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Digha Nikaya

Dīgha Nikāya
24 Pāṭikaputta Sutta
About Pāṭikaputta

The Buddha tells the story of one of his foolish disciples.

Table of Contents

1. On Sunakkhatta

This is as I heard. In those days, the Buddha was living in the province of the Mallas, at the Mallian town named Anupiya. One day, in the morning, the Buddha wore his robe, took his bowl and double layered robe, and entered the town, Anupiya, for alms. Then it occurred to the Blessed One, “It’s too early to go for alms in Anupiya. Why don’t I go to the recluse Bhārgavagotta’s monastery to visit him?”

So that’s what the Buddha did. Then the recluse Bhārgavagotta said to the Buddha, “Come, Blessed One! Welcome, Blessed One! It’s been a long time since you took the opportunity to come here. Please, sir, sit down, this seat is ready.”

The Buddha sat on the prepared seat, while Bhārgavagotta took a low seat, sat to one side, and said to the Buddha, “Sir, a few days ago Sunakkhatta the Licchavi came to me and said, ‘Now, Bhārgava, I have rejected the Buddha. Now I no longer follow his advice.’ Sir, is what Sunakkhatta said true?”

“Indeed it is, Bhārgava. A few days ago Sunakkhatta the Licchavi came to me, bowed, sat down to one side, and said, ‘Now I reject the Buddha! Now I shall no longer follow your advice.’

“When Sunakkhatta said this, I said to him, ‘But Sunakkhatta, did I ever say to you, “Come, follow my advice”?’

“‘No, sir.’

“‘Or did you ever say to me, “Sir, I shall follow your advice”?’

“‘No, sir.’

“‘So it seems that I did not ask you to follow my advice, nor did you say you would follow my advice. In that case, you silly man, are you really in a position to be rejecting anything? See how far you have strayed!’

“‘But sir, the Buddha never performs any superhuman displays of psychic power for me.’

“‘But Sunakkhatta, did I ever say to you, “Come, follow my advice and I will perform a superhuman display of psychic power for you”?’

“‘No, sir.’

“‘Or did you ever say to me, “Sir, I shall follow your advice, and the Buddha will perform a superhuman display of psychic power for me”?’

“‘No, sir.’

“‘So it seems that I did not ask this of you, and you did not require it of me. In that case, you silly man, are you really in a position to be rejecting anything? What do you think, Sunakkhatta? Whether or not there is a display of psychic power, does my teaching lead someone who practices it to the goal of completely ending suffering?’

“‘It does, sir.’

“‘So it seems that whether or not there is a display of psychic power, my teaching leads someone who practices it to the goal of completely ending suffering. In that case, what is the point of superhuman displays of psychic power? See how far you have strayed, you silly man!’

“‘But sir, the Buddha never describes the origin of the world to me.’

“‘But Sunakkhatta, did I ever say to you, “Come, follow my advice and I will describe the origin of the world to you”?’

“‘No, sir.’

“‘Or did you ever say to me, “Sir, I shall follow your advice, and the Buddha will describe the origin of the world to me”?’

“‘No, sir.’

“‘So it seems that I did not ask this of you, and you did not require it of me. In that case, you silly man, are you really in a position to be rejecting anything? What do you think, Sunakkhatta? Whether or not the origin of the world is described, does my teaching lead someone who practices it to the goal of completely ending suffering?’

“‘It does, sir.’

“‘So it seems that whether or not the origin of the world is described, my teaching leads someone who practices it to the goal of completely ending suffering. In that case, what is the point of describing the origin of the world? See how far you have strayed, you silly man! In many ways, Sunakkhatta, you have praised me like this in the Vajjian capital, ‘That Blessed One is liberated, self enlightened, has true knowledge and pure conduct, attained Nibbāna, knower of worlds, supreme trainer of beings, teacher of gods and humans, the most generous and the most fortunate.’

“‘In many ways you have praised the Dhamma like this in the Vajjian capital, ‘The Dhamma is well explained by the Buddha—visible in this very life, immediately effective, inviting inspection, applied to oneself and wise people understand it for themselves.’

“‘In many ways you have praised the Saṅgha like this in the Vajjian capital, ‘The order of the Buddha’s disciples is practicing the pure way, upright way, wise way, and generous way. It consists of the four pairs, the eight individuals. This is the order of the Buddha’s disciples that is worthy of offerings, worthy of hospitality, worthy of gifts, worthy of greeting with joined palms, and is the supreme field of merit for the world.’

