The Connected Discourses of the Buddha - Selections

Chapter 21. Bhikkhusaṃyutta: Connected Discourses with Bhikkhus

1 Kolita
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. There the Venerable Mahāmoggallāna addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Friends, bhikkhus!”
    “Friend!” those bhikkhus replied. The Venerable Mahāmoggallāna said this:
    “Here, friends, while I was alone in seclusion, a reflection arose in my mind thus: ‘It is said, “noble silence, noble silence.” What now is noble silence?’
    “Then, friends, it occurred to me: ‘Here, with the subsiding of thought and examination, a bhikkhu enters and dwells in the second jhāna, which has internal confidence and unification of mind, is without thought and examination, and has rapture and happiness born of concentration. This is called noble silence.’
    “Then, friends, with the subsiding of thought and examination, I entered and dwelt in the second jhāna, which … has rapture and happiness born of concentration. While I dwelt therein, perception and attention accompanied by thought assailed me.
    “Then, friends, the Blessed One came to me by means of spiritual power and said this: ‘Moggallāna, Moggallāna, do not be negligent regarding noble silence, brahmin. Steady your mind in noble silence, unify your mind in noble silence, concentrate your mind on noble silence.’ Then, friends, on a later occasion, with the subsiding of thought and examination, I entered and dwelt in the second jhāna, which has internal confidence and unification of mind, is without thought and examination, and has rapture and happiness born of concentration.
    “If, [274] friends, one speaking rightly could say of anyone: ‘He is a disciple who attained to greatness of direct knowledge with the assistance of the Teacher,’ it is of me that one could rightly say this.”

2 Upatissa
At Sāvatthī. There the Venerable Sāriputta addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Friends, bhikkhus!”
    “Friend!” those bhikkhus replied. The Venerable Sāriputta said this:
    “Here, friends, when I was alone in seclusion, a reflection arose in my mind thus: ‘Is there anything in the world through the change and alteration of which sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair might arise in me?’ Then it occurred to me: ‘There is nothing in the world through the change and alteration of which sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair might arise in me.’”
    When this was said, the Venerable Ānanda said to the Venerable Sāriputta: “Friend Sāriputta, even if the Teacher himself were to undergo change and alteration, wouldn’t sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair arise in you?”
    “Friend, even if the Teacher himself were to undergo change and alteration, still sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair would not arise in me. However, it would occur to me: ‘The Teacher, so influential, so powerful and mighty, has passed away. If the Blessed One had lived for a long time, that would have been for the welfare and happiness of the multitude, out of compassion for the world, for the good, welfare, and happiness of devas and humans.’” [275]
    “It must be because I-making, mine-making, and the underlying tendency to conceit have been thoroughly uprooted in the Vener-able Sāriputta for a long time that even if the Teacher himself were to undergo change and alteration, still sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair would not arise in him.”

3 The Barrel
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. Now on that occasion the Venerable Sāriputta and the Venerable Mahāmoggallāna were dwelling at Rājagaha in a single dwelling in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrel Sanctuary. Then, in the evening, the Venerable Sāriputta emerged from seclusion and approached the Venerable Mahāmoggallāna. He exchanged greetings with the Venerable Mahāmoggallāna and, when they had concluded their greetings and cordial talk, he sat down to one side and said to him:
    “Friend Moggallāna, your faculties are serene, your facial complexion is pure and bright. Has the Venerable Mahāmoggallāna spent the day in a peaceful dwelling?”
    “I spent the day in a gross dwelling, friend, but I did have some Dhamma talk.”
    “With whom did the Venerable Mahāmoggallāna have some Dhamma talk?”
    “I had some Dhamma talk with the Blessed One, friend.”
    “But the Blessed One is far away, friend. He is now dwelling at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. Did the Venerable Mahāmoggallāna approach the Blessed One by means of spiritual power, or did the Blessed One approach the Venerable Mahāmoggallāna by means of spiritual power?” [276]
    “I didn’t approach the Blessed One by means of spiritual power, friend, nor did the Blessed One approach me by means of spiritual power. Rather, the Blessed One cleared his divine eye and divine ear element to communicate with me, and I cleared my divine eye and divine ear element to communicate with the Blessed One.”
    “What kind of Dhamma talk did the Venerable Mahāmoggallāna have with the Blessed One?”
    “Here, friend, I said to the Blessed One: ‘Venerable sir, it is said, “one with energy aroused, one with energy aroused.” In what way, venerable sir, does one have energy aroused?’ The Blessed One then said to me: ‘Here, Moggallāna, a bhikkhu with energy aroused dwells thus: “Willingly, let only my skin, sinews, and bones remain, and let the flesh and blood dry up in my body, but I will not relax my energy so long as I have not attained what can be attained by manly strength, by manly energy, by manly exertion.” It is in such a way, Moggallāna, that one has aroused energy.’ Such, friend, is the Dhamma talk that I had with the Blessed One.”
    “Friend, compared to the Venerable Mahāmoggallāna we are like a few grains of gravel compared to the Himalayas, the king of mountains. For the Venerable Mahāmoggallāna is of such great spiritual power and might that if so he wished he could live on for an aeon.”
    “Friend, compared to the Venerable Sāriputta we are like a few grains of salt compared to a barrel of salt. [277] For the Venerable Sāriputta has been extolled, lauded, and praised in many ways by the Blessed One:

“‘As Sāriputta is supreme
 In wisdom, virtue, and peace,
 So a bhikkhu who has gone beyond
 At best can only equal him.’”

In this manner both these great nāgas rejoiced in what was well stated and well declared by the other.

4 The Newly Ordained Bhikkhu
At Sāvatthī. Now on that occasion a certain newly ordained bhikkhu, after returning from the alms round, would enter his dwelling after the meal and pass the time living at ease and keeping silent. He did not render service to the bhikkhus at the time of making robes. Then a number of bhikkhus approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and reported this matter to him. Then the Blessed One addressed a certain bhikkhu thus: “Come, bhikkhu, tell that bhikkhu in my name that the Teacher calls him.”
    “Yes, venerable sir,” that bhikkhu replied, and he went to that bhikkhu and told him: “The Teacher calls you, friend.”
    “Yes, friend,” that bhikkhu replied, and he approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, and sat down to one side. [278] The Blessed One then said to him: “Is it true, bhikkhu, that after returning from the alms round you enter your dwelling after the meal and pass the time living at ease and keeping silent, and you do not render service to the bhikkhus at the time of making robes?”
    “I am doing my own duty, venerable sir.”
    Then the Blessed One, having known with his own mind the reflection in that bhikkhu’s mind, addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus, do not find fault with this bhikkhu. This bhikkhu is one who gains at will, without trouble or difficulty, the four jhānas that constitute the higher mind and provide a pleasant dwelling in this very life. And he is one who, by realizing it for himself with direct knowledge, in this very life enters and dwells in that unsurpassed goal of the holy life for the sake of which clansmen rightly go forth from the household life into homelessness.”
    This is what the Blessed One said. Having said this, the Fortunate One, the Teacher, further said this:

“Not by means of slack endeavour,
 Not by means of feeble effort,
 Is this Nibbāna to be achieved,
 Release from all suffering.

“This young bhikkhu [by my side]
 Is a supreme man indeed:
 He carries about his final body,
 Having conquered Māra and his mount.”

5 Sujāta
At Sāvatthī. Then the Venerable Sujāta approached the Blessed One. The Blessed One saw him coming in the distance and addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus, this clansman is beautiful in both respects. [279] He is handsome, good-looking, pleasing to behold, possessing supreme beauty of complexion. And he is one who, by realizing it for himself with direct knowledge, in this very life enters and dwells in that unsurpassed goal of the holy life for the sake of which clansmen rightly go forth from the household life into homelessness.”
    This is what the Blessed One said … [who] further said this:

“This bhikkhu shines with sublime beauty,
 Having a mind utterly straight.
 Detached is he, free from fetters,
 Attained to Nibbāna by nonclinging.
 He carries about his final body,
 Having conquered Māra and his mount.”

