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 83

Makhādeva Suttaɱ

Discouse on Makhādeva[1]

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][chlm][upal] THUS have I heard:

At one time the Lord was staying near Mithilā
in Makhādeva's Mango Grove.[2]

Then the Lord smiled (when he [268] came to a) certain place.

Then it occurred to the venerable Ānanda:

"What is the cause,
what the reason
that the Lord is smihng?

Not without motive
do Tathāgatas smile."

Then the venerable Ānanda,
having arranged his robe over one shoulder,
having saluted the Lord with joined palms,
spoke thus to the Lord:

"Now, revered sir, what is the cause,
what the reason
that the Lord is smiling?

Not without motive
do Tathāgatas smile."[3]

"Once upon a time, Ānanda,
in this very Mithilā
there was a king named Makhādeva,
a dhamma-man,
a king under dhamma,
firm in dhamma,
a great king who fared by dhamma
among brahmans and householders,
townsfolk and countryfolk,
and who observed the Observance
on the fourteenth,
fifteenth
and eighth days
of the half-month.[4]

Then, Ānanda, at the end of many years,
many hundreds of years,
many thousands of years,
King Makhādeva addressed his barber,
saying:

'When, good barber,
you see grey hairs growing on my head,
then you may tell me.'

Ānanda, the barber answered King Makhādeva in assent,
saying,

'Yes, sire.'

Then, Ānanda, at the end of many years,
many hundreds of years,
many thousands of years,
the barber saw grey hairs growing
on King Makhādeva's head.

Seeing that, Ānanda,
he spoke thus to King Makhādeva:

'Death's messengers[5] have appeared to his majesty;
grey hairs are to be seen growing on his head.'

'Well then, good barber,
when you have pulled out those grey hairs properly with the tweezers,
place them on my fingers.'

'Yes, your majesty.'

And when, Ānanda, the barber had answered King Makhādeva in assent,
he pulled out the grey hairs properly with the tweezers
and placed them on King Makhādeva's fingers.

And, Ānanda, King Makhādeva,
having given the boon of a village to the barber,
had the prince who was his eldest son summoned
and spoke thus:

'Dear Prince,
Death's messengers have appeared to me;
grey hairs are to be seen growing on my head.

Human sense-pleasures [269] have been enjoyed by me;
it is now time to seek deva-like sense-pleasures.

Come you, dear Prince,
rule this kingdom.

For I, having cut off my hair and beard,
having donned saffron garments,
will go forth from home
into homelessness.

And now, dear Prince,
when you too see grey hairs growing on your head,
then, having given the boon of a village to the barber,
having handed over the kingdom properly
to the prince who is your eldest son,
having cut off your hair and beard,
having donned saffron garments,
you should go forth from home
into homelessness.

This lovely custom
founded by me
you should maintain;
do not you be the last man after me.

Dear Prince, while two persons exist
and there is a breaking of such a lovely custom,
whichever of these (breaks it)
he is the last man.[6]

So I, dear Prince, speak thus to you:

This lovely custom
founded by me
you should maintain;
do not you be the last man after me.'

Then, Ānanda, King Makhādeva,
having given the boon of the village to the barber,
having handed over the kingdom properly
to the prince who was hia eldest son,
having in this very Makhādeva Mango Grove
cut off his hair and beard,
having donned saffron garments,
went forth from home
into homelessness.

He dwelt, having suffused the first quarter with a mind of friendliness,
likewise the second,
likewise the third,
likewise the fourth;
just so above,
below,
across;
he dwelt having suffused the whole world
everywhere,
in every way,
with a mind of friendliness
that was far-reaching,
wide-spread,
immeasurable,
without enmity,
without malevolence.

He dwelt, having suffused the first quarter with a mind of compassion,
likewise the second,
likewise the third,
likewise the fourth;
just so above,
below,
across;
he dwelt having suffused the whole world
everywhere,
in every way,
with a mind of compassion
that was far-reaching,
wide-spread,
immeasurable,
without enmity,
without malevolence.

