Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
II. Majjhima-Paṇṇāsa
4. Rāja Vagga

The Middle Length Sayings
II. The Middle Fifty Discourses
4. The Royal Division

Sutta 82

Raṭṭhapāla Suttaɱ

Discourse with Raṭṭhapāla

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

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

 


 

[1][lupt][chlm][than][ntbb][upal] THUS have I heard:

At one time the Lord,
walking on tour among the Kurus
together with a large Order of monks
arrived at the market [251] town of the Kurus
called Thullakoṭṭhita.

The brahmans and householders of Thullakoṭṭhita heard:

"Indeed the recluse Gotama,
the son of the Sakyans,
gone forth from the Sakyan family,
walking on tour among the Kurus
together with a large Order of monks
has arrived at Thullakoṭṭhita.

A lovely report about the revered Gotama has gone forth thus:

'This Lord is perfected,
wholly Self-Awakened,
endowed with (right) knowledge and conduct,
well-farer,
knower of the worlds,
incomparable charioteer of men to be tamed,
teacher of devas and men,
the Awakened One,
the Lord.

He makes known this world
with the devas,
with Māra,
with Brahma,
creation with its recluses and brahmans,
its devas and men,
having realised them
by his own super-knowledge.

With the meaning and the spirit
he teaches dhamma
that is lovely in the beginning,
lovely in the middle,
lovely at the ending;
he proclaims the Brahma-faring wholly fulfilled,
quite purified.

It were good to see perfected ones like this.'"

Then the brahmans and householders of Thullakoṭṭhita
approached the Lord;
having approached,
some, having greeted the Lord,
sat down at a respectful distance;
some exchanged greetings with the Lord,
and having conversed in a friendly and courteous way,
sat down at a respectful distance;
some, having saluted the Lord with joined palms,
sat down at a respectful distance;
some, having made known their names and clans in the Lord's presence,
sat down at a respectful distance;
some, becoming silent,
sat down at a respectful distance.

As the brahmans and householders of Thullakoṭṭhita
were sitting down at a respectful distance,
the Lord gladdened,
roused,
incited
and delighted them
with a talk on dhamma.

Now at that time
a young man of family
named Raṭṭhapāla,[1]
the son of a leading family
in that very Thullakoṭṭhita,
was sitting down in this assembly.

Then it occurred to Raṭṭhapāla,
the young man of family:[2]

"In so far as I understand dhamma taught by the Lord,
it is no easy matter for one living in a house
to fare the Brahma-faring
completely fulfilled,
completely pure
and polished like a conch-shell.

Suppose that I,
having cut off hair and beard,
having donned saffron garments,
should go forth from home
into homelessness?"

Then the brahmans and householders of Thullakoṭṭhita,
gladdened,
roused,
incited
and delighted
by the Lord's talk on dhamma,
rejoicing [252] in what the Lord had said
and giving thanks for it,
rising from their seats
and greeting the Lord,
departed keeping their right sides towards him.

And not long after the brahmans and householders of Thullakoṭṭhita had departed,
Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
approached the Lord;
having approached,
having greeted the Lord,
he sat down at a respectful distance;
sitting down at a respectful distance,
he spoke thus to the Lord:

"In so far as I, revered sir,
understand dhamma taught by the Lord,
it is no easy matter
for one living in a house
to fare the Brahma-faring
completely fulfilled,
completely pure
and polished like a conch-shell.

I wish, revered sir,
having cut off hair and beard,
having donned saffron garments,
to go forth from home
into homelessness.

May I, revered sir,
receive the going forth
in the Lord's presence,
may I receive ordination."

"But have you, Raṭṭhapāla,
your parents consent
for going forth from home
into homelessness?"

"I have not, revered sir,
the consent of my parents
for going forth from home
into homelessness."

"Raṭṭhapāla, Tathāgatas do not allow (one[3]) to go forth
without the consent of the parents."

"I, revered sir,
will do whatever is necessary
so that my parents will consent
to my going forth from home
into homelessness."

Then Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
having greeted the Lord
keeping his right side towards him,
rising from his seat
approached his parents;
having approached,
he spoke thus to his parents:

"Mother and father,
in so far as I understand dhamma taught by the Lord,
it is no easy matter
for one living in a home
to fare the Brahma-faring
completely fulfilled,
completely pure,
and polished like a conch-shell.

I wish,
having cut off hair and beard,
having donned saffron garments,
to go forth from home
into homelessness.

Consent to my going forth from home
into homelessness."

When this had been said,
the parents of Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
spoke thus to him:

"You, dear Raṭṭhapāla,
are our only child,
dear and beloved,
you live in comfort
and are well cared for;
you, dear Raṭṭhapāla,
do not know anything of suffering.

Come you, dear Raṭṭhapāla,
eat and drink
and amuse yourself;
eating,
drinking
and amusing yourself,
you can enjoy diverting yourself
with sense-pleasures
and doing meritorious things.

We do not consent [253]
that you should go forth from home
into homelessness.

If you were to die
we should be desolate without you.

How could we,
while you are living,
consent to your going forth from home
into homelessness?"

And a second time Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
spoke thus to his parents:

"Mother and father, in so far as I understand dhamma taught by the Lord,
it is no easy matter
for one living in a home
to fare the Brahma-faring
completely fulfilled,
completely pure,
and polished like a conch-shell.

I wish,
having cut off hair and beard,
having donned saffron garments,
to go forth from home
into homelessness.

Consent to my going forth from home
into homelessness."

And a second time,
when this had been said,
the parents of Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
spoke thus to him:

"You, dear Raṭṭhapāla,
are our only child,
dear and beloved,
you live in comfort
and are well cared for;
you, dear Raṭṭhapāla,
do not know anything of suffering.

