[\q 298/]
[
Skip Introduction]

INTRODUCTION
TO THE
TEVIJJA SUTTA

THIS is the only Suttanta, among the thirteen translated in this volume, in which the discourse does not lead up to Arahatship. It leads up only to the soÞcalled Brahma VihàrasÞthe supreme conditionsÞfour states of mind held to result, after death, in a rebirth in the heavenly worlds of Brahmà. Why is itÞthe Buddhist ideal being Arahatship, which leads to no rebirth at allÞthat this lower ideal is thus suddenly introduced?

It would seem that the particular point here discussed was regarded as so important that it could scarcely be left out. And when we recollect that the highest teaching current before the Buddha, and still preserved in the pre-Buddhistic Upanishads, was precisely about union with Brahmà; we may, without much danger of error, explain the position occupied in the series of dialogues by this Suttanta by the supposition that it was deliberately inserted here as the Buddhist answer to the Upanishad theory. In this respect it is noteworthy that the neuter Brahman is quietly ignored. That is quite in accordance with the method of the Suttantas. The Buddha is in them often represented as using, in his own sense, words familiar to his interlocutors in a different sense. The neuter Brahman is, so far as I am aware, entirely unknown in the Nikàyas, and of course the Buddha's idea of Brahmà, in the masculine, really differs widely from that of the Upanishads.

There is nothing original in the Buddhist belief that a man's habit of mind at the time of his death would determine, save only in the one case of the Arahat, the nature of his rebirth. It is an IndianÞnot an exclusively Buddhist theory. The Buddhist texts represent it as held by non-Buddhists, and already long before. the Buddha's time, and as accepted by all as a matter of course. And it is even not exclusively Indian. As I have pointed out elsewhere, it is [\q 299/] ascribed by Plato to Socrates. [1] The essentially Buddhist parts of the theory are three. In the first place, the choice of the particular details they held essential to such a habit of mind as would lead to rebirth in the Brahmà-worlds ; secondly, their doctrine that there was not really any 'soul' to be reborn ; and thirdly, that the highest ideal was not to be reborn at all (even only once, and into union with Brahmà).

The Jàtaka commentary in numerous passages states that the four Brahma vihàras were practised, long before the time of the rise of Buddhism, by the sages of old. I have not found such a statement in the Nikàyas; and it is most probable therefore that the Jàtaka commentator is ante-dating the particular meditations in question. However this may be, they remained, throughout the long history of Buddhism, an essential part of Buddhist practice. They are even mentioned in the Jàtaka Màlà, a work usually supposed to be Mahàyànist, and dated about a thousand years later than the Buddha. [2] They are well-known to-day in Burma, Siam, and Ceylon. And it would be interesting to know whether they still form a part of the regulated meditations which are known to be practised by Buddhists in Thibet, China, and Japan. But they have not been found in any Indian book not a Buddhist work, and are therefore almost certainly exclusively Buddhist. Even the most determined anti-Buddhist must admit the beauty of the language (in spite of its repetitions?? 76-78), the subtle depth of the ideas, and the great value of the practice from the point of view of ethical self-training. He would probably rejoin, and with truth, that similar sentiments are met with in other (post-Buddhistic) Indian books. But it is one thing to give expression in isolated passages to such views, and quite another to have selected just these four as the four cornerstones of habitual endeavour.

It should be recollected that the argument here is only an argumettium ad hominem. If you want union with BrahmàÞ which you had much better not wantÞthis is the way to attain to it. [3]


[Top]
[\q 300/]

XIII. TEVIJJA SUTTA.
[ON KNOWLEDGE OF THE VEDAS.]
[4]

1. Thus have I heard. When the Exalted One was once journeying through Kosala with a great company of the brethren, with about five hundred brethren, he came to the Brahman village in Kosala which is called Manasàkaña. And there at Manasàkaña the Exalted One stayed in the mango grove, on the bank of the river Aciravatã, to the north of Manasàkaña.

2. Now at that time many very distinguished and wealthy Brahmans were staying at Manasàkaña; to wit, Kaïkã the Brahman, Tàrukkha the Brahman, Pokkharasàdi the Brahman, Jàõussoõi the Brahman, Todeyya the Brahman, and other very distinguished and wealthy Brahmans. [5]

[\q 301/] 3. Now a conversation sprung up between Vàseññha and Bhàradvàja, when they were taking exercise (after their bath) and walking up and down, in thoughtful mood, as to which was the true path, and which the false. [6]

4. The young Brahman Vàseññha spake thus:

`This is the straight path, this the direct way which makes for salvation, and leads him, who acts according to it, into a state of union with Brahmà. I mean that which has been announced by the Brahman Pokkharasàdi.'

