Majjhima Nikaya

Naḷakapāna Sutta

68. The Discourse at Nalakapana

Thus have I heard. At one time the Blessed One was living in a forest in Naḷakapāna in the kingdom of Kosala.

At that time many, well known sons of clansmen had gone forth as homeless ones through faith in the Blessed One—well known ones such the Venerables Anuruddha, Nandiya, Kimbila, Bhagu, Kundadāna, Revata, Ānanda, and other well known sons of clansmen.

At that time the Blessed One was seated in the open attended by the community of bhikkhus. The Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus referring to those sons of clansmen: “Bhikkhus, you sons of clansmen who have gone forth on account of faith in me, do you lead the holy life with delight?” When this was said the bhikkhus, were silent. For the second time, and for a the third time the Blessed One asked, “Bhikkhus, you sons of clansmen who have gone forth on account of faith in me, do you lead the holy life with delight?” Even for the third time the bhikkhus were silent.

Then it occurred to the Blessed One, what if I question one of these sons of those clansmen. Then the Blessed One addressed Venerable Anuruddha: “Anuruddha, do you delight in the holy life?”

“Venerable sir, we delight in the holy life.”

“Good! Anurudddha, lead the holy life with delight! Sons of clansmen, gone forth out of faith in me, should do so. Anurudddha, you are in the prime of youth, in the first stage of life, even with black hair. When you should enjoy the five strands of sense pleasure, you have gone forth and become homeless. Anuruddha, you were not thrown to recluseship out of fear for the king or robbers, nor out of fear of a debt, not because you have no means to live. It is because you thought, I'm overcome by birth, decay, death, grief, lament, unpleasantness, displeasure and distress, and that few could declare the complete ending of dukkha. Anuruddha, didn't you go forth with that faith?”

“Yes, Venerable sir I did.”

“Anuruddha, to the son of a clansman who has gone forth thus, what's there to be done in this dispensation? Anuruddha, if you do not seclude the mind from sensual desires and unwholesome states, or attain something more exalted than that, covetousness takes hold of your mind and stays. Anger takes hold of your mind and stays. Sloth and torpor takes hold of your mind and stays. Restlessness and worry takes hold of your mind and stays. Doubts take hold of your mind and stay. Therefore, Anuruddha, seclude the mind from sensual desires and unwholesome states, or attain something more exalted than that so that covetoutness may not take hold of your mind and stay, anger may not take hold of your mind and stay, sloth and torpor may not take hold of your mind and stay, restlessness and worry may not take hold of your mind and stay, and doubts may not take hold of your mind stay.

“Anuruddha, do you think that these defiling desires, full of unplessant results of a future birth, decay and death, are not dispelled by the Tathāgata? That this is why the Tathāgata carefully pursues one [thing], endures one [thing], dispels one [thing] and destroys another.”

“Venerable sir, we do not think in that manner. We think like this. ‘Defiling desires, full of unpleasant results, of a future birth, decay and death, are dispelled in the Tathāgata. Therefore the Tathāgata carefully pursues one [thing], endures one [thing], dispels one [thing] and destroys another.’”

“Good, Anuruddha, you have understood it. These defiling desires, full of unpleasant results of a future birth, decay and death, are dispelled by the Tathāgata. They are pulled out from the roots, made palm stumps, made things that would not grow again. Anuruddha, it is like a palm of which the top is cut and is not able to grow again. In the same manner, these defiling desires, full of unplessant results, of a future birth, decay and death, are dispelled by the Tathāgata. Therefore the Tathāgata carefully pursues one [thing], endures one [thing], dispels one [thing] and destroys another.

“Anuruddha, for what purpose does the Tathāgata tell his disciples, ‘Without wasting time, before you die, be born in something higher’—explaining one is born there, another there?”

“The Teaching's origin is the Blessed One, its lead is from the Blessed One, and its refuge is the Blessed One. It would be good if the meaning is explained by the Blessed One. We, bhikkhus, having heard it from the Blessed One, will remember it.”

“Anuruddha, the Tathāgata tells his disciples, ‘Without wasting time, before you die, be born in something higher’—explaining one is born there, another there—not to deceive people, not for prattling, and not for gain honour or fame and not thinking may people know me thus. It is because, Anuruddha, there are faithful clansmen who are insipred and gladdened to hear it. Hearing it they arouse interest and direct their minds to that, and that leads to their welfare and happiness for a long time.

