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Why is pride a poison, and when can pride of accomplishment be considered a good thing? With full Ambattha Sutta “Pride of Birth and its Fall.”

Why is pride a poison, and when can pride of accomplishment be considered a good thing? With full Ambattha Sutta “Pride of Birth and its Fall.”

Recently, one of my Quora friends asked me:

What is the Buddhist view on the sense of pride (of an accomplishment, for example)?

My answer, at the time, was a quick one — an important question that deserved an answer. Of course, it’s a big topic, and an important one, but I wanted to answer his direct question, which related to pride in your accomplishments. I think it’s valuable to include my short answer here, but also to include the full Ambattha Sutta: Pride of Birthand its Fall. In this important Sutta, Ambhatta, a proud Brahmin tries to debate status and pride with the Buddha. Buddha is even delibrately “rude” to Ambhatta, to help teach him the dangers of pride. The first part of this feature is my opinion and answer with some references. The last part of this feature is Sutra — as taught by Buddha.

Excessive Pride

Pride is only negative if it’s excessive pride, which was defined in the teachings. As with all things, the “middle way.” Excess pride is one of the “six poisons” in Buddhism (see below).

“If we see pride among people who have no idea about Dharma, it is understandable. However, if afflictive emotions and haughtiness are present among Dharma practitioners, it is great disgrace to practice”
His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

Excessive Pride is one of the “six poisons” in Buddhism. It is “Mana” in Sanskrit or Pali and “Nga Rgyal” in Tibetan. BUT — and here’s the important distinction — Buddhism encourages confidence and honesty with oneself. So, pride is only a pride in this context when it is the basis for demeaning others (they’re not as good as me, for example), which can be the basis not only for clinging and attachment, but also aversion (i.e. I won’t associate with someone not as good as I.)

Pride is called a “poison” because it is the basis for disrespecting others and for creating suffering in our lives.

It’s defined as an “exaggerated positive evaluation of self” — generally we don’t call it a “poison” unless it is the basis of “devaluing another person.” In other words, if you’re equally proud of all beings or all people around you, in theory, it’s not an issue. (In reality, it’s obviously an issue).

So, for example, I can be “proud” of being Buddhist and that is “affirming” and useful but NOT if it means I will then disrespect or demean in anyway someone from another spiritual path.

From sutta:

“If one regards himself superior or equal or inferior by reason of the body that is impermanent, painful and subject to change, what else is it than not seeing reality? Or if one regards himself superior or equal or inferior by reason of feelings, perceptions, volitions or consciousness, what else is it than not seeing reality? If one does not regard himself superior or equal or inferior by reason of the body, the feelings, perceptions, volitions or consciousness what else is it than seeing reality?” — SN 22.49

Excessive pride is really attachment — in this case attachment to our-self. Since it’s a “poison” we metaphorically also talk about “cures.”

As a cure

Pride, or cultivating pride, can actually be a way to transform inferiority complex, isolation, loneliness and fear, so, in Buddhism, you could think of Pride as somewhat constructive in those situations.

The cure for excess pride

On the other hand, the teachings tell us that to transform excessive pride we should cultivate “equanimity” and “love for all beings.” (Metta). If we love everyone equally, all beings, then there’s no basis for excessive pride, although you do have the basis for “self love” which can help with issues of inferiority complex and loneliness.

 

Ambattha Sutta

Pride of Birth and It’s Fall

  1. 1. THUS HAVE I HEARD. The Blessed One, when once on a tour through the Kosala country with a great company of the brethren, with about five hundred brethren, arrived at a Brahman village in Kosala named Icchanankala; and while there he stayed in the Icchanankala Wood.

Now at that time the Brahman Pokkharasadi was dwelling at Ukkattha, a spot teeming with life, with much grassland and woodland and corn, on a royal domain, granted him by King Pasenadi of Kosala as a royal gift, with power over it as if he were the king [15].

  1. 2. Now the Brahman Pokkharasadi [16] heard the news: ‘They say that the Samana Gotama, of the Sakya clan, who went out from a Sakya family to adopt the religious life, has now arrived, with a great company of the brethren of his Order, at Icchanankala, and is staying there in the Icchanankala Wood. Now regarding that venerable Gotama, such is the high reputation that has been noised abroad: — That Blessed One is an Arahat, a fully awakened one, abounding in wisdom and goodness, happy, with knowledge of the worlds, unsurpassed as a guide to mortals willing to be led, a teacher for gods and men, a Blessed One, a Buddha. He, by himself, thoroughly knows and sees, as it were, face to face this universe — including the worlds above of the gods, the Brahmas, and the Maras, and the world below with its recluses and Brahman, its princes and peoples — and having known it, he makes his knowledge known to others. The truth, lovely in its origin, lovely in its progress, lovely in its consummation, doth he proclaim, both in the spirit and in the letter, the higher life doth he make known, in all its fullness and in all its purity. ‘And good is it to pay visits to Arahats like that.’
  2. 3. Now at that time a young Brahman, an Ambattha, [17] was a pupil under Pokkharasadi the Brahman. And he was a repeater (of the sacred words) knowing the mystic verses by heart, one who had mastered the Three Vedas, with the indices, the ritual, the phonology, and the exegesis (as a fourth) [18], and the legends as a fifth, learned in the idioms and the grammar, versed in Lokayata sophistry, and in the theory of the signs on the body of a great man, [19] — so recognized an authority in the system of the threefold Vedic knowledge as expounded by his master, that he could say of him: ‘What I know that you know, and what you know that I know.’
  3. 4. And Pokkharasadi told Ambattha the news, and said: ‘Come now, dear Ambattha, go to the Samana Gotama, and find out whether the reputations so noised abroad regarding him is in accord with the facts or not, whether the Samana Gotama is such as they say or not.’
  4. 5. ‘But how, Sir, shall I know whether that is so or not?’

‘There have been handed down, Ambattha, in our mystic verses thirty-two bodily signs of a great man, — signs which, if a man has, he will become one of two things, and no other. [20] If he dwells at home he will become a sovran of the world, a righteous king, bearing rule even to the shores of the four great oceans, a conqueror, the protector of his people, possessor of the seven royal treasures. And these are the seven treasures that he has — the Wheel, the Elephant, the Horse, the Gem, the Woman, the Treasurer, and the Adviser as a seventh. [21] And he has more than a thousand sons, heroes, mighty in frame, beating down the armies of the foe. And he dwells in complete ascendancy over the wide earth from sea to sea, ruling it in righteousness without the need of baton or of sword. But if he go forth from the household life into the houseless state, then he will become a Buddha who removes the veil from the eyes of the world. Now I, Ambattha, am a giver of the mystic verses; you have received them from me.’

