Aṅguttara Nikāya

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Aṅguttara Nikāya
Catukka Nipāta
XIX: Yodhajīva Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
The Book of the Fours
Chapter XIX: Fighting Man

Sutta 188

Upaka Suttaɱ


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

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[1] Thus have I heard:

On a certain occasion the Exalted One was staying near Rājagaha on Vultures' Peak Hill.

Then Upaka, son of Maṇḍika,[1] came to visit the Exalted One, and on coming to him saluted him and sat down at one side.

So seated, Upaka, son of Maṇḍika, said this to the Exalted One:

'As for me, sir, I say this,
I hold this view:

Whosoever starts abusive talk about another
and carries it on,
but cannot in every way make good his case,
in failing to do so
should be held blameworthy
and guilty of offence.'

'Yes, Upaka, if he does so
he is to be held blameworthy
and guilty of offence.

You yourself also,[2] Upaka,
start abusive talk about another
and carry it on.

So doing
and failing to make good your case,
you are to be held blameworthy
and guilty of offence.'




'There, sir!

Just like a man catching (his prey) with a big noose
as soon as it puts its head out,
even so am I caught by the Exalted One
with the big noose of words
as soon as I open my mouth!'[3]




[190] 'Upaka, I have pointed out:

"This thing is wrong,"

and that too in endless variation of word,
and Dhamma-teaching of a Tathāgata.

So also, Upaka, have I pointed out:

"This thing is right,"

and that too in endless variations of word,
and Dhamma-teaching of a Tathāgata.

Again, Upaka, I have pointed out:

"This thing is right,"


"This thing that is right
must be made to grow."

This thing that is right, Upaka,
must be made to grow.'[5]




Thereupon Upaka, son of Maṇḍika, was pleased with the words of the Exalted One,
and after thanking him
rose up from his seat and,
saluting the Exalted One by keeping his right side towards him,
went away to the rajah of Magadha, Ajātasattu, son of the Videhan.[6]

On coming to him
he related all the talk he had had with the Exalted One
from beginning to end.

Thereupon the rajah of Magadha, Ajātasattu, son of the Videhan,
was angry
and in his displeasure exclaimed to Upaka, son of Maṇḍika:

'What a pestilent fellow[7]
is this salt-worker's boy!

A scurrilous shameless rogue!

To think that he should presume to revile that Exalted One,
the Arahant,
the Fully Enlightened One!

Away with you, Upaka!

Let me see you no more!'[8]


This does not fit the story of the Upaka who first heard Dhamma. After giving up the ājivaka life for a woman, and the woman dispising him for that, he again gave up household life and according to the story went straight to Gotama to become a bhikkhu.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

[1] Is this the Upaka, ājivaka or ascetic, who first heard Dhamma? Cf. Vin. i, 8; M. 1, 170; Gotama the Man, 48. Comy. can only say, 'his name was Upaka, son of Maṇḍika,' and that he was a supporter of Devadatta, and came to find out whether the Buddha would praise or blame him; but that others held that he came to abuse the Buddha on hearing that Devadatta had been 'consigned to hell' by him.

[2] Reading pi for si of text.

[3] Lit. 'just as I pop my head up,' used of a fish in water. Comy.

[4] Cf. S. v, 430.

[5] Lit. 'made-to become.'

[6] Vedehi-putto. Cf. Dial. ii, 78 n. DA. i, 139 has: 'This was the son of the daughter of the Kosalan rājah. Vedehi is a name for a wise man.' SA. i, 154 has 'son of the wise woman,' on S. i, 82.

[7] Yāva dhaɱsī. Cf. M. i, 236. Apparently he was of a low caste.

[8] 'And (adds Comy. delightedly) had him taken by the neck and dragged away.'

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