The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha - Selections

III. The Great Chapter

21 (1) The Lion
“Bhikkhus, in the evening the lion, the king of beasts, comes out from his lair, stretches his body, surveys the four quarters all around, [33] and roars his lion’s roar three times. Then he sets out in search of game. For what reason? [With the thought:] ‘Let me not cause harm to small creatures that might cross my track.’
   “‘The lion,’ bhikkhus, is a designation for the Tathāgata, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One. When the Tathāgata teaches the Dhamma to an assembly, this is his lion’s roar.
   “Bhikkhus, there are these ten Tathāgata’s powers that the Tathāgata has, possessing which he claims the place of the chief bull, roars his lion’s roar in the assemblies, and sets in motion the brahma wheel. What ten?
   (1) “Here, the Tathāgata understands as it really is the possible as possible and the impossible as impossible. Since the Tathāgata understands as it really is the possible as possible and the impossible as impossible, this is a Tathāgata’s power that the Tathāgata has, on account of which he claims the place of the chief bull, roars his lion’s roar in the assemblies, and sets in motion the brahma wheel.
   (2) “Again, the Tathāgata understands as it really is the result of the undertaking of kamma past, future, and present in terms of possibilities and causes. Since the Tathāgata understands as it really is … the result of the undertaking of kamma … this too is a Tathāgata’s power that the Tathāgata has, on account of which he … sets in motion the brahma wheel.
   (3) “Again, the Tathāgata understands as it really is the ways leading everywhere. Since the Tathāgata understands as it really is the ways leading everywhere, this too is a Tathāgata’s power that the Tathāgata has, on account of which he … sets in motion the brahma wheel.
   (4) “Again, the Tathāgata [34] understands as it really is the world with its numerous and diverse elements. Since the Tathāgata understands as it really is the world with its numerous and diverse elements, this too is a Tathāgata’s power that the Tathāgata has, on account of which … he sets in motion the brahma wheel.
   (5) “Again, the Tathāgata understands as it really is the diversity in the dispositions of beings. Since the Tathāgata understands as it really is the diversity in the dispositions of beings, this too is a Tathāgata’s power that the Tathāgata has, on account of which … he sets in motion the brahma wheel.
   (6) “Again, the Tathāgata understands as it really is the superior or inferior condition of the faculties of other beings and persons. Since the Tathāgata understands as it really is the superior or inferior condition of the faculties of other beings and persons, this too is a Tathāgata’s power that the Tathāgata has, on account of which … he sets in motion the brahma wheel.
   (7) “Again, the Tathāgata understands as it really is the defilement, the cleansing, and the emergence in regard to the jhānas, emancipations, concentrations, and meditative attainments. Since the Tathāgata understands as it really is the defilement, the cleansing, and the emergence in regard to the jhānas … this too is a Tathāgata’s power that the Tathāgata has, on account of which … he sets in motion the brahma wheel.
   (8) “Again, the Tathāgata recollects his manifold past abodes, that is, one birth, two births, three births, four births, five births, ten births, twenty births, thirty births, forty [35] births, fifty births, a hundred births, a thousand births, a hundred thousand births, many eons of world-dissolution, many eons of world-evolution, many eons of world-dissolution and world-evolution thus: ‘There I was so named, of such a clan, with such an appearance, such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my life span; passing away from there, I was reborn elsewhere, and there too I was so named, of such a clan, with such an appearance, such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my life span; passing away from there, I was reborn here.’ Thus he recollects his manifold past abodes with their aspects and details. Since the Tathāgata recollects his manifold past abodes … with their aspects and details, this too is a Tathāgata’s power that the Tathāgata has, on account of which … he sets in motion the brahma wheel.
   (9) “Again, with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, the Tathāgata sees beings passing away and being reborn, inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and he understands how beings fare on in accordance with their kamma thus: ‘These beings who engaged in misconduct by body, speech, and mind, who reviled the noble ones, held wrong view, and undertook kamma based on wrong view, with the breakup of the body, after death, have been reborn in the plane of misery, in a bad destination, in the lower world, in hell; but these beings who engaged in good conduct by body, speech, and mind, who did not revile the noble ones, who held right view, and undertook kamma based on right view, with the breakup of the body, after death, have been reborn in a good destination, in a heavenly world.’ Thus with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, he sees beings passing away and being reborn, inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and he understands how beings fare on in accordance with their kamma. [36] Since the Tathāgata … understands how beings fare on in accordance with their kamma, this too is a Tathāgata’s power that the Tathāgata has, on account of which … he sets in motion the brahma wheel.
   (10) “Again, with the destruction of the taints, the Tathāgata has realized for himself with direct knowledge, in this very life, the taintless liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom; and having entered upon it, he dwells in it. Since the Tathāgata has realized for himself … the taintless liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom … this too is a Tathāgata’s power that the Tathāgata has, on account of which he claims the place of the chief bull, roars his lion’s roar in the assemblies, and sets in motion the brahma wheel.
   “These, bhikkhus, are the ten Tathāgata’s powers that the Tathāgata has, possessing which he claims the place of the chief bull, roars his lion’s roar in the assemblies, and sets in motion the brahma wheel.”

