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Caṅkī Suttaṃ

(M.ii.163)

A Discourse to Caṅkī

Thus have I heard — At one time the Blessed One was wandering among the Kosalans with a large following of monks and arrived at a brahmin village named Opāsāda. There the Blessed One stayed to the north of Opāsāda in a Sal grove known as the God’s grove.¹ At that time the brahmin Caṅkī lived at Opāsāda — a place teeming with life, replete with grass, firewood, water, and grain — ruling over it as a gift from King Pasenadi of Kosala. The brahmin householders of Opāsāda had heard: “Truly, the recluse Gotama the son of the Sakyans of the Sakyan clan has gone-forth and while wandering in Kosala with a large following of monks has arrived at Opāsāda, and is dwelling to the north of Opāsāda in a Sal grove known as the God’s grove. A good reputation regarding the Venerable Gotama has spread thus: ‘Indeed the Blessed One is a worthy one, a fully enlightened Buddha, endowed with vision and conduct, fortunate, a knower of the worlds, the incomparable charioteer of trainable persons, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened, and blessed. Having realised with direct knowledge this world with its deities, māras, and brahmas, this generation of recluses and priests, deities and human beings, he declares it. He teaches the Dhamma that is good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, with meaning and phrasing, he declares a holy life that is perfect and pure.’ It is good to meet such worthy ones.”

Then the brahmins and householders of Opāsāda having come out from Opāsāda in groups heading north to the God’s grove, the grove of Sal trees. Then the brahmin Caṅkī had gone up to the upper storey of his mansion for his midday rest. Seeing those groups of brahmins and householders heading north out of Opāsāda to the God’s grove he asked his attendant: “Friend, why are these brahmins and householders heading north out of Opāsāda towards the God’s grove?”

“The recluse Gotama … is dwelling to the north of Opāsāda … he declares a holy life that is perfect and pure.’ It is good to meet such worthy ones.”

“Then indeed, friend, approach those brahmins and householders, and having approached them say: ‘Please wait a while, friends, the brahmin Caṅkī will also come to meet the recluse Gotama.’”

Having replied, “Very well, friend,” the attendant approached those brahmins and householders and said them: “Please wait a while, friends, the brahmin Caṅkī will also come to meet the recluse Gotama.”

On that occasion, five hundred brahmins from various districts were staying at Opāsāda on some business. They heard that the brahmin Caṅkī was going to visit the recluse Gotama. Then they approached the brahmin Caṅkī and having approached him said: “Is it true that you are going to visit the recluse Gotama.”

“It is so, friends, I will go to visit the recluse Gotama.”

“Let the good Caṅkī not visit the recluse Gotama. It is not proper for the reverend Caṅkī to visit the recluse Gotama; it is proper for the recluse Gotama to visit the reverend Caṅkī. The reverend Caṅkī is well-born on both his mother’s side and his father’s side for seven generations, of unbroken lineage that is beyond reproach. For this reason it is not proper for the reverend Caṅkī to visit the recluse Gotama; it is proper for the recluse Gotama to visit the reverend Caṅkī. The reverend Caṅkī is wealthy, with great wealth and property … The reverend Caṅkī is an expert in the three Vedas, knowing the vocabulary, liturgy, phonology, etymology, and origins as the fifth; skilled in philology and grammar; you are fully versed in natural philosophy and the marks of a great man … The reverend Caṅkī is handsome and pleasing to behold, endowed with lotus-like beauty, divine beauty and presence, noble to behold. The reverend Caṅkī is virtuous, of mature morality, endowed with mature morality. The reverend Caṅkī is of charming speech, endowed with speech that is friendly and pleasing, flawless and clearly enunciated, making the meaning clear … The reverend Caṅkī is a teacher of teachers, with three hundred students … The reverend Caṅkī is honoured (sakkat), respected (garukato), revered (mānito), worshipped (pūjito), and esteemed (apacito) by King Pasenadi of Kosala … The reverend Caṅkī is honoured, respected, revered, worshipped, and respected by the Brahmin Pokkharasāti … The reverend Caṅkī lives at Opāsāda — a place teeming with life, replete with grass, firewood, water, and grain — ruling over it as a gift from King Pasenadi of Kosala. For this reason it is not proper for the reverend Caṅkī to visit the recluse Gotama; it is proper for the recluse Gotama to visit the reverend Caṅkī.”

