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Aṅguttara Nikāya

Discourses of the Buddha:
An Anthology

Part III

Selected and translated from the Pāli
by

Nyanaponika Thera
and
Bhikkhu Bodhi

Buddhist Publication Society
Kandy • Sri Lanka

The Wheel Publication No. 241–242

Copyright © Kandy, Buddhist Publication Society, (1970)
BPS Online Edition © (2008)
Digital Transcription Source: BPS.

First edition: 1976
Second edition: 1990

For this edition, the revised translations by Venerable Bodhi as given in the Numerical Discourses of the Buddha have been used with his kind permission.

For free distribution. This work may be republished, reformatted, reprinted and redistributed in any medium. However, any such republication and redistribution is to be made available to the public on a free and unrestricted basis and translations and other derivative works are to be clearly marked as such and the Buddhist Publication Society is to be acknowledged as the original publisher.


The Chapter of the Nines

1. Meghiya

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Cālikā, on the Cālika hill. There the Venerable Meghiya, who was at that time the Blessed One’s attendant, [1] approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, and said to him while standing at one side:

“Lord, I wish to go to Jantugāma for alms.”

“You may do as you think fit, Meghiya.”

Then the Venerable Meghiya, dressing himself in the morning and taking robe and bowl, entered Jantugāma for alms. Having made the alms round and taken his meal, he went to the bank of the Kimikālā River.

There, while walking around to stretch his legs, he saw a pleasant and beautiful mango grove. Seeing it, he thought: “Pleasant, indeed, is this mango grove; it is beautiful. Truly, it is fit for a clansman who wishes to strive in meditation. If the Blessed One allows it, I shall return to this mango grove to strive in meditation.”

Then the Venerable Meghiya approached the Blessed One … and said to him: “Lord, after my alms round in Jantugāma, when I had taken my meal, I went to the bank of the Kimikālā River. While walking there I saw a pleasant and beautiful mango grove which I thought to be fit for a clansman who wishes to strive in meditation. If the Blessed One permits me, I shall go there and strive.”

“Wait a while, Meghiya. We are now alone here. First let another monk come.”

But the Venerable Meghiya repeated his request, saying: “Lord, for the Blessed One there is nothing further to achieve and no need to consolidate what he has achieved. But as for me, Lord, there is still more to achieve and the need to consolidate what I have achieved. If the Blessed One permits me, I shall go to that mango grove and strive.”

Again the Blessed One asked him to wait and again the Venerable Meghiya made his request for a third time. (Then the Blessed One said:)

“As you speak of striving, Meghiya, what can we say? You may do now as you think fit.”

The Venerable Meghiya then rose from his seat, saluted the Blessed One, and keeping him to his right, left for the mango grove. Having arrived, he went deeper into the grove and sat down under a tree to spend the day there. But while staying in that mango grove, three kinds of evil, unwholesome thoughts constantly assailed him: sensual thoughts, thoughts of ill will and thoughts of violence.

Then he thought: “Truly, it is strange, it is amazing! I have gone forth from home into the homeless life out of faith, and yet I am harassed by these three kinds of evil, unwholesome thoughts: sensual thoughts, thoughts of ill will, and thoughts of violence.” [2]

Then the Venerable Meghiya went back to the Blessed One, and having saluted him, he told him what had occurred and exclaimed: “Truly it is strange, it is amazing! I have gone forth from home into the homeless life out of faith, and yet I am harassed by those three kinds of evil, unwholesome thoughts.”

“If, Meghiya, the mind still lacks maturity for liberation, there are five conditions conducive to making it mature. What five?

“The first thing, Meghiya, for making the immature mind mature for liberation is to have a noble friend, a noble companion, a noble associate. [3]

“Further, Meghiya, a monk should be virtuous, restrained by the restraint of the Pātimokkha, perfect in conduct and resort, seeing danger in the slightest faults. Having undertaken the training rules, he should train himself in them. This is the second thing that makes the immature mind mature for liberation.

“Further, Meghiya, the talk in which a monk engages should befit an austere life and be helpful to mental clarity; that is to say, it should be talk on fewness of wishes, on contentment, on solitude, on seclusion, on application of energy, on virtue, concentration, wisdom, liberation, and on the knowledge and vision of liberation. If a monk finds opportunities for such talk easily and without difficulty, this is the third thing that makes the immature mind mature for liberation.

“Further, Meghiya, a monk lives with his energy set upon the abandoning of everything unwholesome and the acquiring of everything wholesome; he is steadfast and strong in his effort, not shirking his task in regard to wholesome qualities. This is the fourth thing that makes the immature mind mature for liberation.

“Further, Meghiya, a monk possesses wisdom; he is equipped with that wisdom which sees into the rise and fall of phenomena, which is noble and penetrative, leading to the complete destruction of suffering. This is the fifth thing that makes the immature mind mature for liberation.

“When, Meghiya, a monk has a noble friend, a noble companion and associate, it can be expected the he will be virtuous … that he will engage in talk befitting the austere life and helpful to mental clarity … that his energy will be set upon the abandoning of everything unwholesome and the acquiring of everything wholesome … that he will be equipped with the wisdom that leads to the complete destruction of suffering.

“Then, Meghiya, when the monk is firmly grounded in these five things, he should cultivate four other things: he should cultivate the meditation on the foulness (of the body) for abandoning lust; he should cultivate loving kindness for abandoning ill will; he should cultivate mindfulness of breathing for cutting off distracting thoughts; he should cultivate the perception of impermanence for eliminating the conceit ’I am’. In one who perceives impermanence, the perception of non-self becomes firmly established; and one who perceives non-self achieves the elimination of the conceit ’I am’ and attains Nibbāna in this very life.” [4]

(9:3)

2. Freed of Fivefold Fear

There are, O monks, four powers. What four? The power of wisdom, the power of energy, the power of an unblemished life and the power of beneficence.

And what, monks, is the power of wisdom? As to those things which are unwholesome and are held to be unwholesome, those things which are wholesome and are held to be wholesome; blameless and blameworthy, and held to be so; dark and bright, and held to be so; fit or unfit to be practised, and held to be so; worthy and unworthy of noble ones, and held to be so—to see all these things clearly and to consider them well, this is called the power of wisdom.

And what, monks, is the power of energy? As to those things that are unwholesome, blameworthy, dark, unfit to be practised, unworthy of noble ones, and which are held to be so—to generate desire, to make an effort and stir up one’s energy for abandoning all these things; and as to those things that are wholesome, blameless, bright, fit to be practised, worthy of noble ones, and which are held to be so—to generate desire, to make an effort and stir up one’s energy for gaining all these things, this is called the power of energy.

And what, monks, is the power of an unblemished life? Here, monks, a noble disciple is unblemished in his deeds, unblemished in his words, unblemished in his thoughts. This is called the power of an unblemished life.

And what, monks, is the power of beneficence? There are four bases of beneficence: [5] by gifts, by friendly speech, by helpful acts and by bestowal of equity. This is the best of gifts: the gift of Dhamma. And this is the best of friendly speech: to teach the Dhamma again and again to those who wish for it and who listen attentively. And this is the best of helpful acts: to arouse, instil and strengthen faith in the unbeliever; to arouse, instil, and strengthen virtue in the immoral; to arouse, instil and strengthen generosity in the miser; to arouse, instil, and strengthen wisdom in the ignorant. And this is the best bestowal of equity: if a stream-enterer becomes equal to a stream-enterer; a once-returner equal to a once-returner; a non-returner equal to a non-returner; and an arahat equal to an arahat. This, monks, is called the power of beneficence.

And this concludes the four powers.

Now, monks, a noble disciple endowed with these four powers has left behind five fears: the fear for his livelihood, the fear of disrepute, the fear of embarrassment in assemblies, the fear of death and the fear of an unhappy future destiny.

A noble disciple thus endowed will think: “No fear do I have for my livelihood. Why should I have fear about it? Have I not the four powers of wisdom, energy, unblemished life and beneficence? It is one who is foolish and lazy, of blameworthy conduct in deeds, words, and thoughts, and who has no beneficence—such a one might have fear for his livelihood.

“No fear do I have about disrepute or about embarrassment in assemblies; nor have I fear of death or of an unhappy future destiny. Why should I have these fears? Have I not the four powers of wisdom, energy, unblemished life, and beneficence? It is one who is foolish and lazy, of blameworthy conduct in deeds, words, and thoughts, and who has no beneficence—such a one might have all these fears.”

Thus it should be understood, monks, that a noble disciple endowed with the four powers has left behind five fears.

(9:5)

3. Sāriputta’s Lion’s Roar

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. At that time the Venerable Sāriputta approached the Blessed One. Having paid homage to the Blessed One, he sat down to one side and said to him:

“Lord, I have now completed the rains retreat at Sāvatthī and wish to leave for a country journey.”

“Sāriputta, you may go whenever you are ready.” The Venerable Sāriputta rose from his seat, saluted the Blessed One, and keeping him to his right, departed.

Soon after the Venerable Sāriputtā had left, one monk said to the Blessed One: “The Venerable Sāriputta has hit me and has left on his journey without an apology.” [6]

Then the Blessed One called another monk and said: “Go, monk, and call the Venerable Sāriputta, saying, ’The Master calls you, Sāriputta.’“ [7] The monk did as he was bidden, and the Venerable Sāriputta responded, saying, “Yes, friend.”

Then the Venerable Mahāmoggallāna and the Venerable Ānanda, taking the keys, went around the monks’ lodgings and said: “Come, revered sirs, come! For today the Venerable Sāriputta will utter his lion’s roar in the presence of the Blessed One.”

The Venerable Sāriputta approached the Blessed One, and after saluting him, sat down to one side. When he was seated, the Blessed One said: “One of your fellow monks here has complained that you hit him and left on your journey without an apology.”

“Lord, one in whom mindfulness directed to the body [8] is not present in regard to the body may well hit a fellow monk and leave without an apology.

“Just as, Lord, people throw upon the earth things clean and unclean, dung, urine, spittle, pus and blood, yet for all that the earth has no revulsion, loathing or disgust towards it; [9] even so, Lord, do I dwell with a heart that is like the earth, vast, exalted and measureless, without hostility, and without ill will. However, one in whom mindfulness directed on the body in regard to the body is not present may well hit a fellow monk and leave without an apology.

“Just as, Lord, people use water to wash things clean and unclean, things soiled with dung, urine, spittle, pus and blood, yet for all that the water has no revulsion, loathing or disgust towards it; even so, Lord, do I dwell with a heart that is like water, vast, exalted and measureless, without hostility, and without ill will. However, one in whom … and leave without an apology

“Just as, Lord, fire burns things clean and unclean, things soiled with dung, urine, spittle, pus and blood, yet for all that the fire has no revulsion, loathing or disgust towards it; even so, Lord, do I dwell with a heart that is like fire, vast, exalted and measureless, without hostility, and without ill will. However, he in whom … and leave without an apology.

“Just as, Lord, the wind blows over things clean and unclean, over dung, urine, spittle, pus and blood, yet for all that the wind has no revulsion, loathing or disgust towards it; even so, Lord, do I dwell with a heart that is like the wind, vast, exalted and measureless, without hostility, and without ill will. However, he in whom … and leave without an apology.

“Lord, just as a duster wipes over things clean and unclean, things soiled with dung, urine, spittle, pus and blood, yet for all that the duster has no revulsion, loathing or disgust towards it; even so, Lord, do I dwell with a heart that is like a duster, vast, exalted and measureless, without hostility, and without ill will. However, he in whom … and leave without an apology.