“‘I declare this to you, Sunakkhatta, I announce this to you! There will be those who say that Sunakkhatta was unable to lead the spiritual life under the Buddha Gotama. That’s why he rejected the training and returned to the lay life. That’s what they’ll say.’

“Though I spoke to Sunakkhatta like this, he still left this teaching and training, like someone destined to hell.”

2. On Korakkhattiya

“Bhārgava, those days, I was living in the province of the Khulus where they have a town named Uttarakā. One day, in the morning, I wore my robe, took my bowl and double layered robe and entered Uttarakā for alms with Sunakkhatta the Licchavi as my second monk. In those days, the naked ascetic Korakkhattiya had taken a vow to behave like a dog. When food is tossed on the ground, he gets down on all fours and eating it with his mouth.

“Sunakkhatta saw him doing this and thought, ‘That ascetic is a true holy one, a liberated one!’

“Then, knowing what Sunakkhatta was thinking, I asked him, ‘Don’t you claim to be a monk, a follower of the Buddha, you silly man?’

“‘But why does the Buddha say this to me?’

“‘When you saw that naked ascetic Korakkhattiya, didn’t you think, “That ascetic is a true holy one, a liberated one”?’

“‘Yes, sir. But sir, are you jealous of other liberated ones?’

“‘I’m not jealous of other liberated ones, you silly man. Rather, you should give up this harmful misunderstanding (regarding an ordinary person as a liberated one) that has arisen in you. Don’t create bad kamma that would lead to lasting harm and suffering for yourself!

“That naked ascetic Korakkhattiya, who you imagine to be a liberated one, will die of over-eating in seven days. When he dies, he’ll be reborn in the very lowest rank of asuras, named the Kālakañjas. People will put his dead body in the charnel ground named Bīranatthambhaka. If you wish, Sunakkhatta, ask Korakkhattiya’s dead body whether he knows his rebirth. It’s possible that the dead body will answer, “Reverend Sunakkhatta, I know my rebirth. I have been reborn in the very lowest rank of asuras, named the Kālakañjas.”’

“So, Bhārgava, Sunakkhatta went to see Korakkhattiya and said to him, ‘Reverend Korakkhattiya, the ascetic Gotama has declared that you will die of over-eating in seven days. When you die, you’ll be reborn in the very lowest rank of asuras, named the Kālakañjas. When you die, people will put your dead body in the charnel ground named Bīranatthambhaka.

“But Reverend Korakkhattiya, by eating just a little food and drinking just a little water, prove what the ascetic Gotama says to be false.’

“Then Sunakkhatta counted up the days until the seventh day, as happens when someone has no faith in the Buddha. But on the seventh day, the naked ascetic Korakkhattiya died of over-eating. When he passed away, he was reborn in the very lowest rank of asuras, named the Kālakañjas. When he passed away, people put his dead body in the charnel ground named Bīranatthambhaka.

“Sunakkhatta the Licchavi heard about this. So he went to see the dead body of Korakkhattiya in the charnel ground named Bīranatthambhaka. There he struck Korakkhattiya’s dead body with his hand three times and asked, ‘Reverend Korakkhattiya, do you know where you have been reborn?’

“Then Korakkhattiya’s dead body got up, rubbing his back with his hands, and said, ‘Reverend Sunakkhatta, I know my rebirth. I’ve been reborn in the very lowest rank of asuras, named the Kālakañjas.’ After speaking, the dead body fell flat right there.

“Then Sunakkhatta came to me, bowed, and sat down to one side. I said to him, ‘What do you think, Sunakkhatta? Did the declaration I made about Korakkhattiya turn out to be correct, or not?’

“‘It turned out to be correct.’

“‘What do you think, Sunakkhatta? If that is so, has a superhuman display of psychic power been performed or not?’

“‘Clearly, sir, a superhuman display of psychic power has been performed.’

“‘Though I performed such a superhuman display of psychic power you say this, “But sir, the Buddha never performs any superhuman displays of psychic power for me.” See how far you have strayed!’ Though I spoke to Sunakkhatta like this, he still left this teaching and training, like someone destined to hell.”

3. On the Naked Ascetic Kaḷāramaṭṭuka

“Bhārgava, in those days, I was living in the city of Vesālī, at the Great Forest, in the hall with the peaked roof. Those days, the naked ascetic Kaḷāramaṭṭuka was living in the city of Vesālī. In the Vajjian capital, he had reached the peak of material possessions and fame. He had undertaken these seven vows. ‘As long as I live, I will be a naked ascetic, not wearing clothes. As long as I live, I will be celibate, not have a wife. As long as I live, I will consume only meat and alcohol, not eating rice and curry. And I will not go past the following tree shrines near Vesālī: the Udena shrine to the east, the Gotamaka to the south, the Sattamba to the west, and the Bahuputta to the north.’ And it was due to undertaking these seven vows that he had reached the peak of material possessions and fame.

