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 88

Bāhitika Suttaɱ

Discourse on the Foreign Cloth

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][upal] THUS have I heard:

At one time the Lord was staying near Sāvatthī
in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika's monastery.

Then the venerable Ānanda,
having dressed in the morning,
taking his bowl and robe
entered Sāvatthī for almsfood.

When he had walked for almsfood in Sāvatthī,
returning from the alms-gathering after the meal,
he approached the palace of Migāra's mother
and the Eastern [297] monastery
for the day-sojourn.

At that time King Pasenadi of Kosala,
having mounted the bull-elephant Ekapuṇḍarika
(One-Lotus),
set forth from Sāvatthī
in the early morning.

King Pasenadi saw the venerable Ānanda
coming in the distance;
seeing him,
he addressed the chief minister, Sirivaḍḍha, saying:

"Dear Sirivaḍḍha, is not this the venerable Ānanda?"

"Yes, sire, this is the venerable Ānanda."

Then King Pasenadi addressed another man, saying:

"Come you, my good man,
approach the venerable Ānanda;
in my name salute the venerable Ānanda's feet with your head,
saying:

'Revered sir, King Pasenadi salutes the venerable Ānanda's feet with his head,'

and then say:

'If, revered sir,
there is really nothing urgent to be done
by the venerable Ānanda,
please, revered sir,
let the venerable Ānanda wait for a moment
out of compassion.'"

"Yes, sire,"
and this man having answered King Pasenadi in assent,
approached the venerable Ānanda;
having approached
and having greeted the venerable Ānanda,
he stood at a respectful distance.

As this man was standing at a respectful distance,
he spoke thus to the venerable Ānanda:

"Revered sir,
King Pasenadi of Kosala salutes the venerable Ānanda's feet with his head,
and speaks thus:

'If, revered sir,
there is really nothing urgent to be done
by the venerable Ānanda,
please, revered sir,
let the venerable Ānanda wait for a moment
out of compassion.'"

The venerable Ānanda consented
by becoming silent.

Then King Pasenadi,
having gone by the bull-elephant
as far as the ground was possible for the elephant,
having dismounted,
approached the venerable Ānanda on foot;
having approached,
having greeted the venerable Ānanda,
he stood at a respectful distance.

As he was standing at a respectful distance,
King Pasenadi spoke thus to the venerable Ānanda:

"If, revered sir,
there is nothing urgent to be done
by the venerable Ānanda,
it were good, revered sir,
that the venerable Ānanda
should approach the bank of the river Aciravatī
out of compassion."

And the venerable Ānanda consented
by becoming silent.

Then the venerable Ānanda
approached the bank of the river Aciravatī;
having approached,
he sat down on a seat made ready
at the root of a tree.

Then King Pasenadi,
having gone by bull-elephant
as far as the ground was possible for the elephant,
having dismounted,
approached the venerable Ānanda on foot;
having approached,
having greeted the venerable Ānanda,
he stood at a respectful distance.

As he was standing at a respectful distance,
King Pasenadi spoke thus to the venerable Ānanda:

"Now, revered sir,
let the venerable Ānanda sit down on this elephant-rug."[1]

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

King Pasenadi sat down on the prepared seat.

As King Pasenadi was sitting down,
he spoke thus to the venerable Ānanda:

"Revered Ānanda,
would the Lord engage not
in such bodily conduct[2]
as was offensive to[3] intelligent recluses and brahmans?"

"No, sire,
the Lord would not engage in such bodily conduct
as was offensive to intelligent recluses and brahmans."

"But, revered Ānanda,
would the Lord engage not
in such conduct of speech
as was offensive to intelligent recluses and brahmans."

"No, sire,
the Lord would not engage in such conduct of speech
as was offensive to intelligent recluses and brahmans."

"But, revered Ānanda,
would the Lord engage not
in such conduct of thought
as was offensive to intelligent recluses and brahmans."

"No, sire,
the Lord would not engage in such conduct of thought
as was offensive to intelligent recluses and brahmans."

"It is wonderful, revered sir,
it is marvellous, revered sir -
what I was not able to convey fully in a question
has been, revered sir, fully conveyed by the venerable Ānanda
in answer to the question.

Revered sir, when those who are ignorant and inexperienced
speak in praise or dispraise of others
without test or scrutiny,[4]
we do not fall back on that
as the pith (of the matter).

But, revered sir,
when those who are wise,
experienced,
clever,
speak in praise or dispraise of others
after test and scrutiny,
we fall back on that
as the pith (of the matter).

But what, revered Ānanda, is the bodily conduct
that is offensive
to intelligent recluses and brahmans?"

"Whatever the bodily conduct, sire,
that is unskilled."

"But what, revered sir,
is unskilled bodily conduct?"