  1. 6. ‘Very good, Sir,’ said Ambattha in reply; and rising from his seat and paying reverence to Pokkharasadi, he mounted a chariot drawn by mares, and proceeded, with a retinue of young Brahman, to the Icchanankala Wood. And when he had gone on in the chariot as far as the road was practicable for vehicles, he got down, and went on, into the park, on foot.
  2. 7. Now at that time a number of the brethren were walking up and down in the open air. And Ambattha went up to them, and said: ‘Where may the venerable Gotama be lodging now? We have come hither to call upon him.’
  3. 8. Then the brethren thought: ‘This young Brahman Ambattha is of distinguished family, and a pupil of the distinguished Brahman Pokkharasadi. The Blessed One will not find it difficult to hold conversation with such.’ And they said to Ambattha: ‘There, Ambattha, is his lodging, [22] where the door is shut, go quietly up and enter the porch gently, and give a cough, and knock on the cross-bar. The Blessed One will open the door for you.’
  4. 9. Then Ambattha did so. And the Blessed One opened the door, and Ambattha entered in. And the other young Brahman also went in; and they exchanged with the Blessed One the greetings and compliments of politeness and courtesy, and took their seats. But Ambattha, walking about, said something or other of a civil kind in an off-hand way, fidgeting about the while, or standing up, to the Blessed One sitting there.
  5. 10. And the Blessed One said to him: ‘Is that the way, Ambattha, that you would hold converse with aged teachers, and teachers of your teachers well stricken in years, as you now do, moving about the while or standing, with me thus seated?’
  6. 11. ‘Certainly not, Gotama. It is proper to speak with a Brahman as one goes along only when the Brahman himself is walking, and standing to a Brahman who stands, and seated to a Brahman who has taken his seat, or reclining to a Brahman who reclines. But with shavelings, sham friars, menial black fellows, the off scouring of our kinsman’s heels [23] — with them I would talk as I now do to you!’

‘But you must have been wanting something, Ambattha, when you came here. Turn your thoughts rather to the object you had in view when you came. This young Brahman Ambattha is ill bred, though he prides himself on his culture; what can this come from except from want of training [24]?’

  1. 12. Then Ambattha was displeased and angry with the Blessed One at being called rude; and at the thought that the Blessed One was vexed with him, he said, scoffing, jeering, and sneering at the Blessed One: ‘Rough is this Sakya breed of yours, Gotama, and rude; touchy is this Sakya breed of yours and violent. Menials, mere menials [25], they neither venerate, nor value, nor esteem, nor give gifts to, nor pay honor to Brahman. That, Gotama, is neither fitting, nor is it seemly!’

Thus did the young Brahman Ambattha for the first time charge the Sakyas with being menials.

  1. 13. ‘But in what then, Ambattha, have the Sakyas given you offence?’

‘Once, Gotama, I had to go to Kapilavatthu on some business or other of Pokkharasadi’s, and went into the Sakyas’ Congress Hall. [26] Now at that time there were a number of Sakyas, old and young, seated in the hall on grand seats, making merry and joking together, nudging one another with their fingers; [27] and for a truth, methinks, it was I myself that was the subject of their jokes; and not one of them even offered me a seat. That, Gotama, is neither fitting, nor is it seemly, that the Sakyas, menials as they are, mere menials, should neither venerate, nor value, nor esteem, nor give gifts to, nor pay honor to Brahman.’

Thus did the young Brahman Ambattha for the second time charge the Sakyas with being menials.

  1. 14. ‘Why a quail, Ambattha, little hen bird though she be, can say what she likes in her own nest. And there the Sakyas are at their own home, in Kapilavatthu. It is not fitting for you to take offence at so trifling a thing.’
  2. 15. ‘There are these four grades [28] Gotama, — the nobles, the Brahman, the trades folk, and the workpeople. And of these four, three — the nobles, the trades folk, and the work-people — are, verily, but attendants on the Brahman.  So, Gotama, that is neither fitting, nor is it seemly, that the, Sakyas, menials as they are, mere menials, should neither venerate, nor value, nor esteem, nor give gifts to, nor pay honor to the Brahman.’

Thus did the young Brahman Ambattha for the third time charge the Sakyas with being menials.

  1. 16. Then the Blessed One thought thus: ‘ ‘This Ambattha is very set on humbling the Sakyas with his charge of servile origin in. What if I were to ask him as to his own lineage.’ And he said to him:

‘And what family do you then, Ambattha, belong to?’

‘I am a Kanhayana.’

‘Yes, but if one were to follow up your ancient name and lineage, Ambattha, on the father’s and the mother’s side, it would appear that the Sakyas were once your masters, and that you are the offspring of one of their slave girls. But the Sakyas trace their line back to Okkaka the king. [29]

‘Long ago, Ambattha, King Okkaka, wanting to divert the succession in favor of the son of his favorite queen, banished his elder children — Okkamukha, Karanda Hatthinika, and Sinipura — from the land. And being thus banished they took up their dwelling on the slopes of the Himalaya, on the borders of a lake where a mighty oak tree grew.

And through fear of injuring the purity of their line they intermarried with their sisters.

‘Now Okkaka the king asked the ministers at his court: “Where, Sirs, are the children now [30]?”‘

‘There is a spot, Sire, on the slopes of the Himalaya, on the, borders of a lake, where there grows a mighty oak (sako). There do they dwell. And lest they should injure the purity of their line they have married their own (sakahi) sisters.’

‘Then did Okkaka the king burst forth in admiration: ” Hearts of oak (sakya) are those young fellows! Right well they hold their own (paramasakya) [31]!”

‘That is the reason, Ambattha, why they are known as Sakyas. Now Okkaka had a slave girl called Disa. She gave birth to a black baby. And no sooner was it born than the little black thing said, “Wash me, mother. Bathe me, mother. Set me free, mother, of this dirt. So shall I be of use to you.”

‘ Now just as now, Ambattha, people — call devils “devils,” so then they called devils “black fellows” (kanhe). And they said: “This fellow spoke as soon as he was born. ‘Tis a black thing (kanha) that is born, a devil has been born!” And that is the origin, Ambattha, of the Kanhayanas. [32] He was the ancestor of the Kanhayanas [33]. And thus is it, Ambattha, that if one were to follow up your ancient name and lineage, on the father’s and on the mother’s side, it would appear that the Sakyas were once your masters, and that you are the offspring of one of their slave girls.’

  1. 17. When he had thus spoken the young Brahman said to the Blessed One: ‘Let not the venerable Gotama humble Ambattha too sternly with this reproach of being descended from a slave girl. He is well born, Gotama, and of good family; he is versed in the sacred hymns, an able reciter, a learned man. And he is able to give answer to the venerable Gotama in these matters.’
  2. 18. Then the Blessed One said to them: ‘Quite so. If you thought otherwise, then it would be for you to carry on our discussion further. But as you think so, let Ambattha himself speak [34].’
  3. 19. ‘ We do think so; and we will hold our peace. Ambattha is able to give answer to the venerable Gotama in these matters.’
  4. 20. Then the Blessed One said to Ambattha the Brahman: ‘Then this further question arises, Ambattha, a very reasonable one which, even though unwillingly, you should answer. If you do not give a clear reply, or go off upon another issue [35], or remain silent, or go away, then your head will split in pieces on the spot.[36] What have you heard, when Brahman old and well stricken in years, teachers of yours or their teachers, were talking together, as to whence the Kanhayanas draw their origin, and who the ancestor was to whom they trace themselves back?’

