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Tipitaka >> Sutta Pitaka >> Digha Nikaya >> Silakkhandha-vagga >> 1.3: Ambattha Sutta (DN 3)

The Setting Edit

I. 1. Thus have I heard. The Blessed One, when once on a tour through the Kosala country with a great company of the brethren, with about five hundred brethren, arrived at a Brahman village in Kosala named Ikkhânankala; and while there he stayed in the Ikkhânankala Wood.

Now at that time the Brahman Pokkharasâdi was dwelling at Ukkattha, a spot teeming with life, with much grassland and woodland and corn, on a royal domain, granted him by King Pasenadi of Kosala as a royal gift, with power over it as if he were the king.

2. Now the Brahman Pokkharasâdi heard the news: 'They say that the Samana Gotama, of the Sâkya clan, who went out from a Sâkya family to adopt the religious life, has now arrived, with a great company of the brethren of his Order, at Ikkhânankala, and is staying there in the Ikkhânankala Wood. Now regarding that venerable Gotama, such is the high reputation that has been noised abroad:--That Blessed One is 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 for gods and men, a Blessed One, a Buddha. He, by himself, thoroughly knows and sees, as it were, face to face this universe,--including the worlds above of the gods, the Brahmas, and the Mâras, and the world below with its recluses and Brahmans, its princes and peoples,--and having known it, he makes his knowledge known to others. The truth, lovely in its origin, lovely in its progress, lovely in its consummation, doth he proclaim, both in the spirit and in the letter, the higher life doth he make known, in all its fullness and in all its purity.

'And good is it to pay visits to Arahats like that.'

3. Now at that time a young Brahman, an Ambattha, was a pupil under Pokkharasâdi the Brahman. And he was a repeater (of the sacred words) knowing the mystic verses by heart, one who had mastered the Three Vedas, with the indices, the ritual, the phonology, and the exegesis (as a fourth), and the legends as a fifth. learned in the idioms and the grammar, versed in Lokâyata sophistry, and in the theory of the signs on the body of a great man,--so recognised an authority in the system of the threefold Vedic knowledge as expounded by his master, that he could say of him: 'What I know that you know, and what you know that I know.'

4. And Pokkarasâdi told Ambattha the news, and said: 'Come now, dear Ambattha, go to the Samana Gotama, and find out whether the reputation so noised abroad regarding him is in accord with the facts or not, whether the Samana Gotama is such as they say or not.'

5. 'But how, Sir, shall I know whether that is so or not?'

'There have been handed down, Ambattha, in our mystic verses thirty-two bodily signs of a great man,--signs which, if a man has, he will become one of two things, and no other. If he dwells at home he will become a sovran of the world, a righteous king, bearing rule even to the shores of the four great oceans, a conqueror, the protector of his people, possessor of the seven royal treasures. And these are the seven treasures that he has--the Wheel, the Elephant, the Horse, the Gem, the Woman, the Treasurer, and the Adviser as a seventh. And he has more than a thousand sons, heroes, mighty in frame, beating down the armies of the foe. And he dwells in complete ascendancy over the wide earth from sea to sea, ruling it in righteousness without the need of baton or of sword. But if he go forth from the household life into the houseless state, then he will become a Buddha who removes the veil from the eyes of the world. Now I, Ambattha, am a giver of the mystic verses; you have received them from me.'

6. 'Very good, Sir,' said Ambattha in reply; and rising from his seat and paying reverence to Pokkharasâdi, he mounted a chariot drawn by mares, and proceeded, with a retinue of young Brahmans, to the Ikkhânankala Wood. And when he had gone on in the chariot as far as the road was practicable for vehicles, he got down, and went on, into the park, on foot.

7. Now at that time a number of the brethren were walking up and down in the open air. And Ambattha went up to them, and said: 'Where may the venerable Gotama be lodging now? We have come hither to call upon him.'

8. Then the brethren thought: 'This young Brahman Ambattha is of distinguished family. and a pupil of the distinguished Brahman Pokkharasâdi. The Blessed One will not find it difficult to hold conversation with such.' And they said to Ambattha: 'There, Ambattha, is his lodging, where the door is shut, go quietly up and enter the porch gently, and give a cough, and knock on the cross-bar. The Blessed One will open the door for you.'

