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Saṁyutta Nikāya — The Connected Discourses

SN22: Connected Discourses on the Aggregates

SN22:80 Alms-Gatherer

1On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling among the Sakyans at Kapilavatthu in Nigrodha's Park.

Then the Blessed One, having dismissed the bhikkhus for a particular reason,[n.120] Spk: After spending the rains residence at Sāvatthī, the Buddha had set out for Kapilavatthu together with a large company of bhikkhus. When they arrived, the Sakyans came to see him, bringing many gifts for the Saṅgha. A noisy quarrel broke out among the bhikkhus over the distribution of the gifts, and it was for this reason that the Teacher dismissed them. He wanted to teach them, "It isn’t for the sake of such things as robes, etc., that you have gone forth into homelessness, but for the sake of arahantship." dressed in the morning and, taking bowl and robe, entered Kapilavatthu for alms. When he had walked for alms in Kapilavatthu and had returned from the alms round, after his meal he went to the Great Wood for the day's abiding. Having plunged into the Great Wood, he sat down at the foot of a beluva sapling for the day's abiding.

2Then, while the Blessed One was alone in seclusion, a reflection arose in his mind thus:[n.121] A similar passage is at MN I 457–59, but there the Sakyans first request the Buddha to pardon the bhikkhus, followed by Brahma Sahampati, who makes the same appeal. In the MN version the sequence of the two similes is inverted. "The Saṅgha of bhikkhus has been dismissed by me. There are bhikkhus here who are newly ordained, not long gone forth, recently come to this Dhamma and Discipline. If they do not see me there may take place in them some alteration or change. Just as when a young calf does not see its mother there may take place in it some alteration or change, so too there are bhikkhus here who are newly ordained, not long gone forth, recently come to this Dhamma and Discipline. If they do not see me there may take place in them some alteration or change. Just as when young seedlings do not get water there may take place in them some alteration or change, so too there are bhikkhus here who are newly ordained, not long gone forth, recently come to this Dhamma and Discipline. If they do not see me there may take place in them some alteration or change. Let me assist the Saṅgha of bhikkhus now just as I have assisted it in the past."

3Then Brahma Sahampati, having known with his own mind the reflection in the Blessed One's mind, just as quickly as a strong man might extend his drawn-in arm or draw in his extended arm, disappeared from the brahma world and reappeared before the Blessed One. sn.iii.92 He arranged his upper robe over one shoulder, raised his joined hands in reverential salutation towards the Blessed One, and said to him: "So it is, Blessed One! So it is, Fortunate One! The Saṅgha of bhikkhus has been dismissed by the Blessed One. There are bhikkhus here who are newly ordained … as above, including the similes … If they do not see the Blessed One there may take place in them some alteration or change. Venerable sir, let the Blessed One take delight in the Saṅgha of bhikkhus! Let the Blessed One welcome the Saṅgha of bhikkhus! Let the Blessed One assist the Saṅgha of bhikkhus now just as he has assisted it in the past."


4The Blessed One consented by silence. Then Brahma Sahampati, having understood the Blessed One's consent, paid homage to the Blessed One and, keeping him on his right, he disappeared right there.

5Then in the evening the Blessed One emerged from seclusion and went to Nigrodha's Park. He sat down in the appointed seat and performed such a feat of spiritual power that the bhikkhus would come to him, alone and in pairs, in a timid manner.[n.122] I follow Se here, which reads: Tathārūpaṃ iddhābhisaṅkhāraṃ abhisaṅkhāsi yathā te bhikkhū ekadvīhikāya sārajjamānarūpā yena bhagavā ten’ upasaṅkameyyuṃ. Be and Ee read yenāhaṁ in place of yena bhagavā; it seems the whole phrase is missing in SS. Spk glosses: Ekadvīhikāyā ti ek’ eko c’ eva dve dve ca hutvā. Sārajjamānarūpā ti ottappamānasabhāvā bhāyamānā.
Spk: Why did the Buddha perform such a feat? From a desire for their welfare. For if they had come to him in groups they would not have shown reverence towards the Buddha nor would they have been able to receive a Dhamma teaching. But when they come timidly, ashamed, alone and in pairs, they show reverence and can receive a teaching.
Then those bhikkhus approached the Blessed One, alone and in pairs, in a timid manner. sn.iii.93 Having approached, they paid homage to the Blessed One and sat down to one side. The Blessed One then said to them:

6"Bhikkhus, this is the lowest form of livelihood, that is, gathering alms. In the world this is a term of abuse:[n.123] Abhisāpa, glossed akkosa by Spk, which explains: "For when people get angry they abuse their antagonist by saying, ‘You should put on a monk's robe, get yourself a begging bowl, and roam about seeking alms!’" Kapāla, rendered here "begging bowl," is not the usual word for a monk's almsbowl (= patta), but refers to the kind of bowl used by non-Buddhist ascetics (sometimes made from a skull); the use of the word seems pejorative. This paragraph and the next are also at It 89–90. Some of the terms describing the deviant monk just below are commented on in I, n. 176. ‘You alms-gatherer; you roam about with a begging bowl in your hand!’ And yet, bhikkhus, clansmen intent on the good take up that way of life for a valid reason. It is not because they have been driven to it by kings that they do so, nor because they have been driven to it by thieves, nor owing to debt, nor from fear, nor to earn a livelihood. But they do so with the thought: ‘I am immersed in birth, aging, and death; in sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair. I am immersed in suffering, oppressed by suffering. Perhaps an ending of this entire mass of suffering might be discerned!’

7"It is in such a way, bhikkhus, that this clansman has gone forth. Yet he is covetous, inflamed by lust for sensual pleasures, with a mind full of ill will, with intentions corrupted by hate, muddle-minded, lacking clear comprehension, unconcentrated, scatter-brained, loose in his sense faculties. Just as a brand from a funeral pyre, burning at both ends and smeared with excrement in the middle, cannot be used as timber either in the village or in the forest, in just such a way do I speak about this person: he has missed out on the enjoyments of a householder, yet he does not fulfil the goal of asceticism.

8"There are, bhikkhus, these three kinds of unwholesome thoughts: sensual thought, thought of ill will, thought of harming. [n.124] Spk says this passage is introduced to show that this person has become like a brand from a funeral pyre because of his evil thoughts. The "signless concentration" (animittasamādhi) is insight concentration (vipassanā-samādhi), called "signless" because it removes the signs of permanence, etc. For more on the signless concentration, see IV, nn. 280, 312, 368., 368. And where, bhikkhus, do these three unwholesome thoughts cease without remainder? For one who dwells with a mind well established in the four establishments of mindfulness, or for one who develops the signless concentration. This is reason enough, bhikkhus, to develop the signless concentration. When the signless concentration is developed and cultivated, bhikkhus, it is of great fruit and benefit.

9"There are, bhikkhus, these two views: the view of existence and the view of extermination.[n.125] Spk: The view of existence (bhavadiṭṭhi) is eternalism (sassatadiṭṭhi); the view of extermination (vibhavadiṭṭhi) is annihilationism (ucchedadiṭṭhi). This passage is introduced to show that the signless concentration removes not only the three wrong thoughts but also eternalism and annihilationism. sn.iii.94 Therein, bhikkhus, the instructed noble disciple reflects thus: ‘Is there anything in the world that I could cling to without being blameworthy?’ He understand thus: ‘There is nothing in the world that I could cling to without being blameworthy. For if I should cling, it is only form that I would be clinging to, only feeling … only perception … only volitional formations … only consciousness that I would be clinging to. With that clinging of mine as condition, there would be existence; with existence as condition, birth; with birth as condition, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair would come to be. Such would be the origin of this whole mass of suffering.’[n.126] Here the Buddha connects clinging, which arises on the basis of the mere five aggregates mistakenly held to as a self, with the last portion of the formula on dependent origination, thus showing present clinging to be the sustaining cause for the continuation of the round of existence. For a parallel, see MN I 511,30–512,2.

10"What do you think, bhikkhus, is form permanent or impermanent? … Is feeling … perception … volitional formations … consciousness permanent or impermanent?" - "Impermanent, venerable sir." - "Is what is impermanent suffering or happiness?" - "Suffering, venerable sir." - "Is what is impermanent, suffering, and subject to change fit to be regarded thus: ‘This is mine, this I am, this is my self’?" - "No, venerable sir."

"Seeing thus … He understands: ‘ … there is no more for this state of being.’"[n.127] Spk: At the end of the discourse five hundred bhikkhus attained arahantship together with the analytical knowledges (paṭisambhidā).

1Ekaṁ samayaṁ bhagavā sakkesu vihārati kapilavatthusmiṁ nigrodhārāme.