5. The young Brahman Bhàradvàja spake thus:

`This is the straight path, this the direct way which makes for salvation, and leads him, who acts according to it, into a state of union with Brahmà. I mean that which has been announced by the Brahman Tàrukkha.'

6. But neither was the young Brahman Vàseññha able to convince the young Brahman Bhàradvàja, nor was the young Brahman Bhàradvàja able to convince the young Brahman Vàseññha.

7. Then the young Brahman Vàseññha said to the young Brahman Bhàradvàja:

`That Samaõa Gotama, Bhàradvàja, of the sons of the Sàkyas, who went out from the Sàkya clan to adopt the religious life, is now staying at Manasàkaña, in the mango grove, on the bank of the river Aciravatã, to the north of Manasàkaña. Now regarding that venerable Gotama, such is the high reputation that has been noised abroad: "That Exalted One is an Arahat, a fully enlightened one, abounding in wisdom and goodness, happy, with knowledge of the worlds, unsurpassed as a guide to mortals willing to be led, a teacher of gods and men, an Exalted One, a Buddha.û

[\q 302/] Come, then, Bhàradvàja, let us go to the place where the Samaõa Gotama is; and when we have come there, let us ask the Samaõa Gotama touching this matter. What the Samaõa Gotama shall declare unto us, that let us bear in mind. [7]

`Very well, my friend!' said the young Brahman Bhàradvàja, in assent, to the young Brahman Vàseññha.

8. Then the young Brahman Vàseññha and the young Brahman Bhàradvàja went on to the place where the Exalted One was.

And when they had come there, they exchanged with the Exalted One the greetings and compliments of politeness and courtesy, and sat down beside him.

And while they were thus seated the young Brahman Vàseññha said to the Exalted One:

`As we, Gotama, were taking exercise and walking up and down, there sprung up a conversation between us on which was the true path, and which the false. I said thus:

`ßThis is the straight path, this the direct way which makes for salvation, and leads him, who acts according to it, into a state of union with Brahmà. I mean that which has been announced by the Brahman Pokkharasàdi.û'

`Bhàradvàja said thus:

`ßThis is the straight path, this the direct way which makes for salvation, and leads him, who acts according to it, into a state of union with Brahmà. I mean that which has been announced by the Brahman Tàrukkha.û'

`Regarding this matter, Gotama, there is a strife, a dispute, a difference of opinion between us.'

9. `So you say, Vàseññha, that you said thus:

This is the straight path, this the direct way which makes for salvation, and leads him, who acts according to it, into a state of union with Brahmà.

[\q 303/] I mean that which has been announced by the Brahman Pokkharasàdi.ß'

`While Bhàradvàja said thus:

`"This is the straight path, this the direct way which makes for salvation, and leads him, who acts according to it, into a state of union with Brahmà. I mean that which has been announced by the Brahman Tàrukkha."'

`Wherein, then, O Vàseññha, is there a strife, a dispute, a difference of opinion between you?' [8]

10. `Concerning the true path and the false, Gotama. Various Brahmans, Gotama, teach various paths. The Addhariyà Brahmans, the Tittiriyà Brahmans, the Chandokà Brahmans [the Chandavà Brahmans], the Bavharijà Brahmans. [9] Are all those saving paths? Are they all paths which will lead him, who acts according to them, into a state of union with Brahmà?

`Just, Gotama, as near a village or a town there are many and various paths, [10] yet they all meet together in the villageÞjust in that way are all the various paths taught by various BrahmansÞthe Addhariyà Brahmans, the Tittiriyà Brahmans, the Chandokà, Brahmans [the Chandavà Brahmans], the Bavharijà Brahmans. Are all these saving paths? Are they all paths which will lead him, who acts according to them, into a state of union with Brahmà?'

11. `Do you say that they all lead aright, Vàseññha?'

`I say so, Gotama.'

[\q 304/] `Do you really say that they all lead aright, Vàseññha?

`So I say, Gotama.'

12. 1 But yet, Vàseññha, is there a single one of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas, who has ever seen Brahmà, face to face

`No, indeed, Gotama.'

`Or is there then, Vàseññha, a single one of the teachers of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas who has seen Brahmà face to face

`No, indeed, Gotama!'

`Or is there then, Vàseññha, a single one of the pupils of the teachers of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas who has seen Brahmà face to face?' `No, indeed, Gotama!'

`Or is there then, Vàseññha, a single one of the Brahmans up to the seventh generation who has seen Brahmà face to face?'

`No, indeed, Gotama!'

13. `Well then, Vàseññha, those ancient Rishis of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas, the authors of the verses, the utterers of the verses, whose, ancient form of words so chanted, uttered, or composed, the Brahmans of to-day chant over again or repeat; intoning or reciting exactly as has been intoned or recitedÞto wit, Aññhaka, Vàmaka, Vàmadeva, Vessàmitta, Yamataggi, Aïgirasa, Bhàradvàja, Vàseññha, Kassapa, and Bhagu [11] Þ did even they speak thus, saying: ßWe know it, we have seen it, where Brahmà is whence Brahmà is, whither Brahmà is?û'

`Not so, Gotama!'

