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Saɱyutta Nikāya
3. Khandha Vagga
22. Khandha Saɱyutta
9. Thera Vagga

The Book of the Kindred Sayings
3. The Book Called the Khandhā-Vagga
Containing Kindred Sayings on the Elements of Sensory Existence and other Subjects
22. Kindred Sayings on Elements
9. The Elders

Sutta 89

Khemaka Suttaɱ

Khema

Translated by F. L. Woodward
Edited by Mrs. Rhys Davids

Copyright The Pali Text Society
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[126] [107]

[1][than][bodh] Thus have I heard:—

Once a number of brethren were staying near Kosambī,
in Ghosita Park.

Now at that time the venerable Khemaka was staying in Jujube Tree Park,[1]
being sick,
afflicted,
stricken with a sore disease.

[108] Then the elder brethren,
rising at eventide from their solitude,
called to the venerable Dāsaka:[2]

"Come hither, friend Dāsaka!

Go you to brother Khemaka and say to him:

'Friend, the elder brethren say thus:

"We hope you are bearing up, friend.

We hope you are enduring.

Do your pains abate and not increase?

Are there signs of their abating and not increasing?"'"

"Even so, friends," said the venerable Dāsaka in reply to those brethren,
and approaching the venerable Khemaka,
he said to him:

"Friend Khemaka, the elder brethren say thus:

'We hope you are bearing up, friend.

We hope you are enduring.

Do your pains abate and not increase?

Are there signs of their abating and not increasing?'"

To which the venerable Khemaka replied:

"No, friends, I am not bearing up.

I am not enduring.

There is no sign of my pains abating
and not increasing."

Thereupon the venerable Dāsaka returned to the elder brethren, and said:

"Friend Khemaka sais this:

'No, friends, I am not bearing up.

I am not enduring.

There is no sign of my pains abating
and not increasing.'"

Then said they again:

"Come hither, friend Dāsaka.

Go you again to the venerable Khemaka and say:

'Friend, the elders say thus:

'Friend, in this fivefold grasping-group,
so called by the Exalted One,
to wit:
the grasping-group of body,
the grasping-group of feeling,
the grasping-group of perception,
the grasping-group of the activities,
the grasping-group of consciousness —
in these five groups
does the venerable Khemaka discern the Self
or anything pertaining to the Self?'"

"Even so, friends," replied the venerable Dāsaka,
and approaching the venerable Khemaka,
he said to him:

"Friend Khemaka, the elder brethren say thus:

'Friend, in this fivefold grasping-group,
so called by the Exalted One,
to wit:
the grasping-group of body,
the grasping-group of feeling,
the grasping-group of perception,
the grasping-group of the activities,
the grasping-group of consciousness —
in these five groups
does the venerable Khemaka discern the Self
or anything pertaining to the Self?'"

"In these five grasping-groups, friend,"
replied the venerable Khemaka,
"to wit:
the grasping-group of body,
the grasping-group of feeling,
the grasping-group of perception,
the grasping-group of the activities,
the grasping-group of consciousness —
in these five groups
I discern no Self
nor aught pertaining to the Self."

Then the venerable Dāsaka went back to the brethren and said:

"Friend Khemaka sais this:

'In these five grasping groups, friend,"
"to wit:
the grasping-group of body,
the grasping-group of feeling,
the grasping-group of perception,
the grasping-group of the activities,
the grasping-group of consciousness —
in these five groups
I discern no Self
nor aught pertaining to the Self.'"

Then said they again:

"Come hither, friend Dāsaka.

Go you again to the venerable Khemaka and say:

'Friend, the elders say thus:

"If then in the fivefold grasping-group
the venerable Khemaka discerns no Self
nor aught pertaining to the Self,
the venerable Khemaka must be arahant,
one in whom the āsavas are destroyed."'"

"Even so, friends," replied the venerable Dāsaka,
and approaching the venerable Khemaka,
he said to him:

"Friend Khemaka, the elder brethren say thus:

'If then in the fivefold grasping-group
the venerable Khemaka discerns no Self
nor aught pertaining to the Self,
the venerable Khemaka must be arahant,
one in whom the āsavas are destroyed.'"