“So, Bhārgava, Sunakkhatta went to see Kaḷāramaṭṭuka and asked him a question. But when he couldn’t answer it, he displayed irritation, hate, and bitterness. So Sunakkhatta thought, ‘I’ve offended the holy one, the liberated one, the true recluse. I mustn’t create bad kamma that’d lead to lasting harm and suffering for myself!’

“Then Sunakkhatta came to me, bowed, and sat down to one side. I said to him, ‘Don’t you claim to be a monk, a follower of the Buddha, you silly man?’

“‘Why does the Buddha say this to me?’

“‘Didn’t you go to see the naked ascetic Kaḷāramaṭṭaka and ask him a question? But when he couldn’t answer it, he displayed irritation, hate, and bitterness. Then you thought, “I’ve offended the holy one, the liberated one, the true recluse. I mustn’t create bad kamma that’d lead to lasting harm and suffering for myself!”’

“‘Yes, sir. But sir, are you jealous of other liberated ones?’

“‘I’m not jealous of other liberated ones, you silly man. Rather, you should give up this harmful misunderstanding (regarding an ordinary person as a liberated one) that has arisen in you. Don’t create bad kamma that’d lead to lasting harm and suffering for yourself!

“That naked ascetic Kaḷāramaṭṭaka, who you imagine to be a true holy one, will shortly be clothed, living with a wife, eating rice and curry, having gone past all the shrines near Vesālī. And he will die after losing all his fame.’

“And that’s exactly what happened.

“Sunakkhatta heard about this. He came to me, bowed, and sat down to one side. I said to him, ‘What do you think, Sunakkhatta? Did the declaration I made about Kaḷāramaṭṭaka turn out to be correct, or not?’

“‘It turned out to be correct.’

“‘What do you think, Sunakkhatta? If that is so, has a superhuman display of psychic power been performed or not?’

“‘Clearly, sir, a superhuman display of psychic power has been performed.’

“‘Though I performed such a superhuman display of psychic power, you say this, “But sir, the Buddha never performs any superhuman displays of psychic power for me.” See how far you have strayed!’ Though I spoke to Sunakkhatta like this, he still left this teaching and training, like someone destined to hell.”

4. On the Naked Ascetic Pāṭikaputta

“In those days, Bhārgava, I was living right there in the city of Vesālī, at the Great Wood, in the hall with the peaked roof. In those days, the naked ascetic Pāṭikaputta was living in Vesālī. And in the Vajjian capital he had reached the peak of material possessions and fame. He was telling people in Vesālī, ‘Both the recluse Gotama and I speak about wisdom. One who speaks about wisdom is fit to display a superhuman display of psychic power to another who speaks about wisdom. If the recluse Gotama meets me half-way in order to do that, we should both perform a superhuman display of psychic power. If he performs one display of psychic power, I’ll perform two. If he performs two, I’ll perform four. If he performs four, I’ll perform eight. However many displays of psychic power the recluse Gotama performs, I’ll perform double.’

“Then Sunakkhatta came to me, bowed, sat down to one side, and told me of all this.

“I said to him, ‘Sunakkhatta, the naked ascetic Pāṭikaputta is not capable of coming into my presence, unless he gives up that statement and that intention, and lets go of that view. If he thinks he can come into my presence without giving up those things, his head may separate from his body.’

“‘Careful what you say, Blessed One! Careful what you say, Holy One!’

“‘But why do you say this to me, Sunakkhatta?’

“‘Sir, the Buddha has definitively stated that Pāṭikaputta is not capable of coming into the Buddha’s presence, otherwise his head may separate from his body. But Pāṭikaputta might come into the Buddha’s presence in disguise, proving the Buddha wrong.’

“‘Sunakkhatta, would the Buddha make an ambiguous statement?’

“‘But sir, did you make that statement after comprehending Pāṭikaputta’s mind with your mind? Or did deities tell you about it?’

“‘Sunakkhatta, I made that statement after comprehending Pāṭikaputta’s mind with my mind and deities also told me about it.

“Sunakkhatta, Ajita the Licchavi general has recently passed away and been reborn among the gods of the Tāvatiṁsa heaven. He came and told me this, “Bhante, the naked ascetic Pāṭikaputta is shameless and he is a liar. He has declared about me in the Vajjian capital, ‘Ajita the Licchavi general has been reborn in the Great Hell.’