"Whatever the bodily conduct, sire,
that has a blemish."

"But what, revered sir,
is the bodily conduct that has a blemish?"

"Whatever the bodily conduct, sire,
that is injurious."

"And what, revered sir,
is the bodily conduct that is injurious?'

"Whatever the bodily conduct, sire,
that is ill in result."

"And what, revered sir,
is the bodily conduct that is ill in result?"

"Whatever bodily conduct, sire,
conduces to torment of self
and conduces to torment of others
and conduces to torment of both,
and of which the unskilled states increase much,
the skilled states dwindle away -
bodily conduct such as this, sire,
is offensive to intelligent recluses and brahmans."

But what, revered Ānanda, is the conduct of speech
that is offensive
to intelligent recluses and brahmans?"

"Whatever conduct of speech, sire,
that is unskilled."

"But what, revered sir,
is unskilled conduct of speech?"

"Whatever conduct of speech, sire,
that has a blemish."

"But what, revered sir,
is conduct of speech that has a blemish?"

"Whatever conduct of speech, sire,
that is injurious."

"And what, revered sir,
is conduct of speech that is injurious?'

"Whatever conduct of speech, sire,
that is ill in result."

"And what, revered sir,
is conduct of speech that is ill in result?"

"Whatever conduct of speech, sire,
conduces to torment of self
and conduces to torment of others
and conduces to torment of both,
and of which the unskilled states increase much,
the skilled states dwindle away -
conduct of speech such as this, sire,
is offensive to intelligent recluses and brahmans."

But what, revered Ānanda, is the conduct of thought
that is offensive
to intelligent recluses and brahmans?"

"Whatever conduct of thought, sire,
that is unskilled."

"But what, revered sir,
is unskilled conduct of thought?"

"Whatever conduct of thought, sire,
that has a blemish."

"But what, revered sir,
is conduct of thought that has a blemish?"

"Whatever conduct of thought, sire,
that is injurious."

"And what, revered sir,
is conduct of thought that is injurious?'

"Whatever conduct of thought, sire,
that is ill in result."

"And what, revered sir,
is conduct of thought that is ill in result?"

"Whatever conduct of thought, sire,
conduces to torment of self
and conduces to torment of others
and conduces to torment of both,
and of which the unskilled states increase much,
the skilled states dwindle away -
conduct of thought such as this, sire,
is offensive to intelligent recluses and brahmans."

"Revered Ānanda, does not the Lord praise
the getting rid of precisely all unskilled states?"

"The Tathāgata, sire,
has got rid of all unskilled states
and is endowed with skilled states."[5]

 


 

"But which, revered Ānanda,
is the bodily conduct
that is not offensive to intelligent recluses and brahmans?"

"Whatever the bodily conduct, sire,
that is skilled."

"But what, revered sir,
is skilled bodily conduct?"

"Whatever the bodily conduct, sire,
that has no blemish."

"But what, revered sir,
is the bodily conduct that has no blemish?"

"Whatever the bodily conduct, sire,
that is non-injurious."

"And what, revered sir,
is the bodily conduct that is non-injurious?"

"Whatever the bodily conduct, sire,
that is joyous in result."

"And what, revered sir,
is the bodily conduct that is joyous in result?"

"Whatever bodily conduct, sire,
does not conduce to the torment of self
and does not conduce to the torment of others
and does not conduce to the torment of both,
and of which the unskilled states dwindle away,
the skilled states increase much -
bodily conduct such as this, sire,
is not offensive to intelligent recluses and brahmans."

"But which, revered Ānanda,
is the conduct of speech
that is not offensive to intelligent recluses and brahmans?"

"Whatever conduct of speech, sire,
that is skilled."

"But what, revered sir,
is skilled conduct of speech?"

"Whatever conduct of speech, sire,
that has no blemish."

"But what, revered sir,
is conduct of speech that has no blemish?"

"Whatever conduct of speech, sire,
that is non-injurious."

"And what, revered sir,
is conduct of speech that is non-injurious?"

"Whatever conduct of speech, sire,
that is joyous in result."

"And what, revered sir,
is conduct of speech that is joyous in result?"

"Whatever conduct of speech, sire,
does not conduce to the torment of self
and does not conduce to the torment of others
and does not conduce to the torment of both,
and of which the unskilled states dwindle away,
the skilled states increase much -
conduct of speech such as this, sire,
is not offensive to intelligent recluses and brahmans."

"But which, revered Ānanda,
is the conduct of thought
that is not offensive to intelligent recluses and brahmans?"

"Whatever conduct of thought, sire,
that is skilled."

"But what, revered sir,
is skilled conduct of thought?"

"Whatever conduct of thought, sire,
that has no blemish."

