The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha - Selections

II. The Great Chapter

11 (1) Verañjā
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Verañjā at the foot of Naḷeru’s neem tree. Then a brahmin of Verañjā [173] approached the Blessed One and exchanged greetings with him. When he had concluded his greetings and cordial talk, he sat down to one side and said to the Blessed One:
    “I have heard, Master Gotama: ‘The ascetic Gotama does not pay homage to brahmins who are old, aged, burdened with years, advanced in life, come to the last stage; nor does he stand up for them or offer them a seat.’ This is indeed true, for Master Gotama does not pay homage to brahmins who are old, aged, burdened with years, advanced in life, come to the last stage; nor does he stand up for them or offer them a seat. This is not proper, Master Gotama.”
    “Brahmin, in the world with its devas, Māra, and Brahmā, in this population with its ascetics and brahmins, its devas and humans, I do not see one to whom I should pay homage, or for whom I should stand up, or whom I should offer a seat. For if the Tathāgata should pay homage to anyone, or stand up for him, or offer him a seat, even that person’s head would split.”
    (1) “Master Gotama lacks taste.”
    “There is, brahmin, a way in which one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama lacks taste.’ The Tathāgata has abandoned his taste for forms, sounds, odors, tastes, and tactile objects. He has abandoned them, cut them off at the root, made them like a palm stump, obliterated them so that they are no more subject to future arising. It is in this way that one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama lacks taste.’ But you did not speak with reference to this.” [174]
    (2) “Master Gotama is not convivial.”
    “There is, brahmin, a way in which one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is not convivial.’ The Tathāgata has abandoned the enjoyment of forms, sounds, odors, tastes, and tactile objects. He has abandoned them, cut them off at the root, made them like a palm stump, obliterated them so that they are no more subject to future arising. It is in this way that one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is not convivial.’ But you did not speak with reference to this.”
    (3) “Master Gotama is a proponent of non-doing.”
    “There is, brahmin, a way in which one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a proponent of non-doing.’ For I assert the non-doing of bodily, verbal, and mental misconduct; I assert the non-doing of the numerous kinds of bad unwholesome deeds. It is in this way that one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a proponent of non-doing.’ But you did not speak with reference to this.”
    (4) “Master Gotama is an annihilationist.”
    “There is, brahmin, a way in which one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is an annihilationist.’ For I assert the annihilation of lust, hatred, and delusion; I assert the annihilation of the numerous kinds of bad unwholesome qualities. It is in this way that one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is an annihilationist.’ But you did not speak with reference to this.”
    (5) “Master Gotama is a repeller.”
    “There is, brahmin, a way in which one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a repeller.’ For I am repelled by bodily, verbal, and mental misconduct; I am repelled by the acquisition of the numerous kinds of bad unwholesome [175] qualities. It is in this way that one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a repeller.’ But you did not speak with reference to this.”
    (6) “Master Gotama is an abolitionist.”
    “There is, brahmin, a way in which one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is an abolitionist.’ For I teach the Dhamma for the abolition of lust, hatred, and delusion; I teach the Dhamma for the abolition of the numerous kinds of bad unwholesome qualities. It is in this way that one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is an abolitionist.’ But you did not speak with reference to this.”
    (7) “Master Gotama is a tormentor.”
    “There is, brahmin, a way in which one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a tormentor.’ For I assert that bad unwholesome qualities—bodily, verbal, and mental misconduct—are to be burned up. I say that someone is a tormentor when he has abandoned the bad unwholesome qualities that are to be burned up; when he has cut them off at the root, made them like a palm stump, obliterated them so that they are no more subject to future arising. The Tathāgata has abandoned the bad unwholesome qualities that are to be burned up; he has cut them off at the root, made them like a palm stump, obliterated them so that they are no more subject to future arising. It is in this way that one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a tormentor.’ But you did not speak with reference to this.”
    (8) “Master Gotama is retiring.”
    “There is, brahmin, a way in which one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is retiring.’ For I say that someone is retiring when he has abandoned the production of renewed existence, the future bed of the womb; when he has cut it off at the root, made it like a palm stump, obliterated it [176] so that it is no more subject to future arising. The Tathāgata has abandoned the production of renewed existence, the future bed of the womb; he has cut it off at the root, made it like a palm stump, obliterated it so that it is no more subject to future arising. It is in this way that one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is retiring.’ But you did not speak with reference to this.
    “Suppose, brahmin, there was a hen with eight, ten, or twelve eggs that she had properly covered, incubated, and nurtured. Should the first among those chicks to pierce its shell with the points of its claws or beak and safely hatch be called the eldest or the youngest?”
    “It should be called the eldest, Master Gotama. So it is the eldest among them.”
    “So too, brahmin, in a population immersed in ignorance, become like an egg, completely enveloped, I have pierced the eggshell of ignorance. I am the sole person in the world who has awakened to the unsurpassed perfect enlightenment. So I am the eldest, the best in the world.
    “My energy, brahmin, was aroused without slackening; my mindfulness was established without confusion; my body was tranquil without disturbance; my mind was concentrated and one-pointed. Secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, I entered and dwelled in the first jhāna, which consists of rapture and pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by thought and examination. With the subsiding of thought and examination, I entered and dwelled in the second jhāna, which has internal placidity and unification of mind and consists of rapture and pleasure born of concentration, without thought and examination. [177] With the fading away as well of rapture, I dwelled equanimous and, mindful and clearly comprehending, I experienced pleasure with the body; I entered and dwelled in the third jhāna of which the noble ones declare: ‘He is equanimous, mindful, one who dwells happily.’ With the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the previous passing away of joy and dejection, I entered and dwelled in the fourth jhāna, neither painful nor pleasant, which has purification of mindfulness by equanimity.
    “When my mind was thus concentrated, purified, cleansed, unblemished, rid of defilement, malleable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the recollection of past abodes. I recollected my manifold past abodes, that is, one birth, two births, three births, four births, five births, ten births, twenty births, thirty births, forty births, fifty births, a hundred births, a thousand births, a hundred thousand births, many eons of world-dissolution, many eons of world-evolution, many eons of world-dissolution and world-evolution thus: ‘There I was so named, of such a clan, with such an appearance, such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my life span; passing away from there, I was reborn elsewhere, and there too I was so named, of such a clan, with such an appearance, such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my life span; passing away from there, I was reborn here.’ Thus I recollected my manifold past abodes with their aspects and details.
    “This, brahmin, was the first true knowledge attained by me in the first watch of the night. Ignorance was dispelled, true knowledge had arisen; darkness was dispelled, light had arisen, as happens when one dwells heedful, ardent, and resolute. This, brahmin, was my first breaking out, like that of the chick breaking out of the eggshell. [178]
    “When my mind was thus concentrated, purified, cleansed, unblemished, rid of defilement, malleable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the passing away and rebirth of beings. With the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, I saw beings passing away and being reborn, inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and I understood how beings fare on in accordance with their kamma thus: ‘These beings who engaged in misconduct by body, speech, and mind, who reviled the noble ones, held wrong view, and undertook kamma based on wrong view, with the breakup of the body, after death, have been reborn in the plane of misery, in a bad destination, in the lower world, in hell; but these beings who engaged in good conduct by body, speech, and mind, who did not revile the noble ones, who held right view, and undertook kamma based on right view, with the breakup of the body, after death, have been reborn in a good destination, in the heavenly world.’ Thus with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, I saw beings passing away and being reborn, inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and I understood how beings fare on in accordance with their kamma.
    “This, brahmin, was the second true knowledge attained by me in the middle watch of the night. Ignorance was dispelled, true knowledge had arisen; darkness was dispelled, light had arisen, as happens when one dwells heedful, ardent, and resolute. This, brahmin, was my second breaking out, like that of the chick breaking out of the eggshell.
    “When my mind was thus concentrated, purified, cleansed, unblemished, rid of defilement, malleable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability, I directed it to the knowledge of the destruction of the taints. I understood as it really is: ‘This is suffering’; I understood as it really is: ‘This is the origin of suffering’; I understood as it really is: ‘This is the cessation of suffering’; I understood as it really is: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of suffering.’ I understood as it really is: ‘These are the taints’; [179] I understood as it really is: ‘This is the origin of the taints’; I understood as it really is: ‘This is the cessation of the taints’; I understood as it really is: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of the taints.’
    “When I knew and saw thus, my mind was liberated from the taint of sensuality, from the taint of existence, and from the taint of ignorance. When it was liberated there came the knowledge: ‘[It’s] liberated.’ I directly knew: ‘Destroyed is birth, the spiritual life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more coming back to any state of being.’
    “This, brahmin, was the third true knowledge attained by me in the last watch of the night. Ignorance was dispelled, true knowledge had arisen; darkness was dispelled, light had arisen, as happens when one dwells heedful, ardent, and resolute. This, brahmin, was my third breaking out, like that of the chick breaking out of the eggshell.”
    When this was said, the brahmin of Verañjā said to the Blessed One: “Master Gotama is the eldest! Master Gotama is the best! Excellent, Master Gotama! Excellent, Master Gotama! Master Gotama has made the Dhamma clear in many ways, as though he were turning upright what had been overthrown, revealing what was hidden, showing the way to one who was lost, or holding up a lamp in the darkness so those with good eyesight can see forms. I now go for refuge to Master Gotama, to the Dhamma, and to the Saṅgha of bhikkhus. Let Master Gotama consider me a lay follower who from today has gone for refuge for life.”

