Digha Nikāya


The Dīgha Nikāya opens the Sutta Piṭaka of the Pali Canon which contains the discourses which provide the foundation of the teaching of the Buddha (called the Buddha Dhamma). The Sīlakkhanda (literally 'Chapter on Morality') comprises the first 13 suttas (or discourses) of the Buddha. This Introduction will make a short statement about each of these sutta but a comprehensive summary of each sutta will be given in the Abstract of that sutta. These Abstrats immediately follow this Inroduction.

The Brahmajāla sutta (D 1) after a brief statement on the Buddhist position of blasphemy gives a detailed account of morality in three extended lists of sīlas. It then considers 62 wrong views on philosophical topics. The next sutta Sāmaññaphala Sutta (D 2) begins with a brief statement on the doctrines preached by six other teachers and then traces the path of the Noble Disciple from the time he hears the Dhamma and decides to go forth into homelessness until he reaches the final Buddhist goal of enlightenment. This part is a practical application of the Noble Eightfold Path and is repeated in many other suttas in this Nikāya and elsewhere.

In the third sutta Ambaṭṭha Sutta (D 3) a Brahmin sends his student to find if the Budddha has the signs of the mythical "Great Man" and confront his views on the Brahman caste. The Budha calmly explains his position and the student is converted. In the next sutta Soṇadaṇḍa Sutta (D 4) the Buddha outlines the true qualities of a Brahmin. The Brahmins were the highest caste and they held that this was due to birth but the Buddha advances the view that it is action and morality that makes a Brahmin, not heredity. In the next sutta Kūṭadanta Sutta (D 5) the Buddha considers the principal Brahman rite of animal sacrifice and suggests to a Brahmin who was preparing to do such a sacrifice a different way of sacrifice that does not involve killing.

The next sutta Mahali Sutta (D 6) two issues are considered: the question of supernormal abilities like heavenly sights and the metaphysical question of the difference between the body and the soul. This sutta is repeated in the next sutta Jāliya Sutta (D 7) to a different inquirer interested in the same matters. The next sutta Mahāsīhanāda Sutta (D 8) called the "Lion's Roar" is given to a naked ascetic explaining that extreme self mortification is unproductive. The ascetic is converted. The next sutta Poṭṭhapāda Sutta (D 9) involves a long conversation between the Buddha and Poṭṭhapāda on several psychological matters involving consciousness and jhānic states. The elephant trainer Citta joins the conversation and both are converted with Citta becoming a monk.

The Subha Sutta (D 10) is given by Ananda after the Buddha's death and deals with some basic issues. The Khevaddha Sutta (D 11) deals with the question of miracles and even though the Buddha believed in them he considered that they should not be performed for pure demonstration. The Lohicca Sutta (D 12) deals wit the question of good and bad teachers, and asserts that a new doctrine should not be kept secret. Finally the Tevijja Sutta (D 13) deals with the Way to Brahmā as given in the Vedas with the Buddha saying that the right way to do this is by meditation on the Brahma Viharas.

D 1. Brahmajālasutta
The Perfect Net

[1-6] Once when the Buddha and the bhikhus were travelling from Rajagaha to Nālanda a Brahmin Suppia was also making this same journey and was criticising the Buddha in various ways. The Buddha's attention to this and the Buddha said: "Monks, if anyone should speak in disparagement of me, of the Dhamma or of the Sangha, you should not be angry, resentful or upset on that account. If you were to be angry or displeased at such disparagement, that would only be a hindrance to you. For if others disparage me, the Dhamma or the Sangha, and you are angry or displeased, can you recognise whether what they say is right or not? If others disparage me, the Dhamma or the Sangha, then you must explain what is incorrect as being incorrect." Then he added: " ... if others should speak in praise of me, of the Dhamma or of the Sangha, you should not on that account be pleased, happy or elated".

[7-27] Then the Buddha went on to consider what he said were "inferior matters of morality" which ordinary people praise him for. These included the abandonment of killing, of stealing, of false and malicious speech, harming plant life, immoderate eating, using luxurious furniture, watching shows, accepting money or animals and several other things. He said some recluses and Brahmins while receiving food and other requisites from householders engage in this kind of thing but he strictly avoids them.

The Buddha also said that he avoided some practices which certain recluses and Brahmins engage in such as astrology and palmistry; forecasting earthquakes, eclipses and the weather; disputation and gossip; medicine and surgery; self-adornment, playing games; and many other things he listed and which he abstained from.

[NOTE: The Buddha nejjjaxt proceednsider the sixty-two wrong views entertained by recluses and Brahmins which is the main purpose of this sutta. These views are numbered within curly brackets {} in the text below. The 62 wrong views are grouped into 10 categories as follows:
  1. Eternalists (4 types). {1}-{4}
  2. Part Eternalists and part Non-Eternalists. (4 types). {5}-{8}
  3. Finite and Infinite believers (4 types) {9}-{12}
  4. Eel Wrigglers (4 types) {13}-{16}
  5. Chance Originalists (2 types) {17}-{18}
  6. Conscious Post-Mortem Survivalists (16 types) {19}-{34}
  7. Unconscious Post Mortem Survivalists (8 types) {35}-{42}
  8. Neither Conscious nor Unconscious Post Mortem Survivalists (8) types) {43}-{50}
  9. Annihilationists (7 types) {51}-{57}
  10. Here and Now Nibbanists(5 types) {58}-{62}]

[28-30] There are more profound matters which a Tathagata can divine with his own super-knowledge. There are the Eternalists (sassatavādo) who proclaim the eternity of the self and world in four ways.

[31-37] One {1} Group A Eternalist claims to know a large number of past births (up to several hundred thousand) and comes to the conclusion of the eternity of self and world. {2} The second type recollecting innumerable periods of expansion and contraction of the world comes to the same conclusion. {3} The third type can count the periods of contraction-expansion by tens and comes to the same conclusion. {4} The fourth type is a logician or reasoner (takkī hoti vīmaṃsi) and using his method concludes that the self and world are rooted firmly as a post.

[38-50] Group B thinkers are Part Eternalists who give their own account of the cycles of evolution of the world. One {5} holds that on the contractions most beings go to the Abassara Brahma world and an empty Brahma palace emerges in the new expanding world. Then one Brahma falls into this palace and calling himself the Great Brahma. He wills others too to fall back into the world. This person can recall only one past existence and thinks that they are only partly eternal. Another {6} thinks that Khiḍḍāpadosikā Gods who are given over to merriment and pleasure occupy the world. But they too realize that they are impermanent and not eternal. Another {7} thinks that it is the Manopadosikā Gods (Corrupted gods) that come to the world. Their stay is also temporary. The last of this kind of thinker {8} is the logician and reasoner. By his logic he concludes that people can only be part eternalists.

[51-59] These are the Part C thinkers called Finite- and Infinite-believers (antānantavādo) who proclaim the finitude or infinitude of the world. The first {9} of these by effort reached a state of concentration in which he sees the world as finite. The he thinks so. Another {10} reached a state in which he sees the world as Infinite. He then thinks that this is how the world is. The third {11} by a similar exertion comes to the conclusion that the world is finite vertically and infinite horizontally. He thinks that the world is so. The fourth type {12} in this group is the logician and the reasoner. He comes to the conclusion that the world is neither finite nor infinite.

[60-65] These Part D thinkers are called eel-wrigglers because of their evasive nature (like the animal after which they are so named). They are of four types. The first type {13} gives an evasive answer because he does not know the truth or falsity of the matter at hand. The second type {14} fears attachment that might distress him, so he is evasive. The third type {15} is evasive because he fears that he might be challenged if he gives a straight answer and abhors any debate that might ensue. The last type{16} is evasive because he is a stupid person.

[66-70] The Part E thinkers are called Chance-Originationists (adhiccasamuppannikā}. They ar of two types. One {17} is a person who belonged to the category of Unconscious gods (Sññuppādā devā). These gods fall from that realm the moment that a perception arises. This happened to this person but he thought that this happened to him simply due to chance. That was his wrong view. The other instance {18} is when a logician or reasoner simply because of his line of thinking thinks that the orign of the self and the world is simply due to chance.

[71-73] These Part F thinkers are the most numerous as they come in 16 different types. They are called Speculators about the Future (pubbantakappikā). They declare that the self after death is healthy and conscious and {19} material, {20} immaterial, {21} both material and immaterial, {22} neither material nor immaterial, {23} finite, {24} infinite, {25}both, {26} neither, {27} of uniform perception, {28} of varied perception, {29} of limited perception {30} of unlimited perception, {31} wholly happy, {32} wholly miserable, {33} both, {34} neither. There is no other way.

[74-77] These are the Part G thinkers who are called Unconscious-After-Death Survivalists (uddhamāghātanikā saññīvādā). They are of eight types: They declare that the self after death is healthy and unconscious and {35} material, {36} immaterial, {37} both, {38} neither, {39} finite, {40} infinite, {41} both, {42} neither.

[78-81] These thinkers (Part H) thinkers are called Neither-Conscious-nor-Unconcious-After- Death-Survivalists (uddhamāghātanikā asaññīvādā) who come in 8 ways. 'They declare that the self after death is healthy and neither conscious nor unconscious and {43} material, {44} immaterial, {45} both, {46} neither, {47} finite, {48} infinite, {49} both, {50} neither.

[82-92] These thinkers called (Part I) Annihilationists (nevasaññīnāsaññīvādo) proclaim the destruction and non-existence of beings in seven ways. One {51} claims that since the self is composed of the four Great Elements it perishes at death and is no more. The second asserts that {52} in the self there is an invisible divine part which is the self that is annihilated at death. The third one {53} says that there is another self which is divine, material and mind-made and it is this self that perishes at death. The fourth {54} asserts that there is a self that has realized the Sphere of Infinite Space and it is this self that perishes at death. The fifth {55} asserts that the real self has reached the Sphere of Infinite Space and it is this self that perishes. The sixth {56} asserts the self has gone to the Sphere of Nothingness and it is this self that perishes. The last one{57} says that the self has penetrated up to the Sphere of Neither-Perception-nor-Non-Perception and gets annihilated at death.