He dwelt, having suffused the first quarter with a mind of sympathetic joy,
likewise the second,
likewise the third,
likewise the fourth;
just so above,
below,
across;
he dwelt having suffused the whole world
everywhere,
in every way,
with a mind of sympathetic joy
that was far-reaching,
wide-spread,
immeasurable,
without enmity,
without malevolence.

He dwelt, having suffused the first quarter with a mind of equanimity,
likewise the second,
likewise the third,
likewise the fourth;
just so above,
below,
across;
he dwelt having suffused the whole world
everywhere,
in every way,
with a mind of equanimity
that was far-reaching,
wide-spread,
immeasurable,
without enmity,
without malevolence.

But, Ānanda, King Makhādeva
had played at boys' sports[7]
for 84,000 years,
had ruled as a viceroy[8]
for 84,000 years,
and had ruled as a king
for 84,000 years;
for 84,000 years,
gone forth from home into homelessness
in this very Makhādeva Mango Grove,
he fared the Brahma-faring.

He, having developed the four Brahma-abidings,
was one who at the breaking up of the body after dying
reached the Brahma-world.

 


 

And, Ānanda, at the end of many years,
many hundreds of years,
many thousands of years,
King Makhādeva's son addressed his barber,
saying:

'When, good barber,
you see grey hairs growing on my head,
then you may tell me.'

Ānanda, the barber answered King Makhādeva's son in assent,
saying,

'Yes, sire.'

Then, Ānanda, at the end of many years,
many hundreds of years,
many thousands of years,
the barber saw grey hairs growing
on King Makhādeva's son head.

Seeing that, Ānanda,
he spoke thus to King Makhādeva's son:

'Death's messengers have appeared to his majesty;
grey hairs are to be seen growing on his head.'

'Well then, good barber,
when you have pulled out those grey hairs properly with the tweezers,
place them on my fingers.'

'Yes, your majesty.'

And when, Ānanda, the barber had answered King Makhādeva's son in assent,
he pulled out the grey hairs properly with the tweezers
and placed them on King Makhādeva's son's fingers.

And, Ānanda, King Makhādeva's son,
having given the boon of a village to the barber,
had the prince who was his eldest son summoned
and spoke thus:

'Dear Prince,
Death's messengers have appeared to me;
grey hairs are to be seen growing on my head.

Human sense-pleasures have been enjoyed by me;
it is now time to seek deva-like sense-pleasures.

Come you, dear Prince,
rule this kingdom.

For I, having cut off my hair and beard,
having donned saffron garments,
will go forth from home
into homelessness.

And now, dear Prince,
when you too see grey hairs growing on your head,
then, having given the boon of a village to the barber,
having handed over the kingdom properly
to the prince who is your eldest son,
having cut off your hair and beard,
having donned saffron garments,
you should go forth from home
into homelessness.

This lovely custom
founded by me
you should maintain;
do not you be the last man after me.

Dear Prince, while two persons exist
and there is a breaking of such a lovely custom,
whichever of these (breaks it)
he is the last man.

So I, dear Prince, speak thus to you:

This lovely custom
founded by me
you should maintain;
do not you be the last man after me.'

Then, Ānanda, King Makhādeva's son,
having given the boon of the village to the barber,
having handed over the kingdom properly
to the prince who was hia eldest son,
having in this very Makhādeva Mango Grove
cut off his hair and beard,
having donned saffron garments,
went forth from home
into homelessness.

He dwelt, having suffused the first quarter with a mind of friendliness,
likewise the second,
likewise the third,
likewise the fourth;
just so above,
below,
across;
he dwelt having suffused the whole world
everywhere,
in every way,
with a mind of friendliness
that was far-reaching,
wide-spread,
immeasurable,
without enmity,
without malevolence.

He dwelt, having suffused the first quarter with a mind of compassion,
likewise the second,
likewise the third,
likewise the fourth;
just so above,
below,
across;
he dwelt having suffused the whole world
everywhere,
in every way,
with a mind of compassion
that was far-reaching,
wide-spread,
immeasurable,
without enmity,
without malevolence.

