The Discourse about the Noble Search

[5. The Meeting with Uddaka Rāmaputta]

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Then, monks, still searching for what was wholesome, the unsurpassed, noble and peaceful state, I approached Uddaka Rāmaputta, and after approaching, I said this to Uddaka Rāmaputta:

“I desire, friend, to lead the spiritual life in this Dhamma and Discipline.”

When this was said, monks, Uddaka Rāmaputta said this to me:

“Live here, venerable, this Dhamma is such that a wise man in no long time, having deep knowledge himself of what comes from his own teacher, can live, having directly experienced and attained it.”

Then in no long time, monks, soon I had mastered that Dhamma.

Then, monks, after a little time I indeed, merely through beating my lips, merely through repeating the prattling, spoke knowingly about that teaching and confidently about that teaching, claiming: ‘I know, I see.’ Both I and others also.

Then, monks, this occurred to me:

‘Rāma did not declare: “Through mere faith in this Dhamma alone, having knowledge of it myself, I live, having directly experienced and attained it,” for sure Rāma lived knowing and seeing this Dhamma.’

Then, monks, I approached Uddaka Rāmaputta, and after approaching, I said this to Uddaka Rāmaputta:

“In what way, friend, did Rāma declare: I have deep knowledge of this Dhamma myself, having directly experienced and attained it?”

When this was said, monks, Uddaka Rāmaputta, declared the Sphere of Neither-Perception-nor-Non-Perception. The very highest level in the thirty-one Realms of Existence. The way this is stated is odd in that we might have expected Uddaka to have declared this for Rāma, but the way it is written it appears he declares it for himself.01

Then, monks, this occurred to me:

‘There was not faith for Rāma alone, for me also there is faith, there was not energy for Rāma alone, for me also there is energy, there was not mindfulness for Rāma alone, for me also there is mindfulness, there was not concentration for Rāma alone, for me also there is concentration, there was not wisdom for Rāma alone, for me also there is wisdom.

What if, in regard to the Dhamma that Rāma declared: I have deep knowledge of it myself, I live, having directly experienced and attained it, I were to strive to realise that Dhamma?’

Then, monks, in no long time, soon having deep knowledge of that Dhamma myself, I lived, having directly experienced and attained it.

Then, monks, I approached Uddaka Rāmaputta, and after approaching, I said this to Uddaka Rāmaputta:

“Is it in this way, friend, that Rāma declared: I have deep knowledge of this Dhamma myself, having directly experienced and attained it?”

“In this way, friend, Rāma did declare he had deep knowledge of this Dhamma himself, having directly experienced and attained it.”

“In this way, friend, I also say: I have deep knowledge of this Dhamma myself, I live, having directly experienced and attained it.”

“It is a gain for us, friend, it is a great gain for us, friend, that we see such a venerable with us in the spiritual life. Thus Rāma declared he had deep knowledge of this Dhamma himself, having directly experienced and attained it, and you have deep knowledge of this Dhamma yourself, you live, having directly experienced and attained it.

And that Dhamma you have deep knowledge of yourself, you live, having directly experienced and attained it, that Rāma declared he had deep knowledge of that Dhamma himself, having directly experienced and attained it.

Thus the Dhamma Rāma knew is the Dhamma you know, the Dhamma you know is the Dhamma Rāma knew. Thus as Rāma was, so are you, as you are, so was Rāma. Come now, friend, you will look after this group.”

Thus my friend in the spiritual life, Uddaka Rāmaputta, monks, placed me in the teacher’s position, and worshipped me with the highest worship.

Then, monks, this occurred to me: ‘This Dhamma does not lead to disenchantment, or to dispassion, or to cessation, or to peace, or to deep knowledge, or to Complete Awakening, or to Nibbāna, but only as far as rebirth in the Sphere of Neither-Perception-nor-Non-Perception.’

Then, monks, having not found satisfaction in that Dhamma, I was therefore disgusted with that Dhamma and went away.