Home Previous Up Next

The Buddha

What's New?

Classes

Retreats

Videos

Forums

Blog

Books

Mahāsi Sayādaw

Ledi Sayādaw

Other Authors

Bhikkhu Pesala

Discourses

DPPN

Help

Contact Us

Pāḷi Words

Map of India

Related Links

Photos

OpenType Fonts


Parent Folder Previous Page

© You may print any of these books for your own use. However, all rights are reserved. You may not use any of the site content on your own website, nor for commercial distribution. To publish the books, permission must be sought from the appropriate copyright owners. If you post an extract on a forum, post a link to the appropriate page. Please do not link directly to PDF, MP3, or ZIP files. (Updated on 17 June, 2019)




Home Next Page

Bodhirājakumāra Suttaṃ

(M.ii.91)

A Discourse to Prince Bodhi

#TranslationContents

Translation

Arrival at the Palace

Going Forth of the Bodhisatta

Practice of Severe Austerities

Practice of Not Breathing

Abstaining from Food Completely

Abandoning Severe Austerities

Awakening to Enlightenment

Disinclination to Teach the Dhamma

Request by Brahma Sahampati to Teach

Deciding to Teach the Dhamma

Considering to Whom to Teach First

Meeting the Naked Ascetic Upaka

Teaching the Group of Five Monks

How Long Does It Take to Attain the Goal?

The Five Factors of Striving

Different Periods to Gain the Goal

Prince Bodhi Takes Refuge for the Third Time

Notes

Translation

#325324. Thus have I heard — At one time the Blessed One was dwelling among the Bhaggā at Suṃsumāragiri in the deer park of the Bhesakaḷā forest. On that occasion, Prince Bodhi had just had a palace constructed, named the Red Lotus Palace (Kokanada), not yet made use of by any recluse or priest or any human being. Then Prince Bodhi instructed the young Prince Sañjikāputta: “Come, dear Sañjikāputta, approach the Blessed One, and having approached him pay homage at his feet in my name and ask if he abides in comfort, free from affliction, disease, in good health and strength: ‘Prince Bodhi, Venerable sir, pays homage at the Blessed One’s feet, and asks if you abide in comfort, free from affliction, disease, in good health and strength. Say thus: ‘Please consent, Venerable sir, to accept tomorrow’s meal from Prince Bodhi together with the community of monks.’”

Having replied, “Very well, friend,” Sañjikāputta approached the Blessed One, paid homage, sat down at one side, asked about his health, and invited him for tomorrow’s meal as instructed by Prince Bodhi. The Blessed One consented by remaining silent, and [92] Sañjikāputta conveyed the good news to Prince Bodhi

Arrival at the Palace

#327325. “Then, Prince Bodhi, during the night having had superior hard and soft food prepared in his own palace, and having had white cloths spread as far as the foot of the staircase, he instructed Sañjikāputta to approach the Blessed One, and having approached him to inform him: ‘It is time, Venerable sir, the meal is ready.’

Then, after the night had passed, early in the morning the Blessed One dressed in his robes and, carrying his almsbowl and outer robe, went to Prince Bodhi’s residence. On that occasion, Prince Bodhi, standing at the gateway to the palace, saw the Blessed One coming from a distance and went out to meet him. Having paid homage to the Blessed One, letting him go in front, he approached the Red Lotus Palace. The Blessed One remained standing at the foot of the staircase. Then Prince Bodhi said to the Blessed One, “Let the Blessed One step on the cloths, Venerable sir, let the Fortunate One step on the cloths; it will be for my welfare and happiness for a long time.” When this was said, the Blessed One remained silent.² A second and a third time Prince Bodhi said, “Let the Blessed One step on the cloths, Venerable sir, let the Fortunate One step on the cloths; it will be for my welfare and happiness for a long time.”

326. Then the Blessed One looked at the Venerable Ānanda. [93] Then the Venerable Ānanda said to Prince Bodhi: “Have the cloths removed, prince; the Blessed One will not step on the strips of cloth out of compassion for future generations.” Then Prince Bodhi had the cloths removed, and prepared a seat on the upper storey of the Red Lotus Palace. Then the Blessed One, having ascended the Red Lotus Palace, sat on the prepared seat accompanied by the community of monks. Then Prince Bodhi served and satisfied the community of monks led by the Blessed One with the superior hard and soft food by his own hand. When the Blessed One had eaten and withdrawn his hand from the almsbowl, Prince Bodhi took a certain low seat and sat down at one side. Sitting at once side Prince Bodhi said to the Blessed One: “It occurred to me, Venerable sir, ‘Happiness cannot be gained through happiness, happiness can be gained through suffering.’” ³

Going Forth of the Bodhisatta

#332327. “I too, prince, before my awakening, when I was still unenlightened, while still a Bodhisatta, I thought thus: ‘Happiness cannot be gained through happiness, happiness can be gained through suffering.’ So, prince, on a later occasion while still young, my hair very black, endowed with the blessings of youth, in the first period of life, although my mother and father did not want me to, weeping with tearful faces, having cut off my hair and put on the yellow robes I went forth from the household life into homelessness. Having thus gone forth, in search of what is wholesome, seeking the way to that incomparable peace I approached Āḷāra the Kālāma, and having approached him said: ‘I wish, friend Kālāma, to practice this teaching and discipline of this holy life.’ When this was said, prince, Āḷāra the Kālāma said to me: ‘Stay here, Venerable sir, this teaching is such that a wise man before long, having realised it for himself by direct knowledge, can attain and abide in it. So, prince, before long I quickly fulfilled that teaching. So, prince, as far as reciting it verbally, I claimed to know and understand the teaching of the elders, and others did the same. Then, prince, it occurred to me: ‘Āḷāra the Kālāma does not claim by faith alone that he attains and abides in this Dhamma for himself by direct knowledge; surely Āḷāra the Kālāma having known and seen this Dhamma, he abides in it.’

