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Kassapasihanada Sutta

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Tipitaka >> Sutta Pitaka >> Digha Nikaya >> Silakkhandha-vagga >> 1.8: Kassapasihanada Sutta (DN 8)

1. Thus have I heard. The Blessed One was once dwelling at Uju¤¤à, in the Kaõõakatthala deerpark. Now Kassapa, a naked ascetic, came to where the Exalted One was, and exchanged with him the greetings and compliments of civility and courtesy, and stood respectfully aside. And, so standing, he said to the Exalted One:

2. `I have heard it said, O Gotama, thus: ßThe Samaõa Gotama disparages all penance; verily he reviles and finds fault with every ascetic, with every one who lives a hard life.û Now those, O Gotama, who said this, were they therein repeating Gotama's words, and not reporting him falsely? Are they announcing, as a minor tenet of his, a matter really following from his Dhamma (his system)? Is there nothing in this opinion of his, so put forward as wrapt up with his system, or as a corollary from it, that could meet with objection? For we would fain bring no false accusation against the venerable Gotama.'

3. `No, Kassapa. Those who said so were not following my words. On the contrary, they were reporting me falsely, and at variance with the fact.

`Herein, O Kassapa, I am wont to be aware, with vision bright and purified, seeing beyond what men can see, how some men given to asceticism, living a hard life, are reborn, on the dissolution of the body, after death, into some unhappy, fallen state of misery and woe; while others, living just so, are reborn into some happy state, or into a heavenly worldÞhow some men given to asceticism, but living a life less hard, are equally reborn, on the dissolution of the body, after death into some unhappy, fallen state of misery and woe; while others, living just so, are reborn in some happy state, or into a heavenly world. How then could I, O Kassapa, who am thus aware, as they really are, of the states whence men have come, and whither they will go, as they pass away from one form of existence, and take shape in anotherÞhow could I disparage all penance; or bluntly revile and find fault with every ascetic, with every one who lives a life that is hard?

4. `Now there are, O Kassapa, certain recluses and Brahmans who are clever, subtle, experienced in controversy, hair splitters, who go about, one would think, breaking into pieces by their wisdom the speculations of their adversaries. And as between them and me there is, as to some points, agreement, and as to some points, not. As to some of those things they approve, we also approve thereof. As to some of those things they disapprove, we also disapprove thereof. As to some of the things they approve, we disapprove thereof. As to some of the things they disapprove, we approve thereof. And some things we approve of, so do they. And some things we disapprove of, so do they. And some things we approve, they do not. And some things we disapprove of, they approve thereof

5. `And I went to them, and said: ßAs for those things, my friends, on which we do not agree, let us leave them alone. As to those things on which we agree, let the wise put questions about them, ask for reasons as to them, talk them over, with or to their teacher, with or to their fellow disciples, saying: `Those conditions of heart, Sirs, which are evil or accounted as evil among you which are blameworthy or accounted as such among you, which are insufficient for the attainment of Arahatship, or accounted as such among you, depraved or accounted as such among youÞwho is it who conducts himself as one who has more absolutely put them away from him, the Samaõa Gotama, or, the other venerable ones, the teachers of schools? ' û

6. `Then it may well be, O Kassapa, that the wise, so putting questions one to the other, asking for reasons, talking the matter over, should say: ßThe Samaõa Gotama conducts himself as one who has absolutely put those conditions away from him; whereas the venerable ones, the other teachers of schools, have done so only partially.û Thus is it, O Kassapa, that the wise, so putting questions one to the other, asking for reasons, talking the matter over, would, for the most part, speak in praise of us therein.

7. `And again, O Kassapa, let the wise put questions one to another, ask for reasons, talk the matter over, with or to their teacher, with or to their fellow disciples, saying: ßThose conditions of heart, Sirs, which are good or accounted as such among you, which are blameless or accounted as such among you, which suffice to lead a man to Arahatship or are accounted as sufficient among you, which are pure or accounted as such among youÞwho is it who conducts himself as one who has more completely taken them upon him, the Samaõa Gotama, or the other venerable ones, the teachers of schools? û

8. `Then it may well be, O Kassapa, that the wise, so putting questions one to the other, asking for reasons, talking the matter over, should say: ßThe Samaõa Gotama conducts himself as one who has completely taken these conditions upon him, whereas the venerable ones, the other teachers of schools, have done so only partially.û Thus it is, O Kassapa, that the wise, so putting questions one to the other, asking for reasons, talking the matter over, would, for the most part, speak in praise of us therein.

