Aŋguttara Nikāya


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Aŋguttara-Nikāya
III. Tika Nipāta
VII. Mahā Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
or
More-Numbered Suttas

III. The Book of the Threes
VII. The Great Chapter

Sutta 63

Venāgapura Suttaɱ

Venāga

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

Copyright The Pali Text Society
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[162]

[1][bodh] THUS have I heard:

On a certain occasion the Exalted One was journeying about among the Kosalans,
attended by a great company of monks,
and he came to Venāgapura,[1] a brahmin village of the Kosalans.

[163] Now the brahmin housefathers of Venāgapura
heard the news that Gotama the recluse,
son of the Sakyans,
who went forth as a Wanderer from the Sakyan clan,
was come to Venāgapura.

And there went abroad
a fair report about Gotama,
that Exalted One,
thus:

"It is he,
that Arahant
who is a Fully Enlightened One,
perfect in knowledge and practice,
Wellfarer,
world-knower,
unsurpassed charioteer of men to be tamed,
teacher of devas and mankind,
a Buddha,
an Exalted One.

He makes known this world
together with the world of devas,
Maras
and Brahmas,
together with the host of recluses and brahmins,
both of devas and mankind,
having himself come to know it thoroughly for himself.

He teaches Dhamma
that is lovely in the beginning,
lovely in the middle,
lovely in the ending,
both in letter and spirit;
in all its fullness
he preaches the holy life
that is utterly pure.

Well indeed for us
if we could get the sight
of arahants such as these."

2. Then the brahmin housefathers of Venāgapura
came to see the Exalted One.

On coming to him
some saluted the Exalted One
and sat down at one side.

Some greeted the Exalted One,
and after the exchange of greetings and courtesies
sat down at one side.

Some raising their joined palms to their foreheads
in respect to the Exalted One.

Some proclaimed their name and clan
and sat down at one side.

While others,
without saying anything,[2]
just sat down at one side.

Then as he thus sat
Vacchagotta[3] the brahmin of Venāgapura,
said this to the Exalted One:

3. "It is wonderful, master Gotama!

It is marvellous, master Gotama,
how serene is the worthy Gotama's air,
how clear and translucent[4] his complexion!

Just as the yellow [164] jujube fruit[5] in autumn
is clear and translucent,
even so is the worthy Gotama's complexion.

Even as a palm-tree fruit
just loosed from the stalk
is clear and translucent,
even so is the worthy Gotama's complexion.

Just as a trinket of red gold,
wrought in a crucible by a clever goldsmith,[6]
deftly beaten
and laid on a yellow cloth,
shines and blazes and glitters,
even so the worthy Gotama's senses are calmed,
his complexion is clear and translucent.

Now, master Gotama,
as to those couches,
both high and broad,
such as the sofa,[7]
the divan,
together with their coverlets of goat's hair,
of divers colours,
whiter coverlets,
coverlets of wool besprent with flowers,
quilts of cotton-wool,
embroidered counterpanes
and rugs furred on both sides,
rugs furred on one side,
coverlets gem-studded
and of silk,
(and other luxurious appointments such as)
dancer's carpets,
rugs for elephants,
horse
and chariot,
rugs of antelope skins,
floor-spreads of the hide of the kadali deer,
couches with awnings
and a red bolster at each end -
all such seats,
both high and low,
doubt-less[8] the worthy Gotama can get as he pleases,
can get them without toil and trouble."

4. "Brahmin, as to those couches,
both high and broad,
such as the sofa,
the divan,
together with their coverlets of goat's hair,
of divers colours,
whiter coverlets,
coverlets of wool besprent with flowers,
quilts of cotton-wool,
embroidered counterpanes
and rugs furred on both sides,
rugs furred on one side,
coverlets gem-studded
and of silk,
(and other luxurious appointments such as)
dancer's carpets,
rugs for elephants,
horse
and chariot,
rugs of antelope skins,
floor-spreads of the hide of the kadali deer,
couches with awnings
and a red bolster at each end -
all such seats,
both high and low,
indeed we Wanderers get them hardly,
and if gotten
they are not to be made use of.

 

§

 

Now, brahmin, there are these three couches,
both high and broad,
which I can get both here and now[9] as I please,
without toil and trouble.

