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Tipitaka >> Sutta Pitaka >> Khuddaka Nikaya >> Milindapanha >> Book VI: The Solving of Dilemmas - Mendaka Panha Chapter 3


Translated by T. W. Rhys Davids


1. 'Venerable Nâgasena, it was said by the Blessed One: "For it is the Dhamma, O Vâsettha, which is 'the best in the world ,' as regards both what we now see, and what is yet to come ." But again (according to your people) the devout layman who has entered the Excellent Way, for whom the possibility of rebirth in any place of woe has passed away, who has attained to insight, and to whom the doctrine is known, even such a one ought to salute and to rise from his seat in token of respect for, and to revere, any member of the Order, though a novice, and though he be unconverted . Now if the Dhamma be the best that rule of conduct is wrong, but if that be right then the first statement must be wrong.

[paragraph continues] This too is a double-pointed problem. It is now put to you, and you have to solve it.'

2. 'The Blessed One said what you have quoted, and you have rightly described the rule of conduct. But there is a reason for that rule, and that is this. There are these twenty personal qualities, making up the Samanaship of a Samana, and these two outward signs , by reason of which the Samana is worthy of salutation, and of respect, and of reverence. And what are they? The best form of self-restraint, the highest kind of self-control , right conduct, calm manners , mastery over (his deeds and words ), subjugation (of his senses ), long-suffering , sympathy ,

the practice of solitude , love of solitude , meditation , modesty and fear of doing wrong , zeal , earnestness , the taking upon himself of the precepts , recitation (of the Scriptures) , asking questions (of those wise in the Dhamma and Vinaya), rejoicing in the Sîlas and other (rules of morality), freedom from attachment (to the things of the world), fulfilment of the precepts--and the wearing of the yellow robe, and the being shaven. In the practice of all these things does the member of the Order live. By being deficient in none of them, by being perfect in all, accomplished in all, endowed with all of them does he reach forward to the condition of Arahatship, to the condition of those who have nothing left to learn; he is marching towards the highest of all lands . Thus it is because he sees him to be in the company of the Worthy Ones (the Arahats) that the layman who has already entered on the Excellent Way thinks it worthy in him to

reverence and to show respect to the Bhikkhu, though he may be, as yet, unconverted. It is because he sees him to be in the company of those in whom all evil has been destroyed, because he feels that he is not in such society , that the converted layman thinks it worthy of him to do reverence and to show respect to the unconverted Bhikkhu. It is because he knows that he has joined the noblest brotherhood, and that he himself has reached no such state, that the converted layman holds it right to do reverence and to show respect to the unconverted Bhikkhu--because he knows that he listens to the recitation of the Pâtimokkha, while he himself can not--because he knows that he receives men into the Order, and thus extends the teaching of the Conqueror, which he himself is incapable of doing--because he knows that he carries out innumerable precepts, which he himself cannot observe--because he knows that he wears the outward signs of Samanaship, and carries out the intention of the Buddha, while he himself is gone away far from that--because he knows that he, though he has given up his hair and beard, and is unanointed and wears no ornaments, yet is anointed with the perfume of righteousness, while he is himself addicted to jewelry and fine apparel--that the converted layman thinks it right to do reverence, and to show respect to the unconverted Bhikkhu.'

3. 'And moreover, O king, it is because he knows that not only are all these twenty personal qualities which go to make a Samana, and the two outward signs, found in the Bhikkhu, but that he carries them

on, and trains others in them, that the converted layman, realising that he has no part in that tradition , in that maintenance of the faith, thinks it right to reverence and to show respect to the converted Bhikkhu. Just, O king, as a royal prince who learns his knowledge, and is taught the duties of a Khattiya, at the feet of the Brahman who acts as family chaplain , when after a time he is anointed king, pays, reverence and respect to his master in the thought of his being the teacher, and the carrier on of the traditions of the family, so is it right for the converted Bhikkhu to do reverence and to pay respect to the unconverted Bhikkhu.'

