Dīgha Nikāya

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Dīgha Nikāya

The Long Discourses of the Buddha

Sutta 33

Saºgīti Suttanta

The Chanting Together

Ones and Twos

© Maurice Walshe 1987.
Used with the permission of Wisdom Publications.



[207] [Nidana][pts][olds][than] THUS hAVE I HEARD:

Once the Lord was touring in the Malla country with a large company of about five hundred monks. Arrived at Pāvā, the Mallas' capital, he stayed in the mango-grove of Cunda the smith.[1012]

Now at that time a new meeting-hall of the Mallas of Pāvā, called Ubbhataka,[10l3] had recently been built, and it had not yet been occupied by any ascetic or Brahmin, or indeed by any human being. Hearing that the Lord was staying in Cunda's mango-grove, the Mallas of Pāvā went to see him. Having saluted him, they sat down to one side and said: 'Lord, the Mallas of Pāvā have recently erected a new meeting-hall called Ubbhaṭaka, and it has not yet been occupied by any ascetic or Brahmin, or indeed by any human being. [208] May the Blessed Lord be the first to use it! Should he do so, that would be for the lasting good and happiness of the Mallas of Pāvā.' And the Lord consented by silence.

Noting his assent, the Mallas rose, saluted him, passed out to his right and went to the meeting-hall. They spread mats all round, arranged seats, put out a water-pot and an oil-lamp, and then, returning to the Lord, saluted him, sat down to one side and reported what they had done, saying: 'Whenever the Blessed Lord is ready.'

Then the Lord dressed, took his robe and bowl, and went to the meeting-hall with his monks. There he washed his feet, entered the hall and sat down against the central pillar, facing east. The monks, having washed their feet, entered the hall and sat down along the western wall facing east, [209] with the Lord in front of them. The Pāvā Mallas washed their feet, entered the hall, and sat down along the eastern wall facing west, with the Lord in front of them. Then the [480] Lord spoke to the Mallas on Dhamma till far into the night, instructing, inspiring, firing and delighting them. Then he dismissed them, saying: 'Vasetthas,[1014] the night has passed away.[1015] Now do as you think fit.' 'Very good, Lord', replied the Mallas. And they got up, saluted the Lord, and went out, passing him by on the right.

As soon as the Mallas had gone the Lord, surveying the monks sitting silently all about, said to the Venerable Sāriputta: 'The monks are free from sloth-and-torpor,[1016] Sāriputta. You think of a discourse on Dhamma to give to them. My back aches, I want to stretch it, 'Very good, Lord', replied Sāriputta. Then the Lord, having folded his robe in four, lay down on his right side in the lion-posture,[11017] with one foot on the other, mindful and clearly aware, and bearing in mind the time to arise.

Now at that time the Nugaṇṭga Nātaputta [210] had just died at Pāvā. And at his death the Nugaṇṭgas were split into two parties, quarrelling and disputing ... (as Sutta 29, verse 1). You would have thought they were bent on killing each other. Even the white-robed lay followers were disgusted when they saw that their doctrine and discipline was so ill-proclaimed, ... having been proclaimed by one not fullyenlightened and now with its support gone, without an arbiter.

And the Venerable Sāriputta addressed the monks, referring to this situation, and said: 'So ill-proclaimed was their teaching and discipline, so unedifyingly displayed, and so ineffectual in calming the passions, having been proclaimed by one who was not fully enlightened. [211] But, friends, this Dhamma has been well proclaimed by the Lord, the fully-enlightened One. And so we should all recite it together[1018] without disagreement, so that this holy life may be enduring and established for a long time, thus to be for the welfare and happiness of the multitude, out of compassion for the world, for the benefit, welfare and happiness of devas and humans. And what is this Dhamma that has been well proclaimed by the Lord ... ?




'There is one thing that was perfectly proclaimed by the Lord [481] who knows and sees, the fully-enlightened Buddha. So we should all recite together ... for the benefit, welfare and happiness of devas and humans.

[1.01][pts][olds] 'What is this one thing?[l019] (eko dhammo).