“Lord, just as an outcast boy or girl, begging-vessel in hand and clad in rags, enters a village or town with a humble heart; even so, Lord, do I dwell with a heart like that of an outcast youth, a heart that is vast, exalted and measureless, without hostility, and without ill will. However, he in whom … and leave without an apology.

“Lord, just as a bull with his horns cut, gentle, well tamed and well trained, when roaming from street to street, from square to square, will not hurt anyone with feet or horns; even so, Lord, do I dwell like a bull with horns cut, with a heart that is vast, exalted and measureless, without hostility, and without ill will. However, he in whom … and leave without an apology.

“Lord, just as a woman or a man, young, youthful and fond of ornaments, who has just washed the head, would be filled with revulsion, loathing and disgust if the carcass of a snake, a dog or a man were to be slung around the neck; even so, Lord, am I filled with revulsion, loathing and disgust for this foul body of mine. However, one in whom mindfulness directed to the body in regard to the body is not present may well hit a fellow monk and leave without an apology.

“Lord, just if one were to carry around a bowl of liquid fat that is full of holes and crevices, oozing and dripping; even so, Lord, do I carry around this body that is full of holes and crevices, oozing and dripping. However, one in whom mindfulness directed on the body in regard to the body is not present may well hit a fellow monk and leave without an apology.”

Then that accusing monk rose from his seat, arranged his upper robe over one shoulder, and with his head on the ground bowed at the feet of the Blessed One, saying: “Lord, I committed an offence when I was so foolish, stupid and unskilful that I accused the Venerable Sāriputta falsely, wrongly and untruthfully. Let the Blessed One accept my admission of the offence and pardon me, and I shall practise restraint in the future.”

“Truly, monk, you committed an offence when you were so foolish, stupid and unskilful that you accused Sāriputta falsely, wrongly and untruthfully. But as you have recognised your offence as such and make amends for it according to the rule, we pardon you. For it is a sign of growth in the Discipline of the Noble One that one recognises one’s offence, makes amends for it according to the rule, and in future practises restraint.”

The Blessed One then turned to the Venerable Sāriputta and said: “Forgive this foolish man, Sāriputta, before his head splits into seven pieces on this very spot.”

“I shall forgive him, Lord, if this revered monk asks for my pardon. And he, too, may forgive me.”

(9:11)

4. Samiddhi

(Once the Venerable Samiddhi went to see the Venerable Sāriputta and the latter questioned him as follows:)

“What, Samiddhi, is the conditioning basis of the purposive thoughts that arise in a person?”—”Name-and-form, venerable sir.” [10]

“From what does their variety derive? —”From the elements.”

“What is their origin?” —”Contact.”

“On what do they converge?”—”Feeling.”

“What is their head?”—”Concentration.”

“What is their master?”—”Mindfulness.”

“What is their climax?”—”Wisdom.”

“What is their essence?”—”Liberation.”

“Where do they merge?”—”In the Deathless.” [11]

(In the original text, the Venerable Sāriputta repeats these questions and answers, and concludes:)

“Well spoken, Samiddhi, well spoken! You have answered well the various questions put to you. But do not be proud of yourself on that account!”

(9:14)

5. Rooted in Craving

Monks, I shall teach you nine things rooted in craving. Listen and attend carefully, I shall speak.

What are the nine things rooted in craving? Because of craving there is pursuit; because of pursuit, there is acquisition; because of acquisition, there is decision; because of decision there is desire and lust; because of desire and lust there is selfish tenacity; because of selfish tenacity there is possessiveness; because of possessiveness there is avarice; because of avarice there is concern for protection; and for the sake of protection there is the seizing of cudgels and weapons, and various evil, unwholesome things such as quarrels, strife, dissension and offensive talk, slander and lies. [12]

These are the nine things rooted in craving.

(9:23)


The Chapter of the Tens

6. The Benefits of Virtue

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. At that time the Venerable Ānanda approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, and asked: [13]

“What, Lord, is the benefit of virtuous ways of conduct, what is their reward?”

“Non-remorse, Ānanda, is the benefit and reward of virtuous ways of conduct.”

“And what, Lord, is the benefit and reward of non-remorse?”

“Gladness, Ānanda.”

“And what, Lord, is the benefit and reward of gladness?”

“Joy.”

“And what, Lord, is the benefit and reward of joy?”

“Serenity.”

“And what, Lord, is the benefit and reward of serenity?”

“Happiness.”

“And what, Lord, is the benefit and reward of happiness?”

“Concentration of the mind.”

“And what, Lord, is the benefit and reward of concentration?”

“Knowledge and vision of things as they really are.”

“And what, Lord, is the benefit and reward of knowledge and vision of things as they really are?”

“Revulsion and dispassion.”

“And what, Lord, is the benefit and reward of revulsion and dispassion?”

“The knowledge and vision of liberation.

“Hence, Ānanda, virtuous ways of conduct have non-remorse as their benefit and reward; non-remorse has gladness as its benefit and reward; gladness has joy as its benefit and reward; joy has serenity as its benefit and reward; serenity has happiness as its benefit and reward; happiness has concentration as its benefit and reward; concentration has knowledge and vision of things as they really are as its benefit and reward; knowledge and vision of things as they really are has revulsion and dispassion as its benefit and reward; revulsion and dispassion have the knowledge and vision of liberation as their benefit and reward. In this way, Ānanda, virtuous ways of conduct lead step by step to the highest.”

(10:1)

7. Lawfulness of Progress

For one who is virtuous and endowed with virtue, there is no need for an act of will: “May non-remorse arise in me!” It is a natural law, monks, that non-remorse will arise in one who is virtuous.

For one free of remorse, there is no need for an act of will: “May gladness arise in me!” It is a natural law that gladness will arise in one who is free from remorse.

For one who is glad at heart, there is no need for an act of will: “May joy arise in me!” It is a natural law that joy will arise in one who is glad at heart .

For one who is joyful, there is no need for an act of will: “May my body be serene!” It is a natural law that the body will be serene for one who is joyful.

For one of serene body, there is no need for an act of will: “May I feel happiness!” It is a natural law that one who is serene will feel happiness.

For one who is happy, there is no need for an act of will: “May my mind be concentrated!” It is a natural law for one who is happy that the mind will be concentrated.

For one who is concentrated, there is no need for an act of will: “May I know and see things as they really are!” It is a natural law for one with a concentrated mind to know and see things as they really are.

For one who knows and see things as they really are, there is no need for an act of will: “May I experience revulsion and dispassion!” It is a natural law for one who knows and sees things as they really are to experience revulsion and dispassion.

For one who experiences revulsion and dispassion, there is no need for an act of will: “May I realise the knowledge and vision of liberation!” It is a natural law for one who experiences revulsion and dispassion to realise the knowledge and vision of liberation.

Thus, monks, revulsion and dispassion have knowledge and vision of liberation as their benefit and reward … (continued in conformity with the above, back to) … virtuous ways of conduct have non-remorse as their benefit and reward.

Thus, monks, the preceding qualities flow into the succeeding qualities; the succeeding qualities bring the preceding qualities to perfection, for going from the near shore to the far shore. [14]

(10:2)

8. The Meditative Experience of Nibbāna–I

Once the Venerable Ānanda approached the Blessed One and asked:

“Can it be, Lord, that a monk attains to such a concentration of mind that in earth he is not percipient of earth, nor in water is he percipient of water, nor in fire … air … the base of the infinity of space … the base of the infinity of consciousness … the base of nothingness … the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception is he percipient of all these; nor is he percipient of this world or a world beyond—but yet he is percipient?” [15]

“Yes, Ānanda, there can be such a concentration of mind that in earth he is not percipient of earth … nor is he percipient of this world or a world beyond—but yet he is percipient.”

“But how, Lord, can a monk attain to such a concentration of mind?”

“Here, Ānanda, the monk is percipient thus: ’This is the peaceful, this is the sublime, namely, the stilling of all formations, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, Nibbāna.’ It is in this way, Ānanda, that a monk may attain to such a concentration of mind.” [16]

(10:6)

9. The Meditative Experience of Nibbāna–II

Once the Venerable Ānanda approached the Venerable Sāriputta and asked:

“Can it be, friend Sāriputta, that a monk attains to such a concentration of mind that in earth he is not percipient of earth … (as above) … nor is he percipient of this world or a world beyond—but yet he is percipient?”

“Yes, friend Ānanda, he can attain to such a concentration of mind.”

“But how, friend Sāriputta, can a monk attain to such a concentration of mind?”

“Once, friend Ānanda, I lived here in Sāvatthī, in the Dark Forest. There I attained to such a concentration of mind that in earth I was not percipient of earth … (as above) … nor was I percipient of this world or a world beyond—and yet I was percipient.”

“But what was the Venerable Sāriputta percipient of on that occasion?”

“’Nibbāna is cessation of becoming, Nibbāna is cessation of becoming’ [17] —one such perception arose in me and another such perception ceased. Just as, friend Ānanda, from a fire of faggots one flame arises and another flame ceases, even so, ’Nibbāna is cessation of becoming, Nibbāna is cessation of becoming’—one such perception arose in me and another such perception ceased. On that occasion, friend, I perceived that Nibbāna is the cessation of becoming.”

(10:7)

10. The Buddha’s Lion’s Roar

Monks, the lion, the king of beasts, comes forth from his lair in the evening. Then he stretches himself, surveys the four directions all around, and roars three times his lion’s roar. [18] And why? (He does so with the thought:) “May I not cause the death of small creatures that have gone astray!”

“The lion”—this, monks, is a name for the Tathāgata, the Arahant, the Fully Enlightened One. When, monks, the Tathāgata expounds the Dhamma in an assembly, that is his lion’s roar.

There are, monks, these ten Tathāgata powers [19] of a Tathāgata, endowed with which the Tathāgata claims the foremost rank, utters his lion’s roar in the assemblies and sets rolling the supreme Wheel of the Dhamma. [20] What are these ten Tathāgata powers?

(1) Here, the Tathāgata understands, as it really is, cause as cause and non-cause as non-cause. [21] This is a Tathāgata power of the Tathāgata, by reason of which he claims the foremost rank, utters his lion’s roar in the assemblies and sets rolling the supreme Wheel of the Dhamma.

(2) Again, the Tathāgata understands, as it really is, by way of cause and root condition, [22] the result of past, future, and present actions that are performed. This too is a Tathāgata power of the Tathāgata….

(3) Again, the Tathāgata understands, as it really is, the way leading to all destinies. [23] This too is a Tathāgata power of the Tathāgata ….

(4) Again, the Tathāgata understands, as it really is, the world with its many and different elements. [24] This too is a Tathāgata power of the Tathāgata….

(5) Again, the Tathāgata understands, as it really is, the different dispositions of beings. [25] This too is a Tathāgata power of the Tathāgata….

(6) Again, the Tathāgata understands, as it really is, the inferior and superior condition of the faculties of other beings, of other persons. [26] This too is a Tathāgata power of the Tathāgata….

(7) Again, the Tathāgata understands, as it really is, with regard to the jhānas, the liberations, the concentrations and the meditative attainments, their defects and purity and the emergence from them. [27] This too is a Tathāgata power of the Tathāgata….