And when he had thus spoken Ambattha remained silent. And the Blessed One asked the same question again. And still Ambattha remained silent. Then the Blessed One said to him: ‘You had better answer, now, Ambattha. This is no time for you to hold your peace. For whosoever, Ambattha, does not, even up to the third time of asking, answer a reasonable question put by a Tathágata (by one who has won the truth), his head splits into pieces ‘on the spot.’

  1. 21. Now at that time the spirit who bears the thunderbolt [37] stood over above Ambattha in the sky with a mighty mass of iron, all fiery, dazzling, and aglow, with the intention, if he did not answer, there and then to split his head in pieces. And the Blessed One perceived the spirit bearing the thunderbolt, and so did Ambattha the Brahman. And Ambattha on becoming aware of it, terrified, startled, and agitated, seeking safety and protection and help from the Blessed One, crouched down beside him in awe [38], and said: ‘What was it the Blessed One said? Say it once again!’

‘What do you think, Ambattha? What have you heard, when Brahman old and well stricken in years, teachers of yours or their teachers, were talking together, as to whence the Kanhayanas draw their origin, and who the ancestor was to whom they trace themselves back?’

‘Just so, Gotama, did I hear, even as the venerable Gotama hath said. That is the origin of the Kanhayanas, and that the ancestor to whom they trace themselves back.’

  1. 22. And when he had thus spoken the. young Brahman fell into tumult, and uproar, and turmoil; and said: ‘Low born, they say, is Ambattha the Brahman; his family, they say, is not of good standing; they say he is descended from a slave girl; and the Sakyas were his masters. We did not suppose that the Samana Gotama, whose words are righteousness itself, was not a man to be trusted!’
  2. 23. And the Blessed One thought: `They go too far, these Brahman, in their depreciation of Ambattha as the offspring of a slave girl. Let me set him free from their reproach.’ And he said to them: ‘Be not too severe in disparaging Ambattha the Brahman on the ground of his descent. That Kanha became a mighty seer [39]. He went into the Dekkan, there he learnt mystic verses, and returning to Okkaka the king, he demanded his daughter. Madda-rupi in marriage. To him the king in answer said: “Who forsooth is this fellow, who — son of my slave girl as he is — asks for my daughter in marriage;” and, angry and displeased, he fitted an arrow to his bow. But neither could he let the arrow fly, nor could he take it off the string again [40].

‘Then the ministers and courtiers went to Kanha the seer, and said “Let the king go safe, Sir; let the king go safe [41].”

“The king shall suffer no harm. But should he shoot the arrow downwards, then would the earth dry up as far as his realm extends [42].”

” Let the king, Sir, go safe, and the country too.”

” The king shall suffer no harm, nor his land. But should he shoot the arrow upwards, the god would not rain for seven years as far as his realm extends.”

” Let the king, Sir, go safe, and the country too; and let the god rain.”

” The king shall suffer no harm, nor the land either, and the god shall rain. But let the king aim the arrow at his eldest son. The prince shall suffer no harm, not a hair of him shall be touched.”

Then, O Brahmans, the ministers told this to Okkaka, and said: “Let the king aim at his eldest son [43]. He will suffer neither harm nor terror.” And the king did so, and no harm was done. But the king, terrified at the lesson given him, gave the man his daughter Madda-rupi to wife. You should not, O Brahmans, be too severe to disparage Ambattha in the matter of his slave-girl ancestress. That Kanha was a mighty seer.’

  1. 24. Then the Blessed One said to Ambattha: ‘What think you, Ambattha? Suppose a young Kshatriya should have connection with a Brahman maiden, and from their intercourse a son should be born. Now would the son thus come to the Brahman maiden through the Kshatriya youth receive a seat and water (as tokens of respect) from the Brahmans?”

‘Yes, he would, Gotama.’

‘But would the Brahman allow him to partake of the feast offered to the dead, or of the food boiled in milk [44], or of the offerings to the gods, or of food sent as a present?’

‘Yes, they would, Gotama.’

‘But would the Brahman teach him their verses or not?’

‘They would, Gotama.’

‘But would he be shut off, or not, from their women?’

‘He would not be shut off.’

‘But would the Kshatriyas allow him to receive the consecration ceremony of a Kshatriya?’

‘Certainly not, Gotama.’

‘Why not that?’

‘Because he is not of pure descent on the mother’s side.’

  1. 25. ‘Then what think you, Ambattha? Suppose a Brahman youth should have connection with a Kshatriya maiden, and from their intercourse a son should be born. Now would the son thus come to the Kshatriya maiden through the Brahman youth receive a seat and water (as tokens of respect) from the Brahmans?’

‘Yes, he would, Gotama.’

‘But would the Brahman allow him to partake of the feast offered to the dead, or of food boiled in milk, or of an offering to the gods, or of food sent as a present?’

‘Yes, they would, Gotama.’

‘But would the Brahman teach him their verses or not?’

‘They would, Gotama.’

‘But would he be shut off, or not, from their women?’

‘He would not, Gotama.’

‘But would the Kshatriyas allow him to receive the consecration ceremony of a Kshatriya?’

‘Certainly not, Gotama.’

‘Why not that?’

‘Because he is not of pure descent on the father’s side.’

  1. 26. ‘Then, Ambattha, whether one compares women with women, or men with men, the Kshatriyas are higher and the Brahmans inferior.

‘And what think you, Ambattha? Suppose the Brahman, for some offence [45] or other, were to outlaw a Brahman by shaving him and pouring ashes over his head [46], were to banish him from the land or from the township. Would he be offered a seat or water among the Brahmans?’

‘Certainly not, Gotama.’

‘Or would the Brahman allow him to partake of the food. offered to the dead, or of the food boiled in milk, or of the offerings to the gods, or of food sent as a present?’

‘Certainly not, Gotama.’

‘Or would the Brahmans teach him their verses or not?’

‘Certainly not, Gotama.’

‘And would he be shut off, or not, from their women?’

‘He would be ‘shut off.’

  1. 27. But what think you, Ambattha? If the Kshatriyas had in the same way outlawed a Kshatriya, and banished him from the land or the township, would he, among the Brahmans, be offered water and a seat?’

‘Yes, he would, Gotama.’

‘And would he be allowed to partake of the food offered to the dead, or of the food boiled in milk, or of the offerings to the gods, or of food sent as a present?’

He would, Gotama.’

‘And would the Brahman teach him their verses?’

They would, Gotama?’

‘And would he be shut off, or not, from their women?’

‘He would not, Gotama.’

[99] ‘But thereby, Ambattha, the Kshatriya would have fallen into the deepest degradation, shaven as to his head, cut dead with the ash-basket, banished from land and township. So that, even when a Kshatriya has fallen into the deepest degradation, still it holds good that the Kshatriyas are higher, and the Brahman inferior.

