The Discourse about the Great Emancipation

[The Second Chapter for Recitation]

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[14: The Mirror of (the True Nature of) Things]

Then the Gracious One, after living near Koṭigāma for as long as he liked, addressed venerable Ānanda, (saying): “Come Ānanda let us approach the Nādikas.” Comm: Nādikā ti ekaṁ taḷākaṁ nissāya dvinnaṁ Cūḷapitumahāpituputtānaṁ dve gāmā; the Nādikas, near a lake were two villages belonging to the sons of an uncle and a grandfather. Rhys-Davids (p. 97) thinks that the plural form is referring to a clan, the singular form to a village, but the Commentary is saying that there were two villages which the Buddha approached, giving the plural form, but of course he only stayed in one of them.01

“Very well, reverend Sir,” venerable Ānanda replied to the Gracious One. Then the Gracious One together with a great Community of monks arrived at the Nādikas. There the Gracious One lived near (one of) the Nādikas in the Brick House.

Then venerable Ānanda approached the Gracious One, and after approaching and worshipping the Gracious One, he sat down on one side. While sitting on one side venerable Ānanda said this to the Gracious One:

“The monk named Sāḷha, reverend Sir, has died in Nādika, what was his destination? What was his future state?

The nun named Nandā, reverend Sir, has died in Nādika, what was her destination? What was her future state?

The layman named Sudatta, reverend Sir, has died in Nādika, what was his destination? What was his future state?

The laywoman named Sujātā, reverend Sir, has died in Nādika, what was her destination? What was her future state?

The layman named Kakudha, reverend Sir, has died in Nādika, what was his destination? What was his future state?

The layman named Kāliṅga, reverend Sir, has died in Nādika, what was his destination? What was his future state?

The layman named Nikaṭa, reverend Sir, has died in Nādika, what was his destination? What was his future state?

The layman named Kaṭissaha, reverend Sir, has died in Nādika, what was his destination? What was his future state?

The layman named Tuṭṭha, reverend Sir, has died in Nādika, what was his destination? What was his future state?

The layman named Santuṭṭha, reverend Sir, has died in Nādika, what was his destination? What was his future state?

The layman named Bhadda, reverend Sir, has died in Nādika, what was his destination? What was his future state?

The layman named Subhadda, reverend Sir, has died in Nādika, what was his destination? What was his future state?”

“The monk Sāḷha, Ānanda, through the destruction of the pollutants, without pollutants, freed in mind, freed through wisdom, dwelt having known, having directly experienced, and having attained (Nibbāna) himself in this very life. This and the following are stock descriptions. Here it is referring to a Worthy One (Arahatta).02

The nun Nandā, Ānanda, through the complete destruction of the five lower fetters has arisen spontaneously (in the Brahmā worlds), and will attain Final Emancipation there, without returning from that world. She was a Non-Returner (to birth in a womb) (Anāgāmī).03

The layman Sudatta, Ānanda, through the complete destruction of three fetters, and the diminuation of passion, hatred, and delusion, is a Once-Returner, and will return only once more to this world, and (then) will make an end to suffering.

The laywoman Sujātā, Ānanda, through the complete destruction of three fetters, is a Stream-Enterer, is no longer subject to falling (into the lower realms), and has a fixed destiny ending in Final Awakening.

The layman Kakudha, Ānanda, through the complete destruction of the five lower fetters has arisen spontaneously (in the Brahmā worlds), and will attain Final Emancipation there, without returning from that world.

The layman Kāliṅga, Ānanda, through the complete destruction of the five lower fetters has arisen spontaneously (in the Brahmā worlds), and will attain Final Emancipation there, without returning from that world.

The layman Nikaṭa, Ānanda, through the complete destruction of the five lower fetters has arisen spontaneously (in the Brahmā worlds), and will attain Final Emancipation there, without returning from that world.

The layman Kaṭissaha, Ānanda, through the complete destruction of the five lower fetters has arisen spontaneously (in the Brahmā worlds), and will attain Final Emancipation there, without returning from that world.

The layman Tuṭṭha, Ānanda, through the complete destruction of the five lower fetters has arisen spontaneously (in the Brahmā worlds), and will attain Final Emancipation there, without returning from that world.

The layman Santuṭṭha, Ānanda, through the complete destruction of the five lower fetters has arisen spontaneously (in the Brahmā worlds), and will attain Final Emancipation there, without returning from that world.

The layman Bhadda, Ānanda, through the complete destruction of the five lower fetters has arisen spontaneously (in the Brahmā worlds), and will attain Final Emancipation there, without returning from that world.

The layman Subhadda, Ānanda, through the complete destruction of the five lower fetters has arisen spontaneously (in the Brahmā worlds), and will attain Final Emancipation there, without returning from that world.