He dwelt, having suffused the first quarter with a mind of sympathetic joy,
likewise the second,
likewise the third,
likewise the fourth;
just so above,
below,
across;
he dwelt having suffused the whole world
everywhere,
in every way,
with a mind of sympathetic joy
that was far-reaching,
wide-spread,
immeasurable,
without enmity,
without malevolence.

He dwelt, having suffused the first quarter with a mind of equanimity,
likewise the second,
likewise the third,
likewise the fourth;
just so above,
below,
across;
he dwelt having suffused the whole world
everywhere,
in every way,
with a mind of equanimity
that was far-reaching,
wide-spread,
immeasurable,
without enmity,
without malevolence.

But, Ānanda, King Makhādeva's son
had played at boys' sports
for 84,000 years,
had ruled as a viceroy
for 84,000 years,
and had ruled as a king
for 84,000 years;
for 84,000 years,
gone forth from home into homelessness
in this very Makhādeva Mango Grove,
he fared the Brahma-faring.

He, having developed the four Brahma-abidings,
was [270] one who at the breaking up of the body after dying
reached the Brahma-world.

 


 

And then, Ānanda, King Makhādeva's sons' descendants
who succeeded him,
after 84,(KM) years as nobles,
having in this very Makhādeva Mango Grove
cut off their hair and beards,
having donned saffron garments,
went forth from home into homelessness.

These dwelt, having suffused the first quarter with a mind of friendliness,
likewise the second,
likewise the third,
likewise the fourth;
just so above,
below,
across;
he dwelt having suffused the whole world
everywhere,
in every way,
with a mind of friendliness
that was far-reaching,
wide-spread,
immeasurable,
without enmity,
without malevolence.

These dwelt, having suffused the first quarter with a mind of compassion,
likewise the second,
likewise the third,
likewise the fourth;
just so above,
below,
across;
he dwelt having suffused the whole world
everywhere,
in every way,
with a mind of compassion
that was far-reaching,
wide-spread,
immeasurable,
without enmity,
without malevolence.

These dwelt, having suffused the first quarter with a mind of sympathetic joy,
likewise the second,
likewise the third,
likewise the fourth;
just so above,
below,
across;
he dwelt having suffused the whole world
everywhere,
in every way,
with a mind of sympathetic joy
that was far-reaching,
wide-spread,
immeasurable,
without enmity,
without malevolence.

These dwelt, having suffused the first quarter with a mind of equanimity,
likewise the second,
likewise the third,
likewise the fourth;
just so above,
below,
across;
he dwelt having suffused the whole world
everywhere,
in every way,
with a mind of equanimity
that was far-reaching,
wide-spread,
immeasurable,
without enmity,
without malevolence.

These, having developed the four Brahma-abidings,
were those who at the breaking up of the body after dying
reached the Brahma-world.

 


 

Nimi was the last of these kings,
a dhamma-man,
a king under dhamma,
firm in dhamma,
a great king who fared by dhamma
among brahmans and householders,
townsfolk and countryfolk,
and who observed the Observance
on the fourteenth,
fifteenth
and eighth days of the half-month.

Once upon a time, Ānanda,
when the Devas of the Thirty-Three
were sitting down gathered together
in the Sudhammā debating hall,
this chance talk arose:

'Indeed it is a gain for the Videhas[9]
indeed it is well gotten by the Videhas
in that their king Nimi is a dhamma-man,
a king under dhamma,
firm in dhamma,
a great king who fares by dhamma
among brahmans and householders,
townsfolk and countryfolk,
and who observes the Observance
on the fourteenth,
fifteenth
and eighth days of the half-month.'

Then, Ānanda,
Sakka, the lord of devas,
addressed the Devas of the Thirty-Three:
saying;

'Do you, good sirs,
want to see King Nimi?'

'We, good sir, want to see King Nimi.'

