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Svib I.1

Verañjabhanavara

The Brahman of Verañja

Translated from the Pali by Sean Whittle.
Copyright ©2001 Sean Whittle.
For free distribution only.

At that time the Awakened One, the Blessed One, was staying near Verañja under the shade of Naleru's Nimba tree together with a large gathering of five-hundred monks. Now at that time a brahman of Verañja heard: "Gotama the contemplative, the son of the Sakyans who has gone forth from the Sakyan clan, is staying near Verañja under the shade of Naleru's Nimba tree together with a large gathering of five-hundred monks. Now of that Blessed One this good reputation has been spread: 'He is indeed a Blessed One, worthy, rightly self-awakened, perfect in knowledge and conduct, well-gone, knower of the cosmos, unsurpassed trainer of persons ready to be tamed, teacher of gods and humans, awakened, blessed. He makes known this world -- having himself realized it through direct knowledge -- with its gods, maras, and brahmas, its generations with their contemplatives and brahmans, their royalty and common folk. He explains the Dhamma admirable in the beginning, admirable in the middle, and admirable in the end; he illuminates the holy life in its deeper meaning, and its letter, utterly perfect, abundantly pure. Indeed it is good seeing such a worthy one.'"

Then the brahman of Verañja went to the Blessed One, and upon arrival, having exchanged friendly greetings and courtesies, sat to one side. After sitting down he said this to the Blessed One: "Sir Gotama, this has been heard by me: 'Gotama the contemplative does not reverentially salute, rise up before, or offer a seat to the brahmans who are old, advanced in years, venerable, who have traversed the span of their lives, entered into the last stage of their lives.' Do you do, sir Gotama, as they say? Does the venerable Gotama never reverentially salute, rise up before, or offer a seat to the brahmans who are old, advanced in years, venerable, who traversed the span of their lives, and entered into the last stage of their lives? This here, sir Gotama, is not in good taste."

"I do not see in this world, brahman, with its gods, maras, and brahmas, its generations with their contemplatives and brahmans, their royalty and common folk, whom I might reverentially salute, rise up before, or offer a seat to. For, brahman, whomever a Tathagata might reverentially salute, rise up before, or offer a seat to: their head would burst asunder."

"The venerable Gotama is of tasteless character!"

"There is, brahman, this method through which one rightly speaking would say of me: 'Gotama the contemplative is of tasteless character.' Brahman, whatever tastes for sights, sounds, odors, flavors, and tangibles -- with reference to the Tathagata, these have been abandoned, cut off at the root, like a palm-tree rendered groundless, deprived of the conditions of existence, no longer arising in the future. This, brahman, is a method through which one rightly speaking would say of me: 'Gotama the contemplative is of tasteless character.' But surely you did not mean that."

"The venerable Gotama is without enjoyment!"

"There is, brahman, this method through which one rightly speaking would say of me: 'Gotama the contemplative is without enjoyment.' Brahman, whatever enjoyments of sights, sounds, odors, flavors, and tangibles -- with reference to the Tathagata, these have been abandoned, cut off at the root, like a palm-tree rendered groundless, deprived of the conditions of existence, no longer arising in the future. This, brahman, is a method through which one rightly speaking would say of me: 'Gotama the contemplative is without enjoyment.' But surely you did not mean that."

"The venerable Gotama is a proclaimer of non-doing!"[1]

"There is, brahman, this method through which one rightly speaking would say of me: 'Gotama the contemplative is a proclaimer of non-doing.' Brahman, I proclaim the non-doing of misconduct of body, of speech, and of mind. I proclaim the non-doing of the manifold evil unskillful qualities. This, brahman, is a method through which one rightly speaking would say of me: 'Gotama the contemplative is a proclaimer of non-doing.' But surely you did not mean that."

"The venerable Gotama is a proclaimer of annihilation!"[2]

"There is, brahman, this method through which one rightly speaking would say of me: 'Gotama the contemplative is a proclaimer of annihilation.' Brahman, I proclaim the annihilation of lust, of aversion, and of delusion. I proclaim the annihilation of the manifold evil unskillful qualities. This, brahman, is a method through which one rightly speaking would say of me: 'Gotama the contemplative is a proclaimer of annihilation.' But surely you did not mean that."

"The venerable Gotama is one who is disgusted!"

