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 64

Sarabha Suttaɱ

Sarabha

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

Copyright The Pali Text Society
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[185] [167]

[1][bodh] THUS have I heard:

On a certain occasion the Exalted One was staying near Rājagaha
on the hill Vulture's Peak.[1]

Now at that time Sarabha[2] so called,
the Wanderer,
who had not long since deserted this Dhamma-Discipline,
was thus speaking in the company[3] at Rājagaha:

[168] "I understand the 'Dhamma'
of the recluses who are Sakyans' sons.

It is because I understand it
that I have deserted that Dhamma-Discipline."

 

§

 

2. Then a number of monks,
having robed themselves,
taking bowl and outer robe,
entered Rājagaha to beg.

And those monks heard Sarabha the Wanderer
so speaking
in the company at Rājagaha.

So when they had done their begging-rounds
and had returned and eaten their meal,
they went to the Exalted One,
and on coming to him
saluted him
and sat down at one side.

So seated
they said this to the Exalted One:

"Lord, Sarabha the Wanderer
has not long since deserted this Dhamma-Discipline.

At Rājagaha he is thus speaking in the company:

'I understand the "Dhamma"
of the recluses who are Sakyans' sons.

It is because I understand it
that I have deserted that Dhamma-Discipline.'

Lord, it would be well
if the Exalted One were to go to Snake River bank,[4]
to the Wanderers' Park
where is Sarabha the Wanderer,
out of compassion for him."

The Exalted One consented by silence.

3. So the Exalted One,
rising up from his solitary meditation at eventide,
went to Snake River bank,
to visit Sarabha the Wanderer
in the Wanderers' Park.

On reaching this
he sat down on a seat made ready.

Having done so
the Exalted One said this
to Sarabha the Wanderer:

"Is it true, as I hear, Sarabha,
that you say:

'I understand the "Dhamma"
of the recluses who are Sakyans' sons.

It is because I understand it
that I have deserted that Dhamma-Discipline?'"

At these words Sarabha the Wanderer was silent.

Then a second time
the Exalted One spoke to Sarabha the Wanderer, saying:

"Speak, Sarabha!

How is it that you have understood
the 'Dhamma' of the recluses who are Sakyans' sons?

If your knowledge is incomplete
I will complete it for you.

If it is complete
I shall receive it gladly."

[169] And a second time Sarabha the Wanderer was silent.

Then for the third time
the Exalted One spoke to Sarabha the Wanderer, saying:

"Sarabha, it is by me
that the 'Dhamma' of the Sakyans' sons
who are recluses
has been revealed.

Speak, Sarabha!

How is it that you have understood
the 'Dhamma' of the recluses who are Sakyans' sons?

If your knowledge is incomplete
I will complete it for you.

If it is complete
I shall receive it gladly."

And a third time Sarabha the Wanderer was silent.

4. Thereupon the Wanderers of Rājagaha
said this to Sarabha the Wanderer:

"Friend, whatever you may have to ask Gotama the recluse,
he gives you the opportunity to do so.

Speak, reverend Sarabha!

If your knowledge is incomplete,
Gotama the recluse will complete it for you.

If it is complete,
he will receive it gladly."

At these words Sarabha the Wanderer remained silent,
confused,
hanging his head,
looking downwards,
a disappointed man,
unable to make reply.[5]

5. So the Exalted One,
seeing him in this condition,
said to those Wanderers:

"Wanderers,[6] if any one should say to me:

'You have not perfect knowledge of these things,
though you claim to be fully enlightened,'

I should closely examine him,
question him
and talk with him.[7]

He, thus closely examined,
questioned
and talked with,
would surely and inevitably
be reduced to one of these three conditions: -

Either he would shelve the question by another,[8]
and direct the talk to an alien subject;

or he would display anger,
malignity
and sulkiness;

or he would sit silent,
confused,
hanging his head,
looking downwards,
a disappointed man,
unable to make reply,
just as now does Sarabha the Wanderer.

[170] Wanderers, if any one were to say to me:

'The "Dhamma" preached by you
for the purpose of utterly destroying Ill
does not lead those who act accordingly
to such a goal,'

I should closely examine him,
question him
and talk with him.

He, thus closely examined,
questioned
and talked with,
would surely and inevitably
be reduced to one of these three conditions: -

Either he would shelve the question by another,
and direct the talk to an alien subject;

or he would display anger,
malignity
and sulkiness;

or he would sit silent,
confused,
hanging his head,
looking downwards,
a disappointed man,
unable to make reply,
just as now does Sarabha the Wanderer.

Then the Exalted One, having thrice[ed1] uttered his lion's roar
in the Wanderers' Park
on the bank of Snake River,
departed through the air.[9]

6. Now not long after the departure of the Exalted One
those Wanderers assailed Sarabha the Wanderer on all sides
with a torrent of abuse,
and poking fun at him said:

"Friend Sarabha, even as a decrepit jackal
in the great forest,
thinking to utter a lion's roar,
can only let out just a jackal's scream,
so you, friend Sarabha,
thinking to utter the lion's roar
which none but Gotama the recluse can utter, -
you give just such a jackal's scream.

Friend Sarabha, just as a poor little hen[10]
thinks to crow like a cock,
and after all lets out just a poor little hen's cackle,
so you, friend Sarabha,
thinking to utter the cock-crow
that none but Gotama the recluse can utter,
let out just a poor little hen's cackle.

Friend Sarabha, just as a young bull-calf,
when the cow-pen is empty,[11]
thinks he bellows deeply (like an old bull),
so you, friend Sarabha,
think to utter the deep bellow
that none but Gotama the recluse can utter."

Thus did those Wanderers assail Sarabha the Wanderer
with a torrent of abuse,
poking fun at him.

 


Vulture Head Rock
Vulture Head Rock.

[1] Comy. 'Its peaks were like vultures, or vultures resorted there.'

[2] Probably the name of his gotta. I have not found it elsewhere. Sarabha is a sort of deer.

[3] Parisatiɱ may refer to the populace or the company of fellow-wanderers.

[4] Called at S. i, 153 'she-snake' (Sappinī). Cf. A. ii, 29, 176; Vin. Texts, i, 254 n. 2.

[5] Cf. S. i, 124; K.S. i, 155 n.

[6] Reading with Sinh. and Comy. paribbājakā. (voc. plur.) for text's paribbājako.

[7] Cf. supra, text 138.

[8] Cf. Dialog. i. 116 n.; M. i, 250: Aññena aññaɱ paṭicarati (to deal with one point by raising another). Comy. explains by paṭicchādessati, camouflage.'

[9] 'Along with his retinue of monks,' adds Comy. In a similar passage at Dialog. i, 255 he rose from his seat and departed thence. Then followed the torrent of abuse, as here, for which see S. ii, 282. Our Comy. explains as there; cf. Pali Dict. s.v. aañjambhari.

[10] Ambaka-maddarī, acc. to Comy. khuddaka-kukkuṭikā. Probably there is no connexion with amba (mango) as in Pali Dict..

[11] Comy. takes it to mean that the older bulls are absent: but it may mean that his bellow reverberates better in an empty place.

 


[ed1] It is not clear what constitutes the three, but likely the statement: "It is by me that the 'Dhamma' of the Sakyans' sons who are recuses has been reveled" is being counted as the first.


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