Ja 1 Apaṇṇakajātaka
The Story about what is Unquestionable

In the present 500 friends of Anāthapiṇḍika convert to Buddhism, but later fall away. The Buddha reproves them for failing in their refuge, and tells a story of a wise and a foolish merchant in the past. The foolish one listened to Yakkhas who led him astray, and he lost all his men and merchandise; the wise one safely guided his caravan across the desert.

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1. Apaṇṇakaṁ ṭhānam-eke, dutiyaṁ āhu takkikā,
Some have an unquestionable basis, (while) the foolish speak of another way,

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Etad-aññāya medhāvī, taṁ gaṇhe yad-apaṇṇakan-ti.
The intelligent, understanding it, should take hold of the unquestionable.

Tattha, {1.104} apaṇṇakan-ti ekaṁsikaṁ aviraddhaṁ niyyānikaṁ.
In this connection, unquestionable I base this translation on Weber Ind. Str. iii.150 & Kuhn, Beitr. p. 53, as reported in PED: *a-praśna-ka. In the word commentary italics indicate the word of the verse being commented on. means being sure, unfailing, leading to deliverance.

Ṭhānan-ti kāraṇaṁ.
Basis means cause.

Kāraṇañ-hi yasmā tad-āyattavuttitāya phalaṁ tiṭṭhati nāma,
Because whatever has a cause has what is known as a fruit as a dependent condition,

tasmā ṭhānan-ti vuccati.
therefore basis is said.

“Ṭhānañ-ca ṭhānato, aṭṭhānañ-ca aṭṭhānato” ti, ādīsu,
“A basis comes from having a basis, lacking a basis comes from lacking a basis,” and so on, Vibh. 809. Quotations from the canon are shown in black.

cassa payogo veditabbo.
and this is how its application should be seen.

Iti Apaṇṇakaṁ ṭhānan-ti padadvayenāpi,
Thus with the two words: Unquestionable basis,

yaṁ ekantahitasukhāvahattā paṇḍitehi paṭipannaṁ,
whatever absolutely brings benefit and happiness when practiced by the wise,

ekaṁsikakāraṇaṁ, aviraddhakāraṇaṁ,
that is a definite cause, an unfailing cause,

niyyānikakāraṇaṁ taṁ idan-ti dīpeti.
a cause that leads to deliverance, this is the explanation.

Ayam-ettha saṅkhepo,
Herein, this is the summary,

pabhedato pana tīṇi saraṇagamanāni, pañca sīlāni, dasa sīlāni,
but from the divisions, the three goings for refuge, the five virtuous practices, the ten virtuous practices,

pātimokkhasaṁvaro, indriyasaṁvaro,
the restraint according to the regulations, the restraint of the senses,

ājīvapārisuddhi, paccayapaṭisevanaṁ,
the purity of livelihood, the (correct) use of the requisites,

sabbam-pi catupārisuddhisīlaṁ,
all the virtuous practices in the four purities, The four purities comprise the four just mentioned: the restraint according to the regulations ... restraint of the senses ... purity of livelihood ... the (correct) use of the requisites.

indriyesu guttadvāratā, bhojane mattaññutā, jāgariyānuyogo,
the guarding of the sense doors, knowing the measure in food, being devoted to wakefulness,

jhānaṁ, vipassanā, abhiññā, samāpatti, ariyamaggo, ariyaphalaṁ –
the absorptions, insights, super knowledges, attainments, noble path, noble fruit –

sabbam-petaṁ apaṇṇakaṭṭhānaṁ, apaṇṇakapaṭipadā,
all of these form an unquestionable basis, an unquestionable practice,

niyyānikapaṭipadā, ti attho.
a practice that leads out, this is the meaning.

Yasmā ca pana niyyānikapaṭipadāya etaṁ nāmaṁ,
Wherefore what is called the practice that leads out,

tasmā yeva Bhagavā Apaṇṇakapaṭipadaṁ dassento imaṁ suttam-āha:
that the Fortunate One shows in this discourse about the Unquestionable Practice: This seems to be an alternative title for the discourse.

