Aŋguttara Nikāya


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Aŋguttara Nikāya
VIII. Aṭṭhaka Nipāta
VII. Bhūmi-Cāla Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
VIII. The Book of the Eights
Chapter VII: On Earthquakes

Sutta 70

Earthquakes

Translated from the Pali by E.M. Hare.

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[205]

[1] Thus have I heard:

[1]Once the Exalted One dwelt near Vesālī, at the Gabled Hall in Mahāvana.

Now the Exalted One robed himself in the fore-noon time and,
taking bowl and cloak,
entered Vesālī for alms.

And when he had returned from his alms-round in Vesālī,
after his meal,
he said to the venerable Ānanda:

"Take up the mat, Ānanda,
we will go to the Cāpāla shrine
for the noon-day rest."

[206] "Even so, lord," replied the venerable Ānanda;
and taking up the mat,
he followed closely behind the Exalted One.

And the Exalted One approached the Cāpāla shrine,
and when he had come there,
he sat down on the seat made ready.

Now after he was seated,
he addressed the venerable Ānanda, and said:

"Delightful, Ānanda, is Vesālī;
delightful are the shrines of Udena and Gotamaka,
the shrine of the Many Sons,
the shrine of the Seven Mangoes!

How delightful is the Sārandada shrine
and the Cāpāla shrine!

Ānanda, by whomsoever the four ways of psychic power are made-become,
developed,
made a vehicle of,
made a basis,
exercised,
augmented
and thoroughly set going,
he could, should he wish,
live on for his full life-span,[2]
or for what is left of it.

The Tathāgata, Ānanda, has made-become,
developed,
made a vehicle of,
made a basis,
exercised,
augmented
and thoroughly set going,
the four ways of psychic power;
and the Tathāgata, Ānanda,
should he wish,
could live on for his full life-span
or for what is left of it."

Now, though so broad a hint was given,
though so palpable a sign was made by the Exalted One,
yet the venerable Ānanda could not penetrate it;
nor besought he the Exalted One, saying:

'Lord, let the Exalted One live on
for his full life-span,
let the Well-farer live on
for his full life-span,
for the benefit of many folk,
for the happiness of many folk,
out of pity for the world,
for the good,
for the welfare
and for the happiness of devas and men!'.

-so possessed was his heart by Mara.

 

§

 

A second time the Exalted One said:

"Delightful, Ānanda, is Vesālī;
delightful are the shrines of Udena and Gotamaka,
the shrine of the Many Sons,
the shrine of the Seven Mangoes!

How delightful is the Sārandada shrine
and the Cāpāla shrine!

Ānanda, by whomsoever the four ways of psychic power are made-become,
developed,
made a vehicle of,
made a basis,
exercised,
augmented
and thoroughly set going,
he could, should he wish,
live on for his full life-span,
or for what is left of it.

The Tathāgata, Ānanda, has made-become,
developed,
made a vehicle of,
made a basis,
exercised,
augmented
and thoroughly set going,
the four ways of psychic power;
and the Tathāgata, Ānanda,
should he wish,
could live on for his full life-span
or for what is left of it."

And again, though so broad a hint was given,
though so palpable a sign was made by the Exalted One,
yet the venerable Ānanda could not penetrate it;
nor besought he the Exalted One, saying:

'Lord, let the Exalted One live on
for his full life-span,
let the Well-farer live on
for his full life-span,
for the benefit of many folk,
for the happiness of many folk,
out of pity for the world,
for the good,
for the welfare
and for the happiness of devas and men!'.

-so possessed was his heart by Mara.

 

§

 

A third time the Exalted One said:

"Delightful, Ānanda, is Vesālī;
delightful are the shrines of Udena and Gotamaka,
the shrine of the Many Sons,
the shrine of the Seven Mangoes!

How delightful is the Sārandada shrine
and the Cāpāla shrine!

Ānanda, by whomsoever the four ways of psychic power are made-become,
developed,
made a vehicle of,
made a basis,
exercised,
augmented
and thoroughly set going,
he could, should he wish,
live on for his full life-span,
or for what is left of it.

The Tathāgata, Ānanda, has made-become,
developed,
made a vehicle of,
made a basis,
exercised,
augmented
and thoroughly set going,
the four ways of psychic power;
and the Tathāgata, Ānanda,
should he wish,
could live on for his full life-span
or for what is left of it."

