BUDDHA AKANKHEYYA SUTTA

IF THE BHIKKHU SHOULD DESIRE

‘Thus have I heard. Gautama Buddha, The Blessed One was once staying at Savatthi in Anatha Pindika’s park.

There the Blessed One, Gautama Buddha, addressed the Bhikkhus and said:  ‘Bhikkhus’.  ‘Yes, Lord!’, said the Bhikkhus, in assent, to Gautama Buddha, the Blessed One.

Then spake the Blessed One, Gautama Buddha:

‘Continue, Bhikkhus, in the practice of Sila, Right Conduct, (1) adhering to the Rules of the Sangha  (2) ;  continue enclosed by the restraint of the Vinaya, devoted to uprighteness in life; (3)  train yourselves according to the Precepts, (4)  taking them upon you in the sense of the danger in the least offence.

‘If a Bhikkhu should desire, Bhikkhus, to become beloved, popular, respected among his fellow-disciples, let him then fulfil all righteousness, let him be devoted to that quietude of heart which springs from within, (5) let him not drive back the ecstasy of contemplation, (6) let him look through things, (7) let him be much alone!’

‘If a Bhikkhu should desire, Bhikkhus, to receive the requisites:  clothing, food, lodging, and medicine, and other necessaries for the sick, let him then fulfil all righteousness, let him be devoted to that quietude of heart which springs from within, let him not drive back the ecstasy of contemplation, let him look through things, let him be much alone!’

‘If a Bhikkhu should desire, Bhikkhus, that to those people among whom he receives the requisites: clothing, food, lodging, and medicine, and other necessaries for the sick,  that charity of theirs should redound to great fruit and great advantage, let him fulfil all righteousness, let him be devoted to that quietude of heart which springs from within, let him not drive back the ecstasy of contemplation, let him look through things, let him be much alone!’

”If a Bhikkhu should desire, Bhikkhus, that those relatives of his, of one blood with him, dead and gone, who think of him with believing heart should find therein great fruit and great advantage, (8) let him then fulfil all righteousness, let him be devoted to that quietude of heart which springs from within, let him not drive back the ecstasy of contemplation, let him look through things, let him be much alone!’

‘If a Bhikkhu should desire, Bhikkhus, that he should be victorious over discontent and lust, (9)  that discontent should never overpower him, that he should master and subdue any discontent that had sprung up within him, let him then fulfil all righteousness, let him be devoted to that quietude of heart which springs from within, let him not drive back the ecstasy of contemplation, let him look through things, let him be much alone!’

‘If a Bhikkhu should desire, Bhikkhus, that he should be victorious over (spiritual) danger and dismay, that neither danger nor dismay should ever overcome him, that he should master and subdue every danger and dismay, let him then fulfill all righteousness, let him be devoted to that quietude of heart which springs from within, let him not drive back the ecstasy of contemplation, let him look through things, let him be much alone!’

‘If a Bhikkhu should desire, Bhikkhus, to realise the hopes of those spiritual men who live in the bliss which comes, even in this present world, from the four Gkanas, should he desire not to fall into the pains and difficulties (which they avoid), let him then fulfil all righteousness, let him be devoted to that quietude of heart which springs from within, let him not drive back the ecstasy of contemplation, let him look through things, let him be much alone!’ (10)

‘If a Bhikkhu should desire, Bhikkhus, to reach with his body and remain in those stages of deliverance which are incorporeal, and pass beyond phenomena, (11) let him then fulfil all righteousness, let him be devoted to that quietude of heart which springs from within, let him not drive back the ecstasy of contemplation, let him look through things, let him be much alone!’

‘If a Bhikkhu should desire, Bhikkhus, by the complete destruction of the three Bonds to become converted, to be no longer liable to be reborn in a state of suffering, and to be assured of final salvation, let him then fulfil all righteousness, let him be devoted to that quietude of heart which springs from within, let him not drive back the ecstasy of contemplation, let him look through things, let him be much alone!’

‘If a Bhikkhu should desire, Bhikkhus, by the complete destruction of the three Bonds, and by the reduction to a minimum of lust, hatred, and delusion, to become a Sakadagamin, and (thus) on his first return to this world to make an end of sorrow, let him then fulfil all righteousness, let him be devoted to that quietude of heart which springs from within, let him not drive back the ecstasy of contemplation, let him look through things, let him be much alone!’