When this was said, the Brahmin Caṅkī said: “Then, friends, listen to me, while I explain why it is suitable for me to visit the recluse Gotama; that is not suitable for the recluse Gotama to visit me. The recluse Gotama is well-born on both his mother’s side and his father’s side for seven generations, of unbroken lineage that is beyond reproach. For this reason it is not proper for the recluse Gotama to visit us; it is proper for us to visit the recluse Gotama. The recluse Gotama, friends, went forth renouncing much gold and treasure buried in vaults and stored in treasure-houses … The recluse Gotama, friends, while still in the prime of youth with black hair, shaving off his hair and beard though his mother and father wished otherwise and wept with tearful faces, donning the yellow robes he went forth from home to the homeless life … The recluse Gotama is handsome and pleasing to behold, endowed with lotus-like beauty, divine beauty and presence, noble to behold … The recluse Gotama, friends, is virtuous, of noble morality, skilled in morality, endowed with wholesome morality … The recluse Gotama is of charming speech, endowed with speech that is friendly and pleasing, flawless and clearly enunciated, making the meaning clear … The recluse Gotama, friends, is the teacher of many teachers … The recluse Gotama has destroyed sensual lust and is free from vanity … The recluse Gotama, friends, is a teacher of kamma, a teacher of the efficacy of action, he does not seek to harm the brahmin lineage … The recluse Gotama, friends, has gone forth from an aristocratic family, from an original warrior family … The recluse Gotama, friends, has gone forth from a wealthy family, one with great wealth and property … Friends, people from remote countries and remote districts come to question the recluse Gotama … Friends, many thousands of deities have gone for refuge for life to the recluse Gotama … Friends, a good reputation regarding the Venerable Gotama has spread thus: ‘Indeed the Blessed One is a worthy one, a fully enlightened Buddha, endowed with vision and conduct, fortunate, a knower of the worlds, the incomparable charioteer of trainable persons, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened, and blessed.’ … The recluse Gotama, friends, is endowed with the thirty-two marks of a great man … Friends, King Seniya Bimbisāra of Māgadha with his wife and children has gone for refuge to the recluse Gotama for life … Friends, King Pasenadi of Kosala with his wife and children has gone for refuge to the recluse Gotama for life … Friends, the Brahmin Pokkharasāti and his wife and children have go for refuge to the recluse Gotama for life … The recluse Gotama, friends, having arrived at Opāsāda is dwelling to the north of Opāsāda in the God’s grove, the Sal grove. Those recluses and brahmins who have come to the surroundings of our village are our guests. We should honour, respect, revere, worship, and esteem our guests. Since the recluse Gotama is staying at the God’s grove he is our guest and so deserves to be honoured, respected, revered, worshipped, and esteemed. For this reason it is not proper for the recluse Gotama to visit us; it is proper for us to visit the recluse Gotama

“This much have I learned the virtues of the recluse Gotama, but the virtues of the recluse Gotama are immeasurable. Since the recluse Gotama is endowed with each of these factors it is not proper for the recluse Gotama to visit us, it is proper for us to visit the recluse Gotama. Then, friends, let us go the visit the recluse Gotama.”

