The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha - Selections

65. Bhaddāli Sutta: To Bhaddāli

1. Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. There he addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus.”—“Venerable sir,” they replied. The Blessed One said this:
    2. “Bhikkhus, I eat at a single session. By so doing, I am free from illness and affliction, and I enjoy health, strength, and a comfortable abiding. Come, bhikkhus, eat at a single session. By so doing, you too will be free from illness and affliction, and you will enjoy health, strength, and a comfortable abiding.”
    3. When this was said, the venerable Bhaddāli told the Blessed One: “Venerable sir, I am not willing to eat at a single session; for if I were to do so, I might have worry and anxiety about it.”
    “Then, Bhaddāli, eat one part there where you are invited and bring away one part to eat. By eating in that way, [438] you will maintain yourself.”
    “Venerable sir, I am not willing to eat in that way either; for if I were to do so, I might also have worry and anxiety about it.”
    4. Then, when this training precept was being made known by the Blessed One, the venerable Bhaddāli publicly declared in the Sangha of bhikkhus his unwillingness to undertake the training. Then the venerable Bhaddāli did not present himself to the Blessed One for the whole of that three-month period [of the Rains], as he did not fulfil the training in the Teacher’s Dispensation.
    5. Now on that occasion a number of bhikkhus were engaged in making up a robe for the Blessed One, thinking: “With his robe completed, at the end of the three months [of the Rains], the Blessed One will set out wandering.”
    6. Then the venerable Bhaddāli went to those bhikkhus and exchanged greetings with them, and when this courteous and amiable talk was finished, he sat down at one side. When he had done so, they said to him: “Friend Bhaddāli, this robe is being made up for the Blessed One. With his robe completed, at the end of the three months [of the Rains], the Blessed One will set out wandering. Please, friend Bhaddāli, give proper attention to your declaration. Do not let it become more difficult for you later on.”
    7. “Yes, friends,” he replied, and he went to the Blessed One, and after paying homage to him, he sat down at one side and said: “Venerable sir, a transgression overcame me, in that like a fool, confused and blundering, when a training precept was being made known by the Blessed One, I publicly declared in the Sangha of bhikkhus my unwillingness to undertake the training. Venerable sir, may the Blessed One forgive my transgression seen as such for the sake of restraint in the future.”
    8. “Surely, Bhaddāli, a transgression overcame you, in that like a fool, confused and blundering, when a training precept was being made known by me, you publicly declared in the Sangha of bhikkhus your unwillingness to undertake the training.
    9. “Bhaddāli, this circumstance was not recognised by you: ‘The Blessed One is living at Sāvatthī, and the Blessed One will know me thus: “The bhikkhu named Bhaddāli is one who does not fulfil the training in the Teacher’s Dispensation.”’ This circumstance was not recognised by you.
    “Also, this circumstance was not recognised by you: ‘Many [439] bhikkhus have taken up residence at Sāvatthī for the Rains, and they too will know me thus: “The bhikkhu named Bhaddāli is one who does not fulfil the training in the Teacher’s Dispensation.”’ This circumstance too was not recognised by you.
    “Also, this circumstance was not recognised by you: ‘Many bhikkhunīs have taken up residence at Sāvatthī for the Rains, and they too will know me thus: “The bhikkhu named Bhaddāli is one who does not fulfil the training in the Teacher’s Dispensation.”’ This circumstance too was not recognised by you.
    “Also, this circumstance was not recognised by you: ‘Many men lay followers … Many women lay followers are staying at Sāvatthī, and they too will know me thus: “The bhikkhu named Bhaddāli is one who does not fulfil the training in the Teacher’s Dispensation.”’ This circumstance too was not recognised by you.
    “Also, this circumstance was not recognised by you: ‘Many recluses and brahmins of other sects have taken up residence at Sāvatthī for the Rains, and they too will know me thus: “The bhikkhu named Bhaddāli, an elder disciple of the recluse Gotama, is one who does not fulfil the training in the Teacher’s Dispensation.”’ This circumstance too was not recognised by you.”
