Spreading The Dhamma

CHAPTER FIVE

Spreading the Dhamma

Then the thought occurred to the Blessed One, “To whom should I teach the Dhamma first? Who will quickly understand this Dhamma?” Then the thought occurred to him, “This Āḷāra Kālāma is wise, competent, intelligent. He has long had little dust in his eyes. What if I were to teach him the Dhamma first? He will quickly understand this Dhamma.” Then an invisible devatā informed the Blessed One, “Lord, Āḷāra Kālāma died seven days ago.” And knowledge & vision arose within him: “Āḷāra Kālāma died seven days ago.” The thought occurred to him, “Greatly deprived is Āḷāra Kālāma. If he had heard this Dhamma, he would have quickly understood it.”

Then the thought occurred to the Blessed One, “To whom should I teach the Dhamma first? Who will quickly understand this Dhamma?” Then the thought occurred to him, “This Uddaka Rāmaputta is wise, competent, intelligent. He has long had little dust in his eyes. What if I were to teach him the Dhamma first? He will quickly understand this Dhamma.” Then an invisible devatā informed the Blessed One, “Lord, Uddaka Rāmaputta died last night.” And knowledge & vision arose within him: “Uddaka Rāmaputta died last night.” The thought occurred to him, “Greatly deprived is Uddaka Rāmaputta. If he had heard this Dhamma, he would have quickly understood it.”

Then the thought occurred to the Blessed One, “To whom should I teach the Dhamma first? Who will quickly understand this Dhamma?” Then the thought occurred to him, “They were very helpful to me, the group of five monks who attended to me when I was resolute in exertion. What if I were to teach them the Dhamma first?” Then the thought occurred to the Blessed One, “Where are the group of five monks staying now?” And with the divine eye, purified & surpassing the human, he saw that they were staying near Vārāṇasī in the Isipatana game reserve.

Then, having stayed at Uruvelā as long as he liked, the Blessed One set out to wander by stages to Vārāṇasī. Upaka the Ājīvaka saw him on the road between Gayā and the (place of) awakening, and on seeing him said to him, “Clear, my friend, are your faculties. Pure your complexion, and bright. On whose account have you gone forth? Who is your teacher? In whose Dhamma do you delight?”

When this was said, the Blessed One replied to Upaka the Ājīvaka in verses:

“All-conquering,

all-knowing am I,

with regard to all things,

unadhering.

All-abandoning,

released in the ending of craving:

Having fully known on my own,

to whom should I point as my teacher?

I have no teacher,

and one like me can’t be found.

In the cosmos with its devas,

I have no counterpart.

For I am an arahant in the cosmos;

I, the unexcelled teacher.

I, alone, am rightly self-awakened.

Cooled am I,     unbound.

To set rolling the wheel of Dhamma

I go to the city of Kāsi.

In a world become blind,

I beat the drum of the deathless.”

“From your claims, my friend, you must be an infinite victor.”

“Victors are those like me

who have reached the end of effluents.

I’ve defeated evil qualities,

and so, Upaka, I’m a victor.”

When this was said, Upaka said, “May it be so, my friend,” and—shaking his head, taking a side road—he left.

Then, wandering by stages, the Blessed One arrived at Vārāṇasī, at the Isipatana game reserve, where the group of five monks were staying. They saw him coming from afar and, on seeing him, made a pact with one another, (saying,) “Friends, here comes Gotama the contemplative: living luxuriously, straying from his exertion, backsliding into abundance. He isn’t to be bowed down to, to be greeted by standing up, or to have his robe & bowl received. Still, a seat should be laid out; if he wants to, he can sit down.” But as the Blessed One approached, the group of five monks, unable to keep to their pact, went out to greet him. One received his robe & bowl. Another laid out a seat. Another set out water for washing his feet. Another set out a foot stand. Another set out a pebble foot-washer.

The Blessed One sat down on the seat laid out and, seated, washed his feet. Still, they addressed the Blessed One by name and as “friend.” When this was said, the Blessed One said to them, “Monks, don’t address the Tathāgata by name and as ‘friend.’ The Tathāgata, monks, is a worthy one, rightly self-awakened. Lend ear, monks: The deathless has been attained. I will instruct you. I will teach you the Dhamma. Practicing as instructed, you will in no long time reach & remain in the supreme goal of the holy life for which clansmen rightly go forth from home into homelessness, knowing & realizing it for yourselves in the here-&-now.”

When this was said, the group of five monks replied to the Blessed One, “But, friend Gotama, by that practice, that conduct, that performance of austerities you did not attain any superior human states, any distinction in knowledge & vision worthy of a noble one. So how can you now—living luxuriously, straying from your exertion, backsliding into abundance—have attained any superior human states, any distinction in knowledge & vision worthy of a noble one?”

When this was said, the Blessed One replied to them, “The Tathāgata, monks, is not living luxuriously, has not strayed from his exertion, has not backslid into abundance. The Tathāgata, friends, is a worthy one, rightly self-awakened. Lend ear, friends: The deathless has been attained. I will instruct you. I will teach you the Dhamma. Practicing as instructed, you will in no long time reach & remain in the supreme goal of the holy life for which clansmen rightly go forth from home into homelessness, knowing & realizing it for yourselves in the here-&-now.”

A second time… A third time, the group of five monks said to the Blessed One, “But, friend Gotama, by that practice, that conduct, that performance of austerities you did not attain any superior human states, any distinction in knowledge & vision worthy of a noble one. So how can you now—living luxuriously, straying from your exertion, backsliding into abundance—have attained any superior human states, any distinction in knowledge & vision worthy of a noble one?”

When this was said, the Blessed One replied to the group of five monks, “Do you recall my ever having said this51 before now?”

“No, lord.”

“The Tathāgata, monks, is a worthy one, rightly self-awakened. Lend ear, monks: The deathless has been attained. I will instruct you. I will teach you the Dhamma. Practicing as instructed, you will in no long time reach & remain in the supreme goal of the holy life for which clansmen rightly go forth from home into homelessness, knowing & realizing it for yourselves in the here-&-now.”

And so the Blessed One was able to convince them. Then the group of five monks listened carefully to the Blessed One. They lent their ears and determined their minds for the sake of knowledge.

SETTING THE WHEEL OF DHAMMA IN MOTION

The Blessed One then addressed the group of five monks:

“There are these two extremes that are not to be indulged in by one who has gone forth: that which is devoted to sensual pleasure with reference to sensual objects: base, vulgar, common, ignoble, unprofitable; and that which is devoted to self-affliction: painful, ignoble, unprofitable. Avoiding both of these extremes, the middle way realized by the Tathāgata—producing vision, producing knowledge—leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to unbinding.

“And what is the middle way realized by the Tathāgata that—producing vision, producing knowledge—leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to unbinding? Precisely this noble eightfold path: right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. This is the middle way realized by the Tathāgata that—producing vision, producing knowledge—leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to unbinding.

“Now this, monks, is the noble truth of stress:52 Birth is stressful, aging is stressful, death is stressful; sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair are stressful; association with the unbeloved is stressful, separation from the loved is stressful, not getting what is wanted is stressful. In short, the five clinging-aggregates are stressful.53

“And this, monks, is the noble truth of the origination of stress: the craving that makes for further-becoming—accompanied by passion & delight, relishing now here & now there—i.e., craving for sensual pleasure, craving for becoming, craving for non-becoming.54

“And this, monks, is the noble truth of the cessation of stress: the remainderless fading & cessation, renunciation, relinquishment, release, & letting go of that very craving.

“And this, monks, is the noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress: precisely this noble eightfold path—right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.55

“Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before: ‘This is the noble truth of stress.’ Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before: ‘This noble truth of stress is to be comprehended.’ Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before:‘ This noble truth of stress has been comprehended.’

“Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before: ‘This is the noble truth of the origination of stress’… ‘This noble truth of the origination of stress is to be abandoned’56 … ‘This noble truth of the origination of stress has been abandoned.’

“Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before: ‘This is the noble truth of the cessation of stress’… ‘This noble truth of the cessation of stress is to be directly experienced’… ‘This noble truth of the cessation of stress has been directly experienced.’

“Vision arose, insight arose, discernment arose, knowledge arose, illumination arose within me with regard to things never heard before: ‘This is the noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress’… ‘This noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress is to be developed’… ‘This noble truth of the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress has been developed.’

“And, monks, as long as this—my three-round, twelve-permutation knowledge & vision concerning these four noble truths57 as they have come to be—was not pure, I did not claim to have directly awakened to the right self-awakening unexcelled in the cosmos with its devas, Māras, & Brahmās, with its contemplatives & brahmans, its royalty & common people. But as soon as this—my three-round, twelve-permutation knowledge & vision concerning these four noble truths as they have come to be—was truly pure, then I did claim to have directly awakened to the right self-awakening unexcelled in the cosmos with its devas, Māras & Brahmās, with its contemplatives & brahmans, its royalty & common people. Knowledge & vision arose in me: ‘Unprovoked is my release. This is the last birth. There is now no further-becoming.’”

And while this explanation was being given, there arose for Ven. Koṇḍañña the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye: Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.”

And when the Blessed One had set the Wheel of Dhamma in motion, the Earth Devas cried out: “Near Vārāṇasī, in the Isipatana game reserve, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by contemplative or brahman, deva, Māra, or Brahmā, or anyone at all in the cosmos.” On hearing the Earth Devas‘ cry, the Devas of the Four Great Kings took up the cry… the Devas of the Thirty-three… the Devas of the Hours… the Contented [Tusita] Devas… the Devas Delighting in Creation… the Devas Wielding Power over the Creations of Others… the Devas of Brahmā’s Retinue took up the cry: “Near Vārāṇasī, in the Isipatana game reserve, the Blessed One has set in motion the unexcelled Wheel of Dhamma that cannot be stopped by contemplative or brahman, deva, Māra, or Brahmā, or anyone at all in the cosmos.”

So in that moment, that instant, the cry shot right up to the Brahmā worlds. And this ten-thousand fold cosmos shivered & quivered & quaked, while a great, measureless radiance appeared in the cosmos, surpassing the effulgence of the devas.

Then the Blessed One exclaimed: “So you really know, Koṇḍañña? So you really know?”58 And that is how Ven. Koṇḍañña acquired the name Aññā-Koṇḍañña—Koṇḍañña who knows.

Then Ven. Aññā-Koṇḍañña—having seen the Dhamma, having attained the Dhamma, having known the Dhamma, having gained a footing in the Dhamma, having crossed over and beyond uncertainty, having no more perplexity, having gained fearlessness, independence of others with regard to the Teacher’s message—said to the Blessed One, “May I receive the Going-forth in the Blessed One’s presence? May I receive the Acceptance?”

“Come, monk,” said the Blessed One. “Well taught is the Dhamma. Live the holy life for the right ending of stress.” That was the venerable one’s Acceptance.

Then the Blessed One taught and admonished the remaining monks with a talk on Dhamma. Then, for Ven. Vappa & Ven. Bhaddiya—as they were being taught and admonished by the Blessed One with a talk on Dhamma—there arose the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye: “Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.”

