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Pāyāsi Suttaṃ

(D.ii.316)

A Debate with Prince Pāyāsi

Introduction

The speaker of this discourse — Kumāra Kassapa — was honoured by the Buddha as the foremost among those who were eloquent. He was the son of a nun who had been ordained with her husband’s consent, not knowing that she was already pregnant. The boy was raised by King Bimbisāra of Rājagaha, and ordained as a novice at the age of seven. The Buddha referred to him as Kumāra (the boy or prince) Kassapa. He was one of the monks who had died during the time of the Buddha Kassapa while striving their utmost to attain nibbāna.¹ The first monk of that group attained Arahantship, while the second attained non-returning. This Brahma visited Kumāra Kassapa and posed a riddle, which was the basis of the Vammika Sutta. When he was older he received the higher ordination, and as he was younger than twenty, the Buddha made the rule that twenty years should include the time spent in the womb; so nineteen years and three months is old enough to receive the higher ordination.

The topic of rebirth is contentious among western Buddhists, who often claim that it is to be taken metaphorically, not literally. Many hold heretical views similar to those of Prince Pāyāsi, while others prefer to remain agnostic on the matter. The topic deserves careful study as right-view is an essential factor of the Noble Eightfold Path. One should refer to the Apaṇṇaka Sutta for the skilful attitude to take if one is rightly sceptical about what is beyond one’s personal direct knowledge. A broad study of the Tipiṭaka should convince anyone that rebirth is literally true.

Contents

Translation

The Story of Prince Pāyāsi

The Annihilationist View

The Allegory of the Sun and the Moon

The Allegory of the Robber

The Allegory of the Cess-pit

The Allegory of the Deities of the Thirty-three

The Allegory of the Blind Man

The Allegory of the Pregnant Woman

The Allegory of the Dream

The Allegory of the Red-hot Iron Ball

The Allegory of the Conch-Blower

The Allegory of the Fire-worshipping Matted-hair Ascetic

The Allegory of the Two Caravans

The Allegory of the Dung Carrier

The Allegory of the Poisoned Dice

The Allegory of the Hemp Carrier

Going for Refuge

Talk on Sacrifice

The Story of the Brahmin Youth Uttara

The Deity Pāyāsi

Notes

#PāyāsiSuttaṃTop#TheAnnihilationistViewTranslation

406. Thus have I heard — On one occasion the Venerable Kumāra Kassapa was wandering in the kingdom of Kosala with a large community of monks. In due course the five hundred monks arrived at a city of Kosala named Setabyā. Then the Venerable Kumāra Kassapa resided in the Siṃsapā grove to the north of Setabyā. On that occasion, Prince Pāyāsi was dwelling at Setabyā — a populace place with a plentiful supply of grass, water, firewood, and grain — granted to him as a royal gift and with the powers of royalty by King Pasenadi of Kosala.

The Story of Prince Pāyāsi

407. On that occasion this evil view had arisen in Prince Pāyāsi: “There is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit (phalaṃ) or result (vipāko) [317] of good or evil volitional actions.” The brahmin householders of Setabyā heard: “The virtuous recluse Kumāra Kassapa, a disciple of the recluse Gotama, while wandering in the kingdom of Kosala with a community of five hundred monks has arrived at Setabyā and is residing in the Siṃsapā grove to the north of Setabyā. About the recluse Kumāra Kassapa a good reputation has spread: ‘The recluse is wise (paṇḍito), experienced (byatto), intelligent (medhāvī), learned (bahussuto), eloquent (cittakathī), skilled in debate (kalyāṇapaṭibhāno), venerable (vuddho), and worthy (arahā). It is good to meet (dassanaṃ) such worthy ones.’ Then the brahmins of Setabyā, having left Setabyā in groups by the northern gate, set out towards the Siṃsapā grove.