Come you, dear Raṭṭhapāla,
eat and drink
and amuse yourself;
eating,
drinking
and amusing yourself,
you can enjoy diverting yourself
with sense-pleasures
and doing meritorious things.

We do not consent
that you should go forth from home
into homelessness.

If you were to die
we should be desolate without you.

How could we,
while you are living,
consent to your going forth from home
into homelessness?"

And a third time Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
spoke thus to his parents:

"Mother and father, in so far as I understand dhamma taught by the Lord,
it is no easy matter
for one living in a home
to fare the Brahma-faring
completely fulfilled,
completely pure,
and polished like a conch-shell.

I wish,
having cut off hair and beard,
having donned saffron garments,
to go forth from home
into homelessness.

Consent to my going forth from home
into homelessness."

And a third time,
when this had been said,
the parents of Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
spoke thus to him:

"You, dear Raṭṭhapāla,
are our only child,
dear and beloved,
you live in comfort
and are well cared for;
you, dear Raṭṭhapāla,
do not know anything of suffering.

Come you, dear Raṭṭhapāla,
eat and drink
and amuse yourself;
eating,
drinking
and amusing yourself,
you can enjoy diverting yourself
with sense-pleasures
and doing meritorious things.

We do not consent
that you should go forth from home
into homelessness.

If you were to die
we should be desolate without you.

How could we,
while you are living,
consent to your going forth from home
into homelessness?"

Then Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
not receiving his parents' consent,
lay down there on the bare ground
and said:

"Here will there be death for me
or going forth."

Then the parents of Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
spoke thus to him:

"You, dear Raṭṭhapāla, are our only child,
dear and beloved,
you live in comfort
and are well cared for;
you, dear Raṭṭhapāla,
do not know anything of suffering.

Get up, dear Raṭṭhapāla,
eat and drink
and amuse yourself;
eating,
drinking,
amusing yourself
you can enjoy diverting yourself with sense-pleasures
and doing meritorious things.

We do not consent
that you should go forth from home
into homelessness.

If you were to die
we should be desolate without you.

How could we,
while you are living,
consent to your going forth from home
into homelessness?"

When this had been said,
Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
was silent.

And a second time the parents of Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
spoke thus to him:

"You, dear Raṭṭhapāla, are our only child,
dear and beloved,
you live in comfort
and are well cared for;
you, dear Raṭṭhapāla,
do not know anything of suffering.

Get up, dear Raṭṭhapāla,
eat and drink
and amuse yourself;
eating,
drinking,
amusing yourself
you can enjoy diverting yourself with sense-pleasures
and doing meritorious things.

We do not consent
that you should go forth from home
into homelessness.

If you were to die
we should be desolate without you.

How could we,
while you are living,
consent to your going forth from home
into homelessness?"

And a second time, when this had been said,
Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
was silent.

And a third time the parents of Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
spoke thus to him:

"You, dear Raṭṭhapāla, are our only child,
dear and beloved,
you live in comfort
and are well cared for;
you, dear Raṭṭhapāla,
do not know anything of suffering.

Get up, dear Raṭṭhapāla,
eat and drink
and amuse yourself;
eating,
drinking,
amusing yourself
you can enjoy diverting yourself with sense-pleasures
and doing meritorious things.

We do not consent
that you should go forth from home
into homelessness.

If you were to die
we should be desolate without you.

How could we,
while you are living,
consent to your going forth from home
into homelessness?"

And a third time, when this had been said,
Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
was silent.

Then the parents of Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
approached his friends;
having approached,
they spoke thus to them;

"This Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
is lying down on the bare ground, dears,
and saying:

'Here will there be death for me
or going forth.'

Come, dears,
approach Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family;
having approached,
speak thus to him:

'You, good Raṭṭhapāla,
are your parents' only child,
dear and beloved,
you live in comfort
and are well cared for;
you, good Raṭṭhapāla,
do not know anything of suffering.

Get up, good Raṭṭhapāla,
eat and drink
and [254] amuse yourself;
eating,
drinking
and amusing yourself,
you can enjoy diverting yourself with sense-pleasures
and doing meritorious things.

Your parents do not consent
that you should go forth from home
into homelessness.

If you were to die
your parents would be desolate without you.

How can they,
while you are living,
consent to your going forth from home
into homelessness?'"

Then the friends of Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
having answered his parents in assent,
approached Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family;
and having approached,
they spoke thus to him:

"You, good Raṭṭhapāla,
are your parents' only child,
dear and beloved,
you live in comfort
and are well cared for;
you, good Raṭṭhapāla,
do not know anything of suffering.

Get up, good Raṭṭhapāla,
eat and drink
and amuse yourself;
eating,
drinking
and amusing yourself,
you can enjoy diverting yourself
with sense-pleasures
and doing meritorious things.

Your parents do not consent
that you should go forth from home
into homelessness.

If you were to die
your parents would be desolate without you.

How can they,
while you are living,
consent to your going forth from home
into homelessness?'"

When this had been said,
Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
was silent.

And a second time the friends of Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
spoke thus to him:

"You, good Raṭṭhapāla,
are your parents' only child,
dear and beloved,
you live in comfort
and are well cared for;
you, good Raṭṭhapāla,
do not know anything of suffering.

Get up, good Raṭṭhapāla,
eat aiul drink
and amuse yourself;
eating,
drinking
and amusing yourself,
you can enjoy diverting yourself
with sense-pleasures
and doing meritorious things.

Your parents do not consent
that you should go forth from home
into homelessness.

If you were to die
your parents would be desolate without you.

How can they,
while you are living,
consent to your going forth from home
into homelessness?'"