Apaṇṇakasutta AN. 3.16, Apaṇṇakasutta.
The Discourse about the Unquestionable

“Tīhi, bhikkhave, dhammehi samannāgato,
“Endowed with three things, monastics,

bhikkhu apaṇṇakapaṭipadaṁ paṭipanno hoti,
a monastic practices an unquestionable practice,

yoni cassa āraddhā hoti āsavānaṁ khayāya.
that is the reason for his success in the destruction of the pollutants.

Katamehi tīhi?
What three?

Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu indriyesu guttadvāro hoti,
Here, monastics, a monastic is one who guards the doors of the senses,

bhojane mattaññū hoti, jāgariyaṁ anuyutto hoti.
who knows the measure in food, and is devoted to wakefulness.

1. Kathañ-ca, bhikkhave, bhikkhu indriyesu guttadvāro hoti?
1. And how, monastics, is a monastic one who guards the doors of the senses?

Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu
Here, monastics, a monastic,

cakkhunā rūpaṁ disvā, na nimittaggāhī hoti
having seen a form with the eye, does not grasp at the sign,

nānubyañjanaggāhī, What follows in italics, is not quoted directly in the Jātaka commentary, but has to be inferred from the abbreviation markers. yatvādhikaraṇamenaṁ:
nor does he grasp at the details, for this reason:

cakkhundriyaṁ asaṁvutaṁ viharantaṁ,
were he to live with the eye sense faculty unrestrained,

abhijjhādomanassā pāpakā akusalā dhammā anvāssaveyyuṁ.
wicked, unskilful thoughts like greed and aversion might flood in.

Tassa saṁvarāya paṭipajjati, rakkhati cakkhundriyaṁ,
He therefore practices restraint, guards the eye sense faculty,

cakkhundriye saṁvaraṁ āpajjati.
and achieves the restraint of the eye sense faculty.

Sotena saddaṁ sutvā,
Having heard a sound with the ear,

na nimittaggāhī hoti nānubyañjanaggāhī, yatvādhikaraṇamenaṁ:
he does not grasp at the sign, nor does he grasp at the details, for this reason:

sotindriyaṁ asaṁvutaṁ viharantaṁ,
were he to live with the ear sense faculty unrestrained,

abhijjhādomanassā pāpakā akusalā dhammā anvāssaveyyuṁ.
wicked, unskilful thoughts like greed and aversion might flood in.

Tassa saṁvarāya paṭipajjati, rakkhati sotindriyaṁ,
He therefore practices restraint, guards the ear sense faculty,

sotindriye saṁvaraṁ āpajjati.
and achieves the restraint of the ear sense faculty.

Ghānena gandhaṁ ghāyitvā,
Having smelt an odour with the nose,

na nimittaggāhī hoti nānubyañjanaggāhī, yatvādhikaraṇamenaṁ:
he does not grasp at the sign, nor does he grasp at the details, for this reason:

ghānindriyaṁ asaṁvutaṁ viharantaṁ,
were he to live with the nose sense faculty unrestrained,

abhijjhādomanassā pāpakā akusalā dhammā anvāssaveyyuṁ.
wicked, unskilful thoughts like greed and aversion might flood in.

Tassa saṁvarāya paṭipajjati, rakkhati ghānindriyaṁ,
He therefore practices restraint, guards the nose sense faculty,

ghānindriye saṁvaraṁ āpajjati.
and achieves the restraint of the nose sense faculty.

Jivhāya rasaṁ sāyitvā,
Having savoured a taste with the tongue,

na nimittaggāhī hoti nānubyañjanaggāhī, yatvādhikaraṇamenaṁ:
he does not grasp at the sign, nor does he grasp at the details, for this reason:

jivhindriyaṁ asaṁvutaṁ viharantaṁ,
were he to live with the tongue sense faculty unrestrained,

abhijjhādomanassā pāpakā akusalā dhammā anvāssaveyyuṁ.
wicked, unskilful thoughts like greed and aversion might flood in.