And again, though so broad a hint was given,
though so palpable a sign was made by the Exalted One,
yet the venerable Ānanda could not penetrate it;
nor besought he the Exalted One, saying:

'Lord, let the Exalted One live on
for his full life-span,
let the Well-farer live on
for his full life-span,
for the benefit of many folk,
for the happiness of many folk,
out of pity for the world,
for the good,
for the welfare
and for the happiness of devas and men!'.

-so possessed was his heart by Mara.

 

§

 

[207] Then the Exalted One said to him:

"Go, Ānanda!

Do now whatever you think it is time for!"

"Even so, lord," he replied;
and the venerable Ānanda rose from his seat
and saluted the Exalted One,
and passing him by on his right,
went and sat down at the foot of a tree near by.

 

§

 

Not long after the departure of the venerable Ānanda,
Mara, the Evil One, spoke thus to the Exalted One:

"Let the Exalted One now pass away to the cool,[3] lord;
let the Well-farer now pass away;
now is the time for the Exalted One
to pass away to the cool!

In sooth, lord, this was the word
spoken by the Exalted One:

'I shall not pass away, O Evil One,
till my monks shall be disciples,
learned,[4]
trained and confident,
who have attained peace from effort,[5]
who are erudite,
Dhamma-bearers,
perfect in the righteousness of Dhamma,
perfect in orderliness,
who walk in accordance with Dhamma -
till they have taken Dhamma as their teacher
and can proclaim it,
teach it
and make it known,
can establish it,
open it,
analyze it
and make it plain to others -
till they can confute any counter-teaching which has arisen,
and which may well be confuted by Dhamma,
and can set forth sublime Dhamma.'[6]

Now, lord, the monks of the Exalted One are disciples
learned,
trained and confident,
they have attained peace from effort,
they are erudite,
Dhamma-bearers,
perfect in the righteousness of Dhamma,
perfect in orderliness,
they walk in accordance with Dhamma -
they have taken Dhamma as their teacher
and can proclaim it,
teach it
and make it known,
can establish it,
open it,
analyze it
and make it plain to others -
they can confute any counter-teaching which has arisen,
and which may well be confuted by Dhamma,
and they can set forth sublime Dhamma.

Let the Exalted One now pass away, lord;
let the Well-farer now pass away;
now is the time for the Exalted One
to pass away to the cool;
for in sooth, this was the word of the Exalted One:

'I shall not pass away, O Evil One,
till my nuns[7] shall be disciples,
learned,
trained and confident,
who have attained peace from effort,
who are erudite,
Dhamma-bearers,
perfect in the righteousness of Dhamma,
perfect in orderliness,
who walk in accordance with Dhamma -
till they have taken Dhamma as their teacher
and can proclaim it,
teach it
and make it known,
can establish it,
open it,
analyze it
and make it plain to others -
till they can confute any counter-teaching which has arisen,
and which may well be confuted by Dhamma,
and can set forth sublime Dhamma.'

Now, lord, the nuns of the Exalted One are disciples
learned,
trained and confident,
they have attained peace from effort,
they are erudite,
Dhamma-bearers,
perfect in the righteousness of Dhamma,
perfect in orderliness,
they walk in accordance with Dhamma -
they have taken Dhamma as their teacher
and can proclaim it,
teach it
and make it known,
can establish it,
open it,
analyze it
and make it plain to others -
they can confute any counter-teaching which has arisen,
and which may well be confuted by Dhamma,
and they can set forth sublime Dhamma.

Let the Exalted One now pass away, lord;
let the Well-farer now pass away;
now is the time for the Exalted One
to pass away to the cool;
for in sooth, this was the word of the Exalted One:

'I shall not pass away, O Evil One,
till my lay-brethren shall be disciples,
learned,
trained and confident,
who have attained peace from effort,
who are erudite,
Dhamma-bearers,
perfect in the righteousness of Dhamma,
perfect in orderliness,
who walk in accordance with Dhamma -
till they have taken Dhamma as their teacher
and can proclaim it,
teach it
and make it known,
can establish it,
open it,
analyze it
and make it plain to others -
till they can confute any counter-teaching which has arisen,
and which may well be confuted by Dhamma,
and can set forth sublime Dhamma.'