Atha kho bhagavā kismiñcideva pakaraṇe bhikkhusaṅghaṁ paṇāmetvā pubbaṇhasamayaṁ nivāsetvā pattacīvaramādāya kapilavatthuṁ piṇḍāya pāvisi. Kapilavatthusmiṁ piṇḍāya caritvā pacchābhattaṁ piṇḍapātapaṭikkanto yena mahāvanaṁ tenupasaṅkami divāvihārāya. Mahāvanaṁ ajjhogāhetvā beluvalaṭṭhikāya mūle divāvihāraṁ nisīdi.

2Atha kho bhagavato rahogatassa paṭisallīnassa evaṁ cetaso parivitakko udapādi: "Mayā kho bhikkhusaṅgho pabāḷho. Santettha bhikkhū navā acirapabbajitā adhunāgatā imaṁ dhammavinayaṁ. Tesaṁ mamaṁ apassantānaṁ siyā aññathattaṁ siyā vipariṇāmo. Seyyathāpi nāma vacchassa taruṇassa mātaraṁ apassantassa siyā aññathattaṁ siyā vipariṇāmo; evameva santettha bhikkhū navā acirapabbajitā adhunāgatā imaṁ dhammavinayaṁ tesaṁ mamaṁ apassantānaṁ siyā aññathattaṁ siyā vipariṇāmo. Seyyathāpi nāma bījānaṁ taruṇānaṁ udakaṁ alabhantānaṁ siyā aññathattaṁ siyā vipariṇāmo; evameva santettha … pe … tesaṁ mamaṁ alabhantānaṁ dassanāya siyā aññathattaṁ siyā vipariṇāmo. Yannūnāhaṁ yatheva mayā pubbe bhikkhusaṅgho anuggahito, evameva etarahi anuggaṇheyyaṁ bhikkhusaṅghan"ti.

3Atha kho brahmā sahampati bhagavato cetasā cetoparivitakkamaññāya – seyyathāpi nāma balavā puriso samiñjitaṁ vā bāhaṁ pasāreyya pasāritaṁ vā bāhaṁ samiñjeyya; evameva – brahmaloke antarahito bhagavato purato pāturahosi. Atha kho brahmā sahampati ekaṁsaṁ uttarāsaṅgaṁ karitvā yena bhagavā tenañjaliṁ paṇāmetvā bhagavantaṁ etadavoca: "evametaṁ, bhagavā, evametaṁ, sugata. Bhagavatā, bhante, bhikkhusaṅgho pabāḷho. Santettha bhikkhū navā acirapabbajitā adhunāgatā imaṁ dhammavinayaṁ. Tesaṁ bhagavantaṁ apassantānaṁ siyā aññathattaṁ siyā vipariṇāmo. Seyyathāpi nāma vacchassa taruṇassa mātaraṁ apassantassa siyā aññathattaṁ siyā vipariṇāmo; evameva santettha bhikkhū navā acirapabbajitā adhunāgatā imaṁ dhammavinayaṁ tesaṁ bhagavantaṁ apassantānaṁ siyā aññathattaṁ siyā vipariṇāmo. Seyyathāpi nāma bījānaṁ taruṇānaṁ udakaṁ alabhantānaṁ siyā aññathattaṁ siyā vipariṇāmo; evameva santettha bhikkhū navā acirapabbajitā adhunāgatā imaṁ dhammavinayaṁ, tesaṁ bhagavantaṁ alabhantānaṁ dassanāya siyā aññathattaṁ siyā vipariṇāmo. Abhinandatu, bhante, bhagavā bhikkhusaṅghaṁ; abhivadatu, bhante, bhagavā bhikkhusaṅghaṁ. Yatheva bhagavatā pubbe bhikkhusaṅgho anuggahito, evameva etarahi anuggaṇhātu bhikkhusaṅghan"ti.


4Adhivāsesi bhagavā tuṇhībhāvena. Atha kho brahmā sahampati bhagavato adhivāsanaṁ viditvā bhagavantaṁ abhivādetvā padakkhiṇaṁ katvā tatthevantaradhāyi.

