Patika Suttanta – I –

 

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].

 

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