Archive for February, 2011

The Light of the World
February 18, 2011

 

        The Exalted One, Gautama Buddha, said:

        ‘So long, Bhikkhus, as sun and moon have not arisen in the world, just so long is there no shining forth of great light, no shining forth of great radiance.  But gross darkness, the darkness of bewilderment, prevails.  Neither day nor night is distinguishable, not the month nor the half-month nor the seasons of the year are to be discerned.

        But, Bhikkhus, when sun and moon arise in the world, then there is the shining forth of a great light, of great radiance, and gross darkness, the darkness of bewilderment, is no more.  Then are distinguished the day and the night, then are discerned the month and the half-month, and the seasons of the year.

        Just so, Bhikkhus, so long as a Tathagata arises not, an Arhat, a Buddha Supreme, there is no shining forth of great light, of great radiance, but gross darkness, the darkness of bewilderment prevails, and there is no proclaiming, no teaching, no showing forth, no setting up, no opening up, no analysis, no making plain of the Four Ariyans Truths.

        But, Bhikkhus, so soon as a Tathagata arises, all these things take place, and then there is a proclaiming, a teaching, a showing forth, a setting up, an opening up, an analysis, a making plain of the Four Ariyan Truths.

        What Four?  The Ariyan Truth of Suffering, the Ariyan Truth of the Cause of Suffering, the Ariyan Truth of the End of Suffering, the Ariyan Truth of the Ariyas Eight-folded path to the end of suffering. 

        Wherefore, Bhikkhus, do ye exert yourselves to realize: This is suffering, this is the cause of suffering, this is the end of suffering, this is the path to the end of suffering.”

 

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[“Some Sayings of the Buddha – According to the Pali Canon,” translated from the Pali by F.L.Woodward, Oxford University Press, Madras/London, 1925].

Patika Suttanta – II –
February 10, 2011

 

        “At one time, Bhaggava, I was staying among the Bumu’s. Uttaraka is a village of theirs, and having dressed early one morning, I afterwards took my bowl, put on my robe, and went into Uttaraka for alms. Now, at that time, a cynic there, Bandylegs the Khattiya,[17] was wont to behave like a dog, walking on all fours,[18] or sprawling on the ground and taking up food, whether hard or soft, with his mouth only (without using his hands). 

        Sunakkhatta, seeing him act thus, thought: ‘How truly admirable does he look, the holy man, the recluse creeping on all fours, or sprawling on the ground, taking up food, whether hard or soft, with his mouth only.’

        Then I, Bhaggava, knowing what was in his mind, said to him: Do you, O foolish man, confess yourself as following the son of the Sakiyas?

‘What does the Exalted One mean, Lord, in saying this to me?’

        Did you not think, Sunakkhatta, as you looked at that naked Cynic, Kora the Khattiya, on all fours, sprawling on the earth, taking up his food, whether hard or soft, with his mouth only: How admirable were it to be a holy man like that ?

‘Yes, lord, I did. What then! Does the Exalted One begrudge Arhatship in others?’[19] 

        Nay, foolish man. I begrudge in no one Arhatship. It is only in you that this vicious opinion has arisen. Put it away. Let it not become a lasting source of harm and ill to you. This naked cynic, Kora the Khattiya, whom you, Sunakkhatta, fancy so admirable an Arhat, will die seven days hence of an epilepsy,[20] and dying he will be reborn as one of the Kalakanjas,[21] the very lowest of the Asura groups. As dead, he will be laid out on a heap of birana grass in the charnel field. You might go up to him, if you wish, and ask him: Do you know your own destiny, friend Kora? Perchance he will reply : I know my own destiny, friend Sunakkhatta. There are Asuras called Kalakanjas, the very lowest of the Asura groups – ’tis among them I am reborn.

        Thereat, Bhaggava, Sunakkhatta of the Licchavis, went up to the cynic, Kora the Khattiya, and spake thus to him : ‘Friend Kora the Khattiya, the Samana Gotama has declared that on the seventh day hence, the naked ascetic, Kora the Khattiya, will die, and dying he will be reborn as one of the Kalakanjas, the very lowest of the Asura groups.  As dead, he will be laid on a heap of birana grass in the charnel field.

Wherefore, friend Kora the Khattiya, you should partake of food with great moderation; you should drink liquids with great moderation; so that the word of the Samana Gotama may prove wrong’. 

        Then Sunakkhatta, so firmly did he disbelieve the Tathagata, counted up the seven days one after another;  but, Bhaggava, on the seventh day, Kora the Khattiya died of an epilepsy, and dying was reborn as had been foretold; and as dead, was laid out as had been foretold.