4. 'And moreover, O king, you may know by this fact the greatness and the peerless glory of the condition of the Bhikkhus--that if a layman, a disciple of the faith, who has entered upon the Excellent Way, should attain to the realisation of Arahatship, one of two results must happen to him, and there is no other--he must either die away on that very day, or take upon himself the condition of a Bhikkhu. For immovable, O king, is that state of renunciation, glorious, and most exalted--I mean the condition of being a member of the Order!'

'Venerable Nâgasena, this subtle problem has been thoroughly unravelled by your powerful and great wisdom. No one else could solve it so unless he were wise as you.'

[Here ends the problem as to the precedence of the Dharma]


[THE HARM OF PREACHING.]

5. 'Venerable Nâgasena, you Bhikkhus say that the Tathâgata averts harm from all beings, and does them good . And again you say that when he was preaching the discourse based on the simile of the burning fire hot blood was ejected from the mouths of about sixty Bhikkhus. By his delivery of that discourse he did those Bhikkhus harm and not good. So if the first statement is correct, the second is false; and if the second is correct, the first is false. This too is a double-pointed problem put to you, which you have to solve.'

6. 'Both are true. What happened to them was not the Tathâgata's doing, but their own.'

'But, Nâgasena, if the Tathâgata had not delivered that discourse, then would they have vomited up hot blood?'

'No. When they took wrongly what he said, then was there a burning kindled within them, and hot blood was ejected from their mouths.'

'Then that must have happened, Nâgasena, through the act of the Tathâgata, it must have been the Tathâgata who was the chief cause to destroy them. Suppose a serpent, Nâgasena, had crept into an anthill, and a man in want of earth were to break into the anthill, and take the earth of it away. And by his doing so the entrance-hole to the anthill

were closed up, and the snake were to die in consequence from want of air. Would not the serpent have been killed by that man's action?'

'Yes, O king.'

'Just so, Nâgasena, was the Tathâgata the prime cause of their destruction.'

7. 'When the Tathâgata delivered a discourse, O king, he never did so either in flattery or in malice. In freedom both from the one and from the other did he speak. And they who received it aright were made wise , but they who received it wrongly, fell. Just, O king, as when a man shakes a mango tree or a jambu tree or a mee tree , such of the fruits on it as are full of sap and strongly fastened to it remain undisturbed, but such as have rotten stalks, and are loosely attached, fall to the ground-- so was it with his preaching. It was, O king, as when a husbandman, wanting to grow a crop of wheat, ploughs the field, but by that ploughing many hundreds and thousands of blades of grass are killed--or it was as when men, for the sake of sweetness, crush sugarcane in a mill, and by their doing so such small creatures as pass into the mouth of the mill are crushed also--so was it that the Tathâgata making wise those whose minds were prepared, preached the Dhamma without flattery and without malice. And they who received it aright were made wise, but they who received it wrongly, fell.'

8. Then did not those Bhikkhus fall, Nâgasena, just because of that discourse?'

'How, then, could a carpenter by doing nothing to a piece of timber, and simply laying it by , make it straight and fit for use?'

'No, Sir. He would have to get rid of the bends out of it, if he wanted it straight and ready for use.'

'Just so, O king, the Tathâgata could not, by merely watching over his disciples, have opened the eyes of those who were ready to see. But by getting rid of those who took the word wrongly he saved those prepared to be saved. And it was by their own act and deed, O king, that the evil-minded fell; just as a plantain tree, or a bambû, or a she-mule are destroyed by that to which they themselves give birth . And just, O king, as it is by their own acts that robbers come to have their eyes plucked out, or to impalement, or to the scaffold, just so were the evil-minded destroyed by their own act, and fell from the teaching of the Conqueror.'