9. Then Ambattha did so. And the Blessed One opened the door, and Ambattha entered in. And the other young Brahmans also went in; and they exchanged with the Blessed One the greetings and compliments of politeness and courtesy, and took their seats. But Ambattha, walking about, said something or other of a civil kind in an off-hand way, fidgeting about the while, or standing up, to the Blessed One sitting there.

10. And the Blessed One said to him: 'Is that the way, Ambattha, that you would hold converse with aged teachers, and teachers of your teachers well stricken in years, as you now do, moving about the while or standing, with me thus seated?'

11. 'Certainly not, Gotama. It is proper to speak with a Brahman as one goes along only when the Brahman himself is walking, and standing to a Brahman who stands, and seated to a Brahman who has taken his seat, or reclining to a Brahman who reclines. But with shavelings, sham friars, menial black fellows, the offscouring of our kinsman's heels{1}--with them I would talk as I now do to you!'

'But you must have been wanting something, Ambattha, when you came here. Turn your thoughts rather to the object you had in view when you came. This young Brahman Ambattha is ill bred, though he prides himself on his culture; what can this come from except from want of training?'

12. Then Ambattha was displeased and angry with the Blessed One at being called rude; and at the thought that the Blessed One was vexed with him, he said, scoffing, jeering, and sneering at the Blessed One: 'Rough is this Sâkya breed of yours, Gotama, and rude; touchy is this Sâkya breed of yours and violent. Menials, mere menials, they neither venerate, nor value, nor esteem, nor give gifts to, nor pay honour to Brahmans. That, Gotama, is neither fitting, nor is it seemly!'

Thus did the young Brahman Ambattha for the first time charge the Sâkyas with being menials.

13. 'But in what then, Ambattha, have the Sâkyas given you offence?'

'Once, Gotama, I had to go to Kapilavatthu on some business or other of Pokkharasâdi's, and went into the Sâkyas' Congress Hall. Now at that time there were a number of Sâkyas, old and young, seated in the hall on grand seats, making merry and joking together, nudging one another with their fingers; and for a truth, methinks, it was I myself that was the subject of their jokes; and not one of them even offered me a seat. That, Gotama, is neither fitting, nor is it seemly, that the Sâkyas, menials as they are, mere menials, should neither venerate, nor value, nor esteem, nor give gifts to, nor pay honour to Brahmans.'

Thus did the young Brahman Ambattha for the second time charge the Sâkyas with being menials.

14. 'Why a quail, Ambattha, little hen bird though she be, can say what she likes in her own nest. And there the Sâkyas are at their own home, in Kapilavatthu. It is not fitting for you to take offence at so trifling a thing.'

15. 'There are these four grades, Gotama,--the nobles, the Brahmans, the tradesfolk, and the work-people. And of these four, three--the nobles, the tradesfolk, and the work-people--are, verily, but attendants on the Brahmans. So, Gotama, that is neither fitting, nor is it seemly, that the Sâkyas, menials as they are, mere menials, should neither venerate, nor value, nor esteem, nor give gifts to, nor pay honour to the Brahmans.'

Thus did the young Brahman Ambattha for the third time charge the Sâkyas with being menials.

16. Then the Blessed One thought thus: 'This Ambattha is very set on humbling the Sâkyas with his charge of servile origin. What if I were to ask him as to his own lineage.' And he said to him:

'And what family do you then, Ambattha, belong to?'

'I am a Kanhâyana.'

'Yes, but if one were to follow up your ancient name and lineage, Ambattha, on the father's and the mother's side, it would appear that the Sâkyas were once your masters, and that you are the offspring of one of their slave girls. But the Sâkyas trace their line back to Okkâka the king.

'Long ago, Ambattha, King Okkâka, wanting to divert the succession in favour or the son of his favourite queen, banished his elder children--Okkâmukha, Karanda, Hatthinika, and Sinipura--from the land. And being thus banished they took up their dwelling on the slopes of the Himâlaya, on the borders of a lake where a mighty oak tree grew. And through fear of injuring the purity of their line they intermarried with their sisters.

'Now Okkâka the king asked the ministers at his court: "Where, Sirs, are the children now?"'

