The Suttanipata - Selections

An Ancient Collection of the Buddha’s Discourses Together with Its Commentaries
 

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I The Chapter on the Serpent

Uragavagga

 

1 The Serpent (Uraga Sutta)

 [1] 1. One who removes the anger that has arisen
as one removes with herbs a snake’s spreading venom:
that bhikkhu gives up the here and the beyond
as a serpent sheds its old worn-out skin. (1)

2. One who has entirely cut off lust
as if plucking a lotus growing in a lake:
that bhikkhu gives up the here and the beyond
as a serpent sheds its old worn-out skin. (2)

3. One who has entirely cut off craving,
having dried up its fast-flowing stream:
that bhikkhu gives up the here and the beyond
as a serpent sheds its old worn-out skin. (3)

4. One who has entirely swept up conceit
as a great flood does a fragile bridge of reeds:
that bhikkhu gives up the here and the beyond
as a serpent sheds its old worn-out skin. (4)

5. One who finds no core in states of existence,
as one seeking flowers in udumbara trees finds none:
that bhikkhu gives up the here and the beyond
as a serpent sheds its old worn-out skin. (5)

6. One who has no irritations inwardly,
having transcended such and such states of existence:
that bhikkhu gives up the here and the beyond
as a serpent sheds its old worn-out skin. (6) [2]

7. One whose thoughts have been burned out,
entirely well excised internally:
that bhikkhu gives up the here and the beyond
as a serpent sheds its old worn-out skin. (7)

8. One who has neither run too far nor run back,
who has transcended all this proliferation:
that bhikkhu gives up the here and the beyond
as a serpent sheds its old worn-out skin. (8)

9. One who has neither run too far nor run back,
having known about the world, “All this is unreal”:
that bhikkhu gives up the here and the beyond
as a serpent sheds its old worn-out skin. (9)

10. One who has neither run too far nor run back,
devoid of greed, [knowing] “All this is unreal”:
that bhikkhu gives up the here and the beyond
as a serpent sheds its old worn-out skin. (10)

11. One who has neither run too far nor run back,
devoid of lust, [knowing] “All this is unreal”:
that bhikkhu gives up the here and the beyond
as a serpent sheds its old worn-out skin. (11)

12. One who has neither run too far nor run back,
devoid of hatred, [knowing] “All this is unreal”:
that bhikkhu gives up the here and the beyond
as a serpent sheds its old worn-out skin. (12)

13. One who has neither run too far nor run back,
devoid of delusion, [knowing] “All this is unreal”:
that bhikkhu gives up the here and the beyond
as a serpent sheds its old worn-out skin. (13)

14. One who has no latent tendencies at all,
whose unwholesome roots have been uprooted:
that bhikkhu gives up the here and the beyond
as a serpent sheds its old worn-out skin. (14)

15. One who has no states born from distress
as a condition for returning to the near shore:
that bhikkhu gives up the here and the beyond
as a serpent sheds its old worn-out skin. (15)

16. One who has no states born from desire,
causes for bondage to existence:
that bhikkhu gives up the here and the beyond
as a serpent sheds its old worn-out skin. (16) [3]

17. Having abandoned the five hindrances,
untroubled, crossed over perplexity, free of darts:
that bhikkhu gives up the here and the beyond
as a serpent sheds its old worn-out skin. (17)

 

2 Dhaniya (Dhaniya Sutta)

 18. “I’ve boiled my rice, I’ve milked the cows,”
(said the herdsman Dhaniya). 64
“I dwell with my family near the bank of the Mahī.
My hut is thatched, the fire is kindled:
so if you wish, pour down, O sky god!” (1)

19. “I don’t boil with anger, I’m rid of barrenness,”
(said the Blessed One).
“I dwell one night near the bank of the Mahī,
my hut open, my fire extinguished:
so if you wish, pour down, O sky god!” (2)

20. “No gadflies or mosquitoes are found,”
(said the herdsman Dhaniya).
“The cows roam in the meadow lush with grass.
They can endure the rain when it comes:
so if you wish, pour down, O sky god!” (3)

21. “I made a raft that is well constructed,”
(said the Blessed One).
“I have crossed, gone beyond, escaped the flood.
I have no more need for a raft:
so if you wish, pour down, O sky god!” (4) [4]