"There is, brahman, this method through which one rightly speaking would say of me: 'Gotama the contemplative is one who is disgusted.' Brahman, I am disgusted with misconduct of body, of speech, and of mind. I am disgusted with the acquisition of the manifold evil unskillful qualities. This, brahman, is a method through which one rightly speaking would say of me: 'Gotama the contemplative is one who is disgusted.' But surely you did not mean that."

"The venerable Gotama is one who is restrained!"

"There is, brahman, this method through which one rightly speaking would say of me: 'Gotama the contemplative is one who is restrained.' Brahman, I explain the Dhamma for the restraint of lust, of aversion, and of delusion. I explain the Dhamma for the restraint of the manifold evil unskillful qualities. This, brahman, is a method through which one rightly speaking would say of me: 'Gotama the contemplative is one who is restrained.' But surely you did not mean that."

"The venerable Gotama is one devoted to mortification!"

"There is, brahman, this method through which one rightly speaking would say of me: 'Gotama the contemplative is one devoted to mortification.' Brahman, I proclaim the manifold evil unskillful qualities to be mortified, and misconduct of body, of speech, and of mind. Brahman, in whom the manifold evil unskillful qualities to be mortified have been abandoned, cut off at the root, like a palm-tree rendered groundless, deprived of the conditions of existence, no longer arising in the future, that I proclaim is one devoted to mortification. With reference to the Tathagata, the manifold evil unskillful qualities to be mortified have been abandoned, cut off at the root, like a palm-tree rendered groundless, deprived of the conditions of existence, no longer arising in the future. This, brahman, is a method through which one rightly speaking would say of me: 'Gotama the contemplative is one devoted to mortification.' But surely you did not mean that."

"The venerable Gotama is one without a future womb!"

"There is, brahman, this method through which one rightly speaking would say of me: 'Gotama the contemplative is one without a future womb.' Brahman, in whom the future womb, and production of renewed becoming have been abandoned, cut off at the root, like a palm-tree rendered groundless, deprived of the conditions of existence, no longer arising in the future, that I proclaim is one without a future womb. With reference to the Tathagata, the future womb, and production of renewed becoming have been abandoned, cut off at the root, like a palm-tree rendered groundless, deprived of the conditions of existence, no longer arising in the future. This, brahman, is a method through which one rightly speaking would say of me: 'Gotama the contemplative is one without a future womb.' But surely you did not mean that.

"Suppose, brahman, there was a hen with eight, ten, or twelve eggs: If she covered them properly, warmed them properly, and incubated them properly, with reference to those chicks, whichever one, having pierced the egg-shell with the point of its claw, or its beak, should first completely break through safely, what would he be called: the eldest or the youngest?"

"It would be called the eldest, sir Gotama, for he is the eldest of those."

"In the same way, brahman, in regard to the generations endowed with ignorance, born in that egg, and obstructed, I am, having pierced the egg-shell of ignorance, the only one in the cosmos fully awakened to the unsurpassed right self-awakening. Brahman, I myself am the eldest, the distinguished of the cosmos.

[3]"Now, brahman, there was tireless persistence aroused in me, unmuddled mindfulness established, my body was serene and unaroused, and my mind was concentrated and single.

"Brahman, quite withdrawn from sensuality, from unskillful qualities, I entered upon and remained in the first jhana, which is accompanied by directed thought and evaluation, with rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal. With the stilling of directed thought and evaluation, I entered upon and remained in the second jhana, which has internal confidence and unification of awareness without directed thought and evaluation, with rapture and pleasure born from concentration. Moreover, with the fading of rapture, I remained in equanimity, mindful and alert, still sensitive of pleasure with the body, I entered upon and remained in the third jhana, of which the noble ones declare: 'Equanimous and mindful, he has a pleasurable abiding.' With the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the earlier disappearance of elation and distress, I entered upon and remained in the fourth jhana, which has neither pleasure nor pain, and purity of equanimity and mindfulness.

"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the recollection of my former lives. I recollected my manifold former lives, that is, one birth, two births, three births, four births, five births, ten births, twenty births, thirty births, forty births, fifty births, a hundred births, a thousand births, a hundred-thousand births, many aeons of [cosmic] contraction, many aeons of [cosmic] expansion, many aeons of [cosmic] contraction and expansion: 'There I was so named, of such an ancestry, with such an appearance, such was my food, such was my experience of pleasure and pain, such was the end of my life; passing away from there, I came forth there; at that place I was so named, of such an ancestry, with such an appearance, such was my food, such was my experience of pleasure and pain, such was the end of my life; passing away from there, I came to here.' Thus with their characteristics and details I recollected my manifold former lives.

