Articles by alphabetic order
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
 Ā Ī Ñ Ś Ū Ö Ō
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0


Ambaṭṭha Sutta

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Cm 50x50.jpg
174f02 n.jpg
BfrtU .jpg
00-4.jpg
Prajna paramita42k.jpg
Url255.jpg
Saihouji-kokedera01.jpg
Ambhava-1.jpg
Huf.jpg
Ima 147.jpg
000159195.jpg
192216bnb.jpg
95 200.jpg
Dongbin.jpeg
Hhnj.JPG
Faith Buddhism Vajra.png
179kh.jpg
Hedas.jpg
Milarepa-the-one-.jpg
Cbnen.jpg
190xcv.jpg
Mulets.JPG
0001tyypassion.jpeg
866hj.jpg
25dd04.jpg
Sdkl.jpg
Myth2-13-4.JPG
06sd.jpg
Lord-Bu.jpg
DSC 2186.JPG
Amritakundali.jpg
Monks.jpg
Ksitigarbha 7.jpg
Wwf16.jpg
Art 34x462.jpg
Smokesignals.jpg
Mo 033.jpg
Bghe.jpg
Kali by nosve.jpg
75008704.jpg
T1084M97.272.jpeg
Shantideva-4cbd5.JPG
Kuh0110.JPG
THE MINDcccccc.jpg
Maastik-Rin01.jpg
217106.jpg
Med25.jpg
Mount kailash 7.jpg

Long Discourses



Chapter on the Virtues 3 To Ambaṭṭha

A Young Brahman’s Rudeness And An Old One’s Faith

Thus have I heard. The Blessed One, when once on a tour through the Kosala country with a great company of the brethren, with about five hundred brethren, arrived at a Brahman village in Kosala named Icchānankala; and while there he stayed in the Icchānankala Wood.

Now at that time the Brahman Pokkharasādi was dwelling at Ukkaṭṭha, a spot teeming with life, with much grassmland and woodland and corn, on a royal domain, granted him by King Pasenadi of Kosala as a royal gift, with power over it as if he were the king.

Now the Brahman Pokkharasādi heard the news:

‘They say that the Samaṇa Gotama, of the Sākya clan, who went out from a Sākya family to adopt the religious life, has now arrived, with a great company of the brethren of his Order, at Icchānankala, and is staying there in the Icchānankala Wood. Now regarding that venerable Gotama, such is the high reputation that has been noised abroad; That Blessed One is an Arahat, a fully awakened one, abounding in wisdom and goodness, happy, with knowledge of the worlds, unsurpassed as a guide to mortals willing to be led, a teacher for gods and men, a Blessed One, a Buddha. He, by himself, thoroughly knows and sees, as it were, face to face this universe—including the worlds above of the gods, the Brahmas, and the Māras, and the world below with its recluses and Brahmans, its princes and peoples—and having known it, he makes his knowledge known to others. The truth, lovely in its origin, lovely in its progress, lovely in its consummation, doth he proclaim, both in the spirit and in the letter, the higher life doth he make known, in all its fullness and in all its purity.

‘And good is it to pay visits to Arahats like that.’

Now at that time a young Brahman, an Ambaṭṭha, was a pupil under Pokkharasādi the Brahman. And he was a repeater (of the sacred words) knowing the mystic verses by heart, one who had mastered the Three Vedas, with the indices, the ritual, the phonology, and the exegesis (as a fourth), and the legends as a fifth. learned in the idioms and the grammar, versed in Lokāyata sophistry, and in the theory of the signs on the body of a great man—so recognised an authority in the system of the threefold Vedic knowledge as expounded by his master, that he could say of him: ‘What I know that you know, and what you know that I know.’

And Pokkarasādi told Ambaṭṭha the news, and said: ‘Come now, dear Ambaṭṭha, go to the Samaṇa Gotama, and find out whether the reputation so noised abroad regarding him is in accord with the facts or not, whether the Samaṇa Gotama is such as they say or not.’

‘But how, Sir, shall I know whether that is so or not?’

‘There have been handed down, Ambaṭṭha, in our mystic verses thirty-two bodily signs of a great man—signs which, if a man has, he will become one of two things, and no other. If he dwells at home he will become a sovran of the world, a righteous king, bearing rule even to the shores of the four great oceans, a conqueror, the protector of his people, possessor of the seven royal treasures. And these are the seven treasures that he has—the Wheel, the Elephant, the Horse, the Gem, the Woman, the Treasurer, and the Adviser as a seventh. And he has more than a thousand sons, heroes, mighty in frame, beating down the armies of the foe. And he dwells in complete ascendancy over the wide earth from sea to sea, ruling it in righteousness without the need of baton or of sword. But if he go forth from the household life into the houseless state, then he will become a Buddha who removes the veil from the eyes of the world. Now I, Ambaṭṭha, am a giver of the mystic verses; you have received them from me.’

‘Very good, Sir,’ said Ambaṭṭha in reply; and rising from his seat and paying reverence to Pokkharasādi, he mounted a chariot drawn by mares, and proceeded, with a retinue of young Brahmans, to the Icchānankala Wood. And when he had gone on in the chariot as far as the road was practicable for vehicles, he got down, and went on, into the park, on foot.

Now at that time a number of the brethren were walking up and down in the open air. And Ambaṭṭha went up to them, and said: ‘Where may the venerable Gotama be lodging now? We have come hither to call upon him.’

Then the brethren thought: ‘This young Brahman Ambaṭṭha is of distinguished family. and a pupil of the distinguished Brahman Pokkharasādi. The Blessed One will not find it difficult to hold conversation with such.’ And they said to Ambaṭṭha: ‘There, Ambaṭṭha, is his lodging, where the door is shut, go quietly up and enter the porch gently, and give a cough, and knock on the cross-bar. The Blessed One will open the door for you.’

Then Ambaṭṭha did so. And the Blessed One opened the door, and Ambaṭṭha entered in. And the other young Brahmans also went in; and they exchanged with the Blessed One the greetings and compliments of politeness and courtesy, and took their seats. But Ambaṭṭha, walking about, said something or other of a civil kind in an off-hand way, fidgeting about the while, or standing up, to the Blessed One sitting there.

And the Blessed One said to him: ‘Is that the way, Ambaṭṭha, that you would hold converse with aged teachers, and teachers of your teachers well stricken in years, as you now do, moving about the while or standing, with me thus seated?’

‘Certainly not, Gotama. It is proper to speak with a Brahman as one goes along only when the Brahman himself is walking, and standing to a Brahman who stands, and seated to a Brahman who has taken his seat, or reclining to a Brahman who reclines. But with shavelings, sham friars, menial black fellows, the offscouring of our kinsman’s heels—with them I would talk as I now do to you!’

‘But you must have been wanting something, Ambaṭṭha, when you came here. Turn your thoughts rather to the object you had in view when you came. This young Brahman Ambaṭṭha is ill bred, though he prides himself on his culture; what can this come from except from want of training?’

Then Ambaṭṭha was displeased and angry with the Blessed One at being called rude; and at the thought that the Blessed One was vexed with him, he said, scoffing, jeering, and sneering at the Blessed One: ‘Rough is this Sākya breed of yours, Gotama, and rude; touchy is this Sākya breed of yours and violent. Menials, mere menials, they neither venerate, nor value, nor esteem, nor give gifts to, nor pay honour to Brahmans. That, Gotama, is neither fitting, nor is it seemly!’

Thus did the young Brahman Ambaṭṭha for the first time charge the Sākyas with being menials.

‘But in what then, Ambaṭṭha, have the Sākyas given you offence?’

‘Once, Gotama, I had to go to Kapilavatthu on some business or other of Pokkharasādi’s, and went into the Sākyas’ Congress Hall. Now at that time there were a number of Sākyas, old and young, seated in the hall on grand seats, making merry and joking together, nudging one another with their fingers; and for a truth, methinks, it was I myself that was the subject of their jokes; and not one of them even offered me a seat. That, Gotama, is neither fitting, nor is it seemly, that the Sākyas, menials as they are, mere menials, should neither venerate, nor value, nor esteem, nor give gifts to, nor pay honour to Brahmans.’

Thus did the young Brahman Ambaṭṭha for the second time charge the Sākyas with being menials.

‘Why a quail, Ambaṭṭha, little hen bird though she be, can say what she likes in her own nest. And there the Sākyas are at their own home, in Kapilavatthu. It is not fitting for you to take offence at so trifling a thing.’