At that time King Nimi,
keeping an Observance day,
having washed his head on that Observance day -
a fifteenth day -
was sitting down on an upper terrace of his palace.

Then, Ānanda,
as a strong man might stretch out his bent arm
or might bend back his outstretched arm,
so did Sakka, the lord of devas,
disappearing from the Devas of the Thirty-Three,
appear before King Nimi.

Then, Ānanda, Sakka, the lord of devas,
spoke thus to King Nimi:

'It is a gain for you, sire,
it is well gotten by you, sire.

Sire, the Devas of the Thirty-Three
are sitting down in the Sudhammā debating hall,
praising you and saying:

"Indeed it is a gain for the Videhas
indeed it is well gotten by the Videhas
in that their king Nimi is a dhamma-man,
a king under dhamma,
firm in dhamma,
a great king who fares by dhamma
among brahmans and householders,
townsfolk and countryfolk,
and who observes the Observance
on the fourteenth,
fifteenth
and eighth days of the half-month."

Sire, the Devas of the Thirty-Three
are anxious to see you,
so I, sire, will send you a chariot
harnessed [271] with a thousand thoroughbreds;
sire, you should mount the deva-like vehicle without hesitation.'

Ānanda, King Nimi consented by becoming silent.

Then, Ānanda, Sakka, the lord of devas,
summoned the charioteer Mātali and said:

'Come you, good Mātali,
having harnessed a chariot with a thousand thoroughbreds,
and having approached King Nimi,
speak thus:

"This chariot,
harnessed with a thousand thoroughbreds,
has been sent to you by Sakka, the lord of devas.

Sire, you should mount the deva-like vehicle without hesitation."'

'So be it, your honour.'

And, Ānanda, Mātali the charioteer,
having answered Sakka, the lord of devas, in assent,
having harnessed a chariot with a thousand thoroughbreds
and having approached King Nimi,
spoke thus:

'This chariot, sire,
harnessed with a thousand thoroughbreds,
has been sent to you by Sakka, the lord of devas;
sire, you should mount the deva-like vehicle without hesitation.

And, moreover, sire,
by which (route) do I conduct you[10] -
that by which evil deeds
undergo the ripening of evil deeds
or that by which lovely deeds
undergo the ripening of lovely deeds?'[11]

'Conduct me by both, Mātali.'

So, Ānanda, the charioteer Mātali
brought King Nimi
to the Sudhammā debating hall.

And, Ānanda, Sakka, the lord of devas,
saw King Nimi approaching from the distance;
seeing him,
he spoke to King Nimi:

'Come, sire,
you are welcome, sire.

Sire, the Devas of the Thirty-Three are sitting down
in the Sudhammā debating hall
praising you,
and saying:

"Indeed it is a gain for the Videhas
indeed it is well gotten by the Videhas
in that their king Nimi is a dhamma-man,
a king under dhamma,
firm in dhamma,
a great king who fares by dhamma
among brahmans and householders,
townsfolk and countryfolk,
and who observes the Observance
on the fourteenth,
fifteenth
and eighth days of the half-month."

Sire, the Devas of the Thirty-Three
are anxious to see you.

Rejoice, sire,
among the Devas
with a deva's majesty.'

'Enough, good sir;
let me return to Mithilā itself
where I will fare by dhamma
among brahmans and householders,
townsfolk and countryfolk
and will observe the Observance
on the fourteenth,
fifteenth
and eighth days of the half-month.'

Then, Ānanda, Sakka, the lord of devas,
summoned the charioteer Mātali and said:

'Come you, good Mātali, having harnessed a chariot with a thousand thoroughbreds,
take King Nimi back to Mithila itself.'

[272] 'So be it, your honour.'[12]

And, Ānanda, Mātali the charioteer,
having answered Sakka, the lord of devas, in assent,
harnessed a chariot with a thousand thoroughbreds
and took King Nimi back to Mithilā itself.

While he was there, Ānanda,
King Nimi fared by dhamma,
among brahmans and householders,
townsfolk and countryfolk,
and he observed the Observance
on the fourteenth,
fifteenth
and eighth days
of the half-month.