"Though, friend, I discern
in the fivefold grasping-group
no Self
nor aught pertaining [109] to the Self,
yet am I not arahant,
nor one in whom the āsavas are destroyed.

Though, friend, I see
that I have got the idea of 'I am'
in the fivefold grasping-group,
yet do I not discern
that I am this 'I am.'"

Then the venerable Dāsaka returned to the brethren and said:

"Friend Khemaka sais this:

'Though, friends, I discern
in the fivefold grasping-group
no Self
nor aught pertaining to the Self,
yet am I not arahant,
nor one in whom the āsavas are destroyed.

Though, friend, I see
that I have got the idea of "I am"
in the fivefold grasping-group,
yet do I not discern
that I am this "I am."'"

Then said they again:

"Come hither, friend Dāsaka.

Go you again to the venerable Khemaka and say:

'Friend, the elders say thus:

"As to this 'I am,' friend Khemaka,
of which you speak,
what do you mean by this 'I am'?

Do you speak of 'I am' as body,
or as distinct from body?

Do you speak of 'I am' as feeling,
or as distinct from feeling?

Do you speak of 'I am' as perception,
or as distinct from perception?

Do you speak of 'I am' as the activities,
or as distinct from the activities?

Do you speak of 'I am' as consciousness,
or as distinct from consciousness?

As to this 'I am,' what do you mean by it?"'"

"Even so, friends," replied the venerable Dāsaka,
and approaching the venerable Khemaka,
he said to him:

"Friend Khemaka, the elder brethren say thus:

'As to this "I am," friend Khemaka,
of which you speak,
what do you mean by this "I am"?

Do you speak of "I am" as body,
or as distinct from body?

Do you speak of "I am" as feeling,
or as distinct from feeling?

Do you speak of "I am" as perception,
or as distinct from perception?

Do you speak of "I am" as the activities,
or as distinct from the activities?

Do you speak of "I am" as consciousness,
or as distinct from consciousness?

As to this "I am," what do you mean by it?'"

"Enough, friend Dāsaka!

What boots this running to and fro?

Fetch my staff.

I will go myself to these brethren."[3]

So the venerable Khemaka,
leaning on his staff,[4] came to those brethren.

When he got there,
he greeted them,
and exchanging the courtesies of civil words,
sat down at one side.

As he thus sat,
the elders thus spoke to the venerable Khemaka:

"As to this 'I am,' friend Khemaka,
of which you speak,
what do you mean by this 'I am'?

Do you speak of 'I am' as body,
or as distinct from body?

Do you speak of 'I am' as feeling,
or as distinct from feeling?

Do you speak of 'I am' as perception,
or as distinct from perception?

Do you speak of 'I am' as the activities,
or as distinct from the activities?

Do you speak of 'I am' as consciousness,
or as distinct from consciousness?

As to this 'I am,' what do you mean by it?"

"No, friends, I do not say 'I am body';
I do not say 'I am feeling';
I do not say 'I am perception';
I do not say 'I am the activities';
I do not say 'I am consciousness.'

Though, friends, I see
that I have got the idea of 'I am'
in the five grasping-groups,
yet I do not discern
that I am this 'I am.'

Just as, friends, in [110] the case of the scent of a blue lotus
or a white lotus, -
if one should say:

'The scent belongs to the petals
or the colour
or the fibres of it,'

would he be rightly describing the scent?"

"Surely not, friend."

"Then how would he be right
in describing it?"

"Surely, friend, by speaking of the scent of the flower."

"Even so, friends,
I do not speak of the 'I am' as a body,
I do not speak of the 'I am' as feeling,
I do not speak of the 'I am' as perception,
I do not speak of the 'I am' as the activities,
I do not speak of the 'I am' as consciousness.

Nevertheless I see
that in these five grasping-groups
I have got the idea of 'I am'
yet I do not discern
that I am this 'I am.'

Though, friends, an Ariyan disciple
has put away the five lower fetters,
yet there remains in him
a subtle remnant[5]
from among the five grasping-groups,
a subtle remnant of the I-conceit,
of the I am-desire,
of the lurking tendency to think 'I am,'[6]
still not removed from him.