12 (2) Sīha 
On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Vesālī in the hall with the peaked roof in the Great Wood. Now on that occasion, a number of well-known Licchavis had assembled in the meeting hall and were sitting together speaking in many ways in praise of the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Saṅgha. [180] On that occasion Sīha the general, a disciple of the Nigaṇṭhas, was sitting in that assembly. It then occurred to him: “Doubtlessly, he must be a Blessed One, an Arahant, a Perfectly Enlightened One. For a number of these well-known Licchavis have assembled in the meeting hall and are sitting together speaking in many ways in praise of the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Saṅgha. Let me go see that Blessed One, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One.”
    Then Sīha went to the Nigaṇṭha Nātaputta and said to him: “Bhante, I wish to go see the ascetic Gotama.”
    “Since you are a proponent of deeds, Sīha, why go see the ascetic Gotama, a proponent of non-doing? For the ascetic Gotama is a proponent of of non-doing who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of non-doing and thereby guides his disciples.”
    Then Sīha’s determination to go see the Blessed One subsided.
    On a second occasion, a number of well-known Licchavis had assembled in the meeting hall and were sitting together speaking in many ways in praise of the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Saṅgha … [All as above, except this is now said to occur “on a second occasion.”] [181] … On a second occasion, Sīha’s determination to go see the Blessed One subsided.
    On a third occasion, a number of well-known Licchavis had assembled in the meeting hall and were sitting together speaking in many ways in praise of the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Saṅgha. It then occurred to Sīha: “Doubtlessly, he must be a Blessed One, an Arahant, a Perfectly Enlightened One. For a number of these well-known Licchavis have assembled in the meeting hall and are sitting together speaking in many ways in praise of the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Saṅgha. What can the Nigaṇṭhas do to me whether or not I obtain their permission? Without having obtained the permission of the Nigaṇṭhas, let me go see that Blessed One, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One.”
    Then, with five hundred chariots, Sīha the general set out from Vesālī in the middle of the day in order to see the Blessed One. He went by carriage as far as the ground was suitable for a carriage, and then dismounted from his carriage and entered the monastery grounds on foot. He approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him:
    “I have heard this, bhante: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a proponent of non-doing [182] who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of non-doing and thereby guides his disciples.’ Do those who speak thus state what has been said by the Blessed One and not misrepresent him with what is contrary to fact? Do they explain in accordance with the Dhamma so that they would not incur any reasonable criticism or ground for censure? For we do not want to misrepresent the Blessed One.”
    (1) “There is, Sīha, a way in which one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a proponent of non-doing who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of non-doing and thereby guides his disciples.’
    (2) “There is a way in which one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a proponent of deeds who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of deeds and thereby guides his disciples.’
    (3) “There is a way in which one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is an annihilationist who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of annihilation and thereby guides his disciples.’
    (4) “There is a way in which one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a repeller who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of repulsion and thereby guides his disciples.’
    (5) “There is a way in which one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is an abolitionist who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of abolition and thereby guides his disciples.’
    (6) “There is a way in which one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a tormentor who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of torment and thereby guides his disciples.’
    (7) “There is a way in which one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is retiring, one who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of retiring and thereby guides his disciples.’
    (8) “There is a way in which one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a consoler who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of consolation and thereby guides his disciples.’
    (1) “And in what way, Sīha, could one rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a proponent of non-doing [183] who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of non-doing and thereby guides his disciples’? For I assert the non-doing of bodily, verbal, and mental misconduct; I assert the non-doing of the numerous kinds of bad unwholesome deeds. It is in this way that one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a proponent of non-doing who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of non-doing and thereby guides his disciples.’
    (2) “And in what way could one rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a proponent of deeds who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of deeds and thereby guides his disciples’? For I assert good bodily, verbal, and mental conduct; I assert the doing of the numerous kinds of wholesome deeds. It is in this way that one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a proponent of deeds who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of deeds and thereby guides his disciples.’
    (3) “And in what way could one rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is an annihilationist who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of annihilation and thereby guides his disciples’? For I assert the annihilation of lust, hatred, and delusion; I assert the annihilation of the numerous kinds of bad unwholesome qualities. It is in this way that one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is an annihilationist who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of annihilation and thereby guides his disciples.’
    (4) “And in what way could one rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a repeller who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of repulsion and thereby guides his disciples’? For I am repelled by bodily, verbal, and mental misconduct; I am repelled by the acquisition of the numerous kinds of bad unwholesome qualities. It is in this way that one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a repeller who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of repulsion and thereby guides his disciples.’
    (5) “And in what way could one rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is an abolitionist who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of abolition and thereby guides his disciples’? For I teach the Dhamma for the abolition of lust, hatred, and delusion; [184] I teach the Dhamma for the abolition of the numerous kinds of bad unwholesome qualities. It is in this way that one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is an abolitionist; he teaches his Dhamma for the sake of abolition and thereby guides his disciples.’
