Translated by T. W. Rhys Davids
1. 'Venerable Nâgasena, the Blessed One said:
"Live, O brethren, devoted to and taking delight in that which has no Papañkas (none of those states of mind which delay or obstruct a man in his spiritual growth )."
'What is that which has no Papañkas?'
'The fruit of Conversion has no Papañkas, O king, the fruit of that stage of the Path in which those live who will be only once, or not all reborn, the fruit of Arahatship has no Papañkas.'
'But if that be so, Nâgasena, then why do the brethren concern themselves with recitation of, with asking questions about the discourses, and the pieces in mixed prose and verse, and the expositions, and the poems, and the outbursts of emotion, and the passages beginning "Thus he said," and the birth-stories, and the tales of wonder, and the extended treatises ? Why do they trouble themselves about new buildings about gifts and offerings to the order?'
2. 'They who do all these things, O king, are working towards attainment of freedom from the Papañkas, (that is of Arahatship ). For whereas, O king, all those of the brethren who are pure by nature, those upon whose hearts an impression has been left by good deeds done in a former birth , can (get rid of the Papañkas, can) become Arahats, in a moment--those on the other hand whose minds are much darkened by evil can only become Arahats by such means as these.
3. 'Just, O king, as while one man who has sown a field and got the seed to grow can, by the exertion of his own power, and without any rampart or fence, reap the crop--whereas another man when he has got the seed to grow must go into the woods, and cut down sticks and branches and make a fence of them, and thus only reap the crop--in the same way those who are pure by nature, upon whose hearts an impression has been left by good deeds done in a former birth, can, in a moment, become Arahats, like the man who gathers the crop without a fence. But those, on the other hand, whose minds are darkened by the evil they have done can only become Arahats by such means as these--like the man who can only reap his crop if he builds the fence.
4. 'Or just, O king, as there might be a bunch of fruits on the summit of a lofty mango tree. Then
whoever possesses the power of Iddhi could take those fruits , but whoever had not, he would have first to cut sticks and creepers and construct a ladder, and by its means climb up the tree and so get at the fruit. In the same way those who are by nature pure, and upon whose hearts an impression has been left by good deeds done in a former birth, may attain, in a moment, to Arahatship, like the man getting the fruit by the power of Iddhi. But those, on the other hand, whose minds are darkened by the evil they have done can only become Arahats by such means as these, like the man who only gets the fruit by means of the ladder he has made.
5. 'Or just, O king, as while one man who is clever in business will go alone to his lord and conclude any business he has to do, another man, rich though he may be, must by his riches bring others to his service, and by their help get the business done--and it is for the business' sake that he has to seek after them. In the same way those who are by nature pure, upon whose hearts an impression has been left by good deeds done in a former birth, may reach, in a moment, to the attainment of the Six Transcendent Qualities , like the man who does the business alone by himself Whereas those brethren whose minds are darkened by the evil they have done can only by such means as these realise the gains of renunciation, like the man who through others' help brings his business to the desired end.
6. 'For recitation is of great good, O king, and asking questions, and superintending building work, and seeing to gifts and offerings is of great good--each of them to one or other of the spiritual objects which the brethren seek to obtain. just, O king, as there might be some one of the ministers or soldiers or messengers or sentries or body-guards or attendants who was especially serviceable and useful to the king, but when he had any business given him to do they would all help him--just so are all these things of assistance when those objects have to be attained. When all men, O king, shall have become by nature pure, then will there be nothing left for a teacher to accomplish. But so long as there is still need of discipleship , so long will even such a man, O king, as the Elder Sâriputta himself (though he had attained to the summit of wisdom by reason of his having been, through countless ages, deeply rooted in merit), yet find it impossible, without discipleship, to attain to Arahatship . Therefore is it, O king, that hearing (the Scriptures) is of use, and recitation of them, and asking questions about them. And therefore is it that those also who are addicted to
these things, becoming free from the obstacles thereto, attain to Arahatship .'
'Right well have you made me understand this puzzle, Nâgasena. That is so, and I accept it as you say.
[Here ends the dilemma as to the obstacles.]
[DILEMMA THE SIXTY-SECOND. THE LAY ARAHAT.]