408. On that occasion Prince Pāyāsi was relaxing for the day on the upper storey of his palace. Having seen the brahmins of Setabyā leaving in groups by the northern gate going towards the Siṃsapā grove he said to his attendant: “Why, good attendant, are the brahmins of Setabyā, having left Setabyā in groups by the northern gate, setting out towards the Siṃsapā grove?” [318]

“There is, friend, the recluse Kumāra Kassapa, a disciple of the recluse Gotama, who, while wandering in the kingdom of Kosala with a community of five hundred monks, has arrived at Setabyā and is residing in the Siṃsapā grove to the north of Setabyā. About the recluse Kumāra Kassapa a good reputation has spread: ‘The recluse is wise, experienced, intelligent, learned, eloquent, skilled in debate, venerable, and worthy. It is good to meet such worthy ones.’ Then the brahmins of Setabyā, having left Setabyā in groups by the northern gate, set out towards the Siṃsapā grove. They are going to meet the Venerable Kumāra Kassapa.”

“Then, dear attendant, approach those brahmin householders, and having approached them say thus: ‘Friends, Prince Pāyāsi said, “Let the venerable ones wait, Prince Pāyāsi also wishes to meet the Venerable Kumāra Kassapa”.’ Formerly, the recluse Kumāra Kassapa has taught these foolish (bale) and inexperienced (abyatte) brahmin householders of Setabyā: ‘There is another world, there are spontaneously arisen beings, there is a fruit and result of good and evil volitional actions.’ Indeed, there is not, good attendant, another world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions.” Having replied to Prince Pāyāsi, “Very well, sir,” the attendant approached the brahmin householders of Setabyā, and having approached them asked them to wait for Prince Pāyāsi to accompany them to meet the Venerable Kumāra Kassapa.

409. Then Prince Pāyāsi, accompanied by the brahmin householders of Setabyā approached the Venerable Kumāra Kassapa at the Siṃsapā grove; having approached him he exchanged friendly greetings, and having engaged in polite conversation [319] he sat down at one side. Some brahmin householders of Setabyā, having paid homage to the Venerable Kumāra Kassapa, sat down at one side; some, having exchanged friendly greetings and polite conversation, sat down at one side; some, having greeted him with joined palms, sat down at one side; some, having announced their name and clan, sat down at once side; and some, remaining silent, sat down at one side.

#PāyāsiSuttaṃTop#TheAllegoryoftheRobberThe Annihilationist View

410. Sitting at one side, Prince Pāyāsi said to the Venerable Kumāra Kassapa: “Thus, friend Kassapa,² is my doctrine, thus is my view: “There is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions.”

“I have never come across nor heard of a doctrine like this, a view like this. Why do you speak thus: ‘There is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions.’?”

The Allegory of the Sun and the Moon

411. “Then, prince, I will cross-question you, please reply as you see fit. What do you think, prince, the sun and the moon, are they in this world or another world, are they in the celestial or human realm?”

“Friend Kassapa, the sun and the moon are in another world, not in this one, they are in the celestial realm, not in the human realm.”

“For this reason, prince, you should think thus: ‘There is another world, there are spontaneously arisen beings, there is a fruit and result of good and evil volitional actions’.”

412. Whatever friend Kassapa says, this is my view: “There is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions.”

“Is there any reason, prince, that you hold this view: ‘There is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions’?”

“There is, friend Kassapa, a reason why I hold this view …” [320]

“What is that, prince?”

“Herein, friend Kassapa, some of my friends, associates, and relatives are killers of living-beings, takers of what is not given, sexual miscreants, liars, slanderers, abusers, idle-chatterers, covetous, malevolent, and holders of wrong-views. After some time they become grievously ill. When I know that they will not recover from that disease I approach them and say: ‘Friend, there are some recluses and priests ³ who speak thus and hold this view — those who are killers of living-beings, takers of what is not given, sexual miscreants, liars, slanderers, abusers, idle-chatterers, covetous, malevolent, and holders of wrong-views, on the break-up of the body after death arise in an unfortunate destination, in perdition, in hell. Friend, you are a killer of living-beings, taker of what is not given, a sexual miscreant, a liar, a slanderer, an abuser, an idle-chatterer, covetous, malevolent, and holders of wrong-views. If what those recluses and priests say is true you will arise on the break-up of the body after death in an unfortunate destination, in perdition, in hell. If, friend, on the break-up of the body after death you arise in an unfortunate destination, in perdition, in hell, come back and tell me: “There is another world, there are spontaneously arisen beings, there is a fruit and result of good and evil volitional actions.” You, friend, are trustworthy and reliable; whatever you have seen it will be as if I had seen it for myself.’ Having agreed by saying “Very well,” [321] they neither returned to tell me nor sent a messenger. This too, friend Kassapa, is a reason why I say that there is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions.”