“Then, prince, I approached Āḷāra the Kālāma, and having approached said to him: ‘In what way, friend Kālāma, having realised this Dhamma for yourself by direct knowledge, do you attain and abide in it, then declare it?’ When this was said, prince, Āḷāra the Kālāma declared the base of nothingness (ākiñcaññāyatanaṃ). Then, prince, it occurred to me: ‘Not only does Āḷāra the Kālāma have confidence, I too have confidence; not only does Āḷāra the Kālāma have energy … mindfulness … concentration … wisdom, I too have energy … mindfulness … concentration … wisdom. What if I were to try to realise for myself by direct knowledge, and having attained it, abide in that Dhamma realised by Āḷāra the Kālāma?’ So, prince, before long I realised that Dhamma for myself by direct knowledge, attained it and abided in it.

“Then, prince, I approached Āḷāra the Kālāma, and having approached said to him: ‘This Dhamma, friend Kālāma, realised and declared by you, I also realise and declare it.’ ‘It is again for us, friend, a great gain for us, friend, to see the Venerable one as our companion in the holy life. That Dhamma that you have realised by direct knowledge is the same as the Dhamma that I have realised. Come, friend, let us both lead this community. Thus, prince, Āḷāra the Kālāma, the teacher, placed me, the disciple, on the same level as himself, honouring me with the highest honour. Then, prince, I said to Āḷāra the Kālāma: ‘This teaching does not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, to tranquillising, to higher knowledge, to awakening, nor to nibbāna, but only to arising in the base of nothingness.’ So, prince, not finding any attraction (analaṅkaritvā)⁴ in that teaching, therefore I was disgusted (nibbijja) with it and left.

328. “So, prince, in search of what is wholesome, seeking the way to that incomparable peace I approached Udaka Rāmaputta, and having approached him said: ‘I wish, friend, to practice this teaching and discipline of this holy life.’ When this was said, prince, Udaka Rāmaputta said to me: ‘Stay here, Venerable sir, this teaching is such that a wise man before long, having realised it for himself by direct knowledge, can attain and abide in it. So, prince, before long I quickly fulfilled that teaching. So, prince, as far as reciting it verbally, I claimed to know and understand the teaching of the elders, and others did the same. Then, prince, it occurred to me: ‘Rāma ⁵ did not claim by faith alone that he attained and abided in this Dhamma for himself by direct knowledge; surely Rāma having known and seen this Dhamma for himself by direct knowledge, having attained it he abided in it, and declared it.’

“Then, prince, I approached Udaka Rāmaputta, and having approached said to him: ‘In what way, friend, having realised this Dhamma for himself by direct knowledge, did Rāma attain and abide in it, then declare it?’ When this was said, prince, Udaka Rāmaputta declared the base of neither perception nor non-perception. Then, prince, it occurred to me: ‘Not only did Rāma have confidence, I too have confidence; not only did Rāma have energy … mindfulness … concentration … wisdom, I too have wisdom. What if I were to try to realise for myself by direct knowledge, and having attained it abide in that Dhamma realised by Rāma?’ So, prince, before long I realised that Dhamma for myself by direct knowledge, attained it and abided in it.

“Then, prince, I approached Udaka Rāmaputta, and having approached said to him: ‘This Dhamma, friend, realised and declared by Rāma, I also realise and declare it.’ ‘It is again for us, friend, a great gain for us, friend, to see the Venerable one as our companion in the holy life. That Dhamma that you have realised by direct knowledge is the same as the Dhamma that Rāma realised. Come, friend, you lead this community.⁶ Thus, prince, Udaka Rāmaputta, my companion in the holy life, placed me in the teacher’s position, honouring me with the highest honour. Then, prince, I said to Udaka Rāmaputta: ‘This teaching does not lead to disenchantment, dispassion, cessation, to tranquillising, to higher knowledge, to awakening, nor to nibbāna, but only to arising in the base of neither perception nor non-perception.’ So, prince, not finding any attraction in that teaching, therefore I was disgusted with it and left.

Practice of Severe Austerities

329. “Prince, in search of what is wholesome, seeking the way to supreme peace, I wandered in Magadha, and arrived at the village of Senānī near Uruvelā. There I saw a delightful place, a peaceful forest grove, and a river with clear flowing water, and smooth river-banks, a delightful place with a village to resort to for alms. It occurred to me: ‘This is a suitable place for striving,’ so I sat down there. Then, prince, three similes — not heard before — spontaneously occurred to me.⁷

“It is like, prince, a wet, sappy stick left in water. A man would come with a fire stick and take it, thinking: ‘I will make fire, I will produce heat.’ What do you think, prince? Would that man be able to make fire and produce heat by taking a fire stick and rubbing the wet sappy stick left in water?”

“Indeed not, Venerable sir. For what reason? The stick left in water is wet and sappy, Venerable sir, no matter how hard he rubbed, the man would only meet with exhaustion and vexation.”

