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Sampasadaniya Sutta

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Translated by T. W. Rhys Davids


Thus have I heard :


1. At one time the Exalted One was staying near Nalanda in the Pavarika Mango Wood 1 Now the venerable Sariputta came to the place where the Exalted One was, and having saluted him, took his seat respectfully at his side and said : — Lord ! such faith have I in the Exalted One, that methinks there never has been, nor will there be, nor is there now any other, whether recluse or Brahman, who is greater and wiser than the Exalted One, that is to say, as regards the higher wisdom.2

Grand and bold are the words of thy mouth, Sariputta! thou hast roared a veritable lion's roar in this that thou hast said. Of course then thou hast known all the Exalted Ones who in the long ages of the past have been Arahants, Awakened Ones, comprehending their minds with thy mind, and aware what was their conduct, [100] what their doctrines,3 what their wisdom, what their mode of life, and the liberty to which they attained ?

Not so, lord.

Of course then thou hast perceived all the Exalted Ones who in the long ages of the future will be Arahants, Awakened Ones, comprehending their minds with thy mind, and aware what will be their conduct . . . doctrines . . , wisdom . . . mode of life and . . . liberty ?

Not so, lord.

But at least then, Sariputta, thou knowest that I now am Arahant, an Awakened One, comprehending my mind with thy mind, and aware that thus is the Exalted One's conduct, such is his wisdom, such his doctrine, such his mode of life, and such the liberty to which he has attained ?

Not so, lord.

Lo! here, Sariputta, no knowledge hast thou concerning Arahants, Awakened Ones, past, future or present. Why then forsooth are thy words so grand and bold.? Why hast thou roared this all-comprehensive lion's roar.?

2. Lord ! no knowledge have I concerning the minds of past, future and present Arahants, Awakened Ones. I only know, lord, the lineage of the Norm.1 Just as [101] a king, lord, might have a border-city, strong in its foundations, strong in its ramparts and towers, and with only one gate. And there might be a warden of the gate, discreet and clever and wise, to stop all strangers and admit only them that were known. And he, on patrolling in his sentry-walks over the approaches all round the city, might not so observe all the joints and crevices in the ramparts of that city as to know where anything as small as a cat could get past. He would think : Whatever bulkier creatures either enter or leave this city, they all pass only by this gate. Only thus is it, lord, that I know the lineage of the Norm. They who in the long ages of the past were Arahants, Supremely Awakened Ones, putting away the five Hindrances, suppressing the corruptions of the mind by wisdom, with hearts well established in the four exercises for setting up mindfulness, thoroughly exercising themselves in the seven branches of enlightenment, have wholly awaked to the uttermost awakening. They who in the long ages of the future will be Arahants, Supremely Awakened Ones, will do likewise. And the Exalted One too, who now, lord, is Arahant Supremely Awakened, he too hath done likewise.

It 1 happened one day, lord, [102] that I had come to the Exalted One to listen to the exposition of the Norm. And the Exalted One taught me doctrine, each point ever more excellent than the last, with comparison of the things of light and the things of darkness. Now while the Exalted One was teaching me the Norm, after this sort, even so I, understanding that Norm, perfected among doctrines one certain doctrine, namely, faith 2 in the Master. And I confessed in my heart : The Exalted One is supremely awakened ; well taught by him is the Norm ; blessed is the Order.

3. Moreover, lord, this too is unsurpassed : the way namely in which the Exalted One teaches the Norm concerning righteous doctrines 3 ; I mean the Four Exercises in setting up Mindfulness, the Four Supreme Efforts, the Four Roads to Saintship, the Five Moral Powers, the Five Forces, the Seven Branches of Enlightenment, the Aryan Eightfold Path [showing how] a bhikkhu by destruction of the intoxicants may know and realize for himself, even in this life, sane and immune emancipation of intellect and intuition, and so attaining may therein abide. Unsurpassed, lord, is this concerning righteous doctrines. All this the Exalted One understands, and beyond what he understands there is nothing left to understand. Nor is there any other, whether he be recluse or brahmin, who is greater and wiser than the Exalted One, that is to say, as regards righteous doctrines.