#TheAllegoryoftheCesspitThe Allegory of the Robber

413. “Then, prince, I will cross-question you, please reply as you see fit. What do you think, prince, if your men captured a robber in the act and brought him before you saying: ‘This robber, lord, was caught in the act; sentence him to whatever punishment you wish.’ Then you would say thus: ‘Then, friends, having tied his arms behind him, bind him with strong ropes, having shaved his head, lead him with the loud clashing of cymbals through the streets and squares of the town out by the southern gate and at the southern place of execution cut off his head.’ Have said, ‘Very well,’ the executioners, having tied his arms behind him, and bound him with strong ropes, having shaved his head, led him with the loud clashing of cymbals though the streets and squares of the town out by the southern gate, and at the southern place of execution made him sit down. Perhaps that robber would say: ‘Dear executioners, please wait. I have friends, associates, and relatives in this village or market town, when I have visited them I will come back.’ Would those executioners grant his wish, [322] or just cut off the chattering thief’s head?”

“Indeed not, friend Kassapa, they would not grant his wish … they would just cut off the chattering thief’s head.”

“Indeed it is so, prince, a thief would not be granted his wish by his human executioners. What then can be said for those who are killers of living-beings, takers of what is not given, sexual miscreants, liars, slanderers, abusers, idle-chatterers, covetous, malevolent, and holders of wrong-views, on the break-up of the body after death arise in an unfortunate destination, in perdition, in hell. Would they be able to persuade the warders of hell: ‘Dear wardens of hell, please wait while I go to prince Pāyāsi to tell him, “There is another world, there are spontaneously arisen beings, there is a fruit and result of good and evil volitional actions”?’ For this reason too, prince, you should think thus: “There is another world, there are spontaneously arisen beings, there is a fruit and result of good and evil volitional actions.”

414. “Whatever friend Kassapa says, this is my view: “There is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions.”

“Is there any reason, prince, that you hold this view: ‘There is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions’?”

“There is, friend Kassapa, a reason why I hold this view …”

“What is that, prince?”

“Herein, friend Kassapa, some of my friends, associates, and relatives abstain from killing living beings, taking what is not given, sexual [323] misconduct, telling lies, slandering, abusing, and idle-chatter, they are not covetous or malevolent, and hold right-views. After  some time they become grievously ill. When I know that they will not recover from that disease I approach them and say: ‘Friend, there are some recluses and priests who speak thus and hold this view: those who abstain from killing living beings, taking what is not given, sexual misconduct, telling lies, slandering, abusing, and idle-chatter, they are not covetous or malevolent, and hold right-views, on the break-up of the body after death arise in a fortunate destination, in a heavenly realm. Friend, you abstain from killing living beings, taking what is not given, sexual misconduct, telling lies, slandering, abusing, and idle-chatter, you are not covetous or malevolent, and hold right-views. If what those recluses and priests say is true, on the break-up of the body after death you will arise in a fortunate destination, in a heavenly realm. If, friend, on the break-up of the body after death you arise in a fortunate destination, in a heavenly realm, please return and tell me: “There is another world, there are spontaneously arisen beings, there is a fruit and result of good and evil volitional actions.” You, friend, are trustworthy and reliable; whatever you have seen it will be as if I had seen it for myself.’ Having agreed by saying “Very well,” they neither returned to tell me nor sent a messenger. This too, friend Kassapa, is a reason why I say that there is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, [324] there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions.”