14. `Then you say, Vàseññha that none of the Brahmans, or of their teachers, or of their pupils, even up to the seventh generation, has ever seen Brahmà face to face. And that even the Rishis of old, the authors and utterers of the verses, of the ancient form of words which the Brahmans of to-day so carefully intone and recite precisely as they have [\q 305/] been handed downÞeven they did not pretend to know or to have seen where or whence or whither Brahmà is. [12] So that the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas have forsooth said thus: ßWhat we know not, what we have not seen, 'to a state of union with that we can show the way, and can say: 'This Is the straight path, this is the direct way which makes for salvation, and leads him, who acts according to it, into a state of union with Brahmà!û'

`Now, what think you, Vàseññha? Does it not follow, this being so, that the talk of the Brahmans, versed though they be in the Three Vedas, turns out to be foolish talk.

In sooth, Gotama, that being, so, it follows that the talk of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas is foolish talk!'

15. `Verily, Vàseññha, that Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas should be able to show the way to a state of union with that which they do not know, neither have seenÞsuch a condition of things can in no wise be!

`Just, Vàseññha, as when a string of blind men are clinging one to the other [13], neither can the foremost see, nor can the middle one see, nor can the hindmost seeÞjust even so, methinks, Vàseññha, is the talk of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas but blind talk: the first sees not, the middle one sees not, nor can the latest see. The talk then of these [\q 306/] Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas turns out to be ridiculous, mere words, a vain and empty thing!'

16. `Now what think you, Vàseññha? Can the Brahmans versed in the Three VedasÞlike other, ordinary, folkÞsee the Moon and the Sun as they pray to, and praise, and worship them, turning round with clasped hands towards the place whence they rise and where they set?'

`Certainly, Gotama, they can.' [14]

17. `Now what think you, Vàseññha? The Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas, who can very wellÞlike other, ordinary, folkÞsee the Moon and the Sun as they pray to, and praise, and worship them, turning round with clasped hands to the place whence they rise and where they setÞare those Brahmans, versed in the Three Vedas, able to point out the way to a state of union with the Moon or the Sun, saying: ßThis is the straight path, this the direct way which makes for salvation, and leads him, who acts according to it, to a state of union with the Moon or the Sun?û'

`Certainly, not, Gotama.'

18. `So you say, Vàseññha, that the Brahmans are not able to point out the way to union with that which they have seen, and you further say that neither any one of them, nor of their pupils, nor of their predecessors even to the seventh generation has ever seen Brahmà, And you further say that even the Rishis of old, whose words they hold in such deep respect, did not pretend to know, or to have seen where, or whence, or whither Brahmà is. Yet these Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas say, forsooth, that they can point out the way to union with that which they know not, neither have seen. [15] Now what [\q 307/] think you, Vàseññha? Does it not follow that, this being so, the talk of the Brahmans, versed though they be in the Three Vedas, turns out to be foolish talk?'

`In sooth, Gotama, that being so, it follows that the talk of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas is foolish talk!'

19. `Very good, Vàseññha. Verily then, Vàseññha, that Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas should be able to show the way to a state of union with that which they do not know, neither have seenÞsuch a condition of things can in no wise be!'

`Just, Vàseññha, as if a man should say, ßHow I long for, how I love the most beautiful woman in this land!û'

`And people should ask him, ßWell! good friend! this most beautiful woman in the land, whom you thus love and long for, do you know whether that beautiful woman is a noble lady or a Brahman woman, or of the trader class, or a Sådra?û'

`But when so asked, he should answer: ßNo."

`And when people should ask him, ßWell! good friend! this most beautiful woman in all the land, whom you so love and long for, do you know what the name of that most beautiful woman is, or what is her family name, whether she be tall or short or of medium height, dark or brunette or golden in colour, or in what village or town or city she dwells?û'

`But when so asked, he should answer: ßNoû.'

`And then people should say to him, So then, good friend, whom you know not, neither have seen, her do you love and long for?

`And then when so asked, he should answer: ßYes."

`Now what think you, Vàseññha? Would it not turn out, that being so, that the talk of that man was foolish talk?'

`In sooth, Gotama, it would turn out, that being so, that the talk of that man was foolish talk!'

[\q 308/] 20. `And just even so, Vàseññha though you I say that the Brahmans are not able to point out the way to union with that which they have seen, and you further say that neither any one of them, nor of their pupils, nor of their predecessors even to the seventh generation has ever seen Brahmà. And you further say that even the Rishis of old, whose words they hold in such deep respect, did not pretend to know, or to have seen where, or whence, or whither Brahmà is. Yet these Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas say, forsooth, that they can point out the way to union with that which they know not, neither have seen Now what think you, Vàseññha? Does it not follow that, this being so, the talk of the Brahmans, versed though they be in the Three Vedas, is foolish talk?'