'There is a spot, Sire, on the slopes of the Himâlaya, on the borders of a lake, where there grows a mighty oak (sako). There do they dwell. And lest they should injure the purity of their line they have married their own (sakâhi) sisters.'

'Then did Okkâka the king burst forth in admiration : "Hearts of oak (sakyâ) are those young fellows! Right well they hold their own (paramasakyâ)!"

'That is the reason, Ambattha, why they are known as Sâkyas. Now Okkâka had a slave girl called Disâ. She gave birth to a black baby. And no sooner was it born than the little black thing said, "Wash me, mother. Bathe me, mother. Set me free, mother, of this dirt. So shall I be of use to you."

'Now just as now, Ambattha, people call devils "devils," so then they called devils "black fellows" (kanhe). And they said: "This fellow spoke as soon as he was born. 'Tis a black thing (kanha) that is born, a devil has been born!" And that is the origin, Ambattha, of the Kanhayanas s. He was the ancestor of the Kanhâyanas. And thus is it, Ambattha, that if one were to follow up your ancient name and lineage, on the father's and on the mother's side, it would appear that the Sâkyas were once your masters, and that you are the offspring of one of their slave girls.'

17. When he had thus spoken the young Brahmans said to the Blessed One: 'Let not the venerable Gotama humble Ambattha too sternly with this reproach of being descended from a slave girl. He is well born, Gotama, and of good family; he is versed in the sacred hymns, an able reciter, a learned man. And he is able to give answer to the venerable Gotama in these matters.'

18. Then the Blessed One said to them: 'Quite so. If you thought otherwise, then it would be for you to carry on our discussion further. But as you think so, let Ambattha himself speak.'

19. 'We do think so; and we will hold our peace. Ambattha is able to give answer to the venerable Gotama in these matters.'

20. Then the Blessed One said to Ambattha the Brahman: 'Then this further question arises, Ambattha, a very reasonable one which, even though unwillingly, you should answer. If you do not give a clear reply, or go off upon another issue, or remain silent, or go away, then your head will split in pieces on the spot. What have you heard, when Brahmans old and well stricken in years, teachers of yours or their teachers, were talking together, as to whence the Kanhâyanas draw their origin, and who the ancestor was to whom they trace themselves back?'

And when he had thus spoken Ambattha remained silent. And the Blessed One asked the same question again. And still Ambattha remained silent. Then the Blessed One said to him: 'You had better answer, now, Ambattha. This is no time for you to hold your peace. For whosoever, Ambattha, does not, even up to the third time of asking, answer a reasonable question put by a Tathâgata (by one who has won the truth), his head splits into pieces on the spot.'

21. Now at that time the spirit who bears the thunderbolt stood over above Ambattha in the sky with a mighty mass of iron, all fiery, dazzling, and aglow, with the intention, if he did not answer, there and then to split his head in pieces. And the Blessed One perceived the spirit bearing the thunderbolt, and so did Ambattha the Brahman. And Ambattha on becoming aware of it, terrified, startled, and agitated, seeking safety and protection and help from the Blessed One, crouched down beside him in awe, and said: 'What was it the Blessed One said? Say it once again!'

'What do you think, Ambattha? What have you heard, when Brahmans old and well stricken in years, teachers of yours or their teachers, were talking together, as to whence the Kanhâyanas draw their origin, and who the ancestor was to whom they trace themselves back?'

'Just so, Gotama, did I hear, even as the venerable Gotama hath said. That is the origin of the Kanhâyanas, and that the ancestor to whom they trace themselves back.'

22. And when he had thus spoken the young Brahmans fell into tumult, and uproar, and turmoil; and said: 'Low born, they say, is Ambattha the Brahman; his family, they say, is not of good standing; they say he is descended from a slave girl; and the Sâkyas were his masters. We did not suppose that the Samana Gotama, whose words are righteousness itself, was not a man to be trusted!'