    (6) “And in what way could one rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a tormentor who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of tormenting and thereby guides his disciples’? For I assert that bad unwholesome qualities—bodily, verbal, and mental misconduct—are to be burned up. I say that someone is a tormentor when he has abandoned the bad unwholesome qualities that are to be burned up; when he has cut them off at the root, made them like a palm stump, obliterated them so that they are no more subject to future arising. The Tathāgata has abandoned the bad unwholesome qualities that are to be burned up; he has cut them off at the root, made them like a palm stump, obliterated them so that they are no more subject to future arising. It is in this way that one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a tormentor who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of tormenting and thereby guides his disciples.’
    (7) “And in what way could one rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is retiring, one who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of retiring and thereby guides his disciples’? For I say that someone is retiring when he has abandoned the production of renewed existence, the future bed of the womb; when he has cut it off at the root, made it like a palm stump, obliterated it so that it is no more subject to future arising. The Tathāgata has abandoned the production of renewed existence, the future bed of the womb; he has cut it off at the root, made it like a palm stump, obliterated it so that it is no more subject to future arising. It is in this way that one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is retiring, one who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of retiring and thereby guides his disciples.’
    (8) “And in what way could one rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a consoler, one who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of consolation and thereby guides his disciples’? For I [185] am a consoler with the supreme consolation; I teach the Dhamma for the sake of consolation and thereby guide my disciples. It is in this way that one could rightly say of me: ‘The ascetic Gotama is a consoler, one who teaches his Dhamma for the sake of consolation and thereby guides his disciples.’“
    When this was said, Sīha the general said to the Blessed One: “Excellent, bhante! Excellent, bhante! … Let the Blessed One accept me as a lay follower who from today has gone for refuge for life.”
    “Make an investigation, Sīha! It is good for such well-known people like yourself to make an investigation.”
    “Bhante, I am even more satisfied and pleased with the Blessed One for telling me: ‘Make an investigation, Sīha! It is good for such well-known people like yourself to make an investigation.’ For if the members of other sects were to gain me as their disciple, they would carry a banner all over Vesālī announcing: ‘Sīha the general has become our disciple.’ But the Blessed One rather tells me: ‘Make an investigation, Sīha! It is good for such well-known people like yourself to make an investigation.’ So for the second time, bhante, I go to the Blessed One for refuge, to the Dhamma, and to the Saṅgha of bhikkhus. Let the Blessed One accept me as a lay follower who from today has gone for refuge for life.”
    “Sīha, your family has long been a fountain of support for the Nigaṇṭhas; hence you should consider continuing to give alms to them when they approach you.”
    “Bhante, I am even more satisfied and pleased with the Blessed One for telling me: ‘Sīha, your family has long been a fountain of support for the Nigaṇṭhas; hence you should consider continuing to give alms to them when they approach you.’ For I have heard: ‘The ascetic Gotama says thus: [186] “Alms should be given only to me, not to others; alms should be given only to my disciples, not to the disciples of others. Only what is given to me is very fruitful, not what is given to others; only what is given to my disciples is very fruitful, not what is given to the disciples of others.”’ Yet the Blessed One encourages me to give to the Nigaṇṭhas, too. We’ll know the right time for this. So for the third time, bhante, I go to the Blessed One for refuge, to the Dhamma, and to the Saṅgha of bhikkhus. Let the Blessed One accept me as a lay follower who from today has gone for refuge for life.”
    Then the Blessed One gave Sīha the general a progressive discourse, that is, talk on giving, virtuous behavior, and heaven; he revealed the danger, degradation, and defilement of sensual pleasures and the benefit of renunciation. When the Blessed One knew that Sīha’s mind was pliant, softened, rid of hindrances, uplifted, and confident, he revealed that Dhamma teaching special to the Buddhas: suffering, its origin, its cessation, and the path. Then, just as a clean cloth rid of dark spots would readily absorb dye, so too, while Sīha the general sat in that same seat, there arose in him the dust-free, stainless Dhamma-eye: ‘Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.’ Sīha the general became one who had seen the Dhamma, attained the Dhamma, understood the Dhamma, fathomed the Dhamma, crossed over doubt, gotten rid of bewilderment, attained self-confidence, and become independent of others in the teaching of the Teacher. He then said to the Blessed One:
    “Bhante, please let the Blessed One [187] together with the Saṅgha of bhikkhus accept tomorrow’s meal from me.”
    The Blessed One consented by silence. Having understood that the Blessed One had consented, Sīha rose from his seat, paid homage to the Blessed One, circumambulated him keeping the right side toward him, and departed. Then Sīha addressed a man: “Go, good man, find some meat ready for sale.”
    Then, when the night had passed, Sīha the general had various kinds of excellent foods prepared in his own residence, after which he had the time announced to the Blessed One: “It is time, bhante, the meal is ready.”
    Then, in the morning, the Blessed One dressed, took his bowl and robe, went to Sīha’s residence along with the Saṅgha of bhikkhus, and sat down on the seat prepared for him. Now on that occasion a number of Nigaṇṭhas [went] from street to street and from square to square in Vesālī, thrashing their arms about and crying out: “Today Sīha the general has slain a plump animal to prepare a meal for the ascetic Gotama! The ascetic Gotama knowingly uses meat [obtained from an animal killed] especially for his sake, the act being done on his account.”
    Then a man approached Sīha the general and whispered into his ear: “Sir, you should know that a number of Nigaṇṭhas [are going] from street to street and from square to square in Vesālī, thrashing their arms about and crying out: ‘Today Sīha the general has slain a plump animal to prepare a meal for the ascetic Gotama! The ascetic Gotama knowingly uses meat [obtained from an animal killed] especially for his sake, [188] a deed done on his account.’“
    “Enough, good man. For a long time those venerable ones have wanted to discredit the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Saṅgha. They will never stop misrepresenting the Blessed One with what is untrue, baseless, false, and contrary to fact; and we would never intentionally deprive a living being of life, even for the sake of our life.”
    Then, with his own hands, Sīha the general served and satisfied the Saṅgha of bhikkhus headed by the Buddha with the various kinds of excellent food. Then, when the Blessed One had finished eating and had put away his bowl, Sīha sat down to one side. Then, the Blessed One instructed, encouraged, inspired, and gladdened Sīha with a Dhamma talk, after which he rose from his seat and departed.