“‘But, Bhante, that is not true—I have been reborn among the gods of the Tāvatiṁsa heaven. Bhante, the naked ascetic Pāṭikaputta is shameless, he is a liar. Pāṭikaputta is not capable of coming into the Buddha’s presence unless he gives up that statement and that intention, and lets go of that view. Otherwise his head may separate from his body.”

“I made both statements after comprehending Pāṭikaputta’s mind with my mind, and deities also told me about it.

“So Sunakkhatta, I’ll wander for alms in Vesālī. After the meal, on my return from the alms-round, I’ll go to Pāṭikaputta’s monastery for the day’s meditation. Now you may tell anybody about my visit to Pāṭikaputta’s monastery, if you so wish.’”

5. On displays of Psychic Power

“Then, Bhārgava, in the morning, I wore my robe, took my bowl and double layered robe and entered the city of Vesālī for alms. After the meal, on my return from the alms-round, I went to Pāṭikaputta’s monastery for the day’s meditation. Then Sunakkhatta rushed into Vesālī to see the well-known Licchavis and said to them, ‘Sirs, after his alms-round, the Buddha has gone to Pāṭikaputta’s monastery for the day’s meditation. Come forth, sirs, come forth! There will be a superhuman display of psychic power by the holy ascetics!’ So the very well-known Licchavis thought, ‘It seems there will be a superhuman display of psychic power by the holy ascetics! Let’s go!’

“Bhārgava, then he went to see the very well-known brāhmins, rich people, and recluses who follow various other paths, and said the same thing. They all said, ‘It seems there will be a superhuman display of psychic power by the holy ascetics! Let’s go!’

“Then all those very well-known people went to Pāṭikaputta’s monastery. That assembly was large, Bhārgava; there were many thousands of them.

“Pāṭikaputta heard, ‘It seems that well-known Licchavis, well-known brāhmins, rich people, and recluses who follow various other paths have come forth. And the ascetic Gotama is sitting in my monastery for the day’s meditation.’ When he heard that, he became frightened, scared, his hair standing on end. In fear, he went to the Tindukakhānu Recluse’s Monastery.

“Bhārgava, the assembly heard of this, and instructed a certain person, ‘Come, dear friend, go to see Pāṭikaputta at the Tindukakhānu Recluse’s Monastery and say to him, “Come forth, Reverend Pāṭikaputta! All these very well-known people have come forth, and the recluse Gotama is sitting in your monastery for the day’s meditation. You stated this in the assembly at Vesālī, ‘Both the recluse Gotama and I speak about wisdom. One who speaks about wisdom is fit to display a superhuman display of psychic power to another who speaks about wisdom. If the recluse Gotama meets me half-way in order to do that, we should both perform a superhuman display of psychic power. If he performs one display of psychic power, I’ll perform two. If he performs two, I’ll perform four. If he performs four, I’ll perform eight. However many displays of psychic power the recluse Gotama performs, I’ll perform double.’ Come forth half-way, Reverend Pāṭikaputta. The recluse Gotama has come the first half, and is sitting in your monastery.”’

“‘Yes, sir,’ replied that person, and delivered the message.

“When he had spoken, Pāṭikaputta was trying to stand up saying, ‘I’m coming, sir, I’m coming!’ But he appeared to be stuck to the seat; he couldn’t get up from his seat. Then that person said to Pāṭikaputta, ‘What’s wrong, Reverend Pāṭikaputta? Is your bottom stuck to the bench, or is the bench stuck to your bottom? You say “I’m coming, sir, I’m coming!” But you appear to be stuck to the seat; you can’t get up from your seat.’ And as he was speaking, Pāṭikaputta said, ‘I’m coming, sir, I’m coming!’ But he appeared to be stuck to the seat; he couldn’t get up from his seat.

“Bhārgava, when that person knew that Pāṭikaputta had lost, he returned to the assembly and said, ‘Pāṭikaputta has lost, sirs. He was trying to stand up saying, “I’m coming, sir, I’m coming!” he appeared to be stuck to the seat, he couldn’t get up from his seat.’ Bhārgava, when he said this, I said to the assembly, ‘The naked ascetic Pāṭikaputta is not capable of coming into my presence, unless he gives up that statement and that intention, and lets go of that view. If he thinks he can come into my presence without giving up those things, his head may separate from his body.’

“Then, Bhārgava, a certain Licchavi minister stood up and said to the assembly, ‘Well then, sirs, wait a moment, I’ll go. Hopefully I’ll be able to lead Pāṭikaputta back to the assembly.’