23. And the Blessed One thought: 'They go too far, these Brahmans, in their depreciation of Ambattha as the offspring of a slave girl. Let me set him free from their reproach.' And he said to them: 'Be not too severe in disparaging Ambattha the Brahman on the ground of his descent. That Kanha became a mighty seer. He went into the Dekkan, there he learnt mystic verses, and returning to Okkâka the king, he demanded his daughter Madda-rûpî in marriage. To him the king in answer said: "Who forsooth is this fellow, who--son of my slave girl as he is--asks for my daughter in marriage;" and, angry and displeased, he fitted an arrow to his bow. But neither could he let the arrow fly, nor could he take it off the string again.

'Then the ministers and courtiers went to Kanha the seer, and said: "Let the king go safe, Sir; let the king go safe."

"The king shall suffer no harm. But should he shoot the arrow downwards, then would the earth dry up as far as his realm extends."

"Let the king, Sir, go safe, and the country too."

"The king shall suffer no harm, nor his land. But should he shoot the arrow upwards, the god would not rain for seven years as far as his realm extends."

"Let the king, Sir, go safe, and the country too; and let the god rain."

"The king shall suffer no harm, nor the land either, and the god shall rain. But let the king aim the arrow at his eldest son. The prince shall suffer no harm, not a hair of him shall be touched."

'Then, O Brahmans, the ministers told this to Okkâka, and said: "Let the king aim at his eldest son. He will suffer neither harm nor terror." And the king did so, and no harm was done. But the king, terrified at the lesson given him, gave the man his daughter Madda-rûpî to wife. You should not, O Brahmans, be too severe to disparage Ambattha in the matter of his slave-girl ancestress. That Kanha was a mighty seer:

24. Then the Blessed One said to Ambattha: 'What think you, Ambattha? Suppose a young Kshatriya should have connection with a Brahman maiden, and from their intercourse a son should be born. Now would the son thus come to the Brahman maiden through the Kshatriya youth receive a seat and water (as tokens of respect) from the Brahmans?'

'Yes, he would, Gotama.'

'But would the Brahmans allow him to partake of the feast offered to the dead, or of the food boiled in milk{2}, or of the offerings to the gods, or of food sent as a present?'

'Yes, they would, Gotama.'

'But would the Brahmans teach him their verses or not?'

'They would, Gotama.'

'But would he be shut off, or not, from their women?'

'He would not be shut off.'

'But would the Kshatriyas allow him to receive the consecration ceremony of a Kshatriya?'

'Certainly not, Gotama.'

'Why not that?'

'Because he is not of pure descent on the mother's side.'

25. 'Then what think you, Ambattha? Suppose a Brahman youth should have connection with a Kshatriya maiden, and from their intercourse a son should be born. Now would the son thus come to the Kshatriya maiden through the Brahman youth receive a seat and water (as tokens of respect) from the Brahmans?'

'Yes, he would, Gotama.'

'But would the Brahmans allow him to partake of the feast offered to the dead, or of food boiled in milk, or of an offering to the gods, or of food sent as a present?'

'Yes, they would, Gotama.'

'But would the Brahmans teach him their verses or not?'

'They would, Gotama.'

'But would he be shut off, or not, from their women?'

'He would not, Gotama.'

'But would the Kshatriyas allow him to receive the consecration ceremony of a Kshatriya?'

'Certainly not, Gotama.'

'Why not that?'

'Because he is not of pure descent on the father's side.'

26. 'Then, Ambattha, whether one compares women with women, or men with men, the Kshatriyas are higher and the Brahmans inferior.

'And what think you, Ambattha? Suppose the Brahmans, for some offence or other, were to outlaw a Brahman by shaving him and pouring ashes over his head, were to banish him from the land or from the township. Would he be offered a seat or water among the Brahmans?'

'Certainly not, Gotama.'

'Or would the Brahmans allow him to partake of the food offered to the dead, or of the food boiled in milk, or of the offerings to the gods, or of food sent as a present?'

'Certainly not, Gotama.'

'Or would the Brahmans teach him their verses or not?'

'Certainly not, Gotama.'

'And would he be shut off, or not, from their women?'

'He would be shut off.'

27. 'But what think you, Ambattha? If the Kshatriyas had in the same way outlawed a Kshatriya, and banished him from the land or the township, would he, among the Brahmans, be offered water and a seat?'

'Yes, he would, Gotama.'

'And would he be allowed to partake of the food offered to the dead, or of the food boiled in milk, or of the offerings to the gods, or of food sent as a present?'

