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Khaggavisāṇa Sutta

The third sutta of the Uraga Vagga of the Suttanipāta. (SN.vv.35‑75), consisting of forty-one stanzas, each of which ends with the refrain: “eko care khaggavisāṇakappo.”

The Commentary (SNA.i.46 ff) divides the sutta into four chapters (vagga) and gives each a separate name (except the first), the name being generally derived from the first word of the stanza. It is said that the Buddha taught the Khaggavisāṇa Sutta in response to a question asked of him by Ānanda regarding the attainment of Enlightenment by Pacceka Buddhas; the Buddha gave details of their undertaking (abhinīhara) and aspiration (patthanā), and illustrated them by reciting to Ānanda stanzas which had been uttered by Pacceka Buddhas of old on various occasions and at different periods as their paeans of joy (udāna).

In his Commentary, Buddhaghosa gives the life-story of each of the Pacceka Buddhas whose stanzas are included in this sutta. It is, however, only in the case of a few Pacceka Buddhas that the actual names are given — e.g., Brahmadatta (v.33), Anitthigandha (36), Mahāpaduma (39), Ekavajjika-Brahmadatta (40), Ekaputtika-Brahmadatta (41), Cātumāsika-Brahmadatta (44, 64), Sītāluka-Brahmadatta (52), Suta-Brahmadatta (58), Vibhūsaka-Brahmadatta (59), Pādalola-Brahmadatta (61), Anivatta-Brahmadatta (62), Cakkhulola-Brahmadatta (63), Mātaṅga (74).

The rest are described as “the king of Bārāṇasī,” or “the son of the king,” etc.

The sutta is commented on in the Cūḷa-Niddesa (pp.56 ff), in addition to those of the Parāyanavagga, an evidence of the fact that, when the Cūḷa-Niddesa was composed, this was probably regarded as an independent sutta, not belonging to any particular group such as the Uragavagga, and that the comments on it were written at a time prior to the composition of the Suttanipāta as an anthology in its present form. This view is further strengthened by the fact that its mixed Sanskrit version in the Mahāvastu (i.357 f) is not placed in any definite group. According to the Mahāvastu, the Pratyeka Buddhas, five hundred in number, were living in Ṛṣipatana near Bārāṇasī, and when they heard from the Suddhāvāsa devas of the approach of the Buddha in twelve years, they disappeared from Ṛṣipatana, each repeating one of the verses of the sutta.

The Apadāna (i.7 ff) includes the stanzas of the Khaggavisāṇa Sutta in its chapter called the Pacceka-buddhāpadāna and prefaces them with several introductory stanzas. A few stanzas are also added at the end by way of conclusion. In its exegesis the Apadāna Commentary (ApA.i.106 f) gives the names of several Pacceka Buddhas. They are, however, different from those given by Buddhaghosa, and correspond more nearly to those mentioned in the Isigili Sutta.

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