‘If a Bhikkhu should desire, Bhikkhus, by the complete destruction of the five Bonds which bind people to this earth, to become an inheritor of the highest heavens, (12) there to pass entirely away, thence never to return, let him then fulfil all righteousness, let him be devoted to that quietude of heart which springs from within, let him not drive back the ecstasy of contemplation, let him look through things, let him be much alone!’

 ‘If a Bhikkhu should desire, Bhikkhus, to exercise one by one each of the different Iddhis, being one to become multiform, being multiform to become one; to become visible, or to become invisible; to go without being stopped to the further side of a wall, or a fence, or a mountain, as if through air; to penetrate up and down through solid ground, as if through water; to walk on the water without dividing it, as if on solid ground; to travel cross-legged through the sky, like the birds on wing; to touch and feel with the hand even the sun and the moon, mighty and powerful though they be; and to reach in the body even up to the heaven of Brahma; let him then fulfil all righteousness,  let him be devoted to that quietude of heart which springs from within, let him not drive back the ecstasy of contemplation, let him look through things, let him be much alone!’

‘If a Bhikkhu should desire, Bhikkhus, to hear with clear and heavenly ear, surpassing that of men, sounds both human and celestial, whether far or near, let him then fulfil all righteousness, let him be devoted to that quietude of heart which springs from within, let him not drive back the ecstasy of contemplation, let him look through things, let him be much alone!’

‘If a Bhikkhu should desire, Bhikkhus, to comprehend by his own heart the hearts of other beings and of other men; to discern the passionate mind to be passionate, and the calm mind calm; the angry mind to be angry, and the peaceable peaceable; the deluded mind to be deluded, and the wise mind wise; the concentrated thoughts to be concentrated, and the scattered to be scattered; the lofty mind to be lofty, and the narrow mind narrow; the sublime thoughts to be sublime, and the mean to be mean; the steadfast mind to be steadfast, and the wavering to be wavering;  the free mind to be free, and the enslaved mind to be enslaved; let him then fulfil all righteousness, let him be devoted to that quietude of heart which springs from within, let him not drive back the ecstasy of contemplation, let him look through things, let him be much alone!’

‘If a Bhikkhu should desire, Bhikkhus, to be able to call to mind his various temporary states in days gone by; such as one birth, two births, three, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, a hundred or a thousand, or a hundred thousand births; (13) his births in many an aeon of destruction, in many an aeon of renovation, (14) in many an aeon of both destruction and renovation;  (so as to be able to say),  ‘In that place such was my name, such my family, such my caste, (15) such my subsistence, such my experience of comfort or of pain, and such the limit of my life; and when I passed from thence, I took form again in that other place where my name was so and so,  such my family, such my caste, such my subsistence, such my experience of comfort or of joy, and such my term of life;  and when I fell from thence, I took form in such and such a place;  (16) – should he desire thus to call to mind his temporary states in days gone by in all their modes and all their details let him then fulfill all righteousness, let him be devoted to that quietude of heart which springs from within, let him not drive back the ecstasy of contemplation, let him look through things, let him be much alone!’

‘If a Bhikkhu should desire, Bhikkhus, (17) to see with pure and heavenly vision, surpassing that of men, being as they pass from one state of existence and take form in others; beings base or noble, good-looking or ill-favoured, happy or miserable, according to the karma they inherit – (if the Bhikkhu should desire to be able to say),  ‘These beings, reverend sirs, by their bad conduct in action, by their bad conduct in word, by their bad conduct in thought, by their speaking evil of the Noble Ones, (18) by their adhesion to false doctrine, or by their acquiring the karma of false doctrine, (19) have been reborn, on the dissolution of the body after death, in some unhappy state of suffering or woe.’ ‘These beings, reverend sirs, by their good conduct in action, by their good conduct in word, by their good conduct in thought, by their not speaking evil of the Noble Ones, by their adhesion to right doctrine, by their acquiring the karma of right doctrine, have been reborn, on the dissolution of the body after death, into some happy state in heaven;’  – should a Bhikkhu desire thus to see with pure and heavenly vision, surpassing that of men, beings as they thus pass from one state of existence and take form in others; beings base or noble, good-looking or ill-favoured, happy or miserable, according to the karma they inherit; let him then fulfil all righteousness, let him be devoted to that quietude of heart which springs from within, let him not drive back the ecstasy of contemplation, let him look through things, let him be much alone!’