‘There are these four grades, Gotama—the nobles, the Brahmans, the tradesfolk, and the work-people. And of these four, three—the nobles, the tradesfolk, and the work-people—are, verily, but attendants on the Brahmans. So, Gotama, that is neither fitting, nor is it seemly, that the Sākyas, menials as they are, mere menials, should neither venerate, nor value, nor esteem, nor give gifts to, nor pay honour to the Brahmans.’

Thus did the young Brahman Ambaṭṭha for the third time charge the Sākyas with being menials.

Then the Blessed One thought thus: ‘This Ambaṭṭha is very set on humbling the Sākyas with his charge of servile origin. What if I were to ask him as to his own lineage.’ And he said to him:

‘And what family do you then, Ambaṭṭha, belong to?’

‘I am a Kaṇhāyana.’

‘Yes, but if one were to follow up your ancient name and lineage, Ambaṭṭha, on the father’s and the mother’s side, it would appear that the Sākyas were once your masters, and that you are the offspring of one of their slave girls. But the Sākyas trace their line back to Okkāka the king.

‘Long ago, Ambaṭṭha, King Okkāka, wanting to divert the succession in favour or the son of his favourite queen, banished his elder children—Okkāmukha, Karaṇḍa, Hatthinika, and Sinipura—from the land. And being thus banished they took up their dwelling on the slopes of the Himālaya, on the borders of a lake where a mighty oak tree grew.

And through fear of injuring the purity of their line they intermarried with their sisters.

‘Now Okkāka the king asked the ministers at his court: “Where, Sirs, are the children now?”’

‘There is a spot, Sire, on the slopes of the Himālaya, on the borders of a lake, where there grows a mighty oak (sako). There do they dwell. And lest they should injure the purity of their line they have married their own (sakāhi) sisters.’

‘Then did Okkāka the king burst forth in admiration : “Hearts of oak (sakyā) are those young fellows! Right well they hold their own (paramasakyā)!”

‘That is the reason, Ambaṭṭha, why they are known as Sākyas. Now Okkāka had a slave girl called Disā. She gave birth to a black baby. And no sooner was it born than the little black thing said, “Wash me, mother. Bathe me, mother. Set me free, mother, of this dirt. So shall I be of use to you.”

‘Now just as now, Ambaṭṭha, people call devilsdevils,” so then they called devils “black fellows” (kaṇhe). And they said: “This fellow spoke as soon as he was born. ’Tis a black thing (kaṇha) that is born, a devil has been born!” And that is the origin, Ambaṭṭha, of the Kanhayanas s. He was the ancestor of the Kaṇhāyanas. And thus is it, Ambaṭṭha, that if one were to follow up your ancient name and lineage, on the father’s and on the mother’s side, it would appear that the Sākyas were once your masters, and that you are the offspring of one of their slave girls.’

When he had thus spoken the young Brahmans said to the Blessed One: ‘Let not the venerable Gotama humble Ambaṭṭha too sternly with this reproach of being descended from a slave girl. He is well born, Gotama, and of good family; he is versed in the sacred hymns, an able reciter, a learned man. And he is able to give answer to the venerable Gotama in these matters.’

Then the Blessed One said to them: ‘Quite so. If you thought otherwise, then it would be for you to carry on our discussion further. But as you think so, let Ambaṭṭha himself speak.’

‘We do think so; and we will hold our peace. Ambaṭṭha is able to give answer to the venerable Gotama in these matters.’

Then the Blessed One said to Ambaṭṭha the Brahman: ‘Then this further question arises, Ambaṭṭha, a very reasonable one which, even though unwillingly, you should answer. If you do not give a clear reply, or go off upon another issue, or remain silent, or go away, then your head will split in pieces on the spot. What have you heard, when Brahmans old and well stricken in years, teachers of yours or their teachers, were talking together, as to whence the Kaṇhāyanas draw their origin, and who the ancestor was to whom they trace themselves back?’

And when he had thus spoken Ambaṭṭha remained silent. And the Blessed One asked the same question again. And still Ambaṭṭha remained silent. Then the Blessed One said to him: ‘You had better answer, now, Ambaṭṭha. This is no time for you to hold your peace. For whosoever, Ambaṭṭha, does not, even up to the third time of asking, answer a reasonable question put by a Tathāgata (by one who has won the truth), his head splits into pieces on the spot.’

Now at that time the spirit who bears the thunderbolt stood over above Ambaṭṭha in the sky with a mighty mass of iron, all fiery, dazzling, and aglow, with the intention, if he did not answer, there and then to split his head in pieces. And the Blessed One perceived the spirit bearing the thunderbolt, and so did Ambaṭṭha the Brahman. And Ambaṭṭha on becoming aware of it, terrified, startled, and agitated, seeking safety and protection and help from the Blessed One, crouched down beside him in awe, and said: ‘What was it the Blessed One said? Say it once again!’

‘What do you think, Ambaṭṭha? What have you heard, when Brahmans old and well stricken in years, teachers of yours or their teachers, were talking together, as to whence the Kaṇhāyanas draw their origin, and who the ancestor was to whom they trace themselves back?’

‘Just so, Gotama, did I hear, even as the venerable Gotama hath said. That is the origin of the Kaṇhāyanas, and that the ancestor to whom they trace themselves back.’

And when he had thus spoken the young Brahmans fell into tumult, and uproar, and turmoil; and said: ‘Low born, they say, is Ambaṭṭha the Brahman; his family, they say, is not of good standing; they say he is descended from a slave girl; and the Sākyas were his masters. We did not suppose that the Samaṇa Gotama, whose words are righteousness itself, was not a man to be trusted!’

And the Blessed One thought: ‘They go too far, these Brahmans, in their depreciation of Ambaṭṭha as the offspring of a slave girl. Let me set him free from their reproach.’ And he said to them: ‘Be not too severe in disparaging Ambaṭṭha the Brahman on the ground of his descent. That Kaṇha became a mighty seer. He went into the Dekkan, there he learnt mystic verses, and returning to Okkāka the king, he demanded his daughter Madda-rū pī in marriage. To him the king in answer said: “Who forsooth is this fellow, who—son of my slave girl as he is—asks for my daughter in marriage;” and, angry and displeased, he fitted an arrow to his bow. But neither could he let the arrow fly, nor could he take it off the string again.

‘Then the ministers and courtiers went to Kaṇha the seer, and said: “Let the king go safe, Sir; let the king go safe.”

“The king shall suffer no harm. But should he shoot the arrow downwards, then would the earth dry up as far as his realm extends.”

“Let the king, Sir, go safe, and the country too.”

“The king shall suffer no harm, nor his land. But should he shoot the arrow upwards, the god would not rain for seven years as far as his realm extends.”

“Let the king, Sir, go safe, and the country too; and let the god rain.”

“The king shall suffer no harm, nor the land either, and the god shall rain. But let the king aim the arrow at his eldest son. The prince shall suffer no harm, not a hair of him shall be touched.”

‘Then, O Brahmans, the ministers told this to Okkāka, and said: “Let the king aim at his eldest son. He will suffer neither harm nor terror.” And the king did so, and no harm was done. But the king, terrified at the lesson given him, gave the man his daughter Madda-rū pī to wife. You should not, O Brahmans, be too severe to disparage Ambaṭṭha in the matter of his slave-girl ancestress. That Kaṇha was a mighty seer:

Then the Blessed One said to Ambaṭṭha: ‘What think you, Ambaṭṭha? Suppose a young Kshatriya should have connection with a Brahman maiden, and from their intercourse a son should be born. Now would the son thus come to the Brahman maiden through the Kshatriya youth receive a seat and water (as tokens of respect) from the Brahmans?’

‘Yes, he would, Gotama.’

‘But would the Brahmans allow him to partake of the feast offered to the dead, or of the food boiled in milk, or of the offerings to the gods, or of food sent as a present?’

‘Yes, they would, Gotama.’

‘But would the Brahmans teach him their verses or not?’

‘They would, Gotama.’

‘But would he be shut off, or not, from their women?’

‘He would not be shut off.’

‘But would the Kshatriyas allow him to receive the consecration ceremony of a Kshatriya?’

‘Certainly not, Gotama.’

‘Why not that?’

‘Because he is not of pure descent on the mother’s side.’

‘Then what think you, Ambaṭṭha? Suppose a Brahman youth should have connection with a Kshatriya maiden, and from their intercourse a son should be born. Now would the son thus come to the Kshatriya maiden through the Brahman youth receive a seat and water (as tokens of respect) from the Brahmans?’

‘Yes, he would, Gotama.’

‘But would the Brahmans allow him to partake of the feast offered to the dead, or of food boiled in milk, or of an offering to the gods, or of food sent as a present?’

‘Yes, they would, Gotama.’

‘But would the Brahmans teach him their verses or not?’

