Aŋguttara Nikāya


 

Aŋguttara-Nikāya
III. Tika Nipāta
VII. Mahā Vagga

The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha
III. The Book of the Threes
The Second Fifty
II. The Great Chapter

Sutta 64

Sarabha Suttaɱ

Sarabha

Translated from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi.

© 2012 Bhikkhu Bodhi
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[185] [277]

[1][pts] On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Rājagaha on Mount Vulture Peak.

Now on that occasion a wanderer named Sarabha had recently left this Dhamma and discipline.

He had been telling an assembly in Rājagaha:

"I have learned the Dhamma of the ascetics who follow the Sakyan son.

After I had learned their Dhamma, I left that Dhamma and discipline."

Then, one morning, a number of bhikkhus dressed, took their bowls and robes, and entered Rājagaha for alms.

They then heard the wanderer Sarabha making such a statement to an assembly in Rājagaha.

When those bhikkhus had walked for alms in Rājagaha, after their meal, when they returned from their alms round, they approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him:

"Bhante, the wanderer Sarabha, who recently left this Dhamma and discipline, has been telling an assembly in Rājagaha:

'I have learned the Dhamma of the ascetics who follow the Sakyan son.

After I had learned their Dhamma, I left that Dhamma and discipline.'

It would be good, bhante, if the Blessed One would go to the wanderers' park on the bank of the Sappinikā [river] and, out of compassion, approach the wanderer Sarabha."

The Blessed One consented by silence.

Then, in the evening, the Blessed One emerged from seclusion and went to the wanderers' park on the bank of the Sappinikā [river].

He approached the wanderer Sarabha, sat down on the seat that was prepared [186] for him, and said to him:

"Is it true, Sarabha, that you have been saying:

'I have learned the Dhamma of the ascetics who follow the Sakyan son.

After I learned their Dhamma, I left that Dhamma and discipline'?"

When this was said, the wanderer Sarabha was silent.

A second time the Blessed One said to the wanderer Sarabha:

"Tell me, Sarabha, how have you learned the Dhamma of the ascetics who follow the Sakyan son?

If you have not learned it completely, I will complete it.

But if you have learned it completely, I will rejoice."

But a second time the wanderer Sarabha was silent.

A third time the Blessed One said to the wanderer Sarabha:

"Tell me, Sarabha, how have you learned the Dhamma of the ascetics who follow the Sakyan son?

If you have not learned [278] it completely, I will complete it.

But if you have learned it completely, I will rejoice."

But a third time the wanderer Sarabha was silent.

Then those wanderers said to the wanderer Sarabha:

"The ascetic Gotama has offered to give you whatever you might ask him for, friend Sarabha.

Speak, friend Sarabha!

How have you learned the Dhamma of the ascetics who follow the Sakyan son?

If you have not learned it completely, the ascetic Gotama will complete it for you.

But if you have learned it completely, he will rejoice."

When this was said, the wanderer Sarabha sat silenced, disconcerted, hunched over, downcast, glum, and speechless.

Then the Blessed One, having understood that the wanderer Sarabha [sat] silenced, disconcerted, hunched over, downcast, glum, and speechless, said to those wanderers:

(1) "Wanderers, if anyone should say about me:

'Though you claim to be perfectly enlightened, you are not fully enlightened about these things,'

[187] I might question him closely about this matter, interrogate him, and cross-examine him.

When he is being closely questioned by me, interrogated, and cross-examined, it is impossible and inconceivable that he would not incur one or another of three consequences:

he would either answer evasively and divert the discussion to an irrelevant subject; [or] display anger, hatred, and bitterness; or would sit silenced, disconcerted, hunched over, downcast, glum, and speechless, just like the wanderer Sarabha.

(2) "If, wanderers, anyone should say about me:

'Though you claim to be one whose taints are destroyed, you have not fully destroyed these taints,'

I might question him closely about this matter, interrogate him, and cross-examine him.

When he is being closely questioned by me, interrogated, and cross-examined, it is impossible and inconceivable that he would not incur one or another of three consequences:

he would either answer evasively and divert the discussion to an irrelevant subject; [or] display anger, hatred, and bitterness; or would sit silenced, disconcerted, hunched over, downcast, glum, and speechless, just like the wanderer Sarabha.

(3) "If, wanderers, anyone should say about me:

'The Dhamma does not lead one who practices it to the complete destruction of suffering, the goal for the sake of which you teach it,'

I might question him closely about this matter, interrogate him, [279] and cross-examine him.

When he is being closely questioned by me, interrogated, and cross-examined, it is impossible and inconceivable that he would not incur one or another of three consequences:

he would either answer evasively and divert the discussion to an irrelevant subject, [or] display anger, hatred, and bitterness, or would sit silenced, disconcerted, hunched over, downcast, glum, and speechless, just like the wanderer Sarabha."

Then the Blessed One, having roared his lion's roar three times in the wanderers' park on the bank of the Sappinikā [river], rose up into the air and departed.

Then, soon after the Blessed One had left, those wanderers gave the wanderer Sarabha a thorough verbal lashing, [saying:]

"Just as an old jackal in a huge forest might think:

'I will roar a lion's roar,'

and yet would only howl and yelp like a jackal, so, friend Sarabha, claiming in the absence of the ascetic Gotama:

'I will roar a lion's roar,'

[188] you only howled and yelped like a jackal.

Just as, friend Sarabha, a chick might think:

'I will sing like a cock,'

and yet would only sing like a chick, so, friend Sarabha, claiming in the absence of the ascetic Gotama:

'I will sing like a cock,'

you only sang like a chick.

Just as, friend Sarabha, a bull might think to bellow deeply in an empty cow shed, so, friend Sarabha, in the absence of the ascetic Gotama you thought you could bellow deeply."

[In this way] those wanderers gave the wanderer Sarabha a thorough verbal lashing.


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