'He would, Gotama.'

'And would the Brahmans teach him their verses?'

'They would, Gotama?'

'And would he be shut off, or not, from their women?'

'He would not, Gotama.'

'But thereby, Ambattha, the Kshatriya would have fallen into the deepest degradation, shaven as to his head, cut dead with the ash-basket, banished from land and township. So that, even when a Kshatriya has fallen into the deepest degradation. still it holds good that the Kshatriyas are higher, and the Brahmans inferior.

28. 'Moreover it was one of the Brahmâ gods, Sanam-kumâra, who uttered this stanza:

"The Kshatriya is the best of those among this folk who put their trust in lineage. But he who is perfect in wisdom and righteousness, he is the best among gods and men."

'Now this stanza, Ambattha, was well sung and not ill sung by the Brahmâ Sanam-kumâra, well said and not ill said, full of meaning and not void thereof. And I too approve it; I also, Ambattha, say:

"The Kshatriya is the best of those among this folk who put their trust in lineage. But he who is perfect in wisdom and righteousness, he is the best among gods and men."'

Here ends the First Portion for Recitation Edit

II. 1. 'But what, Gotama, is the righteousness, and what the wisdom spoken of in that verse?'

'In the supreme perfection in wisdom and righteousness, Ambattha, there is no reference to the question either of birth, or of lineage, or of the pride which says: "You are held as worthy as I," or "You are not held as worthy as I," It is where the talk is of marrying, or of giving in marriage, that reference is made to such things as that, For whosoever, Ambattha, are in bondage to the notions of birth or of lineage, or to the pride of social position, or of connection by marriage, they are far from the best wisdom and righteousness. It is only by having got rid of all such bondage that one can realise for himself that supreme perfection in wisdom and in conduct,'

2. 'But what, Gotama, is that conduct, and what that wisdom?'

'Such a man, Ambattha, is said to be perfect in wisdom, perfect in conduct, perfect in wisdom and conduct. And there is no other perfection in wisdom and conduct higher and sweeter than this.'

3. 'Now, Ambattha, to this supreme perfection in wisdom and goodness [there are Four Leakages. And what are the four?'

'In case, Ambattha, any recluse or Brahman, without having thoroughly attained unto this supreme perfection in wisdom and conduct, with his yoke on his shoulder (to carry fire-sticks, a water-pot, needles, and the rest of a mendicant friar's outfit), should plunge into the depths of the forest, vowing to himself: "I will henceforth be one of those who live only on fruits that have fallen of themselves"--then, verily, he turns out worthy only to be a servant unto him that hath attained to wisdom and righteousness.

'And again, Ambattha, in case any recluse or Brahman, without having thoroughly attained unto this supreme perfection in wisdom and conduct, and without having attained to living only on fruits fallen of themselves, taking a hoe and a basket with him, should plunge into the depths of the forest, vowing to himself: "I will henceforth be one of those who live only on bulbs and roots and fruits"--then, verily, he turns out worthy only to be a servant unto him who hath attained to wisdom and righteousness.

'And again, Ambattha, in case any recluse or Brahman, without having thoroughly attained unto this supreme perfection in wisdom and conduct, and without having attained to living only on fruits fallen of themselves, and without having attained to living only on bulbs and roots and fruits, should build himself a fire-shrine near the boundaries of some village or some town, and there dwell serving the fire-god--then, verily, he turns out worthy only to be a servant unto him that hath attained to wisdom and righteousness.

'And again, Ambattha, in case any recluse or Brahman, without having thoroughly attained unto this supreme perfection in wisdom and conduct, and without having attained to living only on fruits fallen of themselves, and without having attained to living only on bulbs and roots and fruits, and without having attained to serving the fire-god should build himself a four-doored almshouse at a crossing where four high roads meet, and dwell there, saying to himself: "Whosoever, whether recluse or Brahman, shall pass here, from either of these four directions, him will I entertain according to my ability and according to my power"--then, verily, he turns out worthy only to be a servant unto him who hath attained to wisdom and righteousness.

'These are the Four Leakages, Ambattha, to supreme perfection in righteousness and conduct.