And a second time,
Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
was silent.

And a third time
did the friends of Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
speak thus to him:

"You, good Raṭṭhapāla,
are your parents' only child,
dear and beloved,
you live in comfort
and are well cared for;
you, good Raṭṭhapāla,
do not know anything of suffering.

Get up, good Raṭṭhapāla,
eat aiul drink
and amuse yourself;
eating,
drinking
and amusing yourself,
you can enjoy diverting yourself
with sense-pleasures
and doing meritorious things.

Your parents do not consent
that you should go forth from home
into homelessness.

If you were to die
your parents would be desolate without you.

How can they,
while you are living,
consent to your going forth from home
into homelessness?'"

And a third time,
Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
was silent.

Then the friends of Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
approached his parents;
and having approached,
they spoke thus to them:

"Mother and father,
this Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
is lying on the bare pound there saying:

'Here will there be death for me
or going forth.'

If you do not consent
that Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
should go forth from home into homelessness,
he will die there.

But if you consent
to his going forth from home into homelessness,
after he has gone forth
you may see him again.

If Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
does not enjoy the going forth from home
into homelessness,
what alternative will there be for him?

He will come back here.

Consent to the going forth from home
into homelessness
of Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family."

"We consent, dears,
to the going forth from home
into homelessness
of Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family.

But after he has gone forth,
he must come and see us."

Then the friends of Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
approached him;
and having approached,
they spoke thus to him:

"You, good Raṭṭhapāla,
are your parents' only child,
dear and beloved,
you live in comfort
and are well cared for;
you, good Raṭṭhapāla,
do not know anything of suffering.

Get up,
eat and drink
and amuse yourself;
eating,
drinking
and amusing yourself,
you can enjoy diverting yourself
with sense-pleasures
and doing [255] meritorious things.

Your parents have consented
to your going forth from home
into homelessness,
but after you have gone forth
you must see your parents."

Then Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
having got up
and regained his strength,
approached the Lord;
having approached,
having greeted the Lord,
he sat down at a respectful distance.

As he was sitting down at a respectful distance,
Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
spoke thus to the Lord:

"I, revered sir,
have my parents' consent
for the going forth from home
into homelessness.

May the Lord let me go forth."

Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
received the going forth
in the Lord's presence,
he received ordination.

 


 

Not long after the venerable Raṭṭhapāla had been ordained -
half a month after he had been ordained -
the Lord, having stayed for as long as he found suitable in Thullakoṭṭhita,
set out on tour for Sāvatthī;
and in due course,
walking on tour,
he arrived at Sāvatthī.

While he was there
the Lord stayed near Sāvatthī
in the Jeta Grove
in Anāthapiṇḍika's monastery.

Then the venerable Raṭṭhapāla,
dwelling alone,
aloof,
diligent,
ardent,
self-resolute,
having soon realised
here and now
by his own super-knowledge
that incomparable goal of the Brahma-faring
for the sake of which
young men of family
rightly go forth from home
into homelessness,
entering on it,
he 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.

"And the venerable Raṭṭhapāla
was one of the perfected ones.

Then the venerable Raṭṭhapāla approached the Lord;
having approached,
having greeted the Lord,
he sat down at a respectful distance.

As he was sitting down at a respectful distance,
the venerable Raṭṭhapāla spoke thus to the Lord:

"I want, revered sir,
to see my parents,
if the Lord allows me."

Then the Lord
with his mind carefully reflected
on the venerable Raṭṭhapāla's reasoning of mind.

When the Lord knew
that it was impossible for the venerable Raṭṭhapāla,
throwing off the training,
to return to the secular life,
then the Lord spoke thus
to the venerable Raṭṭhapāla:

"Do now, Raṭṭhapāla,
that for which you think it is the right time."

Then the venerable Raṭṭhapāla,
rising from his seat,
having greeted the Lord
keeping his right side towards him,
having packed away his bedding,
set out on tour for Thullakoṭṭhita
taking his bowl and robe;
and in due course,
walking on tour,
he arrived at Thullakoṭṭhita.

[256] While he was there,
the venerable Raṭṭhapāla stayed near Thullakoṭṭhita
in the deer-park of the Kuru king.

Then the venerable Raṭṭhapāla,
dressing in the morning,
taking his bowl and robe,
entered Thullakoṭṭhita for almsfood;
while he was walking on an uninterrupted round for almsfood,
he approached his own parents' house.

Now at that time the venerable Raṭṭhapāla's father
was having his hair combed
in the middle hall
which had a door.[4]

He saw the venerable Raṭṭhapāla, coming in the distance,
and seeing him,
he spoke thus:

"Our only son,
dear and beloved,
has gone forth among these shaveling recluses."

And the venerable Raṭṭhapāla,
received neither alms nor a refusal[5]
at his own father's house;
all he received was abuse.

Now at that time
the woman slave of the venerable Raṭṭhapāla's relations
wanted to throw away
the previous evening's barley-gruel.

But the venerable Raṭṭhapāla spoke thus to her:

"If that, sister,
is to be thrown away,
put it here in my bowl."

Then as the woman slave
of the venerable Raṭṭhapāla's relations
was putting the previous evening's barley-gruel
into his bowl
she recognised his hands and feet and voice.

So the woman slave
of the venerable Raṭṭhapāla's relations
approached his mother,
and having approached,
she spoke thus to her:

"If it please you, madam,
you should know
that the young master Raṭṭhapāla is back."

"Now then, if you speak the truth,
you are a freed woman."

Then the venerable Raṭṭhapāla's mother
approached his father;
and having approached,
she spoke thus to his father:

"If it please you, householder,
you should know that Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
is indeed back."