[93-99] This is the final group (Part J) of thinkers who assert Nibbāna Here and Now (diṭṭadhammanibbānavāda) in five ways. The first {58} of these assert that since the self is now enjoying the five sense pleasures it has already reached nibbāna. The next {59} argues that the self persists into the first jhāna and thinks that it has reached nibbāna. The next {60} asserts that the self has to go to the second jhāna to do so. The next {61} that the third jhāna is the real nibbāna. The last one {62} asserts that the fourth jhāna is the only way that Nibbāna Here and Now can be achieved. [This completes the list of 62 wrong views.]

[100-145] All this the Tathagata knows but he is not attached to this knowledge. The Buddha then makes again a summary statement of the 62 wrong views. Then he says that all those who hold these views experience feelings by repeated contact through the six sense bases ; feeling conditions craving. craving conditions clinging, clinging conditions becoming, becoming conditions birth. birth conditions ageing and death, sorrow, lamentation, sadness and distress. When, monks, a monk understands as they really are the arising and passing away of the six bases of contact, their attraction and peril, and the deliverance from them, he knows that which goes beyond all these views. [146-149] Whatever ascetics and Brahmins who are speculators about the past or the future or both, having fixed views on the matter and put forth speculative views about it, these are all trapped in the net with its sixty-two divisions, and wherever they emerge and try to get out, they are caught and held in this net. Just as a skilled fisherman or his apprentice might cover a small piece of water with a fine-meshed net, they are trapped and caught in this net.

The body of the Tathagata stands with the link that bound it to becoming cut. As long as the body subsists, devas and humans will see him. But at the breaking-up of the body and the exhaustion of the life-span, devas and humans will see him no more. At these words the Venerable Ananda said to the Lord: 'It is marvellous, Lord, it is wonderful. What is the name of this exposition of Dhamma?' 'Ananda, you may remember this exposition of Dhamma as the Net of Advantage, the Net of Dhamma, the Supreme Net, the Net of Views, or as the Incomparable Victory in Battle.' Thus the Lord spoke, and the monks rejoiced and were delighted at his words.

Summary Analysis
This sutta consists of three segments. In the first the Buddha gives his views on disparagement of religion now known as blashphemy. In theistic religion such criticism has been banned and those fount guilty are imprisoned, tortured and even executed. The Buddha's view is the opposite. He says that any such criticism should be listened to and errors pointed out. No kind of penalty is imposed.

The second section is the statement of morality and Buddha contrasts his moral principles with those of many recluses and Brahmins. However impotant such moral principles be they are secondary to real knowledge.

In the third section the Buddha gives the 62 wrong views. These are not the views advanced in the principal religions of the day like Jainism, Vedantism and even Brahmanism. They are views entertained on the subject of the self and the world by some unnamed recluses and Brahmins. These views are stated and declared wrong but no detailed refutation of the views is provided. Nor does the Buddha go into a statement of Right Views which represent his thinkng.

D 2. Sāmaññaphalasutta
Fruits of the Homeless Life

[150-156] Once King Ajatasattu of Magada was sitting on the upper story of his palace with his ministers on a full moon night when he expressed a desire to meet some ascetic or Brahmin. Then he asked is ministers who he should visit. One suggested Purana Kassapa, another Makkhali Gosala, another Kesa Kambali, another Pakudha Kaccayana, another Sanjaya Belathaputta, another Niganta Nataputta. But the King was silent for all these suggestions.

[157-161] Then Jivaka Komrabacca suggested thst the Buddha be visited with the usual statement of praise of the Buddha. The King agreed to this and ordered a party to be prepared to visit the Buddha who was then staying in Jivaka's mango-grove. The party then went thither and the King was impressed with the calmness of the bhikkhus who were with the Buddha.

[162-164] Then the following conversation took place between the King and the Buddha:

KINGIf only Prince Udayabhadda were possessed of such calm as this order of monks!
BUDDHA  Do your thoughts go to the one you love, Your Majesty?
KINGLord, Prince Udayabhadda is very dear to me. If only he were possessed of the same calm as this order of monks! Lord, I would ask something, if the Lord would deign to answer me
BUDDHAAsk, Your Majesty, anything you like.
KINGLord, just as there are these various craftsmen, such as elephant-drivers [and many other vocations are given] - and whatever other skills there are: they [and family and friends] enjoy the visible fruits of their skills, and are delighted and pleased. They maintain and support ascetics and Brahmins. Can you point to such a reward visible here and now as a fruit of the homeless life?'
BUDDHAYour Majesty, do you admit that you have put this question to other ascetics and Brahmins?
KINGI admit it, Lord
BUDDHAWould Your Majesty mind saying how they replied?
KING'I do not mind telling the Lord, or one like him.
BUDDHAWell then, Your Majesty, tell me.

[165-166] Then the King gave the following account of what these teachers had told him. Purana Kassapa on being asked about the present fruits of the homeless life, explained non-action to me. Just as if on being asked about a mango he were to describe a breadfruit-tree, or vise versa Purana Kassapa, on being asked about the present fruits of the homeless life, explained nonaction to me. And I thought: "How should one like me think despitefully of any ascetic or Brahmin dwelling in my territory?" So I neither applauded nor rejected Purana Kassapa's words but, though displeased, not expressing my displeasure, saying nothing, rejecting and scorning speech, I got up and left.

[167-169] Makkhali Gosala said: "There is no cause or condition for the defilement of beings, they are defiled without cause or condition. There is no cause or condition for the purification of beings, they are purified without cause or condition. There is no self-power or other-power, there is no power in humans, no strength or force, no vigour or exertion. All beings, all living things, all creatures, all that lives is without control, without power or strength, they experience the fixed course of pleasure and pain through the six kinds of rebirth. There are 1,400.000 principal sorts of birth, and 6000 others and again 600. There are 500 kinds of kamma ..., 62 paths, 62 intermediary aeons, 6 classes of humankind, 8 stages of human progress, 4900 occupations, 4900 wanderers, 4900 abodes of nagas, 2000 sentient existences, 3000 hells, 36 places of dust, 7 classes of rebirth as conscious beings, 7 unconscious beings, and 7 as beings freed from bonds, 7 grades of devas, men, goblins, 7 lakes, 7 great and 7 small protuberances, 7 great and 7 small abysses, 7 great and 7 small dreams, 8, 400, 000 aeons during which fools and wise run on and circle round till they make an end of suffering.

Therefore there is no such thing as saying: 'By this discipline or practice or austerity or holy life I will bring my unripened kamma to fruition, or I will gradually make this ripened kamma go away'. Neither of these things is possible, because pleasure and pain have been measured out with a measure limited by the round of birth-and-death, and there is neither increase nor decrease, neither excellence nor inferiority. Just as a ball of string when thrown nuns till it is all unravelled, so fools and wise run on and circle round till they make an end of suffering.

Thus, Lord, Makkhali Gosala, on being asked about the fruits of the homeless life, explained the purification of the round of birth-and-death to me. So I neither applauded nor rejected Makkhali Gosala's words but got up and left.

[170-172] 'Once I visited Ajita Kesakambali, and asked him the same question. Ajita Kesakambah said: Your Majesty, there is nothing given, bestowed, offered in sacrifice, there is no fruit or result of good or bad deeds, there is not this world or the next, there is no mother or father, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there are in the world no ascetics or Brahmins who have attained, who have perfectly practised, who proclaim this world and the next, having realised them by their own super-knowledge. This human being is composed of the four great elements, and when one dies the earth part reverts to earth, the water part to water, the fire part to fire, the air part to air, and the faculties pass away into space. They accompany the dead man with four bearers and the bier as fifth, their footsteps are heard as far as the cremation-ground. There the bones whiten, the sacrifice ends in ashes. It is the idea of a fool to give this gift: the talk of those who preach a doctrine of survival is vain and false. Fools and wise, at the breaking-up of the body, are destroyed and perish, they do not exist after death.

Thus, Lord, Ajita Kesakambali, on being asked about the fruits of the homeless life, explained the doctrine of annihilation to me. I got up and left.

[173-175] 'Once I visited Pakudha Kaccdyana, and asked him the same question. Pakudha Kaccayana said: Your Majesty, these seven things are not made or of a kind to be made, uncreated, unproductive, barren, false, stable as a column. They do not shake, do not change, obstruct one another, nor are they able to cause one another pleasure, pain, or both. What are the seven? The earth-body, the water-body, the fire-body, the air-body, pleasure and pain and the life-principle. These seven are not made. Thus there is neither slain nor slayer, neither hearer nor proclaimer, neither knower nor causer of knowing. And whoever cuts off a man's head with a sharp sword does not deprive anyone of life, he just inserts the blade in the intervening space between these seven bodies.

Thus, Lord, Pakudha Kaccayana, on being asked about the fruits of the homeless life, answered with something quite different. I got up and left.

[176-178] The Nigantha Nataputta said: "Your Majesty, here a Nigantha is bound by a fourfold restraint. What four? He is curbed by all curbs, enclosed by all curbs, cleared by all curbs, and claimed by all curbs. And as far as a Nigantha is bound by this fourfold restraint, thus the Nigantha is called self-perfected, self-controlled, self-established.

Thus, Lord, the Nigantha Ndtaputta, on being asked about the fruits of the homeless life, explained the fourfold restraint to me ... I got up and left.

[179-181] Once I visited Sanjaya Belatthaputta, and asked him the same question. Sanjaya Belatthaputta said: If you ask me: 'Is there another world?' if I thought so, I would say so. But I don't think so. I don't say it is so, and I don't say otherwise. I don't say it is not, and I don't not say it is not. If you ask: 'Isn't there another world?'...'Both?'...'Neither?'...'Is there fruit and result of good and bad deeds?' 'Isn't there?'...'Both?'...'Neither?'. ..'Does the Tathagata exist after death?' 'Does he not?'. . .'Both?'. . .'Neither?'. . . I don't not say it is not.

Thus, Lord, Sanjaya Belatthaputta, on being asked about the fruits of the homeless life, replied by evasion. Just as if on being asked about a mango he were to describe a breadfruit tree ... And I thought: "Of all these ascetics and Brahmins, Sanjaya Belatthaputta is the most stupid and confused." So I neither applauded nor rejected his words, but go up and left.