`In sooth, Gotama, that being so, it follows that the talk of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas is foolish talk!'

`Very good, Vàseññha. Verily then, Vàseññha, that Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas should be able to show the way to a state of union with that which they do not know, neither have seenÞsuch a condition of things can in no wise be.'

21. `Just, Vàseññha, as if a man should make a staircase in the place where four roads cross, to mount up into a mansion. And people should say to him, ßWell, good friend, this mansion, to mount up into which you are making this staircase, do you know whether it is in the east, or in the south, or in the west, or in the north? whether it is high or low or of medium size?û'

`And when so asked, he should answer: ßNoû.'

`And people should say to him, ßBut then, good friend, you are making a staircase to mount up into somethingÞtaking it for a mansionÞwhich, all the while, you know not, neither have seen!û'

`And when so asked, he should answer: ßYesû.'

`Now what think you, Vàseññha? Would it not [\q 309/] turn out. that being so, that the talk of that man was foolish talk?'

`In sooth, Gotama, it would turn out, that being so, that the talk of that man was foolish talk!'

22. `And just even so, Vàseññha, though you say that the Brahmans are not able to point out the way to union with that which they have seen, and you further say that neither any one of them, nor of their pupils, nor of their predecessors even to the seventh generation has ever seen Brahmà. And you further say that even the Rishis of old, whose words they hold in such deep respect, did not pretend to know, or to have seen where, or whence, or whither Brahmà is. Yet these Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas say, forsooth, that they can point out the way to union with that which they know not, neither have seen! Now what think you, Vàseññha? Does it not follow that, this being so, the talk of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas is foolish talk?'

`In sooth, Gotama, that being so, it follows that the talk of the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas is foolish talk!'

23. `Very good, Vàseññha. Verily then, Vàseññha, that Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas should be able to show the way to a state of union with that which they do not know, neither have seenÞsuch a condition of things can in no wise be.'

24. `Again, Vàseññha, if this river Aciravatã were full of water even to the brim, and over flowing. [16] And a man with business on the other side, bound for the other side, making, for the other side, should come up, and want to cross over. And he, standing on this bank, should invoke the further bank, and say, ßCome hither, O further bank! come over to this side!û'

`Now what think you, Vàseññha? Would the further bank of the river Aciravatã, by reason of that man's [\q 310/] invoking and praying and hoping and praising, come over to this side?'

`Certainly not, Gotama!'

25. `In just the same way, Vàseññha, do the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas,Þomitting the practice of those qualities which really make a man a Brahman, and adopting the practice of those qualities which really make men non-Brahmans-say thus: ßIndra we call upon, Soma we call upon, Varuõa we call upon, äsàna we call upon, Pajàpati we call upon, Brahmà we call upon, [Mahiddhi we call upon, Yama we call upon!û [17] Verily, Vàseññha, that those Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas, but omitting the practice of those qualities which really make a man a Brahman, and adopting the practice of those qualities which really make men non-BrahmansÞthat they, by reason of their invoking and praying and hoping and praising, should, after death and when the body is dissolved, become united with Brahmà verily such a condition of things can in no wise be!' [18]

26. `Just, Vàseññha, as if this river Aciravatã were full, even to the brim, and overflowing. And a man with business on the other side, making for the other side, bound for the other side, should come up, and want to cross over. And he, on this bank, were to be bound tightly, with his arms behind his back, by a strong chain. Now what think you, Vàseññha, would that man be able to get over from this bank of the river Aciravatã to the further bank?'

`Certainly not, Gotama!'

27. `In the same way, Vàseññha, there are five things [\q 311/] leading to lust, which are called, in the Discipline of the Arahats, a ßchainû and a ßbond.û '

`What are the five?'

`Forms perceptible to the eye; desirable, agreeable, pleasant, attractive forms, that are accompanied by lust and cause delight. Sounds of the same kind perceptible to the ear. Odours of the same kind perceptible to the nose. Tastes of the same kind perceptible to the tongue. Substances of the same kind perceptible to the body by touch. These five things predisposing to passion are called, in the Discipline of the Arahats, a ßchainû and a ßbond.ûAnd these five things predisposing to lust, Vàseññha, do the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas cling to, they are infatuated by them, attached to them, see not the dancer of them, know not how unreliable they are, and so enjoy them'. [19]

28. `And verily, Vàseññha, that Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas, but omitting the practice of those qualities which really make a man a Brahman, and adopting the practice of those qualities which really make men non-BrahmansÞclinging to these five things predisposing to passion, infatuated by them, attached to them, see not their danger, knowing not their unreliability, and so enjoying themÞthat these Brahmans should after death, on the dissolution of the body, become united to Brahmà,Þsuch a condition of things can in no wise be!'