“So that minister went to see Pāṭikaputta and said, ‘Come forth, Reverend Pāṭikaputta! It’s best for you to come forth. All these very well-known people have come forth, and the recluse Gotama is sitting in your monastery for the day’s meditation. You said you’d meet the recluse Gotama half-way. The recluse Gotama has come the first half, and is sitting in your monastery. The recluse Gotama has told the assembly that you’re not capable of coming into his presence. Come forth, Pāṭikaputta! When you come forth we’ll make you win and the recluse Gotama lose.’

“When he had spoken, Pāṭikaputta was trying to stand up saying, ‘I’m coming, sir, I’m coming!’ But he appeared to be stuck to the seat; he couldn’t get up from his seat. Then the minister said to Pāṭikaputta, ‘What’s wrong, Reverend Pāṭikaputta? Is your bottom stuck to the bench, or is the bench stuck to your bottom? You say “I’m coming, sir, I’m coming!” But you appear to be stuck to the seat; you can’t get up from your seat.’ And as he was speaking, Pāṭikaputta said, ‘I’m coming, sir, I’m coming!’ But he appeared to be stuck to the seat; he couldn’t get up from his seat.

“Bhārgava, when the Licchavi minister knew that Pāṭikaputta had lost, he returned to the assembly and said, ‘Pāṭikaputta has lost, sirs.’ Bhārgava when he said this, I said to the assembly, ‘Pāṭikaputta is not capable of coming into my presence; otherwise his head may separate from his body. Even if the Licchavis were to think, “Let’s bind Pāṭikaputta with straps and drag him with a pair of oxen,” either the straps will break or Pāṭikaputta’s body.’

“Then, Bhārgava, Jāliya, the pupil of Dārupattika ascetic, stood up and said to the assembly, ‘Well then, sirs, wait a moment, I’ll go. Hopefully I’ll be able to lead Pāṭikaputta back to the assembly.’

“So Jāliya went to see Pāṭikaputta and said, ‘Come forth, Reverend Pāṭikaputta! It’s best for you to come forth. All these very well-known people have come forth, and the recluse Gotama is sitting in your monastery for the day’s meditation. You said you’d meet the recluse Gotama half-way. The recluse Gotama has come the first half, and is sitting in your monastery. The recluse Gotama has told the assembly that you’re not capable of coming into his presence. And he said that even if the Licchavis try to bind you with straps and drag you with a pair of oxen, either the straps will break or your body will. Come forth, Pāṭikaputta! When you come forth we’ll make you win and the recluse Gotama lose.’

“Bhārgava, when he had spoken, Pāṭikaputta was trying to stand up saying, ‘I’m coming, sir, I’m coming!’ But he appeared to be stuck to the seat; he couldn’t get up from his seat. Then Jāliya said to Pāṭikaputta, ‘What’s wrong, Reverend Pāṭikaputta? Is your bottom stuck to the bench, or is the bench stuck to your bottom? You say “I’m coming, sir, I’m coming!” But you appear to be stuck to the seat; you can’t get up from your seat.’ And as he was speaking, Pāṭikaputta said, ‘I’m coming, sir, I’m coming!’ But he appeared to be stuck; he couldn’t get up from his seat.

“When Jāliya knew that Pāṭikaputta had lost, he said to him,

“‘Once upon a time, Reverend Pāṭikaputta, it occurred to a lion, king of animals, “Why don’t I make my cave near a certain forest? Towards evening I can emerge from my cave, yawn, look all around the four directions, roar my lion’s roar three times, and set out on the hunt. Having killed the very best of the deer herd, and eaten the most tender flesh, I could return to my cave.”

“And so that’s what the lion did.

“Now, Reverend Pāṭikaputta, there was an old jackal who had grown fat after eating the lion’s leftover, becoming arrogant and strong. He thought, “What does the lion, king of animals, have that I don’t? Why don’t I make my cave near a certain forest? Towards evening I can emerge from my cave, yawn, look all around the four directions, roar my lion’s roar three times, and set out on the hunt. Having killed the very best of the deer herd, and eaten the most tender flesh, I could return to my cave.”

“The old jackal made his cave near a certain forest. Towards the evening, he emerged from his cave, yawned, looked all around the four directions. But when he tried to roar a lion’s roar, he only managed to squeal and yelp like a jackal. And what is a wretched jackal’s squeal next to the roar of a lion?

