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Samyutta Nikaya XLII.11

Gandhabhaka Sutta

To Gandhabhaka


On one occasion the Blessed One was staying among the Mallans in a Mallan town named Uruvelakappa. Then Gandhabhaka the headman went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "It would be good, lord, if the Blessed One would teach me the origination & ending of stress."

"Headman, if I were to teach you the origination & ending of stress with reference to the past, saying, 'Thus it was in the past,' you would be doubtful and perplexed. If I were to teach you the origination & ending of stress with reference to the future, saying, 'Thus it will be in the future,' you would be doubtful and perplexed. So instead, I -- sitting right here -- will teach you sitting right there the origination & ending of stress. Listen & pay close attention. I will speak."

"As you say, lord," Gandhabhaka the headman replied.

The Blessed One said: "Now what do you think, headman: Are there any people in Uruvelakappa who, if they were murdered or imprisoned or fined or censured, would cause sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, or despair to arise in you?"

"Yes, lord, there are people in Uruvelakappa who, if they were murdered or imprisoned or fined or censured, would cause sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, or despair to arise in me."

"And are there any people in Uruvelakappa who, if they were murdered or imprisoned or fined or censured, would cause no sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, or despair to arise in you?"

"Yes, lord, there are people in Uruvelakappa who, if they were murdered or imprisoned or fined or censured, would cause no sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, or despair to arise in me."

"Now what is the cause, what is the reason, why the murder, imprisonment, fining, or censure of some of the people in Uruvelakappa would cause you sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, or despair, whereas the murder imprisonment, fining, or censure of others would cause you no sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, or despair?"

"Those people in Uruvelakappa whose murder, imprisonment, fining, or censure would cause me sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, or despair are those for whom I feel desire & passion. Those people in Uruvelakappa whose murder, imprisonment, fining, or censure would cause me no sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, or despair are those for whom I feel no desire or passion."

"Now, headman, from what you have realized, attained, plunged into right now in the present, without regard to time, you may draw an inference with regard to the past and future: 'Whatever stress, in arising, arose for me in the past, all of it had desire as its root, had desire as its cause -- for desire is the cause of stress. And whatever stress, in arising, will arise for me in the future, all of it will have desire as the root, will have desire as its cause -- for desire is the cause of stress.'"

"Amazing, lord. Stupendous. How well the Blessed One has put it: 'Whatever stress, in arising, arose for me in the past, all of it had desire as its root, had desire as its cause -- for desire is the cause of stress. And whatever stress, in arising, will arise for me in the future, all of it will have desire as the root, will have desire as its cause -- for desire is the cause of stress.' I have a son, lord, named Ciravasi, who lives far away from here. When I get up in the morning, I send a man, saying, 'Go, learn how Ciravasi is doing.' And as long as that man has not returned, I am simply beside myself, [thinking], 'Don't let Ciravasi be sick!'"

"Now, headman, what do you think: If Ciravasi were to be murdered or imprisoned or fined or censured, would you feel sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair?"

"Lord, if my son Ciravasi were to be murdered or imprisoned or fined or censured, my very life would be altered. So how could I not feel sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair?

"Thus, headman, by this line of reasoning it may be realized how stress, when arising, arises: All of it has desire as its root, has desire as its cause -- for desire is the cause of stress.

"Now what do you think, headman: Before you had seen or heard of Ciravasi's mother, did you feel desire, passion, or love for her?"

"No, lord."

"And after you had seen or heard of Ciravasi's mother, did you feel desire, passion, or love for her?"

"Yes, lord."

"What do you think: If Ciravasi's mother were to be murdered or imprisoned or fined or censured, would you feel sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair?"

"Lord, if Ciravasi's mother were to be murdered or imprisoned or fined or censured, my very life would be altered. So how could I not feel sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair?"

"Thus, headman, by this line of reasoning it may be realized how stress, when arising, arises: All of it has desire as its root, has desire as its cause -- for desire is the cause of stress."


See also: MN 87; Ud II.7; Ud VIII.8.
Source: ATI - For Free Distribution Only, as a Gift of Dhamma.

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