100. Chương 100: Kinh Sangàrava – MN 100: To Sangarava – Song ngữ
Majjhima Nikaya – Middle-length Discourses of the Buddha
Trung Bộ Kinh
Anh ngữ: Bhikkhu Ñāṇamoli
Việt ngữ: Hòa thượng Thích Minh Châu
Compile: Lotus group
Part II – Majjhima Nikaya – Middle Length Discourses – Trung Bộ Kinh
Chương 100: Kinh Sangàrava – MN 100: To Sangarava – (Sangàrava sutta)
- Thus have I heard:
On one occasion the Blessed One was wandering in the Kosalan country with a large Sangha of bhikkhus.
Tôi nghe như vầy:
Một thời Thế Tôn du hành trong nước Kosala với đại chúng Tỷ-kheo.
- Now on that occasion a Brahmin woman named Dhananjani was staying at Candalakappa, having full confidence in the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha. One time she stumbled, and [on recovering her balance] exclaimed three times: “Honour to the Blessed One, accomplished and fully enlightened! Honour to the Blessed One, accomplished and fully enlightened! Honour to the Blessed One, accomplished  and fully enlightened!”
Lúc bấy giờ, một nữ Bà-la-môn tên Dhananjani (Đa-na-xa-ni) trú ở Candalakappa (Đan-đạt-la-kiếp-ba) có lòng tín thành Phật, Pháp và Tăng. Rồi nữ Bà-la-môn Dhananjani sau khi bị trợt chân, thốt lên ba lần cảm hứng ngữ: “Đảnh lễ đức Thế Tôn ấy, bậc A-la-hán, Chánh Đẳng Giác! Đảnh lễ đức Thế Tôn ấy, bậc A-la-hán Chánh Đẳng Giác! Đảnh lễ đức Thế Tôn ấy, bậc A-la-hán, Chánh Đẳng Giác!”
- At the time there was a Brahmin student named Sangarava staying at Candalakappa. He was a master of the Three Vedas, with their vocabularies, liturgy, phonology, and etymology, and the histories as the fifth; skilled in philology and grammar, he was fully versed in natural philosophy and in the marks of a Great Man. Having heard the Brahmin woman Dhananjani utter those words, he said to her:
–“This Brahmin woman Dhananjani must be disgraced and degraded, since when there are Brahmins around she praises that bald-pated recluse.”
— [She replied:] “My dear sir, you do not know the virtue and wisdom of the Blessed One. If you knew that Blessed One’s virtue and wisdom, my dear sir, you would never think of abusing and reviling him.”
–“Then, madam, inform me when the recluse Gotama comes to Candalakappa.”
–“Yes, dear sir,” the Brahmin woman Dhananjani replied.
Lúc bấy giờ một thanh niên Bà-la-môn tên Sangarava trú ở Candalakappa, tinh thông ba tập Veda, với tự vững, lễ nghi, ngữ nguyên và thứ năm là các cổ truyện, thông hiểu từ ngữ và văn phạm, thâm hiểu Thuận thế luận và Đại nhân tướng. Thanh niên Bà-la-môn Sangarava nghe nữ Bà-la-môn Dhananjani nói như vậy, sau khi nghe, liền nói với nữ Bà-la-môn Dhanajani:
— Nữ Bà-la-môn Dhananjani này thật là hạ liệt! Nữ Bà-la-môn Dhananjani này thật là suy đồi, vì rằng trong khi các Bà-la-môn đang còn sống lại nói lời ta thán Sa-môn trọc đầu ấy.
— Này Hiền giả thân mến, có phải Hiền giả chưa biết đến giới đức và tuệ đức của Như Lai? Này Hiền giả thân mến, nếu Hiền giả biết đến giới đức và tuệ đức của Như Lai, tôi nghĩ rằng, này Hiền giả thân mến, Hiền giả sẽ không nghĩ rằng Thế Tôn đáng bị mạ lỵ, đáng bị mắng nhiếc.
— Vậy thưa Bà, khi nào Sa-môn Gotama đến tại Candalakappa, Bà hãy báo tin cho tôi biết.
— Thưa vâng, Hiền giả.
Nữ Bà-la-môn Dhananjani vâng đáp thanh niên Bà-la-môn Sangarava.
- Then, after wandering by stages in the Kosalan country, the Blessed One eventually arrived at Candalakappa. There in Candalakappa the Blessed One lived in the Mango Grove belonging to the Brahmins of the Todeyya clan.
Rồi Thế Tôn tiếp tục du hành trong nước Kosala và đến Candalakappa. Tại đây, Thế Tôn trú tại Candalakappa trong rừng xoài của các Bà-la-môn của bộ tộc Todeyya.
- The Brahmin woman Dhananjani heard that the Blessed One had arrived, so she went to the Brahmin student Sangarava and told him:
–“My dear sir, the Blessed One has arrived in Candalakappa and he is living here in Candalakappa in the Mango Grove belonging to the Brahmins of the Todeyya clan. Now is the time, dear sir, to do as you think fit.”
–“Yes, madam,” he replied.
Then he went to the Blessed One and exchanged greetings with him. When this courteous  and amiable talk was finished, he sat down at one side and said:
Nữ Bà-la-môn Dhananjani được nghe: “Thế Tôn đã đến Candalakappa, trú tại Candalakappa trong rừng xoài của các Bà-la-môn của bộ tộc Todeyya”. Rồi nữ Bà-la-môn Dhananjani đi đến thanh niên Bà-la-môn Sangarava, sau khi đến, nói với thanh niên Bà-la-môn Sangarava:
— Này Hiền giả thân mến, bậc Thế Tôn ấy đã đến Candalakappa trú tại Candalakappa trong rừng xoài của các vị Bà-la-môn của bộ tộc Todeyya. Này Hiền giả thân mến, nay Hiền giả làm những gì mà Hiền giả nghĩ là hợp thời.
— Thưa Bà, vâng.
Thanh niên Bà-la-môn Sangarava, vâng đáp nữ Bà-la-môn Dhananjani, đi đến Thế Tôn, sau khi đến, nói lên với Thế Tôn những lời chào đón hỏi thăm, sau khi nói lên những lời chào đón hỏi thăm thân hữu, ngồi xuống một bên. Ngồi xuống một bên, thanh niên Bà-la-môn Sangarava bạch Thế Tôn:
- “Master Gotama, there are some recluses and Brahmins who claim [to teach] the fundamentals of the holy life after having reached the consummation and perfection of direct knowledge here and now. Where among these recluses and Brahmins does Master Gotama stand?”
— Thưa Tôn giả Gotama, có một số Sa-môn, Bà-la-môn tự nhận rằng về căn bản Phạm hạnh, họ đã chứng đạt được ngay hiện tại thông trí và cứu cánh bỉ ngạn nhờ thượng trí (abinnavesanaparamipatta). Tôn giả Gotama là thế nào đối với các vị ấy?
- “Bharadvaja, I say that there is a diversity among those recluses and Brahmins who claim [to teach] the fundamentals of the holy life after having reached. the consummation and perfection of direct knowledge here and now. There are some recluses and Brahmins who are traditionalists, who on the basis of oral tradition claim [to teach] the fundamentals of the holy life after having reached the consummation and perfection of direct knowledge here and now; such are the Brahmins of the Three Vedas. There are some recluses and Brahmins who, entirely on the basis of mere faith, claim [to teach] the fundamentals of the holy life after having reached the consummation and perfection of direct knowledge; such are the reasoners and investigators. There are some recluses and Brahmins who, having directly known the Dhamma for themselves among things not heard before, claim [to teach] the fundamentals of the holy life after having reached the consummation and perfection of direct knowledge.
— Này Bharadvaja, Ta nói rằng, có sự sai khác giữa những vị tự nhận rằng về căn bản Phạm hạnh, họ đã chứng đạt được ngay trong hiện tại thông trí và cứu cánh bỉ ngạn nhờ thượng trí. Này Bharadvaja, có một số Sa-môn, Bà-la-môn theo tin đồn (hay truyền thống), do tin đồn (hay truyền thống), họ tự nhận rằng về căn bản Phạm hạnh, họ đã chứng đạt được ngay hiện tại thông trí với cứu cánh bỉ ngạn nhờ thượng trí, như các Bà-la-môn thông hiểu ba tập Veda. Nhưng này Bharadvaja, có một số Sa-môn Bà-la-môn hoàn toàn chỉ do lòng tin, tự nhận rằng về căn bản Phạm hạnh, họ đã chứng đạt ngay trong hiện tại thông trí và cứu cánh bỉ ngạn nhờ thượng trí, như các nhà lý luận (các nhà suy tư). Này Bharadvaja, có một số Sa-môn, Bà-la-môn đối với các pháp từ trước chưa từng được nghe, tự mình chứng tri hoàn toàn pháp ấy, tự nhận rằng về căn bản Phạm hạnh, do đã chứng đạt ngay trong hiện tại thông trí và cứu cánh bỉ ngạn nhờ thượng trí. Ở đây, này Bharadvaja, các vị Sa-môn, Bà-la-môn ấy đối với các pháp từ trước chưa từng được nghe, tự mình chứng tri hoàn toàn pháp ấy, tự nhận rằng về căn bản Phạm hạnh, họ đã chứng đạt ngay trong hiện tại thông trí và cứu cánh bỉ ngạn nhờ thượng trí.
- “I, Bharadvaja, am one of those recluses and Brahmins who, having directly known the Dhamma for themselves among things not heard before, claim [to teach] the fundamentals of the holy life after having reached the consummation and perfection of direct knowledge. As to how I am one of those recluses and Brahmins that may be understood in the following way.
Ta là một trong những vị ấy. Này Bharadvaja, Ông cần phải hiểu theo nghĩa như vậy. Các vị Sa-môn, Bà-la-môn ấy đối với các pháp từ trước chưa từng được nghe, tự mình chứng tri hoàn toàn pháp ấy, tự nhận rằng, về căn bản Phạm hạnh, họ đã chứng đạt ngay trong hiện tại thông trí và cứu cánh bỉ ngạn nhờ thượng trí, Ta là một trong những vị ấy.
- “Here, Bharadvaja, before my enlightenment, while I was still only an unenlightened Bodhisatta, I considered thus:
‘Household life is crowded and dusty; life gone forth is wide open. It is not easy while living in a home to lead the holy life utterly perfect and pure as a polished shell. Suppose I shave off my hair and beard, put on the yellow robe, and go forth from the home life into homelessness.’
Ở đây, này Bharadvaja, thuở xưa, khi Ta chưa thành bậc Chánh Đẳng Giác, còn là Bồ-tát, Ta suy nghĩ như sau: “Đời sống tại gia chật hẹp, nhiễm đầy bụi đời; đời sống xuất gia phóng khoáng như ngoài trời. Thật không dễ gì sống tại gia, có thể sống đời sống Phạm hạnh hoàn toàn viên mãn, hoàn toàn thanh tịnh, trắng bạch như vỏ ốc. Vậy Ta hãy cạo bỏ râu tóc, khoác áo cà-sa, xuất gia, từ bỏ gia đình, sống không gia đình”.
10-13. “Later, Bharadvaja,  while still young … (as Sutta 26, §§14-17) … And I sat down thinking: ‘This will serve for striving.’
Rồi này Bharadvaja, sau một thời gian, khi Ta còn trẻ, niên thiếu, tóc đen nhánh, đầy đủ huyết khí của tuổi thanh xuân, trong thời vàng son cuộc đời, mặc dầu cha mẹ không bằng lòng, nước mắt đầy mặt, than khóc, Ta cạo bỏ râu tóc, đắp áo cà-sa, xuất gia, từ bỏ gia đình, sống không gia đình.
Ta xuất gia như vậy, một người đi tìm cái gì chí thiện, tìm cầu vô thượng tối thắng an tịnh đạo lộ. Ta đến chỗ Alara Kalama ở, khi đến xong liền thưa với Alara Kalama: “Hiền giả Kalama, tôi muốn sống phạm hạnh trong pháp luật này”. Này Bharadvaja, được nghe nói vậy, Alara Kalama nói với Ta: “Này Tôn giả, hãy sống (và an trú). Pháp này là như vậy, khiến kẻ có trí, không bao lâu như vị Bổn sư của mình (chỉ dạy), tự tri, tự chứng, tự đạt và an trú”. Này Bharadvaja, và không bao lâu Ta đã thông suốt pháp ấy một cách mau chóng. Và này Bharadvaja, cho đến vấn đề khua môi và vấn đề phát ngôn mà nói, thời Ta nói giáo lý của kẻ trí và giáo lý của bậc Trưởng lão (Thượng tọa), và Ta tự cho rằng Ta như kẻ khác cũng vậy, Ta biết và Ta thấy.
Này Bharadvaja, Ta suy nghĩ như sau: “Alara Kalama tuyên bố pháp này không phải chỉ vì lòng tin: “Sau khi tự tri, tự chứng, tự đạt, Ta mới an trú”. Chắc chắn Alara Kalama biết pháp này, thấy pháp này rồi mới an trú”. Này Bharadvaja, rồi Ta đi đến chỗ Alara Kalama ở, sau khi đến Ta nói với Alara Kalama: “Hiền giả Kalama, cho đến mức độ nào, Ngài tự tri, tự chứng, tự đạt, và tuyên bố pháp này?” Này Bharadvaja, được nói vậy, Alara Kalama tuyên bố về Vô sở hữu xứ.
Rồi này Bharadvaja, Ta suy nghĩ: “Không phải chỉ có Alara Kalama có lòng tin, Ta cũng có lòng tin. Không phải chỉ có Alara Kalama mới có tinh tấn, Ta cũng có tinh tấn. Không phải chỉ có Alara Kalama mới có niệm, Ta cũng có niệm. Không phải chỉ có Alara Kalama mới có định, Ta cũng có định. Không phải chỉ có Alara Kalama mới có tuệ, Ta cũng có tuệ. Vậy Ta hãy cố gắng chứng cho được pháp mà Alara Kalama tuyên bố: “Sau khi tự tri, tự chứng, tự đạt, ta an trú”.
Rồi này Bharadvaja, không bao lâu sau khi tự tri, tự chứng, tự đạt pháp ấy một cách mau chóng, Ta an trú. Rồi này Bharadvaja, Ta đi đến chỗ Alara Kalama ở, sau khi đến, Ta nói với Alara Kalama: “Này Hiền giả Kalama, có phải Hiền giả đã tự tri, tự chứng, tự đạt và tuyên bố pháp này đến mức độ như vậy?” –“Vâng, Hiền giả, tôi đã tự tri, tự chứng, tự đạt và tuyên bố pháp này đến mức độ như vậy”. –“Này Hiền giả, tôi cũng tự tri, tự chứng, tự đạt và tuyên bố pháp này đến mức độ như vậy”. –“Thật lợi ích thay cho chúng tôi, Thật khéo lợi ích thay cho chúng tôi, khi chúng tôi được thấy một đồng phạm hạnh như Tôn giả! Pháp mà tôi tự tri, tự chứng, tự đạt, và tuyên bố, chính pháp ấy Hiền giả tự tri, tự chứng, tự đạt và an trú; pháp mà Hiền giả tự tri, tự chứng, tự đạt và an trú, chính pháp ấy tôi tự tri, tự chứng tự đạt và tuyên bố; pháp mà tôi biết, chính pháp ấy Hiền giả biết; pháp mà Hiền giả biết, chính pháp ấy tôi biết. Tôi như thế nào, Hiền giả là như vậy; Hiền giả như thế nào, tôi là như vậy. Nay hãy đến đây, Hiền giả, hai chúng ta hãy chăm sóc hội chúng này!”
Như vậy này Bharadvaja, Alara Kalama là Đạo Sư của Ta, lại đặt Ta, đệ tử của vị ấy ngang hàng với mình, và tôn sùng Ta với sự tôn sùng tối thượng. Này Bharadvaja, rồi Ta tự suy nghĩ: “Pháp này không hướng đến yểm ly, không hướng đến ly tham, không hướng đến đoạn diệt, không hướng đến an tịnh, không hướng đến thượng trí, không hướng đến giác ngộ, không hướng đến Niết-bàn, mà chỉ đưa đến sự chứng đạt Vô sở hữu xứ”. Như vậy này Bharadvaja, Ta không tôn kính pháp này, và từ bỏ pháp ấy, Ta bỏ đi.
Rồi này Bharadvaja, Ta, kẻ đi tìm cái gì chí thiện, tìm cầu vô thượng tối thắng an tịnh đạo lộ. Ta đi đến chỗ Uddaka Ramaputta, khi đến xong Ta nói với Uddaka Ramaputta: “Hiền giả, tôi muốn sống phạm hạnh trong pháp luật này. Được nói vậy, này Bharadvaja, Uddaka Ramaputta nói với Ta: “Này Tôn giả, hãy sống (và an trú), pháp này là như vậy, khiến người có trí không bao lâu như vị Bổn sư của mình (chỉ dạy) tự tri, tự chứng, tự đạt và an trú”. Này Bharadvaja, Ta đã thông suốt pháp ấy một cách mau chóng. Và này Bharadvaja, cho đến vấn đề khua môi và vấn đề phát ngôn mà nói, thời Ta nói giáo lý của kẻ trí, và giáo lý của bậc Trưởng lão (Thượng Tọa), và Ta tự cho rằng Ta như người khác cũng vậy, Ta biết và Ta thấy.
