Long Discourses

Chapter on the Virtues

13. The Three Knowledges

Thus have I heard. When the Exalted One was once journeying through Kosala with a great company of the brethren, with about five hundred brethren, he came to the Brahman village in Kosala which is called Manasākaṭa. And there at Manasākaṭa the Exalted One stayed in the mango grove, on the bank of the river Aciravatī, to the north of Manasākaṭa.

Now at that time many very distinguished and wealthy Brahmans were staying at Manasākaṭa; to wit, Cankī the Brahman, Tārukkha the Brahman, Pokkharasādi the Brahman, Jāṇussoṇi the Brahman, Todeyya the Brahman, and other very distinguished and wealthy Brahmans.

Now a conversation sprung up between Vāseṭṭha and Bhāradvāja, when they were taking exercise (after their bath) and walking up and down in thoughtful mood, as to which was the true path, and which the false.’

The young Brahman Vāseṭṭha spake thus:

‘This is the straight path, this the direct way which makes for salvation, and leads him, who acts according to it, into a state of union with Brahmā. I mean that which has been announced by the Brahman Pokkharasādi.’

The young Brahman Bhāradvāja spake thus:

‘This is the straight path, this the direct way which makes for salvation, and leads him, who acts according to it, into a state of union with Brahmā. I mean that which has been announced by the Brahman Tārukkha.’

But neither was the young Brahman Vāseṭṭha able to convince the young Brahman Bhāradvāja, nor was the young Brahman Bhāradvāja able to convince the young Brahman Vāseṭṭha.

Then the young Brahman Vāseṭṭha said to the young Brahman Bhāradvāja:

‘That Samaṇa Gotama, Bhāradvāja, of the sons of the Sākyas, who went out from the Sākya clan to adopt the religious life, is now staying at Manasākaṭa, in the mango grove, on the bank of the river Aciravatī, to the north of Manasākaṭa. Now regarding that venerable Gotama, such is the high reputation that has been noised abroad: “That Exalted One is an Arahat, a fully enlightened one, abounding in wisdom and goodness, happy, with knowledge of the worlds, unsurpassed as a guide to mortals willing to be led, a teacher of gods and men, an Exalted One, a Buddha.”

Come, then, Bhāradvāja, let us go to the place where the Samaṇa Gotama is; and when we have come there, let us ask the Samaṇa Gotama touching this matter. What the Samaṇa Gotama shall declare unto us, that let us bear in mind.’

‘Very well, my friend!’ said the young Brahman Bhāradvāja, in assent, to the young Brahman Vāseṭṭha.

Then the young Brahman Vāseṭṭha and the young Brahman Bhāradvāja went on to the place where the Exalted One was.

And when they had come there, they exchanged with the Exalted One the greetings and compliments of politeness and courtesy, and sat down beside him. And while they were thus seated the young Brahman Vāseṭṭha said to the Exalted One:

‘As we, Gotama, were taking exercise and walking up and down, there sprung up a conversation between us on which was the true path, and which the false. I said thus:

‘"This is the straight path, this the direct way which makes for salvation, and leads him who acts according to it, into a state of union with Brahmā. I mean that which has been announced by the Brahman Pokkharasādi.”’

‘Bhāradvāja said thus:

‘"This is the straight path, this the direct way which makes for salvation, and leads him, who acts according to it, into a state of union with Brahmā. I mean that which has been announced by the Brahman Tārukkha.”’

‘Regarding this matter, Gotama, there is a strife, a dispute, a difference of opinion between us.’

‘So you say, Vāseṭṭha, that you said thus:

‘"This is the straight path, this the direct way which makes for salvation, and leads him, who acts according to it, into a state of union with Brahmā.

I mean that which has been announced by the Brahman Pokkharasādi.”’

‘While Bhāradvāja said thus:

‘"This is the straight path, this the direct way which makes for salvation, and leads him, who acts according to it, into a state of union with Brahmā. I mean that which has been announced by the Brahman Tārukkha.”’

‘Wherein, then, O Vāseṭṭha, is there a strife, a dispute, a difference of opinion between you?’

‘Concerning the true path and the false, Gotama; various Brahmans, Gotama, teach various paths: the Addhariyā Brahmans, the Tittiriyā Brahmans, the Chandokā Brahmans [the Chandavā Brahmans], the Bavharijā Brahmans. Are all those saving paths? Are they all paths which will lead him, who acts according to them, into a state of union with Brahmā?

‘Just, Gotama, as near a village or a town there are many and various paths, yet they all meet together in the village—just in that way are all the various paths taught by various Brahmans—the Addhariyā Brahmans, the Tittiriyā Brahmans, the Chandokā Brahmans [the Chandavā Brahmans], the Bavharijā Brahmans. Are all these saving paths? Are they all paths which will lead him, who acts according to them, into a state of union with Brahmā?’

‘Do you say that they all lead aright, Vāseṭṭha?

‘I say so, Gotama.’

‘Do you really say that they all lead aright, Vāseṭṭha?’

‘So I say, Gotama.’

‘But yet, Vāseṭṭha, is there a single one of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas who has ever seen Brahmā face to face?’

‘No, indeed, Gotama.’

‘Or is there then, Vāseṭṭha, a single one of the teachers of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas who has seen Brahmā face to face?’

‘No, indeed, Gotama!’

‘Or is there then, Vāseṭṭha, a single one of the teachers of the teachers of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas who has seen Brahmā face to face?’

‘No, indeed, Gotama!’

‘Or is there then, Vāseṭṭha, a single one of the Brahmans up to the seventh generation who has seen Brahmā face to face?’

‘No, indeed, Gotama!’

‘Well then, Vāseṭṭha, those ancient Rishis of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas, the authors of the verses, the utterers of the verses, whose ancient form of words so chanted, uttered, or composed, the Brahmans of to-day chant over again or repeat; intoning or reciting exactly as has been intoned or recited—to wit, Aṭṭhaka, Vāmaka, Vāmadeva, Vessāmitta, Yamataggi, Aṅgirasa, Bhāradvāja, Vāsettha, Kassapa, and Bhagu—did even they speak thus, saying: “We know it, we have seen it, where Brahmā is, whence Brahmā is, whither Brahmā is?”’

