Aṅguttara Nikāya

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Aṅguttara Nikāya
4. Catukka Nipāta
III. Uruvelā Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
The Book of the Fours
Chapter III: Uruvelā

Sutta 22

Dutiya Uruvela Suttaɱ

At Uruvelā (b).

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

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[22] [22]

[1][bodh] Thus have I heard:

On a certain occasion the Exalted One was staying near Sāvatthī at Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

There the Exalted One addressed the monks, saying:


"Yes, lord," replied those monks to the Exalted One.

The Exalted One said:

'On a certain occasion, monks, I myself was staying at Uruvelā on the bank of the river Nerañjarā,
under the Goatherds' Banyan,
just after I had become perfectly enlightened.

Then, monks, a great number of brahmins,
broken-down old men,
far gone in years,
who had reached life's end,
came to visit me where I was.

On reaching me they greeted me courteously,
and after the exchange of greetings and courtesies
sat down at one side.

As they sat thus, monks,
those brahmins said this to me:

"We[1] have heard it said, master Gotama,
that Gotama the recluse pays no respect to,
does not rise up in presence of,
does not offer a seat
to brahmins who are broken-down old men,
far gone in years,
who have reached life's end.[2]

Inasmuch, master Gotama,
as[3] the worthy Gotama does none of [23] these things,
it is not the proper thing to do,[4] master Gotama."

Then, monks, I thought to myself:

"In truth these reverend ones understand not
either the elder,
or the things which make an elder.[5]

Though a man be old, monks,
or ninety
or a hundred years of age,
yet if he be one who speaks out of due season,
who speaks things untrue and unprofitable,
things contrary to Dhamma
and contrary to Discipline:
if he be one who utters words
unworthy to be treasured in the heart,[6]
words unseasonable
and void of reason,
words undiscriminating
and not concerned with welfare, -
then that one is reckoned just a foolish elder.

Though a man be young, monks, -
a youth,
a mere lad,
black haired
and blessed with his lucky prime,
one in the first flush of life, -
if he be one who speaks in due season,
who speaks things true and profitable,
things according to Dhamma and Discipline:
if he be one who utters words
worthy to be treasured in the heart,
words seasonable,
and concerned with welfare, -
then that one is reckoned a wise elder.

Now, monks, there are these four things which make the elder.

What four?

Herein a monk is virtuous,
perfect in the obligations,
restrained with the restraint of the obligations,
perfect in the practice of right behaviour,
seeing danger in the slightest faults.

He undertakes and trains himself
in the training of the precepts,
he has learned,[7]
is replete with learning,
is a hoard[8] of learning.

Those doctrines which,
lovely at the beginning,
lovely in the middle,
lovely at the end (of life)
[24] both in the meaning and the letter of them,
which preach the utterly fulfilled,
the perfectly purified
way of the God-life, -
such doctrines are much heard by him,
borne in mind,
repeated aloud,[9]
pondered over
and well penetrated by his vision.[10]

The four stages of musing which are of the clear consciousness,[11]
which are concerned with the happy life
in this very world, -
these he wins easily,
without effort.

By the destruction of the āsavas,
in this very life
thoroughly understanding the heart's release,
the release by wisdom,
he realizes it,
attains it
and dwells therein.

These, monks, are the four things which make the elder.

He who with swollen mind doth utter
Much idle talk, his purpose void
Of all restraint, nor takes delight
In very dhamma,[12] is a fool.
Far from the rank of elder he.
Evil his view, he lacks regard.

He who, in virtue perfect, learned,
Of ready wit, controlled, a sage,
With wisdom sees the sense of things,[13]
Of open heart,[14] of ready wit,
He hath transcended every state.

Who hath abandoned birth and death,
Who in the God-life perfect is, -
That is the man I elder call.
By ending of the āsavas
A monk is rightly elder called.'


[1] Text should read sutaɱ no for ne. Comy. has n'etaɱ = no etaɱ; Sinh. text m'etaɱ.

[2] As at A. i, 67 = G.S. i, 63; A. iv, 173.

[3] Yadidaɱ here is preferable to tayidaɱ of text and A. iv.

[4] Na sampannaɱ = ananucchavikaɱ. Comy. (at A. i, na yuttaɱ).

[5] Thera and thera-karaṇe dhamme.

[6] As at D. i, 4 and with Comy. text should read anidhānavatiɱ vācaɱ bhāsitā for tanidāna. (Comy. na hadaye nidhetabba-yuttakaɱ.) Cf. infra, § 198.

[7] Suta. Cf. KhpA. 102. Comy. likens him to a full pot which does not leak.

[8] Sannicayo. Cf. A. i, 94.

[9] Vacasā paricitā = vācāya sajjhayitā. Comy.

[10] Ditthiyā = paññāya. Comy.

[11] Abhicetasika = abhikkhanta-visuddha-cittaɱ. Comy.

[12] Asaddhamma-rato. See above on § i of this chapter, and on § 246.

[13] Paññāy'atthaɱ. So Comy. and Sinh. text, but our text paññāyattha. 'With Way-insight [or wisdom] he sees the meaning of the four truths.' Comy.

[14] Akhila.

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