Middle Length Sayings

Middle Fifty Discourses

Discourse on Ghaṭīkāra

Thus have I heard: At one time the Lord was walking on tour among the Kosalans together with a large Order of monks. Then the Lord, turning aside from the road, smiled (when he came to a) certain place. Then it occurred to the venerable Ānanda: “What is the cause, what the reason that the Lord is smiling? Not without motive do Tathāgatas smile.” Then the venerable Ānanda, having arranged his robe over one shoulder, having saluted the Lord with joined palms, spoke thus to the Lord: “Now, revered sir, what is the cause, what the reason that the Lord is smiling? Not without motive do Tathāgatas smile.”

“Once upon a time, Ānanda, in this district there was a village township called Vebhaḷiṅga, prosperous and wealthy and crowded with people. And, Ānanda, the Lord Kassapa, perfected one, fully Self-Awakened One, lived depending on the village township of Vebhaḷiṅga. At that time, Ānanda, the monastery of the Lord Kassapa … was here. At that time, Ānanda, the Lord Kassapa … instructed an Order of monks while he was seated here.”

Then the venerable Ānanda, having laid down an outer cloak folded into four, spoke thus to the Lord: “Well then, revered sir, let the Lord sit down. This self-same piece of ground will (then) have been made use of by two perfected ones, fully Self-Awakened Ones.” Then the Lord sat down on an appointed seat. As he was seated the Lord spoke thus to the venerable Ānanda:

“Once upon a time, Ānanda, in this district (as above) … the Lord Kassapa … instructed an Order of monks while he was seated here. And, Ānanda, in the village township of Vebhaḷiṅga the potter name Ghaṭīkāra was a supporter—the chief supporter—of the Lord Kassapa … And, Ānanda, a brahman youth named Jotipāla was a friend—a dear friend—of the potter Ghaṭīkāra. Then, Ānanda, the potter Ghaṭīkāra addressed the brahman youth Jotipāla, saying: ‘Let us go, dear Jotipāla, we will approach the Lord Kassapa … so as to see him. A sight of this Lord, perfected one, fully Self-Awakened One, would be greatly prized by me.’ When this had been said, Ānanda, the brahman youth Jotipāla spoke thus to the potter Ghaṭīkāra: ‘Yes, dear Ghaṭīkāra, but of what use is it to see this little shaveling recluse?’

And a second time … And a third time, Ānanda, did Ghaṭīkāra the potter speak thus to the brahman youth Jotipāla: ‘Let us go, dear Jotipāla, we will approach the Lord Kassapa …’ … ‘Yes, dear Ghaṭīkāra, but of what use is it to see this little shaveling recluse?’

‘Well then, dear Jotipāla, taking a back-scratcher and bath-powder, we will go to the river to bathe.’ Ānanda, the brahman youth Jotipāla answered the potter Ghaṭīkāra in assent, saying: ‘Yes, dear.’

Then, Ānanda, the potter Ghaṭīkāra and the brahman youth Jotipāla, taking a back-scratcher and bath-powder, went to the river to bathe. Then, Ānanda, the potter Ghaṭīkāra spoke thus to the brahman youth Jotipāla: ‘This, dear Jotipāla, is near the monastery of the Lord Kassapa … Let us go, dear Jotipāla, we will approach the Lord Kassapa … so as to see him. A sight of this Lord, perfected one, fully Self-Awakened One, would be greatly prized by me.’ When this had been said, Ānanda, the brahman youth Jotipāla spoke thus to the potter Ghaṭīkāra: ‘Yes, dear Ghaṭīkāra, but of what use is it to see this little shaveling recluse?’

And a second time … And a third time, Ānanda, did Ghaṭīkāra the potter spoke thus to the brahman youth Jotipāla: ‘This, dear Jotipāla, is near the monastery of the Lord Kassapa … A sight of this Lord, perfected one, fully Self-Awakened One, would be greatly prized by me.’ And a third time, Ānanda, did the brahman youth Jotipāla speak thus to the potter Ghaṭīkāra: ‘Yes, dear Ghaṭīkāra, but of what use is it to see this little shaveling recluse?’