"This, brahman, was the first knowledge attained by me in the first watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed, and knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed, and light arose: as happens in one who abides attentive, ardent, and resolute. This, brahman, was the first complete break-through by me, like the chick's from the egg-shell.

"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the passing away and appearance of beings. I saw by means of the divine eye -- purified, surpassing the human [eye] -- beings passing away and appearing. I discerned that beings are inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, in accordance with their actions. 'Alas! These beings endowed with bad conduct of body, of speech, and of mind, revilers of the noble ones, holders of wrong views, and undertaking actions under the influence of wrong views; those with the breaking up of their body, after death, appeared in a state of deprivation, distress, ruin, hell. However, these beings endowed with good conduct of body, of speech, and of mind, not revilers of the noble ones, holders of right views, and undertaking actions under the influence of right views; those with the breaking up of their body, after death, appeared in a state of well-being, the heavenly world.' Thus I saw by means of the divine eye -- purified, surpassing the human [eye] -- beings passing away and appearing. I discerned that beings are inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, in accordance with their actions.

"This, brahman, was the second knowledge attained by me in the middle watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed, and knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed, and light arose: as happens in one who abides attentive, ardent, and resolute. This, brahman, was the second complete break-through by me, like the chick's from the egg-shell.

"When the mind was thus concentrated, purified, bright, unblemished, rid of defilement, pliant, malleable, steady, attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the ending of the effluents. I discerned as it really is: 'this is stress'; 'this is the origin of stress'; 'this is the cessation of stress'; 'this is the path leading to the cessation of stress.' I discerned as it really is: 'these are the effluents'; 'this is the origin of the effluents'; 'this is the cessation of the effluents'; 'this is the path leading to the cessation of the effluents.' With myself thus knowing, thus seeing, my mind had been released from the effluent of sensuality, the effluent of being, and the effluent of ignorance. Upon its release there was the knowledge: 'Released.' I discerned: 'Birth is ended, the holy life has been lived, the task is done, there is nothing further for this world.'

"This, brahman, was the third knowledge attained by me in the last watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed, and knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed, and light arose: as happens in one who abides attentive, ardent, and resolute. This, brahman, was the third complete break-through by me, like the chick's from the egg-shell."

Upon this being said, the brahman of Verañja said this to the Blessed One: "The venerable Gotama is the eldest! The venerable Gotama is distinguished! Magnificent, sir Gotama, magnificent! Sir Gotama, just as one would place upright what had been overturned, reveal what was hidden, show the way to one who was lost, or hold up an oil-lamp in the dark so those with eyes could see shapes; in the same way the Dhamma has been illuminated through various methods by venerable Gotama. I, this very person here, go to the venerable Gotama for refuge, to the Dhamma, and to the Community of monks. May the venerable Gotama remember me as a lay-follower from this day forward as one who has gone for refuge for life. Furthermore, may the venerable Gotama accept from me a rains-residence in Verañja together with the gathering of monks."

The Blessed One accepted through silence.

Then the brahman of Verañja, having understood the acceptance of the Blessed One, got up from his seat, and having reverentially saluted the Blessed One, keeping him on his right side, he set out.[4]

Now at that time Verañja was suffering from famine, fraught with difficulties, whiteheads,[5] and harvesting only shoots[6]: it was not easy to sustain life by gathering [food] through offerings. Now as this was occurring some horse-merchants from the north accompanied by five-hundred horses had arrived near the rains-residence in Verañja. By those at the horse-grounds measure after measure[7] of shriveled grain was presented to each of the monks. The monks in the morning, having dressed and taken up their bowls and outer-robes, went into Verañja for alms-food. Upon not receiving any food they walked into the horse-grounds for alms-food, and having each brought a measure of shriveled grain back to their grove and pounded them in wooden mortars, they then ate. The venerable Ananda, having ground a measure of shriveled grain on a millstone, placed it before the Blessed One. The Blessed One ate it.

