SUTTAS M 51- M 60
|M 51 Kandarakasutta||Discourse to Kandaraka|
|M 52 Aṭṭhakanāgarasutta ||Discourse at Atthanagara|
|M 53 Sekhasutta||Discourse for Learners|
|M 54 Potaliyasutta||Discourse to Potaliya|
|M 55 Cūḷadammasamādanasutta ||Practicing the Dhamma (Smaller)|
|M 56 Upālisutta||Discourse to Upāli|
|M 57 Kukkuravatikasutta||Discourse to the Canine Ascetic|
|M 58 Abhayarājakumārasutta||Discourse to Prince Abaya|
|M 59 Bahuvedaniyasutta||Much to be Experienced|
|M 60 Apaṇṇasuttasutta||Discourse on the Sure|
Pessa, son of an elephant trainer and Kandaraka an ascetic approach the Buddha at Champa. Kandaraka asked if past enlightened ones and future ones train their followers as Gotama does. The Buddha said 'Yes' and added that there are some in his community who who are perfect with desires destroyed, others train to
appease their minds by virtuosity and mindfulness so as to dispel covetousness by reflecting on (1) the body, (2) feelings, (3) mental qualities, and (4) thoughts in the Teaching.
Pessa then said that as a lay person he too occasionally reflects on the four establishments of mindfulness mentioned so wisely by the Buddha. However the grip on humans is strong while animals live at ease. He marvelled that the Buddha living among humans with their blemishes and craftiness should preach what is good and bad for humans. He said for us layperons by body we behave in one way, by words in another, and in mind in a vastly different way.
The Buddha agreed and said there were 4 classes of people: (1) sefl-tormentors; (2) tormentors of others; (3) tormentors of self and others; and (4) non-tormentors who live in pleasantness and become one like Brahma. He asked Pessa which class he pleased him and he said the last. Asked further why the other three displeased him Pessa said that the first class tormented the self which sought pleasantness and loathed unpleasantness. The second class did the same to others and the third did the same to self and others. Only the last class pleased him. So saying Pessa departed (as also Kandaraka even though this is not stated).
The Buddha then having praised Pessa explained to the Bhikkhus at their request the four classes of people. As an example of a self-tormentor he cited the naked ascetic He gave a long list of the defects he sees in such a person. These included: licking hands (after eating), not accepting an invitation or food brought or specially prepared, not accepting food from a full pot, from two people partaking food, from a woman bearing child. He does not accept fish, meat,
alcoholic drink and several other kinds of food or food offered by certain kinds of people. [NOTE:
The complete list of things done by the naked asetic or avoided by him is not given in this Abstract. The reason which these habits of the ascetic are considered wrong is not given in the text of the sutta]
As examples of tormentors of others the Buddha cites a butcher, fisherman, robber, a person imprisoning others, and so on. [NOTE:
specific reasons are given as to why they are considered wrong does, perhaps this being considered obvious.] As an example of self and others he cites a king, those who builds a new assembly hall, those who shave head and beard and put on rough
garments, smearing body with ghee. It includes those sacrificing animals and making preparations for same, and punishing servants and slaves severly.
The rest of the sutta deals with the fourth category of persons who
neither torment themselves nor others. This consists of those who hearing the teaching of a Tathagata newly born to the world decide to follow him and his teaching. He give up the household life and abandoning wealth and friends shaves head and beard, dons the yellow cloth and goes into homelessness. [NOTE:
career right up to full liberation is then told in great detail. These details conform to that in many other suttas in the Pali Canon and is not described here in detail, only the main stages in the parth being given.]
Then he begins his training as a Bhikkhu. First comes the basic precepts. Not hurting living things and
rousing compassion for all beings, not taking what is not given, abstaining from sexual misconduct, not telling lies or slandering, or repeating things to divide people, or indulging in frivolous talk. He also abstains from destroying seeds and vegetation, abstains from food after mid-day, from dance, singing, music, decorations, flowers and scents, ointments and adornments. He abstains from high beds, from accepting gold and silver, uncooked rice and uncooked flesh, abstains from accepting women and girls, slaves, and animals. He does not own fixed wealth, engage in trade. He takes his prescribed requisites with him where ever he goes. This thus is endowed with a mass of virtues (sīlakkhanda
Next comes the training of the mind. He trains to abide with all his organs of sense (eye, ear, nose and body) controlled or else demerit of
covetousness and displeasure may arise. The same pecautions have to be taken in cognizing an idea with the mind. With the control of his mental facultires he can enjoy the true pleasure form them. In whatever posture he is, even if he is in silence, he should be aware of it.
With the sīlas fulfilled and the mind appeased he seeks a solitary place (a forest, a foot of a tree, a mountain, ia cleft, a rocky cave, a cemetery, the depths of a jungle, an open space, or a heap of straw). There he begins dispelling the
hindrances (covetousness for the world, anger, sloth and torpor, restlessness and
worry, and doubt). He gets rid any remaining defilements of the mind and starts on the first jhāna. He continues this until has
reached the fourth and final jhāna.
He then commences the perfection of the knowledges. The fist involves the recollection of past births up to a hundred thousand, and of the eons of evolution and dissolution of the world. The second involves the acquisition of the divine eye which sees the passing of being according to their karma. The third and culminating knowledge is the destruction of the āsavas (called variously taints, corruptions, influxes, etc.). This is not merely an
intellectual knowledge but the actual destruction of these roots of existence. Even though it is not stated the aspirant has now reached the goal of the religious life arhat-hood.
