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 60

Saŋgārava Suttaɱ

Saŋgārava

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

Copyright The Pali Text Society
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[168] [151]

[1][than][bodh] Thus have I heard:

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

Now Saŋgārava,[1] the brahmin, 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:

2. "Master Gotama, we brahmins,
let me tell you,
offer sacrifice
and cause others to do so.

Therefore, master Gotama
whoso offers sacrifice
or causes others to do so,
one and all are proficient
in a practice of merit
that affects many persons;[2]
that is,
which results from offering sacrifice.

Now, master Gotama,
he who goes forth
as a Wanderer from this or that family,
from the home to the homeless life,
tames only the single self,
calms only the single self,
leads to Nibbāna[3]
only the single self.

So what I say is,
thus he is proficient in a practice of merit
that affects only one person,
as a result of his going forth (as a Wanderer)."

3. "Well, brahmin, as to that I will question you.

Do you answer as you think fit.

Now what think you, brahmin?

In this connexion
a Tathāgata arises in the world,
an Arahant who is a Fully Enlightened One,
perfect in knowledge and practice,
Wellfarer,
World-knower,
incomparable Charioteer of men to be tamed,
Teacher of devas and mankind,
a Buddha,
an Exalted One.

He says thus:

'Come! this is the way,
this the practice,
proficient in which
I make known that incomparable [152] bliss
wbich is steeped in the holy life,[4]
by my own powers of comprehension realizing it.

Come ye also!

Practise so that ye too
may be proficient therein,
so that ye too
by your own powers of comprehension
may realize it
and abide therein.'

Thus this teacher teaches Dhamma
and others too practise to attain that end.[5]

Moreover there are many hundreds,
many thousands,
many hundreds of thousands of such.

Now what think you, brahmin?

Since this is so,
is it a practice of merit
affecting only one person
or many persons;
that is,
the result of going forth as a Wanderer?"

"No, master Gotama.

It affects many persons,
this going forth."

3. At these words
the venerable Ānanda said this
to the brahmin Saŋgārava:

"Of these two practices, brahmin,
which appeals to you as being the simpler,[6]
the less troublesome,
of greater fruit,
profit?"

At these words
the brahmin Saŋgārava said this
to the venerable Ānanda:

"Just like the worthy Gotama
and the worthy Ānanda,
both are to me
worthy of honour and praise."

Then a second time
the venerable Ānanda said
to the brahmin Saŋgārava:

"I do not ask you that, brahmin,
as to whom you honour and praise.

This is what I am asking you:

'Which of the two practices appeals to you
as being the simpler
and less troublesome,
of greater fruit
of greater profit?'"

Again the brahmin Saŋgārava said this
to the venerable Ānanda:

"Just like the worthy Gotama
and the worthy Ānanda,
both are to me
worthy of honour and praise."

Then a third time
the venerable Ānanda said
to the brahmin Saŋgārava:

"I do not ask you that, brahmin,
as to whom you honour and praise.

This is what I am asking you:

'Which of the two practices appeals to you
as being the simpler
and less troublesome,
of greater fruit
of greater profit'"?

Again the brahmin Saŋgārava said this
to the venerable Ānanda:

"Just like the worthy Gotama
and the worthy Ānanda,
both are to me
worthy of honour and praise."

[153] 3. Thereupon the Exalted One thought:

"Even for a third time the brahmin,
on being asked a pertinent[7] question by Ānanda,
evades[8] it,
does not reply to it.

Suppose I release them
from their difficulty."

So the Exalted One said this
to the brahmin Saŋgārava:

"Tell me, brahmin.

What was the topic of conversation today
when the royal party sat together in company
in the rajah's palace?"

"This was the topic of conversation, master Gotama: -

'In former times, you know,
monks were fewer in number:
but those possessed of supernormal powers
being more numerous,
they showed the marvel of more-power.[9]

But now it is just the opposite.'

That was the topic of conversation today, master Gotama,
when the royal party sat together in company
in the rajah's palace."

