Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
II. Majjhima-Paṇṇāsa
2. Bhikkhu Vagga

The Middle Length Sayings
II. The Middle Fifty Discourses
2. The Division on Monks

Sutta 67

Cātuma Suttaɱ

Discourse at Cātumā

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

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[1][upal] THUS have I heard:

At one time the Lord was staying near Cātumā in the Myrobalan Grove.

Now at that time at least five hundred [129] monks,[1]
with Sāriputta and Moggallāna[2] at their head
had arrived at Cātumā to see the Lord,
and there was a loud noise,
a great noise
as these incoming monks
were exchanging greetings
with the resident monks,
while lodgings were being prepared
and bowls and robes
were being put away.

Then the Lord addressed the venerable Ānanda, saying:

"What, Ānanda, is this loud noise,
this great noise,
which seems like that of fisherfolk
when hauling in a catch?"

"Revered sir, these monks,
at least five hundred,
with Sāriputta and Moggallāna at their head
have arrived at Cātumā to see the Lord,
and while the incoming monks
are exchanging greetings
with the resident monks,
while lodgings are being prepared
and bowls and robes are being put away,
there is a loud noise,
a great noise."

"Well then, Ānanda,
in my name summon these monks,
saying:

'The Teacher is summoning the venerable ones.'"

"Yes, revered sir,"
and the venerable Ānanda,
having answered the Lord in assent,
approached these monks;
having approached,
he spoke thus to these monks:

"The Teacher is summoning the venerable ones."

"Yes, your reverence,"
and these monks,
having answered the venerable Ānanda in assent,
approached the Lord;
having approached,
having greeted the Lord,
they sat down at a respectful distance.

The Lord spoke thus
to these monks
as they were sitting down at a respectful distance:

"Do not you, monks, think
that the loud noise,
the great noise
is like that of fisherfolk
when hauling in a catch?"

"Revered sir, at least five hundred monks
with Sāriputta and Moggallāna at their head
have arrived at Cātumā to see the Lord,
and while the incoming monks
are exchanging greetings
with the resident monks,
while lodgings are being prepared
and bowls and robes are being put away,
there is a loud noise,
a great noise."

"Go away, monks,
I dismiss you,
you should not stay near me."

"Very well, revered sir,"
and these monks
having answered the Lord in assent,
having greeted the Lord
keeping their right sides towards him,
having packed away their lodgings,
departed
taking their bowls and robes.

[130] Now at that time the Sakyans of Cātumā
were assembled in the conference hall
on some business or other.

The Sakyans of Cātumā saw these monks coming in the distance;
having seen them,
they approached these monks;
having approached,
they spoke thus to these monks:

"Now, where are you, venerable ones, going?"

"Friends, the Order of monks
has been dismissed by the Lord."

"Well then, venerable ones,
sit down for a moment;
perhaps we could reconcile the Lord."

"Very well, friends,"
these monks answered the Sakyans of Cātumā in assent.

Then the Sakyans of Cātumā approached the Lord;
having approached,
having greeted the Lord,
they sat down at a respectful distance.

As they were sitting down at a respectful distance,
the Sakyans of Cātumā spoke thus
to the Lord:

"Revered sir,
let the Lord rejoice the Order of monks,
let the Lord greet the Older of monks.

Revered sir,
even as the Order of monks
was helped previously by the Lord,
so let the Lord help the Order of monks now.

There are here,[3] revered sir,
new monks, not long gone forth,
quite recently come into this dhamma and discipline.

Not getting a chance to see the Lord,
there may be faltering[4] for them,
there may be vicissitudes.[5]

Even, revered sir,
as there may be faltering and vicissitudes
for young seeds
if they do not get water,
even so, revered sir,
there are here new monks,
not long gone forth,
quite recently come into this dhamma and discipline;
if they do not get a chance to see the Lord,
there may be faltering for them,
there may be vicissitudes.

And even, revered sir,
as there may be faltering,
as there may be vicissitudes
for a young calf
that does not see its mother,
so, revered sir,
there are here new monks,
not long gone forth,
quite recently come into this dhamma and discipline.

Not seeing the Lord,
there may be faltering for them,
there may be vicissitudes.