What are the three?

[165] They are the high, broad couch celestial,[10]
high, broad couch sublime,
and the high, broad couch of the Ariyans.

These are the three couches
I get here and now as I please,
without toil and trouble."

5. "Pray, master Gotama,
of what sort is that high, broad couch celestial
which the worthy Gotama gets here and now as he pleases
without toil and trouble?"

"In this case, brahmin,
when I am living dependent
on a certain village or suburb,
I get myself robed in the forenoon,
and taking bowl and outer robe
I enter that village or suburb to beg.

When I return from my alms-round
and have eaten my meal,
I make for the edge of a forest.[11]

There I gather together
whatever grasses or leaves there are
into one place
and sit down cross-legged,
holding my body straight
and setting mindfulness in front of me.[12]

Thus aloof from sense-desires,
aloof from unprofitable states of mind,
I enter on the first musing
which is accompanied by thought directed and sustained,
born of seclusion,
zestful and easeful,
and abide therein.

Then, by calming down thought directed and sustained,
I enter on that inward calm,
that single-minded purpose,
apart from thought directed and sustained,
born of mental balance,
zestful and easeful,
which is the second musing,
and abide therein.

Then by the fading out of zest
I become balanced
and remain mindful and composed,
and experience with the body
that happiness of which the Ariyans aver:

'The balanced, thoughtful man lives happily,'

and I enter on the third musing
and abide therein.

Then, by rejecting pleasure and pain alike,
by the coming to an end
of the joy and sorrow which I had before,
I enter and abide in the fourth musing,
free of pain and free of pleasure,
a state of perfect purity
of balance and equanimity.

[166] Now, brahmin, when I have reached such a state,
if I walk up and down,
at such time my walking is to me celestial.

If I stand,
at such time my standing is celestial.

If I sit,
my sitting is to me celestial.

If I lie down,
celestial is 'the high, broad couch' I lie on.

That, brahmin, is what I mean
when I speak of the 'high, broad couch celestial'
which I get as I please
without toil and trouble."

"Wonderful, master Gotama!

Marvellous, master Gotama!

Who but the worthy Gotama
could get a high, broad couch celestial
such as he pleases
without toil and trouble?

6. But, master Gotama,
what is that high, broad couch sublime
which the worthy Gotama gets
here and now as he pleases
without toil and trouble?"

"Herein, brahmin, when I am living
dependent on a certain village or suburb,
I get myself robed in the forenoon,
and taking bowl and outer robe
I enter that village or suburb to beg.

When I return from my alms-round
and have eaten my meal,
I make for the edge of a forest.

There I gather together
whatever grasses or leaves there are
into one place
and sit down cross-legged,
holding my body straight
and setting mindfulness in front of me,
I abide suffusing one quarter (of the world)
with a heart possessed of friendliness:
likewise the second,
third
and fourth quarters:
and in like manner above,
below,
across,
everywhere,
for all sorts and conditions, -
the whole world
do I abide suffusing
with a heart possessed of friendliness
that is widespread,
grown great
and boundless,
free from enmity
and untroubled.

And I do likewise abide
suffusing one quarter (of the world)
with a heart possessed of compassion:
likewise the second,
third
and fourth quarters:
and in like manner above,
below,
across,
everywhere,
for all sorts and conditions, -
the whole world
do I abide suffusing
with a heart possessed of compassion
that is widespread,
grown great
and boundless,
free from enmity
and untroubled.

And I do likewise abide
suffusing one quarter (of the world)
with a heart possessed of sympathy:
likewise the second,
third
and fourth quarters:
and in like manner above,
below,
across,
everywhere,
for all sorts and conditions, -
the whole world
do I abide suffusing
with a heart possessed of sympathy
that is widespread,
grown great
and boundless,
free from enmity
and untroubled.

And I do likewise abide
suffusing one quarter (of the world)
with a heart possessed of equanimity:
likewise the second,
third
and fourth quarters:
and in like manner above,
below,
across,
everywhere,
for all sorts and conditions, -
the whole world
do I abide suffusing
with a heart possessed of equanimity
that is widespread,
grown great
and boundless,
free from enmity
and untroubled.[13]

Now, brahmin,
when I have reached such a condition,[14],
if I walk up and down,
at such time my walking is to me sublime.