    10. “Venerable sir, a transgression overcame me, in that like a fool, confused and blundering, when a training precept was being made known by the Blessed One, I publicly declared in the Sangha of bhikkhus my unwillingness to undertake the training. Venerable sir, may the Blessed One forgive my transgression seen as such for the sake of restraint in the future.”
    “Surely, Bhaddāli, a transgression overcame you, in that like a fool, confused and blundering, when a training precept was being made known by me, you publicly declared in the Sangha of bhikkhus your unwillingness to undertake the training.
    11. “What do you think, Bhaddāli? Suppose a bhikkhu here were one liberated-in-both-ways, and I told him: ‘Come, bhikkhu, be a plank for me across the mud.’ Would he walk across himself, or would he dispose his body otherwise, or would he say ‘No’?”
    “No, venerable sir.”
    “What do you think, Bhaddāli? Suppose a bhikkhu here were one liberated-by-wisdom … a body-witness … one attained-to-view … one liberated-by-faith … a Dhamma-follower … a faith-follower, and I told him: ‘Come, bhikkhu, be a plank for me across the mud.’ Would he walk across himself, or would he dispose his body otherwise, or would he say ‘No’?”
    “No, venerable sir.”
    12. “What do you think, Bhaddāli? Were you on that occasion one liberated-in-both-ways or [440] one liberated-by-wisdom or a body-witness or one attained-to-view or one liberated-by-faith or a Dhamma-follower or a faith-follower?”
    “No, venerable sir.”
    “Bhaddāli, on that occasion were you not an empty, hollow wrong-doer?”
    13. “Yes, venerable sir. Venerable sir, a transgression overcame me, in that like a fool, confused and blundering, when a training precept was being made known by the Blessed One, I publicly declared in the Sangha of bhikkhus my unwillingness to undertake the training. Venerable sir, may the Blessed One forgive my transgression seen as such for the sake of restraint in the future.”
    “Surely, Bhaddāli, a transgression overcame you, in that like a fool, confused and blundering, when a training precept was being made known by me, you publicly declared in the Sangha of bhikkhus your unwillingness to undertake the training. But since you see your transgression as such and make amends in accordance with the Dhamma, we forgive you; for it is growth in the Noble One’s Discipline when one sees one’s transgression as such and makes amends in accordance with the Dhamma by undertaking restraint for the future.
    14. “Here, Bhaddāli, some bhikkhu does not fulfil the training in the Teacher’s Dispensation. He considers thus: ‘Suppose I were to resort to a secluded resting place: the forest, the root of a tree, a mountain, a ravine, a hillside cave, a charnel ground, a jungle thicket, an open space, a heap of straw—perhaps I might realise a superhuman state, a distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones.’ He resorts to some such secluded resting place. While he lives thus withdrawn, the Teacher censures him, wise companions in the holy life who have made investigation censure him, gods censure him, and he censures himself. Being censured in this way by the Teacher, by wise companions in the holy life, by gods, and by himself, he realises no superhuman state, no distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones. Why is that? That is how it is with one who does not fulfil the training in the Teacher’s Dispensation.
    15. “Here, Bhaddāli, some bhikkhu does fulfil the training in the Teacher’s Dispensation. He considers thus: ‘Suppose I were to resort to a secluded resting place: the forest, the root of a tree, a mountain, a ravine, a hillside cave, a charnel ground, a jungle thicket, [441] an open space, a heap of straw—perhaps I might realise a superhuman state, a distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones.’ He resorts to some such secluded resting place. While he lives thus withdrawn, the Teacher does not censure him, wise companions in the holy life who have made investigation do not censure him, gods do not censure him, and he does not censure himself. Being uncensured in this way by the Teacher, by wise companions in the holy life, by gods, and by himself, he realises a superhuman state, a distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones.
    16. “Quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, he enters upon and abides in the first jhāna, which is accompanied by applied and sustained thought, with rapture and pleasure born of seclusion. Why is that? That is how it is with one who fulfils the training in the Teacher’s Dispensation.
    17. “With the stilling of applied and sustained thought, he enters upon and abides in the second jhāna … With the fading away as well of rapture … he enters upon and abides in the third jhāna … With the abandoning of pleasure and pain … he enters upon and abides in the fourth jhāna … Why is that? That is how it is with one who fulfils the training in the Teacher’s Dispensation.