“Likewise, prince, whatever recluses or priests dwell not physically and mentally secluded (avūpakaṭṭhā) from sensual pleasures, whose desire (chanda), affection (sneha), infatuation (mucchā), thirst (pipāsā), and fever (pariḷāha) for sensual pleasures is not thoroughly abandoned and inwardly allayed (suppaṭissaddho), even if those recluses and priests experience painful, severe, rough, and sharp feelings, or even if they did not experience painful, severe, rough, and sharp feelings, they would be unable to gain knowledge, vision, and supreme enlightenment. This, prince, was the first simile that occurred to me spontaneously, which was never heard before.

330. “A second simile, prince, occurred to me spontaneously, which was never heard before. “It is like, prince, a wet, sappy stick left out of the water. A man would come with a fire stick and take it, thinking: ‘I will make fire, I will produce heat.’ What do you think, prince? Would that man be able to make fire and produce heat by taking a fire stick and rubbing the wet sappy stick left out of water?”

“Indeed not, Venerable sir. For what reason? The stick left out of water is wet and sappy, Venerable sir, no matter how hard he rubbed, the man would only meet with exhaustion and vexation.”

“Likewise, prince, whatever recluses or priests dwell physically and mentally secluded from sensual pleasures, but whose desire, affection, infatuation, thirst, and fever for sensual pleasures is not thoroughly abandoned and inwardly allayed, even if those recluses and priests experience painful, severe, rough, and sharp feelings, or even if they did not experience painful, severe, rough, and sharp feelings, they would be unable to gain knowledge, vision, and supreme enlightenment. This, prince, was the second simile that occurred to me spontaneously, which was never heard before.

331. “A third simile, prince, occurred to me spontaneously, which was never heard before. “It is like, prince, a dry, sapless stick left out of the water. A man would come with a fire stick and take it, thinking: ‘I will make fire, I will produce heat.’ What do you think, prince? Would that man be able to make fire and produce heat by taking a fire stick and rubbing the dry, sapless stick left out of water?”

“Indeed he would, Venerable sir. For what reason? The dry sapless stick left out of water is dry and sapless, Venerable sir, the man would be able to make fire and produce heat.”

“Likewise, prince, whatever recluses or priests dwell physically and mentally secluded from sensual pleasures, but whose desire, affection, infatuation, thirst, and fever for sensual pleasures is not thoroughly abandoned and inwardly allayed, even if those recluses and priests experience painful, severe, rough, and sharp feelings, or even if they did not experience painful, severe, rough, and sharp feelings, they would able to gain knowledge, vision, and supreme enlightenment. This, prince, was the third simile that occurred to me spontaneously, which was never heard before.

#334332. “Then, prince, it occurred to me: ‘What if I were to clench my teeth, press my tongue against the roof of my mouth, restrain, subdue, and crush the mind with the mind.’ So, prince, I [did so] until the sweat flowed from my armpits. It was as if, prince, a strong man would seize a weak man by the head or shoulders, and restrain, subdue, and crush him; in the same way, prince, I clenched my teeth, pressed my tongue against the roof of my mouth, and restrained, subdued, and crushed the mind with the mind until the sweat flowed from my armpits. Although, prince, my vigorous effort was relentless, and my mindfulness was unconfused, my body was exhausted and not calmed by the painful striving.

Practice of Not Breathing

333. “Then, prince, it occurred to me: ‘What if I were to practise concentration on not breathing?’ So, prince, I stopped breathing in and out through my mouth and nose. When, prince, I stopped breathing in and out through my mouth and nose, there was a loud sound of wind coming out of my ear canals. It was like the loud sound of a blacksmith’s bellows. In the same way, prince, when I stopped breathing in and out through my mouth and nose, there was a loud sound of wind coming out of my ear canals. Although, prince, my vigorous effort was relentless, and my mindfulness was unconfused, my body was exhausted and not calmed by the painful striving.

“Then, prince, it occurred to me: ‘What if I were to practise concentration on not breathing [further]?’ So, prince, I stopped breathing in and out through my mouth, nose, and ear canals. … the winds cut through my head like a strong man was splitting my head open with a sharp sword … it was like a strong man tightening a leather strap around my head … the winds cut through my belly like a butcher or butcher’s apprentice carved up an ox with a sharp knife … there was a violent burning throughout my body like two strong men were to size a weak man and roast his body over a charcoal pit … Although, prince, my vigorous effort was relentless, and my mindfulness was unconfused, my body was exhausted and not calmed by the painful striving.

“Then, prince, deities having seen me said: ‘The recluse Gotama is dead.’ Some deities said: ‘The recluse Gotama is not dead, but he is dying.’ Some deities said: ‘The recluse Gotama is not dead or dying. The recluse Gotama is an Arahant. That is how Arahants abide.’

Abstaining from Food Completely

#335334. “Then, prince, it occurred to me: ‘What if I were to abstain from food completely?’ Then, prince, some deities approached me and said: ‘Do not, sir (mārisa), abstain from food completely. If you do, sir, we will infuse ambrosia through your pores, and you will live on that.’ Then, prince, I thought: ‘If I claim to be abstaining from food completely, but these deities infuse ambrosia through my pores, and I live on that, then I shall be lying.’ So, prince, I dismissed those deities saying, ‘Enough!’