Này Bharadvaja, Ta suy nghĩ như sau: “Rama tuyên bố pháp này không phải vì lòng tin: “Sau khi tự tri, tự chứng, tự đạt, ta mới an trú”. Chắc chắn Rama thấy pháp này, biết pháp này, rồi mới an trú”. Này Bharadvaja, rồi Ta đi đến chỗ Uddaka Ramaputta ở, sau khi đến Ta nói với Uddaka Ramaputta: “Hiền giả Rama, cho đến mức độ nào, Ngài tự tri, tự chứng, tự đạt và tuyên bố pháp này?” Này Bharadvaja được nghe nói vậy, Uddaka Ramaputta tuyên bố về Phi tưởng phi phi tưởng xứ.
Rồi này Bharadvaja, Ta suy nghĩ: “Không phải chỉ có Rama mới có lòng tin. Ta cũng có lòng tin. Không phải chỉ có Rama mới có tinh tấn, Ta cũng có tinh tấn. Không phải chỉ có Rama mới có niệm, Ta cũng có niệm. Không phải chỉ có Rama mới có định, Ta cũng có định. Không phải chỉ có Rama mới có tuệ, Ta cũng có tuệ. Vậy ta hãy cố gắng chứng cho được pháp mà Rama tuyên bố: “Sau khi tự tri, tự chứng, tự đạt, tự an trú”.
Rồi này Bharadvaja, không bao lâu sau khi tự tri, tự chứng, tự đạt pháp ấy một cách mau chóng, Ta an trú. Rồi này Bharadvaja, Ta đi đến chỗ Uddaka Ramaputta ở, sau khi đến, Ta nói với Uddaka Ramaputta: “Này Hiền giả Rama, có phải Hiền giả đã tự tri, tự chứng, tự đạt và tuyên bố pháp này đến mức độ như vậy?” –“Vâng Hiền giả, tôi đã tự tri, tự chứng, tự đạt và tuyên bố pháp này đến mức độ như vậy”. –“Này Hiền giả, tôi cũng đã tự tri, tự chứng, tự đạt và tuyên bố pháp này đến mức độ như vậy.” Thật lợi ích thay cho chúng tôi! Thật khéo lợi ích thay cho chúng tôi, khi chúng tôi được thấy một đồng phạm hạnh như Tôn giả! Pháp mà tôi, tự tri tự chứng, tự đạt và tuyên bố, chính pháp ấy Hiền giả tự tri, tự chứng, tự đạt và an trú; pháp mà Hiền giả tự tri, tự chứng, tự đạt và an trú, chính pháp ấy tôi tự tri, tự chứng, tự đạt và tuyên bố; pháp mà tôi biết, chính pháp ấy Hiền giả biết; pháp mà Hiền giả biết, chính pháp ấy tôi biết. Tôi như thế nào, Hiền giả là như vậy; Hiền giả như thế nào, Tôi là như vậy. Nay hãy đến đây, Hiền giả, hai chúng ta hãy chăm sóc hội chúng này!”
Như vậy, này Bharadvaja, Uddaka Ramaputta-là Đạo Sư của Ta, lại đặt Ta, đệ tử của vị ấy ngang hàng với mình, và tôn sùng Ta với sự tôn sùng tối thượng. Này Bharadvaja, rồi Ta suy nghĩ: “Pháp này không hướng đến yểm ly, không hướng đến ly tham, không hướng đến đoạn diệt, không hướng đến an tịnh, không hướng đến thượng trí, không hướng đến giác ngộ, không hướng đến Niết-bàn, mà chỉ đưa đến sự chứng đạt Phi tưởng phi phi tưởng xứ”. Như vậy, này Bharadvaja, Ta không tôn kính pháp ấy và từ bỏ pháp ấy, Ta bỏ đi.
Này Bharadvaja, Ta, kẻ đi tìm cái gì chí thiện, tìm cầu vô thượng tối thắng an tịnh đạo lộ, tuần tự du hành tại nước Magadha (Ma kiệt đà) và đến tại tụ lạc Uruvela (Ưu lâu tần loa). Tại đây, Ta thấy một địa điểm khả ái, một khóm rừng thoải mái, có con sông trong sáng chảy gần, với một chỗ lội qua dễ dàng khả ái, và xung quanh có làng mạc bao bọc dễ dàng đi khất thực. Này Bharadvaja, rồi Ta tự nghĩ: “Thật là một địa điểm khả ái, một khóm rừng thoải mái, có con sông trong sáng chảy gần, với một chỗ lội qua dễ dàng khả ái, và xung quanh có làng mạc bao bọc dễ dàng đi khất thực. Thật là một chỗ vừa đủ cho một Thiện nam tử tha thiết tinh cần có thể tinh tấn”. Và này Bharadvaja, Ta ngồi xuống tại chỗ ấy và nghĩ: “Thật là vừa đủ để tinh tấn”.
14-30. “Now these three similes occurred to me spontaneously never heard before … (as Sutta 36, §§17-33; but in the present sutta in §§17-22 – corresponding to §§20-25 of Sutta 36 – the sentence “But such painful feeling that arose in me did not invade my mind and remain” does not occur) … the five bhikkhus were disgusted and left me, thinking: ‘The recluse Gotama now lives luxuriously; he has given up his striving and reverted to luxury.’
Rồi này Bharadvaja, ba ví dụ khởi lên nơi Ta, vi diệu, từ trước chưa từng được nghe: Này Bharadvaja, ví như có một khúc cây đẫm ướt, đầy nhựa sống và đặt trong nước. Có một người đến, cầm dụng cụ làm lửa với ý nghĩ: “Ta sẽ nhen lửa, hơi nóng sẽ hiện ra”. Này Bharadvaja, Ông nghĩ thế nào? Người ấy lấy khúc cây đẫm ướt, đầy nhựa sống đặt trong nước ấy, rồi cọ xát với dụng cụ làm lửa thì có thể nhen lửa, khiến lửa nóng hiện ra được không?
— Thưa không, Tôn giả Gotama. Vì sao vậy? Này Tôn giả Gotama, vì cành cây ấy đẫm ướt, đầy nhựa sống lại bị ngâm trong nước, nên người ấy chỉ bị mệt nhọc và bực bội.
— Cũng vậy, này Bharadvaja, những Sa-môn hay những Bà-la-môn sống không xả ly các dục về thân, những gì đối với chúng thuộc các dục như dục tham, dục ái, dục hôn ám, dục khát vọng, dục nhiệt não, về nội tâm chưa được khéo đoạn trừ, chưa được khéo làm cho nhẹ bớt, nếu những Tôn giả Sa-môn hay Bà-la-môn này thình lình cảm thọ những cảm giác chói đau, khổ đau, kịch liệt, khốc liệt, các vị ấy không có thể chứng được tri kiến, vô thượng Chánh Đẳng Giác, và nếu những Tôn giả Sa-môn hay Bà-la-môn này không thình lình cảm thọ những cảm giác chói đau, khổ đau, kịch liệt, khốc liệt, các vị ấy cũng không có thể chứng được tri kiến, vô thượng Chánh Đẳng Giác. Này Bharadvaja, đó là ví dụ thứ nhất, vi diệu, từ trước chưa từng được nghe, được khởi lên nơi Ta.
Này Bharadvaja, rồi một ví dụ thứ hai, vi diệu, từ trước chưa từng được nghe, được khởi lên nơi Ta. Này Bharadvaja, ví như có một khúc cây đẫm ướt, đầy nhựa sống, được vớt khỏi nước, được đặt trên đất khô. Có một người đến, cầm dụng cụ làm lửa với ý nghĩ: “Ta sẽ nhen lửa, hơi nóng sẽ hiện ra”. Này Bharadvaja, Ông nghĩ thế nào? Người ấy lấy khúc cây đẫm ướt, đầy nhựa sống, được vớt khỏi nước, được đặt trên đất khô ấy, rồi cọ xát với dụng cụ làm lửa, có thể nhen lửa, khiến hơi nóng hiện ra được không?
— Thưa không, Tôn giả Gotama. Vì sao vậy? Này Tôn giả Gotama, vì khúc cây ấy đẫm ướt, đầy nhựa sống, dầu được vớt khỏi nước, được đặt trên đất khô, nên người ấy chỉ bị mệt nhọc và bực bội.
— Cũng vậy, này Bharadvaja, những Sa-môn hay Bà-la-môn sống không xả ly các dục về thân, những gì đối với các vị ấy thuộc các dục như dục tham, dục ái, dục hôm ám, dục khát vọng, dục nhiệt não, về nội tâm chưa được khéo đoạn trừ, chưa được khéo làm cho nhẹ bớt. Nếu những Tôn giả Sa-môn, hay Bà-la-môn này thình lình cảm thọ những cảm giác chói đau, khổ đau, kịch liệt, khốc liệt, các vị ấy không có thể chứng được tri kiến, vô thượng Chánh Đẳng Giác. Và nếu những Tôn giả Sa-môn hay Bà-la-môn này không thình lình cảm thọ những cảm giác chói đau, khổ đau, kịch liệt, khốc liệt, các vị ấy cũng không có thể chứng được tri kiến, vô thượng Chánh Đẳng Giác. Này Bharadvaja, đó là ví dụ thứ hai, vi diệu, từ trước chưa từng được nghe, được khởi lên nơi Ta.
Này Bharadvaja, rồi một ví dụ thứ ba, vi diệu, từ trước chưa từng được nghe, được khởi lên nơi Ta. Này Bharadvaja, ví như có một khúc cây khô, không nhựa, được vớt khỏi nước, được đặt trên đất khô. Có một người đến cầm dụng cụ làm lửa với ý nghĩ: “Ta sẽ nhen lửa, lửa nóng sẽ hiện ra”. Này Bharadvaja, Ông nghĩ thế nào? Người ấy lấy khúc cây khô, không nhựa, được vớt khỏi nước, được đặt trên đất khô, rồi cọ xát với dụng cụ làm lửa, có thể nhen lửa, khiến nơi nóng hiện ra được không?
— Thưa được, Tôn giả Gotama. Vì sao vậy? Này Tôn giả Gotama, vì khúc cây ấy khô, không nhựa, lại được vớt khỏi nước, được đặt trên đất khô.
— Cũng vậy, này Bharadvaja, những Tôn giả Sa-môn hay Bà-la-môn sống xả ly các dục về thân, những gì đối với các vị ấy thuộc các dục, như dục tham, dục ái, dục hôn ám, dục khác vọng, dục nhiệt não, về nội tâm được khéo đoạn trừ. Nếu những Tôn giả Sa-môn hay Bà-la-môn này thình lình cảm thọ những cảm giác chói đau, khổ đau, kịch liệt, khốc liệt, các vị ấy có thể chứng được tri kiến vô thượng Chánh Đẳng Giác. Và nếu những Tôn giả Sa-môn hay Bà-la-môn này không thình lình cảm thọ những cảm giác khổ đau, kịch liệt, khốc liệt, các vị này cũng có thể chứng được tri kiến vô thượng Chánh Đẳng Giác. Này Bharadvaja, đó là ví dụ thứ ba, vi diệu, từ trước chưa từng được nghe, được khởi lên nơi Ta.
Này Bharadvaja, rồi Ta suy nghĩ: “Ta hãy nghiến răng, dán chặt lên lưỡi lên nóc họng, lấy tâm chế ngự tâm, nhiếp phục tâm, đánh bại tâm!” Này Bharadvaja, rồi Ta nghiến răng, dán chặt lưỡi lên nóc họng, lấy tâm chế ngự tâm, nhiếp phục tâm, đánh bại tâm. Khi Ta đang nghiến răng, dán chặt lưỡi lên nóc họng, lấy tâm chế ngự tâm, nhiếp phục tâm, đánh bại tâm, mồ hôi thoát ra từ nơi nách của Ta. Này Bharadvaja, như một người lực sĩ nắm lấy đầu một người ốm yếu hay nắm lấy vai, có thể chế ngự, nhiếp phục và đánh bại người ấy. Này Bharadvaja, khi Ta đang nghiến răng, dán chặt lưỡi lên nóc họng, lấy tâm chế ngự tâm, nhiếp phục tâm, đánh bại tâm, mồ hôi thoát ra từ nơi nách của Ta, này Bharadvaja, dầu cho Ta có chí tâm tinh cần, tinh tấn, tận lực, dầu cho niệm được an trú không dao động, nhưng thân của Ta vẫn bị khích động, không được khinh an, vì Ta bị chi phối bởi sự tinh tấn do tinh tấn chống lại khổ thọ ấy.
Này Bharadvaja, rồi Ta suy nghĩ như sau: “Ta hãy tu Thiền nín thở”. Và này Bharadvaja, rồi Ta nín thở vô, thở ra ngang qua miệng và ngang qua mũi. Này Bharadvaja, khi Ta nín thở vô, thở ra ngang qua miệng và ngang qua mũi, thì một tiếng gió động kinh khủng thổi lên, ngang qua lỗ tai. Này Bharadvaja, ví như tiếng kinh khủng phát ra từ ống thổi bệ đang thổi của người thợ rèn. Cũng vậy này Bharadvaja, khi Ta nín thở vô, thở ra ngang qua miệng và ngang qua mũi, thời một tiếng gió động kinh khủng thổi lên, ngang qua lỗ tai. Này Bharadvaja, dầu cho Ta có chí tâm tinh cần, tinh tấn, tận lực, dầu cho niệm được an trú không dao động, nhưng thân của Ta vẫn bị kích động, không được khinh an, vì Ta bị chi phối bởi sự tinh tấn do tinh tấn chống lại khổ thọ ấy.
Này Bharadvaja, rồi Ta suy nghĩ như sau: “Ta hãy tu thêm Thiền nín thở”. Và này Bharadvaja, rồi Ta nín thở vô, thở ra ngang qua miệng, ngang qua mũi, và ngang qua tai. Này Bharadvaja, khi Ta nín thở vô thở ra ngang qua miệng, ngang qua mũi và ngang qua tai, thì có ngọn gió kinh khủng thổi lên đau nhói trong đầu Ta. Này Bharadvaja, ví như một người lực sĩ chém đầu một người khác với một thanh kiếm sắc, cũng vậy này Bharadvaja, khi ta nín thở vô, thở ra, ngang qua miệng, ngang qua mũi và ngang qua tai, thì có ngọn gió kinh khủng thổi lên đau nhói trong đầu Ta. Này Bharadvaja, dầu cho Ta có chí tâm, tinh cần, tinh tấn, tận lực, dầu cho niệm được an trú không dao động, nhưng thân của Ta vẫn bị khích động, không được khinh an, vì Ta bị chi phối bởi sự tinh tấn, do tinh tấn chống lại khổ thọ ấy.
Này Bharadvaja, rồi Ta suy nghĩ như sau: “Ta hãy tu thêm Thiền nín thở”. Và này Bharadvaja, rồi Ta nín thở vô, thở ra, ngang qua miệng, ngang qua mũi và ngang qua tai, Ta cảm giác đau đầu, một cách kinh khủng. Này Bharadvaja, ví như một người lực sĩ lấy một dây nịt bằng da cứng quấn tròn quanh đầu rồi xiết mạnh; cũng vậy, này Bharadvaja, khi Ta nín thở vô, thở ra, ngang qua miệng, ngang qua mũi, và ngang qua tai, Ta cảm giác đau đầu một cách kinh khủng. Này Bharadvaja, dầu cho Ta có chí tâm, tinh cần, tinh tấn tận lực, dầu cho niệm được an trú không dao động, nhưng thân của Ta vẫn bị khích động, không được khinh an, vì Ta bị chi phối bởi sự tinh tấn do tinh tấn chống lại khổ thọ ấy.
Này Bharadvaja, rồi Ta suy nghĩ như sau: “Ta hãy tu thêm Thiền nín thở”. Và này Bharadvaja, rồi Ta nín thở vô, thở ra, ngang qua miệng, ngang qua mũi và ngang qua tai. Này Bharadvaja, khi Ta nín thở vô, thở ra, ngang qua miệng, ngang qua mũi và ngang qua tai, một ngọn gió kinh khủng cắt ngang bụng của Ta. Này Bharadvaja, ví như một người đồ tể thiện xảo hay đệ tử người đồ tể cắt ngang bụng với một con dao cắt thịt bò sắc bén. Cũng vậy, này Bharadvaja, khi Ta nín thở vô, thở ra, ngang qua miệng, ngang qua mũi và ngang qua tai, một ngọn kinh khủng cắt ngang bụng của Ta. Này Bharadvaja, dầu cho Ta có chí tâm, tinh cần, tinh tấn, tận lực, dẫu cho niệm được an trú, không dao động nhưng thân của Ta vẫn bị khích động, không được khinh an, vì Ta bị chi phối bởi sự tinh tấn, do tinh tấn chống lại khổ thọ ấy.