Then the Brahmin Caṅkī with a large group of Brahmins approached the Blessed One; and having approached exchanged friendly greetings. Having exchanged friendly greetings and polite conversation, they sat down at one side. Sitting thus the very senior brahmins exchanged friendly conversation with the Blessed One. Then, a young brahmin named Kāpaṭika, with a shaven head and sixteen years old, was an expert in the three Vedas, knowing the vocabulary, liturgy, phonology, etymology, and origins as the fifth; skilled in philology and grammar; you are fully versed in natural philosophy and the marks of a great man was sitting in that assembly. He interrupted the conversation of those very senior brahmins. Then the Blessed One rebuked the young brahmin Kāpaṭika: “Do not, reverend bhāradvāja, interrupt the conversation of the very senior brahmins. Wait until the conversation is finished.”

When this was said, the Brahmin Caṅkī said to the Blessed One: “Do not, friend Gotama, rebuke the young brahmin Kāpaṭika. The young brahmin Kāpaṭika is of a good family, he is learned, he is wise, he is well-spoken, the young brahmin Kāpaṭika is able to debate with the recluse Gotama.”

Then the Blessed One thought, “Since the brahmins praise him thus the young brahmin Kāpaṭika must be learned in the three Vedas.”

Then the young brahmin Kāpaṭika thought, “If the recluse Gotama makes eye-contact, I will ask him a question.”

Then, knowing the thought in the mind of the young brahmin Kāpaṭika, the Blessed One made eye-contact with him.

Then the young brahmin Kāpaṭika thought: “The recluse Gotama has made eye-contact with me. What if I ask him a question?” Then the young brahmin Kāpaṭika said to the Blessed One: “Reverend Gotama, according to the ancient verses handed down by oral tradition and recorded in the scriptures, the brahmins come to this conclusion: ‘Only this is true, anything else is false.’ What does the reverend Gotama have to say about this?”

“Then, Bhāradvāja,³ do any of the brahmins say: ‘I know this, I see this. This alone is the truth, anything else is false’?”

“Indeed not, reverend Gotama.”

“Then, Bhāradvāja, do any of the teachers of those brahmins, or the teachers of those teachers back to the seventh generation say: ‘I know this, I see this. This alone is the truth, anything else is false’?”

“Indeed not, reverend Gotama.”

“Then, Bhāradvāja, did even those brahmins of former times who created and composed the scriptures that were recited, spoken, composed, the brahmins nowadays rehearse what was recited, and repeat what was spoken by those ancient brahmins, that is: Aṭṭhaka, Vāmaka, Vāmadeva, Vessāmitta, Yamataggi, Aṅgirasa, Bhāradvāja, Vāseṭṭha, Kassapa, and Bhagu, did even they say: ‘This alone is the truth, anything else is false’?”

“Indeed not, reverend Gotama.”

“It seems then, Bhāradvāja, there is not even a single brahmin who says: ‘I know this, I see this. This alone is the truth, anything else is false.’ Among the teachers and teachers of teachers back to the seventh generation, or even among the brahmins of former times there is not one who says thus. It is as if, Bhāradvāja, there were a line of blind men, each touching the one in front. The first does not see, those in the middle do not see, and the one at the end of the line does not see. What do you think, Bhāradvāja, this being the case, doesn’t the faith of the brahmins turn out to be without foundation?”

“The brahmins, reverend Gotama, honour this not only out of faith, but also honour the oral tradition.”

“Formerly, Bhāradvāja, you relied on faith, now you speak about oral tradition. These five things, Bhāradvāja, may turn out in one of two ways here and now. What five? Faith (saddhā), approval (ruci), oral tradition (anussavo), reasoning (ākāraparivitakko), and acceptance of a view after reflection (diṭṭhinijjhānakkhanti).⁴ These five things may have one of two results here and now. Moreover, Bhāradvāja, something may be fully accepted out of faith, but may be empty, vain, and false; while something else fully accepted out of faith may be factual, true, and not otherwise. Something may be fully approved of, but may be empty, vain, and false, while something else fully approved of may be factual, true, and not otherwise. Something may be correctly learned by oral tradition … well reasoned … fully accepted after reflection, but may be empty, vain, and false; while something else fully accepted after reflection may be factual, true, and not otherwise. A wise man who guards the truth, Bhāradvāja, does not come to the conclusion, ‘Only this is true, anything else is false’.”