If I stand,
at such time my standing is sublime.

If I sit,
my sitting is to me sublime.

If I lie down,
sublime is "the high, broad couch" I lie on.

That, brahmin, is what I mean
when I speak of the "high, broad couch sublime"
which I get as I please
without toil and trouble."

"Wonderful, master Gotama!

Marvellous, master Gotama!

Who but the worthy Gotama
could get a high, broad couch sublime
such as he pleases
without toil and trouble?

[167] But pray, master Gotama,
what is that Ariyan[15] high, broad couch
which the worthy Gotama gets
here and now as he pleases
without toil and trouble?"

"Herein, brahmin,
when I am living dependent
on a certain village or suburb,
I get myself robed in the forenoon,
and taking bowl and outer robe
I enter that village or suburb to beg.

When I return from my alms-round
and have eaten my meal,
I make for the edge of a forest.

There I gather together
whatever grasses or leaves there are
into one place
and sit down cross-legged,
holding my body straight
and setting mindfulness in front of me,
I know thus for certain:

'Passion is abandoned by me.

It is cut off at the root,
made like a palm-tree stump,
made such as not to grow again,
unable to sprout again in future time.

Malice is abandoned by me.

It is cut off at the root,
made like a palm-tree stump,
made such as not to grow again,
unable to sprout again in future time.

Delusion is abandoned by me.

It is cut off at the root,
made like a palm-tree stump,
made such as not to grow again,
unable to sprout again in future time.

Now, brahmin,
when I have reached such a condition,
if I walk up and down,
at such time my walking is to me Ariyan.

If I stand,
at such time my standing is Ariyan.

If I sit,
my sitting is to me Ariyan.

If I lie down,
Ariyan is 'the high, broad couch' I lie on.

That, brahmin,
is the Ariyan couch, broad and high,
which I get as I please
without toil and trouble."

"Wonderful, master Gotama!

Marvellous, master Gotama!

Who but the worthy Gotama
could get this Ariyan high, broad couch
such as he pleases
without toil and trouble?

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] I have not met this name elsewhere.

[2] Comy. calls them 'hypocrites and blind fools.'

[3] This may be the Wanderer of supra, text 161; M. i, 481 ff.; S. iii, 257 ff.; iv, 391.

[4] A stock phrase of compliment on meeting one who seems elated. Cf. K.S. i, 186; iii, 186; v, 267. Indriyāni would seem to mean here 'the personality' as radiant (vippasaññāni). Cf. supra, text 130.

[5] Badara-paṇḍuɱ (text has bhadara-).

[6] Text omits ukka-mukhe (of Comy.), but has it at p. 257 of text. Cf. S. i, 65, where also it is omitted.

[7] Āeandī, pallanko, goṇako, etc. All these seats except the last item are detailed at D. i, 7. Cf. Dialog. i, 11, notes. Our Comy. follows DA. i, 86. These luxurious pieces of furniture are eschewed by the layman who takes the moderately ascetic eight precepts and by the ordained monk who takes the ten precepts. It is not clear to what purpose the brahmin introduces this list of furniture, unless it be to lead up to the comparison of earthly and heavenly 'seats.' See next note.

[8] Comy. has maññe, (not in text) and explains that the brahmin ascribes the Master's radiant appearsnoe to this luxurious chamber-furniture.

[9] Etarahi.

[10] Dibbaɱ (= divyaɱ), of devas.

[11] Van'antaɱ. Text reads vanaɱ taɱ.

Pārimukhaɱ translates as 'around the face' or 'around the mouth' or 'around or in the vacinity of the front.' For the initiation of concentration in samādhi practice, it should be heard as 'around the mouth'. The Buddhist practice is not the same as the practice that came before.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

[12] Pārimukhaɱ refers to the usual practice of concentrating between the eyebrows during meditation practice.

[13] For these 'sublime moods' cf. K.S. iv, 204 n., and Mrs. Rhys Davids's Gotama the Man, p. 180 ff. 'It was a way of making a fellow-man grow in worth otherwise than by word and example.'

[14] Evaɱbhūto.

[15] See Pali Dict. s.v. To the later Buddhist world (when the texts were compiled) the word had lost its significance and simply meant 'best.'


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