‘Not so, Gotama!’

‘Then you say, Vāseṭṭha, that none of the Brahmans, or of their teachers, or of their pupils, even up to the seventh generation, has ever seen Brahmā face to face. And that even the Rishis of old, the authors and utterers of the verses, of the ancient form of words which the Brahmans of to-day so carefully intone and recite precisely as they have been handed down—even they did not pretend to know or to have seen where or whence or whither Brahmā is. So that the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas have forsooth said thus: “What we know not, what we have not seen, to a state of union with that we can show the way, and can say: ‘This is the straight path, this is the direct way which makes for salvation, and leads him, who acts according to it, into a state of union with Brahmā!’”

‘Now what think you, Vāseṭṭha? Does it not follow, this being so, that the talk of the Brahmans, versed though they be in the Three Vedas, turns out to be foolish talk?’

‘In sooth, Gotama, that being so, it follows that the talk of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas is foolish talk!’

‘Verily, Vāseṭṭha. that Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas should be able to show the way to a state of union with that which they do not know, neither have seen—such a condition of things can in no wise be!

‘Just, Vāseṭṭha, as when a string of blind men are clinging one to the other, neither can the foremost see, nor can the middle one see, nor can the hindmost see—just even so, methinks, Vāseṭṭha, is the talk of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas but blind talk: the first sees not, the middle one sees not, nor can the latest see. The talk then of these Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas turns out to be ridiculous) mere words, a vain and empty thing!’

‘Now what think you, Vāseṭṭha? Can the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas—like other, ordinary, folk—see the Moon and the Sun as they pray to, and praise, and worship them, turning round with clasped hands towards the place whence they rise and where they set?’

‘Certainly, Gotama, they can.’

‘Now what think you, Vāseṭṭha? The Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas, who can very well—like other, ordinary, folk—see the Moon and the Sun as they pray to, and praise, and worship them, turning round with clasped hands to the place whence they rise and where they set—are those Brahmans, versed in the Three Vedas, able to point out the way to a state of union with the Moon or the Sun, saying: “This is the straight path, this the direct way which makes for salvation, and leads him, who acts according to it, to a state of union with the Moon or the Sun?”’

‘Certainly, not, Gotama!’

‘So you say, Vāseṭṭha, that the Brahmans are not able to point out the way to union with that which they have seen, and you further say that neither any one of them, nor of their pupils, nor of their predecessors even to the seventh generation has ever seen Brahmā. And you further say that even the Rishis of old, whose words they hold in such deep respect, did not pretend to know, or to have seen where, or whence, or whither Brahmā is. Yet these Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas say, forsooth, that they can point out the way to union with that which they know not, neither have seen. Now what think you, Vāseṭṭha? Does it not follow that, this being so, the talk of the Brahmans, versed though they be in the Three Vedas, turns out to be foolish talk?’

‘In sooth, Gotama, that being so, it follows that the talk of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas is foolish talk!’

‘Very good, Vāseṭṭha. Verily then, Vāseṭṭha, that Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas should be able to show the way to a state of union with that which they do not know, neither have seen—such a condition of things can in no wise be!’

‘Just, Vāseṭṭha, as if a man should say, “How I long for, how I love the most beautiful woman in this land!”

‘And people should ask him, “Well, good friend! This most beautiful woman in the land, whom you thus love and long for, do you know whether that beautiful woman is a noble lady or a Brahman woman, or of the trader class, or a Śūdra?”

‘But when so asked, he should answer: “No.”

‘And when people should ask him, “Well, good friend! This most beautiful woman in all the land, whom you so love and long for, do you know what the name of that most beautiful woman is, or what is her family name, whether she be tall or short or of medium height, dark or brunette or golden in colour, or in what village or town or city she dwells?”

‘But when so asked, he should answer: “No.”

‘And then people should say to him, “So then, good friend, whom you know not, neither have seen, her do you love and long for?”

‘And then when so asked, he should answer: “Yes.”

‘Now what think you, Vāseṭṭha? Would it not turn out, that being so, that the talk of that man was foolish talk?’

‘In sooth, Gotama, it would turn out, that being so, that the talk of that man was foolish talk!’

‘And just even so, Vāseṭṭha, though you say that the Brahmans are not able to point out the way to union with that which they have seen, and you further say that neither any one of them, nor of their pupils, nor of their predecessors even to the seventh generation has ever seen Brahmā. And you further say that even the Rishis of old, whose words they hold in such deep respect, did not pretend to know, or to have seen where, or whence, or whither Brahmā is. Yet these Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas say, forsooth, that they can point out the way to union with that which they know not, neither have seen! Now what think you, Vāseṭṭha? Does it not follow that, this being so, the talk of the Brahmans, versed though they be in the Three Vedas, is foolish talk?’

‘In sooth, Gotama, that being so, it follows that the talk of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas is foolish talk!’

‘Very good, Vāseṭṭha. Verily then, Vāseṭṭha, that Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas should be able to show the way to a state of union with that which they do not know, neither have seen—such a condition of things can in no wise be.’

‘Just, Vāseṭṭha, as if a man should make a staircase in the place where four roads cross, to mount up into a mansion. And people should say to him, “Well, good friend, this mansion, to mount up into which you are making this staircase, do you know whether it is in the east, or in the south, or in the west, or in the north; whether it is high or low or of medium size?’

‘And when so asked, he should answer: “No.”

‘And people should say to him, “But then, good friend, you are making a staircase to mount up into something—taking it for a mansion—which, all the while, you know not, neither have seen!”

‘And when so asked, he should answer: “Yes.”

‘Now what think you, Vāseṭṭha? Would it not turn out, that being so, that the talk of that man was foolish talk?’

