Majjhima Nikāya
Cūḷayamaka Vagga

Suttas M 41 - M 50


CONTENTS
M 41 SālayekkasuttaDiscourse at Sālā
M 42 Verañjakasutta Discourse at Veraṅjā
M 43 MahāvedallasuttaThe Miscellany (Greater)
M 44 CūḷavedallasuttaThe Miscellany (Smaller)
M 45 Cūḷadammasamādanasutta Practicing the Dhamma (Smaller)
M 46 MahādammasamādanasuttaPracticing the Dhamma (Greater)
M 47 VīmansakasuttaDiscourse on Inquiring
M 48 KosambiyasuttaDiscourse at Kosambi
M 49 BrahmanimantaṇikasuttaChallenge to a Brahma
M 50 MāratajjaniyasuttaRebuke to Māra

M 41. Sālayekka Sutta
Discourse to the People of Sālā

[439] The Buddha with a large number of monks arrives at the village of Sālā in Kosala. The Brahmans of Sālā hear the stereotyped description of the Buddha and the Dhamma. They go to see the Buddha with the usual manner of greeting: some saluting with clasped hands, some stating their name and clan, and others sitting silently. Their question to the Buddha is: Why do some people after death appear in unhappy destinations even in hell while some appear in a happy destination even in heaven.

The Buddha replied that those of conduct not in accordance with dhamma (adhammacariyā) are born in hell, and those with conduct in accordance with dhamma (dhammacariyā) are born in heaven. When asked for a further explanation the Buddha gave details of conduct in not in accordance with Dhamma and those in accordance, as follows:

[440] The Buddha began details of actions contrary to Dhamma s follows:
  1. Wrong Bodily Conduct
    1. Destroying living beings
    2. Taking what is not given
    3. Committing sexual misconduct
  2. Wrong Verbal Conduct
    1. Speaking false speech
    2. Speaking divisive speech
    3. Speaking harsh words
    4. Speaking useless chatter, gossip
  3. Wrong Mental Conduct
    1. Coveting the possessions of others
    2. Wishing ill of others
    3. With wrong view regarding kamma

[441] Then the Buddha began detailing conduct in accordance with Dhamma. This is simply the opposite of what was said as wrong conduct. This consists of three acts of right bodily conduct, four of right verbal conduct and three of right mental conduct, all defined in opposite ways of their wrong counterparts. As a result of ritht condudt the /dhammafarere is born in a happy destinaton in a heavenly world (sugatiæ saggaṃ lokaṇupapajjanti).

[NOTE: The rest of the sutta deals with the wishes of the Dhamma farers. Nothing is said of the wishes of the non-Dhamma farers. These aspirations relate to wishes for a human birth or for a birth in non-human planes.]

[442] This section gives the aspirations which the Dhammfarers will have for birth in the many layered Buddhist cosmos follows:

In the human world in fellowship with wealthy nobles (ksatriyas), or width wealthy brahmin priests or withe wealthy householders. In the non-human deva worlds in one of the following:

The realm of the the Four Kings   &
The Realm of the Thirty-three
Gods that have Gone to Bliss
The Contented gods
Gods that Delight in Creating
Gods that Wield Power over
    others' Creations
Gods of Brahma's Retinue
Radiant gods
Gods of Limited Radiance
Gods of Measureless Radiance
Gods of Streaming Radiance
The Glorious gods
Gods of Limited Glory
Gods of Measureless Glory
Gods of Refulgent Glory
The Very Fruitful gods
Gods Bathed in their own Prosperity  
Gods Untormenting gods
The Fair-to-see gods
Gods Fair-seeing gods
Gods who are Junior to None
Gods of the base consisting of the
    infinity of space
Gods of the base consisting of the
    infinity of consciousness
Gods of the base consisting of nothingness
Gods of the realm of neither-perception-
    nor-non-perception

[NOTE: All the above are samsāaric realms and the Dhamma-farer would be reborn after theior merits are expended even though the lifetime in these godly realms could be exceedingly long. But this is not so with the last aspiration given below.]

The final aspiration of the householder Dhamma-farer is given as: "Oh how I wish that right here and now, having realized for myself through direct knowledge, after attaining, dwell in the liberation of mind and liberation through wisdom that are influx-free with the destruction of the mental influxes." It is indeed possible for him, right here and now, having realized for himself through direct knowledge, after attaining, to dwell in the liberation of mind and the liberation by wisdom that are influx-free with the destruction of the mental influxes.

[443] The sutta ends with the acclamation of the people of Sālā who take refuge in the Dhamma from that day for life.