[182-189] Then the following conversation between the Buddha and the King took place:

BUDDHA  Suppose you had a slave who thought "I am a man just like the King but he enjoys all the sense pleasures while I slave due to out karma.". Then he goes forth, becomes a monk, and develops the qualities of a good monk. He comes back before you. Would you treat him as a slave as you did before?
KINGNo indeed. For we should pay homage to him.
BUDDHAIs that one fruit of the homeless life visible here and now?
BUDDHAThen that is the first such fruit of the homeless life.
KING'But can you show any other reward, visible here and now, as a fruit of the homeless life?
BUDDHASuppose there were a farmer, you have appointed as a steward of an estate. He thinks: "I am a man the King is a man. Yet he enjoys the five strands of sense pleasure while I am a mere farmer". He then goes forth and lives in solitude. If people were to tell you this would you then say: "That man must come back and be a steward as before"?
KINGNo indeed, we should pay proper homage to him. Can you show me any other reward visible here and now?
BUDDHA I can, Please listen carefully to what I say.

[190-193] The Buddha said: A Tathagata gets born in this world and he preaches the Dhamma which is heard by a householder who cuts hair and beard dons yellow robes and goes into homelesness. Having gone forth, he dwells restrained by the restraint of the rules [of the pātimokkha] and becomes devoted to the skilled and purified life, perfected in morality.

[194-212] [NOTE: These sections on morality are identical to the sections on the lesser, the middle and the greater morality given in the Brahmajāla Sutta (D 1), see abstract of that sutta. . They are therefore excluded from this Abstract.]

[213-217] He then guards the sense-doors. On seeing a visible object with the eye, does not grasp at it. He knows that greed and sorrow will overwhelm him if he dwelt on the eye-faculty unguarded. He does the same with the ear and sound, the nose and odours, the tongue and tastes, the body and touches and the mind and ideas. He experiences the bliss that comes from maintaining this Ariyan guarding of the faculties. Then he accomplishes mindfulness and clear awareness in all the physical activities he is engaged in. He then develops contentment with the alms he gets as food an the robes he gets to wear. He then seeks a dwelling under a tree or an empty place and dwells with a mind freed of worldly desires. Abandoning ill-will and hatred by compassionate love for the welfare of all living beings, abandoning sloth-and-torpor, abandoning worry-and-flurry, abandoning doubt he dwells with things that are wholesome, his mind purified.

[218-225] A number of similes are given to portray the monk at this stage of his development:
  1. A man who has taken a loan to develop his business pays off the debt when his business has succeeded.
  2. A man who has been sick with no appetite and weak in body gets cured of his illness recovers his appetite and is strong again.
  3. A man who has been put in prison but is released with no deductions from his possessions.
  4. A man who was a slave is freed from his slavery and free to go wherever he likes.
  5. A trader laden with good embarks on a long desert journey but after a time a reaches a village.
In all these cases the person involved would rejoice and be glad just as the monk who has eliminated the five hindrances.

[226-235] Now the monk is in a position to enter and remain in the first jhāna which has thinking and pondering born of detachment. From there he progresses into the second jhāna in which cncentration replaces thinking and pondering. Next he reachs the third jhāna in which he excells with equanimity and mindfulness. Then having given up pleasure and pain, and with the disappearance of former gladness and sadness, enters and remains in the fourth jhāna which is beyond pleasure and pain, and purified by equanimity and mindfulness. This is another fruit of the homelss life more excellent and perfect than the former ones. He knows that the body is made up of material things and his concisounss is dependent on it and tied to it.

[236-249] The monk with mind concentrated, having gained imperturbability, applies and directs his mind to the production of a mind-made body. He then directs his mind to various supernormal powers (iddhi). This is another fruit of the homeless life. He then directs his mind to acquiring the Divine Ear. (that is the ability to hear distant sounds). Next comes the power to read others' minds. Next comes the abioity to see his past existences in grat deal even up to a hundred thousan births in many periods of universal contraction and expansion. He then develops the ability to see being passing from one existence to another based on their kamma. Finally he directs his mind to the knowledge of the destruction of the corruptions. With this he reaches his final goal: "Birth is finished, the holy life has been led, done is what had to be done, there is nothing further here".

[250-253] Then King Ajatasattu applauded the Buddha in the usual way and confessed to the crime of depriving his father of his life for the sake of the throne. The Budddha then said that since he had acknowledged his transgression and confessed it he would accept it. Then the King left. After that the Buddha said: "'The King is done for, his fate is sealed. But if the King had not deprived his father of his life, then as he sat, here the pure and spotless Dhamma eye would have arisen in him". The monks rejoiced in his words.

Summary Analysis
This sutta is important one for several reasons. It begins with the King's statement of what the six other teachers had said about his question on what the benefits of the homeless life were. Despite the brevity of their reported views it is one of the few places where this is available.

On the Buddha's question the two examples given of the slave and the farmer-steward who became monks and were acclaimed as benefitting from the homeless life. After this comes the example of the path of a noble disciple from his going forth right up to the his fiinal release. This is a story told in many a sutta but it may be questioned if these examples answer the King's question. His concern was the benefits of the ordinry worker not only to himself but to his relatives, friends and those to whom he extends charity. The benefits of the reclude are only for himself and do not compare with the wider spread of benefit from the normally employed person.

This has also some relevance to the debate between the Mahayana and the Theravada. The Mahayanists claim that the Theravadins are concernd only with their selfish interests and this sutta may appear to support their charge.

D 3. Ambhaṭṭhasutta
About Ambhaṭṭha

The First Part

[254-274] Once when the Buddha was touring Kosala he came to the Brahmin village Iccanakala. The Brahmin Phokkarasati who was was living Ukhatta heard the praise of Gotama and thought that it was good to see him. So he sent his pupil Ambhatta to see the Buddha to find if what was said of him is true. In particular he wanted to know if he had the 32 marks of a Great Man. Ambhatta came to the presence of Gotama but did not give the usual courtesies and even went to the extent of abusing the Sakyans.

[267-] The Buddha then asked what clan Ambhatta came from and he said that he was a Kanhayan. The Buddha said that the Sakyans were descended from King Okkaka while Ambhatta was descended from a slave girl of the Sakyans. This did not please Ambhatta's companions and the Buddha asked Ambhatta from whom the Kanhayans were descended from. Ambhatta was silent until the yakkha Vajrapani stood over him with an iron bar forcing him to admit that the Buddha had been right about his origin. Then his companions began to clamour that Ambhatta was ill born, and the Buddha had to pacify them, by telling them Kanha was a mighty sage.

[275-277] Then the Buddha postulated a hypothetical union between a Khattiya youth and Brahmin girl out of which a son was born and what would happen. The Ambhatta said tht the son would be allowed to participate at funeral rites, would be taught the mantras, would keep their women uncovered, but would not be allowed to participate in the Khattiya consecration because the son would not be well born. Then the Buddha postulated the cse of a Brahmin youth marrying a Khatttiya girl with a son being born. Here too the son would not be allowed in the Khattiya consecration. The Buddha then said that that this proved that Khattiyas were senior to Brahmins. The Buddha then ascertained that if the Brahmins or the Khattiyas expelled one their own kind for them clan for some offence he expelled person would not be allowed to participate in holy ceremonies. The Buddha then said that these proved this verse attributed to Brahma Sanankumara, with which he too agreed was correct:
The Khattiya is best among those who value clan
He with knowledge and conduct is best among gods and men.

The second Part

[278-279] In explaining conduct and knowledge the Buddha strts with the rise of a Tathagata. He then goes through the narrative of a clansman becoming a noble disciple guarding he sense doors, attaining the jhānas, developing right conduct, overcoming the coruptions, achieveing the various stages and finally reaching the goal. This is the correct path. [280-286] Then the Buddha addresses Ambhattha on the wrong path of the Brahmin ascentic. He taks to the forest trying to live on chance food, then of roots and tubers he digs up, then tending the fire, then attending on other ascetics. These are paths of failure, Even Ambhatta's teacher would fail following this path. Even though Pokkharasati lives on a grant given by King Padanedi the Kin will not evern see him face to face. If someone were toimpersonate the King he would not be believed. This is like those repeating chants of Brahmins of old like Atthaka, Vessamitta, Bhagu etc. The Buddha then gave some practices induoged in by the Brahmins of old which Ambhattha said he did not know. These included indulging in self adornment, eat only fine foods, amuse themselves with women, ride around in chariots drawn by mares urged on withh long goads, live in towns guarded by swordsmen. To all these Ambatta said that he did not know. Then the Buddha began walking up and down and Ambhattha followed him observing the Buddha for the 32 marks of a Great Man. He missed out only two, the genitals and the long tongue. The Buddha knowing this revealed the former though a magic act and the latter by drawing out histongue and touching all parts of the face with it. Then Ambattha took leave and departed.

[289-292] When Ambhatta returned he found the Brahmin PPokkarasati seated outside surrounded by his followers. Ambhatha then related all the details of his visit to Gotama. Pokkharasati then upbraided Ambhatta for having heaped insults on Gotama and anyne doing such a things would go to Hell. He then kicked Ambhatta and wanted to go to see the Buddha immediately. But as it was late his followers urged him to go the next day.

[293-299] After the usual courtesied the Brahmin enquired about his pupils's visit and the Buddha told him all what happened. Then the Brahmin said that Ambhatta is a young fool and may he be pardoned. The Buddha did so adding :May Ambhattta be happy. Then the Brahmin looked for the 32 marks and missed the two. Knowing his the Buddha revealed this as he dad done to Ambhatta. Then the Brahmininvited the Buddha for the meal the next day which the Buddha accepted by his usual silence.

Then the next day after the meal the Buddha gave his usual graduated discourse which he gives to newcomers to the Dhamma. This dealt with generosity, morality, heaven, the danger of sense desires, and the profit of renunciation. Pokkharasati absorbed all this like a clean cloat taking up the dye. He then begged to be taken as a lay follower of the Buddha up to the end of his life.

Summary Analysis
This Sutta adds little that is new. The first part shows how the Buddha deals with a proub and bombastic person, which he did by revealing the real truth of his ill birth. In the second part he gives both the right and the wrong conduct and knowledge.