“How, reverend Gotama, does one protect the truth? How does one guard the truth? We ask the reverend Gotama about the protection of the truth.”

“If a man has faith, Bhāradvāja, says: ‘Thus is my faith,’ speaking in this way he protects the truth, but does not yet come to the conclusion, ‘Only this is true, anything else if false.’ If a man approves of something says: ‘I approve of this,’ speaking in this way he protects the truth … If a man has learned the oral tradition says, ‘Thus have I heard,’ … If a man has reasoned says, ‘This is my reasoning,’ … If a man has accepted a view after reflection says: ‘This is what I accept after reflection,’ speaking in this way he protects the truth, but he does not yet come to the conclusion, ‘Only this is true, anything else if false.’ In this way, Bhāradvāja, one protects the truth; in this way one guards the truth; this is how we explain the protection of the truth, but one does not yet awaken to the truth.”

“In that way, reverend Gotama, there is the protection of the truth; in that way there is guarding of the truth; in that way we accept that the truth is protected. How then, reverend Gotama, is there awakening to the truth? We ask the reverend Gotama about awakening to the truth.”

“Here, Bhāradvāja, a monk dwells in dependence on a certain village or market town. Having approached him, a householder or householder’s son examines him regarding three things — greed, ill-will, and delusion: ‘Are there in this venerable monk any greed, ill-will, or delusion, due to which, not knowing, he might say: “I know,” or not seeing, he might say: “I see,” or he might urge others to act in a way that would lead to their harm and suffering for a long time?’ As he investigates he knows thus: ‘There is not in this venerable monk any greed, ill-will, or delusion due to which, not knowing, he would say: “I know,” or not seeing, he would say: “I see,” or urge others to act in a way that would lead to their harm and suffering for a long time. The bodily and verbal behaviour of this venerable monk are those of one who is not greedy.⁵ When this venerable monk teaches the Dhamma, it is profound (gambhīra), difficult to see (duddasa), difficult to realise (duranubodha), peaceful (santa), excellent (paṇita), inaccessible to mere reason and logic (atakkāvacara), subtle (nipuṇa), and to be comprehended by the wise (paṇḍitavedanīya); this Dhamma cannot be taught easily by one who is greedy.’

“When he has investigated the monk and seen that he is free from greed, he investigates him further to see if he is free from states for ill-will: ‘Are there in this venerable monk any states of ill-will, due to which, not knowing, he might say: “I know,” or not seeing, he might say: “I see,” or he might urge others to act in way that would lead to their harm and suffering for a long time?’ As he investigates he knows thus: ‘There is not in this venerable monk any ill-will due to which, not knowing, he would say: “I know,” or not seeing, he would say: “I see,” or urge others to act in a way that would lead to their harm and suffering for a long time. The bodily and verbal behaviour of this venerable monks are those of one without ill-will.⁶ When this venerable monk teaches the Dhamma, it is profound, difficult to see, difficult to realise, peaceful, excellent, inaccessible to mere reason and logic, subtle, and to be comprehended by the wise; this Dhamma cannot be taught easily by one who has ill-will.’

“When he has investigated the monk and seen that he is free from ill-will, he investigates him further to see if he is free from states for delusion: ‘Are there in this venerable monk any states of delusion, due to which, not knowing, he might say: “I know,” or not seeing, he might say: “I see,” or he might urge others to act in way that would lead to their harm and suffering for a long time?’ As he investigates he knows thus: ‘There is not in this venerable monk any delusion due to which, not knowing, he would say: “I know,” or not seeing, he would say: “I see,” or urge others to act in a way that would lead to their harm and suffering for a long time. The bodily and verbal behaviour of this venerable monks are those of one without delusion.⁷ When this venerable monk teaches the Dhamma, it is profound, difficult to see, difficult to realise, peaceful, excellent, inaccessible to mere reason and logic, subtle, and to be comprehended by the wise; this Dhamma cannot be taught easily by one who is deluded.’

