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Saɱyutta Nikāya
I. Sagātha Vagga
7. Brāhmana Saɱyutta

The Book of the Kindred Sayings
I. Kindred Sayings with Verses
7. The Brāhmana Suttas

Translated by Mrs. Rhys Davids
Assisted by Sūriyagoḍa Sumangala Thera
Public Domain



II: The Lay Adherents


Sutta 17

Nava-Kammika Suttaɱ




[17.1][than] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

The Exalted One was once staying among the Kosalese
in a certain forest.

Now on that occasion the Bhāradvāja brahmin 'New-Works'[1]
was having [timber]-work done in that forest.

And he saw the Exalted One
seated beneath a sala-tree cross-legged,
his body in an upright posture
and mindfulness set up before his face.[2]

Seeing him, the thought occurred:

"I am enjoying the work
that I am having done in this forest.

That Samana Gotama,
what is he enjoying in the doing?"

So New-Works drew nigh to the Exalted One
and addressed him in the verse: —

"What enterprise of thine is being wrought,
0 almsman, in the wood where sal-trees grow,[3] That lonely in the forest though thou be,
Enjoyment still is thine, 0 Gotama?"

[The Exalted One: —]

"No work in wood is left for me to do.
Root-cut for me is wood and jungle all,[4]
[228] Thus I, all free from briars in the wood,[5]
And with my heart unpierced,[6] alone may find
My joy, for whom regrets have ceased to be."

When these words had been said,
New-Works, the Bhāradvāja brahmin, said:

"Most excellent, Master Gotama, most excellent!

As if one raised up
that which had been overthrown,
or revealed
that which had been hidden,
or declared the way
to one who was bewildered,
or carried an oil-lamp into the dark,
so that they that had eyes could see,
even so is the Norm in many ways
made manifest by Master Gotama.

Lo! I go for refuge to Gotama the Exalted One,
to the Norm,
and to the Order.

May Master Gotama suffer me as a lay-adherent,
who from this day forth
as long as life endures
has taken in him refuge!"


[1] Nava-kammika. On this expression B. confirms the interpretation given in the Vin. Texts, ii, 359, n. 2; cf. iii, 189. This brahmin had forest-trees cut and the timber framework 'for gables, roof-terraces, etc., fitted, then carried to the town and sold,' presumably for the vaḍḍhaki, or worker in wood, to carry on withal.

[2] Cf. VII, 1, § 10.

[3] Cf. V, § 5, n. 2.

[4] B. does not help us over the word visūkaɱ (sic lege) or visukkhaɱ. Here it can hardly mean 'puppet-show' as in D. i, 6 (cf. Dialogues, i, 7, n. 2). The Sanskrit equivalent (viṣvaṅk) means etymologically spreading in all directions; hence visūkaɱ may be either (a) jungle or thicket, in apposition to vanaɱ, or (b) an adverb to 'cut': cut on all sides.'

[5] Vane nibbanatho (for nir-vanatho) is again metaphorical, wood standing for lusts or passions (kilesa-vana, Comy.) Cf. Pss. of the Sisters, LXII.

Brethren: index s.v. 'Dart. spear (simile)': (313), (404), (448), (495), (514), (526), (755 f.), (986), (1053)

[6] Another favourite religious metaphor (op. cit. ver. 52 and Brethren: index s.v. 'Dart.'). Is there not here another pun: A-sallo = a-sālo? (As if we were to say: 'and with my back un-birched.')

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