Sutta Nipāta 5.4

The Way to the Beyond

The Young Man Puṇṇaka’s Questions

“To the one who is unmoved, who sees the root,” said venerable Puṇṇaka,
“I have come in need with a question:
On account of what did the seers and men,
nobles, and brahmins, here in the world
offer many sacrifices to the gods?
I ask you, Gracious One, please tell this to me.”

“Whoever of those seers and men, Puṇṇaka,” said the Gracious One,
“nobles, and brahmins, here in the world,
offered many sacrifices to the gods,
they did so yearning, Puṇṇaka, for mundane existence,
on account of old age, they offered sacrifices.”

“Whoever of those seers and men,” said venerable Puṇṇaka,
“nobles, and brahmins, here in the world,
offered many sacrifices to the gods,
O Gracious One, perhaps those heedful of the path of sacrifice
have crossed over birth and old age, dear Sir?
I ask you, Gracious One, please tell this to me.”

“They yearn and they praise, they hunger, and they offer,” said the Gracious One to Puṇṇaka,
“They hunger for sense pleasures, because of gain
they engage in sacrifice, excited by the passion for existence.
They have not crossed over birth and old age, I say.”

“If those engaged in sacrifice have not crossed over,” said venerable Puṇṇaka,
“birth and old age by their sacrifices, dear Sir,
then just who in the world of the Gods and men
has crossed over birth and old age, dear Sir?
I ask you, Gracious One, please tell this to me.”

“The one who has discerned far and near in the world,” said the Gracious One to Puṇṇaka,
“who has no turmoil anywhere in the world,
who is peaceful, not incensed, not troubled, not yearning,
he has crossed over birth and old age, I say.”

The Young Man Puṇṇaka’s Questions are Finished