'All beings are maintained by nutriment (āhāraṭṭhitikā).

[1.02][pts][olds] 'All beings are maintained by conditions (saṅkhāraṭṭhitikā'[1020]




'There are [sets of] two things that were perfectly proclaimed by the Lord ... Which are they?

[2.01][pts][olds] 'Mind and body (nāmañ ca rūpañ ca).

[2.02][pts][olds] 'Ignorance and craving for existence (avijjā ca bhavataṇhā ca).

[2.03][pts][olds] 'Belief in [continued] existence and belief in non-existence (bhava-diṭṭhi ca vibhava-diṭṭhi, ca).

[2.04][pts][olds] 'Lack of moral shame and lack of moral dread (ahirikañ ca anottappañ ca).

[2.05][pts][olds] 'Moral shame and moral dread (hiri ca ottappañ ca).

[2.06][pts][olds] 'Roughness and friendship with evil (dovacassatā ca pāpamittatā ca).

[2.07][pts][olds] 'Gentleness and friendship with good (sovacassatā ca kalyānāmittatā ca).

[2.08][pts][olds] 'Skill in [knowing] offences and [the procedure for] rehabilitation from them (āpatti-kusalatā ca āpatti-vuṭṭhāna-kusalatā ca).

[2.09][pts][olds] 'Skill in entering and returning from [jhāna] (samāpatti-kusalatā ca samāpatti-vuṭṭhāna-kusalatā ca).[1021]

[2.10][pts][olds] 'Skill in [knowing] the [eighteen] elements[1022] and in paying attention to them (dhātu-kusalatā ca manasikāra kusalatā ca).

[2.11][pts][olds] 'Skill in [knowing] the [twelve] sense-spheres (āyatana-k.) and dependent origination.

[2.12][pts][olds] 'Skill in [knowing] what are causes and what are not (ṭhāna-k. ca aṭṭhāna-k.) [213]

[2.13][pts][olds] 'Straightforwardness and modesty (ajjavañ ca lajjavañ ca).[1023]

[2.14][pts][olds] 'Patience and gentleness (khanti ca soraccañ ca).

[2.15][pts][olds] 'Gentle speech and politeness (sākhalyaā ca paṭisanthāro ca).

[482][2.16][pts][olds] 'Non-harming and purity (avihimsā ca soceyyañ ca).[1024]

[2.17][pts][olds] 'Lack of mindfulness[1025] and of clear awareness (muṭṭhasaccañ ca asampajaññañ ca).

[2.18][pts][olds] 'Mindfulness and clear awareness (sati ca sampajaññañ ca).

[2.19][pts][olds] 'Unguarded sense-doors and non-restraint in eating (indriyesu aguttadvāratā ca bhojane amattaāññutā ca).

[2.20][pts][olds] 'Guarded sense-doors and restraint in eating ( ... guttadvāratā ... mattaññutā).

[2.21][pts][olds] 'Powers of reflection[1026] and mental development (paṭisankhāna-balañ ca bhāvanā-balañ ca).

[2.22][pts][olds] 'Powers of mindfulness and concentration (sati-balañ ca samādhi-balañ ca).

[2.23][pts][olds] 'Calm and insight (samatho ca vipassanā ca).[1027]

[2.24][pts][olds] 'The sign of calm and grasping the sign (samatha-nimittaā ca paggaha-nimittañ ca).

[2.25][pts][olds] 'Exertion and non-distraction (paggaho ca avikheppo ca).

[2.26][pts][olds] 'Attainment of morality and [right] view (sīla-sampadā ca diṭṭhi-sampadā ca).

[214][2.27][pts][olds] 'Failure of morality and view (sīla-vipatti ca diṭṭhi-vipatti ca).

[2.28][pts][olds] 'Purity of morality and view (sīla-visuddhi ca ditthi-visuddhi ca).

[2.29][pts][olds] 'Purity of view and the effort to attain it (diṭṭhi-visuddhi kho pana yathā diṭṭhissa ca padhānaɱ).

