Classic and Contemporary Buddhist Works

The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha - Selections

77. Mahāsakuludāyi Sutta: The Greater Discourse to Sakuludāyin

[1] 1. Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrels’ Sanctuary.
    2. Now on that occasion a number of well-known wanderers were staying at the Peacocks’ Sanctuary, the wanderers’ park—that is, Annabhāra, Varadhara, and the wanderer Sakuludāyin, as well as other well-known wanderers.
    3. Then, when it was morning, the Blessed One dressed, and taking his bowl and outer robe, went into Rājagaha for alms. Then he thought: “It is still too early to wander for alms in Rājagaha. Suppose I went to the wanderer Sakuludāyin in the Peacocks’ Sanctuary, the wanderers’ park.”
    4. Then the Blessed One went to the Peacocks’ Sanctuary, the wanderers’ park. Now on that occasion the wanderer Sakuludāyin was seated with a large assembly of wanderers who were making an uproar, loudly and noisily talking many kinds of pointless talk, such as talk of kings … (as Sutta 76, §4) [2] …  whether things are so or are not so. Then the wanderer Sakuludāyin saw the Blessed One coming in the distance. Seeing him, he quieted his own assembly thus: “Sirs, be quiet; sirs, make no noise. Here comes the recluse Gotama. This venerable one likes quiet and commends quiet. Perhaps if he finds our assembly a quiet one, he will think to join us.” Then the wanderers became silent.
    5. The Blessed One went to the wanderer Sakuludāyin, who said to him: “Let the Blessed One come, venerable sir! Welcome to the Blessed One! It is long since the Blessed One found an opportunity to come here. Let the Blessed One be seated; this seat is ready.”
    The Blessed One sat down on the seat made ready, and the wanderer Sakuludāyin took a low seat and sat down at one side. When he had done so, the Blessed One asked him: “For what discussion are you sitting together here now, Udāyin? And what was your discussion that was interrupted?”
    6. “Venerable sir, let be the discussion for which we are now sitting together here. The Blessed One can well hear about it later. In recent days, venerable sir, when recluses and brahmins of various sects have been gathering together and sitting together in the debating hall, this topic has arisen: ‘It is a gain for the people of Anga and Magadha, it is a great gain for the people of Anga and Magadha that these recluses and brahmins, heads of orders, heads of groups, teachers of groups, well-known and famous founders of sects regarded by many as saints, have come to spend the Rains at Rājagaha. There is this Pūraṇa Kassapa, the head of an order, the head of a group, the teacher of a group, the well-known and famous founder of a sect regarded by many as a saint: he has come to spend the Rains at Rājagaha. There is also this Makkhali Gosāla … this Ajita Kesakambalin …  this Pakudha Kaccāyana … this Sañjaya Belaṭṭhiputta … this Nigaṇṭha Nātaputta, the head of an order, the head of a group, the teacher of a group, [3] the well-known and famous founder of a sect regarded by many as a saint: he too has come to spend the Rains at Rājagaha. There is also this recluse Gotama, the head of an order, the head of a group, the teacher of a group, the well-known and famous founder of a sect regarded by many as a saint: he too has come to spend the Rains at Rājagaha. Now among these worthy recluses and brahmins, heads of orders … regarded by many as saints, who is honoured, respected, revered, and venerated by his disciples? And how, honouring and respecting him, do they live in dependence on him?’
    “Thereupon some said this: ‘This Pūraṇa Kassapa is the head of an order … regarded by many as a saint, yet he is not honoured, respected, revered, and venerated by his disciples, nor do his disciples live in dependence on him, honouring and respecting him. Once Pūraṇa Kassapa was teaching his Dhamma to an assembly of several hundred followers. Then a certain disciple of his made a noise thus: “Sirs, do not ask Pūraṇa Kassapa this question. He does not know that. We know that. Ask us that question. We will answer that for you, sirs.” It happened that Pūraṇa Kassapa did not get his way, though he waved his arms and wailed: “Be quiet, sirs, make no noise, sirs. They are not asking you, sirs. They are asking us. We will answer them.” Indeed, many of his disciples left him after refuting his doctrine thus: “You do not understand this Dhamma and Discipline. I understand this Dhamma and Discipline. How could you understand this Dhamma and Discipline? Your way is wrong. My way is right. I am consistent. You are inconsistent. What should have been said first, you said last. What should have been said last, you said first. What you had so carefully thought up has been turned inside out. Your doctrine is refuted. You are proved wrong. Go and learn better, or disentangle yourself if you can!” Thus Pūraṇa Kassapa is not honoured, respected, revered, and venerated by his disciples, nor do his disciples live in dependence on him, honouring and respecting him. Indeed, he is scorned by the scorn shown to his Dhamma.’ [4]