‘In sooth, Gotama, it would turn out, that being so, that the talk of that man was foolish talk!’

‘And just even so, Vāseṭṭha, though you say that the Brahmans are not able to point out the way to union with that which they have seen, and you further say that neither any one of them, nor of their pupils, nor of their predecessors even to the seventh generation has ever seen Brahmā And you further say that even the Rishis of old, whose words they hold in such deep respect, did not pretend to know, or to have seen where, or whence, or whither Brahmā is. Yet these Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas say, forsooth, that they can point out the way to union with that which they know not, neither have seen! Now what think you, Vāseṭṭha? Does it not follow that, this being so, the talk of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas is foolish talk?’

‘In sooth, Gotama, that being so, it follows that the talk of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas is foolish talk!’

‘Very good, Vāseṭṭha. Verily then, Vāseṭṭha, that Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas should be able to show the way to a state of union with that which they do not know, neither have seen—such a condition of things can in no wise be.’

‘Again, Vāseṭṭha, if this river Aciravatī were full of water even to the brim, and overflowing. And a man with business on the other side, bound for the other side, making for the other side, should come up and want to cross over. And he, standing on this bank, should invoke the further bank, and say, “Come hither, O further bank! Come over to this side!”

‘Now what think you, Vāseṭṭha? Would the further bank of the river Aciravatī, by reason of that man’s invoking and praying and hoping and praising, come over to this side?’

‘Certainly not, Gotama!’

‘In just the same way, Vāseṭṭha, do the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas—omitting the practice of those qualities which really make a man a Brahman, and adopting the practice of those qualities which really make men non-Brahmans—say thus: “Indra we call upon, Soma we call upon, Varuṇa we call upon, Īsāna we call upon, Pajāpati we call upon, Brahmā we call upon, [Mahiddhi we call upon, Yama we call upon!]” Verily, Vāseṭṭha, that those Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas, but omitting the practice of those qualities which really make a man a Brahman, and adopting the practice of those qualities which really make men non-Brahmans—that they, by reason of their invoking and praying and hoping and praising, should, after death and when the body is dissolved, become united with Brahmā—verily such a condition of things can in no wise be!’

‘Just, Vāseṭṭha, as if this river Aciravatī were full, even to the brim, and overflowing. And a man with business on the other side, making for the other side, bound for the other side, should come up, and want to cross over. And he, on this bank, were to be bound tightly, with his arms behind his back, by a strong chain. Now what think you, Vāseṭṭha, would that man be able to get over from this bank of the river Aciravatī to the further bank?’

‘Certainly not, Gotama!’

‘In the same way, Vāseṭṭha, there are five things leading to lust, which are called, in the Discipline of the Arahats, a “chain” and a “bond.”’

‘What are the five?’

‘Forms perceptible to the eye; desirable, agreeable, pleasant, attractive forms, that are accompanied by lust and cause delight. Sounds of the same kind perceptible to the ear. Odours of the same kind perceptible to the nose. Tastes of the same kind perceptible to the tongue. Substances of the same kind perceptible to the body by touch. These five things predisposing to passion are called, in the Discipline of the Arahats, a “chain” and a “bond.” And these five things predisposing to lust, Vāseṭṭha, do the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas cling to, they are infatuated by them, attached to them, see not the danger of them, know not how unreliable they are, and so enjoy them.’

‘And verily, Vāseṭṭha, that Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas, but omitting the practice of those qualities which really make a man a Brahman, and adopting the practice of those qualities which really make men non-Brahmans—clinging to these five things predisposing to passion, infatuated by them, attached to them, seeing not their danger, knowing not their unreliability, and so enjoying them—that these Brahmans should after death, on the dissolution of the body, become united to Brahmā—such a condition of things can in no wise be!’

‘Again, Vāseṭṭha, if this river Aciravatī were full of water even to the brim, and overflowing. And a man with business on the other side, making for the other side, bound for the other side, should come up, and want to cross over. And if he covering himself up, even to his head, were to lie down, on this bank, to sleep.

‘Now what think you, Vāseṭṭha? Would that man be able to get over from this bank of the river Aciravatī to the further bank?’

‘Certainly not, Gotama!’

‘And in the same way, Vāseṭṭha, there are these Five Hindrances, in the Discipline of the Arahats, which are called “veils,” and are called “hindrances,” and are called “obstacles,” and are called “entanglements.”’

‘Which are the five?’

‘The hindrance of worldly lusts, ‘The hindrance of ill-will, ‘The hindrance of torpor and sloth of heart a mind, ‘The hindrance of flurry and worry, ‘The hindrance of suspense.

‘These are the Five Hindrances, Vāseṭṭha, which, in the Discipline of the Arahats, are called veils, and are called hindrances, and are called obstacles, and are called entanglements.

‘Now with these Five Hindrances, Vāseṭṭha, the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas are veiled, hindered, obstructed, and entangled.

‘And verily, Vāseṭṭha, that Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas, but omitting the practice of those qualities which really make a man a Brahman, and adopting the practice of those qualities which really make men non-Brahmans—veiled, hindered, obstructed, and entangled by these Five Hindrances—that these Brahmans should after death, on the dissolution of the body, become united to Brahmā—such a condition of things can in no wise be!’

‘Now what think you, Vāseṭṭha, and what have you heard from the Brahmans aged and well-stricken in years, when the learners and teachers are talking together? Is Brahmā in possession of wives and wealth, or is he not?’

‘He is not, Gotama.’

‘Is his mind full of anger, or free from anger?’

‘Free from anger, Gotama.’

‘Is his mind full of malice, or free from malice?’

‘Free from malice, Gotama.’

‘Is his mind tarnished, or is it pure?’

‘It is pure, Gotama.’

‘Has he self-mastery, or has he not?’

‘He has, Gotama.’

‘Now what think you, Vāseṭṭha, are the Brahmans versed in the Vedas in the possession of wives and wealth, or are they not?’

‘They are, Gotama.’

‘Have they anger in their hearts, or have they not?’