They—having seen the Dhamma, having attained the Dhamma, having known the Dhamma, having gained a footing in the Dhamma, having crossed over and beyond uncertainty, having no more perplexity, having gained fearlessness, independence of others with regard to the Teacher’s message—said to the Blessed One, “May we receive the Going-forth in the Blessed One’s presence? May we receive the Acceptance?”

“Come, monks,” said the Blessed One. “Well taught is the Dhamma. Live the holy life for the right ending of stress.” That was the venerable ones’ Acceptance.

Then the Blessed One, subsisting on food brought to him, taught and admonished the remaining monks with talk on the Dhamma. Whatever three monks brought back, having gone on their almsround, all six of the group sustained themselves with that. Then, for Ven. Mahānāma and Ven. Assaji—as they were being taught and admonished by the Blessed One with talk on Dhamma—there arose the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye: “Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.” They—having seen the Dhamma, having attained the Dhamma, having known the Dhamma, having gained a footing in the Dhamma, having crossed over and beyond uncertainty, having no more perplexity, having gained fearlessness, independence of others with regard to the Teacher’s message—said to the Blessed One, “May we receive the Going-forth in the Blessed One’s presence? May we receive the Acceptance?”

“Come, monks,” said the Blessed One. “Well taught is the Dhamma. Live the holy life for the right ending of stress.” That was the venerable ones’ Acceptance.

THE NOT-SELF DISCOURSE

Then the Blessed One addressed the group of five monks:

“Form, monks, is not self. If form were the self, this form would not lend itself to dis-ease. It would be possible (to say) with regard to form, ‘Let my form be thus. Let my form not be thus.’ But precisely because form is not self, this form lends itself to dis-ease. And it is not possible (to say) with regard to form, ‘Let my form be thus. Let my form not be thus.’

“Feeling is not self.…

“Perception is not self.…

“Fabrications are not self.…

“Consciousness is not self. If consciousness were the self, this consciousness would not lend itself to dis-ease. It would be possible (to say) with regard to consciousness, ‘Let my consciousness be thus. Let my consciousness not be thus.’ But precisely because consciousness is not self, consciousness lends itself to dis-ease. And it is not possible (to say) with regard to consciousness, ‘Let my consciousness be thus. Let my consciousness not be thus.’

“What do you think, monks? Is form constant or inconstant?”

“Inconstant, lord.”

“And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?”

“Stressful, lord.”

“And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: ‘This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am’?”

“No, lord.”

“… Is feeling constant or inconstant?”—“Inconstant, lord.”…

“… Is perception constant or inconstant?”—“Inconstant, lord.”…

“… Are fabrications constant or inconstant?”—“Inconstant, lord.”…

“What do you think, monks? Is consciousness constant or inconstant?”

“Inconstant, lord.”

“And is that which is inconstant easeful or stressful?”

“Stressful, lord.”

“And is it fitting to regard what is inconstant, stressful, subject to change as: ‘This is mine. This is my self. This is what I am’?”

“No, lord.”

“Thus, monks, any form whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: Every59 form is to be seen with right discernment as it has come to be: ‘This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.’

“Any feeling whatsoever…

“Any perception whatsoever…

“Any fabrications whatsoever…

“Any consciousness whatsoever that is past, future, or present; internal or external; blatant or subtle; common or sublime; far or near: Every consciousness is to be seen with right discernment as it has come to be: ‘This is not mine. This is not my self. This is not what I am.’

“Seeing thus, the instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with form, disenchanted with feeling, disenchanted with perception, disenchanted with fabrications, disenchanted with consciousness. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is released. With release, there is the knowledge, ‘Released.’ He discerns that ‘Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.’”

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the group of five monks delighted in the Blessed One’s words. And while this explanation was being given, the minds of the group of five monks, through lack of clinging/sustenance, were released from effluents.

At that time there were six arahants in the world. — Mv 1:6

“Then the group of five monks—thus exhorted, thus instructed by me—being subject themselves to birth, seeing the drawbacks of birth, seeking the unborn, unexcelled rest from the yoke, unbinding, reached the unborn, unexcelled rest from the yoke: unbinding. Being subject themselves to aging… illness… death… sorrow… defilement, seeing the drawbacks of aging… illness… death… sorrow… defilement, seeking the aging-less, illness-less, deathless, sorrow-less, unexcelled rest from the yoke, unbinding, they reached the aging-less, illness-less, deathless, sorrow-less, unexcelled rest from the yoke: unbinding. Knowledge & vision arose in them: ‘Unprovoked is our release. This is the last birth. There is now no further-becoming.’” — MN 26

At that time in Vārāṇasī there was young man of good family named Yasa—delicate, a moneylender’s son. He had three palaces: one for the cold season, one for the hot season, and one for the rainy season. During the four months of the rainy season he was entertained in the rainy-season palace by minstrels without a single man among them, and he did not come down once from the palace.

Then the young man Yasa, enjoying himself, provided & endowed with the five strings of sensuality, fell asleep first. Then his retinue fell asleep afterward. An oil lamp was left burning the whole night.

Then Yasa, waking up first, saw his retinue sleeping—one with a lute under her arm, another with a mudiṅga drum around her neck, another with an āḷambara drum on her chest, another with disheveled hair, another drooling, another babbling in her sleep—like a charnel ground, as it were, right within reach. Seeing this, the drawbacks [of sensuality] became apparent, and his mind became established in disenchantment. He exclaimed: “How distressing! How oppressive!”

Then Yasa put on his golden slippers and went to the door of the residence. Non-human beings opened the door, (thinking,) “May there not be any obstacles to Yasa’s Going-forth from home into homelessness.” Then Yasa went to the gate of the city. Non-human beings opened the gate, (thinking,) “May there not be any obstacles to Yasa’s Going-forth from home into homelessness.” Then Yasa went to the Isipatana game reserve.

At that time, the Blessed One, having gotten up as the night was ending, was walking back and forth in the open air. He saw Yasa coming from afar and, on seeing him, got down from the walking path and sat down on a seat laid out.

Yasa, not far from the Blessed One, exclaimed: “How distressing! How oppressive!”

Then the Blessed One said to Yasa, “Yasa, this isn’t distressing. This isn’t oppressive. “Come, Yasa. Sit down. I’ll teach you the Dhamma.”

Then Yasa, (thinking,) “He says this isn’t distressing, this isn’t oppressive,” thrilled & exultant, took off his golden slippers, went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, the Blessed One gave him a graduated talk: a talk on giving, a talk on virtue, a talk on heaven; he proclaimed the drawbacks of, degradation in, & defilement in sensuality, and the rewards of renunciation. Then—when he knew that Yasa was of ready mind, malleable mind, unhindered mind, exultant mind, confident mind—he proclaimed to him the distinctive teaching of the Buddhas: stress, origination, cessation, path. Just as a clean piece of cloth, free from grime, would properly take dye, in the same way, the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye arose for Yasa as he was sitting right there: “Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.”

Then Yasa’s mother, going up into the palace and not seeing Yasa, went to the moneylender and, on arrival, said to him, “Householder, your son Yasa is nowhere to be seen.”

So the moneylender sent messengers on horseback out in the four directions whereas he himself went to the Isipatana game reserve. He saw the tracks of the golden slippers and, on seeing them, followed them.

The Blessed One saw him coming from afar, and the thought occurred to him, “Why don’t I fabricate a fabrication of supranormal power such that the moneylender, sitting here, wouldn’t see Yasa sitting here?” So the Blessed One fabricated such a fabrication of supranormal power.

The moneylender approached the Blessed One and said, “Perhaps, lord, the Blessed One has seen Yasa, the son of a good family?”

“In that case, householder, sit down. Perhaps, sitting here, you might see Yasa sitting here.”

Then the moneylender—(thinking,) “He says I might, sitting right here, see Yasa sitting here,” thrilled & exultant, bowed down to the Blessed One and sat to one side. As he was sitting there, the Blessed One gave him a graduated talk: a talk on giving, a talk on virtue, a talk on heaven; he proclaimed the drawbacks of, degradation in, & defilement in sensuality, and the rewards of renunciation. Then—when he knew that the moneylender was of ready mind, malleable mind, unhindered mind, exultant mind, confident mind—he proclaimed to him the distinctive teaching of the Buddhas: stress, origination, cessation, path. Just as a clean piece of cloth, free from grime, would properly take dye, in the same way, the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye arose for the moneylender as he was sitting right there: “Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.”

Then the moneylender, having seen the Dhamma… said to the Blessed One, “Magnificent, lord! Magnificent! Just as if he were to place upright what was overturned, to reveal what was hidden, to show the way to one who was lost, or to carry a lamp into the dark so that those with eyes could see forms, in the same way, has the Blessed One—through many lines of reasoning—made the Dhamma clear. I go to the Blessed One for refuge, to the Dhamma, & to the Saṅgha of monks. May the Blessed One remember me as a lay follower who has gone for refuge from this day forward, for life.”

And so he was the first three-statement lay disciple in the world.

As Yasa’s father was being taught the Dhamma, and as Yasa was reflecting on his own state (of mind) as he saw and knew it, his mind was, through lack of clinging/sustenance, released from effluents. Then the thought occurred to the Blessed One, “As Yasa’s father was being taught the Dhamma, and as Yasa was reflecting on his own state (of mind) as he saw and knew it, his mind was, through lack of clinging/sustenance, released from effluents. It would be impossible for Yasa to revert to the lower life and indulge in sensuality as he did before as a householder. Why don’t I make that fabrication of supranormal power subside?”

So the Blessed One made that fabrication of supranormal power subside. The moneylender saw Yasa sitting there and on seeing him said to him, “Yasa, my son, your mother is lamenting and full of grief. Give your mother her life!”

Then Yasa looked to the Blessed One, so the Blessed One said to the moneylender, “What do you think, householder: For one who has seen and known the Dhamma with the knowledge and vision of one in training, just as you have, reflecting on this state (of mind) as he saw and knew it, whose mind was, through lack of clinging/sustenance, released from effluents: Would it be possible for him to revert to the lower life and indulge in sensuality as he did before as a householder?”

“No, lord.”

“Householder, Yasa has seen and known the Dhamma with the knowledge and vision of one in training, just as you have. Reflecting on his own state as he saw and knew it, his mind was, through lack of clinging/sustenance, released from effluents. It would be impossible for Yasa to revert to the lower life and indulge in sensuality as he did before as a householder.”

“It’s a gain for Yasa, lord, a great gain for Yasa, that his mind is, through lack of clinging/sustenance, released from effluents! May the Blessed One acquiesce to my meal tomorrow, with Yasa as your attendant monk.”

The Blessed One acquiesced with silence.

Then the moneylender, understanding the Blessed One’s acquiescence, got up from his seat, bowed down to the Blessed One, circumambulated him, keeping him to his right, and left.