Này Bharadvaja, rồi Ta suy nghĩ như sau: “Ta hãy tu thêm Thiền nín thở”. Và này Bharadvaja, rồi Ta nín thở vô, thở ra, ngang qua miệng, ngang qua mũi và ngang qua tai. Này Bharadvaja, khi Ta nín thở vô, thở ra, ngang qua miệng, ngang qua mũi và ngang qua tai, thì có một sức nóng kinh khủng khởi lên trong thân Ta. Này Bharadvaja, ví như hai người lực sĩ sau khi nắm cánh tay một người yếu hơn, nướng người ấy, đốt người ấy trên một hố than hừng. Cũng vậy, này Bharadvaja, khi Ta nín thở vô, thở ra, ngang qua miệng, ngang qua mũi và ngang qua tai thì có một sức nóng kinh khủng khởi lên trong thân Ta. Này Bharadvaja, dầu cho Ta có chí tâm, tinh cần, tinh tấn, tận lực, dầu cho niệm được an trú, không dao động, nhưng thân của Ta vẫn bị khích động, không được khinh an, vì Ta bị chi phối bởi sự tinh tấn, do tinh tấn chống lại khổ thọ ấy.
Lại nữa, này Bharadvaja, chư Thiên thấy vậy nói như sau: “Sa-môn Gotama đã chết rồi”. Một số chư Thiên nói như sau: “Sa-môn Gotama chưa chết, nhưng Sa-môn Gotama sắp sửa chết”. Một số chư Thiên nói như sau: “Sa-môn Gotama chưa chết. Sa-môn Gotama, cũng không phải sắp chết. Sa-môn Gotama là bậc A-la-hán, đời sống của một A-la-hán là như vậy”.
Này Bharadvaja, rồi Ta suy nghĩ như sau: “Ta hãy hoàn toàn tuyệt thực”. Rồi này Bharadvaja, chư Thiên đến Ta và nói như sau: “Này Thiện hữu, Hiền giả chớ có hoàn toàn tuyệt thực. Này Thiện hữu, nếu Hiền giả có hoàn toàn tuyệt thực, chúng tôi sẽ đổ các món ăn chư Thiên ngang qua các lỗ chân lông cho Hiền giả, và nhờ vậy Hiền giả vẫn sống”. Rồi này Bharadvaja, Ta suy nghĩ như sau: “Nếu Ta hoàn toàn tuyệt thực và chư Thiên này đổ các món ăn chư Thiên ngang qua các lỗ chân lông cho Ta và nhờ vậy Ta vẫn sống, thời như vậy Ta tự dối Ta”. Này Bharadvaja, Ta bác bỏ chư Thiên ấy và nói: “Như vậy là đủ”.
Này Bharadvaja, rồi Ta tự suy nghĩ như sau: “Ta hãy giảm thiểu tối đa ăn uống, ăn ít từng giọt một, như xúp đậu xanh, xúp đậu đen hay xúp đậu hột hay xúp đậu nhỏ”. Và này Bharadvaja, trong khi Ta giảm thiểu tối đa sự ăn uống, ăn từng giọt một, như xúp đậu xanh, xúp đậu đen hay xúp đậu hột hay xúp đậu nhỏ, thân của Ta trở thành hết sức gầy yếu. Vì Ta ăn quá ít, tay chân Ta trở thành như những gọng cỏ hay những đốt cây leo khô héo; vì Ta ăn quá ít, bàn trôn của Ta trở thành như móng chân con lạc đà; vì Ta ăn quá ít, xương sống phô bày của Ta giống như một chuỗi banh; vì Ta ăn quá ít, các xương sườn gầy mòn của Ta giống như rui cột một nhà sàn hư nát; vì Ta ăn quá ít, nên con ngươi long lanh của Ta nằm sâu thẳm trong lỗ con mắt, giống như ánh nước long lanh nằm sâu thẳm trong một giếng nước thâm sâu; vì Ta ăn quá ít, da đầu Ta trở thành nhăn nhiu khô cằn như trái bí trắng và đắng bị cắt trước khi chín, bị cơn gió nóng làm cho nhăn nhíu khô cằn. Này Bharadvaja, nếu Ta nghĩ: “Ta hãy rờ da bụng”, thì chính xương sống bị Ta nắm lấy. Nếu Ta nghĩ: “Ta hãy rờ xương sống”, thì chính da bụng bị Ta nắm lấy. Vì Ta ăn quá ít, nên này Bharadvaja, da bụng của Ta đến bám chặt xương sống. Này Bharadvaja, nếu Ta nghĩ: “Ta đi đại tiện, hay đi tiểu tiện” thì Ta ngã quỵ, úp mặt xuống đất, vì Ta ăn quá ít. Này Bharadvaja, nếu Ta muốn xoa dịu thân Ta, lấy tay xoa bóp chân tay, thì này Bharadvaja, trong khi Ta xoa bóp chân tay, các lông tóc hư mục rụng khỏi thân Ta, vì Ta ăn quá ít.
Lại nữa, này Bharadvaja, có người thấy vậy nói như sau: “Sa-môn Gotama có da đen”. Một số người nói như sau: “Sa-môn Gotama, da không đen, Sa-môn Gotama có da màu xám”. Một số người nói như sau: “Sa-môn Gotama da không đen, da không xám.” Một số người nói như sau: “Sa-môn Gotama da không đen, da không xám, Sa-môn Gotama có da màu vàng sẫm”. Cho đến mức độ như vậy, này Bharadvaja, da của Ta vốn thanh tịnh, trong sáng bị hư hoại vì Ta ăn quá ít.
Này Bharadvaja, rồi Ta suy nghĩ như sau: “Thuở xưa có những Sa-môn hay Bà-la-môn thình lình cảm thọ những cảm giác chói đau, khổ đau, kịch liệt, khốc liệt. Những sự đau khổ này là tối thượng, không thể có gì hơn nữa. Về tương lai, có những Sa-môn hay Bà-la-môn thình lình cảm thọ những cảm giác chói đau, khổ đau, kịch liệt, khốc liệt. Những sự đau khổ này là tối thượng không thể có gì hơn nữa. Trong hiện tại, có những Sa-môn hay Bà-la-môn thình lình cảm thọ những cảm giác chói đau, khổ đau, kịch liệt, khốc liệt. Những sự đau khổ này là tối thượng, không thể có gì hơn nữa. Nhưng Ta, với sự khổ hạnh khốc liệt như thế này, vẫn không chứng được pháp thượng nhân, tri kiến thù thắng xứng đáng bậc Thánh. Hay là có đạo lộ nào khác đưa đến giác ngộ?”
Này Bharadvaja, rồi Ta suy nghĩ như sau: “Ta biết, trong khi phụ thân Ta, thuộc giòng Sakka (Thích-ca) đang cày và Ta đang ngồi dưới bóng mát cây diêm-phù-đề (jambu), Ta ly dục, ly pháp bất thiện chứng và trú Thiền thứ nhất, một trạng thái hỷ lạc do ly dục sanh, có tầm, có tứ”. Khi an trú như vậy, Ta nghĩ: “Đạo lộ này có thể đưa đến giác ngộ chăng?” Và này Bharadvaja, tiếp theo ý niệm ấy, ý thức này khởi lên nơi Ta: “Đây là đạo lộ đưa đến giác ngộ”.
Này Bharadvaja, rồi Ta suy nghĩ: “Ta có sợ chăng lạc thọ này, một lạc thọ ly dục, ly pháp bất thiện?” Này Bharadvaja, rồi Ta suy nghĩ: “Ta không sợ lạc thọ này, một lạc thọ ly dục, ly pháp bất thiện”.’
Rồi này Bharadvaja, Ta suy nghĩ: “Nay thật không dễ gì chứng đạt lạc thọ ấy, với thân thể ốm yếu kinh khủng như thế này. Ta hãy ăn thô thực ăn cơm chua”. Rồi này Bharadvaja, Ta ăn thô thực, ăn cơm chua. Này Bharadvaja, lúc bấy giờ, năm Tỷ-kheo đang hầu hạ Ta suy nghĩ: “Khi nào Sa-môn Gotama chứng pháp, vị ấy sẽ nói cho chúng ta biết”. Này Bharadvaja, khi thấy Ta ăn thô thực, ăn cơm chua, các vị ấy chán ghét Ta, bỏ đi và nói: “Sa-môn Gotama nay sống đầy đủ vật chất, từ bỏ tinh tấn, trở lui đời sống sung túc”.
31-41. “Now when I had eaten solid food and regained my strength, then quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states … (as Sutta 36, §§34-44; but in the present sutta in §§36, 38, and 41 – corresponding to §§39, 41, and 44 of Sutta 36 – the sentence “But such pleasant feeling that arose in me did not invade my mind and remain” does not occur) … as happens in one who abides diligent, ardent, and resolute.”
Rồi này Bharadvaja, sau khi ăn thô thực và được sức lực trở lại, Ta ly dục, ly pháp bất thiện, chứng và trú Thiền thứ nhất, một trạng thái hỷ lạc do ly dục sanh, có tầm có tứ. Diệt tầm và tứ, chứng và trú Thiền thứ hai, một trạng thái hỷ lạc do định sanh, không tầm, không tứ, nội tĩnh nhất tâm. Ly hỷ trú xả, chánh niệm tỉnh giác, thân cảm sự lạc thọ mà các bậc Thánh gọi là xả niệm lạc trú, chứng và trú Thiền thứ ba. Xả lạc xả khổ, diệt hỷ ưu đã cảm thọ trước, chứng và trú Thiền thứ tư, không khổ không lạc, xả niệm thanh tịnh.
Với tâm định tĩnh, thuần tịnh trong sáng không cấu nhiễm, không phiền não, nhu nhuyến, dễ sử dụng, vững chắc, bình tĩnh như vậy, Ta dẫn tâm, hướng tâm đến Túc mạng minh. Ta nhớ đến các đời sống quá khứ, như một đời, hai đời, ba đời, bốn đời, năm đời, mười đời, hai mươi đời, ba mươi đời, bốn mươi đời, năm mươi đời, một trăm đời, một ngàn đời, một trăm ngàn đời, nhiều hoại kiếp, nhiều thành kiếp, nhiều hoại và thành kiếp. Ta nhớ rằng: “Tại chỗ kia, Ta có tên như thế này, dòng họ như thế này, giai cấp như thế này, thọ khổ lạc như thế này, tuổi thọ đến mức như thế này. Sau khi chết tại chỗ kia, Ta được sanh ra tại chỗ nọ. Tại chỗ ấy, Ta có tên như thế này, dòng họ như thế này, giai cấp như thế này, thọ khổ lạc như thế này, tuổi thọ đến mức như thế này”. Như vậy Ta nhớ đến nhiều đời sống quá khứ cùng với các nét đại cương và các chi tiết. Này Bharadvaja, đó là minh thứ nhất Ta đã chứng được trong đêm canh một, vô minh diệt, minh sanh, ám diệt, ánh sáng sanh, do Ta sống không phóng dật, nhiệt tâm, tinh cần.
Với tâm định tĩnh, thuần tịnh trong sáng không cấu nhiễm, không phiền não, nhu nhuyến, dễ sử dụng, vững chắc, bình tĩnh như vậy, Ta dẫn tâm, hướng tâm đến trí tuệ về sanh tử của chúng sanh. Ta với thiên nhãn thuần tịnh, siêu nhân, thấy sự sống và chết của chúng sanh. Ta biết rõ rằng chúng sanh, người hạ liệt kẻ cao sang, người đẹp đẽ, kẻ thô xấu, người may mắn, kẻ bất hạnh đều do hạnh nghiệp của họ. Những chúng sanh làm những ác hạnh về thân, lời và ý, phỉ báng các bậc Thánh, theo tà kiến, tạo các nghiệp theo tà kiến; những người này, sau khi thân hoại mạng chung, phải sanh vào cõi dữ, ác thú, đọa xứ, địa ngục. Còn những chúng sanh nào làm những thiện hạnh về thân, lời và ý, không phỉ báng các bậc Thánh, theo chánh kiến, tạo các nghiệp theo chánh kiến; những vị này sau khi thân hoại mạng chung, được sanh lên các thiện thú, cõi trời, trên đời này. Như vậy Ta với thiên nhãn thuần tịnh, siêu nhân, thấy sự sống chết của chúng sanh. Ta biết rõ rằng chúng sanh, người hạ liệt, kẻ cao sang, người đẹp đẽ, kẻ thô xấu, người may mắn, kẻ bất hạnh, đều do hạnh nghiệp của họ. Này Bharadvaja, đó là minh thứ hai Ta đã chứng được trong đêm canh giữa, vô minh diệt, minh sanh, ám diệt, ánh sáng sanh, do Ta sống không phóng dật, nhiệt tâm, tinh cần.
Với tâm định tĩnh, thuần tịnh, trong sáng không cấu nhiễm, không phiền não, nhu nhuyến, dễ sử dụng, vững chắc, bình tĩnh như vậy, Ta dẫn tâm, hướng tâm đến Lậu tận trí. Ta biết như thật: “Đây là Khổ”, biết như thật: “Đây là Nguyên nhân của khổ”, biết như thật: “Đây là sự Diệt khổ”, biết như thật: “Đây là Con đường đưa đến diệt khổ”, biết như thật: “Đây là những lậu hoặc”, biết như thật: “Đây là nguyên nhân của lậu hoặc”, biết như thật: “Đây là sự diệt trừ các lậu hoặc”, biết như thật: “Đây là con đường đưa đến sự diệt trừ các lậu hoặc”. Nhờ biết như vậy, nhận thức như vậy, tâm của Ta thoát khỏi dục lậu, thoát khỏi hữu lậu, thoát khỏi vô minh lậu. Đối với tự thân đã giải thoát như vậy, Ta khởi lên sự hiểu biết: “Ta đã giải thoát” Ta đã biết: “Sanh đã diệt, phạm hạnh đã thành, việc cần làm đã làm, sau đời hiện tại không có đời sống nào khác nữa”. Này Bharadvaja, đó là minh thứ ba mà Ta đã chứng được trong canh cuối, vô minh diệt, minh sanh, ám diệt, ánh sáng sanh, do Ta sống không phóng dật, nhiệt tâm tinh cần.
- When this was said, the Brahmin student Sangarava said to the Blessed One:
–“Master Gotama’s striving was unfaltering, Master Gotama’s striving was that of a true man, as it should be for an Accomplished One, a Fully Enlightened One. But how is it, Master Gotama, are there gods?”
–“It is known to me to be the case, Bharadvaja, that there are gods.”
–“But how is this, Master Gotama, that when you are asked, ‘Are there gods?’ you say: ‘It is known to me to be the case, Bharadvaja, that there are gods’? If that is so, isn’t what you say empty and false?”
–“Bharadvaja, when one is asked, ‘Are there gods?’  whether one answers, ‘There are gods,’ or ‘It is known to me to be the case [that there are gods],’ a wise man can draw the definite conclusion that there are gods.”
–“But why didn’t Master Gotama answer me in the first way?”
–“It is widely accepted in the world, Bharadvaja, that there are gods.”
Khi nghe nói vậy, thanh niên Bà-la-môn San-garava bạch thế tôn:
— Thật sự, sự tinh cần của tôn giả Gotama là trung kiên (atthita). Thật sự, sự tinh cần của tôn giả Gotama là sự tinh cần của các bậc Chân nhân (Sappurisa), một bậc như là A-la-han, Chánh Đẳng Giác. Thưa Tôn giả Gotama, có các chư Thiên không?
— Này Bharadvaja, Ta được biết một cách chắc chắn có chư Thiên.
— Nhưng vì sao, thưa Tôn giả Gotama, khi được hỏi có các chư Thiên không, lại hỏi: “Này Bharadvaja, Ta được biết một cách chắc chắn có chư Thiên”. Sự việc là như vậy, thưa Tôn giả Gotama, thì có phải là hư ngôn, vọng ngữ không?
— Này Bharavaja, nếu khi được hỏi: “Có chư Thiên không?”; cần phải đáp: “Có chư Thiên”; nhưng lại đáp: “Chắc chắn Ta được biết có chư Thiên”. Như vậy, một người có trí đi đến kết luận không có gì nghi ngờ nữa, là có chư Thiên.
— Nhưng vì sao Tôn giả Gotama không giải thích như vậy cho con từ khi bắt đầu?
— Này Bharadvaja, như vậy đã được lớn tiếng chấp nhận ở đời tức là có chư Thiên.
