Aŋguttara Nikāya


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Aŋguttara Nikāya
4. Catukka Nipāta
IV. Cakka Vagga

The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha
IV. The Book of the Fours
IV. The Wheel

Sutta 35

Vassakāra Suttaɱ

Vassakāra

Translated from the Pali by Bhikkhu Bodhi.

© 2012 Bhikkhu Bodhi
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[35] [423]

[1][pts] On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the squirrel sanctuary.

Then the brahmin Vassakāra, the chief minister of Magadha, approached the Blessed One and exchanged greetings with him.

When they had concluded their greetings and cordial talk, he sat down to one side and said to the Blessed One:

"Master Gotama, we describe someone who possesses four qualities as a great man with great wisdom.

What four?

(1) Here, someone is highly learned in the various fields of learning.

(2) He understands the meaning of various statements, so that he can say:

'This is the meaning of this statement; this is the meaning of that one.'

(3) He has a good memory; he remembers and recollects what was done and said long ago.

(4) He is skillful and diligent in attending to the diverse chores of a householder; he possesses sound judgment about them in order to carry out and arrange them properly.

We describe someone who possesses these four qualities as a great man with great wisdom.

If Master Gotama thinks what I say should be approved, let him approve it.

If he thinks what I say should be rejected, let him reject it."

"I neither approve of your [statement], brahmin, nor do I reject it.

[36] Rather, I describe one who possesses four [other] qualities as a great man with great wisdom.

What four?

(1) Here, he is practicing for the welfare and happiness of many people; he is one who has established many people in the noble method, that is, in the goodness of the Dhamma, in the wholesomeness of the Dhamma.

(2) He thinks whatever he wants to think and does not think what he does not want to think; he intends whatever he wants to intend and does not intend what he does not want to intend; thus he has attained to mental mastery over the ways of thought.

(3) He gains at will, without trouble or difficulty, the four jhānas that constitute the higher mind and are pleasant dwellings in this very life.

(4) With the destruction of the taints, he has realized for himself with direct knowledge, in this very life, the taintless liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom; and having entered upon it, he dwells in it.

"I neither approve of your [statement], brahmin, nor do I reject it.

But I describe someone who possesses these four qualities as a great man with great wisdom."

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

And we consider Master Gotama as one who possesses these four qualities.

(1) For he is practicing for the welfare and happiness of many people; he is one who has established many people in the noble method, that is, in the goodness of the Dhamma, in the wholesomeness of the Dhamma.

(2) He thinks whatever he wants to think and does not think what he does not want to think; he intends whatever he wants to intend and does not intend what he does not want to intend; thus he has attained to mental mastery over the ways of thought.

(3) He gains at will, without trouble or difficulty, the four jhānas that constitute the higher mind and are pleasant dwellings in this very life.

(4) With the destruction of the taints, he has realized for himself with direct knowledge, in this very life, the taintless liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom; and having entered upon it, he dwells in it."

[37] "Surely, brahmin, your words are prying and intrusive.

Nevertheless, I will answer you.

(1) Indeed, I am practicing for the welfare and happiness of many people; I have established many people in the noble method, that is, in the goodness of the Dhamma, in the wholesomeness of the Dhamma.

(2) I think what I want to think and do not think what I do not want to think; I intend what I want to intend and do not intend what I do not want to intend; thus I have attained to mental mastery over the ways of thought.

(3) I gain at will, without trouble or difficulty, the four jhānas that constitute the higher mind and are pleasant dwellings in this very life.

(4) With the destruction of the taints, I have realized for myself with direct knowledge, in this very life, the taintless liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom; and having entered upon it, I dwell in it."

He who found for the sake of all beings
release from the snare of death;
who revealed the Dhamma, the method,
for the benefit of devas and humans;
he in whom many people gain confidence
when they see and listen to him;
the one skilled in the path and what is not the path,
the taintless one who accomplished his task;
the Enlightened One bearing his final body
is called "a great man of great wisdom."


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