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Khema Suttaṃ

(A.iii.358)

A Discourse to Khema

At one time the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthi in Prince Jeta’s Grove at the monastery of Anāthapiṇḍika. On that occasion the Venerable Khema and the Venerable Sumana were dwelling at Sāvatthi [359] in the Blind Men’s grove. Then the Venerable Khema and the Venerable Sumana approached the Blessed One, having approached they paid homage to the Blessed One and sat down at one side. Sitting at one side, the Venerable Khema said to the Blessed One:–

“Whoever, venerable sir, is an Arahant with the outflows destroyed, who has lived the holy life, done what should be done, put down the burden, reached his goal, completely destroyed the fetters of existence, and liberated by right knowledge, would it occur to him: ‘There is someone superior to me,’ or ‘There is someone the same as me,’ or ‘There is someone inferior to me’?”

When the Venerable Khema had said this, the teacher approved of it. Then the Venerable Khema, thinking, “The teacher has approved,” rose from his seat, paid homage to the Blessed One, and departed keeping him on his right.

Then, not long after the Venerable Khema had departed, the Venerable Sumana said to the Blessed One:–

“Whoever, venerable sir, is an Arahant with the outflows destroyed, who has lived the holy life, done what should be done, put down the burden, reached his goal, completely destroyed the fetters of existence, and liberated by right knowledge, would it occur to him: ‘There is not anyone superior to me,’ or ‘There is not anyone the same as me,’ or ‘There is not anyone inferior to me’?”

When the Venerable Sumana had said this, the teacher approved of it. Then the Venerable Khema, thinking, “The teacher has approved,” rose from his seat, paid homage to the Blessed One, and departed keeping him on his right.

Then, not long after the Venerable Khema and the Venerable Sumana had departed, the Blessed One said to the monks:– “That, monks, is how the sons of good families declare final knowledge. They state the meaning without personal references.¹ However, some foolish men here, it seems, declare final knowledge in jest. They will later meet with destruction.”

“Superior, inferior, or the same, with others they do not compare themselves.
Those who have destroyed rebirth and lived the holy life, live free from fetters.”

Notes:

1. A monk or nun who declares final knowledge (or any superior human state), knowing it to be false is defeated. If it is true, there is an offence to be confessed. The Noble Ones are typically very modest about their attainments. If anyone boasts about attainments, they may be deluded or corrupt. Be wary of teachers who make claims or inferences regarding special attainments.

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