- When this was said, the Brahmin student Sangarava said to the Blessed One:
–“Magnificent, Master Gotama! Magnificent, Master Gotama! Master Gotama has made the Dhamma clear in many ways, as though he were turning upright what had been overturned, revealing what was hidden, showing the way to one who was lost, or holding up a lamp in the dark for those with eyesight to see forms. I go to Master Gotama for refuge and to the Dhamma and to the Sangha of bhikkhus. Let Master Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone to him for refuge for life.”
Khi nghe nói vậy, thanh niên Bà-la-môn Sangarava bạch Thế Tôn:
— Thật vi diệu thay, Tôn giả Gotama! Thật vi diệu thay, Tôn giả Gotama! Tôn giả Gotama, như người dựng đứng lại những gì bị quăng ngã xuống, phơi bày ra những gì bị che kín, chỉ đường cho kẻ lạc hướng, đem đèn sáng vào trong bóng tối để những ai có mắt có thể thấy sắc; cũng vậy chánh pháp đã được Thế Tôn dùng nhiều phương diện trình bày. Và nay con xin quy y Tôn giả Gotama, quy y Pháp, quy y chúng Tỷ-kheo Tăng. Mong Tôn giả Gotama nhận con làm đệ tử, từ nay trở đi cho đến mạng chung, con trọn đời quy ngưỡng.
- Kandaraka Sutta – To Kandaraka
From this difference in their manner of greeting the Buddha it is evident that Pessa is a follower of the Buddha, whereas Kandaraka – despite his respect and admiration – belongs to a different religious community.
MA: Out of respect for the Buddha and because of their training, the bhikkhus did not converse with one another, nor did they even clear their throats. Unmoving in body, undistracted in mind, they sat surrounding the Blessed One like ruddy clouds surrounding the peak of Mount Sineru. Kandaraka must have been privately comparing this assembly of the bhikkhus with the assemblies of wanderers as described in MN 76.4.
MA explains that Kandaraka did not have direct knowledge of the Buddhas of the past and future. He made this statement as a way of expressing his admiration for the well-trained, disciplined, and calm Sangha of bhikkhus. The Buddha, however, confirms this on the basis of direct knowledge.
MA: The four foundations of mindfulness are brought in to show the cause for the calm and tranquil deportment of the Sangha. On the foundations of mindfulness, see MN 10.
MA glosses: “We too, when we get an opportunity, from time to time attend to this; we are also practitioners; we do not completely neglect meditation.”
The point of this statement is that an animal’s guile and trickery is very limited, while that of human beings is inexhaustible.
MA explains that this passage is introduced as a sequel to Pessa’s statement that the Blessed One knows the welfare and harm of beings; for the Buddha shows that the first three kinds of persons are practising in harmful ways, while the fourth is practising in a beneficial way. The passage can also be connected with Kandaraka’s praise of the Sangha; for the Buddha will show three ways in which he does not train the Sangha and the one way in which all the Buddhas of the past, present, and future train their Sanghas.
Sukhapatisarnvedi brahmabhutena attana. MA: He experiences the bliss of the jhanas, paths, fruits, and Nibbana. “Brahma” here should be understood in the sense of holy or excellent (settha).
MA: Pessa would have attained the fruit of stream-entry, but he rose from his seat and left before the Buddha had completed his discourse. The benefits he did receive are two: he gained greater confidence in the Sangha, and he gave rise to a new method for comprehending the foundations of mindfulness.
This passage details the austerities undertaken by many of the Buddha’s ascetic contemporaries, as well as by the Bodhisatta himself during his period of striving for enlightenment. See MN 12.45.
This passage shows the practice of one who torments himself in the hope of gaining merit and then offers sacrifices that involve the slaughter of many animals and the oppression of his workers.
This is the arahant. To show clearly that he torments neither himself nor others, the Buddha next undertakes to describe the path of practice by which he arrived at arahantship.
- Atthakanagara Sutta – The Man from Atthakanagara
All these expressions are descriptive of arahantship.
Abhisankhatath abhisancetayitam. The two terms are frequently used in conjunction and indicate a conditioned state in which volition (cetana) is the most prominent conditioning factor.
This passage explains a method for developing “insight preceded by serenity” (samathapubbangama vipassana; see AN 4:170/ ii.157). Having first attained a jhana, the meditator emerges from it and contemplates that state as brought into being by conditions, particularly volition. On the basis of this, he ascertains its impermanence, and then contemplates the jhana with insight into the three marks of impermanence, suffering, and non-self. See also MN 64.9-15 for a somewhat different approach to developing insight on the basis of the jhanas.
Dhammaragena dhammanandiya. MA: These two terms signify desire and attachment (chandaraga) with respect to serenity and insight. If one is able to discard all desire and attachment concerning serenity and insight, one becomes an arahant; if one cannot discard them, one becomes a non-returner and is reborn in the Pure Abodes.
The base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception is not mentioned because it is too subtle a state for its constituent factors to be used as objects of insight contemplation.
The eleven “doors to the Deathless” are the four jhanas, the four brahmaviharas, and the first three immaterial attainments used as bases for the development of insight and attainment of arahantship.
This would be five hundred kahapanas, the latter being the standard monetary unit of the time.
- Sekka Sutta – The Disciple in Higher Training
It was believed to be a source of merit for those who construct a new dwelling to invite an eminent religious personage to dwell in it even for a single night before they inhabit it themselves. This belief still continues in Buddhist lands today, and people who have built a new house for themselves will often invite bhikkhus to hold an all-night recitation of paritta (protective) suttas in their new home before they move in.
Sekho patipado. On the sekha, see n.21.
On the distinction between shame (hiri) and fear of wrongdoing (ottappa), see n.416.
Here the text explains sati, mindfulness, by reference to its original meaning of memory. The relationship between the two senses of sati – memory and attentiveness – may be formulated thus: keen attentiveness to the present forms the basis for an accurate memory of the past. MA takes the mention of sati here to imply all seven factors of enlightenment, among which it is the first.
MA: This is the wisdom of insight and of the path, capable of penetrating the rise and fall of the five aggregates. Path wisdom is called “penetrative” (nibbedhika) because it pierces through and eradicates the mass of greed, hate, and delusion; insight wisdom is called penetrative because it pierces through them temporarily and because it leads to penetration by the path.
As at MN 16.26.
This refers to the fourth jhana, which is the foundation for the three knowledges to follow.
At this point he ceases to be a sekha and becomes an arahant.
These constitute the traditional list of fifteen factors making up conduct (carana), which are often conjoined with the three following types of knowledge in the complete course of training. The two together enter into the common epithet of the Buddha and the arahants, vijjacaranasampanna, “perfect in true knowledge and conduct.” See Vsm VII, 30-31.
The verse was approved by the Buddha at DN 3.1.28/i.99. The Brahma Sanankumara, “Forever Young,” according to MA was a youth who attained jhana, passed away, and was reborn in the Brahma-world, retaining the same handsome form he possessed in his existence in the human world. See DN 18.17-29/ii.210-218.
- Potaliya Sutta – To Potaliya
Translated literally the Pali reads simply “no rapacious greed.” Since, in the English idiom, it is difficult to see how the mere absence of an evil can serve as a support, I have added the phrase “refraining from” here and in the next two cases, which are also expressed as simple negatives in the Pali.
MA: Although the killing of living beings is not included among the ten fetters and five hindrances, it may be called a fetter in the sense of binding one to the round of rebirths and a hindrance in the sense of obstructing one’s true welfare.
MA: Killing and taking what is not given are to be abandoned by bodily virtue; false speech and malicious speech, by verbal virtue; rapacious greed, angry despair, and arrogance, by mental virtue. Spiteful scolding (which can include violent reprisals) is to be abandoned by both bodily and verbal virtue.
These similes for the dangers in sensual pleasures are alluded to at MN 22.3, though this sutta does not elaborate on the last three similes mentioned there.
According to MA, the “equanimity that is based on diversity” is equanimity (i.e., apathy, indifference) related to the five cords of sensual pleasure; the “equanimity that is based on unity” is the equanimity of the fourth jhana.
In Ms, Nm had followed the gloss of MA in rendering ajaniya as “those who know” (taking the word as derived from ajanati); it seems far preferable, however, to understand the word here as a metaphorical expression in its literal meaning “thoroughbred.” See MN 65.32 for assajantya, “thoroughbred colt”, and for purisajaniya, “thoroughbred man” (i.e., an arahant), see AN 9:10/v, 324.
- Jivaka Sutta – To Jivaka
Jivaka was the abandoned child of a courtesan. Discovered and raised by Prince Abhaya, he studied medicine at Takkasila and was later appointed the personal physician of the Buddha. He became a streamenterer after hearing the Buddha teach the Dhamma.
This passage states clearly and explicitly the regulations on meat-eating laid down by the Buddha for the Sangha. It will be noted that the Buddha does not require the bhikkhus to observe a vegetarian diet, but permits them to consume meat when they are confident that the animal has not been slaughtered especially to provide them with food. Such meat is called tikotiparisuddha, “pure in three aspects,” because it is not seen, heard, or suspected to come from an animal killed specifically for the bhikkhu. The lay Buddhist’s precept of abstaining from the taking of life would prohibit him from killing for his food, but does not proscribe purchasing meat prepared from animals already dead. For more on this issue see Vin My Kh 6/i.237-38, and I.B. Horner, Early Buddhism and the Taking of Life, pp. 20-26.
Here the Buddha shows that he does not merely abide in loving-kindness by suppressing his ill will with jhana based on loving-kindness; as the divinity Brahma does, but has eradicated the roots of ill will through his attainment of arahantship.
Cruelty, discontent, and aversion (vihesa, arati, patigha) are the opposites of compassion, appreciative joy, and equanimity respectively.
It is puzzling that Jivaka here declares himself a lay follower as if for the first time when he had already been established in stream-entry. Perhaps this formula was used as a means of reaffirming one’s dedication to the Triple Gem and was not restricted to an initial profession of going for refuge.
- Upali Sutta – To Upali
This means “Tall Ascetic,” a name given to him because of his height.
Danda, originally a stick or staff, acquires the meaning of rod as an instrument of punishment, and subsequently comes to mean punishment or infliction itself, even without reference to an instrument. Here the idea seems to be suggested that the Jains regarded bodily, verbal, and mental activity as instruments by which the individual torments himself by prolonging his bondage in saxnsara and torments others by causing them harm.
MA: The Niganthas held that the first two “rods” create kamma independently of the involvement of the mind (acittaka) just as, when the wind blows, the branches sway and the leaves rustle without any initiative of mind.
The Buddha may have said this because in his teaching volition (cetana), a mental factor, is the essential ingredient of kamma, and in its absence – that is, in the case of unintentional bodily or verbal activity – no kamma is created. MA, however, maintains that the Buddha said this referring to wrong view with fixed consequences (niyata miccha ditthi), and it quotes in support AN 1:18.3/i.33: “Bhikkhus, I see nothing so blameworthy as wrong view. Wrong view is the most blameworthy of all things.” These types of wrong view are described at MN 60.5, 13 and 21.
As at MN 35.5.
The parenthetical additions in the previous paragraph, inserted by Nm, are supplied from MA. Nm, in Ms, sums up the argument thus: The Niganthas are not allowed to use cold water (because they regard it as containing living beings). By his bodily and verbal refusal of cold water he has kept his bodily and verbal conduct pure, but if he longs in his mind for cold water his mental conduct is impure, and thus he is reborn among the “mind-bound gods” (manosatta deva).
At §15 Upali admits that at this point he had already acquired confidence in the Buddha. However, he continued to oppose him because he wished to hear the Buddha’s varied solutions to the problem.
This statement, at DN 2.29/i.57, is ascribed to the Nigantha Nataputta himself as a formulation of the Jain doctrine. Nm points out in Ms that it may involve a pun on the word vari, which can mean both “water” and “curb” (from vareti, to ward off). In my translation of the Samannaphala Sutta, The Discourse on the Fruits of Recluseship, p. 24, I render it based on the Digha commentary as follows: “A Nigantha is restrained with regard to all water; he is endowed with the avoidance of all evil; he is cleansed by the avoidance of all evil; he is suffused with the avoidance of all evil.” Though the statement conveys a concern for moral purity, the tone is decidedly different from that of the Buddha’s teachings.
The Buddha points to a contradiction between the Jain thesis that, even in the absence of volition, the “bodily rod” is the most reprehensible of all, and their assertion that the presence of volition significantly alters the moral character of an action.
See Jat iii.463, v.133ff., 267; v.144; vi.389, v.267; v.114, 267; Miln 130.
MA: Vision of the Dhamma (dhammacakkhu) is the path of stream-entry. The phrase “All that is subject to arising is subject to cessation” shows the mode in which the path arises. The path takes cessation (Nibbana) as its object, but its function is to penetrate all conditioned states as subject to arising and cessation.
The “Dhamma” referred to here is the Four Noble Truths. Having seen these truths for himself, he has cut off the fetter of doubt and now possesses the “view that is noble and emancipating and (which) leads the one who practises in accordance with it to the complete destruction of suffering” (MN 48.7).
MA: Upali says this referring to the path of stream-entry he had penetrated earlier.
See MN 16.3-7.
The PTS and SBJ eds. read vessantarassa; the BBS ed. of text and MA read vesamantarassa; MT supports the former reading. MA explains: “He has transcended the unrighteous state (visama) of lust, etc.”
Monapattassa. The “silence” is wisdom, related to muni, silent sage.
The “banner” is the conceit “I am.” See MN 22.35.
Nippapancassa. See n.229.
Isisattamassa. MA interprets this to mean “the seventh seer” – in line with the brahmanic conception of the seven rishis – and takes it as referring to Gotama’s status as the seventh Buddha since Vipassi (see DN 14.1.4/ii.2). It is more probable, however, that sattama here is the superlative of sad, and thus that the compound means “the best of seers.” The expression isisattama occurs at Sn 356, and the commentary to that verse allows both interpretations, offering uttama as a gloss on sattama.
This refers to the absence of attachment and repulsion.
Nm translates from a Siamese alternative reading given in the BBS ed., appabhitassa, pointing out that the PTS ed.’s appahinassa does not make sense here.
MA: A heavy sorrow arose in him because of the loss of his lay supporter, and this produced a bodily disorder that resulted in his vomiting hot blood. After vomiting hot blood, few beings can continue to live. Thus they brought him to Pava on a litter, and shortly thereafter he passed away.
- Kukkuravatika Sutta – The Dog-duty Ascetic
MA: Punna wore horns on his head, tied a tail to his backside, and went about eating grass together with the cows. Seniya performed all the actions typical for a dog.
It should be noted that a wrong ascetic practice has less severe consequences when it is undertaken without wrong view than when it is accompanied by wrong view. Although few nowadays will take up the dog-duty practice, many other deviant lifestyles have become widespread, and to the extent that these are justified by a wrong view, their consequences become that much more harmful.
Sabyabajjham kayasankhararh (vacasankharam, manosankharam) abhisankharoti. Here an “afflictive bodily formation” may be understood as the volition responsible for the three courses of unwholesome bodily action; an “afflictive verbal formation” as the volition responsible for the four courses of unwholesome verbal action; and an “afflictive mental formation” as the volition responsible for the three courses of unwholesome mental action. See MN 9.4.
He is reborn in one of the states of deprivation – hell, the animal kingdom, or the realm of ghosts.
Bhuta bhutassa upapatti hoti. MA: Beings are reborn through the actions they perform and in ways conforming to those actions. The implications of this thesis are explored more fully in MN 135 and MN 136.
Here the volitions responsible for the ten courses of wholesome action, together with the volitions of the jhanas, are intended.
He is reborn in a heavenly world.
Strictly speaking, no volitional action can be simultaneously both wholesome and unwholesome, for the volition responsible for the action must be either one or the other. Thus here we should understand that the being engages in a medley of wholesome and unwholesome actions, none of which is particularly dominant.
MA: This is the volition of the four supramundane paths culminating in arahantship. Although the arahant performs deeds, his deeds no longer have any kammic potency to generate new existence or to bring forth results even in the present existence.
MA explains that pabbajja, the going forth, is mentioned here only in a loose figure of speech. In actual fact, he receives the going forth before the probationary period and then lives on probation for four months before being entitled to receive upasampada, full admission to the Sangha.
MA: The Buddha can decide: “This person must live on probation, this one need not live on probation.”
- Abhayarjakumara Sutta – To Prince Abhaya
Prince Abhaya was a son of King Bimbisara of Magadha, though not the heir to the throne.
Both horns of the dilemma devised by the Nigantha Nataputta presupposed that the Buddha would give a one-sided answer. Now that a one-sided answer has been rejected, the dilemma becomes inapplicable.
The Buddha does not hesitate to rebuke and admonish his disciples when he sees that such speech will promote their welfare.