‘They have, Gotama.’

‘Do they bear malice, or do they not?’

‘They do, Gotama.’

‘Are they pure in heart, or are they not?’

‘They are not, Gotama.’

‘Have they self-mastery, or have they not?’

‘They have not, Gotama.’

‘Then you say, Vāseṭṭha, that the Brahmans are in possession of wives and wealth, and that Brahmā is not. Can there, then, be agreement and likeness between the Brahmans with their wives and property, and Brahmā, who has none of these things?’

‘Certainly not, Gotama!’

‘Very good, Vāseṭṭha. But, verily, that these Brahmans versed in the Vedas, who live married and wealthy, should after death, when the body is dissolved, become united with Brahmā who has none of these things—such a condition of things can in no wise be!’

‘Then you say, too, Vāseṭṭha, that the Brahmans bear anger and malice in their hearts and are tarnished in heart and uncontrolled, whilst Brahmā is free from anger and malice, pure in heart, and has self-mastery. Now can there, then, be concord and likeness between the Brahmans and Brahmā?’

‘Certainly not, Gotama!’

‘Very good, Vāseṭṭha. That these Brahmans versed in the Vedas and yet bearing anger and malice in their hearts, sinful, and uncontrolled, should after death, when the body is dissolved, become united to Brahmā, who is free from anger and malice, pure in heart, and has self-mastery—such a condition of things can in no wise be!

‘So that thus then, Vāseṭṭha, the Brahmans, versed though they be in the Three Vedas, while they sit down (in confidence), are sinking down (in the mire); and so sinking they are arriving only at despair, thinking the while that they are crossing over into some happier land.

‘Therefore is it that the threefold wisdom of the Brahmans, wise in their Three Vedas, is called a waterless desert, their threefold wisdom is called a pathless jungle, their threefold wisdom is called perdition!’

‘When he had thus spoken, the young Brahman Vāseṭṭha said to the Blessed One:

‘It has been told me, Gotama, that the Samaṇa Gotama knows the way to the state of union with Brahmā.’

‘What do you think, Vāseṭṭha, is not Manasākaṭa near to this spot, not distant from this spot?’

‘Just so, Gotama, Manasākaṭa is near to, is not far from here.’

‘Now what think you, Vāseṭṭha, suppose there were a man born in Manasākaṭa, and people should ask him, who never till that time had left Manasākaṭa, which was the way to Manasākaṭa. Would that man, born and brought up in Manasākaṭa, be in any doubt or difficulty?’

‘Certainly not, Gotama! And why? If the man had been born and brought up in Manasākaṭa, every road that leads to Manasākaṭa would be perfectly familiar to him.’

‘That man, Vāseṭṭha, born and brought up at Manasākaṭa might, if he were asked the way to Manasākaṭa, fall into doubt and difficulty, but to the Tathāgata, when asked touching the path which leads to the world of Brahmā, there can be neither doubt nor difficulty. For Brahmā, I know, Vāseṭṭha, and the world of Brahmā, and the path which leadeth unto it. Yea, I know it even as one who has entered the Brahmā-world, and has been born within it!’

When he had thus spoken, Vāseṭṭha, the young Brahman, said to the Blessed One:

‘Just so has it been told me, Gotama, even that the Samaṇa Gotama knows the way to a state of union with Brahmā. It is well! Let the venerable Gotama be pleased to show us the way to a state of union with Brahmā, let the venerable Gotama save the Brahman race!’

‘Listen then, Vāseṭṭha, and give ear attentively, and I will speak!’

‘So be it, Lord!’ said the young Brahman Vāseṭṭha, in assent, to the Blessed One.

‘Then the Blessed One spake, and said: ‘Know, Vāseṭṭha, that (from time to time) a Tathāgata is born into the world, an Arahat, a fully awakened one, abounding in wisdom and goodness, happy, with knowledge of the worlds, unsurpassed as a guide to mortals willing to be led, a teacher of gods and men, a Blessed One, a Buddha. He, by himself, thoroughly understands, and sees, as it were, face to face this universe—including the worlds above with the gods, the Māras, and the Brahmās; and the world below with its Samaṇas and Brahmans, its princes and peoples—and he then makes his knowledge known to others. The truth doth he proclaim both in the letter and in the spirit, lovely in its origin, lovely in its progress, lovely in its consummation: the higher life doth he make known, in all its purity and in all its perfectness.

‘A householder (gahapati), or one of his children, or a man of inferior birth in any class, listens to that truth. On hearing the truth he has faith in the Tathāgata, and when he has acquired that faith he thus considers with himself:

‘"Full of hindrances is household life, a path defiled by passion: free as the air is the life of him who has renounced all worldly things. How difficult it is for the man who dwells at home to live the higher life in all its fullness, in all its purity, in all its bright perfection! Let me then cut off my hair and beard, let me clothe myself in the orange-coloured robes, and let me go forth from a household life into the homeless state!”

‘Then before long, forsaking his portion of wealth, be it great or be it small; forsaking his circle of relatives, be they many or be they few, he cuts off his hair and beard, he clothes himself in the orange-coloured robes, and he goes forth from the household life into the homeless state.

‘When he has thus become a recluse he passes a life self-restrained by that restraint which should be binding on a recluse. Uprightness is his delight, and he sees danger in the least of those things he should avoid. He adopts and trains himself in the precepts. He encompasses himself with goodness in word and deed. He sustains his life by means that are quite pure; good is his conduct, guarded the door of his senses; mindful and self-possessed, he is altogether happy!’

‘And how, Vāseṭṭha, is his conduct good?’

Moral Discipline, Samādhi, and Wisdom

The next section in the Pali text is greatly abbreviated. The following is a fully expanded version, based on the text of DN 2, Sāmaññaphala Sutta as translated by Bhikkhu Bodhi. Note that it is not always possible to determine exactly how the expansion should be done.