22 (2) Doctrinal Principles
Then the Venerable Ānanda approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, and sat down to one side. The Blessed One then said to him:
   “Ānanda, I claim to be confident about the things that lead to the realization by direct knowledge of the various doctrinal principles, [and I am thus able] to teach the Dhamma to various people in various ways such that one who practices accordingly will know of what exists that it exists and of what does not exist that it does not exist; such that one will know of the inferior that it is inferior and of the sublime that it is sublime; such that one will know of what is surpassable that it is surpassable and of what is unsurpassable that it is unsurpassable; such that [37] it is possible that one will know, see, and realize this just as it is to be known, seen, and realized.
   “But among knowledges, Ānanda, this one is unsurpassed, namely, the knowledge of these things and those things as they really are. And, I say, there is no other knowledge higher or more excellent than this.
   “There are, Ānanda, these ten Tathāgata’s powers that the Tathāgata has, possessing which he claims the place of the chief bull, roars his lion’s roar in the assemblies, and sets in motion the brahma wheel. What ten? …
   [As in 10:21] [38] …
   “These, Ānanda, are the ten Tathāgata’s powers that the Tathāgata has, possessing which he claims the place of the chief bull, roars his lion’s roar in the assemblies, and sets in motion the brahma wheel.” [39]

23 (3) Body
“Bhikkhus, there are things to be abandoned by body, not by speech. There are things to be abandoned by speech, not by body. There are things to be abandoned neither by body nor by speech but by having repeatedly seen with wisdom.
   “And what, bhikkhus, are the things to be abandoned by body, not by speech? Here, a bhikkhu has committed a particular unwholesome deed with the body. His wise fellow monks investigate him and say thus: ‘You have committed a particular unwholesome deed with the body. It would really be good if you would abandon bodily misconduct and develop bodily good conduct.’ When his wise fellow monks investigate him and speak to him, he abandons bodily misconduct and develops bodily good conduct. These are called things to be abandoned by body, not by speech.
   “And what are the things to be abandoned by speech, not by body? Here, a bhikkhu has committed a particular unwholesome deed by speech. His wise fellow monks investigate him and say thus: ‘You have committed a particular unwholesome deed by speech. It would really be good if you would abandon verbal misconduct and develop verbal good conduct.’ When his wise fellow monks investigate him and speak to him, he abandons verbal misconduct and develops verbal good conduct. These are called things to be abandoned by speech, not by body.
   “And what are the things to be abandoned neither by body nor by speech, but by having repeatedly seen with wisdom? Greed is to be abandoned neither by body nor by speech, but by having repeatedly seen with wisdom. Hatred … Delusion … Anger … Hostility … Denigration … Insolence [40] … Miserliness is to be abandoned neither by body nor by speech but by having repeatedly seen with wisdom.
   “Evil envy, bhikkhus, is to be abandoned neither by body nor by speech but by having repeatedly seen with wisdom. And what is evil envy? Here, a householder or householder’s son is prospering in wealth or grain, in silver or gold. A slave or dependent might think of him: ‘Oh, may this householder or householder’s son not prosper in wealth or grain, in silver or gold!’ Or else an ascetic or brahmin gains robes, almsfood, lodging, and medicines and provisions for the sick. Another ascetic or brahmin might think of him: ‘Oh, may this venerable one not gain robes, almsfood, lodging, and medicines and provisions for the sick!’ This is called evil envy. Evil envy is to be abandoned neither by body nor by speech but by having repeatedly seen with wisdom.
   “Evil desire, bhikkhus, is to be abandoned neither by body nor by speech but by having repeatedly seen with wisdom. And what is evil desire? Here, one without faith desires: ‘Let them know me as one endowed with faith.’ An immoral person desires: ‘Let them know me as virtuous.’ One with little learning desires: ‘Let them know me as learned.’ One who delights in company desires: ‘Let them know me as solitary.’ One who is lazy desires: ‘Let them know me as energetic.’ One who is muddle-minded desires: ‘Let them know me as mindful.’ One who is unconcentrated desires: ‘Let them know me as concentrated.’ One who is unwise desires: ‘Let them know me as wise.’ One whose taints are not destroyed desires: ‘Let them know me as one whose taints are destroyed.’ [41] This is called evil desire. Evil desire is to be abandoned neither by body nor by speech but by having repeatedly seen with wisdom.
   “If, bhikkhus, greed overcomes that bhikkhu and continues on; if hatred … delusion … anger … hostility … denigration … insolence … miserliness … evil envy … evil desire overcomes that bhikkhu and continues on, he should be understood thus: ‘This venerable one does not understand in such a way he would have no greed; thus greed overcomes him and continues on. This venerable one does not understand in such a way that he would have no hatred … no delusion … no anger … no hostility … no denigration … no insolence … no miserliness … no evil envy … no evil desire; thus evil desire overcomes him and continues on.’
   “If, bhikkhus, greed does not overcome that bhikkhu and continue on; if hatred … delusion … anger … hostility … denigration … insolence … miserliness … evil envy … evil desire does not overcome that bhikkhu and continue on, he should be understood thus: ‘This venerable one understands in such a way that he would have no greed; thus greed does not overcome him and continue on. This venerable one understands in such a way that he would have no hatred … no delusion … no anger … no hostility … no denigration … no insolence … no miserliness … no evil envy … no evil desire; thus evil desire does not overcome him and continue on.’”