(8) Again, the Tathāgata recollects his manifold past lives, that is to say, one birth, two births, three births, four births, five births, ten births, twenty births, thirty births, forty births, fifty births, a hundred births, a thousand births, a hundred thousand births, many aeons of world-contraction, many aeons of world-expansion, many aeons of world-contraction and expansion … (as in Text 34) … Thus with their aspects and particulars he recollects his manifold past lives. This too is a Tathāgata power of the Tathāgata….

(9) Again, with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, the Tathāgata sees beings passing away and reappearing, inferior and superior, fair and ugly, of good or bad destination. He understands beings as faring according to their deeds … (as in Text 34) …This too is a Tathāgata power of the Tathāgata….

(10) Again, the Tathāgata, by the destruction of the taints, in this very life enters and dwells in the taintless liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom, having realised it for himself by direct knowledge. This too is a Tathāgata power of the Tathāgata, by reason of which he claims the foremost rank, roars his lion’s roar in the assemblies and sets rolling the supreme Wheel of the Dhamma.

These, monks, are the ten Tathāgata powers of the Tathāgata, endowed with which the Tathāgata claims the foremost rank, roars his lion’s roar in the assemblies and sets rolling the supreme Wheel of the Dhamma.

(10:21)

11. Doctrinal Terms

Once the Venerable Ānanda approached the Blessed One and, after paying homage to him, sat down to one side. The Blessed One then addressed the Venerable Ānanda thus:

“Here, Ānanda, I am confident about those things that lead to the realisation by direct knowledge of the various doctrinal terms, [28] and I claim to teach the Dhamma about these matters in such a way that a person who acts accordingly will know the real as being real and the unreal as being unreal; he will know the inferior as being inferior and the excellent as being excellent; he will know what can be surpassed as being surpassable and the unsurpassable as being unsurpassable; and there is the possibility that he will know, understand and realise it just as it ought to be known, understood and realised.

“But that, Ānanda, is the highest knowledge, namely, the knowledge of these things as they really are. And I say, Ānanda, there is no knowledge higher and more excellent than this.”

(Here follows a full repetition of the text on the ten Tathāgata powers, as in the preceding sutta).

12. Universal Impermanence

(1) Monks, as far as there are Kāsi [29] and Kosala people, as far as the realm of King Pasenadi of Kosala extends, King Pasenadi of Kosala ranks as the highest. But even for King Pasenadi change [30] takes place, transformation takes place. When seeing this, monks, an instructed noble disciple is repelled by it; being repelled, he becomes dispassionate towards the highest, [31] not to speak of what is low.

(2) Monks, as far as sun and moon revolve and illuminate all directions by their radiance, so far does the thousandfold world system extend. And in that thousandfold world system there are a thousand moons, a thousand suns, a thousand Mount Sinerus the king of mountains, a thousand Jambudīpa continents, a thousand Western Goyana continents, a thousand Northern Kuru continents, a thousand Eastern Videha continents, a thousand four great oceans, a thousand Four Divine Kings and their heavens, a thousand each of the heavens of the Tāvatiṃsa devas, of the Yāma devas, of the Tusita devas, of the Nimmāṇarati devas, of the Paranimmitavasavattī devas, and there are a thousand Brahma-worlds. As far, monks, as this thousandfold world system extends, Mahābrahmā ranks there as the highest. But even for Mahābrahmā change takes place, transformation takes place. When seeing this, monks, an instructed noble disciple is repelled by it; being repelled, he becomes dispassionate towards the highest, not to speak of what is low.

(3) There will be a time, monks, when this world comes to an end. And at that time, beings are generally reborn among the devas of Streaming Radiance. [32] There they live, made of mind, feeding on joy, radiating light from themselves, traversing the skies, living in glory, and thus they remain for a very long time. When the world comes to an end, monks, these devas of Streaming Radiance rank as the highest. But even for these devas change takes place, transformation takes place. When seeing this, monks, an instructed noble disciple is repelled by it; being repelled, he becomes dispassionate towards the highest, not to speak of what is low.

(4) Monks, there are the ten kasiṇa devices. [33] What are the ten? Someone perceives the earth kasiṇa, above, below, on all sides, undivided, unbounded; another person perceives the water kasiṇa … the fire kasiṇa … the wind kasiṇa … the blue … yellow … red … white kasiṇa … the space kasiṇa … the consciousness kasiṇa, above, below, on all sides, undivided, unbounded. These are the ten kasiṇa devices. Among these ten, this is the highest: when one perceives the consciousness kasiṇa above, below, on all sides, undivided, unbounded. There are indeed, monks, persons who perceive in such a way. But even for them change takes place, transformation takes place. When seeing this, monks, an instructed noble disciple is repelled by it; being repelled, he becomes dispassionate towards the highest, not to speak of what is low.

(5) Monks, there are eight stages of mastery. [34] What are the eight?

(i) Perceiving forms internally, one sees forms externally, small ones, beautiful or ugly; and in mastering them, one understands: “I know, I see!” This is the first stage of mastery…. (viii) Not perceiving forms internally, one sees forms externally, white forms, of white colour, white appearance, white lustre, and mastering these, one understands: “I know, I see!” This is the eighth stage of mastery.

Among these eight, the last is the highest. There are indeed, monks, persons who perceive in such a way. But even for them change takes place, transformation takes place. When seeing this, monks, an instructed noble disciple is repelled by it; being repelled, he becomes dispassionate towards the highest, not to speak of what is low.

(6) Monks, there are four modes of progress: The mode of progress that is painful, with sluggish direct knowledge; the mode of progress that is painful, with quick direct knowledge; the mode of progress that is pleasant, with sluggish direct knowledge; and the mode of progress that is pleasant, with quick direct knowledge. [35] Among these four, the highest is the mode of progress that is pleasant, with quick direct knowledge. There are indeed, monks those who make progress in such a way. But even for them change takes place, transformation takes place. When seeing this, monks, an instructed noble disciple is repelled by it; being repelled, he becomes dispassionate towards the highest, not to speak of what is low.

(7) Monks, there are four modes of perception: one person perceives what is limited; another perceives what is exalted; another perceives what is measureless; and still another, aware that “There is nothing,” perceives the base of nothingness. [36]

Among these four modes of perception, the highest is when, aware that “There is nothing,” one perceives the base of nothingness. There are indeed, monks, those who perceive in such a way. But even for them change takes place, transformation takes place. When seeing this, monks, an instructed noble disciple is repelled by it; being repelled, he becomes dispassionate towards the highest, not to speak of what is low.

(8) Monks, among the views of outsiders, this is the highest: “I might not be and it might not be mine; I shall not be and it will not be mine.” [37]

For one, monks, who has such a view, it can be expected that he will not feel attracted to becoming and will have no aversion against the cessation of becoming. [38] There are indeed, monks, those who have such a view. But even for them change takes place, transformation takes place. When seeing this, monks, an instructed noble disciple is repelled by it; being repelled, he becomes dispassionate towards the highest, not to speak of what is low.

(9) Monks, there are some ascetics and brahmins who teach an “ultimate purification.” [39] Those who teach an “ultimate purification” regard it as the highest if, after transcending the base of nothingness, one enters into and dwells in the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception. They teach their doctrine for the direct knowledge and realisation of that. There are indeed, monks, those who teach thus. But even for them change takes place, transformation takes place. When seeing this, monks, an instructed noble disciple is repelled by it; being repelled, he becomes dispassionate towards the highest, not to speak of what is low.

(10) Monks, there are some ascetics and brahmins who teach the supreme Nibbāna in this very life. [40] To those who teach the supreme Nibbāna in this very life, the highest is the liberation-without-clinging attained after seeing the six bases of contact as they really are, namely, their arising and passing away, the gratification and danger in them, and the escape from them.

And though I teach and proclaim thus, some ascetics and brahmins wrongly, baselessly, falsely and incorrectly misrepresent me thus: “The ascetic Gotama does not teach the full understanding of sensual pleasures, nor of forms, nor of feelings.” But, monks, I do teach the full understanding of sensual pleasures, and of forms, and of feelings. [41] And being stilled, quenched and cooled even in this very life, I proclaim the supreme Nibbāna that is free from clinging. [42]

(10:29)

13. King Pasenadi’s Homage to the Buddha

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. At that time King Pasenadi of Kosala had returned from a sham battle, [43] having been victorious and having achieved his purpose. The king then set out in the direction of the monastery. He rode by chariot as far as the road went; then he alighted from his chariot and entered the monastery on foot.

At that time, a number of monks were walking up and down in the open. The king approached them and asked: “Where, venerable sirs, is the Blessed One staying now?”

“He is staying in the lodging there, great king, where the door is shut. You may go there quietly and without haste. Then enter the verandah, clear your throat, and knock with the door bar. The Blessed One will open the door for you.”

The king did as he was told and the Blessed One opened the door for the king. Having entered the dwelling, King Pasenadi bent low before the Blessed One with his head on the ground and kissed the Blessed One’s feet, embracing them with his hands. Then he announced his name: “I am Pasenadi, Lord, the king of Kosala. I am Pasenadi, Lord, the king of Kosala.”

“But, great king, what reason do you see for showing to this body such profound humility and for offering it such loving devotion?”

“To express my grateful thanks, Lord; for that reason do I show to the Blessed One such profound humility and offer him my loving devotion.

“The Blessed One, Lord, lives for the welfare of the multitude, for the happiness of the multitude, he has established many people in the noble way, in good and wholesome principles. It is for this reason, Lord, that I show to the Blessed One such profound humility and offer him my loving devotion.

“Again, Lord, the Blessed One is virtuous, of mature virtue, of noble virtue, of wholesome virtue; he is endowed with wholesome virtue. It is for this reason ….

“Again, Lord, the Blessed One has been a forest dweller for a long time; he resorts to remote forest lands, to secluded dwellings. It is for this reason ….

“Again, Lord, the Blessed One is content with whatever robes, alms-food, lodging, and medicinal requisites he receives. It is for this reason ….

“Again, Lord, the Blessed One is worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of reverential salutation, being the unsurpassed field of merit for the world. It is for this reason ….

“Again, Lord, the Blessed One obtains at will, without trouble or difficulty, (the opportunity for) talk that befits an austere life and is helpful to mental clarity; that is to say, talk on fewness of wishes, on contentment, on solitude, on seclusion, on application of energy, on virtue, concentration, wisdom, liberation and the knowledge and vision of liberation. It is for this reason ….

“Again, Lord, the Blessed One attains at will, without trouble or difficulty, the four jhānas, which pertain to the higher mind and are pleasant dwellings in this very life. It is for this reason ….

“Again, Lord, the Blessed One recollects his manifold past lives, that is to say, one birth … (as in Text 137) … It is for this reason ….

“Again, Lord, with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, the Blessed One sees beings passing away and reappearing … (as in Text 137) … It is for this reason ….

“And again, Lord, the Blessed One, by the destruction of the taints, in this very life enters and dwells in the taintless liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom, having realised it for himself by direct knowledge. It is for this reason, Lord, that I show to the Blessed One such profound humility and offer him my loving devotion.

“But now, Lord, we must go. We have much work and many duties.”

“Do as you think fit, great king.”

And King Pasenadi of Kosala rose from his seat, paid homage to the Blessed One, and respectfully and keeping him to his right, he departed.

(10:30)

14. Self-Examination

If, O monks, a monk is not skilled in knowing the ways of others’ minds, he should resolve, “I must become skilled in knowing the ways of my own mind.” Thus, monks, should you train yourselves.