9-12. ` [And further, also, O Kassapa, the wise would, for the most part, acknowledge that the body of my disciples were more addicted to that which is generally acknowledged to be good, refrain themselves more completely from that which is generally acknowledged to be evil, than the venerable ones, the disciples of other teachers.]

13. `Now there is, O Kassapa, a way, there is a method which if a man follow he will of himself, both see and know that: ßThe Samaõa Gotama is one who speaks in due season, speaks that which is, that which redounds to advantage, that which is the Norm (the Dhamma), that which is the law of self-restraint (the Vinaya).û

`And what, Kassapa, is that way, what that method, which if a man follow, he will, of himself, know that, and see that. Verily it is this Noble Eightfold Path, that is to say: Right Views, Right Aspirations, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Mode of Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness, and Right Rapture.

`This, Kassapa, is that way, this that method, which if a man follow, he will of himself, both know and see that: ßThe Samaõa Gotama is one who speaks in due season, speaks that which is, that which redounds to profit, that which is the Norm, that which is the law of self-restraint.û

14. And when he had spoken thus, Kassapa, the naked ascetic, said to the Exalted One:

And so also, Gotama, are the following ascetic practices accounted, in the opinion of some Samaõas and Bràhmaõas, as Samaõaship and Bràhmaõaship.

`ß`He goes naked:

`He is of loose habits (performing his bodily functions, and eating food, in a standing posture, not crouching down or sitting down, as well-bred people do):ßHe licks his hands clean (after eating, instead of washing them, as others do):

``(When on his rounds for alms, if politely requested to step nearer, or to wait a moment, in order that food may be put into his bowl), he passes stolidly on (lest he should incur the guilt of following another person's word)

`He refuses to accept food brought (to him, before he has started on his daily round for alms):

``He refuses to accept (food, if told that it has been prepared) especially for him:

``He refuses to accept any invitation (to call on his rounds at any particular house, or to pass along any particular street, or to go to any particular place):

``He will not accept (food taken direct) from the mouth of the pot or pans (in which it is cooked; lest those vessels should be struck or scraped, on his account, with the spoon):

` ß(He will) not (accept food placed) within the threshold (lest it should have been placed there specially for him):

` ß(He will) not (accept food placed) among the sticks (lest it should have been placed there specially for him):

`ß(He will) not (accept food placed) among the pestles (lest it should have been placed there specially for him):

`ßWhen two persons are eating together he will not accept (food, taken from what they are eating, if offered to him by only one of the two):

``He will not accept food from a woman with child (lest the child should suffer want):

``He will not accept food from a woman giving suck (lest the milk should grow less): `He will not accept food from a woman in intercourse with a man (lest their intercourse be hindered):

``He will not accept food collected (by the faithful in time of drought):

``He will not accept. food where a dog is standing by (lest the dog should lose a meal):

``He will not accept food where flies are swarming round (lest the flies should suffer)

` He will not accept fish, nor meat, nor strong drink, nor intoxicants, nor gruel

`He is a ßOne-houserû (turning back from his round as soon as he has received an alms at any one house), a ßOne-mouthful-man ":

``Or he is a ßTwo-houser,û a ßTwo-mouthful-man ":

``Or he is a ßSeven-houser,û a ßSeven-mouthful-man

`He keeps himself going on only one alms, or only two, or so on up to only seven:

``He takes food only once a day, or once every two days, or so on up to once every seven days. Thus does he dwell addicted to the practice of taking food according to rule, at regular intervals, up to even half a month.

`And so also, Gotama, are the following ascetic practices accounted, in the opinion of some Samaõas and Bràhmaõas, as Samaõaship and Bràhmaõaship:

``He feeds on potherbs, on wild rice, on Nivàra seeds, on leather parings, on the water-plant called Haña, on the fine powder which adheres to the grains of rice beneath the husk, on the discarded scum of boiling rice, on the flour of oil-seeds, on grasses, on cow-dung, on fruits and roots from the woods, on fruits that have fallen of themselves.