24 (4) Cunda
On one occasion the Venerable Mahācunda was dwelling among the Cetis at Sahajāti. There the Venerable Mahācunda addressed the bhikkhus: “Friends, bhikkhus!”
   “Friend!” those [42] bhikkhus replied. The Venerable Mahācunda said this:
   “Friends, making a declaration of knowledge, a bhikkhu says: ‘I know this Dhamma, I see this Dhamma.’ If, however, greed overcomes that bhikkhu and persists; if hatred … delusion … anger … hostility … denigration … insolence … miserliness … evil envy … evil desire overcomes that bhikkhu and persists, he should be understood thus: ‘This venerable one does not understand in such a way that he would have no greed; thus greed overcomes him and persists. This venerable one does not understand in such a way that he would have no hatred … no delusion … no anger … no hostility … no denigration … no insolence … no miserliness … no evil envy … no evil desire; thus evil desire overcomes him and persists.’
   “Friends, making a declaration of development, a bhikkhu says: ‘I am developed in body, virtuous behavior, mind, and wisdom.’ If, however, greed overcomes that bhikkhu and persists; if hatred … evil desire overcomes that bhikkhu and persists, he should be understood thus: ‘This venerable one does not understand in such a way that he would have no greed; thus greed overcomes him and persists. This venerable one does not understand in such a way that he would have no hatred … no evil desire; thus evil desire overcomes him and persists.’
   “Friends, making a declaration of knowledge and development, a bhikkhu says: ‘I know this Dhamma, I see this Dhamma. I am developed in body, virtuous behavior, mind, and wisdom.’ If, however, greed overcomes that bhikkhu and persists; if hatred … evil desire [43] overcomes that bhikkhu and persists, he should be understood thus: ‘This venerable one does not understand in such a way that he would have no greed; thus greed overcomes him and persists. This venerable one does not understand in such a way that he would have no hatred … no evil desire; thus evil desire overcomes him and persists.’
   “Suppose a poor, destitute, and needy person claims to be rich, affluent, and wealthy. If, when he wants to buy something, he cannot pay with money, grain, silver, or gold, they would know him as a poor, destitute, and needy person claiming to be rich, affluent, and wealthy. For what reason? Because when he wants to buy something, he cannot pay with money, grain, silver, or gold.
   “So too, friends, making a declaration of knowledge and development, a bhikkhu says: ‘I know this Dhamma, I see this Dhamma. I am developed in body, virtuous behavior, mind, wisdom.’ If, however, greed overcomes that bhikkhu and persists … evil desire overcomes that bhikkhu and persists, he should be understood thus: ‘This venerable one does not understand in such a way that he would have no greed; thus greed overcomes him and persists. This venerable one does not understand in such a way that he would have no hatred … [44] … no evil desire; thus evil desire overcomes him and persists.’
   “Friends, making a declaration of knowledge, a bhikkhu says: ‘I know this Dhamma, see this Dhamma.’ If greed does not overcome that bhikkhu and persist; if hatred … delusion … anger … hostility … denigration … insolence … miserliness … evil envy … evil desire does not overcome that bhikkhu and persist, he should be understood thus: ‘This venerable one understands in such a way that he has no greed; thus greed does not overcome him and persist. This venerable one understands in such a way that he has no hatred … no evil desire; thus evil desire does not overcome him and persist.’
   “Friends, making a declaration of development, a bhikkhu says: ‘I am developed in body, virtuous behavior, mind, and wisdom.’ If greed does not overcome that bhikkhu and persist; if hatred … evil desire does not overcome that bhikkhu and persist, he should be understood thus: ‘This venerable one understands in such a way that he has no greed; thus greed does not overcome him and persist. This venerable one understands in such a way that he has no hatred … no evil desire; thus evil desire does not overcome him and persist.’
   “Friends, making a declaration of knowledge and development, a bhikkhu says: ‘I know this Dhamma, I see this Dhamma. I am developed in body, virtuous behavior, mind, and wisdom.’ If greed does not overcome that bhikkhu and persist; if hatred … evil desire does not overcome that bhikkhu and persist, he should be understood thus: ‘This venerable one understands in such a way that he has no greed; [45] thus greed does not overcome him and persist. This venerable one understands in such a way that he has no hatred … no evil desire; thus evil desire does not overcome him and persist.’
   “Suppose a rich, affluent, and wealthy person claims to be rich, affluent, and wealthy. If, when he wants to buy something, he can pay with money, grain, silver, or gold, they would know him as a rich, affluent, and wealthy person who claims to be rich, affluent, and wealthy. For what reason? Because when he wants to buy something, he can pay with money, grain, silver, or gold.
   “So too, friends, making a declaration of knowledge and development, a bhikkhu says: ‘I know this Dhamma, I see this Dhamma. I am developed in body, virtuous behavior, mind, and wisdom.’ If greed does not overcome that bhikkhu and persist; if hatred … delusion … anger … hostility … denigration … insolence … miserliness … evil envy … evil desire does not overcome that bhikkhu and persist, he should be understood thus: ‘This venerable one understands in such a way that he has no greed; thus greed does not overcome him and persist. This venerable one understands in such a way that he has no hatred … no evil desire; thus evil desire does not overcome him and persist.’” [46]

25 (5) Kasiṇas
“Bhikkhus, there are these ten kasiṇa bases. What ten? One person perceives the earth kasiṇa above, below, across, non-dual, measureless. One person perceives the water kasiṇa … the fire kasiṇa … the air kasiṇa … the blue kasiṇa … the yellow kasiṇa … the red kasiṇa … the white kasiṇa … the space kasiṇa … the consciousness kasiṇa above, below, across, non-dual, measureless. These are the ten kasiṇa bases.”

26 (6) Kāḷī
On one occasion the Venerable Mahākaccāna was dwelling among the people of Avantī on Mount Pavatta at Kuraraghara. Then the female lay follower Kāḷī of Kuraraghara approached him, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him:
   “Bhante, this was said by the Blessed One in ‘The Maidens’ Questions’:

‘Having conquered the army of the pleasant and agreeable,
meditating alone, I discovered bliss,
the attainment of the goal, the peace of the heart.
Therefore I don’t form intimate ties with people,
nor does intimacy with anyone get a chance with me.’ [47]

“How, bhante, is the meaning of this statement that the Blessed One had spoken in brief to be seen in detail?”
   “Some ascetics and brahmins, sister, for whom the attainment of the earth kasiṇa is supreme, generated it as their goal. The Blessed One directly knew to what extent the attainment of the earth kasiṇa is supreme. Having directly known this, he saw the beginning, the danger, and the escape, and he saw the knowledge and vision of the path and the non-path. By seeing the beginning, the danger, and the escape, and by seeing the knowledge and vision of the path and the non-path, he knew the attainment of the goal, the peace of the heart.
   “Some ascetics and brahmins, sister, for whom the attainment of the water kasiṇa … the fire kasiṇa … the air kasiṇa … the blue kasiṇa … the yellow kasiṇa … the red kasiṇa … the white kasiṇa … the space kasiṇa … the consciousness kasiṇa is supreme, generated it as their goal. The Blessed One directly knew to what extent the attainment of the consciousness kasiṇa is supreme. Having directly known this, he saw the beginning, the danger, and the escape, and he saw the knowledge and vision of the path and the non-path. By seeing the beginning, the danger, and the escape, and by seeing the knowledge and vision of the path and the non-path, he knew the attainment of the goal, the peace of the heart.
   “Thus, sister, when the Blessed One said in ‘The Maidens’ Questions’:

‘Having conquered the army of the pleasant and agreeable,
meditating alone, I discovered bliss,
the attainment of the goal, the peace of the heart. [48]
Therefore I don’t form intimate ties with people,
nor does intimacy with anyone succeed in my case’ —

it is in such a way that the meaning of this statement that he spoke in brief should be seen in detail.”