#TheAllegoryoftheDeitiesoftheThirtythreeThe Allegory of the Cess-pit

415. “Then, prince, I will make an allegory. Perhaps by means of an allegory a wise man will understand the meaning. It is as if, prince, a man had fallen head-first into a cess-pit. Then you tell your men: ‘Friends go and pull that man out of the cess-pit.’ Having said, ‘Very well,’ they would pull that man out of the cess-pit. Then you say to them: ‘Then, friends, scrape the excrement from his body with bamboo scrapers,’ and having said, ‘Very well,’ they would scrape the excrement from his body with bamboo scrapers. Then you say to them: ‘Shampoo his body thoroughly three times with yellow loam, and having said, ‘Very well,’ they would shampoo his body thoroughly three times with yellow loam. Then you say to them, ‘Anoint his body with oil and clean him well three times with fine talcum powder, then they would anoint his body with oil and clean him well three times with fine talcum powder. Then you say to them, ‘Cut his hair and beard,’ then they would cut his hair and beard. Then you say to them, ‘Adorn him with magnificent garlands, perfumes, and clothes, then they would adorn him with magnificent garlands, perfumes, and clothes. [325] Then you say to them, ‘Bring him to the palace and provide him with the five kinds of sensual pleasures, and they would bring him to the palace and provide him with the five kinds of sensual pleasures.

“What do you think, prince? Would that man — well bathed, well perfumed, with his hair and beard well trimmed, adorned with garlands, dressed in white clothes, having been brought up to the palace, enjoying and endowed with the five sensual pleasures — want to plunge back into that cess-pit?”

“Indeed not, friend Kassapa!”

“For what reason?”

“Foul, friend Kassapa, is that cess-pit, and it is regarded as foul, it is foul-smelling and regarded as foul-smelling, it is detestable and regarded as detestable, repulsive and regarded as repulsive.”

“In the same way, prince, human beings are foul to deities and regarded as foul, they are foul-smelling and are regarded as foul-smelling, they are detestable and are regarded as detestable, they are repulsive and are regarded as repulsive. The odour of human beings is annoying to deities from a hundred leagues. Why then should your friends and relatives who abstain killing living beings, taking what is not given, sexual misconduct, telling lies, slandering, abusing, and idle-chatter, who are not covetous or malevolent, and hold right-views, who on the break-up of the body after death have arisen in a fortunate destination, in a heavenly realm, return to tell you: ‘There is another world, there are spontaneously arisen beings, there is a fruit and result of good and evil volitional actions?’ For this reason too, prince, you should think thus: ‘There is another world, there are spontaneously arisen beings, there is a fruit [326] and result of good and evil volitional actions’.”

416. “Whatever friend Kassapa says, this is my view: “There is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions.”

“Is there any reason, prince, that you hold this view: ‘There is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions’?”

“There is, friend Kassapa, a reason why I hold this view …”

“What is that, prince?”

“Herein, friend Kassapa, some of my friends, associates, and relatives abstain from killing living beings, taking what is not given, sexual misconduct, telling lies, slandering, abusing, and idle-chatter, they are not covetous or malevolent, and hold right-views. After  some time they become grievously ill. When I know that they will not recover from that disease I approach them and say: ‘Friend, there are some recluses and priests who speak thus and hold this view: those who abstain from killing living beings, taking what is not given, sexual misconduct, telling lies, slandering, abusing, and idle-chatter, they are not covetous or malevolent, and hold right-views, on the break-up of the body after death arise in a fortunate destination, in a heavenly realm, among the deities of the thirty-three (Tāvatiṃsa). Friend, you abstain from killing living beings, taking what is not given, sexual misconduct, telling lies, slandering, abusing, and idle-chatter, you are not covetous or malevolent, and hold right-views. If what those recluses and priests say is true, on the break-up of the body after death you will arise in a fortunate destination, in a heavenly realm. If, friend, on the break-up of the body after death you arise in a fortunate destination, in a heavenly realm, among the deities of the thirty-three [327] please return and tell me: “There is another world, there are spontaneously arisen beings, there is a fruit and result of good and evil volitional actions. You, friend, are trustworthy and reliable; whatever you have seen it will be as if I had seen it for myself.’ Having agreed by saying “Very well,” they neither returned to tell me nor sent a messenger. This too, friend Kassapa, is a reason why I say that there is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions.”