And how is a monk skilled in knowing the ways of his own mind? It is just as if a woman or a man, young, youthful and fond of ornaments, would look at their face in a clean, bright mirror or in a bowl of clear water. If they then see any dust or dirt, they will make all effort to remove it. But if no dust or dirt is seen, they will be glad about it, and their wish satisfied, they will think, “How good! I am clean!”

Similarly, monks, for a monk self-examination is very helpful for the growth of wholesome qualities: “Am I often covetous or often not covetous? Do I often have ill will in my heart or am I often free of it? Am I often immersed in sloth and torpor or am I often free of it? Am I excited or often free of excitement? Am I often in doubt or often free of doubt? Am I often angry or often free of anger? Is my mind often defiled by unwholesome thoughts or often free of defilements? Is my body often restless or often free of restlessness? Am I often lazy or often energetic? Am I often unconcentrated or often concentrated?”

When, by such self-examination, a monk finds that he is often covetous, full of ill will, slothful, excited, doubtful, angry, mentally defiled, bodily restless, lazy and unconcentrated, then he should apply his utmost zeal and energy, effort and exertion, as well as unremitting mindfulness and clear comprehension, to the abandoning of all those evil, unwholesome qualities.

Just as a man whose clothes or turban are on fire would apply his utmost zeal and energy, effort and exertion, as well as mindfulness and clear comprehension, so that he may extinguish the fire; even so, the monk should apply his utmost zeal and energy … for the abandoning of those evil, unwholesome qualities.

But if, on examining himself, that monk finds that he is more often without covetousness and ill will, more often free from sloth and torpor, free from excitement and doubt; more often free from anger; and finds that his mind is more often undefiled and his body free of restlessness; that he is more often energetic and well concentrated—then grounding himself firmly in all these wholesome qualities, he should make a further effort for the destruction of the taints.

(10:51)

15. Do not Stagnate!

I do not approve, monks, of stagnation in things wholesome, not to speak of a decline. It is growth in things unwholesome that I praise, and not stagnation, not decline in them.

(10:53, extract)

16. The Roots of Everything

It may be, O monks, that wandering ascetics of another persuasion might ask you: [44] “In what are all things rooted? How do they come to actual existence? Where do they arise? Where do they converge? What is the foremost in all things? What is their master? What is the highest of all things? What is the essence in all things? Where do all things merge? Where do they end?”

If you are thus questioned, monks, you should reply as follows: “All things are rooted in desire. [45] They come to actual existence through attention, [46] originate from contact, and converge on feelings. The foremost of all things is concentration. All things are mastered by mindfulness. Their peak is wisdom, their essence liberation. All things merge in the Deathless, and Nibbāna is their culmination.” [47]

(10:58)

17. The Spirit of Monkhood

O monks, you should train yourselves thus: “In the spirit of our going forth should our mind be strengthened! [48] No evil, unwholesome thoughts should persist obsessing our minds! In the perception of impermanence shall our mind be strengthened! In the perception of non-self shall our mind be strengthened! In the perception of foulness shall our mind be strengthened! In the perception of danger shall our mind be strengthened! In knowing the even and uneven ways of the world shall our mind be strengthened! In knowing growth and decline in the world shall our mind be strengthened! [49] In knowing the origination and the passing away of the world shall our mind be strengthened! [50] In the perception of abandoning shall our mind be strengthened! In the perception of dispassion shall our mind be strengthened! In the perception of cessation shall our mind be strengthened!” [51] In such a way, monks, should you train yourselves.

When a monk’s mind is strengthened in all these ways, one of two fruits may be expected: either final knowledge in this present life, or else, if there is a residue of clinging, the stage of non-returning.

(10:59)

18. Ignorance and Craving

(AN 10:61) A first beginning of ignorance, O monks, cannot be discerned, [52] of which it can be said, “Before that, there was no ignorance and it came to be after that.” Though this is so, monks, yet a specific condition of ignorance is discerned. Ignorance, too, has its nutriment, I declare; and it is not without a nutriment. And what is the nutriment of ignorance? “The five hindrances” should be the answer. [53]

(AN 10:62) A first beginning of the craving for becoming, O monks, cannot be discerned, of which it can be said, “Before that, there was no craving for becoming and it came to be after that.” Though this is so, monks, yet a specific condition for the craving for becoming is discerned. The craving for becoming, too, has its nutriment, I declare; and it is not without a nutriment. And what is the nutriment of the craving for becoming? “Ignorance,” should be the answer. But ignorance, too, has its nutriment; it is not without a nutriment. And what is the nutriment of ignorance? “The five hindrances” should be the answer.

(AN 10:61 & 62) But the five hindrances, too, have their nutriment, monks; they are not without a nutriment. And what is the nutriment of the five hindrances? “The three ways of wrong conduct” should be the answer. [54]

The three ways of wrong conduct, too, have their nutriment; they are not without a nutriment. And what is their nutriment? “Lack of sense restraint” should be the answer.

Lack of sense restraint, too, has its nutriment; it is not without a nutriment. And what is its nutriment? “Lack of mindfulness and clear comprehension” should be the answer.

Lack of mindfulness and clear comprehension, too, has its nutriment; it is not without a nutriment. And what is the nutriment of the lack of mindfulness and clear comprehension? “Improper attention” should be the answer.

Improper attention, too, has its nutriment; it is not without a nutriment. And what is the nutriment of improper attention? “Lack of faith” should be the answer.

Lack of faith, too, has its nutriment; it is not without a nutriment. And what is the nutriment of the lack of faith? “Listening to wrong teachings” should be the answer.

Listening to wrong teachings, too, has its nutriment; it is not without a nutriment. And what is the nutriment of listening to wrong teachings? “Association with bad people” should be the answer.

Hence, when association with bad people prevails, listening to wrong teachings will prevail. [55] When listening to wrong teachings prevails, it will make lack of faith prevail. When lack of faith prevails, it will make improper attention prevail. When improper attention prevails, it will make lack of mindfulness and clear comprehension prevail. When lack of mindfulness and clear comprehension prevails, it will make lack of sense restraint prevail. When lack of sense restraint prevails, it will make the three ways of wrong conduct prevail. When the three ways of wrong conduct prevail, they will make the five hindrances prevail. When the five hindrances prevail, they will make ignorance prevail. (AN 10:62 adds: When ignorance prevails, it will make the craving for becoming prevail.) Such is the nutriment of that ignorance (AN 10:62: of that craving for becoming), and so it prevails.

Just as, when there is heavy rain high up in the mountains and the sky is rumbling, the water, flowing downwards, will fill up the clefts, crevices and fissures in the mountains, and when these are full, they will fill up the little pools; the full little pools will fill up the lakes; the full lakes will fill up the small rivers; the full small rivers will fill up the big rivers; and the full big rivers will fill up the great ocean. Such is the nutriment of the great ocean, and so it becomes full.

In the same way, monks, when association with bad people prevails, listening to wrong teachings will prevail … when the five hindrances prevail, ignorance (and the craving for becoming) will prevail. Such is the nutriment of ignorance (and of the craving for becoming), and so it prevails.

Liberation by supreme knowledge too, O monks, has its nutriment, I declare; it is not without a nutriment. And what is the nutriment of liberation by supreme knowledge? “The seven factors of enlightenment” should be the answer.

The seven factors of enlightenment, too, have their nutriment, I declare; they are not without a nutriment? And what is the nutriment of the seven factors of enlightenment? “The four foundations of mindfulness” should be the answer.

The four foundation of mindfulness, too, have their nutriment; they are not without a nutriment. And what is the nutriment of the four foundations of mindfulness? “The three ways of good conduct” should be the answer.

The three ways of good conduct, too, have their nutriment; they are not without a nutriment. And what is the nutriment of the three ways of good conduct? “Restraint of the senses” should be the answer.

Restraint of the senses, too, has its nutriment; it is not without a nutriment. And what is the nutriment of restraint of the senses? “Mindfulness and clear comprehension” should be the answer.

Mindfulness and clear comprehension, too, have their nutriment; they are not without a nutriment. And what is the nutriment of mindfulness and clear comprehension? “Proper attention” should be the answer.

Proper attention, too, has its nutriment; it is not without a nutriment. And what is the nutriment of proper attention? “Faith” should be the answer.

Faith, too, has its nutriment; it is not without a nutriment. And what is the nutriment of faith? “Listening to the true Dhamma” should be the answer.

Listening to the true Dhamma, too, has its nutriment; it is not without a nutriment. And what is the nutriment of listening to the true Dhamma? “Association with superior people” should be the answer.

Hence, when association with superior people prevails, it will make prevail the listening to the true Dhamma … When the seven factors of enlightenment prevail, they will make prevail liberation by supreme knowledge. Such is the nutriment of that liberation by supreme knowledge, and so it prevails.

Just as, when there is heavy rain high up in the mountains and the sky is rumbling, the water, flowing downwards, will fill up the clefts, crevices and fissures in the mountains, and when these are full, they will fill up the little pools; the full little pools will fill up the lakes; the full lakes will fill up the small rivers; the full small rivers will fill up the big rivers; and the full big rivers will fill up the great ocean. Such is the nutriment of the great ocean, and so it becomes full.

In the same way, monks, when association with superior people prevails, listening to the true Dhamma will prevail. When listening to the true Dhamma prevails, faith will prevail. When faith prevails, proper attention will prevail. When proper attention prevails, mindfulness and clear comprehension will prevail. When mindfulness and clear comprehension prevail, restraint of the senses will prevail. When restraint of the senses prevails, the three ways of good conduct will prevail. When the three ways of good conduct prevail, the four foundations of mindfulness will prevail. When the four foundations of mindfulness prevail, the seven factors of enlightenment will prevail. When the seven factors of enlightenment prevail, liberation by supreme knowledge will prevail. Such is the nutriment of that liberation by supreme knowledge, and so it prevails.

(10:61 & 62; combined)

19. Happiness and Suffering

On one occasion the Venerable Sāriputta was dwelling in Magadha, in the village Nālaka. [56] On that occasion, Sāmaṇḍakāni, a wandering ascetic, approached him and asked:

“What, friend Sāriputta, is happiness, and what is suffering?”

“To be reborn, friend, is suffering; not to be reborn is happiness.”

(10:65; extract)

20. Birth, Old age, and death

If, O monks, three things were not to be found in the world, the Tathāgata, the Arahant, the Fully Enlightened One, would not appear in the world, nor would the Dhamma and Discipline proclaimed by him shed its light over the world. What are these three things? Birth, old age, and death. But since these three things are to be found in the world, the Tathāgata appears in the world, the Arahant, the Fully Enlightened One, and the Dhamma and Discipline proclaimed by him sheds its light over the world.

Without abandoning three things, one is unable to abandon birth, old age, and death. What are these three? Greed, hatred, and delusion: without abandoning these three things one is unable to abandon birth, old age, and death.

Without abandoning three things, one is unable to abandon greed, hatred, and delusion. They are: personality view, sceptical doubt, and clinging to rules and vows. [57]

Without abandoning three things, one is unable to abandon personality view, sceptical doubt, and clinging to rules and vows. They are: improper attention, pursuing wrong ways, and mental lassitude.

Without abandoning three things, one is unable to abandon improper attention, the pursuing of wrong ways and mental lassitude. They are: unmindfulness, lack of clear comprehension, and mental distraction.

Without abandoning three things, one is unable to abandon unmindfulness, lack of clear comprehension and mental distraction. They are: disinterest in seeing noble ones, disinterest in listening to their teachings, and a fault-finding mentality.