‘If a Bhikkhu should desire, Bhikkhus, by the destruction of the great evils, Asavas, (20) by himself, and even in this very world, to know and realise and attain to Arhatship, to emancipation of heart, and emancipation of mind, le him then fulfill all righteousness, let him be devoted to that quietude of heart which springs from within, let  not drive back the ecstasy of contemplation, let him look through things, let him be much alone!’

‘Continue therefore, Bhikkhus, in the practice of Right Conduct, adhering to the Vinaya; continue enclosed by the restraint of the Vinaya, devoted to uprighteness in life; train yourselves according to the Precepts, taking them upon you in the sense of the danger in the least offence.  For to this end alone has all, that has been said, been said!’

Thus spake the Blessed One.  And those Bhikkhus, delighted in heart, exalted the word of the Blessed One, Gautama Buddha.

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 Foot Notes:-

 (1) – Sila

(2) – Patimokkha.

(3) – Akaragokara.

(4) – Sikkhapadesu. The Buddhist Decalogue.

(5) – Agghattam keto samatham.

(6) – Ghana.

(7) – Vipassana; it is always used, in contrast to samatha (note 5), of insight into objective phenomena.  These three qualities are constantly referred to as parts of Arhatship.  David da Silva makes Vipassana identical with the sevenfold perception (sanna, mentioned as conditions of the welfare of a community in the Book of the Great Decesase, Chapter I, # 10).

(8) – Even after death those who remember the Buddha, the Dharma, or the Sangha with believing heart can reap spiritual advantage. 

(9) – Aratiratisaho.  Arati is the disinclination to fulfil the duties of a Samana, discontent with the restrictions of the Sangha.

(10) – The bliss here referred to, and described in detail below, Maha-sudassana Sutta, Chapter III, is the ‘ecstasy of contemplation’ referred to in the refrain.

(11) – These are the eight Vimokkha, a list of which occurs in the Maha-para-nibbana.

(12) – Opapatika.  This is another of those words which, from their connoting Buddhist ideas unknown in Europe, are really untranslatable.  It means a being who springs into existence without the intervention of parents, and therefore, as it were, uncaused, and seeming to appear by chance.  All the higher Devas are Opapatika, there being no sex or birth in the highest heavens; and it is with especial allusion to this that the word is here used.  There is of course from the Buddhist point of view (which admits of nothing without a cause) a very sufficient cause for the sudden appearance of an Opapatika in heaven, viz, the karma of a being who has past away somewhere else; but the Buddhist  theory necessitated the choice of an expression which would give no countenance to the (heretical) idea of a soul flying away after the death of its body from one world to another.  In the expression ‘which bind people to this world,’ by world is meant the Rupa-loka, or world of form, which include all those parts of the universe whose inhabitants have an outward form and are subject to lusts.

(13) – The Lalita Vistara characteristically carries this enumeration further up into innumerable kotis and niyutas of births.

(14) – This is based on the Buddhist theory of the periodical destruction and renovation of the universe, each of which takes countless years to be accomplished.

(15) – Vanna, colour.

(16) – The text of this clause recurs nearly word for word in the Brahma-gala Sutta; and in the Lalita Vistara; and exactly in the Samanna Phala Sutta.

(17) – This paragraph recurs in the Samanna Phala Sutta, and in nearly the same words in the Lalita Vistara.

(18) – This is a collective term, meaning Buddhas, Pakkeka Buddhas, Arhats, Anagamins, Sakadagamins, and Sotapannas; that is, those who are walking in the Noble Eightfold Path.

(19) – The Pali is mikkha – (and below samma) ditthi-kamma-samadana; the Lalita Vistara, whose other expressions are identical with the Pali, has, very strangely, mithya- (and below samyag-) ditthin-karma-dharma-samadana.

(20) – Sensuality, individuality, delusion and ignorance.

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(Translated from the Pali by T.W. Rhys-Davids, Oxford University Press, London, 1881).

 

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