29. `Again, Vàseññha, if this river Aciravatã were full of water even to the brim, and overflowing. And a man with business on the other side, making for the other side, bound for the other side, should come up, and want to cross over. And if he covering himself up, even to his head, were to lie down, on this bank, to sleep.'

`Now what think you, Vàseññha? Would that man [\q 312/] be able to get over from this bank of the river Aciravatã to the further bank?'

`Certainly not, Gotama!'

30. `And in the same way, Vàseññha, there are these Five Hindrances, in the Discipline of, the Arahats, [20] which are called ßveils,û and are called ßhindrances,û and are called ßobstacles,û and are called ßentanglementsû.'

`Which are the five?'

`The hindrance of worldly lusts,
The hindrance of ill will,
The hindrance of torpor and sloth of heart and mind.
The hindrance of flurry and worry,
The hindrance of suspense.

`These are the Five Hindrances, Vàseññha, which, in the Discipline of the Arahats, are called veils, and are called hindrances, and are called obstacles and are called entanglements.' [21]

`Now with these Five Hindrances, Vàseññha, the Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas are veiled, hindered, obstructed, and entangled.

`And verily, Vàseññha, that Brahmans versed in the Three Vedas, but omitting the practice of those qualities which really make a man a Brahman, and adopting the practice of those qualities which really make men non-BrahmansÞveiled, hindered, obstructed, and entangled by these Five HindrancesÞthat these Brahmans should after death, on the dissolution of the body, become united to BrahmàÞsuch a condition of things can in no wise be!'

31. `Now what think you, Vàseññha , and what have you heard from the Brahmans aged and well-stricken in years, when the learners and teachers are talking [\q 313/] together? Is Brahmà, in possession of wives and wealth, or is he not?' [22]

`He is not, Gotama.'

`Is his mind full of anger, or free from anger?'

`Free from anger, Gotama.'

Is his mind full of malice, or free from malice?'

`Free from malice, Gotama.'

`Is his mind tarnished, or, is it pure?' [23]

`It is pure, Gotama.'

Has he self-mastery, or has he not?' [24]

`He has, Gotama.'

32. `Now what think you, Vàseññha, are the Brahmans versed in the Vedas in the possession of wives and wealth, or are they not?'

`They are, Gotama.'

`Have they anger in their hearts, or have they not?

`They have, Gotama.'

`Do they bear malice, or do they not?'

`They do, Gotama.'

`Are they pure in heart, or are they not?'

`They are not, Gotama.'

`Have they self-mastery, or have they not?'

`They have not, Gotama.'

33. `Then you say, Vàseññha, that the Brahmans are in possession of wives and wealth, and that Brahmà is not. Can there, then, be agreement and likeness between the Brahmans with their wives and property, and Brahmà, who has none of these things?'

[\q 314/] `Certainly not, Gotama!'

34. `Very good, Vàseññha. But, verily, that these Brahmans versed in the Vedas, who live married and wealthy, should after death, when the body is dissolved, become united with Brahmà, who has none of these thingsÞsuch a condition of things can in no wise be!'

35. `Then you say, too, Vàseññha, that the Brahmans bear anger and malice in their hearts, and are tarnished in heart and uncontrolled, whilst Brahmà is free from anger and malice, pure in heart, and has self-mastery. Now can there, then, be concord and likeness between the Brahmans and Brahmà?'

`Certainly not, Gotama!'

36. `Very good, Vàseññha. That these Brahmans versed in the Vedas and yet bearing anger and malice in their hearts, sinful, and uncontrolled, should after death, when the body is dissolved, become united to Brahmà, who is free from anger and malice, pure in heart, and has self-masteryÞsuch a condition of things can in no wise be!

`So that thus then, Vàseññha, the Brahmans, versed though they be in the Three Vedas, while they sit down (in confidence), are sinking down (in the mire); [25] and so sinking they are arriving only at despair, thinking the while that they are crossing over into some happier land.'

`Therefore is it that the threefold wisdom of the Brahmans, wise in their Three Vedas, is called a waterless desert, their threefold wisdom is called a pathless jungle, their threefold wisdom is called perdition!'

37. When he had thus spoken, the young Brahman Vàseññha said to the Blessed One:

[\q 315/] `It has been told me, Gotama, that the Samaõa Gotama knows the way to the state of union with Brahmà.'

`What do you think, Vàseññha, is not Manasàkaña near to this spot, not distant from this spot?'

`Just so, Gotama. Manasàkaña is near to, is not far from here.'

`Now what think you, Vàseññha, suppose there were a man born in Manasàkaña, and people should ask him, who never till that time had left Manasàkaña, which was the way to Manasàkaña. Would that man, born and brought up in Manasàkaña, be in any doubt or difficulty?'

