SUTTAS M 71 - M80
|M 71 Tevijja-Vattagottasutta||To Vaccagottaa on the Threefold Knowledge|
|M 72 Aggi-Vaccagottasutta ||To Vaccagotta on Fire|
|M 73 Mahā-Vaccagottasutta||Discourse to Vaccagotta (Greater)|
|M 74 Dīghanakasutta||Discourse to Māgandiya|
|M 75 Māgandiyasutta ||Discourse to Bhaddāli|
|M 76 Sandakasutta||Discourse to Sandaka|
|M 77 Mahā-Sakuludāyisutta||Greater Discourse to Sakuludāyi|
|M 78 Samaṇamaṇḍikāsutta||Discourse to Samaṇamaṇḍikāputtta|
|M 79 Cūḷa-Sakuludāyisutta||Lesser Discourse to Sakuludāyi|
|M 80 Vekhanassasutta||Discourse to Vekhanassa|
M 71. Tevijja-Vattagoccasutta
To Vaccagotta on the Threefold Knowledge
Once when the Buddha was in Vesali he set out on his alms round but as it was too early he
decided to visit the Wanderer's Park where he met the wandering ascetic Vaccagotta. Vaccagotta asked the Buddha if those who says that the Buddha all knowing (sabbañāū
) and all seeing (sabbadassāvī
), and that he has
limitless knowledge whatever his is doing. The Buddha labelled this a false speech on their part.
The Buddha said that he has the three knowledges (tevijja
). These are firstly the ability to recall his own past habitations even up to one hundred thousand, and secondly to see beings passing on and being reborn according to this karma, and thirdly to know that his own influxes (āsavā
) have been destroyed.
Vacca then asked if there were laypersons who would end suffering after death without destroying their lay bonds (gihisaṃyojanā
) and he was told that this was not possible. He then asked if such lay persons could go to heaven (sagga
). The Buddha that he had seen more than five hundred such persons. Then asked if he has seen any ascetic could end suffering after death and again the answer was "No". Neither did the Buddha see any ascetics n heaven. Vaccagotta then departed.
Acquiring the three knowledges is the final step in the efforts of an Aryan practitioner to reach liberation. Layperson can only aspire to go to one of the heavens as the reward for good karma.
M 72. Aggi-Vattagottasutta
To Vaccagotta on Fire
In this sutta Vacagotta visits the Buddha at Jetavana monastery. There he posed the following propositions to the Buddha to say if they were true or not:
1. The world (loko
) is eternal.
2. The world is not eternal.
3. The world is limited.
4. The world is not limited.
5. The soul and the body are the same.
6. The sould is different from the body,
7. The Tathagata exists after death.
8. The Tathagata does not exist after death.
9. The Tathagata exists and does not exist after death.
10. The Tathagata is niether exists nor does not exist after death.
The Buddha said "NO" to all these propositions. ([NOTE:
These are referred to as the Ten Speculations]
At this denial of the Ten Speculations Vaccagotta asked: "Good Gotama, seeing what danger have you thrown out all these views?'
The Buddha replied that each of the Ten Speculations is "a bond of views, is a speculation in views, it is with unpleasantness, with trouble, with burning, not leading to giving up, to detachment, to appeasement, to knowledge, to enlightenment, to cessation and to extinction". He added that the Tathagata hs overcome views. With regard to matter, feeling perception,
determinations, and consciousness the Tathagata is concerned with their arising and their fading. He has destroyed, is detached from, has given up and is released, from all imaginings, recollections, and all latent tendencies relating to him and his. Vaccagotta then posed another question to the Buddha, He asked "the monk whose mind is thus released, where is he reborn?" This too was rejected by the Buddha. [NOTE: A person whose mind has been released is an arhat like the Tathagata. So it does not seem to differ from the previous questions 7 - 10 which had been rejected by the Buddha]
Then the Buddha posed a counter question to Vaccagotta. He asked if a fire which had been burning on the fuel supplied to it and goes out when all the fuel has been used up, where would the fire have gone ? Vacca had to reply that the question does not apply. The
Buddha then said that the questions which Vaccha had asked were all of this type. Any physical form, feeling, perception and so on of a Tathagata after death does not apply because he had abandoned them completely.
This led Vacca to admit that the Buddha had been right. He sought permission to be admitted as a lay follower going for refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma and the Sangha for life.