    “And some said this: ‘This Makkhali Gosāla … this Ajita Kesakambalin … this Pakudha Kaccāyana … this Sañjaya Belaṭṭhiputta … this Nigaṇṭha Nātaputta is the head of an order … [but he] is not honoured, respected, revered, and venerated by his disciples, nor do his disciples live in dependence on him, honouring and respecting him. Indeed, he is scorned by the scorn shown to his Dhamma.’
    “And some said this: ‘This recluse Gotama is the head of an order, the head of a group, the teacher of a group, the well-known and famous founder of a sect regarded by many as a saint. He is honoured, respected, revered, and venerated by his disciples, and his disciples live in dependence on him, honouring and respecting him. Once the recluse Gotama was teaching his Dhamma to an assembly of several hundred followers and there a certain disciple of his cleared his throat. Thereupon one of his companions in the holy life nudged him with his knee [to indicate]: [5] “Be quiet, venerable sir, make no noise; the Blessed One, the Teacher, is teaching us the Dhamma.” When the recluse Gotama is teaching the Dhamma to an assembly of several hundred followers, on that occasion there is no sound of his disciples’ coughing or clearing their throats. For then that large assembly is poised in expectancy: “Let us hear the Dhamma the Blessed One is about to teach.” Just as though a man were at a crossroads pressing out pure honey and a large group of people were poised in expectancy, so too, when the recluse Gotama is teaching the Dhamma to an assembly of several hundred followers, on that occasion there is no sound of his disciples’ coughing or clearing their throats. For then that large assembly is poised in expectancy: “Let us hear the Dhamma the Blessed One is about to teach.” And even those disciples of his who fall out with their companions in the holy life and abandon the training to return to the low life—even they praise the Master and the Dhamma and the Sangha; they blame themselves instead of others, saying: “We were unlucky, we have little merit; for though we went forth into homelessness in such a well-proclaimed Dhamma, we were unable to live the perfect and pure holy life for the rest of our lives.” Having become monastery attendants or lay followers, they undertake and observe the five precepts. Thus the recluse Gotama is honoured, respected, revered, and venerated by his disciples, and his disciples live in dependence on him, honouring and respecting him.’”
    7. “But, Udāyin, how many qualities do you see in me because of which my disciples honour, respect, revere, and venerate me, and live in dependence on me, honouring and respecting me?”
    8. “Venerable sir, I see five qualities in the Blessed One because of which his disciples honour, respect, revere, and venerate him, and live in dependence on him, honouring and respecting him. What are the five? First, venerable sir, the Blessed One eats little and commends eating little; this I see as the first quality of the Blessed One because of which his disciples honour, respect, revere, and venerate him, and live in dependence on him, honouring and respecting him. [6] Again, venerable sir, the Blessed One is content with any kind of robe and commends contentment with any kind of robe; this I see as the second quality of the Blessed One … Again, venerable sir, the Blessed One is content with any kind of almsfood and commends contentment with any kind of almsfood; this I see as the third quality of the Blessed One … Again, venerable sir, the Blessed One is content with any kind of resting place and commends contentment with any kind of resting place; this I see as the fourth quality of the Blessed One … Again, venerable sir, the Blessed One is secluded and commends seclusion; this I see as the fifth quality of the Blessed One … Venerable sir, these are the five qualities I see in the Blessed One because of which his disciples honour, respect, revere, and venerate him, and live in dependence on him, honouring and respecting him.”