4. 'Now what think you, Ambattha? Have you, as one of a class of pupils under the same teacher, been instructed in this supreme perfection of wisdom and conducts?'

'Not that, Gotama. How little is it that I can profess to have learnt! How supreme this perfection of wisdom and conduct! Far is it from me to have been trained therein?'

'Then what think you, Ambattha? Although you have not thoroughly attained unto this supreme perfection of wisdom and goodness, have you been trained to take the yoke upon your shoulders, and plunge into the depths of the forest as one who would fain observe the vow of living only on fruits fallen of themselves?'

'Not even that, Gotama.'

'Then what think you, Ambattha? Although you have not attained unto this supreme perfection of wisdom and goodness, nor have attained to living on fruits fallen of themselves, have you been trained to take hoe and basket, and plunge into the depths of the forest as one who would fain observe the vow of living only on bulbs and roots and frutts?'

'Not even that, Gotama.'

'Then what think you, Ambattha? Although you have not attained unto this supreme perfection of wisdom and goodness, and have not attained to living on fruits fallen of themselves, and have not attained to living on bulbs and roots and fruits, have you been taught to build yourself a fire-shrine on the borders of some village or some town, and dwell there as one who would fain serve the fire-god?'

'Not even that, Gotama.'

'Then what think you, Ambattha? Although you have not attained unto this supreme perfection of wisdom and goodness, and have not attained to living on fruits fallen of themselves, and have not attained to living on bulbs and roots and fruits, and have not attained to serving the fire-god, have you been taught to build yourself a four-doored almshouse at a spot where four high roads cross, and dwell there as one who would fain observe the vow to entertain whosoever might pass that way, from any of the four directions, according to your ability and according to your power?'

'Not even that, Gotama.'

5. 'So then you, Ambattha, as a pupil, have fallen short of due training, not only in the supreme wisdom and conduct, but even in any one of the Four Leakages by which the complete attainment thereof is debarred. And your teacher too, the Brahman Pokkharasâdi, has told you this saying: "Who are these shavelings, sham friars, menial black fellows, the offscouring of our kinsman's heels, that they should claim converse with Brahmans versed in the threefold Vedic lore!"--he himself not having even fulfilled any one even of these lesser duties (which lead men to neglect the higher ones). See, Ambattha, how deep]y your teacher, the Brahman Pokkharasâdi, has herein done you wrong.'

6. 'And the Brahman Pokkharasâdi, Ambattha, is in the enjoyment of a grant from Pasenadi, the king of Kosala. But the king does not allow him to come into his presence. When he consults with him he speaks to him only from behind a curtain. How is it, Ambattha, that the very king, from whom he accepts this pure and lawful maintenance, King Pasenadi of Kosala, does not admit him to his presence? See, Ambattha, how deeply your teacher, the Brahman Pokkharasâdi, has herein done you wrong.'

7. 'Now what think you, Ambattha? Suppose a king, either seated on the neck of his elephant or on the back of his horse, or standing on the footrug of his chariot, should discuss some resolution of state with his chiefs or princes. And suppose as he left the spot and stepped on one side, a workman (Sûdra) or the slave of a workman should come up and, standing there, should discuss the matter, saying: "Thus and thus said Pasenadi the king." Although he should speak as the king might have spoken, or discuss as the king might have done, would he thereby be the king, or even as one of his officers?'

'Certainly not, Gotama.'

8. 'But just so, Ambattha, those ancient poets (Rishis) of the Brahmans, 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 and rehearse, intoning or reciting exactly as has been intoned or recited--to wit, Atthaka, Vâmaka, Vâmadeva, Vessâmitta, Yamataggi, Angirasa, Bhâradvaga, Vâsettha, Kassapa, and Bhagu{1}--though you can say: "I, as a pupil, know by heart their verses," that you should on that account be a Rishi, or have attained to the state of a Rishi--such a condition of things has no existence!'

9. 'Now what think you, Ambattha? What have you heard when Brahmans, old and well stricken in years, teachers of yours or their teachers, were talking together--did those ancient Rishis, whose verses you so chant over and repeat, parade about well groomed, perfumed, trimmed as to their hair and beard, adorned with garlands and gems, clad in white garments, in the full possession and enjoyment of the five pleasures of sense, as you, and your teacher too, do now?'