“Herein, Vāseṭṭha, a Tathāgata arises in the world, a worthy one, perfectly enlightened, endowed with clear knowledge and conduct, accomplished, a knower of the world, unsurpassed trainer of men to be tamed, teacher of gods and men, enlightened and exalted. Having realized by his own direct knowledge this world with its gods, its Māras, and its Brahmās, this generation with its recluses and brahmins, its rulers and people, he makes it known to others. He teaches the Dhamma that is good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, possessing meaning and phrasing; he reveals the holy life that is fully complete and purified.

“A householder, or a householder’s son, or one born into some other family, hears the Dhamma. Having heard the Dhamma, he gains faith in the Tathāgata. Endowed with such faith, he reflects: ‘The household life is crowded, a path of dust. Going forth is like the open air. It is not easy for one dwelling at home to lead the perfectly complete, perfectly purified holy life, bright as a polished conch. Let me then shave off my hair and beard, put on saffron robes, and go forth from home to homelessness.’

“After some time he abandons his accumulation of wealth, be it large or small; he abandons his circle of relatives, be it large or small; he shaves off his hair and beard, puts on saffron robes, and goes forth from home to homelessness.

“When he has thus gone forth, he lives restrained by the restraint of the Pātimokkha, possessed of proper behaviour and resort. Having taken up the rules of training, he trains himself in them, seeing danger in the slightest faults. He comes to be endowed with wholesome bodily and verbal action, his livelihood is purified, and he is possessed of conduct. He guards the doors of his sense faculties, is endowed with mindfulness and clear comprehension, and is content.

The Small Section on Moral Discipline

“And how, Vāseṭṭha, is the bhikkhu possessed of moral discipline? Herein, Vāseṭṭha, having abandoned the destruction of life, the bhikkhu abstains from the destruction of life. He has laid down the rod and weapon and dwells conscientious, full of kindness, sympathetic for the welfare of all living beings.

“Having abandoned taking what is not given, he abstains from taking what is not given. Accepting and expecting only what is given, he lives in honesty with a pure mind.

“Having abandoned incelibacy, he leads the holy life of celibacy. He dwells aloof and abstains from the vulgar practice of sexual intercourse.

“Having abandoned false speech, he abstains from falsehood. He speaks only the truth, he lives devoted to truth; trustworthy and reliable, he does not deceive anyone in the world.

“Having abandoned slander, he abstains from slander. He does not repeat elsewhere what he has heard here in order to divide others from the people here, nor does he repeat here what he has heard elsewhere in order to divide these from the people there. Thus he is a reconciler of those who are divided and a promoter of friendships. Rejoicing, delighting, and exulting in concord, he speaks only words that are conducive to concord.

“Having abandoned harsh speech, he abstains from harsh speech. He speaks only such words as are gentle, pleasing to the ear, endearing, going to the heart, polite, amiable and agreeable to the manyfolk.

“Having abandoned idle chatter, he abstains from idle chatter. He speaks at the right time, speaks what is factual and beneficial, speaks on the Dhamma and the Discipline. His words are worth treasuring; they are timely, backed by reasons, measured, and connected with the good.

“He abstains from damaging seed and plant life.

“He eats only in one part of the day, refraining from food at night and from eating at improper times.

“He abstains from dancing, singing, instrumental music, and from witnessing unsuitable shows.

“He abstains from wearing garlands, embellishing himself with scents, and beautifying himself with unguents.

“He abstains from high and luxurious beds and seats.

“He abstains from accepting gold and silver.

“He abstains from accepting uncooked grain, raw meat, women and girls, male and female slaves, goats and sheep, fowl and swine, elephants, cattle, horses and mares.

“He abstains from accepting fields and lands.

“He abstains from running messages and errands.

“He abstains from buying and selling.

“He abstains from dealing with false weights, false metals, and false measures.

“He abstains from the crooked ways of bribery, deception, and fraud.

“He abstains from mutilating, executing, imprisoning, robbery, plunder, and violence.

“This too pertains to his moral discipline.

The Intermediate Section on Moral Discipline

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on food offered by the faithful, continually cause damage to seed and plant life—to plants propagated from roots, stems, joints, buds, and seeds—he abstains from damaging seed and plant life.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on food offered by the faithful, enjoy the use of stored-up goods, such as stored-up food, drinks, garments, vehicles, bedding, scents, and comestibles—he abstains from the use of stored-up goods.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on food offered by the faithful, attend unsuitable shows, such as:

  • shows featuring dancing, singing, or instrumental music;
  • theatrical performances;
  • narrations of legends
  • music played by hand-clapping, cymbals, and drums;
  • picture houses;
  • acrobatic performances;
  • combats of elephants, horses, buffaloes, bulls, goats, rams, cocks and quails;
  • stick-fights, boxing, and wrestling;
  • sham-fights, roll-calls, battle-arrays, and regimental reviews—

he abstains from attending such unsuitable shows.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on food offered by the faithful, indulge in the following games and recreations:

  • aṭṭhapada (a game played on an eight-row chessboard);
  • dasapada (a game played on a ten-row chessboard);
  • ākāsa (played by imagining a board in the air);
  • parihārapatha (“hopscotch,” a diagram is drawn on the ground and one has to jump in the allowable spaces avoiding the lines);
  • santika (“spillikins,” assembling the pieces in a pile, removing and returning them without disturbing the pile);
  • khalika (dice games);
  • ghaṭika (hitting a short stick with a long stick);
  • salākahattha (a game played by dipping the hand in paint or dye, striking the ground or a wall, and requiring the participants to show the figure of an elephant, a horse etc.);
  • akkha (ball games);
  • paṅgacīra (blowing through toy pipes made of leaves);
  • vaṅkaka (ploughing with miniature ploughs);
  • mokkhacika (turning somersaults);
  • ciṅgulika (playing with paper windmills);
  • pattāḷaka (playing with toy measures);
  • rathaka (playing with toy chariots);
  • dhanuka (playing with toy bows);
  • akkharika (guessing at letters written in the air or on one’s back);
  • manesika (guessing others’ thoughts);
  • yathāvajja (games involving mimicry of deformities)—

he abstains from such games that are a basis for negligence.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on food offered by the faithful, enjoy the use of high and luxurious beds and seats, such as:

  • spacious couches;
  • thrones with animal figures carved on the supports;
  • long-haired coverlets;
  • multi-colored patchwork coverlets;
  • white woollen coverlets
  • woollen coverlets embroidered with flowers;
  • quilts stuffed with cotton;
  • woollen coverlets embroidered with animal figures;
  • woollen coverlets with hair on both sides or on one side;
  • bedspreads embroidered with gems;
  • silk coverlets;
  • dance-hall carpets;
  • elephant, horse, or chariot rugs;
  • rugs of antelope-skins;
  • choice spreads made of kadali-deer hides;
  • spreads with red awnings overhead;
  • couches with red cushions for head and feet—

he abstains from the use of such high and luxurious beds and seats.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on food offered by the faithful, enjoy the use of such devices for embellishing and beautifying themselves as the following:

  • rubbing scented powders into the body
  • massaging with oils
  • bathing in perfumed water
  • kneading the limbs
  • mirrors
  • ointments
  • garlands
  • scents
  • unguents
  • face-powders
  • make-up
  • bracelets
  • head-bands
  • decorated walking sticks
  • ornamented medicine-tubes
  • rapiers
  • sunshades
  • embroidered sandals
  • turbans
  • diadems
  • yaktail whisks
  • and long-fringed white robes—

he abstains from the use of such devices for embellishment and beautification.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, engage in frivolous chatter, such as:

  • talk about kings, thieves, and ministers of state
  • talk about armies, dangers, and wars
  • talk about food, drink, garments, and lodgings;
  • talk about garlands and scents;
  • talk about relations, vehicles, villages, towns, cities, and countries;
  • talk about women and talk about heroes;
  • street talk and talk by the well;
  • talk about those departed in days gone by;
  • rambling chit-chat;
  • speculations about the world and about the sea;
  • talk about gain and loss—

he abstains from such frivolous chatter.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, engage in wrangling argumentation, (saying to one another):

‘You don’t understand this doctrine and discipline. It is I who understand this doctrine and discipline.’

‘How can you understand this doctrine and discipline?’

‘You’re practising the wrong way. I’m practicing the right way.’

‘I’m being consistent. You’re inconsistent.’

‘What should have been said first you said last, what should have been said last you said first.’

‘What you took so long to think out has been confuted.’

‘Your doctrine has been refuted. You’re defeated. Go, try to save your doctrine, or disentangle yourself now if you can’—

he abstains from such wrangling argumentation.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, engage in running messages and errands for kings, ministers of state, khattiyas, brahmins, householders, or youths, (who command them): ‘Go here, go there, take this, bring that from there’—he abstains from running such messages and errands.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, engage in scheming, talking, hinting, belittling others, and pursuing gain with gain, he abstains from such kinds of scheming and talking.

The Large Section on Moral Discipline

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, earn their living by a wrong means of livelihood, by such debased arts as:

  • prophesying long life, prosperity etc., or the reverse, from the marks on a person’s limbs, hands, feet, etc.;
  • divining by means of omens and signs;
  • making auguries on the basis of thunderbolts and celestial portents;
  • interpreting ominous dreams;
  • telling fortunes from marks on the body;
  • making auguries from the marks on cloth gnawed by mice;
  • offering fire oblations;
  • offering oblations from a ladle;
  • offering oblations of husks, rice powder, rice grains, ghee and oil to the gods;
  • offering oblations from the mouth;
  • offering blood-sacrifices to the gods;
  • making predictions based on the fingertips;
  • determining whether the site for a proposed house or garden is propitious or not;
  • making predictions for officers of state;
  • laying demons in a cemetery;
  • laying ghosts;
  • knowledge of charms to be pronounced by one living in an earthen house;
  • snake charming;
  • the poison craft, scorpion craft, rat craft, bird craft, crow craft;
  • foretelling the number of years that a man has to live;
  • reciting charms to give protection from arrows;
  • reciting charms to understand the language of animals—

he abstains from such wrong means of livelihood, from such debased arts.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, earn their living by a wrong means of livelihood, by such debased arts as interpreting the significance of the colour, shape, and other features of the following items to determine whether they portend fortune or misfortune for their owners: gems, garments, staffs, swords, spears, arrows, bows, other weapons, women, men, boys, girls, slaves, slave-women, elephants, horses, buffaloes, bulls, cows, goats, rams, fowl, quails, lizards, earrings (or house-gables), tortoises, and other animals—

he abstains from such wrong means of livelihood, from such debased arts.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, earn their living by a wrong means of livelihood, by such debased arts as making predictions to the effect that:

  • the king will march forth;
  • the king will return;
  • our king will attack and the enemy king will retreat;
  • the enemy king will attack and our king will retreat;
  • our king will triumph and the enemy king will be defeated;
  • the enemy king will triumph and our king will be defeated;
  • thus there will be victory for one and defeat for the other—

he abstains from such wrong means of livelihood, from such debased arts.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, earn their living by a wrong means of livelihood, by such debased arts as predicting:

  • there will be an eclipse of the moon, an eclipse of the sun, an eclipse of a constellation
  • the sun and the moon will go on their proper courses
  • there will be an aberration of the sun and moon
  • the constellations will go on their proper courses
  • there will be an aberration of a constellation
  • there will be a fall of meteors
  • there will be a skyblaze
  • there will be an earthquake
  • there will be an earth-roar
  • there will be a rising and setting, a darkening and brightening of the moon, sun, and constellations
  • such will be the result of the moon’s eclipse, such the result of the sun’s eclipse, (and so on down to) such will be the result of the rising and setting, darkening and brightening of the moon, sun, and constellations—

he abstains from such wrong means of livelihood, from such debased arts.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, earn their living by a wrong means of livelihood, by such debased arts as predicting:

  • there will be abundant rain
  • there will be a drought
  • there will be a good harvest
  • there will be a famine
  • there will be security
  • there will be danger
  • there will be sickness
  • there will be health
  • or they earn their living by accounting, computation, calculation, the composing of poetry, and speculations about the world—

he abstains from such wrong means of livelihood, from such debased arts.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, earn their living by a wrong means of livelihood, by such debased arts as:

  • arranging auspicious dates for marriages, both those in which the bride is brought home and those in which she is sent out
  • arranging auspicious dates for betrothals and divorces
  • arranging auspicious dates for the accumulation or expenditure of money
  • reciting charms to make people lucky or unlucky
  • rejuvenating the foetuses of abortive women
  • reciting spells to bind a man’s tongue, to paralyze his jaws, to make him lose control over his hands, or to bring on deafness
  • obtaining oracular answers to questions by means of a mirror, a girl, or a god
  • worshipping the sun
  • worshipping Mahābrahmā
  • bringing forth flames from the mouth
  • invoking the goddess of luck—

he abstains from such wrong means of livelihood, from such debased arts.

“Whereas some recluses and brahmins, while living on the food offered by the faithful, earn their living by a wrong means of livelihood, by such debased arts as:

  • promising gifts to deities in return for favours
  • fulfilling such promises
  • demonology
  • reciting spells after entering an earthen house
  • inducing virility and impotence
  • preparing and consecrating sites for a house
  • giving ceremonial mouthwashes and ceremonial bathing
  • offering sacrificial fires
  • administering emetics, purgatives, expectorants, and phlegmagogues
  • administering medicines through the ear and through the nose, administering ointments and counter-ointments, practising fine surgery on the eyes and ears, practising general surgery on the body, practising as a children’s doctor—

he abstains from such wrong means of livelihood, from such debased arts.

“Vāseṭṭha, the bhikkhu who is thus possessed of moral discipline sees no danger anywhere in regard to his restraint by moral discipline. Just as a head-anointed noble warrior who has defeated his enemies sees no danger anywhere from his enemies, so the bhikkhu who is thus possessed of moral discipline sees no danger anywhere in regard to his restraint by moral discipline. Endowed with this noble aggregate of moral discipline, he experiences within himself a blameless happiness. In this way, Vāseṭṭha, the bhikkhu is possessed of moral discipline.

Restraint of the Sense Faculties

“And how, Vāseṭṭha, does the bhikkhu guard the doors of his sense faculties? Herein, Vāseṭṭha, having seen a form with the eye, the bhikkhu does not grasp at the sign or the details. Since, if he were to dwell without restraint over the faculty of the eye, evil unwholesome states such as covetousness and grief might assail him, he practises restraint, guards the faculty of the eye, and achieves restraint over the faculty of the eye.

Having heard a sound with the ear the bhikkhu does not grasp at the sign or the details. Since, if he were to dwell without restraint over the faculty of the ear, evil unwholesome states such as covetousness and grief might assail him, he practises restraint, guards the faculty of the ear, and achieves restraint over the faculty of the ear.

Having smelled an odour with the nose the bhikkhu does not grasp at the sign or the details. Since, if he were to dwell without restraint over the faculty of the nose, evil unwholesome states such as covetousness and grief might assail him, he practises restraint, guards the faculty of the nose, and achieves restraint over the faculty of the nose.

Having tasted a flavour with the tongue the bhikkhu does not grasp at the sign or the details. Since, if he were to dwell without restraint over the faculty of the tongue, evil unwholesome states such as covetousness and grief might assail him, he practises restraint, guards the faculty of the tongue, and achieves restraint over the faculty of the tongue.

Having touched a tangible object with the body the bhikkhu does not grasp at the sign or the details. Since, if he were to dwell without restraint over the faculty of the body, evil unwholesome states such as covetousness and grief might assail him, he practises restraint, guards the faculty of the body, and achieves restraint over the faculty of the body.

Having cognized a mind-object with the mind, the bhikkhu does not grasp at the sign or the details. Since, if he were to dwell without restraint over the faculty of the mind, evil unwholesome states such as covetousness and grief might assail him, he practises restraint, guards the faculty of the mind, and achieves restraint over the faculty of the mind. Endowed with this noble restraint of the sense faculties, he experiences within himself an unblemished happiness. In this way, Vāseṭṭha, the bhikkhu guards the doors of the sense faculties.

Mindfulness and Clear Comprehension

“And how, Vāseṭṭha, is the bhikkhu endowed with mindfulness and clear comprehension? Herein, Vāseṭṭha, in going forward and returning, the bhikkhu acts with clear comprehension. In looking ahead and looking aside, he acts with clear comprehension. In bending and stretching the limbs, he acts with clear comprehension. In wearing his robes and cloak and using his alms-bowl, he acts with clear comprehension. In eating, drinking, chewing, and tasting, he acts with clear comprehension. In defecating and urinating, he acts with clear comprehension. In going, standing, sitting, lying down, waking up, speaking, and remaining silent, he acts with clear comprehension. In this way, Vāseṭṭha, the bhikkhu is endowed with mindfulness and clear comprehension.

Contentment

“And how, Vāseṭṭha, is the bhikkhu content? Herein, Vāseṭṭha, a bhikkhu is content with robes to protect his body and almsfood to sustain his belly; wherever he goes he sets out taking only (his requisites) along with him. Just as a bird, wherever it goes, flies with its wings as its only burden, in the same way a bhikkhu is content with robes to protect his body and almsfood to sustain his belly; wherever he goes he sets out taking only (his requisites) along with him. In this way, Vāseṭṭha, the bhikkhu is content.

The Abandoning of the Hindrances

“Endowed with this noble aggregate of moral discipline, this noble restraint over the sense faculties, this noble mindfulness and clear comprehension, and this noble contentment, he resorts to a secluded dwelling—a forest, the foot of a tree, a mountain, a glen, a hillside cave, a cremation ground, a jungle grove, the open air, a heap of straw. After returning from his alms-round, following his meals, he sits down, crosses his legs, holds his body erect, and sets up mindfulness before him.