    18. “When his concentrated mind is thus purified and bright, unblemished, rid of imperfection, malleable, wieldy, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs it to knowledge of the recollection of past lives … (as Sutta 51, §24) … Thus with their aspects and particulars he recollects his manifold past lives. Why is that? That is how [442] it is with one who fulfils the training in the Teacher’s Dispensation.
    19. “When his concentrated mind is thus purified and bright … attained to imperturbability, he directs it to knowledge of the passing away and reappearance of beings … (as Sutta 51, §25) … Thus with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, he understands how beings pass on according to their actions. Why is that? That is how it is with one who fulfils the training in the Teacher’s Dispensation.
    20. “When his concentrated mind is thus purified and bright … attained to imperturbability, he directs it to knowledge of the destruction of the taints. He understands as it actually is: ‘This is suffering’ … (as Sutta 51, §26) … He understands as it actually is: ‘This is the way leading to the cessation of the taints.’
    21. “When he knows and sees thus, his mind is liberated from the taint of sensual desire, from the taint of being, and from the taint of ignorance. When it is liberated there comes the knowledge: ‘It is liberated.’ He understands: ‘Birth is destroyed, the holy life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more coming to any state of being.’ Why is that? That is how it is with one who fulfils the training in the Teacher’s Dispensation.”
    22. Thereupon the venerable Bhaddāli asked: “Venerable sir, what is the cause, what is the reason, why they take action against some bhikkhu here by repeatedly admonishing him? What is the cause, what is the reason, why they do not take such action against some bhikkhu here by repeatedly admonishing him?”
    23. “Here, Bhaddāli, some bhikkhu is a constant offender with many offences. When he is corrected by the bhikkhus, he prevaricates, leads the talk aside, shows disturbance, hate, and bitterness; he does not proceed rightly, he does not comply, he does not clear himself, he does not say: ‘Let me so act that the Sangha will be satisfied.’ [443] Bhikkhus, taking account of this matter, think: ‘It would be good if the venerable ones examine this bhikkhu in such a way that this litigation against him is not settled too quickly.’ And the bhikkhus examine that bhikkhu in such a way that the litigation against him is not settled too quickly.
    24. “But here some bhikkhu is a constant offender with many offences. When he is corrected by the bhikkhus, he does not prevaricate, lead the talk aside, or show disturbance, hate, and bitterness; he proceeds rightly, he complies, he clears himself, he says: ‘Let me so act that the Sangha will be satisfied.’ Bhikkhus, taking account of this matter, think: ‘It would be good if the venerable ones examine this bhikkhu in such a way that this litigation against him is settled quickly.’ And the bhikkhus examine that bhikkhu in such a way that the litigation against him is settled quickly.
    25. “Here some bhikkhu is a chance offender without many offences. When he is corrected by the bhikkhus, he prevaricates … (repeat rest of §23) … And the bhikkhus examine that bhikkhu in such a way that [444] the litigation against him is not settled too quickly.
    26. “But here some bhikkhu is a chance offender without many offences. When he is corrected by the bhikkhus, he does not prevaricate … (repeat rest of §24) … And the bhikkhus examine that bhikkhu in such a way that the litigation against him is settled quickly.
    27. “Here some bhikkhu progresses by a measure of faith and love. In this case bhikkhus consider thus: ‘Friends, this bhikkhu progresses by a measure of faith and love. Let him not lose that measure of faith and love, as he may if we take action against him by repeatedly admonishing him.’ Suppose a man had only one eye; then his friends and companions, his kinsmen and relatives, would guard his eye, thinking: ‘Let him not lose his one eye.’ So too, some bhikkhu progresses by a measure of faith and love … ‘Let him not lose that measure of faith and love, as he may if we take action against him by repeatedly admonishing him.’
    28. “This is the cause, this is the reason, why they take action against some bhikkhu here by repeatedly admonishing him; this is the cause, this is the reason, why they do not take such action against some bhikkhu here by repeatedly admonishing him.”
    29. “Venerable sir, what is the cause, what is the reason, why there were previously [445] fewer training rules and more bhikkhus became established in final knowledge? What is the cause, what is the reason, why there are now more training rules and fewer bhikkhus become established in final knowledge?”