Then, Ānanda, the potter Ghaṭīkāra, having laid hold of the brahman youth Jotipāla by the waist-band, spoke thus: ‘This, dear Jotipāla, is near the monastery of the Lord Kassapa … Let us go, dear Jotipāla, we will approach the Lord Kassapa so as to see him. A sight of this Lord, perfected one, fully Self-Awakened One, would be greatly prized by me.’ Then, Ānanda, the brahman youth Jotipāla, having disengaged his waist-band, spoke thus to the potter Ghaṭīkāra: ‘Yes, dear Ghaṭīkāra, but of what use is it to see this little shaveling recluse?’ Then, Ānanda, the potter Ghaṭīkāra, having laid hold of the brahman youth Jotipāla by the hair—he had just performed an ablution of his head—spoke thus: ‘This, dear Jotipāla, is near the monastery of the Lord Kassapa … Let us go … A sight of this Lord, perfected one, fully Self-Awakened One, would be greatly prized by me.’

Then, Ānanda, it occurred to the brahman youth Jotipāla: ‘Indeed it is wonderful, indeed it is marvellous, that this potter Ghaṭīkāra, being of lowly birth, should lay hold of my hair although I have performed an ablution of my head,’ and should think: ‘Indeed this surely cannot be insignificant.’ He spoke thus to the potter Ghaṭīkāra: ‘Is it really necessary, dear Ghaṭīkāra?’ ‘It is really necessary, dear Jotipāla, most surely a sight of this Lord, perfected one, fully Self-Awakened One, would be greatly prized by me.’

‘Well then, dear Ghaṭīkāra, let go (of my hair); we will get along.’

Then, Ānanda, the potter Ghaṭīkāra and the brahman youth Jotipāla approached the Lord Kassapa … When they had approached, Ghaṭīkāra the potter greeted the Lord Kassapa … and sat down at a respectful distance. But the brahman youth Jotipāla exchanged greetings with the Lord Kassapa … and having conversed in a friendly and courteous way, he sat down at a respectful distance. And Ānanda, as the potter Ghaṭīkāra was sitting down at a respectful distance, he spoke thus to the Lord Kassapa … : ‘Revered sir, this brahman youth Jotipāla is my friend—my dear friend. Let the Lord teach him dhamma.’ Then, Ānanda, the Lord Kassapa … gladdened, roused, incited, delighted the potter Ghaṭīkāra and the brahman youth Jotipāla, with talk on dhamma. Then, Ānanda, the potter Ghaṭīkāra and the brahman youth Jotipāla, gladdened, roused, incited, delighted by the Lord Kassapa’s … talk on dhamma, having rejoiced in what the Lord Kassapa … had said, having given thanks and risen from their seats, greeting the Lord Kassapa … they departed keeping their right sides towards him.

Then, Ānanda, the brahman youth Jotipāla spoke thus to the potter Ghaṭīkāra: ‘How is it that you, dear Ghaṭīkāra, on hearing this dhamma, do not go forth from home into homelessness?’”

‘But, dear Jotipāla, do you not know that I look after my blind and ageing parents?’

‘Well then, dear Ghaṭīkāra, I will go forth from home into homelessness.’

Then, Ānanda, the potter Ghaṭīkāra and the brahman youth Jotipāla approached the Lord Kassapa …; having approached and having greeted the Lord Kassapa … they sat down at a respectful distance. And, Ānanda, as Ghaṭīkāra the potter was sitting down at a respectful distance, he spoke thus to the Lord Kassapa …: ‘Revered sir, this brahman youth Jotipāla is my friend—my dear friend. May the Lord let him go forth.’ Ānanda, Jotipāla the brahman youth received the going forth in the presence of the Lord Kassapa …, he received the ordination. Then, Ānanda, not long after the brahman youth Jotipāla had received ordination—half a month after his ordination—the Lord Kassapa …, having stayed at Vebhaḷiṅga for as long as he found suitable, set out on tour for Benares; walking on tour, in due course he arrived at Benares.