#TheAllegoryoftheBlindManThe Allegory of the Deities of the Thirty-three

417. “Then, prince, I will cross-question you, please reply as you see fit. Whatever, prince, is a hundred years of human life, that is one day and night for the deities of the thirty-three. Thirty of such nights is one month, twelve of such months is one year, and a thousand of such years is the life-span of the deities of the thirty-three. If your friends, associates, and relatives who abstain from killing living beings, taking what is not given, sexual misconduct, telling lies, slandering, abusing, and idle-chatter, who are not covetous or malevolent, and hold right-views, on the break-up of the body after death arise in a fortunate destination, in a heavenly realm, among the deities of the thirty-three. They might think, ‘After enjoying celestial sensual pleasures for two or three days, let us go to Prince Pāyāsi and tell him: “There is another world, there are spontaneously arisen beings, there is a fruit and result of good and evil volitional actions”.’ Would they have come and told you: ‘There is another world, there are spontaneously arisen beings, there is a fruit and result of good and evil volitional actions’?”

“No, indeed not, friend Kassapa, for we would have long since died. However, friend Kassapa, who told you: ‘The deities of the thirty-three exist,’ or ‘The deities of the thirty-three are so long-lived?’ I do not believe what friend Kassapa has said — “There are deities of the thirty-three,” or “The deities of the thirty-three are so long-lived”.” [328]

#TheAllegoryofthePregnantWomanThe Allegory of the Blind Man

418. “It is like, prince, a blind man who cannot see dark and light objects, cannot see blue, yellow, or red objects, cannot see crimson objects, the similar and dissimilar, cannot see the stars, the moon, or the sun. He would speak thus: ‘There are no dark and light objects, no blue, yellow, or red objects, no crimson objects, no similar or dissimilar, no stars, no moon, and no sun. I am not aware of them, and cannot see them, therefore they do not exist.’ Prince, would that man be speaking correctly?”

“No, indeed not, friend Kassapa. There are dark and light objects, [329] there are blue, yellow, and red objects, there are crimson objects, the similar and dissimilar, there are the stars, the moon, and the sun. One who said, ‘I am not aware of them, and cannot see them, therefore they do not exist,’ would not be speaking correctly.”

“In the same way, prince, your reply is like that of a blind man when you ask me: ‘Friend Kassapa, who told you: “The deities of the thirty-three exist,” or “The deities of the thirty-three are so long lived?” I do not believe what friend Kassapa has said — “There are deities of the thirty-three,” or “The deities of the thirty-three are so long-lived”.’

“It is not thus, prince, that the other world should be regarded, to be seen with the physical eye. Those recluses and priests who seek secluded abodes in forest groves and abide there heedful, strenuous and resolute, purifying the divine-eye, see with the purified divine-eye surpassing human sight this world and spontaneously arisen beings in the other world. Thus, prince, should the other world be seen, not as you think with the physical eye. For this reason too, prince, you should think thus: ‘There is another world, there are spontaneously arisen beings, there is a fruit and result of good and evil volitional actions’.”

419. “Whatever friend Kassapa says, [330] this is my view: “There is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions.”

“Is there any reason, prince, that you hold this view: ‘There is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions’?”

“There is, friend Kassapa, a reason why I hold this view …”

“What is that, prince?”

“Herein, friend Kassapa, I see virtuous recluses and priests of good conduct, who desire life and do not wish to die, who desire happiness and are averse to suffering. Therefore, friend Kassapa, it occurs to me: ‘If these good recluses and priests know thus — “It will be better after death,” then these virtuous recluses and priests of good conduct, would take poison, or take a knife, hang themselves, or jump from a cliff. Since these virtuous recluses and priests of good conduct, who desire life and do not wish to die, desire happiness and are averse to suffering do not know thus — “It will be better after death,” they do not kill themselves. This too, friend Kassapa, is a reason why I say that there is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions.”

