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DN 2 Sāmaññaphala Sutta - The Fruits of the Homeless Life

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1. Thus have I heard. Once the Lord was staying at Rājagaha, in Jīvaka Komārabhacca’s mango-grove, together with a large company of some twelve hundred and fifty monks. And at that time King Ajātasattu Vedehiputta of Magadha, having gone up to the roof of his palace, was sitting there surrounded by his ministers, on the fifteenth-day fast-day, the full-moon of the fourth month, called Komudi. And King Ajātasattu, on that fast-day, gave vent to this solemn utterance: ‘Delightful, friends, is this moonlight night! Charming is this moonlight night! Auspicious is this moonlight night! Can we not today visit some ascetic or Brahmin, to visit whom would bring peace to our heart?’

2.  Then one minister said to King Ajātasattu: ‘Sire, there is Pūraṇa Kassapa, who has many followers, a teacher of many, who is well-know, renowned, the founder of a sect, highly honored by the multitude, of long standing, long-since gone forth, aged and venerable. May Your Majesty visit this Pūraṇa Kassapa. He may well bring peace to Your Majesty’s heart.’ At these words King Ajātasattu was silent.

3. Another minister said: ‘Sire, there is Makkhali Gosāla, who has many followers… He may well bring peace to your Majesty’s heart.’ At these words King Ajātasattu was silent.

4. Another minister said: ’Sire, there is Ajita Kesakambalī…’ At these words King Ajātasattu was silent.

5. Another minister said: ‘Sire, there is Pakudha Kaccāyana…’ At these words King Ajātasattu was silent.

6. Another minister said: ‘Sire, there is Sañjaya Belaṭṭhaputta…’ At these words King Ajātasattu was silent.

7. Another minister said: ‘Sire, there is Nigaṇṭha Nātaputta, who has many followers, a teacher of many, who is well-known,…aged and venerable. May Your Majesty visit the Nigaṇṭha Nātaputta. He may well bring peace to Your Majesty’s heart.’ At these words King Ajātasattu was silent.

8. All this time Jīvaka Komārabhacca was sitting silently near King Ajātasattu. The King said to him: ‘Your, friend Jīvaka, why are you silent?’ ‘Sire, there is this Blessed Lord, the Arahant, the fully-enlightened Buddha staying in my mango-grove with a large company of some twelve hundred and fifty monks. And concerning the Blessed Gotama this fair report has been spread about: “This Blessed Lord is an Arahant, a fully-enlightened Buddha, endowed with wisdom and conduct, the Well-Farer, Knower of the worlds, incomparable Trainer of men to be tamed, Teacher of gods and humans, enlightened and blessed.” May Your Majesty visit the Blessed Lord. He may well bring peace to Your Majesty’s heart.’ ‘Then, Jīvaka, have the riding-elephants made ready.’

9. ‘Very good, Sire’, said Jīvaka, and he had five hundred she-elephants made ready, and for the King the royal tusker. Then he reported: ‘Sire, the riding-elephants are ready. Now is the time to do as Your Majesty wishes.’ And King Ajātasattu, having placed his wives each on one of the five hundred she-elephants, mounted the royal tusker and proceeded in royal state, accompanied by torch-bearers, from Rājagaha towards Jīvaka’s mango-grove.

10. And when King Ajātasattu came near the mango-grove he felt fear and terror, and his hair stood on end. And feeling this fear and the rising of the hairs, the King said to Jīvaka: ‘Friend Jīvaka, you are not deceiving me? You are not tricking me? You are not delivering me up to an enemy? How is it that from this great number of twelve hundred and fifty monks not a sneeze, a cough or a shout is to be heard?’

11. So King Ajātasattu, having ridden on his elephant as far as the ground would permit, alighted and continued on foot to the door of the round pavilion. Then he said: ‘Jīvaka, where is the Lord?’ ‘That is the Lord, Sire. That is the Lord sitting against the middle column with his order of monks in front of him.’

12. Then King Ajātasattu went up to the Lord and stood to one side, and standing there to one side the King observed how the order of monks continued in silence like a clear lake, and he exclaimed: ‘If only Prince Udāyabhadda were possessed of such calm as this order of monks!’
‘Do your thoughts go to the one you love, Your Majesty?’ ‘Lord, Prince Udāyabhadda is very dear to me. If only he were possessed of the same calm as this order of monks!’

