Udāna 1: Bodhivaggo
The Chapter (including the Discourses) about the Awakening (Tree)

download

10: The Discourse about Bāhiya

 

Thus I heard:
at one time the Gracious One was dwelling near Sāvatthī, in Jeta's Wood, at Anāthapiṇḍika's monastery.

Then at that time Bāhiya of the Bark Robe There appears to be another version of Bāhiya’s story at Bāhiyasuttaṁ (SN 35:89). There a certain Bāhiya is given the catechism on the impermanence of the eye and forms, etc. after which he becomes an arahant. SA doesn’t comment on the discourse, and although the sutta doesn’t specify that the Bāhiya in that sutta is known as Dārucīriyo, it should be noted that the sutta directly follows one in which Ven. Puṇṇa returns to his home town of Sunāparanta, the capital of which was Suppāraka. 01 was living near Suppāraka, on the bank of the ocean, being venerated, respected, revered, honoured, esteemed, in receipt of robes, almsfood, dwellings, and medicinal requisites to help when sick.

Then when Bāhiya of the Bark Robe had gone into hiding, into seclusion, this reflection arose in his mind: “Among those in the world who are Worthy Ones, or have entered the path to Worthiness, I am one of them.”

Then a devatā, who was a former blood-relative of Bāhiya of the Bark Robe, being compassionate and desiring his welfare, knowing with his mind the reflection in the mind of Bāhiya of the Bark Robe, went to Bāhiya of the Bark Robe, and after going, he said this to Bāhiya of the Bark Robe: Note that to avoid using the personal pronoun, the proper name is used altogether three times in this one short sentence. It appears to be characteristic of Indian languages to avoid the personal pronoun when speaking about someone definite.02 “You are certainly not a Worthy One, Bāhiya. Nor have you entered the path to Worthiness. This practice of yours is not one whereby you could be a Worthy One, or one who has entered the path to Worthiness.”

“Then who now in this world with its devas are Worthy Ones, or have entered the path to Worthiness?”

“There is, Bāhiya, in the northern countries a city by the name of Sāvatthī. There the Gracious One dwells at the present time who is a Worthy One, a Perfect Sambuddha. He, Bāhiya, the Gracious One, is certainly a Worthy One, and teaches the Dhamma for (attaining) Worthiness.”

Then Bāhiya of the Bark Robe being greatly moved by that devatā, immediately went away from Suppāraka, and staying (for only) one night in every place, The Commentary notes that the distance from Suppāraka to Sāvatthī is 120 leagues (vīsayojanasate, about 600 miles), but insists he made the journey in one night! However, this seems to go against the natural meaning of the text.03 went to Sāvatthī, Jeta's Wood, and to Anāthapiṇḍika's monastery. PTS reads: yena Bhagavā Sāvatthiyaṁ viharati Jetavane Anāthapiṇḍikass’ ārāme ten’ upasaṅkami; hence Masefield’s and Ireland’s translations here, but BJT is to be preferred here, as the Bhagavā was not there when he arrived.04

Then at that time many monks were walking (in meditation) in the open air. Then Bāhiya of the Bark Robe went to those monks, and after going, he said this to those monks: “Where, reverend Sirs, is the Gracious One living at present, the Worthy One, the Perfect Sambuddha? We have a desire to see Notice the use of the royal plural here.05 the Gracious One, the Worthy One, the Perfect Sambuddha.”

“The Gracious One, Bāhiya, has entered among the houses for alms.” Among the houses, i.e. into the city.06

Then Bāhiya of the Bark Robe having hurriedly left Jeta's Grove and having entered Sāvatthī, saw the Gracious One walking for alms in Sāvatthī, confident, inspiring confidence, with (sense) faculties at peace, mind at peace, having attained supreme self-control and calm, controlled, guarded, with restrained faculties, a (true) nāga.

After seeing (him), he went to the Gracious One, and after going and prostrating himself with his head at the Gracious One's feet, he said this to the Gracious One: “Let the Gracious One preach the Dhamma to me, reverend Sir, let the Fortunate One preach the Dhamma, that will be for my benefit and happiness for a long time.”

After that was said, the Gracious One said this to Bāhiya of the Bark Robe: “It is the wrong time for you, Bāhiya, we have entered among the houses for alms.”

