Udāna 6: Jaccandhavaggo
The Chapter (including the Discourse) about the Congenitally Blind

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1: The Discourse about the Relinquishment of the Life Process

 

Thus I heard:
at one time the Gracious One was dwelling near Vesālī, in the Great Wood, at the Gabled Hall.

Then the Gracious One, having dressed in the morning time, after picking up his bowl and robe, entered Vesālī for alms. After walking for alms in Vesālī, when he had returned from the alms-round after the meal, he addressed venerable Ānanda, (saying): “Take up the sitting mat, Ānanda, we will go to the Cāpāla shrine to dwell for the day.”

“Yes, reverend Sir,” said venerable Ānanda, and after replying to the Gracious One, and taking the sitting mat, he followed along close behind the Gracious One. piṭṭhito is an ablative adverb, meaning: at the back of; the reduplication is emphatic: close behind.01

Then the Gracious One went to the Cāpāla shrine, and after going, he sat down on the prepared seat. While sat the Gracious One addressed venerable Ānanda, (saying): “Delightful, Ānanda, is Vesālī, delightful is the Udena shrine, delightful is the Gotamaka shrine, delightful is the Sattamba shrine, delightful is the Bahuputta shrine, delightful is the Sārandada shrine, delightful is the Cāpāla shrine.

Whoever has developed, Ānanda, made much of, carried on, established, maintained, augmented, and properly instigated the four paths to power, could, if he wanted, remain for the life-span or for what is left of the life-span. The Commentary specifically and clearly states that kappa means life-span here: ettha ca kappan ti āyukappaṁ. I see no good reason to depart from this interpretation.02

The Realised One has developed, Ānanda, made much of, carried on, established, maintained, augmented, and properly instigated the four paths to power. If he wanted, Ānanda, the Realised One could remain for the life-span or for what is left of the life-span.”

But venerable Ānanda, despite such a gross hint being made by the Gracious One, such a gross suggestion being made, was unable to penetrate it, and did not beg the Gracious One, (saying): “May the Gracious One remain, reverend Sir, for the life-span; may the Fortunate One remain for the life-span, for the benefit of many people, for the happiness of many people, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, benefit, and happiness of devas and men,” like one whose mind was possessed by Māra.

For a second time the Gracious One addressed venerable Ānanda, (saying): “Delightful, Ānanda, is Vesālī, delightful is the Udena shrine, delightful is the Gotamaka shrine, delightful is the Sattamba shrine, delightful is the Bahuputta shrine, delightful is the Sārandada shrine, delightful is the Cāpāla shrine. Whoever has developed, Ānanda, made much of, carried on, established, maintained, augmented, and properly instigated the four paths to power, could, if he wanted, remain for the life-span or for what is left of the life-span. The Realised One has developed, Ānanda, made much of, carried on, established, maintained, augmented, and properly instigated the four paths to power. If he wanted, Ānanda, the Realised One could remain for the life-span or for what is left of the life-span.”

But venerable Ānanda, despite such a gross hint being made by the Gracious One, such a gross suggestion being made, was unable to penetrate it, and did not beg the Gracious One, (saying): “May the Gracious One remain, reverend Sir, for the life-span, may the Fortunate One remain for the life-span, for the benefit of many people, for the happiness of many people, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, benefit, and happiness of devas and men,” like one whose mind was possessed by Māra.

For a third time the Gracious One addressed venerable Ānanda, (saying): “Delightful, Ānanda, is Vesālī, delightful is the Udena shrine, delightful is the Gotamaka shrine, delightful is the Sattamba shrine, delightful is the Bahuputta shrine, delightful is the Sārandada shrine, delightful is the Cāpāla shrine. Whoever has developed, Ānanda, made much of, carried on, established, maintained, augmented, and properly instigated the four paths to power, could, if he wanted, remain for the life-span or for what is left of the life-span. The Realised One has developed, Ānanda, made much of, carried on, established, maintained, augmented, and properly instigated the four paths to power. If he wanted, Ānanda, the Realised One could remain for the life-span or for what is left of the life-span.”