  1. 28. ‘Moreover it was one of the Brahma gods, Sanaµ-kumara [47], who uttered this stanza [48]:

“The Kshatriya is the best of those among
this folk who put their trust in lineage.
But he who is perfect in wisdom and righteousness,
he is the best among gods and men.”

‘Now this stanza, Ambattha, was well sung and not ill sung by the Brahma Sanaµ-kumara, well said and not ill said, full of meaning and not void thereof And I too approve it; I also, Ambattha, say:

“The Kshatriya is the best of those among this folk
who put their trust in lineage. [49]
But he who is perfect in wisdom and righteousness
he is the best among gods and men.”‘

  1. 1. ‘But what, Gotama, is the righteousness, and what the wisdom spoken of in that verse?’

‘In the supreme perfection in wisdom and righteousness, Ambattha, there is no reference to the question either of birth, or of lineage, or of the pride which says: “You are held as worthy as I,” or “You are not. held as worthy as I.” It is where the talk is of marrying, or of giving in marriage, that reference is made to such things as that. For whosoever, Ambattha, are in bondage to the notions of birth or of lineage, or to the pride of social position, or of connection by marriage, they are far from the best wisdom and righteousness. It is only by having got rid of all such bondage that one can realize for himself that supreme perfection in wisdom and in conduct.’ [50]

2.’ But what, Gotama, is that conduct, and what that wisdom?’

[Here follow, under Morality (Síla) [51],
The introductory paragraphs (II
40-42 of the Samanna-phala Sutta  on the appearance of a Buddha, his preaching, the conversion of a hearer, and his renunciation of the world: then come
1. The Silas, above of the text. Only the refrain differs. It runs here, art the end of each clause, through the whole of this repeated passage: ‘This is reckoned in him as morality.’
Then under Conduct (Carana)
2. The paragraph on Confidence, above,of the text, The refrain from here onwards is: ‘This is reckoned to him as conduct.
3. The paragraph on ‘Guarded is the door of his senses,’ above.
4. The paragraph on ‘Mindful and self-possessed,’ above.
5. The paragraph on Content, above
6. The paragraph on Solitude
7. The paragraphs on the Five Hindrances, above
8. The paragraphs on the Four Rapt Contemplations [52], above. The refrain at the end of each of them (‘higher and better than the last’) is here, of course to be read not as higher fruit of the life of a recluse, but as higher conduct.
Under Wisdom (Vijja)
9. The paragraphs on Insight arising from Knowledge (Nana-dassanaµ), above. The refrain from here onwards is: ‘This is reckoned in him as wisdom, and it is higher and sweeter than the last.’
10. The paragraphs on the Mental Image, above.
11. The paragraphs on Mystic Gifts (Iddhi), above.
12. The paragraphs on the Heavenly Ear (Dibbasota) above.
13. The paragraphs on the Knowledge of the hearts of others (Ceto-pariya-¾anaµ), above.
14. The paragraphs on Memory of one’s own previous births (Pubbe-nivasa-anussati-¾ana), above.
15. The paragraph on the Divine Eye (Dibbacakkhu), above.
16. The paragraphs on the Destruction of the Deadly Floods (asavanaµ khaya-¾anaµ), above
[53]

‘Such a man, Ambattha, is said to be perfect in wisdom, perfect in conduct, perfect in wisdom and conduct. And there is no other perfection in wisdom and conduct higher and sweeter than this.’

  1. 3. ‘Now, Ambattha, to this supreme perfection in wisdom and goodness there are Four Leakages. [54] And what are the four?’

‘In case, Ambattha, any recluse or Brahman, without having thoroughly attained unto this supreme perfection in wisdom and conduct, with his yoke on his shoulder (to carry fire-sticks, a water-pot, needles, and the rest of a mendicant friar’s outfit), should plunge into the depths of the forest, vowing to himself: “I will henceforth be one of those who live only on fruits that have fallen of themselves” — then, verily, he turns out worthy only to be a servant unto him that hath attained to wisdom and righteousness.

‘And again, Ambattha, in case any recluse or Brahman, without having thoroughly attained unto this supreme perfection in wisdom and conduct, and without having attained to living only on fruits fallen of themselves, taking a hoe and a basket with him, should plunge into the depths of the forest, vowing to himself: “I will henceforth be one of those who live only on bulbs and roots and fruits ” — then, verily, he turns out worthy only to be a servant unto him who hath attained to wisdom and righteousness.

‘And again, Ambattha, in case any recluse or Brahman, without having thoroughly attained unto this supreme perfection in wisdom and conduct, and without having, attained to living only on fruits fallen of themselves, and without having attained to living only on bulbs and roots and fruits, should build himself a fire-shrine near the boundaries of some village or some town, and there dwell serving the fire-god [55] — then, verily, he turns out worthy only to be a servant unto him that hath attained to wisdom and righteousness.

‘And again, Ambattha, in case any recluse or Brahman, without having thoroughly attained unto this supreme perfection in wisdom and conduct, and without having attained to living only on fruits fallen of themselves, and without having attained to living only on bulbs and roots and fruits, and without having attained to serving the fire-god, should build himself a four-doored almshouse at a crossing where four high roads meet, and dwell there, saying to himself: “Whosoever, whether recluse or Brahman, shall pass here, from either of these four directions, him will I entertain according to my ability and according to my power” — then, verily, he turns out worthy only to be a servant unto him who hath attained to wisdom and righteousness.

‘These are the Four Leakages, Ambattha, to supreme perfection in righteousness and conduct. [56]

  1. 4. ‘Now what think you, Ambattha? Have you, as one of a class of pupils under the same teacher, been instructed in this supreme perfection of wisdom and conduct [57]?’

‘Not that, Gotama. How little is it that I can profess to have learnt! How supreme this Perfection of wisdom and conduct! Far is it from me to have been trained therein?’

‘Then what think you, Ambattha? Although you have not thoroughly attained unto this supreme perfection of wisdom and goodness, have you been trained to take the yoke upon your shoulders, and plunge into the depths of the forest as one who would fain observe the vow of living only on fruits fallen of themselves?

‘Not even that, Gotama.’

‘Then what think you, Ambattha? Although you have not attained unto this supreme perfection of wisdom and goodness, nor have attained to living on fruits fallen of themselves, have you been trained to take hoe and basket, and plunge into the depths of the forest as one who would fain observe the vow of living only on bulbs and roots and fruits?’

‘Not even that, Gotama.’

‘Then what think you, Ambattha? Although you have not attained unto this supreme perfection of wisdom and goodness, and have not attained to living on fruits fallen of themselves, and have not attained to living on bulbs and roots and fruits, have you been taught to build yourself a fire-shrine on the borders of some village or some town, and dwell there as one who would fain serve the fire-god?’

‘Not even that, Gotama.’

‘Then what think you, Ambattha? Although you have not attained unto this supreme perfection of wisdom and goodness, and have not attained to living on fruits fallen of themselves, and have not attained to living on bulbs and roots and fruits, and have not attained to serving the fire-god, have you been taught to build yourself a four-doored almshouse at a spot where four high roads cross, and dwell there as one who would fain observe the vow to entertain whosoever might pass that way, from any of the four directions, according to your ability and according to your power?’