4. "Now as to that, brahmin,
there are these three marvels.

What three?

The marvel of more-power,
the marvel of thought-reading,
the marvel of teaching.

And what, brahmin, is the marvel of more-power?[10]

In this case a certain one enjoys sorts of more-power[11] in divers ways.

From being one he becomes many,
from being many he becomes one:
manifest or invisible
he goes unhindered through a wall,
through a rampart,
through a mountain,
as if through the air:
he plunges into the earth
and shoots up again
as if in water:
he walks upon the water
without parting it
as if on solid ground:
he travels through the air
sitting cross-legged,
like a bird upon the wing:
even this moon and sun,
though of such mighty power and majesty, -
he handles them
and strokes them with his hand:
even as far as the Brahma [154] world
he has power with his body.[12]

This, brahmin, is called
'the marvel of more-power.'

5. And what, brahmin,
is the marvel of thought-reading?[13]

In this case[14] a certain one
can declare by means of a sign:

'Thus is your mind.

Such and such is your mind.

Thus is your consciousness.'[15]

And however much he may tell,
so it is
and not otherwise.

And again, brahmin,
perhaps a certain one
does not declare such things by means of a sign,
but he does so after hearing a voice from men
or non-humans
or from devas,[16]
and says:

'Thus is your mind.

Such and such is your mind.

Thus is your consciousness.'

And however much he may tell,
so it is
and not otherwise.

Here again, brahmin,
perhaps a certain one
does not declare these things by means of a sign,
or on hearing a voice from men
or non-humans
or from devas,
but he does so (judging) from some sound he has heard,
an utterance intelligently made
by one who is reasoning intelligently.[17]

So hearing he declares:

'Thus is your mind.

Such and such is your mind.

Thus is your consciousness.'

And however much he may tell,
so it is
and not otherwise.

[155] Then again, brahmin,
in this case suppose a certain one
does not declare these things by means of a sign,
or on hearing a voice from men
or non-humans
or from devas,
or by (judging) from some sound he has heard,
an utterance intelligently made
by one who is reasoning intelligently
yet maybe,
when he has attained a state of concentration
which is void of thought applied and sustained,
one's mind can read another's thoughts[18]
and know thus:

'According to the nature
of the thinkings of this worthy,
on such and such objects[19]
will he immediately[20] direct his thoughts.'

Then however much he may tell,
so it is
and not otherwise.

This, brahmin, is called
'the marvel of mind-reading.'

6. And what, brahmin,
is the marvel of teaching?

In this case a certain one teaches thus:

'Reason thus,
not thus.

Apply your mind thus,
not thus.

Abandon this state,
acquire that state
and abide therein.'

This, brahmin, is called
'the marvel of teaching.'

So these are the three marvels.

Now of these three marvels,
which appeals to you
as the more wonderful and excellent"?

"Of these marvels, master Gotama,
the marvel of more-power —

from being one he becomes many,
from being many he becomes one:
manifest or invisible
he goes unhindered through a wall,
through a rampart,
through a mountain,
as if through the air:
he plunges into the earth
and shoots up again
as if in water:
he walks upon the water
without parting it
as if on solid ground:
he travels through the air
sitting cross-legged,
like a bird upon the wing:
even this moon and sun,
though of such mighty power and majesty, -
he handles them
and strokes them with his hand:
even as far as the Brahma world
he has power with his body —

he who performs it has the experience thereof;
it is a possession of him who performs it —

seems to me to be of the nature of an illusion.[21]

Then again as to the marvel of thought-reading —

That a certain one
can declare by means of a sign:

'Thus is your mind.

Such and such is your mind.

Thus is your consciousness.'

And however much he may tell,
so it is
and not otherwise.

And again, though he does not declare such things by means of a sign,
but he does so after hearing a voice from men
or non-humans
or from devas,
and says:

'Thus is your mind.

Such and such is your mind.

Thus is your consciousness.'