 So this person who began by giving up self-torment, and the torments of others, has in this very life become appeased, extinguished, cooled, and abides like a Brahma (brahmabūtena
This sutta which began with a summary statement of foundations of mindfulness to Pessa the son of an elephant trainer and his recluse companion Kandaraka has become a description of the passage of an aspirant from leaving the household life to becoming an arhat.
If it is taken as a classification of humans into four types, the first of these (self-torment) applies only to ascetics (now rare) and perhaps to masochists. The second category (tormentors of others) seems to be the most prolific. The third category is also rare as it required the first category which as shown is also rare. Finally the fourth category i.e. bhikkhus completing the passage into arhat-hood is rare now. They were supposed common in the Buddha's day but no one has claimed to be an arhat in the last few centuries! Perhaps no one can recall even a few previous births, let alone a hundred thousand that arhats are said to be capable of. Even though this sutta begins the section on house-holders its value lies to the modern day may be only in the first two steps, the
cultivation of morality and the some control over the mind.
M 52. Attakanāgarasutta
Discourse to a citizen of Aṭṭakanagara
In this sutta Dasama, a householder of Attakanagara goes to Beluwa to see Ven Ananda and asks him "Is there a single thing shown by the Buddha abiding in which a Bhikkhu can gain release of mind and destroy undestroyed influxes (āsavā
) and attain the noble end of the yoke (i.e. become fully enlightened)? Ananda replied "Yes", and was asked what this was. This is what Ananda
The one quality that the Buddha proclaimed is that a monk in that position should withdraw from sensuality and
unskilful qualities and should enter and remain in the First Jhāna. When he realises that this Jhāna being fabricated is subject to
impermanence he could destroy the influxes (āsavā
). But if he fails to do so due greed he will destroy the five lower fetters (self-identity view, grasping at precepts & practices, uncertainty, sensual passion, and irritation). This will also result in his never being reborn in this world after his current existence. [NOTE:
On this see Summary Analysis below.]
The Bhikkhu should then persevere into the Second, Third and Fourth Jhānas. If he has not destroyed the Five Fetters after First Jhāna he could do so after the Second Jhāna. Failing that he could do so after the Third Jhāna. Failing that after the Fourth Jhāna. Whenever he destroys these Fetters he either reaches the Noble end of the Yoke or he ensures that he will not be reborn in this world again.
Then the monk keeps pervading the four quarters with an awareness of loving-kindness (mettā
). He pervades the universe with an awareness imbued with good will, abundant, expansive, immeasurable, without hostility, without ill will. If he had not done so the will either eliminate all influxes or ensure that he will not be reborn in this world.
Then Dasama, the householder from Attanagara, said that like the man searching for single treasure finds eleven
treasures he came to find one way to the deathless but has found eleven. By way of thanks Dasama
assembled all the bhikkhus in Vesali and Pataliputta, offered them a meal and two robes each with an extra robe for Ananda. Then he built Ananda a dwelling worth five hundred units of money of the day.
While much of Ananda's discourse conforms to the description of the path to liberation (ending the Yoke) there are some peculiarities. There is no mention of acquiring the Three Knowledges which is usually given as the last step before the yoke to the phenomenal world is cut. Instead Ananda is relying solely on the Jhānas followed by the universal Mettā meditation.
He seems to think that even only the First Meditation (Jhāna) will suffice to reach the goal. Only if the aspirant does not succeed with the First Jhāna successive jhānas will give the opportunity. But the unique teaching is that if the aspirant does not reach the end of the yoke he is assured of not being reborn in this world, technically he becomes an anāgamin
. This is usually reserved for those becoming a Stream Enterer (sotapatthi
). The view that is given is that the aspirant is reborn in the Pure Abodes and from there he reaches Nibbāna. But this is not stated in the discourse.
It must be remembered that at this time Ananda was not an Arhat, and his
discourse is not formally approved by the Buddha.
M 53. Sekhasutta
Discourse for Learners
Once when the Buddha visited the Sakyans at Kapilavatthu he was invited to be the first one to occupy a new
Assembly Hall built by the Sakyans. He accepted the offer with the usual silence. Then the Sakyans prepared the Assembly Hall for the Buddha and invited him to come, which he did. The Buddha gave a long discourse to the Sakyansand
after his back began to ache he said to Ananda: "Now you tell the Sakyans about the person who follows the practice for one in training (sekho pātipado
). Ananda agreed and the rest of the sutta is what he said which he addressed to the Sakyan Mahanama [probably the chief of those assemled.]
Ananda starts with an outline of his discourse in six sections. These are : the disciple should be (1) consummate in virtue; (2) guard the sense faculties; (3) be moderate in eating; (4) be devoted to wakefulness; (5) be endowed with seven qualities; and (6) obtains the four jhānas without difficulty (thereby heightening awareness and abiding pleasantly here-and-now.
Then follows a detailed explanation of these six headings in the outline:
- Virtue. To ve virtuois the bhikkhu should live in accordance with the Patimlkkha (the monastic code). He must undertake the training rules seeing danger in the slightest fault.