7. 'Venerable Nâgasena, your people say:
"Whosoever has attained, as a layman, to Arahatship, one of two conditions are possible to him, and no other--either that very day he enters the Order, or he dies away, for beyond that day he cannot last ."
'Now if, Nâgasena, he could not, on that day, procure a teacher or preceptor, or a bowl and set of robes , would he then, being an Arahat, admit himself, or would he live over the day, or would some other Arahat suddenly appear by the power of Iddhi and admit him, or would he die away?'
'He could not, O king, because he is an Arahat, admit himself. For any one admitting himself to
the Order is guilty of theft . And he could not last beyond that day. Whether another Arahat should happen, or not, to arrive, on that very day would he die away.'
'Then, Nâgasena, by whatever means attained, the holy condition of Arahatship is thereby also lost, for destruction of life is involved in it.'
8. 'It is the condition of laymanship which is at fault, O king. In that faulty condition, and by reason of the weakness of the condition itself, the layman who, as such, has attained to Arahatship must either, that very day, enter the Order or die away. That is not the fault of Arahatship, O king. It is laymanship that is at fault, through not being strong enough.
'Just, O king, as food, that guards the growth and protects the life of all beings, will, through indigestion, take away the life of one whose stomach is unequal to it, whose internal fire is low and weak--just so if a layman attains Arahatship when in that condition unequal to it, then by reason of the weakness of the condition he must, that very day, either enter the Order or die away.
'Or just, O king, as a tiny blade of grass when a heavy rock is placed upon it will, through its weakness, break off and give way--just so when a layman attains Arahatship, then, unable to support Arahatship in that condition, he must, that very day, either enter the Order or die away.
'Or just, O king, as a poor weak fellow of low birth and little ability, if he came into possession of
a great and mighty kingdom, would be unable to support the dignity of it --just so if a layman attains to Arahatship, then is he unable, in that condition, to support it.  And that is the reason why he must, on that very day, either enter the Order or die away.'
'Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say.'
[Here ends the dilemma as to the lay Arahat.]
[DILEMMA TEE SIXTY-THIRD. THE FAULTS OF THE ARAHAT.]
9. 'Venerable Nâgasena, can an Arahat be thoughtless ?'
'The Arahats, O king, have put thoughtlessness far from them. They are never inadvertent.'
'But can an Arahat be guilty of an offence?'
'Yes, O king.'
'In what respect?'
'In the construction of his cell , or in his intercourse (with the other sex) , or in imagining the wrong time (for the midday meal) to be the right
time , or when he has been invited (to a meal ) forgetting the invitation, or in taking to be "left over " food which has not been left over.'
'But, venerable Nâgasena, your people say:
"Those who commit offences do so from one of two reasons, either out of carelessness or out of ignorance ."
'Now, is the Arahat careless that he commits offences?'
'No, O king.'
'Then if the Arahat commits offences, and yet is not careless, he must be capable of thoughtlessness.'
'He is not capable of thoughtlessness, and yet the Arahat may be guilty of offences.'
'Convince me then by a reason. What is the reason of this?'
10. 'There are two kinds of sins, O king--those which are a breach of the ordinary moral law, and those which are a breach of the Rules (of the Order). And what is a breach of the ordinary moral law? The ten modes of evil action (killing, theft,
unchastity, lying, slander, harsh language, frivolous talk, covetousness, malice, and false doctrine). These things are against the moral law. And what is a breach of the Rules? Whatever is held in the world as unfitting and improper for Samanas, but is not wrong for laymen--things concerning which the Blessed One laid down rules for his disciples, not to be transgressed by them their lives long. Eating after sunturn, O king, is not wrong to those in the world, but is wrong to those in the religion (the Order) of the Conquerors. Doing injury to trees and shrubs is no offence in the eyes of the world, but it is wrong in the religion. The habit of sporting in the water is no offence to a layman, but it is wrong in the religion. And many other things of a similar kind, O king, are right in the world, but wrong in the religion of the Conquerors. This is what I mean by a breach of the Rules. Now the Arahat (he in whom the Great Evils are destroyed) is incapable of sinning against whatever is moral law, but he may unawares be guilty of an offence against the rules of the Order. It is not within the province of every Arahat to know everything, nor indeed in his power. He may be ignorant of the personal or family name of some woman or some man. He may be ignorant of some road over the earth. But every Arahat would know about emancipation, and the Arahat gifted with the six modes of transcendental knowledge would know what lies within their scope, and an omniscient Tathâgata, O king, would know all things.'
'Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say.'
[Here ends the dilemma as to the faults of the Arahat.]
[DILEMMA THE SIXTY-FOURTH. WHAT IS, BUT NOT IN THE WORLD.
11. 'Venerable Nâgasena, there are to be seen in the world Buddhas, and Pakkeka-Buddhas, and disciples of the Tathâgatas, and sovran overlords, and kings over one country, and gods and men;--we find rich and poor, happy and miserable;--we find men who have become women, and women who have become men--there are good deeds and evil, and beings experiencing the result of their virtue or their vice;--we find creatures born from eggs, and in the water, and in sediment, or springing into life by the mere apparitional birth; creatures without feet, bipeds and quadrupeds, and creatures with many feet;--we find Yakkhas and Rakkhasas, and Kumbhandas, and Asuras, and Dânavas, and Gandhabbas, and Petas and Pisâkas, and Kinnaras, and Mahoragas, and Nâgas and Supannas , and magicians and sorcerers;--there are elephants, and horses, and cattle, and buffaloes, and camels, and asses, and goats, and sheep, and deer, and swine, and lions, and tigers, and leopards, and bears, and wolves, and hyenas, and dogs, and jackals, and many kinds of birds;--there is gold and silver, and the pearl, and
the diamond, and the chauk, and rock, and coral, and the ruby, and the Masâra stone, and the cat's-eye, and crystal, and quartz, and iron ore , and copper, and brass , and bronze;--there is flax, and silk, and cotton, and hemp , and wool;--there is rice, and paddy, and barley, and millet, and kudrûsa grain, and beans , and wheat, and oilseed, and vetches;--there are perfumes prepared from roots, and sap, and pith, and bark, and  leaves, and flowers, and fruit, and of all other sorts;--we find grass, and creepers, and shrubs, and trees, and medicinal herbs, and forests, and rivers, and mountains, and seas, and fish, and tortoises,--all is in the world. Tell me, Sir, what there is, then, which is not in the world.'
12. 'There are three things, O king, which you cannot find in the world. And what are the three? That which, whether conscious or unconscious, is not subject to decay and death--that you will not find. That quality of anything, (organic or inorganic), which is not impermanent--that you will not find. And in the highest sense there is no such thing as being possessed of being .'
'Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say.'
[Here ends the puzzle as to what is not in the world.]
[DILEMMA THE SIXTY-FIFTH. THINGS WITHOUT A CAUSE.]
13. 'Venerable Nâgasena, there are found beings in the world who have come into existence through Karma, and others who are the result of a cause, and others produced by the seasons . Tell me--is there any thing that does not fall under any one of these three heads?'
' There are two such things, O king. And what are the two? Space, O king, and Nirvâna.'
'Now do not spoil the word of the Conquerors, Nâgasena, nor answer a question without knowing what you say!'
'What, pray, is it I have said, O king, that you should address me thus?'
'Venerable Nâgasena, that is right what you said in respect of space. But with hundreds of reasons
did the Blessed One proclaim to his disciples the way to the realisation of Nirvâna. And yet you say that Nirvâna is not the result of any cause!'
'No doubt, O king, the Blessed One gave hundreds of reasons for our entering on the way to the realisation of Nirvâna. But he never told us of a cause out of which Nirvâna could be said to be produced.'
14. 'Now in this, Nâgasena, we have passed from darkness into greater darkness, from a jungle into a denser jungle, from a thicket into a deeper thicket--inasmuch as you say there is a cause for the realisation of Nirvâna, but no cause from which it can arise. If, Nâgasena, there be a cause of the realisation of Nirvâna, then we must expect to find a cause of the origin of Nirvâna. just, Nâgasena, as because the son has a father, therefore we ought to expect that that father had a father--or because the pupil has a teacher, therefore we ought to expect that the teacher had a teacher--or because the plant came from a seed, therefore we ought to expect that the seed too had come from a seed --just so, Nâgasena, if there be a reason for the realisation of Nirvâna, we ought to expect that there is a reason too for its origin,--just as if we saw the top of a tree, or of a creeper, we should conclude that it had a middle part, and a root.'