MA says that dhammadhatu (“element of things”) refers to the Buddha’s knowledge of omniscience. Dhammadhatu here should not be confused with the same term used to signify the element of mind-objects among the eighteen elements, nor does it bear the meaning of an all-embracing cosmic principle that the term acquires in Mahayana Buddhism.
- Bahuvedaniya Sutta – The Many Kinds of Feeling
Pancakanga, the carpenter for King Pasenadi of Kosala, was a devoted follower of the Buddha. He reappears in MN 78 and MN 127.
The two kinds of feeling are bodily and mental feeling, or (less commonly) the two mentioned by Pancakanga in §3. The three kinds are the three mentioned by Udayin in §3. The five kinds are the faculties of (bodily) pleasure, (mental) joy, (bodily) pain, (mental) grief, and equanimity. The six kinds are the feelings born of contact through the six sense faculties. The eighteen kinds are the eighteen kinds of mental exploration – exploring the six sense objects that are productive of joy, productive of grief, and productive of equanimity (see MN 137.8). The thirty-six kinds are the thirty-six positions of beings – the six kinds of joy, grief, and equanimity each based either on the household life or on renunciation (see MN 137.9-15). The hundred and eight kinds are the previous thirty-six considered as referring to the past, present, and future.
MA points out that by speaking of the neither-painfulnor-pleasant feeling of the fourth jhana as a kind of pleasure, the Buddha is implicitly endorsing the view put forth by Pancakanga.
MA: Both felt pleasure and unfelt pleasure are found (the latter being the pleasure pertaining to the attainment of cessation). The Tathagata describes both as pleasure in the sense that they are without suffering (niddukkhabhava).
- Apannaka Sutta – The Incontrovertible Teaching
MA: The Buddha began by asking this question because the village of Sala was situated at the entrance to a forest, and many recluses and Brahmins of diverse creeds would stay there overnight, expounding their own views and tearing down the views of their opponents. This left the villagers perplexed, unable to commit themselves to a particular teaching.
Apannakadhamma. MA explains this as a teaching that is uncontradictable, free from ambiguity, definitely acceptable (aviraddho advejjhagamt ekarrisagahiko). The term also occurs at AN 3:16/i.113 and AN 4:71 /ii.76.
The three views discussed in §§5, 13 and 21 are called wrong views with fixed evil result (niyata miccha ditthi). To adhere to them with firm conviction closes off the prospect of a heavenly rebirth and the attainment of liberation. For a fuller discussion see Bodhi, Discourse on the Fruits of Recluseship, pp. 79-83.
The examination of these views unfolds according to the following pattern: The Buddha discloses the wrong view A and its antithesis B. Taking up A for examination first, in A.i he shows the pernicious effect of this view on bodily, verbal, and mental conduct. In A.ii he proceeds from the judgement that the view is actually wrong and elicits additional negative consequences of its adoption.
Then in A.iii he shows how a wise person comes to the conclusion that whether or not the view is true, it serves his best interest to reject it.
Next, position B is considered. In B.i the Buddha describes the wholesome influence of this view on conduct. In B.ii he elicits additional positive consequences of adopting such a view. And in B.iii he shows how a wise person comes to the conclusion that, irrespective of its actual veracity, it serves his best interest to conduct his affairs as though the view is true.
See n.425 for clarification of several expressions used in the formulation of this view.
The Pali terms are susilya and dusTlya. Since “corrupt virtue” sounds self-contradictory, “conduct” has been used in my rendering of the latter expression. INm had used “unvirtuousness.”
He has made himself safe (sotthi) in the sense that he will not be subject to suffering in a future existence. However, he is still liable to the types of suffering to be encountered in this existence, which the Buddha is about to mention.
Natthikavada, lit. “the doctrine of non-existence,” is so called because it denies the existence of an afterlife and of kammic retribution.
His undertaking of the incontrovertible teaching “extends only to one side” in the sense that he makes himself safe with regard to the next life only on the presupposition that there is no afterlife, while if there is an afterlife he loses on both counts.
Atthikavada: the affirmation of the existence of an afterlife and of kammic retribution.
His undertaking “extends to both sides” since he reaps the benefits of his view affirming the afterlife whether or not an afterlife actually exists.
This doctrine of non-doing (akiriyavada), in the Samannaphala Sutta (DN 2.17/i.52-53), is attributed to Purana Kassapa. Although on first encounter the view seems to rest on materialist premises, as the previous nihilistic view does, there is canonical evidence that Purana Kassapa subscribed to a fatalistic doctrine. Thus his moral antinomianism probably follows from the view that all action is predestined in ways that abrogate the ascription of moral responsibility to its agent. See Basham, History and Doctrines of the Ajivikas, p. 84.
This is the doctrine of non-causality (ahetukavada) maintained by the Ajivaka leader Makkhali Gosala, and called in the Samannaphala Sutta the doctrine of purification by samsara (saiiasarasuddhi, DN 2.21/i.54). The philosophy of Makkhali Gosala has been examined in detail by Basham, History and Doctrines of the Aftvikas, Chapters 12 and 13. A translation of the Digha commentary on this doctrine will be found in Bodhi, Discourse on the Fruits of Recluseship, pp. 70-77.
Niyati, destiny or fate, is the primary explanatory principle in Makkhali s philosophy, “circumstance and nature” (sangatibhava) seem to be its modes of operation in external events and in the constitution of the individual, respectively. The six classes (abhijati) are six gradations of human beings according to their level of spiritual development, the highest being reserved for the three mentors of the Ajivakas mentioned at MN 36.5. On the six classes, see Bodhi, Discourse on the Fruits of Recluseship, pp. 73-75. Also, AN 6:57/iii.383-84.
This is a denial of the four immaterial planes of existence, the objective counterparts of the four immaterial meditative attainments.
These are the gods of the planes corresponding to the four jhanas. They possess bodies of subtle matter, unlike the gods of the immaterial planes who consist entirely of mind without any admixture of matter.
MA: Even though the wise man discussed here has doubts about the existence of the immaterial planes, he attains the fourth jhana, and on the basis of that he attempts to attain the immaterial absorptions. If he fails he is certain of rebirth in the fine-material planes, but if he succeeds he will be reborn in the immaterial planes. Thus for him this wager is an “incontrovertible teaching.”
MA: Cessation of being (bhavanirodha) here is Nibbana.
MA: Even though this person has doubts about the existence of Nibbana, he attains the eight meditative attainments, and then, using one of those attainments as a basis, he develops insight, thinking: “If there is cessation, then I will reach arahantship and attain Nibbana.” If he fails he is certain of rebirth in the immaterial planes, but if he succeeds he reaches arahantship and attains Nibbana.
- Ambalatthikarahulovada Sutta – Advice to Rahula at Ambalatthika
Rahula was the only son of the Buddha, born on the day his father left the palace to seek enlightenment. At the age of seven he was ordained as a novice by Ven. Sariputta on the occasion of the Buddha’s first return visit to Kapilavatthu after his enlightenment. The Buddha declared him the foremost disciple among those desirous of training. According to MA, this discourse was taught to Rahula when he was seven years old, thus very shortly after his ordination. At MN 147 he attains arahantship after listening to a discourse by the Buddha on the development of insight.
To acknowledge a wrong deed as such, confess it, and undertake restraint for the future leads to growth in the discipline of the Noble One. See MN 65.13.
In this section, however, the phrase “then you should confess such a bodily action … and laid it open” is replaced by the following: “Then you should be repelled, ashamed, and disgusted by that mental action. Having become repelled, ashamed, and disgusted by that mental action … ” This substitution is made because unwholesome thoughts, unlike bodily and verbal transgressions, do not require confession as a means of exoneration. Both Horner in MLS and Nm in Ms missed this variation.
- Maharahulovada Sutta – The Greater Discourse of Advice to Rahula
According to MA, this discourse was taught to Rahula when he was eighteen years old, for the purpose of dispelling desire connected with the household life. The Shorter Discourse of Advice to Rahula is MN 147.
MA: While Rahula was following the Buddha, he noted with admiration the physical perfection of the Master and reflected that he himself was of similar appearance, thinking: “I too am handsome like my father the Blessed One. The Buddha’s form is beautiful and so too is mine.” The Buddha read Rahula’s thought and decided to admonish him at once, before such vain thoughts led him into greater difficulties. Hence the Buddha framed his advice in terms of contemplating the body as neither a self nor the possession of a self.
MA: Ven. Sariputta, Rahula’s teacher, gave Rahula this advice unaware that he had already been given different meditation instructions by the Buddha. He was misled by Rahula’s cross-legged posture into thinking that he was practising mindfulness of breathing.
MA: The Buddha here explains the meditation on the four great elements rather than mindfulness of breathing in order to dispel Rahula’s attachment to the body, which had not yet been removed by the brief instruction on the egolessness of material form. See n.329 for explanation of terms requiring comment.
Space (akasa) is not a primary material element but is classified under derivative material form (upada rupa).
MA: This passage (§13-17) is taught to show the quality of impartiality (tadibhava).
For explanations of unclear terms in this first tetrad on mindfulness of breathing (§26), see nn.140-142. Terms needing clarification in the following three tetrads will be explained in the notes to MN 118, the Anapanasati Sutta.
That is, the meditator dies calmly, with mindfulness and awareness.
Those who have always wondered about the fate of the monk who almost left the Buddha to satisfy his metaphysical curiosity will be gladdened to know that in his old age Malunkyaputta received a brief discourse on the six sense bases from the Buddha, went off into solitary meditation, and attained arahantship. See SN 35:95/ iv.72-76. His verses are at Thag 399-404 and 794-817.
- Mahamalunkya Sutta – The Greater Discourse to Malunkyaputta
The five lower fetters (orambhagiyani sahyojanani) are so called because they lead to rebirth in the sense-sphere planes. They are eradicated in their entirety only by the non-returner.
MA: The question may be raised: “When the Buddha had asked about the fetters and the Elder replied in terms of the fetters, why does the Buddha criticise his reply?” The reason is that Malunkyaputta held the view that a person is fettered by the defilements only at times when they assail him, while at other times he is not fettered by them. The Buddha spoke as he did to show the error in this view.
Anuseti tvev’assa sakkayaditthanusayo. On the anusayas or underlying tendencies, see n.473. In the commentaries the defilements are distinguished as occurring at three levels: the anusaya level, where they remain as mere latent dispositions in the mind; the pariyutthana level, where they rise up to obsess and enslave the mind (referred to in §5 of this discourse); and the vitikkama level, where they motivate unwholesome bodily and verbal action. The point of the Buddha’s criticism is that the fetters, even when they do not come to active manifestation, continue to exist at the anusaya level so long as they have not been eradicated by the supramundane path.
Dhamma. This could also have been rendered “things.”
MA: The fetter and the underlying tendency are in principle not distinct things; rather, it is the same defilement that is called a fetter in the sense of binding, and an underlying tendency in the sense of being unabandoned.
Upadhiviveka. MA glosses upadhi here as the five cords of sensual pleasure. Though the first three clauses of this statement seem to express the same ideas as the two more usual clauses that follow, MT indicates that they are intended to show the means for becoming “quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states.”
This passage shows the development of insight (vipassana) upon a basis of serenity (samatha), using the jhana on which the practice of insight is based as the object of insight contemplation. See MN 52.4 and n.552. Here two terms – impermanent and disintegrating – show the characteristic of impermanence; three terms – alien, void, and not self – show the characteristic of non-self; the remaining six terms show the characteristic of suffering.
MA: He “turns his mind away” from the five aggregates included within the jhana, which he has seen to be stamped with the three characteristics. The “deathless element” (amata dhatu) is Nibbana. First “he directs his mind to it” with the insight consciousness, having heard it praised and described as “the peaceful and sublime,” etc. Then, with the supramundane path, “he directs his mind to it” by making it an object and penetrating it as the peaceful and sublime, etc.
It should be noted that, when the immaterial attainments are made the basis for insight contemplation, the aggregate of material form is not included among the objects of insight. Thus only the four immaterial aggregates are mentioned here.
MA: Among those who proceed by way of serenity, one bhikkhu emphasises unification of mind – he is said to gain deliverance of mind; another emphasises wisdom – he is said to gain deliverance by wisdom. Among those who proceed by way of insight, one emphasises wisdom – he is said to gain deliverance by wisdom; another emphasises unification of mind – he is said to gain deliverance of mind. The two chief disciples attained arahantship by emphasising both serenity and insight, but Ven. Sariputta became one who gained deliverance by wisdom and Ven. Maha Moggallana became one who gained deliverance of mind. Thus the reason (for the different designations) is the difference in their faculties, i.e., between the predominance of the concentration faculty and of the wisdom faculty.
- Bhaddali Sutta – To Bhaddali
This refers to the Buddha’s practice of eating a single meal in the forenoon only. According to the Patimokkha, the bhikkhus are prohibited from eating from noon until the following dawn, though the single-session practice is only recommended but not required.
MA: He would be worried and anxious whether he could live the holy life for his entire life.
His anxiety persisted because he would still have to finish his meal of the remains by noon.
This is the rule prohibiting eating outside the proper time limits. See Vin Pac 37/iv.35.
The seven terms used in this section represent a sevenfold classification of noble individuals. They are explicated at MN 70.14-21.
Both Nm and Horner take sankameyya here to mean that the bhikkhu makes himself a plank, i.e., lies down across the mud. This, however, is contradicted by Bhaddali’s negative answer. Thus it would seem more correct to take this verb to mean that he crosses over himself (as the verb literally does mean), in disregard of the Buddha’s injunction. MA points out that the Buddha would never give such a command to his disciples, but only says this to emphasise the recalcitrant behaviour of Bhaddali.
MA: He maintains himself by a measure of worldly faith and worldly love towards his preceptor and teacher. Because the other bhikkhus help him, he remains in the homeless life and may eventually become a great monk attained to the direct knowledges.
This passage refers to the fixed principle that the Buddha does not lay down a training rule until a case arises that requires the promulgation of an appropriate training rule. See Vin Par 1 /iii.9-10.
Tasmith thane parinibbayati. The verb used here is the verbal form of parinibbana, and could be literally, though erroneously, translated, “He attains final Nibbana in that action.”
“One beyond training” (asekha) is an arahant. MA explains these ten factors as constituents of the fruit of arahantship.
Right knowledge (samma nana) is the knowledge pertaining to the fruit of arahantship, right deliverance (samma vimutti) the arahant’s liberation from all defilements.
- Latukikopama Sutta – The Simile of the Quail
From this passage and that to follow, it appears that the Buddha restricted the allowable time for bhikkhus’ meals in two successive stages, first prohibiting only the afternoon meal and allowing a night meal. However, in the Vinaya account of the origin of Pac 37 (Vin iv.85) no mention is made of this successive prohibition. To the contrary, the text seems to assume that it is an item of common knowledge that monks should not consume food past noon, and it shows the Buddha laying down the rule against untimely eating with one complete pronouncement valid for all meals past noon.
The utterance is in what appears to be very colloquial Pali. MA explains: If one’s mother and father were alive, they would give their son various kinds of food and offer him a place to sleep, and thus he would not have to wander about for food at night.
MA: The Buddha undertakes this teaching in order to analyse the person who abandons what he is told to abandon (§9) into four distinct types of individuals.
Upadhi. MA glosses: For the abandoning of four kinds of upadhi – the aggregates, defilements, volitional formations, and cords of sensual pleasure (khandh’upadhi kiles’upadhi abhisankhar’upadhi kamagun’upadhi).
MA: The ordinary man, the stream-enterer, the oncereturner, and the non-returner can all be included under the first category (§14), the non-returner because the craving for being still exists in him and thus at times he can delight in thoughts of worldly enjoyment. The same four can be included in the second category (§15), the ordinary man because he may suppress arisen defilements, arouse energy, develop insight, and eradicate defilements by attaining the supramundane path.
This type is distinguished from the previous type only by his sluggishness in arousing mindfulness to abandon arisen defilements.
This is the arahant, who alone has eradicated all the fetters.
Here I have departed from Nm in rendering sukha as “bliss” rather than “pleasure” in order to avoid the awkward-sounding phrases that would result from strict consistency. MA explains the jhanas as nekkhammasukha because they yield the bliss of renouncing sensual pleasures; as pavivekasukha because they yield the bliss of being secluded from the crowd and from defilements; as upasamasukha because their bliss is for the purpose of quieting down the defilements; and as sambodhasukha because their bliss is for the purpose of attaining enlightenment. The jhanas themselves, of course, are not states of enlightenment.
All states of mind below the fourth jhana are classified as “the perturbable” (injita). The fourth jhana and all higher states are called “the imperturbable” (aninjita). See n.1000.
MA: It is not fitting to become attached to it with craving, and one should not come to a standstill at this point.
The cessation of perception and feeling is not simply one more higher attainment along the scale of concentration, but here implies the full development of insight brought to its climax in arahantship.