- Sense Faculties. He should guard the faculty of th eye. In seeing a form he should not grasp at it. Otherwise unskill qaulities like greed for distress will assail him. The same should happen when hearing a sound with the ear, or smelling an aroma with the nose, or tasting a flavour with the tongue or in feeling a tactile sensation with the body. On cognizing an ideal with the mind he should not grasp at it.
- Moderation in Eating. Food should be taken for survival and health, not enjoyment, intoxication, gaining weight or beautification. My eating shoud be for the survival of the body and for support of the holy life.
- Wakefulness. The first watch of the day [daytime] should be devoted to sitting or walking to and fro. The second watch [early to middle night] reclining on the right side (the lion's posture) and the third watch [late night to dawn] sitting and pacing to clear the mind. [NOTE: This regime does not make allowance for conventional sleep unless it is done in the lion's posture.]
- The Seven Qualities. The Seven Qualities are as follows:
(i) Should be convinced of the Tahagata's Enlightenment.
(ii) Should be ashamed at the thought of bodily, verbal or mental misconduct.
(iii) Feel concern for the suffering from the results of such misconduct.
(iv) Be learned and retain what has been learned.
(v) Be persistent abandoning unskilful mental qualities.
(vi) Be mindful remembering things done or said even long ago.
(vii) Be discerning and endowed with discernment.
- The Four Jhānas. For them the requirements and consequences are:
(i) First Jhāna. Withdrawn from sensuality and unskilful mental qualities but with directed thought & evaluation.
(ii) Second Jhāna. Stilling of directed thought & evaluation but with rapture & pleasure born of composure and unification of awareness.
(iii) Third Jhāna. Rapture fades. Remains equanimous, mindful, and alert. Senses pleasure with the body.
(iv) Fourth Jhāna. Pleasure & pain abandoned, elation & distress disappear but with purity of equanimity and mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain.
If the disciple satisfies the six requirements given above (from virtue to the Jhānas) he is called a disciple of the noble ones who follows the practice for one in training, whose eggs are unspoiled, who is capable of breaking out, capable of awakening, capable of attaining the supreme rest from the yoke. This is compared to a hen who after rightly incubating her eggs wishes that the chicks may not come out they chicks will break the shells and come out.
Now the disciple can recollect past lives even up to a hundred thousand in great detail and many aeons of cosmic evolution and devolution. This is his first breaking out like the
chicks from their shells. Then with his divine eye he sees being passing away and being reborn in accordance with their karma. He is now free of the fermentations (corruptions, influxes) and is
consummate in clear knowing and conduct.
Then Brahma Sanankumara uttered the lines:
"The noble warrior is best amongst those who value clan;
He who knowledge and right-conduct possess is the best of devas
This verse was endorsed by the Buddha who had got up. The Buddha approved what Ananda had said. The Sakyans were gratified.
M 54. Potaliyasutta
Discourse to Potaliya
Once the Buddha was staying at Apāna in Aṇguttarāpa. While resting after his meal in a forest the householder Potaliya approached him and stood standing. The Buddha asked him to sit down addressing him as 'Householder'. This displeased Potaliya who said that he had given up his vocation (kammantā
), handed his wealth to his son, and lived on a minimum of food and wear. To this the Buddha replied that giving up an avocation was not the same as taking up the discipline of an Ariyan. Then Potaliya asked what the avocations to be given up in the discipline of an Aryan were.
The Buddha said that there were eight things to be given up: (1) onslaught on creatures; (2) taking what is not given; (3) lying speech; (4) slanderous speech; (5) covetousness and greed; (6) angry fault-finding; (7) ; wrathful rage; and (8) arrogance. Potiliya then requested a detailed
account of these eight things. The Buddha obliged.
If one were to make onslaughts on creatures not only would that person upbraid (upavādeyya
) one's self but also intelligent people ( viññu garaheyya
) will also do so. After dying that person will go to a bad place (duggati
). Onslaught on creatures is an all-consuming taint (āsavā vighātapariḷāhā
). [The same words are used for the other seven things.]
Taking what is not given is an all-consuming taint. Those doing so are destined to go to a bad place.
Telling lies is an all-consuming taint. Those doing so are destined to go to a bad place.
Slanderous speech is an all-consuming taint. Those doing so are destined to go to a bad place.
Covetousness and greed is an all-consuming taint. Those doing so are destined to go to a bad place.
Angry fault-finding is an all-consuming taint. Those doing so are destined to go to a bad place.
Wrathful rage is an all-consuming taint. Those doing so are destined to go to a bad place.
Arrogance is an all-consuming taint. Those doing so are destined to go to a bad place.
These are the things that have to be give up in the discipline of an aryan. But they are not all the avocations that have to be given up. Then Potaliya asked what other avocations should be given up and asked to be taught
e discipline of an Aryan.