Then, Ānanda, at the end of many years,
many hundreds of years,
many thousands of years,
King Nimi addressed his barber,
saying:

'When, good barber,
you see grey hairs growing on my head,
then you may tell me.'

Ānanda, the barber answered King Nimi in assent,
saying,

'Yes, sire.'

Then, Ānanda, at the end of many years,
many hundreds of years,
many thousands of years,
the barber saw grey hairs growing
on King Nimi's head.

Seeing that, Ānanda,
he spoke thus to King King Nimi:

'Death's messengers have appeared to his majesty;
grey hairs are to be seen growing on his head.'

'Well then, good barber,
when you have pulled out those grey hairs properly with the tweezers,
place them on my fingers.'

'Yes, your majesty.'

And when, Ānanda, the barber had answered King Nimi in assent,
he pulled out the grey hairs properly with the tweezers
and placed them on King Nimi's fingers.

And, Ānanda, King Nimi,
having given the boon of a village to the barber,
had the prince who was his eldest son summoned
and spoke thus:

'Dear Prince,
Death's messengers have appeared to me;
grey hairs are to be seen growing on my head.

Human sense-pleasures have been enjoyed by me;
it is now time to seek deva-like sense-pleasures.

Come you, dear Prince,
rule this kingdom.

For I, having cut off my hair and beard,
having donned saffron garments,
will go forth from home
into homelessness.

And now, dear Prince,
when you too see grey hairs growing on your head,
then, having given the boon of a village to the barber,
having handed over the kingdom properly
to the prince who is your eldest son,
having cut off your hair and beard,
having donned saffron garments,
you should go forth from home
into homelessness.

This lovely custom
founded by me
you should maintain;
do not you be the last man after me.

Dear Prince, while two persons exist
and there is a breaking of such a lovely custom,
whichever of these (breaks it)
he is the last man.

So I, dear Prince, speak thus to you:

This lovely custom
founded by me
you should maintain;
do not you be the last man after me.'

Then, Ānanda, King Nimi,
having given the boon of the village to the barber,
having handed over the kingdom properly
to the prince who was hia eldest son,
having in this very Makhādeva Mango Grove
cut off his hair and beard,
having donned saffron garments,
went forth from home
into homelessness.

He dwelt, having suffused the first quarter with a mind of friendliness,
likewise the second,
likewise the third,
likewise the fourth;
just so above,
below,
across;
he dwelt having suffused the whole world
everywhere,
in every way,
with a mind of friendliness
that was far-reaching,
wide-spread,
immeasurable,
without enmity,
without malevolence.

He dwelt, having suffused the first quarter with a mind of compassion,
likewise the second,
likewise the third,
likewise the fourth;
just so above,
below,
across;
he dwelt having suffused the whole world
everywhere,
in every way,
with a mind of compassion
that was far-reaching,
wide-spread,
immeasurable,
without enmity,
without malevolence.

He dwelt, having suffused the first quarter with a mind of sympathetic joy,
likewise the second,
likewise the third,
likewise the fourth;
just so above,
below,
across;
he dwelt having suffused the whole world
everywhere,
in every way,
with a mind of sympathetic joy
that was far-reaching,
wide-spread,
immeasurable,
without enmity,
without malevolence.

He dwelt, having suffused the first quarter with a mind of equanimity,
likewise the second,
likewise the third,
likewise the fourth;
just so above,
below,
across;
he dwelt having suffused the whole world
everywhere,
in every way,
with a mind of equanimity
that was far-reaching,
wide-spread,
immeasurable,
without enmity,
without malevolence.

But, Ānanda, King Nimi
had played at boys' sports
for 84,000 years,
had ruled as a viceroy
for 84,000 years,
and had ruled as a king
for 84,000 years;
for 84,000 years,
gone forth from home into homelessness
in this very Makhādeva Mango Grove,
he fared the Brahma-faring.