    9. “Suppose, Udāyin, my disciples honoured, respected, revered, and venerated me, and lived in dependence on me, honouring and respecting me, with the thought: ‘The recluse Gotama eats little and commends eating little.’ Now there are disciples of mine who live on a cupful or half a cupful of food, a bilva fruit’s or half a bilva fruit’s quantity of food, [7] while I sometimes eat the full contents of my almsbowl or even more. So if my disciples honoured me … with the thought: ‘The recluse Gotama eats little and commends eating little,’ then those disciples of mine who live on a cupful of food … should not honour, respect, revere, and venerate me for this quality, nor should they live in dependence on me, honouring and respecting me.
    “Suppose, Udāyin, my disciples honoured, respected, revered, and venerated me, and lived in dependence on me, honouring and respecting me, with the thought: ‘The recluse Gotama is content with any kind of robe and commends contentment with any kind of robe.’ Now there are disciples of mine who are refuse-rag wearers, wearers of coarse robes; they collect rags from the charnel ground, rubbish heaps, or shops, make them into patched robes, and wear them. But I sometimes wear robes given by householders, robes so fine that pumpkin hair is coarse in comparison. So if my disciples honoured me … with the thought: ‘The recluse Gotama is content with any kind of robe and commends contentment with any kind of robe,’ then those disciples of mine who are refuse-rag wearers, wearers of coarse robes … should not honour, respect, revere, and venerate me for this quality, nor should they live in dependence on me, honouring and respecting me.
    “Suppose, Udāyin, my disciples honoured, respected, revered, and venerated me, and lived in dependence on me, honouring and respecting me, with the thought: ‘The recluse Gotama is content with any kind of almsfood and commends contentment with any kind of almsfood.’ Now there are disciples of mine who are almsfood eaters, who go on unbroken almsround from house to house, who delight in gathering their food; when they have entered among the houses they will not consent even when invited to sit down. But I sometimes eat on invitation meals of choice rice [8] and many sauces and curries. So if my disciples honoured me … with the thought: ‘The recluse Gotama is content with any kind of almsfood and commends contentment with any kind of almsfood,’ then those disciples of mine who are almsfood eaters … should not honour, respect, revere, and venerate me for this quality, nor should they live in dependence on me, honouring and respecting me.
    “Suppose, Udāyin, my disciples honoured, respected, revered, and venerated me, and lived in dependence on me, honouring and respecting me, with the thought: ‘The recluse Gotama is content with any kind of resting place and commends contentment with any kind of resting place.’ Now there are disciples of mine who are tree-root dwellers and open-air dwellers, who do not use a roof for eight months [of the year], while I sometimes live in gabled mansions plastered within and without, protected against the wind, secured by door bolts, with shuttered windows. So if my disciples honoured me … with the thought: ‘The recluse Gotama is content with any kind of resting place and commends contentment with any kind of resting place,’ then those disciples of mine who are tree-root dwellers and open-air dwellers … should not honour, respect, revere, and venerate me for this quality, nor should they live in dependence on me, honouring and respecting me.
    “Suppose, Udāyin, my disciples honoured, respected, revered, and venerated me, and lived in dependence on me, honouring and respecting me, with the thought: ‘The recluse Gotama is secluded and commends seclusion.’ Now there are disciples of mine who are forest dwellers, dwellers in remote resting places, who live withdrawn in remote jungle-thicket resting places and return to the midst of the Sangha once each half-month for the recitation of the Pātimokkha. But I sometimes live surrounded by bhikkhus and bhikkhunīs, by men and women lay followers, by kings and kings’ ministers, by other sectarians and their disciples. So if my disciples honoured me … with the thought: ‘The recluse Gotama is secluded and commends seclusion,’ [9] then those disciples of mine who are forest dwellers … should not honour, respect, revere, and venerate me for this quality, nor should they live in dependence on me, honouring and respecting me. Thus, Udāyin, it is not because of these five qualities that my disciples honour, respect, revere, and venerate me, and live in dependence on me, honouring and respecting me.
    10. “However, Udāyin, there are five other qualities because of which my disciples honour, respect, revere, and venerate me, and live in dependence on me, honouring and respecting me. What are the five?