While he was there, Ānanda, the Lord Kassapa … stayed near Benares at Isipatana in the deer-park. Ānanda, Kikī, the king of Kāsi, heard that the Lord Kassapa … had arrived at Benares and was staying near Benares at Isipatana in the deer-park. Then, Ānanda, Kikī, the king of Kāsi, having had many lovely vehicles harnessed, having mounted a lovely vehicle, set off for Benares with the many lovely vehicles and with great royal pomp so as to see the Lord Kassapa … For as long as the ground was possible for a vehicle he went in the vehicle, then having dismounted from it, he approached the Lord Kassapa … on foot; having approached and having greeted the Lord Kassapa … he sat down at a respectful distance. Ānanda, as Kikī, the king of Kāsi, was sitting down at a respectful distance, the Lord Kassapa … roused, incited, gladdened and delighted him with talk on dhamma. Then, Ānanda, Kikī, the king of Kāsi, roused … delighted by the Lord Kassapa … with talk on dhamma, spoke thus to the Lord Kassapa …:

‘Revered sir, may the Lord consent to a meal with me on the morrow together with the Order of monks.’ Ānanda, the Lord Kassapa consented by becoming silent. Then, Ānanda, Kikī, the king of Kāsi, having understood the Lord Kassapa’s consent, rising from his seat and greeting the Lord Kassapa, departed keeping his right side towards him. Then, Ānanda, towards the end of that night when Kikī, the king of Kāsi, had had sumptuous foods, solid and soft, prepared in his own dwelling: dry yellow rices, various curries, the black grains removed, and various condiments, he had the time announced to the Lord Kassapa, saying: ‘It is time, revered sir, the meal is ready.’

Then, Ānanda, the Lord Kassapa, having dressed in the morning, taking his bowl and robe, approached the dwelling of Kikī, the king of Kāsi, having approached, he sat down on the appointed seat together with the Order of monks. Then, Ānanda, Kikī, the king of Kāsi, with his own hand served and satisfied with sumptuous foods, solid and soft, the Order of monks with the Awakened One at its head. Then, Ānanda, when the Lord Kassapa had eaten and had withdrawn his hand from the bowl, Kikī, the king of Kāsi, taking a low seat, sat down at a respectful distance. As he was sitting down at a respectful distance, Kikī, the king of Kāsi spoke thus to the Lord Kassapa: ‘Revered sir, may the Lord consent to (accept) my rains-residence in Benares; there will be suitable support for the Order.’

‘No, sire, I have (already) consented to (accept) a rains-residence.’ And a second time … And a third time, Ānanda, did Kikī, the king of Kāsi, speak thus to the Lord Kassapa …: ‘Revered sir, may the Lord consent to (accept) my rains-residence in Benares; there will be suitable support for the Order.’

‘No, sire, I have (already) consented to (accept) a rains-residence.’

Then, Ānanda, Kikī, the king of Kāsi thought: ‘The Lord Kassapa … does not consent to (accept) my rains-residence in Benares,’ and he was depressed and grieved. Then, Ānanda, Kikī, the king of Kāsi, spoke thus to the Lord Kassapa …: ‘Then, have you, revered sir, some other supporter than me?’

‘There is, sire, a village township called Vebhaḷiṅga. There is a potter there called Ghaṭīkāra; he is my supporter—the chief supporter. But you, sire, think: The Lord Kassapa … does not consent to (accept) my rains-residence in Benares, and you are depressed and grieved. This is not so with the potter Ghaṭīkāra and nor can it be so. For, sire, the potter Ghaṭīkāra has gone to the Awakened One for refuge, he has gone to dhamma for refuge, he has gone to the Order for refuge. Ghaṭīkāra, the potter, sire, is restrained from onslaught on creatures, restrained from taking what has not been given, restrained from wrong enjoyment of sense-pleasures, restrained from lying speech, restrained from occasions of sloth engendered by strong drink and spirits. Ghaṭīkāra the potter, sire, is possessed of unwavering confidence in the Awakened One … in dhamma … the Order, he is possessed of moral habits that are dear to the ariyans. Ghaṭīkāra the potter, sire, doubts not about anguish … the uprising of anguish … the stopping of anguish, he doubts not about the course leading to the stopping of anguish. Ghaṭīkāra the potter, sire, is a one-meal-man, a Brahma-farer, virtuous, lovely in character. Ghaṭīkāra the potter, sire, is one who has laid aside jewels and wrought gold, who is without gold and silver. Ghaṭīkāra the potter, sire, does not dig the earth either with a spade or with his own hand; willingly he makes a vessel from the soil of a bank that is crumbling or scratched out by rats and dogs, and he speaks thus: “He that likes, if he lays down fragments of husked rice here, fragments of kidney-beans, fragments of chick-peas, may take whatever he likes.” Ghaṭīkāra the potter, sire, looks after his blind ageing parents. Ghaṭīkāra the potter, sire, by the destruction of the five fetters binding to this lower (shore), is of spontaneous uprising, he attains final nibbāna there, he is not liable to return from that world.