27 (7) Great Questions (1)
On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. Then, in the morning, a number of bhikkhus dressed, took their bowls and robes, and entered Sāvatthī for alms. Then it occurred to those bhikkhus: “It is still too early to walk for alms in Sāvatthī. Let us go to the park of the wanderers of other sects.”
   Then those bhikkhus went to the park of the wanderers of other sects. They exchanged greetings with those wanderers and, when they had concluded their greetings and cordial talk, sat down to one side. Those wanderers then said to them:
   “Friends, the ascetic Gotama teaches the Dhamma to his disciples in such a way as this: ‘Come, bhikkhus, directly know all phenomena. Dwell having directly known all phenomena.’ We too teach the Dhamma to our disciples in such a way as this: ‘Come, friends, directly know all phenomena. Dwell having directly known all phenomena.’ What now is the distinction, the disparity, the difference between the ascetic Gotama’s [49] teaching of the Dhamma and ours, between his instruction and ours?”
   Then those bhikkhus neither applauded nor rejected the statement of those wanderers. Without applauding it, without rejecting it, they rose from their seats and left, [thinking]: “We shall find out what the Blessed One has to say about this statement.”
   Then, when those bhikkhus had walked for alms in Sāvatthī, after their meal, on returning from their alms round, they approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said: “Here, bhante, in the morning, we dressed, took our bowls and robes, and entered Sāvatthī for alms…. [They here report the entire course of events, ending:] [50] We rose from our seats and left, [thinking]: ‘We shall find out what the Blessed One has to say about this statement.’”
   “Bhikkhus, when wanderers of other sects speak thus, they should be answered in this way: ‘A question about one, a concise statement about one, an explanation of one. A question about two, a concise statement about two, an explanation of two. A question about three, a concise statement about three, an explanation of three. A question about four, a concise statement about four, an explanation of four. A question about five, a concise statement about five, an explanation of five. A question about six, a concise statement about six, an explanation of six. A question about seven, a concise statement about seven, an explanation of seven. A question about eight, a concise statement about eight, an explanation of eight. A question about nine, a concise statement about nine, an explanation of nine. A question about ten, a concise statement about ten, an explanation of ten. If wanderers of other sects were questioned thus, they would not be able to reply and, further, they would meet with distress. For what reason? Because that would not be within their domain. I do not see anyone, bhikkhus, in the world with its devas, Māra, and Brahmā, in this population with its ascetics and brahmins, its devas and humans, who could satisfy the mind with an answer to these questions apart from the Tathāgata or a disciple of the Tathāgata or one who has heard it from them.
   (1) “When it was said: ‘A question about one, a concise statement about one, an explanation of one,’ with reference to what was this said? When a bhikkhu is completely disenchanted with one thing, completely dispassionate toward it, completely liberated from it, completely sees its delimitations, and completely breaks through its meaning, in this very life he makes an end of suffering. What one thing? All beings exist through nutriment. [51] When a bhikkhu is completely disenchanted with this one thing, completely dispassionate toward it, completely liberated from it, completely sees its delimitations, and completely breaks through its meaning, in this very life he makes an end of suffering.
   “When it was said: ‘A question about one, a concise statement about one, an explanation of one,’ it is with reference to this that this was said.
   (2) “When it was said: ‘A question about two, a concise statement about two, an explanation of two,’ with reference to what was this said? When a bhikkhu is completely disenchanted with two things, completely dispassionate toward them, completely liberated from them, completely sees their delimitations, and completely breaks through their meaning, in this very life he makes an end of suffering. What two things? Name and form. When a bhikkhu is completely disenchanted with these two things … in this very life he makes an end of suffering.
   “When it was said: ‘A question about two, a concise statement about two, an explanation of two,’ it is with reference to this that this was said.
   (3) “When it was said: ‘A question about three, a concise statement about three, an explanation of three,’ with reference to what was this said? When a bhikkhu is completely disenchanted with three things, completely dispassionate toward them, completely liberated from them, completely sees their delimitations, and completely breaks through their meaning, in this very life he makes an end of suffering. What three things? The three kinds of feelings. When a bhikkhu is completely disenchanted with these three things … in this very life he makes an end of suffering.
   “When it was said: ‘A question about three, a concise statement about three, an explanation of three,’ it is with reference to this that this was said.
   (4) “When it was said: ‘A question about four, a concise statement about four, an explanation of four,’ with reference to what was this said? [52] When a bhikkhu is completely disenchanted with four things, completely dispassionate toward them, completely liberated from them, completely sees their delimitations, and completely breaks through their meaning, in this very life he makes an end of suffering. What four things? The four kinds of nutriment. When a bhikkhu is completely disenchanted with these four things … in this very life he makes an end of suffering.
   “When it was said: ‘A question about four, a concise statement about four, an explanation of four,’ it is with reference to this that this was said.
   (5) “When it was said: ‘A question about five, a concise statement about five, an explanation of five,’ with reference to what was this said? When a bhikkhu is completely disenchanted with five things, completely dispassionate toward them, completely liberated from them, completely sees their delimitations, and completely breaks through their meaning, in this very life he makes an end of suffering. What five things? The five aggregates subject to clinging. When a bhikkhu is completely disenchanted with these five things … in this very life he makes an end of suffering.
   “When it was said: ‘A question about five, a concise statement about five, an explanation of five,’ it is with reference to this that this was said.
   (6) “When it was said: ‘A question about six, a concise statement about six, an explanation of six,’ with reference to what was this said? When a bhikkhu is completely disenchanted with six things, completely dispassionate toward them, completely liberated from them, completely sees their delimitations, and completely breaks through their meaning, in this very life he makes an end of suffering. What six things? The six internal sense bases. When a bhikkhu is completely disenchanted with these six things … in this very life he makes an end of suffering. [53]
   “When it was said: ‘A question about six, a concise statement about six, an explanation of six,’ it is with reference to this that this was said.
   (7) “When it was said: ‘A question about seven, a concise statement about seven, an explanation of seven,’ with reference to what was this said? When a bhikkhu is completely disenchanted with seven things, completely dispassionate toward them, completely liberated from them, completely sees their delimitations, and completely breaks through their meaning, in this very life he makes an end of suffering. What seven things? The seven stations for consciousness. When a bhikkhu is completely disenchanted with these seven things … in this very life he makes an end of suffering.
   “When it was said: ‘A question about seven, a concise statement about seven, an explanation of seven,’ it is with reference to this that this was said.
   (8) “When it was said: ‘A question about eight, a concise statement about eight, an explanation of eight,’ with reference to what was this said? When a bhikkhu is completely disenchanted with eight things, completely dispassionate toward them, completely liberated from them, completely sees their delimitations, and completely breaks through their meaning, in this very life he makes an end of suffering. What eight things? The eight worldly conditions. When a bhikkhu is completely disenchanted with these eight things … in this very life he makes an end of suffering.
   “When it was said: ‘A question about eight, a concise statement about eight, an explanation of eight,’ it is with reference to this that this was said.
   (9) “When it was said: ‘A question about nine, a concise statement about nine, an explanation of nine,’ with reference to what was this said? When a bhikkhu is completely disenchanted with nine things, completely dispassionate toward them, completely liberated from them, completely sees their delimitations, and completely breaks through their meaning, in this very life he makes an end of suffering. What nine things? The nine abodes of beings. [54] When a bhikkhu is completely disenchanted with these nine things … in this very life he makes an end of suffering.
   “When it was said: ‘A question about nine, a concise statement about nine, an explanation of nine,’ it is with reference to this that this was said.
   (10) “When it was said: ‘A question about ten, a concise statement about ten, an explanation of ten,’ with reference to what was this said? When a bhikkhu is completely disenchanted with ten things, completely dispassionate toward them, completely liberated from them, completely sees their delimitations, and completely breaks through their meaning, in this very life he makes an end of suffering. What ten things? The ten unwholesome courses of kamma. When a bhikkhu is completely disenchanted with these ten things, completely dispassionate toward them, completely liberated from them, completely sees their delimitations, and completely breaks through their meaning, in this very life he makes an end of suffering.
   “When it was said: ‘A question about ten, a concise statement about ten, an explanation of ten,’ it is with reference to this that this was said.”