13. Then King Ajātasattu, having bowed down to the Lord and saluted the order of monks with joined hands, sat down to one side and said: ‘Lord, I would ask something, if the Lord would deign to answer me.’ ‘Ask, Your Majesty, anything you like.’
14. ‘Lord, just as there are these various craftsmen, such as elephant-drivers, horse-drivers, chariot-fighters, archers, standard-bearers, adjutants, army caterers, champions and senior officers, scouts, heroes, brave fighters, cuirassiers, slaves’ sons, cooks, barbers, bathmen, bakers, garland-markers, bleachers, weavers, basket-makers, potters, calculators and accountants- and whatever other skills there are: they enjoy here and now the visible fruits of their skills, they themselves are delighted and pleased with this, as are their parents, children and colleagues and friends, they maintain and support ascetics and Brahmins, thus assuring for themselves a heavenly, happy reward tending towards paradise. Can you, Lord, point to such a reward visible here and now as a fruit of the homeless life?’

15. ‘Your Majesty, do you admit that you have put this question to other ascetics and Brahmins?’ ‘I admit it, Lord.’
‘Would Your Majesty mind saying how they replied?’ ‘I do not mind telling the Lord, or one like him.’ ‘Well then, Your Majesty, tell me.’

16. ‘Once, Lord, I went to see Pūraṇa Kassapa. Having exchanged courtesies, I sat down to one side and said: “Good Kassapa, just as there are these various craftsmen,…they enjoy here and now the visible fruits of their skills…(as verse 14). Can you, Kassapa, point to such a reward visible here and now as a fruit of the homeless life?”

17. ‘At this, Lord, Pūraṇa Kassapa said: “Your Majesty, by the doer or instigator of a thing, by one who cuts or causes to be cut, by one who burns or causes to be burnt, by one who causes grief and weariness, by one who agitates or causes agitation, who causes life to be taken or that which is not given to be taken, commits burglary, carries off booty, commits robbery, lies in ambush, commits adultery and tells lies, no evil is done. If with a razor-sharp wheel one were to make of this earth one single mass and heap of flesh, there would be no evil as a result of that, no evil would accrue. If one were to go along the south bank of the Ganges killing, slaying, cutting or causing to be cut, burning or casing to be burnt, there would be no evil as a result of that, no evil would accrue. Or if one were to go along the north bank of the Ganges giving and causing to be given, sacrificing and causing to be sacrificed, there would be no merit as a result of that, no merit would accrue. In giving, self-control, abstinence and telling the truth, there is no merit, and no merit accrues.”

18. ‘Thus, Lord Pūraṇa Kassapa, on being asked about the present fruits of the homeless life, explained non-action to me. Just as if on being asked about a mango he were to describe a breadfruit-tree, or on being asked about a breadfruit-tree he were to describe a mango, so Pūraṇa Kassapa, on being asked about the present fruits of the homeless life, explained non-action to me. And, Lord, I thought: “How should one like me think despitefully of any ascetic or Brahmin dwelling in my territory?” so I neither applauded nor rejected Pūraṇa Kassapa’s words but, though displeased, not expressing my displeasure, saying nothing, rejecting and scorning speech, I got up and left.

19. ‘Once I visited Makkhali Gosāla, and asked him the same question.

