Aŋguttara Nikāya


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Aŋguttara Nikāya
Pañcaka Nipāta
8. Yodhājīva Vagga

The Numbers Bag
The Book of Fives

Sutta 73

Paṭhama Dhamma-Viharin Suttaɱ

Walk'n the Talk1

Retold by Michael M. Olds

 


 

[1][pts][than] I HEAR TELL:

Once upon a time Bhagava, Sāvatthi-town, Anāthapiṇḍika's Park, came-a revisiting.

A certain Bhikkhu came to pay a call,
and, after paying respect with closed palms,
he sat on a low seat to one side
at a respectful distance
and asked:

"'Walk'n the Talk' is the expression.

To what extent, Bhaggava does one
'walk the talk'
in this Dhamma?"

"In the case of the first case
we have the case of the Beggar
who has an all-round understanding of Dhamma.2.

He spends his day in the mastering of Dhamma.

But he neglects putting down interaction
and does not devote himself to mental tranquillity within.

This beggar, beggar, is said to be big on all-round understanding,
but does not live the Dhamma.

 


 

In the case of the second case
we have the case of the Beggar
who teaches dhamma to others as he has heard and understood it.

He spends his time instructing and inciting others.

But he neglects putting down interaction
and does not devote himself to mental tranquillity within.

This beggar, beggar, is said to be big on wisdom,
but does not live the Dhamma.

 


 

In the case of the third case
we have the case of the Beggar
who is a repeater.

He memorizes Dhamma and repeats it to others as he has heard it
and so spends his day.

But he neglects putting down interaction
and does not devote himself to mental tranquillity within.

This beggar, beggar, is said to be big on memory,
but does not live the Dhamma.

 


 

In the case of the fourth case
we have the case of the Beggar
who is a thinker.

He thinks about Dhamma
as he has heard it and understood it.

He spends his day thinking about Dhamma.

But he neglects putting down interaction
and does not devote himself to mental tranquillity within.

This beggar, beggar, is said to be big on thinking, but does not live the dhamma.

 


 

In the case of the fifth case
we have the case of the Beggar
who has an all-round understanding of Dhamma,
but he does not spend his day in the mastery of Dhamma,
he does not neglect putting down interaction
and does devote himself to mental tranquillity within.

This beggar, beggar, is said to 'Walk the Talk'.

So, Beggar,
I have given you one who is Big on Understanding,
one who is Big on Wisdom,
one who is Big on Memory,
one who is Big on Thinking,
and one Who 'Walks the Talk'.

Beggar! What a teacher should do for his student,
looking after his well-being,
seeking his good,
out of sympathy,
such is such as I have done for you.

There are the roots of trees,
places of solitude.

Do not be negligent,
do not give yourself cause for self-recrimination later.

This is our instruction to you.

 


 

1 dhamma-vihāri: one who lives the dhamma

2 Suttaɱ: the interesting thing about this category is that the rest are not categorized under it. Tales, yarns, spells, threads; the 'sutta' had a certain structure which required it to state the occasion for it's utterance, the main characters involved, and to make a point, teach a lesson as well as to have entertainment value. The Buddhist sutta in particular was mostly a self-contained instruction that would take the hearer from where they were to the detachment from which total freedom was accessible (or if not that goal, some lesser goal). As 'suttanta' this would be a amalgamation of fragments of instruction compiled to accomplish this end.
Geyyaɱ: PED calls this "a certain style of mixed prose and verse"; the word is related to singing (with dancing). There is not much said in favor of singing and dancing in the Dhamma, but there are a number of places in the suttas where there are combinations of verses and prose (every collection contains such). Since singing is considered lamentation elsewhere in the suttas, this term might represent poetry in praise of the Buddha: 'Exclamation' for 'lamentation'.
Veyyā-karaṇaɱ: answer, explanation. Literally 'by way of making' so: 'By way of their construction'; analyzing the meaning by way of the ordering of the terms.
Gāthaɱ: Verses [in meter?].;
Udānaɱ: Literally "Inspirations" [in-breaths], uplift, inspired instructions;
Iti-vuttakaɱ: "This [was] said." This could refer to suttas in which a questioner approaches the Buddha with a statement such as "I have heard that Gotama says ..." and also "Such and such is such as is said," "what Bhante, does 'Such and Such' mean?"
Jātakaɱ: Birth stories. Not the big collection we have, but the occasional story of one of Gotama's previous births as told by him within a sutta.
Abbhuta-dhammaɱ: Tales [teachings] of Power
Vedallaɱ: The meaning of the word itself is not clear, according to PED the work includes: "...the 2 suttas so-called in M. (43,44). Suttas, as catechetical; instructions given to third parties by way of questions and answers exchanged between two knowledgable instructors, or questions asked to determine the attainments of another. Apparently this may also include a series of questions asked by one who is uncertain in order to clarify his own knowledge.

According to the footnote at PTS page 71: "This list recurs at M. i, 133; A. ii, 7; Vin.iii,8.; "... and again in this volume at sutta V, § 155..
A couple of things to think about concerning this list: I believe it should not be heard as referring to the works and divisions as we currently have them (e.g., 'iti-vutakka' meaning 'The Iti-vuttaka'). My thinking is that this is not a list of 'divisions' or 'collections' at all, but of the various ways dhamma was taught and understood, so that one could have one or more of any of these in any of our current divisions of the Dhamma (which is, in fact, the case).
It is a list (if we take it at face value) made before the Buddha's death which makes it an interesting fact that it does not mention either the Abhidhamma or the Vinaya.
Bhk. Bodhi (n 631 to AN 4 §6 pg 392,): "This is the early ninefold division of the Dhamma, eventually superseded by the arrangement of the texts into the five Nikāyas. ... It is a disputed question whether some items in the list refer to collections that already existed in the Buddha's time or to prototypes on the basis of which the present collections were established. Present scholarly opinion leans toward the latter."
I don't see how either of these explanations could account for the items in the list.

Pāḷi Olds Hare Bhk. Thanissaro Bhk Bodhi
Suttaɱ: Lessons Sayings Dialogues Discourses
Geyyaɱ: Songs Psalms Narratives of mixed prose and verse Mixed prose and verse
Veyyā-karaṇaɱ: Commentary Catechisms Explanations Expositions
Gāthaɱ: Verses Songs Verses Verses
Udānaɱ: Inspired Utterances Solemnities Spontaneous Exclamations Inspired Utterances
Iti-vuttakaɱ: Reported Sayings Speeches Quotations Quotations
Jātakaɱ: Birth Stories Birth Stories Birth Stories Birth Stories
Abbhuta-dhammaɱ: Tales of Power Marvels Amazing Events Amazing Accounts
Vedalla: Dialogues Runes Question and Answer Sessions Questions and Answers

 


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