“When he has investigated the monk and sees that he is free from states of delusion, he reposes faith in him (saddhaṃ niveseti), when faith is born he approaches him (upasaṅkamati), approaching him he sits close (payirupāsati),⁸ sitting close he listens to him (sotaṃ odahati),⁹ listening to him he hears the Dhamma (dhammaṃ suṇāti),¹⁰ having heard the Dhamma he bears it in mind (dhammaṃ dhāreti),¹¹ bearing it in mind he reflects on the meaning (atthaṃ upaparikkhati),¹² having reflected on the meaning he approves of the Dhamma and finds delight in it (dhammā nijjhānaṃ khamanti),¹³ approving of the Dhamma and finding delight in it the will [to practice it] is born (chando jāyati),¹⁴ when will is born he ventures (ussahati),¹⁵ venturing he examines (tuleti),¹⁶ having examined he strives (padahati),¹⁷ having striven he realises in his or her own body the ultimate truth (paramasaccaṃ sacchikaroti),¹⁸ and sees it by penetrating it with wisdom (paññāya ca naṃ ativijjha passati). In this way, Bhāradvāja, there is awakening to the truth,¹⁹ in this way there is discovery of the truth, that is how we describe the awakening to the truth, but not yet is there the attainment of the truth.”

“In that way, reverend Gotama, there is awakening to the truth, in that way there is discovery of the truth, we accept that in that way there is awakening to the truth. How then, reverend Gotama, is there attainment of the truth (saccānuppatti); how is there the final attainment to the truth (saccamanupāpuṇāti)? We ask the Venerable Gotama how there is attainment to the truth.”

“The final attainment of the truth, Bhāradvāja, follows from the repetition (āsevanā), development (bhāvanā), and making much of (bahulīkammaṃ) those same things.²⁰ In that way, Bhāradvāja, there is the final attainment of the truth, that is how we describe the final attainment of the truth.”

“In that way, reverend Gotama, there is attainment of the truth, in that way there is final attainment of the truth, we accept that in that way there is attainment of the truth. What things, reverend Gotama, are conducive to the final attainment of the truth? We ask the Venerable Gotama what things are conducive to the attainment of the truth?”

“Striving, Bhāradvāja, is conducive to the attainment of the truth. If one does not strive, there is no attainment of the truth. Because one strives there is attainment of the truth, therefore striving is conducive to the attainment of the truth.”

“What things, reverend Gotama, are conducive to striving? We ask the Venerable Gotama what things are conducive to striving?”

“Examining, Bhāradvāja, is conducive to striving. If one does not examine [the teaching] one does not strive. Because one examines, one strives. Therefore examining is conducive to striving.”

“What things, reverend Gotama, are conducive to examining? We ask the Venerable Gotama what things are conducive to examining.”

“Being enthusiastic, Bhāradvāja, is conducive to examining. If one is not enthusiastic, one does not examine. Because one is enthusiastic one examines, therefore enthusiasm is conducive to examining.”

“What things, reverend Gotama, are conducive to enthusiasm? We ask the Venerable Gotama what things are conducive to enthusiasm?”

“The will [to practise] is conducive to enthusiasm. If one has no will, one is not enthusiastic. Because one has the will [to practise] one is enthusiastic, therefore will is conducive to enthusiasm.”

“What things, reverend Gotama, are conducive to the will [to practise]? We ask the Venerable Gotama was things are conducive to will?”

“Being delighted with the Dhamma, Bhāradvāja, is conducive to the will [to practise]. If one is not delighted with the Dhamma, the will [to practise] is not born. Because will is born from being delighted with the Dhamma, therefore being delighted is conducive to the will [to practise].”

