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Tipitaka >> Sutta Pitaka >> Digha Nikaya >> Patika Sutta

Thus have I heard:

Once the Lord was staying among the Mallas. Anupiya is the name of a Malla town, and the Lord having dressed in the early morning and taken his robe and bowl, went to Anupiya for alms. Then he thought: ‘It is too early for me to go into Anupiya for alms. Suppose I went to visit the hermitage of the wanderer Bhaggava-gotta?’ And he did so.

And the wanderer Bhaggava-gotta said: ‘Come, Blessed Lord, welcome, Blessed Lord! At last the Blessed Lord has gone out his way to come here. Be seated, Lord, a seat is prepared.’ The Lord sat down on the prepared seat, and Bhaggava took a low stool and sat down to one side. Then he said: ‘Lord, a few days ago Sunakkhatta the Licchavi came to me and said: "Bhaggava, I have left the Blessed Lord. I am no longer under his rule." Is that really so, Lord?’

‘It is true, Bhaggava.

‘A few days ago, Sunakkhatta came to me, saluted me, sat down to one side and said: "Lord, I am leaving the Blessed Lord, I am no longer under the Lord’s rule." So I said to him: "Well, Sunakkhatta, did I ever say to you: ‘Come, Sunakkhatta, be under my rule’?"

"No Lord."

"Or did you ever say to me: ‘Lord , I will be under your rule’?"

"No Lord."

"So, Sunakkhatta, if I did not say that to you and you did not say that to me – you foolish man, who are you and what are you giving up? Consider, foolish man, how far the fault is yours."

‘"Well, Lord, you have not performed any miracles."

"And did I ever say to you: ‘Come under my rule and I will perform miracles for you’?"

"No Lord."

"Or did you ever say to me: ‘Lord, I will be under your rule if you will perform miracles for me’?"

"No Lord."

"Then it appears, Sunakkhatta, that I made no such promises, and you made no such conditions. Such being the case, you foolish man, who are you and what are you giving up?

‘"What do you think, Sunakkhatta? Whether miracles are performed or not – is it the purpose of my teaching Dhamma to lead whoever practices it to the total destruction of suffering?"

"It is, Lord."

So, Sunakkhatta, whether miracles are performed or not, the purpose of my teaching Dhamma is to lead whoever practices it to the total destruction of suffering. Then what purpose would the performance of miracles serve? Consider, you foolish man, how far the fault is yours."

‘"Well, Lord, you do not teach the beginning of things."

"And did I ever say to you: ‘Come under my rule and I will teach you the beginning of things’?"

"No, Lord."

"…Such being the case, you foolish man, who are you and what are you giving up?"

"Sunakkhatta, you have in many ways spoken in praise of me among the Vajjians, saying: ‘This Blessed Lord is an Arahant, a Fully-Enlightened Buddha, endowed with wisdom and conduct, the Well Farer, Knower of the Worlds, incomparable trainer of men to be tamed, Teacher of Gods and Humans, the Buddha, the Blessed Lord.’ You have in many ways spoken in praise of the Dhamma, visible here and now, timeless, inviting inspection, leading onward, to be realized by the wise, each one for himself.’ You have in many ways spoken praise of the order of monks, saying: ‘Well-trained is the order of the Lord’s disciples, trained in uprightness, methodically trained, excellently trained is the order of the Lord’s disciples, that is, the four pairs of men, the eight classes of individual’s. This is the order of the Lord’s disciples, worthy of respect, worthy of homage, worthy of gifts, worthy of salutation, an unsurpassed field in the world for merit.’

‘"In these ways you have spoken praise of me, of the Dhamma, and of the order among the Vajjians. And I say to you, I declare to you, Sunakkhatta, there will be those who will say: ‘Sunakkhatta the Lucchavi was unable to maintain the holy life under the ascetic Gotama, and being thus unable he abandoned the training and reverted to a base life.’ That, Sunakkhatta, is what they will say." And, Bhaggava, at my words Sunakkhatta left this Dhamma and the disciples like one condemned to Hell.