Then the following conversation ensued:
|BUDDHA||It is as if a hungry dog comes to a slaughter house and the butcher
throws it a a bone with no flesh. Would that appease the dog's hunger?|
|POTALIYA||No, it would not revered sir
|BUDDHA||"Even so, householder, an
Aryan disciple reflects thus: "Pleasures of the senses have been likened to a skeleton by the Lord, of much pain, tribulation, and peril." And having seen this the
Aryan disciple develops that equanimity in the face of uniformity, wherein all
grasping after the material things are stopped entirely. If a vulture seizing a lump of flesh
flies away and other vultures chase it to tear it apart and grab the meat and if the vulture were not to let that meat go would it not come to death or pain ?|
|POTALIYA||Yes , it would revered sir
|BUDDHA||Even so an Aryan disciple reflecting that sense pleasure has been likened by the Lord to a grass torch avoids the material things of the world. If two strong men grab another man and drag him towards a pit of glowing embers would that man not try to escape ?
|POTALIYA||Yes, he would revered sir.
|BUDDHA||Even so, householder, an
Aryan disciple reflects 'Pleasures of the senses have been likened by the Lord to a pit of glowing embers' and having seen this he avoids the material things of the world. |
And, householder, it is as if a man might see in a dream delightful parks,but on waking up could see nothing. Even so, householder, an ariyan disciple reflects thus: 'Pleasures of the senses have been likened by the Lord to a dream'. And having seen this seen this he avoids the material things of the world.
And, householder, it is as if a man, having borrowed a loan of a fashionable vehicle and splendid jewels and ear-ornaments and people having seen him might say 'This man is indeed wealthy' but the real owners might take away what was theirs. What do you think about this, householder ? Would that man have had enough of being other than what he is?
|POTALIYA||Yes, revered sir. The real owners take away what is theirs.|
|BUDDHA|| And, householder, it is as if in a dense forest there is a tree laden with ripe fruit, but with none fallen to the ground; and a man might who can climb trees might see that tree, climb it and eat as much as he likes and fill his clothes. Then a second man might come with a sharp axe and not being a climber begin to cut down this tree at the root. What do you think about this, householder, unless the first man came down very quickly he might come to death or to pain ?
|POTALIYA||Yes, revered sir.
Aryan disciple, householder, who has come to this matchless purification through equanimity and mindfulness, recollects a variety of former habitations, sees beings as they are passing hence and uprising according to the consequences of deeds, by the destruction of the cankers having here-now realised by his own super-knowledge the freedom of mind and the freedom through wisdom that are cankerless, enters and abides therein. In the discipline for an ariyan there is an entire giving up in every way of all avocations. What do you think about this, householder ?
"Who am I, revered sir, that there is an entire giving up of all avocations in every way ? I, revered sir, am far from the entire giving up in every way of all avocations according to the discipline for an
Aryan. But now we will know that wanderers belonging to other sects, being inferior, are inferior; because they are inferior we will offer them food for inferiors; but we
will know that monks, being superior, are superior; because they are superior we will offer them food for superiors.|
It is excellent, revered sir, it is excellent, revered sir. Revered sir, it is as if one might set upright what had been upset, or might disclose what what was covered, or show the way to one who had gone astray, or bring an oil-lamp into the darkness so that those with vision might see material shapesâ€”even so in many a figure has dhamma been made clear by the Lord. I, revered sir, am going to the Lord for refuge and to dhamma and to the Order of monks. May the Lord accept me as a lay follower going for refuge from this day forth for as long as life lasts.
M 55 Jivakasutta
Discourse to Jivaka
Once when the Buddha was residing Rajagaha at Jivaka Komarabhacca's Mango Grove Jivaka approached him and had a conversation with him about the eating of meat. The entire sutta cnsists of this conversation and the following is an abstract of this conversation.
|JIVAKA|| I have heard, revered sir: that they kill living creatures on purpose for the recluse Gotama, and that the recluse Gotama knowingly makes use of meat killed on purpose and specially provided for him. Are they quoting the Lord's own words without misrepresentation, are they explaining in conformity with dhamma?|
|BUDDHA||Jivaka, those who speak so are not quoting my own words, but are misrepresenting me with what is not true. I, Jivaka, say that in three cases meat may not be used : if it is seen, heard, suspected to have been killed for a monk (diṭṭhaṃ, sutaṃ, parisaṅkitaṃ). In these three cases I say that meat may not be used. But I, Jivaka, say that in three cases meat may be used : if it is not seen, heard, suspectedo have been killed on purpose for a monk).3 In these three cases I, Jivaka, say that meat may be used.|
A monk lives depending of a village or town. He suffuses the whole world with a mind of friendliness. A householder invites him for a meal on the morrow. He accepts and goes there the next day and is offered
sumptuous almsfood. He eats the food without being ensnared, entranced or enthralled by it, but seeing the peril in it, wise as to the escape. What do you think about this, Jivaka ? Is that monk at that time striving for the hurt of self or is he striving for the hurt of others or is he striving for the hurt of both ?
|JIVAKA|| Not this, revered sir.
|BUDDHA||Is not that monk at that time, Jivaka, eating food that is blameless ?
|JIVAKA||Yes, revered sir. I had heard this: Sublime is abiding in
friendliness, the Lord is abiding in friendliness. |
|BUDDHA||He who kills a living creature on purpose for a Tathagata or his disciple makes demerit in fives ways: (1) when he says 'Go fetch that animal; (2) the animal fetched experiences pain and distress because of the affliction to its throat; (3) when he says 'Go kill that animal; (4) while this animal experiences pain whjile being killed; (5) when he offers the meat to the Tathagata or his disciple.
|JIVAKA||It is wonderful and marvellous that monks eat food that is allowable and blameless. May the Lord accept me, as a lay-disciple for life.