‘Not even that, Gotama.’

  1. 5. ‘So then you, Ambattha, as a pupil, have fallen short [58] of due training, not only in the supreme wisdom and conduct, but even in any one of the Four Leakages by which the complete attainment thereof is debarred. And your teacher too, the Brahman Pokkharasadi, has told you this saying: “Who are these shavelings, sham friars, menial black fellows, the off-scouring of our kinsman’s heels, that they should claim converse with Brahmans versed in the threefold Vedic lore!” — he himself not having even fulfilled any one even of these lesser duties (which lead men to neglect the higher ones). See, Ambattha, how deeply your teacher, the Brahman Pokkharasadi, has herein done you wrong [59].’
  2. 6. ‘And the Brahman Pokkharasadi, Ambattha, is in the enjoyment of a grant from Pasenadi, the king of Kosala. But the king, does not allow him to come into his presence. When he consults with him he speaks to him only from behind a curtain. How is it, Ambattha, that the very king, from whom he accepts this pure and lawful maintenance, King Pasenadi of Kosala, does not admit him to his presence? See, Ambattha, how deeply your teacher, the Brahman Pokkharasadi, has herein done you wrong.’
  3. 7. ‘Now what think you, Ambattha? Suppose a king, either seated on the neck of his elephant or on the back of his horse, or standing on the foot-rug of his chariot, should discuss some resolution of state with his chiefs or princes. And suppose as he left the spot and stepped on one side, a workman (Sudra) or the slave of a workman should come up and, standing there, should discuss the matter, saying: “Thus and thus said Pasenadi the king.” Although he should speak as the king might have spoken, or discuss as the king might have done, would he thereby be the king, or even as one of his officers?’

‘Certainly not, Gotama.’

  1. 8. ‘But just so, Ambattha, those ancient poets (Rishis) of the Brahmans, the authors of the verses, the utterers of the verses, whose ancient form of words so chanted, uttered, or composed, the Brahmans of to-day chant over again and rehearse, intoning or reciting exactly as has been intoned or recited — to wit, Atthaka, Vamaka, Vamadeva, Vessamitta, Yamataggi. Angirasa, Bharadvaja, Vasettha, Kassapa, and Bhagu [60] — though you can say: “I, as a pupil, know by heart their verses,” that you should on that account be a Rishi, or have attained to the state of a Rishi — such a condition of things has no existence!’
  2. 9. ‘Now what think you, Ambattha? What have you heard when Brahmans, old and well stricken in years, teachers of yours or their teachers, were talking together — did those ancient Rishis, whose verses you so chant over and repeat, parade about well groomed, perfumed, trimmed as to their hair and beard, adorned with garlands and gems, clad in white garments, in the full possession and enjoyment of the five pleasures of sense, as you, and your teacher too, do now?’

‘Not that, Gotama.’

‘Or did they live, as their food, on boiled rice of the best sorts, from which all the black specks had been sought out and removed, and flavored with sauces and curries of various kinds, as you, and your teacher too, do now.

‘Not that, Gotama.’

‘Or were they waited upon by women with fringes and furbelows [61], round their loins, as you, and your teacher too, do now?’

‘Or did they go about driving chariots, drawn, by mares with plaited manes and tails, [62] using long wands and goads the while, as you, and your teacher too, do now?’

‘Not that, Gotama.’

‘Or did they have themselves guarded in fortified towns, with moats dug out round them [63] and crossbars let down before the gates, [64] by men girt with long swords, as you, and your teacher too, do now?’

‘Not that, Gotama.’

  1. 10. ‘So then, Ambattha, neither are you a Rishi, nor your teacher, nor do you live under the conditions under which the Rishis lived. But whatever it may be, Ambattha, concerning which you are in doubt or perplexity about me, ask me as to that. I will make it clear by explanation.’
  2. 11. Then the Blessed One went, forth from his chamber, and began to walk up and down. And Ambattha did the same. And as he thus walked up and down, following the Blessed One, he took stock of the thirty-two signs of a great man, whether they appeared on the body of the Blessed One or not. And he perceived them all save only two. With respect to those two — the concealed member and the extent of tongue [65] — he was in doubt and perplexity, not satisfied, not sure.
  3. 12. And the Blessed One knew that he was so in doubt. And he so arranged matters by his Wondrous Gift that Ambattha the Brahman saw how that part of the Blessed One that ought to be hidden by clothes was enclosed in a sheath. And the Blessed One so bent round his tongue that he touched and stroked both his ears, touched and stroked both his nostrils, and the whole circumference of his forehead he covered with his tongue. [66]

And Ambattha, the young Brahman, thought: ‘The Samana Gotama is endowed with the thirty two signs of a great man, with them all, not only with some of them.’ And he said to the Blessed One: ‘And now, Gotama, we would ‘fain depart. We are busy, and have much to do.’

‘Do, Ambattha, what seemeth to you fit.’

And Ambattha mounted his chariot drawn by mares, and departed thence.

  1. 13. Now at that time the Brahman Pokkharasadi had gone forth from Ukkattha with a great retinue of Brahmans, and was seated in his own pleasaunce waiting there for Ambattha. And Ambattha came on to the pleasaunce. And when he had come in his chariot as far as the path was practicable for chariots, he descended from it, and came on foot to where Pokkharasadi was, and saluted him, and took his seat respectfully on one side. And when he was so seated, Pokkharasadi said to him:
  2. 14. ‘Well, Ambattha! Did you see the Blessed One?’

‘Yes, Sir, we saw him.’

‘Well! is the venerable Gotama so as the reputation about him I told you of declares; and not otherwise. Is he such a one, or is he not?’

‘He is so, Sir, as his reputation declares, and not otherwise. Such is he, not different. And he is endowed with the thirty-two signs of a great man, with all of them, not only with some.’

‘And did you have any talk, Ambattha, with the Samana Gotama?’

‘Yes, Sir, I had.’

‘And how did the talk go?’

Then Ambattha told the Brahman Pokkharasadi all the talk that he had had with the Blessed One.

  1. 15. When he had thus spoken, Pokkharasadi said to him: ‘Oh! you wiseacre! Oh! you dullard! Oh! you expert, forsooth, in our threefold Vedic lore! A man, they say, who should carry out his business thus, must, on the dissolution of the body, after death, be reborn into some dismal state of misery and woe. What could the very points you pressed in your insolent words lead up to, if not to the very disclosures the venerable Gotama made [67]? What a wiseacre; what a dullard; what an expert, forsooth, in our threefold Vedic lore.’ And angry and displeased, he struck out with his foot, and rolled Ambattha over. And he wanted, there and then, himself, to go and call on the Blessed One.
  2. 16. But the Brahman there spake thus to Pokkharasadi: ‘It is much too late, Sir, to-day to go to call on the Samana Gotama. The venerable Pokkharasadi can do so to-morrow.’