And however much he may tell,
so it is
and not otherwise.

And again, though he does not declare these things by means of a sign,
or on hearing a voice from men
or non-humans
or from devas,
but he does so (judging) from some sound he has heard,
an utterance intelligently made
by one who is reasoning intelligently.

So hearing he declares:

'Thus is your mind.

Such and such is your mind.

Thus is your consciousness.'

And however much he may tell,
so it is
and not otherwise.

And again, though he does not declare these things by means of a sign,
or on hearing a voice from men
or non-humans
or from devas,
or by (judging) from some sound he has heard,
an utterance intelligently made
by one who is reasoning intelligently
yet maybe,
when he has attained a state of concentration
which is void of thought applied and sustained,
one's mind can read another's thoughts
and know thus:

'According to the nature
of the thinkings of this worthy,
on such and such objects
will he immediately direct his thoughts.'

Then however much he may tell,
so it is
and not otherwise —

he who performs it has the experience thereof;
it is a possession of him who performs it —

also seems to me to be of the nature of an illusion.

But as to the marvel of teaching
wherein a certain one teaches thus:

'Reason thus,
not thus.

Apply your mind thus,
not thus.

Abandon this state,
acquire that state
and abide therein.' —

of these three marvels
this one appeals to me
as the more wonderful and excellent.

It is strange, master Gotama!

It is wonderful
how well the worthy Gotama
has spoken of this thing!

We do hold the worthy Gotama
to possess all three marvels.

Surely the worthy Gotama
enjoys sorts of more-power in divers ways, thus:

From being one he becomes many,
from being many he becomes one:
manifest or invisible
he goes unhindered through a wall,
through a rampart,
through a mountain,
as if through the air:
he plunges into the earth
and shoots up again
as if in water:
he walks upon the water
without parting it
as if on solid ground:
he travels through the air
sitting cross-legged,
like a bird upon the wing:
even this moon and sun,
though of such mighty power and majesty, -
he handles them
and strokes them with his hand:
even as far as [156] the Brahma world
he has power with his body.

Surely the worthy Gotama's mind
can read another's thoughts
when he has attained a state of concentration
void of thought applied and sustained,
so as to know:

According to the nature
of the thinkings of this worthy,
on such and such objects
will he immediately direct his thoughts.

Again, surely the worthy Gotama
teaches thus:

'Reason thus,
not thus.

Apply your mind thus,
not thus.

Abandon this state,
acquire that state
and abide therein.'" —

"Indeed, brahmin,
your words come close
and challenge me to a statement![22]

Nevertheless I will satisfy you
by replying.

I do indeed enjoys sorts of more-power in divers ways, thus:

From being one I become many,
from being many I become one:
manifest or invisible
I go unhindered through a wall,
through a rampart,
through a mountain,
as if through the air:
I plunge into the earth
and shoot up again
as if in water:
I walk upon the water
without parting it
as if on solid ground:
I travel through the air
sitting cross-legged,
like a bird upon the wing:
even this moon and sun,
though of such mighty power and majesty, -
I handle them
and strokes them with my hand:
even as far as the Brahma world
I have power with my body.

Then again, brahmin,
when I have attained a state of concentration
which is void of thought applied and sustained,
my mind can read another's thoughts
and know thus:

'According to the nature
of the thinkings of this worthy,
on such and such objects
will he immediately direct his thoughts.'

Then however much I may tell,
so it is
and not otherwise.

And again, brahmin,
I teach thus:

'Reason thus,
not thus.

Apply your mind thus,
not thus.

Abandon this state,
acquire that state
and abide therein.'

I do so instruct."

"But, master Gotama,
is there any other single monk
possessed of these three marvellous powers
besides the worthy Gotama?"

"Yes, indeed, brahmin.

The monks possessed of these three marvellous powers
are not just one or two
or three, four, or five hundced,
but much more than that in number."

"Pray, master Gotama,
where are those monks now dwelling?"

"In this very Order of Monks, brahmin."