Now at that time
the venerable Raṭṭhapāla was eating the previous evening's barley-gruel
in a room provided for the purpose.[6]

Then the venerable Raṭṭhapāla's father approached him;
having approached,
he spoke thus to him:

"Can it be, dear Raṭṭhapāla,
[257] that you are eating last evening's barley-gruel?

Surely, dear Raṭṭhapāla,
you should come into your own home?"

"Where, householder, is there a home
for us who have gone forth from home
into homelessness?

We are houseless ones, householder.

I did come to your home, householder;
but I received neither alms there
nor a refusal;
all I received was abuse."

"Come, dear Raṭṭhapāla,
we will go to the house."

"No, householder,
I have done with eating for today."

"Well then, dear Raṭṭhapāla,
consent to a meal on the morrow."

The venerable Raṭṭhapāla consented
by becoming silent.

And when the venerable Raṭṭhapāla's father
had understood that he had consented,
he went up to his own dwelling;
and having gone there,
he had a great heap made
of gold coins and gold,
and having had them hidden with screens,
he summoned the venerable Raṭṭhapāla's former wives,
and said:

"Come you, daughters-in-law,
adorn yourselves with the adornments
adorned with which
you used to be dear to Raṭṭhapāla, the young man of family,
and beloved by him."

And towards the end of that night
the venerable Raṭṭhapāla's father,
having had sumptuous foods,
solid and soft,
prepared in his own dwelling,
had the time announced
to the venerable Raṭṭhapāla,
saying:

"It is time, dear Raṭṭhapāla,
the meal is ready."

Then the venerable Raṭṭhapāla,
having dressed in the morning,
taking his bowl and robe,
approached his own father's dwelling;
having approached,
he sat down on the seat made ready.

And the venerable Raṭṭhapāla's father,
having had that heap of gold coins and gold uncovered,
spoke thus to the venerable Raṭṭhapāla:

"This, dear Raṭṭhapāla,
is your mother's wealth,
the other is your father's,
the other your paternal grandfather's.[7]

It is possible, dear Raṭṭhapāla,
both to enjoy riches
and do meritorious things.

Come you, dear Raṭṭhapāla,
throwing off the training
and returning to the secular life,
enjoy riches
and do meritorious things."

"If you, householder,
would do my bidding,
having loaded this heap of gold coins and gold into wagons,
and then having had it brought down,
you would have it dropped
in the middle stream of the river Ganges.

What is the reason for this?

It is from that source, householder,
that there will arise for you
grief,
sorrow,
suffering,
lamentation
and despair."

Taking hold of his feet,
the venerable Raṭṭhapāla's former wives
[258] then spoke thus to him:

"How, young master,
of what kind
are those nymphs
for whose sake you fare the Brahma-faring?"

"We, sisters, do not fare the Brahma-faring
for the sake of nymphs."

Saying,

"The young master Raṭṭhapāla
addresses us with the word 'sisters,'"

they fell down fainting just there.

Then the venerable Raṭṭhapāla
spoke thus to his father:

"If you would give food, householder,
give it;
but do not annoy us."

"Eat, dear Raṭṭhapāla,
the meal is ready."

Then the venerable Raṭṭhapāla's father
with his own hand
served and satisfied the venerable Raṭṭhapāla
with sumptuous food,
solid and soft.

And when the venerable Raṭṭhapāla had eaten
and had withdrawn his hand from the bowl,
standing he spoke these verses:[8]

"See[9] the pranked-out puppet-shape,[10] a mass of sores, a congeries,[11]
afflicted, much thought of,[12] for which there is never stability.

See the pranked-out form with jewels and rings,
the bones sheathed in skin, resplendent with the clothes,

The feet dyed with lac, the face with powder smeared -
enough for delusion of a fool, but not for the quester of the Beyond.

Hair braided eightfold, eyes with collyrium smeared -
enough for delusion of a fool, but not for the quester of the Beyond.

Like a new collyrium-box, embossed, is the foul body, adorned -
enough for delusion of a fool, but not for the quester of the Beyond.

The trapper set a snare; the deer touched not the net.
Having eaten the crop, we go while the deer-catchers lament."

 


 

[259] After the venerable Raṭṭhapāla had spoken these verses while he was standing,
he approached the deer-park of the Kuru king;[13]
having approached,
he sat down for the day-sojoum
at the root of a tree.

Then the Kuru king addressed a trapper,[14] saying:

"Clear a pleasure-ground, good trapper,
in the deer-park;
we will go to see the lovely ground."

"Yes, sire,"

and when the trapper had answered the Kuru king in assent,
he saw, while he was clearing the deer-park,
the venerable Raṭṭhapāla sitting down for the day-sojourn
at the root of a tree;
on seeing him,
he approached the Kuru king,
and having approached,
he spoke thus to him:

"Sire, the deer-park is cleared;
but there is the young man of family, Raṭṭhapāla,
the son of a leading family near this very Thullakoṭṭhita,
and whom yon have constantly praised,
sitting at the root of a tree
for the day-sojourn."

"Well then, good trapper,
no more now today of the pleasure-ground,
but we will now at once
pay respects to the revered Raṭṭhapāla."

And when he had said:

"Give away all the solid and soft food
that has been prepared,"

he had many lovely vehicles harnessed,
and having mounted a lovely vehicle,
he set forth from Thullakoṭṭhita
in great royal pomp
with the many lovely vehicles
so as to see the venerable Raṭṭhapāla.

Having gone by vehicle
for as far as the ground was passable,
and having then descended from the vehicle,
with his princely train
he approached the venerable Raṭṭhapāla on foot;
having approached,
he exchanged greetings with the venerable Raṭṭhapāla;
and having conversed in a friendly and courteous way,
he stood at a respectful distance.