Then the Blessed One heard the sound of the wooden mortars. Now knowing [sometimes] the Tathagatas will question, and knowing [sometimes] they will not question; having understood the appropriate time [sometimes] they question, having understood the appropriate time [sometimes] they do not question; the Tathagatas question [about that which is] connected with the aim, not [about that which is] unconnected with the aim. The cutting off of the bridge of the Tathagatas is among [that which is] unconnected with the aim. The Awakened Ones, the Blessed Ones, through two purposes pose questions to the monks: "Will we explain the Dhamma?" or "Will we lay down a training rule for the disciples?" Then the Blessed One addressed the venerable Ananda: "Now then, Ananda, what is that sound of wooden mortars?" Then the venerable Ananda conveyed this matter to the Blessed One. "Good, Ananda, good! Ananda, it is a victory by you good men. Later men will even despise porridge prepared from rice and sprinkled with meat."

Then the venerable Maha Moggallana went to the Blessed One, and upon arrival, having reverentially saluted him, sat to one side. After sitting down he said this to the Blessed One: "Venerable sir, at this time Verañja is suffering from famine, fraught with difficulties, whiteheads, and harvesting only shoots: it is not easy to sustain life by gathering [food] through offerings. Venerable sir, the undersurface of this great earth is sweet, tasting just like pure honey. It would be good, venerable sir, if I turned over the soil, and then the monks can eat the essence of the pappataka [8] plant."

"Now, Moggallana, how will you deal with the life that is supported by the soil?"

"Venerable sir, I will make one hand like the great earth, and whatever life that is supported by the soil in that place, I will deliver them over. With the other hand I will turn over the soil."

"Enough, Moggallana, do not approve of turning over the soil. Beings might meet with perversion."[9]

"It would be good, venerable sir, if the entire gathering of monks went to Northern Kuru for alms-food."

"Enough, Moggallana, do not approve of the entire gathering of monks going to Northern Kuru for alms-food."

Now while the venerable Sariputta was in seclusion for the sake of meditation such a thought arose in his mind: "Of which Awakened Ones, Blessed Ones, was the holy life not long-lasting; of which Awakened Ones, Blessed Ones, was the holy life long-lasting?"

Then the venerable Sariputta during the evening, having risen from seclusion, went to the Blessed One, and upon arrival, having reverentially saluted him, sat to one side. After sitting down he said this to the Blessed One: "Now, venerable sir, while I was in seclusion for the sake of meditation this thought arose in my mind: 'Of which Awakened Ones, Blessed Ones, was the holy life not long-lasting; of which Awakened Ones, Blessed Ones, was the holy life long-lasting?' So now, venerable sir, of which Awakened Ones, Blessed Ones, was the holy life not long-lasting; of which Awakened Ones, Blessed Ones, was the holy life long-lasting?"

"Sariputta, the holy life of the Blessed Ones Vipassi, Sikhi, and Vessabhu were not long-lasting; the holy life of the Blessed Ones Kakusandha, Konagamana, and Kassapa were long-lasting."[10]

"So then, venerable sir, what was the cause, what was the condition by which the holy life of the Blessed Ones Vipassi, Sikhi, and Vessabhu was not long-lasting?"

"Sariputta, the Blessed Ones Vipassi, Sikhi, and Vessabhu were not motivated[11] to explain the Dhamma in detail to their disciples, and there were few of the dialogues, dialogues containing prose and verse, explanations, verses, exclamations, quotations, birth stories, amazing events, and question and answer sessions.[12] Training rules were not laid down for their disciples, and the Patimokkha was not pointed out. Then with the passing away of those Awakened Ones, Blessed Ones, and with the passing away of the disciples awakened under those Awakened Ones, whatever future generations of disciples of various names, various ancestries, various births, who went forth from various clans, they quickly caused the holy life to disappear. Sariputta, it is just like various flowers placed down upon a table not tied together with string: the wind scatters them about, blows them away, and dashes them into pieces. And why? Because it was not tied together with string. Sariputta, in the same way, with the passing away of those Awakened Ones, Blessed Ones, and with the passing away of the disciples awakened under those Awakened Ones, whatever future generations of disciples of various names, various ancestries, various births, who went forth from various clans, they quickly caused the holy life to disappear.