‘They would, Gotama.’

‘But would he be shut off, or not, from their women?’

‘He would not, Gotama.’

‘But would the Kshatriyas allow him to receive the consecration ceremony of a Kshatriya?’

‘Certainly not, Gotama.’

‘Why not that?’

‘Because he is not of pure descent on the father’s side.’

‘Then, Ambaṭṭha, whether one compares women with women, or men with men, the Kshatriyas are higher and the Brahmans inferior.

‘And what think you, Ambaṭṭha? Suppose the Brahmans, for some offence or other, were to outlaw a Brahman by shaving him and pouring ashes over his head, were to banish him from the land or from the township. Would he be offered a seat or water among the Brahmans?’

‘Certainly not, Gotama.’

‘Or would the Brahmans allow him to partake of the food offered to the dead, or of the food boiled in milk, or of the offerings to the gods, or of food sent as a present?’

‘Certainly not, Gotama.’

‘Or would the Brahmans teach him their verses or not?’

‘Certainly not, Gotama.’

‘And would he be shut off, or not, from their women?’

‘He would be shut off.’

‘But what think you, Ambaṭṭha? If the Kshatriyas had in the same way outlawed a Kshatriya, and banished him from the land or the township, would he, among the Brahmans, be offered water and a seat?’

‘Yes, he would, Gotama.’

‘And would he be allowed to partake of the food offered to the dead, or of the food boiled in milk, or of the offerings to the gods, or of food sent as a present?’

‘He would, Gotama.’

‘And would the Brahmans teach him their verses?’

‘They would, Gotama?’

‘And would he be shut off, or not, from their women?’

‘He would not, Gotama.’

‘But thereby, Ambaṭṭha, the Kshatriya would have fallen into the deepest degradation, shaven as to his head, cut dead with the ash-basket, banished from land and township. So that, even when a Kshatriya has fallen into the deepest degradation. still it holds good that the Kshatriyas are higher, and the Brahmans inferior.

‘Moreover it was one of the Brahmā gods, Sanaṃ-kumāra, who uttered this stanza:

   “The Kshatriya is the best of those among this folk
   who put their trust in lineage.
   But he who is perfect in wisdom and righteousness,
   he is the best among gods and men.”

‘Now this stanza, Ambaṭṭha, was well sung and not ill sung by the Brahmā Sanaṃ-kumāra, well said and not ill said, full of meaning and not void thereof. And I too approve it; I also, Ambaṭṭha, say:

   “The Kshatriya is the best of those among this folk
   who put their trust in lineage.
   But he who is perfect in wisdom and righteousness,
   he is the best among gods and men.”

Here ends the First Portion for Recitation.

Chapter 2

‘But what, Gotama, is the righteousness, and what the wisdom spoken of in that verse?’

‘In the supreme perfection in wisdom and righteousness, Ambaṭṭha, there is no reference to the question either of birth, or of lineage, or of the pride which says: “You are held as worthy as I,” or “You are not held as worthy as I,” It is where the talk is of marrying, or of giving in marriage, that reference is made to such things as that, For whosoever, Ambaṭṭha, are in bondage to the notions of birth or of lineage, or to the pride of social position, or of connection by marriage, they are far from the best wisdom and righteousness. It is only by having got rid of all such bondage that one can realise for himself that supreme perfection in wisdom and in conduct,’

‘But what, Gotama, is that conduct, and what that wisdom?’

The next section in the Pali text is greatly abbreviated. The following is a fully expanded version, based on the text of DN 2, Sāmaññaphala Sutta as translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi. Note that it is not always possible to determine exactly how the expansion should be done.

“Herein, Ambaṭṭha, a Tathāgata arises in the world, a worthy one, perfectly enlightened, endowed with clear knowledge and conduct, accomplished, a knower of the world, unsurpassed trainer of men to be tamed, teacher of gods and men, enlightened and exalted. Having realized by his own direct knowledge this world with its gods, its Māras, and its Brahmās, this generation with its recluses and brahmins, its rulers and people, he makes it known to others. He teaches the Dhamma that is good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, possessing meaning and phrasing; he reveals the holy life that is fully complete and purified.

“A householder, or a householder’s son, or one born into some other family, hears the Dhamma. Having heard the Dhamma, he gains faith in the Tathāgata. Endowed with such faith, he reflects: ‘The household life is crowded, a path of dust. Going forth is like the open air. It is not easy for one dwelling at home to lead the perfectly complete, perfectly purified holy life, bright as a polished conch. Let me then shave off my hair and beard, put on saffron robes, and go forth from home to homelessness.’

“After some time he abandons his accumulation of wealth, be it large or small; he abandons his circle of relatives, be it large or small; he shaves off his hair and beard, puts on saffron robes, and goes forth from home to homelessness.

“When he has thus gone forth, he lives restrained by the restraint of the Pātimokkha, possessed of proper behaviour and resort. Having taken up the rules of training, he trains himself in them, seeing danger in the slightest faults. He comes to be endowed with wholesome bodily and verbal action, his livelihood is purified, and he is possessed of conduct. He guards the doors of his sense faculties, is endowed with mindfulness and clear comprehension, and is content.


The (Small Section on Moral Discipline

“And how, Ambaṭṭha, is the bhikkhu possessed of moral discipline? Herein, Ambaṭṭha, having abandoned the destruction of life, the bhikkhu abstains from the destruction of life. He has laid down the rod and weapon and dwells conscientious, full of kindness, sympathetic for the welfare of all living beings. This pertains to his conduct.

“Having abandoned taking what is not given, he abstains from taking what is not given. Accepting and expecting only what is given, he lives in honesty with a pure mind. This too pertains to his conduct.

“Having abandoned incelibacy, he leads the holy life of celibacy. He dwells aloof and abstains from the vulgar practice of sexual intercourse. This too pertains to his conduct.

“Having abandoned false speech, he abstains from falsehood. He speaks only the truth, he lives devoted to truth; trustworthy and reliable, he does not deceive anyone in the world. This too pertains to his conduct.

“Having abandoned slander, he abstains from slander. He does not repeat elsewhere what he has heard here in order to divide others from the people here, nor does he repeat here what he has heard elsewhere in order to divide these from the people there. Thus he is a reconciler of those who are divided and a promoter of friendships. Rejoicing, delighting, and exulting in concord, he speaks only words that are conducive to concord. This too pertains to his conduct.

“Having abandoned harsh speech, he abstains from harsh speech. He speaks only such words as are gentle, pleasing to the ear, endearing, going to the heart, polite, amiable and agreeable to the manyfolk. This too pertains to his conduct.

“Having abandoned idle chatter, he abstains from idle chatter. He speaks at the right time, speaks what is factual and beneficial, speaks on the Dhamma and the Discipline. His words are worth treasuring; they are timely, backed by reasons, measured, and connected with the good. This too pertains to his conduct.

“He abstains from damaging seed and plant life.

“He eats only in one part of the day, refraining from food at night and from eating at improper times.

“He abstains from dancing, singing, instrumental music, and from witnessing unsuitable shows.

“He abstains from wearing garlands, embellishing himself with scents, and beautifying himself with unguents.

“He abstains from high and luxurious beds and seats.

“He abstains from accepting gold and silver.

“He abstains from accepting uncooked grain, raw meat, women and girls, male and female slaves, goats and sheep, fowl and swine, elephants, cattle, horses and mares.

“He abstains from accepting fields and lands.

“He abstains from running messages and errands.

“He abstains from buying and selling.

“He abstains from dealing with false weights, false metals, and false measures.

“He abstains from the crooked ways of bribery, deception, and fraud.

“He abstains from mutilating, executing, imprisoning, robbery, plunder, and violence.

“This too pertains to his conduct.