Summary Analysis

The question posed by the people of Sālā should have provided the Buddha with the opportunity to explain the process of rebirth. Instead what seeems to have happened is that both the Buddha and his hearers have assumed that rebirth simply happens. The only problem is to relate the rebirth to the deeds that allegedly caused it.

It need not be said that the cosmology of the deva worlds as well as the hellish realms (not dealt with in this sutta) is pure myth, The Vedic religion had introduced the deva worlds but not to the detailed extent that it assumed in Buddhist legend.

M 42. Verañjaka Sutta
Discourse to the People of Verañjā

[444] Some people from Verañjā had come to Sāvatthi on some business and hearing of the Buddha went to see him. [NOTE: The discourse he gave them is identical to the Discourse to the people of Sālā (M 41)]

[445-448] Same as [339 - 344] in the Discourse to the people of Sālā (M 41)]

M 43. Mahāvedallasutta
Greater Discourse of the Miscellany

[NOTE: This Sutta consists of a discussion between Maha Kottita and Sāriputta. The Pali term 'Vedella' in the title has been translated as as 'Miscellany' by Horner, as 'Questions and Answers' by Thanissaro Bhikkhu, and as 'Catechism' by Pia Tan. The discussion consisted of the explication of a number of concepts in the Dhamma with Mahā Kottihita introducing the subject and Sāriputta commenting on it.]

[449] The sutta begins with the Buddha at the Jetavana and Mahā Kotthila going to meet Sāriputta. Mahā Kotthila first asks with reference wisdom (paññā, to what is one said to be unwise (djupañña) ? The answer was when one does not know suffering (dukkha), its cause, its elimination and the way to its elimination. His next question was about consciousness (viññāṇa), what it was and whether it was conjoint (saṃsaṭṭāna) or disjoint (visaṅsaṭṭāna) with wisdom (paññā). The answer was they were conjointed and that wisdom was to be developed and consciousness comprehended.

[450] The next subject was feeling (vedanā) and what is felt. Pleasure (sukha), pain (dukkha) or neither of them count be felt. The next subject is perception (saññā) and what is percieved. The answer: it perceives colours. Feeling, perception and consciousness are conjoint.

[451] The next question is: what would be known by the purified mind-consciousness released from the five sense-faculties (nissaṭṭhena pañcahi indriyehi parisuddhena manoviññāṇena)? The things that could be known are infinity of space (ananta ākāsa), infinity of consciousness, and the base of nothingness (natthi kiñcī). Wisdom is for the same of direct knowledge (abhiññattha), full understanding (pariāññattha) and abandoning {pahānattha).

[452] Right View. There are two conditions for its arising: the voice of another and appropriate attention. It is assisted by: virtue, learning, discussion, tranquillity and insight.

[453] Becoming (bhava). This is of three kinds: sensual, form and formless. Becoming in the future is brought about by the ephemeral delight of beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving. It is stopped by the fading of ignorance and cessation of craving.

[454] The First Jhāna . This is stated in the classic stereotyped phrase: "quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, accompanied by applied thought and sustained by thought, zest and joy born of seclusion". It requires (1) initial application (vitakka), (2) sustained application (vicāra), (3) zest (pīti), (4) joy (sukha), and (5) mental oneness (citta-ekaggata). It abandons sensual desire, ill will, sloth & torpor, restlessness & anxiety, and uncertainty. And there occurs directed thought, evaluation, rapture, pleasure, & singleness of mind.

[455-457] The Five Faculties. These are the eye, ear, note tongue and body. They are said to depend on vitality (āyu), i.e. on being alive. Vitality is said to depend on heat (usma) just at the radiance of an oil lamp depends on its flame.

[458-459] Vitality Formations. Here there is a comparison between a person who is dead and a monk who has attained the cessation of perception an feeling. In the former case his mental fabriations have ceased, his vitality is exhausted and his faculties are scattered. In the case of the monk his mental fabrications have ceases but his vitality has not ceased and his faculties are exceptionally clear.

Sāriputta concludes his discourse by stating even more subtle states reached by the monk who has traversed the full path. These are things like the neutral liberation of mind, the singless lieration of mind and the immeasurble liberation of mind, the liberation of mind through nothingnes, and though and emptiness. This is hailed by Mahā Kotthita in the usal mannr.

Summary Analysis

While Sāriputta's comments on the more elementary concepts in the Dhamma are comprehensible his explanation of the higher reaches of the Dhamma assumed almost metaphysical dimension. Many of the definitions even at the lower levels are merely tautological and depend on he meanings attached to words. When it comes to the concept of the liberation of mind the explanation is entirely in the words used. There is no explanation on causation except by analogy such as the dependence of the flame in the lamp on the oil.

