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Itivuttaka

Itivuttaka
99 Tevijja Sutta
The Triple Knowledge

What does it mean to be a brāhmin?

This discourse was taught by the Blessed One, taught by the Arahant, the fully enlightened Supreme Buddha. This is as I heard,

“Monks, I describe a person as a Brāhmin with Triple Knowledge based on the fact he has achieved the goal of Dhamma. However, I do not describe a person as a Brāhmin just based on the fact that he merely recites what others have said.

And monks, how do I describe a person as a Brāhmin with Triple Knowledge based on the fact he has achieved the goal of Dhamma and is not one who merely recites what others have said? Here, monks, a monk recollects his various past lives; one birth, two births, three births, four births, five births, ten births, twenty births, thirty births, forty births, fifty births, a hundred births, a thousand births, a hundred thousand births; many eons of world-formation, many eons of world destruction, many eons of both world-formation and destruction. He recollects, “There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such was my experience of pleasure and pain, and such was my lifespan. Passing away from that life, I was reborn here. Here, too, I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, and had such an appearance. Such was my food, such was my experience of pleasure and pain, and such was my lifespan. Passing away from that life, I was reborn there.” Thus, he recollects a variety of his past lives in their modes and details.

This is the first knowledge he has attained. Ignorance has been destroyed; true knowledge has arisen; darkness has been destroyed; light has arisen —as happens in one who diligently and ardently practices the noble path and gives it top priority.

Then again, monks, with the purified divine eye which surpasses the human capability, a monk sees the passing away and rebirth of beings. He understands why some beings are inferior, some are superior, some are beautiful, some are ugly, some are fortunate, and some are unfortunate. He understands how they pass away and take rebirth according to their actions: “These beings —who engaged in bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, and mental misconduct, who insulted noble ones, held wrong views, and undertook actions under the influence of wrong views—at the break-up of the body, after death, have been reborn in the plane of misery, the worst destination, the lowest world, hell. But other beings—who engaged in good bodily conduct, good verbal conduct, and good mental conduct; who did not insult noble ones, who held right views, and undertook actions under the influence of right views—at the break-up of the body, after death, have been reborn in the happy destination, heaven.”

Thus, with the purified divine eye which surpasses human capability, he understands how beings pass away and take rebirth according to their actions. He understands why some beings are inferior, some are superior, some are beautiful, some are ugly, some are fortunate, and some are unfortunate. He understands how they pass away and take rebirth according to their actions.

This is the second knowledge he has attained. Ignorance has been destroyed; true knowledge has arisen; darkness has been destroyed; light has arisen—as happens in one who diligently and ardently practices the noble path, giving it top priority.

Then again monks, a monk, through realization by his own direct knowledge, enters and experiences here and now the mind-liberation and wisdom-liberation that is taintless by the destruction of the taints.

This is the third knowledge he has attained. Ignorance has been destroyed; true knowledge has arisen; darkness has been destroyed; light has arisen—as happens in one who practices the noble path diligently and ardently giving it top priority.

It is in this way, monks, I describe a person as a Brāhmin with Triple Knowledge based on the fact he has achieved the goal of Dhamma and is not one who merely recites what others have said.

This is the meaning of what the Blessed One said. So, with regard to this, it was said:

One who has attained the Triple Knowledge knows his past lives. He sees heaven and hell. And having attained this direct-knowledge, he reaches the end of rebirths. Having completed the path to ultimate freedom, Nibbāna, he becomes a sage.

By attaining these three types of knowledge one becomes a brāhmin with Triple Knowledge. That is what I call the Triple Knowledge; it is not simply reciting what one hears.

This, too, is the meaning of what was said by the Blessed One. This is exactly as I heard.

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Itivuttaka 99 Tevijja Sutta: The Triple Knowledge

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