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 90

Kaṇṇakatthala Suttaɱ

Discourse at Kaṇṇakatthala

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

At one time the Lord was staying near Ujuññā[1]
in the deer-park at Kaṇṇakatthala.

At that time King Pasenadi [308] of Kosala had arrived at Ujuññā
on some business or other.

Then King Pasenadi addressed a certain man,
saying;

"Come you, my good man,
approach the Lord;
having approached,
in my name salute the Lord's feet with your head
and ask whether he is well,
not indisposed,
of bodily vigour,
strong,
abiding in comfort,
and say:

'Revered sir, King Pasenadi salutes the Lord's feet with his head,
and asks whether he is well,
not indisposed,
of bodily vigour,
strong,
abiding in comfort';
and then speak thus:
'Revered sir, today after the meal
when he has had breakfast,
King Pasenadi is expecting to come to see the Lord.'"

"Yes, sire,"
and that man,
having answered King Pasenadi in assent,
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,
that man spoke thus to the Lord:

"Revered sir, King Pasenadi salutes the Lord's feet with his head,
and asks whether he is well,
not indisposed,
of bodily vigour,
strong,
abiding in comfort.

And he speaks thus:

'Revered sir, today after the meal
when he has had breakfast,
King Pasenadi is expecting to come to see the Lord.'"

The sisters Somā and Sakulā[2] heard:

'Today after the meal
when he has had breakfast,
King Pasenadi is expecting to go to see the Lord.'

Then the sisters Somā and Sakulā,
having approached the place where King Pasenadi was eating,[3]
spoke thus:

"Well then, sire,
in our names salute the Lord's feet with your head
and ask whether he is well,
not indisposed,
of bodily vigour,
strong,
abiding in comfort,
saying:

'Revered sir, the sisters Somā and Sakulā salute the Lord's feet with their heads
and ask whether he is well,
not indisposed,
of bodily vigour,
strong,
abiding in comfort.'"

Then after the meal
when King Pasenadi had eaten his breakfast,
he 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,
King Pasenadi spoke thus to the Lord:

"Revered sir, the sisters Somā and Sakulā
with their heads salute the Lord's feet
and ask whether he is well,
not indisposed,
of bodily vigour,
strong,
abiding in comfort."

"But how is it, sire,
that the sisters Somā and Sakulā
were not able to send another messenger?"

"Revered sir, the sisters Somā and Sakulā heard:
'Today after the meal
when he has had breakfast,
King Pasenadi is expecting to go to see the Lord.'

Then, revered sir, the sisters Somā and Sakulā
having approached me in the place where I was eating,
spoke thus:

[309] 'Well then, sire,
in our names salute the Lord's feet with your head
and ask whether he is well,
not indisposed,
of bodily vigour,
strong,
abiding in comfort,
saying:

'Revered sir, the sisters Somā and Sakulā salute the Lord's feet with their heads
and ask whether he is well,
not indisposed,
of bodily vigour,
strong,
abiding in comfort.'"

"May the sisters Somā and Sakulā be happy, sire."

Then King Pasenadi spoke thus to the Lord:

"I have heard this about you, revered sir:

'The recluse Gotama speaks thus:

"There is neither a recluse nor a brahman
who, all-knowing, all-seeing,
can claim all-embracing knowledge-and-vision -
this situation does not exist."'

Revered sir, those who speak thus:

'The recluse Gotama speaks thus:

"There is neither a recluse nor a brahman
who, all-knowing, all-seeing,
can claim all-embracing knowledge-and-vision -
this situation does not exist."'

I hope that these, revered sir,
speak what was spoken by the Lord,
that they do not misrepresent the Lord
by what is not fact,
that they explain dhamma
according to dhamma,
and that no reasoned thesis
gives occasion for contempt?[4]

"Those, sire, who speak thus:

'The recluse Gotama speaks thus:

"There is neither a recluse nor a brahman
who, all-knowing, all-seeing,
can claim all-embracing knowledge-and-vision -
this situation does not exist."'

these do not speak as I spoke
but are misrepresenting me
with what is not true,
with what is not fact."

Then King Pasenadi addressed the commander-in-chief, Viḍūḍabha,
saying:

"Now, who was it, commander-in-chief,
that brought this subject of conversation into the palace?"