(I. The Higher Virtue)
11. “Here, Udāyin, my disciples esteem me for the higher virtue thus: ‘The recluse Gotama is virtuous, he possesses the supreme aggregate of virtue.’ This is the first quality because of which my disciples honour, respect, revere, and venerate me, and live in dependence on me, honouring and respecting me.

(II. Knowing and Vision)
12. “Again, Udāyin, my disciples esteem me for my excellent knowledge and vision thus: ‘When the recluse Gotama says “I know,” he truly knows; when he says “I see,” he truly sees. The recluse Gotama teaches the Dhamma through direct knowledge, not without direct knowledge; he teaches the Dhamma with a sound basis, not without a sound basis; he teaches the Dhamma in a convincing manner, not in an unconvincing manner.’ This is the second quality because of which [10] my disciples honour me …

(III. The Higher Wisdom)
13. “Again, Udāyin, my disciples esteem me for the higher wisdom thus: ‘The recluse Gotama is wise; he possesses the supreme aggregate of wisdom. It is impossible that he should not foresee the future courses of doctrine or that he should not be able to confute with reasons the current doctrines of others.’ What do you think, Udāyin? Would my disciples, knowing and seeing thus, break in and interrupt me?”—“No, venerable sir.”—“I do not expect instruction from my disciples; invariably, it is my disciples who expect instruction from me. This is the third quality because of which my disciples honour me …

(IV. The Four Noble Truths)
14. “Again, Udāyin, when my disciples have met with suffering and become victims of suffering, prey to suffering, they come to me and ask me about the noble truth of suffering. Being asked, I explain to them the noble truth of suffering, and I satisfy their minds with my explanation. They ask me about the noble truth of the origin of suffering … about the noble truth of the cessation of suffering … about the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering. Being asked, I explain to them the noble truth of the way leading to the cessation of suffering, and I satisfy their minds with my explanation. This is the fourth quality [11] because of which my disciples honour me …

(V. The Way to Develop Wholesome States)
(1. The Four Foundations of Mindfulness)
15. “Again, Udāyin, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way to develop the four foundations of mindfulness. Here a bhikkhu abides contemplating the body as a body, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world. He abides contemplating feelings as feelings … He abides contemplating mind as mind … He abides contemplating mind-objects as mind-objects, ardent, fully aware, and mindful, having put away covetousness and grief for the world. And thereby many disciples of mine abide having reached the consummation and perfection of direct knowledge.

(2. The Four Right Kinds of Striving)
16. “Again, Udāyin, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way to develop the four right kinds of striving. Here a bhikkhu awakens zeal for the non-arising of unarisen evil unwholesome states, and he makes effort, arouses energy, exerts his mind, and strives. He awakens zeal for the abandoning of arisen evil unwholesome states … He awakens zeal for the arising of unarisen wholesome states … He awakens zeal for the continuance, non-disappearance, strengthening, increase, and fulfilment by development of arisen wholesome states, and he makes effort, arouses energy, exerts his mind, and strives. And thereby many disciples of mine abide having reached the consummation and perfection of direct knowledge.

(3. The Four Bases for Spiritual Power)
17. “Again, Udāyin, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way to develop the four bases for spiritual power. Here a bhikkhu develops the basis for spiritual power consisting in concentration due to zeal and determined striving. He develops the basis for spiritual power consisting in concentration due to energy and determined striving. He develops the basis for spiritual power consisting in concentration due to [purity of] mind and determined striving. He develops the basis for spiritual power consisting in concentration due to investigation and determined striving. And thereby many disciples of mine abide having reached the consummation and perfection of direct knowledge.

(4. The Five Faculties)
18. “Again, Udāyin, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way to develop the five spiritual faculties. Here [12] a bhikkhu develops the faculty of faith, which leads to peace, leads to enlightenment. He develops the faculty of energy … the faculty of mindfulness …  the faculty of concentration … the faculty of wisdom, which leads to peace, leads to enlightenment. And thereby many disciples of mine abide having reached the consummation and perfection of direct knowledge.

(5. The Five Powers)
19. “Again, Udāyin, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way to develop the five powers. Here a bhikkhu develops the power of faith, which leads to peace, leads to enlightenment. He develops the power of energy … the power of mindfulness … the power of concentration … the power of wisdom, which leads to peace, leads to enlightenment. And thereby many disciples of mine abide having reached the consummation and perfection of direct knowledge.

