Aṅguttara Nikāya

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III. Tika Nipāta
XIII. Kusināra Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
More-Numbered Suttas

III. The Book of the Threes
XIII. At Kusināra

Sutta 124

Bharaṇḍu-Kālāma Suttaɱ


Translated from the Pali by
F.L. Woodward, M.A.

Copyright The Pali Text Society
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[1] Thus have I heard:

On a certain occasion the Exalted One was going his rounds among the Kosalans and came to Kapilavatthu.

Now Mahānāma the Sakyan[1] heard the news:

"They say the Exalted One has reached Kapilavatthu."

So Mahānāma the Sakyan went to see the Exalted One,
and on coming to him saluted him and stood at one side.

As he thus stood,
the Exalted One said this to him:

[255] "Go you, Mahānāma, and find out some lodging
where I may spend this one night."

"Very well, lord," replied Mahānāma the Sakyan
and went to Kapilavatthu;
where, though he searched all through the town,
he could not find a proper lodging for the Exalted One
in which to spend that one night.

So he returned to where the Exalted One was and said:

2. "Lord, there is no proper lodging
wherein the Exalted One may spend this one night.

But here is Bharaṇḍu the Kālāman,[2]
who was once a co-disciple in the holy life
with the Exalted One.[3]

Let the Exalted One spend this one night
in his hermitage."

"Go then, Mahānāma.

Spread a mat (for me there)."[4]

"Very well, lord," replied Mahānāma the Sakyan
and went off to the hermitage of Bharaṇḍu the Kālāman.

On getting there he spread a mat,
set water ready for feet-washing
and returned to the Exalted One.

On coming to him he said:

"Lord, the mat is spread.

Water is set for feet-washing.

Let the Exalted One do as he deems seasonable."

3. So the Exalted One went to the hermitage of Bharaṇḍu the Kālāman.

On arriving there he sat down on a seat made ready and so sitting had his feet washed.

Now this thought occurred to Mahānāma the Sakyan:

"It is unseasonable to wait upon the Exalted One now.

He is weary.

Tomorrow I will wait upon him."

So saluting the Exalted One by the right he departed.

Now when the night was gone
Mahānāma the Sakyan went to the Exalted One.

On coming to him he saluted him
and sat down at one side.

As he thus sat, the Exalted One said this to him:




4. "Mahānāma, there are these three teachers found existing in the world.

What three?

[256] Herein, Mahānāma, a teacher preaches full comprehension[5] of the sense-desires,
but not of the objects of sense,
nor of feelings.

Herein again, Mahānāma, a certain teacher preaches full comprehension of sense-desires
and of the objects of sense,
but not of feelings.

While yet another teacher preaches the full comprehension
of all three.

These are the three teachers found existing in the world.

Now of these three, Mahānāma,
is the conclusion one and the same
or is it different?

5. At these words Bharaṇḍu the Kālāman said to Mahānāma the Sakyan:

"Say it is one and the same, Mahānāma."

Whereat the Exalted One said to Mahānāma:

"Say it is different,[6] Mahānāma."

Then a second time Bharandu said:

"Say it is different, Mahānāma."

And again the Exalted One said:

"Say it is one and the same, Mahānāma."

6. Then a third time Bharandu said:

"Say it is different, Mahānāma."

And again the Exalted One said:

"Say it is one and the same, Mahānāma."

Whereupon it occurred to Bharaṇḍu the Kālāman:

"Here am I even to the third time
slighted by Gotama the recluse
in the presence of Mahānāma the Sakyan,
a man of great importance.

I had better leave Kapilavatthu."

So Bharaṇḍu the Kālāman left Kapilavatthu,
and in thus departing from Kapilavatthu
he was gone for good
and came not back any more.[7]


[1] Cf. S. v, 327 ff.

[2] Comy. thinks he pitched on Bharandu because he had the reputation of securing the best and choicest alms in the city.

[3] In the time of Āḷāra Kālāma. Comy.

[4] As a bed on the ground. Comy. thinks it means 'put a coverlet on a proper couch.'

[5] Pariññā-samatiklcamo. Comy. At Pugg. 37; where the conclusion is reached that the first teacher has attained ecstasy in the rūpa-world, the second in the arūpa-world, while the third is perfectly enlightened.

[6] Puthu = nānā. Comy.

Here this departure is an act of inwardly re-directed anger (like suicide) at being made to face embarassment at being shown up in front of an important personage. The lesson here is to see how he was shown up — that is, this was not simply a case of his being contradicted three times and taking offense at an afront. Bharaṇḍu's reaction shows that he did not understand the significance of comprehension of the realationship between sense desires, forms and sensations. Holding the position that the result of understanding all three is the same is thinking that understanding sense desires includes understanding as well forms and sensations (that is, that the same desire to experience sensation from a given sense organ and sense object will always produce the same sensation). By aserting this position he is also claiming to understand the three. But if Bharaṇḍu had understood the relative relationship of sense desire, form, and sensation, he would have seen what Gotama was doing (which was showing him that the same sense desire and form combination was producing different sensations at each repetition) and he would have seen the error in his thinking and in spite of his embarassment, would not have felt anger, could have seen the value of the lesson (that any sense desire/form situation could give rise to three different sorts of sensation depending on one's point of view) and could have become a disciple of Gotama.
The other cases cited in the footnote are matters of avoiding the problems of fame.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

[7] This phrase occurs at S. iv, 288, 291; and K.S. v, [sic. iv] 196, 199, where also the reason for the departure is not quite clear.

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