Without abandoning three things, one is unable to abandon lack of interest in seeing noble ones, disinterest in listening to their teachings, and a fault-finding mentality. They are: restlessness, lack of restraint, and immorality.

Without abandoning three things, one is unable to abandon restlessness, lack of self-control, and immorality. They are: lack of faith, unfriendliness, and laziness.

Without abandoning three things, one is unable to abandon lack of faith, unfriendliness, and laziness. They are: disrespect, stubbornness, and bad friendships.

Without abandoning three things, one is unable to abandon disrespect, stubbornness, and bad friendships. They are: shamelessness, lack of moral dread and negligence.

There is a person, monks, who is shameless, morally reckless, and negligent. Being negligent, he cannot abandon disrespect, stubbornness, and bad friendships. Having bad friends, he cannot abandon lack of faith, unfriendliness, and laziness. Being lazy, he cannot abandon restlessness, lack of restraint and immorality. Being immoral, he cannot abandon disinterest in seeing noble ones, disinterest in listening to their teachings, and a fault-finding mentality. Being a fault-finder, he cannot abandon unmindfulness, lack of clear comprehension, and mental distraction. Having a distracted mind, he cannot abandon improper attention, the pursuit of wrong ways and mental lassitude. With mental lassitude, he cannot abandon personality view, sceptical doubt, and clinging to rules and vows. Troubled by sceptical doubt, he cannot abandon greed, hatred, and delusion. And without giving up greed, hatred, and delusion, he cannot abandon birth, old age, and death.

But by abandoning three things, one is able to abandon birth, old age, and death. What are these three? They are: greed, hatred, and delusion. By abandoning them, one is able to abandon birth, old age, and death.

By abandoning three things, one is able to abandon greed, hatred, and delusion. They are: personality view, sceptical doubt, and clinging to rules and vows.

(To be continued with the same sequence of terms as above, up to:)

By abandoning three things, one is able to abandon disrespect, stubbornness, and bad friendships. They are: shamelessness, lack of moral dread, and negligence.

There is a person, monks, who is conscientious, scrupulous, and diligent. Being diligent, he can abandon disrespect, stubbornness, and bad friendships. Having noble friends, he can abandon lack of faith, unfriendliness, and laziness. Being energetic, he can abandon restlessness, lack of restraint, and immorality. Being virtuous, he can abandon disinterest in seeing noble ones, disinterest in listening to their teachings, and a fault-finding mentality. Not being a fault-finder, he can abandon unmindfulness, lack of clear comprehension, and mental distraction. Having an undistracted mind, he can abandon improper attention, pursuit of wrong ways, and mental lassitude. Being without mental lassitude, he can abandon personality view, sceptical doubt, and clinging to rules and vows. Being free from doubt, he can abandon greed, hatred, and delusion. Having abandoned greed, hatred, and delusion, he can abandon birth, old age, and death.

(10:76)

21. A Discriminative Teaching

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling near Campā, on the bank of the Gaggarā lotus pond.

One day the householder Vajjiyamāhita left Campā at an early hour in order to see the Blessed One. [58] Then he thought: “It is not the right time to visit the Blessed One, who will now be in seclusion. Nor is it the proper time to visit the venerable monks; they, too, will be in seclusion. Let me now go to the park where the wandering ascetics of another persuasion stay.”

When Vajjiyamāhita the householder arrived at the park, those wanderers were gathered there in company and were sitting together shouting and speaking loudly, engaged in diverse kinds of low talk. But when they saw Vajjiyamāhita the householder approaching in the distance, they admonished each other to be quiet, saying: “Make less noise, your reverences, and be quiet! Here the householder Vajjiyamāhita is coming, a disciple of the ascetic Gotama. He is one of the white clad lay disciples of the ascetic Gotama who stays now at Campā. These worthy ones do not like much noise, they are used to being noiseless and they praise noiselessness. Perhaps if Vajjiyamāhita sees our group to be quiet, he may think of coming here.”

These wandering ascetics now kept silent. When the householder Vajjiyamāhita arrived there, he exchanged polite greetings and cordial talk with them and sat down at one side. When he was seated, the wanderers asked him:

“Is it true, householder, what they say—that the ascetic Gotama blames all asceticism and that he unreservedly condemns and reproves all ascetics who live a harsh and austere life?”

“No, venerable sirs, the Blessed One does not blame all asceticism, nor does he unreservedly condemn and reprove all ascetics living a harsh and austere life. What is blameworthy, the Blessed One blames; what is praiseworthy, he praises. By blaming what is blameworthy and praising what is praiseworthy, the Blessed One teaches with discrimination, he does not teach here in a one-sided way.” [59]

At these words, a certain wanderer said this to the householder Vajjiyamāhita: “Wait a moment, householder! That ascetic Gotama, whom you praise so much, is a nihilist, and he is one who refrains from making any definite declarations.” [60]

“About that, too, venerable sir, I shall speak to your reverences according to the Dhamma. The Blessed One, venerable sir, declares that some things are wholesome and other things unwholesome. The Blessed One, having thus declared what is wholesome and what is unwholesome, is in fact one who makes definite declarations. He is not a nihilist, nor one who refrains from making definite declarations.”

At these words the wanderers kept silent, embarrassed, sitting there with slumping shoulders and heads lowered, brooding and unable to utter a word. When Vajjiyamāhita saw them in that condition, he rose from his seat and left to see the Blessed One. Having arrived, after saluting the Blessed One, he told him of his conversation with these wanderers of another persuasion. And the Blessed One said:

“Good, householder, good! In that way, householder, should such foolish persons, when occasion offers, be well refuted by you according to the Dhamma.

“I do not say, householder, that all asceticism should be practised; nor do I say of all asceticism that it should not be practised. I do not say that all undertakings should be performed; nor do I say of all undertakings that they should not be performed. I do not say that every spiritual effort should be done or every act renunciation be carried out; nor do I say of every spiritual effort that it should not be done nor of every act of renunciation that it should not be carried out. I do not say that one should free oneself by every kind of freedom; nor do I say of every kind of freedom that one should not free oneself by it.

“What I declare, householder, is that such an asceticism should not be practised which makes unwholesome states grow and wholesome states wane. But, I declare, an asceticism which makes unwholesome states wane and wholesome states grow should be practised.

“If in performing undertakings, making spiritual efforts, carrying out acts of renunciation, freeing oneself by certain kinds of freedom, unwholesome states grow, then, I declare, all these practises should not be carried out.”

“But if in performing undertakings, making spiritual efforts, carrying out acts of renunciation, freeing oneself by certain kinds of freedom, unwholesome states wane and wholesome states grow, then, I declare, all these practises should be carried out.”

Then Vajjiyamāhita the householder, thus instructed by the Blessed One’s Dhamma talk, roused by it, inspired and gladdened, rose from his seat, saluted the Blessed One respectfully, and keeping him to his right, departed.

Soon after he had left, the Blessed One addressed the monks thus: “Monks, even a monk who has had for a long time clear vision as to this Dhamma and Discipline would well refute those wanderers of another persuasion in the very same way that the householder Vajjiyamāhita has done.”

(10:94)

22. Will All Beings Attain Liberation?

On one occasion a wandering ascetic named Uttiya approached the Blessed One. After exchanging greetings and cordial talk, he sat down to one side and asked the Blessed One:

“How is it, Master Gotama: is the world eternal—is only this true and everything else false?”

“This, Uttiya, I have not declared: that the world is eternal; and that only this is true and everything else false.”

“How then, Master Gotama: is the world non-eternal—is only this true and everything else false?”

“That, too, Uttiya, I have not declared: that the world is non-eternal; and that only this is true and everything else false.”

“How is it, Master Gotama: is the world finite or infinite? Are the life principle and the body the same or different? Does the Tathāgata exist after death or does he not exist after death? Does he exist as well as not exist or neither exist nor not exist after death? Is any one of these statements the only one that is true and everything else false?”

“All that, Uttiya, I have not declared: that the world is finite … that the Tathāgata neither exists nor does not exist after death; nor do I declare that any one of these statements is the only true one and everything else false.”

“But how is it, Master Gotama? To all my questions you have replied that you have not so declared. What, after all, does Master Gotama actually declare?”

“Having directly known it, Uttiya, I have taught the Dhamma to my disciples for the purification of beings, for getting beyond sorrow and lamentation, for the ending of pain and grief, for attaining to the method of liberation and for realising Nibbāna.”

“But if Master Gotama, from direct knowledge, teaches the Dhamma to his disciples for the purification of beings, for getting beyond sorrow and lamentation, for the ending of pain and grief, for attaining to the method of liberation and for realising Nibbāna, will the whole world thereby be emancipated, [61] or half of it or a third part of it?”

At these words, the Blessed One kept silent. [62]

Then this thought occurred to the Venerable Ānanda: “May Uttiya the wanderer not conceive a harmful opinion, by thinking, ’When I asked the ascetic Gotama a question on an ultimate issue, he foundered and did not reply. Probably he was unable to do so.’ For such a view would bring harm and suffering to Uttiya for a long time.”

Then the Venerable Ānanda turned to Uttiya, saying: “I shall give you a simile, friend Uttiya, for with the help of a simile intelligent people may come to understand the meaning of what was said.

“Suppose, friend Uttiya, there is a king’s border town, with strong ramparts and turrets on sound foundations, and with a single gate. There is also a gate-keeper, intelligent, experienced and prudent, who keeps out people unknown and admits only those who are known. That gate-keeper walks along the path that girdles the town all round, and while doing so he does not notice in the ramparts any hole or opening, not even one big enough for a cat to slip through. Though he does not have the knowledge of how many creatures enter the town or leave it, yet he does know this: ’Any larger creatures that enter or leave this town can do so only by this gate.’

“Similarly, friend Uttiya, the Tathāgata is not concerned with whether the entire world will be emancipated by his teaching or half of it or a third part. But the Tathāgata is aware that whosoever has been emancipated, is now emancipated or will be emancipated from the world, all these will do so by removing the five hindrances that defile the mind and weaken understanding, by firmly establishing their minds in the four foundations of mindfulness, and by cultivating the seven factors of enlightenment in their true nature. That same question, friend Uttiya, which you had asked the Blessed One before, you have asked him again in another way.” [63]

(10:95)

23. Not Outside the Buddha’s Discipline

Ten things, monks, do not have purity and clarity outside the Discipline of the Sublime Master. What are the ten?

(AN 10:123) Right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration, right knowledge, and right liberation. [64]

(AN 10:124) And if these ten things have not arisen, they will not arise outside the Discipline of the Sublime Master.

(AN 10:125) Outside the Discipline of the Sublime Master, these ten things will not be of great fruit and benefit.

(AN 10:126) Outside the Discipline of the Sublime Master, these ten things will not end in the elimination of greed, hatred, and delusion.

(AN 10:127) Outside the Discipline of the Sublime Master, these ten things will not conduce to complete disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, peace, direct knowledge, enlightenment, and Nibbāna.

(10:123–27)

24. The Concatenation of Kamma

The destruction of life, monks, I declare to be threefold: as caused by greed, caused by hatred, caused by delusion. So too, taking what is not given, sexual misconduct, false speech, divisive speech, harsh speech, frivolous chatter, covetousness, ill will and wrong view, I declare to be threefold: as caused by greed, caused by hatred and caused by delusion. [65]

Hence, monks, greed is a producer of kammic concatenation, hatred is a producer of kammic concatenation, delusion is a producer of kammic concatenation. But by the destruction of greed, hatred, and delusion, there is the exhaustion of kammic concatenation.

