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Udāna

Udāna
3.9 Sippa Sutta
Crafts

The Buddha explains that it is not proper for monks to talk about what crafts they have studied or who is best at these crafts.

This is what I heard from the Blessed One. Those days, the Blessed One was living in the province of Sāvatthī, in Jeta’s Park, at Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. One day a large number of monks, after the meal, on returning from their alms round, were sitting gathered together at a pavilion when this discussion arose, “Who, friends, knows a craft? Which craft have you studied? Which is the best among crafts?”

With regard to that, some monks said, “The elephant-craft is the best craft among crafts.” Some said, “The horse-craft is the best craft among crafts” … “The chariot-craft…” … “Archery…” … “Swordsmanship…” … “Signaling …” … “Calculating…” … “Accounting…” … “Writing…” … “Poetry…” Some said, “Law is the supreme craft among crafts.” And this discussion was left unfinished.

Then the Blessed One, emerging from his seclusion in the late afternoon, went to the pavilion and sat down on the prepared seat. Seated, the Buddha addressed the monks, “What were you discussing just now, and what was left unfinished?”

“Just now, Bhante, after the meal, on returning from our alms round, we were sitting gathered together here at the pavilion when this discussion arose: “Who, friends, knows a craft? Which craft have you studied? Which is the best among crafts? With regard to that, some monks said, “The elephant-craft is the best craft among crafts.” Some said, “The horse-craft is the best craft among crafts” … “The chariot-craft…” … “Archery…” … “Swordsmanship…” … “Signaling …” … “Calculating…” … “Accounting…” … “Writing…” … “Poetry…” Some said, “Law is the supreme craft among crafts.” And this discussion was left unfinished.”

“It isn’t proper, monks, that you monks, on having ordained out of faith, should talk on such a topic. When you have gathered you have two duties, either to discuss the Dhamma or to maintain noble silence in a meditation.”

Then, on realizing the peace of liberation, the Blessed One spoke the following inspired verses:

“He lives without a craft, light and desiring everybody’s well being. His senses are controlled and liberated from everything. He is free from craving, the notion “I am” and desires. Having abandoned conceit he lives in seclusion. He is called ‘a monk.’”

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Udāna 3.9 Sippa Sutta: Crafts

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