Revered sir,
let the Lord rejoice the Order of monks,
let the Lord greet the Order of monks.

Revered sir,
even as the Order of monks
was helped previously by the Lord,
so let the Lord help the Order of monks now."

Then Brahmā Sahampati,[6]
knowing by mind
the reasoning in the Lord's mind,
as a strong man might stretch forth his bent arm
or [131] might bend back his outstretched arm,
even so, vanishing from the Brahma-world
he appeared before the Lord.

Then Brahmā Sahampati,
arranging his outer robe over one shoulder,
saluting the Lord with joined palms,
spoke thus to the Lord:

"Revered sir,
let the Lord rejoice the Order of monks,
let the Lord greet the Older of monks.

Revered sir,
even as the Order of monks
was helped previously by the Lord,
so let the Lord help the Order of monks now.

There are here, revered sir,
new monks, not long gone forth,
quite recently come into this dhamma and discipline.

Not getting a chance to see the Lord,
there may be faltering for them,
there may be vicissitudes.

Even, revered sir,
as there may be faltering and vicissitudes
for young seeds
if they do not get water,
even so, revered sir,
there are here new monks,
not long gone forth,
quite recently come into this dhamma and discipline;
if they do not get a chance to see the Lord,
there may be faltering for them,
there may be vicissitudes.

And even, revered sir,
as there may be faltering,
as there may be vicissitudes
for a young calf
that does not see its mother,
so, revered sir,
there are here new monks,
not long gone forth,
quite recently come into this dhamma and discipline.

Not seeing the Lord,
there may be faltering for them,
there may be vicissitudes.

Revered sir,
let the Lord rejoice the Order of monks,
let the Lord greet the Order of monks.

Revered sir,
even as the Order of monks
was helped previously by the Lord,
so let the Lord help the Order of monks now."

The Sakyans of Cātumā
and Brahmā Sahampati
were able to reconcile the Lord
by the analogy of the seeds
and the analogy of the young[7] (calf).

Then the venerable Moggallāna the Great addressed the monks,
saying:

"Arise, your reverences,
pick up your bowls and robes,
the Lord has been reconciled
by the Sakyans of Cātumā
and by Brahmā Sahampati
with the analogy of the seeds
and the analogy of the young (calf)."

"Yes, your reverence,"
and these monks,
having answered the venerable Moggallāna the Great in assent,
rising from their seats,
taking their bowls and robes,
approached the Lord;
having approached,
having greeted the Lord,
they sat down at a respectful distance.

The Lord spoke thus
to the venerable Sāriputta
as he was sitting down at a respectful distance:

"What did you, Sāriputta, think
when the Older of monks was dismissed by me?"

"When the Order of monks was dismissed by the Lord,
I, revered sir, thought:

'The Lord is now unconcerned,
he will abide intent
on abiding in ease here and now.[8]

We too,
unconcerned now,
will abide intent on abiding in ease here and now.'"

"Do you wait, Sāriputta,
do you wait, Sāriputta.

Sāriputta, never let such a thought arise in you again."[9]

Then the Lord addressed the venerable Moggallāna the Great, saying:

"What did you, Moggallāna, think
when the Order of monks was dismissed by me?"

"When the Order of monks was dismissed by the Lord,
I, revered sir, thought:

'The Lord is now unconcerned,
he will abide intent on [132] abiding in ease here and now,
I and the venerable Sāriputta
will now lead the Order of monks.'"

"It is good, Moggallāna,
it is good.

For either I, Moggallāna,
could lead the Order of monks,
or Sāriputta and Moggallāna."[10]

Then the Lord addressed the Order of monks, saying:

"Monks, these four perils
for one going down to the water[11]
are to be expected.

What four?

Peril of waves,
peril of crocodiles,[12]
peril of whirlpools,
peril of fierce fishes.[13]

These are the four perils
to be expected for one
going down to the water.

Similarly, monks,
four perils are to be expected
for some persons here
who have gone forth
from home into homelessness
in this dhamma and discipline.

What four?

Peril of waves,
peril of crocodiles,
peril of whirlpools,
peril of fierce fishes.

And what, monks,
is the peril of waves?