9. 'And so with those sixty Bhikkhus, they fell neither by the act of the Tathâgata nor of any one else, but solely by their own deed . Suppose, O king, a man were to give ambrosia to all the people, and they, eating of it, were to become healthy and long-lived and free from every bodily ill. But one man, on eating it, were by his own bad digestion, to

die. Would then, O king, the man who gave away the ambrosia be guilty therein of any offence?'

'No, Sir.'

'Just so, O king, does the Tathâgata present the gift of his ambrosia to the men and gods in the ten thousand world systems; and those beings who are capable of doing so are made wise by the nectar of his law, while they who are not are destroyed and fall. Food, O king, preserves the lives of all beings. But some who eat of it die of cholera . Is the man who feeds the hungry guilty therein of any offence?'

'No, Sir.'

'Just so, O king, does the Tathâgata present the gift of his ambrosia to the men and gods in the ten thousand world systems; and those beings who are capable of doing so are made wise by the nectar of his law, while they who are not are destroyed and fall.'

'Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say.'

[Here ends the dilemma on the harm resulting from preaching.] [THE SECRETS OF A TATHÂGATA.]

11. [This dilemma treats of one of the thirty bodily signs of a 'great man' (Mahâpurusha) supposed to be possessed by every Tathâgata, but as it deals with matters not usually spoken of in this century, it is best read in the original.] [THE FOOLISH FELLOW.]

15. 'Venerable Nâgasena, it was said by the Elder Sâriputta, the commander of the faith: "The

[paragraph continues] Tathâgata, brethren, is perfect in courtesy of speech. There is no fault of speech in the Tathâgata concerning which he should have to take care that no one else should know it ." And on the other hand the Tathâgata, when promulgating the first Pârâgika on the occasion of the offence of Sudinna the Kalanda , addressed him with harsh words, calling him a useless fellow . And that Elder, on being so called, terrified with the fear of his teacher , and overcome with remorse, was unable to comprehend the Excellent Way . Now if the first statement be correct, the allegation that the Tathâgata called Sudinna the Kalanda a useless fellow must be false. But if that be true, then the first statement must be false. This too is a double-pointed problem now put to you, and you have to solve it.'

16. 'What Sâriputta the Elder said is true, O king. And the Blessed One called Sudinna a useless fellow on that occasion. But that was not out of rudeness of disposition , it was merely pointing out the real nature (of his conduct) in a way that would do him no harm . And what herein is meant by

[paragraph continues] "pointing out the real nature." If any man, O king, in this birth does not attain to the perception of the Four Truths, then is his manhood (his being born as a man) in vain , but if he acts differently he will become different. Therefore is it that he is called a useless fellow . And so the Blessed One addressed Sudinna the Kalanda with words of truth, and not with words apart from the facts.'

17. 'But, Nâgasena, though a man in abusing another speaks the truth, still we should inflict a small fine upon him. For he is guilty of an offence, inasmuch as he, although for something real, abused him by the use of words that might lead to a breach (of the peace) .'

'Have you ever heard, O king, of a people bowing down before, or rising up from their seats in respect for, or showing honour to, or bringing the complimentary presents (usually given to officials) to a criminal?'

'No, if a man have committed a crime of whatever sort or kind, if he be really worthy of reproof and punishment, they would rather behead him, or torture

him , or bind him with bonds, or put him to death, or deprive him of his goods .'

'Did then the Blessed One, O king, act with justice or not?'

'With justice, Sir, and in a most fit and proper way. And when, Nâgasena, they hear of it the world of men and gods will be made tender of conscience, and afraid of falling into sin, struck with awe at the sight of it, and still more so when they themselves associate with wrong-doers, or do wrong.'

18. 'Now would a physician, O king, administer pleasant things as a medicine in a case where all the humours of the body were affected, and the whole frame was disorganised and full of disease?'

'No. Wishing to put an end to the disease he would give sharp and scarifying drugs.'