(6. The Seven Enlightenment Factors)
20. “Again, Udāyin, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way to develop the seven enlightenment factors. Here a bhikkhu develops the mindfulness enlightenment factor, which is supported by seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, and results in relinquishment. He develops the investigation-of-states enlightenment factor … the energy enlightenment factor … the rapture enlightenment factor … the tranquillity enlightenment factor …  the concentration enlightenment factor … the equanimity enlightenment factor, which is supported by seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, and results in relinquishment. And thereby many disciples of mine abide having reached the consummation and perfection of direct knowledge.

(7. The Noble Eightfold Path)
21. “Again, Udāyin, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way to develop the Noble Eightfold Path. Here a bhikkhu develops right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. And thereby many disciples of mine abide having reached the consummation and perfection of direct knowledge.

(8. The Eight Liberations)
22. “Again, Udāyin, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way to develop the eight liberations. Possessed of material form, one sees forms: this is the first liberation. Not perceiving form internally, one sees forms externally: this is the second liberation. One is resolved only upon the beautiful: this is the third liberation. [13] With the complete surmounting of perceptions of form, with the disappearance of perceptions of sensory impact, with non-attention to perceptions of diversity, aware that ‘space is infinite,’ one enters upon and abides in the base of infinite space: this is the fourth liberation. By completely surmounting the base of infinite space, aware that ‘consciousness is infinite,’ one enters upon and abides in the base of infinite consciousness: this is the fifth liberation. By completely surmounting the base of infinite consciousness, aware that ‘there is nothing,’ one enters upon and abides in the base of nothingness: this is the sixth liberation. By completely surmounting the base of nothingness, one enters upon and abides in the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception: this is the seventh liberation. By completely surmounting the base of neither-perception-nor-non-perception, one enters upon and abides in the cessation of perception and feeling: this is the eighth liberation. And thereby many disciples of mine abide having reached the consummation and perfection of direct knowledge.

(9. The Eight Bases for Transcendence)
23. “Again, Udāyin, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way to develop the eight bases for transcendence. Perceiving form internally, one sees forms externally, limited, fair and ugly; by transcending them, one perceives thus: ‘I know, I see.’ This is the first base for transcendence. Perceiving form internally, one sees forms externally, immeasurable, fair and ugly; by transcending them, one perceives thus: ‘I know, I see.’ This is the second base for transcendence. Not perceiving form internally, one sees forms externally, limited, fair and ugly; by transcending them, one perceives thus: ‘I know, I see.’ This is the third base for transcendence. Not perceiving form internally, one sees forms externally, immeasurable, fair and ugly; by transcending them, one perceives thus: ‘I know, I see.’ This is the fourth base for transcendence. Not perceiving form internally, one sees forms externally, blue, of blue colour, blue in appearance, with blue luminosity. Just like a flax flower, which is blue, of blue colour, blue in appearance, with blue luminosity, or just like Benares cloth smoothened on both sides, which is blue, of blue colour, blue in appearance, with blue luminosity; so too, not perceiving form internally, one sees forms externally … with blue luminosity; by transcending them, one perceives thus: ‘I know, I see.’ This is the fifth [14] base for transcendence. Not perceiving form internally, one sees forms externally, yellow, of yellow colour, yellow in appearance, with yellow luminosity. Just like a kaṇṇikāra flower, which is yellow, of yellow colour, yellow in appearance, with yellow luminosity, or just like Benares cloth smoothened on both sides, which is yellow, of yellow colour, yellow in appearance, with yellow luminosity; so too, not perceiving form internally, one sees forms externally … with yellow luminosity; by transcending them, one perceives thus: ‘I know, I see.’ This is the sixth base for transcendence. Not perceiving form externally, one sees forms externally, red, of red colour, red in appearance, with red luminosity. Just like a hibiscus flower, which is red, of red colour, red in appearance, with red luminosity, or just like Benares cloth smoothened on both sides, which is red, of red colour, red in appearance, with red luminosity; so too, not perceiving form internally, one sees forms externally … with red luminosity; by transcending them, one perceives thus: ‘I know, I see.’ This is the seventh base for transcendence. Not perceiving form internally, one sees forms externally, white, of white colour, white in appearance, with white luminosity. Just like the morning star, which is white, of white colour, white in appearance, with white luminosity, or just like Benares cloth smoothened on both sides, which is white, of white colour, white in appearance, with white luminosity; so too, not perceiving form internally, one sees forms externally … with white luminosity; by transcending them, one perceives thus: ‘I know, I see.’ This is the eighth base for transcendence. And thereby many disciples of mine abide having reached the consummation and perfection of direct knowledge.