For a second time Bāhiya of the Bark Robe said this to the Gracious One: “But it is hard to know, reverend Sir, the dangers to the Gracious One's life, or the dangers to my life! Let the Gracious One preach the Dhamma to me, reverend Sir, let the Fortunate One preach the Dhamma, that will be for my benefit and happiness for a long time.”

For a second time the Gracious One said this to Bāhiya of the Bark Robe: “It is the wrong time for you, Bāhiya, we have entered among the houses for alms.”

For a third time Bāhiya of the Bark Robe said this to the Gracious One: “But it is hard to know, reverend Sir, the dangers to the Gracious One's life, or the dangers to my life! Let the Gracious One preach the Dhamma to me, reverend Sir, let the Fortunate One preach the Dhamma, that will be for my benefit and happiness for a long time.”

“In that case, Bāhiya, you should train yourself thus:

In what is seen there must be only what is seen, As this is an instruction, the future tense is being used as an imperative (for this usage see Perniola PG, §274 b; in the repetition though, we must take it with its normal future meaning. This teaching is also found in Māluṅkyaputtasuttaṁ (SN 35. 95), a translation of which is found elsewhere on this website. There this cryptic teaching is expanded on in verses by Ven. Māluṅkyaputta, which is then approved of by the Buddha, who repeats the verses, thus making them his own.07
in what is heard there must be only what is heard,
in what is sensed there must be only what is sensed,
in what is cognized there must be only what is cognized.

This is the way, Bāhiya, you should train yourself.

And since for you, Bāhiya, in what is seen there will be only what is seen,
in what is heard there will be only what is heard,
in what is sensed there will be only what is sensed,
in what is cognized there will be only what is cognized,

therefore, Bāhiya, you will not be with that;
and since, Bāhiya, you will not be with that, therefore, Bāhiya, you will not be in that;
and since, Bāhiya, you will not be in that, therefore, Bāhiya, you
will not be here or hereafter or in between the two The Commentary goes to some lengths to point out that there is no in-between state in the orthodox interpretation of this phrase, and states the interpretation must mean either: you will not be here or hereafter or in both; or, you will not be here or hereafter, nor is there anywhere in between the two; cf. 8-4 below where part of the phrase recurrs. See Harvey, The Selfless Mind, pp. 98 - 108; and also Bhikkhu Bodhi’s note to Bojjhaṅgasaṁyutta 3 (Sīlasutta), found on pp. 1902-3 of CDB.08
- just this is the end of suffering.”

Then through the Gracious One's brief teaching of this Dhamma Bāhiya of the Bark Robe's mind was immediately freed from the pollutants, without attachment.

Then the Gracious One, having advised Bāhiya of the Bark Robe with this brief advice, went away.

Then not long after the Gracious One had gone a cow with a young calf, having attacked Bāhiya of the Bark Robe, deprived him of life.

Then the Gracious One after walking for alms in Sāvatthī, while returning from the alms-round after the meal, after going out from the city with many monks, saw that Bāhiya of the Bark Robe had died. Kālakataṁ: died; literally: had made (his) time, which is unidiomatic in English.09

After seeing (him), he addressed the monks, (saying): “Monks, take up Bāhiya of the Bark Robe's body, and after putting it on a bier, carrying it away, and burning it, make a memorial mound for him, your fellow in the spiritual life, monks, has died.”

“Yes, reverend Sir,” said those monks, and after replying to the Gracious One, This idiom seems to be generally misunderstood in translations. After replying is an absolutive, not a finite verb, which only comes later: they went.10 putting Bāhiya of the Bark Robe's body on a bier, carrying it away, burning it, and making a memorial mound for him, they went to the Gracious One, and after going and worshipping the Gracious One, they sat down on one side. While sat on one side those monks said this to the Gracious One:

“Burnt, reverend Sir, is Bāhiya of the Bark Robe's body, and the memorial mound for him has been made. What is his destination? What is his future state?”

“A wise man, monks, was Bāhiya of the Bark Robe, who practiced Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma, and did not trouble me on account of the Dhamma. Completely emancipated, monks, is Bāhiya of the Bark Robe.”

Then the Gracious One, having understood the significance of it, on that occasion uttered this exalted utterance:

“In the place where the water, earth,   fire, and wind find no footing,
There the stars do not shine,   nor does the sun give light,

There the moon does not glow,   there darkness is not found.
And when the sage, the brāhmaṇa, has experienced (nibbāna) through his own sagacity,

Then from both form and formless,   happiness and suffering, he is free.”

This exalted utterance was also said by the Gracious One, so I have heard.