`And so also, Gotama, are the following ascetic practices accounted, in the opinion of some Samaõas and Bràhmaõas, as Samaõaship and Bràhmaõaship:

``He wears coarse hempen cloth:

``He wears coarse cloth of interwoven hemp and other materials:

``He wears cloths taken from corpses and thrown away:

``He wears clothing made of rags picked up from a dust heap:

``He wears clothing made of the bark of the Tirãtaka tree:

``He wears the natural hide of a black antelope:

``He wears a dress made of a network of strips of a black antelope's hide:

``He wears a dress made of Kusa grass fibre:

``He wears a garment of bark:

```He wears a garment made of small slips or slabs of wood (shingle) pieced together

'He wears, as a garment, a blanket of human hair:

`'He wears, as a garment, a blanket made of horses' tails:

`'He wears, as a garment, a blanket made of the feathers of owls:

`'He is a "plucker-out-of-hair-and-beard,û addicted to the practice of plucking out both hair and beard:

`'He is a ßstander-up,û rejecting the use of a seat:

``He is a ßcroucher-down-on-the-heels,û addicted to exerting himself when crouching down on his heels.

'He is a ßbed-of-thorns-man,û putting iron spikes or natural thorns under the skin on which he sleeps:

``He uses a plank bed:

``He sleeps on the bare ground:

```He sleeps always on one side:

``He is a "dust-and-dirt-wearer,û (smearing his body with oil he stands where dust clouds blow, and lets the dust adhere to his body):

``He lives and sleeps in the open air:

``Whatsoever seat is offered to him, that he accepts (without being offended at its being not dignified enough):

``He is a ßfilth-eater,û addicted to the practice of feeding on the four kinds of filth (cow-dung, cow's urine, ashes, and clay):

``He is a ßnon-drinker,û addicted to the practice of never drinking cold water (lest he should injure the souls in it):

`He is an ßevening-third-man,û addicted to the practice of going down into water thrice a day (to wash away his sins).

15. `If a man, O Kassapa, should go naked, and be of loose habits, and lick his hands clean with his tongue, and do and be all those other things you gave in detail, down to his being addicted to the practice of taking food, according to rule, at regular intervals up to even half a monthÞif he does all this, and the state of blissful attainment in conduct, in heart, in intellect, have not been practised by him, realised by him, then is he far from Samaõaship, far from Bràhmaõaship. But from the time, O Kassapa, when a Bhikkhu has cultivated the heart of love that knows no anger, that knows no ill willÞfrom the time when, by the destruction of the deadly intoxications (the lusts of the flesh, the lust after future life, and the defilements of delusion and ignorance), he dwells in that emancipation of heart, that emancipation of mind, that is free from those intoxications, and that he, while yet in this visible world, has come to realise and knowÞfrom that time, O Kassapa, is it that the Bhikkhu is called a Samaõa, is called a Bràhmaõa!

`And if a man, O Kassapa, feed on potherbs, on wild rice, on Nivàra seeds, or on any of those other things you gave in detail down to fruits that have fallen of themselves, and the state of blissful attainment in conduct, in heart, in intellect, have not been practised by him, realised by him, then is he far from Samaõaship, far from Bràhmaõaship. But from the time, O Kassapa, when a Bhikkhu has cultivated the heart of love that knows no anger, that knows no ill willÞfrom the time when, by the destruction of the deadly intoxications (the lusts of the flesh, the lust after future life, and the defilements of delusion and ignorance), he dwells in that emancipation of heart, that emancipation of mind, that is free from those intoxications, and that he, while yet. in this visible world, has come to realise and knowÞfrom that time, O Kassapa, is it that the Bhikkhu is called a Samaõa, is called a Bràhmaõa!

`And if a man, O Kassapa, wear coarse hempen cloth,, or carry out all or any of those other practices you gave in detail down to bathing in water three times a day, and the state of blissful attainment in conduct, in heart, in intellect, have not been practised by him, realised by him, then is he far from Samaõaship, far from Bràhmaõaship. But from the time, O Kassapa when a Bhikkhu has cultivated the heart of love that knows no anger, that knows no ill willÞfrom the time when, by the destruction of the deadly intoxications (the lusts of the flesh, the lust after future life, and the defilements of delusion and ignorance), he dwells in that emancipation of heart, that emancipation of mind, that is free from those intoxications, and that he, while yet in this visible world, has come to realise and knowÞfrom that time, O Kassapa, is it that the Bhikkhu is called a Samaõa, is called a Bràhmaõa!'