The argument about the fire was convincing at the time as the belief in the Mahābuta was common to all ascetics as well as the Buddhists. They believed that solids, liquids, fire and gases were all substances so if displaced they had to go somewhere. In modern view fire is different to the other three and is not something separate. In modern terms heat is generate by the rate at which atoms vibrate and this can occur in any the other three. Thus a piece of ice is a solid but if heat is applied to it it will turn to be a liquid and if further heat is applied it will turn to vapour a gas. So this argument may not apply in the
M 73 Mahā-Vattagottasutta
Greater Discourse to Vaccagotta
Vaccagotta approached the Buddha who was living in Veluvana in Rajagaha and said that he wanted to know what merit (kusala
) and demerit (akusala
) were in short. [NOTE:
The word kusala
has also been translated with words like 'skill', 'wholesome' etc.] The Buddha said that greed, anger and delusion were the
demerit and their absence were the merits. He further elaborated that destroying life, taking what is not given, sexual misbehaviour, telling falsehood, slander, harsh talk, frivolous talk, coveting, an angry mind, and wrong view were ten demerits.
Here Vacca asks Gotama how many of his disciples have reached various levels of achievment. These are:
- Arhats. These are those who have taken to the religious life and have reached full liberation of mind and destroyed the influxes. The number is over
500 for bhikkhus and over 500 for bhikkhunis.
- Non Returners. These are lay followers who have destroyed the five lower fetters but have not reached full liberation. They are born in the Pure Abodes from which they reach enlightenment. Their number exceeds 500 for both male and female disciples.
- Stream Winners They are laypersons still attached to sense pleasure but have overcome doubt and can proceed on their own without a teacher. They too number over 500 for males and over 500 for females.
Here Vacca observes that if there only one in each of these categories then the holy life is not complete. But since there are more than one [in fact more than 500] the holy life is complete.
Here Vacca gives the analogy of the Ganges. Just as the water in the Ganges flows into the ocean so the Lord's disciples are
inclined toward and flows to Nibbāna. Then Vacca requests to join the order. The Buddha reminds him of the rule of four months probation for followers of other sects but this depends on the individual case. In the case of Vaccagotta he is given both the going forth and the ordination at the same time.
Here various psychic powers are explained to Vaccagotta. These are
said to be the abilities of a fully enlightened one. These include:
- Miscellaneous psychic powers. From one becoming many and vice versa, go
through walls and solid objects, dive into the earth, walk on water, sit with crossed legs in space, touch the moon and sun, go as far as the world of Brahma.
- The Divine Ear. Hear divine and human sounds at great distance.
- Read the minds of others.
- Recall past lives, even up to a hundred thousand in great detail.
- Devine Eye. This is the ability to see beings passing on after death to different destinations as determined by their karma.
- Acquire the knowledge of the destruction of the influxes which assure the final
[199-200] Here Vacca dwelling alone, aloof, diligent, exertive, and resolute, right here and now realized for himself through direct knowledge, the supreme goal of the holy life. That is he became an Arahat. Just then be meets a group of monks going t o see the Buddha. through them he sent his veneration of the Buddha and the message that he has become a perfect one. This message was conveyed but the Buddha said that he had known this by penetating his mind, and also that the gods had informed him about this.
This Sutta starts with merit and demerit along the familiar precepts of Buddhism nd gives the number of people who have reached the various level of attainment. The number of "over 500" is
obviously a general number that there are many. Then there is a list of the psychic powers
available to an arhat. This a test whether someone has achieved the exalted state.
M 74 Dīghanakasutta
 Once when the Buddha was staying at the Vultures' Peak near Rajagaha Dighanaka came to him and said: "I am of the view that 'All is not pleasing to me ('sabbaṃ me nakkhamatī')'". The Buddha said if all is not pleasing to you would not that view too be not pleasing. Dighanaka said that this view and that view both would be pleasing. The Buddha said that only a few would say that this view and that view are the same. He said that those who say that all things are pleasing to them are impassioned, close to, delighting in and hold on to, and cling to things. And those who say that all is not pleasing are not impassioned, not bound, do not delight in, and do not hold close to, nor cling to things.
Discourse to Dīghanaka
 Then Dighanaka asks if the Buddha praises his view. This is not answered directly. The Buddha goes on to consider the case of those who are pleased with a part of things and displeased with the rest. In this case people are attached to those things that please them and try get rid of thinas that they are not pleased with. Thus there are three positions those who are pleased with all, those not pleased with all, and those partly pleased with some while displeased with the rest.
[203-204] Here the Buddha says that if those who of the view that 'All is not pleasing' they will come into conflict with the other two groups, those who ae pleased with all, and those who are partly pleased. This leads to
quarrels, annoyance and frustration. Then it is said that the abandon their view and not cling to another view. Then there is relinquishment of views (diṭṭhīnaṃ paṭinissaggo hoti). Then same argument is also
applied to the other two groups those who are pleased with all, and those partly pleased. This too leads to
quarrels and ultimately to the relinquishment of views.