M 56 Upālisutta
Discourse to Upāli
This sutta is set in Nālanda and starts with a conversation between the Buddha and Dīghatapassī a follower of the Jain Nātaputta. The Buddha asks the Jain how many acts (kammāni
) generate demerit according to Nātaputta. The reply was that it was not acts that the Jains speak of but punishment (danḍa
) that they speak of and these are of three kinds: bodily, verbal and mental punishment. Then the Jain asked how many punishments the Buddha considers for demerit and is corrected that it is not punishment but actions and these are of three kinds bodily, verbal and mental. Then the Jain elicited from the Buddha that the Buddha considers mental acts to be the most blameworthy. Then he departed.
Then Dīghatapassī went to Nātaputta, who was also in Nālanda with his followers headed by Upali and related his conversation with the Buddha. Then Nātaputtta said: "How can low vile mental punishment compare with coarse bodily punishment for doing demerit?". Upali endorsed this and said that he would go now to dispute with Gotama on this matter. Nātaputta agreed. Dīghatapassī was delighted that Gotama who he said attracts followers by a deceptive device (māyāvī āvaṭṭaniṃ
) would be refuted. Then Upali went to the Buddha who confirmed his previous conversation with Dīghatapassī. They both agreed that a further conversation on this should take place to establish the truth.
The Buddha asked if a Jain gravely ill dies without even getting water where he will be born. The reply was that he will be born amongst gods called mental beings (manosttā
) because he died bound to mind (manopaṭibaddho
). Asked if a Niganta kills insects while walking what would be the consequence? Upali says that if it is unintentional the results
will not be so blameworthy. He said that intention was mental punishment (manodaṇḍa
) but asserted that bodily punishment was more appropriate for demerit than verbal or mental punishment.
Then the Budddha asked if a single man with a sword could kill all the people of Nālanda. Upali said that even forty men could not do that. Then he asked if a single recluse of brahmin with supernormal mental power (iddhimā cetovasippatto
could with a single intention burn several Nālandas to ashes. [Implied here is what punishment should deserve such a mental wrong-doing?] Have you not heard that the forests in Dandaka, Kalinga, Mejjha and Matanga arose because of the defiled mind of a single sage. Upali agreed.
Upali said that he would have been convinced by the Buddha's first comparison, but now he has been converted. He said that he was now ready to become a follower of Gotama. The Buddha cautioned him that famous people like him should not to make a rash
decisions like that. But Upali said that for the second time he takes refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the community. May he be remembered as a lay
follower for the end of his life.
The Buddha reminded him that for a long time he had been a well-spring of support for Nigantas and that he should continue to support them as alms given to other sects is also a meritorious act. Upali agreed to do so and for the third time asked to be taken as a lay follower. Then the Buddha gave the usual graduated talk he gives to those entering his following and admitted Upali as a follower. Then and there Upali mastered the Dhamma and attained the state where he did not need a teacher. Upali returned home telling the gate-keeper to keep it closed to Nigantas but open for Bhikkhus and Bhukkhunis.
[71-72] The niganta Dīghapassi could not believe that Upaka had become a follower of the Buddha and told his master Nātaputta that he will personally confront Upali on this
development. He tried to go to Upali's house but was stopped by the gatekeeper. Then he came back with Nātaputta himself and a large number of Nigantas and wanted to see Upali. This time the gatekeeper consulted Upali who asked that Nātaputta and the Nigtantas be allowed to come to the Middle Hall of his house and that the gate keeper should prepare seats there.
[73-74] Then Upali seated himself in the best seat in the Middle Hall and asked that the Nigantas be allowed to come in. Then Nataputta told Upali: "You are out of your mind; you are idiotic. Saying: 'I will refute the recluse Gotama', you have returned enmeshed in a great verbal tangle. Like a gelder, having gone away, might return with himself gelded, or a eye-gouger might return with his own eyeballs removed, even so did you return enmeshed in a great verbal tangle. You were misled by the enticing device of the recluse Gotama". To this Upali replied: "Sir, those enticements are good. My dear ones and blood relations too should be enticed by those enticements. That will be for their good and welfare for a long time. All warriors, all brahmins, all householders, all out-castes should be enticed by those enticements."
[75-76] Then Upali related a comparison by way of a story. The wife of an old brahmin asked her husband to buy a young monkey to be given to her son. He did so and then the wife wanted the monkey to be dyed yellow. So the bahmin went to the dyer but was told that the monkey was too young to be dyed. So the brahmin bought a new set of clothes for the son which the dyer said could be dyed yellow. The moral of the story is that the enlightened one was tolerant like the cloth that took the dye while the foolish was intolerant like the monkey which could not be dyed. Then Nātaputta said "Everyone including the king knows that you are my
disciple, whose disciple are you now?". Then Upali turning towards the direction in which Gotama was with clasped palms recited a long stanza every line of which praised a virtue of the Buddha and concluded with: "Of such a teacher am I the disciple". The sutta concludes by saying that Nātaputta was so shocked by this that hot blood flowed from his mouth. [NOTE: The Commentaries add that Nātaputta was so sick that he had to carried out on a litter all the way to Pava where he was born and he died there.]
The matter of doctrinal significance in this sutta is how Upali became a convert to the Buddha's Dhamma. It was the Buddha's principle that karma is determined by intention shown by the simile of the man treading on an insect accidentally. But nowhere has the Buddha said that an act done accidentally is good if it does harm to another. Even the First Precept of Buddhism focuses on the action not the intention. Unlike the Jain path which was an extreme one on what it considered to be good the Buddha's path is a middle path.