4. Moreover, lord, this too is unsurpassable, the way namely in which the Exalted One teaches the Norm concerning our sense-experience, — how the six fields of sense are subjective and objective1 : sight and visible things, hearing and sounds, smell and odours, taste and sapid things, touch and tangible things, mind and mental objects. Unsurpassable, lord, is this concerning our sense-experience. All this the Exalted One understands, and beyond what he understands there is nothing left to understand. Nor is there any other, [103] whether he be recluse or brahmin, who is greater and wiser than the Exalted One, that is to say, as regards our sense-experience.2

5, Moreover, lord, this too is unsurpassable : the way namely in which the Exalted One teaches the Norm concerning descensions at rebirth : — That there are four modes in descension, thus : — one descends into the mother's womb unknowing, 3 abides there unknowing, departs thence unknowing. This is the first mode. Next, one descends into the mother's womb knowingly, but persists there and departs thence unknowing. This is the second mode. Again, one descends and persists knowing, but departs unknowing. This is the third mode. Again, one descends into the mother's womb, knowing, persists there knowing and departs thence knowing. This is the fourth mode of descension. Unsurpassable, lord, is this concerning descensions at rebirth.

6. Moreover, lord, this too is unsurpassable, the way namely in which the Exalted One teaches the Norm concerningthe modes of revealing [the mindof another]1: —that there are four modes, thus : — One reveals by a visible sign, saying Thou art thinking thus, thou hast so and so in thy mind, thy thought is thus. However much one reveals, that is so and not otherwise. This is the first mode of revealing [the mind of another]. Again, one reveals thoughts not by a visible sign, but through hearing a sound uttered by humans or non- humans [Yakkhas, Pisacas], or devas,- and one says : — Thou art thinking thus, thou hast so and so in thy mind, thy thought is thus. 1 lowever much one reveals, that is so and not otherwise. This is the second mode. Again, one reveals thoughts neither by a visible sign, nor through hearing a sound made by humans or non- humans or devas2 [104], but through hearing a rational sound made intelligently and deliberately.3 And one says : Thou art thinking thus, etc. [as before]. This is the third mode of revealing. Again one reveals thoughts in none of these ways, but when achieving concentration, without attention applied on occasion of sense, one then knows intuitively the thoughts of another. And one says : Just according to the aim of the mental activity of this good person even on such and such a thought will he next be directing his mind. And however much one reveals that is so and not otherwise. This is the fourth mode. Unsurpassable, lord, is this concerning the modes of revealing [the mind of another].1

8. Moreover, lord, unsurpassable is the way in which the Exalted One teaches the Norm concerning the classification of individuals 2 : that there are seven classes, to wit : — freed-both-ways, freed by insight, having bodily testimony, having gained the view, freed by confidence, follower of wisdom, follower of confidence. Unsurpassable, lord, are these terms for classes of individuals.

9. Moreover, lord, unsurpassable is the way in which the Exalted One [106] teaches the Norm concerning endeavour :— that there are these seven factors of enlightenment, to wit, the factors of mindfulness, examination of doctrine, energy, zest, serenity, concentration and equanimity. Unsurpassable, lord, is this concerning endeavour.3

10. Moreover, lord, unsurpassable is the way in which the Exalted One teaches the norm concerning rates of progress : — that there are four such rates of progress, to wit, when progress is dificult and intuition slow, when progress is difficult but intuition comes swiftly,4 when progress is easy but intuition is slow when progress is easy and intuition comes swiftly. In the first case, progress is reckoned as bad both from difficulty and slowness ; in the second case, progress is reckoned as bad from its difficulty. In the third case, progress is reckoned as bad from slowness. In the fourth case, progress is reckoned as excellent because of both ease and swiftness. Unsurpassable, lord, is this concerning rates of progress.

