Majjhima Nikaya

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Majjhima Nikāya
III. Upari Paṇṇāsa
5. Saḷāyatana Vagga

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

Further Dialogues of the Buddha
Volume II

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

Humphrey Milford
Oxford University Press
Public Domain

Sutta 143

Chann'Ovāda Suttaɱ

Channa's Suicide


[263] [305]

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

Once when the Lord was staying at Rājagaha
in the Bamboo grove
where the squirrels were fed,
the reverend Sāriputta,
the reverend Mahā-Cunda
and the reverend Channa
were living on the heights of Vulture's Peak.

Channa fell sick
and was in pain and dangerously ill.

At eventide, on rising up from his meditations,
Sāriputta went to Mahā-Cunda
to suggest they should go and ask after Channa's condition.

So together the two went to the sick man
and after greetings
asked him [264] whether he was getting better
and able to hold on,
whether his pains were leaving him
and not coming on,
and whether he found himself progressing
and not losing ground with his pain.

Not at all, Sāriputta;
I am not getting better but worse;
... (etc. as in Sutta No. 97) ...
I am losing ground;
my pains grow on me.

I shall use a knife on myself;
I have no wish to live.

Don't think of killing yourself, Channa.

Bear up, as we wish you to bear up.

If you lack food that will do you good,
I will get it for you;
if you lack medicines that will do you good,
I will get them for you;
if you lack a suitable personal attendant,
I myself will attend on you.

But don't think of killing yourself;
bear up as we wish you to bear up.

No, Sāriputta;
I have no lack of suitable food or drugs;
nor do I lack a suitable attendant.

Yes, and I [306] have long been a votary of the Lord
with unbroken satisfaction to myself,
as beseems a disciple.

But take it from me, Sāriputta,
that I shall use a knife on myself
and that without blame attaching to me.

I should like, Channa,
if you will allow me,
to put one small point to you.

Do so, Sāriputta;
and when I have heard it,
I will answer.

In sight
and in ocular perception
and in the objects of ocular perception,
do you hold that this is mine,
I am this [265] or
this is my Self?

Do you hold this of hearing
or the four other Senses?

No Sāriputta;
I hold the precise opposite.

What is it that you see and discern
in each and every one of these
that leads you to intend what you do?

Their cessation, Sāriputta.

[266] You must think too, Channa,
of the Lord's eternal teaching
that agitation marks the enthralled;
that the un-enthralled know no agitation;
that, if there be no agitation,
there is serenity;
that with serenity there is no craving;
that without craving
there is no round of rebirths;
that without the round of rebirths
there is no passing hence,
no arising elsewhere;
that without any passing hence
or arising elsewhere
there is no further term
in this world
or elsewhere
or both;
and that thus alone is Ill ended for ever.

With these exhortations to Channa,
Sāriputta and Mahā-Cunda rose up and departed.

They had not been gone long
when Channa used the knife on himself;
and they brought the news to the Lord,
asking what future awaited Channa
and what his destiny would be.

Did not the Almsman Channa
insist on his blamelessness to you, Sāriputta?

In his Vajjian village of Pubbajira
Channa's familiars and associates are all blameworthy.

No doubt, Sāriputta;
but it is not in that sense
that I use the term blameworthy.

That term I apply
to a man who divests himself of this body
because he wants [307] another.

This was not the case with Channa,
who was blameless in using the knife upon himself.

Thus spoke the Lord.

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

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