At one time I, sire, was staying in a village township of Vebhaḷiṅga. Then I, sire, having dressed in the morning, taking my bowl and robe, approached the parents of the potter Ghaṭīkāra; having approached, I spoke thus to the parents of the potter Ghaṭīkāra: “Now, where has this potter gone?” “Revered sir, your supporter has gone out, saying: Now, having taken conjey from the pot, having taken curry from the cauldron, enjoy them.” Then I, sire, having taken conjey from the pot, having taken curry from the cauldron, enjoyed them, and rising up from my seat I departed. Then, sire, Ghaṭīkāra the potter approached his parents; having approached, he spoke thus to his parents: “Who is it that, having taken conjey from the pot, having taken curry from the cauldron and having enjoyed them, is going away?” “It is the Lord Kassapa …, dear, that, having taken conjey … is going away.” Then, sire, it occurred to Ghaṭīkāra the potter: “Indeed it is a gain for me, indeed it is well gotten by me that the Lord Kassapa … has such trust in me.” Then, sire, joy and happiness did not leave Ghaṭīkāra the potter for half a month or his parents for seven days.

At one time I, sire, was staying in this very village township of Vebhaḷiṅga. Then I, sire, having dressed in the morning … (as above) … spoke thus to the parents of the potter Ghaṭīkāra: “Now, where has this potter gone?” “Revered sir, your supporter has gone out, saying: Now, having taken boiled rice from the pan, having taken curry from the cauldron, enjoy them.” Then I, sire, having taken boiled rice from the pan, having taken curry from the cauldron, enjoyed them, and rising up from my seat I departed. Then, sire, the potter Ghaṭīkāra approached his parents … (as above, reading; having taken boiled rice from the pan, having taken curry from the cauldron) … Then, sire, joy and happiness did not leave the potter Ghaṭīkāra for half a month or his parents for seven days.

At one time I, sire, was staying in this very village township of Vebhaḷiṅga. At that time the hut leaked. So I, sire, addressed the monks, saying: “Go, monks, and find out if there is grass in the dwelling of Ghaṭīkāra the potter.” When this had been said, sire, the monks spoke thus to me: “There is no grass, revered sir, in the dwelling of Ghaṭīkāra the potter, but his house has a grass roof.” “Go, monks, and strip the grass from the house of Ghaṭīkāra the potter.” Then, sire, these monks stripped the grass from the house of Ghaṭīkāra the potter. Then, sire, the parents of Ghaṭīkāra the potter spoke thus to the monks: “Who are they that are stripping the grass from the house?” “Sister,” the monks said, “the Lord Kassapa,’s hut is leaking.” “Take it, revered sirs, take it, my honourable friends.” Then, sire, Ghaṭīkāra the potter approached his parents; having approached, he spoke thus to his parents: “Who are they that have stripped the grass from the house?” “Monks, dear; the hut of the Lord Kassapa … is leaking.” Then, sire, it occurred to Ghaṭīkāra the potter: “Indeed it is a gain for me, indeed it is well gotten by me that the Lord Kassapa … has such trust in me.” Then, sire, joy and happiness did not leave the potter Ghaṭīkāra for half a month or his parents for seven days. Then, sire, for a whole three months that house stood with its roof open to the sky, but it did not rain into it. Such a one, sire, is Ghaṭīkāra the potter.’

‘It is a gain, revered sir, it is well gotten, revered sir, by Ghaṭīkāra the potter in whom the Lord has such trust.’

Then, Ānanda, Kikī, the king of Kāsi, sent as many as five hundred cartloads of husked rice to Ghaṭīkāra the potter, dry yellow rices and suitable curries. Then, Ānanda, these kings’ men, having approached Ghaṭīkāra the potter, spoke thus: ‘These five hundred cartloads of husked rice, revered sir, have been sent to you by Kikī, the king of Kāsi, with dry yellow rices and suitable curries. Accept them, revered sir.’ ‘The king is very busy, there is much to be done. I am quite satisfied since this is for me from the king.’

It may be, Ānanda, that this will occur to you: ‘Now, at that time the brahman youth Jotipāla was someone else.’ But this, Ānanda, should not be thought of in this way. I, at that time, was Jotipāla the brahman youth.”

Thus spoke the Lord. Delighted, the venerable Ānanda rejoiced in what the Lord had said.

Discourse on Ghaṭīkāra: The First