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Tipitaka >> Vinaya Pitaka >> Mahavagga >> First Khandaka >> 1.23

Adapted from the Translation by T. W. Rhys Davids and Hermann Oldenberg


THE MAHAVAGGA

FIRST KHANDHAKA(THE FORMATION OF THE ORDER OF BHIKKHUS)

Chapter-23 : Sariputra Gets Introduced to The Path from Monk Assaji.

1. At that time Sanjaya, a Paribbajaka (wandering ascetic), resided at Rajagaha with a great retinue of Paribbajakas, with two hundred and fifty paribbajakas. At that time Sariputta and Moggallana (two young Brahmanas(priests)) led a dhamma life as followers of Sanjaya the paribbajaka; these had given their word to each other: 'He who first attains to the immortal (amata, i.e. Nirvana) shall tell the other one.'

2. Now one day the venerable Assaji in the forenoon, having put on his under-robes, and having taken his alms-bowl, and with his kivara on, entered the city of Rajagaha for alms; his walking, turning back, regarding, looking, drawing (his arms) back, and stretching (them) out was decorous; he turned his eyes to the ground, and was dignified in deportment. Now the paribbajaka Sariputta saw the venerable Assaji, who went through Rajagaha for alms, whose walking, &c., was humble, who kept his eyes on the ground, and was dignified in appearance. Seeing him he thought: 'Indeed this person is one of those Bhikkhus(Monks) who are the worthy ones (Arahats) in the world, or who have entered the path of Arahatship. What if I were to approach this Bhikkhu and to ask him: "In whose name, friend, have you retired from the world? Who is your teacher? Whose doctrine do you profess?"'

3. Now the paribbajaka Sariputta thought: 'This is not the time to ask this Bhikkhu; he has entered the interior yard of a house, walking for alms. What if I were to follow this Bhikkhu step by step, according to the course recognised by those who want something.'

And the venerable Assaji, having finished his alms-pilgrimage through Rajagaha, went back with the food he had received. Then the paribbajaka Sariputta went to the place where the venerable Assaji was; having approached him, he exchanged greeting with the venerable Assaji; having exchanged with him greeting and complaisant words, he stationed himself at his side; standing at his side the paribbajaka Sariputta said to the venerable Assaji: 'Your appearance, friend, is serene; your complexion is pure and bright. In whose name, friend, have you retired from the world? Who is your teacher? Whose doctrine do you profess2?'

4. (Assaji replied): 'There is, friend, the great Samana Sakyaputta(Buddha), an ascetic of the Sakya tribe; in His, the Lord Buddha's, name have I retired from the world; He, the Lord Buddha, is my teacher; and His, the Lord Buddha's, doctrine do I profess.'

'And what is the doctrine, Sir, which your teacher holds, and preaches to you?'

'I am only a young disciple, friend; I have but recently received the ordination; and I have newly adopted this doctrine and discipline. I cannot explain to you the doctrine in detail; but I will tell you in short what it means.'

Then the paribbajaka Sariputta said to the venerable Assaji: 'Well, friend, tell me much or little as you like, but be sure to tell me the spirit (of the doctrine); I want but the spirit; why do you make so much of the letter?'

5. Then the venerable Assaji pronounced to the paribbajaka Sariputta the following text of the Dhamma: 'Of all objects which proceed from a cause, the Tathagata(Buddha) has explained the cause, and He has explained their cessation also; this is the doctrine of the 'great Samana(Buddha).'

And the paribbajaka 'Sariputta after having heard this text obtained the pure and spotless Eye of the truth (divine insight): 'Whatsoever is subject to the condition of origination is subject also to the condition of cessation.' (And he said): 'If this alone be the Doctrine (the Dhamma), now you have reached up to the state where all sorrow ceases (i.e. Nirvana), (the state) which has remained unseen through many myriads of Kappas (kalpas,world-cycles) of the past.'

6. Then the paribbajaka Sariputta went to the place where the paribbajaka Moggallana was. And the paribbajaka Moggallana saw the paribbajaka Sariputta coming from afar; seeing him he said to the paribbajaka Sariputta: 'Your appearance, friend, is serene; your complexion is pure and bright. Have you then really reached the immortal, friend?'

'Yes, friend, I have attained to the immortal.'

'And how, friend, have you done so?'

7-9. 'I saw, friend, the Bhikkhu Assaji who went through Rajagaha for alms (&c., down to:); "But I will tell you in short what it means."

'"Tell me much or little as you like, but be sure to tell me the spirit (of the doctrine); I want but the spirit; why do you make so much of the letter?"

10. 'Then, friend, the Bhikkhu Assaji pronounced the following Dhamma sentence: "Of all objects which proceed from a cause, the Tathagata(Buddha) has explained the cause, and He has explained their cessation also; this is the doctrine of the great Samana(Buddha)."'

And the paribbajaka Moggallana, after having heard this text obtained the pure and spotless Eye of the truth (divine insight) : 'Whatsoever is subject to the condition of origination is subject also to the condition of cessation.' (And he said) : (&c., as in § 5, down to the end).

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