“Then, prince, it occurred to me: ‘What if I were to take very little food, a handful of bean soup, or vetch soup, or chick-pea soup, or pea soup.When I did so my body became extremely emaciated. My limbs were like jointed creepers or bamboo stems from eating so little; my backside became hollow like a buffalo’s hoof; my vertebrae stood out like a row of beads; my ribs were like the rafters of an old barn with rafters broken and decayed; the pupils of my eyes were sunk deep into my eye-sockets like the twinkling of water seen in a deep well; my scalp was wrinkled like a raw bitter-gourd withered by the wind and sun. When I thought, Sāriputta: ‘I will touch the skin of my belly,’ I grasped my backbone; when I thought, ‘I will touch my backbone, I grasped the skin of my belly,’ because my belly skin adhered to my backbone from eating so little. When I thought, Sāriputta, I will defecate or urinate,’ I fell down head first from eating so little. If, Sāriputta, I rubbed my limbs with my hands to relieve my body, then the hair, having rotted at the roots, would fall out, from eating so little. When people saw me, prince, they said: ‘The recluse Gotama is black,’ others said: ‘No, the recluse Gotama is not black, the recluse Gotama is dark brown,’ others said: ‘The recluse Gotama is neither black nor dark brown, the recluse Gotama is golden.’ So much, prince, had the pure complexion deteriorated due to fasting.

#336335. “Then, prince, it occurred to me: ‘Whatever recluses or priests in the past have experienced painful, severe, rough, and sharp feelings, this is the utmost, there are none greater than this. Whatever recluses or priests in the future will experience painful, severe, rough, and sharp feelings, this is the utmost, there are none greater than this. Whatever recluses or priests in the present have experienced painful, severe, rough, and sharp feelings, this is the utmost, there are none greater than this. Nevertheless, through this severe ascetic practice I did not attain any superhuman states, any knowledge and vision worthy of the Noble Ones; perhaps there may some other way to Enlightenment. Then, prince, it occurred to me, ‘I recall, when my father the Sakyan was working, I sat in the shadow or a rose-apple tree, secluded from sensuality, secluded from unwholesome states, and attained and abided in the first absorption accompanied by initial application, sustained application, with joy and bliss born of seclusion; perhaps this may be the way to Enlightenment?’ From that recollection, I became conscious that ‘This is the way to Enlightenment.’ Then, prince, I thought, ‘Why am I afraid of that bliss, which is quite different to unwholesome sensual pleasures?’ Then it occurred to me, prince, ‘There is nothing that I need to fear in this bliss, which is quite different to unwholesome sensual pleasures.’

Abandoning Severe Austerities

“Then, prince, it occurred to me: ‘It is not easy to gain this bliss while my body is so emaciated. What if I were to resume taking normal meals of rice (odana) and junket (kummāsa)? So, prince, I partook of normal meals with rice and junket. Then, prince, on that occasion the group of five monks who attended upon me thought: ‘This recluse Gotama will tell us if he has attained the Dhamma. However, prince, because I had resumed taking normal meals, that group of five monks were disgusted and went away from me thinking: “The recluse Gotama has abandoned striving and reverted to living in abundance.’ ⁸

#337336. “So, prince, having resumed taking normal meals and having regained my strength, I attained to and abided in the first absorption … the second absorption … the third absorption … the fourth absorption. With the mind thus composed (samāhite), purified (parisuddhe), cleansed (pariyodāte), free from defects (anaṅgaṇe), devoid of defilements (vigatūpakkilese), malleable (mudubhūte), fit for work (kammaniye), firm (ṭhite), and attained to imperturbability (āneñjappatte), I directed the mind to the knowledge of recollection of former existences. I recollected my former existences, that is to say — one birth, two births … Thus with their characteristics and in detail I recollected my former existences. This, prince, was the first knowledge that I gained in the first watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed and knowledge arose; darkness was dispelled and light arose — as happens in one who dwells heedful, diligent, and resolute.

“With the mind thus composed, purified, cleansed, free from defects, devoid of defilements, malleable, fit for work, firm, and attained to imperturbability, I directed the mind to knowledge of the passing away and reappearance of beings. With the divine-eye purified and transcending the human eye is saw beings dying and reappearing, inferior or inferior, beautiful or ugly, fortunate or unfortunate, in accordance with their kamma. … This, prince, was the second knowledge that I gained in the middle watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed and knowledge arose; darkness was dispelled and light arose — as happens in one who dwells heedful, diligent, and resolute.

Awakening to Enlightenment

“With the mind thus composed, purified, cleansed, free from defects, devoid of defilements, malleable, fit for work, firm, and attained to imperturbability, I directed the mind to the knowledge of the destruction of the outflows.⁹ I understood as it really is: ‘This is the truth of suffering,’ … ‘This is the path leading to the cessation of suffering.’ I understood as it really is: ‘These are the outflows,’ … ‘This is the path leading to the cessation of the outflows.’ Knowing and seeing thus my mind was liberated from the outflows of sensuality, becoming, and ignorance. In being liberated, I knew that I was liberated, ‘Birth is destroyed, the holy life has been lived, what should be done has been done, there will be no more of this.’ This, prince, was the third knowledge that I attained in the third watch of the night, ignorance was destroyed and knowledge arose; darkness was dispelled and light arise — as happens in one who dwells heedful, diligent, and resolute.