20. ‘Makkhali Gosāla said: “Your Majesty, there is no cause or condition for the defilement of beings, they are defiled without cause or condition. There is no cause or condition for the purification of beings, they are purified without cause or condition. There is no self-power or other-power, there is no power in humans, no strength or force, no vigor or exertion. All beings, all living things, all creatures, all that lives is without control, without power or strength, they experience the fixed course of pleasure and pain through the six kinds of re-birth. There are one million four hundred thousand principal sorts of birth, and six thousand others and again six hundred. There are five hundred kinds of kamma, or five kinds, and three kinds, and half- kamma , sixty-two paths, sixty-two intermediary aeons, six classed of humankind, eight stages of human progress, four thousand nine hundred occupations, four thousand nine hundred wanderers, four thousand nine hundred abodes of nāgas, two thousand sentient existences, three thousand hells, thirty-six places of dust, seven classed of rebirth as conscious beings, seven as unconscious beings, and seven as beings ‘freed from bonds’, seven grades of devas, men, goblins, seven lakes, seven great and seven small protuberances, seven great and seven small abysses, seven great and seven small dreams, eight million four hundred thousand aeons during which fools and wise run on and circle round till they make an end of suffering.
‘ “Therefore there is no such thing as saying: ‘By this discipline or practice or austerity or holy life I will bring my un-ripened kamma to fruition, or I will gradually make this ripened kamma go away.’ Neither of these things is possible, because pleasure and pain have been measured out with a measure limited by the round of birth-and-death, and there is neither increase nor decrease, neither excellence nor inferiority. Just as a ball of string when thrown runs till it is all unraveled, so fools and wise run on and circle round till they make and end of suffering.”

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

22. ‘Once I visited Ajita Kesakambalī, and asked him the same question.

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

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

25. ‘Once I visited Pakudha Kaccāyana, and asked him the same question.

26. ‘Pakudha Kaccāyana said: “Your majesty, these seven things are not made or of a kind to be made, uncreated, unproductive, barren, false, stable as a column. They do not shake, do not change, obstruct one another, nor are they able to cause one another pleasure, pain, or both. What are the seven? The earth-body, the water-body, the fire-body, the air-body, pleasure and pain and the life-principle. These seven are not made…Thus there is neither slain nor slayer, neither hearer nor proclaimer, neither knower nor causer of knowing. And whoever cuts off a man’s head with a sharp sword does not deprive anyone of life, he just inserts the blade in the intervening space between these seven bodies.”

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

28. ‘I visited the Nigaṇṭha Nātaputta, and asked him the same question.

29. ‘The Nigaṇṭha Nātaputta said: “Your Majesty, here a Nigaṇṭha is bound by a fourfold restraint. What four? He is curbed by all curbs, enclosed by all curbs, cleared by all curbs, and claimed by all curbs. And as far as a Nigaṇṭha is bound by this fourfold restraint, thus the Nigaṇṭha is called self-perfected, self-controlled, self-established.”

30. ‘Thus, Lord, the Nigaṇṭha Nātaputta, on being asked about the fruits of the homeless life, explained the fourfold restraint to me…I got up and left.

31. ‘Once I visited Sañjaya Belaṭṭhaputta, and asked him the same question.

32. ‘Sañjaya Belaṭṭhaputta said: “If you ask me: ‘Is there another world?’ if I thought so, I would say so. But I don’t think so. I don’t say it is so, and I don’t say otherwise. I don’t say it is not, and I don’t  not say it is not. If you ask: ‘Isn’t there another world?’…’Both?’…’Neither?’…’Is there fruit and result of good and bad deeds?’ ‘Isn’t there?’…’Both’…’Neither?’…’Does the Tathāgata exist after death?’ ‘Does he not?’…’Both?’…’Neither?’…I don’t not say it is not.”

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

34. ‘And so, Lord, I now ask the Blessed Lord: Just as there are these various craftsmen,…who enjoy here and now the visible fruits of their skills,…assuring for themselves a heavenly, happy reward… Can you, Lord, point to such a reward, visible here and now, as a fruit of the homeless life?’
‘I can, Your Majesty. I will just ask a few questions in return and you, Sire, shall answer as you see fit.

35. ‘What do you think, Sire? Suppose there were a man, a slave, a laborer, getting up before you and going to bed after you, willingly doing whatever has to be done, well-mannered, pleasant-spoken, working in your presence. And he might think:”It is strange, it is wonderful, the destiny and fruits of meritorious deeds! This King Ajātasattu Vedehiputta of Magadha is a man, and I too am a man. The King is addicted to and indulges in the fivefold sense-pleasures, just like a god, whereas I am a slave…working in his presence. I ought to do something meritorious. Suppose I were to shave off my hair and beard, don yellow robes, and go forth from the household life into homelessness!” And before long he does so. And he, having thus gone forth might dwell, restrained in body, speech and thought, satisfied with the minimum of food and clothing, content, in solitude. And then if people were to announce to you: “Sire, you remember that slave who worked in your presence, and who shaved off his hair and beard and went forth into homelessness? He is living restrained in body, speech and thought,…in solitude”-would you then say:”That man must come back and be a slave and work for me as before”?’