"The brahman Sañjaya of the Ākāsa clan, sire."

Then King Pasenadi summoned a man and said:

"Come you, my good man,
in my name summon the brahman Sañjaya of the Ākāsa clan,
saying:

'King Pasenadi, revered sir, is summoning you.'"

"Yes, your majesty,"
and when this man had answered King Pasenadi in assent
he approached the brahman Sañjaya of the Ākāsa clan;
and having approached,
he spoke thus to the brahman Sañjaya:

"King Pasenadi is summoning you, revered sir."

Then King Pasenadi spoke thus to the Lord:

"Could it be, revered sir,
that people might have transferred
to quite another topic
something (originally) said by the Lord
in reference to something else?

In regard to what, revered sir,
does the Lord claim to have spoken the words?"

"I, sire, claim to have spoken the words thus:

'There is neither a [310] recluse nor a brahman
who at one and the same time[5]
can know all,
can see all -
this situation does not exist.'"

"Revered sir, the Lord speaks causally,[6]
and it is in reference to cause,[6] revered sir,
that the Lord says:

'There is neither a recluse nor a brahman
who at one and the same time
can know all,
can see all -
this situation does not exist.'"

These, revered sir, are the four castes:
nobles,
brahmans,
merchants
and workers.

Now, revered sir,
could there be any distinction,
any difference,
between these four castes?"

"These are, sire, the four castes:
nobles,
brahmans,
merchants
and workers.

Among these four castes, sire,
two are pointed to as chief:
the nobles and the brahmans,
that is to say in the way of addressing them,
rising up from one's seat for them,
saluting them with joined palms
and rendering them service."

"I, revered sir, am not asking the Lord
about the here and now; revered sir,
I am asking the Lord about a future state.

These, revered sir, are the four castes:
nobles,
brahmans,
merchants
and workers.

Now, revered sir, could there be any distinction,
any difference
between these four castes?"

"Sire, there are these five qualities for striving.[7]

What five?

As to this, sire,
a monk has faith;
he has faith in the awakening of the Tathāgata, and thinks:

'Indeed this is the Lord,
perfected one,
fully Self-Awakened One,
endowed with knowledge and (right) 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 is well,
in good health,
endowed with a good digestion,
not over-cool,
not over-hot,
but of a middle kind
suitable for striving.

He is not fraudulent,
not deceitful,
but shows himself as he really is
to the Teacher
or the learned
among his fellow Brahma-farers.

He dwells with energy stirred up
for getting rid of unskilled states,
for arousing skilled states,
steadfast,
firm in advance,
persevering amid skilled states.

He is one of wisdom
endowed with wisdom
leading to (the cutting off of) rise and fall,
with ariyan discrimination
leading to the complete destruction of anguish.

These, sire, are the five qualities for striving.

These, sire, are the four castes:
nobles,
brahmans,
merchants
and workers.

These might be possessed of these five qualities for striving.

For a long time
that would be for their welfare and happiness."

"These, revered sir, are the four castes:
nobles,
brahmans,
merchants
and workers;
and these might be possessed of the five qualities for striving.

But, revered sir, might there be among them here
any distinction,
any difference?"

"I, sire, here speak of a divergence in striving.

It is as if[8] there might be, sire,
among elephants
or horses
or oxen to be tamed
two elephants,
two horses
or two oxen
that were well tamed,
well trained
and two that were not tamed,
not trained.

What do you think about [311] this, sire?

Would those two elephants
or horses
or oxen
that were to be tamed
and that were well tamed,
well trained -
would these,
on being tamed,
reach tamed capacity,
would they,
being tamed,
attain tamed rank?"

"Yes, revered sir."

"But those two elephants
or horses
or oxen
that were to be tamed
but that were neither tamed
nor trained -
would these,
not being tamed,
reach tamed capacity,
and would they,
not being tamed,
attain tamed rank
as do the two elephants
or horses
or oxen
to be tamed
that were well tamed,
well trained?"

"No, revered sir."

"Even so, sire,
that which may be achieved by faith,
by good health,
by honesty
and absence of deceit,
by output of energy,
by wisdom -
that one of no faith,
of poor health,
fraudulent and deceitful,
lazy,
weak in wisdom
could attain it -
this situation does not exist."

"Revered sir, the Lord speaks causally,
and it is in reference to cause,
revered sir,
that the Lord speaks.