[2.30][pts][olds] 'Being moved to a sense of urgency[1028] by what should move one, and the systematic effort of one so moved (saṅvego ca saṅvejaniyesu ṭhānesu saṅviggassa ca yoniso padhānaɱ).

[2.31][pts][olds] 'Not being content with wholesome acts and not shrinking from exertion (asantutthitā ca kusalesu dhammesu appaṭivānitā ca padhānasmiɱ).

[2.32][pts][olds] 'Knowledge and liberation (vijjā ca vimutti ca).

[2.33][pts][olds] 'Knowledge of the destruction [of the defilements] and of [their] non-recurrence (khaye ñāṇaɱ anuppāde ñāṇaɱ).

'These are the [sets of] two things that were perfectly proclaimed by the Lord ... So we should all recite them together


[1012] This is undoubtedly a late Sutta. RD with characteristic caution says of this and DN 34: 'They contain here and there matter which suggests that they took their present shape at a later date than the bulk of the rest of the Dīgha'. It is associated, like DN 29, with the time immediately following the death of the Nigaṇḍha Nāṭaputta, the Jain leader, and it is located 'in the mango-grove of Cunda the smith', known to us from DN 16.4.14ff. If we compare DN 29, we find that that discourse is addressed to 'the novice Cunda', who is quite a different character — but we may wonder whether the two have not become confused. Part of the inspiration of DN 34 may have come from the Buddha's words at DN 29.17. Could the whole Sutta have been expanded from that nucleus? In any case the method of listing items in expanding numerical groups was used (whether earlier or later) on a large scale in the Aṅguttara Nikāya, and in fact quite a number of entries in the lists in this Sutta appear there too.

Such numerical listing has also been compared by different writers from RD onwards to the so-called 'matrices' (mātikā) of the Abhidhamma — partly with the implication that this type of presentation always represents a stratum considerably later than the Buddha's time. In fact we do not know to what extent the Buddha himself resorted to the obvious pedagogic device of teaching 'by numbers'. In any case, when such numerical lists were in existence, they readily lent themselves to expansion, and it is likely that the material of this Sutta dates from a variety of periods, and because some of it is obviously late, this does not mean that other parts are not early. There are in existence Tibetan and other versions. It should perhaps be stressed that, arid as this type of Sutta may appear to many today, it is from the monastic point of view valuable for use in chanting (its ostensible — and probably real — original object), incorporating as it does not only the major doctrinal categories in brief, but many points on behaviour and discipline which monks should constantly bear in mind.

N.B. Since the lists in this and DN 34 consist largely of technical terms, the Pali words have been given wherever confusion or doubt seemed possible.

[1013] The lofty ('Thrown-aloft-er', RD).

[1014] Cf. n.441. The Mallas of Pāvā were, of course, closely related to those of Kusinārā.

[1015] Not 'lovely is the night' (an odd mistranslation of a stock phrase by RD).

[1016] The third of the five hindrances (below, 2.1 (6)).

[1017] As at DN 16.4.40.

[1018] As proposed at DN 29.17 (see n.l012).

[1019] Or really, like the parallel following groups, '(set of) one thing'.

[1020] This second 'one thing' is not found in all texts, or in the AN parallel passage, perhaps owing to a misunderstanding of 'one thing'.

[1021] The link here with (8) seems to be simply a play on words: āpatti 'offence', and samāpatti 'attainment'. Despite the divergence in meaning, the two verbs are from the same root.

[1022] These are the six senses (mind as the sixth), their objects and corresponding consciousnesses, e.g. 'eye, sight-object, eye-consciousness', as in MN 115. See BDic under Dhātu.

[1023] Note again the play on words: a useful mnemonic device.

[1024] 'Purity of fraternal love' is RD's rather loose paraphrase of DA.

[1025] RD's 'absence of mind' may just do for this, but 'want of intelligence' is quite wrong for asampajañña, which is quite simply failure to comply with the injunction at DN 22.4 (see n.646 there).

[1026] Bala: 'power' used here in an unusual sense.

[1027] These are the two basic forms from which stems all Buddhist meditation.

[1028] Ñāṇamoli's rendering of this difficult word.


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