13 (3) Thoroughbred
“Bhikkhus, possessing eight factors, a king’s excellent thoroughbred horse is worthy of a king, an accessory of a king, and reckoned as a factor of kingship. What eight?
    “Here, (1) a king’s excellent thoroughbred horse is well born on both sides, maternal and paternal; he is born in whatever area other excellent thoroughbred horses are born. (2) He respectfully eats whatever food they give him, whether moist or dry, without scattering it. (3) He is repelled by sitting down or lying down near feces or urine. (4) He is mild [189] and pleasant to live with, and he does not agitate other horses. (5) He reveals his tricks, ploys, gambits, and wiles as they really are to his trainer so that his trainer can make an effort to stamp them out of him. (6) He carries loads, determined: ‘Whether or not the other horses carry loads, I myself will carry them.’ (7) When moving, he moves only along a straight path. (8) He is strong, and he shows his strength right up until the end of his life. Possessing these eight factors, a king’s excellent thoroughbred horse is worthy of a king, an accessory of a king, and reckoned as a factor of kingship.
    “So too, bhikkhus, possessing eight qualities, a bhikkhu is worthy of gifts … an unsurpassed field of merit for the world. What eight?
    (1) “Here, a bhikkhu is virtuous; he dwells restrained by the Pātimokkha, possessed of good conduct and resort, seeing danger in minute faults. Having undertaken the training rules, he trains in them. (2) He respectfully eats whatever food they give him, whether coarse or excellent, without being annoyed. (3) He is repelled by bodily, verbal, and mental misconduct; he is repelled by the acquisition of the numerous kinds of bad unwholesome qualities. (4) He is mild and pleasant to live with, and he does not agitate other bhikkhus. (5) He reveals his tricks, [190] ploys, gambits, and wiles as they really are to the Teacher or to his wise fellow monks so that they can make an effort to stamp them out of him. (6) He is one who takes up the training, determined: ‘Whether or not other bhikkhus train, I will train.’ (7) When moving, he moves only along a straight path. In this connection, this is the straight path: right view … right concentration. (8) He has aroused energy thus: ‘Willingly, let only my skin, sinews, and bones remain, and let the flesh and blood dry up in my body, but I will not relax my energy so long as I have not attained what can be attained by manly strength, energy, and exertion.’ Possessing these eight qualities, a bhikkhu is worthy of gifts … an unsurpassed field of merit for the world.”