"But what, revered sir,
is conduct of thought that has no blemish?"

"Whatever conduct of thought, sire,
that is non-injurious."

"And what, revered sir,
is conduct of thought that is non-injurious?"

"Whatever conduct of thought, sire,
that is joyous in result."

"And what, revered sir,
is conduct of thought that is joyous in result?"

"Whatever conduct of thought, sire,
does not conduce to the torment of self
and does not conduce to the torment of others
and does not conduce to the torment of both,
and of which the unskilled states dwindle away,
the skilled states increase much -
conduct of thought such as this, sire,
is not offensive to intelligent recluses and brahmans."

"But, revered Ānanda,
does the Lord praise the acquiring
of precisely all skilled states?"

"The Tathāgata, sire,
has got rid of all unskilled states
and is endowed with skilled states."

"It is wonderful, revered sir,
it is marvellous, revered sir,
how well spoken is this, revered sir,
by the venerable Ānanda;
and we, revered sir,
are delighted and satisfied with the venerable Ānanda's well spoken words.

Being thus delighted and satisfied, revered sir,
with the venerable Ānanda's well spoken words,
we would give a [300] valuable elephant
to the venerable Ānanda
if this, revered sir, were allowable
to the venerable Ānanda,
we would give a valuable horse
if this, revered sir, were allowable
to the venerable Ānanda,
we would give the boon of a village
if tis, revered sir, were allowable
to the venerable Ānanda.

But then we know this, revered sir:

This is not allowable
to the venerable Ānanda.

This piece of foreign cloth,[6] revered sir,
inserted into the shaft of a sunshade,
has been sent to me
by King Ajātasattu of Magadha, the son of (the lady) Videhī
in length it is equal to sixteen (hands[7]),
in breadth to eight (hands).

Revered sir,
let the venerable Ānanda accept it
out of compassion."

"No, sire,
I am complete as to the three robes."

"Revered sir, after a great storm
has rained down on the high mountain slopes,
both you and I have seen
how at such a time
the river Aciravati rushes along
overflowing both its banks[8] -
even so, revered sir, the venerable Ānanda
can make a set of three robes for himself
from this piece of foreign cloth;
and the venerable Ānanda can distribute
his old set of three robes
among his fellow Brahma-farers.

So will this gift of faith of ours
go on with an overflow, methinks.

Revered sir, let the venerable Ānanda
accept this piece of foreign doth."

And the venerable Ānanda
accepted the piece of foreign cloth.

Then King Pasenadi spoke thus to the venerable Ānanda:

"If it please you,
we are going now, revered sir,
we are very busy,
there is much to be done."

"You must do now, sire,
that for which you deem it the right time."

Then King Pasenadi,
having rejoiced in what the venerable Ānanda had said,
giving thanks,
rising from his seat
and greeting the venerable Ānanda,
departed
keeping his right side towards him.

Then not long after King Pasenadi had departed,
the venerable Ānanda 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 Ānanda told the Lord
the whole of the conversation
he had had with King Pasenadi,
and he handed that piece of foreign cloth to the Lord.

Then the Lord addressed the monks, saying:

"Monks, it is a gain for King Pasenadi,
[301] it is well gotten by King Pasenadi
that he achieved a sight of Ānanda,
that he achieved a paying of homage to him."

Thus spoke the Lord;
delighted, these monks rejoiced in what the Lord had said.

Discourse on the Foreign Cloth:
The Eighth

 


[1] See above, p. 259, n. 3.

[2] As at Vin. ii. 248.

[3] Or, a slur on, opārambha. MA. iii. 346, explaining as uparambhaṁ dosam āropanaraho, refers to the story of the murderous wanderers at Ud. IV. 8.

[4] Cf. A. i. 89, ii. 3, 84.

[5] A reference is intended here to: yathākāri tathāvādi, as he does so he speaks (D. iii. 135).

[6] bāhitikā. MA. iii. 347 says it is the name of a cloth or garment, vattha, produced outside the kingdom.

Hattha = Hasta = cubit. Being 'hand' it would not be of sufficient measure to make up the three robes. 16 X 8 hands = @ 11X5.5 feet; the one outer robe needing 6X4 cubits = @ 9X6 feet. 16X8 cubits = 24X12 feet. But that is an unusually large piece of cloth. On the other hand the whole idea is that the value of the cloth is in it's uniqueness. Such a large measure of cloth fitting into the shaft of an umbrella. Plus we don't know the diamater of the shaft, but this sort of skilled craftsmanship was practiced at the time. e.g., a needle case that was as fine as a fine needle and strong enough to be driven through a sheet of iron.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

[7] So MA. iii. 347 and cf. Miln.. 317. Hattha ia more correctly hand and forearm.

[8] Cf. Miln. 36.

 


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