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 18

Madhu-Piṇḍika Suttaɱ

Honeyed Lore



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

Once when the Lord was staying among the Sakyans at Kapilavatthu in the Banyan pleasaunce,
he went, duly robed and bowl in hand,
into the city for alms.

At the end of his round,
when his meal was over
and he was on his way back,
he came to Great Wood
and entering it seated [76] himself for the noontide
at the foot of a young Vilva tree.

So too Daṇḍapāṇi the Sakyan,
who was on his wanderings and peregrinations
afoot in the forest,
came also to Great Wood
and, entering it,
drew near to the Lord under his tree,
and, after exchange of civil greetings,
stood to one side
with his hands leaning on his staff,
to ask:

What are your tenets, recluse?

What is your gospel?

Tenets, sir, whereby
not only is a man at strife with no world whatsoever
throughout the whole universe -
with its gods,
recluses and brahmins,
embracing all gods and mankind, -
but also he as (a true) Brahmin
dwells above all pleasures of sense,
without perplexities
and with a clear conscience,
without any cravings to be reborn
either here or there,
immune from assaults of the perceptions.

These, sir, are my tenets;
and this is my gospel.

At these words Daṇḍapāṇi shook his head,
waggled his tongue
and departed,
still leaning on his staff,
with his brow puckered into three wrinkles.

Towards evening,
arising from his meditations,
the Lord made his way to the Banyan pleasaunce.

There, seating himself on the seat set for him,
he told the Almsmen the incident in full detail.

When he had done so,
a certain Almsman asked what precisely were the tenets
whereby the Lord was at strife with no world
and how he as the true Brahmin
dwelt above all pleasures of sense
without perplexities ...
assaults of the perceptions.

Whatever be the origin, Almsman,
of the several obsessions,
bred of perceptions,
which beset a man's path,
yet, if they find neither approval
nor welcome
nor adherence,
then here at once is an end of all propensities to passion,
to resentment,
to speculative ideas,
to doubts,
to pride,
to passion for continuing existence,
and to ignorance;
it is the end of taking up cudgel
or knife,
of quarrels,
of contentions,
of strife,
of wrangling,
and lies.

Herein, all these evil and wrong states of mind
are quelled and pass away entirely.

[77] So spoke the Lord.

Then, getting up from his seat,
the Blessed One went to his cell.

He had not been gone long
when those Almsmen bethought them
how tersely
and without detailed exposition
the Lord had propounded this theme
ere withdrawing to his cell;
and they were wondering who would expound to them
the meaning of the Lord's pregnant utterance,
when the idea came to them
that the reverend Mahā-Kaccāna,
who was praised by the Master
and was held in high honour
among the most able of his fellows in the higher life,
could give them that detailed exposition.

So to Mahā-Kaccāna they went,
laid the whole matter before him,
and asked him to expound accordingly.

Really, sirs, said he,
it is as if a man who was in need and search and quest of choice timber
were to come on just the fine upstanding tree for his purpose
but were to disregard its root and trunk
and to imagine he could find his choice timber
among the branches and foliage.

For, this is just what your reverences have come to,
in that, with the Master there in front of you,
you have ignored him
and come to ask me what he meant.

Sirs, the Lord knows with all knowing
and sees with all seeing, -
being the embodiment of vision,
the Doctrine,
and all excellence;
he is the propounder
and expounder
and unfolder
of meanings,
the giver of Nirvana's ambrosia,
lord of the Doctrine,
the Truth-finder.

Then was the time to address your questions to the Lord in person,
in order to treasure up what he might reveal.

Admitting all this,
the Almsmen still pressed Mahā-Kaccāna to consent to expound and elucidate it for them.

And he, consenting, spoke as follows:

I take, sirs, the detailed meaning of the Lord's pregnant utterance to be this.

'It is because of the eye
and of visible forms
that visual consciousness arises;
the meeting of these three things is contact;
contact conditions feeling;
what a man feels,
he perceives;
what he perceives,
he reasons about;
what he reasons about,
he is obsessed by;
from what obsesses him
[78] originate the several obsessions,
bred of perceptions,
which beset a man's path
in respect of visible forms,
or future,
which are cognizable by the eye.

So too, it is because of ear and sounds
that auditory consciousness arises;

because of nose and odours that olfactory consciousness arises;

because of tongue and tastes that gustatory consciousness arises;

because of body and tangible things that there arises tactile consciousness;

because of mind and mental objects that there arises mental consciousness;
the meeting of these three things is contact;
contact conditions feeling ... mental objects,
or future,
which are cognizable by the mind.[1]

Where eye and visible form are present with visual consciousness,
there a man may recognize the manifestation of contact;
where there is the manifestation of contact,
there a man may recognize the manifestation of feeling -
and so of perception,
and obsession.

But the three factors must all be present together,
or there can be no manifestation to recognize.

And the like holds good
of each of the other senses,
including mind.

This, sirs, is what I take to be the detailed meaning of the Lord's pregnant utterance.

But, should your reverences so desire,
you can go to the Lord himself
and address your questions to him in person,
in order to treasure up what he may reveal.

After expressing their gratification
and gratitude
to the reverend Mahā-Kaccāna,
those Almsmen rose and went to the Lord,
to whom they explained at length
how, to get a detailed interpretation of his pregnant utterance,
they had betaken themselves to the reverend Mahā-Kaccāna
and how in what sentences and words
he had expounded the meaning to them.

Mahā-Kaccāna, said the Lord, has learning and [79] great insight.

If you were to put your question to me,
my explanation would tally with his;
for this is the right meaning
and you should so treasure it up.

Hereupon, the venerable Ānanda said to the Lord:

Just as a man who,
being half-dead with hunger and exhaustion,
should come on a honeyed cake,
each bit he tastes bringing in on him more and more
its sweet delicious savour, -
even so, the further the mind of a competent Almsman penetrates
into the import of the lore
of the exposition of the Doctrine,
the greater grows his gratification
and gladness of heart.

What, sir, is the name of this exposition?

Well, Ānanda, let it be known as
the exposition of 'the honeyed cake.'

Thus spoke the Lord.

Glad at heart, the reverend Ānanda rejoiced in what the Lord had said.


[1] Here, as infra at M. III, 223, this scholastic formula is attributed, not to Gotama but to Kaccāna, as, in the 28th and 43rd Suttas, it is attributed to Sāriputta.

See M. I, 295, for Sāriputta's dictum that, while the first five (ordinary) senses have domains separate and distinct from one another, mind enters into the domain of each of them.

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