        Now Sunakkhatta heard, Bhaggava, that Kora the Khattiya lay dead in the charnel field on a heap of birana grass. And he went thither where the corpse was lying, and thrice he smote the naked ascetic with his hand, saying: ‘Do you know, friend Kora the Khattiya, what has been your destiny?’  Then Bhaggava, Kora the Khattiya, rubbing his back with his hand, raised himself up and said:  ‘I know, friend Sunakkhatta, what is my destiny. Among the  Kalakanjas, the very lowest of the Asura groups – there am I reborn.’  So saying, he fell back supine.[22]

        Thereupon, Bhaggava, Sunakkhatta the Licchavi came to me, and saluting me, sat down beside me.  So sitting, I spake to him thus: What think you, Sunakkhatta? Has it happened to the cynic, Kora the Khattiya, even as I declared to you, or otherwise ?

‘It has happened to him even as the Exalted One declared to me, not otherwise.’

        What think you, Sunakkhatta? This being so, has a mystic wonder by power beyond that of ordinary men been wrought, or has it not ?

‘Surely, sir, this being so, such a mystic wonder has been wrought.[23] 

        And is it then to me, you foolish man, who have thus by power beyond that of ordinary men, wrought a mystic wonder, that you say :  ‘Lord, the Exalted one works me no miracles with his superhuman gifts?’ See, foolish man, how far you have committed yourself.

        Thus, Bhaggava, did Sunakkhatta of the Licchavis, addressed by me, depart from this Dharma-Vinaya, as one doomed to disaster and to Avitchi.”[*]

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Foot-Notes

 [17] –  Kora-khattiyo kukkura-vatiko. Buddhaghosa explains Kora as a nickname, having the feet turned in. See M. I, 387; Netti 99; Jat. I, 389, and compare Rh. D.’s Buddhist India, 245.

 [18] –  Catukuntiko as in M. I, 79. The Corny, reads catukonthiko, which it paraphrases by catusanghathito, and explains by walks, resting the knees and elbows on the earth.

[19] – The Commentary,  paraphrases by maannassa arahattan hotuti:   May no one else (except me and mine) be Arhats.  Arhat in common non-Buddhist usage was simply holy man. (Dhp. A. 1. 400 ; Psalms of the Sisters, 130).

 [20] –  Alasakena: is this a negative of lasika, the synovial fluid (p. 100) ?

 [21] –  On these see Vol. II, p. 289: The Kalakanjas, all of fearsome shape. . . .

[22] –  It may be interesting to mention the Commentator’s suspended judgment on this weird occurrence: A corpse is not capable of rising up and speaking. It spoke by the power of the Buddha. The Exalted One either brought back Kora the Khattiya from the Asura-womb (or form of birth, yoni), or he made the body speak. For the range of a Buddha is incalculable.

[23] –  Five miracles, reckons the Commentary: The date of death foretold; the illness; the rebirth ; the birana-bier indicated; the speaking corpse.

[*] – N.E. – Avitchi – Hells, purgatories.

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[Digha Nikaya, translated from the Pali by T.W. and C.A.F. Rhys Davids, Part III, Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press, London, 1921].

 

 

Patika Suttanta – I –
February 6, 2011

 

MYSTIC WONDERS AND THE ORIGIN OF THINGS[1]

THUS have I heard :

        The Exalted One, Gautama Buddha, was once staying among the Mallas, at Anupiya, one of their towns.[2]   Now the Exalted One, having robed himself in the early morning, put on his cloak and took his bowl, and entered the town for alms.  And he thought:  ‘It is too early for me now to go through Anupiya for alms.  I might go to the pleasaunce where Bhaggava the Wanderer dwells[3],  and call upon Bhaggava.’ So the Exalted One went to the pleasaunce and to the place where Bhaggava the Wanderer was.

        Then Bhaggava spake thus to the Exalted One :  ‘Let my Lord the Exalted One come near. Welcome to the Exalted One!  It is long since the Exalted One has taken the opportunity[4]  to come our way. May it please you, Lord, to be seated; here is a seat made ready.

        The Exalted One sat down thereon, and Bhaggava, taking a certain low stool, sat down beside him.  So seated, Bhaggava the Wanderer spake thus to the Exalted One:  ‘Some days ago, Lord, a good many days ago, Sunakkhatta of the Licchavis[5]  called on me and spake thus:  ‘I have now given up the Exalted One, Bhaggava. I am remaining no longer under him (as my teacher).’  Is the fact really so, just as he said ?’

        It is just so, Bhaggava, as Sunakkhatta of the Licchavis said.