“In the same way, Reverend Pāṭikaputta, while living on the food reserved for the true Holy Ones, enjoying the leftovers of the true Holy Ones, you thought to attack the Liberated One, the fully enlightened Buddha! Who is the wretched Pāṭikaputta to attack the Liberated One, the fully enlightened Buddha?’

“When Jāliya couldn’t get Pāṭikaputta to shift from his seat even with this simile, he said to him,

“‘Seeing himself as equal to the lion,
the jackal thought, “I’m the king of the animals!”
But in reality he only managed to yelp,
and what’s a wretched jackal’s squeal to the roar of a lion?

In the same way, Reverend Pāṭikaputta, while living on the food reserved for the true Holy Ones, you thought to attack the Buddha!’

When Jāliya couldn’t get Pāṭikaputta to shift from his seat even with this simile, he said to him,

‘Wandering in a forest, standing near a pond
seeing his reflection on water, the jackal didn’t understand,

that he’s grown fat on leftovers of the lion,
The jackal equalled himself to a lion.

But in reality he only managed to yelp,
and what’s a wretched jackal’s squeal to the roar of a lion?
In the same way, Reverend Pāṭikaputta, while living on the food reserved for the Holy Ones, you thought to attack the Buddha!’

“When Jāliya couldn’t get Pāṭikaputta to shift from his seat even with this simile, he said to him,

“‘Gorged on frogs, mice from the barn,
and carcasses tossed in the cemetery,
thriving in the great, empty forest,
the jackal thought, “I’m the king of the animals!”
But in reality he only managed to yelp,
and what’s a wretched jackal’s squeal to the roar of a lion?

“In the same way, Reverend Pāṭikaputta, while living on the food reserved for the Holy Ones, enjoying the leftovers of the Holy Ones, you thought to attack the Liberated One, the fully enlightened Buddha! Who is the wretched Pāṭikaputta to attack the fully enlightened Buddha?’

“When Jāliya couldn’t get Pāṭikaputta to shift from his seat even with this simile, he returned to the assembly and said, ‘Pāṭikaputta has lost, sirs. He was trying to stand up saying, “I’m coming, sir, I’m coming!” But he appeared to be stuck to the seat; he couldn’t get up from his seat.’

“Bhārgava, when he said this, I said to the assembly, ‘The naked ascetic Pāṭikaputta is not capable of coming into my presence, unless he gives up that statement and that intention, and lets go of that view. If he thinks he can come into my presence without giving up those things, his head may separate from his body. The Licchavis might even think, “Let’s bind Pāṭikaputta with straps and drag him with a pair of oxen,” but either the straps will break or Pāṭikaputta’s body will. Pāṭikaputta is not capable of coming into my presence unless he gives up that statement and that intention, and lets go of that view; otherwise his head may separate from his body.’

“Then, Bhārgava, I taught the Dhamma to those people. I encouraged them to practise good things. I inspired them with a Dhamma lesson. I made all those people liberated from the fetters of the dangerous saṁsara, and I helped 84,000 beings to cross over the rapid current of the river heading to the ocean called misery. Next, I emerged into the fire element jhāna, rose into the sky to the height of seven palm trees, and created a flame another seven palm trees high, blazing and smoking. Finally I landed at the Great Wood, in the hall with the peaked roof.

“Then Sunakkhatta came to me, bowed, and sat down to one side. I said to him, ‘What do you think, Sunakkhatta? Did the declaration I made about Pāṭikaputta turn out to be correct, or not?’

“‘It turned out to be correct.’

“‘What do you think, Sunakkhatta? If that is so, has a superhuman display of psychic power been performed or not?’

“‘Clearly, sir, a superhuman display of psychic power has been performed.’

“‘Though I performed such a superhuman display of psychic power you say this, “But sir, the Buddha never performs any superhuman displays of psychic power for me.” See how far you have strayed!’

“Though I spoke to Sunakkhatta like this, he still left this teaching and training, like someone destined to hell.”

6. On Describing the Formation of the World

“Bhārgava, I understand the formation of the world. I understand this, and more. Yet since I do not misapprehend that understanding, I have realized true peace within myself through the abandonment of defilements. Directly knowing this, the Buddha is not troubled by his knowledge.

“There are some teachers who describe the origin of the world in their tradition as created, by Brahmā. I go to them and ask, ‘Is it really true that this is your view?’ And they answer, ‘Yes.’ I ask them, ‘But how do you describe in your tradition that the origin of the world came about as created, by Brahmā?’ But they cannot answer, and they even question me in return. So I answer them,

“‘Venerables, there comes a time when, after a very long period has passed, this world gets destroyed. As the world gets destroyed, beings are mostly born in the Abhassara Brahma. There, they are mind-made, feeding on happiness, self-luminous, moving through the sky, steadily glorious, and they remain like that for a very long time.