28 (8) Great Questions (2)
On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Kajaṅgalā in the Bamboo Grove. Then a number of lay followers from Kajaṅgalā approached the bhikkhunī from Kajaṅgalā, paid homage to her, sat down to one side, and said to her:
   “Noble lady, this was said by the Blessed One in ‘The Great Questions’: ‘A question about one, a concise statement about one, an explanation of one. A question about two, a concise statement about two, an explanation of two. A question about three, a concise statement about three, an explanation of three. [55] A question about four, a concise statement about four, an explanation of four. A question about five, a concise statement about five, an explanation of five. A question about six, a concise statement about six, an explanation of six. A question about seven, a concise statement about seven, an explanation of seven. A question about eight, a concise statement about eight, an explanation of eight. A question about nine, a concise statement about nine, an explanation of nine. A question about ten, a concise statement about ten, an explanation of ten.’ How, noble lady, is the meaning of this statement that the Blessed One spoke in brief to be seen in detail?”
   “Friends, I have not heard and learned this in the presence of the Blessed One, nor have I heard and learned this in the presence of esteemed bhikkhus. However, listen and attend closely as I explain what it seems to mean to me.”
   “Yes, noble lady,” those lay followers of Kajaṅgalā replied. The bhikkhunī of Kajaṅgalā said this:
   (1) “When it was said by the Blessed One: ‘A question about one, a concise statement about one, an explanation of one,’ with reference to what was this said? When a bhikkhu is completely disenchanted with one thing, completely dispassionate toward it, completely liberated from it, completely sees its delimitations, and completely breaks through its meaning, in this very life he makes an end of suffering. What one thing? All beings exist through nutriment. When a bhikkhu is completely disenchanted with this one thing, completely dispassionate toward it, completely liberated from it, completely sees its delimitations, and completely breaks through its meaning, in this very life he makes an end of suffering.
   “When it was said by the Blessed One: ‘A question about one, a concise statement about one, an explanation of one,’ it is with reference to this that this was said. [56]
   (2) “When it was said by the Blessed One: ‘A question about two, a concise statement about two, an explanation of two,’ with reference to what was this said? When a bhikkhu is completely disenchanted with two things, completely dispassionate toward them, completely liberated from them, completely sees their delimitations, and completely breaks through their meaning, in this very life he makes an end of suffering. What two things? Name and form….
   (3) … “What three things? The three kinds of feelings. When a bhikkhu is completely disenchanted with these three things … in this very life he makes an end of suffering.
   “When it was said by the Blessed One: ‘A question about three, a concise statement about three, an explanation of three,’ it is with reference to this that this was said.
   (4) “When it was said by the Blessed One: ‘A question about four, a concise statement about four, an explanation of four,’ with reference to what was this said? When a bhikkhu has a mind completely well developed in four things, completely sees their delimitations, and completely breaks through their meaning, in this very life he makes an end of suffering. What four things? The four establishments of mindfulness. When a bhikkhu has a mind completely well developed in these four things … in this very life he makes an end of suffering.
   “When it was said by the Blessed One: ‘A question about four, a concise statement about four, an explanation of four,’ it is with reference to this that this was said.
   (5)–(8) “When it was said by the Blessed One: ‘A question about five, a concise statement about five, an explanation of five,’ with reference to what was this said? When a bhikkhu has a mind completely well developed in five things, completely sees their delimitations, and completely breaks through their meaning, in this very life he makes an end of suffering. What five things? The five faculties … What six things? [57] The six elements of escape … What seven things? The seven factors of enlightenment … What eight things? The noble eightfold path. When a bhikkhu has a mind completely well developed in these eight things … in this very life he makes an end of suffering.\
   “When it was said by the Blessed One: ‘A question about eight, a concise statement about eight, an explanation of eight,’ it is with reference to this that this was said.
   (9) “When it was said by the Blessed One: ‘A question about nine, a concise statement about nine, an explanation of nine,’ with reference to what was this said? When a bhikkhu is completely disenchanted with nine things, completely dispassionate toward them, completely liberated from them, completely sees their delimitations, and completely breaks through their meaning, in this very life he makes an end of suffering. What nine things? The nine abodes of beings. When a bhikkhu is completely disenchanted with these nine things … in this very life he makes an end of suffering.
   “When it was said by the Blessed One: ‘A question about nine, a concise statement about nine, an explanation of nine,’ it is with reference to this that this was said.
   (10) “When it was said by the Blessed One: ‘A question about ten, a concise statement about ten, an explanation of ten,’ with reference to what was this said? When a bhikkhu has a mind completely well developed in ten things, completely sees their delimitations, and completely breaks through their meaning, in this very life he makes an end of suffering. What ten things? The ten wholesome courses of kamma. [58] When a bhikkhu has a mind completely well developed in these ten things … in this very life he makes an end of suffering.
   “When it was said by the Blessed One: ‘A question about ten, a concise statement about ten, an explanation of ten,’ it is with reference to this that this was said.
   “Thus, friends, when it was said by the Blessed One in ‘The Great Questions’: ‘A question about one, a concise statement about one, an explanation of one … A question about ten, a concise statement about ten, an explanation of ten,’ it is in such a way that I understand in detail the meaning of this statement that the Blessed One spoke in brief. But if you wish, approach the Blessed One and ask him about this matter. As the Blessed One answers you, so should you retain it in mind.”
   Saying, “Yes, noble lady,” those lay followers of Kajaṅgalā delighted and rejoiced in the statement of the bhikkhunī of Kajaṅgalā. Then they rose from their seats, paid homage to her, circumambulated her keeping the right side toward her, and approached the Blessed One. They paid homage to the Blessed One, sat down to one side, and reported to the Blessed One their entire discussion with the bhikkhunī of Kajaṅgalā. [The Blessed One said:]
   “Good, good, householders! The bhikkhunī of Kajaṅgalā is wise, of great wisdom. If you had approached me and asked me about this matter, I [59] would have answered exactly as the bhikkhunī of Kajaṅgalā has answered. That is its meaning, and it is in this way that you should retain it in mind.”