The Intermediate Section on Moral Discipline

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on food offered by the faithful, continually cause damage to seed and plant life—to plants propagated from roots, stems, joints, buds, and seeds—he abstains from damaging seed and plant life. This too pertains to his conduct.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on food offered by the faithful, enjoy the use of stored-up goods, such as stored-up food, drinks, garments, vehicles, bedding, scents, and comestibles—he abstains from the use of stored-up goods. This too pertains to his conduct.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on food offered by the faithful, attend unsuitable shows, such as:

   shows featuring dancing, singing, or instrumental music;
   theatrical performances;
   narrations of legends
   music played by hand-clapping, cymbals, and drums;
   picture houses;
   acrobatic performances;
   combats of elephants, horses, buffaloes, bulls, goats, rams, cocks and quails;
   stick-fights, boxing, and wrestling;
   sham-fights, roll-calls, battle-arrays, and regimental reviews—

he abstains from attending such unsuitable shows. This too pertains to his conduct.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on food offered by the faithful, indulge in the following games and recreations:

   aṭṭhapada (a game played on an eight-row chessboard);
   dasapada (a game played on a ten-row chessboard);
   ākāsa (played by imagining a board in the air);
   parihārapatha (“hopscotch,” a diagram is drawn on the ground and one has to jump in the allowable spaces avoiding the lines);
   santika (“spillikins,” assembling the pieces in a pile, removing and returning them without disturbing the pile);
   khalika (dice games);
   ghaṭika (hitting a short stick with a long stick);
   salākahattha (a game played by dipping the hand in paint or dye, striking the ground or a wall, and requiring the participants to show the figure of an elephant, a horse etc.);
   akkha (ball games);
   paṅgacīra (blowing through toy pipes made of leaves);
   vaṅkaka (ploughing with miniature ploughs);
   mokkhacika (turning somersaults);
   ciṅgulika (playing with paper windmills);
   pattāḷaka (playing with toy measures);
   rathaka (playing with toy chariots);
   dhanuka (playing with toy bows);
   akkharika (guessing at letters written in the air or on one’s back);
   manesika (guessing others’ thoughts);
   yathāvajja (games involving mimicry of deformities)—

he abstains from such games that are a basis for negligence. This too pertains to his conduct.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on food offered by the faithful, enjoy the use of high and luxurious beds and seats, such as:

   spacious couches;
   thrones with animal figures carved on the supports;
   long-haired coverlets;
   multi-colored patchwork coverlets;
   white woollen coverlets
   woollen coverlets embroidered with flowers;
   quilts stuffed with cotton;
   woollen coverlets embroidered with animal figures;
   woollen coverlets with hair on both sides or on one side;
   bedspreads embroidered with gems;
   silk coverlets;
   dance-hall carpets;
   elephant, horse, or chariot rugs;
   rugs of antelope-skins;
   choice spreads made of kadali-deer hides;
   spreads with red awnings overhead;
   couches with red cushions for head and feet—

he abstains from the use of such high and luxurious beds and seats. This too pertains to his conduct.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on food offered by the faithful, enjoy the use of such devices for embellishing and beautifying themselves as the following:

   rubbing scented powders into the body
   massaging with oils
   bathing in perfumed water
   kneading the limbs
   mirrors
   ointments
   garlands
   scents
   unguents
   face-powders
   make-up
   bracelets
   head-bands
   decorated walking sticks
   ornamented medicine-tubes
   rapiers
   sunshades
   embroidered sandals
   turbans
   diadems
   yaktail whisks
   and long-fringed white robes

he abstains from the use of such devices for embellishment and beautification. This too pertains to his conduct.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, engage in frivolous chatter, such as:

   talk about kings, thieves, and ministers of state
   talk about armies, dangers, and wars
   talk about food, drink, garments, and lodgings;
   talk about garlands and scents;
   talk about relations, vehicles, villages, towns, cities, and countries;
   talk about women and talk about heroes; s
   treet talk and talk by the well;
   talk about those departed in days gone by;
   rambling chit-chat;
   speculations about the world and about the sea;
   talk about gain and loss—

he abstains from such frivolous chatter. This too pertains to his conduct.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, engage in wrangling argumentation, (saying to one another):

‘You don’t understand this doctrine and discipline. It is I who understand this doctrine and discipline.’

‘How can you understand this doctrine and discipline?’

‘You’re practising the wrong way. I’m practicing the right way.’

‘I’m being consistent. You’re inconsistent.’

‘What should have been said first you said last, what should have been said last you said first.’

‘What you took so long to think out has been confuted.’

‘Your doctrine has been refuted. You’re defeated. Go, try to save your doctrine, or disentangle yourself now if you can’—

he abstains from such wrangling argumentation. This too pertains to his conduct.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, engage in running messages and errands for kings, ministers of state, khattiyas, brahmins, householders, or youths, (who command them): ‘Go here, go there, take this, bring that from there’—he abstains from running such messages and errands. This too pertains to his conduct.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, engage in scheming, talking, hinting, belittling others, and pursuing gain with gain, he abstains from such kinds of scheming and talking. This too pertains to his conduct. The Large Section on Moral Discipline

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, earn their living by a wrong means of livelihood, by such debased arts as:

   prophesying long life, prosperity etc., or the reverse, from the marks on a person’s limbs, hands, feet, etc;
   divining by means of omens and signs;
   making auguries on the basis of thunderbolts and celestial portents;
   interpreting ominous dreams;
   telling fortunes from marks on the body;
   making auguries from the marks on cloth gnawed by mice;
   offering fire oblations;
   offering oblations from a ladle;
   offering oblations of husks, rice powder, rice grains, ghee and oil to the gods;
   offering oblations from the mouth;
   offering blood-sacrifices to the gods;
   making predictions based on the fingertips;
   determining whether the site for a proposed house or garden is propitious or not;
   making predictions for officers of state;
   laying demons in a cemetery;
   laying ghosts;
   knowledge of charms to be pronounced by one living in an earthen house;
   snake charming;
   the poison craft, scorpion craft, rat craft, bird craft, crow craft;
   foretelling the number of years that a man has to live;
   reciting charms to give protection from arrows;
   reciting charms to understand the language of animals

he abstains from such wrong means of livelihood, from such debased arts. This too pertains to his conduct.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, earn their living by a wrong means of livelihood, by such debased arts as interpreting the significance of the colour, shape, and other features of the following items to determine whether they portend fortune or misfortune for their owners: gems, garments, staffs, swords, spears, arrows, bows, other weapons, women, men, boys, girls, slaves, slave-women, elephants, horses, buffaloes, bulls, cows, goats, rams, fowl, quails, lizards, earrings (or house-gables), tortoises, and other animals

he abstains from such wrong means of livelihood, from such debased arts. This too pertains to his conduct.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, earn their living by a wrong means of livelihood, by such debased arts as making predictions to the effect that:

   the king will march forth;
   the king will return;
   our king will attack and the enemy king will retreat;
   the enemy king will attack and our king will retreat;
   our king will triumph and the enemy king will be defeated;
   the enemy king will triumph and our king will be defeated;
   thus there will be victory for one and defeat for the other—

he abstains from such wrong means of livelihood, from such debased arts. This too pertains to his conduct.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, earn their living by a wrong means of livelihood, by such debased arts as predicting:

   there will be an eclipse of the moon, an eclipse of the sun, an eclipse of a constellation
   the sun and the moon will go on their proper courses
   there will be an aberration of the sun and moon
   the constellations will go on their proper courses
   there will be an aberration of a constellation
   there will be a fall of meteors
   there will be a skyblaze
   there will be an earthquake
   there will be an earth-roar
   there will be a rising and setting, a darkening and brightening of the moon, sun, and constellations
   such will be the result of the moon’s eclipse, such the result of the sun’s eclipse, (and so on down to) such will be the result of the rising and setting, darkening and brightening of the moon, sun, and constellations

he abstains from such wrong means of livelihood, from such debased arts. This too pertains to his conduct.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, earn their living by a wrong means of livelihood, by such debased arts as predicting:

   there will be abundant rain
   there will be a drought
   there will be a good harvest
   there will be a famine
   there will be security
   there will be danger
   there will be sickness
   there will be health
   or they earn their living by accounting, computation, calculation, the composing of poetry, and speculations about the world

he abstains from such wrong means of livelihood, from such debased arts. This too pertains to his conduct.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, earn their living by a wrong means of livelihood, by such debased arts as:

   arranging auspicious dates for marriages, both those in which the bride is brought home and those in which she is sent out
   arranging auspicious dates for betrothals and divorces
   arranging auspicious dates for the accumulation or expenditure of money
   reciting charms to make people lucky or unlucky
   rejuvenating the foetuses of abortive women
   reciting spells to bind a man’s tongue, to paralyze his jaws, to make him lose control over his hands, or to bring on deafness
   obtaining oracular answers to questions by means of a mirror, a girl, or a god
   worshipping the sun
   worshipping Mahābrahmā
   bringing forth flames from the mouth
   invoking the goddess of luck

he abstains from such wrong means of livelihood, from such debased arts. This too pertains to his conduct.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, earn their living by a wrong means of livelihood, by such debased arts as:

   promising gifts to deities in return for favors
   fulfilling such promises
   demonology
   reciting spells after entering an earthen house
   inducing virility and impotence
   preparing and consecrating sites for a house
   giving ceremonial mouthwashes and ceremonial bathing
   offering sacrificial fires
   administering emetics, purgatives, expectorants, and phlegmagogues
   administering medicines through the ear and through the nose, administering ointments and counter-ointments, practicing fine surgery on the eyes and ears, practicing general surgery on the body, practicing as a children’s doctor—

he abstains from such wrong means of livelihood, from such debased arts. This too pertains to his conduct.