Disinclination to Teach the Dhamma

#338337. “Then, prince, it occurred to me: “This truth that I have attained is profound (gambhīro), difficult to see (duddaso), difficult to realise (duranubodho), peaceful (santo), excellent (panīto), inaccessible to logic (atakkāvacaro), subtle (nipuṇo), and to be comprehended by the wise (paṇḍitavedanīyo). This generation is devoted to attachment, rejoices in attachment, delights in attachment. For a generation devoted to, rejoicing in, and delighting in attachment, it is difficult to see this fact, that is to say — this is conditioned by that and dependently arisen. This fact is difficult to see — that is to say the tranquillising of all mental formations, the relinquishment of all existence, the destruction of craving, dispassion, cessation, nibbāna. If I were to teach this Dhamma, and others did not understand me, that would be wearisome for me, that would be vexation for me. Then, prince, these verses occurred to me spontaneously, which had not been heard before:–

“This that was hard for me to attain, enough of explaining it.
Those with lust and hate will not understand it well.

“It goes against the stream, is subtle, profound, and difficult to see.
For those stained by lust, and veiled in darkness.”

“Reflecting thus, prince, my mind inclined to being unconcerned, not to teaching the Dhamma.”

Request by Brahma Sahampati to Teach

#339338. “Then, prince, Brahma Sahampati, knowing my mind with his mind, thought: ‘The world will be lost; the world will perish. The mind of the Tathāgata, the worthy Fully Enlightened Buddha inclines to being unconcerned, to not teaching the Dhamma!’ Then, prince, Brahma Sahampati — just as a strong man would extend his bent arm, or bend his extended arm — he disappeared from the Brahma realm and appeared in front of me. Then, prince, Brahma Sahampati, having arranged his robe over one shoulder and have greeted me with joined palms, said: ‘Teach the Dhamma, Venerable sir, let the Blessed one teach the Dhamma, let the Fortunate One teach the Dhamma. There are beings with little dust in their eyes who will decline through not hearing the Dhamma; there will be some who understand the Dhamma. This is what Brahma Sahampati said, prince. Having said this, he said further:–

“Manifested in Magadha before now,
Impure teachings of those with defiled minds.
Open the doors to the deathless,
Let them hear the teaching to which you have awakened.

“Like one stood on the rocky mountain peak,
Sees the people all around,
Like that the sage sees the truth,
Having ascended the lofty palace of Omniscience.

“Those fallen into grief, one without grief,
Considers those overwhelmed with birth and aging.
Arise heroic one, who has won the battle,
Caravan leader without debts, wander in the world.
Teach the Dhamma, Blessed One
Some will understand it.”

Deciding to Teach the Dhamma

#340339. Then, prince, having known Brahma’s appeal, out of compassion I surveyed the world with the eye of a Buddha. Then I saw, prince, with the eye of the Buddha, some with little or much dust in their eyes, with sharp or weak faculties, with good or bad characters, easy and difficult to teach, some dwelling seeing danger in faults, fearing the other world, and some dwelling without seeing danger in faults, without fear of the other world. Just as in a pond of blue, red, and white lotuses, some are born in the water, grow in the water, remain immersed in the water, and are nourished by it. Some are born in the water, grow in the water, and rest on the water’s surface. Some are born in the water, grow in the water, rise clear of the surface, and are undefiled by the water. In the same way, prince, by surveying the world with the eye of a Buddha I saw some with little or much dust in their eyes, with sharp or weak faculties, with good or bad characters, easy and difficult to teach, dwelling seeing dangers in faults, fearing the other world,¹⁰ and some dwelling without seeing danger in faults, without fear of the other world. Then, prince, I replied to Brahma Sahampati with these verses:–

“Open are the doors to the deathless,
Let those who listen, express their faith.
Perceiving harm I did not say what I have mastered,
The excellent Dhamma, Brahma, Lord of mankind.”

#341340. “Then, prince, Brahma Sahampati thought: ‘I have created the opportunity for the Blessed One to teach the Dhamma,’ having paid homage to me, he departed at once, keeping me on his right side.

Considering to Whom to Teach First

“Then, prince, I thought: ‘To whom should I teach the Dhamma first? Who will quickly understand this teaching?’ Then, prince, it occurred to me, Āḷāra the Kālāma is wise, learned, and intelligent. For a long time he has had little dust in his eyes. If I teach the Dhamma first to Āḷāra the Kālāma he will quickly understand this teaching.’ Then, prince, deities approached me and said: ‘Seven days ago, Venerable sir, Āḷāra the Kālāma died. Direct knowledge and vision also arose in me: ‘Seven days ago Āḷāra the Kālāma died.’ Then, prince, I thought ‘This is a great loss for Āḷāra the Kālāma. If he had listened to this teaching, he would have quickly understood it.’

“Then, prince, I thought: ‘To whom [else] should I teach the Dhamma first? Who will quickly understand this teaching?’ Then, prince, it occurred to me, Udaka Rāmaputta is wise, learned, and intelligent. For a long time he has had little dust in his eyes. If I teach the Dhamma first to Udaka Rāmaputta he will quickly understand this teaching.’ Then, prince, deities approached me and said: ‘Last night, Venerable sir, Udaka Rāmaputta died. Direct knowledge and vision also arose in me: ‘Last night Udaka Rāmaputta died.’ Then, prince, I thought ‘This is a great loss for Udaka Rāmaputta. If he had listened to this teaching, he would have quickly understood it.’