M 57 Kukkuravatikasutta
The Canine Ascetic
Once when the Buddha was at Haliddavsana in the Koliya country Punna a bovine ascetic and Seniya an unclothed Canine ascetic approached the Buddha. Both of them sat down Seniya taking the posture of a dog. Then Punna said this Seniya has taken the vows of being like a dog for a long time, eating food thrown on the ground where would his
) after death? The Buddha said do not ask me that question again. But Punna asked it for the second and the third time.
The Buddha said: "Then I will explain. If some one adopts the canine practice, habits, mentality, and behaviours completely and constantly after death he arises in the company of dogs. But if he has a view like 'Through this practice of austerity or chastity I will be born amongst the gods', that that is a wrong view. For one with
wrong views the destiny is either an animal birth or a birth in Hell". Then Seniya began to cry. Then the Buddha said "I did not expect this question, do not ask me again". Then Seniya said "I am not crying because of what the Revered One said. I have been doing this practice for a long time. I would like to know what the bourn of Punna who has been doing the bovine practice for a long time is?".
The Buddha gave the same answer only replacing 'dogs' with 'cattle'. Then Punna began to cry. Then the Buddha said to Seniya "I did not expect your question but only answered it as you persisted on it". Then Punna told the Buddha " I did not cry because of what you said as I had done this bovine practice for a long time. But if the Revered One can teach Dhamma I may give up the bovine practice and Senia may give up the canine practice".
The Buddha said that there are four kinds of deeds: (1) dark with dark results, (2) bright with bright results, (3) dark and bright with dark and bright results and (4) neither bright nor dark with neigher dark nor bright results.
As for (1) someone effects an activity of body, speech or mind that is harmful, he arises in a world that is harmful. Then harmful sensory impingements assail him. He experiences a harmful and painful feeling like creatures in Niraya Hell. In this way there is the uprising of a being according to what he does.
As for (2) someone effects an activity of body, speech or mind that is harmless, he arises in a world that is harmless. Then harmless sensory impingements assail him. He experiences a harmless and pleasant feeling like Ever-Radiant devas. In this way there is the uprising of a being according to what he does. Creatures are heirs to deeds.
As for (3) someone effects an activity of body, speech or mind that is harmful and harmless, he arises in a world that is harmful and harmless Then harmful and harmless sensory impingements assail him. He experiences a harmful and harmless and partially pleasant and painful feeling like men and some devas and some in the sorrowful state. In this way there is the uprising of a being according to what he does. Creatures are heirs to deeds.
As to (4) what is the deed that is not dark (and) not bright, neither dark nor bright in result, the deed that conduces to the destruction of deeds ? Where there is the will to get rid of that deed that is dark, dark in result, and the will to get rid of that deed that is bright, bright in result, and the will to get rid of that deed that is dark and bright, dark and bright in result, this, Punna, is called the deed that is not dark (and) not bright, neither dark nor bright in result, the deed that conduces to the destruction of deeds. These, Punna, are the four (kinds of) deeds made known by the Tathagata, having realised them by his own super-knowledge.
Both Punna and Seniya said that what the Buddha said was excellent. Punna wanted the Lord to accept him as a lay-disciple going for refuge from this day forth for as long as life lasts. Seniya wanted to receive the going forth in the Lord's presence, he sought ordination. The Buddha repeated the rule for ordination: "those of another sect seeking the going forth and the higher ordination in this Dispensation should be on probation for four months. After the four months, if the bhikkhus are satisfied, they would give the going forth and the higher ordination" Senia agreed to this.
Taking the vow to act as animals appear to have been an ascetic practice in those days. The Buddha shows that this is a harmful practice. He repeats the law of karma: Creatures are heirs to deeds.
M 58 Abhayarāhakumārasutta
Discourse to Prince Abhaya
This sutta is set in the Veluvana, Rajagaha. Prince Abaya approaches Niganta Nātaputta and is instructed to ask this tricky question from the recluse Gotama: "Can a Tathagata say to a person something disliked and disagreeable to him?". If he says that a Tathagatha will not say such a thing then you should ask him: "Why did you tell Devadatta that he is one doomed to perdition (āpāyiko
), to Niraya Hell (nerayiko
), to suffering for an eon (kappaṭṭho atekiccho
)?" When asked this forked question Gotama will not be able to swallow it or spew it out,
the Prince agreed and worshipped Nātaputta and approached the Buddha.
The Prince then thought that this is not the right time to ask the question, that he will invite the Buddha for a meal the next day and then ask the question. He then invited the Buddha for the meal the next day and this was accepted in the usual way. The Buddha came and after the meal was over, the Prince posed the question he had been coached to ask. The Buddha replied "Is this not one-sided (na khvettha ekaṃsenā
)?" Then the Prince exclaimed "The Jains have lost!" When asked to explain this he related his conversation with Nātaputta.
At the time a small child was lying in the lap of the Prince. Then the Buddha asked if by some negligence this child were to swallow a piece of stick or stone what would you do? Then
the Prince replied that he would put his fingers into the mouth of the child even if some bleeding
occurred and pull the obstruction out. This he said was because of his compassion for the child.
The Buddha said that a Tathagata would evaluate words spoken and respond in six ways. In the case of words that the Tathagata knows to be:
- unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial (or not connected with the goal), unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.