As he was standing at a respectful distance,
the Kuru king spoke thus to the venerable Raṭṭhapāla:

"Let the revered Raṭṭhapāla
sit down here on the elephant-rug."[15]

[260] "No, sire; you sit down,
I am sitting on a seat of my own."

The Kura king sat down
on the prepared seat;
while he was sitting down
the Kuru king spoke thus to the venerable Raṭṭhapāla:

"Good Raṭṭhapāla,
there are these four kinds of loss
followed by which
some (men) here,
having cut off hair and beard,
having donned saffron garments,
go forth from home into homelessness.

What are the four?

Loss through old age,
loss through illness,
loss of wealth,
loss of relations.

And what, good Raṭṭhapāla,
is loss through old age?

As to this, good Raṭṭhapāla,
someone is worn,
old,
full of years,
has lived his span
and is at the close of his life.

He reflects thus:

'I am now worn,
old,
full of years,
I have lived my span
and am at the close of my life,
so it is not easy for me
to acquire wealth not already acquired
or to use to advantage
the wealth already acquired.

Suppose that I,
having cut off hair and beard,
having donned saffron garments,
should go forth from home
into homelessness?

So he, following[ed1] this loss through old age,
having cut off hair and beard,
having donned saffron garments,
goes forth from home into homelessness.

Good Raṭṭhapāla, this is called
loss through old age.

But the revered Raṭṭhapāla is still young,
endowed with the coal-black hair of radiant youth,
in his early prime,
and there is none of this loss through old age
for the revered Raṭṭhapāla.

What has the good Raṭṭhapāla known
or seen
or heard
that he has gone forth from home
into homelessness?

And what, good Raṭṭhapāla, is
loss through illness?

As to this, good Raṭṭhapāla,
someone is ill,
in pain,
grievously ill.

He reflects thus:

'I am now ill,
in pain,
grievously ill,
so it is not easy for me
to acquire wealth not already acquired
or to use to advantage
the wealth already acquired.

Suppose that I,
having cut off hair and beard,
having donned saffron garments,
should go forth from home
into homelessness?

So he, following this loss through illness,
having cut off hair and beard,
having donned saffron garments,
goes forth from home
into homelessness.

Good Raṭṭhapāla, this is called
loss through illness.

But the revered Raṭṭhapāla is still free from illness,
not ailing,
possessed of a good digestion
that is neither too cold
nor too hot,
and there is none of this loss through illness
for the revered Raṭṭhapāla.

What has the good Raṭṭhapāla known
or seen
or heard
that he has gone forth from home
into homelessness?

And what, good Raṭṭhapāla, is
loss of wealth?

As to this, good [261] Raṭṭhapāla,
someone is rich,
of great possessions,
very wealthy,
but gradually these riches of his diminish.

He reflects thus:

'Formerly I was rich,
of great possessions,
very wealthy,
but gradually these riches of mine
have diminished,
so it is not easy for me
to acquire wealth not already acquired
or to use to advantage
the wealth already acquired.

Suppose that I,
having cut off hair and beard,
having donned saffron garments,
should go forth from home
into homelessness?

So he, following this loss through wealth,
having cut off hair and beard,
having donned saffron garments,
goes forth from home
into homelessness.

Good Raṭṭhapāla, this is called
loss of wealth.

But the revered Raṭṭhapāla is the son of a leading family
in this very Thullakoṭṭhita,
and there is none of this loss of wealth
for the revered Raṭṭhapāla.

What has the good Raṭṭhapāla known
or seen
or heard
that he has gone forth from home
into homelessness?

And what, good Raṭṭhapāla, is
loss of relations?

As to this, good Raṭṭhapāla,
someone has many friends and acquaintances,
kith and kin,
but gradually these relations of his diminish.

He reflects thus:

'Formerly I had many friends and acquaintances,
kith and kin,
but gradually these relations of mine have diminished,
so it is not easy for me
to acquire wealth not already acquired
or to use to advantage
the wealth already acquired.

Suppose that I,
having cut off hair and beard,
having donned saffron garments,
should go forth from home
into homelessness?

So he, following this loss through relations,
having cut off hair and beard,
having donned saffron garments,
goes forth from home
into homelessness.

Good Raṭṭhapāla, this is called
loss of relations.

But the revered Raṭṭhapāla has many friends and acquaintances,
kith and kin,
in this very Thullakoṭṭhita,
and there is none of this loss of relations
for the revered Raṭṭhapāla.

What has the good Raṭṭhapāla known
or seen
or heard
that he has gone forth from home
into homelessness?

These, good Raṭṭhapāla,
are the four kinds of loss
followed by which
some (men) here,
having cut off hair and beard,
having donned saffron garments,
go forth from home into homelessness.

But there are none of these
for the revered Raṭṭhapāla.

What has the good Raṭṭhapāla known
or seen
or heard
that he has gone forth from home
into homelessness?"

"There are, sire,
four expoundings of Dhamma
expounded by the Lord who knows,
who sees,
perfected one,
fully Self-Awakened One;
because I have known
and seen
and heard these
I have gone forth from home
into homelessness.

What are the four?

The first expounding of Dhamma
expounded by the Lord who knows,
who sees,
perfected one,
fully Self-Awakened One is that:

'The unstable world
is brought to an end.'[16]

Because I have known
and seen
and heard this
I have gone forth [262] from home
into homelessness.

The second expounding of Dhamma
expounded by the Lord who knows,
who sees,
perfected one,
fully Self-Awakened One is that:

'The world is no refuge,
no guard.'

Because I have known
and seen
and heard this
I have gone forth from home
into homelessness.