Now, lord, the lay-brethren of the Exalted One are disciples
learned,
trained and confident,
they have attained peace from effort,
they are erudite,
Dhamma-bearers,
perfect in the righteousness of Dhamma,
perfect in orderliness,
they walk in accordance with Dhamma -
they have taken Dhamma as their teacher
and can proclaim it,
teach it
and make it known,
can establish it,
open it,
analyze it
and make it plain to others -
they can confute any counter-teaching which has arisen,
and which may well be confuted by Dhamma,
and they can set forth sublime Dhamma.

Let the Exalted One now pass away, lord;
let the Well-farer now pass away;
now is the time for the Exalted One
to pass away to the cool;
for in sooth, this was the word of the Exalted One:

'I shall not pass away, O Evil One,
till my lay-sisters shall be disciples,
learned,
trained and confident,
who have attained peace from effort,
who are erudite,
Dhamma-bearers,
perfect in the righteousness of Dhamma,
perfect in orderliness,
who walk in accordance with Dhamma -
till they have taken Dhamma as their teacher
and can proclaim it,
teach it
and make it known,
can establish it,
open it,
analyze it
and make it plain to others -
till they can confute any counter-teaching which has arisen,
and which may well be confuted by Dhamma,
and can set forth sublime Dhamma.'

Now, lord, [208] the lay-sisters of the Exalted One are disciples
learned,
trained and confident,
they have attained peace from effort,
they are erudite,
Dhamma-bearers,
perfect in the righteousness of Dhamma,
perfect in orderliness,
they walk in accordance with Dhamma -
they have taken Dhamma as their teacher
and can proclaim it,
teach it
and make it known,
can establish it,
open it,
analyze it
and make it plain to others -
they can confute any counter-teaching which has arisen,
and which may well be confuted by Dhamma,
and they can set forth sublime Dhamma.

Let the Exalted One now pass away;
let the Well-farer now pass away;
now is the time for the Exalted One
to pass away to the cool!

In sooth this was the word of the Exalted One:

'I shall not pass away, O Evil One,
until this godly life of mine shall prosper,
flourish
and be wide spread,
shall be known to many,
made manifold
and manifest by devas and men.'[8]

Now, lord, the godly life (taught) by the Exalted One indeed prospers,
flourishes
and is wide spread,
is known to many,
made manifold
and manifest by devas and men.

Let the Exalted One therefore pass away;
let the Well-farer now pass away;
now, lord, is the time for the Exalted One
to pass away to the cool!'

"Be not over eager, O Evil One!

Ere long the passing away of the Exalted One
will take place.

At the end of three months from now
the Tathāgata will pass away to the cool."

 

§

 

There, at the shrine of Cāpāla,
mindful and self-possessed,
the Exalted One cast aside the sum of life.[9]

And when the Exalted One had cast aside the sum of life,
there arose a great earthquake,
terrifying and hair-raising;
and the (thunderous) drums of the devas crashed forth.

Then at that time the Exalted One,
seeing the significance thereof,
uttered these solemn words:

"The measurable and the measureless,
Birth and the sum of life the Sage renounced -
With inward joy composedly he broke
The [scaly] shell-like growth around the self."[10]

 

§

 

Then thought the venerable Ānanda:

"Great indeed is this earthquake;
surely very great is this earthquake,
terrifying and hair-raising,
and the thunderous drums of the devas crash forth.

What, I wonder, is the cause,
the reason,
of this great earthquake becoming manifest?"

[209] And the venerable Ānanda approached the Exalted One,
saluted him
and sat down at one side.

So seated, he said:

"Lord, great is this earthquake,
very great is this earthquake,
terrifying and hair-raising,
and the thunderous drums of the devas crash forth.

What, I wonder, is the cause,
the reason,
of this great earthquake becoming manifest?"

"There are these eight causes,
eight reasons, Ānanda,
of a great earthquake becoming manifest.[11]

What eight?

Since, Ānanda, this great earth rests on water
and the water rests on wind
and the wind subsists in space;
what time the great winds blow,
they cause the water to quake,
and the quaking of the water
causes the earth to quake.