Then Yasa, not long after the moneylender had left, said to the Blessed One, “May I receive the Going-forth in the Blessed One’s presence? May I receive the Acceptance?”

“Come, monk,” said the Blessed One. “Well taught is the Dhamma. Live the holy life.”60

That was the venerable one’s Acceptance.

Now there were seven arahants in the world. — Mv 1:7

Ven. Yasa:

Well perfumed, well dressed,

adorned with every adornment,

I attained the three knowledges.

The Buddha’s bidding: done. — Thag 1:117

Then, early in the morning, the Blessed One—having adjusted his under robe and carrying his bowl & outer robe, and with Ven. Yasa as his attendant monk—went to the moneylender’s residence and, on arrival, sat down on a seat laid out. Then Ven. Yasa’s mother & his former wife went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down, sat to one side. The Blessed One gave them a graduated talk: a talk on giving, a talk on virtue, a talk on heaven; he proclaimed the drawbacks of, degradation in, & defilement in sensuality, and the rewards of renunciation. Then—when he knew that they were of ready mind, malleable mind, unhindered mind, exultant mind, confident mind—he proclaimed to them the distinctive teaching of the Buddhas: stress, origination, cessation, path. Just as a clean piece of cloth, free from grime, would properly take dye, in the same way, the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye arose for them as they were sitting right there: “Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.”

Then they, having seen the Dhamma… said to the Blessed One, “Magnificent, lord! Magnificent! … May the Blessed One remember us as female lay followers who have gone for refuge from this day forward, for life.”

They were the first three-statement female lay disciples in the world.

Then Ven. Yasa’s mother, father, & former wife, with their own hands, served & satisfied the Blessed One and Ven. Yasa with exquisite staple & non-staple food. When the Blessed One had finished his meal and had rinsed his bowl & hands, they sat to one side. The Blessed One, having instructed, urged, roused, & encouraged Yasa’s mother, father, & former wife with Dhamma talk, got up from his seat and left. — Mv 1:8

Four of Yasa’s householder friends—Vimala, Subāhu, Puṇṇaji, & Gavampati—sons of wealthy & moderately wealthy families in Vārāṇasī, heard that “Yasa, they say, has shaved off his hair & beard, clothed himself in the ochre robes, and gone forth from home into homelessness.”

Having heard that, the thought occurred to them, “It must not be lowly, this Dhamma & Vinaya, nor lowly this Going-forth, in which Yasa—having shaved off his hair & beard and clothing himself in ochre robes—went forth.”

They went to Ven. Yasa and, on arrival, bowed down to him and stood to one side. Then Ven. Yasa took his four householder friends to the Blessed One. On arrival, they bowed down to the Blessed One and sat to one side. As he was sitting there, Ven. Yasa said, “Lord, these are four of my householder friends—Vimalo, Subāhu, Puṇṇaji, & Gavampati—sons of wealthy & moderately wealthy families in Vārāṇasī. May the Blessed One teach and exhort them.”

The Blessed One gave them a graduated talk: a talk on giving, a talk on virtue, a talk on heaven; he proclaimed the drawbacks of, degradation in, & defilement in sensuality, and the rewards of renunciation. Then—when he knew that they were of ready mind, malleable mind, unhindered mind, exultant mind, confident mind—he proclaimed to them the distinctive teaching of the Buddhas: stress, origination, cessation, path. Just as a clean piece of cloth, free from grime, would properly take dye, in the same way, the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye arose for them as they were sitting right there: “Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.”

Then they—having seen the Dhamma… said to the Blessed One, “May we receive the Going-forth in the Blessed One’s presence? May we receive the Acceptance?”

“Come, monks,” said the Blessed One. “Well taught is the Dhamma. Live the holy life for the right ending of stress.”

That was the venerable ones’ Acceptance.

Then the Blessed One taught and exhorted the monks with talk on the Dhamma. Being taught and exhorted by the Blessed One with talk on the Dhamma, their minds were, through lack of clinging/sustenance, released from effluents.

Now there were eleven arahants in the world.

Fifty of Yasa’s householder friends from the countryside—sons of prominent and moderately prominent families—heard, “Yasa, they say, has shaved off his hair & beard, clothed himself in the ochre robes, and gone forth from home into homelessness.”

Having heard that, the thought occurred to them, “It must not be lowly, this Dhamma & Vinaya, nor lowly this Going-forth, in which Yasa—having shaved off his hair & beard and clothing himself in ochre robes—went forth.”

They went to Ven. Yasa and, on arrival, bowed down to him and stood to one side. Then Ven. Yasa took his fifty householder friends to the Blessed One. On arrival, they bowed down to the Blessed One and sat to one side. As he was sitting there, Ven. Yasa said to the Blessed One, “Lord, these are fifty of my householder friends from the countryside—sons of prominent and moderately prominent families. May the Blessed One teach and exhort them.”

The Blessed One gave them a graduated talk: a talk on giving, a talk on virtue, a talk on heaven; he proclaimed the drawbacks of, degradation in, & defilement in sensuality, and the rewards of renunciation. Then—when he knew that they were of ready mind, malleable mind, unhindered mind, exultant mind, confident mind—he proclaimed to them the distinctive teaching of the Buddhas: stress, origination, cessation, path. Just as a clean piece of cloth, free from grime, would properly take dye, in the same way, the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye arose for them as they were sitting right there: “Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.”

Then they—having seen the Dhamma… said to the Blessed One, “May we receive the Going-forth in the Blessed One’s presence? May we receive the Acceptance?”

“Come, monks,” said the Blessed One. “Well taught is the Dhamma. Live the holy life for the right ending of stress.”

That was the venerable ones’ Acceptance.

Then the Blessed One taught and exhorted the monks with talk on the Dhamma. Then, being taught and exhorted by the Blessed One with talk on the Dhamma, their minds were, through lack of clinging/sustenance, released from effluents.

Now there were sixty-one arahants in the world.

Then the Blessed One addressed the monks, “I am released, monks, from all snares, human & divine. You, too, monks, are also released from all snares, human & divine. Wander, monks, for the benefit & happiness of many, out of sympathy for the world, for the welfare, benefit, & happiness of devas & human beings. Don’t any two of you go by the same way. Teach the Dhamma fine in the beginning, fine in the middle, fine in the end. Proclaim the holy life both in its particulars & in its essence, entirely complete, surpassingly pure. There are beings with little dust in their eyes who are falling away because they do not hear the Dhamma. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma. As for me, I will go to the military town of Uruvelā to teach the Dhamma.”

Then Māra the Evil One went to the Blessed One and recited this verse in his presence:

Māra:

“You’re bound by all snares,

human & divine.

You’re bound by a great bond.

Contemplative,

you’re not freed from me.”

The Buddha:

“I’m released from all snares,

human & divine.

I’m freed from the great bond.

You, End-maker,

are struck down.”

Māra:

”A snare of the mind,

traveling in the air—

I will bind you with it.

Contemplative,

you’re not freed from me.”

The Buddha:

“Forms, sounds, aromas, & tastes,

tactile sensations that delight the mind:

My desire there is gone.

You, End-maker,

are struck down.”

Then Māra the Evil One—sad & dejected at realizing, “The Blessed One knows me; the One Well-Gone knows me”—vanished right there.

At that time, the monks were bringing those wanting the Going-forth and wanting the Acceptance from many countries & many directions, (thinking,) “The Blessed One will give them the Going-forth & the Acceptance.” That tired the monks, along with those wanting the Going-forth, wanting the Acceptance.

Then, when the Blessed One was alone in seclusion, this train of thought arose in his awareness: “At this time, the monks are bringing those wanting the Going-forth and those wanting the Acceptance from many countries & many directions, (thinking,) ‘The Blessed One will give them the Going-forth & the Acceptance.’ That tires the monks, along with those wanting the Going-forth, wanting the Acceptance. Why don’t I allow the monks: ‘Monks, you may now give the Going-forth & the Acceptance in whatever country, in whatever direction.’”

Then, in the late afternoon, rising from seclusion, the Blessed One had the monks assembled for that reason, on that occasion, and gave them a Dhamma talk. He addressed the monks, “Just now, when I was alone in seclusion, this train of thought arose in my awareness: ‘At this time, the monks are bringing those wanting the Going-forth.… Why don’t I allow the monks: “Monks, you may now give the Going-forth & the Acceptance in whatever country, in whatever direction.”’ I allow you, monks, to now give the Going-forth & the Acceptance in whatever country, in whatever direction.”

“The Going-forth & Acceptance should be given like this: First—having gotten him to shave his head & beard, to clothe himself in ochre robes, to arrange his robe over one shoulder, to bow down at the feet of the monks, to sit in the kneeling position, and to raise his hands palm-to-palm in front of the heart—tell him, ‘Say this: “I go to the Buddha for refuge. I go to the Dhamma for refuge. I go to the Saṅgha for refuge. A second time, I go to the Buddha for refuge. A second time, I go to the Dhamma for refuge. A second time, I go to the Saṅgha for refuge. A third time, I go to the Buddha for refuge. A third time, I go to the Dhamma for refuge. A third time, I go to the Saṅgha for refuge.”’

“Monks, I allow the Going-forth & the Acceptance by means of these three goings for refuge.”

At that time, having spent the Rains, the Blessed One addressed the monks, “It was through appropriate attention & appropriate right exertion that I attained unexcelled release, realized unexcelled release. It was through appropriate attention & appropriate right exertion that you, too, attained unexcelled release, realized unexcelled release.”

Then Māra the Evil One went to the Blessed One and recited this verse in his presence:

Māra:

“You’re bound by Māra’s snares,

human & divine.

You’re bound by Māra’s61 bond—

Contemplative,

you’re not freed from me.”

The Buddha:

“I’m released from Māra’s snares,

human & divine.

I’m freed from Māra’s bond—

You, End-maker,

are struck down.”

Then Māra the Evil One—sad & dejected at realizing, “The Blessed One knows me; the One Well-Gone knows me”—vanished right there.

THE THIRTY FRIENDS

Then the Blessed One, having stayed near Vārāṇasī as long as he liked, set out wandering toward Uruvelā. Coming down from the road, the Blessed One went to a certain forest grove and, on arrival, plunging into it, sat down at the root of a certain tree.

At that time, a group of thirty friends, Bhaddavaggiyas, were entertaining themselves with their wives in the forest grove. One of them had no wife, so, for that purpose, they brought a prostitute. As they were heedlessly entertaining themselves, the prostitute took the one man’s belongings and ran off.

Then the other friends, as they were helping him out—searching for the woman and wandering around in the forest grove—saw the Blessed One sitting at the root of a certain tree. They went to him and said, “Perhaps, lord, the Blessed One has seen a woman?”

“Young men, what do you want with a woman?”

“Just now, lord, we thirty friends, Bhaddavaggiyas, were entertaining ourselves with our wives in the forest grove. One of us has no wife, so, for that purpose, we brought along a prostitute. Then, as we were heedlessly entertaining ourselves, the prostitute took his belongings and ran off. For that reason62 we’re helping him out—searching for the woman and wandering around in the forest grove.”

