Aŋguttara Nikāya


 

Aŋguttara-Nikāya
III. Tika Nipāta
VI. Brāhmaṇa Vagga

The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha
III. The Book of the Threes
The Second Fifty
I. Brahmins

Sutta 60

Saŋgārava Suttaɱ

Saŋgārava

Translated from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi.

© 2012 Bhikkhu Bodhi
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[168] [261]

[1][pts][than] Then the brahmin Saŋgārava approached the Blessed One and exchanged greetings with him ...

Then, sitting to one side, the brahmin Saŋgārava said this to the Blessed One:

[262] "Master Gotama, we brahmins sacrifice and enjoin others to offer sacrifices.

Now both one who himself sacrifices and one who enjoins others to offer sacrifices engage in a meritorious practice that extends to many people, that is, one based on sacrifice.

But one who leaves his family and goes forth from the household life into homelessness tames only himself, calms only himself, and leads to Nibbānā only himself.

In such a case, he engages in a meritorious practice that extends to only one person, that is, one based on going forth."

"Well then, brahmin, I will question you about this matter.

You should answer as you see fit.

What do you think, brahmin?

Here, a Tathāgata arises in the world, an arahant, perfectly enlightened, accomplished in true knowledge and conduct, fortunate, knower of the world, unsurpassed trainer of persons to be tamed, teacher of devas and humans, an Enlightened One, a Blessed One.

He says thus:

'Come, this is the path, this is the way.

Practicing in accordance with it, I have realized for myself with direct knowledge the unsurpassed culmination of the spiritual life and make it known to others.

Come, you too practice thus.

Practicing in accordance with it, you too will realize for yourselves with direct knowledge the unsurpassed culmination of the spiritual life and dwell in it.'

Thus the teacher teaches this Dhamma and others [169] practice accordingly.

There are many hundreds, many thousands, many hundreds of thousands who do so.

What do you think?

When this is the case, is that act of going forth a meritorious practice that extends to one person or to many people?"

"When that is the case, Master Gotama, this is a meritorious practice that extends to many people, that is, one based on going forth."

When this was said, the Venerable Ānanda said to the brahmin Saŋgārava:

"Of these two practices, brahmin, which appeals to you more as being simpler and less harmful, and as being more fruitful and beneficial?"

Thereupon the brahmin Saŋgārava said to the Venerable Ānanda:

"I consider Master Gotama and Master Ānanda worthy of veneration and praise."

A second time the Venerable Ānanda said to the brahmin:

"Brahmin, I am not asking you whom you consider worthy of veneration and praise.

I am asking you which of those two [263] practices appeals to you as being simpler and less harmful, and as being more fruitful and beneficial?"

But a second time the brahmin Saŋgārava replied:

"I consider Master Gotama and Master Ānandaworthy of veneration and praise."

A third time the Venerable Ānandasaid to the brahmin:

"Brahmin, I am not asking you whom you consider worthy of veneration and praise.

I am asking you which of those two practices appeals to you as being simpler and less harmful, and as being more fruitful and beneficial?"

But a third time the brahmin Saŋgārava replied:

"I consider Master Gotama and Master Ānandaworthy of veneration and praise."

[170] Then the Blessed One thought:

"Even for a third time the brahmin Saŋgārava, on being asked a legitimate question by Ānanda, falters and does not answer.

Let me release him."

hen the Blessed One said to the brahmin Saŋgārava:

"What conversation, brahmin, arose today among the king's retinue when they assembled and were sitting in the royal palace?"

"The conversation was this, Master Gotama:

'Formerly there were fewer bhikkhus, but more who displayed superhuman wonders of psychic potency.

But now there are more bhikkhus, but fewer who display superhuman wonders of psychic potency.'

This was the conversation that arose today among the king's retinue."

"There are, brahmin, these three kinds of wonders.

What three?

The wonder of psychic potency, the wonder of mind-reading, and the wonder of instruction.

(1) "And what, brahmin, is the wonder of psychic potency?

Here, a bhikkhu wields the various kinds of psychic potency:

having been one, he becomes many;

having been many, he becomes one;

he appears and vanishes;

he goes unhindered through a wall, through a rampart, through a mountain as though through space;

he dives in and out of the earth as though it were water;

he walks on water without sinking as though it were earth;

seated cross-legged, he travels in space like a bird;

with his hand he touches and strokes the moon and sun so powerful and mighty;

he exercises mastery with the body as far as the Brahmā world.