This, Ānanda, is the first cause,
the first reason,
of a great earthquake becoming manifest.

Again, Ānanda, a recluse or godly man,
possessed of psychic powers and mind-mastery,
or a deva of great magic power and might,
causes the earth to shake,
to tremble and to quake
when the thought of the earth as limited,
or the thought of the waters as limitless,
is made become by such an one.

This, Ānanda, is the second cause,
the second reason,
of a great earthquake becoming manifest.

Again, Ānanda, when a being awakening quits the Tusita assembly
and enters, mindful and self-possessed,
his mother's womb;
then this earth shakes,
trembles and quakes.

This, Ānanda, is the third cause,
the third reason,
of a great earthquake becoming manifest.

When a being awakening,
mindful and self-possessed,
leaves his mother's womb;
then this earth shakes,
trembles and quakes.

This, Ānanda, is the fourth cause,
the fourth reason,
of a great earthquake becoming manifest.

When a Tathāgata completely awakens
to the unsurpassed and highest awakening;
then this earth shakes,
trembles and quakes.

This, Ānanda, is the fifth cause,
the fifth reason,
of a great earthquake becoming manifest.

When a Tathāgata sets rolling the unsurpassed wheel of Dhamma;
then this earth shakes,
trembles and quakes.

This, Ānanda, is the sixth cause,
the sixth reason,
of a great earthquake becoming manifest.

When a Tathāgata, mindful and self-possessed,
casts aside the sum of this life;
then this earth shakes,
trembles and quakes.

This, Ānanda, is the seventh cause,
the seventh reason,
of a great earthquake becoming manifest.

And when, Ānanda, a Tathāgata becomes completely cool
[210] in the cool element to which naught attaches;[12]
then this earth shakes,
trembles and quakes.

This, Ānanda, is the eighth cause,
the eighth reason,
of a great earthquake becoming manifest.

Verily, Ānanda, these are the eight causes,
the eight reasons,
for a great earthquake to become manifest."[13]

 


[1] This sutta (with some variations) recurs at D. ii, 102; S. v, 259; Ud. 62. See the full notes given at K.S. v, 230 f., and Dial. ii, 140 f. The Comy. here is much the same as at Ud.A. 322.

[2] I follow K.S., loc. cit; Dial. 'for an aeon,' which kappa, when used of time, generally means. But tradition, as known to the Commentators, seems to have passed on the meaning as life-span, manussānaɱ āyuppamanaɱ. This expression is used in the text above (p. 93), where the Buddha observes that 'now he who lives long, lives but a hundred years or a tittle more.' The Buddha died at about eighty. Tradition would probably have accepted the usual meaning of kappa had there been any doubt.

[3] Parinibbātu.

[4] Viyattā. Comy. magga-vasena vyattā.

[5] Patta-yoga-k-khemā; see K.S. v, 232, n. 3.

[6] The Buddha relates this incident at D. ii, 112.

[7] It is a little curious that at A. iv, 278 (above, p. 184) the Buddha tells Ānanda that if women had not been allowed to go forth (because of his importunity they were so allowed) Dhamma would have lasted a long time; yet directly after attaining Buddhahood (paṭhamābhi-sambuddho, D., loc. cit.) he knew that his Order would include nuns.

[8] See K.S. ii, 75 n.;[Ed. n3] Dial. ii, 236.

[9] Comy. Like a clod of earth cast away by the hand.

[10] Kavacam iv'atta-sambhavaɱ Comy. attani sañjātaɱ kilesaɱ. Here S. v. ends, but D. ii. continues as in our text.

[11] Cf. Mil. 113 Q. of M. i, 170.

[12] See above, p. 139.

[13] The four places, where the incidents causing the fourth, fifth, sixth and eighth earthquakes occurred, are the cattāro dassanīyāni sanvejanīyāni ṭhānani: the four places to be seen with reverence (D. ii, 140); respectively: Kapilavatthu (J. i, 52); (Uruvelā (J. i, 76); Benares (Vin. i, 10); and Kusinārā (D. ii, 137). Fa Hsien relates there was a great pagoda on each of these four sites - that is about the fifth century A.D. (see Giles' trsl. 56). See also Warren's Buddhism 38 ff.; G.S. ii, 124.


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