`Certainly not, Gotama! And why? If the man had been born and brought up in Manasàkaña, every road that leads to Manasàkaña would be perfectly familiar to him.'

38. `That man, Vàseññha, born and brought up at Manasàkaña might, if he were asked the way to Manasàkaña, fall into doubt and difficulty, but to the Tathàgata, when asked touching the path which leads to the world of Brahmà, there can be neither doubt nor difficulty. For Brahmà, I know, Vàseññha,. and the world of Brahmà, and the path which leadeth unto it. Yea, I know it even as one who has entered the Brahmà-world, and has been born within it!'

39. When he had thus spoken ,Vàseññha, the young Brahman, said to the Blessed One:

`Just so has it been told me, Gotama, even that the Samaõa Gotama knows the way to a state of union with Brahmà. It is well! Let the venerable Gotama be pleased to show us the way to a state of union with Brahmà, let the venerable Gotama save the Brahman race'! [26]

`Listen then, Vàseññha, and give ear attentively, and I will speak!'

[\q 316/] `So be it, Lord!' said the young Brahman Vàseññha, in assent, to the Blessed One.

40. Then the Blessed One spake, and said:

`Know, Vàseññha, that (from time to time) a Tathàgata is born into the world, an Arahat, a fully awakened one, abounding, in wisdom and goodness, happy, with knowledge of the worlds, unsurpassed as a guide to mortals willing to be led, a teacher of gods and men, a Blessed One, a Buddha. He, by himself, thoroughly understands, and sees, as it were, face to face this universeÞincluding the worlds above with the cods, the Màras, and the Brahmàs; and the world below with its Samaõas and Brahmans, its princes and peoples;Þand he then makes his knowledge known to others. The truth doth he proclaim both in the letter and in the spirit, lovely in its origin, lovely in its progress, lovely in its consummation: the higher life doth he make known, in all its purity and in all its perfectness.'

41. `A householder (gahapati), or one of his children, or a man of inferior birth in any class, listens to that truth. [27] On hearing the truth he has faith in the Tathàgata, and when he has acquired that faith he thus considers with himself:

ßFull of hindrances is household life, a path defiled by passion: free as the air is the life of him who has renounced all worldly things. How difficult it is for the man who dwells at home to live the higher life in all its fullness, in all its purity, in all its bright perfection! Let me then cut off my hair and beard, let me clothe myself in the orange-coloured robes, and let me go forth from a household life into the homeless state.û

`Then before long, forsaking his portion of wealth, be it great or be it small; forsaking his circle of relatives, be they many or be they few, he cuts off his hair and beard, he clothes himself in the orange-coloured [\q 317/] robes. and he goes forth from the household life into the homeless state.

42. `When he has thus become a recluse he passes a life self-restrained by that restraint which should be binding on a recluse. Uprightness is his delight, and he sees danger in the least of those things he should avoid. He adopts and trains himself in the precepts. He encompasses himself with goodness in word and deed. He sustains his life by means that are quite pure; good is his conduct, guarded the door of his senses; mindful and self-possessed, he is altogether happy!'

43-75. `And how, Vàseññha, is his conduct good?'

[The answer is set forth in the words of the tract on the Sãlas, translated above, pp.

3 -26, but with the refrain as in the Sàmaa-phala Suttanta above, p.79. Then follow Sections 63-75, inclusive, of the Sàmaa-phala; setting forth:

1. The confidence of heart that results from the sense of goodness.

2. The way in which he guards the doors of his senses.

3. The way in which he is mindful and self-possessed.

4. His habit of being content with little, of adopting simplicity of life.

5. His conquest of the Five Hindrances, eachwith the explanatory simile.

6. The joy and peace which, as a result of this conquest, fills his whole being.]

76. [28] `And he lets his mind pervade one quarter of [\q 318/] the world with thoughts of Love, and so the second, and so the third, and so the fourth. And thus the whole wide world, above, below, around, and everywhere, does he continue to pervade with heart of Love, far-reaching, grown great, and beyond measure.'

77. `Just, Vàseññha, as a mighty trumpeter makes himself heardÞand that without difficultyÞin all the four directions; even so of all things that have shape or life, there is not one that he passes by or leaves aside, but regards them all with mind set free, and deep-felt love.'

`Verily this, Vàseññha, is the way to a state of union with Brahmà.'

78. `And he lets his mind pervade one quarter of the world with thoughts of pity, [29] sympathy, [30] equanimity, [31] and so the second, and so the third, and so the fourth. And thus the whole wide world, above, below, around, and everywhere, does he continue to pervade with heart of pity, ... sympathy, ... equanimity, far-reaching, grown great, and beyond measure.'