The Buddha's position on caste is well stated in many other suttas especially in the middle length collection. He has already questioned the superiority assumed by the Brahmins. Here he adduces the point that even among those who adhere to caste distinctions the khattiyas comes ahead of the Brahmins. The absurdity of the 32 marks of the Great Man is dealt with in an identical way in a sutta in the Middle Length collection. This is one of the many debts that Buddhism owes to the myths of that age and has no place in rational times.


D 4. Soṇadaṇḍasutta
About Soṇadaṇḍa

[300-305] Once the Buddha stayed on the shore of the Gaggara Lake in Campa. The Brahamin Soṇadaṇḍa was also living there. He saw people going towards the Lake and on inquiry found that they were going t see the recluse Gotama and he too decided to visit him. At that time several leading Brahmins had come to Campa on some business and hearing that Soṇadaṇḍa had decided to see the recluse Gotam came to the Brahmin to dissuade him from this course of action. They gave praise to Soṇadaṇḍa and said that because of his high position the Gotama should come to him rather than he go to see the recluse. But Soṇadaṇḍa gave many more reasons why Gotama was deserving of being visited.

[306-311] So Soṇadaṇḍa set out to meet Gotama but on the way he had doubts how Gotama will treat his questions, whether he will be humiliated, because if so his reputation would diminish and with that his wealth. But he continued on his journey and met the Buddha and after exchanging civilities sat down on a side still beset with his doubts. The Buddha divined this reading Soṇadaṇḍa's mind and to set him at ease decided to ask him about the Vedas.

The Buddha then asked Soṇadaṇḍa how many qualities a Brahmin should have to be regarded as an accomplished Brahmin. The Brahmin said that there were five qualities: (1) he should be well born on both sides for seven generalitons; (2) he should be a master of the three Vedas and should be able to recite the mantras; (3) he should be good looking, of perfect complexion and good physique; (4) he should be virtuous; (5) He shuld be leaned and wide and be the first or second to hold the sarificial ladle.

[312-316]Then the Buddha then asked is some of these could be left out. Soṇadaṇḍa greed that some fould be left out and the absolutely ones were two: viz. (1) he is morally virtuous, mature in virtue, endowed with mature virtue; (2) he is learned and wise, the first or second to hold out the sacrificial ladle. At this the Brahmins supporting Soāadaṇḍa protested for having left out birth and complexion. Then the Buddha addressed the protesting Brahmins and said: "If you think that the Brahmin Soṇadaṇḍa is unlearned or should not discuss with the recluse Gotama let Soṇadaṇḍa stop. Otherwise you should stop.

Then Soṇdaṇḍa intervened and said that he will answer the Brahmins. He told that that they should not say that he is adopting the recluse Gotamas words. He does not decry appearance, mantras or birth. Then Soṇṇadaṇda point to his nephew Aṅgaka who was listening. He said that nephew Aṅgaka had all the traditional qualities of a Brahamiin but it is because of the two qualities that he had mentioned that he can say that he is a true Brhamin.

[317] Then the Buddha inquired if of the two qualities (virtue and wisdom) it is possible to leave out one and have only one quality to define a true Brahmin. The Brahmin said that it was not possible because it was like trying to wash one hand without the other. The Buddha agreed with this and said tht both were essential. Then the Buddhas was asked to explain this matter in detail.

[318 NOTE: At this point the Buddha begins the story of the appearance of a Tathagata and a noble disciple agreeing to follow the true Dhamma. He repeats the matters given in discourses like the Sāmaññaphala sutta relating to the accomplishment of morality (short, middle and long). Then he goes into the guarding the sense-doors, the various insights, and the acquiring of the three-fold knowledge including the elimination of the influxes (corruptions) which opensthe door to the final release. The section is omitted from this Abstract as it is given in the sutta referred to.]

[319] At this Soṇadaṇḍa praised the Buddha calling his discourse excellent and asked to be aaccepted as a lay disciple. He then invited the Buddha for the meal the next day together witth the bhikkhus which was accepted in the usual manner. After thjis the Buddha departed.

[320-322] The next the Brahmin had the meal prepared and the bhikkhus came was served the meal and after the Brahmin took a low seat. He said "When I go into an assembly and salute with joined palms take that as a salutation to venerable Gotama, when I take off my headgear take it as bowing at your your feet, when I raise the goad in my carriage take it as getting down from the carriage and bowing at your feet. Then the Buddha gave a talk on Dhamma and departed.

Summary Analysis
It begins with the discussion on what makes a real Brahmin and the Buddha was able to narrow it down the five qualities which Soṇadaṇḍa started with to two virture and wisdom. This why the Arhat is often referred to as Brahmin in several Buddhist texts like the Dhammapada.

D 5. Kūṭadantasutta
About Kūṭadanta

[323-329] Once the Buddha was living at the Khāṇumate in Kosala. At that time Kūṭadanta was administering the district on a royal domain given by King Bimbisāra of Maghada. Kūṭadanta was preparing for a large sacrifice with many animals brought to the sacrificial area. When the news of the Buddha's arrival got around the people of Khāṇumate began going to the Ambalaṭṭika Park where the Buddha was staying. Observing this Kūṭadanta let it be known that he too would like to visit the recluse Gotama.

[330-339] Then some Brahims of the place went to Kūṭdanta to dissade him from going to see the recluse Gotama. They argued that as Kūṭadana was a pure Brahmin and the leader of the Brahmins and several other reasonse why it was Gotama who should visit him. But Kūṭadanta gave a large number of reasons why it was fitting for him to visit the recluse Gotama. [These arguments are similar to those used by the Brahmin Soṇadaṇḍa when his local Brahmins had tried to prevent him from seeing Gotama (see Soṇadaṇḍa Sutta)]. [334-335] So Kūṭadanta and the local Brahmins came to the Buddha and sat on a side. Then Kūṭadanta said: "I hear that master Gotama knows about the successful performance of the threefold sacrifice and its sixteen requisites. I am going to do such a sacrifice and I would like master Gotama to teach me how to do this successfully".

[335-339] [The Buddha's response to this strange request was to relate the story of how the King Maha Vijitha in the past conducted such a sacrifice.] The Buddha said, "Brahmin pay close attention I will speak".

At that time there was a plague of robberies and disorder in the country of King Vijitha. On the advice of his minister (purohita) the king instead of punishing miscreants gave them grain and capital so that they could do honest work. The disorders subsided. Then he turned his attention to the preparations for the sacrifice.

[340-348] The sacrifice was accomplished successfully. The following were the principal aspects of King Vijitha's sacrifice:
  1. On the advice of the purohita the King invited the khattiyas, the public officials, the householders and the Brahmins to be partners in the sacrifice to which they agreed.
  2. The king had the eight requisite qualities to make the sacrifice: pure birth, right lineage, good complexion, great wealth, strong army, charity towards recluses, learning and intelligence.
  3. The purohita had the required four qualities: well-born on both sides, expert mantra reciter, morally virtuous and qualified to be the first or second to hold out the sacrificial ladle.
  4. The three-fold purity was honoured: Before, while and after making the sacrifice the king did not show any regret.
  5. Some who came to the sacrifice were evil doers (destroying life, taking what is not given, have evil lusts, engaging in wrong speech or have wrong views). Others were not be evil doers. Those that were evil bore their own evil, while the king sacrificed on behalf of the others.
  6. No animals were killed and the sacrifice was done with ghee, oil, butter, milk, honey, sugar and the like. No trees were cut to make the sacrificial post.
  7. The gifts brought by those who came for the sacrifice were not accepted by the king but as they did not want to take them back they were laid the gifts around the sacrificial pit.
  8. There were no slaves and all those who worked did so voluntarily

The Buddha concluded his narration of King Vijita's sacrifice with these words addressed to the Brahmin Kūṭadata: " And thus, Brahmin, there were the four consenting parties, the rajah Maha Vijita endowed with eight qualities, the brahmin purohita endowed with four qualities, and the three modes (of offering). This, brahmin, is called the successful sacrifice with the three modes and the sixteen requisites." At this Kūṭadanta remained silent while the other Brahmins applauded the Buddhas's words.

[349-353] When questioned on his silence Kūṭadaṇṭa said that it not because he did not believe what Gotama had said but because Gotama had not said "Thus have I heard" and he thought tht Gotama was relting a personal experience. Then Gotama said that the story of King Vijita's sacrifice was a pervious life experience when he was the purohita in that life. Gotama was then asked what gifts were superior to the sacrifice of King Vijita. He then nominated these gifts each one better than the previous one:
  1. Whatever regular family gifts given to virtuous ascetics.
  2. Anyone providing shelter to monks coming from distant places.
  3. Anyone with a pure heart going for refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha.
  4. Anyone with a pure mind who undertaks the precepts.
  5. Anyone who follows a Thatagata's teaching on morality, the Jhānas and the higher states leading to final release.

[354-358] Then Kūṭadanta praised what the Buddha had said in the usual terms. He then asked that he be considered as a lay follower of the Buddha for life. He said that he had set free the seven hundred each of bulls, bullocks, heifers, goats and rams that had been destined for the sacrifice. Then the Buddha gave Kūṭadanta the graduated discourse on the the Dhamma he gives newcomers to the Dhamma. Kūṭadanta then invited the Buddha and monks for the meal the next day. The Buddha accepted this invitation and went to Kūṭadanta's residence the next day, and after the meal gave further instruction in the Dhamma and departed.

Summary Analysis
This sutta is similar to the conversion of the Brahmin Soṇadaṇḍa in the sutta of that name. The difference here is that a great sacrifice of animals was avoided. The strategy used to convert the Brahmin was the sacrifice conducted by the King Vijita in one of the Buddha's previous births. That birth story (jātaka) like the others of this kind has to be taken as a mythical edifying tale.

D 6. Mahālisutta
About Mahāli

[359-362] Once when the Buddha was living at the Gabled Hall in the Great Wood at Vesali a number of Brahmins had come to Vesali from Kosala and Magadha. When they heard that the Buddha was residing at Vesali they wanted to see him and went to the Gabled Hall. Then they asked the Buddha's attendant who was a monk called Nāgita they were told that the Buddha was in solitude. So they decided to wait. Then a Licchavi called Oṭṭaddhopi [also referred to as Mahali] with his supporters also wanted to see the Buddha and was given the same reply by Nāgita. Then Siha a novice told Nāgita that these Brahmins and others should be allowed to see the Buddha and he was told to ask the Buddha himself. Then Siha did that and the Buddha told him to make preparations outside the Hall and that the Buddha will see those waiting to see him.