#342341. “Then, prince, I thought: ‘To whom [else] should I teach the Dhamma first? Who will quickly understand this teaching?’ Then, prince, it occurred to me, ‘The group of five monks were of great help as my attendants when I was engaged in striving. What if I teach the Dhamma first to the group of five monks.’ Then, prince, I thought: ‘Where are the group of five monks now dwelling?’ Seeing with the divine-eye purified beyond the eye of ordinary human beings I saw the monks dwelling at Benares in the deer park at the sages’ resort. Then, prince, having stayed at Uruvela as long as I wanted, I set out for Benares, walking there in stages.

Meeting the Naked Ascetic Upaka

“Then, prince, on the road between Gayā and the place of Enlightenment, the naked ascetic Upaka ¹¹ saw me. Having seen me he said: ‘Your faculties are bright, friend, your complexion is pure and radiant. Who, friend, is your teacher? Dependent on whom have you gone forth? Who is your teacher? Whose teaching do you profess?’ Then, prince, I replied to the naked ascetic Upaka in verse:–

“All have I overcome, all have I understood,
I am free from all stains.
By removing and destroying all craving I am liberated,
Having known this all by myself, who should I point out as my teacher?

“I have no teacher, another like me cannot be found.
In the world with its deities, there is none comparable to me.

“I am a worthy one in the world, I am the supreme teacher.
I alone are a Fully Enlightened Buddha, the fire is tranquillised and extinguished.

“To set in motion the wheel of truth, I am going to the city of Kāsi.
In the world that has become blind, I will beat the drum of the deathless.”

“From your claims, friend, you acknowledge being the worthy final victor.

“Those who are victors like me have attained the destruction of the outflows.
I have conquered evil states, therefore, Upaka, I am the victor.”

“When this was said, prince, the Naked Ascetic Upaka, having said: ‘It may be so, friend,’ departed taking a different road, and shaking his head.”

Teaching the Group of Five Monks

#343342. “Then, prince, walking in stages I arrived at the deer park in the sages’ resort, near Benares, and approached the group of five monks. The group of five monks, prince, saw me coming from a distance. Having seen me, they agreed with each other: ‘This recluse Gotama, friend, has abandoned striving and reverted to living in abundance. We should neither pay homage to him, nor rise up to greet him, nor take his robe and almsbowl; however a seat should be prepared — if he wishes, he will sit down.’ However, prince, when I approached the group of five monks could not adhere to their agreement. One came and took my bowl and robes, one prepared a seat, one set up water for washing the feet. However, they addressed me by name, and with the word ‘Friend.’

“When this was said, prince, I said to the group of five monks: ‘Do not, monks, address the Tathāgata by name or by the word “Friend.” The Tathāgata, monks, is worthy, Fully Enlightened Buddha. Pay attention, monks, and listen. I have attained the deathless. I will instruct you, and teach the Dhamma. By practising as instructed, before long, having realised by direct knowledge, here and now, you will attain and abide in the goal of the holy life for which sons of families rightly go forth from household life into homelessness.’

“When this was said, prince, the group of five monks said: ‘When you, friend Gotama, were striving with severe asceticism you did not attain any superhuman states worthy of the Noble Ones; how then could you do so now, when you have abandoned striving and reverted to living in abundance?’

“When this was said, prince, I said to the group of five monks: ‘The Tathāgata, Monks, has not abandoned striving, and does not live in abundance. The Tathāgata, monks, is a worthy, Fully Enlightened Buddha. Pay attention, monks, and listen. I have attained the deathless. I will instruct you, and teach the Dhamma. By practising as instructed, before long, having realised by direct knowledge, here and now, you will attain and abide in the goal of the holy life for which sons of families rightly go forth from household life into homelessness.’ A second time … a third time, prince, I said: ‘… you will attain and abide in the goal of the holy life for which sons of families rightly go forth from household life into homelessness.’ A third time also, prince, the group of five monks said: ‘When you, friend Gotama, was striving with severe asceticism you did not attain any superhuman states worthy of the Noble Ones; how then could you do so now, when you have abandoned striving and reverted to living in abundance?’

“When this was said, prince, I said to the group of five monks: ‘Have you ever known me, monks, to speak thus before?’ ‘Indeed not, Venerable sir.’ ‘The Tathāgata, Monks, has not abandoned striving, and does not live in abundance. The Tathāgata, monks, is a worthy, Fully Enlightened Buddha. Pay attention, monks, and listen. I have attained the deathless. I will instruct you, and teach the Dhamma. By practising as instructed, before long, having realised by direct knowledge, here and now, you will attain and abide in the goal of the holy life for which sons of families rightly go forth from household life into homelessness.’

“I was thus able, prince, to convince the group of five monks. I instructed two monks, prince, while three monks went for alms. The group of six subsisted on whatever those three monks brought back from almsround. I instructed three monks, prince, while two monks went for alms. The group of six subsisted on whatever those two monks brought back from almsround.”[94]

#344343. “Then, prince, when thus instructed and admonished by me, the group of five monks before long, having realised by direct knowledge, here and now, attained and abided in the goal of the holy life for which sons of families rightly go forth from household life into homelessness.

How Long Does It Take to Attain the Goal?

When this was said, Prince Bodhi said to the Blessed One: “How long is it, Venerable sir, when a monk obtains a Tathāgata to discipline him, that a son of a family who rightly go forth from household life into homelessness, realises by direct knowledge, here and now, attains and abides in the goal of the holy life?”

“Then, prince, I will ask you a counter-question. Please answer it however you see fit. What do you think, prince? Are you skilled in the art of using a goad while riding an elephant?” “Indeed, I am, Venerable sir.”