So Pokkharasadi had sweet food, both hard and soft, made ready at his own house, and taken on wagons, by the light of blazing torches, out to Ukkattha. And he himself went on to the Icchanankala Wood, driving in his chariot as far as the road was practicable for vehicles, and then going on, on foot, to where the Blessed One was. And when he had exchanged with the Blessed One the greetings and compliments of politeness and courtesy, he took his seat on one side, and said to the Blessed One:

  1. 17. ‘Has our pupil, Gotama, the young Brahman Ambattha, been here?’

‘Yes, Brahman, he has.’

‘And did you, Gotama, have any talk with him?’

‘Yes, Brahman, I had.’

‘And on what wise was the talk that you had with him.’

  1. 18. Then the Blessed One told the Brahman Pokkharasadi all the talk that had taken place. And when he had thus spoken Pokkharasadi said to the Blessed One:

‘He is young and foolish, Gotama, that young Brahman Ambattha. Forgive him, Gotama.’

‘Let him be quite happy, Brahman, ‘that young Brahman Ambattha.’

  1. 19. And the Brahman Pokkharasadi took stock, on the body of the Blessed One, of the thirty-two marks of a Great Being. And he saw them all plainly, save only two. As to two of them — the sheath-concealed member and the extensive tongue — he was still in doubt and undecided. But the Blessed One showed them to Pokkharasadi, even as he had shown them to Ambattha.[68] And Pokkharasadi perceived that the Blessed One was endowed with the thirty-two marks of a Great Being, with all of them, not only with some. And he said to the Blessed One: ‘May the venerable Gotama grant me the favor of taking his to-morrow’s meal with me, and also the members of the Order with him.’ And the Blessed One accepted, by silence, his request.
  2. 20. Then the Brahman Pokkharasadi, seeing that the Blessed One had accepted, had (on the morrow) the time announced to him: ‘It is time, oh Gotama, the meal is ready.’ And the Blessed One, who had dressed in the early morning, put on his outer robe, and taking his bowl with him, went, with the brethren, to Pokkharasadi’s house, and sat down on the seat prepared for him. And Pokkharasadi, the Brahman, satisfied the Blessed One, with his own hand, with sweet food, both hard and soft, until he refused any more, and the young Brahmans the members of the Order. And when the Blessed One had finished his meal, and cleansed the bowl and his [69] hands, Pokkharasadi took a low seat, and sat down beside him.
  3. 21. Then to him thus seated the Blessed One discoursed in due order; that is to say, he spake to him of generosity, of right conduct, of heaven, of the danger. the vanity, and the defilement of lusts, of the advantages of renunciation. And when the Blessed, One saw that Pokkharasadi, the Brahman, had become prepared, softened, unprejudiced, upraised, and believing in heart, then he proclaimed the doctrine the Buddhas alone have won; that is to say, the doctrine of sorrow, of its origin, of its cessation, and of the Path. And just as a clean cloth from which all stain has been washed away will readily take the dye, just even so did Pokkharasadi, the Brahman, obtain, even while sitting there, the pure and spotless Eye for the Truth, and he knew: ‘Whatsoever has a beginning in that is inherent also the necessity of dissolution.’
  4. 22. And then the Brahman Pokkharasadi, as one who had seen the Truth, had mastered it, understood it, dived deep down into it, who had passed beyond doubt and put away perplexity and gained full confidence, who had become dependent on no other man for his knowledge of the teaching of the Master, addressed the Blessed One, and said:

‘Most excellent, oh Gotama (are the words of thy mouth), most excellent! just as if a man were to set up that which has been thrown down, or were to reveal that which has been hidden away, or were to point out the right road to him who has gone. astray, or were to bring a light into the darkness so that those who had eyes could see external forms, – just even so, Lord, has the truth been made known to me, in many a figure, by the venerable Gotama. And I, oh Gotama, with my sons, and my wife, and my people, and my companions, betake myself to the venerable Gotama as my guide, to the truth, and to the Order. May the venerable Gotama accept me as a disciple, as one who, from this day forth, as long as life endures, has taken him as his guide. And just as the venerable Gotama visits the families of others, his disciples, at Ukkattha, so let him visit mine. Whosoever there may be there, of Brahman or their wives, who shall pay reverence to the venerable Gotama, or stand up in his presence, or offer him a seat or water, or take delight in him, to him that will be, for long, a cause of weal and bliss.’

‘It is well, Brahman, what you say.’

 


Footnotes:

[1] Compare Petavatthu II, 6, 12.

[2] Assalayana (No. 93 in the Majjhima); A¸guttara II, 85 equals P.P. IV, 19 ; Sa¸yutta I, 93; Vinaya IV, 6-10, etc.

[3] Sometimes explained as carpenters, sometimes as basket-makers, sometimes as makers of sunshades.

[4] Further exemplified by the number of people described as kevañña-putto, assaroha-putto, naña-putto, suda-putto, etc.

[5] See also A. I, 145, 206; II, 67; III, 36, 132, 217; Vin. IV, 224; D. I, 5, 60, 72, 93, 141 (translated above); G

[6] See Fick, ‘Sociale Gliederung im nordöstlichen Indien,’.

[7] ‘Vinaya Texts,’ I, 230.

[8] Translated by Fausböll, S. B. E.,

[9] J. R. A. S., 1894,

[10] Literally ‘are the best color’ (vanna, with reference to the well-known classification into four vannas, neither of which was a caste, referred to above).

[11] This Madhura Sutta has now been edited and translated, with valuable introduction and notes, by Mr. Robert Chalmers, in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1894.

[12] The larger portion of this Sutta (from the beginning of the genesis part down to the election of the first king) is also preserved in the Mahavastu. See Senart’s edition, vol. i, pp. 338-348. The reading agninyaµ (p. 340, 17, etc.) represents the Pali aggannaµ

[13] The words here are quoted in the Milinda, vol. I, p. 229 of my translation.

[14] There is an admirable little book by M. Senart on the origin of caste, on the Brahman views about it, and on the present actual facts of caste in India, entitled ‘Les Castes dans l’Inde.’ Dr. Fick also in his ‘Sociale Gliedrung im nord”stlichen Indien zu Buddha’s Zeit’ has collected the evidence found in the Jataka book, and analyzed it with great skill. Similar monographs on the PiTakas, and on the Epics, are much to be desired.

[15]So Buddhaghosa; but he gives no further details as to the terms of the grant, or of the tenancy. The whole string of adjectives recurs below, pp. 111, 114, 127, 131 of the text, and raja-bhoggaµ at Vin. III, 222. Compare Divyavadana, p. 620.

The land revenue payable, of course in kind, would be a tithe. If the king had full proprietary (zemindary) rights as well, which is the probable meaning of raja-bhoggaµ, his share would be, either with or without the land tax, on half. The grant would be of his own rights only. The rights of the peasants to the other half, and the use of the common and waste and woods, would remain to them. If Buddhaghosa’s interpretation of brahmadeyyaµ is correct, then the grantee would also be the king’s representative for all purposes judicial and executive. Elsewhere the word has only been found as applied to marriage; and the first part of the compound (Brahma) has always been interpreted by Brahmans as referring to themselves. But Brahma as the first part of a compound never has that meaning in Pali; and the word in our passage means literally ‘a full gift.’