The third expounding of Dhamma
expounded by the Lord who knows,
who sees,
perfected one,
fully Self-Awakened One is that:

'The world is not one's own,
one must go
leaving everything.'

Because I have known
and seen
and heard this
I have gone forth from home
into homelessness.

The fourth expounding of Dhamma
expounded by the Lord who knows,
who sees,
perfected one,
fully Self-Awakened One is that:

'The world lacks and is unsatisfied,
a slave to craving.'

Because I have known
and seen
and heard this
I have gone forth from home into homelessness.

These, sire, are the four expoundings of Dhamma
expounded by the Lord who knows,
who sees,
perfected one,
fully Self-Awakened One;
because I have known
and seen
and heard these
I have gone forth from home
into homelessness."

"The good Raṭṭhapāla says:

'The unstable world
is brought to an end.'

But how is the meaning of this saying to be understood,
good Raṭṭhapāla?"

"What do you think about this, sire?

Were you,
at the age of twenty
or twenty-five,
expert in (handling) an elephant
and a horse
and a chariot
and a bow
and a sword,
strong of leg and arm,
able[17] and proficient in warfare?"

"I, good Raṭṭhapāla,
at the age of twenty
or twenty-five,
was expert in (handling) an elephant
and a horse
and a chariot
and a bow
and a sword,
I was strong of leg and arm,
able and proficient in warfare;
methinks I was sometimes inspired;
I saw none equal to myself in strength."

"What do you think about this, sire?

Are you still so strong in leg and arm,
able and proficient in warfare?"

"No, good Raṭṭhapāla,
I am now worn,
old,
full of years,
I have lived my span
and am at the close of my life -
round eighty years of age.

Sometimes, good Raṭṭhapāla,
when I want to take a step in one direction
I step in another."[18]

"It was in reference to this, sire,
that the Lord who knows,
who sees,
perfected one,
fully Self-Awakened One, said:

'The unstable world [263]
is brought to an end.'

Because I have known
and seen
and heard this
I have gone forth from home
into homelessness."

"It is wonderful, good Raṭṭhapāla,
it is marvellous, good Raṭṭhapāla,
that this was so well spoken
by the Lord who knows,
who sees,
perfected one,
fully Self-Awakened One, that:

'The unstable world
is brought to an end.'

For, good Raṭṭhapāla,
the unstable world
is brought to an end.

Now, good Raṭṭhapāla,
in this royal family
are squadrons of elephants
and squadrons of horses
and squadrons of chariots
and squadrons of infantry
which, if we were in distress,
would defend us.[19]

The good Raṭṭhapāla says:

'The world is no refuge,
no guard.'

But how is the meaning of this saying to be understood,
good Raṭṭhapāla?"

"What do you think about this, sire?

Have you any chronic illness?"

"I have a chronic illness of wind,
good Raṭṭhapāla.

Sometimes friends and acquaintances,
kith and kin
stand round me, saying:

'Now the Kuru king will pass away,
now the Kuru king will pass away.'"

"What do you think about this, sire?

Would you be able to say
to friends and acquaintances,
kith and kin:

'Let the good friends and acquaintances,
kith and kin,
ease my pain,
let them all share this feeling
so that I could experience
a more buoyant feeling?

Or do you have to experience that feeling alone?"

"I, good Raṭṭhapāla,
am not able to say to friends and acquaintances,
kith and kin:

'Let the good friends and acquaintances,
kith and kin,
ease my pain,
let them all share this feeling
so that I could experience
a more buoyant feeling.

So I have to experience that feeling alone."

"It was in reference to this, sire,
that the Lord who knows,
who sees,
perfected one,
fully Self-Awakened One, said:

'The world is no refuge,
no guard.'

Because I have known
and seen
and heard this
I have gone forth from home
into homelessness."

"It is wonderful, good Raṭṭhapāla,
it is marvellous, good Raṭṭhapāla,
that this was so well spoken
by the Lord who knows,
who sees,
perfected one,
fully Self-Awakened One, that:

'The world is no refuge,
no guard.'

For, good Raṭṭhapāla,
the world is no refuge,
no guard.

Now, Raṭṭhapāla,
in this royal family
is an abundance of gold coins and gold,
both in the ground
and above it.[20]

The good [264] Raṭṭhapāla says:

'The world is not one's own,
one must go
leaving everything.'

But how is the meaning of this saying to be understood,
good Raṭṭhapāla?"

"What do you think about this, sire?

Although you at present
divert yourself
endowed with
and possessed of
the five strands of sense-pleasures,
will you hereafter be able to say:

'Even so am I diverting myself
endowed with
and possessed of
these same five strands of sense-pleasures?'

Or will others
come into this wealth
while you go on
according to kamma?"

"Although I at present, dear Raṭṭhapāla,
divert myself
endowed with
and possessed of
the five strands of sense-pleasures,
I will not hereafter be able to say:

'Even so am I diverting myself
endowed with
and possessed of
these same five strands of sense-pleasures.'

So others will come into this wealth
while I go on
according to kamma"

"It was in reference to this, sire,
that the Lord who knows,
who sees,
perfected one,
fully Self-Awakened One, said:

'The world is not one's own,
one must go
leaving everything.'

Because I have known
and seen
and heard this
I have gone forth from home
into homelessness."

"It is wonderful, good Raṭṭhapāla,
it is marvellous, good Raṭṭhapāla,
that this was so well spoken
by the Lord who knows,
who sees,
perfected one,
fully Self-Awakened One, that:

'The world is not one's own, one must go leaving everything.'

For, good Raṭṭhapāla,
the world is not one's own,
one must go
leaving everything.