22. “My wife is obedient, not wanton,”
(said the herdsman Dhaniya).
“Living together with me long, she is agreeable,
and I do not hear any evil about her:
so if you wish, pour down, O sky god!” (5)

23. “My mind is obedient, liberated,”
(said the Blessed One).
“It’s been long nurtured and well tamed;
further, no evil is found in me:
so if you wish, pour down, O sky god!” (6)

24. “I am employed by myself,”
(said the herdsman Dhaniya),
“and my children, living close by, are healthy;
I do not hear any evil about them:
so if you wish, pour down, O sky god!” (7)

25. “I am not employed by anyone,”
(said the Blessed One).
“I wander in all the world by what I’ve earned.
I have no need at all for wages:
so if you wish, pour down, O sky god!” (8)

26. “There are cows and suckling calves,”
(said the herdsman Dhaniya).
“There are cows with calf and breeding cows;
there is also a bull, chief of cattle, here:65
so if you wish, pour down, O sky god!” (9)

27. “There are no cows or suckling calves,”
(said the Blessed One),
“no cows with calf or breeding cows. [5]
There’s not even a bull, chief of cattle, here:
so if you wish, pour down, O sky god!” (10)

28. “The stakes are planted, unshakable,”
(said the herdsman Dhaniya).
“The muñja grass halters are new and well shaped;
not even the sucklings can break them:
so if you wish, pour down, O sky god!” (11)

29. “Like a bull I have cut through the bonds,”
(said the Blessed One).
“Like an elephant I have sundered the rotten creeper.
I will never again come to the bed of the womb:
so if you wish, pour down, O sky god!” (12)

30. Filling the lowland and highland,
at once a great cloud poured down rain.
Having heard the rain falling,
Dhaniya spoke about this matter: (13)

31. “It is indeed no small gain for us,
that we have seen the Blessed One.
We approach you as a refuge, One with Vision:
be our teacher, great muni. (14)

32. “My wife and I, obedient, would lead
the spiritual life under the Fortunate One.
Gone beyond birth and death,
we would make an end of suffering.” (15) [6]

33. “One who has sons delights because of sons,”
(said Māra the Evil One).
“One with cattle delights because of cattle.
For acquisitions are a man’s delight;
without acquisitions one does not delight.” (16)

34. “One who has sons sorrows because of sons,”
(said the Blessed One).
“One with cattle likewise sorrows because of cattle.
For acquisitions are a man’s sorrow;
without acquisitions one does not sorrow.” (17)

 

3 The Rhinoceros Horn (Khaggavisāṇa Sutta)

35. Having put down the rod toward all beings,
not harming a single one among them,
one should not desire a son, how then a companion?
One should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (1)

36. For one who has formed bonds, there is affection; 66
following on affection, this suffering arises.
Discerning the danger born of affection,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (2)

37. Sympathizing with friends dear to one’s heart,
with mind attached, one forsakes the good.
Seeing this peril in intimacy,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (3)

38. As widespread bamboo becomes entwined,
just so is concern for wives and sons. [7]
But like a bamboo shoot, not getting stuck, 67
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (4)

39. As a deer unbound in the forest
goes off to graze wherever it wants,
so a wise person, looking out for freedom,
should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (5)

40. One is addressed in the midst of companions,
whether resting, standing, going, or traveling.
Looking out for the freedom that is not coveted,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (6)

41. There is play and delight in the midst of companions,
and affection for one’s sons is vast.
Averse to separation from those who are dear,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (7)

42. At home in the four directions, unrepelled,
contented with anything whatsoever,
enduring obstacles, fearless,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (8)

43. Even some monastics are hard to please;
so, too, householders living at home.
Being unconcerned about others’ sons,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (9)

44. Having discarded the marks of a layman
like a koviḷāra tree whose leaves are shed, 68 [8]
having cut off a layman’s bonds, the hero
should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (10)

45. If one should find a judicious companion,
a fellow wanderer, of good behavior, resolute,
having overcome all obstacles, one should
live with him, satisfied and mindful.69  (11)