“What do you think, prince? If a man would come here, thinking: ‘Prince Bodhi is skilled in the art of wielding a goad while riding an elephant; I will train in that art under him.’ If he was lacking in confidence he would not be able to fulfil that which is to be attained through confidence. If he had many ailments he would not be able to fulfil that which is to be attained through having few ailments. If he was crafty and deceitful he would not be able to fulfil that which is to be attained through honesty and sincerity. If he was lazy, he would not be able to fulfil that which is to be attained by strenuous effort. If he was unwise, he would not be able to fulfil that which is to be attained by one who is wise. What do you think, prince, if a man like that came to learn the art from you of wielding a goad while riding an elephant, would he be able to train under you?” “Endowed with even one of those defects, Venerable sir, that man would not be able to learn the art of wielding a goad while riding an elephant, what more needs to be said about one with all five?”

The Five Factors of Striving

#345344. “What do you think, prince? If a man would come here, thinking: [95] ‘Prince Bodhi is skilled in the art of wielding a goad while riding an elephant; I will train in that art under him.’ If he had confidence he would be able to fulfil that which is to be attained through confidence. If he had few ailments he would be able to fulfil that which is to be attained through having few ailments. If he was honest and sincere he would be able to fulfil that which is to be attained through honesty and sincerity. If he was strenuously energetic, he would be able to fulfil that which is to be attained by strenuous effort. If he was wise, he would be able to fulfil that which is to be attained by one who is wise. What do you think, prince, if a man like that came to learn the art from you of wielding a goad while riding an elephant, would he be able to train under you?” “Endowed with even one of those virtues, Venerable sir, that man would be able to learn the art of wielding a goad while riding an elephant, what more needs to be said about one with all five?”

  1. “Thus, prince, these are the five factors of striving. What five? Here, prince, a monk has confidence. He has confidence in the enlightenment of the Tathāgata: ‘Thus indeed is the Blessed One, worthy, fully enlightened by himself, endowed with knowledge and conduct, fortunate, knower of the world, an incomparable trainer of trainable persons, teacher of gods and human beings, enlightened, and blessed.’
  2. “He has few ailments, few afflictions, he is endowed with an even digestion, neither too cool nor too hot, but even, and able to bear striving.
  3. He is honest and sincere, not deceitful. He reveals himself as he really is to his teacher and to his wise companions in the holy life.
  4. He dwells with vigorous energy to abandon unwholesome states, to arouse wholesome states, he is steadfast and strong, persistent in wholesome states.
  5. He is wise, he is endowed with wisdom regarding arising and passing away that is noble, discriminating, and leading to the perfect destruction of suffering.

“These, prince, are the five factors of striving.”

Different Periods to Gain the Goal

#Notes345. “Endowed with these five factors of striving, prince, a monk who obtains a Tathāgata to discipline him, that son of a family who has rightly gone forth from household life into homelessness, realises by direct knowledge, here and now, attains and abides in the goal of the holy life within seven years.¹² [96] Let alone, seven years, prince. Endowed with these five factors of striving, a monk … within six years … five years … four years … three years … two years … one year. Let alone one year, prince. Endowed with these five factors of striving within seven months … six months … five months … four months … three months … two months … one month … half a month. Let alone one month, prince. Endowed with these five factors of striving within seven days … six days … five days … four days … three days … two days … one day. Let alone one day, prince. Endowed with these five factors of striving, prince, a monk who obtains a Tathāgata to discipline him, having been instructed in the morning that son of a family who has rightly gone forth from household life into homelessness, realises by direct knowledge, here and now, attains and abides in the goal of the holy life by the evening.”

When this was said, Prince Bodhi said to the Blessed One: “Oh the Buddha! Oh the Dhamma! Oh, how well taught is the Dhamma! For one instructed in the morning might arrive at the goal in the evening.”

346. When this was said, the young Prince Sañjikāputta said to Prince Bodhi: “Even though, dear Bodhi, you say ‘Oh the Buddha! Oh the Dhamma! Oh, how well  taught is the Dhamma! For one instructed in the morning might arrive at the goal in the evening,’ you do not go for refuge to the Buddha, Dhamma, and Saṅgha.’

Prince Bodhi Takes Refuge for the Third Time

“Do not speak thus, dear Sañjikāputta.¹³ I have heard from my mother’s lips, [97] I have learned from her: ‘On one occasion, dear Sañjikāputta, the Blessed One was dwelling at Kosambī in Ghosita’s monastery. When I was in my mother womb, my mother approached the Blessed One, having approached, she paid homage to the Blessed One and sat down at one side. Sitting at one side, my mother said to the Blessed One: “This child that is in my womb, whether a boy or a girl, goes for refuge to the Blessed One, to the Dhamma, and to the Saṅgha. May the Blessed One regard this child as a lay disciple gone for refuge from this day as long as life lasts.” On another occasion, Sañjikāputta, the Blessed One was staying right here among the Bhaggā at Suṃsumāragiri in the deer park of the Bhesakaḷā forest. Then my nurse, carrying me on her hip approached the Blessed One, having approached, she paid homage to the Blessed One and stood at one side. Standing at one side, she said to the Blessed One: “This Prince Bodhi, Venerable sir, goes for refuge to the Blessed One, to the Dhamma, and to the Saṅgha. May the Blessed One regard him as a lay disciple gone for refuge from this day as long as life lasts.” Now, dear Sañjikāputta, for the third time I go to the Blessed One for refuge, to the Dhamma, and to the Saṅgha. May the Blessed One regard me as a lay disciple gone for refuge from this day as long as life lasts.