Here, monks, some young man of family,
gone forth from home
into homelessness through faith,
thinks:

'Although I am oppressed by birth,
ageing,
dying,
by grief,
sorrow,
suffering,
lamentation
and despair,
oppressed by anguish,
overcome by anguish,
yet perhaps some ending
of this whole mass of anguish
may be seen.'

His fellow Brahma-farers
exhort and instruct him
who has thus gone forth:

'Thus should you go out,
thus should you return,
thus should you look in front,
thus should you look round,
thus should you bend out (your arm),
thus should you bend it back,
thus should you carry your outer cloak,
your bowl
and robe.'

If it occurs to him:

'While I was formerly in the household state,
we used to exhort and instruct others,
but these who seem like our sons,
who seem like our grandsons,
think that they should exhort and instruct us' -
then, disavowing the training,
he returns to the low life of the world.

This one, monks,
who disavows the training
and returns to the low life of the world
is called
one who is scared by the peril of waves.

'The peril of waves,' monks,
is a synonym for angry wrath.[14]

And what, monks, is the peril of crocodiles?

Here, monks, some young man of family
who has gone forth from home
into homelessness through faith,
thinks:

'Although I am oppressed by birth,
ageing,
dying,
by grief,
sorrow,
suffering,
lamentation
and despair,
oppressed by anguish,
overcome by anguish,
[133]yet perhaps some ending
of this whole mass of anguish
may be seen.'

His fellow Brahma-farers
exhort and instruct
him who has thus gone forth:

'This can be eaten[15] by you,
this cannot be eaten by you,
this can be partaken of by you,
this cannot be partaken of by you,
this can be savoured by you,
this cannot be savoured by you,
this can be drunk by you,
this cannot be drunk by you;
you should eat what is allowable,
you should not eat what is not allowable,
you should partake of what is allowable,
you should not partake of what is not allowable,
you should savour what is allowable,
you should not savour what is not allowable,
you should drink what is allowable,
you should not drink what is not allowable;
you should eat at the right time,
you should not eat at the wrong time,
you should partake of at the right time,
you should not partake of at the wrong time,
you should savour at the right time,
you should not savour at the wrong time,
you should drink at the right time,
you should not drink at the wrong time.'

If it occurs to him

'Formerly when I was in the household state
we ate what we liked,
we did not eat what we did not like,
we partook of what we liked,
we did not partake of what we did not like,
we savoured what we liked,
we did not savour what we did not like,
we drank what we liked,
we did not drink what we did not like;
we ate what was allowable
and we ate what was not allowable,
we partook of what was allowable
and we partook of what was not allowable,
we savoured what was allowable
and we savoured what was not allowable,
we drank what was allowable
and we drank what was not allowable;
we ate at the right time
and we ate at the wrong time,
we partook of at the right time
and we partook of at the wrong time,
we savoured at the right time
and we savoured at the wrong time,
we drank at the right time
and we drank at the wrong time.

But when those householders who have faith
give us sumptuous foods,
solid and soft,
at a wrong time,
during the day,
it seems as if they are putting restraint over the mouth'[16]- and disavowing the training,
he returns to the low life of the world.

This one, monks,
who disavowing the training,
returns to the low life of the world,
is called
one who is scared by the peril of crocodiles.

'The peril of crocodiles,' monks,
is a synonym for gluttony.

And what, monks, is the peril of whirlpools?

Here, monks, some young man of family
who has gone forth from home
into homeless- [134] ness through faith,
thinks;'

'I am oppressed by birth,
ageing,
dying,
by grief,
sorrow,
suffering,
lamentation
and despair,
oppressed by anguish,
overcome by anguish,
yet perhaps some ending
of this whole mass of anguish
may be seen.'

He, gone forth thus,
having dressed in the morning,
taking his bowl and robe,
enters a village or market town for almsfood
unguarded as to his body,
unguarded as to his speech,[17]
mindfulness not set up,
the sense-organs uncontrolled.

He there sees a householder
or a householder's son
indulging in
and provided with
the five strands of sense-pleasures,
and finding delight in them.

If it occurs to him;

'Formerly while we were in the household state,
indulging in
and provided with
the five strands of sense-pleasures,
we found delight in them.