36. ‘No indeed, Lord. For we should pay homage to him, we should rise and invite him and press him to receive from us robes, food, lodging, medicines for sickness and requisites, and make arrangements, for his proper protection.’
‘What do you think, Sire? Is that one fruit of the homeless life visible here and now?’ ‘Certainly, Lord.’ ‘Then that, Sire, is the first such fruit of the homeless life.’

37. ‘But, Lord, can you show any other reward, visible here and now, as a fruit of the homeless life?’
‘I can, Sire. I will just ask a few questions in return and you, Sire, shall answer as you see fit. What do you think, Sire? Suppose there where a man, a farmer, a householder, in your service, the steward of an estate. He might think: “It is strange, it is wonderful, the destiny and fruits of meritorious deeds! This King Ajātasattu is a man, and I too am a man. The King is addicted to and indulges in the fivefold sense-pleasures, just like a god, whereas I am a farmer,…the steward of an estate. I ought to do something meritorious. Suppose I were to…go forth from the household life into homelessness!” And before long he does so. And he, having thus gone forth might dwell…in solitude. And if people were to tell you this… would you then say: “That man must come back and be a steward as before”?’

38. ‘No indeed, Lord. For we should pay homage to him, we should rise and invite him and press him to receive from us robes, food, lodging, medicines for sickness and requisites, and make arrangements for his proper protection.’
‘What do you think, Sire? Is that one fruit of the homeless life visible here and now?’ ‘Certainly, Lord.’ ‘Then that, Sire, is the second such fruit of the homeless life.’

39. ‘But, Lord, can you show me any other reward, visible here and now, as a fruit of the homeless life that is more excellent and perfect than these?’
‘I can, Sire. Please listen, Your Majesty, pay proper attention, and I will speak.’ ‘Yes, Lord’, said King Ajātasattu, and the Lord went on:

40. ‘Your Majesty, it happens that a Tathāgata arises in the world, an Arahant, fully-enlightened Buddha, endowed with wisdom and conduct, Well-Farer, Knower of the worlds, incomparable Trainer of men to be tamed , Teacher of gods and humans, enlightened and blessed. He, having realized it by his own super-knowledge, proclaims this world with its devas, māras and Brahmās, its princes and people. He preaches the Dhamma, which is lovely in its beginning, lovely in its middle, lovely in its ending, in the spirit and in the letter, and displays the fully-perfected and purified holy life.

41. ‘This Dhamma is heard by a householder or a householder’s son, or one reborn in some family or other. Having heard this Dhamma, he gains faith in the Tathāgata. Having gained this faith, he reflects: “The household life is close and dusty, the homeless life is free as air. It is not easy, living the household life, to live the fully-perfected holy life, purified and polished like a conch-shell. Suppose I were to shave off my hair and beard, don yellow robes and go forth from the household life into homelessness!” And after some time, he abandons his property, small or great, leaves his circle of relatives, small or great, shaves off his hair and beard, dons yellow robes and goes forth into the homeless life.

42. ‘And having gone forth, he dwells restrained by the restraint of the rules, persisting in right behavior, seeing danger in the slightest faults, observing the commitments he has taken on regarding body, deed and word, devoted to the skilled and purified life, perfected in morality, with the sense-doors guarded, skilled in mindful awareness and content.

43.-62.   ‘And how, Sire, is a monk perfected in morality? Abandoning the taking of life, he dwells refraining from taking life, without stick or sword, scrupulous, compassionate, trembling for the welfare of all living beings. Thus he is accomplished in morality. Abandoning the taking of what is not given,…abandoning unchastity,…(and so on through the three sections on morality as Sutta 1,verses 1.8-27). A monk refrains from such base arts and wrong means of livelihood. Thus he is perfected in morality.