14 (4) Wild Colts
“Bhikkhus, I will teach you the eight kinds of wild colts and the eight faults of a horse, and I will teach you the eight kinds of persons who are like wild colts and the eight faults of a person. Listen and attend closely. I will speak.”
    “Yes, bhante,” those bhikkhus replied. The Blessed One said this:
    “And what, bhikkhus, are the eight kinds of wild colts and the eight faults of a horse?
    (1) “Here, when a wild colt is told: ‘Go forward!’ and is being spurred and incited by its trainer, it backs up [191] and spins the chariot around behind it. There is such a kind of wild colt here. This is the first fault of a horse.
    (2) “Again, when a wild colt is told: ‘Go forward!’ and is being spurred and incited by its trainer, it leaps back and [thereby] damages the rail and breaks the triple rod. There is such a kind of wild colt here. This is the second fault of a horse.
    (3) “Again, when a wild colt is told: ‘Go forward!’ and is being spurred and incited by its trainer, it loosens its thigh from the chariot pole and crushes the chariot pole. There is such a kind of wild colt here. This is the third fault of a horse.
    (4) “Again, when a wild colt is told: ‘Go forward!’ and is being spurred and incited by its trainer, it takes a wrong path and leads the chariot off the track. There is such a kind of wild colt here. This is the fourth fault of a horse.
    (5) “Again, when a wild colt is told: ‘Go forward!’ and is being spurred and incited by its trainer, it leaps up with the front of its body and churns the air with its front feet. There is such a kind of wild colt here. This is the fifth fault of a horse.
    (6) “Again, when a wild colt is told: ‘Go forward!’ and is being spurred and incited by its trainer, it does not heed its trainer or the goad but destroys the mouthbit with its teeth [192] and sets out wherever it wishes. There is such a kind of wild colt here. This is the sixth fault of a horse.
    (7) “Again, when a wild colt is told: ‘Go forward!’ and is being spurred and incited by its trainer, it does not go forward or turn back but stands right there as still as a post. There is such a kind of wild colt here. This is the seventh fault of a horse.
    (8) “Again, when a wild colt is told: ‘Go forward!’ and is being spurred and incited by its trainer, it tucks in its front legs and its back legs and sits down right there on all four legs. There is such a kind of wild colt here. This is the eighth fault of a horse.
    “These are the eight kinds of wild colts and the eight faults of a horse.
    “And what, bhikkhus, are the eight kinds of persons who are like wild colts and the eight faults of a person?
    (1) “Here, when the bhikkhus are reproving a bhikkhu for an offense, he exonerates himself by reason of lack of memory, saying: ‘I don’t remember [committing such an offense].’ I say this person is similar to the wild colt that, when told: ‘Go forward!’ and when spurred and incited by its trainer, backs up and spins the chariot around behind it. There is such a kind of person here like a wild colt. This is the first fault of a person.
    (2) “Again, when the bhikkhus are reproving a bhikkhu for an offense, [193] he castigates the reprover himself: ‘What right does an incompetent fool like you have to speak? Do you really think you have something to say?’ I say this person is similar to the wild colt that, when told: ‘Go forward!’ and when spurred and incited by its trainer, leaps back and [thereby] damages the rail and breaks the triple pole. There is such a kind of person here like a wild colt. This is the second fault of a person.
    (3) “Again, when the bhikkhus are reproving a bhikkhu for an offense, he attributes an offense to the reprover himself, saying: ‘You have committed such and such an offense. Make amends for it first.’ I say this person is similar to the wild colt that, when told: ‘Go forward!’ and when spurred and incited by its trainer, loosens its thigh from the chariot pole and crushes the chariot pole. There is such a kind of person here like a wild colt. This is the third fault of a person.
    (4) “Again, when the bhikkhus are reproving a bhikkhu for an offense, he answers evasively, diverts the discussion to an irrelevant subject, and displays anger, hatred, and bitterness. I say this person is similar to the wild colt that, when told: ‘Go forward!’ and when spurred and incited by its trainer, takes a wrong path and leads the chariot off the track. There is such a kind of person here like a wild colt. This is the fourth fault of a person.
    (5) “Again, when the bhikkhus are reproving a bhikkhu for an offense, he speaks while waving his arms about in the midst of the Saṅgha. I say this person is similar to [194] the wild colt that, when told: ‘Go forward!’ and when spurred and incited by its trainer, leaps up with the front of its body and churns the air with its front feet. There is such a kind of person here like a wild colt. This is the fifth fault of a person.
    (6) “Again, when the bhikkhus are reproving a bhikkhu for an offense, he does not heed the Saṅgha or his reprover but sets out wherever he wishes while still bearing his offense. I say this person is similar to the wild colt that, when told: ‘Go forward!’ and when spurred and incited by its trainer, does not heed its trainer or the goad but destroys the mouthbit with its teeth and sets out wherever it wishes. There is such a kind of person here like a wild colt. This is the sixth fault of a person.
    (7) “Again, when the bhikkhus are reproving a bhikkhu for an offense, he does not say, ‘I committed an offense,’ nor does he say, ‘I did not commit an offense,’ but he vexes the Saṅgha by keeping silent. I say this person is similar to the wild colt that, when told: ‘Go forward!’ and when spurred and incited by its trainer, does not go forward or turn back but stands right there as still as a post. There is such a kind of person here like a wild colt. This is the seventh fault of a person.
    (8) “Again, when the bhikkhus are reproving a bhikkhu for an offense, he says: [195] ‘Why are you making such a fuss about me? Now I’ll reject the training and return to the lower life.’ He then rejects the training, returns to the lower life, and declares: ‘Now you can be satisfied!’ I say this person is similar to the wild colt that, when told: ‘Go forward!’ and when spurred and incited by its trainer, tucks in its front legs and its back legs and sits down right there on all four legs. There is such a kind of person here like a wild colt. This is the eighth fault of a person.
    “These, bhikkhus, are the eight kinds of persons who are like wild colts and the eight faults of a person.”

