T 1670B Nāgasena Bhikṣu Sūtra

Part 2: Dialogues

2.9. Aspiration of faith

The king asked, “What is aspiration, the mark of faith?”

Nāgasena said, “Having seen those among their colleagues who have already eliminated the evil state of the mind, some who have attained srotapanna, others sakrdagamin, anagamin and arhathood, the disciples of the Buddha aspire to pursue their way with faith. As a result, some have also crossed over the samsara.

Then Nāgasena said, “As if a mighty storm takes place on a mountain top and the rain water flows down in great quantity.

The people on both sides do not know the depth and breadth of the water and are fearful, and dare not cross it. And suppose a certain person comes from far away and having observed the water, knows exactly the depth and breadth and also knows exactly his own strength and power. He crosses over the water and reached the other shore. The people on both sides follow him by imitating his way and also cross over the stream.

So do the disciples of the Buddha, they have seen that those whose mind is pure have attained the Path of srotapanna, some the Path of sakrdagamin, some the Path of anagamin and some the Path of arhathood. All these are due to their wholesome state of mind and their perseverance. Therefore the Buddha said, “He who has faith, can save himself. If people of the world can control and overcome the five sense desires by themselves, and also know that the body is suffering, they can save themselves. People all obtain the Path by wisdom.”

“Excellent, Nāgasena.”