'Nirvâna, O king, is unproduceable, and no cause for its origin has been declared.'
'Come now, Nâgasena, give me a reason for this. Convince me by argument, so that I may know how
it is that while there is a cause that will bring about the realisation of Nirvâna, there is no cause that will bring about Nirvâna itself.'
15. 'Then, O king, give ear attentively, and listen well, and I will tell you what the reason is. Could a man, O king, by his ordinary power, go up from hence to the Himâlaya, the king of mountains?'
'Yes, Sir, he could.'
'But could a man, by his ordinary power, bring the Himâlaya mountains here?'
'Certainly not, Sir.'
'Well! therefore is it that while a cause for the realisation of Nirvâna can be declared, the cause of its origin can not. And could a man, O king, by his ordinary power cross over the great ocean in a ship, and so go to the further shore of it?'
'Yes, Sir, he could.'
'But could a man by his ordinary power bring the further shore of the ocean here?'
'Certainly not, Sir.'
'Well! so is it that while a cause for the realisation of Nirvâna can be declared, the cause of its origin can not. And why not? Because Nirvâna is not put together of any qualities.'
16. 'What, Sir! is it not put together?'
'No, O king. It is uncompounded, not made of anything. Of Nirvâna, O king, it cannot be said that it has been produced, or not been produced, or that it can be produced , that it is past or future or present, that it is perceptible by the eye or the ear or the nose or the tongue, or by the sense of touch.'
'But if so, Nâgasena, then you are only showing
us how Nirvâna is a condition that does not exist . There can be no such thing as Nirvâna.'
'Nirvâna exists, O king. And it is perceptible to the mind. By means of his pure heart, refined and straight, free from the obstacles , free from low cravings, that disciple of the Noble Ones who has fully attained can see Nirvâna.'
17. 'Then what, Sir, is Nirvâna? Such a Nirvâna (I mean) as can be explained by similes . Convince me by argument how far the fact of its existence can be explained by similes.'
'Is there such a thing, O king, as wind?'
'Yes, of course.'
'Show it me then, I pray you, O king--whether by its colour, or its form, whether as thin or thick, or short or long!'
'But wind, Nâgasena, cannot be pointed out in that way . It is not of such a nature that it can be taken into the hand or squeezed. But it exists all the same.'
'If you can't show me the wind, then there can't be such a thing.'
'But I know there is, Nâgasena. That wind
exists I am convinced , though I cannot show it you.'
'Well! just so, O king, does Nirvâna exist, though it cannot be shown to you in colour or in form .'
'Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say.'
[Here ends the dilemma as to Nirvâna.]
[DILEMMA THE SIXTY-SIXTH. MODES OF PRODUCTION.]
18. 'Venerable Nâgasena, what are they who are said, in this connection, to be "Karma-born," and "cause-born," and "season-born"? And what is it that is none of these?'
'All beings, O king, who are conscious, are Karma-born (spring into existence as the result of Karma). Fire, and all things growing out of seeds, are cause-born (the result of a pre-existing material cause). The earth, and the hills, water, and wind--all these are season-born (depend for their existence on reasons connected with weather). Space and Nirvâna exist independently alike of Karma, and cause,
and seasons. Of Nirvâna, O king, it cannot be said that it is Karma-born or cause-born or season-born; that it has been, or has not been, or can be produced, that it is past or future or present, that it is perceptible by the eye or the nose or the ear or the tongue or by the sense of touch. But it is perceptible, O king, by the mind. By means of his pure heart, refined and straight, free from the obstacles, free from low cravings, that disciple of the Noble Ones who has fully attained can see Nirvâna.'
'Well has this delightful puzzle, venerable Nâgasena, been examined into, cleared of doubt, brought into certitude. My perplexity has been put an end to as soon as I consulted you, O best of the best of the leaders of schools!'
[Here ends the dilemma as to modes of production.]
[DILEMMA THE SIXTY-SEVENTH. DEAD DEMONS.]
19. 'Venerable Nâgasena, are there such things as demons (Yakkhâ) in the world?'
'Yes, O king.'
'Do they ever leave that condition' (fall out of that phase of existence)?
'Yes, they do.'