‘Once, Bhaggava, I was staying among the Khulus, at a place called Uttaraka, a town of theirs. In the early morning I went with Robe and Bowl into Uttaraka for alms, with Sunakkhatta as my attendant. And at that time the naked ascetic Korakkhattiya the "dogman" was going round on all fours, sprawling on the ground, and chewing and eating his food with his mouth alone. Seeing him, Sunakkhatta thought: "Now that is a real Arahant ascetic, who goes around on all fours, sprawling on the ground, and chewing and eating his food with his mouth alone." And I, knowing his thought in my own mind, said to him: "You foolish man, do you claim to be a follower of the Sakyan?"

"Lord, what do you mean by this question?"

"Sunakkhatta, Did you not, on seeing that naked ascetic going around on all fours, think: ‘Now that is a real Arahant ascetic, who goes round on all fours, sprawling on the ground, and chewing and eating his food with his mouth alone’?"

"I did, Lord. Does the Blessed Lord begrudge others their Arahantship?"

"I do not begrudge others their Arahantship, you foolish man! It is only in you that this evil view has arisen. Cast it aside lest it should be to your harms and sorrow for a long time! This naked ascetic Korakkhattiya, whom you regard as a true Arahant, will die in seven days from indigestion, and when he is dead he will reappear among the Kalakanja asuras, who are the very lowest grade of asuras. And when he is dead he will be cast aside on a heap of Birana-grass in the charnel ground. If you want to, Sunakkhatta, you can go to him and ask him if he knows his fate. And it may be that he will tell you: ‘Friend Sunakkhatta, I know my fate. I have been reborn among the Kalakanja asuras, the very lowest grade of asuras.’"

‘Then Sunakkhatta went to Korakkhattiya and told him what I had prophesied, adding: "Therefore, friend Korakkhattiya, be very careful what you eat and drink, so that the ascetic Gotama’s words may be proved wrong!" And Sunakkhatta was so sure that the Tathágata’s words would be proved wrong that he counted up the seven days one by one. But on the seventh day Korakkhattiya died of indigestion, and when he was dead he reappeared among the Kalakanja asuras, and his body was cast aside on a heap of Birana-grass in the charnel ground.

‘And Sunakkhatta heard of this, so he went to the heap of birana-grass in the charnel ground where Korakkhattiya was lying, struck the body three times with his hand, and said: "Friend Korakkhattiya, do you know your fate?" And Korakkhattiya sat up and rubbed his back with his hand, and said: "Friend Sunakkhatta, I know my fate. I have been reborn among the Kalakanja asuras, the very lowest grade of asuras." And with that he fell back again.

‘Then Sunakkhatta came to me, saluted me, and sat down to one side. And I said to him: ‘Well, Sunakkhatta, what do you think? Has what I told you about the ‘dog-man’ come true or not?"

"It has come about the way you said, Lord, and not otherwise."

"Well, what do you think, Sunakkhatta? Has a miracle been performed or not?"

"Certainly, Lord, this being so, a miracle has been performed, and not otherwise."

"Well then, you foolish man, do you still say to me, after I have performed such a miracle: ‘Well, Lord, you have not performed any miracles.’? Consider, you foolish man, how far the fault is yours." And at my words Sunakkhatta left this Dhamma and discipline like one condemned to hell.

‘Once, Bhaggava, I was staying at Vesali, at the Gabled Hall in the Great Forest. And at that time there was a naked ascetic living in Vesali called Kalaramutthaka who enjoyed great gains and fame in the Vajjian capital. He had undertaken seven rules of practice: "As long as I live I will be a naked ascetic and will not put on any clothes; as long as I live I will remain chaste and abstain from sexual intercourse; as long as I live I will subsist from strong drink and meat, abstain from boiled rice and sour milk; as long as I live I will never go beyond the Udena shrine to the east of Vesali, the Gotamaka shrine to south, the Sattamba shrine to the west, nor the Bahuputta shrine to the north." And it was through having undertaken these seven rules that he enjoyed the greatest gains and fame all in the Vajjian capital.