'In the same way, O king, the Tathâgata bestows admonition for the sake of suppressing all the diseases of sin. And the words of the Tathâgata, even when stern, soften men and make them tender. Just as hot water, O king, softens and makes tender anything capable of being softened, so are the words of the Tathâgata, even when stern, yet as full of benefit, and as full of pity as the words of a father would be to his children. Just, O king, as the drinking of evil-smelling decoctions, the swallowing of nasty drugs, destroys the weaknesses of men's bodies, so are the words of the Tathâgata even when stern, bringers of advantage and laden with pity. And

just, O king, as a ball of cotton falling on a man raises no bruise, so do the words of the Tathâgata, even when stern, do no harm.'

'Well have you made this problem clear by many a simile, Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say.'

[End of the dilemma as to the Buddha's harsh words to Sudinna.] [THE TREE TALKING.]

19. 'Venerable Nâgasena, the Tathâgata said:

"Brahman! why do you ask an unconscious thing, Which cannot hear you, how it does to-day? Active, intelligent, and full of life, How can you speak to this so senseless thing- This wild Palâsa tree ?"

And on the other hand he said:

"And thus the Aspen tree then made reply: 'I, Bhâradvâga, can speak too. Listen to me .'"

'Now if, Nâgasena, a tree is an unconscious thing, it must be false that the Aspen tree spoke to Bhâradvâga. But if that is true, it must be false to say that a tree is unconscious. This too is a double-edged problem now put to you, and you have to solve it.'

20. The Master said, Nâgasena, that a tree is unconscious. And the Aspen tree conversed with Bhâradvâga. But that last is said, O king, by a common form of speech. For though a tree being unconscious cannot talk, yet the word "tree" is used

as a designation of the dryad who dwells therein, and in that sense that "the tree talks" is a well-known expression. just, O king, as a waggon laden with corn is called a corn-waggon. But it is not made of corn, it is made of wood, yet because of the corn being heaped up in it the people use the expression "corn-waggon." Or just, O king, as when a man is churning sour milk the common expression is that he is churning butter. But it is not butter that he is churning, but milk. Or just, O king, as when a man is making something that does not exist the common expression is that he is making that thing which all the while as yet is not, but people talk of the work as accomplished before it is done. And the Tathâgata, when expounding the Dhamma, does so by means of the phraseology which is in common use among the people.'

'Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say.'

[Here ends the dilemma as to the talking tree.] [THE BUDDHA'S LAST ILLNESS.]

21. 'Venerable Nâgasena, it was said by the Elders who held the Recitation :

"When he had eaten Kunda's alms, The coppersmith's,--thus have I heard,-- The Buddha felt that sickness dire, That sharp pain even unto death ."


[paragraph continues] And afterwards the Blessed One said: "These two offerings of food, Ânanda, equal, of equal fruit, and of equal result, are of much greater fruit and much greater result than any others ." Now if sharp sickness fell upon the Blessed One, Nâgasena, after he had partaken of Kunda's alms, and sharp pains arose within him even unto death, then that other statement must be wrong. But if that is right then the first must be wrong. How could that alms, Nâgasena, be of great fruit when it turned to poison, gave rise to disease, put an end to the period of his then existence, took away his life? Explain this to me to the refutation of the adversaries. The people are in bewilderment about this, thinking that the dysentery must have been caused by his eating too much, out of greediness.'

22. 1 The Blessed One said, O king, that there were two almsgivings equal, of equal fruit, and equal result, and of much greater fruit, and much greater result than any others,--that which, when a Tathâgata has partaken of it, he attains to supreme and perfect Buddhahood (Enlightenment), and that when he has partaken of which, he passes away by that utter passing away in which nothing whatever remains behind . For that alms is full of virtue, full of advantage. The gods, O king, shouted in joy and gladness at the thought: "This is the last meal the Tathâgata will take," and communicated a divine power of nourishment to that tender

pork . And that was itself in good condition, light, pleasant, full of flavour, and good for digestion . It was not because of it that any sickness fell upon the Blessed One, but it was because of the extreme weakness of his body, and because of the period of life he had to live having been exhausted, that the disease arose, and grew worse and worse--just as when, O king, an ordinary fire is burning, if fresh fuel be supplied, it will burn up still more--or as when a stream is flowing along as usual, if a

heavy rain falls, it will become a mighty river with a great rush of water--or as when the body is of its ordinary girth, if more food be eaten, it becomes broader than before. So this was not, O king, the fault of the food that was presented, and you can not impute any harm to it.'

