Patika Suttanta – II –


        “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.”[*]



 [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.


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