 Then the Buddha goes on to an exposition of his views on the body. It should be seen as as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a disintegration, an emptiness, not-self. And a desire for the body is abandoned. Then he says that feeling are pleasant, painful or neither. All kinds of feeling are inconstant, fabricated, dependently co-arisen, subject to ending, subject to vanishing, fading, ceasing. A noble disciple sees all this and grows disenchanted. With dispassion comes release. A monk thus disreleased does not dispute with anyone.
 Sāriputta who was standing next to the Buddha then thought "The Buddha instructs us relinquish each of the mental qualities acquired through direct knowledge ." Reflecting
on this he was released from fermentations (āsavā). Dighnaka too was convinced of the Buddha's position. He sought
admission to the Community as a lay follower of the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.
Dighanaga's original position that "All is not pleasing" is not too different of the First Truth of Dukkha (suffering). That is why the Buddha did not directly answer Dighanga's question in section  if his view is correct. Instead he went on to a different issue that a
number of conflicting views will lead to disputes and quarrelling. But the Buddha's exposition of his own position on the body and feelings in section  can be seen as an endorsement of of Dighanaga's original view. So it is not surprising the Diganaga had no difficulty in accepting the Buddha's view.
M 75 Māgandiyasutta
[207-208] Once the Budddha slept on a spread of dried grass in the fire room of a Bhāradvāja clansman in Kammassadhamma in the Kuru country. He went on his alms round and afterwards sat at the foot of a tree in a certain forest
stretch. The wanderer Magandiya who came to Bharadvaja's house saw the grass spread and when asked for whom it was and being informed that its was Gotama he called him a destroyer of humanity. When Gotama returned he was told of this conversation when Magandiya too returned to Bharadvaja's house and greeted Gotama.
Discourse to Māgandiya
[209-212]Then the Buddha asked why Magandiya called him destroyer of Humanity. But Magandiya simply said "Nothing, good Gotama (na kiñci, bho gotama)". Then Gotama reverted to an account of his past life as a prince and the luxuries with which he was provided by the king. Later on he found the futility of sense pleasures and went forth from the household life dispelling the craving for sensuality. Of his new found position Gotama said :"I abide in that attachment away from sensuality, away from thoughts of demerit, and even beyond heavenly pleasantness and do not envy or delight in something lower than that." [NOTE: The
autobiographic details of the Gotama's early life has been heavily condensed.]
[213-215] Here the Buddha introduces the simile of the leper with his decaying body heavily laced with irritating sores and infections. With his unbearable need to
scratch his sore-ridden body he would even endure a flame being applied to his body as it would be more pleasurable than what he would have to endure otherwise. The Buddha compares this to the householder enjoying his sensual pleasures. Sensual lust Gotama considers a fever which would entail consequences like the flame applied to the sores of the leper. Even kings and their ministers enjoying the five strands of pleasure are doomed to suffer the consequences. Buddha concluded this part which these favmous lines:
Health is the highest gain, nibbāna the highest bliss
The Eightfold path is the path to peace and deathlessness.
(ārogyaparamā lābhā, nibbānaṃparamṃ sukhaṃ
aṭṭhaṅgiko ca maggānaṃ, khemā amatagāmina)
[216-217] Magandiya then praised the verse and said that it had also been sung by the teachers of the teachers of the wanderers. He concluded "Good Gotama, I am now healthy and without ailments". The Buddha said: "Just as a man can cheat a blind man by giving him a dirty cloth saying that it is pure white wandering ascetics of other sects are blind, not knowing and not seeing health and extinction, as this verse says". Magandiya then wanted the Buddha to teach him what was meant by health and
extinction in the verse were.
[218-220] The Buddha said : "The body is the birth place of ill health, abscesses, troubles, cancers and ailments. You should have the noble one's eye to know health and see extinction." When Magandiya asked how this could be done the Buddha continued the parable of the blind man. His relations took him to physician after physician and he drank potion after potion until finally he regained his sight. Then he saw that he had been given a
dirty cloth. So he wanted the Buddha to open his eyes.
[221-222] In these final sections of the Sutta the Buddha gave sufficient knowledge for Magandiya to start learning the Dhamma. He gave a shortened version of the Law of Dependent Origination. By now Magandiya had developed full
confidence in Gotama and asked to become a lay follower of the Buddha. He went for refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.