23. 'But, venerable Nâgasena, why is it that those two gifts of food are so specially meritorious?'

'Because of the attainment of the exalted conditions which resulted from them .'

'Of what conditions, Nâgasena, are you speaking?'

'Of the attainment of the nine successive states which were passed through at first in one order, and then in the reverse order .'

'It was on two days, was it not, Nâgasena, that the Tathâgata attained to those conditions in the highest degree?'

'Yes, O king .'

'It is a most wonderful thing, Nâgasena, and a most strange, that of all the great and glorious gifts which were bestowed upon our Blessed One not one can be compared with these two almsgivings. Most marvellous is it, that even as those

nine successive conditions are glorious, even so are those gifts made, by their glory, of greater fruit, and of greater advantage than any others. Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say.

[Here ends the dilemma as to the Buddha's last illness.] [ADORATION OF RELICS.]

24. 'Venerable Nâgasena, the Tathâgata said: "Hinder not yourselves, Ânanda, by honouring the remains of the Tathâgata ." And on the other hand he said:

"Honour that relic of him who is worthy of honour, Acting in that way you go from this world to heaven ."

'Now if the first injunction was right the second must be wrong, and if the second is right the first must be wrong. This too is a double-edged problem now put to you, and you have to solve it.'

25. 'Both the passages you quote were spoken by the Blessed One. But it was not to all men, it was to the sons of the Conqueror that it was said: "Hinder not yourselves, Ânanda, by honouring the remains of the Tathâgata ". Paying reverence is not the work of the sons of the Conqueror, but rather the grasping of the true nature of all

compounded things, the practice of thought, contemplation in accordance with the rules of Satipatthâna, the seizing of the real essence of all objects of thought, the struggle against evil, and devotion to their own (spiritual) good. These are things which the sons of the Conqueror ought to do, leaving to others, whether gods or men, the paying of reverence .'

26. 'And that is so, O king, just as it is the business of the princes of the earth to learn all about elephants, and horses, and chariots, and bows, and rapiers, and documents, and the law of property , to carry on the traditions of the Khattiya clans, and to fight themselves and to lead others in war, while husbandry, merchandise, and the care of cattle are the business of other folk, ordinary Vessas and Suddas.--Or just as the business of Brahmins and their sons is concerned with the Rig-veda, the Yagur-veda, the Sama-veda, the Atharva-veda, with the knowledge of lucky marks (on the body), of legends , Purânas, lexicography , prosody, phonology, verses. grammar, etymology, astrology, interpretation of omens, and of dreams, and of signs, study of the six Vedângas, of eclipses of the sun and moon, of the prognostications to be drawn from the flight of comets, the thunderings of the gods, the junctions of planets, the fall of meteors, earthquakes, conflagrations, and signs in the heavens and on the earth, the study of arithmetic, of casuistry,

of the interpretation of the omens to be drawn from dogs, and deer, and rats, and mixtures of liquids, and the sounds and cries of birds-while husbandry, merchandise, and the care of cattle are the business of other folk, ordinary Vessas and Suddas. So it was, O king, in the sense of "Devote not yourselves to such things as are not your business, but to such things as are so" that the Tathâgata was speaking when he said: "Hinder not yourselves, Ânanda, by honouring the remains of the Tathâgata." And if, O king, he had not said so, then would the Bhikkhus have taken his bowl and his robe, and occupied themselves with paying reverence to the Buddha through them !'

'Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say.'

[Here ends the dilemma as to reverence to relics.] [THE SPLINTER OF ROCK.]

27. 'Venerable Nâgasena, you Bhikkhus say that: "When the Blessed One walked along, the earth, unconscious though it is, filled up its deep places, and made its steep places plain ." And on the other hand you say that a splinter of

rock grazed his foot . When that splinter was falling on his foot why did it not, then, turn aside? If it be true that the unconscious earth makes its deep places full and its steep places plain for him, then it must be untrue that the splinter of rock hurt his foot. But if the latter statement be true, then the first must be false. This too is a double-edged problem now put to you, and you have to solve it.'

28. 'Both statements, O king, are true. But that splinter of rock did not fall of itself , it was cast down through the act of Devadatta. Through hundreds of thousands of existences, O king, had Devadatta borne a grudge against the Blessed One . It was through that hatred that he seized hold of a mighty mass of rock, and pushed it over with the hope that it would fall upon the Buddha's head. But two other rocks came together, and intercepted it before it reached the Tathâgata, and by the force of their impact a splinter was torn off, and fell in such a direction that it struck the Blessed One's foot.'

29. 'But, Nâgasena, just as two rocks intercepted that mighty mass, so could the splinter have been intercepted.'

'But a thing intercepted, O king, can escape, slip through, or be lost--as water does, through the fingers, when it is taken into the hand--or milk, or buttermilk, or honey, or ghee, or oil, or fish curry,

or gravy--or as fine, subtle, minute, dusty grains of sand do, through the fingers, if you close your fist on them--or as rice will escape sometimes when you have taken it into your fingers, and are putting it into your mouth.'

30. 'Well, let that be so, Nâgasena. I admit that the rock was intercepted. But the splinter ought at least to have paid as much respect to the Buddha as the earth did.'

'There are these twelve kinds of persons, O king, who pay no respect--the lustful man in his lust, and the angry man in his malice, and the dull man in his stupidity, and the puffed-up man in his pride, and the bad man in his want of discrimination, and the obstinate man in his want of docility, and the mean man in his littleness, and the talkative man in his vanity, and the wicked man in his cruelty, and the wretched man in his misery, and the gambler because he is overpowered by greed, and the busy man in his search after gain. But that splinter, just as it was broken off by the impact of the rocks, fell by chance in such a direction that it struck against the foot of the Blessed One--just as fine, subtle, and minute grains of sand, when carried away by the force of the wind, are sprinkled down by chance in any direction they may happen to take. If the splinter, O king, had not been separated from the rock of which it formed a part, it too would have been intercepted by their meeting together. But, as it was, it was neither fixed on the earth, nor did it remain stationary in the air, but fell whithersoever

chance directed it, and happened to strike against the Blessed One's foot--just as dried leaves might fall if caught up in a whirlwind. And the real cause of its so striking against his foot was the sorrow-working deed of that ungrateful, wicked, Devadatta.'

'Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say.'

[Here ends the dilemma as to the splinter grazing the Buddha's foot.] [THE SAMANA.]

31. 'Venerable Nâgasena, the Blessed One said: "A man becomes a Samana by the destruction of the Âsavas ." But on the other hand he said:

"The man who has these dispositions four Is he whom the world knows as Samana ."

And in that passage these are the four dispositions referred to--long-suffering, temperance in food, renunciation , and the being without the attachments (arising from lust, ill-will, and dulness). Now these four dispositions are equally found in those who are still defective, in whom the

[paragraph continues] Âsavas have not yet been completely destroyed. So that if the first statement be correct, the second is wrong, and if the second be right the first must be wrong. This too is a double-edged problem now put to you, and you have to solve it.'