Sāriputta's explanation of life as dependent on heat conforms to the knowledge of his day. Elsewhere its dependence on nutriment is emphasised but not in this case.

M 44. Cūlavedallasutta
Shorter Discourse of the Miscellany

[NOTE: This sutta consists of 34 questions addressed to Bhikkuni Dhammadinnā by the lay follower Visaka. The questions will be prefaced by the abbreviation QUES: and the answer by ANS:]

[460] Visaka a lay follower approaches the Bhikkhuni Dhammadianā .
QUES: What is self-identity (sakkāya)?
ANS: It is the five aggregates of clinging: form (rūpa) feeling (vedanā) perception (saññā), formations (saṅkāra), and consciousness (viññāṇa).

QUES: What is the origin of self-identity?
ANS: It is craving for sensual pleasure, becoming, and non-becoming.

QUES: Which cessation of self-identification is described by the Blessed One?
ANS: The remainder-less fading, renunciation, relinquishing, release, & letting go of that very craving. The three aggregates are not included under the Path but the Path is included in them.

QUES: Which is the way of practice leading to the cessation of self-identity?
ANS: It is noble eightfold path (right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.)

QUES: Is clinging is the same thing as the five clinging-aggregates or is it something separate?
ANS: It is neither clinging nor is it something separate. Clinging is there whenever there is desire and passion for the five clinging-aggregates.

[461] QUES: How does self-identity come about ?
ANS: It is when someone assumes form (the body) to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form.

QUES: How does self-identity not come about?
ANS: When some one does not assume form to be the self, or the self as possessing form, or form as in the self, or the self as in form.

[462] QUES: What is the Noble Eightfold Path?
ANS: It is right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

QUES: Is the noble eightfold path fabricated or unfabricated?
ANS: The noble eightfold path is fabricated.

QUES: Are the 3 aggregates virtue, concentration and wisdom included under the Path or is the Path included under these aggregates?
ANS: The three aggregates are not included under the Path but the Path is included under the the 3 aggregates. Speech, Action and Livelihood come under aggregate of virtue. Effort, Mindfulness and Concentration come under aggregate of concentration. View and Resolve com under the aggregate of wisdom.

QUES: What is concentration, what qualities are its themes, what qualities are its requisites, and what is its development?
ANS: Singleness of mind is concentration; the four frames of reference are its themes; the four right exertions are its requisites; and any cultivation, development, & pursuit of these qualities is its development."

[463] QUES: What are fabrications (saṅkhārā|
ANS: These are 3 fabrications bodily, verbal and mental.

QUES: What are they:
ANS: In-and-out breathing are the bodioy fabrications, speech the verbal, feeling and perception the mental.

QUES: Why are the fabrications>
ANS: In-and-out because breathing is tied up with the body, directed thought and evaluation are the verbal, and perception and feeling are tied up with the mind.

[464] QUES: How does the cessation of perception and feeling come about?
ANS: The way the mind has been previously prepared leads the mind to it.

QUES: When the monk is ceasing perception and feeling which of 3 kinds of fabrications coes first.
ANS: Verbal first, then bodily then and mental lastly.

QUES: How does the emergence from this cessation come about
ANS: The way his mind has been prepared previously leads the monk to this.

QUES: On emerging which arises first ?
ANS: mental first, then bodily then verbal.

QUES: After emerging how many contacts make contact,
ANS: Three contacts make contact: contact with emptiness, contact with single-ness, contact with the undirected.
QUES: After emerging to what does his mind lean to, what does it tend to and to what does it incline?
ANS: His mind leans to, tends to, and inclines to seclusion.

[465] QUES: How many kinds of feeling are there?
ANS: Three kinds: pleasant, painful and neither feeling.

QUES: What are they?
ANS: Whatever is physically or mentally felt as pleasant, painful or neither.

QUES: In what way is pleasant feeling pleasant and painful feeling painful?
ANS: Pleasant feeling is pleasant in remaining, & painful in changing; vice versa or painful feeling. Neither kinds is pleasant in occurring together with knowledge, and painful in occurring without knowledge.

QUES: What obsessions occur with these these feelings?
ANS: Passion-obsession, Resistance-obsession and Ignorance-obsession with the 3 kinds of feeling respectively.

QUES: Should these obsessions be abandoned?
ANS: No. They are abandoned in the jhānas.

[466] QUES: What lies on the other side of pleasant feeling?.
ANS: Passion.

QUES: What lies on the other side of painful feeling?
ANS: Resistance.

QUES: What lies on the other side of neutral feeling?
ANS: Ignorance.

QUES: What lies on the other side of ignorance?
ANS: Clear knowledge.

QUES: What lies on the other side of clear knowing?
ANS: Release.