6 Lakuṇṭaka Bhaddiya
At Sāvatthī. Then the Venerable Lakuṇṭaka Bhaddiya approached the Blessed One. The Blessed One saw him coming in the distance and addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus, do you see that bhikkhu coming, ugly, unsightly, deformed, despised among the bhikkhus?”
    “Yes, venerable sir.”
    “That bhikkhu is of great spiritual power and might. It is not easy to find an attainment which that bhikkhu has not already attained. And he is one who, by realizing it for himself with direct knowledge, in this very life enters and dwells in that unsurpassed goal of the holy life for the sake of which clansmen rightly go forth from the household life into homelessness.”
    This is what the Blessed One said … [who] further said this:

“Geese, herons, and peacocks,
 Elephants, and spotted deer,
 All are frightened of the lion
 Regardless of their bodies’ size.

“In the same way among human beings
 The small one endowed with wisdom—
 He is the one that is truly great,
 Not the fool with a well-built body.” [280]

7 Visākha
Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Vesālī in the Great Wood in the Hall with the Peaked Roof. Now on that occasion the Venerable Visākha Pañcāliputta was instructing, exhorting, inspiring, and gladdening the bhikkhus in the assembly hall with a Dhamma talk, [spoken] with speech that was polished, clear, articulate, expressing well the meaning, comprehensive, unattached.
    Then, in the evening, the Blessed One emerged from seclusion and approached the assembly hall. He sat down in the appointed seat and addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus, who has been instructing, exhorting, inspiring, and gladdening the bhikkhus in the assembly hall with a Dhamma talk, [spoken] with speech that is polished, clear, articulate, expressing well the meaning, comprehensive, unattached?”
    “It was this Venerable Visākha Pañcāliputta, venerable sir.”
    Then the Blessed One addressed the Venerable Visākha Pañcāliputta thus: “Good, good, Visākha! It is good that you thus instruct the bhikkhus with a Dhamma talk.”
    This is what the Blessed One said … [who] further said this:

“When the wise man is in the midst of fools
 They do not know him if he does not speak,
 But they know him when he speaks,
 Pointing out the deathless state.

“He should speak and explain the Dhamma,
 He should raise high the seers’ banner.
 Well-spoken words are the seers’ banner:
 For the Dhamma is the banner of seers.” [281]

8 Nanda
At Sāvatthī. Then the Venerable Nanda, the Blessed One’s maternal cousin, put on well-pressed and well-ironed robes, painted his eyes, took a glazed bowl, and approached the Blessed One. Having paid homage to the Blessed One, he sat down to one side, and the Blessed One said to him:
    “Nanda, this is not proper for you, a clansman who has gone forth out of faith from the household life into homelessness, that you wear well-pressed and well-ironed robes, paint your eyes, and carry a glazed bowl. This is proper for you, Nanda, a clansman who has gone forth out of faith from the household life into homelessness, that you be a forest dweller, an almsfood eater, a rag-robes wearer, and that you dwell indifferent to sensual pleasures.”
    This is what the Blessed One said … [who] further said this:

“When shall I see Nanda as a forest dweller,
 Wearing robes stitched from rags,
 Subsisting on the scraps of strangers,
 Indifferent towards sensual pleasures?”

Then, some time later, the Venerable Nanda became a forest dweller, an almsfood eater, a rag-robes wearer, and he dwelt indifferent to sensual pleasures.

9 Tissa
At Sāvatthī. [282] Then the Venerable Tissa, the Blessed One’s paternal cousin, approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, and sat down to one side—miserable, sorrowful, with tears streaming down. Then the Blessed One said to him:
    “Tissa, why are you sitting there, miserable, sorrowful, with tears streaming down?”
    “Because, venerable sir, the bhikkhus have attacked me on all sides with sharp words.”
    “That, Tissa, is because you admonish others but cannot bear being admonished yourself. Tissa, this is not proper for you, a clansman who has gone forth out of faith from the household life into homelessness, that you admonish others but cannot accept admonition in turn. This is proper for you, Tissa, a clansman who has gone forth out of faith from the household life into homelessness, that you admonish others and accept admonition in turn.”
    This is what the Blessed One said. Having said this, the Fortunate One, the Teacher, further said this:

“Why are you angry? Don’t be angry!
 Nonanger is better for you, Tissa.
 It is to remove anger, conceit, and scorn,
 That the holy life is lived, O Tissa.”