“What do you think, young men, which is better for you: that you search for a woman or that you search for yourselves?”

“Surely, lord, it’s better for us to search for ourselves.”

“In that case, young men, sit down. I’ll teach you the Dhamma.”

Responding, “As you say, lord” to the Blessed One, the group of friends bowed down to the Blessed One and sat to one side.

The Blessed One gave them a graduated talk: a talk on giving, a talk on virtue, a talk on heaven; he proclaimed the drawbacks of, degradation in, & defilement in sensuality, and the rewards of renunciation. Then—when he knew that they were of ready mind, malleable mind, unhindered mind, exultant mind, confident mind—he proclaimed to them the distinctive teaching of the Buddhas: stress, origination, cessation, path. Just as a clean piece of cloth free from grime would properly take dye, in the same way, the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye arose for them as they were sitting right there: “Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.”

Then they—having seen the Dhamma… said to the Blessed One, “May we receive the Going-forth in the Blessed One’s presence? May we receive the Acceptance?”

“Come, monks,” said the Blessed One. “Well taught is the Dhamma. Live the holy life for the right ending of stress.” That was the venerable ones’ Acceptance.

THE THREE KASSAPA BROTHERS

Then the Blessed One, traveling by stages, arrived at Uruvelā. At that time, three dreadlocked ascetics were dwelling near Uruvelā: Uruvelakassapa, Nadīkassapa, & Gayākassapa. Among them, Uruvelakassapa was the leader of five hundred dreadlocked ascetics—their trainer, head, foremost, & chief. Nadīkassapa was the leader of three hundred dreadlocked ascetics—their trainer, head, foremost, & chief. Gayākassapa was the leader of two hundred dreadlocked ascetics—their trainer, head, foremost, & chief.

Then the Blessed One went to Uruvelakassapa’s ashram and said to Uruvelakassapa, “If it’s not a burden for you, Kassapa, we would stay one night in your fire hall.”

“It’s not a burden for me, Great Contemplative. But there is a fierce nāga king there—powerful, a fanged snake, terrifyingly poisonous. May he not harass you.”

A second time… A third time, the Blessed One said to Uruvelakassapa, “If it’s not a burden for you, Kassapa, we would stay one night in your fire hall.”

“It’s not a burden for me, Great Contemplative. But there is a fierce nāga king there—powerful, a fanged snake, terrifyingly poisonous. May he not harass you.”

“Perhaps he wouldn’t harass me. Please, Kassapa, allow the fire hall.”

“Stay as you like, Great Contemplative.”

Then the Blessed One, having entered the fire hall and laid out a grass mat, sat down cross-legged with his body erect, establishing mindfulness to the fore. The nāga saw that the Blessed One had entered and, on seeing him, was upset, disgruntled, and emitted smoke. The thought occurred to the Blessed One, “Why don’t I—without damaging his outer skin, inner skin, flesh, tendons, bones, or bone marrow—consume the nāga’s fire with my own fire?”

Then the Blessed One fabricated such a fabrication of supranormal power that he emitted smoke. The nāga, unable to bear the insult, blazed up. The Blessed One entered the fire property and blazed up. With both of them all ablaze, the fire hall was as if on fire—flaming & glowing.

Then the dreadlocked ascetics surrounded the fire hall and thought, “That handsome Great Contemplative is being harassed by the nāga!”

Then, as the night was ending, the Blessed One, having consumed the nāga’s fire with fire—without damaging his outer skin, inner skin, flesh, tendons, bones, or bone marrow—put him in his bowl and showed him to Uruvelakassapa, the dreadlocked ascetic, “Here, Kassapa, is your nāga, his fire consumed by fire.”

The thought occurred to Uruvelakassapa, “He’s powerful, the Great Contemplative, and mighty, in that he consumed with fire the fire of the fierce nāga king, the fanged snake, terrifyingly poisonous! But still, he’s not an arahant like me.”

At the Nerañjarā,

the Blessed One said

to the dreadlocked ascetic Uruvelakassapa,

“If it’s not a burden, Kassapa,

I’ll stay a day in your fire hall.”

“It’s no burden, Great Contemplative,

but—desiring your comfort—

I forbid it.

A fierce nāga king is there—

powerful, a fanged snake,

terrifyingly poisonous.

I don’t want him to harass you.”

“Perhaps he won’t harass me.

Come now, Kassapa,

allow me the fire hall.”

Knowing that “It’s given,”

fearless—gone beyond fear—he entered.

Seeing the seer enter,

the nāga-snake, disgruntled,

emitted smoke.

With joyous mind,

confident mind,

the nāga63 of a man

also emitted smoke.

Not bearing the insult,

the nāga-snake blazed up

like an inferno.

Skilled in the fire property,

the nāga of a man

blazed up right there as well.

With both of them as if on fire,

the fire hall was ablaze,

glowing & flaming.

The dreadlocked ascetics stared—

“That handsome Great Contemplative,

is being harassed by the nāga!”

they said.

Then at the night’s end

the nāga-snake’s flames were no more,

but the many-colored flames

of the Powerful One remained:

blue & also red,

crimson, yellow,

& the color of quartz,

on the body of the Radiant One.

Multi-colored were the flames.

Putting him in his bowl,

he showed the nāga snake

to the brahman.

“This is your nāga, Kassapa,

his fire by fire consumed.”64

Then Uruvelakassapa, the dreadlocked ascetic, impressed at this, the marvel of the Blessed One’s supranormal power, said to him, “Stay right here, Great Contemplative. I’ll provide you with regular meals.

So the Blessed One stayed in a certain forest grove not far from Uruvelakassapa’s ashram.

Then, in the far extreme of the night, the Four Great Kings, their extreme radiance lighting up the entirety of the forest grove, went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, bowed down to him and stood in the four directions (from the Blessed One), like great masses of fire.

As the night was ending, Uruvelakassapa went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, said to him, “It’s time, Great Contemplative. The meal is ready. But who were they whose extreme radiance lit up the entirety of the forest grove in the far extreme of the night, who went to you and, on arrival, bowed down to you and stood in the four directions like great masses of fire?”

“Those, Kassapa, were the Four Great Kings, who came to me to listen to the Dhamma.”

The thought occurred to Uruvelakassapa, “He’s powerful, the Great Contemplative, and mighty, in that even the Four Great Kings come to listen to the Dhamma. But still, he’s not an arahant like me.”

Then the Blessed One, having eaten the meal provided by Uruvelakassapa, stayed on in the forest grove.

Then Sakka the deva-king, in the far extreme of the night, his extreme radiance lighting up the entirety of the forest grove, went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, bowed down to him and stood to one side, like a great mass of fire—more extreme and refined than the previous radiances of color.

As the night was ending, Uruvelakassapa went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, said to him, “It’s time, Great Contemplative. The meal is ready. But who was that whose extreme radiance lit up the entirety of the forest grove in the far extreme of the night, who went to you and, on arrival, bowed down to you and stood to one side like a great mass of fire—more extreme and refined than the previous radiances of color?”

“That, Kassapa, was Sakka the deva-king, who came to me to listen to the Dhamma.”

The thought occurred to Uruvelakassapa, “He’s powerful, the Great Contemplative, and mighty, in that even Sakka the deva-king comes to listen to the Dhamma. But still, he’s not an arahant like me.”

Then the Blessed One, having eaten the meal provided by Uruvelakassapa, stayed on in the forest grove.

Then the Brahmā Sahampati, in the far extreme of the night, his extreme radiance lighting up the entirety of the forest grove, went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, bowed down to him and stood to one side like a great mass of fire—more extreme and refined than the previous radiances of color.

As the night was ending, Uruvelakassapa went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, said to him, “It’s time, Great Contemplative. The meal is ready. But who was that whose extreme radiance lit up the entirety of the forest grove in the far extreme of the night, who went to you and, on arrival, bowed down to you and stood to one side like a great mass of fire—more extreme and refined than the previous radiances of color?”

“That, Kassapa, was the Brahmā Sahampati, who came to me to listen to the Dhamma.”

The thought occurred to Uruvelakassapa, “He’s powerful, the Great Contemplative, and mighty, in that even the Brahmā Sahampati comes to listen to the Dhamma. But still, he’s not an arahant like me.”

Then the Blessed One, having eaten the meal provided by Uruvelakassapa, stayed on in the forest grove.

At that time, Uruvelakassapa had prepared a great sacrifice, and people from the whole area of Magadha & Aṅga wanted to come, bringing along lots of staple & non-staple food. Then it occurred to Uruvelakassapa, “Right now I have prepared a great sacrifice, and people from the whole area of Magadha & Aṅga will come, bringing along lots of staple & non-staple food. If the Great Contemplative performs a marvel in front of the large crowd of people, his gains & honor will increase, whereas my gains & honor will dwindle. Oh, I hope the Great Contemplative doesn’t come tomorrow!”

Then the Blessed One, having known with his awareness the train of thought in Uruvelakassapa’s awareness, went to the northern Kuru country and, taking almsfood from there, consumed it at Anotatta Lake and spent the day right there.

As the night was ending, Uruvelakassapa went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, said to him, “It’s time, Great Contemplative. The meal is ready. But why didn’t you come yesterday, Great Contemplative? I even remember (thinking,) ‘Why isn’t the Great Contemplative coming?’ Your share of staple & non-staple food was set aside.”

“Didn’t it occur to you, ‘Right now I have prepared a great sacrifice, and people from the whole area of Magadha & Aṅga will come, bringing along lots of staple & non-staple food. If the Great Contemplative performs a marvel in front of the large crowd of people, his gains & honor will increase, whereas my gains & honor will dwindle. Oh, I hope the Great Contemplative doesn’t come tomorrow!’ Kassapa, having known with my awareness the train of thought in your awareness, I went to the northern Kuru country and, taking almsfood from there, consumed it at Anotatta Lake and spent the day right there.”

The thought occurred to Uruvelakassapa, “He’s powerful, the Great Contemplative, and mighty, in that he knew my awareness with his awareness. But still, he’s not an arahant like me.”

Then the Blessed One, having eaten the meal provided by Uruvelakassapa, stayed on in the forest grove.

At that time a cast-off cloth accrued to the Blessed One. He thought, “Where might I wash this cast-off cloth?”

Then Sakka the deva-king, having known with his awareness the train of thought in the Blessed One’s awareness, dug a reservoir with his hand and said to the Blessed One, “Lord, may the Blessed One wash the cast-off cloth here.”

The Blessed One thought, “On what might I scrub the cast-off cloth?”

Then Sakka the deva-king, having known with his awareness the train of thought in the Blessed One’s awareness, placed a large rock nearby, (saying,) “Lord, may the Blessed One scrub the cast-off cloth here.”

The Blessed One thought, “What will I hold onto to come out (of the water)?”

Then the deva living in the kakudha tree, having known with her awareness the train of thought in the Blessed One’s awareness, bent down a branch, (saying,) “Lord, may the Blessed One hold on here and come out.”