This is a good example of the Buddha's way of winning over even his opponents. Magandiya was probably a supporter of the Vedanta
philosophy and this was not too different to the Dhamma. This sutta is the source of the well known of the saying "Health is the highest gain". All the other things a person may have like wealth, mansions etc. is no good if he is basically unhealthy. Reminding Magandiya of this was sufficient to break down all barriers.
M 76 Sandakasutta
[NOTE: This sutta is the response of Ananda when he is asked about Gotama's teaching. He begins by considering eight other teachers (four being well known
contemporises, though not named in the sutta) and four other ways of the holy life. All these are considered false or unsatisfactory the refutation being attributed to an unnamed 'wise man'.]
Discourse to Sandaka
[223-224] This sutta is the narrative of a discourse given by Ven Ananda in Kosambi. There he meets Sandaka a wandering ascetic with his large company. He is welcomed by Sandaka who wanted to know something about the teaching of Gotama. This leads Ananda to begin with a discussion of eight other (wrong) teachings and practices, as follows:
[233-235] Then a Tathagata arises and preaches the correct doctrine (Dhamma) . The Order is set up and householders join it. [NOTE: From here on the career of a bhikkhu is described in detail. Most of the details have been given in many Abstracts and is omitted here.] The bhikkhu first obtains training in the right ethics (sīlas). Then he moves to the discipline of his mental faculties. This involves protecting his eye (sights), ear (sounds), tongue (tastes) and body (touches). Control of the mental faculties involves training in awareness and mindfulness. He dispels covetousness,
anger. sloth and torpor, restlessness and worry and doubt regarding what is meritorious. Thus the five hindrances are dispelled and compassion towrds all beings aroused.
-  View of Ajith Kesakambalin. This is described as: "There are no results from offerings and sacrifices; no consequences for good or bad actions; no this world and no other world, no good (from caring for) parents; no rebirth nor recluses who realize the nature of the
world and proclaim it. When a person dies his body disintegrates into the four elements and his mental faculties go up to the sky. The foolish and the wise both are annihilated at death and nothing remains".
The wise man reflects: If this is true then by my not doing I have done, by my not living I have lived. Bothj of us equally do not gain from recluseship.
-  View of Purana Kassapa. This is: "There is nothing
given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good
or evil actions. There is no this world, no next world; there is no mother, no father, there are no beings that are reborn,57 there are no brahmins and recluses who, living rightly and practising rightly, having directly known and realized for themselves this world and the hereafter, proclaim them.The doer of evil and his victim do no demerit, To kill, massacre, rob, commit adultery, lie, does not entail any evil," etc.
The wise man reflects: If this is true then by my not doing I have done, by my not living I have lived. Bothj of us equally do not gain from recluse-ship.
-  View of Makkhali Gosala. This is given as "There is neither cause nor condition for the defilement or purification of beings. Beings are defiled or purified without cause, without condition. Nothing self-caused or other caused. All living beings are powerless and subject to the changes of fate, circumstancing joy and pain.
If this is true then by my not doing I have done, by my not living I have lived. Both of us equally do not gain from recluseship.
-  View of Padukka Kaccayana. His teaching is: "The seven bodies, i.e. earth-body, the water-body, the fire-body, the wind-body, happiness, pain, and the soul are uncreated, irreducible, barren, stable are incapable of causing one another happiness, pain or both happiness and pain". .
The wise man reflects: I should not do anything. I should not live the holy life. My teacher and I are equal in our recluseship, I who do not even believe it. We both will make an end of unpleasantness faring on in existences.
-  The view of the omniscient teacher who claims knowledge (sabañāū) and vision whatever he does. Yet he walks into an empty house for alms. He meets a dog and is bitten. He has to ask the name and clan of a person he meets. He finds the holy life unsatisfactory and is repulsed toward it. [Thus he belies his claim to omniscience.]
-  This is a dogmatist who goes by tradition and scripture (itihitihaparam-parāya piṭakasampadāya). Of him the wise person says he is sometimes well-heard, sometimes misheard, sometimes otherwise. He finds that this holy life is unsatisfactory and leaves it.
-  This is a logician (takkīhoti vīmaṃsī).
His teaching is beaten out by himself. Some of it may be true others not. The wise man considers his argument not to be always authentic and turns away from him.
-  This is a plain stupid teacher. He is bewildered when questioned and sits on the fence. The wise man would know this and turn away from that holy life as unsatisfactory.
Then he enters successively the four Jhānas [described in the usual stereotyped way]. Then comes to acquires the three knowledges (tevijjā). This involves acquiring the
knowledge of previous births (up to a hundred thousand). Then he acquires the Divine Eye with which he sees how persons are reborn according to their karmas. Finally comes the knowledge (and ability) to destroy the influxes (āsavā) which is the final obstacle to full enlightenment.