(10:174)

25. The Extinction of Kamma

I declare, monks, that actions willed, performed and accumulated will not become extinct as long as their results have not been experienced, be it in this life, in the next life or in subsequent future lives. And as long as these results of actions willed, performed, and accumulated have not been experienced, there will be no making an end to suffering, I declare. [66]

There are, monks, tainted failures in living caused by unwholesome volition, issuing in suffering, resulting in suffering. These tainted failures are threefold in bodily acts, fourfold in verbal acts and threefold in mental acts.

How are these tainted failures in living caused by unwholesome volition threefold in bodily acts?

There is a person who destroys life; he is cruel and his hands are blood-stained; he is bent on slaying and murdering, having no compassion for any living being.

He takes what is not given to him, appropriates with thievish intent the property of others, be it in the village or the forest.

He conducts himself wrongly in matters of sex: he has intercourse with those under the protection of father, mother, brother, sister, relatives, or clan, or of their religious community; or with those promised to a husband, protected by law, and even with those betrothed with a garland. [67]

In this way tainted failure in living is threefold in bodily acts.

And how is tainted failure in living fourfold in verbal acts?

There is one who is a liar. When he is in the council of his community or in another assembly, or among his relatives, his guild, in the royal court, or when he has been summoned as a witness and is asked to tell what he knows, then, though he does not know, he will say, “I know”; though he does know, he will say, “I do not know”; though he has not seen, he will say, “I have seen”; and though he has seen, he will say, “I have not seen.” In that way he utters deliberate lies, be it for his own sake, for the sake of others, or for some material advantage.

He utters divisive speech: what he hears here he reports elsewhere to foment conflict there; and what he hears elsewhere he reports here to foment conflict here. Thus he creates discord among those united, and he incites still more those who are in discord. He is fond of dissension, he delights and rejoices in it, and he utters words that cause dissension.

He speaks harshly, using speech that is coarse, rough, bitter, and abusive, that makes others angry and causes distraction of mind. It is such speech that he utters.

He indulges in frivolous chatter: he speaks what is untimely, unreasonable, and unbeneficial, having no connection with the Dhamma or the Discipline. His talk is not worth treasuring, it is inopportune, inadvisable, unrestrained, and harmful.

In this way, tainted failure in living is fourfold in verbal acts.

And how is tainted failure in living threefold in mental acts?

There is a person who is covetous; he covets the wealth and property of others, thinking: “Oh, that what he owns might belong to me!”

There is also one who has ill will in his heart. He has depraved thoughts, such as these: “Let these beings be slain! Let them be killed and destroyed! May they perish and cease to exist!”

He has wrong views and perverted ideas, such as these: “There is no moral value in a gift, offering or sacrifice; there is no fruit or recompense from deeds good or evil; there is neither this world nor another world; [68] there are no duties towards mother and father; there are no spontaneously reborn beings; and there are no ascetics and brahmins in this world, living and conducting themselves rightly, who can explain this world and the world beyond, having realised them by their own direct knowledge.”

In this way tainted failure in living, which is caused by unwholesome volition, issuing in suffering and resulting in suffering, is threefold in mental acts.

As to that tainted failure in living, which is threefold in bodily acts, fourfold in verbal acts and threefold in mental acts, and which, having been caused by unwholesome volition, issues in suffering, results in suffering—it is due to that very failure in living that with the breakup of the body, after death, beings are reborn in the plane of misery, in a bad destination, in the lower world, in hell.

Just as a perfect throw of dice, when thrown upwards, will come to rest firmly wherever it falls, similarly, due to those tainted failures in living caused by unwholesome volition, beings will be reborn in the plane of misery … in hell.

I declare, monks, that actions willed, performed and accumulated will not become extinct as long as their results have not been experienced, be it in this life, in the next life or in subsequent future lives. And as long as these results of actions willed, performed, and accumulated have not been experienced, there will be no end to suffering, I declare.

There are, monks, successes in living caused by wholesome volition, issuing in happiness, resulting in happiness. They are threefold in bodily acts, fourfold in verbal acts and threefold in mental acts.

How are these successes in living caused by wholesome volition threefold in bodily acts?

There is a person who abstains from the destruction life; with the rod and weapon laid aside, he is conscientious and kindly and dwells compassionate towards all living beings.

He does not take what is not given to him and does not appropriate with thievish intention the property of others, be it in the village or the forest.

He gives up sexual misconduct and abstains from it. He does not have intercourse with those under the protection of father, mother … nor with those betrothed with a garland.

In this way, success in living is threefold in bodily acts.

And how is success in living fourfold in verbal acts?

There is a person who has given up false speech and abstains from it. When he is in the council of his community or in another assembly, or among his relatives, his guild, in the royal court, or has been summoned as a witness and is asked to tell what he knows, then, when he knows, he will say, “I know”; and when he does not know he will say, “I do not know”; when he has seen, he will say, “I have seen”; and when he has not seen, he will say, “I have not seen.” He will not utter any deliberate lie, be it for his own sake, for the sake of others or for some material advantage.

He has given up divisive speech and abstains from it. What he has heard here he will not report elsewhere to foment conflict there; and what he has heard elsewhere he will not report here to foment conflict here. In that way he unites those who are divided and encourages those who are in harmony. Concord gladdens him, he delights and rejoices in concord, and he utters words that foster concord.

He has given up harsh speech and abstains from it. His words are gentle, pleasant to hear, endearing, heartwarming, courteous, agreeable to many folk, pleasing to many folk.

He has given up vain talk and abstains from it. He speaks at the right time, in accordance with facts and of matters that are beneficial. He speaks on the Dhamma and the Discipline and talks in a way that is worth treasuring. His talk is opportune, helpful, moderate, and meaningful.

In this way success in living is fourfold in verbal acts.

And how is success in living threefold in mental acts?

Here a person is free from covetousness; he does not covet the wealth and property of others, thinking, “Oh, that what he owns might belong to me!”

He has no ill will in his heart. He has pure thoughts and intentions, such as these: “May these beings be free from enmity, free from anxiety! May they be untroubled and live happily!”

He has right view and a correct perspective, such as this: “There is moral value in gifts, offerings and sacrifice; there is fruit and recompense from deeds good or evil; there is both this world and another world; there are duties towards mother and father; there exist beings who have been spontaneously reborn; and there exist in this world ascetics and brahmins living and conducting themselves rightly, who can explain this world and the world beyond, having realised them by their own direct knowledge.”

In this way, success in living, which is caused by wholesome volition, is threefold in mental acts.

As to that success in living which is threefold in bodily acts, fourfold in verbal acts and threefold in mental acts, and which, having been caused by wholesome volition, issues in happiness, results in happiness—it is due to that very success in living that with the breakup of the body, after death, beings are reborn in a good destination, in a heavenly world.

Just as a perfect throw of dice, when thrown upwards, will come to rest firmly wherever it falls, similarly, due to success in living caused by wholesome volition, beings will be reborn in a good destination, in a heavenly world.

I declare, monks, that actions willed, performed, and accumulated will not become extinct as long as their results have not been experienced, be it in this life, in the next life or in subsequent future lives. And as long as these results of actions willed, performed, and accumulated have not been experienced, there will be no making an end to suffering, I declare.

(10:206)

26. The Four Boundless States

“I declare, monks, that actions willed … (as at the end of the preceding text).

“But a noble disciple—devoid of covetousness, devoid of ill will, unconfused, clearly comprehending, ever mindful—dwells pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with loving kindness, likewise the second quarter, the third and the fourth. Thus above, below, across and everywhere, and to all as to himself, he dwells pervading the entire world with a mind imbued with loving kindness, vast, exalted, measureless, without hostility, and without ill will.

“He knows: ’Formerly my mind was narrow and undeveloped; but now my mind is measureless and well developed. No measurable kamma will remain in it, none will persist there.’ [69]

“What do you think, monks: if a young man, from his boyhood onwards, were to develop the liberation of the mind by loving kindness, would he then do an evil deed?”

“He would not, Lord.”

“And not doing any evil deed, will suffering afflict him?” [70]

“It will not, Lord. How could suffering afflict one who does no evil deeds?”

“Indeed, monks, the liberation of the mind by loving kindness should be developed by a man or a woman. A man or a woman cannot take their body with them and depart; mortals have consciousness as the connecting link. [71]

“But the noble disciple knows: ’Whatever evil deeds I did before with this physical body, their results will be experienced here and they will not follow me along.’ [72]

“Loving kindness, if developed in such a way, will lead to the state of non-returning, in the case of a monk who is established in the wisdom found here in this teaching, but who has not penetrated to a higher liberation. [73]

“He dwells pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with compassion … with altruistic joy … with equanimity, likewise the second quarter, the third, and the fourth. Thus above, below, across and everywhere, and to all as to himself, he dwells pervading the entire world with a mind imbued with compassion, altruistic joy, and equanimity, vast, exalted, measureless, without hostility, and without ill will.

“He knows: ’Formerly my mind was narrow and undeveloped; but now my mind is measureless and well developed. No measurable kamma will remain in it, none will persist there.’

“What do you think, monks: if a young man, from his boyhood onwards, were to develop compassion, altruistic joy, and equanimity, would he then do an evil deed?”

“He would not, Lord.”

“And not doing any evil deed, will suffering afflict him?”

“It will not, Lord. How could suffering afflict one who does no evil deeds?”

“Indeed, monks, the liberation of the mind by compassion … by altruistic joy … by equanimity should be developed by a man or a woman. A man or a woman cannot take their body with them and depart; mortals have consciousness as the connecting link.

“But the noble disciple knows: ’Whatever evil deeds I did before with this physical body, their results will be experienced here and they will not follow me along.’

“Compassion, altruistic joy, and equanimity, if developed in such a way, will lead to the state of non-returning, in the case of a monk who is established in the wisdom found here in this teaching, but who has not penetrated to a higher liberation.”

(10:208)


The Chapter of the Elevens

27. The Blessings of Loving kindness

If, O monks, the liberation of the mind by loving kindness is developed and cultivated, frequently practised, made one’s vehicle and foundation, firmly established, consolidated, and properly undertaken, eleven blessings may be expected. What eleven?