“Here, Anuruddha, a bhikkhu hears, the venerable bhikkhu of this name has passed away, and the Blessed One has declared that he is enlightened. Now this venerable bhikkhu happens to be a person seen by that bhikkhu for himself, or has heard about him: ‘these were the virtues of the venerable bhikkhu, these, his thoughts, such his wisdom, he developed these abidings and was released.’ So that bhikkhu recollects that faith, those virtues, his learnedness, benevolence and wisdom and directs his mind to it. Anuruddha, in this manner there is a pleasant abiding for that bhikkhu.

“Here, Anuruddha, a bhikkhu hears, the venerable bhikkhu of this name has passed away, and the Blessed One has declared that with the destruction of the five lower bonds, he has arisen spontaneously, and will not return. Now this venerable bhikkhu happens to be a person seen by that bhikkhu for himself, or has heard about him: ‘these were the virtues of the venerable bhikkhu, these were his thoughts, such was his wisdom, he developed these abidings, and was released.’ So that bhikkhu recollects that faith, those virtues, his learnedness, benevolence and wisdom and directs his mind to it. Anuruddha, in this manner too there is a pleasant abiding for that bhikkhu.

“Here, Anuruddha, a bhikkhu hears, the venerable bhikkhu of this name has passed away, and the Blessed One has declared that with the destruction of the three lower bonds and lessening greed, hate and delusion, he has become a once returner, coming here once more he will make an end of dukkha. Now this venerable one happens to be a person seen by that bhikkhu for himself, or has heard about him: ‘these were the virtues and thoughts of the venerable bhikkhu, such was his wisdom, he developed these abidings, and was released.’ So that bhikkhu recollects that faith, those virtues, his learnedness, benevolence and wisdom and directs his mind to it. Anuruddha, in this manner too there is a pleasant abiding for that bhikkhu.

“Here, Anuruddha, a bhikkhu hears, the venerable one of this name, has passed away, and the Blessed One has declared that, with the destruction of the three lower bonds he has enterered the stream of the Teaching, that he will not fall [into any lower realm], and is bound for liberation. Now this venerable bhikkhu happens to be a person seen by that bhikkhu for himself, or has heard about him: ‘these were the virtues and thoughts of the venerable bhikkhu, such was his wisdom, he developed these abidings, and was released.’ So that bhikkhu recollects that faith, those virtues, his learnedness, benevolence and wisdom and directs his mind to it. Anuruddha, in this manner too there is a pleasant abiding for that bhikkhu.

“Here, Anuruddha, a bhikkhuni hears, the venerable bhikkhuni of this name has passed away, and the Blessed One has declared that she is enlightened. Now this venerable bhikkhuni happens to be a person seen by that bhikkhuni for herself, or has heard about her: ‘these were the virtues and thoughts of the venerable bhikkhuni, such was her wisdom, she developed these abidings, and was released.’ So that bhikkhuni recollects that faith, those virtues, her learnedness, benevolence and wisdom and directs her mind to it. Anuruddha, in this manner too there is a pleasant abiding for that bhikkhuni.

“Here, Anuruddha, a bhikkhuni hears, the venerable bhikkhuni of this name has passed away, and the Blessed One has declared that with the destruction of the five lower bonds, she has arisen spontaneously and will not return. Now this bhikkhuni happens to be a person seen by that bhikkhuni for herself, or has heard about her: ‘these were the virtues and thoughts of the venerable bhikkhuni, such was her wisdom, she developed these abidings, and was released.’ So that bhikkhuni recollects that faith, those virtues, her learnedness, benevolence and wisdom and directs her mind to it. Anuruddha, in this manner too there is a pleasant abiding for that bhikkhuni.

“Here, Anuruddha, a bhikkhuni hears, the venerable bhikkhuni of this name has passed away, and the Blessed One has declared that with the destruction of the three lower bonds and lessening greed, hate and delusion, she has become a once returner, coming here once more she will make an end of dukkha. Now, this venerable bhikkhuni happens to be a person seen by that bhikkhuni for herself, or has heard about her: ‘these were the virtues and thoughts of the venerable bhikkhuni, such her wisdom, she developed these abidings, and was released.’ So that bhikkhuni recollects that faith, those virtues, her learnedness, benevolence and wisdom and directs her mind to it. Anuruddha, in this manner too there is a pleasant abiding for that bhikkhuni.