        Some days ago, Bhaggava, a good many days ago, Sunakkhatta, the Licchavi, came to call on me, and spake thus:  ‘Sir, I now give up the Exalted One.  I will henceforth remain no longer under him (as my teacher).’  When he told me this, I said to him:  But now, Sunakkhatta, have I ever said to you : Come, Sunakkhatta, live under me (as my pupil) ?

        ‘No, Sir, you have not.’

        Or have you ever said to me:  ‘Sir, I would fain dwell under the Exalted One (as my teacher)?’

        ‘No, Sir, I have not.’

        But if I said not the one, and you said not the other, what are you and what am I that you talk of giving up?[6]  See, foolish one, in how far the fault here is your own.[7]

        ‘Well, but, Sir, the Exalted One works me no mystic wonders surpassing the power of ordinary men.'[8]

        Why, now, Sunakkhatta, have I ever said to you:  Come, take me as your teacher, Sunakkhatta, and I will work for you mystic wonders  surpassing the power of ordinary men ?

        ‘You have not, Sir.’

        Or have you ever said to me:  Sir, I would fain take the Exalted One as my teacher, for he will work for me mystic wonders beyond the powers of ordinary men ?

        ‘I have not, Sir.’

        But if I said not the one, and you said not the other, what are you and what am I, foolish man, that you talk of giving up?   What think you, Sunakkhatta?  Whether mystic wonders beyond the power of ordinary man are wrought, or whether they are not, is the object for which I teach the Norm this:  that it leads to the thorough destruction of ill for the doer thereof?

        ‘Whether, Lord, they are so wrought or not, that is indeed the object for which the Norm is taught by the Exalted One.’

        If then, Sunakkhatta, it matters not to that object whether mystic wonders are wrought or not, of what use to you would be the working of them?  See, foolish one, in how far the fault here is your own.

        ‘But, Sir, the Exalted One does not reveal to me the beginning of things.'[9]

        Why now, Sunakkhatta, have I ever said to you:  Come, Sunakkhatta, be my Bhikkhu and I will reveal to you the beginning of things ?

        ‘Sir, you have not.’

        Or have you ever said to me: I will become the Exalted One’s Bhikkhu, for He will reveal to me the
beginning of things ?

        ‘Sir, I have not.’

        But if I have not said the one and you have not said the other, what are you and what am I, foolish man, that you talk of giving up on that account?  What think you, Sunakkhatta?  Whether the beginning of things be revealed, or whether it be not, is the object for which I teach the Dhamma this: that it leads to the thorough destruction of ill for the doer thereof ?

        ‘Whether, Sir, they are revealed or not, that is indeed the object for which the Dhamma is taught by the Exalted One.’

        If then, Sunakkhatta, it matters not to that object whether the beginning of things be revealed, or whether it be not, of what use to you would it be to have the beginning of things revealed?  See, foolish one, in how far the fault here is your own.

        In many ways have you, Sunakkhatta, spoken my praises among the Vajjians[10],  saying:[11]   ‘Thus is the Exalted One;  He is an Arahant fully awakened;  wisdom He has and righteousness;  He is the Well-Farer;[12]   He has knowledge of the worlds;  He is the supreme driver of men willing to be tamed;  the Teacher of devas[13]  and men;  the Awakened and Exalted One.  In such wise have you been wont, among the Vajjians, to utter praise of me.

        In many ways have you, Sunakkhatta, spoken the praises of the Dhamma among the Vajjians: ‘Well proclaimed by the Exalted One is the Dhamma as bearing on this present life, not involving time,[14]  inviting all to come and see,[15]  to be understood by every wise man for himself.  In such wise have you been wont, among the Vajjians, to utter praise of the Dhamma.

        In many ways have you, Sunakkhatta, spoken the praises of the Sangha among the Vajjians:  ‘Well are they trained, the Sangha of the Exalted One’s Bhikkhus, even the four branches thereof. The eight classes of individuals[16]  well trained in uprightness, in principles and in courtesy.  This Sangha should be respected and revered; gifts should be given it, and homage; for it is the world’s unsurpassed field (for sowing) merit.  In such wise have you been wont, among the Vajjians, to utter praise of the Sangha.

        I tell you Sunakkhatta, I make known to you Sunakkhatta, that there will be those that shall say concerning you thus:  Sunakkhatta of the Licchavis was not able to live the holy life under Gautama the Buddha. And he, not being able to adhere to it, hath renounced the Vinaya and turned to lower things.

        Thus, Bhaggava, did Sunakkhatta of the Licchavis, addressed by me, depart from this Dharma-Vinaya, as one doomed to disaster and purgatory.