"Excellent, master Gotama!

Excellent it is, 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] Comy. Jiṇṇā-paṭisankāraṇa-kārako āyuttaka-brāhmaṇo (overseer in charge of the repair of dilapidated buildings). At S. i, 182 he is described as a bath-ritualist; at v, 121 as interested in mantras. At M. ii, 209 he is a young brahmin living at Caṇḍalakappa, a tevijja, proud and exclusive; but after a talk with the Master he was converted. Cf. A. iii, 230.

[2] Aneka-sarīrikaɱ.

[3] Parinibbāpeti (quenches his passions utterly). Cf. D. iii, 61 = A. iii, 46. On the 'single' idiom cf. text ii, 68; iv, 45.

[4] Brahmacariy'ogadhaɱ (at S. v, 344 with sukḥkaɱ) = uttama-patiṭṭha-bhūtaɱ Nibbānaɱ. Comy.

[5] Tctthattāta. Cf. K.S. iv, 202 n.; M. i, 465 (also a term for Nibbāna).

[6] Appa-ṭṭha-tara, lit. 'based on less.' The four phrases occur at D. i, 143 = Dialog. i, 181, in a similar question about sacrifice. Comy. 'requiring less attention or service.'

[7] Sahadhammikaɱ.

[8] Cf. A. iv, 398 (saɱsādeti pañhaɱ). Comy. 'lets it drop.'

[9] E.g., 'monks on their begging-rounds flew through the air.' Comy.

[10] Iddhi-, ādesanā- anusāsanī-pāṭihāriya. Cf. Vin. ii, 200; D. i, 212; Dialog. i, 27 ffɱ; infra, text 292; A. v, 327.

[11] In its sense of 'abnormal, supernormal, increased.'

[12] Text and D. i, 212 kāyena va saɱvatteti; S. v, 265 vasaɱ pavatteti. Cf. K.S. v, 256, etc. (which I read here).

[13] Lit. 'declaring (another's mind).'

[14] A little different at D. 1, 212 (citiam pi ādisati, cetasikam pi ... vitakkitam pi ... vicāritam pi).

[15] Mind (mano), citta (consciousness). Cf. Buddh. Psych. 18; Dialog. iii, 99.

[16] Cf. supra, text 87, § viii, parato ghosaɱ (clairaudience).

[17] Cf. Kath. Vat. 414 (Pts. of Contr. 240) 'an irradiation of initial application of mind'; Expos. i, 152. This phrase vitakka-vipphāra-saddaɱ (vibration) sutvā does not occur at D. i, 213, where Dialog. trans. 'hearing a rational sound made intelligently and deliberately.' Vitakka-vicāra means 'when the mind is arrested by an object of thought it starts a chain of reasoning about it.' Expos. loc. cit. compares the former to the flapping of a bird's wings when rising: the latter to its sustained flight with poised wings. Comy. takes it as a sound overheard from someone chattering or half asleep; but the story by which he illustrates would give the meaning of 'a chance remark overheard.' Thus the skill implied would be that of 'putting two and two together.'

[18] Cf. D. iii, 104.

[19] Our text omits tathā of D. here.

[20] Text antarā, but D. and our Comy. anantarā, 'without interval.'

[21] Māyā (text has mayā in both places) sahadhamma-rūpaɱ. Comy. 'such as apparently turning water into oil or vice versâ, etc.,' and refers to the Jewel Charm (Dialog. i, 278).

[22] Āsajja upanīya-vācā bhāsitā. Comy. mama guṇe ghaṭṭetvā, mama guṇānaɱ sanlikaɱ upanītā vācā bhāsitā (lit. knocking up against, thrusting up against my virtues). Cf. the same phrase in a similar passage at A. ii, 37 (where Comy. is silent). I am not sure whether āsajja here means 'coming up to, assailing,' or has its adverbial meaning of 'energetically sticking to.' At M. i, 250; D. i, 107, it is used in an offensive sense, not suitable here.


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