Udāna 3: Nandavaggo
The Chapter (including the Discourse) About Nanda

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2: The Discourse about Nanda

 

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 venerable Nanda, the Gracious One's brother, his mother's sister's son, Venerable Nanda’s father was King Suddhodana, the Buddha’s father; his mother however, was the Buddha’s mother’s sister, Mahāpajāpatī (who was also, of course, the Buddha’s foster mother).01 confessed this to many monks: “I have no great delight, venerable friends, living the spiritual life, I am not able to endure the spiritual life, having disavowed the training, I will return to what is inferior.”

Then a certain monk went to the Gracious One, and after going and worshipping the Gracious One, he sat down on one side. While sat on one side that monk said this to the Gracious One: “Venerable Nanda, reverend Sir, the Gracious One's brother, his mother's sister's son, confesses this to many monks: ‘I have no great delight, venerable friends, living the spiritual life, I am not able to endure the spiritual life, having disavowed the training, I will return to what is inferior.’ ”

Then the Gracious One addressed a certain monk, (saying): “Please go, monk, and with my word address the monk Nanda, (saying): ‘The Teacher, venerable friend Nanda, calls you.’ ”

“Yes, reverend Sir,” said that monk, and after replying to the Gracious One, he went to venerable Nanda, and after going, he said this to venerable Nanda: “The Teacher, venerable friend Nanda, calls you.”

“Yes, venerable friend,” said venerable Nanda, and after replying to that monk, he went to the Gracious One, and after going and worshipping the Gracious One, he sat down on one side. While sat on one side, the Gracious One said this to venerable Nanda: “Is it true, as it seems, Nanda, that you confessed this to many monks, (saying): “I have no great delight, venerable friends, living the spiritual life, I am not able to endure the spiritual life, having disavowed the training, I will return to what is inferior.’ ”

“Yes, reverend Sir.”

“But why do you, Nanda, have no great delight living the spiritual life, are not able to endure the spiritual life, and having disavowed the training, will return to what is inferior?”

“As I was leaving from home, reverend Sir, a Sakyan girl, the most beautiful woman in the country, with her hair half-combed, having looked round, said this to me: ‘Master, may you quickly return.’ Remembering that, reverend Sir, I have no great delight living the spiritual life, I am not able to endure the spiritual life, and having disavowed the training, I will return to what is inferior.”

Then the Gracious One, having taken venerable Nanda by the arm, just as a strong man might stretch out a bent arm, or bend in an outstretched arm, in the same way did he disappear from Jeta's Wood, and reappear amongst the Tāvatiṁsa devas. Then at that time five hundred celestial dove-footed nymphs had come to attend to Sakka, the lord of the devas.

Then the Gracious One addressed venerable Nanda, (saying): “Do you see, Nanda, these five hundred celestial dove-footed nymphs?” “Yes, reverend Sir.” “What do you think about this, Nanda, who has the most perfect form, is the most fair to behold, is the most pleasing, the Sakyan girl, the most beautiful woman in the country, or these five hundred celestial dove-footed nymphs?”

“Like a disfigured monkey, reverend Sir, with its ears and nose cut off, so is the Sakyan girl, reverend Sir, the most beautiful woman in the country, compared with these five hundred celestial nymphs she does not count, she is not even a fraction, she is not even half a fraction, she is not even to be compared! These five hundred celestial nymphs certainly have the most perfect form, are the most fair to behold, are the more pleasing.”

“Take delight, Nanda! Take delight, Nanda! I am your surety for gaining five hundred celestial dove-footed nymphs!”

“If, reverend Sir, the Gracious One is my surety for gaining five hundred celestial dove-footed nymphs, I will take great delight, reverend Sir, in (living) the spiritual life under the Gracious One.”

Then the Gracious One, having taken venerable Nanda by the arm, just as a strong man might stretch out a bent arm, or bend in an outstretched arm, in the same way did they disappear from amongst the Tāvatiṁsa devas, and reappear in Jeta's Wood.

The monks heard: “Venerable Nanda, it seems, the Gracious One's brother, his mother's sister's son, is living the spiritual life for the sake of celestial nymphs, the Gracious One, it seems, it his surety for gaining five hundred celestial dove-footed nymphs!”

Then venerable Nanda's monk-friends accosted venerable Nanda with words about a hireling, with words about a lackey, (saying): “It seems venerable Nanda is a hireling, it seems venerable Nanda is a lackey, he is living the spiritual life for the sake of celestial nymphs, the Gracious One, it seems, is his surety for gaining five hundred celestial dove-footed nymphs!”

Then venerable Nanda, at his monk-friends' words about a hireling, words about a lackey, was distressed, ashamed, and disgusted, and while dwelling solitary, secluded, heedful, ardent, and resolute, after no long time (attained) that good for which sons of good family rightly go forth from the home to homelessness, that unsurpassed conclusion to the spiritual life, and dwelt having known, having directly experienced, and having attained (nibbāna) himself in this very life:

Destroyed is birth
accomplished is the spiritual life
done is what ought to be done
there is no more of this mundane state” - this he knew.

And venerable Nanda became another of the Worthy Ones.

Then a certain devatā, when the night had passed, having lit up the whole of Jeta's Wood with his surpassing beauty, went to the Gracious One, and after going and worshipping the Gracious One, he stood on one side. While standing on one side that devatā said this to the Gracious One: “Venerable Nanda, reverend Sir, the Gracious One's brother, his mother's sister's son, through the destruction of the pollutants, without pollutants, freed in mind, freed through wisdom, dwells having known, having directly experienced, and having attained (nibbāna) himself in this very life.”

And this knowledge arose to the Gracious One: “Nanda, through the destruction of the pollutants, without pollutants, freed in mind, freed through wisdom, dwells having known, having directly experienced, and having attained (nibbāna) himself in this very life.”

Then venerable Nanda, when that night had passed, went to the Gracious One, and after going and worshipping the Gracious One, he sat down on one side. While sat on one side venerable Nanda said this to the Gracious One: “That, reverend Sir, for which the Gracious One was my surety - for gaining five hundred celestial dove-footed nymphs - I free the Gracious One, reverend Sir, from that promise.”

“Nanda, having encompassed your mind fully with my mind, I understood: ‘Nanda, through the destruction of the pollutants, without pollutants, freed in mind, freed through wisdom, dwells having known, having directly experienced, and having attained (nibbāna) himself in this very life.’ Also a devatā announced that matter to me, (saying): ‘Venerable Nanda, reverend Sir, the Gracious One's brother, his mother's sister's son, through the destruction of the pollutants, without pollutants, freed in mind, freed through wisdom, dwells having known, having directly experienced, and having attained (nibbāna) himself in this very life.’ When, Nanda, your mind was freed from the pollutants without attachment, then was I freed from that promise.”

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

“He who has got out of the quagmire,
Who has crushed the thorn of sense desire,
Who has arrived at the destruction of delusion,
That monk does not shake in regard to pleasure and pain.”