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Foot Notes

[1] –  It appears from the passages quoted above (Vol. I, p. 199) that this dialogue was supposed to have taken place only shortly before the Buddha’s Maha-Para-Nibbana. The Burmese MSS. spell the name Pathika, apparently holding this man to be identical with the Ajivaka ascetic named Pathika of Dhp. Corny. I, 376.
[2] –  Cf. Vin. Texts III, 224 ; Ud. II, 10 ; Dhp. Corny. I, 133.
[3] – Literally, the wanderer who belonged to the Bhaggava gotta, or gens, a wider term than family. His personal name was Channa (cf. Sum. Vil. 35 ?). He should not be confounded with another Wanderer of the same gotta settled in Magadha who is said, in the Therigatha Comy, (p. 2), Pss. of the Sisters (p. 4), to have been Gotama’s first teacher.  It will be seen that in accordance with the rule of courtesy explained above (I, 195), Gotama addresses the Wanderer by his gotta, not by his mula-nama.
[4] – Pariyayam akasi. The exact meaning of this idiom is uncertain.  See the note above, I, 245.
[5] – His story is sketched above (I, 199).
[6] – Literally, being who, whom do you give up ? that is, considering your want of position in the matter, how can you so talk? So also at M., I, 428.
[7] – Yavanca te idam aparaddham. See D. II, 198; M. Ill, 169.
[8] – Iddhi-patihariya. See above, I, 272-9, for a statement of the doctrine on mystic wonders.
[9] – Na … aggannnan pannapet. Agganna, meaning priority in time, space or merit, is by the Comy, defined here as loka-pannatti, revelation of the world, and, in the Agganna Suttanta below, as lokuppatti, the genesis of the world.
[10] – Vajji-game, literally, in the village i.e., says the Corny, of the Vajjian-rajas .(Free men) at Vesali.
[11] – The following three paragraphs are the stock passages for the description of a Buddha, His Dhamma, and His Sangha respectively. See A. VI, 57 ; S. IV, 41 etc.
[12] – Sugata.  It is curious that this, after Buddha, the Awakened, should be the epithet most frequently used as a name of the founder of Buddhism. That is so, both in the ancient texts and in the more modern commentaries. See above, II, 242-5, 265. See also below, Chap. II, 7 f. ; Suttanta XXXI, 6 etc. ; Sutta-Nipata Corny. I, 43.
[13] – We judge that while the word deva is applicable also to conceptions of divinity, its essential meaning, in Indian literature, is rather that of other-world nature than of superhuman nature. We in the next world are Deva ‘s.  See I, 115, n. i.
[14] – The definitions of akalika by Buddhaghosa elsewhere and Dhammapala hardly justify our previous renderings of this word. See Kindred Sayings, I, 15, n. 2 ; Pss. of the Brethren, 314, n. i.
[15] – Ehi-passiko: come-see-ish.
[16] – The branches are Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis, laymen and laywomen. The eight classes refer to the four Paths and four stages of Fruition i.e., the spiritual condition of the four branches.

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[Digha Nikaya, translated from the Pali by T.W. and C.A.F. Rhys Davids, Part III, Humphrey Milford, Oxford University Press, London, 1921].

 

Nirvana
February 1, 2011

‘It is even as some rajah’s border-town, strongly built with walls and towers, and having six gates thereto.  This town hath a wise and watchful Warden of the Gates, who keeps out enemies and welcomes friends.  From the East there comes a pair of swift Messengers, and they say unto the Warden of the Gates; “Friend, where is the Lord of this town?”

And he replies: “Yonder he sits in the midst where the Four Ways meet.”

Then those twin Messengers deliver unto the Lord of that town the Message of Truth, and go their ways by the Path by which they came.

Likewise also from the West and from the North there comes a pair of swift Messengers, and they say unto the Warden of the Gates: “Friend, where is the Lord of this town?” And in like manner he replies, and they deliver unto the Lord of that town the Message of Truth and go their ways.

Now, Bhikkhus, have I told ye a parable: and for the interpretation of the parable, it is this:

The Town is this body, of the Four Great Elements compounded, of parents born, fed on food, corruptible and doomed to perish utterly.

The Six Gates thereof are the six avenues of Sense.

The Warden of the Gates, it is the Conscience.

The Pair of Swift Messengers, they are Calm and Insight.

The Lord of the Town, it is the Mind.

The Four Crossways meeting in the midst, are the Elements of Earth and Water, Fire and Air.

The Message of Truth they bring, it is Nirvana, the Unconditioned.

And the Path by which they come and go, it is the Ariyan Eightfold Path, to wit: Right Belief, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Living, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, Right Meditation.”
                                                                                           (S.N. iv. 194)

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“Some Sayings of the Buddha – According to the Pali Canon”, translated from the Pali by F.L.Woodward, Oxford University Press, London/Madras, 1925.