Tassa saṁvarāya paṭipajjati, rakkhati jivhindriyaṁ,
He therefore practices restraint, guards the tongue sense faculty,

jivhindriye saṁvaraṁ āpajjati.
and achieves the restraint of the tongue sense faculty.

Kāyena phoṭṭhabbaṁ phusitvā,
Having felt a touch with the body,

na nimittaggāhī hoti nānubyañjanaggāhī, yatvādhikaraṇamenaṁ:
he does not grasp at the sign, nor does he grasp at the details, for this reason:

kāyindriyaṁ asaṁvutaṁ viharantaṁ,
were he to live with the body sense faculty unrestrained,

abhijjhādomanassā pāpakā akusalā dhammā anvāssaveyyuṁ.
wicked, unskilful thoughts like greed and aversion might flood in.

Tassa saṁvarāya paṭipajjati, rakkhati kāyindriyaṁ,
He therefore practices restraint, guards the body sense faculty,

kāyindriye saṁvaraṁ āpajjati.
and achieves the restraint of the body sense faculty.

Manasā dhammaṁ viññāya,
Having cognised a thought with the mind,

na nimittaggāhī hoti nānubyañjanaggāhī, yatvādhikaraṇamenaṁ:
he does not grasp at the sign, nor does he grasp at the details, for this reason:

manindriyaṁ asaṁvutaṁ viharantaṁ,
were he to live with the mind sense faculty unrestrained,

abhijjhādomanassā pāpakā akusalā dhammā anvāssaveyyuṁ.
wicked, unskilful thoughts like greed and aversion might flood in.

Tassa saṁvarāya paṭipajjati, rakkhati manindriyaṁ,
He therefore practices restraint, guards the mind sense faculty,

manindriye saṁvaraṁ āpajjati.
and achieves the restraint of the mind sense faculty.

Evaṁ kho, bhikkhave, bhikkhu indriyesu guttadvāro hoti.
Thus, monastics, a monastic is one who guards the doors of the senses.

2. Kathañ-ca, bhikkhave, bhikkhu bhojane mattaññū hoti?
2. And how, monastics, is a monastic one who knows the measure in food?

Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu paṭisaṅkhā yoniso āhāraṁ āhāreti:
Here, monastics, a monastic takes his food after making thorough reflection:

“Neva davāya na madāya na maṇḍanāya,
“Not for sport, not for showing off, not for ornament,

na vibhūsanāya, yāvad-eva imassa kāyassa ṭhitiyā yāpanāya,
not for adornment, but only to maintain this body, and to carry on,

vihiṁsūparatiyā brahmacariyānuggahāya,
to inhibit annoyance, and to assist in the spiritual life,

iti purāṇañ-ca vedanaṁ paṭihaṅkhāmi,
and so I will get rid of any old feeling,

navañ-ca vedanaṁ na uppādessāmi,
and not produce any new feeling,

yātrā ca me bhavissati, anavajjatā ca phāsuvihāro cā” ti.
and I will carry on, being blameless, and living comfortably.”

Evaṁ kho, bhikkhave, bhikkhu bhojane mattaññū hoti.
Thus, monastics, a monastic knows the measure in food.

3. Kathañ-ca, bhikkhave, bhikkhu jāgariyaṁ anuyutto hoti?
3. And how, monastics, is a monastic one who is devoted to wakefulness?

Idha, bhikkhave, bhikkhu divasaṁ, caṅkamena nisajjāya,
Here, monastics, a monastic is one who by day, whether walking or sitting,

āvaraṇīyehi dhammehi cittaṁ parisodheti.
purifies his mind from thoughts which are obstacles.

Rattiyā paṭhamaṁ yāmaṁ, caṅkamena nisajjāya,
In the first watch of the night, whether walking or sitting,

āvaraṇīyehi dhammehi cittaṁ parisodheti.
he purifies his mind from thoughts which are obstacles.

Rattiyā majjhimaṁ yāmaṁ,
In the middle watch of the night,

dakkhiṇena passena sīhaseyyaṁ kappeti, pāde pādaṁ accādhāya,
he lies down in the lion posture on his right side, placing one foot on top of the other,

sato sampajāno uṭṭhānasaññaṁ manasi karitvā.
with mindfulness and full awareness, having fixed his mind on the time for waking.