- Catuma Sutta – At Catuma
Kevatta marine macchavilope. MA gives two explanations: one favours this rendering, the other suggests “fisherman hauling in fish.”
It was the Brahma Sahampati who entreated the newly enlightened Buddha to teach the Dhamma to the world. See MN 26.20.
MA: In this case Ven. Sariputta erred in not recognising his responsibility, for the Sangha is the responsibility of the two great elders. Thus the Buddha rebuked him but commended Ven. Moggallana, who recognised his responsibility.
MA: The Buddha undertook this teaching to show that there are four fears (or dangers, bhaya) in his Dispensation. Those who can overcome these four fears will become established in the Dispensation, the others will not become established.
Pali uses two distinct words signifying different types of food: khadaniya, “food to be consumed,” includes all varieties of vegetables, nuts, fruits, yams, etc.; bhojantya, “food to be eaten,” includes food made of grain, meat, and fish. Things to be tasted (sayitabba) would include light refreshments.
The proper time is from dawn to noon, beyond which only liquids may be drunk.
- Nalakapana Sutta – At Nalakapana
The “rapture and pleasure secluded from sensual pleasures” signifies the first and second jhanas, “something more peaceful than that” the higher jhanas and the four paths.
See MN 2.4. These are practices undertaken by one in training to prevent the arising of latent taints that have not yet been abandoned.
This refers to the Buddha’s ability to discover by clairvoyance the states in which his disciples have taken rebirth.
Anna: the knowledge attained by the arahant.
- Gulissani Sutta – Gulissani
This is prohibited by Pac 46 (Vin iv.98-101). A bhikkhu may visit families at these times only if he has informed another bhikkhu in the monastery of his intentions, except during the season for making and giving robes.
Abhidhamma abhivinaya. MA says that he should apply himself to learning the text and commentary to the Abhidhamma Pitaka and the Vinaya Pitaka. This is clearly anachronistic. On Abhidhamma in the context of the suttas, see n.362. Although there is no corresponding body of literature called “Abhivinaya,” it seems probable the word refers to a systematic and analytical approach to the study of the Vinaya, perhaps that embedded in the Suttavibhanga of the Vinaya Pitaka.
MA: This refers to the eight meditative attainments. As a minimum he should become proficient in the preliminary work of one meditation subject, such as a kasina.
MA: This refers to all the supramundane states. As a minimum he should become proficient in one approach to developing insight up to arahantship.
- Kitagiri Sutta – At Kitagiri
See n.671. In agreement with MN 66.6, MA explains that the Buddha had first prohibited the afternoon meal and then at a later time prohibited the night meal. He did this out of concern for the delicate bhikkhus in the Order, since they might have become fatigued too quickly if both late meals were prohibited simultaneously.
In the Vinaya Pitaka, Assaji and Punabbasuka are described as “unscrupulous and depraved” monks and are shown indulging in various kinds of bad conduct that bring about the corruption of the laity. At KTtagiri an act of banishment was pronounced against them, and their refusal to obey led to the promulgation of Sanghadisesa 13 (Vin iii.179-84).
MA: This statement is made with pointed reference to pleasure experienced in eating a night meal, which does not conduce to the practice of a monk’s duties.
MA: The former type of pleasant feeling is the joy based on the household life, the latter the joy based on renunciation. Similarly, the next two sentences refer to the grief and equanimity based, respectively, on the household life and on renunciation. See MN 137.9-15.
- §8-10 serve to provide, by appeal to the Buddha’s perfect understanding, the grounds for his injunction to abandon all feelings based on the household life and to develop the feelings based on renunciation.
Here follows a sevenfold classification of noble individuals which categorises them not merely on the basis of their path and fruit attainment – as the more familiar eightfold scheme does – but according to their dominant faculty. Alternative definitions of these seven are offered by Pug 1:30-36/14-15.
Ubhatobhagavimutta. MA: He is “liberated-in-both-ways” because he is liberated from the physical body by the immaterial attainments and from the mental body by the path (of arahantship). The Pug definition reads: “He contacts with the body and abides in the eight liberations, and his taints are destroyed by his seeing with wisdom.” MA says that the ubhatobhagavimutta includes those who attain arahantship after emerging from one or another of the four immaterial attainments and the one who attains it after emerging from the attainment of cessation.
Pannavimutta. MA: This includes those who attain arahantship either as dry-insight meditators (sukkha-vipassaka) or after emerging from one or another of the four jhanas. The Pug definition merely substitutes the eight liberations for “those liberations … transcending forms.”
Kayasakkhin. MA: This type includes the six individuals – from the one established in the fruit of stream-entry up to the one on the path of arahantship – who first contact the (immaterial) jhanas and subsequently realise Nibbana. MT stresses that one or another of the immaterial attainments including cessation is needed to qualify as kayasakkhin. The Pug definition merely substitutes the eight liberations.
Ditthipatta. MA says that this type includes the same six individuals included under kayasakkhin – from the stream-enterer to the one on the path of arahantship – but without possession of the immaterial attainments. Pug defines him as one who has understood the Four Noble Truths and who has reviewed and examined with wisdom the teachings proclaimed by the Tathagata.
Saddhavimutta. MA says that this type too includes the same six. Pug defines him in the same way as it defines the ditthipatta, but adds that he has not reviewed and examined the teachings with wisdom to the same extent that the ditthipatta has.
MA says that this type, the dhammanusarin, and the next, the saddhanusarin, are individuals on the path of streamentry, the former with predominance of wisdom, the latter with predominance of faith. For more on these two types, see n.273.
MA: With the mental body he realises Nibbana, the ultimate truth, and he penetrates it with the wisdom pertaining to the supramundane path.
That is, these bhikkhus have not had the faith required to undertake the training laid down for them by the Buddha.
MA says that the “four-phrased statement” (catuppadam veyyakaranam) is the teaching of the Four Noble Truths. However, no mention is made here of the four truths.
MA: By this the Buddha shows that the ideal disciple practises by arousing his energy and resolving: “I shall not rise up so long as I have not attained arahantship.”
- Tevijjavacchagotta Sutta – To Vacchagotta on the Threefold True Knowledge
This sutta and the following two seem to present a chronological account of Vacchagotta’s spiritual evolution. The Satnyutta Nikaya contains a whole section of short discussions between the Buddha and Vacchagotta, SN 33/iii.257-62. See also SN 44:7-11 /iv.391-402.
This is the type of omniscience that the Jain teacher the Nigantha Nataputta claims at MN 14.17.
MA explains that even though part of the statement is valid, the Buddha rejects the entire statement because of the portion that is invalid. The part of the statement that is valid is the assertion that the Buddha is omniscient and all-seeing; the part that is excessive is the assertion that knowledge and vision are continuously present to him. According to the Theravada tradition the Buddha is omniscient in the sense that all knowable things are potentially accessible to him. He cannot, however, know everything simultaneously and must advert to whatever he wishes to know. At MN 90.8 the Buddha says that it is possible to know and see all, though not simultaneously, and at AN 4:24/ii.24 he claims to know all that can be seen, heard, sensed, and cognized, which is understood by the Theravada tradition as an assertion of omniscience in the qualified sense. See too in this connection Miln 102-7.
MA explains “the fetter of householdership” (gihisamyojana) as attachment to the requisites of a householder, which MT details as land, ornaments, wealth, grain, etc. MA says that even though the texts mention some individuals who attained arahantship as laymen, by the path of arahantship they destroyed all attachment to worldly things and thus either went forth as monks or passed away immediately after their attainment. The question of lay arahants is discussed at Miln 264.
On the Ajivakas see MN 5.5.
Since this Ajivaka believed in the moral efficacy of action, he could not have subscribed to the orthodox philosophical fatalism of the AjIvakas, which denied the effective role of kamma and volitional deeds in modifying human destiny. MA identifies this Ajivaka with the Bodhisatta in a previous birth.
- Aggivacchagotta Sutta – To Vacchagotta on Fire
The view that the soul (jiva) and the body are the same is materialism, which reduces the soul to the body. The following view that the soul and the body are different is an eternalist view, which regards the soul as a persisting spiritual principle that can exist independently of the body.
The view that a Tathagata exists after death is a form of eternalism that regards the Tathagata, or spiritually perfect individual, as possessing a self that attains eternal deliverance after the death of the body. The view that a Tathagata does not exist after death also identifies the Tathagata as self, but holds that this self is annihilated upon the death of the body. The third view attempts a synthesis of these two, which the Buddha rejects because both components involve a wrong view. The fourth view seems to be a sceptical attempt to reject both alternatives or to avoid taking a definite stand.
In the Pali a word play is involved between ditthigata, “speculative view,” which the Tathagata has put away, and dittha, what has been “seen” by the Tathagata with direct vision, namely, the rise and fall of the five aggregates.
MA says that “does not reappear” actually does apply, in the sense that the arahant does not undergo a new existence. But if Vacchagotta were to hear this he would misapprehend it as annihilationism, and thus the Buddha denies that it applies in the sense that annihilation is not a tenable position.
MA says this is the material form by which one would describe the Tathagata as a being (or self) possessing material form. MT adds that the material form has been abandoned by the abandonment of the fetters connected with it, and it has thus become incapable of arising again in the future.
This passage should be connected with the simile of the extinguished fire. Just as the extinguished fire cannot be described as having gone to any direction, so the Tathagata who has attained to final Nibbana cannot be described in terms of the four alternatives. The simile concerns solely the legitimacy of conceptual and linguistic usage and is not intended to suggest, as some scholars have held, that the Tathagata attains to some mystical absorption in the Absolute. The words “profound, immeasurable, unfathomable” point to the transcendental dimension of the liberation attained by the Accomplished One, its inaccessibility to discursive thought.
- Mahavacchagotta Sutta – The Greater Discourse to Vacchagotta
This question and the next refer to arahantship, which (according to MA) Vacchagotta thought may have been an exclusive prerogative of the Buddha.
This question refers to the non-returner. Even though the non-returner may remain in the lay life, he necessarily observes celibacy because he has cut off the fetter of sensual desire.
This question refers to the stream-enterer and the oncereturner, who may still indulge in sensual pleasures if they remain in the lay life.
MA: He had attained the fruit of the non-returner and came to ask the Buddha about the practice of insight for attaining the path of arahantship. However, the Buddha saw that he had the supporting conditions for the six direct knowledges. Thus he taught him serenity for producing the five mundane direct knowledges and insight for reaching arahantship.
The suitable basis (ayatana) is the fourth jhana for the five direct knowledges and insight for arahantship.
Paricinno me Bhagava, paricinno me Sugato. This is an indirect way of informing the Buddha of his attainment of arahantship. The bhikkhus did not understand this, and therefore the Buddha interprets its significance for them.
- Dighanakha Sutta – To Dighanakha
Dighanakha was Ven. Sariputta’s nephew. At the time he approached the Buddha, Sariputta had been a bhikkhu for only two weeks and was still a stream-enterer.
MA holds that Dighanakha is an annihilationist (ucchedavadin) and explains this assertion to mean: “No [mode of] rebirth is acceptable to me.” However, the text itself does not give any concrete evidence supporting this interpretation. It seems much more likely that Dighanakha’s statement, “Nothing is acceptable to me” (sabbam me na khamati), is intended to apply specifically to other philosophical views, and thus shows Dighanakha to be a radical sceptic of the class satirically characterised at MN 76.30 as “eel-wrigglers”. His assertion would then be tantamount to a wholesale repudiation of all philosophical views.
This exchange, as interpreted by MA and MT, should be understood as follows: The Buddha suggests, by his question, that Dighanakha’s assertion involves an inherent contradiction. For he cannot reject everything without also rejecting his own view, and this would entail the opposite position, namely, that something is acceptable to him. However, though Dighanakha recognises the implication of the Buddha’s question, he continues to insist on his view that nothing is acceptable to him.
MA says that the first sentence refers to those who first take up a basic eternalist or annihilationist view and then subsequently adopt secondary variations on that view; the second sentence refers to those who abandon their basic view without adopting an alternative. But if, as seems plausible, Dighanakha was a radical sceptic, then the Buddha’s statement might be understood to point to an unsatisfactoriness inherent in the sceptic’s position: it is psychologically uncomfortable to insist on remaining in the dark. Thus most sceptics, while professing a rejection of all views, surreptitiously adopt some definite view, while a few abandon their scepticism to seek a path to personal knowledge.
MA identifies the three views here as eternalism, annihilationism, and partial eternalism. The eternalist view is close to lust (saragaya santike), etc., because it affirms and delights in existence in however sublimated a form; annihilationism is close to non-lust, etc., because, though involving a wrong conception of self, it leads to disenchantment with existence. If the second view is understood as radical scepticism, it could also be seen as close to non-lust in that it expresses disillusionment with the attempt to buttress the attachment to existence with a theoretical foundation and thus represents a tentative, though mistaken, step in the direction of dispassion.
MA: This teaching is undertaken to show Dighanakha the danger in his view and thereby encourage him to discard it.
MA: At this point Dighanakha has discarded his annihilationist view. Thus the Buddha now undertakes to teach him insight meditation, first by way of the impermanence of the body and then by way of the impermanence of the mental factors under the heading of feeling.
MA quotes a verse that says that an arahant may use the words “I” and “mine” without giving rise to conceit or misconceiving them as referring to a self or ego (SN 1:5/i.14). See too DN 9.53/i.202, where the Buddha says of expressions employing the word “self”: “These are merely names, expressions, turns of speech, designations in common use in the world, which the Tathagata uses without misapprehending them.”
MA: Having reflected on the discourse spoken to his nephew, Ven. Sariputta developed insight and attained arahantship. Dighanakha attained the fruit of stream-entry.
- Magandiya Sutta – To Magandiya
Bhunahuno. In Ms, Nm had rendered this cryptic expression “a wrecker of being.” I follow Horner in translating after the commentarial gloss hatavaddhino mariyadakarakassa. MA explains that he held the view that “growth” should be accomplished in the six senses by experiencing whatever sense objects one has never experienced before without clinging to those that are already familiar. His view thus seems close to the contemporary attitude that intensity and variety of experience is the ultimate good and should be pursued without inhibitions or restrictions. The reason for his disapproval of the Buddha will become clear in §8.
His father, the king, had provided him with three palaces and the entourage of women in hopes of keeping him confined to the lay life and distracting him from thoughts of renunciation.
MA: This is said referring to the attainment of the fruit of arahantship based on the fourth jhana.
The expression viparitasanna alludes to the “perverted perception” (sannavipallasa) of perceiving pleasure in what is really painful. MT says that sensual pleasures are painful because they arouse the painful defilements and because they yield painful fruits in the future. Horner misses the point by translating the line “(they may) receive a change of sensation and think it pleasant” (MLS 2:187).
Magandiya evidently understands the verse in line with the fifty-eighth wrong view of the Brahmajala Sutta: “When this self, furnished and supplied with the five strands of sense pleasures, revels in them – at this point the self attains supreme Nibbana here and now” (DN 1.3.20/i.36).
MA: The full verse had been recited by the previous Buddhas seated in the midst of their fourfold assemblies. The multitude learned it as “a verse concerned with the good.” After the last Buddha passed away, it spread among the wanderers, who were able to preserve only the first two lines in their books.
The emphatic yeva, “just,” implies that he was clinging to material form, feeling, etc., misconceived to be “I,” “mine,” and “my self.” With the arising of vision – a metaphorical expression for the path of stream-entry – personality view is eradicated and he understands the aggregates to be mere empty phenomena devoid of the selfhood that he had earlier imputed to them.
“These” refers to the five aggregates.
- Sandaka Sutta – To Sandaka
Tiracchanakatha. Many translators render this expression as “animal talk.” However, tiracchana means literally “going horizontally,” and though this term is used as a designation for animals, MA explains that in the present context it means talk that goes “horizontally” or “perpendicularly” to the path leading to heaven and liberation.
The “four ways that negate the living of the holy life” (abrahmacariyavasa, lit. “ways that are not living the holy life”) are teachings that in principle nullify the prospect of attaining the ultimate fruits of spiritual discipline. As the sutta will show, their proponents – inconsistently with their own principles – did observe celibacy and practise austerities. The “four kinds of holy life without consolation” (anassasikani brahmacariyani) do not undermine the principles of the holy life, but they also fail to offer the prospect of attaining the ultimate fruits of spiritual discipline.
The following passage makes explicit the materialist premises of the nihilistic view already set forth at MN 60.7. The Samannaphala Sutta ascribes this view to Ajita Kesakambalin (DN 2.23/i.55).
The point seems to be that even if one does not live the holy life, one ultimately reaps the same rewards as one who does, as the rest of the passage will make clear.
