such a creed and rule as ours, Almsmen,
it is clear that belief in the Master is perfect,
as belief in his Doctrine is perfect,
and as fulfilment of the code of virtue
and love for fellow-believers are perfect.

And why?

Because this must be so in a creed and rule
which has been rightly revealed
and rightly preached,
which brings salvation and peace,
which has been preached by the All-Enlightened.

Now whence come the four attachments?

What is their origin?

What is their parentage?

How are they produced?

They come from craving;
they originate in craving;
they are born of craving;
and by craving they are produced.

Craving in its turn
comes from feeling;
it originates in feeling;
it is born of feeling;
and by feeling it is produced.

Similarly, feeling comes from contact,
contact from the six spheres of sense,
these six spheres from name-and-shape,
name-and-shape from perception,
perception from plastic forces, [Ed.: saṅkhārā]
plastic forces from ignorance.

When ignorance has passed away
and when knowledge (of the true goal) has arisen in an Almsman,
then, with this purging of ignorance
and the uprising of knowledge,
he attaches himself no longer to sensuous pleasure,
or to speculative ideas,
or to works,
or to soul-theories;
being void of attachment,
he trembles not;
trembling not,
he wins Nirvana for himself, -
sure in his convic- [45] tion
that for him rebirth is no more,
that he has lived the highest life,
that his task is done,
and that now for him
what he was is no more.

Thus spoke the Lord.

Glad at heart, those Almsmen rejoiced in what the Lord had said.


[1] Niṭṭhā. Bu. observes that, while all alike professed 'Arahat-ship' as their goal, brahmins aimed at the brahmaloka, tapas ascetics at the ābhassara heaven, paribbājakas at the subhakiṇṇa heaven, the ājīvikas at the heaven of Infinity of mind. Really, they all wanted some (unconscious) future (cf. Dīgha I, 28, and Dialogues I, 41, n. 2), whereas in Buddhism the goal is Arahatship pure and simple, with no after-life.

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