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Sutta Nipata V.3

Punnaka-manava-puccha

Punnaka's Questions

Read an alternate translation


Punnaka:
To the one unperturbed,
who has seen the root [of all things],
I have come with a question.
Because of what
have many human seers
    -- noble warriors, brahmins --
offered sacrifices to devas
here in the world?
I ask you, O Blessed One.
Please tell me.
The Buddha:
Those many human seers
    -- noble warriors, brahmins --
who have offered sacrifices to devas
here in the world, Punnaka,
hoping for more of this state of being,
    offered their sacrifices
    because of aging.
Punnaka:
Those many human seers
    -- noble warriors, brahmins --
who have offered sacrifices to devas
here in the world:
Have they, O Blessed One,
heeding the path of sacrifice,
crossed over birth & aging?
I ask you, O Blessed One.
Please tell me.
The Buddha:
They hoped for, liked,
    longed for,
    so sacrificed --
they longed for sensuality,
    dependent on gain.
I tell you:
    those who take on the yoke
        of sacrifice,
    impassioned with
    the passion for becoming,
have not crossed over birth & aging.
Punnaka:
If those who take on the yoke of sacrifice
haven't crossed over the flood, dear sir,
then who in the world
of beings divine & human
has crossed over birth & aging?
    I ask you, O Blessed One.
    Please tell me.
The Buddha:
He who has fathomed
the far & near in the world,
for whom there is nothing
perturbing in the world --
    his vices evaporated,
    undesiring, untroubled,
        at peace --
he, I tell you, has crossed over birth
            & aging.

Note

AN III.32 and AN IV.41 contain discussions of the last verse in this poem.

In AN III.32, Ven. Ananda asks the Buddha, "Could it be that a monk could attain a concentration of such a sort such that, with regard to this conscious body, he would have no 'I'-making or 'mine'-making or underlying tendency to conceit, such that with regard to all external themes [topics of concentration] he would have no 'I'-making or 'mine'-making or underlying tendency to conceit, and that he would enter & remain in the release of awareness & release of discernment in which there is no 'I'-making or 'mine'-making or underlying tendency to conceit?"

The Buddha answers that it is possible, and that such a concentration can be attained when one is percipient in this way: "This is peace, this is exquisite -- the resolution of all mental processes; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding." He then adds that it was in connection to this state of mind that he uttered the last verse in this poem.

In AN IV.41, the Buddha identifies four ways of developing concentration: "There is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to a pleasant abiding in the here & now. There is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the attainment of knowledge & vision. There is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to mindfulness & alertness. There is the development of concentration that, when developed & pursued, leads to the ending of the effluents." (For details, see AN IV.41) The Buddha then adds that he uttered the last verse of this poem in connection with these four ways of developing concentration.

Source: ATI - For Free Distribution Only, as a Gift of Dhamma.

Dhamma Essay:
A Look at the Kalama Sutta by Bhikkhu Bodhi


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