The Blessed One thought, “On what might I set out the cast-off cloth (to dry)?”

Then Sakka the deva-king, having known with his awareness the train of thought in the Blessed One’s awareness, placed a large rock nearby, (saying,) “Lord, may the Blessed One set out the cast-off cloth here.”

Then, as the night was ending, Uruvelakassapa went to the Blessed One and said to him, “It’s time, Great Contemplative. The meal is ready. But why is it, Great Contemplative, that before there wasn’t a reservoir here, and now there is a reservoir here? Before this rock wasn’t placed here. Who placed this rock here? Before the branch of this kakudha tree wasn’t bent down—now it’s bent down.”

“Just now, Kassapa, a cast-off cloth accrued to me. I thought, ‘Where might I wash this cast-off cloth?’

“Then Sakka the deva-king, having known with his awareness the train of thought in my awareness, dug a reservoir with his hand and said to me, ‘Lord, may the Blessed One wash the cast-off cloth here.’

“Kassapa, this reservoir was dug with a non-human hand.

“I thought, ‘On what might I scrub the cast-off cloth?’

“Then Sakka the deva-king, having known with his awareness the train of thought in my awareness, placed a large rock nearby, (saying,) ‘Lord, may the Blessed One scrub the cast-off cloth here.’

“Kassapa, this rock was placed by a non-human.

“I thought, ‘What will I hold onto to come out (of the water)?’

“Then the deva living in the kakudha tree, having known with her awareness the train of thought in my awareness, bent down a branch, (saying,) ‘Lord, may the Blessed One hold on here and come out.’

“This kakudha tree was brought to my hand.

“I thought, ‘On what might I set out the cast-off cloth (to dry)?’

“Then Sakka the deva-king, having known with his awareness the train of thought in my awareness, placed a large rock nearby, (saying,) ‘Lord, may the Blessed One set out the cast-off cloth here.’

“Kassapa, this rock was placed by a non-human.”

The thought occurred to Uruvelakassapa, “He’s powerful, the Great Contemplative, and mighty, in that Sakka the deva-king performed a service for him. But still, he’s not an arahant like me.”

Then the Blessed One, having eaten the meal provided by Uruvelakassapa, stayed on in the forest grove.

As the night was ending, Uruvelakassapa went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, said to him, “It’s time, Great Contemplative. The meal is ready.”

Sending Uruvelakassapa away—“You go on, Kassapa; I’m coming”—he took a fruit from the rose-apple tree after which the ‘Rose-apple Continent’65 is named, arrived first, and sat down in the fire hall.

Uruvelakassapa the dreadlocked ascetic saw the Blessed One sitting in the fire hall and, on seeing him, said, “By which road did you come, Great Contemplative? I set out before you, but you, arriving first, are sitting in the fire hall.”

“Just now, Kassapa, I sent you away and then—taking a fruit from the rose-apple tree after which the ‘Rose-apple Continent’ is named—arrived first and sat down in the fire hall. This is the rose-apple: consummate in color, consummate in aroma, and consummate in flavor. Eat it if you like.”

“Enough, Great Contemplative, you yourself brought it, you eat it yourself.”

The thought occurred to Uruvelakassapa, “He’s powerful, the Great Contemplative, and mighty, in that he, sending me away first, took a fruit from the rose-apple tree after which the ‘Rose-apple Continent’ is named, arrived first, and sat down in the fire hall. But still, he’s not an arahant like me.”

Then the Blessed One, having eaten the meal provided by Uruvelakassapa, stayed on in the forest grove.

As the night was ending, Uruvelakassapa went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, said to him, “It’s time, Great Contemplative. The meal is ready.”

Sending Uruvelakassapa away—“You go on, Kassapa; I’m coming”—he took a mango from a tree not far from the rose-apple tree after which the ‘Rose-apple Continent’ is named, arrived first, and sat down in the fire hall.

… a myrobalan from a tree not far from the rose-apple tree…

… a yellow myrobalan from a tree not far from the rose-apple tree…

… having gone to the (Heaven of the) Thirty-Three, he took a coral tree flower, arrived first, and sat down in the fire hall. Uruvelakassapa the dreadlocked ascetic saw the Blessed One sitting in the fire hall and, on seeing him, said, “By which road did you come, Great Contemplative? I set out before you, but you, coming first, are sitting in the fire hall.”

“Just now, Kassapa, I sent you away and then—having gone to the (Heaven of the) Thirty-Three and taking a coral tree flower—arrived first and am sitting down in the fire hall. This is the coral tree flower: consummate in color and consummate in aroma.”66

The thought occurred to Uruvelakassapa, “He’s powerful, the Great Contemplative, and mighty, in that he, sending me away first, going to the (Heaven of the) Thirty-Three and taking a coral tree flower, arrived first and sat down in the fire hall. But still, he’s not an arahant like me.”

At that time the dreadlocked ascetics, wanting to attend to the fires, were unable to split the firewood. It occurred to the dreadlocked ascetics, “No doubt it’s because of the supranormal power of the Great Contemplative that we’re unable to split the firewood.”

Then the Blessed One said to Uruvelakassapa, “Kassapa, may the firewood be split.”

“May it be split, Great Contemplative!”

At once, five hundred pieces of firewood were split. The thought occurred to Uruvelakassapa, “He’s powerful, the Great Contemplative, and mighty, in that the pieces of firewood were split. But still, he’s not an arahant like me.”

At that time the dreadlocked ascetics, wanting to attend to the fires, were unable to light the fires. It occurred to the dreadlocked ascetics, “No doubt it’s because of the supranormal power of the Great Contemplative that we’re unable to light the fires.”

Then the Blessed One said to Uruvelakassapa, “Kassapa, may the fires be lit.”

“May they be lit, Great Contemplative!”

At once, five hundred fires were lit. The thought occurred to Uruvelakassapa, “He’s powerful, the Great Contemplative, and mighty, in that the fires were lit. But still, he’s not an arahant like me.”

At that time the dreadlocked ascetics, wanting to attend to the fires, were unable to put out the fires. It occurred to the dreadlocked ascetics, “No doubt it’s because of the supranormal power of the Great Contemplative that we’re unable to put out the fires.”

Then the Blessed One said to Uruvelakassapa, “Kassapa, may the fires go out.”

“May they go out, Great Contemplative!”

At once, five hundred fires went out. The thought occurred to Uruvelakassapa, “He’s powerful, the Great Contemplative, and mighty, in that the fires went out. But still, he’s not an arahant like me.”

Then the dreadlocked ascetics, in the cold, winter “middle-eight nights,”67 in the time of snowfall, were submerging & emerging in the Nerañjarā River—doing submerging-&-emerging. The Blessed One materialized five hundred charcoal heaters at which the dreadlocked ascetics warmed themselves after coming out (of the water).

It occurred to the dreadlocked ascetics, “No doubt it’s because of the supranormal power of the Great Contemplative that these charcoal heaters have materialized.”

The thought occurred to Uruvelakassapa, “He’s powerful, the Great Contemplative, and mighty, in that he materialized so many charcoal heaters. But still, he’s not an arahant like me.”

At that time, a great, out-of-season storm-cloud rained down, and a great flood was produced. The place where the Blessed One was staying was inundated with the water. He thought, “Why don’t I, pushing the water back all around, walk back & forth in the middle on dusty ground?”

Then the Blessed One, pushing the water back all around, walked back & forth in the middle on dusty ground.

Then Uruvelakassapa, (thinking,) “May the Great Contemplative not be carried away by the water!” went by boat with many dreadlocked ascetics to the place where the Blessed One was staying. Uruvelakassapa saw the Blessed One, having pushed the water back all around, walking back & forth in the middle on dusty ground. He said, “Are you here, Great Contemplative?”

Saying, “Yes, I am, Kassapa,” the Blessed One rose up into the air and came down in the boat.

The thought occurred to Uruvelakassapa, “He’s powerful, the Great Contemplative, and mighty, in that he wasn’t carried away by the water. But still, he’s not an arahant like me.”

Then it occurred to the Blessed One, “For a long time this worthless man keeps having the thought, ‘He’s powerful, the Great Contemplative, and mighty, but still, he’s not an arahant like me.’ What if I were to terrify this dreadlocked ascetic?”

So he said to Uruvelakassapa, “You, Kassapa, are neither an arahant nor one endowed with the path to arahantship. You don’t even have a way of practice by which you would become an arahant or one endowed with the path to arahantship.”

Then Uruvelakassapa, putting his head down at the feet of the Blessed One, said, “May I receive the Going-forth in the Blessed One’s presence? May I receive the Acceptance?”

“Kassapa, you are the leader of five hundred dreadlocked ascetics—their trainer, head, foremost, & chief. Inform them of this, (so that) they will do what they think (is appropriate).”

Then Uruvelakassapa went to the dreadlocked ascetics and, on arrival, said to them, “Sirs, I want to live the holy life under the Great Contemplative. Do what you think (is appropriate).”

“For a long time, sir, we have been highly impressed with the Great Contemplative. If you are going to live the holy life under him, all of us will likewise live the holy life under him.”

So the dreadlocked ascetics—having let the water carry away the mingled mess of their hair, their dreadlocks, their ritual vessels, carrying poles, & fire-worship paraphernalia—went to the Blessed One. On arrival, having put their heads at the Blessed One’s feet, they said, “May we receive the Going-forth in the Blessed One’s presence? May we receive the Acceptance?”

“Come, monks,” said the Blessed One. “Well taught is the Dhamma. Live the holy life for the right ending of stress.”

That was the venerable ones’ Acceptance. — Mv 1:9.1–20.19

Ven. Uruvelakassapa:

“Having seen the marvels

of the prestigious Gotama,

I still didn’t fall down before him—

deceived by envy, conceit.

Knowing my resolves,

he reproved me—

the trainer of men.

Then I was terrified, amazed,

my hair standing on end!

Whatever limited power I had before,

as a dreadlocked ascetic:

Repudiating it right then,

I went forth

in the Victor’s dispensation.

Before, I was content with sacrifices,

and honored the property of sensuality.

Later, I uprooted

passion, aversion, & delusion.

I know where I was born before.

My divine eye is purified.

Having supranormal powers,

knowing the minds of others,

I’ve attained the divine ear.

And the goal for which I went forth,

from home into homelessness:

That goal of mine

has been attained by me—the ending

of all fetters.” — Thag 6:1

Then Nadīkassapa the dreadlocked ascetic saw the mingled mess of hair, dreadlocks, ritual vessels, carrying poles, & fire-worship paraphernalia being carried away by the water, and on seeing it he thought, “I hope my brother hasn’t met with disaster!”

So he sent the dreadlocked ascetics, “Go find out about my brother.” And he himself went with the three hundred dreadlocked ascetics to Ven. Uruvelakassapa. On arrival, he said to Ven. Uruvelakassapa, “Is this better, Kassapa?”

“Yes, friend, it’s better.”