11. Moreover, lord, unsurpassable is the way in which the Exalted One teaches the Norm concerning conduct in speech : — how one should not only use no speech associated with lying, but should also, in seeking to win his case, avoid calumnious,1 abusive and contentious speech, speaking ever gently words of wisdom, worth treasuring up, and uttered in due season. Unsurpassable, lord, is this concerning conduct in speech.

12. Moreover, lord, unsurpassable is the way in which the Exalted One teaches the Norm concerning the ethical conduct of man : — how such a man should be true and believing, no trickster,2 no droner out [of holy words for pay], no diviner, no exorcist, nor [107] hungering to add gain to gain, guarded as to the doors of his senses, abstemious in diet, a peacemaker, devoted to keeping vigil, unfaltering", apt to apply effort, contemplative, mindful, of seemly conversation,3 valiant to go, to endure and to think, not greedy, besides, for worldly pleasures, but heedful and sagacious. Unsurpassable, lord, is this concerning a man's ethical conduct.

13. Moreover, lord, unsurpassable is the way in which the Exalted One teaches the Norm concerning modes of [receiving] instruction, namely, that there are four such modes : ( i) The Exalted One knows through his own [method of] systematic thought, that a given individual, when carrying out what he has been taught, by the complete destruction of Three Fetters, will become a Stream-winner, 1 saved from disaster hereafter, certain to attain enlightenment ; (2) by the complete destruction of Three Fetters, will have so diminished passion and hate and illusion that he will become a Once-Returner, and returning but once to this world will make an end of ill ; (3) by the complete destruction of the Five ulterior Fetters, will be reborn in a deva- world,2 there to pass utterly away, thence never to return ; (4) by the destruction of the Intoxicants will come to know and realize for himself, even in this life emancipation of intellect and emancipation of insight, and will therein abide. Unsurpassable, lord, is this concerning modes of receiving instruction.

14. Moreover, lord, unsurpassable is the way in which the Exalted One teaches the Norm concerning the knowledge of the [degree of] emancipation to which any given individual will attain. For the Exalted One knows through his own [method of] attending to the cause, whether a given individual will become a Stream-winner,3 Once-Returner, Non-Returner, or Arahant. Unsurpassable, lord, is this concerning knowledge of the degree of emancipation to be attained by a given individual.

15. Moreover, lord, unsurpassable is the way in which the Exalted One teaches the Norm concerning the doctrines of Eternalism, namely, that there are these three doctrines4 :

(i) Some recluse or brahmin by means of ardour, of exertion, of application, of earnestness, of careful thought, reaches up to such rapture of thought that, rapt in heart, he calls to mind his various dwelling-places (or birihs) in times gone by — in one birth, or in two, or three, or four, or five, or ten, or twenty, or thirty, or forty, or fifty, or a hundred, or a thousand, or a hundred thousand, or in several hundred, or several thousand, or several hundred thousand births, to the effect that ' There I had such and such a name, was of such and such a lineage and class, lived on such and such food, experienced such and such pains and pleasures [109], had such and such a span of years. And when I fell from thence I was reborn here ' : — thus does he recollect, both as to the manner thereof and in detail, his various dwelling- places in times gone by. And he says to himself : ' The time that is gone by I know, whether the world was in process of evolution or of dissolution. But I know not the time for to come, whether the world will evolve or dissolve. Eternal is both soul and world, giving birth to nothing new, steadfast as a mountain- peak, as a pillar firmly fixed ; and though these living creatures transmigrate and pass away, fall from one state of existence and spring up in another, yet there is only that which is for ever and ever.' This is the first Eternalist doctrine.

(2) Again, lord, some recluse or brahmin, by the same means, calls to mind his dwelling-places in the past for even greater periods, such as one, two, three, four, five, ten, or twenty pairs of world-evolution and dissolution. . . . And he too reflects : ' The time that is gone by I know, both of the evolution and dissolution of the world, but I know not the time for to come, [110] whether the world will evolve or dissolve. Eternal is both soul and world, giving birth to nothing new, steadfast as a mountain peak, as a pillar firmly fixed ; and though these living creatures transmigrate and pass away, fall from one state of existence and spring up in another, yet there is only that which is for ever and ever.' This is the second Eternalist doctrine.