"In addition, those Blessed Ones, having grasped with their own minds the minds of the disciples, were motivated to exhort their disciples. Formerly, Sariputta, the Blessed One Vessabhu, worthy, rightly self-awakened, in a certain terrifying forest exhorted and admonished a gathering of a thousand monks having grasped with his own mind the minds of the monks: 'Think in this way, do not think in this way; attend to this, do not attend to this; renounce this, enter upon and remain in this.' Now at that time, Sariputta, with the Blessed One Vessabhu, worthy, rightly self-awakened, exhorting and admonishing in this way, the minds of those thousand monks through no clinging were fully released from the effluents. There indeed, Sariputta, the terrifying forest was of a terrifying nature: whoever entered into that forest that was not free from lust, as a rule the hair of their body stood on end. This, Sariputta, was the cause, this was the condition by which the holy life of the Blessed Ones Vipassi, Sikhi, and Vessabhu was not long-lasting."

"Now, venerable sir, what was the cause, what was the condition by which the holy life of the Blessed Ones Kakusandha, Konagamana, and Kassapa was long-lasting?"

"Sariputta, the Blessed Ones Kakusandha, Konagamana, and Kassapa were motivated to explain the Dhamma in detail to their disciples, and there were many of the dialogues, dialogues containing prose and verse, explanations, verses, exclamations, quotations, birth stories, amazing events, and question and answer sessions. Training rules were laid down for their disciples, and the Patimokkha was pointed out. Then with the passing away of those Awakened Ones, Blessed Ones, and with the passing away of the disciples awakened under those Awakened Ones, whatever future generations of disciples of various names, various ancestries, various births, who went forth from various clans, they caused the holy life to be established for a long, long time. Sariputta, it is just like various flowers placed down upon a table tightly tied together with string: the wind does not scatter them about, blow them away, and dash them into pieces. And why? Because it was tightly tied together with string. Sariputta, in the same way, with the passing away of those Awakened Ones, Blessed Ones, and with the passing away of the disciples awakened under those Awakened Ones, whatever future generations of disciples of various names, various ancestries, various births, who went forth from various clans, they caused the holy life to be established for a long, long time. This, Sariputta, was the cause, this was the condition by which the holy life of the Blessed Ones Kakusandha, Konagamana, and Kassapa was long-lasting."

Then the venerable Sariputta, having risen from his seat, arranged his upper-robe over one shoulder, bent down before the Blessed One in salutation, and said this to him: "Blessed One, it is the right time! Well-Gone One, it is the right time! The Blessed One should lay down the training rules for the disciples, the Patimokkha should be pointed out, so that the holy life may exist for a long time, so it may be long-lasting!"

"Wait, Sariputta, wait! Certainly the Tathagata will know the right time for that. Sariputta, the Teacher does not lay down a training rule for the disciples, does not point out the Patimokkha, as long as there are no cases where the conditions that offer a foothold for the effluents have appeared in the Community. But when there are cases where the conditions that offer a foothold for the effluents have appeared in the Community, at that time the Teacher, in order to counteract those very conditions, lays down a training rule for the disciples, points out the Patimokkha.

"Sariputta, there are no cases where the conditions that offer a foothold for the effluents have appeared in the Community as long as the Community has not become great because of long-standing. But when the Community has become great because of long-standing, then there are cases where the conditions that offer a foothold for the effluents appear in the Community, and at that time the Teacher, in order to counteract those very conditions, lays down a training rule for the disciples, points out the Patimokkha.

"Sariputta, there are no cases where the conditions that offer a foothold for the effluents have appeared in the Community as long as the Community has not become great because of large size. But when the Community has become great because of large size, then there are cases where the conditions that offer a foothold for the effluents appear in the Community, and at that time the Teacher, in order to counteract those very conditions, lays down a training rule for the disciples, points out the Patimokkha.

"Sariputta, there are no cases where the conditions that offer a foothold for the effluents have appeared in the Community as long as the Community has not become great because of fine material gains. But when the Community has become great because of fine material gains, then there are cases where the conditions that offer a foothold for the effluents appear in the Community, and at that time the Teacher, in order to counteract those very conditions, lays down a training rule for the disciples, points out the Patimokkha.

"Sariputta, there are no cases where the conditions that offer a foothold for the effluents have appeared in the Community as long as the Community has not become great because of a large body of learning. But when the Community has become great because of a large body of learning, then there are cases where the conditions that offer a foothold for the effluents appear in the Community, and at that time the Teacher, in order to counteract those very conditions, lays down a training rule for the disciples, points out the Patimokkha.[13]

"Indeed, Sariputta, the Community of Monks, free from malignancy,[14] free from affliction, removed from flaw, and pure, is established in what is essential.[15] Indeed, Sariputta, the most backward of those five-hundred monks is a stream-winner, not liable to appear in a state of ruin, invariably headed to self-awakening."