(10. The Ten Kasiṇas)
24. “Again, Udāyin, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way to develop the ten kasiṇa bases. One contemplates the earth-kasiṇa above, below, and across, undivided and immeasurable. Another contemplates the water-kasiṇa … Another contemplates the fire-kasiṇa … Another contemplates the air-kasiṇa … Another contemplates the blue-kasiṇa … Another contemplates the yellow-kasiṇa … Another contemplates the red-kasiṇa … Another contemplates the white-kasiṇa … Another contemplates the space-kasiṇa … Another contemplates the consciousness-kasiṇa [15] above, below, and across, undivided and immeasurable. And thereby many disciples of mine abide having reached the perfection and consummation of direct knowledge.

(11. The Four Jhānas)
25. “Again, Udāyin, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way to develop the four jhānas. Here, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the first jhāna, which is accompanied by applied and sustained thought, with rapture and pleasure born of seclusion. He makes the rapture and pleasure born of seclusion drench, steep, fill, and pervade this body, so that there is no part of his whole body unpervaded by the rapture and pleasure born of seclusion. Just as a skilled bath man or a bath man’s apprentice heaps bath powder in a metal basin and, sprinkling it gradually with water, kneads it till the moisture wets his ball of bath powder, soaks it and pervades it inside and out, yet the ball itself does not ooze; so too, a bhikkhu makes the rapture and pleasure born of seclusion drench, steep, fill, and pervade this body, so that there is no part of his whole body unpervaded by the rapture and pleasure born of seclusion.
    26. “Again, with the stilling of applied and sustained thought, a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the second jhāna, which has self-confidence and singleness of mind without applied and sustained thought, with rapture and pleasure born of concentration. He makes the rapture and pleasure born of concentration drench, steep, fill, and pervade this body, so that there is no part of his whole body unpervaded by the rapture and pleasure born of concentration. Just as though there were a lake whose waters welled up from below and it had no inflow from east, west, north, or south [16] and would not be replenished from time to time by showers of rain, then the cool fount of water welling up in the lake would make the cool water drench, steep, fill, and pervade the lake, so that there would be no part of the whole lake unpervaded by cool water; so too, a bhikkhu makes the rapture and pleasure born of concentration drench, steep, fill, and pervade this body, so that there is no part of his whole body unpervaded by the rapture and pleasure born of concentration.
    27. “Again, with the fading away as well of rapture, a bhikkhu abides in equanimity, and mindful and fully aware, still feeling pleasure with the body, he enters upon and abides in the third jhāna, on account of which noble ones announce: ‘He has a pleasant abiding who has equanimity and is mindful.’ He makes the pleasure divested of rapture drench, steep, fill, and pervade this body, so that there is no part of his whole body unpervaded by the pleasure divested of rapture. Just as in a pond of blue or red or white lotuses, some lotuses that are born and grow in the water thrive immersed in the water without rising out of it, and cool water drenches, steeps, fills, and pervades them to their tips and their roots, so that there is no part of all those lotuses unpervaded by cool water; so too, a bhikkhu makes the pleasure divested of rapture drench, steep, fill, and pervade this body, so that there is no part of his whole body unpervaded by the pleasure divested of rapture.
    28. “Again, with the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the previous disappearance of joy and grief, a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the fourth jhāna, which has neither-pain-nor-pleasure and purity of mindfulness due to equanimity. He sits pervading this body with a pure bright mind, so that there is no part of his whole body unpervaded by the pure bright mind. Just as though a man were sitting covered from the head down with a white cloth, so that there would be no part of his whole body not covered by the white cloth; so too, a bhikkhu sits pervading this body with a pure bright mind, so that there is no part of his whole body [17] unpervaded by the pure bright mind. And thereby many disciples of mine abide having reached the consummation and perfection of direct knowledge.