These, revered sir,
are the four castes:
nobles,
brahmans,
merchants
and workers.

These might be possessed
of the five qualities for striving,
and if they made the proper efforts
would there be between them, revered sir,
any distinction,
any difference?"

"I, sire, here speak of no difference,
that is to say
in freedom as against freedom.

It is as though a man, sire,
bringing dry sticks from a teak tree[9]
were to produce a fire
and heat were to result.

Then another man,
bringing dry sticks from a sāl-tree
were to produce a fire
and heat were to result.

Then another man,
bringing dry sticks from a mango-tree
were to produce a fire
and heat were to result.

Then another man,
bringing dry sticks from a fig tree
were to produce a fire
and heat were to result.

What do you think about this, sire?

Because of the different woods used for the fires,
would there be any difference in what is produced,
in flame as against flame,
in hue as against hue,
in brilliance as against brilliance?"

"No, revered sir."

"Even so it is, sire,
with heat created by energy,
produced by striving.

I do not speak of any difference there,
that is in freedom as against freedom."

"Revered sir, the Lord speaks causally,
and it is in reference to cause
that the Lord speaks.

But, honoured sir, are there devas?"[10]

[312] "How can yon, sire, speak thus:

'But, revered sir, are there devas?'"

"Be it that these devas, revered sir,
are returners
to a state of being such or so,[11]
or be it
that they are not returners
to a state of being such or so?"

"Sire, whatever devas have been malevolent
are returners to a state of being such or so;
whatever devas have not been malevolent
are not returners to a state of being such or so."

When this had been said,
the commander-in-chief, Viḍūḍabha,
spoke thus to the Lord:

"Revered sir, can those devas that are malevolent
and are returners
to a state of being such or so
drive away
or banish from that place
those devas that have not been malevolent
and are not returners
to a state of being such or so?"

Then it occurred to the venerable Ānanda:

"This Viḍūḍabha, the commander-in-ehief,
is a son of King Pasenadi;
I am the Lord's son.

This is a time when son
might confer with son."

So the venerable Ānanda addressed Viḍūḍabha, the commander-in-chief,
saying:

"Well now, commander-in-chief,
on this point
I will ask yon something in return.

Answer exactly as it seems right to you.

What do you think about this, commander-in-chief?

As far as the realm of King Pasenadi (extends),
and there where King Pasenadi holds dominion and sway,
is King Pasenadi able to drive away
or banish from that place
a recluse or a brahman
whether he is meritorious
or not meritorious,
whether he is a BrahmaḤfarer
or not a Brahxna-farer?"

"Good sir, as far as the realm of King Pasenadi (extends)
and there where King Pasenadi holds dominion and sway,
King Pasenadi is able to drive away
or banish from that place
a recluse or a brahman
whether he is meritorious or not
or not meritorious,
whether he is a BrahmaḤfarer
or not a Brahxna-farer."

"What do you think about this, commander-in-chief?

As far as the realm of King Pasenadi does not (extend),
and there where King Pasenadi holds no dominion or sway,
is King Pasenadi able to drive away
or banish from that place
a recluse or a brahman
whether he is meritorious
or not meritorious,
whether he is a Brahma-farer
or not a Brahma-farer?"

"Good sir, as far as the realm of King Pasenadi does not (extend),
and there where King Pasenadi holds no dominion or sway,
King Pasenadi is not able to drive away
or banish from that place
a recluse or a brahman
whether he is meritorious
or not meritorious,
whether he is a Brahma-farer
or not a Brahma-farer."

"What do you think about, this, commander-in-chief?

Have you heard of the devas of the Thirty-Three?"

[313] "Yes, good sir, I have heard of the devas of the Thirty-Three
and the good King Pasenadi has also heard of the devas of the Thirty-Three."

"What do you think about this, commander-in-chief?

Is King Pasenadi able to drive away
or banish from that place
the devas of the Thirty-Three?"

"Good sir, King Pasenadi is not even able to see the devas of the Thirty-Three.

How then could he drive them away
or banish them from that place?"

"Even so, commander-in-chief,
those devas that have been malevolent
and are returners
to a state of being such or so
are not even able to see those devas
that have not been malevolent
and are not returners
to a state of being such or so.