Ambaṭṭha, the bhikkhu who is thus possessed of moral discipline sees no danger anywhere in regard to his restraint by moral discipline. Just as a head-anointed noble warrior who has defeated his enemies sees no danger anywhere from his enemies, so the bhikkhu who is thus possessed of moral discipline sees no danger anywhere in regard to his restraint by moral discipline. Endowed with this noble aggregate of moral discipline, he experiences within himself a blameless happiness. In this way, Ambaṭṭha, the bhikkhu is possessed of conduct. Restraint of the Sense Faculties

“And how, Ambaṭṭha, does the bhikkhu guard the doors of his sense faculties? Herein, Ambaṭṭha, having seen a form with the eye, the bhikkhu does not grasp at the sign or the details. Since, if he were to dwell without restraint over the faculty of the eye, evil unwholesome states such as covetousness and grief might assail him, he practices restraint, guards the faculty of the eye, and achieves restraint over the faculty of the eye. Having heard a sound with the ear … having smelled an odour with the nose … having tasted a flavour with the tongue … having touched a tangible object with the body … having cognized a mind-object with the mind, the bhikkhu does not grasp at the sign or the details. Since, if he were to dwell without restraint over the faculty of the mind, evil unwholesome states such as covetousness and grief might assail him, he practices restraint, guards the faculty of the mind, and achieves restraint over the faculty of the mind. Endowed with this noble restraint of the sense faculties, he experiences within himself an unblemished happiness. In this way, Ambaṭṭha, the bhikkhu guards the doors of the sense faculties. Mindfulness and Clear Comprehension

“And how, Ambaṭṭha, is the bhikkhu endowed with mindfulness and clear comprehension? Herein, Ambaṭṭha, in going forward and returning, the bhikkhu acts with clear comprehension. In looking ahead and looking aside, he acts with clear comprehension. In bending and stretching the limbs, he acts with clear comprehension. In wearing his robes and cloak and using his alms-bowl, he acts with clear comprehension. In eating, drinking, chewing, and tasting, he acts with clear comprehension. In defecating and urinating, he acts with clear comprehension. In going, standing, sitting, lying down, waking up, speaking, and remaining silent, he acts with clear comprehension. In this way, Ambaṭṭha, the bhikkhu is endowed with mindfulness and clear comprehension. Contentment

“And how, Ambaṭṭha, is the bhikkhu content? Herein, Ambaṭṭha, a bhikkhu is content with robes to protect his body and almsfood to sustain his belly; wherever he goes he sets out taking only (his requisites) along with him. Just as a bird, wherever it goes, flies with its wings as its only burden, in the same way a bhikkhu is content with robes to protect his body and almsfood to sustain his belly; wherever he goes he sets out taking only (his requisites) along with him. In this way, Ambaṭṭha, the bhikkhu is content. The Abandoning of the Hindrances

“Endowed with this noble aggregate of moral discipline, this noble restraint over the sense faculties, this noble mindfulness and clear comprehension, and this noble contentment, he resorts to a secluded dwelling—a forest, the foot of a tree, a mountain, a glen, a hillside cave, a cremation ground, a jungle grove, the open air, a heap of straw. After returning from his alms-round, following his meals, he sits down, crosses his legs, holds his body erect, and sets up mindfulness before him.

“Having abandoned covetousness for the world, he dwells with a mind free from covetousness; he purifies his mind from covetousness. Having abandoned ill will and hatred, he dwells with a benevolent mind, sympathetic for the welfare of all living beings; he purifies his mind from ill will and hatred. Having abandoned dullness and drowsiness, he dwells perceiving light, mindful and clearly comprehending; he purifies his mind from dullness and drowsiness. Having abandoned restlessness and worry, he dwells at ease within himself, with a peaceful mind; he purifies his mind from restlessness and worry. Having abandoned doubt, he dwells as one who has passed beyond doubt, unperplexed about wholesome states; he purifies his mind from doubt.

Ambaṭṭha, suppose a man were to take a loan and apply it to his business, and his business were to succeed, so that he could pay back his old debts and would have enough money left over to maintain a wife. He would reflect on this, and as a result he would become glad and experience joy.

“Again, Ambaṭṭha, suppose a man were to become sick, afflicted, gravely ill, so that he could not enjoy his food and his strength would decline. After some time he would recover from that illness and would enjoy his food and regain his bodily strength. He would reflect on this, and as a result he would become glad and experience joy.

“Again, Ambaṭṭha, suppose a man were locked up in a prison. After some time he would be released from prison, safe and secure, with no loss of his possessions. He would reflect on this, and as a result he would become glad and experience joy.

“Again, Ambaṭṭha, suppose a man were a slave, without independence, subservient to others, unable to go where he wants. After some time he would be released from slavery and gain his independence; he would no longer be subservient to others but a free man able to go where he wants. He would reflect on this, and as a result he would become glad and experience joy.

“Again, Ambaṭṭha, suppose a man with wealth and possessions were travelling along a desert road where food was scarce and dangers were many. After some time he would cross over the desert and arrive safely at a village which is safe and free from danger. He would reflect on this, and as a result he would become glad and experience joy.

“In the same way, Ambaṭṭha, when a bhikkhu sees that these five hindrances are unabandoned within himself, he regards that as a debt, as a sickness, as confinement in prison, as slavery, as a desert road.

“But when he sees that these five hindrances have been abandoned within himself, he regards that as freedom from debt, as good health, as release from prison, as freedom from slavery, as a place of safety.

“When he sees that these five hindrances have been abandoned within himself, gladness arises. When he is gladdened, rapture arises. When his mind is filled with rapture, his body becomes tranquil; tranquil in body, he experiences happiness; being happy, his mind becomes concentrated. The First Jhāna

“Quite secluded from sense pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, he enters and dwells in the first jhāna, which is accompanied by applied and sustained thought and filled with the rapture and happiness born of seclusion. He drenches, steeps, saturates, and suffuses his body with this rapture and happiness born of seclusion, so that there is no part of his entire body which is not suffused by this rapture and happiness.

Ambaṭṭha, suppose a skilled bath attendant or his apprentice were to pour soap-powder into a metal basin, sprinkle it with water, and knead it into a ball, so that the ball of soap-powder be pervaded by moisture, encompassed by moisture, suffused with moisture inside and out, yet would not trickle. In the same way, Ambaṭṭha, the bhikkhu drenches, steeps, saturates, and suffuses his body with the rapture and happiness born of seclusion, so that there is no part of his entire body which is not suffused by this rapture and happiness. This, pertains to his conduct. The Second Jhāna

“Further, Ambaṭṭha, with the subsiding of applied and sustained thought, the bhikkhu enters and dwells in the second jhāna, which is accompanied by internal confidence and unification of mind, is without applied and sustained thought, and is filled with the rapture and happiness born of concentration. He drenches, steeps, saturates, and suffuses his body with this rapture and happiness born of concentration, so that there is no part of his entire body which is not suffused by this rapture and happiness.

Ambaṭṭha, suppose there were a deep lake whose waters welled up from below. It would have no inlet for water from the east, west, north, or south, nor would it be refilled from time to time with showers of rain; yet a current of cool water, welling up from within the lake, would drench, steep, saturate and suffuse the whole lake, so that there would be no part of that entire lake which is not suffused with the cool water. In the same way, Ambaṭṭha, the bhikkhu drenches, steeps, saturates, and suffuses his body with the rapture and happiness born of concentration, so that there is no part of his entire body which is not suffused by this rapture and happiness. This, too, pertains to his conduct. The Third Jhāna

“Further, Ambaṭṭha, with the fading away of rapture, the bhikkhu dwells in equanimity, mindful and clearly comprehending, and experiences happiness with the body. Thus he enters and dwells in the third jhāna, of which the noble ones declare: ‘He dwells happily with equanimity and mindfulness.’ He drenches, steeps, saturates, and suffuses his body with this happiness free from rapture, so that there is no part of his entire body which is not suffused by this happiness.

Ambaṭṭha, suppose in a lotus pond there were blue, white, or red lotuses that have been born in the water, grow in the water, and never rise up above the water, but flourish immersed in the water. From their tips to their roots they would be drenched, steeped, saturated, and suffused with cool water, so that there would be no part of those lotuses not suffused with cool water. In the same way, Ambaṭṭha, the bhikkhu drenches, steeps, saturates and suffuses his body with the happiness free from rapture, so that there is no part of his entire body which is not suffused by this happiness. This, too, pertains to his conduct. The Fourth Jhāna

“Further, Ambaṭṭha, with the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the previous passing away of joy and grief, the bhikkhu enters and dwells in the fourth jhāna, which is neither pleasant nor painful and contains mindfulness fully purified by equanimity. He sits suffusing his body with a pure bright mind, so that there is no part of his entire body not suffused by a pure bright mind.