Now, the good Raṭṭhapāla says:

'The world lacks and is unsatisfied,
a slave to craving.'

But how is the meaning of this saying to be understood,
good Raṭṭhapāla?"

"What do you think about this, sire?

Is the Kuru you dwell in as master,[21]
prosperous?"

"Yes, good Raṭṭhapāla,
the Kuru I dwell in as master is prosperous."

"What do you think about this, sire?

If a trustworthy,
reliable man
were to come to you here from the east
and having approached you
should say:

'If it please you, sire,
you should know that I am coming from the east,
and have seen a great country there,
rich,
prosperous,
thronged with people;
there were many squadrons of elephants there,
squadrons of horses,
squadrons of chariots,
squadrons of infantry;
there is much ivory there,
much gold
both unwrought [265]
and wrought,
many women are there.

And it is possible to conquer it
with such and such a force.

Conquer it, sire.'

What would you do?"

"When I had conquered it, good Raṭṭhapāla,
I should dwell in it as master."

"What do you think about this, sire?

If a trustworthy,
reliable man
were to come to you here from the west
and having approached you
should say:

'If it please you, sire,
you should know that I am coming from the east,
and have seen a great country there,
rich,
prosperous,
thronged with people;
there were many squadrons of elephants there,
squadrons of horses,
squadrons of chariots,
squadrons of infantry;
there is much ivory there,
much gold
both unwrought
and wrought,
many women are there.

And it is possible to conquer it
with such and such a force.

Conquer it, sire.'

What would you do?"

"When I had conquered it, good Raṭṭhapāla,
I should dwell in it as master."

"What do you think about this, sire?

If a trustworthy,
reliable man
were to come to you here from the north
and having approached you
should say:

'If it please you, sire,
you should know that I am coming from the east,
and have seen a great country there,
rich,
prosperous,
thronged with people;
there were many squadrons of elephants there,
squadrons of horses,
squadrons of chariots,
squadrons of infantry;
there is much ivory there,
much gold
both unwrought
and wrought,
many women are there.

And it is possible to conquer it
with such and such a force.

Conquer it, sire.'

What would you do?"

"When I had conquered it, good Raṭṭhapāla,
I should dwell in it as master."

"What do you think about this, sire?

If a trustworthy,
reliable man
were to come to you here from the south
and having approached you
should say:

'If it please you, sire,
you should know that I am coming from the east,
and have seen a great country there,
rich,
prosperous,
thronged with people;
there were many squadrons of elephants there,
squadrons of horses,
squadrons of chariots,
squadrons of infantry;
there is much ivory there,
much gold
both unwrought
and wrought,
many women are there.

And it is possible to conquer it
with such and such a force.

Conquer it, sire.'

What would you do?"

"When I had conquered it, good Raṭṭhapāla,
I should dwell in it as master."

"It was in reference to this, sire,
that the Lord who knows,
who sees,
perfected one,
fully Self-Awakened One, said:

'The world lacks and is unsatisfied,
a slave to craving.'

Because I have known
and seen
and heard this
I have gone forth from home
into homelessness."

"It is wonderful, good Raṭṭhapāla,
it is marvellous, good Raṭṭhapāla,
that this was so well spoken
by the Lord who knows,
who sees,
perfected one,
fully Self-Awakened One, that:

'The world lacks
and is unsatisfied,
a slave to craving.'

For, good Raṭṭhapāla,
the world lacks,
it is unsatisfied,
it is a slave to craving."

The venerable Raṭṭhapāla said this;
having said this,
he further spoke thus;[22]

"I see men of wealth in the world-
acquiring property, from delusion they give not away;
out of greed a hoard of wealth they make,
and hanker sorely after more sense-pleasures.

A king, having forcibly conquered the earth,
inhabiting a land with the ocean its confines,
not satisfied with this side of the sea
hankers after the sea's further side too.

Kings and full many another man
come to their dying their cravings not gone;
[266] as those that still lack they put off the body;
yet in the world is no satisfaction in sense-pleasures.[23]

Letting down their hair, kinsmen bewail him
and say: 'Alas, he is not undying.'
Bearing him wrapped in a shroud,
kindling a pyre, they cremate him then.

Being prodded by stakes, he burns
in the one garment, riches got rid of.
Not to one who is dying are kinsfolk a refuge
any more than are friends or intimates here.

Heirs carry off his wealth;
but the being goes on according to kamma.
Wealth does not follow him who is dying,
nor child or wife, nor wealth or kingdom.

Long life is not gained from wealth,
nor is old age banished by property.
'For brief is this life,' the wise say,
non-eternal, subject to change.

Rich and poor feel the touch,[24]
fool and wise are touched alike.
But the fool, as though struck down by folly, prostrate lies,
while the wise, touched by the touch, trembles not.

Wherefore better than wealth is wisdom
by which one here secures accomplishment.[25]
Not being accomplished in this-becoming or that,[26] they do evil deeds from delusion.

[267] He comes to a womb and to another world,
being bound to samsara,[27] in a successive (round);
one of little wisdom, having faith in him,
comes to a womb and to another world.

As a thief of evil nature, caught in the act
of breaking in, is ruined[28] by his own kamma,
so the race, of evil nature, is hereafter,
in another world, ruined by its own kamma.

Divers sweet, delightful sense-pleasures
in various ways disturb the mind;
having seen the peril in sense-pleasures,
I, O sire, have therefore gone forth.

As fruits from the tree, so fall men,
both young and old, on the break up of the body.
Having seen[29] this too, I have gone forth, sire.
Better indeed is sure recluseship."

Discourse with Raṭṭhapāla:
The Second

 


[1] At A. ii. 24 called chief of those gone forth from faith.