In the Samannaphala Sutta the view that follows, as far as “the space between the seven bodies,” is ascribed to Pakudha Kaccayana (DN 2.26/i.56). However, in that sutta the following passage on the elaborate system of classifications, down to “fools and the wise both will make an end of suffering,” is connected with the view of non-causality and follows immediately upon the statement of the doctrine of non-causality set forth in this sutta at §13. The entire view is there assigned to Makkhali Gosala. Since there are evident connections between the non-causality doctrine and items in the system of classifications (e.g., the reference to the “six classes”), and since both are known to have been typical of the AjIvaka movement headed by Makkhali Gosala, it seems that the inclusion of this system of classifications here under the doctrine of the seven bodies came about through an error of oral transmission. The correct version would thus be the one preserved by the Digha Nikaya. For the commentary on the system of classification, see Bodhi, The Discourse on the Fruits of Recluseship, pp. 72-77.
This statement reaffirms the fatalistic view of liberation enunciated in §13.
This is the claim made by the Jain teacher the Nigantha Nataputta at MN 14.17, and both the latter and Purana Kassapa at AN 9:38/iv.428-29. The fact that he makes bad judgements and must ask questions belies his claim to omniscience.
MA: This position is called eel-wriggling (amaravikkhepa) because the doctrine roams about here and there, like an eel diving in and out of the water, and thus it is impossible to catch hold of it. In the Samannaphala Sutta this position is ascribed to Sanjaya Belatthiputta (DN 2.32/1.58-59). It is quite possible that the “eel-wrigglers” were a class of radical sceptics who questioned the entire prospect of apodictic knowledge about ultimate issues.
MA: He is incapable of storing up food provisions and other pleasurable goods and subsequently enjoying them.
At DN 29.26/iii.133 four other things that the arahant cannot do are mentioned: he cannot take a wrong course of action because of desire, hatred, fear, or delusion.
The translation of this passage follows the BBS ed.
Niyyataro: Nm had rendered this as “guides,” Homer as “great leaders.” Evidently both followed PED, which takes niyyatar to be an agent noun related to niyyama(ka), pilot or helmsman. But niyyatar must be an agent noun of the verb niyyati, “to go out (to final emancipation),” and thus it has been rendered here as “emancipated one.”
On these three mentors of the Ajivakas, see MN 36.5 and n.383. MA explains the phrase puttamataya putta, “mother’s dead sons,” thus: The idea occurred to him, “The Ajivakas are dead; their mother had dead sons.”
- Mahasakuludayi Sutta – The Greater Discourse to Sakuludayin
Anagatarh vadapatharn. Nm had translated: “a future logical consequence of an assertion.” The meaning seems to be that the Buddha understands all the unexpressed implications of his own doctrine as well as of his opponents’ doctrines. The phrase may also imply that, in such suttas as the Brahmajala Sutta, the Buddha has laid down a critique applicable to any doctrine that might arise in the future course of religio-philosophical thought.
Explained in full in MN 10. The first seven groups of “wholesome states” (§§15-21) constitute the thirty-seven requisites of enlightenment (bodhipakkhiya dhamma).
Abhinnavosanaparamippatta. MA explains as the attainment of arahantship. This may be the only sense that the word parami bears in its appearance in the four Nikayas. In the later Theravada literature, beginning perhaps with such works as the Buddhavamsa, this word comes to signify the perfect virtues that a bodhisatta must fulfil over many lives in order to attain Buddhahood. In that context it corresponds to the paramita of the Mahayana literature, though the numerical lists of virtues overlap only in part.
MA explains liberation (vimokkha) here as meaning the mind’s full (but temporary) release from the opposing states and its full (but temporary) release by delighting in the object. The first liberation is the attainment of the four jhanas using a kasina (see §24 and n.768) derived from a coloured object in one’s own body; the second is the attainment of the jhanas using a kasina derived from an external object; the third can be understood as the attainment of the jhanas through either a very pure and beautiful coloured kasina or the four brahmaviharas. The remaining liberations are the immaterial attainments and the attainment of cessation.
MA explains that these are called bases of transcendence (abhibhayatana) because they transcend (abhibhavati, over come) the opposing states and the objects, the former through the application of the appropriate antidote, the latter through the arising of knowledge.
MA: The meditator does the preliminary work on an internal form – e.g., the blue of the eyes for a blue-kasina, the skin for a yellow kasina, the blood for a red-kasina, the teeth for a white-kasina – but the sign of concentration (nimitta) arises externally. The “transcending” of the forms is the attainment of absorption together with the arising of the sign. The perception “I know, I see” is the advertence (abhoga) that occurs after he emerges from the attainment, not within the attainment. The second base of transcendence differs from the first only by the extension of the sign from limited to unlimited dimensions.
MA: The second and fourth bases involve preliminary work done on an external form and the arising of the sign externally. The fifth through eighth bases differ from the third and fourth in the superior purity and luminosity of their colours.
The kasina is a meditation object derived from a physical device that provides a support for acquiring the inwardly visualised sign. Thus, for example, a disk made of clay can be used as the preliminary object for practising the earth-kasina, a bowl of water for practising the waterkasina. The kasinas are explained in detail in Vsm IV and V. There, however, the space-kasina is restricted to limited space, and the consciousness-kasina is replaced by the light-kasina.
The similes for the jhanas also appear in MN 39, as do the similes for the last three types of knowledge at §§34-36.
- §29-36 describe eight varieties of higher knowledge which, in the Samannaphala Sutta, are designated superior fruits of recluseship.
- Samanamandika Sutta – Samaamandikaputta
MA: The park had been built by Queen Mallika, the wife of King Pasenadi of Kosala, and beautified with flower trees and fruit trees. At first only one hall was built, which accounts for its name, but afterwards many halls were built. Various companies of Brahmins and wanderers would assemble here to expound and discuss their doctrines.
MA: First the Buddha shows the plane of the arahant, the one beyond training (i.e., by mentioning the ten qualities), then he sets up an outline applicable to the sekha, the disciple in higher training. The word rendered as “habits” is sila, which in some contexts can assume a wider range of meaning than “virtue.”
MA explains that this refers to the fruit of stream-entry, for it is at that point that the virtue of restraint by the Patimokkha is fulfilled (and, for a lay Buddhist, the observance of the Five Precepts). MA will also explain the subsequent passages by reference to the other supramundane paths and fruits. Although the text of the sutta does not expressly mention these attainments, the commentarial interpretation seems to be justified by the expression “cease without remainder” (aparisesa nirujjhanti), for it is only with the attainment of the respective paths and fruits that a total cessation of the particular defilement occurs. The commentary’s view is further supported by the culmination of the entire discourse in the figure of the arahant.
MA: As far as the path of stream-entry he is said to be practising for their cessation; when he has attained the fruit of stream-entry they are said to have ceased.
This passage shows the arahant, who maintains virtuous conduct but no longer identifies with his virtue by conceiving it as “1” and “mine.” Since his virtuous habits no longer generate kamma, they are not describable as “wholesome.”
MA: As far as the path of arahantship he is said to be practising for their cessation; when he has attained the fruit of arahantship they are said to have ceased.
MA: This refers to the first jhana pertaining to the fruit of non-returning. The path of non-returning eradicates sensual desire and ill will, and thus prevents any future arising of the three unwholesome intentions – those of sensual desire, ill will, and cruelty.
MA: As far as the path of non-returning he is said to be practising for their cessation; when he has attained the fruit of non-returning they are said to have ceased.
MA: This refers to the second jhana pertaining to the fruit of arahantship.
MA: As far as the path of arahantship he is said to be practising for their cessation; when he has obtained the fruit of arahantship they are said to have ceased. The virtuous intentions of the arahant are not described as “wholesome.”
See MN 65.34.
- Culasakuludayu Sutta – The Shorter Discourse to Sakuludayin
Evariivanno atta hoti arogo param marana. The word arogo, normally meaning healthy, here should be understood to mean permanent. MA says that he speaks with reference to rebirth in the heavenly world of Refulgent Glory, the objective counterpart of the third jhana, of which he has heard without actually attaining it. His view would seem to fall into the class described at MN 102.3.
Previous translators seem to have been perplexed by the verb anassama. Thus Nm in Ms renders the line: “We don’t renounce our teachers’ doctrines for this reason.” And Horner: “We have heard to here from our own teachers.” But anassama is a first-person plural aorist of nassati, “to perish, to be lost.” The same form occurs at MN 27.7. MA explains that they knew that in the past meditators would do the preparatory work on the kasina, attain the third jhana, and be reborn in the world of Refulgent Glory. But as time went on, the preparatory work on the kasina was no longer understood and meditators were not able to attain the third jhana. The wanderers only learned that “an entirely pleasant world” exists and that the five qualities mentioned at §21 were the “practical way” to it. They knew of no entirely pleasant world higher than the third jhana, and of no practical way higher than the five qualities.
MA: Having attained the fourth jhana, by supernormal power he goes to the world of Refulgent Glory and converses with the deities there.
MA explains that in a previous life, as a monk during the time of the Buddha Kassapa, he had persuaded another monk to return to lay life in order to gain his robes and bowl, and this obstructive kamma prevented him from going forth under the Buddha in this life. But the Buddha taught him two long suttas to provide him with a condition for future attainment. During the reign of King Asoka he attained arahantship as the Elder Assagutta, who excelled in the practice of loving-kindness.
- Vekhanassa Sutta – To Vekhanassa
MA identifies Vekhanassa as Sakuludayin’s teacher.
MA: Even though he was a wanderer, he was keenly intent on sensual pleasures. The Buddha undertook this teaching in order to make him recognise his strong concern with sensual pleasures, and thus the discourse would be beneficial to him.
In the Pali this sentence takes the form of a riddle, and the translation here is conjectural. MA explains that the “pleasure higher than the sensual” (or “the highest sensual pleasure,” kamaggasukham) is Nibbana.
- Ghatikara Sutta – Ghatikara the Potter
At the end of this sutta the Buddha will state that at that time he himself was Jotipala. At SN 1:50/i,35-36 the deity Ghatikara visits the Buddha Gotama and recalls their ancient friendship.
This seems to have been a common pejorative expression used by the Brahmin householders with reference to those who led a full-time renunciate life, contrary to their own ideal of maintaining the family lineage.
In the East it is considered, under normal circumstances, a serious breach of etiquette for one of lower birth to touch one of superior birth on the head. MA explains that Ghatikara was prepared to risk that breach in order to persuade Jotipala to meet the Buddha.
MA states that bodhisattas go forth under the Buddhas, purify their virtue, learn the Buddha’s teachings, practise the meditative life, and develop insight up to conformity knowledge (anulomanana). But they do not make effort to attain the paths and fruits (which would terminate their bodhisatta career).
His conduct approximates as closely to that of a monk as is possible for one still leading the household life. MA explains that he does not trade in the pottery he makes but merely engages in a free exchange of services with his neighbours.
MA explains that he refused because of his fewness of wishes (appicchata). He realised that the king had sent the foodstuffs because he had heard the Buddha’s report about his own virtues, but he thought: “I have no need of this. With what I acquire through my work I can support my parents and make offerings to the Buddha.”
- Ratthapala Sutta – On Ratthapala
Because of his readiness to risk death in order to obtain his parents’ permission to go forth, he was later declared by the Buddha the foremost of those gone forth in faith. His verses are at Thag 769-93.
Although the stock phrase “before long” is used here, MA says that it took Ratthapala twelve years of striving to attain arahantship. This statement seems correct in view of the fact that on his return journey to his parents’ home his father did not immediately recognise him.
Abhidosikam kummasam. Elsewhere Nm translated kummasa as “bread,” but here it obviously means something of a semi-liquid nature. MA says it is made from barley (yava).
MA explains that his father meant to say: “Ratthapala, my dear, there is our wealth – we cannot be called poor – yet you sit in such a place eating old porridge!” However, the householder was afflicted with such sorrow that he was unable to complete his utterance.
The verses obviously refer to his former wives, adorned in order to entice him back to the lay life. Strangely, no mention is made of the wives in the portion of the sutta conceived in his pre-ordination days.
MA: Recalling the Elder, the king would speak praise of him in the midst of his army or his harem: “That young man has done a difficult thing – having abandoned great wealth, he went forth without turning back or looking aside.”
Upantyati loko addhuvo. MA: It is swept away towards ageing and death.
Attano loko anabhissaro. MA: There is no one able to offer it shelter or to console it with a refuge. This statement, of course, does not deny a refuge from the world, which is just what the Dhamma offers.
Assako loko sabbam pahaya gamantyam.
Uno loko atitto tanhadaso.
- Makhadeva Sutta – King Makhadeva
See Makhadeva Jataka (No. 9) and Nimi Jataka (No. 54). King Makhadeva and King Nimi were earlier births of the Buddha Gotama.
The grove was originally planted by Makhadeva and thus was still named after him.
MA: He was established in the ten wholesome courses of action.
The Uposatha is the religious observance day of ancient India, also absorbed as such into Buddhism. See n.59.
According to Buddhist cosmology, the lifespan of human beings oscillates between a minimum of ten years and a maximum of many thousands of years. Makhadeva lived at a time when the lifespan was at the long end of the spectrum.
On the “divine messengers” – the foretokens of old age, illness, and death – see MN 130.
MA: Matali led him first through the hells, then he turned back and led him through the heavenly world.
MA: The good practice is being broken by a virtuous bhikkhu when he thinks, “I cannot obtain arahantship” and does not exert energy. It has been broken by a corrupt bhikkhu. It is being continued by the seven sekhas. It has been continued by the arahant.
- Madhura Sutta – At Madhura
From this passage it seems that despite a tendency to rigidification, the Indian class system was at the time considerably more elastic than the later caste system that evolved from it.
- Bodhirajakumara Sutta – To Prince Bodhi
Prince Bodhi was the son of King Udena of Kosambi; his mother was the daughter of King Candappajjota of Avanti. The portion of the sutta from §2 through §8 is also found at Vin Cv Kh 5/ii.127-29, where it leads to the formulation of the rule mentioned in the following note.
MA explains that Prince Bodhi was childless and desired a son. He had heard that people can fulfil their wishes by making special offerings to the Buddha, so he spread the white cloth with the idea: “If I am to have a son, the Buddha will step on the cloth; if I am not to have a son, he will not step on the cloth.” The Buddha knew that by reason of past evil kamma, he and his wife were destined to remain childless. Hence he did not step on the cloth. Later he laid down a disciplinary rule prohibiting the bhikkhus from stepping on a white cloth, but subsequently modified the rule to allow bhikkhus to step on a cloth as a blessing for householders.
Pacchimam janatam Tathagato apaloketi. The Vin version here reads anukampati, “has compassion,” which is preferable. MA explains that Ven. Ananda said this with the thought in mind: “In later times people will come to regard honour to the bhikkhus as a way of ensuring the fulfilment of their mundane wishes and will lose faith in the Sangha if their displays of honour do not bring the success they desire.”
This is the basic tenet of the Jains, as at MN 14.20.
- Angulimala Sutta – On Angulimala
The name “Angulimala” is an epithet meaning “garland (mala) of fingers (anguli).” He was the son of the Brahmin Bhaggava, a chaplain to King Pasenadi of Kosala. His given name was Ahimsaka, meaning “harmless one.” He studied at Takkasila, where he became his teacher’s favourite. His fellow students, jealous of him, told the teacher that Ahimsaka had committed adultery with his wife. The teacher, intent on bringing Ahimsaka to ruin, commanded him to bring him a thousand human righthand fingers as an honorarium. Ahimsaka lived in the Jalini forest, attacking travellers, cutting off a finger of each, and wearing them as a garland around his neck. At the time the sutta opens he was one short of a thousand and had made a determination to kill the next person to come along. The Buddha saw that Angulimala’s mother was on her way to visit him, and aware that Angulimala had the supporting conditions for arahantship, he intercepted him shortly before his mother was due to arrive.
MA explains that Angulimala had just realised that the monk before him was the Buddha himself and that he had come to the forest for the express purpose of transforming him.
MA: By virtue of his merit from past lives, Angulimala acquired the bowl and robes through the spiritual power of the Buddha as soon as the Buddha said, “Come, bhikkhu.”
Even today this utterance is often recited by Buddhist monks as a protective charm (paritta) for pregnant women close to their time of delivery.
MA explains that any volitional action (kamma) is capable of yielding three kinds of result: a result to be experienced here and now, i.e., in the same life in which the deed is committed; a result to be experienced in the next existence; and a result to be experienced in any life subsequent to the next, as long as one’s sojourn in samsara continues. Because he had attained arahantship, Angulimala had escaped the latter two types of result but not the first, since even arahants are susceptible to experiencing the present-life results of actions they performed before attaining arahantship.
Several of the verses to follow also appear in the Dhammapada. Angulimala’s verses are found in full at Thag 866-91.
Although MA says that Ahimsaka, “Harmless,” was Angulimala’s given name, the commentary to the Theragatha says his original name was Himsaka, meaning “dangerous.”
Whereas virtuous bhikkhus short of arahants are said to eat the country’s almsfood as an inheritance from the Buddha, the arahant eats “free from debt” because he has made himself fully worthy of receiving alms. See Vsm I, 125-27.