‘Now Sunakkhatta went to see Kalaramutthaka and asked him a question which he could not answer, and because he could not answer it he showed signs of anger, rage, and petulance. But Sunakkhatta thought: "I might cause this real Arahant ascetic offence. I don’t want anything to happen that would be to my lasting harm and misfortune!"

‘Then Sunakkhatta came to me, saluted me, and sat down to one side. I said to him: "You foolish man, do you claim to be a follower of the Sakyan?" "Lord, what do you mean by this question?"

"Sunakkhatta, did you not go to see Kalaramutthaka and ask him a question he could not answer, and did he not thereupon show signs of anger, rage, and petulance? And did you not think: ‘I might cause this real Arahant ascetic offence. I don’t want anything to happen that would be to my lasting harm and misfortune’?"

"I did, Lord. Does the Blessed Lord begrudge others their Arahantship?"

"I do not begrudge others their Arahantship, you foolish man. It is only in you that this evil view has arisen. Cast it aside, lest it should be to your harm and sorrow for a long time! This naked ascetic, whom you regard as a true Arahant, will before long be living clothed and married, subsisting on boiled rice and sour milk. He will go beyond all the shrines of Vesali, and will die having entirely lost his reputation." And indeed, this came about.

"Then Sunakkhatta, having heard what had happened came to me… and I said, "Well, Sunakkhatta, what do you think? Had what I told you about Kalaramutthaka come about or not? …Has a miracle been performed or not?"… And at my words Sunakkhatta left this Dhamma and discipline like one condemned to hell.

‘Once, Bhaggava, I was staying at Vesali in the Gabled Hall in the Great Forest. And at that time there was a naked ascetic living in Vesali called Patikaputta, who enjoyed great gains and fame in the Vajjian capital. And he made this declaration in the assembly of Vesali: "The ascetic Gotama claims to be a man of wisdom, and I make the same claim. It is right that a man of wisdom should show it by performing miracles. If the ascetic Gotama will come halfway to meet me, I will do likewise. Then we could both work Miracles and if the ascetic Gotama works one Miracle, I will perform two. If her performs two, I will perform four. And if he performs four, I will perform eight. However many miracles the ascetic Gotama performs, I will perform twice as many!"

‘Then Sunakkhatta came to me, saluted me, sat down to one side, an told me what Patikaputta had said. I said: "Sunakkhatta, that naked ascetic Patikaputta is not capable of meeting me face to face unless he takes back his words, abandons that thought, and gives up that view. And if he thinks otherwise, his head will split in pieces."

"Lord, let the Blessed Lord have a care what he says, let the Well-Farer have a care what he says!"

"What do you mean by saying that to me?"

"Lord, the Blessed Lord might make an absolute statement about Patikaputta’s coming. But he might come in some altered shape, and thus falsify the Blessed Lord’s words!"

"But, Sunakkhatta, would the Tathágata make any statement that was ambiguous?"

"Lord, does the Blessed Lord know by his own mind what would happen to Patikaputta? Or has some deva told the Tathágata?"

"Sunakkhatta, I know it by my own mind, and I have also been told by a deva. For Ajita, the general of the Licchavis, died the other day and has been reborn in the company of the thirty three gods. He came to see me and told me: Lord, Patikaputta the naked ascetic is an impudent liar! He declared in the Vajjian capital: "Ajita, the general of the Licchavis, has been reborn into the great hell!" But I have not been reborn in the great hell, but in the company of the thirty-three gods. He is an impudent liar…’ Thus, Sunakkhatta, I know what I have said by my own mind, but I have also been told by a deva. And now, Sunakkhatta, I will go into Vesali for alms. On my return, after I have eaten, I will go for my midday rest to Patikaputta’s park. You make tell him whatever you wish."