But venerable Ānanda, despite such a gross hint being made by the Gracious One, such a gross suggestion being made, was unable to penetrate it, and did not beg the Gracious One, (saying): “May the Gracious One remain, reverend Sir, for the life-span, may the Fortunate One remain for the life-span, for the benefit of many people, for the happiness of many people, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare, benefit, and happiness of devas and men,” like one whose mind was possessed by Māra.

Then the Gracious One addressed venerable Ānanda, (saying): “Go, Ānanda, now is the time for whatever you are thinking.” “Yes, reverend Sir,” said venerable Ānanda, and after replying to the Gracious One, rising from his seat, worshipping and circumambulating the Gracious One, he sat down not far away at the root of a certain tree.

Then Māra the Bad, not long after the venerable Ānanda had gone, went to the Gracious One, and after going, he stood on one side. While stood on one side Māra the Bad said this to the Gracious One: “May the Gracious One attain Complete Emancipation, reverend Sir, may the Fortunate One attain Complete Emancipation, now is the time, reverend Sir, for the Gracious One's Complete Emancipation. For the Gracious One, reverend Sir, has said these words: ‘I will not attain Complete Emancipation, Wicked One, for as long as my monks are not (true) disciples, accomplished, disciplined, confident, secure, learned, bearers of Dhamma, practicing in conformity with the Dhamma, correct in their practice, living in conformity with the Dhamma, and having learned it from their own teacher, will declare, reveal, make known, set forth, open up, analyse, make plain - after giving a good rebuke with reason to the arguments of others that have arisen - and teach the wonderful Dhamma.’

But at present, reverend Sir, the Gracious One's monks are (true) disciples, accomplished, disciplined, confident, secure, learned, bearers of Dhamma, practicing in conformity with the Dhamma, correct in their practice, living in conformity with the Dhamma, and having learned it from their own teacher, do declare, reveal, make known, set forth, open up, analyse, make plain - after giving a good rebuke with reason to the arguments of others that have arisen - and teach the wonderful Dhamma.

May the Gracious One attain Complete Emancipation, reverend Sir, may the Fortunate One attain Complete Emancipation, now is the time, reverend Sir, for the Gracious One's Complete Emancipation. For the Gracious One has said these words: ‘I will not attain Complete Emancipation, Wicked One, for as long as my nuns are not (true) disciples, accomplished, disciplined, confident, secure, learned, bearers of Dhamma, practicing in conformity with the Dhamma, correct in their practice, living in conformity with the Dhamma, and having learned it from their own teacher, will declare, reveal, make known, set forth, open up, analyse, make plain - after giving a good rebuke with reason to the arguments of others that have arisen - and teach the wonderful Dhamma.’

But at present, reverend Sir, the Gracious One's nuns are (true) disciples, accomplished, disciplined, confident, secure, learned, bearers of Dhamma, practicing in conformity with the Dhamma, correct in their practice, living in conformity with the Dhamma, and having learned it from their own teacher, do declare, reveal, make known, set forth, open up, analyse, make plain - after giving a good rebuke with reason to the arguments of others that have arisen - and teach the wonderful Dhamma.

May the Gracious One attain Complete Emancipation, reverend Sir, may the Fortunate One attain Complete Emancipation, now is the time, reverend Sir, for the Gracious One's Complete Emancipation. For the Gracious One has said these words: ‘I will not attain Complete Emancipation, Wicked One, for as long as my male lay followers are not (true) disciples, accomplished, disciplined, confident, secure, learned, bearers of Dhamma, practicing in conformity with the Dhamma, correct in their practice, living in conformity with the Dhamma, and having learned it from their own teacher, will declare, reveal, make known, set forth, open up, analyse, make plain - after giving a good rebuke with reason to the arguments of others that have arisen - and teach the wonderful Dhamma.’

