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Saɱyutta Nikāya
4. Saḷāyatana Vagga
35. Saḷāyatana Saɱyutta
§ IV: Paññāsaka Catuttha
4. Āsīvisa Vagga

The Book of the Kindred Sayings
4. The Book Called the Saḷāyatana-Vagga
Containing Kindred Sayings on the 'Six-Fold Sphere' of Sense and Other Subjects
35. Kindred Sayings the Sixfold Sphere of Sense
§ IV: The 'Fourth Fifty' Suttas
4. The Chapter on the Snake

Sutta 200

Paṭhama Dāru-k-Khandh'Opama Suttaɱ

The Log of Wood (i)[1]

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

Copyright The Pali Text Society
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[179] [113]

[1][than][bodh] Thus have I heard:

Once the Exalted One was staying at Kosambī,
on the bank of the river Ganges.

Now the Exalted One saw a great log
being carried down Ganges' stream,
and on seeing it
he called to the Brethren, saying:

"Brethren, do ye see yonder great log
being carried down Granges' stream?"

"Yes, lord."

"Now, Brethren, if the log does not ground
on this bank
or the further bank,
does not sink in mid-stream,
does not stick fast on a shoal,
does not fall into human or non-human bands,[2]
is not caught in a whirlpool,[3]
does not rot inwardly, -
that log, Brethren,
will float down to ocean,
will slide down to ocean,
will tend towards ocean.

And why?

Because, Brethren, Ganges' stream
floats down to ocean,
slides down to ocean,
tends towards ocean.

In like manner, Brethren,
if ye do not ground
on this shore
or that shore,
if ye sink not in mid-stream,
if ye stick not fast on a shoal,
if ye fall not into hands human or non-human,
if ye be not caught in a whirlpool,
if ye rot not inwardly, -
then, Brethren,
ye shall float down to Nibbāna
ye shall slide [114] down to Nibbāna,
ye shall tend towards Nibbāna.

And why?

Perfect view. Sammā- diṭṭhi.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

Because, Brethren, perfect view
floats towards Nibbāna,
slides towards Nibbāna,
tends towards Nibbāna."




At these words
a certain brother said to the Exalted One: -

"What, lord, is 'this bank'?

What is 'the other bank'?

What is 'sinking in mid-stream'?

What is 'sticking fast on a shoal'?

What is 'falling into hands human or nonhuman'?

What is 'being caught in a whirlpool'?

What is 'rotting inwardly'?"

"'This bank,' brother,
is a name for the sixfold personal sense-sphere.

'That bank,' brother,
is a name for the external sixfold sense-sphere.

'Sinking in mid-stream,' brother,
is a name for the lure and lust.[4]

And what, brother, is 'being caught by humans'?

In this matter, brother,
a householder lives in society,
rejoices with them that rejoice,
sorrows with them that sorrow,
takes pleasure with them that take pleasure,
suffers with them that suffer,
makes a link with[5]
all manner of business that befalls.

This, brother, is
'being caught by humans.'

And what, brother, is 'being caught by non-humans'?

In this matter, brother,
such and such an one lives the righteous life
with the wish to be reborn in the company of some class of devas,[6]
with the thought:

'May I,
by virtue
or practice
or by some austerity
or by righteous living,
become a deva
or one of the devas.'

This, brother, is
'being caught by non-humans.'

'Being caught in a whirlpool,' brother,
is a name for the pleasure of the five senses.

And what, brother, is 'rotting inwardly'?

Herein, brother, a certain one is immoral,
an evil-doer,
of suspicious behaviour,[7] of covert deeds.

He is no recluse,
though a recluse in vows:
no liver of the righteous life,
though vowed thereto:
rotten within
and full of lusts,
a rubbish-heap of filth[8] is he.

That is 'rotting inwardly.'"




[115] Now on that occasion
Nanda the cowherd was standing
not far from the Exalted One.

Then Nanda the cowherd
exclaimed to the Exalted One: -

"I, lord, am one
who is not grounded[9] on this bank.

I am not stranded
on the further bank.

I shall not sink in mid-stream.

I shall not run aground on a shallow.

I shall not be caught by humans
or non-humans.

No whirlpool shall catch me.

I shall not rot inwardly.

Lord, may I get ordination
at the Exalted One's hands?

May I get full ordination?"

"Then, Nanda, do you restore the kine
to their owners."

"Lord, the kine will go back.

They are longing for their calves."

"Do you just restore the kine
to their owners, Nanda."

Thereupon Nanda the cowherd,
having restored the kine to their owners,
came to the Exalted One and said:

"Lord, the kine are restored to their owners.

Lord, may I get ordination
at the Exalted One's hands?

May I get full ordination?"

So Nanda the cowherd gained ordination,
gained full ordination
at the Exalted One's hands.

And not long after,
the venerable Nanda,
living solitary and remote,
ardent and intent,[ed1]
in no long time attained that goal
for which the clansmen rightly leave home
for the homeless life,
even that unrivalled goal of righteous living:
attained it even in that very life,
and knowing it for himself,
realizing it for himself,
abode therein,
so that he came to know:

'Destroyed is rebirth,
lived is the righteous life,
done is the task.

For life in these conditions
there is no hereafter.'

And the venerable Nanda
was yet another of the Arahants.


[1] For Kosambī see Appendix.

[Ed. The Appendix Reads:

N. to p. 113: "At Kosambī, on the bank of the river Ganges." Dr. E. J. Thomas, in his recently published book, The Life of Buddha, p. 15, doubts, with Cunningham and Vincent Smith, whether Kosambī was on the Ganges; and refers to the present passage, text p. 179, and S. iii, 140 ( = K.S. iii, 118, where I wrongly printed "Ayojjhāya") as the two places in the Canon where Ayojjhā is so situated. Our text has a variant reading Ayojjhāyaṅ in three MSS.]

[2] Comy. suggests that a man seeing the log would row out and land it, to make a roof-beam of it, or, if it were of sandal-wood, he vould set it up to make the door of a shrine. Thus 'non-humans' would have it.

[3] Āvaṭṭa, 'whirlpool,' not āvatta, 'bend' (according to which I translated the word at p. 46 ff. of my book, Some Sayings of the Buddha). It is pañca kāmagūṇā. Comy.

[4] Nandi-rāga.

[5] Yogam āpajjati, 'applies himself to.'

[6] Cf. K.S. iii, Bk. x.

[7] Sañkaseara-samācāro. Cf. S. i. 66; UdA. 297, 'thinking others are talking of my faults.'

[8] Kasambu-jāto. See Udana v, 5.

[9] Upagacchāmi. [VM. 600, upagamanaṅ - upādānaṅ.]


[ed1] From: SN 4.35.64

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