Aŋguttara Nikāya


[Home]  [Sutta Indexes]  [Glossology]  [Site Sub-Sections]


 

Aŋguttara-Nikāya
III. Tika Nipāta
VIII. Ānanda Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
or
More-Numbered Suttas

III. The Book of the Threes
VIII. About Ānanda

Sutta 74

Nigaṇṭha Suttaɱ

The Unclothed

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

Copyright The Pali Text Society
Commercial Rights Reserved
Creative Commons Licence
For details see Terms of Use.

 


[200]

[1] Thus have I heard:

On a certain occasion the venerable Ānanda was staying near Vesālī,
in Great Grove,
at the House with the Peaked Gable.

Then Abhaya[1] and Paṇḍitakumāraka, the Licchavīs,
came to visit the venerable Ānanda.

On coming to him
they saluted him
and sat down at one side.

As they thus sat,
Abhaya the Licchavī said this
to the venerable Ānanda:

"Sir, Nātha's son, the Unclothed,
claims to be all-knowing,
all-seeing,
and to have all-comprising[2] knowledge and vision.

He says,

'Whether I walk
or stand
or sleep
or wake,
my knowledge and vision
are always and without a break
present before me.'

He proclaims the making an end of former deeds
by ascetic practice,
and the breaking down of[3] the power of fresh deeds
by inaction.

Thus by the destruction of deeds
will result the destruction of Ill:
by the destruction of Ill,
the destruction of feeling:
by the destruction of feeling
all Ill will be exhausted.

So by this visible process
one passes beyond (the round of existence).[4]

What, sir, does the Exalted One say about this?"

 

§

 

[201] 2. "Abhaya, these three ways
of cleansing by wearing out
are well proclaimed by that Exalted One
who knows,[5] who sees,
that Arahant who is a Fully Enlightened One,
for the cleansing of beings,
for their crossing beyond sorrow and lamentation,
for the destruction of grief and woe,
for the winning of the Method,
for the realizing of Nibbāna.

What are the three?

Herein, Abhaya, a monk is virtuous,
restrained with the restraint of the obligations;
proficient in following the practice of right conduct
he sees danger in the slightest faults:
he takes up and trains himself
in the rules of morality.

"he makes an end of former action which has affected him" is: Purāṇañ ca kammaɱ phussa phussa vyantīkaroti. And he removes past kamma by way of touch touch. Repeated contact. There is no explanation in the sutta, and the various translations do not explain well. The idea is that by continuously examining the body, sensations, mental states and the Dhamma and dredging up in memory deeds said and done in the past and examining them from the perspective of Dhamma as it is currently understood [the point of satipatthana, and an evolving process] one is in effect experiencing the consequences of one's past deeds. At this point by understanding the deed in terms of ethical conduct, the detachment of jhāna and by seeing the freedom in the destruction of the corrupting influences [āsava] the deed is resolved and swept away.
Understanding this in this way one is able to resolve the paradox presented by the statement made that there is no ending of kamma without experiencing the results thereof, and the case of Arahants apparently being subjected to the consequences of prior bad kamma as in the cases of Devadatta being able to injure the Buddha's toe, Moggliana being murdered, and Angulimala being subjected to assalt.
How?
By ethical conduct, the calm detached serenity of jhāna, and insight into the freedom that results from the destruction of the corrupting influences of lust, hate, and stupidity [āsavas] it is possible to become arahant before the ending of kamma. The Arahant is, by this behavior and insight, subject to no further births after death. That is what distinguishes Arahantship in this life from pari-Nibbāna, and what is meant by the term 'with remainder' when speaking of arahants and non-returners who must experience some delay after death before attaining Nibbāna. Those consequences of former deeds that remain to the Arahant, however far back in time they may have begun, are forced, because their scope is limited to the khandhas, (that is, the individuality,) into presenting themselves within the narrow limit of the life of the Arahant that remains. Thus they are experienced, but in proportion to the relationship of the finite life remaining to the unbounded scope of Nibbāna. A similar thing occurs for the Streamwinner, Once-returner, and Non-returner.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

He performs no fresh action,
he makes an end of former action
which has affected him.[6]

Such is the (first way of) cleansing
by wearing out,[7]
a visible process,
not a matter of time,
but one that invites to come and see,
that leads onwards (to the Goal),
to be understood by the intelligent
each for himself.

Then, Abhaya, that monk, thus possessed of morality, aloof from sensual desires,
aloof from unprofitable states of mind,
enters on the first musing
which is accompanied by thought directed and sustained,
born of seclusion,
zestful and easeful,
and abides therein.

Then, by calming down thought directed and sustained,
he enters 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 abides therein.

Then by the fading out of zest
he becomes balanced
and remains mindful and composed,
and experiences with the body
that happiness of which the Ariyans aver:

'The balanced, thoughtful man lives happily,'

and he enters on the third musing
and abides therein.

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

He performs no fresh action,
he makes an end of former action
which has affected him.

Such is the (second way of) cleansing
by wearing out,
a visible process,
not a matter of time,
but one that invites to come and see,
that leads onwards (to the Goal),
to be understood by the intelligent
each for himself.

Then again, Abhaya, that monk, thus possessed morality,
concentration
and insight,
by the destruction of the āsavas
himself having come to know
thoroughly in this very life
the heart's release
and the release by insight
which is free from the āsavas,
having attained it
abides therein.

He performs no fresh action,
he makes an end of former action
which has affected him.

Such is the (third way of) cleansing
by wearing out,
a visible process,
not a matter of time,
but one that invites to come and see,
that leads onwards (to the Goal),
to be understood by the intelligent
each for himself.

These, Abhaya, are the three ways
of cleansing by wearing out,
well proclaimed by the Exalted One
who knows, who sees,
that Arahant who is a Fully Enlightened One,
for the cleansing of beings,
for their crossing beyond sorrow and lamentation,
for the destruction of grief and woe,
for the winning of the Method,
for the realizing of Nibbāna."

 

§

 

3. At these words Paṇḍitakumāraka the Licchavī said this to Abhaya the Licchavī:

"Well, Abhaya, my good fellow![8]

Do you approve of the venerable Ānanda's good words
as well spoken?"

[202] "Yes, indeed, my dear fellow!

How could I fail to do so?

Why! If anyone did not approve of tbem,
his head would split asunder."[9]

 


[1] Cf. A. ii, 200; at the same place Abhaya accompanies Sāḷha the Licchavī. At M. i, 302 he was sent by his teacher, Nātaputta, to confute the Buddha. At S. v, 126 he propounds the views of Pūraṇa Kassapa, who was ahetu-vādin, a 'no-cause-theorist.'

[2] Cf. A. iv, 428, aparisesaɱ.

[3] Setu-ghātaɱ, lit. 'bridge-destroying.' Cf. Asḷ. 219, setuɱ hanatī ti, setu-ghāro; Buddh. Psych. Eth. 87 n.; A. ii, 159. Comy. padhānaɱ paccaya-ghātaɱ.

[4] Samatikkamo.

[5] Text should read jānāta.

[6] Phussa phussa = phusitvā. Comy.

[7] Text should read nijjarā.

[8] Samma, a term of familiar address to equals and inferiors, but not used to women. For its derivation see Andersen, Glossary, p. 263.

[9] Vipateyya. The usual phrase is vipphaleyya sattadhā.


Contact:
E-mail
Copyright Statement