79. `Just, Vàseññha, as a mighty trumpeter makes himself heardÞand that without difficultyÞin all the four directions ; even so of all things that have shape or life, there is not one that he passes by or leaves aside, but regards them all with mind set free, and deep-felt pity, sympathy, equanimity.'

`Verily this, Vàseññha, is the way to a state of union with Brahmà.'

80. `Now what think you, Vàseññha, will the Bhikkhu who lives thus be in possession of women and of wealth, or will he not?'

`He will not, Gotama!'

`Will he be full of anger, or free from anger?'

`He will be free from anger, Gotama!'

`Will his mind be full of malice, or free from malice?'

[\q 319/] `Free from malice, Gotama!'

`Will his mind be tarnished, or pure?'

`It will be pure, Gotama!'

`Will he have self-mastery, or will he not?'

`Surely he will, Gotama!'

81. `Then you say, Vàseññha, that the Bhikkhu is free from household and worldly cares, and that Brahmà is free from household and worldly cares. Is therethen agreement and likeness between the Bhikkhu and Brahmà?'

`There is, Gotama!

`Very good, Vàseññha. Then in sooth, Vàseññha, that the Bhikkhu who is free from household cares should after death, when the body is dissolved, become united with Brahmà, who is the sameÞsuch a condition of things is every way possible!'

`And so you say, Vàseññha, that the Bhikkhu is free from anger, and free from malice, pure in mind, and master of himself; and that Brahmà is free from anger, and free from malice, pure in mind, and master of himself. Then in sooth, Vàseññha, that the Bhikkhu who is free from anger, free from malice, pure in mind, and master of himself should after death, when the body is dissolved, become united with Brahmà, who is the sameÞsuch a condition of things is every way possible!'

82. When he hid thus spoken, the young. Brahmans Vàseññha and Bhàradvàja addressed the Blessed One, and said:

`Most excellent, Lord, are the words of thy mouth, Most excellent! Just as if a man were to set up that which is thrown down, or were to reveal that which is hidden away, or were to point out the right road to him who has gone astray, or were to bring a lamp into the darkness, so that those who have eyes can see external forms ;Þjust even so, Lord, has the truth been made known to us, in many a figure, by the Exalted One. And we, even we, betake ourselves, Lord, to the Blessed One as our guide, to the Truth, [\q 320/] and to the Brotherhood. May the Blessed One accept us as disciples, as true believers, from this day forth, as long as life endures!'

Here ends the Tevijja Suttanta. [32]


1. Phaedo 69. The full context is given in my 'Hibbert Lectures,' Appendix viii. [Go Back]

2. In the well-known story of the Bodhisattva giving his body to feed a tigress (No. I, verse 12). [Go Back]

3. See the remarks above on p. 206. [Go Back]

4. This Suttanta was translated from the MSS. in my 'Buddhist Suttas ' (S. B. E., 1881). Since then the text has been published by the Pàli Text Society; and alterations and amendments in a number of details have been rendered necessary. [Go Back]

5. Buddhaghosa says that Kaïkã lived at Opasàda, Tàrukkha lived at Icchagala (so MSS., perhaps for Icchànangala), Pokkharasàdi (sic MS.)lived at Ukkaññha, Jàõussoõi lived at Sàvatthi, and Todeyya lived at Tudigama. [Go Back]

Jàõussoõi was converted by the Bhaya-bherava Sutta. On Pokkharasàdi, see above, pp. 108, 135, 147; and on Todeyya, see above, p. 267; and on all the names, see Majjhima Nikàya, No. 98= Sutta Nipàta, 9.

Buddhaghosa adds that because Manasàkaña was a pleasant place the Brahmans had built huts there on the bank of the river and fenced them in, and used to go and stay there from time to time to repeat their mantras.

6. Jaïghàvihàraü anucaïkamantànaü anuvicarantànaü. Caïkamati is to walk up and down thinking. I have added 'after their bath,' from Buddhaghosa, who says that this must be understood to have taken place when, after learning by heart and repeating all day, they, went down in the evening to the riverside to bathe, and then walked up and down on the sand. COMP. Mil. 22; Jàt. II, 240,272. [Go Back]

7. Comp. Divyàvadàna 196, 246; and Aïguttara II, pp. 23, 24. [Go Back]

8. This is either mildly sarcasticÞas much as to say, 'that is six of one, and half a dozen of the other'Þor is intended to lead on Vàseññha to confess still more directly the fact that the different theologians held inconsistent opinions. [Go Back]

9. The MSS. differ as to the last name, and some of them omit the last but one. The Adhvaryu, Taittirãya, Chandoga, and Bahvrica priestsÞthose skilled in liturgy generally, and in the Yajur, Sàma, and Rig Vedas respectivelyÞare probably meant. If we adopt the other reading for the last in the list, then those priests who relied on liturgy, sacrifice, or chant would be contrasted with those who had 'gone forth' as religieux, either as Tàpasas or as Bhikshus. [Go Back]