“Here, Anuruddha, a bhikkhuni hears, the venerable bhikkhuni of this name has passed away, and the Blessed One has declared that, with the destruction of the three lower bonds, she has enterered the stream of the Teaching, that she will not fall [into any lower realm], and is bound for liberation. Now this venerable bhikkhuni happens to be a person seen by that bhikkhuni for herself, or has heard about her: ‘these were the virtues and thoughts of the venerable bhikkhuni, such was her wisdom, she developed these abidings and was released.’ So that bhikkhuni recollects that faith, those virtues, her learnedness, benevolence and wisdom and directs her mind to it. Anuruddha, in this manner too there is a pleasant abiding for that bhikkhuni.

“Here, Anuruddha, a lay disciple hears, the male lay disciple of this name has passed away, the Blessed One had declared that with the destruction of the five lower bonds he has arisen spontaneously and will not return. Now this male lay disciple happens to be a person seen by that male lay disciple for himself, or has heard about him: ‘these were the virtues and thoughts of this male lay disciple, such was his wisdom, developping these abidings he was released.’ So that male lay disciple recollects that faith, those virtues, his learnedness, benevolence and wisdom and directs his mind to it. Anuruddha, in this manner too there is a pleasant abiding for that male lay disciple.

“Here, Anuruddha, a male lay disciple hears, the male lay disciple of such name has passed away, the Blessed One has declared that with the destruction of the three lower bonds and lessening greed, hate and delusion, he has become a once returner, coming here once more he will make an end of dukkha. Now this male lay disciple happens to be a person seen by that male lay disciple for himself, or has heard about him: ‘these were the virtues and thoughts of the male lay disciple. Such was his wisdom, he developed these abidings, and was released.’ So that male lay disciple recollects that faith, those virtues, his learnedness, benevolence and wisdom and directs his mind to it, Anuruddha, in this manner too there is a pleasant abiding for that male lay disciple.

“Here, Anuruddha, a male lay disciple hears, the male lay disciple of this name has passed away, and the Blessed One has declared that with the destruction of the three lower bonds, he has enterered the stream of the Teaching, that he will not fall [into any lower realm], and is bound for liberation. This male lay disciple happens to be a person seen by that male lay disciple for himself, or has heard about him: ‘these were the virtues and thoughts of the male lay disciple. Such was his wisdom, he developed these abidings and was released.’ So that male lay disciple recollects that faith, those virtues, his learnedness, benevolence and wisdom and directs his mind to it, Anuruddha, in this mananer too there is a pleasant abiding for that male lay disciple.

“Here, Anuruddha, a female lay disciple hears, the female lay disciple of this name has passed away, and the Blessed One has declared that with the destruction of the five lower bonds she has arisen spontaneously and will not return. Now this female lay disciple happens to be a person seen by that female lay disciple for herself, or has heard about her: ‘these were the virtues and thoughts of the female lay disciple. Such was her wisdom, she developed these abidings, and was released.’ So that female disciple recollects that faith, virtues, her learnedness, benevolence and wisdom and directs her mind to it. Anuruddha, in this manner too, there is a pleasant abiding for that female lay disciple.

“Here, Anuruddha, a female lay disciple hears, the female lay disciple of this name has passed away, and the Blessed One has declared, with the destruction of the three lower bonds and lessening greed, hate and delusion, she has become a once returner, coming here once more she will make an end of dukkha. Now this female disciple happens to be a person seen by that female lay disciple for herself, or has heard about her: ‘these were her virtues and thoughts, such her wisdom, she developed these abidings, and was released.’ So that female lay disciple recollects that faith, those virtues, her learnedness, benevolence and wisdom and directs her mind to it, Anuruddha, in this mananer too there is a pleasant abiding for that female lay disciple.

“Here, Anuruddha, a female lay disciple hears, the female lay disciple of this name has passed away. The Blessed One has declared that with the destruction of the three lower bonds she has enterered the stream of the Teaching, that she will not fall [into any lower realm], and is bound for liberation. Now this female lay disciple, happens to be a person seen by that female lay disciple for herself, or has heard about her: ‘these were her virtues and thoughts, such her wisdom, she developed these abidings and was released.’ So that female lay disciple recollects that faith, those virtues, her learnedness, benevolence and wisdom and directs her mind to it, Anuruddha, in this manner too there is a pleasant abiding for that female lay disciple.

“Anuruddha, the Tathāgata advises his disciples, ‘Without wasting time, before you die, be born in something higher’—explaining one is born there, another there—not to deceive people, not for prattling, and not for gain honour or fame and not thinking may people know me thus. It is because, Anuruddha, there are faithful clansmen who are insipred and gladdened to hear it. Hearing it they arouse interest and direct their minds to that, and that leads to their welfare and happiness for a long time.”

This is what the Blessed One said and venerable Anuruddha delighted in the Blessed One’s words.