This is called the wonder of psychic potency.

(2) "And what, brahmin, is the wonder of mind-reading?

[264] There is one who, by means of some clue, declares:

'Your thought is thus, such is what you are thinking, your mind is in such and such a state.'

And even if he makes many declarations, they are exactly so and not otherwise.

"Again, someone does not declare [the state of mind] on the basis of a clue, [171] but he hears the sound of people, spirits, or deities [speaking] and then declares:

'Your thought is thus, such is what you are thinking, your mind is in such and such a state.'

And even if he makes many declarations, they are exactly so and not otherwise.

"Again, someone does not declare [the state of mind] on the basis of a mark, or by hearing the sound of people, spirits, or deities [speaking], but he hears the sound of the diffusion of thought as one is thinking and examining [some matter] and then declares:

'Your thought is thus, such is what you are thinking, your mind is in such and such a state.'

And even if he makes many declarations, they are exactly so and not otherwise.

"Again, someone does not declare [the state of mind] on the basis of a mark, or by hearing the sound of people, spirits, or deities [speaking], or by hearing the sound of the diffusion of thought as one is thinking and examining [some matter], but with his own mind he encompasses the mind of one who has attained concentration without thought and examination and he understands:

'This person's mental activities are so disposed that immediately afterwards he will think this thought.'

And even if he makes many declarations, they are exactly so and not otherwise.

This is called the wonder of mind-reading.

(3) "And what, brahmin, is the wonder of instruction?

Here, someone instructs [others] thus:

'Think in this way and not in that way!

Attend to this and not to that!

Abandon this and enter and dwell in that!'

This is called the wonder of instruction.

"These, brahmin, are the three kinds of wonders.

Of these three wonders, which appeals to you as the most excellent and sublime?"

"Among these, Master Gotama, when someone performs this wonder by which he wields the various kinds of psychic potency ... exercises mastery with the body as far as the Brahmā world, only the one who performs this wonder experiences it and it occurs only to him.

This wonder seems to me like a magical trick.

[265] "Again, Master Gotama, when someone performs this wonder by which he declares another's state of mind on the basis of a clue ... by hearing the sound of people, spirits, or deities ... by hearing the sound of the diffusion of thought while he is thinking and examining [some matter] ... by encompassing with his own mind the mind of one who has attained concentration that is without thought and examination such that he understands:

[172] 'This person's mental activities are so disposed that immediately afterwards he will think this thought,' and, even if he makes many declarations, they are exactly so and not otherwise — again, only the one who performs this wonder experiences it and it occurs only to him.

This wonder, too, seems to me like a magical trick.

"But, Master Gotama, when someone performs this wonder by which he instructs [others] thus:

'Think in this way and not in that way!

Attend to this and not to that!

Abandon this and enter and dwell in that!' —

this wonder appeals to me as the most excellent and sublime of those three wonders.

"It is astounding and amazing, Master Gotama, how well this has been stated by Master Gotama!

We consider Master Gotama to be one who can perform these three wonders.

For Master Gotama wields the various kinds of psychic potency ... exercises mastery with the body as far as the Brahmā world.

Master Gotama encompasses with his own mind the mind of one who has attained concentration that is without thought and examination such that he understands:

'This person's mental activities are so disposed that immediately afterwards he will think this thought.'

And Master Gotama instructs [others] thus:

'Think in this way and not in that way!

Attend to this and not to that!

Abandon this and enter and dwell in that!'"

"Surely, brahmin, your words are prying and intrusive.

Nevertheless, I will answer you.

I do wield the various kinds of psychic potency ... exercise mastery with the body as far as the Brahmā world.

I do encompass with my own mind the mind of one who has attained a state of concentration that is without thought and examination such that I understand:

'This person's mental activities are so disposed that immediately following this state of mind he will think this thought.'

And I do instruct [others] thus:

'Think in this way and not in that way!

Attend to this and not to that!

Abandon this and enter and dwell in that!'"

[266] "But, Master Gotama, is there even one other bhikkhu apart from Master Gotama who can perform these three wonders?"

"There is not just one hundred, two hundred, three hundred, four hundred, or five hundred bhikkhus, but even more who can perform these three wonders."

But where are those bhikkhus presently dwelling?"

[173]"Right here, brahmin, in this Saŋghaof bhikkhus."

"Excellent, Master Gotama!

... Let Master Gotama consider me a lay follower who from today has gone for refuge for life."


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