So how could they drive them away
or banish them from that place?"

Then King Pasenadi spoke thus to the Lord:

"What, revered sir, is this monk's name?"

"His name is Ānanda, sire."

"Bliss[12] indeed,
indeed blissful![12]

Revered sir, the venerable Ānanda speaks causally
and it is in reference to cause,
revered sir, that the venerable Ānanda speaks.

But now, revered sir, is there a Brahmā?"

"How can you, sire, speak thus:

'Is there a Brahmā?'"

"Be it that this Brahmā, revered sir,
is a returner to the state of being such or so,
or be it that he is not a returner
to a state of being such or so?"

"Sire, whatever Brahmā has been malevolent
is a returner to a state of being such or so;
but whatever Brahmā has not been malevolent
is not a returner to a state of being such or so."

Then a certain man spoke thus to King Pasenadi:

"The brahman Sañjaya of the Ākāsa clan has arrived, sire."

Then King Pasenadi spoke thus to the brahman Sañjaya of the Ākāsa clan:

"Now, who was it, brahman,
that brought this subject of conversation into the palace?"

"Viḍūḍabha, sire, the commander-in-chief."

"The eommander-in-chief, Viḍūḍabha, speaks thus:

'The brahman Sañjaya, sire, of the Ākāsa clan.'"

Then a certain man spoke thus to King Pasenadi:

"It is time for the vehicle, sire."

Then King Pasenadi spoke thus to the Lord:

"We, revered sir, questioned the Lord about omniscience;
the Lord [314] explained omniscience,
and because it was pleasing to us
and approved
we are delighted.

Revered sir, we questioned the Lord about the purity of the four castes;
the Lord explained the purity of the four castes,
and because it was pleasing to us
and approved
we are delighted.

Revered sir, we questioned the Lord about the devas;
the Lord explained the devas,
and because it was pleasing to us
and approved
we are delighted.

Revered sir, we questioned the Lord about Brahmāā;
the Lord explained about Brahmā,
and because it was pleasing to us
and approved
we are delighted.

And, revered sir, whatever it was we questioned the Lord about,
that very thing the Lord explained,
and because it was pleasing to us
and approved
we are delighted.

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

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

Then King Pasenadi of Kosala,
delighted at what the Lord had said,
having given thanks,
rising from his seat,
having greeted the Lord,
departed keeping his right side towards him.

Discourse at Kaṇṇakatthala:
The Tenth

 


[1] Mentioned at D. i. 161. According to MA. iii. 356 it was both a district and a town; here the town is meant.

[2] MA. iii. 356 says that these two sisters were wives of Pasenadi.

[3] bhattābhihāre, as at S. i. 82. "The place where the rice (food) was brought," MA. iii. 356.

[4] Cf. M. i. 368, ii. 77, 222, 243.

[5] sakideva. MA. iii. 357 says "who, with one 'adverting' (of the mind), one thought, one 'impulsion,' can know and see the whole past, future and present."

heturūpaṁ ... saheturūpam. Bhk. Thanissaro: 'seems reasonabe ... seems logical'; Bhk. Bodhi: 'appears reasonable ... appears to be supported by reason'. Other possibilities: driven to the light (clarity, brilliance); driven to substance (substantially made; driven to the point of manifestation)

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

[6] heturūpaṁ ... saheturūpam.

[7] As at M. ii. 95; see above, p. 282, and fill up the omission in this paragraph from there. [Ed.: done for this edition.]

[8] Cf. M. iii. 130.

[9] sāka is probably teak, Tectonia grandis. Cf. four (or five) fires at M. ii. 152, and M. ii. 183.

[10] Cf. M. ii. 212. MA. iii. 359 quotes a passage giving a list of devas - see A. i. 210, iii. 287, 313, 316, v. 331, 334.

[11] itthatta, being such and such; such or so.

ānanda ... ānandarūpam. see above: 'happy indeed ... clearly happy indeed' (? substantially happy, manifestly happy); Bhk. Thanissaro: "What a joy he is! What a true joy!"; Bhk. Bodhi: "Ānanda [joy] he is indeed ... and Ānanda he appears." (the second 'Ānanda' in Bhk. Bodhi's should not be capatilized and both should be translated, these are neither of them Proper nouns.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

[12] ānanda ... ānandarūpam.

 


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