- factual, true, unbeneficial, unendearing & disagreeable to others, he does not say them.
- factual, true, beneficial, but unendearing & disagreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them.
- unfactual, untrue, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.
- factual, true, unbeneficial, but endearing & agreeable to others, he does not say them.
- factual, true, beneficial, and endearing & agreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them. This is because the Tathagata has sympathy for living beings.
Then the following conversation took place between the Prince and the Buddha.
'If those who approach me ask this, I ? thus asked ? will answer in this way' ? or does the Tathagata come up with the answer on the spot?
Lord, when wise nobles or brahmans, householders or contemplatives, having formulated questions, come to the Tathagata and ask him, does this line of reasoning appear to his awareness beforehand ?
|BUDDHA:||In that case, prince, I will ask you a counter-question. Answer as you see fit. What do you think: are you skilled in the parts of a chariot?
|PRINCE:||Yes, lord. I am skilled in the parts of a chariot.
|BUDDHA:||And what do you think: When people come & ask you, 'What is the name of this part of the chariot?' does this line of reasoning appear to your awareness beforehand ? 'If those who approach me ask this, I, thus asked, will answer in this way' or do you come up with the answer on the spot?
|PRINCE:||Lord, I am renowned for being skilled in the parts of a chariot. All the parts of a chariot are well-known to me. I come up with the answer on the spot.
|BUDDHA:||In the same way, prince, when wise nobles or brahmans, householders or contemplatives, having formulated questions, come to the Tathagata and ask him, he comes up with the answer on the spot. Why is that? Because the property of the Dhamma is thoroughly penetrated by the Tathagata. From his thorough penetration of the property of the Dhamma, he comes up with the answer on the spot."
|PRINCE:|| It is excellent, revered sir, it is excellent, revered sir. It is as if one might set upright what had been upset, or might disclose what had been covered, or show the way to one who had gone astray, or bring an oil-lamp into the darkness so that those with vision might see material shapes, even so is dhamma made clear in many a figure by the Lord. I, revered sir, am going to the Lord for refuge and to dhamma and to the Order of monks. May the Lord accept me as a lay-disciple going for refuge from this day forth for as long as life lasts.
The importance of this sutta is the way in which the Buddha evaluates with respect to the answers to the following questions:
Whether they are factual or not (in terms of evidence)?
Whether they are true or not (in terms of logic)?
Whether they are beneficial or not (this requires some kind of goal)?
Whether they are endearing or unendearing?
Whether they are agreeable or disagreeable?
M 59 Bahuvedaniyasutta
Discourse on Many Feelings
This sutta is set in Sāvtthi. It starts with an exchange of views by Pancakanga, a carpenter, and the monk Udayin. It went like this:
Venerable sir, how many feelings has the Blessed One spoken of?
|UDAYIN||Householder, the Blessed One has spoken of three feelings: a feeling of pleasure, a feeling of pain, a feeling of neither pleasure nor pain.
|PANCAKANGA:||The Blessed One has not spoken of three feelings. He has spoken of two feelings: a feeling of pleasure and pain. As for the feeling of neither pleasure nor pain, the Blessed One has spoken of it as a refined pleasure.
The last two statements were repeated by the two persons for the second and the third time. The difference of opinion between them was not settled.
Ven Ananda sitting close by heard this exchange of views and related the matter to the Buddha. The Buddha said that both Pancakanga and Udayin were correct. He said that at times he had spoken of two, three, five in fact up to
hundred and eight feelings. He had taught the Dhamma by exposition analytically (pariyāyadesito
). if one party were to accept what is well-said and well-stated by the other there would be no ground for
quarrelling, disputing and wounding each other by the sword of the tongue. They should live in harmony.
Some might say that sensual pleasures arising out of the five strands of sensuality, (i.e. from forms
cognisable by the eye, sounds by the ear, smells by the nose, flavours by the tongue and tactile feeling by the body) are the highest of pleasures. But I do not agree. There are pleasures higher and more esteemed that this. Here a monk withdrawn from sensual pleasures, withdrawn from
unskilful qualities, enters & remains in the first jhāna with rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. His pleasure is greater.
But there are pleasures even greater. Here the monk stilling of directed thoughts & evaluation, enters & remains in the second jhāna with rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation and internal assurance.
But there are pleasures even greater. Here the monk with the fading of rapture, he remains equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. He enters & remains in the third jhana.
But there are pleasures even greater. Here the monk with the abandoning of pleasure & stress and with the disappearance of elation & distress enters & remains in the fourth jhana with purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither-pleasure-nor-pain.
But there are pleasures even greater. Here the monk with the complete transcending of perceptions of form, with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance, and not heeding perceptions of diversity, perceives 'Infinite space,'
But there are pleasures even greater. Here the monk enters & remains in the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness.
But there are pleasures even greater. Here the monk enters and remains in the
dimension of neither perception or nothngness.
But there are pleasures even greater. Here the monk enters and remains in the dimension of neither-perception-nor-non-perception.