'Not that, Gotama.'

'Or did they live, as their food, on boiled rice of the best sorts, from which all the black specks had been sought out and removed, and flavoured with sauces and curries of various kinds, as you, and your teacher too, do now?'

'Not that, Gotama.'

'Or were they waited upon by women with fringes and furbelows round their loins, as you, and your teacher too, do now?'

'Or did they go about driving chariots, drawn by mares with plaited manes and tails, using long wands and goads the while, as you, and your teacher too, do now?'

'Not that, Gotama.'

'Or did they have themselves guarded in fortified towns, with moats dug out round them and crossbars let down before the gates, by men girt with long swords, as you, and your teacher too, do now?'

'Not that, Gotama.'

10. 'So then, Ambattha, neither are you a Rishi, nor your teacher, nor do you live under the conditions under which the Rishis lived. But whatever it may be, Ambattha, concerning which you are in doubt or perplexity about me, ask me as to that. I will make it clear by explanation.'

11. Then the Blessed One went forth from his chamber, and began to walk up and down. And Ambattha did the same. And as he thus walked up and down, following the Blessed One, he took stock of the thirty-two signs of a great man, whether they appeared on the body of the Blessed One or not. And he perceived them all save only two. With respect to those two--the concealed member and the extent of tongue--he was in doubt and perplexity, not satisfied, not sure.

12. And the Blessed One knew that he was so in doubt. And he so arranged matters by his Wondrous Gift that Ambattha the Brahman saw how that part of the Blessed One that ought to be hidden by clothes was enclosed in a sheath. And the Blessed One so bent round his tongue that he touched and stroked both his ears, touched and stroked both his nostrils, and the whole circumference of his forehead he covered with his tongue.

And Ambattha, the young Brahman, thought: 'The Samana Gotama is endowed with the thirty-two signs of a great man, with them all, not only with some of them.' And he said to the Blessed One: 'And now, Gotama, we would fain depart. We are busy, and have much to do.'

'Do, Ambattha, what seemeth to you fit.'

And Ambattha mounted his chariot drawn by mares, and departed thence.

13. Now at that time the Brahman Pokkharasâdi had gone forth from Ukkattha with a great retinue of Brahmans, and was seated in his own pleasaunce waiting there for Ambattha. And Ambattha came on to the pleasaunce. And when he had come in his chariot as far as the path was practicable for chariots, he descended from it, and came on foot to where Pokkharasâdi was, and saluted him, and took his seat respectfully on one side. And when he was so seated, Pokkharasâdi said to him:

14. 'Well, Ambattha! Did you see the Blessed One?'

'Yes, Sir, we saw him.'

'Well! is the venerable Gotama so as the reputation about him I told you of declares; and not otherwise. Is he such a one, or is he not?'

'He is so, Sir, as his reputation declares, and not otherwise. Such is he, not different. And he is endowed with the thirty-two signs of a great man, with all of them, not only with some.'

'And did you have any talk, Ambattha, with the Samana Gotama?'

'Yes, Sir, I had.'

'And how did the talk go?'

Then Ambattha told the Brahman Pokkharasâdi all the talk that he had had with the Blessed One.

15. When he had thus spoken, Pokkharasâdi said to him: 'Oh! you wiseacre! Oh I you dullard! Oh! you expert, forsooth, in our threefold Vedic lore! A man, they say, who should carry out his business thus, must, on the dissolution of the body, after death, be reborn into some dismal state of misery and woe. What could the very points you pressed in your insolent words lead up to, if not to the very disclosures the venerable Gotama made? What a wiseacre; what a dullard; what an expert, forsooth, in our threefold Vedic lore.' And angry and displeased, he struck out with his foot, and rolled Ambattha over. And he wanted, there and then, himself, to go and call on the Blessed One.

16. But the Brahmans there spake thus to Pokkharasâdi: 'It is much too late, Sir, to-day to go to call on the Samana Gotama. The venerable Pokkharasâdi can do so to-morrow.'