But at present, reverend Sir, the Gracious One's male lay followers are (true) disciples, accomplished, disciplined, confident, secure, learned, bearers of Dhamma, practicing in conformity with the Dhamma, correct in their practice, living in conformity with the Dhamma, and having learned it from their own teacher, do declare, reveal, make known, set forth, open up, analyse, make plain - after giving a good rebuke with reason to the arguments of others that have arisen - and teach the wonderful Dhamma.

May the Gracious One attain Complete Emancipation, reverend Sir, may the Fortunate One attain Complete Emancipation, now is the time, reverend Sir, for the Gracious One's Complete Emancipation. For the Gracious One has said these words: ‘I will not attain Complete Emancipation, Wicked One, for as long as my female lay followers are not (true) disciples, accomplished, disciplined, confident, secure, learned, bearers of Dhamma, practicing in conformity with the Dhamma, correct in their practice, living in conformity with the Dhamma, and having learned it from their own teacher, will declare, reveal, make known, set forth, open up, analyse, make plain - after giving a good rebuke with reason to the arguments of others that have arisen - and teach the wonderful Dhamma.’

But at present, reverend Sir, the Gracious One's female lay followers are (true) disciples, accomplished, disciplined, confident, secure, learned, bearers of Dhamma, practicing in conformity with the Dhamma, correct in their practice, living in conformity with the Dhamma, and having learned it from their own teacher, do declare, reveal, make known, set forth, open up, analyse, make plain - after giving a good rebuke with reason to the arguments of others that have arisen - and teach the wonderful Dhamma.

May the Gracious One attain Complete Emancipation, reverend Sir, may the Fortunate One attain Complete Emancipation, now is the time, reverend Sir, for the Gracious One's Complete Emancipation. For the Gracious One has said these words: ‘I will not attain Complete Emancipation, Wicked One, for as long as this spiritual life of mine has not become successful and prosperous, well spread out, possessed by many, become great, until it is well explained amongst devas and men.’ For the correct parsing of this phrase see PED, yāva. Wijesekera, Syntax §9, has an interesting discussion as to whether we may have an archaic plural dative form here (= Skt. -(e)bhyas), and quotes the BHS parallel at Divy 201: yāvad-deva manuṣyebhyaḥ. If that was the correct interpretation we would need to translate: until it is well explained to devas and men; but as it also makes sense as a locative plural we cannot be sure which way to take it.03

But at present, reverend Sir, the Gracious One's spiritual life is successful and prosperous, well spread out, possessed by many, become great, it is well explained amongst devas and men. May the Gracious One attain Complete Emancipation, reverend Sir, may the Fortunate One attain Complete Emancipation, now is the time, reverend Sir, for the Gracious One's Complete Emancipation.”

When that was said the Gracious One said this to Māra the Bad: “You should have little concern, Wicked One, in no long time the Realised One will become completely emancipated, after three months have passed from now, the Realised One will attain Complete Emancipation.”

Then at the Cāpāla shrine the Gracious One, mindfully, with full awareness, relinquished the life process. With the relinquishment of the life process by the Gracious One there was a great earthquake, and a fearful, horrifying crash of the devas’ (thunder) drum.

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

“Measurable and immeasurable continuity, The exact interpretation of this phrase is very unsure; the Commentary offers several explanations: measurable action (tulaṁ) immeasurable action (atulaṁ); sense-sphere and form-sphere action (tulaṁ), formless sphere action (atulaṁ); measurable fruition (tulaṁ), immeasurable fruition (atulaṁ); or it means measuring (tulaṁ) the advantages of the immeasurable (atulaṁ, i.e. nibbāna). For sambhava PED only gives the meanings: origin, birth, production; but SED gives many more meanings for this word, among which we find: being, existence, (here translated as continuity); or it may be that we should take sambhava for bhava m.c. with the same meaning.04
And the continuation-process the Sage relinquished.
Content in himself, and concentrated,
He broke continuity of self like a coat of mail.”