- Piyajatika Sutta – Born from Those Who Are Dear
The expression is often used to mean serious illness and death.
Vidudabha was the king’s son, who eventually overthrew him. Kasi and Kosala are lands over which the king ruled.
MA: He used this to wash his hands and feet and clean his mouth before saluting the Buddha.
- Bahitika Sutta – The Cloak
MA explains that the king asked this question with reference to the case involving the female wanderer Sundari, which was pending investigation at the time. Wishing to discredit the Buddha, some wandering ascetics persuaded Sundari to visit Jeta’s Grove at night and then let herself be seen returning at dawn, so people would become suspicious. After some time they had her murdered and buried near Jeta’s Grove, and when her body was discovered there, they pointed an accusing finger at the Buddha. After a week the false report was exposed when the king’s spies found out the real story behind the murder. See Ud 4:8/42-45.
Briefly, this passage offers five criteria of evil actions: unwholesomeness underscores the psychological quality of the action, its unhealthy effect upon the mind; its being blameworthy underscores its morally detrimental nature; its capacity to produce painful results calls attention to its undesirable kammic potential; and the last statement calls attention to both its evil motivation and the harmful long-range consequences such action entails for both oneself and others. The opposite explanation applies to good action, discussed in §14.
MA: Ven. Ananda’s answer goes beyond the question, for he shows not only that the Buddha praises the abandoning of all unwholesome states, but that he acts in accordance with his word by having abandoned all unwholesome states as well.
MA explains the word bahitika, after which the sutta is named, as a cloak produced in a foreign country.
- Dhammacetiya Sutta – Monuments to the Dhamma
Digha Karayana was the commander-in-chief of King Pasenadi’s forces. He was the nephew of Bandhula, chief of the Mallas and a former friend of King Pasenadi, whom the king had killed together with his thirty-two sons through the treacherous contrivance of his corrupt ministers. Karayana was in secret collusion with Prince Vidudabha, Pasenadi’s son, to help the latter usurp his father’s throne.
Three leagues (yojana) would be approximately twenty miles.
MA says that he thought: “Previously, after conferring in private with the recluse Gotama, the king arrested my uncle and his thirty-two sons. Perhaps this time he will arrest me.” The royal insignia entrusted to Digha Karayana also included the fan, parasol, and sandals. Digha Karayana hurried back to the capital with the royal insignia and crowned Vidudabha king.
At MN 13.11 these quarrels are said to arise because of sensual pleasures.
As at MN 77.6.
As at MN 27.4-7.
At the time of their deaths both were declared by the Buddha to be once-returners. See AN 6:44/iii.348.
This statement indicates that this sutta can be assigned to the last year of the Buddha’s life.
When King Pasenadi returned to the place where he had left Digha Karayana, he found only a servant woman who reported the news to him. He then hurried on to Rajagaha to enlist the aid of his nephew, King Ajatasattu. But since he arrived late, he found the city gates closed. Exhausted by the journey, he lay down in a hall outside the city and died during the night.
MA: “Monuments to the Dhamma” means words expressing reverence to the Dhamma. Whenever reverence is shown towards any of the Three jewels, it is also shown to the others.
- Kannakatthala Sutta – At Kannakatthala
MA: These two sisters are the king’s wives (not his sisters!).
MA: There is no one who can know and see all – past, present, and future – with one act of mental adverting, with one act of consciousness; thus this problem is discussed in terms of a single act of consciousness (ekacitta). On the question of the kind of omniscience the Theravada tradition attributes to the Buddha, see n.714.
That is, he is not inquiring about their social status but about their prospects for spiritual progress and attainment.
As at MN 85.58.
MA’s explanation of this reply suggests that the former class of gods are non-returners, while the latter class are gods who have not attained the status of non-returners. The same would apply to the question on Brahmas in §15. The two key terms that here distinguish the two types of gods appear in the PTS ed. as savyapajjha and abyapajjha, which would be rendered as “subject to ill will” and “free from ill will,” respectively. The BBS ed. reading accepted here, sabyabajjha and abyabajjha, has the support of MA, which glosses the former as “who have not abandoned mental suffering by eradicating it,” and the latter as “who have eradicated suffering.” As either reading would be applicable to non-returners, no significant difference is entailed. Note that the word itthatta, which in the stock declaration of arahantship signifies any state of manifest existence, is here glossed by MA as manussaloka, the human world.
- Brahmayu Sutta – Brahmayu
This is a stock description of a learned Brahmin. According to MA, the Three Vedas are the Iru, Yaju, and Sama (= Rig, Yajur, and Saman). The fourth Veda, the Atharva, is not mentioned, but MA says its existence is implied when the histories (Itihasa) are called “the fifth,” i.e., of the works regarded as authoritative by the Brahmins. It is more likely, however, that the histories are called “the fifth” in connection with the four branches of study auxiliary to the Vedas that precede them in the description. The translation of technical terms here follows MA, with the help of Monier-William’s SanskritEnglish Dictionary (Oxford, 1899). On the marks of a Great Man, MA says that this was a science based on 12,000 works explaining the characteristics of great men, such as Buddhas, paccekabuddhas, chief disciples, great disciples, Wheel-turning Monarchs, etc. These works included 16,000 verses called “The Buddha Mantra.”
The thirty-two marks, enumerated in §9 below, are the subject of an entire sutta in the Digha Nikaya, DN 30, Lakkhana Sutta. There each of the marks is explained as the kammic consequence of a particular virtue perfected by the Buddha during his earlier existences as a bodhisatta.
The seven treasures are discussed in MN 129.34-41. The acquisition of the wheel-treasure explains why he is called a “Wheel-turning Monarch.”
MA: The world, enveloped in the darkness of the defilements, is covered by seven veils: lust, hate, delusion, conceit, views, ignorance, and immoral conduct. Having removed these veils, the Buddha abides generating light all around.
MA explains that the Buddha worked this feat after first ascertaining that Uttara’s teacher, Brahmayu, had the potential for achieving the fruit of non-returning, and that his attainment of this fruit depended upon the dispelling of Uttara’s doubts.
The seven are the backs of the four limbs, the two shoulders, and the trunk.
Rasaggasaggr. The Lakkhana Sutta expands (DN 30.2.7/ iii.166): “Whatever he touches with the tip of his tongue he tastes in his throat, and the taste is dispersed everywhere.” It is difficult, however, to understand either how this quality could be considered a physical characteristic or how it could be perceived by others.
This mark, the unhisa, accounts for the protuberance commonly seen on the top of the head of Buddha-images.
This is the standard reflection on the proper use of almsfood, as at MN 2.14.
The blessing (anumodana) is a short talk following the meal, instructing the donors in some aspect of the Dhamma and expressing the wish that their meritorious kamma will bring them abundant fruit.
MA: This is the intention: “The excellent qualities I have not described are far more numerous than those I have described. The excellent qualities of Master Gotama are like the great earth and the great ocean; expounded in detail they are infinite and immeasurable, like space.”
The Pali word for the tongue, jivha, is of the feminine gender.
What must be directly known (abhinneyya) are the Four Noble Truths, what must be developed (bhavetabba) is the Noble Eightfold Path, and what must be abandoned (pahatabba) are the defilements headed by craving. Here the context requires that the word “Buddha” be understood in the specific sense of a Fully Enlightened One (sammasambuddha).
Vedagu. This term and the following two – tevijja and sotthiya – seem to have represented ideal types among the Brahmins; see too MN 39.24, 26, and 27. The sixth and seventh terms – kevalT and muni – were probably ideal types among the non-Vedic ascetic orders. By his reply, the Buddha endows these terms with new meanings derived from his own spiritual system.
Here and in the reply the word “Buddha” may signify simply one who is enlightened or awakened, in a sense applicable to any arahant, though Brahmayu’s response also suggests it may be intended in the narrower sense of a Fully Enlightened One.
MA offers an involved explanation of how the Buddha’s reply answers all eight of Brahmayu’s questions.
As at MN 56.18.
- Sela Sutta – To Sela
The text of this sutta has not been included in the PTS ed. of the Majjhima Nikaya, as it is identical with the sutta of the same name in the Sutta Nipata, published in two different versions by the PTS. The bracketed page numbers here therefore refer to the more recent PTS ed. of Sn, that edited by Dines Anderson and Helmer Smith.
That is, Jambudipa, the Indian subcontinent.
- Assalayana Sutta – To Assalayana
The argument in favour of this thesis is set forth at MN 90.10-12.
MA: They speak thus intending to say: “Having studied the Three Vedas, you have trained in the mantras by which those who go forth undertake their going forth and the mantras they maintain after they have gone forth. You have practised their mode of conduct. Therefore, you will not be defeated. Victory will be yours.”
This statement is intended to show that Brahmins are born of women, just like other human beings, and there is thus no substance to their claim that they are born of Brahma’s mouth.
Yona is probably the Pali equivalent of Ionia, the reference being to the Bactrian Greeks. Kamboja is a district in India to the north of the Middle Country.
The argument of §§7-8 here is substantially identical with that of MN 84.
MA identifies Devala the Dark, Asita Devala, with the Buddha in an earlier life. The Buddha undertakes this teaching to show: “In the past, when you were of a superior birth and I was of an inferior birth, you could not answer a question I asked you about an assertion concerning birth. So how can you do so now, when you are inferior and I have become a Buddha?”
As in MN 38.26.
MA: Punna was the name of a servant of the seven seers; he would take a spoon, cook leaves, and serve them.
- Ghotamukha Sutta – To Ghotamukha
MA: He did this after recognising that a lengthy discussion would be required.
The kahapana was the principal monetary unit of the time.
During the Buddha’s last days, this city was still a small town known as Pataligama. At DN 16.1.28/iii.87, the Buddha predicts its future greatness. It eventually became the capital of Magadha. Its present-day descendent is the city of Patna, capital of the state of Bihar.
- Canki Sutta – With Canki
The opening passage of this sutta, down to §10, is virtually identical with the opening of the Sonadanda Sutta (DN 4).
MA: It was called thus because offerings were made there to the gods.
Another wealthy Brahmin who resided in Ukkattha, a crown property given to him by King Pasenadi. At DN 2.21/i.110 he hears a discourse from the Buddha, attains stream-entry, and goes for refuge along with his family and retinue.
These are the ancient rishis whom the Brahmins regarded as the divinely inspired authors of the Vedic hymns.
In Pali: saddha, ruci, anussava, akaraparivitakka, ditthinijjhanakkhanti. Of these five grounds for arriving at a conviction, the first two seem to be primarily emotive, the third to be a blind acceptance of tradition, and the last two primarily rational or cognitive. The “two different ways” each may turn out are true and false.
It is not proper for him to come to this conclusion because he has not personally ascertained the truth of his conviction but only accepts it on a ground that is not capable of yielding certainty.
Saccanurakkhana: or, the safeguarding of truth, the protection of truth.
Saccanubodha: or, the awakening to truth.
The procedure for the discovery of truth recommended in this sutta appears to be an elaboration of the approach described in MN 47.
Tuleti. MA: He investigates things in terms of impermanence, and so forth. This stage thus seems to be that of insight contemplation.
Although applying the will (ussahati) appears similar to striving (padahati), the former may be understood as the exertion undertaken prior to insight contemplation, the latter as the exertion that brings insight up to the level of the supramundane path.
MA: He realises Nibbana with the mental body (of the path of stream-entry), and having penetrated the defilements, he sees Nibbana with wisdom, making it clear and evident.
While the discovery of truth in this context appears to signify the attainment of stream-entry, the final arrival at truth (saccanuppatti) seems to mean the full attainment of arahantship.
- Esukari Sutta – To Esukari
MA: It had been an ancient practice among the Brahmins to wander for alms even when they possessed great wealth.
Although agriculture may seem a strange occupation for one described as a merchant, it should be understood that the vessas not only ran the urban business enterprises, but also owned and supervised agrarian undertakings.
Ariyarn kho aham brahmana lokuttaram dhammam purisassa sandhanam pannapemi.
Attabhavassa abhinibbatti: literally, “wherever the reconception of his individuality takes place.”
- Dhananjani Sutta – To Dhananjani
Sati uttarakarantye. Ven. Sariputta had left without giving him a teaching that would have enabled him to arrive at the supramundane path and become fixed in destination for enlightenment. Compared to this even rebirth in the Brahma-world is described as “inferior” (hina).
This remark has the force of a gentle reproach. The Buddha must have seen that Dhananjani had the potential to attain the supramundane path, since elsewhere (e.g., MN 99.24-27) he himself teaches only the way to the Brahma-world when that potential is lacking in his listener.
- Vasettha Sutta – To Vasettha
The text of this sutta has not been included in the PTS ed. of the Majjhima Nikaya, for the same reason given in n.867. The bracketed page numbers refer to the Anderson-Smith ed. of Sn.
Here the word “kamma” has to be understood as present action or deed, and not past action producing its present consequences.
Samanna. MA: Among animals the diversity in the shape of their bodily parts is determined by their species (yoni), but that (species differentiation) is not found in the individual bodies of Brahmins and other classes of humans. Such being the case, the distinction between Brahmins, khattiyas, etc., is purely a verbal designation; it is spoken of as mere conventional expression.
MA: Up to this point the Buddha has criticised the assertion of Bharadvaja that birth makes one a Brahmin. Now he will uphold the assertion of Vasettha that action makes one a Brahmin. For the ancient Brahmins and other wise ones in the world would not recognise the Brahminhood of one defective in livelihood, virtue, and conduct.
Bhovadi. Bho, “sir,” was a mode of address used among the Brahmins. From this point on the Buddha will identify the true Brahmin with the arahant. Verses 27-54 here are identical with Dhp 396-423, except for an additional couplet in Dhp 423.
MA: By the present volitional action which accomplishes the work of farming, etc.
With this verse the word “kamma” undergoes a shift in meaning signalled by the term “dependent origination.” “Kamma” here no longer means simply present action determining one’s social status, but action in the special sense of a force binding beings to the round of existence. This same line of thought becomes even clearer in the next verse.
This verse and the following one again refer to the arahant. Here, however, the contrast is not between the arahant as the one made holy by his actions and the born Brahmin unworthy of his designation, but between the arahant as the one liberated from the bondage of action and result and all other beings who remain tied by their actions to the wheel of birth and death.
- Subha Sutta – To Subha
Todeyya was a wealthy Brahmin, the overlord of Tudigama, a village near Savatthi. MN 135 was also spoken to this same Subha.
Vibhajjavado kho aham ettha. Such statements account for the later designation of Buddhism as vibhajjavada, “the doctrine of analysis.”
Obviously at the time trade was still in an early stage of development. The same statement could hardly be made today!
As at MN 95.13.
This statement must have been made before Pokkharasati became a follower of the Buddha, as is mentioned at MN 95.9.
This knowledge pertains to the third of the Tathagata’s powers, knowing the ways to all destinations. See MN 12.12.
MA explains limiting action (pamanakatam kammarh) as kamma pertaining to the sense sphere (kamavacara). It is contrasted with a limitless or immeasurable action, namely, the jhanas pertaining to the fine-material sphere or the immaterial sphere, In this case the brahmaviharas developed to the jhanic level are intended. When a jhana pertaining to the fine-material sphere or the immaterial sphere is attained and mastered, a kamma pertaining to the sense sphere cannot overpower it and gain the opportunity to yield its own result. Rather, the kamma pertaining to the fine-material sphere or the immaterial sphere overpowers the sense-sphere kammas and produces its results. Obstructing the result of the sense-sphere kammas, the brahmavihara that has been mastered leads to rebirth in the company of Brahma.
As at MN 27.2
- Sangavara Sutta – To Sangarava
Dhananjani was a stream-enterer. MA says that Sangarava was her husband’s younger brother.
Ditthadhammabhinnavosanaparamippatta adibrahmacariyam patijananti. MA glosses: They claim to be the originators, creators, producers of a holy life, saying: “Having directly known here and now in this present existence and having reached the consummation, we have attained Nibbana, called ‘perfection’ because it is the transcendence of everything.”
It is puzzling that the reasoners and investigators (takki, vimarhsi) are here said to rely on the basis of mere faith (saddhamattakena). Elsewhere faith and reasoning are contrasted as two different grounds of conviction (MN 95.14), and “mere faith” seems more closely allied with reliance on oral tradition than with reasoning and investigation.
Samara yeva dhammam abhinnaya. This phrase emphasizes direct personal realisation as the foundation for promulgating a holy life.
MA says that Sangarava had the idea that the Buddha spoke thus without actual knowledge, and he therefore accuses the Buddha of false speech. The sequence of ideas in this passage is difficult to follow and it is likely that the text is corrupt.
Tài liệu tham khảo:
- http://lirs.ru/lib/sutra/The_Middle_Length_Discourses(Majjhima_Nikaya), Nanamoli, Bodhi, 1995.pdf