The Buddha concludes the sutta by this statement to Ananda: "Now it is possible, that some wanderers of other persuasions might say, 'Gotama speaks of the cessation of perception & feeling and yet describes it as pleasure. What is this? How can this be?' When they say that, they are to be told, 'It's not the case, friends, that the Blessed One describes only pleasant feeling as included under pleasure. Wherever pleasure is found, in whatever terms, the Blessed One describes it as pleasure.' "
When feelings can be so varied counting them is a futile exercise so Gotama had no difficulty in dismissing this non-dispute. The sutta gives another opportunity for the Buddha to describe the progress of the monk in his mental development counting each advance as an increase in pleasure. This when even pain and pleasure have both been overcome. Hence the need for the Buddha to explain what he means by 'pleasure' but this explanation is in fact a tautology.
M 60 Apannakasutta
The Inquiring Teaching
This sutta deals with various options and which of these is a good (or sure) bet. (One meaning of 'appanna' in Pali is said to be 'sure'.) In this Abstract the two opposing views have been labelled A and B and the opposing actions C and D. This Abstract gives only some examples of each kind but the full text gives many more. The terms 'merit' and 'demerit' are used according to the dhamma usage]
On a tour of Kosala the Buddha and the Bhikkhus came to the village of Sala. The brahmins of Sala approached the Buddha and sat on a side. The Buddha asked them if they had a teacher. On being told "No" he said if you follow this inquiring teaching (apaṇṇka dhamma
) it will benefit you for a long time.
[94 Two Views]
Some recluses and brahmins hold the view [A]
which says "There are no consequences for deeds good or evil; there is no this world or the next; no need to care for parents; no spontaneously arisen beings; no person who has done rightly and affirms this world and the next."
There are some recluses and brahmins who hold the view [B]
which says exactly the opposite.
Those who hold view [A]
do deeds of demerit like misconduct of body, speech and mind. They indulge in wrong speech, give wrong instructions, and praise themselves and disparage others.
On the other hand wise persons who hold view [B]
are persons of good habit. They believe in the next world and as they do good they will be re-born in heaven.
[97 Two Kinds of Action]
Some people think that by doing themselves, or getting other to do, [C]
acts like mutilating, torturing, stealing, lying, mass killing there is no evil. They think that making sacrifices, generosity, self-control,
restraint and truthful speech have no merit.
On the other hand there are others who do, or get others to do, [D]
acts which are the opposite and consider things like mutilating and torturing to be are evil while doing things like sacrifice.
generosity and truthfulness do have merit.
There are those who affirm that those who do acts [C]
do not cause demerit to themselves or their subjects and those who do acts [D]
get no merit.
Then there are those of the opposite view and hold that those do acts [C]
do get demerit while those who do acts [D]
There are two views one of which affirms that there is no causality (beings are pure or impure for no cause), others affirm causality (beings are pure or impure for a cause). The former thinks that no effort is needed to be pure but the latter think that right effort is need to become pure. The former do not see the need for good conduct by body speech and mind while the latter does. The former thus accumulates demerit and after death would end in a bad bourn even in hell. The latter will enjoy a pleasant existence even if there is no rebirth while if there is they will reapperar in a good destination like a heaven. Thus they win in both ways.
The sutta now moves views on some metaphysical questions. One is the existence of total immaterial states or total formlessness (sabbaso āruppā
[said to be the view of Ajita Kesakablin]. Another is the possibility of total non-becoming or being (sabbaso bhavanirodo
). On these matters opposite views are held by various recluses and brahmins. While this is asserted as a fact there is no statement which of these views are right and which wrong.
In this the concluding section of the sutta the Buddha considers the classification of beings along the lines that have been expounded in other suttas as well such as the Karandaka sutta.. This is his fourfold classification into (1) individuals who torment
themselves; (2) those who torment others; (3) those who torment self and others; and finally those who torment neither.
Those who torment themselves are the well-known ascetics. Here the Buddha says that self-tormenting is useless as it never reaches the goal set by self-tormentor. Their practices as going naked and licking hands are mentioned. It is not clearly stated if these individuals go to hell as they do no no harm to anyone else.
As to those who torment others (and not their own self) they clearly do acts karmically reprehensible and will get their retribution in hell or other undesirable manifestation. Butchers of pigs, cattle and other animals are specifically mentioned.
The third category is not illustrated well. the only example cited is a "king or a head anointed warrior frightening others makes them work with tears in their eyes". It may be a reference to a king who compels his subjects to fight without their consent as by conscription.
The last category is the one praised and refers to a monk following the Dhamma. He neither torments himself nor others.
With this sutta the section on the Householders comes to an end. This sutta deals with several subjects. It starts with the nihilist view usuallly attributed to Makkhai Gosala, and one strongly opposed by the Buddha. Then from views it goes into actions which these views entail. Here two kinds of action doing evil actions and doing meritorious actions. The Abstract gives only some of the examples given in the full sutta but sufficient to indicate the kind of
actions involved. The consequences of these acts in the karmic cycle are mentioned the evil acts usually
entailing hell and the meritorious one on a rebirth in heaven. Individuals have freedom to hold either kind of view or do either kind of action, but the sure bet is to adopt the
Dhammic view and do the Dharmic actions. This is the 'sure bet' giving a pleasant abiding here and in the future.
Next comes the consideration of causality which is a distinctive doctrine of the Buddha. Its full elaboration is in the theory of
Conditioned Origination. The full formula is not described in this sutta. Then there is a mention of the formless dimension and the possibility of total non-becoming or extinction. But once again these doctrines are only asserted with their opposite positions but nothing definite about them is directly stated.
The sutta closes with the fourfold classification of individuals but this is summary statement of the views express at length in the Kandaraka Sutta.