Later on
he lives contemplating the rise and fall
of the five grasping-groups,
seeing thus:

'Such is body,
such is the arising of body,
such is the ceasing of body.

Such is feeling,
such is the arising of feeling,
such is the ceasing of feeling.

Such is perception,
such is the arising of perception,
such is the ceasing of perception.

Such are the activities,
such is the arising of the activities,
such is the ceasing of the activities.

Such is consciousness,
such is the arising of consciousness,
such is the ceasing of consciousness.'

In this way,
as he lives in the contemplation of the five grasping-groups,
that subtle remnant of the I am-conceit,
of the I am-desire,
that lurking tendency to think 'I am,'
which was still not removed from him, -
that is now removed.

Suppose, friends,
there is a dirty soiled cloth,
and the owners give it to a washerman,
and he rubs it smooth with salt-earth,
or lye
or cowdung,
and rinses it in pure clean water.

Now, though that cloth be clean,
utterly cleansed,
yet there hangs about it,
still unremoved,
the smell of the salt-earth
or lye
or cowdung.

The washerman returns it to the owners,
and they lay it up
in a sweet-scented coffer.[7]

Thus that smell of salt-earth
or lye
or cowdung,
that hung about it
and was not removed,
is now utterly removed.

Even so, friends
though an Ariyan disciple
has put away the five lower fetters,
[111] yet there remains in him
a subtle remnant
from among the five grasping-groups,
a subtle remnant of the I-conceit,
of the I am-desire,
of the lurking tendency to think 'I am,'
still not removed from him.

Later on
he lives contemplating the rise and fall
of the five grasping-groups,
seeing thus:

'Such is body,
such is the arising of body,
such is the ceasing of body.

Such is feeling,
such is the arising of feeling,
such is the ceasing of feeling.

Such is perception,
such is the arising of perception,
such is the ceasing of perception.

Such are the activities,
such is the arising of the activities,
such is the ceasing of the activities.

Such is consciousness,
such is the arising of consciousness,
such is the ceasing of consciousness.

In this way,
as he lives in the contemplation of the five grasping-groups,
that subtle remnant of the I am-conceit,
of the I am-desire,
that lurking tendency to think 'I am,'
which was still not removed from him, -
that is now utterly removed."

Upon this the elders said to the venerable Khemaka:

"Indeed we did not put these questions to the venerable Khemaka
from a wish to trouble him.

It was because we thought:

'The venerable Khemaka is able to expound in full
the teaching of the Exalted One,
able to teach it,
to make it known,
to set it forth,
to make it clear,
to open it up,
to analyze it,
to make it plain.'

And so the venerable Khemaka has expounded in full
the teaching of the Exalted One.

He has taught it,
made it known,
set it forth,
made it clear,
opened it up,
analyzed it,
made it plain."

Thus spake the venerable Khemaka.

The elders were pleased at the words of the venerable Khemaka and welcomed them.

Now when this teaching was thus expounded
the hearts of as many as sixty brethren
were utterly set free
from the āsavas,
and so was it also
with the heart of the venerable Khemaka.

 


[1] Comy., 'a matter of three miles [gāvuta-mattaŋ; a league] distant.'

[2] If this is the Dāsaka of Thag. 17, who, like Channa in the following section, was son of a slave, the walking exercise thus put upon him by the brethren may have been done with a purpose, for he was fat and lazy, 'sleeping much after meals.'

[3] Comy. says, 'why did they send Dāsaka to and fro four times that day, so that he covered some twenty-five miles? Becausc they were anxious to hear the doctrine from an expert. Why did they not go themselves? Because his forest hut could not hold some sixty brethren. Why did they not ask him to come? Because of his sickness. But they knew that, if thcy kept questioning him he would at last come in person. And the elder went, knowing their secret wish.'

[4] Cf. J.P.T.S., 1887, 156. Olumbha or clubbha.

[5] Anusahagato Comy. 'sukhumo' The passage is quoted at Asl. 244; Expos., ii, 326.

[6] For anusayo see K.S. ii, 167 n.

[7] Comy. says, 'the sweet-scented coffer' is the knowledge of the Arahant's Path, which removes the taints.


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