Madhyama Āgama 186

Section 15: Pairs

The Inquiry Sūtra

I have heard thus: Once, the Buddha was travelling with Kurusu to the Kuru village of Karmasadharma.

At that time, the World Honored One addressed the bhikṣus: “To one whose own thinking does not know whether another’s mind is true, the World Honored One’s right and full awakening is unknowable. How should he inquire into the Tathāgata?”

Then, the bhikṣus said to the World Honored One: “The World Honored is the Dharma-root. The World Honored One is the Dharma-master. The Dharma comes from the World Honored One. Our only wish is for him to discuss it. Once we have heard it, its meaning will become widely known.”

The Buddha thereupon addressed them: “Bhikṣu, listen closely and well consider it, then. I will give you an analytical (discerning) discourse.”

Then the bhikṣus accepted the teaching and listened.

The World Honored One addressed them: “One whose own thinking does not know whether another’s mind is true will by two matters inquire into the Tathāgata: 1) the forms that the eye perceives and 2) the sounds that the ear hears. Suppose there are defiled states (dharmas) that are known by the eye or ear. Does this sage have them or does he have none? Suppose, when looking, one knows that what defiled states known by the eye or ear there may be are not present in that sage. If none are there, then he should look further.

“Suppose there are mixed states that are known by the eye or ear. Does that sage have them or does he have none? Suppose, when looking, one knows that what mixed states known by the eye or ear there may be are not present in that sage. If none are there, then he should look further.

“Suppose there are cleansed states known by the eye or ear. Does that sage have them or does he have none? Suppose, when looking, one knows that what cleansed states known by the eye or ear there may be are present in that sage. If they are present, then he should look further.

“Has that sage practiced this Dharma through the long night or has he practiced for a short time? Suppose, when looking, one knows that that sage has been practicing this Dharma through the long night and has not been practicing for a short time. If he has always been practicing, then he should look further.

“Has that sage been making his fame, a rewarding doctrine, from entering into the dhyānas; or has he not been making his fame, not a rewarding doctrine, from entering into the dhyānas? Suppose, when looking, one knows that that sage has not been vexed by the fevors, and so entered into the dhyānas. If that were so, he might say this: ‘That sage delights in practice, not fearing, parted from desires, not walking in desires, desires have been ended in him.’

“Thereupon, should he be asked: ‘Good sir, what practice have you, what powers have you, what knowledge have you that make a good sir to himself rightly examine another and speak thus: “That sage delights in practice, not fearing, parted from desires, not walking in desires, desires have been ended in him”?’ Then he might answer: ‘Good sir, I do not know his mind nor know of the rest of those affairs. Still, when he stays somewhere alone, stays in a group, or stays with an assembly, whether well departing or to influence a suzerain to bring about alms, I have been able to watch that sage. I do not know myself, but I have heard from that sage personally give whitness, saying: “I delight in practice, not fearing, parted from desires, not walking in desires, desires have been ended in me.” Good sir, I have this practice, this power, this knowledge, which causes me to myself rightly investigate and say thus: “That sage delights in practice, not fearing, parted from desires, not walking in desires, desires have been ended in him.”

“Then regarding them, he again questions that Tathāgata about the states: ‘Supposing you had defiled states known by the eye or ear, do you have in that dwelling the cessation of those states without remainder? Supposing you had mixed states known by the eye or ear, do you have in that dwelling the cessation of those states without remainder? Supposing you had the cleansed states known by the eye or ear, do you have in that dwelling the cessation of those states without remainder?’

“The Tathāgata answers him: ‘If I had any defiled states known by the eye or ear, having that abode, these states have ceased without remainder. If I had any mixed states known by the eye or ear, having that abode, these states have ceased without remainder. If there were any defiled states known by the eye or ear, having that abode, the Tathāgata has desisted from it, pulled it out by the root, ended it, never more to arise. If there were any mixed states known by the eye or ear, the Tathāgata has desisted from it, pulled it out by the root, ended it, never more to arise. If there were cleansed states, thus was I cleansed. Such is the perspective, such is the śramaṇa. Thus have I accomplished this true Dharma and Discipline.’

“The faithful disciple who goes to see the Tathāgata, who serve the Tathāgata, who hears Dharma from the Tathāgata, for him the Tathāgata discourses on the Dharma: higher and higher, sublime and more sublime, well removing the dark and the light. One for whom the Tathāgata has discoursed on the Dharma: higher and higher, sublime and more sublime, removing the dark and the light; then having heard such and such, he knows the elimination of one dharma. In regard to Dharma, he attains the ultimate. His has a quiet faith in the World Honored One: ‘That World Honored One is rightly and completely awakened.’

“Again, should he be asked: ‘Good sir, what practice, what power, what knowledge have you that causes the good sir to know the elimination of one dharma, to have attained the ultimate among Dharmas, to have a quiet faith in the World Honored One: “That World Honored One is rightly and completely awakened”?’ He would thus reply: ‘Good sir, I do not know the World Honored One’s mind and do not know of the rest of those affairs. My reason for having a quiet faith in the World Honored One is that the World Honored One has discoursed the Dharma for me: going higher and higher, sublime and more sublime, well removing the dark and the light. Good sir, as one for whom the World Honored One has discoursed the Dharma, such and such have I heard. The World Honored One discoursed on the Dharma for me: going higher and higher, sublime and more sublime, well removing the dark and the light. Having myself heard such and such, I know the elimination of one dharma, attaining the ultimate of Dharmas. So, I have a quiet faith in the World Honored One: “That World Honored One is rightly and completely awakened.” Good sir, I have this practice, this power, this knowledge that causes me to know the elimination of one dharma, attain the ultimate of Dharmas, quietly faithful in the World Honored One: “That World Honored One is rightly and completely awakened.”’

“If one has this practice and has this ability, deeply keeping to the faculty of faith in the Tathāgata, and has established it, this is said to the faithful view, the root associated with the undamaged knowledge. Śramaṇas, brāhmaṇas, devas, māras, and brahmas, as well as the rest of the world who have not the ability to determine it for themselves should thus inquire into the Tathāgata, thus rightly know the Tathāgata.”

The Buddha spoke thus. The bhikṣus who had heard the Buddha’s discourse were elated, took it up, and left.