“There comes a time when, after a very long period has passed, this world reforms. As it reforms, an empty mansion of Brahma appears. Then a certain being—due to the running out of their life-span or merit—passes away from the Abhassara Brahma world and is reborn in that empty mansion of Brahma. There he is mind-made, feeding on happiness, self-luminous, moving through the sky, steadily glorious, and they remain like that for a very long time.

“But after staying there all alone for a long time, he becomes dissatisfied and anxious, “Oh, if only another being would come here.”

“Then more beings—due to the running out of their life-span or merit—pass away from the Abhassara Brahma world and are reborn in that mansion of Brahma in the company with the other being. There, they are also mind-made, feeding on happiness, self-luminous, moving through the sky, steadily glorious, and they remain like that for a very long time.

“Now, the being who was reborn there first, thinks, “I am Brahmā, the Great Brahmā, the Undefeated, the Champion, the Universal Seer, the Wielder of Power, the Lord God, the Creator, the Author, the Best, the Maker, the Controller, the Father of those who have been born and those yet to be born. Why is that? Because first I thought, ‘Oh, if only another being would come here.’ Such was my heart’s desire, and then these other beings came here.”

“And the beings who were reborn there later, also think, “This must be Brahmā, the Great Brahmā, the Undefeated, the Champion, the Universal Seer, the Wielder of Power, the Lord God, the Maker, the Author, the Best, the Creator, the Controller, the Father of those who have been born and those yet to be born. And we have been created by him. Why is that? Because we see that he was reborn here first, and we were born after.”

“And the being that was reborn first has a longer life-span, is more beautiful, and more powerful than those who born after.

“It’s possible that one of those beings passes away from that Brahma mansion and is reborn in the human world (by this time the world has reformed and is populated). After, he goes forth from the lay life to homelessness. By keen, resolute, committed, diligent effort, and right focus, he attains a level of concentration of the mind (jhāna) and he recollects his immediate past life, but no further.

“He says, “He who is Brahmā—the Great Brahmā, the Undefeated, the Champion, the Universal Seer, the Wielder of Power, the Lord God, the Maker, the Author, the Best, the Creator, the Controller, the Father of those who have been born and those yet to be born—is permanent, everlasting, eternal, imperishable, remaining the same for all eternity. We who were created by that Brahmā are impermanent, not lasting, short-lived, perishable, and have come to this human world.”

“Venerables, is this how you have described this imagination in your tradition; that the formation of the world came about as created by Brahmā?’

“They say, ‘That is what we have heard, Reverend Gotama, just as you said.’

“Bhārgava, I understand the formation of the world. I understand this, and more. Yet since I do not misapprehend that understanding, I have realized true peace within myself through the abandonment of defilements. Directly knowing this, the Buddha is not troubled by his knowledge.

“Bhārgava, there are some teachers who describe the formation of the world in their tradition based on the Khiddāpadusika gods. I go to them and ask, ‘Is it really true that this is your view?’ And they answer, ‘Yes.’ I ask them, ‘But how do you describe in your tradition that the formation of the world came about based on the Khiddāpadusika gods?’ But they cannot answer, and they even question me in return. So I answer them,

“‘Venerables, there are gods named Khiddāpadusika. They spend too much time laughing, playing, and entertaining themselves. And in doing so, they lose their mindfulness, and they pass away from that world.

“It’s possible that one of those beings passes away from that world and is reborn in this human world. After, he goes forth from the lay life to homelessness. By keen, resolute, committed, diligent effort, and right focus, he attains a level of concentration of the mind, jhāna, and he recollects his immediate past life, but no further.

“He says, “There are gods who don’t spend too much time laughing, playing, and entertaining themselves. They don’t lose their mindfulness, and don’t pass away from that world of gods. They are permanent, everlasting, eternal, imperishable, remaining the same for all eternity. But we, who were Khiddāpadusika gods, spent too much time laughing, playing, and entertaining ourselves. In doing so, we lost our mindfulness, and passed away from that world. We are impermanent, not lasting, short-lived, perishable, and have been reborn in this human world.”

“Venerables, is this how you have described this imagination in your tradition; that the formation of the world came about based on the story of the Khiddāpadusika gods?’

“They say, ‘That is what we have heard, Reverend Gotama, just as you said.’