 Sandaka's final question is how many have done this full course. Ananda answers with the stock answer: Not one, two, three,
four or five hundred but many more than that. The sutta ends with Sandaka asking his followers to lead the holy life in the dispensation of the recluse Gotama.
The main interest in this sutta is the description of the alternative teachings particularly that of the four heretical teachers. Unfortunately the description of their teachings are almost the same. They seem to be judged by the 'wise man' in terms whether their holy life is the satisfactory or not, they all being judged unsatisfactory. Unfortunately very little of their teaching or practice is given.
The second part of the sutta is the progress of the disciple of the Buddha from the going forth to the final enlightenment. The paradox
here is that at the time Ananda gives this discourse he himself had not traversed the full path. But he does not say how
far he has gone.
M 77 Mahā-Sakuludāyisutta
[237-238] Once in Rajagaha the Buddha went on his alms round but as it was too early he went to see the recluse Sakuludayi (his name
is abridged to Udayi ) who was engaged in a discussion with many other recluses, Udayi said that like Gotama other teachers such as Purana Kassapa, Makkhali Gosāla, Ajita Kesakambali, Pakudha Kaccāyana, Sañjaya Belaṭṭhiputta and Nigantha Nataputta come to Rajagaha. He asked Gotama how disciples revere and honour the Teacher and abide.
Discourse to Maha-Sakuludayi
[239-240] Then the recluses began quarrelling criticising the different teachers saying that some were better than others that some did not respect their disciples, and so on. Then one recluse said that this was not the case with Gotama, saying that when he addresses a large gathering all listen in silence. Gotama he said is revered and honoured by his disciples and Gotama respects his deciples.
[241-242] The Buddha then asked Udayin "What do you see in my teaching on account of which my disciples honour and revere me". Udayin listed five things: (1) Gotama takes little food and praises taking little food, (2) he is satisfied with the robes he gets, (3) he is
satisfied with whatever alms food he gets, (4) he is satisfied with whatever dwelling he is is provided with, (5) he is secluded and praises seclusion. The Buddha was pleased at this and went on elaborate in
detail his eating, wearing and dwelling habits. He said that other recluses should also do likewise.
[243-247] The Buddha then said that there are five other things on account of which his disciples honour and revere him. These were:
[Then the Buddha goes on to list the stages through which he guides his disciples, now bhikkhus, to reach full liberation.]
- The highest mass of virtues he is endowed with.
- The highest mass of knowledge and vision he has gained. He teaches with examples and wonderful sayings.
- The highest mass of wisdom he had developed. He has not recognized a single sign on account of which a future teacher would arouse a dispute with him. He has settled all current disputes.
- When his disciples are afflicted with unpleasantness they come to him, and he explains the noble truth of
unpleasantness as well as the path to overcome unpleasantness.
- He has explained to them the four foundations of mindfulness.
 Then the Buddha then lists several teachings he has given to his bhikkhu
disciples as follows:.
- Four Rightful Endeavours. Here the bhikkhu makes endeavour, pulls up the mind, arouses interest and effort for: (1) the non-arising of non-arisen demerit, (2) for the dispelling of arisen demerit, (3) the arousing of non-arisen merit, and (4) the unconfused stabilisation growth and development of arisen merit.
- Four Supernormal Powers. The bhikkhu develops the intentions to be endowed with: (1) interest, (2) effort, (3) mental concentration, and (4) investigating concentration.
- Five Mental Faculties The bhikkhu develops the mental faculty leading to appeasement and
emancipation by: (1) faith, (2) effort, (3) mindfulness, (4) concentration, and (5) wisdom.
- The Five Powers. The bhikkhu develops the power leading to appeasement and
emancipation of (1) faith, (2) effort, (3) mindfulness, (4) concentration, and (5) wisdom.
- The Seven Enlightenment Factors. These are (all to be settled in seclusion) for detachment and cessation ending in relinquishment, of: (1) mindfulness, (2) investigation into the Teaching, (3) effort, (4) joy, (5) delight, (6) concentration, and (7) equanimity.
- The Noble Eightfold Path. These are: right understanding, right thoughts, right words, right actions, right livelihood, right endeavour, right mindfulness and right concentration.
- The Eight Releases. These are: (1) seeing matter in matter (rūiī rūpāni passati); (2) seeing external matter; (3) being released only in good (subhanteva adhimutto hoti) (4) overcoming perceptions of anger; (5) entering sphere of space; (6) overcoming the former and abiding in the sphere of consiusness; (7) overcoming the former and abiding in the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception; (8) overcoming the former and abiding in the cessation of perceptions and feelings.