63.  ‘And then, Sire, that monk who is perfected in morality sees no danger from any side owing to his being restrained by morality. Just as a duly-anointed Khattiya king, having conquered his enemies, by that very fact sees no danger from any side, so the monk, on account of his morality, sees no danger anywhere. He experiences in himself the blameless bliss that comes from maintaining this Ariyan morality. In this way, Sire, he is perfected in morality.

64.   ‘And how, Sire, is he a guardian of the sense-doors? Here a monk, on seeing a visible object with the eye, does not grasp at its major signs or secondary characteristics. Because greed and sorrow, evil unskilled states, would overwhelm him if he dwelt leaving this eye-faculty unguarded, so he practices guarding it, he protects the eye-faculty, develops restraint of the eye-faculty. On hearing a sound with the ear,… on smelling an odor with the nose,… on tasting a flavor with the tongue,… on feeling an object with the body,… on thinking a thought with the mind, he does not grasp at its major signs or secondary characteristics,…he develops restraint of the mind-faculty. He experiences within himself the blameless bliss that comes from maintaining this Ariyan guarding of the faculties. In this way, Sire, a monk is a guardian of the sense-doors.

65.  ‘And how, Sire, is a monk accomplished in mindfulness and clear awareness? Here a monk acts with clear awareness in going forth and back, in looking ahead or behind him, in bending and stretching, in wearing his outer and inner robe and carrying his bowl, in eating, drinking, chewing and swallowing, in evacuating and urinating, in walking, standing, sitting, lying down, in waking, in speaking and in keeping silent he acts with clear awareness. In this way, a monk is accomplished in mindfulness and clear awareness.

66.  ‘And how is a monk contented? Here, a monk is satisfied with a robe to protect his body, with alms to satisfy his stomach, and having accepted sufficient, he goes on his way. Just as a bird with wings flies hither and thither, burdened by nothing but its wings, so he is satisfied…In this way, Sire, a monk is contented.

67.  ‘Then he, equipped with this Ariyan morality, with this Ariyan restraint of the senses, with this Ariyan contentment, finds a solitary lodging, at the root of a forest tree, in a mountain cave or gorge, a charnel-ground, a jungle-thicket, or in the open air on a heap of straw. Then, having eaten after his return from the alms-round, he sits down cross-legged, holding his body erect, and concentrates on keeping mindfulness established before him.

68.  ‘Abandoning worldly desires, he dwells with a mind freed from worldly desires, and his mind is purified of them. Abandoning ill-will and hatred… and by compassionate love for the welfare of all living beings, his mind is purified of ill-will and hatred. Abandoning  sloth-and-torpor,…perceiving light, mindful and clearly aware, his mind is purified of sloth-and-torpor. Abandoning worry-and-flurry…and with an inwardly calmed mind his heart is purified of worry-and-flurry. Abandoning doubt, he dwells with doubt left behind, without uncertainty as to what things are wholesome, his mind is purified of doubt.

69.  ‘Just as a man who had taken a loan to develop his business, and whose business had prospered, might pay off his old debts, and with what was left over could support a wife, might think: “Before this I developed my business by borrowing, but now it has prospered…”, and he would rejoice and be glad about that.

70.  ‘Just as a man who was ill, suffering, terribly sick, with no appetite and weak in body, might after a time recover, and regain his appetite and bodily strength, and he might think:”Before this I was ill…”, and he would rejoice and be glad about that.

71.  ‘Just as a man might be bound in prison, and after a time he might be freed from his bonds without any loss, with no deduction from his possessions. He might think: “Before this I was in prison…”, and he would rejoice and be glad about that.

72.  ‘Just as a man might be a slave, not his own master, dependent on another, unable to go where he liked, and after some time he might be freed from slavery, able to go where he liked, might think:”Before this I was a slave…” And he would rejoice and be glad about that.

73.   ‘Just as a man, laden with goods and wealth, might go on a long journey through the desert where food was scarce and danger abounded, and after a time he would get through the desert and arrive safe and sound at the edge of a village, might think:”Before this I was in danger, now I am safe at the edge of a village”, and he would rejoice and be glad about that.

74.  ‘As long, Sire, as a monk does not perceive the disappearance of the five hindrances in himself, he feels as if in debt, in sickness, in bonds, in slavery, on a desert journey. But when he perceives the disappearance of the five hindrances in himself, it is as if he were freed from debt, from sickness, from bonds, from slavery, from the perils of the desert.

