The Discourse about the Great Emancipation

[The Fifth Chapter for Recitation]

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[36: Ānanda's Marvellous Qualities]

Then venerable Ānanda, after entering the living place, The Commentary defines living place (vihāraṁ) here as a circular pavilion (maṇḍalamālo).01 and leaning against the door-lintel, stood there crying: “The Teacher will attain Final Emancipation while I am still a Trainee with much to do, A Trainee (Sekha) is one who is at least a Stream-Enterer (Sotāpanna), but has not become a Worthy One (Arahanta).02 he who has compassion for me!”

Then the Gracious One addressed the monks, (saying): “Where, monks, is Ānanda?”

“This venerable Ānanda, reverend Sir, after entering the living place, and leaning against the door-lintel, stands there crying: ‘The Teacher will attain Final Emancipation while I am still a Trainee with much to do, he who has compassion for me!’ ”

Then the Gracious One addressed a certain monk, (saying): “Go, monk, and in my name address Ānanda, (saying): ‘The Teacher, friend Ānanda, is calling you.’ ”

“Very well, reverend Sir, and after replying to the Gracious One, he approached venerable Ānanda, and after approaching he said this to venerable Ānanda: “The Teacher, friend Ānanda, is calling you.”

“Very well, friend,” said venerable Ānanda, and after replying to that monk, he approached the Gracious One, and after approaching and worshipping the Gracious One, he sat down on one side. While sitting on one side the Gracious One said this to venerable Ānanda:

“Enough, Ānanda, don't grieve, don't lament, were you not warned by me when I declared: ‘There is alteration in, separation from, and changeability in all that is dear and appealing.’ How can it be otherwise, Ānanda, for that which is obtained, born, become, conditioned, subject to dissolution? It is not possible (to say) this: ‘The Realised One's body should not dissolve’.

For a long time, Ānanda, you dwelt near to the Realised One with beneficial, pleasant, trustworthy, One of the meanings of dvaya is duplicitous; therefore a-dvaya means trustworthy.03 and limitlessly friendly bodily actions, with beneficial, pleasant, trustworthy, and limitlessly friendly speech actions, with beneficial, pleasant, trustworthy, and limitlessly friendly mental actions, you have done meritorious deeds, Ānanda, you should devote yourself to quickly striving to be one who is pollutant-free!”

* * *

Then the Gracious One addressed the monks, (saying): “Whoever were Worthy Ones, Perfect Sambuddhas in the past, monks, for those Gracious Ones also there were such superior attendants, just as Ānanda is for me; whoever will be Worthy Ones, Perfect Sambuddhas in the future, monks, for those Gracious Ones also there will be such superior attendants, just as Ānanda is for me.

Ānanda is wise, monks, Ānanda is intelligent, monks, he knows: ‘This is the time for monks to approach and see the Realised One, this is the time for monks, this is the time for nuns, this is the time for laymen, this is the time for laywomen, this is the time for kings, for kings’ ministers, for outside teachers, for the disciples of outside teachers.’

* * *

There are four wonderful and marvellous things, monks, about Ānanda.

Which four?

  1. If, monks, a group of monks approach to see Ānanda their minds are uplifted through seeing (him), and if Ānanda speaks words of welcome, The Commentary defines dhamma here as paṭisanthāradhammaṁ, and gives examples of the way he greets the various people he meets with appropriate speech.04 their minds are uplifted with the speech, but that group of monks are dissatisfied if at that time Ānanda remains silent.

  2. If, monks, a group of nuns approach to see Ānanda their minds are uplifted through seeing (him), and if Ānanda speaks words of welcome, their minds are uplifted with the speech, but that group of nuns are dissatisfied if at that time Ānanda remains silent.

  3. If, monks, a group of laymen approach to see Ānanda their minds are uplifted through seeing (him), and if Ānanda speaks words of welcome, their minds are uplifted with the speech, but that group of laymen are dissatisfied if at that time Ānanda remains silent.

  4. If, monks, a group of laywomen approach to see Ānanda their minds are uplifted through seeing (him), and if Ānanda speaks words of welcome, their minds are uplifted with the speech, but that group of laywomen are dissatisfied if at that time Ānanda remains silent.

These are the four wonderful and marvellous things about Ānanda.

There are four wonderful and marvellous things, monks, about the Universal Monarch.

Which four?

  1. If, monks, a group of Nobles approach to see the Universal Monarch their minds are uplifted through seeing (him), and if the Universal Monarch speaks, their minds are uplifted with the speech, but that group of nobles are dissatisfied if then the Universal Monarch remains silent.

  2. If, monks, a group of brahmins approach to see the Universal Monarch their minds are uplifted through seeing (him), and if the Universal Monarch speaks, their minds are uplifted with the speech, but that group of brahmins are dissatisfied if then the Universal Monarch remains silent.

  3. If, monks, a group of householders approach to see the Universal Monarch their minds are uplifted through seeing (him), and if the Universal Monarch speaks, their minds are uplifted with the speech, but that group of householders are dissatisfied if then the Universal Monarch remains silent.

  4. If, monks, a group of ascetics approach to see the Universal Monarch their minds are uplifted through seeing (him), and if the Universal Monarch speaks, their minds are uplifted with the speech, but that group of ascetics are dissatisfied if then the Universal Monarch remains silent.

In the same way there are four wonderful and marvellous things, monks, about Ānanda.

  1. If, monks, a group of monks approach to see Ānanda their minds are uplifted through seeing (him), and if Ānanda speaks words of welcome, their minds are uplifted with the speech, but that group of monks are dissatisfied if at that time Ānanda remains silent.

  2. If, monks, a group of nuns approach to see Ānanda their minds are uplifted through seeing (him), and if Ānanda speaks words of welcome, their minds are uplifted with the speech, but that group of nuns are dissatisfied if at that time Ānanda remains silent.

  3. If, monks, a group of laymen approach to see Ānanda their minds are uplifted through seeing (him), and if Ānanda speaks words of welcome, their minds are uplifted with the speech, but that group of laymen are dissatisfied if at that time Ānanda remains silent.

  4. If, monks, a group of laywomen approach to see Ānanda their minds are uplifted through seeing (him), and if Ānanda speaks words of welcome, their minds are uplifted with the speech, but that group of laywomen are dissatisfied if at that time Ānanda remains silent.

There are the four wonderful and marvellous things, monks, about Ānanda.”