“Having abandoned covetousness for the world, he dwells with a mind free from covetousness; he purifies his mind from covetousness. Having abandoned ill will and hatred, he dwells with a benevolent mind, sympathetic for the welfare of all living beings; he purifies his mind from ill will and hatred. Having abandoned dullness and drowsiness, he dwells perceiving light, mindful and clearly comprehending; he purifies his mind from dullness and drowsiness. Having abandoned restlessness and worry, he dwells at ease within himself, with a peaceful mind; he purifies his mind from restlessness and worry. Having abandoned doubt, he dwells as one who has passed beyond doubt, unperplexed about wholesome states; he purifies his mind from doubt.

“Vāseṭṭha, suppose a man were to take a loan and apply it to his business, and his business were to succeed, so that he could pay back his old debts and would have enough money left over to maintain a wife. He would reflect on this, and as a result he would become glad and experience joy.

“Again, Vāseṭṭha, suppose a man were to become sick, afflicted, gravely ill, so that he could not enjoy his food and his strength would decline. After some time he would recover from that illness and would enjoy his food and regain his bodily strength. He would reflect on this, and as a result he would become glad and experience joy.

“Again, Vāseṭṭha, suppose a man were locked up in a prison. After some time he would be released from prison, safe and secure, with no loss of his possessions. He would reflect on this, and as a result he would become glad and experience joy.

“Again, Vāseṭṭha, suppose a man were a slave, without independence, subservient to others, unable to go where he wants. After some time he would be released from slavery and gain his independence; he would no longer be subservient to others but a free man able to go where he wants. He would reflect on this, and as a result he would become glad and experience joy.

“Again, Vāseṭṭha, suppose a man with wealth and possessions were travelling along a desert road where food was scarce and dangers were many. After some time he would cross over the desert and arrive safely at a village which is safe and free from danger. He would reflect on this, and as a result he would become glad and experience joy.

“In the same way, Vāseṭṭha, when a bhikkhu sees that these five hindrances are unabandoned within himself, he regards that as a debt, as a sickness, as confinement in prison, as slavery, as a desert road.

“But when he sees that these five hindrances have been abandoned within himself, he regards that as freedom from debt, as good health, as release from prison, as freedom from slavery, as a place of safety.

“When he sees that these five hindrances have been abandoned within himself, gladness arises. When he is gladdened, rapture arises. When his mind is filled with rapture, his body becomes tranquil; tranquil in body, he experiences happiness; being happy, his mind becomes concentrated.

‘And he lets his mind pervade one quarter of the world with thoughts of Love , and so the second, and so the third, and so the fourth. And thus the whole wide world, above, below, around, and everywhere, does he continue to pervade with heart of Love, far-reaching, grown great, and beyond measure.

‘Just, Vāseṭṭha, as a mighty trumpeter makes himself heard—and that without difficulty—in all the four directions; even so of all things that have shape or life, there is not one that he passes by or leaves aside, but regards them all with mind set free, and deep-felt love.

‘Verily this, Vāseṭṭha, is the way to a state of union with Brahmā.

‘And he lets his mind pervade one quarter of the world with thoughts of pity, … sympathy, … equanimity, and so the second, and so the third, and so the fourth. And thus the whole wide world, above, below, around, and everywhere, does he continue to pervade with heart of pity, … sympathy, … equanimity, far-reaching, grown great, and beyond measure.

‘Just, Vāseṭṭha, as a mighty trumpeter makes himself heard—and that without difficulty—in all the four directions; even so of all things that have shape or life, there is not one that he passes by or leaves aside, but regards them all with mind set free, and deep-felt pity, … sympathy, … equanimity.

‘Verily this, Vāseṭṭha, is the way to a state of union with Brahmā.’

‘Now what think you, Vāseṭṭha, will the Bhikkhu who lives thus be in possession of women and of wealth, or will he not?’

‘He will not, Gotama!’

‘Will he be full of anger, or free from anger?’

‘He will be free from anger, Gotama!’

‘Will his mind be full of malice, or free from malice?’

‘Free from malice, Gotama!’

‘Will his mind be tarnished, or pure?’

‘It will be pure, Gotama!’

‘Will he have self-mastery, or will he not?’

‘Surely he will, Gotama!’

‘Then you say, Vāseṭṭha, that the Bhikkhu is free from household and worldly cares, and that Brahmā is free from household and worldly cares. Is there then agreement and likeness between the Bhikkhu and Brahmā?’

‘There is, Gotama!’

‘Very good, Vāseṭṭha. Then in sooth, Vāseṭṭha, that the Bhikkhu who is free from household cares should after death, when the body is dissolved, become united with Brahmā, who is the same-such a condition of things is every way possible!

‘And so you say, Vāseṭṭha, that the Bhikkhu is free from anger, and free from malice, pure in mind, and master of himself; and that Brahmā is free from anger, and free from malice, pure in mind, and master of himself. Then in sooth, Vāseṭṭha, that the Bhikkhu who is free from anger, free from malice, pure in mind, and master of himself should after death, when the body is dissolved, become united with Brahmā, who is the same-such a condition of things is every way possible!’

‘When he had thus spoken, the young Brahmans Vāseṭṭha and Bhāradvāja addressed the Blessed One, and said:

‘Most excellent, Lord, are the words of thy mouth, most excellent! Just as if a man were to set up that which is thrown down, or were to reveal that which is hidden away, or were to point out the right road to him who has gone astray, or were to bring a lamp into the darkness, so that those who have eyes can see external forms—just even so, Lord, has the truth been made known to us, in many a figure, by the Exalted One. And we, even we, betake ourselves, Lord, to the Blessed One as our guide, to the Truth, and to the Brotherhood. May the Blessed One accept us as disciples, as true believers, from this day forth, as long as life endures!’

Here ends the Tevijjā Suttanta.