15 (5) Stains
“Bhikkhus, there are these eight stains. What eight? (1) Non-recitation is the stain of the hymns. (2) The stain of houses is lack of upkeep. (3) The stain of beauty is laziness. (4) Heedlessness is the stain of a guard. (5) A woman’s stain is misconduct. (6) Miserliness is a donor’s stain. (7) Bad unwholesome qualities are stains in this world and the next. (8) A stain graver than this is ignorance, the very worst of stains. These, bhikkhus, are the eight stains.”

Non-recitation is the stain of the hymns;
the stain of houses is lack of upkeep;
the stain of beauty is laziness,
heedlessness is the stain of a guard.

A woman’s stain is misconduct,
miserliness is a donor’s stain;
bad unwholesome qualities are stains
in this world and the next.
A stain graver than these
is ignorance, the worst of stains. [196]

16 (6) Mission
“Bhikkhus, possessing eight qualities, a bhikkhu is worthy of going on a mission. What eight?
    “Here, (1)‒(2) a bhikkhu is one who listens and who makes others listen; (3)‒(4) he is one who learns well and makes others learn; (5)‒(6) he is one who understands and communicates well; (7) he is skilled in [knowing] what is relevant and what irrelevant; and (8) he does not foment quarrels. Possessing these eight qualities, a bhikkhu is worthy of going on a mission.
    “Bhikkhus, possessing eight qualities, Sāriputta is worthy of going on a mission. What eight?
    “Here, Sāriputta is one who listens and who makes others listen … he does not foment quarrels. Possessing these eight qualities, Sāriputta is worthy of going on a mission.”

One who does not tremble when he arrives
at an assembly with fierce debaters;
who does not omit words
or conceal his message;
who speaks without hesitation,
and does not waver when asked a question;
a bhikkhu like this is worthy
of going on a mission.

17 (7) Bondage (1)
“Bhikkhus, a woman binds a man in eight ways. What eight? A woman binds a man by her form … by her smile … by her speech … by singing [197] … by weeping … by her appearance … by a present … by her touch. A woman binds a man in these eight ways. Those beings are thoroughly bound who are bound by touch.”

18 (8) Bondage (2)
“Bhikkhus, a man binds a woman in eight ways. What eight? A man binds a woman by his form … by his smile … by his speech … by singing … by weeping … by his appearance … by a present … by his touch. A man binds a woman in these eight ways. Those beings are thoroughly bound who are bound by touch.”

