Aŋguttara Nikāya


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Aŋguttara-Nikāya
III. Tika Nipāta
III. Puggala Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
or
More-Numbered Suttas

III. The Book of the Threes
III. On Persons

Sutta 21

Kāya-Sakkhī Suttaɱ

Testifying with Body

Translated from the Pali by
F.L. Woodward, M.A.

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[102]

[21][pts][olds][bodh][upal] Thus have I heard:

On a certain occasion the Exalted One was staying near Sāvatthī at Jeta Grove,
in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

Now the venerable Saviṭṭha[1] and Koṭṭhita the Great
went to visit the venerable Sāriputta,
and on coming to him greeted him courteously.

Having greeted him courtously,
they took a seats to one side.

As he sat at one side,
the venerable Sāriputta said this to the venerable Saviṭṭha:

"Reverend Saviṭṭha, there are these three persons to be found in the world.

What three?

One who has testified to the truth with body,[2]
one who has won view,
and one released by faith.

These are the three persons to be found in the world.

Now sir, of these three
which seems to you most excellent and choice?"

"Yes, reverend Sāriputta,
there are these three persons to be found in the world.

Of these three
I prefer the one released by faith.

Why so?

Because in this one
the faculty of faith is most developed."

Then the venerable Sāriputta
asked the same question
of the venerable Koṭṭhita the Great, who replied:

"To me the one who has testified to the truth with body
seems most excellent and choice.

Why so?

Because in this one
the faculty of concentration is most developed."

Then the venerable Koṭṭhita the Great
asked the same question
of the venerable Sāriputta, who replied:

"Reverend Koṭṭhita, there are these three persons
to be found in the world.

Of these three he who has won view
seems to me the most excellent and choice.

Why?

Because, sir, in this one
the faculty of insight is most developed."

 

§

 

Then said the venerable Sāriputta to the two others:

"Now, sirs, we have all three
expressed our views
according to our several leanings.

Suppose we go together
to visit the Exalted One,
and on coming to him let us tell him [103] of this matter.

According as the Exalted One shall decide it,
so will we uphold."[3]

"Very good, sir," said the other two
to the venerable Sāriputta.

So all three went to visit the Exalted One,
and on coming to him saluted him
and sat down at one side.

So seated the venerable Sāriputta told the Exalted One
[all the talk they had had on the subject].

Then said the Exalted One:

"It is no easy matter, Sāriputta,
to decide off-hand
which of these three persons
is the most excellent and choice.

It may well be that this person
who is released by faith
is on the path to arahantship;
that this one who has testified to the truth with body
is a once-returner or a non-returner;
that this one who has won view
is also a once-returner or a non-returner.

It is no easy thing, Sāriputta,
to decide off-hand about this matter.

It may well be that this person
who has testified to the truth with body
is on the path to arahantship;
that the other two are once-returners or non-returners.

Or again it may well be that this person
who has won view
is on the path to arahantship;
while the two others are once-returners or non-returners.

Indeed it is no easy task, Sāriputta,
to decide off-hand which of these three persons
is most excellent and choice."

 


[1] Cf. S. ii, 113; Gotama the Man, 52, 89, 111, 114, 138, 281; F. Dialog. i, 107 and supra on text 24.

[2] Kāyasakkhī = aṭṭha vimokkhe kāyena phusitvā (as at A. ii, 89). Comy. Cf. Pugg. 14, 15, and above on Two Persons.

[3] Dhārissāma. I have generally trans. this word 'bear in mind.' Here the meaning seems to be 'accept as gospel.' At any rate the Master leaves the question undecided.


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