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Mahācunda Suttaṃ

(A.iii.355)

A Discourse by Mahācunda

Thus have I heard — At one time the Venerable Mahācunda was dwelling in the Ceti country at Sayaṃjāti. Then the Venerable Mahācunda addressed the monks: “Friends!” Those monks replied, “Friend,” to the Venerable Mahācunda.” Then the Venerable Mahācunda said this:–

“Herein, friends, the monks who are devoted to the Dhamma disparage the monks who are meditators: ‘These say, “We are meditators, we are contemplatives, we meditate, we contemplate, we strive, we reflect, we cogitate.” ¹ Why do they meditate? On what do they meditate? How do they meditate? Herein, the monks who are devoted to the Dhamma are not pleased, and the monks who are meditators are not pleased, and they are not practising for the welfare of the many, for the happiness of the many, for the benefit, welfare, and happiness of deities and human beings.

“Herein, friends, the monks who are meditators disparage the monks who are devoted to the Dhamma:² ‘These say, “We are devoted to the Dhamma, we are Dhamma devotees,’ but they are distracted, proud, and vain, talkative, of loose talk, of confused mindfulness, lacking clear comprehension, uncomposed, with wandering minds, their sense-faculties are uncontrolled. Why are they devoted to Dhamma? To what Dhamma are they devoted? How are they devoted to Dhamma?” Here, the monks who are meditators are not pleased, and the monks who are devoted to the Dhamma are not pleased, and they are not practising for the welfare of the many, for the happiness of the many, for the benefit, welfare, and happiness of deities and human beings.

“Herein, friends, the monks who are devoted to the Dhamma praise only those who are devoted to the Dhamma, they do not praise those monks who are meditators. Herein, the monks who are devoted to the Dhamma are not pleased, [356] and the monks who are meditators are not pleased, and they are not practising for the welfare of the many, for the happiness of the many, for the benefit, welfare, and happiness of deities and human beings.

“Herein, friends, the monks who are meditators praise only those who are meditators, not those who are devoted to the Dhamma. Herein, the monks who are meditators are not pleased, and the monks who are devoted to the Dhamma are not pleased, and they are not practising for the welfare of the many, for the happiness of the many, for the benefit, welfare, and happiness of deities and human beings.

“Therefore, friends, you should train yourselves thus: ‘We who are devoted to the Dhamma will praise those monks who are meditators.’ Thus, friends, you should train yourselves. What is the reason for that? It is wonderful, friends, that there are rare individuals in the world who are able to dwell experiencing the deathless element within their own bodies. Therefore, friends, you should train yourselves thus: ‘We who are meditators will praise those monks who are devoted to the Dhamma.’ Thus, friends, you should train yourselves. What is the reason for that? It is wonderful, friends, that there are rare individuals in the world who are able to penetrate the profound meaning of the words with wisdom.”

Notes:

1. The distinction in the meaning of the different words used (jhāyanti pajjhāyanti nijjhāyanti avajjhāyanti) is difficult to translate, but the use of many verbs is meant to disparage.

2. Devoted to the Dhamma (dhammayoga), i.e. students of the Dhamma, experts in the Dhamma. Since the time of the Buddha, the Pāḷi texts were passed down by oral tradition. The Venerable Ānanda memorised all of the discourses given by the Buddha, and the Venerable Upāli was an expert in the Vinaya rules. Three months after the Buddha’s passing away, five hundred Arahants met to rehearse the texts, when Mahākassapa questioned the Venerable Ānanda on the Dhamma, and the Venerable Upāli on the Vinaya.

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