(3) Again, lord, some recluse or brahmin, by the same means, calls to mind his dwelling-places in the past for even greater periods still, even up to forty world-systems evolving and dissolving. And he too draws the same inference. This is the third Eternalist doctrine.

Unsurpassable, lord, is this concerning Eternalist doctrines.

16. Moreover, lord, unsurpassable is the way in which the Exalted One teaches the Norm concerning knowledge of former dwelling-places : how some recluse or brahmin, by means of ardour, of exertion, of application, of earnestness, of careful thought, reaches up to such rapture of mind, that rapt in thought he calls to mind his various dwelling-places in times gone by, to wit.in one birth or more [111] up to even several myriads of world-evolutions and dissolutions: — 'There I had such and such a name, lineage, class, so was I nourished, such and for so long were the pleasures and pains I experienced.' [He calls to mind that] deceasing thence he was reborn in such another place, where he was so- and-so, faring after such and such a sort; that deceasing thence he was reborn here. Thus does he recollect, both as to the manner thereof and in detail, his various dwelling-places in times gone by.

There are devas, lord, whose span of life is not to be reckoned either by counting or by computation,1 and yet with whatever individuality they have previously existed, whether as corporeal or incorporeal, whether as percipient, non-percipient, or neither, there is reminiscence of former dwelling-place both as to the manner thereof and in detail. Unsurpassable, lord, is this concerning knowledge as to such reminiscences.

17. Moreover, lord, unsurpassable is the way in which the Exalted One teaches the Norm concerning knowledge of the decease and rebirth of creatures. Thus some recluse or brahmin, by the means aforesaid, reaches up to such rapture of mind, that rapt in thought he sees with pure deva-eye, surpassing the sight of men, beings as they decease and are reborn ; he recognizes beings as mean or noble, as ill-favoured or well-favoured, as blest or wretched, passing on according to their deeds : Such and such worthy folk, ill-doers1 in act, word and thought, revilers of the noble ones,2 holding wrong views, acquiring karma resulting from wrong views, are reborn after death, at the dissolution of the body, in some unhappy state of suffering or woe. But such and such worthy folk, well-doers in act and word and thought, not revilers of the noble ones, holding right views, acquiring karma resulting from right views, are reborn after death, at the dissolution of the body, [112] in some happy state in heaven. Thus with the pure deva-eye, surpassing the sight of men, does he see beings deceasing and being reborn. Unsurpassable, lord, is this concerning knowledge of decease and rebirth.

18. Moreover, lord, unsurpassable is the way in which the Exalted One teaches the Norm concerning modes of supernormal power, that there are two modes, to wit : — ( i) Supernormal power which is concomitant with the mental intoxicants and with worldly aims. This is called ignoble [power]. (2) Supernormal power which is not so concomitant. This is called noble [power]. And what, lord, is the former, the ignoble supernormal power ? When, lord, some recluse or brahmin, by the means aforesaid, reaches up to such rapture of mind, that rapt in thought he becomes able to enjoy divers modes of supernormal power :? — from being one he becomes multiform, from being multiform, he becomes one ; from being visible he becomes invisible ; he passes without hindrance to the further side of a wall, or a battlement, or a mountain, as if through air ; he penetrates up and down through solid ground as if through water ; he walks on water without dividing it as if on solid ground ; he travels cross-legged through the sky, like a bird on the wing ; he touches and feels with the hand even the moon and the sun, of mystic power and potency though they be ; he reaches even in the body up to the heaven of Brahma. This, lord, is the supernormal power, concomitant with the mental Intoxicants and with worldly aims, that is called ignoble. And what, lord, is the second mode, called noble ? This is when a bhikkhu can, if he so desire, remain unconscious of disgust amid what is disgusting ; or conscious of disgust amid what is not disgusting ; or unconscious of disgust amid what is both disgusting and the opposite ; or conscious of disgust amid what is both disgusting and the opposite ; or, avoiding both that which is disgusting and the opposite, should remain indifferent to them as such, mindful and understanding. This, lord, is the supernormal power, incompatible with mental intoxicants or with worldly aims, which is called noble. Unsurpassable, lord, is this concerning modes of supernormal power.