[363-365] Then Siha made the preparations and the Buddha came out and sat down with those waiting taking seats on either side. Then Oṭṭadattha said: "The Licchavi Sunakkhatta told me that he had been a follower of the Buddha for three years and that he could see delightful heavenly forms but he could not hear heavenly sounds. Now sir why is it that he could not hear these delightful heavenly sounds or are there no such heavenly sounds?".

[366-371] The Buddha replied: ""Suppose a recluse practised one-sided concentration of mind with the object of seeing heavenly forms, not hhearing heavenly sounds, then since he has practised one-sided concentration he sees heavenly sights, hear heavenly sounds. And why not? Because of the nature of his self concentration (samādhi)". He added that if one were to practice one-sided concentration to see hear heavenly sounds he will only hear those sounds. But if he practiced with the double object of broth seeing and hearing then he will both see and hear.

[372-373] Then Mahali asked if it was for that reason that bhikkhus practiced such self-concentration. The Buddha gave an emphatic "No, Mahāli". Then asked what were the sweeter and more imporant objevtives that a monk has to adopt the holy life (brahamcāriya) he gave a series of objectives each one better than the last:
  1. Become a Stream Winner (sotāpatthi) by eliminating three fetters.
  2. Become a Once-Returner by eliminating the three fetters together with reducing greed, hatred and ill-will.
  3. Become a Non-Returner by abandoning the five lower fetters.
  4. Become an Arhat by by the complete destruction of the āsavas (influxes, taints, corruptions, etc)
[374-377] [NOTE: At this point the Buddha recalls an episode that occurred when he was in Kosambi when two recluses Mārissa and Jāliya raised th question whether the soul and the body were the same or different. The Buddha's answer is contained in the next sutta D 7. Jāliya Sutta and it given in the Abstract to that sutta]

Mahali then asks if there is a path for realising this goal of being an Arhat. The Buddha says that it is the Noble Eightfold Path from Right Views to Right Concentration. When a Tathagata appears and preached the true Dhamma a householder out of faith goes forth and becomes a disciple. He then develops the aryan morals, the foundations of mindfulness and the four Jhānas. Finally he realises the goal of the holy life.

Oṭṭhadatta (Mahāli) rejoiced at the Buddha's words.

Summary Analysis
In this Sutta the Buddha develops on the notion of one-sided concentration which is not usually presented in the discussion of Concentation (samādhi). It may have been a devise to explain the problem of Sunakhatta. Otherwise the road to Arhatship given is the usual one of the elimination of the fetters. The Eightfold Path is also mentioned in this connection but the subsequent questioning of Mahāli indicates that it is not a strict a "path" but a collection of qualities necessary to realize the goal of Arhatship. The only real path is that followed by the Noble Disciple from the development of the Sīlas to the elimination of the āsavas.

D 7. Jāliyasutta
About Jāliya.

[378] Once when the Buddha was living at Gositārāma in Kosambi, when two wanderers, Mandissa and Jaliya, the pupil of the wooden-bowl ascetic, came to him and exchanged courtesies. Then they said: "How is it, friend Gotama, is the soul (jīva) the same as the body (sarīra), or is the soul one thing and the body another?"

[379] The Buddha said: "A Tathagata arises in the world and preaches the Dhamma. A disciple goes forth and practices the moralities and he is perfected in morality. Being thus detached from sense-desires and unwholesome states, he enters and remains in the first jhāna. His whole body is filled with delight and joy born of detachment. Now of one who thus knows and thus sees, is it proper to say: 'The soul is the same as the body,' or 'The soul is different from the body?' But I thus know and see, and I do not say that the soul is either the same as, or different from the body."

"And the same with the second, the third, the fourth jhāna. The mind bends and tends towards knowledge and vision. Now, of one who thus knows and thus sees, is it proper to say: 'The soul is the same as the body,' or 'The soul is different from the body?' It is not, friend."

[380] The Buddha continued: "He knows: 'There is nothing further here.' Now of one who thus knows and thus sees, is it proper to say: 'The soul is the same as the body,' or 'The soul is different from the body?' But I thus know and see, and I do not say that the soul is either the same as, or different from the body."

Thus the Lord spoke, and the two wanderers rejoiced at his words.

Summary Analysis
Though recorded as a separate sutta in the Digha Nikāya (Long Discourses) this extremely short sutta is the concluding part of the previous sutta D 6 Mahāli Sutta. It deals with a totally different subject to that in the Mahāli sutta. Both the alternatives given by the two wanderers on the subject of the soul and the body are rejected on the authority of the Buddha who remains neutral on the subject.

D 8. Mahāsīhanādasutta
About Jāliya.

[381-383] Once the Buddha was living in the deer-park Kannakattale in Ujunnaya when the naked ascetic Kassapa approached him and asked if it was true that Gotama had said that he (Gotama) disapproves of all austerities, and censures and blames all those who lead a harsh life of self- mortification. The Buddha denied having said such a thing and called it a slander. He said that with the divine eye he could see some ascetics practicing self mortification arising in hell, but others practicing self-mortification arise in heaven.

[384-393] The Buddha explained that there were clever recluses and Brahmins and that their views sometimes coincided with his own, and sometimes they did not. In approaching them Gotama would say: "In these things there is no agreement, let us leave them aside. In these things there is agreement: there let the wise take up, cross-question and criticise these matters". The wise would say that of things unskilled Gotama and some other teachers have abandoned them, of things skilful Gotama has completely mastered them and while some other teachers also may have done so, other teachers may have done so only in part. In these situations Gotama gets the most praise. The Buddha then told Kassapa that there is a path, the Noble Eightfold Path consisting of the eight factors from Right View to Right Concentration whereby one may know for oneself the Dhamma ane Discipline of the Buddha.

[394-396] At this point Kassapa gave a description of the practice of austerities (tapopakkamma) as follows: He licks his hands after eating, does not accept food offered or prepared for him, does not accept food out of the pot or pan, from a pregnant or nursing woman or from one living with a man, or from where a dog is standing or where flies are swarming. He eats no fish or meat and drinks no alcohol. He eats only once a day, or once in two days, or once in seven days. He takes to eating rice only twice a month. He becomes a herb-eater, a millet-eater, a raw-rice-eater, a wild-rice-eater, an eater of water-plants, of rice-husk-powder, of rice-scum, of the flowers of oil-seeds, grass or cow-dung, of forest roots and fruits. He wears coarse hemp, clothing from corpses, rags from the dust-heap, garments of bark, skins, hair, or owl-feathers. He plucks out hair and beard, makes a bed of thorns, sleeps alone in a garment of wet mud, lives in the open air, accepts whatever seat is offered, drinks no water, and is addicted to the practice of going to bathe three times before evening. [NOTE: This is not a complete list of the austerities given by Kassapa.]

[397-401] The Buddha then repeated his position: "If a naked ascetic were to do all these things, and if this were the measure and practice of the difficulty, the great difficulty, of understanding an ascetic or Brahmin, it would not be right to say that, because any householder... could understand it. But, Kassapa, because there is a very different kind of asceticism and Brahmanism beside this, it is right to say: 'It is hard to understand an ascetic or a Brahmin.' But, Kassapa, when a monk develops non-enmity, non-ill-will and a heart full of loving-kindness and, abandoning the corruptions, realises and dwells in the uncorrupted deliverance of mind, the deliverance through wisdom, having realised it in this very life by his own insight, then, Kassapa, that monk is called an ascetic and a Brahmin.'

[402-404] The Buddha continued his discourse to Kassapa: "There are some ascetics and Brahmins who preach morality. They praise morality in various ways. But as regards the highest Aryan morality I do not see any who have surpassed me in this. There are some who preach self-mortification and austerity, but as regards the highest Aryan self-mortification and austerity I do not see any who have surpassed me in this. Some I am supreme in this regard, in super-austerity. There are some praise wisdom in various ways, but as regards the highest Aryan wisdom I do not see any who have surpassed me in this. Some preach liberation but as regards the highest Ariyan liberation I do not see any who have surpassed me in this. I am supreme in this regard, in super-liberation. The ascetic Gotama roars his lion's roar, in company and confidently, they question him and he answers, he wins them over with his answers, they find it pleasing and are satisfied with what they have heard. Then At this point the following conversation took place:

BUDDHA:Because there is a very different kind of asceticism beside this, therefore it is right to say: 'It is hard to be an ascetic, it is hard to be a Brahmin'. When a monk develops non-enmity, non-ill-will and a mind full of loving kindness then that monk is called an ascetic and a Brahmin.
KASSAPA   It is hard to understand an ascetic, it is hard to understand a Brahmin.
BUDDHA:A self-mortifier my do all these things, but if his morality, mind and wisdom are not developed he is still far from being an ascetic or a Brahmin. But, when a monk develops non-enmity, non-ill-will and a mind full of loving-kindness and, abandoning the corruptions, realises and dwells in the uncorrupted deliverance of mind, the deliverance through wisdom, having realised it in this very life by his own insight then that monk is termed an ascetic and a Brahmin.
KASSAPAWhat then is the development of morality, of the mind, and of wisdom...
BUDDHA:A Tathagata arises in the world and preaches the Dhamma. A disciple goes forth and practises the moralities [NOTE: Here the section on Morality given in the Sāmaññaphala Sutta (D2) is given.] That is the perfection of morality. He guards the sense-doors, etc. and attains Ilre four jhānas [as in Sutta D 2]. That is the perfection of the mind. He attains various insights and the cessation oil the corruptions [as in Sutta D2]. That is the perfection of wisdom. And, Kassapa, there is nothing further or more perfect than this perfection of morality, of mind and of wisdom.
KASSAPA'Lord, who on hearing Dhamma from you would fail to be delighted beyond all measure? I am delighted beyond all measure. Excellent, Lord, excellent! It is as if someone were to set up what had been knocked down, or to point out the way to one who had got lost, or to bring an oil-lamp into a dark place. Lord, may I receive the going-forth at the Lord's hands, may I receive ordination!