    30. “That is how it is, Bhaddāli. When beings are deteriorating and the true Dhamma is disappearing, then there are more training rules and fewer bhikkhus become established in final knowledge. The Teacher does not make known the training rule for disciples until certain things that are the basis for taints become manifest here in the Sangha; but when certain things that are the basis for taints become manifest here in the Sangha, then the Teacher makes known the training rule for disciples in order to ward off those things that are the basis for taints.
    31. “Those things that are the basis for taints do not become manifest here in the Sangha until the Sangha has reached greatness; but when the Sangha has reached greatness, then those things that are the basis for taints become manifest here in the Sangha, and then the Teacher makes known the training rule for disciples in order to ward off those things that are the basis for taints. Those things that are the basis for taints do not become manifest here in the Sangha until the Sangha has reached the acme of worldly gain … the acme of fame … the acme of great learning … the acme of long-standing renown; but when the Sangha has reached the acme of long-standing renown, then those things that are the basis for taints become manifest here in the Sangha, and then the Teacher makes known the training rule for disciples in order to ward off those things that are the basis for taints.
    32. “There were few of you, Bhaddāli, when I taught an exposition of the Dhamma through the simile of the young thoroughbred colt. Do you remember that, Bhaddāli?”
    “No, venerable sir.”
    “To what reason do you attribute that?”
    “Venerable sir, I have long been one who did not fulfil the training in the Teacher’s Dispensation.”
    “That is not the only cause or the only reason. But rather, by encompassing your mind with my mind, I have long known you thus: ‘When I am teaching the Dhamma, this misguided man does not heed it, does not give it attention, does not engage it with all his mind, does not hear the Dhamma with eager ears.’ Still, Bhaddāli, I will teach you an exposition of the Dhamma through the simile of the young thoroughbred colt. Listen and attend closely [446] to what I shall say.”
    “Yes, venerable sir,” the venerable Bhaddāli replied.
    The Blessed One said this:
    33. “Bhaddāli, suppose a clever horse-trainer obtains a fine thoroughbred colt. He first makes him get used to wearing the bit. While the colt is being made to get used to wearing the bit, because he is doing something that he has never done before, he displays some contortion, writhing, and vacillation, but through constant repetition and gradual practice, he becomes peaceful in that action.
    “When the colt has become peaceful in that action, the horse-trainer further makes him get used to wearing the harness. While the colt is being made to get used to wearing the harness, because he is doing something that he has never done before, he displays some contortion, writhing, and vacillation, but through constant repetition and gradual practice, he becomes peaceful in that action.
    “When the colt has become peaceful in that action, the horse-trainer further makes him act in keeping in step, in running in a circle, in prancing, in galloping, in charging, in the kingly qualities, in the kingly heritage, in the highest speed, in the highest fleetness, in the highest gentleness. While the colt is being made to get used to doing these things, because he is doing something that he has never done before, he displays some contortion, writhing, and vacillation, but through constant repetition and gradual practice, he becomes peaceful in those actions.
    “When the colt has become peaceful in these actions, the horse-trainer further rewards him with a rubbing down and a grooming. When a fine thoroughbred colt possesses these ten factors, he is worthy of the king, in the king’s service, and considered one of the factors of a king.
    34. “So too, Bhaddāli, when a bhikkhu possesses ten qualities, he is worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of reverential salutation, an unsurpassed field of merit for the world. What are the ten? Here, Bhaddāli, a bhikkhu possesses the right view of one beyond training, the right intention of one beyond training, the right speech of one beyond training, the right action of one beyond training, the right livelihood of one beyond training, the right effort of one beyond training, [447] the right mindfulness of one beyond training, the right concentration of one beyond training, the right knowledge of one beyond training, and the right deliverance of one beyond training. When a bhikkhu possesses these ten qualities, he is worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of reverential salutation, an unsurpassed field of merit for the world.”

That is what the Blessed One said. The venerable Bhaddāli was satisfied and delighted in the Blessed One’s words.
 

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© Bhikkhu Bodhi, The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha (Wisdom Publications, 2009)

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