Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
II. Majjhima-Paṇṇāsa
1. Gahapati Vagga

The Middle Length Sayings
II. The Middle Fifty Discourses
1. The Division on Householders

Sutta 57

Kukkura-Vatika Suttaɱ

Discourse on the Canine Ascetic

Translated from the Pali by I.B. Horner, M.A.
Associate of Newham College, Cambridge
First Published in 1954

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[1][chlm][nymo][ntbb][upal] THUS have I heard:

At one time the Lord was staying among the Koḷiyans; the market town of the Koḷiyans was called Haliddavasana.[1]

Then Puṇṇa, a Koḷiyan who was a bovine ascetic,[2]
and Seniya who was an unclothed canine ascetic,[3]
approached the Lord;
having approached,
Puṇṇa, the Koḷiyan who was the bovine ascetic,
after greeting the Lord,
sat down at a respectful distance.

But Seniya the unclothed canine ascetic,
having exchanged greetings with the Lord
and conversed in a friendly and courteous way,
sat down at a respectful distance
doubling up like a dog.[4]

As he was sitting down at a respectful distance,
Puṇṇa, the Koḷiyan,
the bovine ascetic,
spoke thus to the Lord:

[55] "Revered sir, this Seniya,
an unclothed canine ascetic,
is a doer of things hard to do -
he eats lying on the ground,
a canine practice
which has been carried out in full by him
for a long time.

What is his bourn,[5] what his future state?"

"Enough, Puṇṇa,
let this be,
do not ask me this."

And a second time Puṇṇa, the Koḷiyan,
the bovine ascetic,
spoke thus to the Lord:

"Revered sir, this Seniya,
an unclothed canine ascetic,
is a doer of things hard to do -
he eats lying on the ground,
a canine practice
which has been carried out in full by him
for a long time.

What is his bourn, what his future state?"

[And a second time the Lord responded]:

"Enough, Puṇṇa,
let this be,
do not ask me this."

And a third time Puṇṇa, the Koḷiyan,
the bovine ascetic,
spoke thus to the Lord:

"Revered sir, this Seniya,
an unclothed canine ascetic,
is a doer of things hard to do -
he eats lying on the ground,
a canine practice
which has been carried out in full by him
for a long time.

What is his bourn, what his future state?"

"Although I, Puṇṇa,
did not really countenance your (question) and said:
'Enough, Puṇṇa,
let this be,
do not ask me this,'
nevertheless I will explain to you.

Here, Puṇṇa,
someone develops the canine practice completely and constantly,
he develops the canine habits[6] completely and constantly,
he develops the canine mentality completely and constantly,
he develops the canine behaviour[7] completely and constantly.

Having developed the canine practice completely and constantly,
having developed the canine habits completely and constantly,
having developed the canine mentality completely and constantly,
having developed the canine behaviour completely and constantly,
he, on the breaking up of the body after dying,
arises in companionship with dogs.

But if he should have a view like this:

'I, through this habit
or practice
or austerity
or chastity,[8]
will become a deva[9]
or a (lesser) deva'.[10] -

that is a wrong view on his part.

I, Puṇṇa, say that there is one of two bourns for one of wrong view:
either Niraya Hell or animal birth.

So it is, Puṇṇa,
that the canine practice,
on prospering,
leads to companionship with dogs,
on failing,
to Niraya Hell."

When this had been said,
Seniya the unclothed canine ascetic
cried out and burst into tears.

Then the Lord spoke thus to Puṇṇa, the Koḷiyan,
the bovine ascetic:

"I did not countenance this (question) of yours, Puṇṇa,
(so) I said:
'Enough, Puṇṇa,
let this be,
do not ask me this.'"

"I, revered sir,
am not crying because the Lord speaks thus about me.

It is, revered sir,
because this canine practice has been carried [56] out in full by me for a long time.

Revered sir, this Puṇṇa, the Koḷiyan
is a bovine ascetic,
and the bovine practice
has been carried out in full by him
for a long time.

What is his bourn, what his future state?'

"Enough, Seniya, let this be, do not ask me this."