So the dreadlocked ascetics—having let the water carry away the mingled mess of their hair, their dreadlocks, their ritual vessels, carrying poles, & fire-worship paraphernalia—went to the Blessed One. On arrival, having put their heads at the Blessed One’s feet, they said, “May we receive the Going-forth in the Blessed One’s presence? May we receive the Acceptance?”

“Come, monks,” said the Blessed One. “Well taught is the Dhamma. Live the holy life for the right ending of stress.”

That was the venerable ones’ Acceptance. — Mv 1:20.20–21

Ven. Nadīkassapa:

How truly for my welfare

did the Buddha come

to the River Nerañjarā!

Hearing his Dhamma,

I renounced wrong view.

I had performed sacrifices,

great & small,

made fire oblations,

supposing, “This is purification”:

run-of-the-mill, blind.

Having jumped

into a thicket of views,

deluded by grasping,

I supposed impurity was purity:

unknowing, blind.

I’ve abandoned wrong view,

torn apart all states of becoming.

I make an oblation

to the fire worthy of offerings:

I pay homage

to the Tathāgata.

I’ve abandoned all delusion,

torn apart craving for becoming.

Totally ended is birth-wandering-on:

There is now no further-becoming. — Thag 5:6

Then Gayākassapa the dreadlocked ascetic saw the mingled mess of hair, dreadlocks, ritual vessels, carrying poles, & fire-worship paraphernalia being carried away by the water, and on seeing it he thought, “I hope my brothers haven’t met with disaster!”

So he sent the dreadlocked ascetics, “Go find out about my brothers.” And he himself went with the two hundred dreadlocked ascetics to Ven. Uruvelakassapa. On arrival, he said to Ven. Uruvelakassapa, “Is this better, Kassapa?”

“Yes, friend, it’s better.”

So the dreadlocked ascetics—having let the water carry away the mingled mess of their hair, their dreadlocks, their ritual vessels, carrying poles, & their fire-worship paraphernalia—went to the Blessed One. On arrival, having put their heads at the Blessed One’s feet, they said, “May we receive the Going-forth in the Blessed One’s presence? May we receive the Acceptance?”

“Come, monks,” said the Blessed One. “Well taught is the Dhamma. Live the holy life for the right ending of stress.”

That was the venerable ones’ Acceptance. — Mv 1:20.22–23

Ven. Gayākassapa:

Morning, mid-day, & evening,

three times a day,

I went down into the water, (thinking,)

“By this Gaya-phaggunī ritual at Gayā,

whatever evil I have done,

in other, past lives,

I now cause them to be carried away”:

I used to be of that view.

But having heard the well spoken word,

verses connected with

the Dhamma,

the goal,

I reflected appropriately

on the truth

in accordance with the goal.

Washed of all evil am I—

stainless, cleansed, clean—

the Pure One’s pure heir,

the Awakened One’s child,

his son.

Having plunged into the eightfold stream,

I’ve caused all evil to be carried away.

I’ve attained the three knowledges.

The Buddha’s bidding: done. — Thag 5:7

THE FIRE SERMON

Then the Blessed One, having stayed near Uruvelā as long as he liked, set out for Gayā Head with a large Saṅgha of monks—a thousand monks, all of them the former dreadlocked ascetics. And the Blessed One stayed right there at Gayā Head with the thousand monks. There he addressed the monks:

“Monks, the All is aflame. What All is aflame? The eye is aflame. Forms are aflame. Consciousness at the eye is aflame. Contact at the eye is aflame. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the eye—experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain—that too is aflame. Aflame with what? Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion. Aflame, I tell you, with birth, aging, & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs.

“The ear is aflame. Sounds are aflame.…

“The nose is aflame. Aromas are aflame.…

“The tongue is aflame. Flavors are aflame.…

“The body is aflame. Tactile sensations are aflame.…

“The intellect is aflame. Ideas are aflame. Consciousness at the intellect is aflame. Contact at the intellect is aflame. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the intellect—experienced as pleasure, pain or neither-pleasure-nor-pain—that too is aflame. Aflame with what? Aflame with the fire of passion, the fire of aversion, the fire of delusion. Aflame, I say, with birth, aging, & death, with sorrows, lamentations, pains, distresses, & despairs.

“Seeing thus, the well instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with the eye, disenchanted with forms, disenchanted with consciousness at the eye, disenchanted with contact at the eye. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the eye, experienced as pleasure, pain, or neither-pleasure-nor-pain: With that, too, he grows disenchanted.

“He grows disenchanted with the ear.…

“He grows disenchanted with the nose.…

“He grows disenchanted with the tongue.…

“He grows disenchanted with the body.…

“He grows disenchanted with the intellect, disenchanted with ideas, disenchanted with consciousness at the intellect, disenchanted with contact at the intellect. And whatever there is that arises in dependence on contact at the intellect, experienced as pleasure, pain, or neither-pleasure-nor-pain: He grows disenchanted with that too. Disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate. Through dispassion, he is fully released. With full release, there is the knowledge, ‘Fully released.’ He discerns that ‘Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.’”

That is what the Blessed One said. Gratified, the monks delighted at his words. And while this explanation was being given, the hearts of the one thousand monks, through lack of clinging/sustenance, were fully released from effluents.

Then the Blessed One, having stayed at Gayā Head as long as he liked, set out on a wandering tour toward Rājagaha with the large Saṅgha of monks—a thousand monks, all of them the former dreadlocked ascetics. Traveling by stages, he arrived at Rājagaha. And there near Rājagaha the Blessed One stayed at the Suppatiṭṭha Shrine in the Sapling Forest Park.

KING BIMBISĀRA OF MAGADHA

Then the King of Magadha, Seniya Bimbisāra, heard, “Master Gotama the contemplative—a son of the Sakyans, having gone forth from the Sakyan clan—has arrived at Rājagaha and is dwelling at the Suppatiṭṭha Shrine in the Sapling Forest Park. And of that Master Gotama this fine reputation has spread: ‘He is indeed a Blessed One, worthy & rightly self-awakened, consummate in clear-knowing & conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the cosmos, unexcelled trainer of people fit to be tamed, teacher of devas & human beings, awakened, blessed. He makes known—having realized it through direct knowledge—this cosmos with its devas, Māras, & Brahmās, this generation with its contemplatives & brahmans, its royalty & common people. He explains the Dhamma admirable in the beginning, admirable in the middle, admirable in the end; he proclaims the holy life both in its particulars & in its essence, entirely complete, surpassingly pure.’ It is good to see such a worthy one.”

Then the King of Magadha, Seniya Bimbisāra, accompanied by 120,000 Magadhan householders & brahmans, went to the Blessed One. On arrival, he bowed down to the Blessed One and sat to one side. Some of the 120,000 Magadhan householders & brahmans also bowed down to the Blessed One and sat to one side. Some of them exchanged courteous greetings with the Blessed One and, after an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, sat to one side. Some of them, having raised their hands palm-to-palm in front of the heart to the Blessed One, sat to one side. Some of them, after announcing their name & clan in the Blessed One’s presence, sat to one side. Some of them, staying silent, sat to one side.

Then the thought occurred to the 120,000 Magadhan householders & brahmans, “Is the Great Contemplative practicing the holy life under Uruvelakassapa, or is Uruvelakassapa practicing the holy life under the Great Contemplative?”

The Blessed One, having known with his awareness the train of thought in the awarenesses of the 120,000 Magadhan householders & brahmans, addressed Ven. Uruvelakassapa with a verse:

“Having seen what,

while living at Uruvelā,

has the teacher of thin ascetics

abandoned the fire?

I ask you about this matter, Kassapa:

How was your fire oblation abandoned?”

Ven. Uruvelakassapa:

“Forms, sounds, & flavors too,

sensuality with women—

sacrifices promise these.

Having seen of acquisitions,

‘This is stained,’

I no longer delight in oblations or sacrifices.”

The Buddha:

“Now that your mind doesn’t delight

in forms, sounds,

or even flavors,

then in the cosmos

with its human beings & devas,

what is your mind’s delight?

Explain it to me, Kassapa.”

Ven. Uruvelakassapa:

“Having seen the state of peace

without acquisitions,

having nothing,

unattached

to sensuality & becoming,

the state unchanging,

leading to nothing else,

I no longer delight in oblations or sacrifices.”

Then Ven. Uruvelakassapa got up from his seat, arranged his upper robe over one shoulder and, putting his head at the Blessed One’s feet, said, “The Blessed One is my teacher. I am his disciple. The Blessed One is my teacher. I am his disciple.”

The thought occurred to the 120,000 Magadhan householders & brahmans, “Uruvelakassapa is practicing the holy life under the Great Contemplative.”

Then the Blessed One, having known with his awareness the train of thought in the awarenesses of the 120,000 Magadhan householders & brahmans, gave them a graduated talk: a talk on giving, a talk on virtue, a talk on heaven; he proclaimed the drawbacks of, degradation in, & defilement in sensuality, and the rewards of renunciation. Then—when he knew that they were of ready mind, malleable mind, unhindered mind, exultant mind, confident mind—he proclaimed to them the distinctive teaching of the Buddhas: stress, origination, cessation, path. Just as a clean piece of cloth, free from grime, would properly take dye, in the same way, the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye arose for 110,000 Magadhan householders & brahmans, headed by Bimbisāra, as they were sitting right there: “Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.”

(The remaining) ten thousand declared themselves lay followers.

Then the King of Magadha, Seniya Bimbisāra, having seen the Dhamma… said to the Blessed One, “Lord, before, when I was still a prince, I had five aspirations. Now they are fulfilled for me.

“Lord, before, when I was still a prince, I thought, ‘O! May I be consecrated as king!’ That, lord, was my first aspiration. Now it is fulfilled for me.

“‘May an arahant, rightly self-awakened, alight in my kingdom!’ This, lord, was my second aspiration. Now it is fulfilled for me.

“‘And may I attend on that Blessed One!’ This, lord, was my third aspiration. Now it is fulfilled for me.

“‘And may that Blessed One teach me the Dhamma!’ This, lord, was my fourth aspiration. Now it is fulfilled for me.

“‘And may I understand that Blessed One’s Dhamma!’ This, lord, was my fifth aspiration. Now it is fulfilled for me.

“Lord, before, when I was still a prince, I had these five aspirations. Now they are fulfilled for me. Magnificent, lord! Magnificent! … May Master Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone for refuge from this day forward, for life. And may the Blessed One acquiesce to my meal tomorrow, along with the Saṅgha of monks.”

The Blessed One acquiesced with silence.

Then the King of Magadha, Seniya Bimbisāra, understanding the Blessed One’s acquiescence, got up from his seat, bowed down to him, circumambulated him, keeping him to his right, and left.

As the night was ending, the King of Magadha, Seniya Bimbisāra, having ordered exquisite staple & non-staple food prepared, had the time announced to the Blessed One: “It’s time, lord. The meal is ready.”

