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Ganga Sutta

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Tipitaka >> Sutta Pitaka >> Samyutta Nikaya >> Ganga Sutta

Translation by Bhikkhuni Uppalavanna


I heard thus. At one time the Blessed One was living in the squirrels' sanctuary in the bamboo grove in Rajagaha.

Then a certain brahmin approached the Blessed One, exchanged friendly greetings and sat on a side.

Sitting on a side, the Brahmin said to the Blessed One: "Good Gotama, has a large number of world cycles gone by and finished?"

"Brahmin, a large number of world cycles have gone by, it is not easy to innumerate them as, it's this amount of world cycles,' or `this amount of hundred world cycles,' or `this amount of thousand world cycles,' or `this amount of hundred thousand world cycles'."

"Good Gotama, is it possible to give a comparison?"

The Blessed One said: "Possible. Brahmin, the river Ganges from its source until it enters the ocean holds sand and pebbles and it is not easy to innumerate the sand as it is `this amount of grains of sand.' Or as `this much hundred grains of sand,' or `this much thousand grains of sand' or `this much hundred thousand grains of sand.'

"Indeed brahmin, a large number of world cycles have gone by, it is not easy to innumerate them as, `it's this amount of world cycles,' or `this amount of hundred world cycles,' or `this amount of thousand world cycles,' or `this amount of hundred thousand world cycles.'

"What is the reason? Brahmin, without an end is the train of existence, a beginning cannot be pointed out of beings enveloped in ignorance and bound by craving, running from one existence to another.

"Thus brahmin, you have suffered sharp unpleasantness, severe destruction and filled up cemeteries. Brahmin, it is suitable that you should turn away from all determinations, fade and be released from them."

Then the Brahmin said to the Blessed One: "Good Gotama, now I understand. Remember me as a lay disciple who has taken refuge from today until I die.

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