(12. Insight Knowledge)
29. “Again, Udāyin, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way to understand thus: ‘This body of mine, made of material form, consisting of the four great elements, procreated by a mother and father, and built up out of boiled rice and porridge, is subject to impermanence, to being worn and rubbed away, to dissolution and disintegration, and this consciousness of mine is supported by it and bound up with it.’ Suppose there were a beautiful beryl gem of purest water, eight-faceted, well cut, clear and limpid, possessed of all good qualities, and through it a blue, yellow, red, white, or brown thread would be strung. Then a man with good sight, taking it in his hand, might review it thus: ‘This is a beautiful beryl gem of purest water, eight-faceted, well cut, clear and limpid, possessed of all good qualities, and through it is strung a blue, yellow, red, white, or brown thread.’ So too, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way to understand thus: ‘This body of mine … is subject to impermanence, to being worn and rubbed away, to dissolution and disintegration, and this consciousness of mine is supported by it and bound up with it.’ And thereby many disciples of mine abide having reached the consummation and perfection of direct knowledge.

(13. The Mind-Made Body)
30. “Again, Udāyin, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way to create from this body another body having form, mind-made, with all its limbs, lacking no faculty. Just as though a man were to pull out a reed from its sheath and think thus: ‘This is the sheath, this is the reed; the sheath is one, the reed is another; it is from the sheath that the reed has been pulled out’; or just as though a man were to pull out a sword from its scabbard and think thus: ‘This is the sword, this is the scabbard; the sword is one, the scabbard another; it is from the scabbard that the sword has been pulled out’; [18] or just as though a man were to pull a snake out of its slough and think thus: ‘This is the snake, this is the slough; the snake is one, the slough another; it is from the slough that the snake has been pulled out.’ So too, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way to create from this body another body having form, mind-made, with all its limbs, lacking no faculty. And thereby many disciples of mine abide having reached the consummation and perfection of direct knowledge.

(14. The Kinds of Supernormal Power)
31. “Again, Udāyin, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way to wield the various kinds of supernormal power: having been one, they become many; having been many, they become one; they appear and vanish; they go unhindered through walls, through enclosures, through mountains, as though through space; they dive in and out of the earth as though it were water; they walk on water without sinking as though it were earth; seated cross-legged, they travel in space like birds; with their hands they touch and stroke the moon and sun so powerful and mighty; they wield bodily mastery even as far as the Brahma-world. Just as a skilled potter or his apprentice might create and fashion out of well-prepared clay any shape of pot he wished; or just as a skilled ivory-worker or his apprentice might create and fashion out of well-prepared ivory any ivory work of art he wished; or just as a skilled goldsmith or his apprentice might create and fashion out of well-prepared gold any gold work of art he wished; so too, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way to wield the various kinds of supernormal power … [19] … they wield bodily mastery even as far as the Brahma-world. And thereby many disciples of mine abide having reached the consummation and perfection of direct knowledge.

(15. The Divine Ear Element)
32. “Again, Udāyin, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way whereby with the divine ear element, which is purified and surpasses the human, they hear both kinds of sounds, the divine and the human, those that are far as well as near. Just as a vigorous trumpeter might make himself heard without difficulty in the four quarters; so too, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way whereby with the divine ear element … far as well as near. And thereby many disciples of mine abide having reached the consummation and perfection of direct knowledge.