32. 'Both statements, O king, were made by the Blessed One. But the second was said of the characteristics of such and such men; the first is an inclusive statement--that all in whom the Âsavas are destroyed are Samanas. And moreover, of all those who are made perfect by the suppression of evil, if you take them in regular order one after the other, then the Samana in whom the Âsavas are destroyed is acknowledged to be the chief--just, O king, as of all flowers produced in the water or on the land, the double jasmine is acknowledged to be the chief, all other kinds of flowers of whatever sort are merely flowers, and taking them in order it is the double jasmine that people most desire and like. Or just, O king, as of all kinds of grain, rice is acknowledged to be the chief, all other kinds of grain, of whatever sort, [183] are useful for food and for the support of the body, but if you take them in order, rice is acknowledged as the best.'

'Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say.'

[Here ends the dilemma as to what constitutes a Samana.]

[THE BUDDHA'S EXULTATION.]

33. 'Venerable Nâgasena, the Blessed One said: "If, O Bhikkhus, any one should speak in praise of me, or of our religion (Dhamma), or of the Order, you should not thereupon indulge in joy, or delight, or exultation of mind ". And on the other hand the Tathâgata was so delighted, and pleased, and exultant at the deserved praise bestowed on him by Sela the Brahman, that he still further magnified his own goodness in that he said:

"A king am I, Sela, the king supreme Of righteousness. The royal chariot wheel In righteousness do I set rolling on-- That wheel that no one can turn back again !"

Now if the passage first quoted be right then must the second be wrong, but if that be right then must the first be wrong. This too is a double-edged problem now put to you, and you have to solve it.'

34. 'Both your quotations, O king, are correct. But the first passage was spoken by the Blessed One with the intention of setting forth truthfully, exactly, in accordance with reality, and fact, and

sense, the real nature, and essence, and characteristic marks of the Dhamma. And the second passage was not spoken for the sake of gain or fame, nor out of party spirit, nor in the lust of winning over men to become his followers. But it was in mercy and love, and with the welfare of others in view, conscious that thereby three hundred young Brahmans would attain to the knowledge of the truth, that he said: "A king am I, Sela, the king supreme of righteousness."'

'Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say.'

[Here ends the problem as to exultation of mind.] [KINDNESS AND PUNISHMENT.]

35. 'Venerable Nâgasena, the Blessed One said:

"Doing no injury to any one Dwell full of love and kindness in the world ."

And on the other hand he said: "Punish him who deserves punishment , favour him who is worthy of favour." Now punishment, Nâgasena, means the cutting off of hands or feet, flogging , casting into bonds, torture , execution, degradation in rank .

[paragraph continues] Such a saying is therefore not worthy of the Blessed One, and he ought not to have made use of it. For if the first injunction be right then this must be wrong, and if this be right then the injunction to do no injury to any one, but to dwell full of love and kindness in the world, must be wrong. This too is a double-edged problem now put to you, and you have to solve it.'

36. 'The Blessed One, great king, gave both the commands you quote. As to the first, to do no injury to any one, but to live full of love and kindness in the world--that is a doctrine approved by all the Buddhas. And that verse is an injunction, an unfolding of the Dhamma, for the Dhamma has as its characteristic that it works no ill. And the saying is thus in thorough accord with it. But as to the second command you quote that is a special use of terms [which you have misunderstood. The real meaning of them is: "Subdue that which ought to be subdued, strive after, cultivate, favour what is worthy of effort, cultivation, and approval"]. The proud heart, great king, is to be subdued, and the lowly heart cultivated--the wicked heart to be subdued, and the good heart to be cultivated--carelessness of thought is to. be subdued, and exactness of thought to be cultivated-- he who is given over to wrong views is to be subdued, and he who has attained to right views is to be cultivated--he who is not noble is to be subdued, and the noble one is

to be cultivated--the robber is to be subdued, and the honest brother is to be cultivated.'

37. 'Let that be so, Nâgasena. But now, in that last word of yours, you have put yourself into my power, you have come round to the sense in which I put my question. For how, venerable Nâgasena, is the robber to be subdued by him who sets to work to subdue him?'