QUES: What lies on the other side of release?
ANS: Nibbāna

QUES: What lies on the other side of nibbāna?
ANS: You have gone too far. Nibbāna is the end.

[467] Visaka thanks Dhammadiannā and goes to the Buddha to whom he related the entire conversation. The Buddha endorsed Dhammadinnā's answers and said that she was of great knowledge, and that he himself would have given the same answers to the questions posed.

Summary Analysis

Dhammadinnā's answers give the standard response of Buddhism to the questions posed by Visaka. Most of the questions posed relate to the psychological notions of Buddhism. It is difficult to elucidate these intense personal issues in an objective way. What we end up are purely verbal expressions which may mean different things to different people. Such things as pleasure and pain are intensely subjective and often defy verbal expression. Describing other kinds of feelings and perceptions are even more difficult.

Many of the explanations are evasive or tautological. When aked What is X, the answer is often that X is of many types which on further questioning is left unexplained. Or the reply becomes tautological. Even a concept like saṅkhāra (translated as formation, fabrication, karmic residue, etc.) is not really explained at all. Very often it becomes a chain of undefined words. In the last set of questions when Visaka asks which lies after Nibbāna the questioning is abruptly aborted. This leaves the supreme goal of Buddhism unexplained.


M 45. Cūladhammasamādānasutta
Shorter Discourse on Dhamma Practices

[NOTE: The key word in the title 'dhammasamādāna' has been rendered by Horner as 'undertaking Dhamma', by Thanissaro Bhikkhu as 'taking on practices' and by Pia Tan simply as 'undertaking things'. Here we will use 'Dhamma practice'.]

[468] In this sutta given to monks at Jetavanat the Buddha gives four ways of Dhamma practice. These are; (1) pleasant now but painful in the future; (2) painful now and painful in the future; (3) painful now pleasurable in future; (4) pleasurable now and in the future.

[469] (1) Pleasant now but painful in the future. This refers to brahmans and recluses who see no harm in sensual pleasure and take pleasure in touching female wanderers. After death they end up as pretas (hungrt ghosts) or in hell. They are compared to the binara creeper whose seeds falling under a sal tree in time will wrap around the tree.

[470] (2) Practice that involves suffering now and in the future. This refers to someone like a naked ascetic who now undertakes painful ascetic practices but is destined for more pains after death when he is born as a hungry ghost or in hell.

[471] (3) Practice that is suffering now but pleasurable in the future. Here the person does good things now but is full of hatred and has attachments. This causes him suffering now, but because of the good he does now he is reborn in a happy destination.

[472] (4) This category of person practices dhamma now and enjoys happiness in the future. This person does the full course expected of an ardent dhamma farer, He is withdrawn from sensuality, cultivates the silas, and acquires mindfulness and is free of unskilful mental practices. He then practices the jhānas, After death he is reborn in a pleasant bourn.

This is what the Buddha said and the monks were pleased.

Summary and Analysis.

This sutta is heavily dependent on the doctrine of rebirth. As in other places this doctrine is simply assumed to be true. It is looked at as a mystical process by which reward and punishment are offered in mythical places to persons dying without the full liberation. What is curious is that the fourth kind of Dhamma practitioner who completes the path to full liberation is supposed to go into a state of happiness. This is contrary to the claim made elsewhere that nibbāna is beyond mundane pleasure and pain.


M 46. Mahādhammasamādānasutta
Longer Discourse on Dhamma Practice

[473] In this suttta delivered to monks at Jetavana the Buddha remarked that even though many wish that unpleasant thinks will dwindle and pleasant things will increase but very often the opposite will happen. The monks ask the Buddha to explain this statement and this is what he does in this sutta.

[474] The Buddha says that this happens to the "not learned ordinary man" (assutavā puthujjano) because they are unaware of the Dhamma teaching and practice of their Teacher while for the wise ones who follow the teaching unpleasant things decrease and pleasant things increase.

[475] Then the Buddha gives the four ways of practicing Dhamma as given in the Lesser version of this sutta (M 45). These are the practices (1) unpleasant now and unpleasant in the future, (2) unpleasant now and pleasant in the future, (3) pleasant now and pleasant in the future, (4) both unpleasant and now and in the future.

[476-479] The practice both unpleasant now and in the future is attributed to the foolish (avijjāgato) who do not know reality (yathābhutaṃ). Foolishness seems to be determined by the violation of the basic ethical precepts. Specifically destroying living things, taking what is not given, misbehaving sexually, telling lies, malicious and frivolous talk. As a result he is born in hell. But no specific group is mentioned as indulging in these unpleasant deeds.