One sleeps peacefully; one awakens peacefully; one sees no bad dreams; one is dear to human beings; one is dear to non-human beings; one will be protected by devas; fire, poison and weapons cannot injure one; one’s mind becomes easily concentrated; one’s facial complexion will be serene; one will die unconfused; and if one does not penetrate higher, one will be reborn in the Brahma-world. [74]

(11:16)


Notes

Notes

The Chapter of the Nines

  1. During the first twenty years of his ministry the Buddha did not have a regular attendant but would select different monks for this task, not all of whom proved satisfactory. After twenty years, when he was fifty-five, he appointed the Venerable Ānanda as his permanent attendant. Ānanda served in this post diligently for the next twenty-five years until the Master’s parinibbāna. [Back]
  2. See Ch. III, n.61. A-a gives a quaint explanation why these thoughts assailed him so suddenly and forcefully: “In 500 successive rebirths, Meghiya had been a king. When he went out into the royal park for sport and amusement together with dancing girls of three age groups, he used to sit down at that very spot, called “the auspicious slab’. Therefore, at the very moment when Meghiya sat down at that place, he felt as if his monkhood had left him and he was a king surrounded by beautiful dancers. And when, as a king, he was enjoying that splendour, a thought of sensuality arose in him. At that very time it happened that his great warriors brought to him two bandits whom they had arrested, and Meghiya saw them as distinctly as if they were standing in front of him. Now when (as a king) he was ordering the execution of one bandit, a thought of ill will arose in him; and when he was ordering the manacling and imprisonment of the other, a thought of violence arose in him. So even now, as Meghiya, he became entangled in these unwholesome thoughts like a tree in a net of creepers or like a honey-gatherer in a swarm of honey bees.” [Back]
  3. The Buddha repeatedly emphasized the importance of noble friendship in the living of the holy life. Elsewhere he calls a noble friend the chief external support for the cultivation of the Noble Eightfold Path (proper attention being the chief internal support; SN 45:49, 55) and on several occasions he even declared the whole of the holy life to be noble friendship (SN 45:2–3). [Back]
  4. This text occurs also in Ud 4.1 with an additional concluding stanza. [Back]
  5. Saṅgaha-vatthu. These are means of propitiating others. [Back]
  6. A-a explains that this monk had felt neglected by Sāriputta and, conceiving a grudge against him, he thought: “I shall put an obstacle to his journey.” When leaving, Sāriputta had passed a group of monks and a whiff of wind had blown the edge of his robe against the monk’s face. This was used by the monk as a pretext for the complaint. The story is also found, with some elaboration, in Dhp Comy (to v.95); see Burlingame, Buddhist Legends, 2:203–5. [Back]
  7. According to A-a, the Buddha knew well that Sāriputta was quite incapable of hurting anyone, but to exclude the reproach of partiality he summoned him. [Back]
  8. Kāye kāyagatāsati. See Text 8. [Back]
  9. The similes of the four elements also occur at MN 62, though there they are developed somewhat differently. [Back]
  10. Here ārammaṇa does not have its familiar meaning of “object,” but its original literal meaning of “hold” or “support.” A-a glosses it as condition (paccaya). “Name-and-form” (nāma-rūpa) is explained by A-a as the four mental aggregates (= “name”) and the four material elements with their material derivatives (= “form”); these are the conditions for the arising of purposive thoughts. [Back]
  11. An explanation derived from A-a is as follows: The elements (dhātu) are the six sense objects, forms, sounds, etc.; for thought about forms is one, thought about sounds another, etc. “Contact” is the contact associated with such thoughts. They converge on feeling (vedanā-samosaraṇā) because feeling, the affective value of an experience (as pleasant, unpleasant or neutral), holds the various aspects of a conscious moment together. Concentration is “the head” (samādhi-pamukhā) in the sense of playing the key role in bringing the mind to its highest intensity. Mindfulness is said to be the “master” (satādhipateyyā) to emphasize its dominant role in mastery of the mind. Wisdom is “the climax” (paññuttarā) because it is wisdom that issues in the attainment of the supramundane path. Liberation is the “essence” or core (vimutti-sārā), the goal in which the path culminates; according to A-a, the essence or core is the fruition stage of emancipation (phala-vimutti). All these thoughts are said to “merge in the Deathless” (amatogadha) because they “merge with” Nibbāna by taking it as object (in the path and fruit) and because they are established upon it. [Back]
  12. “Decision” (vinicchaya) refers to thoughts of deciding on the utilization or value of what has been acquired; whether it should be used or stored, etc. “Desire and lust” (chanda-rāga), according to A-a, signifies a weaker degree of desire caused by unwholesome thoughts arising from the object; this weaker desire is intensified at the next stage, “selfish tenacity” (ajjhosāna), the strong insistence on “I” and “mine.” The nine are also mentioned in the Mahānidāna Sutta (DN 15.9–18). [Back]