[2] The story of Raṭṭhapāla's efforts to be ordained and of the events immediately following is very similar to the story of Sudinna at Vin. iii. 12 ff. There are also some interesting variations.

[3] puttaɱ, of Vin. iii. 12 (and cf. Vin. i. 83) is omitted here, perhaps because Raṭṭhapāla was at this time rather more than a child.

[4] MA. iii. 295 says: at the porch of the door in the middle of a house with seven porched doors. See above, p. 47.

[5] A refusal would mean that without waiting longer the bhikkhu could pass on to the next house; and might receive the necessary alms there.

[6] kuḍḍaɱ nissāya. Perhaps "leaning against a wall." But MA. iii. 297 says "in that district there were halls in benefactors' houses, where seats were prepared and vessels of water, and where those who had gone forth sat down and ate when they were walking for alms. ... For those who have gone forth do not sit down to eat in unsuitable places as do beggars." The exact meaning of kuḍḍa (v.l. kuṭṭa, kuḍḍa- and kuṭṭamūla) in this passage is however not clear.

[7] pitāmahaɱ, perhaps more exactly "ancestors'."

[8] Verses as at Thag. 769-774, there also ascribed to Raṭṭhapāla. The remainder of his verses are at M. ii. 72-74 (Thag. 776-788), with the exception of Thag. ver. 775, 789-703 which occur only there.

[9] This verse also occurs at Dhp. 147, being spoken, according to DhA. iii. 104 on account of Sirimā, the beautiful courtesan of Rājagaha.

[10] bimba, a shape, image; cf. S. i. 134. MA. iii. 301 = DhA. iii. 109 = ThagA. explain by attabhāva.

[11] samussitaɱ. MA. iii. 302 says that, with 300 bones, held together by 900 sinews, smeared with 900 lumps of flesh, it is built up (ussita, erected?) on every side.

[12] bahusaɱkappaɱ, by others.

[13] rājā Koravyo, It is not clear whether Koravya was his personal name or a generic name of the king of the Kurus, See DPPN. s.v. Korabya.

[14] migava. MA. iii. 304 says this is the name of the keeper of the pleasaunce. If so, his name was derived from his occupation. The same word has already occurred in the first line of the last verse above, and there in no way seems to be a proper name. Chalmers translates as "huntsman." As a proper name migava is not included in DPPN. Moreover, in Pali, a proper name is usually further defined to show who the person was: brahman, householder, king and so on.

[15] As at M. ii. 113. Had the word hattkatthara not been translated as "clump of flowers" by Chalmers, it would have needed no comment. As it is, it must be noticed that at Vin. i. 192, D. i. 7, A. i. 181 it is in a sequence with assatthara rathatthara, horse-rug, chariot-rug, and therefore appears to be elephant-rug. MA. iii. 305 says that a thin "elephant-rug" filled with flowers (? bahalapuppho) having been folded double, is spread and indicated (abhilakkhita, distinguished) for it would not be suitable to sit on it uninvited.

[16] Upanīyati loko addhuvo. On upanīyati, to be led, driven, to be carried on or away, see K.S. i. 4, n. 1,

[17] Reading alamatto with the text, other versions and MA. iii. 307 against one tentative v.l. and PED. which read, as in other contexts, alamattho. The meaning in each case however seems to be samattho (as also at DA. 660), to which at MA. iii. 307 is added attabhāvo, the individual. Samattha-atta-bhāva would therefore mean: "the individual is sufficient unto himself," self-reliant, self-sufficient, which also could be taken as a meaning of alam-atta, "self is enough."

[18] Cf. DhA. i. 7 mahallakassa ... hatthapādā anassavā, honti, an old man's arms and legs are disobedient.

[19] pariyodhāya vattissanti. cf. S. i. 72-73 where the Buddhist view is given: that however many squadrons might guard (rakkhanti) a person, yet attā (self) is not guarded by them, tesam arakkhito attā; for theirs is merely an outer guard, not an inner.

[20] vehāsaṭṭha (with v.l. vehāsagata) as at Vin. iii. 48. See B.D. i. p. 79, n. 6 for further references.

[21] ajjhāmsati. Cf. Jā. vi. 273, where koravya is explained as Kururaṭṭha-vāsika, a dweller in the Kuru kingdom.

[22] In the following unmetrical rendering, I have attempted to be more exactly literal than either Mrs. Rhys Davids or Lord Chalmers. Otherwise I would have followed one or other of these beautiful versions, the former to be found in Pss. Breath., and the latter in Fur. Dial ii., and both of which I have found very helpful.

[23] Meaning, I think, that they cannot be satiated.

[24] phusanti phassaɱ, i.e. they touch the touch, namely of dying, maraṇa-phassa, MA. iii. 308.

[25] I.e. arahantship.

[26] bhavābhavesu, explained at MA. iii. 308 as "in low and excellent becomings," and at ThagA. as mahantāmantesu bhavesu. Bhavābhava also occurs at Sn. 1060, 1068; and at ThīgA. 71, saɱsaranto bhavābhave; it means in the various becomings. Cf. phalāphala, a variety, or all kinds, of fruit.

[27] saɱsāram āpajja, undergoes, experiences, produces saɱsāra. Cf. S. i. 37, 38, satto saɱsāram āpādi.

[28] haññati, is struck, hit, killed, destroyed.

[29] In answer to the king's questions, put in the narrative part of this Discourse, Raṭṭhapāla now tells him what he has seen and heard to make him go forth.

 


[ed1] Woodward here has "So he that is followed by this loss through old age...", but the idea is, as above that it is following these losses that some persons give up the world.

 


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