'Thus, great king--if deserving of rebuke let him be rebuked, if of a fine let him be fined, if of banishment let him be banished, if of death let him be put to death.'

'Is then, Nâgasena, the execution of robbers part of the doctrine laid down by the Tathâgatas?'

'Certainly not, O king.'

'Then why have the Tathâgatas laid down that the robber is to be taught better?'

'Whosoever, great king, may be put to death, he does not suffer execution by reason of the opinion put forth by the Tathâgatas. He suffers by reason of what he himself has done. But notwithstanding that the doctrine of the Dhamma has been taught (by the Buddhas) , would it be possible, great king, for a man who had done nothing wrong, and was walking innocently along the streets, to be seized and put to death by any wise person?'

'Certainly not.'

'But why?'

'Because of his innocence.'

'Just so, great king, since the thief is not put to death through the word of the Tathâgata, but only through his own act, how can any fault be rightly found on that account with the Teacher?'

'It could not be, Sir.'

'So you see the teaching of the Tathâgatas is a righteous teaching.'

'Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say.'

[Here ends the problem as to kindness and punishment.] [THE DISMISSAL OF THE ELDERS.]

38. 'Venerable Nâgasena, it was said by the Blessed One:

"Anger I harbour not, nor sulkiness ."

But on the other hand the Tathâgata dismissed the Elders Sâriputta and Moggallâna, together with the brethren who formed their company of disciples .

[paragraph continues] How now, Nâgasena, was it in anger that the Tathâgata sent away the disciples, or was it in pleasure? Be so good as to explain to me how this was . For if, Nâgasena, he dismissed them in anger, then had the Tathâgata not subdued all liability to anger in himself. But if it was in pleasure, then he did so ignorantly, and without due cause. This too is a double-edged problem now put to you, and you have to solve it.'

39. 'The Blessed One did say, O king:

"Anger I harbour not, nor sulkiness."

And he did dismiss the Elders with their disciples. But that was not in anger. Suppose, O king, that a man were to stumble against some root, or stake, or stone, or potsherd, or on uneven ground, and fall upon the broad earth. Would it be that the broad earth, angry with him, had made him fall?'

'No, indeed, Sir. The broad earth feels neither anger against any man nor delight. It is altogether

free from ill-will, neither needs it to fawn on any one. It would be by reason of his own carelessness that that man stumbled and fell.'

'Just so, great king, do the Tathâgatas experience neither anger against, nor pride in any man. Altogether free are the Tathâgatas, the Arahat-Buddhas, alike from ill-will, and from the need to fawn on any one. And those disciples were sent away by reason of what they themselves had done. So also the great ocean endures not association with any corpse. Any dead body there may be in it that does it promptly cast up, and leave high and dry on the shore . But is it in anger that it casts it up?'

'Certainly not, Sir. The broad ocean feels neither anger against any, nor does it take delight in any. It seeks not in the least to please any, and is altogether free from the desire to harm.'

'Just so, great king, do the Tathâgatas feel neither anger against any man, nor do they place their faith in any man. The Tathâgatas, the Arahat-Buddhas, are quite set free from the desire either to gain the goodwill of any man, or to do him harm, And it was by reason of what they themselves had done that those disciples were sent away. Just as a man, great king, who stumbles against the ground is made to fall, so is he who stumbles in the excellent teaching of the Conqueror made to go away. just as a corpse in the great ocean is cast up, so is he who stumbles in the excellent teaching of the Conqueror sent away. And when the Tathâgata sent those disciples away it was for their good, and their

gain, their happiness, and their purification, and in order that in that way they should be delivered from birth, old age, disease, and death.'

'Very good, Nâgasena! That is so, and I accept it as you say.'

[Here ends the problem as to the dismissal of the Elders.]

Here ends the Third Chapter.

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