Then, early in the morning, the Blessed One—having adjusted his under robe and carrying his bowl & outer robe—entered Rājagaha with the large Saṅgha of monks, a thousand monks, all of them the former dreadlocked ascetics. Now at that time, Sakka the deva-king, assuming the form of a brahman youth, went along ahead of the large Saṅgha of monks headed by the Buddha, singing this verse:

“The Tamed One,

with the tamed—

the former dreadlocked ascetics!

The Thoroughly Released One,

with the thoroughly released!

The color of golden ginger,

the Blessed One has entered Rājagaha.

The Released One…

The One who has Crossed Over…

The Peaceful One,

with the peaceful ones—

the former dreadlocked ascetics!

The Thoroughly Released One,

with the thoroughly released!

The color of golden ginger,

the Blessed One has entered Rājagaha.

He has

ten dwellings,

ten strengths—

knower of

ten qualities,

endowed with

ten68

surrounded by ten hundreds,

the Blessed One has entered Rājagaha.”

On seeing Sakka the deva-king, the people said, “How handsome, that brahman youth! How good-looking, that brahman youth! How inspiring, that brahman youth! Whose (son/student) is that brahman youth?”

When that was said, Sakka the deva-king addressed the people in verse:

“That enlightened one,

everywhere tamed,

the pure, matchless individual,

worthy, well-gone in the world:

His attendant am I.”

Then the Blessed One went to the King of Magadha, Seniya Bimbisāra’s residence and sat down on a seat laid out, along with the Saṅgha of monks. Then the King of Magadha, Seniya Bimbisāra, with his own hands, served & satisfied the Saṅgha of monks headed by the Blessed One with exquisite staple & non-staple food.

When the Blessed One had finished his meal and had rinsed his bowl & hands, the king sat to one side. As he was sitting there, it occurred to him, “Where should the Blessed One stay, that would be neither too far from the village nor too close, accessible, where interested people could come out, not crowded by day, with few noises or sounds of voices at night, with an air of isolation, private from human beings, and appropriate for seclusion?”

He thought, “I have this Bamboo Forest [Veḷuvana] Park, which is neither too far from the village nor too close… appropriate for seclusion. Why don’t I give the Bamboo Forest Park to the Saṅgha of monks headed by the Blessed One?”

So the King of Magadha, Seniya Bimbisāra, taking a golden water vessel [and pouring water on the ground], made this offering to the Blessed One, “I give this Bamboo Forest Park to the Saṅgha of monks headed by the Blessed One.”

The Blessed One accepted the monastery. Then, having instructed, urged, roused, & encouraged the King of Magadha, Seniya Bimbisāra, with Dhamma talk, he got up from his seat and left.

Then, having given a Dhamma talk on this subject, the Blessed One addressed the monks, “Monks, I allow a monastery.”

THE TWO CHIEF DISCIPLES

Now at that time the wanderer Sañjaya was dwelling in Rājagaha with a large company of wanderers—250 in all. And at that time Sāriputta & Moggallāna were living the holy life under Sañjaya. They had made this pact: “Whoever attains the deathless first will inform the other.”

Then, early in the morning, Ven. Assaji—having adjusted his under robe and carrying his bowl & outer robe—entered Rājagaha for alms: gracious in the way he approached and departed, looked forward and behind, drew in and stretched out (his arm); his eyes downcast, his every movement consummate. Sāriputta the wanderer saw Ven. Assaji going for alms in Rājagaha: gracious… his eyes downcast, his every movement consummate. On seeing him, the thought occurred to him: “Surely, of those monks in this world who are arahants or who are endowed with the path to arahantship, this is one. What if I were to go to him and question him: ‘Friend, on whose account have you gone forth? Or who is your teacher? Or in whose Dhamma do you delight?’”

But then the thought occurred to Sāriputta the wanderer: “This is the wrong time to question him. Having entered among houses, he is going for alms. What if I were to follow behind this monk? The path is found by those who seek it.”

Then Ven. Assaji, having gone for alms in Rājagaha, took his almsfood and left. Then Sāriputta the wanderer went to Ven. Assaji and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he stood to one side. As he was standing there, Sāriputta the wanderer said to Ven. Assaji, “Clear, my friend, are your faculties—pure your complexion, and bright. On whose account have you gone forth? Who is your teacher? In whose Dhamma do you delight?”

“There is, friend, the Great Contemplative—a son of the Sakyans, gone forth from the Sakyan clan. I have gone forth on account of that Blessed One. That Blessed One is my teacher, and I delight in his Dhamma.”

“What is your teacher’s doctrine? What is his teaching?”

“I am new, friend, not long gone forth, and have just recently come to this Dhamma & Vinaya. I can’t teach the Dhamma in detail, but I can tell you its essence in brief.”

Then Sāriputta the wanderer said to Ven. Assaji,

“May it be so, friend.

Speak a little or a lot,

but tell me just the gist.

Just the gist is what I want.

What use is a lot of verbosity?”

So Ven. Assaji spoke this Dhamma-explanation to Sāriputta the wanderer:

“Whatever phenomena arise from cause:

their cause

& their cessation.

Such is the teaching of the Tathāgata,

the Great Contemplative.”

Then, when he had heard this Dhamma-explanation, the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye arose for Sāriputta the wanderer: “Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.”

Just     this Dhamma,

just     this much,

and you experienced

the sorrowless state—

unseen, neglected,

for many ten-thousands of eons.

Then Sāriputta the wanderer went to Moggallāna the wanderer. Moggallāna the wanderer saw Sāriputta the wanderer coming from afar and, on seeing him, said to him, “Clear, my friend, are your faculties—pure your complexion, and bright. Have you attained the deathless, my friend?”

“Yes, my friend, I have attained the deathless.”69

“But how did you attain the deathless?”

“Just now I saw the monk Assaji entering Rājagaha for alms: gracious in the way he approached and departed, looked forward and behind, drew in and stretched out (his arm); his eyes downcast, his every movement consummate. On seeing him, the thought occurred to me: ‘Surely, of those monks in this world who are arahants or are endowed with the path to arahantship, this is one. What if I were to go to him and question him: “Friend, on whose account have you gone forth? Or who is your teacher? Or in whose Dhamma do you delight?”’

“But then the thought occurred to me: ‘This is the wrong time to question him. Having entered among houses, he is going for alms. What if I were to follow behind this monk? The path is found by those who seek it.’

“Then Ven. Assaji, having gone for alms in Rājagaha, took his almsfood and left. I went to him and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, I stood to one side. As I was standing there, I said to him, ‘Clear, my friend, are your faculties—pure your complexion, and bright. On whose account have you gone forth? Who is your teacher? In whose Dhamma do you delight?’”

“‘There is, friend, the Great Contemplative—a son of the Sakyans, gone forth from the Sakyan clan. I have gone forth on account of that Blessed One. That Blessed One is my teacher, and I delight in his Dhamma.’”

“‘What is your teacher’s doctrine? What is his teaching?’”

“‘I am new, friend, not long gone forth, and have just recently come to this Dhamma & Vinaya. I can’t teach the Dhamma in detail, but I can tell you its essence in brief.’”

“Then I said to Ven. Assaji,

‘May it be so, friend.

Speak a little or a lot,

but tell me just the gist.

The gist is what I want.

What use is a lot of verbosity?’

“So Ven. Assaji spoke this Dhamma-explanation:

‘Whatever phenomena arise from cause:

their cause

& their cessation.

Such is the teaching of the Tathāgata,

the Great Contemplative.’”

Then, when he had heard this Dhamma-explanation, the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye arose for Moggallāna the wanderer: “Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.”…

Then Moggallāna the wanderer said to Sāriputta the wanderer, “Let’s go to the Blessed One’s presence, my friend. The Blessed One is our teacher.”

“There are these 250 wanderers, my friend, who live here in dependence on us and look up to us. Let’s inform them of this. They will do whatever they think (is appropriate).”

So Sāriputta & Moggallāna went to the wanderers and said to them, “Friends, we are going to the Blessed One’s presence. The Blessed One is our teacher.”

“We are living here in dependence on you and look up to you. If you are going to live the holy life under the Great Contemplative, all of us will likewise live the holy life under the Great Contemplative.”

Then Sāriputta & Moggallāna went to Sañjaya the wanderer and said to him, “Friend, we are going to the Blessed One’s presence. The Blessed One is our teacher.”

“Enough, friends. Don’t go. Let all three of us look after this group.”

A second time… A third time, Sāriputta & Moggallāna said to Sañjaya the wanderer, “Friend, we are going to the Blessed One’s presence. The Blessed One is our teacher.”

“Enough, friends. Don’t go. Let all three of us look after this group.”

Then Sāriputta & Moggallāna, taking along the 250 wanderers, went to the Bamboo Forest, but Sañjaya the wanderer coughed up hot blood from his mouth right there.

The Blessed One saw Sāriputta & Moggallāna coming from afar and, on seeing them, addressed the monks, “Monks, these two friends who are approaching, Kolita & Upatissa70: They will be my pair of disciples, my foremost, most auspicious pair.

“Deep their range of knowledge,

unsurpassed in the destruction of acquisitions,

released,

they’ve arrived at the Bamboo Forest.

Then the Teacher said of them:

“These two friends who are approaching,

Kolita & Upatissa:

They will be my pair of disciples,

my foremost, most auspicious pair.”

Then Sāriputta & Moggallāna went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, put their heads at the Blessed One’s feet and said, “May we receive the Going-forth in the Blessed One’s presence? May we receive the Acceptance?”

“Come, monks,” said the Blessed One. “Well taught is the Dhamma. Live the holy life for the right ending of stress.”

That was the venerable ones’ Acceptance.

At that time, many sons of well known Magadhan families were living the holy life under the Blessed One. People criticized & complained & spread it about, “The contemplative Gotama is practicing for the sake of heirlessness. The contemplative Gotama is practicing for the sake of widowhood. The contemplative Gotama is practicing for the sake of cutting off family lineages. Now the thousand dreadlocked ascetics have been given the Going-forth by him, and also these 250 wanderers of Sañjaya. And many, many well known sons of Magadhan families are living the holy life under him.”

It got so bad that on seeing monks, they would taunt them with this verse:

“The Great Contemplative has come,

to the mountain fortress of the Magadhans.

Having led away all of Sañjaya’s,

who will he lead away now?”

The monks heard the people criticizing & complaining & spreading this about, so they reported the matter to the Blessed One.

“Monks, the noise won’t last long. After seven days it will disappear. Monks, in case anybody taunts you with this verse,

“‘The Great Contemplative has come,

to the mountain fortress of the Magadhans.

Having led away all of Sañjaya’s,

who will he lead away now?’

“counter the taunt with this one:

“‘The Tathāgatas, great heroes,

do lead with the true Dhamma.

For those who know,

who lead by the Dhamma,

what’s the jealousy?’”

Then at that time, on seeing monks, people would taunt them with the verse:

“The Great Contemplative has come,

to the mountain fortress of the Magadhans.

Having led away all of Sañjaya’s,

who will he lead away now?”