[405] The Buddha then tells Kassapa of the four month probation for those belonging to other sects. Kassapa agreed to this and he received the going-forth from the Lord himself. Then Venerable Kassapa, alone, secluded, unwearying, zealous and resolute, in a short time attained that goal aimed for by those taking up the holy life. He knew: 'Birth is destroyed, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is nothing further here.' And the Venerable Kassapa became another of the Arahats.

Summary Analysis
Kassapa's conversion is no different to the conversion of many others who came to the Buddha in a similar search. There is no detailed description of Kassapa's path to Arhat-hood, but it would be the same well-worn path described in many a sutta.

The important teaching here is that even that extreme self-mortification is no obstacle to realising the goal of liberation. The path of the monk is not one of ease and comfort even though it may not involve the extremes that Kassapa described as was his former life. Even the need to seek ones food through alms (piṇḍapāta) imposes a great measure of difficulty and that some would consider a demeaning life-style. Except on rare occasions when the monk is invited for a meal he would have to go from house to house in sunshine or rain and wait for whatever is put into the bowl. This culture may have been common in the India of the day but one which is increasingly difficult to find in the modern world. Something similar applies to getting the other requisites of clothing. shelter and medicine.

D 9. Poṭṭhapādasutta
About Poṭṭhapāda

[406-411] Once the Buddha was living at the Jetavana in Sāvaahi and Poṭṭhapāda the wanderer was with 300 followers at the debating Hall in the Mallika Park. The Buddha set out on his alms round but as it was too early he thought of going to the debating hall. He was welcomed by Poṭṭhapāda who said that recently the recluses and Brahmins were discussing about the extinction of perception (saññā). Someonr said that when it arises one is concious when it ceses one is unconcious. Another said that the consciousness is the person's self. It comes and goes: when it comes, he is conscious; when it goes, he is unconscious. Still another said that there are recluses and brahmins of great power and influence who can draw consciousness into or out of a person making him either concious or unconcious. It was these various views that led Poṭṭhapāda to ask the Buddha how is there cessation of conciousness.

[412-413] In answer the Buddha said that those who say that perceptions arise and cease without condition are totally wrong as this can happen through training. To this Poṭṭapāda asked 'What kind of training'. Then the Buddha went into a long description of the training of the noble disciple. He started with a Tathagata appearing in the world and preaching the Dhamma. Then a house holder out of faith goes into the homeless life. His first training is to develop the moralities. [N.B. Here the short, middle and higher moralities given in the Sāmaññphala Sutta (D2) are repeated in full.] After this the disciple turns to the guarding of the sense doors. [N.B. again the method of doing this given in Sutta D2 is repeated in full.] Then he takes to the developmennt of the four jhānas. Then comes the achievement of the various supermundane states. Frist is the Sphere of the Infinity of Space. Then comes the Sphere of the Infinity of Consciousness. Passing beyond this he comes to the Sphere of No-Thing-ness. This the Buddha said is the training he spoke of perceptions arise and fade away during the course.

[414] The Buddha concluded his exposition by saying: "When the monk has gained control over his perceptions he proceeds step by step until he reaches the summit of perceptions. Then when he is on the summit it may occur to him: 'To be thinking at all is the inferior state. It is better not to be thinking. Were I to stop thinking and imagining these ideas, these states of consciousness, I have reached to, would pass away, but others, coarser ones, might arise. So I will neither think nor fancy any more'. And he does this. And to him neither thinking any more, nor fancying, the ideas, the states of consciousness, he had experienced pass away; and no other coarser ones arise. So he touches cessation. Thus is it, Potthapada, that the attainment of the cessation of conscious ideas takes place step by step."I teach it as both one and many

[415-420] After this exposition by the Buddha the following conversation occurred between the Buddha and Poṭṭhapāda:

BUDDHAThis is how there is the alert progressive attainment of the ultimate cessation of perception (conciousness).
POTTAPADA  Lord, do you teach that the summit of perception is just one, or that it is many?
BUDDHAI teach it as both one and many.
POTTAPADA'Lord, how is it one, and how is it many?
BUDDHAAccording as he attains successively to the cessation of each perception, so I teach the summit of that perception: thus I teach both one summit of perception, and I also teach many.
POTTAPADALord, does perception arise before knowledge, or knowledge arise before perception, or do both arise simultaneously?
BUDDHAPerception arises first then knowledge.
POTTAPADALord, is perception a person's self, or is perception one thing, and self another?
BUDDHADo you postulate a self?
POTTAPADAI postulate a gross material self.
BUDDHAGiven such a gross self, certain perceptions would arise in a person, and others pass away. In this way you can see that perception must be one thing, the self another.
POTTAPADAI postulate a mind-made self with all sense-organs.
BUDDHAWith such a self, perception would be one thing, and the self another.
POTTAPADAI assume a formless self made up of perception.
BUDDHAEven with such a formless self, perception would be one thing, and self another.
POTTAPADABut Lord, is it possible for me to know whether perception is a person's self, or whether perception is one thing, and self another?
BUDDHAIt is difficult for one of different views, a different faith, under different influences, with different pursuits and a different training to know whether these are two different things or not.
POTTAPADA Is the world eternal? Is it not eternal? Is it finite? Is it not finite?
BUDDHAI have not declared that the world is eternal nor that it is not eternal, nor that it is finite, nor that it is not finite.
POTTAPADAIs the soul one thing and the body another?
BUDDHAI have not delared that the soul is one thing and the body another.
POTTAPADADoes the Tathagata exist after death?
BUDDHA'I have not declared that the Tathagata neither exists nor does not exist after death.
POTTAPADAWhy has the Lord not declared these things?
BUDDHABecause that is not conducive to the purpose, not conducive to Dhamma.

After stating his position on the ten undeclared questions the Buddha concluded by saying that he has declared what is suffering, its cause, its cessation, and the path to the cessation of suffering. Then the Buddha rose from his seat and went away.

[421-427b> After the Buddha left the other wanderers jeered at Poṭṭhapāda saying that he blindly accepted what the recluse Gotama had said. But Poṭṭapāda strong;y defended the Buddha. A few days later Poṭṭhapāda along with Citta, the son of an elephant trainer, went to see the Buddha and told him what happened. The Buddha said that all those wanderers were blind. He repeated that he had not taken a position on the undeclared questions for the reason he had given earlier. He then said that some ascetics and Brahmins declare that after death the self is entirely happy and free from disease. But when questioned as to the basis for this belief they could not provide any. He then gave two parables to make his point clear. The first was one who said that he was going to seek out and love the most beautiful girl in the country but could not provide any information about her as to her name, clan, stature, complexion etc. The second was of a man who wanted to build a staircase for a buiding but did not have any information about the building as to its height, where it was located, which direction it faced, and so on. This kind of talk was simply stupid as that of these ascetics who talk of the the self after death.

[428-436] The Buddha said that there are three knds of acquired self (or personality): (1) the material acquired self, which is real and nourished on food; (2) the mind-made acquired self which is purely mental with form and is perfect in every respect; and (3) the formless acquired self which is without form and made of pure conciousness. He then said that he teaches a doctrine that leads to the abandonment of personality of all three kinds. According to this doctrine acquired evil dispositions decline and disposition tending to purification increase so that a person can realize the full perfection of wisdom. Then there will be joy, happiness, and peace, and one will live at ease continually mindful with selfmastery. If one asks what happens to the personality that has been put away the answer is that that is the very personality you see before you. The Buddha then compared this to a person who builds a staircase to an actually existing building starting from the ground floor.

[437-440] Then the following conversation took place between Citta and the Buddha:

CITTALord, whenever one forms of personality exists would it be wrong to assume the existence of the other two forms of personality?
BUDDHACitta, whenever one form of personality is present we do not at that time speak of the other two forms of personality. We speak only of that form of personality that is present.
CITTAAt that time, Sir, when a man is in possession of any one of the three modes of personality, are the other two unreal to him then ? Is it only the one he has that is real?
BUDDHA At the time. Citta, when any one of the three modes of personality is going on, then it does not come under the category of either of the other two. It is known only by the name of the mode going on. 'If people should ask you, Citta, thus: 'Were you in the past, or not ? Will you be in the future, or not ? Are you now, or not ?' How would you - answer?
CITTAI should say that 1 was in the past, that I shall be in the future, and that I am now here.
BUDDHAThen if they ask 'Is your past personality real to you; and the future personality, and the present, unreal ? The future personality that you will have, is that real to you; and the past nd the present personality unreal ? Is the personality that you have now is that real to you ; and the past and future personality unreal ?' How would you answer?
CITTAI should say that the past personality that I had was real to me at the time when I had it; and the others unreal. And so also in the other two cases.
BUDDHAJust so, when any one of the three modes of personality is going on, then it does not come under the category of either of the other two.

Then the Buddha gave the parable of the cow. From the cow comes milk, from that curd, from tht butter, from that ghee etc. At any stage it is designated by its current form not by any of its past former by any future form that it could become.

[441] Then Poṭṭhapād said: "Excellent, Lord. etc. Lord, I go for refuge to the Lord, the Dhamma and the Sangha. May the Lord accept me as a lay-follower who has taken refuge in him from this day forth as long as life shall last".

[442] Cittta too praised the Lord's words and added: "May I be permitted to go forth under the Exalted One; may I receive admission into his Order.' This request was granted. Channa remained alone and separate, earnest, zealous, and resolved and before long he attained to the supreme goal.

Summary Analysis
This is an important sutta as it deals with a fundamental doctrine of the Dhamma its attitude to the soul theory. The "Soul" (atta) is is a basic concept of almost all religions and of the earliest crations of the humanmind. The Buddha is perhaps the earlist thinker who denounced this concept.

In this sutta the Buddha distinguishes three aspects of the soul concept one considering it s a real entity, other a mental concept but still considered as one with a form, and the third as a purely abstract concept without a for, The first one was the accepted version in the Vedic theory generally accepted in the Buddha's time iin India, and is also (with small variations in all theistic religion following the Abrahamic model. Realising the absurdity of the first version some religions adopted the second and third versions. Today many Christians do not use the term 'soul' but prefering tems like 'spirit'. Bu the Buddha had anticipated this kind of substitution and declared all forms of the soul theory as wrong and leading to suffering.