 Then comes the teaching of the eight masteries (abhibhāyatanāni bhāventi). These "masteries" are the ability to see internal material perceptions (
ajjhattaṃ arūpasaññī) of colours and shapes etc. These visions may not
correspond to external things. The eight masteries relate to seeing internally forms beautiful and ugly, blue lotuses, yellow and red patterns etc.
 Next comes the teaching the bhikkhus to develop the 10 kasina signs.
 Next comes the training in the four Jhānas. This is stated in the standard stereotyped formula. There is nothing new here.
[NOTE: Now Jhāna meditation is not practiced and thre few claim to have traversed the full route.]
 Next comes the teaching of the disciples that one's body is made of the four great elements, is produced by mother and father, supported on rice and bread is subject to change through decay, brushing, breaking up and destruction and my consciousness is attached there, bound there. [See the comment on this in the Analytical Summary below.]
[253-254] This section with the Buddha teaching his bhikkhu disciples various super normal powers. The Buddha sys that he has taught his disciples how to create a mental form, complete with limbs large and small and the mental faculties. Anther thing taught is how to being one become many, being many, become one, goinh through solid objects, diving into the ground,walking on water, sitting in space, touching the Sun and Moon, etc.
[255-256] This deals with teaching the disciples how to develop the Divine Ear and to
penetrate the minds of other beings. Many other miraculous abilities he has taught his disciples are recounted by the Buddha.
[257-259]These three final sections deal with the teaching of the three knowledges (tevijjā) after which the
disciple reaches his final goal, The first knowledge relates to the recollection of past births in great detail up to even one hundred thousand. The second is the degelopment of the Divine Eye through which the passage or beings after death affording ot his karma could be observed. The final knowede is the knowledge of the destruction of the
āsavas (influxes) which keep being in samsāra. It is truly the end of the road,
In this sutta we get a full outline of the path of the disciple of the Buddha as he progresses from the 'going forth' from to final liberation following the teaching of the Buddha. There is very
little said here of the development of the morality (sīlas) which subject is dealt with elsewhere. This is because the audience here is not lay persons but recluses some of who have even more strict morality than is found in the Buddhist code.
There is a great deal said on psychic and supernormal powers which is strange to the modern age. Certainly almost all
Buddhist monks we
encounter in the modern world do not have these powers even those who had spend a good part of their life in medition. None of them seem to possess the three knowledges even the first two of them.
A point of special interest flagged in section  is the completely materialistic approach to the human body. This is of course a consequence of the Buddha's "no-soul anatta) theory. Here he says that even consciousness is also part of the body, so that it would not survive the disintegration of the body at death. Many of the recluses the Buddha addressed would have been followers of the Vedic teaching of the soul (atta). Today most religions are theistic which puts them at variance with the Buddha's teaching.
M 77 Samaṇamaṇḍikāsutta
[260-261] This sutta opens with Pancakanga, a carpenter of Sāvatthi going to see Uggāhamāna a wandering ascetic who was a follower of the recluse Mandika. Uggāhamāna then said "I consider an individual who (1)does no evil action with his body, (2)speaks no evil speech, (3) resolves on no evil resolve, and (4) has no evil means of livelihood" to be the most skilled and meritorious recluse. The carpenter said nothing but got up and went to see the Buddha to whom he related Ugggāhamna's words.
Discourse to Samaṇamaṇḍikā
[262-263] The Buddha said that even a samal child lying on his back would satisfy Uggāhamāna's criteria. He does no evil action, nor utter evil words, has no evil thoughts, and does not has no livelihood.
The Buddha then said that there are ten qualities or observances which would define the most skilled recluse. [NOTE: These ten qualities are not stated at this point in the sutta. The are given only in the last section  and are the eight factors of the path to enlightenment (from Right Thought to Right Concentration) to which are added Right Knowledge and Right Resolve.] The rest of this section says that all observances start here and end here.
 This deals with observances of demerit. They are divided into body, verbal and livelihood. They originate in the mind. Minds are of various kinds. Demerit is caused by a mind with greed anger and delusion. They end when the bhikkhu gives up bodily and verbal acts of demerit, and also a wrong livelihood.
 This deals with observances of merit, again related to bodily, verbal and livelihood activity. They are caused with a mind that is opposite to the mind of the wrong doer. The factors are exactly the opposite of those stated in the previous section. They are caused by a mind without greed, anger and delusion. But merit too has to be relinquished. For this the monk must develop an awareness release (cetovimutti) and a
wisdom release (paññāvimutti).