More than fifty laymen, Ānanda, have died in Nādika who, through the complete destruction of the five lower fetters have arisen spontaneously (in the Brahmā worlds), and will attain Final Emancipation there, without returning from that world.

In excess of ninety laymen, Ānanda, have died in Nādika who, through the complete destruction of three fetters, and the diminuation of passion, hatred, and delusion are Once-Returners, and will return only once more to this world, and (then) will make an end to suffering.

In excess of five-hundred laymen, Ānanda, have died in Nādika who, through the complete destruction of three fetters, are Stream-Enterers, no longer subject to falling (into the lower realms), and have a fixed destiny ending in Final Awakening.

But it is not such a wonder, Ānanda, that those who have become human should die, but if (every time) there is a death in this place, after approaching the Realised One, you were to ask about it, Ānanda, that would be troublesome The Commentary says cautiously: kāyakilamatho va ... cittavihesā pana Buddhānaṁ natthi; (would get) tired in body ... but for Buddhas there is no trouble in the mind.04 to the Realised One.

Therefore, Ānanda, I will teach (this) presentation of the Teaching called the Mirror of (the True Nature of) Things, endowed with which a Noble Disciple desiring to do so may declare about himself: ‘Exhausted is (birth in) Hell, exhausted is (birth in) an animal's womb, exhausted is (birth in) the realm of the Fallen Spirits, exhausted is falling into an unfortunate destiny in the lower realms, I am a Stream-Enterer, no longer subject to falling (into the lower realms), and have a fixed destiny ending in Final Awakening.’

And what, Ānanda, is (this) presentation of the Teaching called the Mirror of (the True Nature of) Things, endowed with which a Noble Disciple desiring to do so may declare about himself: ‘Exhausted is (birth in) Hell, exhausted is (birth in) an animal's womb, exhausted is (birth in) the realm of the Fallen Spirits, exhausted is falling into an unfortunate destiny in the lower realms, I am a Stream-Enterer, no longer subject to falling (into the lower realms), and have a fixed destiny ending in Final Awakening'?

Here, Ānanda, a Noble Disciple is endowed with perfect confidence in the Buddha (thinking):

‘Such is he, the Gracious One, the Worthy One, the Perfect Sambuddha,
the one endowed with understanding and good conduct, the Fortunate One, the One who understands the worlds,
the unsurpassed guide for those people who need taming,
the Teacher of Divinities and men, the Buddha, the Gracious One.’

He is endowed with perfect confidence in the Teaching (thinking):

‘The Teaching has been well-proclaimed by the Gracious One,
it is visible, not subject to time, inviting inspection, onward leading,
and can be understood by the wise for themselves.’

He is endowed with perfect confidence in the Community (thinking):

‘The Gracious One's Community of disciples are good in their practice,
the Gracious One's Community of disciples are straight in their practice,
the Gracious One's Community of disciples are systematic in their practice,
the Gracious One's Community of disciples are correct in their practice,
that is to say, the four pairs of persons, the eight individual persons,
this is the Gracious One's Community of disciples,
they are worthy of offerings, of hospitality, of gifts, and of reverential salutation,
they are an unsurpassed field of merit for the world.’

He is endowed with the lovely Ariyan virtue, Comm: Pañca sīlani hi Ariyasāvakānaṁ kantāni honti, bhavantare pi avijahitabbato; the five virtuous (precepts) are lovely to the Noble disciples, and will not be given up even in a future life (for this meaning s.v. PED, bhava). This must be the meaning here, and not in-between lives, which is another possible translation, but wouldn't fit in with the texts or the Commentaries.05 unbroken, faultless, unspotted, unblemished, productive of freedom, praised by the wise, not adhered to, leading to concentration.

This is the presentation of the Teaching, Ānanda, called the Mirror of (the True Nature of) Things endowed with which a Noble Disciple desiring to do so may declare about himself: ‘Exhausted is (birth in) Hell, exhausted is (birth in) an animal's womb, exhausted is (birth in) the realm of the Fallen Spirits, exhausted is falling into an unfortunate destiny in the lower realms, I am a Stream-Enterer, no longer subject to falling (into the lower realms), and have a fixed destiny ending in Final Awakening.’ ”

* * *

There also the Gracious One, while living near Nādika in the Brick House, spoke frequently to the monks about the Teaching, (saying):

“Such is virtue, such is concentration, such is wisdom, when virtue is well-developed it yields great fruit and brings great advantages in regard to concentration, when concentration is well-developed it yields great fruit and brings great advantages in regard to wisdom, when wisdom is well-developed the mind is completely liberated from the pollutants, that is to say: the pollutant of sensuality, the pollutant of (craving for) continued existence, the pollutant of ignorance.”