“What things, reverend Gotama, are conducive to being delighted with the Dhamma? We ask the Venerable Gotama what things are conducive to being delighted with the Dhamma.”

“Reflecting on the meaning, Bhāradvāja, is conducive to being delighted with the Dhamma. If one does not reflect on the meaning one is not delighted with the Dhamma. Because reflecting on the meaning arouses delight in the Dhamma, therefore reflecting on the meaning is conducive to being delighted in the Dhamma.”

“What things, reverend Gotama, are conducive to reflecting on the meaning? We ask the Venerable Gotama what things are conducive to reflecting on the meaning.”

“Bearing in the Dhamma in mind, Bhāradvāja, is conducive to reflecting on the meaning. If one does not bear the Dhamma in mind, one does not reflect on the meaning, Because one bears the Dhamma in mind, one reflects on the meaning, therefore bearing the Dhamma in mind is conducive to reflecting on the meaning.”

“What things, reverend Gotama, are conducive to bearing the Dhamma in mind? We ask the Venerable Gotama what things are conducive to bearing the Dhamma in mind.”

“Listening to the Dhamma, Bhāradvāja, is conducive to bearing the Dhamma in mind. If one does not listen to the Dhamma, one does not bear the Dhamma in mind. Because one listens to the Dhamma, one bears it in mind, therefore listening to the Dhamma is conducive to bearing it in mind.”

“What things, reverend Gotama, are conducive to listening to the Dhamma? We ask the Venerable Gotama what things are conducive to listening to the Dhamma?”

“Sitting close, Bhāradvāja, is conducive to listening to the Dhamma. If one does not sit close, one does not listen to the Dhamma. Because one sits close, one listens to the Dhamma, therefore sitting close is conducive to listening to the Dhamma.”

“What things, reverend Gotama, are conducive to sitting close? We ask the Venerable Gotama what things are conducive to sitting close.”

“Reposing faith, Bhāradvāja, is conducive to sitting close. If one does not repose faith, one does not sit close. Because one reposes faith [in a monk or Dhamma teacher], one sits closes, therefore reposing faith is conducive to sitting close.”

“What things, reverend Gotama, are conducive to reposing faith? We ask the Venerable Gotama what things are conducive to reposing faith [in a monk or a Dhamma teacher].”

“Approaching, Bhāradvāja, is conducive to reposing faith. If one does not approach one does not repose faith. Because of approaching one reposes faith, therefore approaching is conducive to reposing faith.”

“What things, reverend Gotama, are conducive to approaching? We ask the Venerable Gotama, what things are conducive to approaching.”

“Faith, Bhāradvāja, is conducive to approaching. If faith [in a monk or teacher] is not born, one does not approach. Because faith is born one approaches, therefore faith is conducive to approaching.”

“We have asked the Venerable Gotama about guarding the truth, and the Venerable Gotama has told us about guarding the truth; we approved of and accepted that reply, and were satisfied. We asked about awakening to the truth, and the Venerable Gotama has told us about awakening to the truth; we approved of and accepted that reply, and were satisfied. We asked the Venerable Gotama about attaining the truth, and the Venerable Gotama has told us about attaining the truth, we approved of and accepted that reply, and were satisfied. We asked the Venerable Gotama about the things conducive to the attainment of the truth, and the Venerable Gotama told us about the things conducive to attaining the truth, we approved of and accepted that reply, and were satisfied. Whatever we asked the Venerable Gotama about, the Venerable Gotama told us about it, we approved of and accepted that reply, and were satisfied. Formerly, Venerable Gotama, we used to think — ‘Who are these bald-headed recluses, these menial (ibbhā) dark-skinned (kaṇhā) offspring of our relative’s ²¹ feet (bandhupādāpaccā)? What could they understand about the Dhamma?’ However, the Venerable Gotama has inspired me with affection for recluses, with confidence in recluses, with respect for recluses. It is wonderful, reverend Gotama, it is marvellous! … From today onwards, reverend Gotama, may the Venerable Gotama regard me as a lay supporter (upāsaka)²² gone for refuge.”