16. And when he had thus spoken, Kassapa, the naked ascetic, said to the Blessed One: `How hard then, Gotama, must Samaõaship be to gain, how hard must Bràhmaõaship be!'

`That, Kassapa, is a common saying in the world that the life of a Samaõa and of a Bràhmaõa is hard to lead. But if the hardness, the very great hardness, of that life depended merely on this ascetism, on the carrying out of any or all of those practices you have detailed, then it would not be fitting to say that the life of the Samaõa, of the Bràhmaõa, was hard to lead. It would be quite possible for a householder, or for the son of a householder, or for any one, down to the slave girl who carries the water-jar, to say: ßLet me now go naked, let me become of low habits,û and so on through all the items of those three lists of yours. But since, Kassapa, quite apart from these matters, quite apart from all kinds of penance, the life is hard, very hard to lead; therefore is it that it is fitting to say: ßHow hard must Samaõaship be to gain, how hard must Bràhmaõaship be! ßFor from the time, O Kassapa, when a Bhikkhu has cultivated the heart of love that knows no anger, that knows no ill willÞfrom the time when, by the destruction of the deadly intoxications (the lusts of the flesh, the lust after future life, and the defilements of delusion and ignorance), he dwells in that emancipation of heart, in that emancipation of mind, that is free from those intoxications, and that he, while yet in this visible world, has come to realise and knowÞfrom that time, O Kassapa, is it that the Bhikkhu is called a Samaõa, is called a Bràhmaõa!

17. And when he had thus spoken, Kassapa, the naked ascetic, said to the Blessed One: ` Hard is it, Gotama, to know when a man is a Samaõa, hard to know when a man is a Bràhmaõa!'

`That, Kassapa, is a common saying in the world that it is hard to know a Samaõa, hard to know a Bràhmaõa. But if being a Samaõa, if being a Bràhmaõa, depended merely on this asceticism, on the carrying out of any or each of those practices you have detailed, then it would not be fitting to say that a Samaõa is hard to recognise, a Bràhmaõa is hard to recognise. It would be quite possible for a householder, or for the son of a householder, or for any one down to the slave girl who carries the water-jar, to know: ßThis man goes naked, or is of loose habits, or licks his fingers with his tongue,û and so on through all the items of those three lists of yours. But since, Kassapa, quite apart from these matters, quite apart from all kinds of penance, it is hard to recognise a Samaõa, hard to recognise a Bràhmaõa, therefore is it fitting to say: ßHard is it to know when a man is a Samaõa, to know when a man is a Bràhmaõa!û For from the time, O Kassapa, when a Bhikkhu has cultivated the heart of love that knows no anger, that knows no ill willÞfrom the time when, by the destruction of the deadly intoxications (the lusts of the flesh, the lust after future life, and the defilements of delusion and ignorance), he dwells in that emancipation of heart, in that emancipation of mind, that is free from those intoxications, and that he, while yet in this visible world, has come to realise and know-from that time, O Kassapa, is it that the Bhikkhu is called a Samaõa, is called a Bràhmaõa !'

18. And when he had thus spoken, Kassapa, the naked ascetic,. said to the Blessed One: `What then, Gotama, is that blissful attainment in conduct, in heart, and in mind

21. `Now there are some recluses and Brahmans, Kassapa, who lay emphasis on conduct. They speak, in various ways, in praise of morality. But so far as regards the really noble, the highest conduct, I am aware of no one who is equal to myself, much less superior. And it is I who have gone the furthest therein; that is, in the highest conduct (of the Path).

`There are some recluses and Brahmans, Kassapa, who lay emphasis on self-mortification, and scrupulous care of others. They speak in various ways in praise of self-torture and of austere scrupulousness. But so far as regards the really noblest, the highest sort of self-mortification and scrupulous regard for others, I am aware of no one else who is equal to myself, much less superior. And it is I who have gone the furthest therein; that is, in the highest sort of scrupulous regard for others.