 This deals with thoughts of demerit. They are caused by perceptions of sensuality, ill-will and harmfulness, The first Jhana can resolve this issue.
 This deals with thoughts of merit. Their origin and cessation are described in a similar manner to their counterpart given in the previous section.
 So far the the discussion has been meritorious and demeritorious acts in general. It is only now that the specific ten factors that the Buddha promised (in section ) as defining the most skilful and meritorious recluse is listed. The sutta ends with this statement by the Buddha:
No further explanation of these ten factors is given.
"Here, carpenter, the bhikkhu is endowed with, right understanding of one gone beyond the training. He is endowed with right thoughts right speech, right actions, right livelihood, right endeavour, right mindfulness and right concentration of one gone beyond the training. He is endowed with right knowledge and right release of one gone beyond the training. Endowed with these ten things, I declare the most skilled perfect recluse with the highest merit."
The sutta deals with the four factors mentioned by the recluse Uggāhamāna. The Buddha dismisses them as saying that they could be applied to a baby. But Ugga was speaking of recluses and a baby would
not be a refutation of Ugga's view. In fact the Buddha's own elaborations deals with the factors mentioned by Ugga, viz. action, speech, resolve and
livelihood. The Buddha's innovation is to identify the cause as lying in the mind. The Eightfold path may be the culmination of the ideal sought by the recluses as by the Buddha.
M 79 Cūḷa-Sakuludāyisutta
[269-270] Once when the Buddha was living at the Veluvana in Rajagaha he set out on the ams round and as it was too early he went to the ascetics meeting place and the ascetic Sakuludāyi (name shortened to Udāvi) welcomed him.
Discourse to Sakuludāyi (Lesser)
[271-275] [The following conversation then ensued (heavily abriged).]:
Tell me what I have to teach you.|
A recluse once asked me that but when I told him that it was about the beginning of things he changed the subject.
|BUDDHA||Who was he?|
|BUDDHA|| I can recollect very many of my births. I can answer questions about the beginning. With the purified heavenly eye beyond human, I see beings disappearing and appearing in unexalted and exalted states. Let alone the beginning and let alone the end, I will teach you, when this is, this comes to be..,|
I do not understand even my self let alone any previous birth. My teacher has the best view.|
[276-277] [NOTE: At this point an extended discussion occurs with Udayi comparing the view of his teacher to a rare gem. Gotama refutes this by comparing the brilliance of the gem to that of fireflies or an oil lamp. The conversation then turns to pleasant and unplesant feelings.]
||Udayi, there is a world of only pleasant feelings and there is a course of actions to realise it.|
''Venerable sir, what is that course of actions to realise the world of only pleasant feelings?
Here, Udayi, the bhikkhu secluded from sensual desires and thoughts of demerit abides in the first jhana: Overcoming these thoughts he abides in the second jhana. Again with equanimuity he abides in the third jhana. This is the course of actions, for realising the world of only pleasant feelings.|
Venerable sir, isn't there another course of actions, for realising the world of pleasant feelings, is this the only course of action?'|
|BUDDHA||There is another course of action ... Udayi, the bhikkhu abides in the fourth jhana; Whoever gods be born in the world of only pleasantness, with them he talks and discusses things. Udayi, this is the realising of the world of pleasantness only.[See Analysis]
Venerable, sir, is it for the realisation of this world of only pleasantness that the bhikkhus lead the holy life in your dispensation?|
No it is not for the realisation of this world of only pleasantness, that the bhikkhus lead the holy life. There is something more noble and excellent than this...|
What is that thing more noble and excellent than this?|
The Bhikkhu directs the mind for the knowledge of previous births. Recollects the manifold previous births ...(up to) a hundred thousand births, in all details manifold previous births are recollected... Then he directs the mind for knowledge of the disappearing and appearing of beings. With the purified heavenly eye beyond human, he sees beings disappearing and appearing unexalted and exalted, beautiful and ugly, arising in good and bad states according to their actions... Then he directs the mind for the destruction of desires. He knows, this is the path to the cessation of unpleasantness as it really is. The mind, which knows and sees thus, is released from sensual desires, is releasd from desires 'to be' and released from ignorant desires. When released, he knows, I'm released, birth is destroyed, the holy life is lived, what should be done is done, he knows, there is nothing more to wish. Udayi, this too is a thing more noble and excellent than the other on account of which the bhikkhus lead the holy life in my Dispensation.'. ...|
Venerable sir, now I understand. It is as though something over turned is reinstalled. Something covered is made manifest. As though the path was told to someone who has lost his way....|
Even though Sakuludāyi wanted to follow in the Buddha's way it is said that his following prevented him from leading the holy life in the dispensation of the Blessed One.