‘Then, having dressed, I took my robe and bowl and went into Vesali for alms. On my return I went to Parikaputta’s park for my midday rest. Meanwhile Sunakkhatta rushed into Vesali and declared to all the prominent Licchavis: "Friends, the Blessed Lord has gone into Vesali for alms, and after that he has gone for his midday rest to Patikaputta’s park. Come along, friends come alone! The two great ascetics are going to work miracles!" And all the prominent Licchavis thought: "The two great ascetics are going to work miracles! Let us go along!" And he went to the distinguished and wealthy Brahmins of various schools and told them the same thing, and they too thought, "Let us go along!" And so all these people came along to Patikaputta’a park, hundreds and thousands of them.

‘And Patikaputta heard that all these people had come to his park, and that the ascetic Gotama had gone there for his midday rest. And at the news he was overcome with fear and trembling, and his hair stood on end. And thus terrified and trembling, with his hair standing on end, he made for the Tinduka Lodging of the wanderers. When the assembled company heard that he had gone to the Tinduka lodging, they instructed a man to go there to Patikaputta and say to him: "Friend Patikaputta, come along! All these people have come to your park, and the ascetic Gotama has gone there for his midday rest. Because you declared to the assembly at Vesali: ‘The ascetic Gotama claims to be a man of wisdom, and I make the same claim. It is right that a man of wisdom should show it by performing miracles. If the ascetic Gotama will come halfway to meet me, I will do likewise. Then we could both work Miracles and if the ascetic Gotama works one Miracle, I will perform two. If her performs two, I will perform four. And if he performs four, I will perform eight. However many miracles the ascetic Gotama performs, I will perform twice as many!’ So now come halfway: the ascetic Gotama has already come halfway to meet you and is sitting for his midday rest in Your Reverence’s park."

‘The man went and delivered the message, and on hearing it Patikaputta said: "I’m coming, friend, coming!" But, wriggle as me might; he could not get up from his seat. Then the man said: "What’s the matter with you, friend Patikaputta? Is your bottom stuck to the seat, or is the seat stuck to your bottom? You keep saying: "I’m coming friend, coming!" but you only wriggle and can’t get up from your seat." And even at these words, Patikaputta still wriggled about but could not rise.

‘And when that man realized that Patikaputta could not help himself, he went back to the assembly and reported the situation. And I said to them: "Patikaputta the naked Ascetic is not capable of meeting me face to face unless he takes back his words, abandons that thought, and gives up that view. And if he thinks otherwise, his head will split in pieces."’

‘Then, Bhaggava, one of the ministers of the Licchavis rose from his seat and said: "Well, gentlemen, just wait a little till I have been to see whether I can bring Patikaputta to the assembly." So he went to the Tinduka lodging and said to Patikaputta: "Come along, Pattikaputta, it is best for you to come along. All these people have come to your park and the ascetic Gotama has gone there for his midday rest. If you come, we will make you the winner and let the ascetic Gotama be defeated."

‘And Pattikaputta said, "I’m coming, friend, I’m coming," but wriggle as he might he could not get up from his seat…

‘So the minister returned to the assembly and reported on the situation. Then I said, "Patikaputta the naked Ascetic is not capable of meeting me face to face unless he takes back his words, abandons that thought, and gives up that view. And if he thinks otherwise, his head will split in pieces."

‘Then Jaliya, a pupil of the Wooden Bowl Ascetic, rose from his seat…went to the Tinduka lodging and said to Patikaputta: "Come along, Patikaputta… if you come, we will make you the winner and let the ascetic Gotama be defeated."