29 (9) Kosala (1)
(1) “Bhikkhus, as far as Kāsi and Kosala extend, as far as the realm of King Pasenadi of Kosala extends, there King Pasenadi of Kosala ranks as the foremost. But even for King Pasenadi there is alteration; there is change. Seeing this thus, the instructed noble disciple becomes disenchanted with it; being disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate toward the foremost, not to speak of what is inferior.
   (2) “Bhikkhus, as far as sun and moon revolve and light up the quarters with their brightness, so far the thousandfold world system extends. In that thousandfold world system there are a thousand moons, a thousand suns, a thousand Sinerus king of mountains, a thousand Jambudīpas, a thousand Aparagoyānas, a thousand Uttarakurus, a thousand Pubbavidehas, and a thousand four great oceans; a thousand four great kings, a thousand [heavens ruled by] the four great kings, a thousand Tāvatiṃsa [heavens], a thousand Yāma [heavens], a thousand Tusita [heavens], a thousand [heavens] of devas who delight in creation, a thousand [heavens] of devas who control what is created by others, a thousand brahmā worlds. As far, bhikkhus, as this thousandfold world system extends, Mahābrahmā [60] there ranks as the foremost. But even for Mahābrahmā there is alteration; there is change. Seeing this thus, the instructed noble disciple becomes disenchanted with it; being disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate toward the foremost, not to speak of what is inferior.
   (3) “There comes a time, bhikkhus, when this world dissolves. When the world is dissolving, beings for the most part migrate to the devas of streaming radiance. There they exist mind-made, feeding on rapture, self-luminous, moving through the skies, living in glory, and they remain thus for a very long time. When the world is dissolving, the devas of streaming radiance rank as the foremost. But even for these devas there is alteration; there is change. Seeing this thus, the instructed noble disciple becomes disenchanted with it; being disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate toward the foremost, not to speak of what is inferior.
   (4) “Bhikkhus, there are these ten kasiṇa bases. What ten? One person perceives the earth kasiṇa above, below, across, undivided, measureless. One person perceives the water kasiṇa … the fire kasiṇa … the air kasiṇa … the blue kasiṇa … the yellow kasiṇa … the red kasiṇa … the white kasiṇa … the space kasiṇa … the consciousness kasiṇa above, below, across, undivided, measureless. These are the ten kasiṇa bases. Of these ten kasiṇa bases, this is the foremost, namely, when one perceives the consciousness kasiṇa above, below, across, undivided, measureless. There are beings who are percipient in such a way. But even for beings who are percipient in such a way there is alteration; there is change. Seeing this thus, [61] bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple becomes disenchanted with it; being disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate toward the foremost, not to speak of what is inferior.
   (5) “Bhikkhus, there are these eight bases of overcoming. What eight?
   (i) “One percipient of forms internally sees forms externally, limited, beautiful or ugly. Having overcome them, he is percipient thus: ‘I know, I see.’ This is the first basis of overcoming.
   (ii) “One percipient of forms internally sees forms externally, measureless, beautiful or ugly. Having overcome them, he is percipient thus: ‘I know, I see.’ This is the second basis of overcoming.
   (iii) “One not percipient of forms internally sees forms externally, limited, beautiful or ugly. Having overcome them, he is percipient thus: ‘I know, I see.’ This is the third basis of overcoming.
   (iv) “One not percipient of forms internally sees forms externally, measureless, beautiful or ugly. Having overcome them, he is percipient thus: ‘I know, I see.’ This is the fourth basis of overcoming.
   (v) “One not percipient of forms internally sees forms externally, blue ones, blue in color, with a blue hue, with a blue tint. Just as the flax flower is blue, blue in color, with a blue hue, with a blue tint, or just as Bārāṇasī cloth, smoothened on both sides, might be blue, blue in color, with a blue hue, with a blue tint, so too, one not percipient of forms internally sees forms externally, blue ones…. Having overcome them, he is percipient thus: ‘I know, I see.’ This is the fifth basis of overcoming.
   (vi) “One not percipient of forms internally sees forms externally, yellow ones, with a yellow hue, with a yellow tint. Just as the kaṇikāra flower is yellow, yellow in color, with a yellow hue, with a yellow tint, or just as Bārāṇasī cloth, [62] smoothened on both sides, might be yellow, yellow in color, with a yellow hue, with a yellow tint, so too, one not percipient of forms internally sees forms externally, yellow ones…. Having overcome them, he is percipient thus: ‘I know, I see.’ This is the sixth basis of overcoming.
