Majjhima Nikaya

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Majjhima Nikāya
1. Mūla-Paṇṇāsa
4. Mahā Yamaka 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 37

Cūḷa Taṇhā Sankhaya Suttaɱ

Deliverance from Cravings



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

Sakka, as with all the gods, does not sit. He stands.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

Once when the Lord was staying at Sāvatthī in the Old Pleasaunce in the palace of Migāra's Mother,
there came to him Sakka, king of gods, who,
taking a seat to one side after salutations,
asked how, briefly,
an Almsman became Delivered
by the extirpation of cravings,
so as to become consummate in perfection,
consummate in his union with peace,
consummate in the higher life,
consummate in his bourne,[1]
foremost among gods and men.

Take the case, king of gods,
of an Almsman who has been taught
that there should never be any inclination
towards any mental state whatsoever.

So taught, he apprehends all such mental states,
and, by apprehending,
comprehends them,
and, by comprehending,
views every feeling which he experiences -
be it pleasant,
or unpleasant
or neither -
with a sense of its impermanence,
without passion for them,
with an eye to their cessation,

and with an eye to renouncing them all,
so that, in the result,
he clings on to nothing in the world
and thereby is undismayed,
and, being undismayed,
individually wins Nirvana for himself -
with the conviction that for him
re-birth is no more;
that he has greatly lived;
that his task is done;
and that there is no more of what he has been.

That, king of gods, is how, briefly,
an Almsman [l8l] becomes Delivered ...
foremost among gods and men.

Hereupon, expressing satisfaction and gratitude
for what he had heard,
Sakka, king of gods, saluted the Lord with deep reverence
and vanished then and there.

The reverend Mahā-Moggallāna,
who at the time was seated near the Lord,
inwardly wondered whether or not that fairy,
in expressing gratitude,
had really grasped what the Lord had told him,
and resolved to find out.

Swiftly as a strong man might stretch out his arm
or draw back his outstretched arm,
Moggallāna vanished from the palace of Migara's Mother
and appeared among the Thirty-Three gods.

Sakka, who at the moment
was taking his pleasure in the Lotus Pleasaunce
with five hundred instruments
discoursing heavenly music around him,
no sooner saw the reverend Mahā-Moggallāna in the distance
than he stopped the music
and going towards him said:

Approach, Your Excellency;
welcome to Your Excellency;
it is a long time since Your Excellency managed to come here;
pray be seated, Your Excellency;
here is a seat set for you.

Moggallāna took his seat accordingly,
and then Sakka, king of gods, seated himself
on a lower seat to one side.

When they were thus seated,
Moggallāna said to Sakka:

How did the Lord, Kosiya,[2] briefly expound to you
Deliverance by the extirpation of cravings?

Pray let me too
share in that discourse
so that I may hear it.

I have much to do and attend to, Your Excellency,
both on my own account
and on that of the Thirty-Three.

I duly heard it all
and took it in;
I duly pondered it over
and stored it up in my memory;
nor will it soon fade away.

Time was, Your Excellency,
when war arose between the gods and the [182] Asuras (titans);
and in the conflict the gods won,
and the Asuras were worsted.

On my triumphant return from that conflict,
I called into being the Palace of Victory (Vejayanta), -
which has a hundred towers,
each seven hundred stories high,
and in each story there are seven nymphs,
each with her seven attendants.

Would not Your Excellency like to see
the delights of the Palace of Victory?

Moggallāna having expressed assent by silence,
Sakka, king of gods, and King Vessavana,[3]
preceded by Moggallāna,
proceeded to the Palace of Victory.

At the sight of Moggallāna in the distance,
Sakka's handmaidens fled in fear and shame
each to her own apartment, -
just as a young wife is filled with fear and shame
at the sight of her husbands father.

Then Sakka and Vessavana conducted Moggallāna through the palace
and walked him all over it,
pointing out its successive delights to His Excellency.

Yes, said Moggallāna,
it is as splendid as it should be,
in view of the venerable Kosiya's merit in the past.

Mortals, too, jubilantly exclaim,
at sight of anything delightful,
that it is as splendid as the Thirty-Three;
and this is as splendid as it should be,
in view of the venerable Kosiya's merit in the past.

Then thought Moggallāna:

This fairy is inflated (about his palace);
I had better give him a shock.

So he wrought a work of magic
whereby his big toe
set the Palace of Victory
shaking and quaking and rocking.

At this, Sakka, King of gods,
and King Vessavana,
and all the gods of the heaven of the Thirty-Three,
wondered and marvelled, saying:

A wonder and a marvel indeed
is the magic power and potency of this recluse,
who with his big toe
can set this heavenly mansion
shaking and quaking and rocking.

Marking how agitated Sakka was
and how his hair was standing on end,
Moggallāna said:

Now how did [183] the Lord, Kosiya,
briefly expound to you Deliverance
by the extirpation of cravings?

Pray let me too
share in that discourse
so that I may hear it.

Then, at last, Sakka, king of gods, told -
word for word -
how he had gone to question the Lord
and what answer had been given him.

Hereupon, the reverend -Mahā Moggallāna,
after expressing his satisfaction and thanks to Sakka,
vanished away
to reappear in the Old Pleasaunce
in the palace of Migara's Mother, -
as readily as a strong man might stretch out his arm
or draw back his outstretched arm.

Soon after Moggallāna had gone,
Sakka's handmaidens asked the king of gods,
whether that was the Lord, his master.

No, he replied;
it was one who is a fellow with me in the higher life.

It is a great thing, Your Excellency,
to have in the higher life
a fellow-seeker of such magical power and potency.

Ah! what a Master you have in the Lord!

Approaching and saluting the Lord, Moggallāna
took his seat to one side,
asking whether the Lord was aware
of having briefly expounded lately
to a fairy of distinction
Deliverance by the extirpation of cravings.

Yes, the Lord remembered it quite well;
and ... recounted-word for word -
to Moggallāna
Sakka's question
and the answer he had himself given -
to shew how, briefly,
an Almsman becomes Delivered ...
foremost among gods and men.

Thus spoke the Lord.

Glad at heart, the reverend Mahā-Moggallāna rejoiced in what the Lord had said.


[1] Cf. Dīgha II, 283 for the like question by Sakka, amplified at Samyutta III, 13 [But ? I find nothing related there or at Sutta #13; see Horner, note 2] by the five words which conclude this sentence (words usually reserved to describe the Tathāgata, or Truth-finder as a supreme Buddha).

[2] For this (? tribal) designation of Sakka see Dialogues II, 296 and 305; the word also means an owl. Bu. adds a long account of the vicissitudes in the conflict of the Devas with the Asuras.

[3] Cf. Digha II, 220 and 257, and III, 194 for this Regent of the North, Kuvera, the ruler over yakkhas or fairies.

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