(16. Understanding the Minds of Others)
33. “Again, Udāyin, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way to understand the minds of other beings, of other persons, having encompassed them with their own minds. They understand a mind affected by lust as affected by lust and a mind unaffected by lust as unaffected by lust; they understand a mind affected by hate as affected by hate and a mind unaffected by hate as unaffected by hate; they understand a mind affected by delusion as affected by delusion and a mind unaffected by delusion as unaffected by delusion; they understand a contracted mind as contracted and a distracted mind as distracted; they understand an exalted mind as exalted and an unexalted mind as unexalted; they understand a surpassed mind as surpassed and an unsurpassed mind as unsurpassed; they understand a concentrated mind as concentrated and an unconcentrated mind as unconcentrated; they understand a liberated mind as liberated and an unliberated mind as unliberated. Just as a man or a woman—young, youthful, and fond of ornaments—on viewing the image of his or her own face in a clean bright mirror or in a bowl of clear water, would know if there were a spot thus: ‘There is a spot,’ [20] or would know if there were no spot thus: ‘There is no spot’; so too, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way to understand … an unliberated mind as unliberated. And thereby many disciples of mine abide having reached the consummation and perfection of direct knowledge.

(17. The Recollection of Past Lives)
34. “Again, Udāyin, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way to recollect their manifold past lives, that is, one birth, two births, three births, four births, five births, ten births, twenty births, thirty births, forty births, fifty births, a hundred births, a thousand births, a hundred thousand births, many aeons of world-contraction, many aeons of world-expansion, many aeons of world-contraction and expansion: ‘There I was so named, of such a clan, with such an appearance, such was my nutriment, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my life-term; and passing away from there, I reappeared elsewhere; and there too I was so named … and passing away from there, I reappeared here.’ Thus with their aspects and particulars they recollect their manifold past lives. Just as a man might go from his own village to another village and then back again to his own village. He might think: ‘I went from my own village to that village, and there I stood in such a way, sat in such a way, spoke in such a way, kept silent in such a way; and from that village I went to that other village and there [21] I stood in such a way … kept silent in such a way; and from that village I came back again to my own village.’ So too, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way to recollect their manifold lives … Thus with their aspects and particulars they recollect their manifold past lives. And thereby many disciples of mine abide having reached the consummation and perfection of direct knowledge.

(18. The Divine Eye)
35. “Again, Udāyin, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way whereby with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, they see beings passing away and reappearing, inferior and superior, fair and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate. They understand how beings pass on according to their actions thus: ‘These worthy beings who were ill conducted in body, speech, and mind, revilers of noble ones, wrong in their views, giving effect to wrong view in their actions, on the dissolution of the body, after death, have reappeared in a state of deprivation, in a bad destination, in perdition, even in hell; but these worthy beings who were well conducted in body, speech, and mind, not revilers of noble ones, right in their views, giving effect to right view in their actions, on the dissolution of the body, after death, have reappeared in a good destination, even in the heavenly world.’ Thus with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, they see beings passing away and reappearing, inferior and superior, fair and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and they understand how beings pass on according to their actions. Just as though there were two houses with doors and a man with good sight standing there between them saw people entering the houses and coming out and passing to and fro. So too, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way whereby with the divine eye … They understand how beings pass on according to their actions. And thereby many disciples of mine abide having reached the consummation and perfection of direct knowledge. [22]

(19. The Destruction of the Taints)
36. “Again, Udāyin, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way whereby by realising for themselves with direct knowledge, they here and now enter upon and abide in the deliverance of mind and deliverance by wisdom that are taintless with the destruction of the taints. Just as if there were a lake in a mountain recess, clear, limpid, and undisturbed, so that a man with good sight standing on the bank could see shells, gravel, and pebbles, and also shoals of fish swimming about and resting. He might think: ‘There is this lake, clear, limpid, and undisturbed, and there are these shells, gravel, and pebbles, and also these shoals of fish swimming about and resting.’ So too, I have proclaimed to my disciples the way whereby by realising for themselves with direct knowledge, they here and now enter upon and abide in the deliverance of mind and deliverance by wisdom that are taintless with the destruction of the taints. And thereby many disciples of mine abide having reached the consummation and perfection of direct knowledge.
    37. “This, Udāyin, is the fifth quality because of which my disciples honour, respect, revere, and venerate me, and live in dependence on me, honouring and respecting me.
    38. “These, Udāyin, are the five qualities because of which my disciples honour, respect, revere, and venerate me, and live in dependence on me, honouring and respecting me.”

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

How to cite this document:
© Bhikkhu Bodhi, The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha (Wisdom Publications, 2009)

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