Then the Blessed One addressed the venerable Ananda: "Now, Ananda, it is a custom of the Tathagatas to not set out to walk the countryside without having bid farewell to those who have invited them to reside during the rains. Ananda, after finding the brahman of Verañja we will bid him farewell."

"Yes, venerable sir," agreed the venerable Ananda.

Then the Blessed One, having dressed and taken up his bowl and outer-robe, with the venerable Ananda walking behind, went to the home of the brahman of Verañja, and upon arrival sat upon the appointed seat. Then the brahman of Verañja went to the Blessed One, and upon arrival, having reverentially saluted the Blessed One, sat to one side. After sitting down the Blessed One said this to him: "Brahman, having been invited by you we stayed for the rainy season; we are bidding farewell, we wish to set out to walk the countryside."

"It is true, sir Gotama, that invited by me you have stayed for the rainy season; furthermore gifts were not given. I did not wish for there to be no gift, or to be stingy, but from having many duties the household life is busy, where would it be possible? May the venerable Gotama accept from me a meal for tomorrow together with the gathering of monks."

The Blessed One accepted through silence.

Then the Blessed One, having instructed, roused, inspired, and gladdened the brahman of Verañja with a Dhamma-talk, got up from his seat and set out. Then the brahman of Verañja, having had prepared in his own home exquisite non-staple and staple foods by the end of that night, had the time declared to the Blessed One: "It is time, sir Gotama. The meal is complete."

Then the Blessed One in the morning, having dressed and taken up his bowl and outer-robe, went to the home of the brahman of Verañja, and upon arrival sat upon the appointed seat together with the gathering of monks. Then the brahman of Verañja satisfied and served with his own hand the Awakened One at the forefront, and the gathering of monks, with exquisite non-staple and staple foods. When the Blessed One had finished eating and taken away his hand from his bowl, the brahman of Verañja presented him with a triple-robe, and presented each monk with a set of cloth. Then the Blessed One, having instructed, roused, inspired, and gladdened the brahman of Verañja with a Dhamma-talk, got up from his seat and set out. Then the Blessed One, having stayed in Verañja as long as he delighted, and having set off by way of Soreyya, Sankassa, and Kannakujja, came to Payagapatitthana; having come to Payagapatitthana, there having crossed the Ganga river, he went on to Baranasi. Then the Blessed One, having stayed in Baranasi as long as he delighted, set out walking to Vesali. Going on walking in succession, he went on to Vesali. There indeed, in Vesali, the Blessed One stayed in the Great Wood at the Hall with the Peaked Roof.[16]


Notes

1. akiriyavaada: The SP says that the brahman thinks the Buddha is a proclaimer of the non-doing of proper greetings to brahmans. [Go back]

2. ucchedavaada: Here the SP says that the brahman thinks the Buddha is a proclaimer of the annhilation of the customs used while meeting brahmans. [Go back]

3. These passages on the four jhanas and three knowledges are paralleled in MN 4. For a more detailed passage see DN 2. [Go back]

4. From the beginning to here appears almost verbatim at AN IV.11 (p. 4.172). [Go back]

5. seta.t.thikaa: There are two interpretations cited in the SP: one interpreting a.t.thi in the meaning of bone, and another interpreting it as a.t.ti in the meaning of sickness. In the first case it is said to refer to the white bones of people who die from starvation. In the second it is said to refer to a 'sickness' that befalls crops due to infestation by insects. Of these two I see the second as most plausible. I do not, however, interpret a.t.thi as bones or sickness, but as seed or 'head.' In modern terminology there are insects called 'stem borers' (primarily of the lepidopterous families, Noctuidae and Pyralidae). These insects as adults will lay their eggs on rice leaves, and the larvae then bore into the stem of the plant during the plant's reproductive stage, causing the severing of the developing panicle at its base. Because of this, the panicle does not become filled with grain and are a whitish color (instead of brown). These empty panicles are called 'whiteheads.' In Sanskrit there is in the equivalents asthi and a.s.ti a meaning of a kernel, stone, or seed of a fruit or plant. The Sanskrit equivalents and three Pali passages have led me to the conclusion of this as 'whiteheads.' One passage at AN III.57 (p. 1.160) associates seta.t.thikaa with famine and bad crops. The commentary to that passage provides the explanation given above. In the SP (p. 1.175) there is also this similar explanation: "...at the time of the fertilization of the crop (sassa) it is infected with a white sickness (roga); withdrawing its milky juice, and unfilled with grain(ta.n.dula), the sickness renders either the panicle (siisa) of rice or the panicles of barley and wheat pale white..." I do not know if 'pest' is meant here by sickness. [Go back]