The monks would counter the taunt with this verse:

“The Tathāgatas, great heroes,

do lead with the true Dhamma.

For those who know,

who lead by the Dhamma,

what’s the jealousy?”

The people said, “The Sakyan-son contemplatives lead by Dhamma, not by non-Dhamma, they say.”

The noise lasted just seven days. With the passage of seven days, it disappeared. — Mv 1:21–24

The Canon tells of the teachings that, according to the Commentary, eventually led Ven. Moggallāna to full awakening.

Once the Blessed One was living among the Bhaggas in the Deer Park at Bhesakaḷā Forest, near Crocodile Haunt. At that time Ven. Mahā Moggallāna [prior to his awakening] sat nodding near the village of Kallavālamutta in Magadha. The Blessed One, with his purified divine eye, surpassing the human, saw Ven. Mahā Moggallāna as he sat nodding near the village of Kallavālamutta in Magadha. As soon as he saw this—just as a strong man might extend his flexed arm or flex his extended arm—he disappeared from among the Bhaggas in the Deer Park… and re-appeared… right in front of Ven. Mahā Moggallāna. There he sat down on a seat laid out. Seated, the Blessed One said to Ven. Mahā Moggallāna, “Are you nodding, Moggallāna? Are you nodding?”

“Yes, lord.”

“Well then, Moggallāna, whatever perception you have in mind when drowsiness descends on you, don’t attend to that perception, don’t pursue it. It’s possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

“But if by doing this you don’t shake off your drowsiness, then recall to your awareness the Dhamma as you have heard & memorized it, re-examine it, & ponder it over in your mind. It’s possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

“But if by doing this you don’t shake off your drowsiness, then repeat aloud in detail the Dhamma as you have heard & memorized it. It’s possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

“But if by doing this you don’t shake off your drowsiness, then pull both your earlobes and rub your limbs with your hands. It’s possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

“But if by doing this you don’t shake off your drowsiness, then get up from your seat and, after washing your eyes out with water, look around in all directions and upward to the major stars & constellations. It’s possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

“But if by doing this you don’t shake off your drowsiness, then attend to the perception of light, resolve on the perception of daytime, (dwelling) by night as by day, and by day as by night. By means of an awareness thus open & unhampered, develop a brightened mind. It’s possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

“But if by doing this you don’t shake off your drowsiness, then—percipient of what lies in front & behind—set a distance to meditate walking back & forth, your senses inwardly immersed, your mind not straying outwards. It’s possible that by doing this you will shake off your drowsiness.

“But if by doing this you don’t shake off your drowsiness, then—reclining on your right side—take up the lion’s posture, one foot placed on top of the other, mindful, alert, with your mind set on getting up. As soon as you wake up, get up quickly, with the thought, ‘I won’t stay indulging in the pleasure of lying down, the pleasure of reclining, the pleasure of drowsiness.’ That is how you should train yourself.

“And further, Moggallāna, should you train yourself: ‘I will not visit families with my pride [literally: my trunk (i.e., an elephant’s trunk)] lifted high.’ That is how you should train yourself. Among families there are many jobs that have to be done, so that people don’t pay attention to a visiting monk. If a monk visits them with his trunk lifted high, the thought will occur to him, ‘Now who, I wonder, has caused a split between me and this family? The people seem to have no liking for me.’ Getting nothing, he becomes abashed. Abashed, he becomes restless. Restless, he becomes unrestrained. Unrestrained, his mind is far from concentration.

“And further, Moggallāna, should you train yourself: ‘I will speak no confrontational speech.’ That is how you should train yourself. When there is confrontational speech, a lot of discussion can be expected. When there is a lot of discussion, there is restlessness. One who is restless becomes unrestrained. Unrestrained, his mind is far from concentration.

“It’s not the case, Moggallāna, that I praise association of every sort. But it’s not the case that I criticize association of every sort. I don’t praise association with householders & renunciates. But as for dwelling places that are free from noise, free from sound, their atmosphere devoid of people, appropriately secluded for resting undisturbed by human beings: I praise association with dwelling places of this sort.”

When this was said, Ven. Moggallāna said to the Blessed One: “Briefly, lord, in what respect is a monk released through the ending of craving, utterly complete, utterly free from bonds, a follower of the utterly holy life, utterly consummate: foremost among devas & human beings?”

“There is the case, Moggallāna, where a monk has heard, ‘All dhammas are unworthy of attachment.’ Having heard that all dhammas are unworthy of attachment, he directly knows every dhamma. Directly knowing every dhamma, he comprehends every dhamma. Comprehending every dhamma, then whatever feeling he experiences—pleasure, pain, neither pleasure nor pain—he remains focused on inconstancy, focused on dispassion, focused on cessation, focused on relinquishing with regard to that feeling. As he remains focused on inconstancy, focused on dispassion, focused on cessation, focused on relinquishing with regard to that feeling, he is unsustained by [doesn’t cling to] anything in the world. Unsustained, he isn’t agitated. Unagitated, he totally unbinds right within. He discerns: ‘Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.’

“It’s in this respect, Moggallāna, that a monk, in brief, is released through the ending of craving, utterly complete, utterly free from bonds, a follower of the utterly holy life, utterly consummate: foremost among devas & human beings.” — AN 7:58

The Canon itself states that the following teachings led to Ven. Sāriputta’s full awakening.

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling near Rājagaha on Vulture Peak Mountain, in the Boar’s Cave. Then LongNails the wanderer71 went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he stood to one side. As he was standing there, he said to the Blessed One, “Master Gotama, I am of the view, of the opinion, that ‘All is not pleasing to me.’”

“But even this view of yours, Aggivessana—‘All is not pleasing to me’—is even that not pleasing to you?”

“Even if this view of mine were pleasing to me, Master Gotama, it would still be the same, it would still be the same.”

“Well, Aggivessana, there are more than many in the world who say, ‘It would still be the same, it would still be the same,’ yet they both do not abandon that view and they cling to another view. There are fewer than few in the world who say, ‘It would still be the same, it would still be the same,’ and they both abandon that view and do not cling to another view.

“There are some contemplatives & brahmans who are of the view, of the opinion, that ‘All is pleasing to me.’ There are some contemplatives & brahmans who are of the view, of the opinion, that ‘All is not pleasing to me.’ There are some contemplatives & brahmans who are of the view, of the opinion, that ‘A part is pleasing to me; a part is not pleasing to me.’

“With regard to those contemplatives & brahmans who are of the view, of the opinion, that ‘All is pleasing to me’: That view of theirs is close to being impassioned, close to bondage, close to delighting, close to holding, close to clinging. With regard to those contemplatives & brahmans who are of the view, of the opinion, that ‘All is not pleasing to me’: That view of theirs is close to not being impassioned, close to non-bondage, close to not-delighting, close to not-holding, close to not-clinging.”

When this was said, LongNails the wanderer said to the Blessed One, “Master Gotama commends my viewpoint. Master Gotama recommends my viewpoint.”

“With regard to those contemplatives & brahmans who are of the view, of the opinion that ‘A part is pleasing to me; a part is not pleasing to me’: Whatever is pleasing to them, their view is close to being impassioned, close to bondage, close to delighting, close to holding, close to clinging. Whatever is not pleasing to them, their view is close to not being impassioned, close to non-bondage, close to not-delighting, close to not-holding, close to not-clinging.

“With regard to those contemplatives & brahmans who are of the view, of the opinion, ‘All is pleasing to me’: A wise person among them considers that ‘If I were to grasp and insist firmly on this view of mine that “All is pleasing to me,” and to state that “Only this is true, all else is worthless,” I would clash with two—the contemplative or brahman who is of the view, of the opinion that “All is not pleasing to me” and the contemplative or brahman who is of the view, of the opinion that “A part is pleasing to me; a part is not pleasing to me.” I would clash with these two. Where there is a clash, there is dispute. Where there is a dispute, quarreling. Where there is quarreling, annoyance. Where there is annoyance, frustration.’ Envisioning for himself clash, dispute, quarreling, annoyance, frustration, he both abandons that view and does not cling to another view. Thus there is the abandoning of these views; thus there is the relinquishing of these views.

“With regard to those contemplatives & brahmans who are of the view, of the opinion that ‘All is not pleasing to me’… ‘A part is pleasing to me; a part is not pleasing to me’: A wise person among them considers that ‘If I were to grasp and insist firmly on this view of mine that “A part is pleasing to me; a part is not pleasing to me,” and to state that “Only this is true, all else is worthless,” I would clash with two.…’… Thus there is the abandoning of these views; thus there is the relinquishing of these views.

“Now, Aggivessana, this body—endowed with form, composed of the four primary elements, born from mother & father, nourished with rice & porridge, subject to inconstancy, rubbing, pressing, dissolution, and dispersion—should be envisioned as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a disintegration, an emptiness, not-self. In one who envisions the body as inconstant, stressful, a disease, a cancer, an arrow, painful, an affliction, alien, a disintegration, an emptiness, not-self, any desire for the body, attraction to the body, following after the body is abandoned.

“There are these three kinds of feeling: pleasant feeling, painful feeling, and neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling. On the occasion when one feels a pleasant feeling, one does not feel either a painful feeling or a neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling. One feels only a pleasant feeling on that occasion. On the occasion when one feels a painful feeling, one does not feel either a pleasant feeling or a neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling. One feels only a painful feeling on that occasion. On the occasion when one feels a neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling, one does not feel either a pleasant feeling or a painful feeling. One feels only a neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling on that occasion.

“A pleasant feeling is inconstant, fabricated, dependently co-arisen, subject to ending, subject to vanishing, fading, ceasing. A painful feeling is also inconstant, fabricated, dependently co-arisen, subject to ending, subject to vanishing, fading, ceasing. A neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling is also inconstant, fabricated, dependently co-arisen, subject to ending, subject to vanishing, fading, ceasing.

“Seeing this, an instructed disciple of the noble ones grows disenchanted with pleasant feeling, disenchanted with painful feeling, disenchanted with neither-pleasant-nor-painful feeling. Disenchanted, he grows dispassionate. From dispassion, he is released. With release, there is the knowledge, ‘Released.’ He discerns, ‘Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for this world.’ A monk whose mind is thus released does not take sides with anyone, does not dispute with anyone. He words things by means of what is said in the world but without grasping at it.”

Now at that time Ven. Sāriputta was sitting72 behind the Blessed One, fanning him. The thought occurred to him, “Indeed, it seems that the Blessed One speaks to us of the abandoning of each of these mental qualities through direct knowledge.73 Indeed, it seems that the One Well-Gone speaks to us of the relinquishing of each of these mental qualities through direct knowledge.” As Ven. Sāriputta was reflecting thus, his mind was released from effluents through not-clinging,74 whereas for LongNails the wanderer there arose the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye: Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.”

Then LongNails the wanderer, having seen the Dhamma… said to the Blessed One:

“Magnificent, Master Gotama! Magnificent! … May Master Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone to him for refuge from this day forward, for life.” — MN 74