   (vii) “One not percipient of forms internally sees forms externally, red ones, with a red hue, with a red tint. Just as the bandhujīvaka flower is red, red in color, with a red hue, with a red tint, or just as Bārāṇasī cloth, smoothened on both sides, might be red, red in color with a red hue, with a red tint, so too, one not percipient of forms internally sees forms externally, red ones…. Having overcome them, he is percipient thus: ‘I know, I see.’ This is the seventh basis of overcoming.
   (viii) “One not percipient of forms internally sees forms externally, white ones, white in color, with a white hue, with a white tint. Just as the morning star is white, white in color, with a white hue, with a white tint, or just as Bārāṇasī cloth, smoothened on both sides, might be white, white in color, with a white hue, with a white tint, so too, one not percipient of forms internally sees forms externally, white ones…. Having overcome them, he is percipient thus: ‘I know, I see.’ This is the eighth basis of overcoming.
   “These are the eight bases of overcoming. Of these eight bases of overcoming, this is the foremost, namely, that one not percipient of forms internally sees forms externally, white ones, white in color with a white hue, with a white tint; and having overcome them, he is percipient thus: ‘I know, I see.’ There are beings who are percipient in such a way. But even for beings who are percipient in such a way there is [63] alteration; there is change. Seeing this thus, the instructed noble disciple becomes disenchanted with it; being disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate toward the foremost, not to speak of what is inferior.
   (6) “Bhikkhus, there are these four modes of practice. What four? Practice that is painful with sluggish direct knowledge; practice that is painful with quick direct knowledge; practice that is pleasant with sluggish direct knowledge; and practice that is pleasant with quick direct knowledge. These are the four modes of practice. Of these four modes of practice, this is the foremost, namely, practice that is pleasant with quick direct knowledge. There are beings who practice in such a way. But even for beings who practice in such a way there is alteration; there is change. Seeing this thus, the instructed noble disciple becomes disenchanted with it; being disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate toward the foremost, not to speak of what is inferior.
   (7) “Bhikkhus, there are these four modes of perception. What four? One person perceives what is limited; another perceives what is exalted; another perceives what is measureless; and still another, [perceiving] ‘There is nothing,’ perceives the base of nothingness. These are the four modes of perception. Of these four modes of perception, this is the foremost, namely, when, [perceiving] ‘There is nothing,’ one perceives the base of nothingness. There are beings who perceive in such a way. But even for beings who perceive in such a way there is alteration; there is change. Seeing this thus, the instructed noble disciple becomes disenchanted with it; being disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate toward the foremost, not to speak of what is inferior.
   (8) “Bhikkhus, of the speculative views held by outsiders, this is the foremost, namely: ‘I might not be and it might not be mine; I shall not be, [and] it will not be mine.’ For it can be expected that one who holds such a view will not be unrepelled by existence [64] and will not be repelled by the cessation of existence. There are beings who hold such a view. But even for beings who hold such a view there is alteration; there is change. Seeing this thus, the instructed noble disciple becomes disenchanted with it; being disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate toward the foremost, not to speak of what is inferior.
   (9) “Bhikkhus, there are some ascetics and brahmins who proclaim supreme purification. Of those who proclaim supreme purification, this is the foremost, namely, by completely surmounting the base of nothingness, one enters and dwells in the base of neither-perception-nor-nonperception. They teach their Dhamma for the direct knowledge and realization of this. There are beings who assert thus. But even for those who assert thus, there is alteration; there is change. Seeing this thus, the instructed noble disciple becomes disenchanted with it; being disenchanted, he becomes dispassionate toward the foremost, not to speak of what is inferior.
   (10) “Bhikkhus, there are some ascetics and brahmins who proclaim supreme nibbāna in this very life. Of those who proclaim supreme nibbāna in this very life, this is the foremost, namely, emancipation through non-clinging after one has seen as they really are the origin and passing away, the gratification, danger, and escape in regard to the six bases for contact.
   “Bhikkhus, though I assert and declare [my teaching] in such a way, some ascetics and brahmins untruthfully, baselessly, falsely, and wrongly misrepresent me, [by saying]: ‘The ascetic Gotama does not proclaim the full understanding of sensual pleasures, the full understanding of forms, or the full understanding of feelings.’ [65] But, bhikkhus, I do proclaim the full understanding of sensual pleasures, the full understanding of forms, and the full understanding of feelings. In this very life hungerless, quenched and cooled, I proclaim final nibbāna through non-clinging.”