[16]His full name was Pokkharasadi Opamanno Subhagavaniko (M. II, 200); where the second is the gotta (gens) name and the third a local name. See the introduction to the Mahali Sutta.

[17] According to Jat. IV, 363 (compare Jat. IV, 366) there were also Ambatthas who were not Brahmans by birth but farmers.

[18] The fourth is not expressly mentioned. Buddhaghosa (p. 247) say we have to supply the fourth Veda, the Atharva. But the older Pali texts do not accept the Atharva as a Veda. It only occurs , as the Athabbana Veda, in the Atthakathas and Áikas. And it is quite unnecessary to suppose a silent reference to it here. The fourth place is quite sufficiently filled as suggested in the translation. The athabbana, given (in S. IV, 927) as the name of a mystic art (together with astrology, the interpretation of dreams and of lucky signs, and so forth), is probably not the Veda, but witchcraft or sorcery. The PiTakas always take three Vedas, and three only, for granted. And the whole point of the tevijja Sutta (translated in full in my ‘Buddhist Suttas’) is this three-, not four-, fold division. Four Vedas are referred to in the Milinda, at p. 3, and the Atharva-veda, at p. 117.

[19] This is the standing description of the Suttas of a learned Brahman. See below, pp. 114,120 (of the text); A. I, 163; Mil. 10; Divyavadana 620, etc. One or two of the details are not quite certain, as yet.

[20] The knowledge of these thirty-two marks of a Great Being (Maha-purusha) is one of the details in the often-recurring paragraph giving the points of Brahman wisdom, which we have just had a, I 3. No such list has been found, so far as I know, in those portions of the pre-Buddhistic priestly literature that have survived. And the inference from both our passages is that the knowledge is scattered through the Brahman texts. Many of the details of the Buddhist list (see the note below on p. 106 of the text) are very obscure; and a collection of the older Brahman passages would probably throw light upon them, and upon a curious chapter in mythological superstition. Who will write us a monograph (historical of course) on the Maha-purusha theory. as held in early times among the Aryans in India?

[21] For the details of these seven see further my ‘Buddhist Suttas,’ PP. 251-259.

[22] Vihara; often rendered ‘monastery,’ a meaning the word never has in the older texts.

[23] Bandhupadapakka. Neumann, loc. cit. p. 521, says ‘treading on one another’s heels.’ Buddhaghosa refers the expression to the Brahman theory that the Sudras were born from Brahma’s heels. And this may well have been the meaning. For though Gotama and the majority of his order were well born, still others, of low caste, were admitted to it, and Ambattha is certainly represented as giving vent to caste prejudice when he calls the brethren ‘black fellows.’ Compare M. I, 334; S. IV, 117, and below, D. I, 103.

[24] And is therefore, after all, not so much his fault as that of his teacher. That this is the implication is clear from the text, pp. 90, 91 (II 10-13) below.

[25] Ibbha. Chalmers (J. R. A. S., 1894, p. 343) renders this ‘ought but men of substance,’ and he has been followed by Frazer, ‘Literature of India,’ p. 118. But Buddhaghosa’s interpretation is confirmed both by the context and by the derivation.

[26] Santhagara. Childers is quite wrong about this word. It is the hall where a clan mote was held, and is used exclusively of places for the assemblies of the householders in the free republics of Northern Kosala. It never means a royal rest house, which is rajagaraka, as we had above (p. 1, I 2 of the Pali text). Thus at M. I, 353, 4 and Jat. IV, 147 we have this identical hall of the Sakyas at Kapilavatthu, and at M. I, 457 a similar one of the Sakyas at Catumaya; at M. P. V, 56 (VI, 23 of the translation) in my ‘Buddhist Suttas’ we have the congress hall of the Mullas of Kusinara, and at M. 1, 228 and Vin. I, 233 that of the Licchavis of Vesali — all of them called Santhagara, and all referred to in connection with a public meeting of the clan.

[27] Anguli-patodakena. The Introductory Story to the 52nd Pacittiya (Vin. IV, 110 = III, 84) tells how a Bhikshu was inadvertently done to death by being made to laugh immoderately in this way. It must there mean ‘tickling.’ Here, and at A. IV, 343, it seems to have the meaning given above.

[28] Vanna

[29] On this famous old king see the legends preserved in the M. B. V, 13; Mahavastu I, 348; Jat. II, 311; Sum. I, 258.

[30] Sammanti, ‘dwell,’ not in Childers in this sense. But see S. I, 226 = Sum. I, 125 and Jat. V, 396.

[31] The oak (which doesn’t grow in the text, and could not grow in the Terai) has been introduced to enable the word play to be adequately rendered. The Pali Saka means a herb.

[32] Kanhayana is the regular form of patronymic from Kanha.

[33] Buddhaghosa gives further details as to his subsequent life.

[34] Buddhaghosa (p. 263) says that Gotama’s object was to confine the discussion to a single opponent, since if all spoke at once, it could not well be brought to a conclusion. In the text Gotama repeats the whole speech of the Brahmans.

[35] Annena annaµ paTikarasi. For this idiom, not in Childers, see M. 1, 250; Vin. I, 85 ; A. I, 187, 198 ; Mil. 94 ; Sum. I, 264. It is answering one thing by alleging another.

[36] This curious threat-which never comes to anything, among the Buddhists, and is apparently never meant to – is a frequent form of expression in Indian books, and is pre-Buddhistic. Comp. Brihad ar. Up. III, 6. 2 and 9. 26. Buddhist passages are M. I, 231; Dhp. 72 Dhp. A. 87, 140; Jat. I, 54; V, 21, 33, 87, 92, 493, etc.

[37] Vajira-pani: to wit, Indra, says Buddhaghosa.

[38] Upanisidati; whence Upanishad, a mystery, secret, listened to in awe.

[39] Rishi, mystic sage, magician being no doubt implied, as in B. V. II, 81 equalsJat. 1, 17 (verse 90). Compare Merlin.

[40] The effect of course of the charm which, Buddhaghosa tells us (p.265), was known as the Ambattha charm.

[41] Sotthi hotu. This is the old mystic word swasti. We have lost the use of such expressions Fausium fac regem.

[42] All this, says Buddhaghosa, was brutum fulmen. The Ambattha charm had only power to stop the arrow going off; not to work such results as these.

[43] Literally ‘place the arrow (which had a barb shaped like a horseshoe) on his son.’

[44] Thalipaka. See Jat. I, 186; Mil. 249. It is used in sacrifices. and also on special occasions.

[45] Pakarane. Perhaps ‘in consequence of some regulation or other.’ Buddhaghosa (p. 267) says ‘offence,’ but compare Mil. 189.

[46] Assa-puTena vadhitva, literally ‘killing him with (the proceeding called) the Ash-basket.’ Compare the idiom ‘cut him dead.’ It is also mentioned at A. II, 242.