So Pokkharasâdi had sweet food, both hard and soft, made ready at his own house, and taken on wagons, by the light of blazing torches, out to Ukkattha. And he himself went on to the Ikkhânankala Wood, driving in his chariot as far as the road was practicable for vehicles, and then going on, on foot, to where the Blessed One was. And when he had exchanged with the Blessed One the greetings and compliments of politeness and courtesy, he took his seat on one side, and said to the Blessed One:

17. 'Has our pupil, Gotama, the young Brahman Ambattha, been here?'

'Yes, Brahman, he has.'

'And did you, 'Gotama, have any talk with him?'

'Yes, Brahman, I had:

'And on what wise was the talk that you had with him:

18. Then the Blessed One told the Brahman Pokkharasâdi all the talk that had taken place. And when he had thus spoken Pokkharasâdi said to the Blessed One:

'He is young and foolish, Gotama, that young Brahman Ambattha. Forgive him, Gotama.'

'Let him be quite happy, Brahman, that young Brahman Ambattha.'

19. And the Brahman Pokkharasâdi took stock, on the body of the Blessed One, of the thirty-two marks of a Great Being. And he saw them all plainly, save only two. As to two of them--the sheath-concealed member and the extensive tongue--he was still in doubt and undecided. But the Blessed One showed them to Pokkharasâdi, even as he had shown them to Ambattha{1}. And Pokkharasâdi perceived that the Blessed One was endowed with the thirty-two marks of a Great Being, with all of them, not only with some. And he said to the Blessed One: 'May the venerable Gotama grant me the favour of taking his to-morrow's meal with me, and also the members of the Order with him.' And the Blessed One accepted, by silence, his request.

20. Then the Brahman Pokkharasâdi, seeing that the Blessed One had accepted, had (on the morrow) the time announced to him: 'It is time, oh Gotama, the meal is ready.' And the Blessed One, who had dressed in the early morning, put on his outer robe, and taking his bowl with him, went, with the brethren, to Pokkharasâdi's house, and sat down on the seat prepared for him. And Pokkharasâdi, the Brahman, satisfied the Blessed One, with his own hand, with sweet food, both hard and soft, until he refused any more, and the young Brahmans the members of the Order. And when the Blessed One had finished his meal, and cleansed the bowl and his hands, Pokkharasâdi took a low seat, and sat down beside him.

21. Then to him thus seated the Blessed One discoursed in due order; that is to say, he spake to him of generosity, of right conduct, of heaven, of the danger, the vanity, and the defilement of lusts, of the advantages of renunciation. And when the Blessed One saw that Pokkharasâdi, the Brahman, had become prepared, softened, unprejudiced, upraised, and believing in heart, then he proclaimed the doctrine the Buddhas alone have won; that is to say, the doctrine of sorrow, of its origin, of its cessation, and of the Path. And just as a clean cloth from which all stain has been washed away will readily take the dye, just even so did Pokkharasâdi, the Brahman, obtain, even while sitting there, the pure and spotless. Eye for the Truth, and he knew: 'Whatsoever has a beginning in that is inherent also the necessity of dissolution.

22. And then the Brahman Pokkharasâdi, as one who had seen the Truth, had mastered it, understood it, dived deep down into it, who had passed beyond doubt and put away perplexity and gained full confidence, who had become dependent on no other man for his knowledge of the teaching of the Master, addressed the Blessed One, and said:

'Most excellent, oh Gotama (are the words of thy mouth), most excellent! Just as if a man were to set up that which has been thrown down, or were to reveal that which has been hidden away, or were to point out the right road to him who has gone astray, or were to bring a light into the darkness so that those who had eyes could see external forms,--just even so, Lord, has the truth been made known to me, in many a figure, by the venerable Gotama. And I, oh Gotama, with my sons, and my wife, and my people, and my companions, betake myself to the venerable Gotama as my guide, to the truth, and to the Order. May the venerable Gotama accept me as a disciple, as one who from this day forth, as long as life endures, has taken him as his guide. And just as the venerable Gotama visits the families of others, his disciples, at Ukkattha, so let him visit mine. Whosoever there may be there, of Brahmans or their wives, who shall pay reverence to the venerable Gotama, or stand up in his presence, or offer him a seat or water, or take delight in him, to him that will be, for long, a cause of weal and bliss.'

'It is well, Brahman, what you say.'

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