Ambaṭṭha, suppose a man were to be sitting covered from the head down by a white cloth, so that there would be no part of his entire body not suffused by the white cloth. In the same way, Ambaṭṭha, the bhikkhu sits suffusing his body with a pure bright mind, so that there is no part of his entire body not suffused by a pure bright mind. This, too, pertains to his conduct. This, Ambaṭṭha, is that conduct. Insight Knowledge

“When his mind is thus concentrated, pure and bright, unblemished, free from defects, malleable, wieldy, steady and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to knowledge and vision. He understands thus: ‘This is my body, having material form, composed of the four primary elements, originating from father and mother, built up out of rice and gruel, impermanent, subject to rubbing and pressing, to dissolution and dispersion. And this is my consciousness, supported by it and bound up with it.’

Ambaṭṭha, suppose there were a beautiful beryl gem of purest water, eight-faceted, well cut, clear, limpid, flawless, endowed with all excellent qualities. And through it there would run a blue, yellow, red, white, or brown thread. A man with keen sight, taking it in his hand, would reflect upon it thus: ‘This is a beautiful beryl gem of purest water, eight faceted, well cut, clear, limpid, flawless, endowed with all excellent qualities. And running through it there is this blue, yellow, red, white, or brown thread.’ In the same way, Ambaṭṭha, when his mind is thus concentrated, pure and bright … the bhikkhu directs and inclines it to knowledge and vision and understands thus: ‘This is my body, having material form … . and this is my consciousness, supported by it and bound up with it.’ This, too, pertains to his wisdom. The Knowledge of the Mind-made Body

“When his mind is thus concentrated, pure and bright, unblemished, free from defects, malleable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to creating a mind-made body. From this body he creates another body having material form, mind-made, complete in all its parts, not lacking any faculties.

Ambaṭṭha, suppose a man were to draw out a reed from its sheath. He would think: ‘This is the reed; this is the sheath. The reed is one thing, the sheath another, but the reed has been drawn out from the sheath.’ Or suppose a man were to draw a sword out from its scabbard. He would think: ‘This is the sword; this is the scabbard. The sword is one thing, the scabbard another, but the sword has been drawn out from the scabbard.’ Or suppose a man were to pull a snake out from its slough. He would think: ‘This is the snake; this is the slough. The snake is one thing, the slough another, but the snake has been pulled out from the slough.’ In the same way, Ambaṭṭha, when his mind is thus concentrated, pure and bright … The bhikkhu directs and inclines it to creating a mind-made body. From this body he creates another body having material form, mind-made, complete in all its parts, not lacking any faculties. This too, pertains to his wisdom.


The Knowledge of the Modes of Supernormal Power

“When his mind is thus concentrated, pure and bright, unblemished, free from defects, malleable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to themodes of supernormal power. He exercises the various modes of supernormal power: having been one, he becomes many and having been many, he becomes one; he appears and vanishes; he goes unimpeded through walls, ramparts, and mountains as if through space; he dives in and out of the earth as if it were water; he walks on water without sinking as if it were earth; sitting cross-legged he travels through space like a winged bird; with his hand he touches and strokes the sun and the moon, so mighty and powerful; he exercises mastery over the body as far as the Brahma-world.

Ambaṭṭha, suppose a skilled potter or his apprentice were to make and fashion out of well-prepared clay whatever kind of vessel he might desire. Or suppose a skilled ivory-worker or his apprentice were to make and fashion out of well-prepared ivory whatever kind of ivory work he might desire. Or suppose a skilled goldsmith or his apprentice were to make and fashion out of well-prepared gold whatever kind of gold work he might desire. In the same way, Ambaṭṭha, when his mind is thus concentrated, pure and bright … the bhikkhu directs and inclines it to the modes of supernormal power and exercises the various modes of supernormal power. This too, pertains to his wisdom.


The Knowledge of the Divine Ear


“When his mind is thus concentrated, pure and bright, unblemished, free from defects, malleable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to the divine ear-element. With the divine ear element, which is purified and surpasses the human, he hears both kinds of sound, the divine and the human, those which are distant and those which are near.

Ambaṭṭha, suppose a man travelling along a highway were to hear the sounds of kettledrums, tambours, horns, cymbals and tom-toms, and would think: ‘This is the sound of kettledrums, this is the sound of tambours, this the sound of horns, cymbals and tom-toms.’ In the same way, Ambaṭṭha, when his mind is thus concentrated, pure and bright … the bhikkhu directs and inclines it to the divine ear-element. With the divine ear-element, which is purified and surpasses the human, he hears both kinds of sound, the divine and the human, those which are distant and those which are near. This too, pertains to his wisdom.


The Knowledge Encompassing the Minds of Others

“When his mind is thus concentrated, pure and bright, unblemished, free from defects, malleable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to the knowledge of encompassing the minds of others). He understands the minds of other beings and persons, having encompassed them with his own mind. He understands a mind with lust as a mind with lust and a mind without lust as a mind without lust;

he understands a mind with hatred as a mind with hatred and a mind without hatred as a mind without hatred; he understands a mind with delusion as a mind with delusion and a mind without delusion as a mind without delusion;

he understands a contracted mind as a contracted mind and a distracted mind as a distracted mind;

he understands an exalted mind as an exalted mind and an unexalted mind as an unexalted mind; he understands a surpassable mind as a surpassable mind and an unsurpassable mind as an unsurpassable mind;

he understands a concentrated mind as a concentrated mind and an unconcentrated mind as an unconcentrated mind;

he understands a liberated mind as a liberated mind and an unliberated mind as an unliberated mind.


Ambaṭṭha, suppose a young man or woman, fond of ornaments, examining his or her own facial reflection in a pure bright mirror or in a bowl of clear water, would know, if there were a mole, ‘It has a mole,’ and if there were no mole, ‘It has no mole.’ In the same way, Ambaṭṭha, when his mind is thus concentrated, pure and bright … the bhikkhu directs and inclines it to the knowledge of encompassing the minds (of others). He understands the minds of other beings and persons, having encompassed them with his own mind. This too, pertains to his wisdom.



The Knowledge of Recollecting Past Lives

“When his mind is thus concentrated, pure and bright, unblemished, free from defects, malleable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to the knowledge of recollecting past lives. He recollects his numerous past lives, that is, one birth, two births, three, four, or five births;

ten, twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty births; a hundred births, a thousand births, a hundred thousand births;

many aeons of world contraction, many aeons of world expansion, many aeons of world contraction and expansion, (recollecting):

‘There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance; such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my span of life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance; such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my span of life. Passing away from that state I re-arose here.’ Thus he recollects his numerous past lives in their modes and their details.

Ambaṭṭha, suppose a man were to go from his own village to another village, then from that village to still another village, and then from that village he would return to his own village. He would think to himself: ‘I went from my own village to that village. There I stood in such a way, sat in such a way, spoke in such a way, and remained silent in such a way. From that village I went to still another village. There too I stood in such a way, sat in such a way, spoke in such a way, and remained silent in such a way. From that village I returned to my own village.’ In the same way, Ambaṭṭha, when his mind is thus concentrated, pure and bright … the bhikkhu directs and inclines it to the knowledge of recollecting past lives, and he recollects his numerous past lives in their modes and their details. This too, pertains to his wisdom.


The Knowledge of the Divine Eye

“When his mind is thus concentrated, pure and bright, unblemished, free from defects, malleable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to the knowledge of the passing away and reappearance of beings. With the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, he sees beings passing away and reappearing—inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate—and he understands how beings fare according to their kamma, thus:

‘These beings—who were endowed with bad conduct of body, speech, and mind, who reviled the noble ones, held wrong views, and undertook actions governed by wrong views—with the breakup of the body, after death, have reappeared in the plane of misery, the bad destinations, the lower realms, in hell. But these beings—who were endowed with good conduct of body, speech, and mind, who did not revile the noble ones, held right views, and undertook actions governed by right views—with the breakup of the body, after death, have reappeared in the good destinations, in the heavenly world.’ Thus with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, he sees beings passing away and reappearing—inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate—and he understands how beings fare in accordance with their kamma.