[47] Sanaµ-kumara means ‘ever virgin.’ According to the legend common ground to Brahmans and Buddhists — there were five ‘mind born’ sons of Brahma, who remained always pure and innocent, and this Brahma was one of the five. See the passages quoted by Chalmers in the J. R. A. S., 1894, P. 344.

Hofrath Bühler has pointed out that in the Mahabharata III, 185 (Bombay edition) there is an interesting passage where Sanat-kumara (the Sanskrit form of the name Sanaµ-kumara) is actually represented by the Brahmans themselves as having uttered, as referee in a dispute on a point similar to the one here discussed, not indeed the actual words here imputed to him, but others of a very similar import. See the whole article in the J. R. A. S., 1897, pp. 585-588. We either have in our text a quotation from an older recession of the same legend, or one of the two — either the Brahman editors of the Mahabharata, or the composers of our Sutta — have twisted the legend a little in their own favour.

[48] The verse is a favorite one. it occurs also at M. I, 358; S. I, 153; II, 284; and below in the Agganna Sutta.

[49] Gotta-patisarino. Either ‘tracing back their gotras’ or ‘referring back to their gotras’ according as we derive the word with Childers from (root) sar, or with Bühler from (root) smar. It occurs also in the description (Maha Sudassana Sutta) of the ideal woman as kiµkara-paTisarini. Bühler, log. cit., renders it ‘record their gotras.’

The next line might also be rendered ‘when perfect,’ etc., referring to the Kshatriya.

[50] ‘This question of caste, besides being often referred to in isolated passages, is described at length also in the Assalayana, Kannakathala, and Madhura Suttas, all in the Majjhima. The first has been translated into German by Professor Pischel and the last into English by Mr. Chalmers, J. R. A. S., 1894, p. 341 and foll. On the facts of caste as disclosed in the Jataka book see Fick’s ‘Sociale Gliederung in Indien zu Buddha’s Zeit,’ Kiel, 1897 ; and on the general history of caste in India see Senart’s ‘Les Castes dans l’Inde,’ Paris, 1896.

[51] Buddhaghosa, p. 268, seems to have had a different reading idam p’assa, hoti silasmiµ — from that preserved in our text. It comes to much the same result, but is better, as omitting the word Bhikkhu.

[52] It is important to notice that these are put, not under wisdom, but under conduct.

[53] There are therefore eight divisions of conduct, and eight of the higher wisdom.

[54] Apaya-mukhani, outlets, leakages, so that it cannot fill up.’ The word aya-mukhaµ, inlet, is used in its concrete sense at D. I, 74, and both words at A. II, 166; and ‘outlet’ occurs figuratively, in a secondary sense, as in this passage, in the Sigalovada Sutta, p. 299.

[55] For instances of this see Jat I, 285, 494; II, 43. Such service paid to a god has already been condemned in the tract on the Silas, the minor details of mere morality (above, pp. 24, 25).

[56] Buddhaghosa here (p. 270) says that all sorts of Brahman ascetics are here intended to be included, and he gives further details of eight different sorts (discussed in the journal of the P. T. S. for 1891, pp; 34 foll.).

[57] Sandissasi sacariyako. Compare M. P. S. 6, 7, 8, 9, 24, 25.’

[58] Parihinako sacariyako. ‘Have been done out of, neglected in the matter of, defrauded of, this wisdom,’ etc.

[59] By concealing this suggestive fact, and thereby leaving you ignorant that the king, a Kshatriya, looked down on a Brahman, even one whom he considered, as a Brahman, of great merit. So at Jat. V, 257 a king calls a Brahman ‘low born’ (hina-gacco) compared with himself.

[60] On these names see Tevijja Sutta I, 13 (p. 172 of my ‘Buddhist Stuttas’) and Vinaya Texts,’ II, 130.

[61] VeThaka-nata-passahi. We have here probably the ancient name of the very elaborate girdles which all the fashionable women and goddesses wear on the old bas relief’s. Cunningham, ‘Stupa of Bharhut,’ Pl. LI, gives figures and details of them. To judge from the has relief’s — and I cannot call to mind any Pitaka passage contradicting them — the women (lay women of course, the Sisterhood wore robes from the shoulders downwards) have only very elaborate headdresses and necklaces, a skirt from the waist to the ankles, and a very broad and handsome girdle worn over the top of the skirt. They were unclothed from the neck to the waist.

[62] Kutta-valehi. The chariot of the time, as represented on the bas reliefs, had standing room for four passengers, the steeds wore plumes on their heads, and had their manes and tails elaborately plaited. 1 Stupa of Bharhut,’ PI. XII, shows us the chariot of Pasenadi, king of Kosala (see ibid. pp. 124, 125). Kutta is not in Childers. But it occurs frequently. See Jat I, 296, 433; II, 127, 128; IV, 219; Asl. 321.

[63] Compare Jat IV, 106; Mil. 330.

[64] Okkhitta-palighasu. Childers says (following the Sanskrit dictionaries) bars ‘of iron.’ But where does the iron come in? This is surely a modern improvement. Unfortunately the word is found elsewhere (M. I, 139; A. III, 84; Dhp. 398) only in an ethical sense.

[65] Neither text nor commentary make it clear what these two marks really quite meant. The first, says Buddhaghosa, is ‘like an elephant’s,’ and the second seems, from what follows, to be the power of extending the tongue, like a snake’s, to a great length. This last is possibly derived from poetical descriptions of the tongues of flame or light playing round the disk of the sun.

As to the means by which the Buddha made the first visible to Ambattha, Buddhaghosa simply quotes Nagasena (at Mil. 169) to show that he made a visible image of himself fully dressed in his robes. And the difficulty is to see how that would have helped matters. Only an historical explanation of the meaning of the marks can here guide us to what is inferred.

[66] These are two of the thirty-two bodily marks of a Great Being (Maha-purisa), as handed down among the Brahmans (see note above, p. 88 of the text, I 5) and adopted by the Buddhists. They are in part adaptations to a man of poetical epithets applied to the sun, or to the personification of the mystic human sacrifice; partly characteristics of personal beauty such as any man might have; and one or two of them — the little wart, for instance, between the eyes with white hair on it, and the protuberance at the top of the head – may possibly be added in reminiscence of personal bodily peculiarities which Gotama actually had.

One of the Dialogues in the Digha. the Lakhana Sutta, is devoted to these thirty-two marks. They are also enumerated, with slight differences, in the Mahapadhana Sutta; and later books give other lists differing from each other, and from the old lists, in many small points.

The story told here in II 11, 12 recurs in identical words in the Sela Sutta (S. N. No. 33 equals M. No. 92) and forms the subject of one of the dilemmas put by King Milinda to Nagasena (Mil. 167).

[67] asagga asagga … upaniyya upaniyya. Buddhaghosa is somewhat ambiguous in his interpretation of this idiomatic phrase, on which compare M. I, 250, 251; A. I, 172

[68] Above, p. 106 of the text, I I 2 repeated.

[69] Onita-patta-paniµ. See the note at Vinaya Texts,’ I, 83.

 

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