10 A Bhikkhu Named Elder
On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrel Sanctuary. Now on that occasion a certain bhikkhu named Elder was a lone dweller and spoke in praise of dwelling alone. He entered the village for alms alone, he returned alone, he sat alone in private, he undertook walking meditation alone.
    Then a number of bhikkhus approached the Blessed One, [283] paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him: “Here, venerable sir, there is a certain bhikkhu named Elder who is a lone dweller and who speaks in praise of dwelling alone.”
    Then the Blessed One addressed a certain bhikkhu thus: “Come, bhikkhu, tell the bhikkhu Elder in my name that the Teacher calls him.”
    “Yes, venerable sir,” that bhikkhu replied, and he went to the Venerable Elder and told him: “The Teacher calls you, friend Elder.”
    “Yes, friend,” the Venerable Elder replied, and he approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, and sat down to one side. The Blessed One then said to him: “Is it true, Elder, that you are a lone dweller and speak in praise of dwelling alone?”
    “Yes, venerable sir.”
    “But how, Elder, are you a lone dweller and how do you speak in praise of dwelling alone?”
    “Here, venerable sir, I enter the village for alms alone, I return alone, I sit alone in private, and I undertake walking meditation alone. It is in such a way that I am a lone dweller and speak in praise of dwelling alone.”
    “That is a way of dwelling alone, Elder, I do not deny this. But as to how dwelling alone is fulfilled in detail, listen to that and attend closely, I will speak.”
    “Yes, venerable sir.”
    “And how, Elder, is dwelling alone fulfilled in detail? Here, Elder, what lies in the past has been abandoned, what lies in the future has been relinquished, and desire and lust for present forms of individual existence has been thoroughly removed. It is in such a way, Elder, that dwelling alone is fulfilled in detail.” [284]
    This is what the Blessed One said. Having said this, the Fortunate One, the Teacher, further said this:

“The wise one, all-conqueror, all-knower,
 Among all things unsullied, with all cast off,
 Liberated in the destruction of craving:
 I call that person ‘one who dwells alone.’”

11 Mahākappina
At Sāvatthī. Then the Venerable Mahākappina approached the Blessed One. The Blessed One saw him coming in the distance and addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus, do you see that bhikkhu coming, fair-skinned, thin, with a prominent nose?”
    “Yes, venerable sir.”
    “That bhikkhu is of great spiritual power and might. It is not easy to find an attainment which that bhikkhu has not already attained. And he is one who, by realizing it for himself with direct knowledge, in this very life enters and dwells in that unsurpassed goal of the holy life for the sake of which clansmen rightly go forth from the household life into homelessness.”
    This is what the Blessed One said. Having said this, the Fortunate One, the Teacher, further said this:

“The khattiya is the best among people
 For those whose standard is the clan,
 But one accomplished in knowledge and conduct
 Is best among devas and humans.

“The sun shines by day,
 The moon glows at night,
 The khattiya shines clad in armour,
 The meditative brahmin shines.
 But all the time, day and night,
 The Buddha shines with glory.” [285]

12 Companions
At Sāvatthī. Then two bhikkhus who were companions, pupils of the Venerable Mahākappina, approached the Blessed One. The Blessed One saw them coming in the distance and addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus, do you see those two bhikkhus who are companions coming, pupils of Kappina?”
    “Yes, venerable sir.”
    “Those bhikkhus are of great spiritual power and might. It is not easy to find an attainment that those bhikkhus have not already attained. And they are ones who, by realizing it for themselves with direct knowledge, in this very life enter and dwell in that unsurpassed goal of the holy life for the sake of which clansmen rightly go forth from the household life into homelessness.”
    This is what the Blessed One said. Having said this, the Fortunate One, the Teacher, further said this:

“These [two] companion bhikkhus
 Have been united for a very long time.
 The true Dhamma has united them
 In the Dhamma proclaimed by the Buddha.

“They have been disciplined well by Kappina
 In the Dhamma proclaimed by the Noble One.
 They carry about their final bodies,
 Having conquered Māra and his mount.”

 

The Book of Causation is finished.

 

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© Bhikkhu Bodhi, The Connected Discourses of the Buddha (Wisdom Publications, 2000)

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