19 (9) Pahārāda
On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Verañjā at the foot of Naleru’s neem tree. Then Pahārāda, ruler of the asuras, approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, and stood to one side. The Blessed One then said to him: [198]
    “Pahārāda, do the asuras take delight in the great ocean?”
    “Bhante, the asuras do take delight in the great ocean.”
    “But, Pahārāda, how many astounding and amazing qualities do the asuras see in the great ocean because of which they take delight in it?”
    “The asuras see eight astounding and amazing qualities in the great ocean because of which they take delight in it. What eight?
    (1) “The great ocean, bhante, slants, slopes, and inclines gradually, not dropping off abruptly. This is the first astounding and amazing quality that the asuras see in the great ocean because of which they take delight in it.
    (2) “Again, the great ocean is stable and does not overflow its boundaries. This is the second astounding and amazing quality that the asuras see in the great ocean....
    (3) “Again, the great ocean does not associate with a corpse, but quickly carries it to the coast and washes it ashore. This is the third astounding and amazing quality that the asuras see in the great ocean.…
    (4) “Again, when the great rivers—the Ganges, the Yamunā, the Aciravatī, the Sarabhū and the Mahī—reach the great ocean, they give up their former names and designations [199] and are simply called the great ocean. This is the fourth astounding and amazing quality that the asuras see in the great ocean.…
    (5) “Again, whatever streams in the world flow into the great ocean and however much rain falls into it from the sky, neither a decrease nor a filling up can be seen in the great ocean. This is the fifth astounding and amazing quality that the asuras see in the great ocean.…
    (6) “Again, the great ocean has but one taste, the taste of salt. This is the sixth astounding and amazing quality that the asuras see in the great ocean.…
    (7) “Again, the great ocean contains many precious substances, numerous precious substances such as pearls, gems, lapis lazuli, conch, quartz, coral, silver, gold, rubies, and cats-eye. This [200] is the seventh astounding and amazing quality that the asuras see in the great ocean.…
    (8) “Again, the great ocean is the abode of great beings such as timis, timiṅgalas, timirapiṅgalas, asuras, nāgas, and gandhabbas. There are in the great ocean beings with bodies one hundred yojanas long, two hundred, three hundred, four hundred, and five hundred yojanas long. This is the eighth astounding and amazing quality that the asuras see in the great ocean because of which they take delight in it.
    “These, bhante, are the eight astounding and amazing qualities that the asuras see in the great ocean because of which they take delight in it. But do the bhikkhus take delight in this Dhamma and discipline?”
    “Pahārāda, the bhikkhus do take delight in this Dhamma and discipline.”
    “But, bhante, how many astounding and amazing qualities do the bhikkhus see in this Dhamma and discipline because of which they take delight in it?”
    “The bhikkhus see eight astounding and amazing qualities in this Dhamma and discipline because of which they take delight in it. What eight?
    (1) “Just as, Pahārāda, the great ocean slants, slopes, and inclines gradually, not dropping off abruptly, [201] so too, in this Dhamma and discipline penetration to final knowledge occurs by gradual training, gradual activity, and gradual practice, not abruptly. This is the first astounding and amazing quality that the bhikkhus see in this Dhamma and discipline because of which they take delight in it.
    (2) “Just as the great ocean is stable and does not overflow its boundaries, so too, when I have prescribed a training rule for my disciples, they will not transgress it even for life’s sake. This is the second astounding and amazing quality that the bhikkhus see in this Dhamma and discipline....
    (3) “Just as the great ocean does not associate with a corpse, but quickly carries it to the coast and washes it ashore, so too, the Saṅgha does not associate with a person who is immoral, of bad character, impure, of suspect behavior, secretive in his actions, not an ascetic though claiming to be one, not a celibate though claiming to be one, inwardly rotten, corrupt, depraved; rather, it quickly assembles and expels him. Even though he is seated in the midst of the Saṅgha of bhikkhus, yet he is far from the Saṅgha and the Saṅgha is far from him. [202] This is the third astounding and amazing quality that the bhikkhus see in this Dhamma and discipline.…
    (4) “Just as, when the great rivers … reach the great ocean, they give up their former names and designations and are simply called the great ocean, so too, when members of the four social classes—khattiyas, brahmins, vessas, and suddas—go forth from the household life into homelessness in the Dhamma and discipline proclaimed by the Tathāgata, they give up their former names and clans and are simply called ascetics following the Sakyan son. This is the fourth astounding and amazing quality that the bhikkhus see in this Dhamma and discipline.…
    (5) “Just as, whatever streams in the world flow into the great ocean and however much rain falls into it from the sky, neither a decrease nor a filling up can be seen in the great ocean, so too, even if many bhikkhus attain final nibbāna by way of the nibbāna element without residue remaining, neither a decrease nor a filling up can be seen in the nibbāna element. [203] This is the fifth astounding and amazing quality that the bhikkhus see in this Dhamma and discipline.…
    (6) “Just as the great ocean has but one taste, the taste of salt, so too, this Dhamma and discipline has but one taste, the taste of liberation. This is the sixth astounding and amazing quality that the bhikkhus see in this Dhamma and discipline.…
    (7) “Just as the great ocean contains many precious substances, numerous precious substances such as pearls … cats-eye, so too, this Dhamma and discipline contains many precious substances, numerous precious substances: the four establishments of mindfulness, the four right strivings, the four bases for psychic potency, the five spiritual faculties, the five powers, the seven factors of enlightenment, the noble eightfold path. This is the seventh astounding and amazing quality that the bhikkhus see in this Dhamma and discipline.…
    (8) “Just as the great ocean is the abode of great beings such as timis … [204] … gandhabbas; and as there are in the great ocean beings with bodies one hundred yojanas long … five hundred yojanas long, so too this Dhamma and discipline is the abode of great beings: the stream-enterer, the one practicing for realization of the fruit of stream-entry; the once-returner, the one practicing for realization of the fruit of once-returning; the non-returner, the one practicing for realization of the fruit of non- returning; the arahant, the one practicing for arahantship. This is the eighth astounding and amazing quality that the bhikkhus see in this Dhamma and discipline because of which they take delight in it.
    “These, Pahārāda, are the eight astounding and amazing qualities that the bhikkhus see in this Dhamma and discipline because of which they take delight in it.”