D 10. Subhasutta
About Subha

[444-447] Ven Ananda was living at Jetavana in Sāvatthi shortly after the death of the Buddha. At that time a Brahmin called Subha had come to Sāvtthi on some business. He sent a messenger to invite Ven Ananda to come and visit him. The messenger delivered this message to Ven Ananda who said that he could not go that day but would do so on t he morrow. This message was conveyed back to Subha.

[448-449] The next day Ven. Ananda accompanied by a bhikkhu from Ketiya went to see Subha. After the usual courtesies he sat down on a side. Then Subha said to Ven Ananda: "You, Sir, have waited long on the venerable Gotama .... You will know what were the things the venerable Gotama praised and used to establish people and make them firm. What were they ?" Ananda replied: "There were three bodies of doctrine that the Exalted One used. These were the doctrine regarding right conduct (sīla), the doctrine regarding self-concentration (samādhi), and doctrine regarding intelligence (paññā)". Then Ananda went on to detail each one of three doctrines".

[450-470] Then Subha asked: "What is the noble doctrine of right conduct which Gotama praised?"
[N.B. In answer to this Ananda gave the section on morality that is contained in the Sāmaññaphala Sutta (D 2) starting with the appearance of a Tathagata and the preaching of the Dhamma. Then a disciple emerges who becomes a bhikkhu and starts his training in act, word, and speech. He then observes the instructions given in the section on minor morality. This results in the absence of fear and the development in confidence. (See the Abstract on Sutta D 2).]
Ananda concluded with "There is yet something further, according to this system, still to be done".

[471] Then Subha said: "Wonderful is this, Ananda, and mysterious-both that this so noble group of conduct is well-rounded, not incomplete ; and that I perceive no other, like unto it, among the other Samanas and Brahmins outside of this community. And were they also to perceive such in themselves, then would they be satisfied with thus much. But you, Ananda, say that there is something further still to be done".

[472-475] Then Subha asked: "What is the noble doctrine regarding self-concentration (samādhi) praised by the venerable Gotama ?
[N.B. In answer to this Ananda gave the sections on concentration contained in the Sāmaññaphala Sutta (D 2). These involve how the disciple learns to guard the door of his senses. Then the constant mindfulness and self-possession that he gains. Next the power of being content with little, with simplicity of life. Next the emancipation of the mind from the Five Hindrances (Covetousness, Ill-Will, Sloth of body and mind, Excitement and worry, and Perplexity). Doing this results in joy and peace that pervades his body and the mind. (See the Abstract on Sutta D 2). ]
Then Ven Ananda said: There is yet something further, according to this system, still to be done." [This was the doctrine of the intellect.]

[476-479] Then Subha asked: "What is the noble doctrine regarding intellect (paññā) praised by the venerable Gotama ?

[N.B. In answer to this Ananda gave the sections on concentration contained in the Sāmañāaphala Sutta (D2). These dealt with insight (ñāṇdassana which sees that the body is impermanent, and that mind (viññāṇa) is bound up with it, has no existence independent of it; the power of calling up mental images; the perception of the Four Truths as to sorrow and the Eightfold Path; and finally the uprooting of the intoxicants (āsavā); and there gaining the final release. (See Abstract of Sutta D 2)]
[480] Ananda concluded with: "This is that so noble doctrine regarding intellect which the Exalted One spoke of and praised". At this Subha said: "Wonderful is this the noble doctrine regarding intellect which is well-rounded, not incomplete. I, betake myself to that venerable Gotama as my guide, to the truth, and to the Order. May the venerable Ananda receive me as an adherent, as one who, from this day forth, as long as life endures, has taken them as his guide".

Summary Analysis
This Sutta contains nothing new other than the repetition of the relevant parts of the Sāmaññaphala Sutta. It recognizes the three important parts of the Buddha's teaching as morality, discpline of the mind, and wisdom.

D 11. Kevaddhasutta
About Khevaddha

[481-383] Once when the Buddha was staying at Nāḷandā in Pāvārika's mango grove the householder Kevaddha visited him and asked him to direct a monk to perform a miracle so that the people of Nāḷandā would be even more attached to him than they were then. But the Buddha simply said: I do not teach monks to perform miracles to lay people". Kevaddha's request was refused three times. Then the Buddha said that there were three miracles that he had directly known and realized. These were: (1) The miracle of psychic power; (2) the miracle of telepathy; and (3) the miracle of instruction.

[484] [The Miracle of Psychic Power (iddhipāṭihāriya)] A monk with faith capable of this miracle can from being one become; from being many become one; vanish and appear; go through walls and other obstacles; dive-in-and-out of the earth; walk on water; sit cross-legged and fly through the air; touch and stroke the sun and moon; and reach up to the Brahma worlds, But a man without faith will say that he does this through the Gandhara Charm. The Buddha then said that is why he is disgusted with the miracle of psychic power.

[485] [The Miracle of Telepathy (ādesanāpāṭihāriya)] This is when a monk with faith can read the mind of others. But a man without faith will say that it is due to the Jewel Charm. The Buddha then said that is why he is disgusted with the miracle of telepathy.

[486-487] [The Miracle of Instruction (anusāsanīpaṭihāriya)] This is where a monk with faith tells a person without faith how to direct his thought how to attend to things, how to let go of this and attend to that. Ferthrmore a Tathagata appearws in the world.
[N.B. Here verses #40-84 and #97 of the Sāmaññaphala Sutta (D 2) are repeated. These relate to are (1) the teaching of the Dhamma; (2) the awakening of a hearer who goes into homelessness; (3) his self-training in act, word, and deed; (4) the observation of the minor morality; (5) the arising of the absence of fear, and confidence of mind; (6) the guarding of the doors of his senses; (7) the gaining of constant self-possession; (8) acquiring the power of being content with little and simplicity of life; (9) the emancipation from the Five Hindrances (covetousness, ill-temper, sloth of body and mind, excitement and worry, and perplexity); (10) the consequent gaining of joy and peace; (11) the accomplishment of the four jhānas; (12) the arising of the knowledge of the nature of the body, its impermanence, and consciousness being bound up with it; (13) the realisation of the Four Truths, the destruction of the Intoxicants, and the final assurance of the emancipation of Arhatship.]

The Buddha Concluded: "So these, Kevaddha, are the three wonders I have understood and realised myself, and made known to others." He continued as follows:

[488-492] Once the following doubt occurred to a certain monk: "Where do the four great elements (mahābhutā: earth, water, fire and wind) cease without remainder?". Then he posed this question to the gods of the retinue of the Four Great Kings ( cattāro mahārājā) but they did not know and they referred him to the /four Great Kinids themselfs. He too did not know the answer and the Bhikkh was referred to the thirty-Three gods who send him to their chief Sakka. Then to the Yama gods and their king Suyama. Then to Tusita gods and their king Santusita. Then to the Nimmana-rati gods and their king, Sunimmita ; then to the Para-nimmita Vasavatti gods and their king Vasavatti, but they too like the other could not answer his question. Then he was finally sent to the gods of the Brahma world.

[493-495] Then through concentration the mind the monk found his way to the Brahma world. But the retinue gods there could not answer his question and he was referred to their chief Mahā Brahmā himself. They told him that he has to wait until a light manifests and Mahā Brahmā appears. When this happened he posed his question twice. Mahā Brahmā gave an evasive reply each time, but at the third time he took the monk by the hand, led him away and said: "I did not give you a direct answer because I did not want these other devas to know that I did not know the answer to your question. Go to the Buddha and accept whatever answer he gives".

[496-498] After this the monk vanishes from the Brahma world and appears before the Buddha and poses his question. The Buddha the said: "You have posed the question wrongly. You should ask where the four great elements do not find a footing, where both name-and-form die out". Then he gave the answer: "The four elements find no footing when both name-and-form die out, when consciousness ceases they all also cease". Then Khevaddha rejoiced at these words.

Summary Analysis
This sutta contains several interesting points. One is the possibility of miracles and super normal powers. It is said that these are within the reach of an enlightened monk. But he should not exhibit these powers before lay persons. But of course the Buddha himself and some monks like Mahā Mogallāna had demonstrated these in public. If Arhats can perform these publicly it would give proof that they are indeed Arhats. As it is there is no proof that a person said to be enlightened is indeed enlightened. But the third kind of miracle, education or instruction, could be provided freely. A good part of the Sutta deals with how this instruction could be followed leading to Enlightenment. This section is extracted from the Sāmaññaphala sutta.

The other question is that posed by the unnamed monk which is when the four great constituents end. This amounts to when the end of the world occurs. His visit to the deva world to find an answer is not a real but purely a mental one. Since Maha Brahma (who is considered the equivalent of the Abrahamic God) cannot answer it this shows that God is  not all-knowing. So the monk has to return to the Buddha to find the answer. But this is one of the unresolved questions of Buddhism. The Buddha reformulates the question and gives the answer that it ends in Arhatship. But this end is only for the Arhat. The original question is not resolved so it remains an undetermined question.

D 12. Lohiccasutta
About Lohicca

[501-502] While on a tour of Kosala with the monks the Buddha arrived at the village of Sālavatika. This was a royal domain granted by King Pasanedi of Kosala to  the Brahmin Lohicca. Now Lohicca had come to this wrong view: "If a recluse or a Brahmin has come across a skilful doctrine (kusaladhamma) he should not tell anyone about it. For what can one man do for another? To do so is like freeing oneself from one bond and getting entangled in another".

[503-507] When Lohicca had heard that the Buddha had come to Sālavatika he told his barber Bhesika to invite the Buddha and the monks on his behalf for the meal the next day. This Behesika did and the Buddha accepted the invitation. Behesika conveyed this information to Lohicca who got the meal prepared.

[508-509] The next day Bhesika followed the Buddha when he made his way to the house of Lohicca. On the way he told the Buddha of the (erroneous) view which Lohicca had developed. After the Buddha had been served with the meal and he had finished eating Lohicca sat on a low stool beside the Buddha. Then the following questions were asked by the Buddha followed by Lohicca's reply:
  1. "Is it true that a wicked opinion has arisen in you as reported to me Bhesika?" "Yes it is so Gotama".
  2. "Are you not established in your domain at Sālavatika?" "Yes, it is so".
  3. "Suppose one were to say 'Let Lohikka alone enjoy the revenue and fruit of his domain giving nothing to anybody else' would not that person be a danger to all those who depend on you, not considering their welfare?" "He would be such a one."
  4. "Would that doctrine be unsound? "It would be unsound doctrine"
Then the Buddha concluded: "If a man hold unsound doctrine I declare that he would be born either in hell or as an animal".