Ambaṭṭha, suppose in a central square there were a building with an upper terrace, and a man with keen sight standing there were to see people entering a house, leaving it, walking along the streets, and sitting in the central square. He would think to himself: ‘Those people are entering the house, those are leaving it, those are walking along the streets, and those are sitting in the central square.’ In the same way, Ambaṭṭha, when his mind is thus concentrated, pure and bright … the bhikkhu directs and inclines it to the knowledge of the passing away and reappearance of beings. With the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, he sees beings passing away and reappearing, and he understands how beings fare according to their kamma. This too, pertains to his wisdom.



The Knowledge of the Destruction of the Cankers

“When his mind is thus concentrated, pure and bright, unblemished, free from defects, malleable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to the knowledge of the destruction of the cankers. He understands as it really is: ‘This is suffering.’ He understands as it really is:

This is the origin of suffering.’ He understands as it really is:

This is the cessation of suffering.’ He understands as it really is:

‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’ He understands as it really is:

‘These are the cankers.’ He understands as it really is: ‘This is the origin of the cankers.’ He understands as it really is: ‘This is the cessation of the cankers.’ He understands as it really is: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of the cankers.’

Knowing and seeing thus, his mind is liberated from the canker of sensual desire, from the canker of existence, and from the canker of ignorance. When it is liberated, the knowledge arises: ‘It is liberated.’ He understands: ‘Destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is nothing further beyond this.’

Ambaṭṭha, suppose in a mountain glen there were a lake with clear water, limpid and unsullied. A man with keen sight, standing on the bank, would see oyster-shells, sand and pebbles, and shoals of fish moving about and keeping still. He would think to himself: ‘This is a lake with clear water, limpid and unsullied, and there within it are oyster-shells, sand and pebbles, and shoals of fish moving about and keeping still.’

“In the same way, Ambaṭṭha, when his mind is thus concentrated, pure and bright … . the bhikkhu directs and inclines it to the knowledge of the destruction of the cankers. He understands as it really is: ‘This is suffering’ … He understands: ‘Destroyed is birth, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is nothing further beyond this.’ This too, pertains to his wisdom. This, Ambaṭṭha, is that wisdom.”

‘Such a man, Ambaṭṭha, is said to be perfect in wisdom, perfect in conduct, perfect in wisdom and conduct. And there is no other perfection in wisdom and conduct higher and sweeter than this.’

‘Now, Ambaṭṭha, to this supreme perfection in wisdom and goodness there are Four Leakages. And what are the four?’

‘In case, Ambaṭṭha, any recluse or Brahman, without having thoroughly attained unto this supreme perfection in wisdom and conduct, with his yoke on his shoulder (to carry fire-sticks, a water-pot, needles, and the rest of a mendicant friar’s outfit), should plunge into the depths of the forest, vowing to himself: “I will henceforth be one of those who live only on fruits that have fallen of themselves"—then, verily, he turns out worthy only to be a servant unto him that hath attained to wisdom and righteousness.

‘And again, Ambaṭṭha, in case any recluse or Brahman, without having thoroughly attained unto this supreme perfection in wisdom and conduct, and without having attained to living only on fruits fallen of themselves, taking a hoe and a basket with him, should plunge into the depths of the forest, vowing to himself: “I will henceforth be one of those who live only on bulbs and roots and fruits"—then, verily, he turns out worthy only to be a servant unto him who hath attained to wisdom and righteousness.

‘And again, Ambaṭṭha, in case any recluse or Brahman, without having thoroughly attained unto this supreme perfection in wisdom and conduct, and without having attained to living only on fruits fallen of themselves, and without having attained to living only on bulbs and roots and fruits, should build himself a fire-shrine near the boundaries of some village or some town, and there dwell serving the fire-god—then, verily, he turns out worthy only to be a servant unto him that hath attained to wisdom and righteousness.

‘And again, Ambaṭṭha, in case any recluse or Brahman, without having thoroughly attained unto this supreme perfection in wisdom and conduct, and without having attained to living only on fruits fallen of themselves, and without having attained to living only on bulbs and roots and fruits, and without having attained to serving the fire-god should build himself a four-doored almshouse at a crossing where four high roads meet, and dwell there, saying to himself: “Whosoever, whether recluse or Brahman, shall pass here, from either of these four directions, him will I entertain according to my ability and according to my power"—then, verily, he turns out worthy only to be a servant unto him who hath attained to wisdom and righteousness.

‘These are the Four Leakages, Ambaṭṭha, to supreme perfection in righteousness and conduct.

‘Now what think you, Ambaṭṭha? Have you, as one of a class of pupils under the same teacher, been instructed in this supreme perfection of wisdom and conducts?’

‘Not that, Gotama. How little is it that I can profess to have learnt! How supreme this perfection of wisdom and conduct! Far is it from me to have been trained therein?’

‘Then what think you, Ambaṭṭha? Although you have not thoroughly attained unto this supreme perfection of wisdom and goodness, have you been trained to take the yoke upon your shoulders, and plunge into the depths of the forest as one who would fain observe the vow of living only on fruits fallen of themselves?’

‘Not even that, Gotama.’

‘Then what think you, Ambaṭṭha? Although you have not attained unto this supreme perfection of wisdom and goodness, nor have attained to living on fruits fallen of themselves, have you been trained to take hoe and basket, and plunge into the depths of the forest as one who would fain observe the vow of living only on bulbs and roots and frutts?’

‘Not even that, Gotama.’

‘Then what think you, Ambaṭṭha? Although you have not attained unto this supreme perfection of wisdom and goodness, and have not attained to living on fruits fallen of themselves, and have not attained to living on bulbs and roots and fruits, have you been taught to build yourself a fire-shrine on the borders of some village or some town, and dwell there as one who would fain serve the fire-god?’

‘Not even that, Gotama.’

‘Then what think you, Ambaṭṭha? Although you have not attained unto this supreme perfection of wisdom and goodness, and have not attained to living on fruits fallen of themselves, and have not attained to living on bulbs and roots and fruits, and have not attained to serving the fire-god, have you been taught to build yourself a four-doored almshouse at a spot where four high roads cross, and dwell there as one who would fain observe the vow to entertain whosoever might pass that way, from any of the four directions, according to your ability and according to your power?’

‘Not even that, Gotama.’

‘So then you, Ambaṭṭha, as a pupil, have fallen short of due training, not only in the supreme wisdom and conduct, but even in any one of the Four Leakages by which the complete attainment thereof is debarred. And your teacher too, the Brahman Pokkharasādi, has told you this saying: “Who are these shavelings, sham friars, menial black fellows, the offscouring of our kinsman’s heels, that they should claim converse with Brahmans versed in the threefold Vedic lore!"—he himself not having even fulfilled any one even of these lesser duties (which lead men to neglect the higher ones). See, Ambaṭṭha, how deep]y your teacher, the Brahman Pokkharasādi, has herein done you wrong.’

‘And the Brahman Pokkharasādi, Ambaṭṭha, is in the enjoyment of a grant from Pasenadi, the king of Kosala. But the king does not allow him to come into his presence. When he consults with him he speaks to him only from behind a curtain. How is it, Ambaṭṭha, that the very king, from whom he accepts this pure and lawful maintenance, King Pasenadi of Kosala, does not admit him to his presence? See, Ambaṭṭha, how deeply your teacher, the Brahman Pokkharasādi, has herein done you wrong.’

‘Now what think you, Ambaṭṭha? Suppose a king, either seated on the neck of his elephant or on the back of his horse, or standing on the footrug of his chariot , should discuss some resolution of state with his chiefs or princes. And suppose as he left the spot and stepped on one side, a workman (Śūdra) or the slave of a workman should come up and, standing there, should discuss the matter, saying: “Thus and thus said Pasenadi the king.” Although he should speak as the king might have spoken, or discuss as the king might have done, would he thereby be the king, or even as one of his officers?’

‘Certainly not, Gotama.’

‘But just so, Ambaṭṭha, those ancient poets (Rishis) of the Brahmans, the authors of the verses, the utterers of the verses, whose ancient form of words so chanted, uttered, or composed, the Brahmans of to-day chant over again and rehearse, intoning or reciting exactly as has been intoned or recited—to wit, Aṭṭhaka, Vāmaka, Vāmadeva, Vessāmitta, Yamataggi, Angirasa, Bhāradvaga, Vāseṭṭha, Kassapa, and Bhagu—though you can say: “I, as a pupil, know by heart their verses,” that you should on that account be a Rishi, or have attained to the state of a Rishi—such a condition of things has no existence!’

‘Now what think you, Ambaṭṭha? What have you heard when Brahmans, old and well stricken in years, teachers of yours or their teachers, were talking together—did those ancient Rishis, whose verses you so chant over and repeat, parade about well groomed, perfumed, trimmed as to their hair and beard, adorned with garlands and gems, clad in white garments, in the full possession and enjoyment of the five pleasures of sense, as you, and your teacher too, do now?’

