Aŋguttara Nikāya


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Aŋguttara-Nikāya
III. Tika Nipāta
VI. Brāhmaṇa Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
or
More-Numbered Suttas

III. The Book of the Threes
VI. The Brāhmins

Sutta 56

Paloka Suttaɱ

The Rich Man

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

Copyright The Pali Text Society
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[159] [141]

[1][bodh] Thus have I heard:

On a certain occasion the Exalted One was staying near Sāvatthī.

Now a certain brahmin of great wealth came to see the Exalted One.

On coming to him he greeted him courteously
and sat down at one side.

As he sat at one side
that brahmin said this to the Exalted One:

[142] "Master Gotama, I have beard the saying
of brahmins of olden days,
men aged,
far gone in years,
themselves the teachers of teachers,
that once upon a time
this world was in truth so crowded with people, -
one might think it to be the Waveless Deep,[1] -
that villages,
suburbs
and royal cities
were close enough for a cock to walk from one to another.[2]

Pray, master Gotama,
what is the reason,
what is the cause
of the apparent loss and decrease
of human beings?

How is it that villages are no longer villages,
suburbs no longer suburbs,
towns no longer towns,
and districts are depopulated?"

"Just now, brahmin,
people are ablaze with unlawful lusts,
overwhelmed by depraved longings,
obsessed by wrong doctrines.

Thus ablaze,
overwhelmed
and obsessed
they seize sharp knives
and take each other's lives.

Thus many men come by their end.

That, brahmin, is the reason,
that is the cause
of the apparent loss and decrease
of human beings.

That is why villages are no longer villages,
suburbs no longer suburbs,
towns no longer towns,
and districts are depopulated.

Again, brahmin,
since folk are ablaze with unlawful lusts,
overwhelmed by depraved longings,
obsessed by wrong doctrines,
on such as these
the sky rains not down steadily.[3]

It is hard to get a meal.

The crops are bad,[4]
afflicted with mildew[5]
and grown to mere stubs.[6]

Accordingly many come [143] by their end.

That, brahmin, is the reason,
that is the cause
of the apparent loss and decrease
of human beings.

That is why villages are no longer villages,
suburbs no longer suburbs,
towns no longer towns,
and districts are depopulated.

Again, brahmin, since folk are ablaze with unlawful lusts,
overwhelmed by depraved longings,
obsessed by wrong doctrines,
on such miscreants
the Yakkhas loose non-human monsters.[7]

Thereby many come by their end.

This, brahmin, is the reason,
this is the cause
of the apparent loss and decrease
of human beings.

That is why villages are no longer villages,
suburbs no longer suburbs,
towns no longer towns,
and districts are depopulated."

"Excellent, master Gotama!
Excellent, master Gotama!

Even as one raises what is overthrown,
or shows forth what is hidden,
or points out the way to him that wanders astray,
or holds up a light in the darkness,
that they who have eyes ay see objects, —
even so in divers ways
hath the Norm been set forth by the worthy Gotama.

I myself, master Gotama,
do go for refuge to the worthy Gotama,
to Dhamma
and to the Order of monks.

May the worthy Gotama
accept me as a lay-follower
from this day forth
so long as life shall last,
as one who has taken refuge in him."

 


[1] Ayaɱ loko Avīci maññe phuṭo. Cf. Dialog. iii, 72, 73 nn. (the sphere of incredible solidity).

[2] Kukkuta-sampātikā. 'A cock could walk along the top of the thatched roofs from one house to another.' Comy., which also reads sampādika (not 'like a flock of poultry,' as Pāli Dict.). Dialog. iii, 72 n. trans. 'cock-flightish.'

[3] Cf. supra, text 135; Vin. i, 238; K.S. iv, 228 n.

[4] For dussassaɱ here S. iv has dvīhitikā.

[5] Setaṭṭhikaɱ. Comy. has setaṭṭikaɱ and explains thus: 'When the crops come up, insects fall on them. Owing to their number the heads of the crop are white in colour and barren.' But Comy. at S. iv, reading setaṭṭhikā, explains as 'strewn with dead men's bones.' I think the explanation of mildew is preferable considering the context, and would alter my trans. at K.S. iv, 228 accordingly.

[6] Salāka-vuttaɱ, as at K.S. iv, 228 (where see note). Here Comy. explains: 'When the harvest is reaped, a mere stump is the result. It gives no fruit.' Not 'food is given by ticket (salāka),' as Andersen (Words in S., J.P.T.S. 1909).

[7] Yakkhā vā (?), v.l. vāḷe; cf. A. iii, 102 (vāḷā amarmssā). So also Comy.: 'The yakkha-lords let loose fierce yakkhas upon them.'


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