Notes

1. The Commentary notes that offerings to the gods were made there.

2. The name of an ancient clan of Brahmins.

3. This long introductory passage shows the great pride that the Brahmins held in their lineage. Nevertheless, Caṅkī was a well-educated man who was able to lower his pride to visit the Buddha. The Buddha had no such pride, and would visit anyone of whatever status if he saw that it would be of benefit to them.

4. The western tradition places great value on reasoning and reflection, and less on faith, approval, or oral tradition. However, one can just as easily make an error in reasoning and reflection as one can by adopting a view out of faith or my accepting what is written in ancient text. The Buddha cautions against all of these approaches, and advise to keep an open mind.

5. There are many monks who are not properly following the path to nibbāna. Saints are rare and difficult to recognise, but it is not too hard to known if a monk is greedy for material things. A wise person who is earnestly seeking the truth should examine a monk for signs of greed and choose a teacher who is not greedy.

6. Although a monk may be abstemious and not greedy for material things, he may be irritable and envious of others.

7. Finally, one should check to see if a monk is free from delusion. Does he over-estimate himself? Has he learnt the teachings well? Do his teachings concur with the texts? A wise person should always examine gold or gems before purchase to see if they are genuine. The true Dhamma is more precious still, so one should make sure that what a monk teaches is in accordance with the texts, and not something that he has made up from here and there.

8. To sit close, attend on, pay homage to, or visit.

9. To give ear, to listen to, or pay attention to.

10. A monk or nun might just exchange friendly greetings, or ask the visitor why they have come, or they may remain silent unless the visitor asks a question. If the visitor has previously shown an interest in the Dhamma the monk or nun may just teach something. It is better if the visitor asks a question unless it is a regular time for a Dhamma talk.

11. Bearing in mind what one has heard. Ideally, one should commit it to memory. Burmese Sayādaws will often make the audience rehearse a short stanza to memorise it. This ensures that everyone pays careful attention.

12. By reflecting repeatedly on the teaching that was learned or memorised the meaning becomes clear.

13. When the truth of suffering is clear, the superiority of nibbāna is appreciated. Instead of being depressed at the pervasiveness of suffering, he or she is delighted at having discovered a way out of it.

14. Seeing that there is an escape for one who practises, not for one who does not practise, one becomes willing to practise the teaching and cultivate the Noble Eightfold Path.

15. One who is willing undertakes the practice to begin insight meditation.

16. On examining the mental and physical phenomena one sees their true nature, i.e. one develops insight.

17. The meditator has to strive to overcome the five hindrances, and develop deeper concentration and insight.

18. If the meditator is not discouraged, but continues striving in due course he or she realises the ultimate truth regarding mental and physical phenomena.

19. The meditator realises nibbāna for the very first time in this endless cycle of existence, and becomes a Stream-winner (sotāpanna).

20. After attaining the first stage of awakening, the meditator can either repeat and develop their skill in attaining the first path (sotāpatti-magga), or pursue the higher paths. Either way, the method is the same, i.e. repeating the same meditation exercises of contemplating mental and physical phenomena to understand their true nature.

21. The Brahmin’s considered themselves to have been born from Brahma’s mouth, the warrior caste from his chest, the merchant caste from his waist, the worker caste from his legs, and recluses from his feet. No wonder, then, that this pernicious caste system is still a cause of great conflict in India even today.

22. Note that it is Kāpaṭika, the sixteen-year-old Brahmin student, who declares himself a follower of the Buddha at the end of the discourse. There is no mention of the elderly Brahmin Caṅkī taking refuge or declaring himself to be a follower. How terrifying is human pride that discriminates on the basis of race or the social status of one’s family.


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