“Bhārgava, I understand the formation of the world. I understand this, and more. Yet since I do not misapprehend that understanding, I have realized true peace within myself through the abandonment of defilements. Directly knowing this, the Buddha is not troubled by his knowledge.

“Bhārgava, there are some teachers who describe the formation of the world in their tradition based on Manopadusika gods. I go to them and ask, ‘Is it really true that this is the venerables’ view?’ And they answer, ‘Yes.’ I ask them, ‘But how do you describe in your tradition that the formation of the world came about based on Manopadusika gods?’ But they cannot answer, and they even question me in return. So I answer them,

“‘Venerables, there are gods named Manopadusika. They spend too much time gazing at each other, so they grow angry with each other and their bodies and minds get tired. Then they pass away from that world.

“It’s possible that one of those beings passes away from that world and is reborn in this human world. After, he goes forth from the lay life to homelessness. By keen, resolute, committed, diligent effort, and right focus, he attains a level of concentration of the mind, jhāna, and he recollects his immediate past life, but no further.

“He says, “There are gods who don’t spend too much time gazing at each other, don’t grow angry with each other and their bodies and minds don’t get tired. They don’t pass away from that world. They are permanent, everlasting, eternal, imperishable, remaining the same for all eternity. But we who were Manopadusika gods spent too much time gazing at each other, so our minds grew angry with each other, our bodies and minds got tired, and we passed away from that world. We are impermanent, not lasting, short-lived, perishable, and have been reborn into this human world.”

“Venerables, is this how you have described this imagination in your tradition; that the formation of the world came about based on the story of the Manopadusika gods?’

“They say, ‘That is what we have heard, Reverend Gotama, just as you said.’

“Bhārgava, I understand the formation of the world. I understand this, and more. Yet since I do not misapprehend that understanding, I have realized true peace within myself through the abandonment of defilements. Directly knowing this, the Buddha is not troubled by his knowledge.

“There are some teachers who describe the formation of the world in their tradition as having arisen by chance. I go to them and ask, ‘Is it really true that this is the venerables’ view?’ And they answer, ‘Yes.’ I ask them, ‘But how do you describe in your tradition that the formation of the world came about by chance?’ But they cannot answer, and they even question me in return. So I answer them,

“‘Venerables, there are gods named Assaññasatta. When perception arises they pass away from that world.

“It’s possible that one of those beings passes away from that world and is reborn in this human world. After, he goes forth from the lay life to homelessness. By keen, resolute, committed, diligent effort, and right focus, he attains a level of concentration of the mind, jhāna, and he recollects his immediate past life, but no further.

“With his concentrated mind he only recollects the arising of perception, but nothing else.

“He says, “The soul and the world arose by chance. Why is that? Because formerly, I didn’t exist, but now, I have been born for the first time by chance.”

“Venerables, is this how you have described this imagination in your tradition; that the formation of the world came about by chance?’

“They say, ‘That is what we have heard, Reverend Gotama, just as you said.’

“Bhārgava, I understand the formation of the world. I understand this, and more. Yet since I do not misapprehend that understanding, I have realized true peace within myself through the abandonment of defilements. Directly knowing this, the Buddha is not troubled by his knowledge.

“Bhārgava, though I speak and explain like this, certain teachers misrepresent me with false, hollow and untruthful accusations, ‘The recluse Gotama has a distorted perspective, a wrong view, and so do his monks. The recluse Gotama says, “When a meditator enters and remains in the concentration of the beautiful, subha vimokkha, at that time, the meditator only perceives everything as ugly.”’

“Bhārgava, but I don’t say that.

“Bhārgava, this is what I say, “When a meditator enters and remains in the concentration of the beautiful, at that time the meditator only perceives everything as beautiful.”’

[Bhārgava:]

“Bhante, those other teachers are the ones with distorted perspectives and wrong views, not the Buddha and the monks. Bhante, I am quite confident that the Buddha is capable of teaching me so that I can enter and remain in the concentration of the beautiful.”

“Bhārgava, it’s hard for you to enter and remain in the concentration of the beautiful, because you are a teacher of a different doctrine and hold a different view about life and the world. However, Bhārgava, carefully preserve the confidence that you have in me.”

[Bhārgava:]

“Then Bhante, if it’s hard for me to enter and remain in the concentration of the beautiful, because I am a teacher of a different doctrine and hold a different view about life and the world, I will carefully preserve the confidence that I have in the Buddha.”

That is what the Buddha said. Satisfied, the recluse Bhārgavagotta was happy with what the Buddha said.

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Dīgha Nikāya 24 Pāṭikaputta Sutta: About Pāṭikaputta

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