‘And Patikaputta said: "I’m coming, friend, I’m coming!" but wriggle as he might, he could not get up from his seat…

‘Then, when Jaliya realized the situation he said, "Patikaputta, once long ago, the Lion, king of beasts, thought, ‘suppose I were to make my lair near a certain jungle. Then I could emerge in the evening, yawn, survey the four quarters, roar my lion’s roar three times, and then make for the cattle pasture. I could then pick out the very best of the herd for my kill and, having had a good feast of tender meat, return to my lair.’ And he did accordingly.

"‘Now there was an old jackal who had grown fat on the Lion’s leavings, and he was proud and strong. And he thought: ‘what difference is there between me and the lion, king of beasts? Suppose I were to make my lair in the jungle…" So he chose a lair accordingly and emerging in the evening, he surveyed the four quarters, and then thought: ‘Now I will roar a lion’s roar three times’, -- and he gave out the howl of his kind, a jackal howl. For what as this wretched howl of a jackal have in common with a lion’s roar? In just the same way, Patikaputta, you live off the achievements of the Well Farer and feed on the Well Farer’s leavings, imagining you can set yourself up besides the Tathágatas, Arahants, and fully enlightened Buddhas. But what have the wretched Patikaputtas in common with them?"

‘Then, unable even with the aid of this parable to get Patikaputta to rise from his seat, Jaliya uttered this verse:

Thinking himself a lion, the jackal says

‘I’m the king of beasts’ and tried to roar

A Lion’s Roar, but only howls instead.

Lion is Lion and Jackal, Jackal still.


In just the same way Patikaputta, you are living off the achievements of the Well Farer…"

‘And, being unable even with the aid of this verse to get Patikaputta to rise from his seat, Jaliya uttered this verse:

"Following another’s tracks, and fed

On scraps, his jackal-nature he forgets,

Thinking: "I’m a tiger!" tried to roar

A mighty roar, but only howls instead.

Lion is Lion and Jackal, Jackal still.


In just the same way Patikaputta, you are living off the achievements of the Well Farer…"

‘And, being unable even with this parable to get Patikaputta to rise from his seat, Jaliya returned tto the assembly and reported on the situation.

‘Then I said: "Patikaputta is not capable of meeting me face to face unless he takes back his words, abandons that thought, and gives up that view. Even if the good Lucchavis were to think: ‘Let us bind him with thongs and try to drag him here with yoked oxen’, he would burst the thongs. He is not capable of meeting me face to face…if he thinks otherwise, his head will split in pieces."

‘Then, Bhaggava, I instructed, inspired, and fired and delighted that assembly with a talk on Dharma. And having thereby delivered that company from the great bondage, thus rescuing eighty four thousand beings from the great path of peril, I entered into the fire element and rose into the air to the height of seven palm-trees, and projecting a beam for the height of another seven so that it blazed and shed fragrance, I then reappeared in the gabled hall in the great forest.

‘And there Sunakkhatta came to me, saluted me and sat down to one side. I said, "What do you think Sunakkhatta? Has what I told you about Patikaputta come about or not?"

"It has, Lord"

"And has a miracle been performed or not?"

"It has, Lord."

"Well then, you foolish man, do you still say to me after I have performed such a miracle: ‘Well, Lord, you have not performed any miracles’? Consider, you foolish man, how far the fault is yours." And, Bhaggavam at my words Sunakkhatta left this Dhamma and discipline like one condemned to hell.

‘Bhaggava, I know the first beginning of things, and I know not only that, but what surpasses it in value. And I am not under the sway of what I know, and not being under its sway I am not I have come to know for myself that quenching, by the realization of which the Tathágata cannot fall into perilous paths. There are, Bhaggava, some ascetics and Brahmins who declared as their doctrine that all things begin with the creation by a god, or Brahma. I have gone to them and said: "Reverend sirs, is it true that you declare that all things with the creation by a god, or Brahma?"

"Yes," they replied

"In that case, how do the reverend teachers declare that this came about?" But they could not give an answer, and so they asked me in return and I replied:

"There comes a time, monks, sooner or later after a long period, when this world contracts. At a time of contraction, beings are mostly reborn in the Abhassara Brahma world. And there they dwell, mind-made, feeding on delight, self-luminous, moving through the air, glorious - and they stay like that for a very long time."