[480] This deals with the case where unpleasant things now bear pleasant outcomes in the future. This involves the case where a person does the opposite of what the person in the previous section does even though it may cause him unpleasantness. Thus he avoids destroying life and on that account experiences unhappiness (ekacco sahāpi dukkhena sahāpi domanassena pāṇātipātā pañṭivirato hoti). Why not doing a bad deed should involve unhappiness now is not explained. Similarly this person avoids stealing avoids improper speech, etc. even though doing doing these good deeds brings him unhappiness now. But the karmaic law operates and he gets good results in the future because of the good deeds done now. This explains the paradoxical statement that doing unpleasant things gives good results in the future. It illustrates principle (2) unpleasant now and pleasant in the future

[481] Here a person does good deeds now but unlike the person in the previous example he gets pleasant feelings now. He avoids stealing avoids improper speech, etc. all with good feelings now. With pleasure he abstains from bearing an angry mind. After death he goes to heaven. Thus the karmic law gives pleasant results in the future. This illustrates principle (3) pleasant now and pleasant in the future. To explain how good results even with bad feelings now the example is given of a man being given a foul smelling and foul smelling medicine but drinking it cures him of his disease,

[482] In conclusion the Buddha gives another example to illustrate his teaching. A person suffering from bloody dysentery is given a medicine which is agreeable to sight, smell and taste. But drinking it with pleasant feelings he gets cured of his disease.

Summary Analysis.

As in the smaller version of this sutta this discourse on ways of practicing Dhamma relies on the rebirth hypothesis to explain how good deeds are rewarded and bad deeds punished. This is where rebirth in hell or heaven is given as reward for bad and good conduct. But towards the end we have the example of sick people taking medicine which may be unpleasant to sight, smell and taste but the results occur in this life itself. If it could be shown that the results of the ways of practicing Dhamma results in effects here and now (diṭtadhamma vedanīya kamma) it could have relevance for a non-sceptical age.

Why doing the right things now should cause unpleasantness now is not explained. But the consequence is that due to the karmic law he enjoys pleasant things in the future.


 

 

 

M 47. Vimaṃsakasutta
Discourse on Inquiring

[487] The Buddha begins this Sutta, given at Jetavana to the monks with this comment: "Monks, an inquiring monk, learning the ranges of another's mind, should make a study of the Tathāgata so as to distinguish whether he is a fully Self-awakened One or not." [This is a rare instance of a Teacher submitting himself to be investigated by his pupils.]

[488] The first question that the inquiring monk should ask (his teacher) the Tathāgata is this:
(1) 'Do the impure states cognisable through the eye and the ear exist in the Tathagata or not ?' If this test is passed he (the Tathāgata) should be asked:
(2) 'Do mixed states [i.e. contradictions] exist or not in the Tathāgata?'. If this test is passed he should be asked:
(3) 'Do those absolutely pure states exist in a Tathāgata or not?'. If this test is passed he should be asked:
(4) 'Has this venerable one been possessed of this skilled state for a long time or only for a short time ?' If this test is passed he should be asked:
(5) 'Do there exist any perils for that venerable monk who has attained to fame and won renown ?' If this test is passed he should be asked:
(6) 'Is it because, through the destruction of attachment, that he does not follow pleasures of the senses ?' If this test is passed he should be asked:
(7) 'Do those impure states cognisable through the eye and through the ear exist in the Tathagata or not ?'

Then the Buddha said that a Tathāgata would answer this question thus: "Those impure states do not exist in a Tathagata. This is my path, this is my pasture no one like me exists (elsewhere)".

[489] Then the monks should draw near a Teacher who speaks thus and say "The Lord taught me dhamma ... , what is dark and what is bright with their counterparts. I have confidence in the Teacher, that: 'The Lord is a fully Self-awakened One, well taught is the Dhamma by the Lord, the Order fares along well' ".

[490] The Buddha concluded by saying that the Teacher so established is indestructible by a recluse or brahman or deva or Mara or a Braham or by anyone in the world. The monks were delighted in the Buddha's words.

Summary Analysis.

The questions directed at a putative Teacher is to determine purity of the mind of the Teacher. It does not touch any thing on the Dhamma, the assumption being that a Teacher who is so pure will dispense the correct Dhamma. Modern methods of investigation concentrate not so much on the person as on the message. But in the ancient world it was more faith in the prophetic traditions so that if the prophet is authentic then so is his teaching. But in the real teaching of the Buddha it is not so much the Teacher but the teaching that has to be investigated.