Rattiyā pacchimaṁ yāmaṁ, paccuṭṭhāya, caṅkamena nisajjāya
In the last watch of the night, having risen, whether walking or sitting,

āvaraṇīyehi dhammehi cittaṁ parisodheti.
he purifies his mind from thoughts which are obstacles.

Evaṁ kho, bhikkhave, bhikkhu jāgariyaṁ anuyutto hotī” ti.
Thus, monastics, a monastic is one who is devoted to wakefulness.”

Imasmiñ-cā pi sutte tayo va dhammā vuttā.
These are the three things spoken of in the discourse.

Ayaṁ pana apaṇṇakapaṭipadā yāva Arahattaphalaṁ labbhateva. {1.105}
This is the unquestionable practice up and to the attainment of the fruit of Arahatta.

Tattha, Arahattaphalam pi,
In this connection, the fruit of Arahatta,

phalasamāpattivihārassa ceva, anupādāparinibbānassa ca,
for one dwelling in fruit attainment, and for one having complete emancipation without attachment,

paṭipadā yeva nāma hoti.
this is known as the practice.

Eke ti ekacce paṇḍitamanussā.
Some means some wise people.

Tattha, kiñcāpi: “Asukā nāmā” ti, niyamo natthi,
In this connection, although: “Being called such and such,” is not certain,

idaṁ pana saparisaṁ Bodhisattaṁ yeva sandhāya vuttanti, veditabbaṁ.
but they speak (like this) when referring to the Bodhisatta and his company, this is how it should be understood. In the story as we have it, this is not said of the Bodhisatta and his company, but of the foolish merchant’s wares. Perhaps the story has changed since the word commentary was written, and originally it had a repetition of the discussion between the Yakkha and the foolish merchant, which is now abbreviated in the encounter with the Bodhisatta.

Dutiyaṁ āhu takkikā ti.
The foolish speak of another way.

Dutiyan-ti paṭhamato,
Another way means (a way) apart from the first,

apaṇṇakaṭṭhānato, niyyānikakāraṇato,
apart from the unquestionable basis, apart from the cause leading to deliverance,

dutiyaṁ takkaggāhakāraṇaṁ, aniyyānikakāraṇaṁ, āhu takkikā ti.
those who grasp at foolishness It is hard to get this over in English. Takka means reason, logic, but in Buddhism it usually means it in a derogative manner, implying someone who has no direct experience, but merely thinks for himself, and is in fact behaving foolishly. have another way as a cause, which is not a cause that leads to deliverance, so the foolish speak.

Ettha pana saddhiṁ purimapadena ayaṁ yojanā:
Herein this is the interpetation together with the first line:

apaṇṇakaṭṭhānaṁ, ekaṁsikakāraṇaṁ,
the unquestionable basis, the cause for being sure,

aviraddhakāraṇaṁ niyyānikakāraṇaṁ,
the cause for unfailing, the cause for leading to deliverance,

eke Bodhisattappamukhā paṇḍitamanussā gaṇhiṁsu.
some wise people, with the Bodhisatta at the head, took hold of it.

Ye pana bālasatthavāhaputtappamukhā, takkikā āhu,
But the foolish, with the foolish son of the caravan leader at the head, say

te dutiyaṁ sāparādhaṁ, anekaṁsikaṭṭhānaṁ,
they have another and offending way, that is not a cause for being sure,

viraddhakāraṇaṁ, aniyyānikakāraṇaṁ, aggahesuṁ.
that is a cause for failing, that is not a cause that leads to deliverance, (and this) they grasp at.

Tesu ye apaṇṇakaṭṭhānaṁ aggahesuṁ, te sukkapaṭipadaṁ paṭipannā.
Amongst those who take hold of an unquestionable basis, their practice is a pure practice.