And a second time Seniya the unclothed canine ascetic spoke thus to the Lord:

Revered sir, this Puṇṇa, the Koḷiyan
is a bovine ascetic,
and the bovine practice
has been carried out in full by him
for a long time.

What is his bourn, what his future state?'

[And a second time the Lord responded]:

"Enough, Seniya, let this be, do not ask me this."

And a third time Seniya the unclothed canine ascetic spoke thus to the Lord:

Revered sir, this Puṇṇa, the Koḷiyan
is a bovine ascetic,
and the bovine practice
has been carried out in full by him
for a long time.

What is his bourn, what his future state?'

"Although, Seniya, I did not really countenance your (question) and said:

'Enough, Seniya, let this be, do not ask me this,'
nevertheless I will explain to you.

Here, Seniya,
someone develops the bovine practice completely and constantly,
he develops the bovine habits completely and constantly,
he develops the bovine mentality completely and constantly,
he develops the bovine behaviour completely and constantly.

Having developed the bovine practice completely and constantly,
having developed the bovine habits completely and constantly,
having developed the bovine mentality completely and constantly,
having developed the bovine behaviour completely and constantly, he,
on the breaking up of the body after dying,
arises in companionship with cattle.

But if he should have a view like this:

'I, through this habit
or practice
or austerity
or chastity,
will become a deva
or a (lesser) deva' -
that is a wrong view on his part.

I, Seniya, say that there is one of two bourns
for one of wrong view:
either Niraya Hell or animal birth.

So it is, Seniya,
that the bovine practice,
on prospering,
leads to companionship with cattle,
on failing,
to Niraya Hell."

When this had been said,
Puṇṇa, the Koḷiyan,
the bovine ascetic,
cried out and burst into tears.

Then the Lord spoke thus to Seniya,
the unclothed canine ascetic:

"I did not countenance this (question) of yours, Seniya,
(so) I said:
'Enough, Seniya, let this be, do not ask me this.'"

"I, revered sir, am not crying because the Lord speaks thus about me.

It is, revered sir,
because this bovine practice has been carried out in full by me for a long time.

Revered sir, I have trust[11] in the Lord thus:

The Lord is able so to teach dhamma
that I might give up this bovine practice,
and Seniya the unclothed canine ascetic
might give up that canine practice."

"Well then, Puṇṇa, listen,
pay careful attention,
and I will speak."

"Yes, revered sir," Puṇṇa, the Koḷiyan,
the bovine ascetic,
answered the Lord in assent.

The Lord spoke thus:

[57] "Puṇṇa, these four (kinds of) deeds[12]
are made known by me,
having realised them by my own super-knowledge.

What four?

There is, Puṇṇa,
the deed that is dark,
dark in result.

There is, Puṇṇa,
the deed that is bright,
bright in result.

There is, Puṇṇa,
the deed that is dark and bright,
dark and bright in result.

There is, Puṇṇa,
the deed that is not dark (and) not bright,
neither dark nor bright in result,
the deed that conduces to the destruction of deeds.[13]

And what, Puṇṇa,
is the deed that is dark,
dark in result?

As to this, Puṇṇa,
someone effects[14] an activity of body[15] that is harmful,
he effects an activity of speech that is harmful,
he effects an activity of mind that is harmful.

He, having effected an activity of body that is harmful,
having effected an activity of speech that is harmful,
having effected an activity of mind that is harmful,
arises in a world that is harmful.

Because he has uprisen in a world that is harmful,
harmful sensory impingements assail him.

He, being assailed by harmful sensory impingements,
experiences a harmful feeling,
without exception painful,
even as do creatures in Niraya Hell.

In this way,[16]Puṇṇa,
there is the uprising of a being
from what has come to be[17];
he uprises according to what he does[18];
when he has uprisen
sensory impingements assail him.

So I speak thus, Puṇṇa,:
Creatures are heirs to deeds.[19]

This, Puṇṇa, is called
the deed that is dark,
dark in result.

And what, Puṇṇa,
is the deed that is bright,
bright in result?