M 48. Kosambisutta
Discourse at Kosambi

[491] This Sutta was given at Ghosita Monastery in Kosambi when the monks there were having a quarrel with sharp words exchanged. This was reported to the Buddha who summoned the quarrelling bhikkhus. The Buddha questioned them if there was a disagreement and if the monks were not even ready to discuss the matter amongst themselves, with which they agreed. The Buddha admonished them as foolish men (moghapurisā). He then told them that there are six things which conduces to concord (saṅgahāya), to non-contention (avivādāya), to friendliness (samaggiya) and to unity (ekībhāvāya).

[492] These are what a bhikkhu should do:
  1. establish bodily actions of loving kindness towards co-associates in the holy life openly and secretly;
  2. establish verbal actions of loving kindness towards co-associates in the holy life openly and secretly;
  3. established mental actions of loving kindness towards co-associates in the holy life openly and secretly;
  4. gains rightfully obtained, as far as what is put into the bowl, should be shared equally with the co-associates in the holy life;
  5. become equal in virtues with the co-associates in the holy life openly and secretly;
  6. become equal with the co-associates in the holy life in the noble view that leads to the beyond.

The rest of the sutta consists of expanding the last of the six conditions mentioned above, viz. the "noble view" that leads to the what is beyond the here-and-now. This has seven characetistics:

[493] (1) The monk is forest gone or to any empty place and reflects: Do I have hindrances obscuring my mind like sensual lust, anger, sloth-and-torpor, restlessness-and-worry, doubt, or am I quarrelsome. If he has overcome these hindrances this is the First Knowledge won.

[494] (2) He then reflects: While I am maturing in this view I get calm and I am quenched. Thereby he gets the Second Knowledge.

[495] (3) He then reflects there is no other recluse or brahman here who is possessed of a view as I have. This is the Third Knowledge.

[496] (4) Then he reflects: Am I of right view so that whatever offence I fall into I confess it to the Teacher or fellow Brahma-farer and come to restraint in the future. This is the Fourth Knowledge of an Ariyan.

[497] (5) I too am possessed with the kind of propriety of a person with right view who is zealous with the things which have to be done for fellow Brahma-farers, has a strong aspirations for training in the higher moral habit, in higher thought and in higher intuitive wisdom. This is the Fifth Knowledge.

[498] (6) Then he reflects: I too am possessed of the strength of a person of right view, viz. while Dhamma is being expounded by the Tathagata is taught I listen having applied all my mind to it. This is the Sixth Knowledge of the Ariyan.

[499] (7) Then he reflects: I too am possessed of the strength of a person of right view, viz. while Dhamma is being expounded by the Tathagata is taught I pay attention, concentration of mind and give a ready ear. This is the Seventh Knowledge of the Ariyan.

[500] The Ariyan disciple who is possessed of these seven factors is possessed of the fruit of stream attainment.

Summary Analysis

This sutta stops with the Buddha's discourse to the quarrelsome monks. The Commentaries carry the stories much further but this is not of concern to this Abstract which deals with that is in the Sutta. The version of this sutta in other compilations of the Pali Canon is different from that in the Sixth Council version on which these Abstracts are based.

An important difference relates to the number of Knowledges which the dhamma farer is asked to complete. There are Seven Knowleges mentioned here which are needed for Stream Entry. But these are different from the Three Knowleges needed for Arhantship. There the knowledge of up to a hundred thousand previous births, the knowledge of the working of the law of kamma and the knowledge of destroying the cankers (taints, influes, fermentatins) is needed.

 


 

M 49. Brahmanimmantikasutta
A Challenge to a Brahma

[NOTE: This sutta which is the story of an interaction between the Buddha and a Brahma called Baka together with Mara called the Evil One who speaks though a member of Baka's retinue. This sutta has to be taken as an allegory. The very fact that it is set in the Brahma world to which the Buddha goes magically is sufficient to signal that it cannot be taken realistically as most other suttas. The word 'nimantanika' in the title is translated as 'challenge' by Horner and as 'invitation' by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.]

[501] The Buddha addressed the monks at Jetavana and said that while staying at Ukkattha he surmised that Baka the Brahma was of the view that he was permanent and eternal not subject to birth, ageing, death and rebirth and so no need for a further escape. The Buddha told the monks that to disillusion Baka he went magically to the Brahma world to confront Baka. What occurred in the Brahma world, as reported in the sutta, is an exchange between the Buddha, Baka and Mara, the Evil One (pāpima) who speaks though a member of Baka's retinue. This conversation is as follows, starting with Baka's welcome to the Buddha:

[502-504]
BAKACome, good sir, you are welcome. At last you make this occasion for coming here. But this is permanent, this is stable, this is eternal, this is entire, this is not liable to passing away, this is not born, nor does it age or die or pass away or uprise, and there is no other further escape from this.
BUDDHAIndeed, Baka the Brahma is steeped in ignorance, He says "permanent" although it is indeed impermanent, "stable" although it is indeed instable, "eternal" although it is indeed not eternal, "entire" although it is indeed not entire, "not liable to passing away" although it is indeed liable to passing away, and because in regard to what is born, and ages and dies and passes, away and uprises, he says: "This is not born, nor does it age or die or pass away or uprise," and although there is another further escape, he says: "There is not another further escape."
MARA Monk, do not attack this Brahma. He is the Great Brahma, the Conqueror, the Unconquered, the All-Seeing, All-Powerful, the Sovereign Lord, the Maker, Creator, Chief, Appointer and Ruler, Father of All That Have Been and Shall Be (brahmā mahābrahmā abhibhū anabhibhūto aññadatthudaso vasavattī issaro kattā nimmātā seṭṭho sajitā vasī pitā bhūtabhabyānaṃ).
       Monk, before your time, there were brahmans and recluses who were disgusted with the four Mahābutas, with beings, devas, with Pajapati and Brahma but after dying they were born with coarse bodies. Others praised these same entitites and after dying were born with refined bodies. Please do as Brahma says do not defy him; if you defy him you would be like the man who chased away the goddess of fortune or the man who lost his footing on earth and fell into hell. Don't you see that Brahma's asembly has gathered here.
BUDDHA I know you Evil One. You are Mara, Evil One. And Brahma, his assembly and attendants have all fallen into your hands and your power. But I have neither come into your hands nor have I come under your control.
MARA "'Well, monk, how do you discern my sphere, how do you discern my splendor? Baka Brahma has this much great power, much great might, much great influence.
BAKA But, good sir, what is actually constant I call "constant", what is actually permanent I call "permanent". So with "eternal", with "total", with "not subject to falling away", with "birth, does not age, does not die, does not fall away, does not reappear." And there being no other, higher escape, I say, "There is no other, higher escape."
     "'There were, monk, before your time, brahmans and recluses in the world whose ascetic practice lasted as long as your entire life span. They knew, when there was another, higher escape, that there was another, higher escape; or, when there was no other, higher escape, that there was no other, higher escape. So I tell you, monk, both that you will not find another, higher escape, and that, to that extent, you will reap your share of trouble & weariness. Monk, if you relish earth, you will lie close to me, lie within my domain, for me to banish and to do with as I like. If you relish liquid ... fire ... wind ... beings ... devas ... Pajapati ... brahma, you will lie close to me, lie within my domain, for me to banish and to do with as I like.'
BUDDHA"'I, too, know that, brahma. If I relish earth, I will lie close to you, lie within your domain, for you to banish and to do with as you like. If I relish liquid ... fire ... wind ... beings ... devas ... Pajapati ... brahma, I will lie close to you, lie within your domain, for you to banish and to do with as you like. Moreover, I discern your sphere, I discern your splendor: "Baka Brahma has this much great power, this much great might, this much great influence."
MARA"'Well, monk, how do you discern my sphere, how do you discern my splendor: "Baka Brahma has this much great power, this much great might, has this much great influence"
       As far as suns & moons revolve, shining, illuminating the directions, over a thousand-fold world your control holds sway. There you know those above & below, those with lust & those without, the state of what is as it is, the state of what becomes otherwise, the coming & going of beings.
BUDDHA Baka Brahma has this much great might, great influence. There are bodies that you don't know, don't see, but that I know, I see. There is the body named Abhassara from which you fell away & reappeared here. I am not your mere equal in terms of direct knowing, so how could I be inferior? I am actually superior to you. "'
BAKADiscriminative conciousness which is unending and lucid cannot be reached by any of the fundamentals from the Mahabutā right up to the All. Now I vanish from you. ?'
BUDDHA Then Vanish if your can ! ?

At this point Baka tried to vanish but he could not. Then he challenged Gotama to vanish. But Gotama performs a miracle by which he becomes unseen to the gathering but his voice could be heard. He said: "'Having seen danger right in becoming, and becoming searching for non-becoming, (I) did not affirm any kind of becoming, or cling to any delight." This amazed the entire gathering. and led to the following comments from them:

BAKANever before have we seen or heard of any other recluse or brahman of such great power, such great might as that of this Gotama. For a generation that rejoices in becoming he has pulled out the root of becoming.
MARAIf, good sir, this is what you discern, if this is what you have awakened to, do not lead (lay) disciples or those gone forth. Do not teach the Dhamma to (lay) disciples or those gone forth.

[505] With this final appeal from Mara for the Buddha not to teach Dhamma the sutta ends. Of course the Buddha rejects this appeal from Mara. He says that as a supremely enlightened Tathagata he has an obligation to teach.