75.  ‘And when he knows that these five hindrances have left him, gladness arises in him, from gladness comes delight, from the delight in his mind his body is tranquillized, with a tranquil body he feels joy, and with joy his mind is concentrated. Being thus detached from sense-desires, detached from unwholesome states, he enters and remains in the first jhāna, which is with thinking and pondering, born of detachment, filled with delight and joy. And with this delight and joy born of detachment, he so suffuses, drenches, fills and irradiates his body that there is no spot in his entire body that is untouched by this delight and joy born of detachment.

76.  ‘Just as a skilled bathman or his assistant, kneading the soap-powder which he has sprinkled with water, forms from it, in a metal dish, a soft lump, so that the ball of soap-powder becomes one oleaginous mass, bound with oil so that nothing escapes- so this monk suffuses, drenches, fills and irradiates his body so that no spot remains untouched. This, Sire, is a fruit of the homeless life, visible here and now, that is more excellent and perfect than the former ones.

77. ‘Again, a monk, with the subsiding of thinking and pondering, by gaining inner tranquility and oneness of mind, enters and remains in the second jhāna, which is without thinking and pondering, born of concentration, filled with delight and joy. And with this delight and joy born of concentration he so suffuses his body that no spot remains untouched.

78.  ‘Just as a lake fed by a spring, with no inflow from east, west, north or south, where the rain-god sends moderate showers from time to time, the water welling up from below, mingling with cool water, would suffuse, fill and irradiate that cool water, so that no part of the pool was untouched by it-so, with this delight and joy born of concentration he so suffuses his body that no spot remains untouched. This, Sire, is a fruit more excellent and perfect than the former ones.

79.  ‘Again, a monk with the fading away of delight remains imperturbable, mindful and clearly aware, and experiences in himself that joy of which the Noble Ones say: “Happy is he who dwells with equanimity and mindfulness”, and he enters and remains in the third jhāna. And with this joy devoid of delight he so suffuses his body that no spot remains untouched.

80.  ‘Just as if, in a pond of blue, red or white lotuses in which the flowers, born in the water, grown in the water, not growing out of the water, are fed from the water’s depths, those blue, red or white lotuses would be suffused… with the cool water – so with this joy devoid of delight the monk so suffuses his body that no spot remains untouched. This is a fruit of the homeless life, more excellent and perfect than the former ones.

81.  ‘Again, a monk, having given up pleasure and pain, and with the disappearance of former gladness and sadness, enters and remains in the fourth jhāna which is beyond pleasure and pain, and purified by equanimity and mindfulness. And he sits suffusing his body with that metal purity and clarification so that no part of his body is untouched by it.

82.  ‘Just as if a man were to sit wrapped from head to foot  in a white garment, so that no part of him was untouched by that garment- so his body is suffused…This is a fruit of the homeless life, more excellent and perfect than the former ones.

83.  ‘And so, with mind concentrated, purified and cleansed, unblemished, free from impurities, malleable, workable, established, and having gained imperturbability, he directs and inclines his mind towards knowing and seeing. And he know: “This my body is material, made up from the four great elements, born of mother and father, fed on rice and gruel, impermanent, liable to be injured and abraded, broken and destroyed, and this is my consciousness which is bound to it and dependent on it.”

84.  ‘It is just as if there were a gem, a beryl, pure, excellent, well cut into eight facets, clear, bright, unflawed, perfect in every respect, strung on a blue, yellow, red, white or orange cord. A man with good eyesight, taking it in his hand and inspection it, would describe it as such. In the same way, Sire, a monk with mind concentrated, purified and cleansed,…directs his mind towards knowing and seeing. And he know: “This my body is material, made up of the four great elements,… and this is my consciousness which is bound to it and dependent on it.” This is a fruit of the homeless life, more excellent and perfect than the former ones.

85. ‘And he, with mind concentrated,… having gained imperturbability, applies and directs his mind to the production of a mind-made body. And out of this body he produces another body, having a form, mind-made, complete in all its limbs and faculties.