Wrong view number 5: "But the time comes, sooner or later after a long period, when this world begins to expand. In this expanding world an empty palace of Brahma appears. And then one being, from exhaustion of his life-span or of his merits, falls from the Abhassara world and arises in the empty Brahma-palace. And there he dwells, mind-made, feeding on delight, self-luminous, moving through the air, glorious - and he stays like that for a very long time."

"Then in this being who has been alone for so long there arises unrest, discontent and worry, and he thinks: ‘Oh, if only some other beings would come here!’ And other beings, from exhaustion of their life-span or of their merits, fall from the Abhassara world and arise in the Brahma palace as companions for this being. And there they dwell, mind-made, … and they stay like that for a very long time."

"And then, monks, that being who first arose there thinks: "I am Brahma, the Great Brahma, the Conqueror, the Unconquered, the All-Seeing, the All-Powerful, the Lord, the Maker and Creator, Ruler, Appointer and Orderer, Father of All That Have Been and Shall Be. These beings were created by me. How so? Because I first had this thought: ‘Oh, if only some other beings would come here!’ That was my wish, and then these beings came into this existence!" But those beings who arose subsequently think: "This, friends, is Brahma, Great Brahma, the Conqueror, the Unconquered, the All-Seeing, the All-Powerful, the Lord, the Maker and Creator, Ruler, Appointer and Orderer, Father of All That Have Been and Shall Be. How so? We have seen that he was here first, and that we arose after him."


"And this being that arose first is longer-lived, more beautiful and more powerful than they are. And it may happen that some being falls from that realm and arises in this world. Having arisen in this world, he goes forth from the household life into hermit life. Having gone forth, he by means of effort, exertion, application, earnestness and right attention attains to such a degree of mental concentration that he thereby recalls his last existence, but recalls none before that. And he thinks: ‘That Brahma, … he made us, and he is permanent, stable, eternal, not subject to change, the same for ever and ever. But we who were created by that Brahma, we are impermanent, unstable, short-lived, fated to fall away, and we have come to this world.

That, reverend sirs, is how it comes about that you teach that all things began with the creation by a god, or Brahma." And they said, "We have heard this, Reverend Gotama, as you have explained." But I know the first beginning of things… and not being under the sway of what I know I have come to know that quenching by the realization of which the Tathágata cannot fall into perilous ways.

"There are some ascetics and Brahmins who declare that the beginnings of things was due to corruption by pleasure… declare that the beginnings of things was due to corruption of mind… declare that the beginnings of things was due to chance… But I know the first beginning of things… and not being under the sway of what I know I have come to know that quenching by the realization of which the Tathágata cannot fall into perilous paths.

‘And I, Bhaggava, who teach this and declare this am wrongly, vainly, lyingly and falsely accused by some ascetics and Brahmins who say: "The Ascetic Gotama is on the wrong track, and so are his monks. He has declared that whoever has attained to the stage of deliverance called ‘The Beautiful’ finds everything repulsive." But I do not say this. What I say is that whenever anyone has attained to the stage of deliverance called "The Beautiful," he knows that it is beautiful.’

‘Indeed, Lord, they are on the wrong track themselves who accuse the Lord and his monks of error. I am so delighted with the Lord that I think the Lord is able to teach me to attain and remain in the deliverance called "the Beautiful".’

‘It is hard for you, Bhaggava, holding different views, being of different inclinations and subject to different influences, following a different discipline and having had a different teacher, to attain and remain in the deliverance called "the Beautiful". You must strive hard, putting your trust in me, Bhaggava.’

‘Lord, even if it is hard for me to attain and remain in the deliverance called "the Beautiful," still I will place my trust in the Lord.’

Thus the Lord spoke, and Bhaggava the wanderer was delighted and rejoiced at the Lord’s words.

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