As there is wealth in my home,
it is possible both to enjoy wealth
and to do meritorious things,'

he, disavowing the training,
returns to the low life of the world.

This one, monks who,
disavowing the training,
returns to the low life of the world,
is called
one who is scared of the peril of whirlpools.

'The peril of whirlpools,' monks,
is a synonym for the five strands of sense-pleasures.

And what, monks, is the peril of fierce fishes?

Here, monks, some young man of family
who has gone forth from home
into homelessness through faith,
thinks:

'I am oppressed by birth,
ageing,
dying,
by grief,
sorrow,
suffering,
lamentation
and despair,
oppressed by anguish,
overcome by anguish,
yet perhaps some ending
of this whole mass of anguish
may be seen.'

He, gone forth thus,
having dressed in the morning,
taking his bowl and robe,
enters a village or a market town for almsfood
unguarded in his body,
unguarded in his speech,
mindfulness not set up,
the sense-organs uncontrolled.

He sees a woman there[18]
who is improperly dressed
or improperly clothed.

When he has seen that woman
who is improperly dressed
or improperly clothed,
passion corrupts his mind,
and with his mind corrupted by passion,
disavowing the training
he returns to the low life of the world.

This one, monks,
who disavowing the training,
returns to the low life of the world,
is called
one who is scared by the peril of fierce fishes.

'The peril of fierce fishes,' monks,
is a synonym for women.

These monks, are the four perils
to be expected for some persons here
who have gone forth from home into homelessness
in this dhamma and discipline."

Thus spoke the Lord.

Delighted, these monks rejoiced in what the Lord had said.

Discourse at Cātumā:
The Seventh

 


[1] This passage also occurs at Ud. 24-25, where Yasoja is at the head of 500 monks, but the episode is there placed at Sāvatthī, These monks were perhaps only recently ordained, and that is why the two chief disciples were in charge of them. MA. iii. 172 speaks of them as kulaputtā, as though hardly recognising their passage to monk's status. But with this compare the first speech ascribed to the Lord in the next Discourse where he refers to those who have gone forth both as young men of family and as monks.

[2] No epithet 'venerable' here.

[3] cf. S. iii. 91.

[4] aññathatta, "otherness." See M. i. 448 ("depression"), ii. 61, and S. iii. 91-92.

[5] vipariṇāma, change, falling away.

[6] The persuasions of Brahmā Sahampati and the Sakyans of Cātumā are referred to at Miln. 209 f.

[7] taruṇūpama, as at M. i. 432, of a young baby.

[8] Except for the tense, these words are identical with Devadatta's at Vin. ii. 188.

[9] According to MA. iii. 176, the Elder did not know his duty (bhārabhāva), which was, as was Moggallāna's, to the Order of monks - as shown by the latter's answer; therefore he was commended for it. It is not often that Sāriputta is rebuked by Gotama, but see M. ii. 195, and Intr. p. xxvi.

There is a difference between thinking 'I will lead the order of monks' and leading the order of monks. There is a difference between giving the leadership to someone and saying that they would or should take the leadership.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

[10] At D. ii. 100, Gotama tells Ānanda that it does not occur to a Tathāgata: 'I will lead the Order of monks.' At Vin. ii. 188 he tells Devadatta he would not hand over (na niāsajjeyyaɱ) the Order of monks even to Sāriputta and Moggallāna. See Intr. p. xxvii. [Ed. where she goes into various speculations about the significance of her erroneous understanding.]

[11] Cf. A. ii. 123 ff.

[12] Referred to at Thig. 502.

[13] Referred to among the many perils or fears, bhaya, at Miln.. 196.

[14] Another synonym for this is given at M. i. 144.

[15] khāditabbaɱ, referring to eating solid food, and bhuñjitabbaɱ (partake of) to eating soft food.

[16] mukhāvaraṇaɱ karonti. Āvaraṇa is a prohibition, interdiction, obstruction, covering.

[17] A. ii. 125 inserts (rightly) arakkhitena cittena, unguarded as to his thought.

[18] cf. S. ii. 231, 271; A. iii. 95.

 


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