86.  ‘It is just as if a man were to draw out a reed from its sheath. He might think: “This is the reed, this is the sheath, reed and sheath are different. Now the reed has been pulled from the sheath.” Or as if a man were to draw a sword from the scabbard. He might think:”This is the sword, this is the scabbard, sword and scabbard are different. Now the sword has been drawn from the scabbard.” Or as if a man were to draw a snake from its skin. He might think: ’This is the snake, this is the skin, snake and skin are different. Now the snake has been drawn from its skin.” In the same way a monk with mind concentrated…directs his mind to the production of a mind-made body. He draws that body out of this body, having form, mind-made, complete with all its limbs and faculties. This is a fruit of the homeless life more excellent and perfect than the former ones.

87.  ‘And he, with mind concentrated,… applies and directs his mind to the various supernormal powers. He then enjoys different powers: being one, he becomes many- being many, he becomes one; he appears and disappears; he passes through fences, walls and mountains unhindered as if through air; he sinks into the ground and emerges from it as if it were water; he walks on the water without breaking the surface as if on land; he flies cross-legged through the sky like a bird with wings; he even touches and strokes with his hand the sun and moon, mighty and powerful as they are; and he travels in the body as far as the Brahmā world.

88.  ‘Just as a skilled potter or his assistant can make from well-prepared clay whatever kind of bowl he likes, or just as a skilled ivory-carver or his assistant can produce from well-prepared ivory any object he likes, or just as a skilled goldsmith or his assistant can make any gold article he likes- so the monk with mind concentrated…enjoys various super-normal powers… This is a fruit of the homeless life…

89.  ‘And he, with mind concentrated,…applies and directs his mind to the divine ear. With the divine ear, purified and surpassing that of human beings, he hears sound both divine and human, whether far or near.

90.  ‘Just as a man going on a long journey might hear the sound of a big drum, a small drum, a conch, cymbals or a kettle-drum, and he might think: “That is a big drum,…a kettle-drum”, so the monk with mind concentrated…hears sounds, divine or human, far or near. This is a fruit of the homeless life, more excellent and perfect than the former ones.

91.  ‘And he, with mind concentrated,… applies and directs his mind to the knowledge of others’ minds. He knows and distinguishes with his mind the minds of other beings or other persons. He knows the mind with passion to be with passion; he knows the mind without passion to be without passion. He knows the mind with hate to be with hate; he knows the mind without hate to be without hate. He knows the deluded mind to be deluded; he knows the undeluded mind to be undeluded. He knows the narrow mind to be narrow; he knows the broad mind to be broad. He knows the expanded mind to be expanded; he knows the unexpanded mind to be unexpanded. He knows the surpassed mind to be surpassed; he knows the unsurpassed mind to be unsurpassed. He knows the concentrated mind to be concentrated; he knows the unconcentrated mind to be unconcentrated. He knows the liberated mind to be liberated; he knows the unliberated mind to be unliberated.

92.   ‘Just as a woman, or a man or young boy, fond of his appearance, might examine his face in a brightly polished mirror or in water, and by examination would know whether there was a spot there or not, so the monk, with mind concentrated,…directs his mind to the knowledge of others’ minds…(as verse 91). This is a fruit of the homeless life…

93. ‘And he, with mind concentrated,…applies and directs his mind to the knowledge of previous existences. He remembers many previous existences: one birth, two, three, four, five births, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty births, a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand births, several periods of contraction, of expansion, of both contraction and expansion. “There my name was so-and-so, my clan was so-and-so, my cast was so-and-so, my food was such-and-such, I experienced such-and-such pleasant and painful conditions, I lived for so long. Having passed away from there, I arose there. There my name was so-and-so… And having passed away from there, I arose here.” Thus he remembers various past births, their conditions and details.