As to this, Puṇṇa,
someone effects an activity of body that is harmless,
effects an activity of speech that is harmless,
effects an activity of mind that is harmless.

He, having effected an activity of body that is harmless,
having effected an activity of speech that is harmless,
having effected an activity of mind that is harmless,
arises in a world that is harmless.

Because he has uprisen in a world that is harmless,
harmless sensory impingements assail him.

He, being assailed by harmless sensory impingements,
experiences a harmless feeling,
without exception pleasant,
even as do the Ever-Radiant devas.

In this way, Puṇṇa,
there is the uprising of a being from what has come [58] to be;
he uprises according to what he does;
when he has uprisen
sensory impingements assail him.

So I speak thus, Puṇṇa,:

Creatures are heirs to deeds.

This, Puṇṇa,
is called the deed that is bright,
bright in result.

And what, Puṇṇa,
is the deed that is dark and bright,
dark and bright in result?

As to this, Puṇṇa,
someone effects an activity of body that is harmful and harmless,
effects an activity of speech that is harmful and harmless,
effects an activity of mind that is harmful and harmless.

He, having effected an activity of body that is harmful and harmless,
having effected an activity of speech that is harmful and harmless,
having effected an activity of mind that is harmful and harmless,
arises in a world that is harmful and harmless.

Because he has uprisen in a world that is harmful and harmless,
harmful and harmless sensory impingements assail him.

He, being assailed by harmful and harmless sensory impingements,
experiences a feeling that is harmful and harmless,
partially pleasant and painful,
even as do men and some devas
and some in the sorrowful state.[20]

In this way, Puṇṇa,
there is the uprising of a being from what has come to be;
he uprises according to what he does;
when he has uprisen
sensory impingements assail him.

So I speak thus, Puṇṇa,:

Creatures are heirs to deeds.[21]

This, Puṇṇa,
is called the deed that is dark and bright,
dark and bright in result.

And what, Puṇṇa,
is the deed that is not dark (and) not bright,
neither dark nor bright in result,
the deed that conduces to the destruction of deeds?

Where, Puṇṇa,
there is the will[22] to get rid of that deed
that is dark,
dark in result,
and the will to get rid of that deed
that is bright,
bright in result,
and the will to get rid of that deed
that is dark and bright,
dark and bright in result,
this, Puṇṇa,
is called the deed that is not dark (and) not bright,
neither dark nor bright in result,
the deed that conduces to the destruction of deeds.

These, Puṇṇa,
are the four (kinds of) deeds made known by me,
having realised them by my own super-knowledge."

When this had been said,
Puṇṇa, the Koḷiyan,
the bovine ascetic, spoke thus to the Lord:

"It is excellent, revered sir,
it is excellent, revered sir.

It is as if, revered sir one might set upright what had been upset,
or might disclose what was covered,
or show the way to one who had gone astray,
or bring an oil-lamp into the darkness
so that those with vision might see material shapes —
even so in many a figure has dhamma been made clear by the Lord.

I, revered sir, am going to the Lord for refuge
and the dhamma
and to the Order of monks.

May the Lord accept me as a lay-disciple
going for refuge from this day forth
for as long as life lasts."

But Seniya the unclothed canine ascetic
spoke thus to the Lord:

"It is excellent, revered sir,
it is excellent, revered sir.

It is as if, revered sir, one might set upright what had been upset,
or might [59] disclose what was covered,
or show the way to one who had gone astray,
or bring an oil-lamp into the darkness
so that those with vision might see material shapes -
even so in many a figure has dhamma been made clear by the Lord.

Thus I, revered sir, am going to the Lord for refuge
and to dhamma
and to the Order of monks.

Revered sir, may I receive the going forth in the Lord's presence,
may I receive ordination?"

"Seniya, if a former member of another sect
wishes for the going forth in this dhamma and discipline,
wishes for ordination,
he undertakes probation for four months[23];
at the end of the four months
the monks, if they so decide,
may let him go forth,
may ordain him into the status of a monk;
but even here differences among individuals are known to me."[24]

"If, revered sir, former members of other sects,
wishing for the going forth in this dhamma and discipline,
wishing for ordination,
undertake probation for four months,
and if at the end of the four months
the monks, if they so decide,
let them go forth,
ordain them into the status of a monk,
then will I undertake probation for four years[25];
at the end of the four years
the monks, if they so decide,
may let me go forth,
may ordain me into the status of a monk."