Ye dutiyaṁ: “Purato bhavitabbaṁ udakenā” ti,
They who have another way say: “In front there should be water,” In the story the Yakkha deceives the foolish merchant by convincing him there is water in abundance ahead.

takkaggāhasaṅkhātaṁ aniyyānikakāraṇaṁ aggahesuṁ.
the so-called fools grasp at a cause that does not lead to deliverance.

Te kaṇhapaṭipadaṁ paṭipannā.
They practice a dark practice.

Tattha, sukkapaṭipadā aparihānipaṭipadā,
In this connection, the pure practice is a practice that does not regress,

kaṇhapaṭipadā parihānipaṭipadā.
the dark practice is a practice that does regress.

Tasmā ye sukkapaṭipadaṁ paṭipannā,
Therefore those who practice a pure practice,

te aparihīnā sotthibhāvaṁ pattā.
do not regress and they attain safety.

Ye pana kaṇhapaṭipadaṁ paṭipannā,
Those who practice a dark practice,

te parihīnā anayabyasanaṁ āpannā ti.
regress and fall into misfortune.

Imam-atthaṁ Bhagavā Anāthapiṇḍikassa gahapatino vatvā,
This was the Fortunate One’s meaning when speaking to the householder Anāthapiṇḍika,

uttari idam-āha:
and further he said this:

Etad-aññāya medhāvī, taṁ gaṇhe yad-apaṇṇakan -ti.
The intelligent one, understanding it, takes hold of what is unquestionable.

Tattha etad-aññāya medhāvī ti.
In this connection, the intelligent one, understanding it.

Medhā, ti laddhanāmāya,
The intelligent one, the one so-called,

vipulāya visuddhāya uttamāya paññāya samannāgato.
being endowed with vast, purified, ultimate wisdom.

Kulaputto etaṁ apaṇṇake ceva sapaṇṇake cā ti,
The son of a good family knows Translating ñatvā from the end of the sentence, it seems in the commentarial language the absolutive is sometimes used as a finite verb (which is otherwise missing from the sentence). There are many other cases below. what is unquestionable and what is questionable,

dvīsu atakkaggāhatakkaggāhasaṅkhātesu ṭhānesu,
and out of the two bases, what is reckoned as taking up the logical and grasping at the illogical, Here we have the second meaning of takka coupled with the first. The fools who are illogical.

guṇadosaṁ vuddhihāniṁ atthānatthaṁ ñatvā, ti attho.
knowing what is virtuous and what is faulty, what develops and what destroys, this is the meaning.

Taṁ gaṇhe yad-apaṇṇakan-ti yaṁ apaṇṇakaṁ ekaṁsikaṁ,
Should take hold of the unquestionable means that which is unquestionable, definite,

sukkapaṭipadā-aparihāniyapaṭipadāsaṅkhātaṁ,
what is reckoned as the pure practice, the practice that does not regress,

niyyānikakāraṇaṁ, tad-eva gaṇheyya.
that is a cause leading to deliverance, that should be taken hold of.

Kasmā? Ekaṁsikādibhāvato yeva.
Why? It has the nature of being sure and so on.

Itaraṁ pana na gaṇheyya.
But the other (practice) should not be taken hold of.

Kasmā? Anekaṁsikādibhāvato yeva.
Why? It has the nature of being indefinite and so on.

Ayañ-hi apaṇṇakapaṭipadā nāma sabbesaṁ,
For everyone this is known as the unquestionable practice,

Buddha-Paccekabuddha-Buddhaputtānaṁ paṭipadā.
the practice of Buddhas, Independent Buddhas and the Buddha’s children.

Sabba-Buddhā hi apaṇṇakapaṭipadāyam-eva ṭhatvā,
Because all the Buddhas are established in this unquestionable practice,

daḷhena viriyena, pāramiyo pūretvā, Bodhimūle Buddhā nāma honti.
firmly, energetically, having fulfilled the perfections, they are called Buddhas at the root of the Bodhi (tree).

Paccekabuddhā paccekabodhiṁ uppādenti,
(Also) the Independent Buddhas who have generated independent awakening,

Buddhaputtā sāvakapāramiñāṇaṁ paṭivijjhanti.
and the Buddha’s children who have comprehended the disciples’ perfections.