He, having developed the four Brahma-abidings,
was one who at the breaking up of the body after dying
reached the Brahma-world.

But, Ānanda, King Nimi's son was called Kaḷārajanaka.

He did not go forth from home
into homelessness.

He broke that lovely custom;
of those (who observed it)
he was the last man.

It may be that this occurs to you, Ānanda:

'At that time King Makhādeva
by whom that lovely custom was founded
was someone else.'

But this, Ānanda, must not be understood thus.

I, at that time, was King Makhādeva,
I founded that lovely custom;
the folk that came after
maintained that lovely custom founded by me.

But that lovely custom, Ānanda,
did not conduce to turning away from,
nor to dispassion,
stopping,
tranquillity,
super-knowledge,
self-awakening
or nibbāna -
only to reaching the Brahma-world.

But this lovely custom founded by me now, Ānanda,
conduces to absolute turning away from,
to dispassion,
stopping,
tranquillity,
super-knowledge,
self-awakening
and nibbāna.

And what, Ānanda,
is the lovely custom founded by me now
that conduces to absolute turning away from,
to dispassion,
stopping,
tranquillity,
super-knowledge,
self-awakening
and nibbāna.?

It is this ariyan eightfold Way itself,
that is to say,
perfect view,
perfect thought,
perfect speech,
perfect action,
perfect mode of livelihood,
perfect endeavour,
perfect mindfulness,
perfect concentration.

It is this lovely custom founded by me now, Ānanda, that conduces to absolute turning away from away from,
to dispassion,
stopping,
tranquillity,
super-knowledge,
self-awakening
and nibbāna.

I, Ānanda, speak about it thus:

This lovely custom founded by me
you should maintain;
do not you be the last man after me.

Ānanda, while two persons exist
and there is a breaking of such a lovely custom,
whichever one of these (breaks it),
he is the last man.

In regard to this, I, Ānanda,
speak to you thus:

This lovely custom founded by me
you should maintain;
do not you be the last man after me."

[273] Thus spoke the Lord.

Delighted, the venerable Ānanda rejoiced in what the Lord had said.

Discourse on Makhādeva:
The Third

 


[1] Cf. Makhādeva Jātaka, No. 9, and Nimi Jātaka, No. 541.

[2] This Grove was originally planted by Makhādeva, and although other kings replaced trees that had died, the Grove was known by its early name, MA. iii. 309.

[3] Cf. M. Sta. 81.

[4] At Vin. i. 101 it is recorded that wanderers belonging to other sects gathered together on these days so as to speak dhamma. Buddhist monks were then allowed (by the Lord) to do the same, and a new ruling was subsequently introduced allowing them to recite the Pātimokkha, or Observance (recently devised by the Teacher) once in every half-month. Vin. i. 104. (See B.D. iv. 130 ff.).

[5] devadūtā. MA. iii. 310 says "the deva is death (maccu); his messengers are devadūtā."Cf. Devadūtā-Sutta, M. Sta. No. 130; and Devadūtavagga at A. i. 132ff.

[6] Chalmers has "he who breaks it is the last of the line."

[7] Cf. with Mahāsudassana at D. ii. 196.

[8] See A. iii. 154 on making vice-royalty one's aim.

[9] Mithilā was the capital of Videha.

[10] katamena taṁ nemi. In the Nimi Jātaka (Jā. vi. 104), where the whole episode is given in much greater detail, the reading is kena taṁ nemi maggena. For the one road goes to Niraya Hell and the other to a deva-world.

[11] Perhaps "doers of evil deeds and doers of lovely deeds" should be understood. In spite of Bu.'s verse in Vism. that the deed exists but not the doer of it, at MA. iii. 316 he says pāpakammantā pāpakānaṁ kammānaṁ vipākaṁ paṭisaṁvediyanti, "doers of evil undergo the ripening of evil deeds."

[12] Here: evaṁ bhaddan tava; above evaṁ hotu bhaddan tava. MA. iii. 314 says; evaṁ hotu bhaddakan tava vacanan ti vatvā.

 


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