But Seniya, the unclothed canine ascetic,
received the going forth in the Lord's presence,
he received ordination.[26]

Soon after he was ordained
the venerable Seniya,
dwelling alone,
aloof,
diligent,
ardent,
self-resolute,
in no long time
having realised here-now
by his own super-knowledge
that matchless culmination of the Brahma-faring
for the sake of which young men of family
rightly go forth from home into homelessness,
entering on it,
abided in it.

And he knew:

Destroyed is birth,
brought to a close the Brahma-faring,
done is what was to be done,
there is no more of being such or so.

So was the venerable Seniya one of the perfected ones.

Discourse on the Canine Ascetic:
The Seventh

 


[1] At the time when it was building people wore golden coloured garments, haliddavatthanivatthā, to celebrate the "lunar mansion." Vasana means both a garment and a habitation. The name Haliddavasana occurs also at S. v. 115.

[2] govatika. Having undertaken the "cow-practice," go-vata, putting a horn on his head and tying on a tail, he went about grazing with cows, MA. iii. 100.

[3] kukkuravatika, having undertaken the "dog-practice," he did everything done by a dog. See D. iii. 6-7 for the habits of Korakkhattiya, the unclothed canine ascetic.

[4] MA. iii. 100, like a dog, sunakha, in his master's presence. Having scratched the ground with his two feet he sits down hunched, and greets the Lord by saying, "I will do what a dog does"; then having scratched the ground with his two hands, shaking his head, he says bhun bhun, and doubling in his hands and feet, he sits down like a dog.

[5] gati, going, destination, karmic course.

[6] kukkurasīla. MA. iii. 101 explains as kukkurācāra.

[7] kukkurākappa, in standing, walking, sitting, lying down, baring the teeth on seeing actual dogs.

[8] So explained at MA. iii. 101. Brahmacariya is also the higher life.

[9] A Sakka or Suyāma, etc.

[10] A certain deva in the second or third position. For devaññalara, cf. S. iv. 180, A. iv. 461.

[11] pasanna, satisfaction, pleasure, approval, appreciation.

[12] See A ii. 230 ff., and G.S. ii. 238 f.; cf. D. iii. 230, Netti. 98, 159, Asl 89.

[13] On the Jains' mistaken conception of the importance and consequences of this, see M: i. 93.

[14] abhisaŋkharoti. Cf. A. i. 122 f., ii. 230.

[15] kāyasaŋkhāra. Cf. M. i. 301; and see M.L.S. i. Intr. p. xxiv.

[16] This sentence and the next are omitted at A. ii. 230, but occur at A. v. 289 ff.

[17] bhūta bhūtassa upapatti hoti.

[18] Cf. Chānd. Up. 5. 10. 7; Bṛhad. Up. 4. 4. 5.

[19] Cf. A. iii. 72, 186, v. 289.

[20] Cf. M. i. 73, of those of spontaneous uprising.

[21] This paragraph, except the first and last sentences, is quoted at Kvu. 522.

[22] cetanā.

[23] Laid down at Vin, i. 69. See also M. i, 494, 512; D. i. 176; S. ii. 21; Sn. p. 101-102.

[24] One meriting probation but not another, MA. iii. 106; VinA. v. 990. For as SnA. ii. 436 (citing Vin. i. 71) points out, the fire-worshipping matted hair ascetics are exempt from the four months' probation.

[25] The same willingness to undertake probation for four years, instead of the four prescribed months, is manifested e.g. by Vacchagotta at M. i. 494, and Māgandiya at M. i. 512.

[26] MA. iii. 106 says that the Lord thought that Seniya, on account of his keen desire, did not merit probation. But he was not ordained (by the Lord himself) by the eki bhikkhu formula; he was "received" or allowed to go forth by a monk acting on the Lord's instructions, and then brought into the Lord's presence.


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