This is rare instance that someone to whom the Buddha explains his path does not become a follower of his. This is also the case in the other (greater) discourse to this wandereer (M 77). There is a standard account of the Buddha's path to liberation annd this is given in many suttas withsliht variations. It begins with the aquisition of virtues then mental development with the stablishment of mindfulness. Then comes the elimination of the five lower fetters. From there the aspirant goes on to the Jhānas and the various mental states. One innovation in this sutta is that after the 4th jhaāna the aspirant can converse with the gods. Usually this ability comes after the acquisition of the supernormal powers somethin not too much emphasised in this sutta. Then comes the three knowledges the last of which guarantees that the aspirant has reached the goal.
M 80. Vekhanassasutta
[278-279] This sutta is set in Jetavana in Sāvatthi when the ascetic Vekanassa visits the Buddha. Venkhnassa is said to have been the teacher of Sakuludayi whose talk with the Buddha is given in the sutta M79 which preceds this. Most of the sutta is a dialoge between the ascetic and the Buddha. Throughout Vekhnassa is addressed as Kaccayana and this is the name with he is referred to in this Abstract. The dialogue went as follows:
Discourse to Vekhanassa
||This is the most excellent appearance.|
Kaccayana, why do you say, this is the most excellent appearance? What is that most excellent appearance?.
||Good Gotama, when there is no other appearance more noble and exalted than that, it is the most excellent appearance.|
Kaccayana, how is that appearance, which has no other appearance more noble and exalted than that?
||Good Gotama, when there is no other appearance more noble and exalted than that, it is the most excellent appearance.|
Kaccayana, does it extend lengthwise? |
||Good Gotama, as there is no other appearance more noble and exalted than that, it is said to be the highest appearance.|
[NOTE: This discussion about the appearance of Kaccayana proceeds for some time and is left out of this Abstract as it is of little relevance. We take up the discussion when it reaches doctrinal matters.]
Kaccayana, five are the strands of sensual pleasures. Pleasing agreeable forms cognizable by eye consiousness, pleasing agreeable sounds, pasing agreeable smells, pleasing agreeable tastes, pleasing agreeable touches cognizable by body consciousness arousing fondness and sensual desires. Kaccayana, these are the five strands of sensual pleasures on account of them arises pleasantness and pleasure. Thus from the senses is sensual pleasures, of sensual pleasures the highest sensual pleasure is declared.|
||Indeed wonderful are the words of good Gotama, from the senses is sense pleasures, of sensual pleasures the highest pleasure is told by me.|
Kaccayana, you of another faith, another liking, another yoking, without knowing the training, would not know the senses, the sense pleasures, and of sensual pleasures the highest sensual pleasure. Kaccayana, those perfected bhikkhus, desires destroyed, have attained the highest good, have destroyed the desires 'to be' and knowing rightly released, would know the senses, the sensual pleasures, and the highest sensual pleasure|
|KACCAYANA||It is the recluse Gotama who says evil words. In this manner certain recluses and brahmins, not knowing the beginning and not seeing the end acknowledge birth is destroyed. The holy life is lived, what should be done is done, there is nothing more to wish. These their words are empty and foolish.|
There Kaccayana, those recluses and brahmins should be rightfully blamed. Yet leave alone the beginning and the end. Let any wise man come, not crafty and fraudulent, is straightforward I will instruct him and advise him. If he follows the method as instructed, before long he himself will rightfully know. Thus he will be rightfully released from this bond of ignorance. Kaccayana, like a toddler who would have strings tied on his arms, legs and the neck and when he is grown up and his mental faculties are mature those bonds would be broken and he would know. I am free of those bonds. In the same manner let any wise man come, who is not crafty and fraudulent, is straightforward, I will instruct him and advise him, and if he follows the method as instructed, before long he himself will rightfully know. Thus he will be rightfully released from this bond of ignorance..
|KACCAYANA||Good Gotama, now I understand. It is as though something over turned is reinstalled. As something covered is made manifest. It is as though the path is shown to someone who has lost his way. As though an oil lamp is lighted for those who have sight to see forms in the darkness. In various ways, the Teaching is explained, by good Gotama.. Now I take refuge in good Gotama, in the Teaching and the Community of bhikkhus. May I be remembered as a lay disciple who has taken refuge from today until I die.
Even though the Buddha does not give as much instruction as to Kaccayana the teacher of Sakuludayan Kacccayana becomes a lay ddisciple of the Buddha while Udayan himself remained a wandering ascetic.
With this sutta the section on the wandering ascetics in th Mahhima Nikāya comes to an end.