[510-512] Here the Buddha continues with the same kind of questioning replacing Lohicca with King Pasanedi and a man saying that the King should enjoy all the revenues leaving nothing to subjects. Then it is concluded that this man's doctrine too is not concerned with the welfare breeds enmity and is an unsound doctrine. The consequences for the man with unsound views are either hell or rebirth as an animal.

The same is applicable to a recluse or Brahmin who discovers a good doctrine but refuses to declare it asking what good can one man do to another. This would tend to discourage young men of good family who following a good teaching such as the Dhamma of a Tathagata could attain to great distinction like the fruit of conversion, or to the fruit of once returning, or to the fruit of never returning, or even to Arahatship. Thus such a doctrine puts obstacles to people who otherwise could get good rebirth like in heaven. By putting obstacles in their way the recluse or Brahmin who adopts this view will be out of sympathy for their welfare; being out of sympathy for their welfare he would become established in enmity; and when one is so established that doctrine is unsound. Now if a man holds unsound doctrine his future birth will either be in in hell or as an animal.

[513-515] Then the Buddha declares that there are three kinds of teachers who are worthy of blame and whoever blames such a one would be justified.

The first kind of teacher is one who has not reached his own goal. His students do not atttend to what he says, do not have interest in learning, and deviate from what the teacher instructs them to do. He is compared to a man who goes after a woman who rejects him, and tries to embrace her even when she has turned her back. This is an evil thing.

The second type of teacher also has not reached his goal. But he has the ability to keep his students interested, to enthuse them and make them follow his instrutions. But he should be blamed because he should have reached his goal before making his students to do so. He would fail in such an effort. He is compared to a man who keeps his own field unattended and tries to weed another's field.

The third type of blamable teacher reaches his goal and teaches but his disciples do not listen, do not show interest to learn. They do not follow his teaching. He is comparedto one who having cut through an old bond, makes a new bond. This is why he is blamed.

[516-517] Then Lohicca asks who are the teachers without blame. The Buddha states that there is one such teacher who teaches the following: 
[Here a long extract from the Sāmaññaphala Sutta (D 2) verses #77-97 is reproduced. These contain (1) The appearance of a Tathagata; (2) the minor details of mere morality that he practises; (3) the Confidence of heart he gains from this practice; (4) the guarding of the door of his Senses; (5) the development of Mindfulness and Self-possesstion; (6) the making of life to be simple and contented with little; (7) the Emancipation from the Five Hindrances; (8) the joy and Peace that results; (9) the four Jhānas; (10) the Insight arising from Knowledge of the First Path; and (11) the Realisation of the Four Noble Truths, the destruction of the Intoxications and the attainment of Arahatship.

The refrain throughout and the closing paragraph is: ''And whosoever the teacher be under whom the disciple attains to distinction so excellent as that, that is a teacher not open to blame in the world. And whosoever should blame such a one, his rebuke would be unjustifiable, not in accord either with the facts or with the truth, without good ground.]

When this was Lohicca made the usual expressions of praise of the Buddha and said: " I go to Master Gotama for refuge, to the Dhamma, and to the community of monks. May Master Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone to him for refuge, from this day forward, for life."

Summary Analysis
This sutta starts with the "wrong" view of Lohicca. There are two parts to this view, one that the person discovering a new doctrine can keep it secret and the other his question "What can one man do for another?". The Buddha starts with the second of these by raising the examples of Lohicca's domain and the kingdom of Pasanedi. If someone says that they alone should enjoy then it is a wrong doctrine and the consequences would be hell or an animal birth. Then the first part is also considered as it will prevent a clansman from following a right doctrine. But the logic here seems questionable. <br><br>

The rest of the sutta deals with kinds of teachers. Three teachers are blamed either because they have not reached the goal they teach or because they cannot convince their students. There is only teacher who cannot be blamed that is the Tathagata or an Arhat.

D 13. Tevijjasutta
The Three-fold Knowledge

[518-520] Touring Kosala the Buddha and the bhikkhus came to the village of Manasikata and lodged at the mango grove on the bank of the Acirvati river. At that time many famous Brahmins had come to Manasikata. Then a discussion arose between the students Vāseṭṭha and Bhāradvāja as to which was the true path and which the false path to union with Brahmā. Vāseṭṭa said that it was path shown by the Brahmin Pokkarasadi while Bhāradvāja said that it was the path shown by the Brahmin Tarukkha. Neither was able to convince the other.

[521-524] Then Vāseṭṭha suggested that thet go to see the recluse Gotama who was now in Manasikata and put him the question and abide by what he says. His companion agreed. They then went to see the Buddha and related to him the whole story. The Buddha asked: "What is the quarrell what is the difference of opinion beteen the two of you?" In reply Vāseṭṭha said that there were many kinds of Brahmins such as the Addhariya, the Tittiriya, the Chandoka, the Chandava and so on who teach different paths that lead to union with Brahmā. He then wanted to know if following these paths willl lead one to union with Brahmā.

[525-533] The Buddha then asked if there was "a single one of the Brahmins up to the seventh generation who has seen Brahmā face to face" and was told "No". He then asked if these Brahmins knew and could say when and where Brahmā would appear. Again the answer was "No". The Buddha then said that this being the case it is impossible for these Brahmins versed in the Three Vedas to show the way to union with Brahmā. The Buddha then compared these Brahmins to a line of blind men one holding on to the other, the first not seeing, the last not seeing and all in between not seeing. These Brahmins can see the sun and the moon but they cannot point to a way to go there, so how can they point a way to union with Brahmā who they had not even seen.

[534-541] The Buddha then gave two examples or parables to illustrate his argument. The first was a man who said that he was going to seek out and love the most beautiful woman in the land. Asked details of this woman regarding her name, caste, stature, where she lived and so on he could not give an answer. The second example was a man who said he was going to build a staircase for a palace in the place at a crossroads. But when asked details of the palace regarding its location, its height, how many storeys it had, and so on, he could not any of these these. In both cases the man concerned was indulging in foolish talk.

[542-545] Here the Buddha gives another comparison. He tells of a man standing on one bank of the Achirvati river and calling on the other bank to come to him so that he can cross over easily. He then asks Vāseṭṭha if this man's pleas will result in the other bank coming over. "Certainly not", said Vāseṭṭha. In the same way the Brahmins call and beg their gods like Indra, Soma, Varuna, Isāna, Pajāpati and the rest praying that after death they would be have union with Brahmā. But this is not possible.

[546-549] The Buddha then said that in the discipline of the noble Aryan there are five strands of sense desire originating from the eye, ear, nose, tongue body and mind. The noble disciple treats these as a bond or chain which has to be broken. But the Brahmins versed in the Three Vedas cling to them, are infatuated with them, and enjoy them. They do not realize their danger and their unreliability.

The Buddha then speaks of the Five Hindrances (sensual desire, ill-will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and worry, and sceptical doubt). The noble disciples consider them as obstacles, entanglements and veils. They avoid them. But the Brahmins versed in the three Vedas adopt these practices. It is impossible that those adopting these practices can after death attain union with Brahmā.

[550-553] Then differences between Brahmā and the Barhmins are highlighted. Brahmā does not have wives and possessions while the Brahmins do. Brahmā is not full of malice and his mind is pure while the Brahmins are full of malice and their hearts are not pure. So how can there be union between Brahma and these Brahmins after their death. Vāseṭṭha agrees.

[554-555] Then the Buddha give the simile of a man born and brought up in Manasikata being asked by someone about the way to Manasikata. He might fall into difficulty but the Tathagata has no doubt or difficulty about the way to Brahmā. Then Vāseṭṭha asked the Buddha about the way to Brahmā. In his answer the Buddha starts with the arising of a Tathagata, his preaching of the Dhamma and a householder deciding to go forth from the household life to practice the Dhamma. He becomes a monk and leads a life of restraint and begins developing good conduct.
[Here is inserted a long extract from the Sāmaññaphala Sutta (D 2) verses #43-72. These contain (1) the confidence of heart he gains from his sense of goodness; ; (2) the guarding of the door of his Senses; (3) the development of Mindfulness and Self-possession; (4) the making of life to be simple and contented with little; (5) the emancipation from the Five Hindrances; (8) the joy and Peace that results from all that he has done so far.]
[556] He then pervades the four quarters with a heart imbued with compassion. then above, below, across, and everywhere. He dwells pervading the entire world with a mind imbuded with compassion, vast, exalted, measureless, without hostility, without ill will. Like a mighty trumpeter he is heard everywhere. He then does the same with a heart filled with appreciative joy, then with heart filled withj equanimity. This is the way to the union with Brahmā.

When the Lord had finished speaking, the young Brahmins Vāseṭṭha and Bhāradvāja said: "Lord! Magnificent are your words. It is as if you have set upright something overturned, revealed something hidden, shown the way to one lost, or set a lamp in the darkness. We go to the Blessed One for refuge, to the Dhamma, and to the Sangha. May the Blessed One remember us as lay followers who have gone to him for refuge, from this day forward, for life!"

Summary Analysis
Union with Brahmā is taken to mean rebirth in the Brahma world. This has been the goal of the Vedic religion and in this sutta the Buddha says that this cannot be achieved by the usual Brahmanical practices but by the cultivation of the Brahma Viharas. These are traditionally four: mettā (loving kindness), compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity. For some reason the first of these has been omitted.

The Buddha first criticized the Vedas by showing that those who composed them had not seen Brahmā nor had all those who followed in their wake. The parable of the chain of blind men is invoked. This argument could be applied to believers in God in late religions like the Abrahamic religion. Next the actual ritualistic practices of Brahmins are ridiculed even though these are not described in detail. Finally the practice of the Brahma Viharas is shown as the right path.

This sutta does not go to the goal of Arhatship as in many other suttas. It stops after reaching the highest of the Deva world which is the world of Brahmā. The Buddha of course believed in the existence of the deva worlds which was a common belief of the day inlike today. .