94.  ‘It is just as if a man were to go from his village to another, from that to yet another, and thence return to his home village. He might think: “I came from my own village to that other one where I stood, sat, spoke or remained silent like this, and from that on I went to another, where I stood, sat, spoke or remained silent like this, and from there have just returned to my own village.” Just so the monk with mind concentrated… remembers past births…This is a fruit of the homeless life…

95.  ‘And he, with mind concentrated,…applies and directs his mind to the knowledge of the passing-away and arising of beings. With the divine eye, purified and surpassing that of humans, he sees beings passing away and arising: base and noble, well-favored and ill-favored, to happy and unhappy destinations as kamma directs them, and he knows: “These beings, on account of misconduct of body, speech or thought, or disparaging the Noble Ones, have wrong view and will suffer the kammic fate of wrong view. At the breaking-up of the body after death they are reborn in a lower world, a bad destination, a state of suffering, hell. But these beings, on account of good conduct of body, speech or thought, of praising the Noble Ones, have right view and will reap the kammic reward of right. At the breaking-up of the body after death they are reborn in a good destination, a heavenly world.” Thus with the divine eye… he sees beings passing away and re-arising.

96.  ‘It is just as if there were a lofty building at a crossroads, and a man with good eyesight standing there might see people entering or leaving a house, walking in the street, or sitting in the middle of the crossroads. And he might think: “These are entering a house…” Just so, with the divine eye, … he sees beings passing away and re-arising…This is a fruit of the homeless life…

97.  ‘And he with mind concentrated, purified and cleansed, unblemished, free from impurities, malleable, workable, established and having gained imperturbability, applies and directs his mind to the knowledge of the destruction of the corruptions. He knows as it really is: “This is suffering”, he knows as it really is: “This is the cessation of suffering”, he knows as it really is: “This is the path leading to the cessation of suffering.” And he knows as it really is: “These are the corruptions”, “This is the origin of the corruptions”, “This is the cessation of the corruptions”, “This is the path leading to the cessation of the corruptions.” And through his knowing and seeing his mind is delivered from the corruption of sense-desire, from the corruption of becoming, from the corruption of ignorance, and the knowledge arises in him: “This is deliverance!”, and he knows: “Birth is finished, the holy life has been led, done is what had to be done, there is nothing further here.”

98. ‘Just as if, Sire, in the midst of the mountains there were a pond, clear as a polished mirror, where a man with good eyesight standing on the bank could see oyster-shells, gravel-banks, and shoals of fish, on the move or stationary. And he might think: “This pond is clear,…there are oyster-shells…”, just so , with mind concentrated,… he knows:”Birth is finished, the holy life has been led, done is what had to be done, there is nothing further here.” This, Sire, is a fruit of the homeless life, visible here and now, which is more excellent and perfect than the previous fruits. And, Sir, there is no fruit of the homeless life, visible here and now, that is more excellent and perfect than this.’

99. At this King Ajātasattu exclaimed: ‘Excellent, Lord, excellent! It is as if someone were to set up what had been knocked down, or to point out the way to one who had got lost, or to bring and oil-lamp into a dark place, so that those with eyes could see what was there. Just so the Blessed Lord has expounded the Dhamma in various ways. And I , Lord, go for refuge to the Blessed Lord, to the Dhamma, and to the Sangha. May the Blessed Lord accept me from this day forth as a lay-follower as long as life shall last! Transgression overcame me, Lord, foolish, erring and wicked as I was, in that I for the sake of the throne deprived my father, that good man and just king, of his life. May the Blessed Lord accept my confession of my evil deed that I may restrain myself in future!”

100.  ‘Indeed, Sire, transgression overcame you when you deprived your father, that good man and just king, of his life. But since you have acknowledged the transgression and confessed it as is right, we will accept it. For he who acknowledges his transgression as such and confesses it for betterment in future, will grow in the Ariyan discipline.’

101. At this, King Ajātasattu said: ‘Lord, permit me to depart now. I am busy and have much to do.’ ‘Do now, your Majesty, as you think fit.’
Then King Ajātasattu, rejoicing and delighting at these words, rose from his seat, saluted the Lord, and departed with his right side towards him.

102. As soon as the King had gone, the Lord said: “The King is done for, his fate is sealed, monks! But if the King had not deprived his father, that good man and just king, of his life, then as he sat here the pure and spotless Dhamma-eye would have arisen in him.’
Thus the Lord spoke, and the monks, delighted, rejoiced at his words.

Thus the Lord spoke, and the monks, delighted, rejoiced at his words.


Dīgha Nikāya 2
Division One – The Moralities
Translated by Maurice Walshe
Contributed by Ariya Zhong

 

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