#ContentsNotes:

1. Paraphrased for brevity. The Pāḷi texts often repeat verbatim what was said earlier. It makes it easier for memorising the texts, but it is not so helpful when reading translations. Other passages below have also been paraphrased wherever appropriate.

2. The Commentary to the discourse explains that the Buddha, knowing through his powers of mind-reading the reason for Prince Bodhi spreading the white cloths, he used his psychic powers to look into the past lives of Prince Bodhi and his wife, and foresaw that due to their past kamma, they were destined to remain childless, so he refused to step on the cloths, thinking of the benefit of future generations. In a previous life, they had been shipwrecked together on an island of birds. They survived by eating the fledgling birds. As a result of that kamma, they were destined to remain childless as husband and wife when reborn in the time of Gotama Buddha.

3. There is a common saying among meditation teachers: “No pain, no gain.” This is correct. Without being willing to endure hardship and physical pain, a meditator will be unable to progress. It is not self-mortification to practise meditation for the entire day without a break, to sleep only four to six hours, to eat only one or two meals a day, to observe noble silence, and to relentlessly walk and sit in meditation, and remaining mindful and clearly comprehending while undertaking daily activities of eating, washing, going, etc. Inflicting pain on the body by extremely stringent fasting, bathing in cold water in the winter, beating oneself, piercing the body with hooks, etc., is what is meant by trying to achieve happiness through suffering. Such practices were engaged in by the Naked Ascetics, and others, and are still prevalent in some religious traditions.

4. Alaṅkaroti = to adorn, to embellish, to decorate. Although such absorptions are peaceful abidings, they were not what the Bodhisatta was seeking, so they had no attraction for him.

5. Udaka Rāmaputta, was the son of Rāma. Although his father (and teacher) had attained this Dhamma, Udaka himself had not yet attained it. He was just relating what he had heard from his father.

6. Udaka Rāmaputta had no false pride. He had not yet attained the base of neither perception nor non-perception (nevasaññānāsaññāyatanaṃ), the highest stage of the formless absorptions, that his father had attained before he passed away. He at once offered the teacher’s position to the Bodhisatta who had so quickly attained what he had been unable to achieve himself.

7. These three similes make it clear that it is not enough to abstain from sensual pleasures physically, but also mentally. To gain concentration and insight, the longing for and interest in sensual pleasures has to be thoroughly abandoned and renounced.

8. Taking regular meals was regarded as falling away (āvatto) from the path of extreme asceticism. For ascetics it is luxurious (bāhullāyā), though for lay people a diet of rice and junket (curds and whey), would be very austere.

9. The four outflows (āsavā) are: sensuality (kāmāsava), becoming (bhavāsava), views (diṭṭhāsava), and ignorance (avijjāsava). An Arahant is one who has destroyed the outflows (khiṇāsavā).

10. The other world (paraloka). By this is meant life after death. In the world there are religious people who see danger in doing evil deeds such as killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, telling lies, and taking intoxicants. This is true of all religions, though there are differences in the details. Those who are non-believers, materialists who deny the other world, may still see some danger in evil deeds due to being sensitive regarding moral shame. Though they fear blame and punishment in this life, they do not fear punishment in the afterlife.

11. The Buddha took a detour to meet Upaka because he foresaw that this meeting would sow a seed of faith, that would later bear fruit. After leaving the Buddha, Upaka married and had a son, but his wife showed him no respect, and teased him whenever he mentioned the worthy final victor (anantajina) who he had met at Gayā. He later came to Sāvatthi, ordained, and gained Non-returning.

12. People often ask, “How long does it take to attain this or that stage of the path; or to attain this stage of insight knowledge? Here, the Buddha starts  off with seven years to attain the final goal of Arahantship, but ends by saying that even within half a day it can be done; but note that this is with the best possible teacher — the Buddha himself. There was a wide range of abilities among individuals during the Buddha’s time. Some ordained, but later disrobed. Some did not ordain, but attained Arahantship. In the best case, if all five factors of striving are strong, attainment can be very rapid. In the worst case, they are so weak that nothing worthwhile is achieved. Upaka had good potential when he met the Buddha, but he had to wait a life-time before beginning his practice. All we can say, in reply to the question is, “If you strive hard you can fulfil your full potential. If you don’t strive hard, or not at all, even if your potential is good, you will achieve nothing.”

13. The story of Prince Bodhi, his dear friend Sañjikāputta, and the building of the Red Lotus Palace is related in the Commentary to Dhammapada v 157. It seems that though Sañjikāputta may have already been a Stream-winner, Prince Bodhi was clearly not. Fearing that the architect of his palace might build a better one, he thought to kill the architect, cut off his hands, or gouge out his eyes. He shared these thoughts with his dear friend Sañjikāputta, who then informed the architect of the intentions of the Prince. The architect was thus able to escape with his family, flying away from the top of the palace in a wooden bird that he had constructed in secret. In the previous life, too, Prince Bodhi had killed without compunction, which is why he was destined to remain childless. The Dhammapada Commentary says that after listening to this discourse, he became a Stream-winner, but the Majjhimanikāya text does not mention it, nor does its Commentary.


www.000webhost.com