The Discourse about the Noble Search

[10. The Meeting at Isipatana]

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Then, monks, while I was walking gradually on walking tour, I approached Bārāṇasī, Isipatana, the Deer Park, and the group-of-five monks.

The group-of-five monks, monks, saw me coming from afar, and after seeing me, they resolved among themselves:

“This Ascetic Gotama who is coming, friends, is given to luxury, forsaking the striving he has gone back to luxury. He should certainly not be worshipped or stood up for, nor should his bowl and robe be taken, however, we can prepare a seat, if he wishes he will sit down.”

As I approached, monks, the group-of-five monks were unable to continue with their own agreement, and after coming out to meet me, some took my bowl and robe, some prepared the seat, some placed the water for washing the feet.

Then they addressed me by name and with the word ‘friend’. When this was said, monks, I said this to the group-of-five monks:

“Do not address the Gracious One, monks, by name and by the word ‘friend’, the Realised One is a Worthy One, monks, a Perfect Sambuddha. Lend an ear, monks, I will instruct you about the attainment of the Deathless, I will teach the Dhamma, and following the path as it has been preached, after no long time in regard to that good for which young men of good family rightly go forth from the home to the homeless life, that unsurpassed conclusion to the spiritual life, you will dwell having known, experienced, and attained it yourselves in this very life.”

When this was said, the group-of-five monks said this to me:

“But you, friend Gotama, by that ascetic lifestyle, that practice, that difficult way of living, did not attain states beyond ordinary human beings, a distinction of what is truly noble knowledge and insight. So how can you now, given to luxury, forsaking the striving, gone back to luxury, attain states beyond ordinary human beings, a distinction of what is truly noble knowledge and insight?”

When this was said, monks, I said this to the group-of-five monks:

“The Realised One, monks, is not given to luxury, is not forsaking the striving, and has not gone back to luxury, the Realised One, monks, is a Worthy One, a Perfect Sambuddha. Lend an ear, monks, I will instruct you about the attainment of the Deathless, I will teach the Dhamma, and following the path as it has been preached, after no long time in regard to that good for which young men of good family rightly go forth from the home to the homeless life, that unsurpassed conclusion to the spiritual life, you will dwell having known, experienced, and attained it yourselves in this very life.”

For a second time the group-of-five monks said this to me:

“But you, friend Gotama, by that ascetic lifestyle, that practice, that difficult way of living, did not attain states beyond ordinary human beings, a distinction of what is truly noble knowledge and insight. So how can you now, given to luxury, forsaking the striving, gone back to luxury, attain a state beyond ordinary human beings, a distinction of what is truly noble knowledge and insight?”

For a second time, monks, I said this to the group-of-five monks:

“The Realised One, monks, is not given to luxury, is not forsaking the striving, and has not gone back to luxury, the Realised One, monks, is a Worthy One, a Perfect Sambuddha. Lend an ear, monks, I will instruct you about the attainment of the Deathless, I will teach the Dhamma, and following the path as it has been preached, after no long time in regard to that good for which young men of good family rightly go forth from the home to the homeless life, that unsurpassed conclusion to the spiritual life, you will dwell having known, experienced, and attained it yourselves in this very life.”

For a third time the group-of-five monks said this to me:

“But you, friend Gotama, by that ascetic lifestyle, that practice, that difficult way of living, did not attain states beyond ordinary human beings, a distinction of what is truly noble knowledge and insight. So how can you now, given to luxury, forsaking the striving, gone back to luxury, attain states beyond ordinary human beings, a distinction of what is truly noble knowledge and insight?”

When this was said, monks, I said this to the group-of-five monks:

“Are you aware, monks, of my having spoken to you like this before?”

“Certainly not, reverend Sir.”

“The Realised One, monks, is a Worthy One, a Perfect Sambuddha. Lend an ear, monks, I will instruct you about the attainment of the Deathless, I will teach the Dhamma, and following the path as it has been preached, after no long time in regard to that good for which young men of good family rightly go forth from the home to the homeless life, that unsurpassed conclusion to the spiritual life, you will dwell having known, experienced, and attained it yourselves in this very life,” and I was able, monks, to persuade the group-of-five monks.

Then, monks, I advised two monks and three monks wandered for alms, and the group of six monks subsisted on whatever, after walking for alms-food, the three monks brought them.

Then, monks, I advised three monks and two monks wandered for alms, and the group of six monks subsisted on whatever, after walking for alms-food, the two monks brought them.