30 (10) Kosala (2)
On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. Now on that occasion King Pasenadi of Kosala had returned from the warfront, victorious in battle, his purpose having been achieved. Then King Pasenadi of Kosala set out for the park. He went by carriage as far as the ground was suitable for a carriage, and then he dismounted from his carriage and entered the park on foot. Now on that occasion a number of bhikkhus were walking back and forth in the open air. Then King Pasenadi of Kosala approached those bhikkhus and asked them:
   “Bhante, where is the Blessed One, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One now dwelling? For I wish to see the Blessed One, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One.”
   “Great king, that is his dwelling with the closed door. Approach it quietly. Without hurrying, enter the porch, clear your throat, and tap on the bolt. The Blessed One will open the door for you.”
   Then, King Pasenadi of Kosala went quietly up to the dwelling with the closed door. Without hurrying, he entered the porch, cleared his throat, and tapped on the bolt. The Blessed One opened the door.
   Then King Pasenadi of Kosala entered the dwelling, prostrated himself with his head at the Blessed One’s feet, and covered the Blessed One’s feet with kisses and caressed them with his hands, pronouncing his name: “Bhante, I am King Pasenadi of Kosala! Bhante, I am King [66] Pasenadi of Kosala!”
   “But, great king, what reasons do you have for showing such supreme honor to this body and displaying such an offering of loving-kindness?”
   “Bhante, it is out of my gratitude and thankfulness that I show such supreme honor toward the Blessed One and display such an offering of loving-kindness to him.
   (1) “For, bhante, the Blessed One is practicing for the welfare of many people, for the happiness of many people; he has established many people in the noble method, that is, in the way of the good Dhamma, in the way of the wholesome Dhamma. This is one reason I show such supreme honor toward the Blessed One and display such an offering of loving-kindness to him.
   (2) “Again, bhante, the Blessed One is virtuous, of mature behavior, of noble behavior, of wholesome behavior, possessing wholesome behavior. This is another reason I show such supreme honor toward the Blessed One....
   (3) “Again, bhante, for a long time the Blessed One has been a forest-dweller who resorts to remote lodgings in forests and jungle groves. Since that is [67] so, this is another reason I show such supreme honor toward the Blessed One.…
   (4) “Again, bhante, the Blessed One is content with any kind of robe, almsfood, lodging, and medicines and provisions for the sick. This is another reason I show such supreme honor toward the Blessed One.…
   (5) “Again, bhante, the Blessed One is worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of reverential salutation, an unsurpassed field of merit for the world. This is another reason I show such supreme honor toward the Blessed One.…
   (6) “Again, bhante, the Blessed One gets to hear at will, without trouble or difficulty, talk concerned with the austere life that leads to the elimination [of defilements], that is conducive to opening up the heart, that is, talk on fewness of desires, on contentment, on solitude, on not getting bound up [with others], on arousing energy, on virtuous behavior, on concentration, on wisdom, on liberation, on the knowledge and vision of liberation. This is another reason I show such supreme honor toward the Blessed One.…
   (7) “Again, bhante, the Blessed One gains at will, without trouble or difficulty, the four jhānas that constitute the higher mind and are pleasant dwellings in this very life. [68] This is another reason I show such supreme honor toward the Blessed One.…
   (8) “Again, bhante, the Blessed One recollects his manifold past abodes, 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 eons of world-dissolution, many eons of world-evolution, many eons of world-dissolution and world-evolution thus: ‘There I was so named, of such a clan, with such an appearance, such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my life span; passing away from there, I was reborn elsewhere, and there too I was so named, of such a clan, with such an appearance, such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my life span; passing away from there, I was reborn here.’ Thus he recollects his manifold past abodes with their aspects and details. Since that is so, this is another reason I show such supreme honor toward the Blessed One.…
   (9) “Again, bhante, with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, the Blessed One sees beings passing away and being reborn, inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and he understands how beings fare on in accordance with their kamma thus: ‘These beings who engaged in misconduct by body, speech, and mind, who reviled the noble ones, [69] held wrong view, and undertook kamma based on wrong view, with the breakup of the body, after death, have been reborn in the plane of misery, in a bad destination, in the lower world, in hell; but these beings who engaged in good conduct by body, speech, and mind, who did not revile the noble ones, who held right view, and undertook kamma based on right view, with the breakup of the body, after death, have been reborn in a good destination, in the heavenly world.’ Thus with the divine eye, which is purified and surpasses the human, he sees beings passing away and being reborn, inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, fortunate and unfortunate, and he understands how beings fare on in accordance with their kamma. Since that is so, this is another reason I show such supreme honor toward the Blessed One.…
   (10) “Again, bhante, with the destruction of the taints, the Blessed One has realized for himself with direct knowledge, in this very life, the taintless liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom; and having entered upon it, he dwells in it. Since that is so, this is another reason I show such supreme honor toward the Blessed One and display such an offering of loving-kindness to him.
   “And now, bhante, we must be going. We are busy and have much to do.”
   “You may go, great king, at your own convenience.”
   Then King Pasenadi of Kosala rose from his seat, paid homage to the Blessed One, circumambulated him keeping the right side toward him, and departed. [70]

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© Bhikkhu Bodhi, The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha (Wisdom Publications, 2012)

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