Saṃyutta Nikāya 16

Connected Discourses with Kassapa

6. Exhortation (1)

At Rajagaha in the Bamboo Grove. Then the Venerable Mahakassapa approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, and sat down to one side. The Blessed One then said to him: “Exhort the bhikkhus, Kassapa, give them a Dhamma talk. Either I should exhort the bhikkhus, Kassapa, or you should. Either I should give them a Dhamma talk or you should.”

“Venerable sir, the bhikkhus are difficult to admonish now, and they have qualities which make them difficult to admonish. They are impatient and do not accept instruction respectfully. Here, venerable sir, I saw a bhikkhu named Bhaṇḍa, a pupil of Ānanda, and a bhikkhu named Abhiñjika, a pupil of Anuruddha, competing with each other in regard to their learning, saying: ‘Come, bhikkhu, who can speak more? Who can speak better? Who can speak longer?’”

Then the Blessed One addressed a certain bhikkhu thus: “Come, bhikkhu, tell the bhikkhu Bhaṇḍa and the bhikkhu Abhiñjika in my name that the Teacher calls them.”

“Yes, venerable sir,” that bhikkhu replied, and he went to those bhikkhus and told them: “The Teacher calls the venerable ones.”

“Yes, friend,” those bhikkhus replied, and they approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, and sat down to one side. The Blessed One then said to them: “Is it true, bhikkhus, that you have been competing with each other in regard to your learning, as to who can speak more, who can speak better, who can speak longer?”

“Yes, venerable sir.”

“Have you ever known me to teach the Dhamma thus: ‘Come, bhikkhus, compete with each other in regard to your learning, and see who can speak more, who can speak better, who can speak longer’?”

“No, venerable sir.”

“Then if you have never known me to teach the Dhamma thus, what do you senseless men know and see that, having gone forth in such a well-expounded Dhamma and Discipline, you compete with each other in regard to your learning, as to who can speak more, who can speak better, who can speak longer?”

Then those bhikkhus prostrated themselves with their heads at the Blessed One’s feet and said: “Venerable sir, we have committed a transgression—so foolish, so confused, so inept were we—in that, having gone forth in such a well-expounded Dhamma and Discipline, we competed with each other in regard to our learning, as to who can speak more, who can speak better, who can speak longer. Venerable sir, may the Blessed One pardon us for our transgression seen as a transgression for the sake of future restraint.”

“Surely, bhikkhus, you have committed a transgression—so foolish, so confused, so inept were you—in that, having gone forth in such a well-expounded Dhamma and Discipline, you competed with each other in regard to your learning…. But since you see your transgression as a transgression and make amends for it in accordance with the Dhamma, we pardon you for it. For it is growth in the Noble One’s Discipline when one sees one’s transgression as a transgression, makes amends for it in accordance with the Dhamma, and undertakes future restraint.”