6. salaakaavuttaa: I take vuttaa here as a pp. of vapati, not va.t.tati. There is also another meaning of this as a 'food-ticket' for distributing food. [Go back]

7. patthapatthapulaka: I have chosen here to render pattha as 'measure' for the sake of the fluidity of the text. In the SP a pattha is said to be enough food for one person to live off of. For each monk there was a continuous daily supply of shriveled grain (pulaka). [Go back]

8. pappa.taka: I do not know exactly what kind of plant this is. In DN 27 (p. 3.87) there is a bhuumipappa.taka mentioned which is said to appear like a mushroom, have the color of ghee or fresh butter, and taste sweet like pure honey. Most people have come to the conclusion that this is some type of mushroom. [Go back]

9. For more on perversion (vipallaasa) see AN IV.49 (p. 2.52). The SP cites this as a perversion in regard to disciples being noble individuals (ariyapuggala): "This which is called famine does not only occur now, but it will also occur in the future. Then in that case the monks endowed with supernormal powers, followers of the holy-life, from where will they acquire [alms]? Those [noble] contemplatives being endowed with supernormal powers will go to various families for alms and at those places of those people this will occur: 'During the time of the Awakened One, monks were complete in their training (i.e., arahants). Having attained those qualities, in times of famine, having turned over the soil, they ate the essence of the pappa.taka plant. However, now there are not [monks] complete in training. If there were, they'd act in the same way. Whatever of ours, whether it is cooked or raw, should not be given [to them] to be eaten.' Thus in regard to those same noble individuals, [they will think], 'They are not noble individuals.' This is the [type of] perversion they might meet with." This same example can be applied to taking the monks to Northern Kuru. [Go back]

10. Vipassii, Sikhii, Vessabhuu, Kakusandha, Ko.naagamana, and Kassapa: The six previous Buddhas before Gotama mentioned in the early texts. [Go back]

11. The SP states that this was because at the time of these Buddhas they taught to people who possessed few defilements. Therefore, after hearing just one verse concerning the four noble truths they were able to fully understand that teaching, and so they did not have to explain the Dhamma in detail. Then after those Buddhas and their disciples passed away, because there wasn't a wide range of teachings for many different types of people, or the various tools for the long-term survival of it, the holy-life faded away quickly. [Go back]

12. This was the early nine-fold classification of the Buddha's teachings. [Go back]

13. A very similar passage to this occurs at MN 65 (p. 1.445). [Go back]

14. nirabbuda: Abbuda means lit. a tumor, swelling, or round mass. At SN I.77 (p. 1.43) it states that thieves are the abbuda in the world. In the SP (p. 1.195) it states this refers to individuals who pretend to be true contemplatives but steal the requisites of true contemplatives. The SP comes to the conclusion of niddussiila meaning free from immorality. Other commentaries cite upaddava for abbuda meaning misfortune, distress, calamity, a supervenient disease, etc. I have adopted this taking abbuda as a metaphor for a malignant tumor (cancer), as they act in a similar manner. [Go back]

15. saara: The SP (p. 1.195) states that this is morality (siila), concentration (samaadhi), discernment (pa~n~naa), release (vimutti), and the knowledge and vision of release (vimutti~naa.nadassana). [Go back]

16. What is described here is quite a long journey. Soreyya is said to be near Takkasilaa (in NE Pakistan). Sa"nkassa is said to be approximately 56 km from Madhuraa (present: Mathura), and Payaagapati.t.thaana is present day Allahabad. Therefore, Verañja must be somewhere in the area of NE Pakistan. [Go back]

Abbreviations:

AN - Anguttara Nikaya
DN - Digha Nikaya
MN - Majjhima Nikaya
SN - Samyutta Nikaya
SP - Samantapasadika (Vinaya Pitaka Commentary)

(Page numbers mentioned in the Notes refer to the volume and page number in the Pali Text Society's romanized Pali editions.)


Revised: Tue 18 September 2001
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/canon/vinaya/svib1-1.html