46. But if one does not find a judicious companion,
a fellow wanderer, of good behavior, resolute,
like a king who has abandoned a conquered realm, 70
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. 71  (12)

47. Surely, we praise the excellence of companionship:
one should resort to companions one’s equal or better.
Not obtaining these, as one who eats blamelessly
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (13)

48. Having seen radiant [bracelets] of gold,
skillfully fashioned by a goldsmith,
clashing together in pairs on the arm,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (14)

49. Thus if I had a partner, I would incur
[fond] words of address or verbal friction.
Looking out for this peril in the future,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (15)

50. Sensual pleasures are colorful, sweet, delightful,
but in their diversity they agitate the mind.
Having seen danger in the strands of sensual pleasure,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (16)

51. “This is adversity, a boil, disaster,
an illness, a dart, and peril for me”:
having seen this peril in the strands of sensual pleasure,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (17) [9]

52. Cold and heat, hunger, thirst,
wind, the hot sun, gadflies, and serpents:
having patiently endured all these,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (18)

53. As an elephant that has abandoned the herd—
with massive back, lotus-like, eminent—
may live in the forest as he pleases,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (19)

54. It is impossible that one who delights in company
might attain even temporary liberation.
Having attended to the word of the Kinsman of the Sun,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (20)

55. “I have transcended the contortions of views,
reached the fixed course, obtained the path.
I have aroused knowledge, I’m not to be led by others”:
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (21)

56. Without greed, without scheming,
without thirst, not denigrating,
with stains and delusion blown away,
without wishes for anything in all the world,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (22)

57. One should avoid an evil companion,
who shows what is harmful, one settled in unrighteousness.
One should not freely associate
with one who is intent and heedless;
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (23) [10]

58. One should resort to the learned, a bearer of Dhamma,
an eminent friend gifted with ingenuity.
Having known the benefits and removed doubt,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (24)

59. Having found no satisfaction in the world
with play, delight, and sensual pleasures,
not taking any interest in them,
refraining from ornaments, a speaker of truth,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (25)

60. Having abandoned children and wife,
father and mother, wealth, grain, and relatives,
sensual pleasures according to the limit,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (26)

61. “This is a tie, the happiness here is slight,
giving little gratification; the suffering here is more,
this is a hook”: having known thus, a thoughtful person
should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (27)

62. Having sundered the fetters,
like a fish in the water that has broken a net,
like a fire not returning to what has been burnt,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (28)

63. With downcast gaze, not footloose,
with guarded faculties, with protected mind,
unpolluted, not feverish with passion,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (29)

64. Having cast off the marks of a layman
like a pāricchattaka tree that has shed its leaves,72  [11]
clothed in ochre robes, having renounced,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (30)

65. Not arousing greed for tastes, not hankering for them;
not nourishing others, walking for alms without skipping houses;
with a mind unbound to this or that family,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (31)

66. Having abandoned the five obstructions of mind,
having dispelled all mental defilements,
independent, having cut off affection and hatred,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (32)

67. Having left behind pleasure and pain
and previously [discarded] joy and dejection,
having gained purified equanimity and serenity,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (33)

68. With energy aroused to attain the supreme goal,
with unsluggish mind and robust practice,
firmly persistent, equipped with strength and power,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (34)

69. Not neglecting seclusion and jhāna,
always acting in accordance with the teachings,
having explored the danger in states of existence,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (35)

70. Yearning for craving’s destruction, heedful,
intelligent, learned, mindful,
having comprehended the Dhamma,
fixed in destiny, vigorous in striving,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (36) [12]

71. Like a lion unalarmed among sounds,
like the wind not caught in a net,
untainted like a lotus by water,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (37)

72. Like the lion, king of beasts,
who has fangs as its strength,
who lives by attacking and overpowering,
one should resort to remote lodgings;
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (38)

73. At the right time pursuing liberation by loving-kindness,
equanimity, compassion, and altruistic joy, 73
not antagonized by the whole world,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (39)

74. Having abandoned lust, hatred, and delusion,
having sundered the fetters [that keep one bound],
not terrified at the extinction of life,
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (40)

75. They resort to you and serve you for a motive;
friends without motive are today very rare.
Impure people are wise about their own good:
one should live alone like a rhinoceros horn. (41)

 

4 Kasibhāradvāja (Kasibhāradvāja Sutta)

Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling among the Magadhans [13] at Dakkhiṇāgiri near the Brahmin village Ekanālā. Now on that occasion five hundred plows had been yoked for the Brahmin Kasibhāradvāja at the time of sowing.

