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Tipitaka >> Sutta Pitaka >> Anguttara Nikaya >> The Buddha's Lion's Roar

AN 10:21 The Buddha's Lion's Roar

Translated from the Pali by Nyanaponika Thera and Bhikkhu Bodhi


Monks, the lion, the king of beasts, comes forth from his lair in the evening. Then he stretches himself, surveys the four directions all around, and roars three times his lion’s roar. And why? (He does so with the thought:) “May I not cause the death of small creatures that have gone astray!”

“The lion”—this, monks, is a name for the Tathagata, the Arahant, the Fully Enlightened One. When, monks, the Tathagata expounds the Dhamma in an assembly, that is his lion’s roar.

There are, monks, these ten Tathagata powers of a Tathagata, endowed with which the Tathagata claims the foremost rank, utters his lion’s roar in the assemblies and sets rolling the supreme Wheel of the Dhamma. What are these ten Tathagata powers?

(1) Here, the Tathagata understands, as it really is, cause as cause and non-cause as non-cause. This is a Tathagata power of the Tathagata, by reason of which he claims the foremost rank, utters his lion’s roar in the assemblies and sets rolling the supreme Wheel of the Dhamma.

(2) Again, the Tathagata understands, as it really is, by way of cause and root condition, the result of past, future, and present actions that are performed. This too is a Tathagata power of the Tathagata….

(3) Again, the Tathagata understands, as it really is, the way leading to all destinies. This too is a Tathagata power of the Tathagata ….

(4) Again, the Tathagata understands, as it really is, the world with its many and different elements. This too is a Tathagata power of the Tathagata….

(5) Again, the Tathagata understands, as it really is, the different dispositions of beings. This too is a Tathagata power of the Tathagata….

(6) Again, the Tathagata understands, as it really is, the inferior and superior condition of the faculties of other beings, of other persons. This too is a Tathagata power of the Tathagata….

(7) Again, the Tathagata understands, as it really is, with regard to the jhanas, the liberations, the concentrations and the meditative attainments, their defects and purity and the emergence from them. This too is a Tathagata power of the Tathagata….

(8) Again, the Tathagata recollects his manifold past lives, that is to say, one birth, two births, three births, four births, five births, ten births, twenty births, thirty births, forty births, fifty births, a hundred births, a thousand births, a hundred thousand births, many aeons of world-contraction, many aeons of world-expansion, many aeons of world-contraction and expansion … (as in AN 3:100) … Thus with their aspects and particulars he recollects his manifold past lives. This too is a Tathagata power of the Tathagata….

(9) Again, with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, the Tathagata sees beings passing away and reappearing, inferior and superior, fair and ugly, of good or bad destination. He understands beings as faring according to their deeds … (as in AN 3:100) …This too is a Tathagata power of the Tathagata….

(10) Again, the Tathagata, by the destruction of the taints, in this very life enters and dwells in the taintless liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom, having realised it for himself by direct knowledge. This too is a Tathagata power of the Tathagata, by reason of which he claims the foremost rank, roars his lion’s roar in the assemblies and sets rolling the supreme Wheel of the Dhamma.

These, monks, are the ten Tathagata powers of the Tathagata, endowed with which the Tathagata claims the foremost rank, roars his lion’s roar in the assemblies and sets rolling the supreme Wheel of the Dhamma.

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