5Atha kho bhagavā sāyanhasamayaṁ paṭisallānā vuṭṭhito yena nigrodhārāmo tenupasaṅkami; upasaṅkamitvā paññatte āsane nisīdi. Nisajja kho bhagavā tathārūpaṁ iddhābhisaṅkhāraṁ abhisaṅkhāsi yathā te bhikkhū ekadvīhikāya sārajjamānarūpā yenāhaṁ tenupasaṅkameyyuṁ. Tepi bhikkhū ekadvīhikāya sārajjamānarūpā yena bhagavā tenupasaṅkamiṁsu; upasaṅkamitvā bhagavantaṁ abhivādetvā ekamantaṁ nisīdiṁsu. Ekamantaṁ nisinne kho te bhikkhū bhagavā etadavoca: 

6"Antamidaṁ, bhikkhave, jīvikānaṁ yadidaṁ piṇḍolyaṁ. Abhisāpoyaṁ, bhikkhave, lokasmiṁ piṇḍolo vicarasi pattapāṇīti. Tañca kho etaṁ, bhikkhave, kulaputtā upenti atthavasikā, atthavasaṁ paṭicca; neva rājābhinītā, na corābhinītā, na iṇaṭṭā, na bhayaṭṭā, na ājīvikāpakatā; api ca kho otiṇṇāmha jātiyā jarāya maraṇena sokehi paridevehi dukkhehi domanassehi upāyāsehi dukkhotiṇṇā dukkhaparetā appeva nāma imassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa antakiriyā paññāyethāti.

7Evaṁ pabbajito cāyaṁ, bhikkhave, kulaputto. So ca hoti abhijjhālu kāmesu tibbasārāgo byāpannacitto paduṭṭhamanasaṅkappo muṭṭhassati asampajāno asamāhito vibbhantacitto pākatindriyo. Seyyathāpi, bhikkhave, chavālātaṁ ubhatopadittaṁ majjhe gūthagataṁ, neva gāme kaṭṭhatthaṁ pharati, nāraññe kaṭṭhatthaṁ pharati. Tathūpamāhaṁ, bhikkhave, imaṁ puggalaṁ vadāmi gihibhogā ca parihīno, sāmaññatthañca na paripūreti.

8Tayome, bhikkhave, akusalavitakkā – kāmavitakko, byā pāda vitakko, vihiṁsāvitakko. Ime ca bhikkhave, tayo akusalavitakkā kva aparisesā nirujjhanti? Catūsu vā satipaṭṭhānesu suppatiṭṭhitacittassa vihārato animittaṁ vā samādhiṁ bhāvayato. Yāvañcidaṁ, bhikkhave, alameva animitto samādhi bhāvetuṁ. Animitto, bhikkhave, samādhi bhāvito bahulīkato mahapphalo hoti mahānisaṁso.

9Dvemā, bhikkhave, diṭṭhiyo – bhavadiṭṭhi ca vibhavadiṭṭhi ca. Tatra kho, bhikkhave, sutavā ariyasāvako iti paṭisañcikkhati: ‘atthi nu kho taṁ kiñci lokasmiṁ yamahaṁ upādiyamāno na vajjavā assan’ti? So evaṁ pajānāti: ‘Natthi nu kho taṁ kiñci lokasmiṁ yamahaṁ upādiyamāno na vajjavā assaṁ. Ahañhi rūpaññeva upādiyamāno upādiyeyyaṁ vedanāññeva … saññaññeva … saṅkhāreyeva viññāṇaññeva upādiyamāno upādiyeyyaṁ. Tassa me assa upādānapaccayā bhavo; bhavapaccayā jāti; jātipaccayā jarāmaraṇaṁ sokaparidevadukkhadomanassupāyāsā sambhaveyyuṁ. Evametassa kevalassa dukkhakkhandhassa samudayo assā’ti.

10Taṁ kiṁ maññatha, bhikkhave, rūpaṁ niccaṁ vā aniccaṁ vā"ti? "Aniccaṁ, bhante". "Yaṁ panāniccaṁ dukkhaṁ vā taṁ sukhaṁ vā"ti? "Dukkhaṁ, bhante". "Yaṁ panāniccaṁ dukkhaṁ vipariṇāmadhammaṁ kallaṁ nu taṁ samanupassituṁ: ‘etaṁ mama, esohamasmi, eso me attā’"ti? "No hetaṁ, bhante". "Vedanā … saññā … saṅkhārā … viññāṇaṁ … pe … tasmātiha, bhikkhave, …

… evaṁ passaṁ … nāparaṁ itthattāyāti pajānātī"ti.

Aṭṭhamaṁ.