‘Not that, Gotama.’

‘Or did they live, as their food, on boiled rice of the best sorts, from which all the black specks had been sought out and removed, and flavoured with sauces and curries of various kinds, as you, and your teacher too, do now?’

‘Not that, Gotama.’

‘Or were they waited upon by women with fringes and furbelows round their loins, as you, and your teacher too, do now?’

‘Or did they go about driving chariots, drawn by mares with plaited manes and tails, using long wands and goads the while, as you, and your teacher too, do now?’

‘Not that, Gotama.’

‘Or did they have themselves guarded in fortified towns, with moats dug out round them and crossbars let down before the gates, by men girt with long swords, as you, and your teacher too, do now?’

‘Not that, Gotama.’

‘So then, Ambaṭṭha, neither are you a Rishi, nor your teacher, nor do you live under the conditions under which the Rishis lived. But whatever it may be, Ambaṭṭha, concerning which you are in doubt or perplexity about me, ask me as to that. I will make it clear by explanation.’

Then the Blessed One went forth from his chamber, and began to walk up and down. And Ambaṭṭha did the same. And as he thus walked up and down, following the Blessed One, he took stock of the thirty-two signs of a great man, whether they appeared on the body of the Blessed One or not. And he perceived them all save only two. With respect to those two—the concealed member and the extent of tongue—he was in doubt and perplexity, not satisfied, not sure.

And the Blessed One knew that he was so in doubt. And he so arranged matters by his Wondrous Gift that Ambaṭṭha the Brahman saw how that part of the Blessed One that ought to be hidden by clothes was enclosed in a sheath. And the Blessed One so bent round his tongue that he touched and stroked both his ears, touched and stroked both his nostrils, and the whole circumference of his forehead he covered with his tongue.

And Ambaṭṭha, the young Brahman, thought: ‘The Samaṇa Gotama is endowed with the thirty-two signs of a great man, with them all, not only with some of them.’ And he said to the Blessed One: ‘And now, Gotama, we would fain depart. We are busy, and have much to do.’

‘Do, Ambaṭṭha, what seemeth to you fit.’

And Ambaṭṭha mounted his chariot drawn by mares, and departed thence.

Now at that time the Brahman Pokkharasādi had gone forth from Ukkaṭṭha with a great retinue of Brahmans, and was seated in his own pleasaunce waiting there for Ambaṭṭha. And Ambaṭṭha came on to the pleasaunce. And when he had come in his chariot as far as the path was practicable for chariots, he descended from it, and came on foot to where Pokkharasādi was, and saluted him, and took his seat respectfully on one side. And when he was so seated, Pokkharasādi said to him:

‘Well, Ambaṭṭha! Did you see the Blessed One?’

‘Yes, Sir, we saw him.’

‘Well! is the venerable Gotama so as the reputation about him I told you of declares; and not otherwise. Is he such a one, or is he not?’

‘He is so, Sir, as his reputation declares, and not otherwise. Such is he, not different. And he is endowed with the thirty-two signs of a great man, with all of them, not only with some.’

‘And did you have any talk, Ambaṭṭha, with the Samaṇa Gotama?’

‘Yes, Sir, I had.’

‘And how did the talk go?’

Then Ambaṭṭha told the Brahman Pokkharasādi all the talk that he had had with the Blessed One.

When he had thus spoken, Pokkharasādi said to him: ‘Oh! you wiseacre! Oh I you dullard! Oh! you expert, forsooth, in our threefold Vedic lore! A man, they say, who should carry out his business thus, must, on the dissolution of the body, after death, be reborn into some dismal state of misery and woe. What could the very points you pressed in your insolent words lead up to, if not to the very disclosures the venerable Gotama made? What a wiseacre; what a dullard; what an expert, forsooth, in our threefold Vedic lore.’ And angry and displeased, he struck out with his foot, and rolled Ambaṭṭha over. And he wanted, there and then, himself, to go and call on the Blessed One.

But the Brahmans there spake thus to Pokkharasādi: ‘It is much too late, Sir, to-day to go to call on the Samaṇa Gotama. The venerable Pokkharasādi can do so to-morrow.’

So Pokkharasādi had sweet food, both hard and soft, made ready at his own house, and taken on wagons, by the light of blazing torches, out to Ukkaṭṭha. And he himself went on to the Icchānankala Wood, driving in his chariot as far as the road was practicable for vehicles, and then going on, on foot, to where the Blessed One was. And when he had exchanged with the Blessed One the greetings and compliments of politeness and courtesy, he took his seat on one side, and said to the Blessed One:

‘Has our pupil, Gotama, the young Brahman Ambaṭṭha, been here?’

‘Yes, Brahman, he has.’

‘And did you, ‘Gotama, have any talk with him?’

‘Yes, Brahman, I had:

‘And on what wise was the talk that you had with him:

Then the Blessed One told the Brahman Pokkharasādi all the talk that had taken place. And when he had thus spoken Pokkharasādi said to the Blessed One:

‘He is young and foolish, Gotama, that young Brahman Ambaṭṭha. Forgive him, Gotama.’

‘Let him be quite happy, Brahman, that young Brahman Ambaṭṭha.’

And the Brahman Pokkharasādi took stock, on the body of the Blessed One, of the thirty-two marks of a Great Being. And he saw them all plainly, save only two. As to two of them—the sheath-concealed member and the extensive tongue—he was still in doubt and undecided. But the Blessed One showed them to Pokkharasādi, even as he had shown them to Ambaṭṭha. And Pokkharasādi perceived that the Blessed One was endowed with the thirty-two marks of a Great Being, with all of them, not only with some. And he said to the Blessed One: ‘May the venerable Gotama grant me the favour of taking his to-morrow’s meal with me, and also the members of the Order with him.’ And the Blessed One accepted, by silence, his request.

Then the Brahman Pokkharasādi, seeing that the Blessed One had accepted, had (on the morrow) the time announced to him: ‘It is time, oh Gotama, the meal is ready.’ And the Blessed One, who had dressed in the early morning, put on his outer robe, and taking his bowl with him, went, with the brethren, to Pokkharasādi’s house, and sat down on the seat prepared for him. And Pokkharasādi, the Brahman, satisfied the Blessed One, with his own hand, with sweet food, both hard and soft, until he refused any more, and the young Brahmans the members of the Order. And when the Blessed One had finished his meal, and cleansed the bowl and his hands, Pokkharasādi took a low seat, and sat down beside him.

Then to him thus seated the Blessed One discoursed in due order; that is to say, he spake to him of generosity, of right conduct, of heaven, of the danger, the vanity, and the defilement of lusts, of the advantages of renunciation. And when the Blessed One saw that Pokkharasādi, the Brahman, had become prepared, softened, unprejudiced, upraised, and believing in heart, then he proclaimed the doctrine the Buddhas alone have won; that is to say, the doctrine of sorrow, of its origin, of its cessation, and of the Path. And just as a clean cloth from which all stain has been washed away will readily take the dye, just even so did Pokkharasādi, the Brahman, obtain, even while sitting there, the pure and spotless. Eye for the Truth, and he knew: ‘Whatsoever has a beginning in that is inherent also the necessity of dissolution.

And then the Brahman Pokkharasādi, as one who had seen the Truth, had mastered it, understood it, dived deep down into it, who had passed beyond doubt and put away perplexity and gained full confidence, who had become dependent on no other man for his knowledge of the teaching of the Master, addressed the Blessed One, and said:

‘Most excellent, oh Gotama (are the words of thy mouth), most excellent! Just as if a man were to set up that which has been thrown down, or were to reveal that which has been hidden away, or were to point out the right road to him who has gone astray, or were to bring a light into the darkness so that those who had eyes could see external forms—just even so, Lord, has the truth been made known to me, in many a figure, by the venerable Gotama. And I, oh Gotama, with my sons, and my wife, and my people, and my companions, betake myself to the venerable Gotama as my guide, to the truth, and to the Order. May the venerable Gotama accept me as a disciple, as one who from this day forth, as long as life endures, has taken him as his guide. And just as the venerable Gotama visits the families of others, his disciples, at Ukkaṭṭha, so let him visit mine. Whosoever there may be there, of Brahmans or their wives, who shall pay reverence to the venerable Gotama, or stand up in his presence, or offer him a seat or water, or take delight in him, to him that will be, for long, a cause of weal and bliss.’

‘It is well, Brahman, what you say.’

Here ends the Ambaṭṭha Sutta.

Source

suttacentral.net