Aŋguttara Nikāya


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Aŋguttara Nikāya
X. Dasaka-Nipāta
VII. Yamaka Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
X. The Book of the Tens
VII: The Pairs

Sutta 69

Paṭhama Kathā-Vatthu Suttaɱ

Topics of talk (a)

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

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[86] [128]

[1][than][olds] Once the Exalted One was staying near Sāvatthī
at Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

On that occasion a number of monks,
after returning from their alms-round
and eating their meal,
had gathered and sat down in the service-hall.

There they stayed
indulging in divers sorts of aimless talk
about such things as:

Rājahs,[1]
[87] robbers and great ministers;
talk of armies, panic and battle;
talk of food and 'animal talk,'[2]
drink, clothes, beds, flowers, garlands and perfumes;
talk of relatives, vehicles, villages, townships, cities and districts;
talk about women and champions,
about streets and gossip at the well:
ghost stories,[3]
desultory talk
and fables about (the origin of) land and sea;
and talk of becoming and not-becoming.[4]

Then the Exalted One
rising from his solitude at eventide
went towards the service-hall,
and on reaching it
sat down on a seat made ready.
Being seated the Exalted One addressed the monks, saying:

"Pray, monks, on what subjects were ye conversing
gathered together here,
and what was the nature
of the talk left unfinished by you?"

'Sir, after returning from our alms-round
and eating our meal
we gathered and sat down here in the service-hall
and so stayed
indulging in divers sorts of pointless talk, such as:

Rājahs,
robbers and great ministers;
talk of armies, panic and battle;
talk of food and 'animal talk,'
drink, clothes, beds, flowers, garlands and perfumes;
talk of relatives, vehicles, villages, townships, cities and districts;
talk about women and champions,
about streets and gossip at the well:
ghost stories,
desultory talk
and fables about (the origin of) land and sea;
and talk of becoming and not-becoming.

"Monks, it is not seemly
that ye clansmen [129] who in faith
have gone forth from the home to the homeless
should indulge in such talk.[5]

There are these ten topics of talk.

What ten?

Talk about wanting little,
about contentment,
seclusion,
solitude,
energetic striving,
virtue,
concentration,
insight,
release,
release by knowing and seeing.

These, monks, are the ten topics of talk.

Monks, if ye should engage again and again
in talk on these ten topics,
ye would outshine in brilliance
even the brilliance of moon and sun,
which are of such mighty power and majesty
— not to speak of the brilliance
of the Wanderers who hold other views.'[6]

 


[1] Comy. instances Mahāsammata and Mandhāta (rājās of the first kalpa); then forgetting his history says, 'talk about Dharmasoka.' A similar comment is on Petavatthu iv, 3 s.v. Moriya, where Comy. has, 'Here he is speaking of Dharmasoka.' Petav. and Vimāna-vatthu both seem of late date anyhow. This would point to the likelihood that the Piṭakas were not finally put in order till after Āsoka's Council, and may have been added to still later.

[2] Tiracchāna-kathā,; cf. K.S. v, 355. and Comy. there as at DA. i, 89, 'Talk not conducive to heaven, release and the Way'; generally translated 'animal-talk' (not of course about animals), 'childish talk'; but I think the emphasis is on the idea of close to the ground (cf. 'pedestrian' muse) as opposed to the upright human posture or, as in Skt., 'oblique, awry.'

[3] Pubba-peta-kathā 'deceased relatives,' Comy.

[4] Bhavābhava may also mean 'all sorts of becomings.'

[5] A frequent form of rebuke. Cf. Ud. 11.

[6] Cf. Ud. vi, 10.


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