10. Maggàni, which is noteworthy as a curious change of gender. [Go Back]

11. See the note on these names at 'Vinaya Texts,' II, 130. [Go Back]

12. In the text?? 12, 13 are repeated word for word. [Go Back]

13. Andhaveõã paramparaü saüsattà. The Phayre MS. has replaced veõã by paveõã, after the constant custom of the Burmese MSS. to improve away unusual or difficult expressions. Buddhaghosa explains andhaveõi by andhapaveõi ; and tells a tale of a wicked wight, who meeting a company of blind men, told them of a certain village wherein plenty of good food was to be had. When they besought him for hire to lead them there, he took the money, made one blind man catch hold of his stick, the next of that one, and so on, and then led them on till they came to a wilderness. There he deserted them, and they allÞstill holding each the other, and vainly, and with tears, seeking both their guide and the pathÞcame to a miserable end! Comp. M. II, 170. [Go Back]

14. The words of the question are repeated in the text in this and the following answers. It must be remembered, for these sections, that the Sun and Moon were gods just as much as Brahmà; and that the Moon always comes first in Nikàya and other ancient texts. [Go Back]

15. The text repeats at length the words of?? 12, 13, 14. [Go Back]

16. Samatittika kàkapeyyà. See on this phrase the note in my Buddhist Suttas (S. B. E.), pp. 178, 179. [Go Back]

17. The Sinhalese MSS. omit Mahiddhi and Yama, but repeat the verb, 'we call upon,' three times after Brahmà. It is possible that the Burmese copyist has wrongly inserted them to remove the strangeness of this repetition. The comment is silent. [Go Back]

18. The Buddha, as usual, here takes the 'further bank' in the meaning attached to it by the theologians he is talking to, as union with Brahmà. In his own system, of course, the 'further bank' is Arahatship. So Aïguttara V, 232, 233, and elsewhere. [Go Back]

19. Gathità mucchità ajjhopannà. See A. I, 74, 274; Udàna VII, 3, 4; Sum. 59, &c. [Go Back]

20. Ariyassa vinaye. This may possibly mean 'in the disciple recommended by the Arahat' (that is, by the Buddha). But the latter is expressed rather by Sugata-vinaye. Comp. Aïguttara V, 237-239 with 234, 235. [Go Back]

21. These Five 'Hindrances are more fully dealt with above, p. 82. [Go Back]

22. Sapariggaho và Brahmà apariggaho va ti. Buddhaghosa says on Vàseññha's reply, 'Kàmacchandassa ,àbhavato itthipariggahena apariggaho,' thus restricting the 'possession' to women. But the reference is no doubt to the first 'hindrance' ; and the word in the text, though doubtless alluding to possession of women also. includes more. Compare, on the general idea of the passage, the English expression, ïo encumbrances,' and Jacobi, 'Jaina-Såtras' (S. B. E.) I, xxiii. [Go Back]

23. Asaïkiliññha-citto. That is, says Buddhaghosa, free from mental torpor and idleness, worry and flurry.' [Go Back]

24. Vasavattã và avasavattã và. Buddhaghosa says, in explanation of the, answer, 'By the absence of wavering he has his mind under control (vase vatteti).' [Go Back]

25. âsãditva saüsãdanti. I have no doubt the commentator is right in his explanation of these figurative expressions. Confident in their knowledge of the Vedas, and in their practice of Vedic ceremonies, they neglect higher things; and so, sinking into folly and superstition, 'they are arriving only at despair, thinking the while that they are crossing over into some happier land.' [Go Back]

26. Buddhaghosa takes this to mean, 'Save me of the Brahman race.' [Go Back]

27. `The point is, that the acceptance of this 'Doctrine and Discipline' is open to all ; not of course that Brahmans never accept it. [Go Back]

28. These paragraphs occur frequently; see. inter alia, Mahà-Sudassana Sutta II, 8, in my 'Buddhist Suttas' (S. B. E.). It will be seen from 'Buddhism,' pp. 170, 171, that these meditations play a great part in later Buddhism, and occupy very much the place that prayer takes in Christianity. A fifth, the meditation on Impurity, has been added, at what time I do not know, before the last. These four (or five) ,are called the Brahma Vihàras, and the practice of them leads, not to Arahatship, but to rebirth in the Brahmà-world. [Go Back]

29. Paragraphs 76, 77 are supposed to be repeated of each. [Go Back]

30.Paragraphs 76, 77 are supposed to be repeated of each. [Go Back]

31. Paragraphs 76, 77 are supposed to be repeated of each. [Go Back]

32. Literally 'The Suttanta about those who have the knowledge of the Three (Vedas).' Sec p.303, where the names of these, 'doctors' are given. [Go Back]