The Chapter of the Tens

  1. This sutta partly replicates Text 96. See Ch. VI, n.16 for explanation of the technical terms. [Back]
  2. A-a: “From ‘the near shore’ of the three realms of becoming to the ’far shore’, Nibbāna.” [Back]
  3. A-a: “He is not percipient through perception that arises taking earth as object,” The perceptions of the four elements correspond with the jhānas, which sometimes take the elements as object (see Text 139). The next four perceptions clearly refer to the formless meditations. The last two perceptions are intended to be all-inclusive, to show that he has transcended all mundane perceptions. See AN 11:10, which adds an eleventh item. [Back]
  4. The word “percipient” (saññi) rules out the identification of this state with the cessation of perception and feeling (saññāvedayita-nirodha). A-a identifies this concentration with the concentration of fruition attainment (of arahantship): “If he applies his mind to the peaceful (aspect of Nibbāna), he may, while seated, continue with that thought ‘peaceful’ even for a full day. And so with the other (aspects of Nibbāna). All this refers to the concentration of fruition attainment (phala-samāpatti-samādhi).” [Back]
  5. Bhavanirodho nibbānaṃ. The common rendering of the term bhava by “existence” might suggest the cessation of the objective reality, which would not be appropriate. What is meant is the cessation of re-becoming, the stopping of rebirth, in the case of an arahant. [Back]
  6. See Text 47. [Back]
  7. Dasa Tathāgata-balāni. A-a: “They are the powers of a Tathāgata only, as he does not have them in common with others.” Though disciples may have them in part, only the Buddhas possess them completely, perfect in every respect. The ten Tathāgata powers also occur at MN 12, and are treated in detail at Vibh 335–44 (§§809–31) and its A-a [Back]
  8. Brahma-cakkaṃ. A-a: “Brahma has here the meaning of best, highest, superior. Brahma-cakka is the dhamma-cakka, the Wheel of Truth. And this is twofold, consisting in the knowledge of penetration (paṭivedha-ñāṇa) and the knowledge of teaching (desanā-ñāṇa). The knowledge of penetration is produced by wisdom and brought the Tathāgata to his own attainment of noble fruition (ariyaphala); the knowledge of teaching is produced by compassion and enables the Tathāgata to lead others to the attainment of noble fruition. The former is supramundane (lokuttara), the latter mundane (lokiya). Both kinds of knowledge, however, are not held in common with others; they are the Enlightened One’s very own kinds of knowledge.” [Back]
  9. Ṭhānañ ca ṭhānato aṭṭhānañ ca aṭṭhānato. A-a: “Those phenomena, which are the cause and condition (hetu-paccaya) for the arising of other phenomena, are “cause’ (ṭhāna); and those phenomena which are not cause and condition for their arising—these are “non-cause’ (aṭṭhāna).” At Vibh 335–38 (§809), as examples of cause and non-cause, the possibilities and impossibilities mentioned at AN 1:15 (= MN 115) are given, a few of which are translated in Text 7. [Back]
  10. Ṭhānaso hetuso. A-a explains ṭhāna here as those conditions (paccaya) which can modify results of kamma; while hetu (root condition) denotes kamma. At Vibh 338 (§810) it is said: “The Tathāgata comprehends thus: “There are some evil actions performed which, prevented by fortunate rebirth (gati) … by fortunate body (upadhi) … by fortunate time (kāla) … by fortunate effort (payoga), do not mature; there are some evil actions performed which, because of unfortunate rebirth … unfortunate body … unfortunate time … unfortunate effort, do mature.” The modifications in the results of good kamma are similarly treated. [Back]
  11. Sabbatthagāmini-paṭipadā. A-a: “Among many people who have each killed just one living being, the kammic volition of one will lead him to hell, and that of another to rebirth in the animal world. In that way, the Blessed One knows unfailingly the nature of the action, i.e. the wholesome or unwholesome volitions which arise in the same situations (but may lead to different destinies).” [Back]
  12. A-a: “’Many elements’, as for instance the eye element, etc., the sensuality element, etc.; “different’ refers to the variegated characteristics of those elements. The world: the world of the aggregates, sense bases, elements.” [Back]
  13. Adhimutti. Vibh 339 (§813): “There are beings with inferior dispositions and beings with superior dispositions. Those with inferior dispositions associate with, approach, and frequent beings of (likewise) inferior dispositions. Those of superior dispositions associate with, approach, and frequent beings of (likewise) superior dispositions. And so has it been in the past and will be in the future.” [Back]
  14. Indriya-paropariyattaṃ. Vibh 340 (§814): “The Tathāgata understands their inclinations (āsaya), underlying tendencies (anusaya), habits (caritta) and dispositions (adhimutti); he understands beings with little dust in their eyes and with much dust; with keen spiritual faculties (faith, etc.) and with weak faculties; of good and bad qualities; those easy or hard to instruct; capable and incapable ones.” [Back]
  15. Jhāna-vimokkha-samādhi-samāpatti. The four jhānas are at Text 33, etc.; for the eight liberations, see Nyanatiloka Thera, Buddhist Dictionary, s.v. vimokkha. The concentrations are: with thought (vitakka) and examination (vicāra), without thought but with examination, and without either. The nine meditative attainments are the four jhānas, the four formless attainments, and the cessation of perception and feeling. [Back]
  16. This knowledge pertains, e.g. to the progress or otherwise on the part of certain types of “jhāna-attainers” mentioned in Vibh 342–43 (§828): those who, having attained, believe that they have failed; those who, having failed, believe that they have attained, etc.; those who attain quickly or slowly, emerge quickly or slowly, both attain and emerge quickly or slowly, those who possess or lack skill either in concentrating or in maintaining the concentration, those who possess or lack skill in both.
  17. A-a says “these things” are the ten Tathāgata powers (see preceding text). Doctrinal terms (abhivuttipadāni) are explained in A-a and A-ṭ as views (diṭṭhi) and concepts (paññatti). As concepts, these “doctrinal terms” are said to be the teachings on the aggregates, sense bases and elements, which are common to all Buddhas of the past and the future as well, since they are the main topics for a philosophical exposition of the teaching. [Back]
  18. Kāsi is another name for Benares. [Back]
  19. Vipariṇāma, that is, death (A-a). [Back]
  20. Agge virajjati; the highest in worldly power and achievement. [Back]
  21. See Ch. VII, n.9 [Back]
  22. Kasiṇa devices” are discs or similar objects used as supports for the practice of tranquillity meditation; see Vism, Chs. IV and V. The space kasiṇa and the consciousness kasiṇa are, respectively, the objective supports of the first and second formless meditations, the base of the infinity of space and the base of the infinity of consciousness. [Back]
  23. Abhibhāyatana: modes of mastering the kasiṇa meditations. We have abridged the text here, as the intermediate stages merely describe variations in the objective forms over which the meditator achieves mastery. [Back]
  24. For analysis, see AN 4:162. [Back]
  25. A-a: “Limited (paritta) perception is that of the sense sphere, exalted (mahaggata) perception is that of the form sphere, measureless (appamāṇa) perception is supramundane perception (of the four paths and fruits), and the fourth is perception of the base of nothingness (the third immaterial jhāna).” So A-a, but it seems improbable that the Buddha would declare a mundane perception superior to supramundane perception. More likely, the “measureless” perception refers to the perception of measureless forms, or to the divine abodes (wherein loving kindness, etc., are extended to measureless beings), or to the first two formless attainments (which take infinities as objects). [Back]
  26. No c’assaṃ no ca me siyā; na bhavissāmi, na me bhavissati. This terse, cryptic, mantra-like saying is found in the Suttas in two forms. In the form recorded here it is expressive of the creed of the annihilationists (uccheda-diṭṭhi), as is explicitly confirmed by SN 22:81; the exact meaning remains a matter of conjecture. The Buddha incorporated this saying, with slight alterations in phrasing, into his own system and commended it to the monks as a theme of meditation that could lead to non-returning and even to arahantship. As adopted by the Buddha the saying reads: No c’assa no ca me siyā; na bhavissati na me bhavissati, which might be translated: “It might not be and it might not be mine; it will not be (and) it will not be mine.” A-a explains: “If there were no defilements and kamma in the past, there would not be for me at present the five aggregates; I so determine that at present there will be no defilements and kamma, and thus in the future there will be for me no renewal of the five aggregates.” At MN 106 the Buddha’s version of the formula occurs as one of the reflections of a noble disciple, which, on the path of tranquillity, may lead to the base of nothingness; or, if used as a theme for insight, may culminate in arahantship. At SN 22:55, the Buddha recommends meditation on the formula as a way to cut off the five lower fetters (i.e. to reach the stage of non-returning). At AN 7:52, the formula is mentioned in connection with five types of non-returner and the attainment of arahantship. [Back]
  27. Bhave appaṭikkulyatā … na bhavissati: lit.: there will not be non-disgust towards existence. Bhavanirodhe paṭikkulyatā … na bhavissati: lit.: there will not be disgust towards cessation of existence. As annihilationism arises from a repulsion towards existence, the annihilationist welcomes the cessation of existence, though he generally “goes too far” in misinterpreting such cessation as the annihilation of a real self, an existent person (see It 49). [Back]
  28. Paramattha-visuddhi. A-a: This is a designation for the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception. For the base of nothingness is highest as the foundation for insight, but the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception is highest in terms of long lifespan. [Back]
  29. Parama-diṭṭhadhamma-nibbānaṃ. The Brahmajāla Sutta (DN 1) mentions five varieties of this view as held by non-Buddhist ascetics: the first identifies sensual enjoyment as the supreme Nibbāna in this life, the other four identify the four jhānas with supreme Nibbāna. [Back]
  30. A-a glosses “full understanding” (pariññā) here with transcending (samatikkama). The full understanding (or transcending) of sensual pleasures comes about by the first jhāna; of forms, by the formless meditative attainments; and of feelings, by the attainment of Nibbāna, wherein all modes of feeling have been abandoned. [Back]
  31. Anupādā-parinibbānaṃ. A-a: This is final Nibbāna which is free from any conditioning (appaccaya). A-a explains that the Buddha spoke this sutta to dispel the discontent of 500 bhikkhus who were feeling oppressed by the celibate life. On hearing it they overcame their discontent and attained stream-entry. On a later occasion, after developing insight further, they attained arahantship. [Back]
  32. Uyyodhikā. This was probably an army manoeuver in which the king had actively joined one of the competing sides, which was victorious. A-a, however, perhaps influenced by the term “victorious,” takes it to refer to an actual battle with King Ajātasattu. King Pasenadi performs a similar act of homage to the Buddha at MN 89, though the reasons he gives there differ from those offered in the present sutta. [Back]
  33. Cp. Text 131. While in the latter the questions refer throughout to “purposive thoughts,” here they are applied to “all (conditioned) things.” See the explanations in Ch. IX, n.11. Some of the renderings used here are derived from Bhikkhu Ñāṇananda’s translation of this text in The Magic of the Mind. [Back]
  34. Chandamūlakā sabbe dhammā. The sense seems to be that the five aggregates (“all things”) come to be through the craving of the previous life, which brought about the present existence. [Back]
  35. Manasikārasambhavā sabbe dhammā. The world of objects becomes present to consciousness only through attention (manasikāra). [Back]
  36. Since the Deathless and Nibbāna are synonymous, to justify the distinction between them here, A-a identifies “the Deathless” with the Nibbāna-element with a residue left, and “Nibbāna” with the Nibbāna-element with no residue left. See Ch.IV, n.10. [Back]
  37. Yathā-pabbajjā-paricitaṃ: that is, in conformity with the purpose and aim of ordination, i.e. the attainment of arahantship. [Back]
  38. Bhavañ ca vibhavañ ca: The translation follows A-a, which explains these words by vuddhi-vināsa (growth and decline) and sampatti-vipatti (success and failure). [Back]
  39. This refers to the arising and dissolution of the five aggregates. [Back]
  40. The perceptions of impermanence, non-self, foulness, danger, abandoning, dispassion and cessation are analysed in AN 10:60 just below. [Back]
  41. Ignorance (avijjā) is the first link in the chain of dependent origination. By showing that ignorance is itself conditioned, our text excludes the misconception that it is a metaphysical First Cause; the same holds true of craving which, according to the second noble truth, is the origin of suffering, but likewise not an uncaused cause. Hence the same statements about ignorance are made about craving in the next paragraph. Ignorance and craving, though very powerful root conditions of saṃsāra, are themselves mere conditioned phenomena and therefore can be eliminated; otherwise deliverance would be impossible. See Vism XVII,36–39. [Back]
  42. “Nutriment” (āhāra) is used here in the sense of a strong supporting condition. An example of how the five hindrances condition ignorance is found in AN 5:193, where they are said to prevent one from knowing one’s own good and the good of others. In MN 9, the taints (āsava) are stated to be the conditioning factors for ignorance, and in Text 99 ignorance is said to be the condition for the taints. See Ch. VI, n.29. [Back]
  43. Wrong conduct by way of deeds, words, and thoughts. [Back]
  44. Lit.: “When association with unworthy people becomes full, it will fill up the listening to wrong teachings.” So also in the following. The expression “becomes full” links up with the simile in the following paragraph. [Back]
  45. The village of Nālaka was the place of the Venerable Sāriputta’s birth and death. Since, after his ordination, he had visited his birthplace only once, in order to expire there, this dialogue must have taken place then. [Back]
  46. These are the first three fetters, which are abandoned by the path of stream-entry. [Back]
  47. Vajjiyamāhita is one of those lay disciples of whom it is said at AN 6:131: “He has come to certainty regarding the Blessed One, has seen the Deathless, and dwells having realized the Deathless.” According to A-a, this refers to the stage of a trainee (sekha), not an arahant, as several interpreters of that passage have assumed. [Back]
  48. Vibhajjavādī bhagavā, na so bhagavā ettha ekaṃsavādī. In later times the Buddha’s Teaching, as documented in the Pāli Tipiṭaka and handed down by the Theravāda school, was called Vibhajjavāda, i.e. a discriminative, differentiating doctrine, in contrast to a generalizing and one-sided (ekaṃsa) doctrine. The expression may have been derived from the present sutta. [Back]
  49. The word venayiko, here rendered “nihilist,” means literally “one who leads astray”; it seems to have been used by the brahmins to stigmatize the Buddha because he rejected the authority of the Vedas, the validity of caste distinctions and the idea of a permanent self. A-a gives, in explanation of appaññattiko, “not making definite declarations”: “(The accusation is that) the Buddha makes declarations about an unknowable (apaccakkha) Nibbāna, but cannot declare anything (definite) about (the world being) self-created (or created by another), etc.” See in this connection Text 149. [Back]
  50. Nīyati: lit., “will be led out,” i.e. from saṃsāra, the world of suffering. [Back]
  51. A-a: “The Blessed One remained silent because the question was an inadmissable one, being based upon the wrong view of a self.” [Back]
  52. Uttiya’s earlier questions about the eternity of the world, etc., as well as his later question about the salvation of the entire world, both belong to the class of questions that are “to be put aside” (ṭhapanīya), because they presuppose non-existent substantial entities, be it the generalized concept of “the world” or the notion of an abiding self. [Back]
  53. These are the eight factors of the Noble Eightfold Path, augmented by their fruits, right knowledge and right liberation. The “Sublime Master” (sugata) is the Buddha. This series of suttas should dispense with the notion that traditional Buddhist tolerance means that Buddhism regards all religions as being equally viable means to deliverance. According to the Buddha, other spiritual systems might teach wholesome practices conducive to a good rebirth, but the path to final liberation—Nibbāna, release from the whole round of rebirths—is available only through his Teaching. [Back]
  54. The ten items are the ten courses of unwholesome action (akusala-kammapatha), explained in detail in Text 152. While the present text states that these can be motivated by any of the three unwholesome roots, the commentaries align particular unwholesome actions with particular unwholesome roots, e.g. hatred with the destruction of life and harsh speech, greed with stealing and sexual misconduct, etc. [Back]
  55. On the threefold ripening of kamma, see Text 20 and Ch. III, n.13. The Buddha’s statement—that there is no making an end to suffering without experiencing the results of all actions performed—must be understood with the reservation (which A-a makes explicit in connection with “kamma ripening in future lives”) that reference is to “kamma that is actually capable of yielding a kammic result” (vipākāraha-kamma). But under certain circumstances kamma can be annulled by a counteractive or destructive kamma, and the arahant, by terminating the conditions for rebirth, extinguishes the potential for ripening of all his past kamma. The statement in our text must also be understood in the light of the following sutta passage: “If one says that in whatever way a person performs a kammic action, in that very same way he will experience the result—in that case there will be no (possibility for) the holy life, and no opportunity would appear for making a complete end to suffering. But if one says that a person who performs a kammic action (with a result) that is variably experienceable, will reap its result accordingly—in that case there will be (a possibility for) the holy life, and an opportunity would appear for making a complete end to suffering” (AN 3:110). [Back]
  56. The last four refer respectively to: (i) a woman protected by her co-religionists; (ii) one promised to a husband at birth or in childhood; (iii) one with whom sexual relations entail punishment by the authorities (perhaps female convicts?); and (iv) a girl whom a man has garlanded as a sign of betrothal. [Back]
  57. A-a to MN 41: “For those living in this world, there is no other world (to go to after death); and for those living in another world, there is no this world (to come to after death).” Perhaps, however, the intention is that there is no rebirth either back into this world or into some other world. On either interpretation the view maintains that beings are annihilated at death. [Back]
  58. Pamāṇakataṃ kammaṃ: A-a: = kamma belonging to the sense-sphere (kāmāvacara-kamma). The point is that if a person attains and masters the “liberation of the mind by loving kindness” at the level of jhāna, the kammic potential of this jhāna attainment will take precedence over sense-sphere kamma and will generate rebirth into the form realm. [Back]
  59. That is, suffering resulting from previous unwholesome kamma. [Back]
  60. Cittantaro. A-a gives two explanations: (1) by taking antara in its meaning of cause, “With (kammic) consciousness as cause, one will be a deity or a hellish being”; (2) by taking antara in the sense of in-between, intermediate, “In immediate sequence to death-consciousness, at the second moment, i.e. the rebirth-consciousness, one will become a deity, a hell being or an animal.” [Back]
  61. A-a: “It will be a kamma ripening in this existence (diṭṭha-dhamma-vedanīya-kamma). They will not follow one along to the next existence, because the ripening in the next existence (upapajja-vedanīya) has been cut off through the practice of loving kindness. This passage has to be understood as a reflection made by a stream-enterer or a once-returner.” [Back]
  62. “Non-returning” (anāgāmitā), according to A-a, refers to an attainment of non-returning based on a jhāna obtained through meditation on loving kindness. So also in the cases of the other brahma-vihāras

    .

    A-a explains idha-paññassa bhikkhuno (lit. “a here-wisdom monk”) as a monk with the wisdom found here, in this teaching (imasmiṃ sāsane), which a noble disciple possesses who is established in the noble wisdom of a life that is in conformity with the teaching but “who has not penetrated to a higher liberation,” that is, to arahantship. [Back]

The Chapter of the Elevens

  1. These benefits are explained at Vism IX, 59–76. [Back]