20 (10) Uposatha
On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthī in Migāramātā’s Mansion in the Eastern Park. Now on that occasion, on the day of the uposatha, the Blessed One was sitting surrounded by the Saṅgha of bhikkhus. Then, as the night advanced, when the first watch passed, the Venerable Ānanda rose from his seat, arranged his upper robe over one shoulder, reverently saluted the Blessed One, and said to him: “Bhante, the night has advanced; the first watch has passed; the Saṅgha of bhikkhus has been sitting for a long time. Let the Blessed One recite the Pātimokkha to the bhikkhus.” When this was said, the Blessed One was silent. [205]
    As the night advanced [still further], when the middle watch passed, the Venerable Ānanda rose from his seat a second time, arranged his upper robe over one shoulder, reverently saluted the Blessed One, and said to him: “Bhante, the night has advanced [still further]; the middle watch has passed; the Saṅgha of bhikkhus has been sitting for a long time. Bhante, let the Blessed One recite the Pātimokkha to the bhikkhus.” A second time the Blessed One was silent.
    As the night advanced [still further], when the last watch passed, when dawn arrived and a rosy tint appeared on the horizon, the Venerable Ānanda rose from his seat a third time, arranged his upper robe over one shoulder, reverently saluted the Blessed One, and said to him: “Bhante, the night has advanced [still further]; the last watch has passed; dawn has arrived and a rosy tint has appeared on the horizon; the Saṅgha of bhikkhus has been sitting for a long time. Let the Blessed One recite the Pātimokkha to the bhikkhus.”
    “This assembly, Ānanda, is impure.”
    Then it occurred to the Venerable Mahāmoggallāna: “What person was the Blessed One referring to when he said: ‘This assembly, Ānanda, is impure’?” Then the Venerable Mahāmoggallāna fixed his attention on the entire Saṅgha of bhikkhus, encompassing their minds with his own mind. He then saw that person sitting in the midst of the Saṅgha of bhikkhus: one who was immoral, of bad character, impure, of suspect behavior, secretive in his actions, not an ascetic though claiming to be one, not a celibate though claiming to be one, inwardly rotten, corrupt, depraved. Having seen him, he rose from his seat, went up to that person, and said to him: “Get up, friend. The Blessed One has seen you. You cannot live in communion with the bhikkhus.” When this was said, that person remained silent.
    A second time … A third time the Venerable Mahāmoggallāna said to that person: [206] “Get up, friend. The Blessed One has seen you. You cannot live in communion with the bhikkhus.” A third time that person remained silent.
    Then the Venerable Mahāmoggallāna grabbed that person by the arm, evicted him through the outer gatehouse, and bolted the door. Then he returned to the Blessed One and said to him: “I have evicted that person, bhante. The assembly is pure. Let the Blessed One recite the Pātimokkha to the bhikkhus.”
    “It’s astounding and amazing, Moggallāna, how that hollow man waited until he was grabbed by the arm.” Then the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus: “Now, bhikkhus, you yourselves should conduct the uposatha and recite the Pātimokkha. From today onward, I will no longer do so. It is impossible and inconceivable that the Tathāgata could conduct the uposatha and recite the Pātimokkha in an impure assembly.
    “The asuras, bhikkhus, see these eight astounding and amazing qualities in the great ocean because of which they take delight in it. What eight?
    (1) “The great ocean, bhikkhus, slants, slopes, and inclines gradually, not dropping off abruptly. This is the first astounding and amazing quality that the asuras see in the great ocean because of which they take delight in it….
    [All as in 8:19, but addressed to the bhikkhus.]
    (8) “Again, the great ocean is the abode of great beings … [207] … five hundred yojanas long. This is the eighth astounding and amazing quality that the asuras see in the great ocean because of which they take delight in it.
    “These, bhikkhus, are the eight astounding and amazing qualities that the asuras see in the great ocean because of which they take delight in it. So too, the bhikkhus see eight astounding and amazing qualities in this Dhamma and discipline because of which they take delight in it. What eight?
    (1) “Just as, bhikkhus, the great ocean slants, slopes, and inclines gradually, not dropping off abruptly, so too, in this Dhamma and discipline penetration to final knowledge occurs by gradual training, gradual activity, and gradual practice, not abruptly. This is the first astounding and amazing quality that the bhikkhus see in this Dhamma and discipline because of which they take delight in it….
    [All as in 8:19, but addressed to the bhikkhus.]
    (8) “Just as the great ocean is the abode of great beings … five hundred yojanas [208] long, so too, this Dhamma and discipline is the abode of great beings: the stream-enterer, the one practicing for the realization of the fruit of stream-entry … the arahant, the one practicing for arahantship. This is the eighth astounding and amazing quality that the bhikkhus see in this Dhamma and discipline because of which they take delight in it.
    “These, bhikkhus, are the eight astounding and amazing qualities that the bhikkhus see in this Dhamma and discipline because of which they take delight in it.”
 

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© Bhikkhu Bodhi, The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha (Wisdom Publications, 2012)

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