These things the Exalted One understands from beginning to end. And beyond what he understands, nothing is there left to understand ; nor is there any other, whether he be recluse or brahmin, who is greater or wiser than the Exalted One, that is to say, as to modes of supernormal power.

19. Whatsoever, lord, may be achieved by a clansman who has faith, summons up energy and is steadfast, — by human steadfastness, energy, progress, and patience, — that has been achieved by the Exalted One. For, lord, the Exalted One neither follows the habitual practice of those things which attract through worldly desires, especially sensuality — a low and pagan way, unworthy, unprofitable, belonging to the worldly majority ; — nor does he follow the habitual practice of self-mortification, which is painful, unworthy, unprofitable.1 The Exalted One is able to obtain at will, with ease and in full measure, that earthly happiness of a loftier kind^ which the Four Stages of Ecstasy afford.

If, lord, anyone were to ask me : What then, friend Sariputta, hav,e there ever been in times gone by other recluses or brahmins greater and wiser as to enlightenment than the Exalted One ? I should say No. What then, friend Sariputta, will there come in future times other recluses or brahmins greater or wiser as to enlightenment than the Exalted One ? Thus asked, I should say No. [114] What then, friend Sariputta, is there now any other recluse or brahmin greater or wiser as to Enlightenment than the Exalted One ? Thus asked, I should say No.

Again, lord, if I were asked : What then, friend Sariputta, have there been in times gone by . . . will there be in future times other recluses or brahmins equal to the Exalted One, in the matter of Enlightenment ? I should say Yea. But if I were asked : Is there now any recluse or brahmin equal to the Exalted One in the matter of Enlightenment, I should say No. Arahants Buddhas Supreme, the one neither before nor after the other : — that is impossible and unprecedented. That cannot be.

Should I, lord, answering my questioners thus, be stating the doctrine of the Exalted One, and not misrepresenting him by what is not fact ? Should I be stating doctrine in conformity with the Norm, and would no orthodox disputant find occasion for blame herein ?

Of a truth, Sariputta, hadst thou been asked such questions and thus hadst answered, thou hadst stated my doctrine, and hadst not misrepresented me by what is not fact. Thou hast stated doctrine in conformity with the Norm, and no orthodox disputant could have found occasion for blame therein.

20. When they had thus spoken, the venerable Udayin 2 said to the Exalted One : Wonderful, lord, marvellous, lord, is it to behold how self-contained, serene, and resigned is the Tathagata, when he who is so mighty and powerful will not proclaim himself! 3 If any Wanderers of independent doctrines were to discern in themselves even one of such matters, they would flourish around a banner because of it Wonderful, marvellous is it to behold how self -contained, serene and resigned is the Tathagata, when he who is so mighty and powerful will not proclaim his own virtues !

Take note of this then, Udayin, that this is so ; and that if Wanderers teaching independent doctrines were to discern in themselves even one such quality, they would flourish around a banner about it. Take note of this.

21. Then the Exalted One addressed the venerable Sariputta : — Wherefore thou, Sariputta, shouldst often discourse on this matter to both brethren and sisters, laymen and lay sisters. Whatever foolish ones there be who will feel doubt and hesitation concerning the Tathagata, when they have heard such discourse, even they too will banish their hesitation and their doubt.

On this wise did the venerable Sariputta make known his faith before the Exalted One. Hence the title The Faith that Satisfied is another name for his confession.

Here ends the Fifth Suttanta The Faith that Satisfied.

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