Summary and Analysis

The speeches of the three parties to this discussion have been given condensed but with only the significant points stated. There are several references to the 24 fundamentals introduced in the first discourse of the Majjhima (M 1 Mula Pariyaya sutta) the Buddha justifying them as things to be overcome and Mara and Baka spurning them. The other issue of significance is the importance of 'becoming' (bhava) a reference to rebirth with Gotama acknowledging it as something to be defeated while Baka does not admit it as a matter of primary concern. There is a direct reference to re-birth (ponobbhavika) a subject usually hinted indirectly. Even though the subject of consciousness is raised by Baka towards the end this subject it is not debated.

But what really resolves the issue is not a debate on substantive matters. It is simply the display of supernormal power by the Buddha. It is as if it were who has greater magical power that determines the issue and not the wisdom involved. This is an unfortunate lesson to emerge from this sutta, one that is not well regarded in this age sceptical of such things.

 

 

M 50. Māratajjaniyasutta
A Rebuke to Mara

[NOTE: With this Abstract we complete the first fifty discourses of the Majjhima Nikāya. This sutta like the previous can be taken as an allegory going back to the time of a previous Buddha Kakusanda. The Māra at the time was named Dūsī. ]

[506] When Mahā Moggallāna was once living at Sumsummaragira in the Bhagga country Mara, the Evil One got into his belly and settled in his stomach. Then Mogallāna feeling his belly heavy went inside and reflected on himself and knew that Mara had got into his belly. He called out to Mara: "Get out, Evil one. Do not annoy a disciple of the Tathagata". Then Mara got out and stood standing against the door.

[507-508] Then Moggllāna told Mara that he himself in the time of Buddha Kakusanda,was a Māra called called Dūsī and that the present Mara was the son of his then sister Kālī so that he is actually his nephew. Kakusanda's chief disciples were Vidura (called the Peerless) and Sañjaya who was an adept at Meditation. Then Moggallans related this story:
Once when Sañjiva was meditating in the forest he reached the stage of Neither-Perception-nor-Feeling. Some herdsmen and farmers going through the forest thought that he was dead. So they laid his body on the ground covered it with firewood and cow-dung and lit the fire wanting to cremate the body and left the scene. Later Sañjiva woke from his trance dusted his robes and went to his dwelling. Next morning he went on his alms round and the herdsmen and farmers were amazed that someone they thought was dead and cremated had come back to life.
[508] Then Dūsī in order to antoganize the people against the monks went to the householders and persuaded them to revile, abuse and annoy the monks whom he said were 'shavelings' (muṇdakā), who were menials black and outcastes. Several other derogative comparisons were made to owls and donkeys. Alll the people who followed Mara's advice after death arose in a sorrowful state, a bad bourn, the abyss, Niraya. Hell.

[509] Kakusanda then warned the monks of Mara Dūsī's scheme to get control over the householders and adviced the monks to suffice the four quarters and indeed the whole world with thoughts of frendliness (mettā). Likewise with thoughts of compassion and sympathetic joy.

[510-511] Then Dūsī learning of Kakusandha's advice thought that he could get power over the householders if they asked them to respect monks of good moral habit. Kakudanda knowing of Dūsī's plan instructed the monks to concentrate on beholding what is unlovely in the body, conscious of the cloying of food, conscious of there being no delight in the whole world, beholding the impermanence of all constructions (asubhānupassino kāye vihariṃsu, āhāre paṭikūlasaññino, sabbaloke anabhiratisaññino, sabbasaṅkhāresu aniccānupassino).

[512] Then Dūsī noticing one day thta Kakusanda had set out on his alms roung followed by Vidhura his attendant monk. Then Dusira visited a certain young man who picked up a stone and hurled it at Vidura's head splitting it, But even with blood flowing Vidura followed Kakudanda on the alms round. Kakusanda turned around saw Vidura and thought "Indeed this Dūsī does not know moderation". Then just at that moment the Mara Dūsī died and arose in the Great Niraya Hell.

The sutta concludes with a verse (not abstracted here) describing the tortures to which Dūsī was subjected to in this hell in graphic detail.

Summary and Analysis

There is very little of doctrinal value in this story. If at all it shows that Kakusanda was more interested in countering Mara's schemes than in a consistent teaching of dhamma. Thus he instructs the monks to act morally when Mara tells people to revile monks, but when he tell them to revere monks of good habit he instructs them to meditate not on loving kindness but on the foulness of the body! Of course there is no historical evidence that any Buddha other than Gotama existed in India ever since the Ariayan tribes occupied it about a thousand years before the time of Gotama.