`There are some recluses and Brahmans, Kassapa, who lay emphasis on intelligence. They speak, in various ways, in praise of intelligence. But so far as regards the really noblest, the highest intelligence, I am aware of no one else who is equal to myself, much less superior. And it is I who have gone the furthest therein; that is, in the highest Wisdom (of the Path).

`There are some recluses and Brahmans, Kassapa, who lay emphasis on emancipation. They speak, in various ways, in praise of emancipation. But so far as regards the really noblest, the highest emancipation, I am aware of no one else who is equal to myself, much less superior. And it is I who have gone the furthest therein; that is, in the most complete emancipation (of the Path).

22. `Now it may well be, Kassapa, that the recluses of adverse schools may say: ßThe Samaõa Gotama utters forth a lion's roar; but it is in solitude that he roars, not where men are assembled.û Then should they be answered: ßSay not so. The Samaõa Gotama utters his lion's roar, and that too in the assemblies where men congregate.û

`And it may well be, Kassapa, that the recluses of adverse schools should thus, in succession, raise each of the following objections

û But it is not in full confidence that he roars:

`û But men put no questions to him:

`û But even when questioned, he cannot answer:û But even when he answers. he gives no satisfaction by his exposition of the problem put:

`"But men do not hold his opinion worthy to be listened to:

`"But even when men listen to his word, they experience no conviction therefrom:

`"But even when convinced, men give no outward sign of their faith:

`û But even when they give such outward sign, they arrive not at the truth:

`û But even when they arrive at the truth they cannot carry it out: ß`Then in each such case, Kassapa, they should be answered as before, until the answer runs: ßSay not so. For the Samaõa Gotama both utters forth his lion's roar, and that too in assemblies where men congregate, and in full confidence in the justice of his claim, and men put their questions to him on that, and on being questioned he expounds the problem put, and by his exposition thereof satisfaction arises in their hearts, and they hold it worthy to listen to his word, and in listening to it they experience conviction, and being convinced they give outward signs thereof, and they penetrate even to the truth, and having grasped it they are able also to carry the truth out!

23.`I was staying once, Kassapa, at Ràjagaha, on the hill called the Vulture's Peak. And there a follower of the same mode of life as yours, by name Nigrodha, asked me a question about the higher forms of austere scrupulousness of life. And having been thus questioned I expounded the problem put. And when I had thus answered what he asked, he was well pleased, as if with a ` great joy.'

`And who, Sir, on hearing the doctrine of the Exalted One, would not be well pleased, as if with a great joy. I also, who have now heard the doctrine of the Exalted One, am thus well pleased, even as if with a great joy. Most excellent, Lord, are the words of thy mouth, most excellent, just as if a man were to set up what 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 lamp into the darkness, so that those who have eyes could see external formsÞjust even so, Lord, has the truth been made known to me, in many a figure, by the Exalted One. And I, even I, betake myself as my guide to the Exalted One, and to the Doctrine and to the Brotherhood. I would fain, Lord, renounce the world under the Exalted One; I would fain be admitted to his Order.'

24. `Whosoever, Kassapa, having formerly been a member of another school, wishes to renounce the world and receive initiation in this doctrine and discipline, he remains in probation for four months And at the end of the four months the brethren, exalted in spirit, give him initiation, and receive him into the Order, raising him up into the state of a Bhikkhu. But nevertheless I recognise, in such cases, the distinction there may be between individuals.'

`Since, Lord, the four months' probation is the regular custom, I too, then, will remain on probation for that time. . Then let the brethren, exalted in spirit, give me initiation and raise me up into the. state of a Bhikkhu.'

So Kassapa, the naked ascetic, received initiation, and was admitted to membership of the Order under the Exalted One. And from immediately after his initiation the venerable Kassapa remained alone and separate, earnest, zealous, and master of himself. And e'er long he attained to that supreme goal for the sake of which clansmen go forth from the household life into the hermit state: yea, that supreme goal did he, by himself, and while yet in this visible world, bring himself to the knowledge of, and continue to realise, and to see face to face. And he became sure that rebirth was at an end for him, that the higher life had been fulfilled, that everything that should be done had been accomplished, and that after this present life there would be no beyond!

And so the venerable Kassapa became yet another among the Arahats.

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