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Saɱyutta Nikāya
II. Nidāna Vagga
15. Anamat'agga-Saɱyuttaɱ
I. Paṭhama Vagga

The Book of the Kindred Sayings
II. The Book Called the Nidāna-Vagga
Containing Kindred sayings on Cause
and Other Subjects
15. Kindred Sayings on the Incalculable Beginning
1. [Untitled]

Sutta 1

Tiṇa-Kaṭṭha Suttaɱ

Grass and Brushwood

Translated by Mrs. Rhys Davids
Assisted by F. L. Woodward

Originally Published by
The Pali Text Society
Public Domain



[1][bodh][olds] THUS have I heard: —

The Exalted One was once staying at Sāvatthi
in Jeta Grove, the Anāthapiṇḍika Park.

[2][bodh][olds] Now there the Exalted One addressed the brethren: —


"Lord"[1] they made response.

[3][bodh][olds] The Exalted One said this: —

"Incalculable is the beginning,[2] brethren, of this faring on.[3]

The earliest point[4] is not revealed
of the running on, the faring on,
of beings[5] cloaked in ignorance,
tied to craving.

[4][bodh][olds] If a man, brethren, were to prune out
the grasses, sticks, boughs and twigs in this India
and collecting them together,
should make a pile
laying them in a stack of squares[6]
saying for each:

'This is my mother;
this is my mother's mother.'

Brethren, the grasses, sticks, boughs, twigs in this India
would be used up, ended
or ever the mothers of that man's mother
were come to an end.

[119] [5][bodh][olds] Why is that?

Incalculable is the beginning, brethren, of this faring on.

The earliest point is not revealed
of the faring on, running on,
of beings cloaked in ignorance,
tied to craving.

[6][bodh][olds] Thus many a day, brethren,
have ye been suffering ill,
have ye been suffering pain,[7]
have ye been suffering disaster,
have the charnel-fields been growing.

[7][bodh][olds] Thus far enough is there, brethren,
for you to be repelled
by all the things of this world,[8]
enough to lose all passion for them,
enough to be delivered therefrom.


[1] Bhadante, p. 1.

[2] Ana-mata-'gga. Ana is negative prefix. Mata = thought, judged. Agga = beginning. Comy.: — avidita-'ggo. Cf. Rhys Davids and Stede, Pali-English Dictionary; Pss. of the Sisters, ver. 495f.

[3] Saṅsāro

[4] Pubba-koṭi. Or past, or former extreme. B. paraphrases: — The first boundary is not seen, the beginning of which is the first point. Nor is the last extreme revealed. Just in the middle beings are passing on.

[5] Lit.: of beings running on, faring on.

[6] Caturangulaṅ caturangulaṅ ghaṭikaṅ C. is silent. Cf. Dialogues, i, 10(6), where a game of tip-cat is so called.

[7] Tibbaṅ.

[8] Sabba-sankhāresu. Usually explained as all that has arisen from conditions. But I doubt whether this more philosophical import was any more present to the mind of the Sutta editors than it is to-day to any Buddhist, when on the occasion of a death, he utters the usual exclamation Aniccā vata saṅkhāra!

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