Then in the morning the Blessed One dressed, took his bowl and robe, and went to the place where the Brahmin Kasibhāradvāja was working. Now on that occasion the Brahmin Kasibhāradvāja’s food distribution was taking place. The Blessed One then approached the food distribution and stood to one side. The brahmin Kasibhāradvāja saw the Blessed One standing for alms and said to him: “I plow and sow, ascetic, and having plowed and sown, I eat. You too, ascetic, must plow and sow, and having plowed and sown, you can eat.”

“I too, brahmin, plow and sow, and having plowed and sown, I eat.”

“But we do not see Master Gotama’s yoke or plow or plowshare or goad or oxen, yet Master Gotama says this: ‘I too, brahmin, plow and sow, and having plowed and sown, I eat.’”

Then the brahmin Kasibhāradvāja addressed the Blessed One in verse:

76. “You claim to be a plowman,
but we do not see your plowing.
When asked, tell us about your plowing,
so that we can understand your plowing.” (1)

77. “Faith is the seed, austerity the rain;
wisdom is my yoke and plow.
Moral shame is the pole, mind the yoke strap,
mindfulness my plowshare and goad. 74 (2) [14]

78. “Guarded in body, guarded in speech,
controlled in food and belly,
I use truth for weeding,
and gentleness is my release. (3)

79. “Energy is my beast of burden
carrying one toward security from bondage;
it goes ahead without turning back
to the place where one does not sorrow. (4)

80. “In such a way this plowing is done
which bears the deathless as its fruit.
Having plowed with this kind of plowing,
one is released from all suffering.” (5)

Then the brahmin Kasibhāradvāja had milk rice poured into a large bronze dish and presented it to the Blessed One, saying: “Let Master Gotama eat the milk rice! You are a plowman, since you plow with a plowing that bears the deathless as its fruit.”

 

[The Blessed One:]

81. “Food over which verses have been recited is not to be eaten by me;
this, brahmin, is not the principle of those who see.
The buddhas reject food over which verses have been recited;
there being such a principle, brahmin, this is their conduct. (6)

82.“Serve with other food and drink
the consummate one, the great rishi,
one with influxes destroyed, with regret stilled,
for he is the field for one seeking merit.” (7) [15]

“Then, Master Gotama, should I give this milk rice to someone else?”

“I do not see anyone in this world, brahmin, with its devas, Māra, and Brahmā, in this population with its ascetics and brahmins, its devas and humans, who could eat and properly digest this milk rice except the Tathāgata or a disciple of the Tathāgata. Therefore, brahmin, discard the milk rice where there is little vegetation or dispose of it in water where there are no living beings.”

Then the brahmin Kasibhāradvāja disposed of that milk rice in water where there were no living beings. When the milk rice was thrown into the water, it sizzled and hissed and gave off steam and smoke. Just as a plowshare, heated all day and then placed in water, sizzles and hisses and gives off steam and smoke, so too that milk rice, when thrown into the water, sizzled and hissed and gave off steam and smoke.

Then the brahmin Kasibhāradvāja, agitated, with hair bristling, approached the Blessed One, prostrated himself with his head at the Blessed One’s feet, and said to the Blessed One: “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 overturned, 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 go for refuge to Master Gotama, [16] to the Dhamma, and to the Sangha of bhikkhus. May I receive the going forth under Master Gotama, may I receive full ordination.”

Then the brahmin Kasibhāradvāja received the going forth under the Blessed One, he received full ordination. And not long after his full ordination, dwelling alone, withdrawn, heedful, ardent, and resolute, the Venerable Bhāradvāja soon realized for himself with direct knowledge, in this very life, that unsurpassed consummation of the spiritual life for the sake of which clansmen rightly go forth from the household life into homelessness, and having entered upon it, he dwelled in it. He directly knew: “Finished 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.” And the Venerable Bhāradvāja became one of the arahants.