'But, if so, why is it that the remains of those dead Yakkhas are never found, nor any odour of their corpses smelt? '
' Their remains are found, O king, and an odour does arise from their dead bodies. The remains of bad Yakkhas can be seen in the form of
worms and beetles and ants and moths and snakes and scorpions and centipedes, and birds and wild beasts.'
'Who else, O Nâgasena, could have solved this puzzle except one as wise as you!'
[Here ends the dilemma as to dead demons.]
[DILEMMA THE SIXTY-EIGHTH. THE METHOD OF PROMULGATING THE RULES.]
20. 'Venerable Nâgasena, those who were teachers of the doctors in times gone by--Nârada , and Dhammantari , and Angîrasa , and Kapila , and Kandaraggisâma, and Atula, and Pubba Kakkâyana --all these teachers knowing thoroughly, and of themselves, and without any omission, the rise of disease and its cause and nature and progress and cure and treatment and management --each of them composed his treatise en bloc, taking time by the forelock, and pointing out that in such and such a body such and such a disease would arise. Now no one of these
was omniscient. Why then did not the Tathâgata, who was omniscient, and who knew by his insight of a Buddha what would happen in the future, determining in advance that for such and such an occasion such and such a rule would be required, lay down the whole code of rules at once; instead of laying them down to his disciples from time to time as each occasion arose, when the disgrace (of the wrong act) had been already noised abroad, when the evil was already wide spread and grown great, when the people were already filled with indignation ?'
21. 'The Tathâgata, O king, knew very well that in fulness of time the whole of the hundred and fifty Rules would have to be laid down to those men. But the Tathâgata, O king, thought thus: "If I were to lay down the whole of the hundred and fifty Rules at once the people would be filled with fear , those of them who were willing to enter the Order would refrain from doing so, saying, 'How much is there here to be observed! how difficult a thing is it to enter religion according to the system of the Samana Gotama'--they would not trust my words, and through their want of faith they would be liable to rebirth in states of woe. As occasion arises therefore, illustrating it with a religious discourse, will I lay down, when the evil has become manifest, each Rule."'
'A wonderful thing is it in the Buddhas, Nâgasena, and a most marvellous that the omniscience of the Tathâgata should be so great. That is just so,
venerable Nâgasena. This matter was well understood by the Tathâgata--how that hearing that so much was to be observed, men would have been so filled with fear that not a single one would have entered religion according to the system of the Conquerors. That is so, and I accept it as you say .'
[Here ends the dilemma as to the method in which the Rules were laid down.]
[DILEMMA THE SIXTY-NINTH. THE HEAT OF THE SUN]
22. 'Venerable Nâgasena, does this sun always burn fiercely, or are there times when it shines with diminished heat?'
'It always burns fiercely, O king, never gently.'
'But if that be so, how is it that the heat of the sun is sometimes fierce, and sometimes not ?'
23. 'There are four derangements , O king, which happen to the sun, and affected by one or other of these its heat is allayed. And what are the four? The clouds, O king, and fog , and
smoke , and eclipses --these are the four derangements which happen to the sun, and it is when affected by one or other of these that its heat is allayed.'
'Most wonderful, Nâgasena, and most strange that even the sun, so transcendent in glory, should suffer from derangement-how much more then other, lesser, creatures. No one else could have made this explanation except one wise like you!'
[Here ends the dilemma as to the heat of the sun.]
[DILEMMA THE SEVENTIETH. THE SEASONS.]
24. 'Venerable Nâgasena, why is it that the heat of the sun is more fierce in winter than in summer?'
'In the hot season, O king, dust is blown up into clouds, and pollen agitated by the winds rises up into the sky, and clouds multiply in the heavens, and gales blow with exceeding force. All these crowded and heaped together shut off the rays of the sun, and so in the hot season the heat of the sun is diminished. But in the cold season, O king, the earth below is at rest, the rains above are
in reserve , the dust is quiet, the pollen wanders gently through the air, the sky is free from clouds, and very gently do the breezes blow. Since all these have ceased to act the rays of the sun become clear, and freed from every obstruction the sun's heat glows and burns. This, O king, is the reason why the heat of the sun is more fierce in winter than in summer.
'So it is when set free from the obstacles besetting it that the sun burns fiercely, which it cannot do when the rains and so on are present with it.'
['Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say .']
[Here ends the dilemma of the seasons .]
Here ends the Seventh Chapter .