#TheAllegoryoftheDreamThe Allegory of the Pregnant Woman

420. “Then, prince, I will make an allegory. Perhaps by means of an allegory a wise man will understand the meaning. At one time, prince, a certain brahmin had two wives. One had a son that was ten or twelve years old, and the other wife was pregnant and close to giving birth. Then the brahmin died. The youth said thus to his step-mother: ‘Lady, whatever wealth or grain, silver or gold there is, that is all mine; [331] there is nothing here for you. My father made me the heir.’ When this was said the brahminee said to the youth: ‘Wait, dear, until I give birth. If it is a boy, one portion will be his; if it is a girl, she will be your handmaiden (opabhaggā).⁴ A second and a third time the youth said to his step-mother: ‘Lady, whatever wealth or grain, silver or gold there is, that is all mine; there is nothing here for you. My father made me the heir.’

“Then the brahminee, having taken a knife, having entered a private room, cut open her belly (thinking): ‘Will I give birth to a boy or a girl?’ Thus she destroyed her own life, the life of the foetus, and her wealth. Thus the foolish and inexperienced meet with misfortune by seeking their inheritance unwisely, just so, prince, being foolish and inexperienced you seek the other [332] world like the brahminee, being foolish and inexperienced, met with misfortune, seeking her inheritance unwisely. It is not thus, prince, that virtuous recluses and priests of good conduct, bring to maturity what is unripe; but they wait for it to mature. Prince, those virtuous recluses and priests of good conduct live wisely. As long, prince, as those virtuous recluses and priests of good conduct remain alive they produce great merit, for the welfare of many, they practise for the happiness of many, out of compassion for the world, for the happiness of gods and men. For this reason too, prince, you should think thus: ‘There is another world, there are spontaneously arisen beings, there is a fruit and result of good and evil volitional actions’.”

421. “Whatever friend Kassapa says, this is my view: “There is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions.”

“Is there any reason, prince, that you hold this view: ‘There is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions’?”

“There is, friend Kassapa, a reason why I hold this view …”

“What is that, prince?”

“Herein, friend Kassapa, having caught a thief, my men bring him before me saying: ‘This thief, sir, is an evil-doer; punish him however you wish.’ I say to them: ‘Then, friends, put this man alive into a jar and seal its opening, bind it with wet leather, plaster it with a thick layer of wet clay [333], put it in an oven and light the fire.’ Having replied to me, ‘Very well,’ they do so. When we know the man is dead, we take out the jar, uncover its opening, and watch carefully thinking: “Perhaps we will see his soul (jīvaṃ) leaving.” Nevertheless, we do not see his soul leaving. This too, friend Kassapa, is a reason why I say that there is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions.”

#TheAllegoryoftheRedhotIronBallThe Allegory of the Dream

422. “Then, prince, I will cross-question you, please reply as you see fit. Are you aware, prince, that while taking a rest during the day that you dream of seeing pleasing parks and forests, pleasing grounds and lakes?”

“I am aware, friend Kassapa, while taking a rest during the day of seeing such dreams.”

“On those occasions were there humpbacks (khujjā), dwarves (vāmanakā), maidens (velāsikā) and girls (komārikā) guarding you?”

“Indeed, there were, friend Kassapa.”

“Did they see your soul entering or leaving your body?” [334]

“Indeed not, friend Kassapa.”

“Then, prince, if one cannot see the soul of a living man entering or leaving his body, how could one see the soul of a dead man entering or leaving his body? For this reason too, prince, you should think thus: ‘There is another world, there are spontaneously arisen beings, there is a fruit and result of good and evil volitional actions’.”

423. “Whatever friend Kassapa says, this is my view: “There is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions.”

“Is there any reason, prince, that you hold this view: ‘There is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions’?”

“There is, friend Kassapa, a reason why I hold this view …”

“What is that, prince?”

“Herein, friend Kassapa, having caught a thief, my men bring him before me saying: ‘This thief, sir, is an evil-doer; punish him however you wish.’ I say to them: ‘Then, friends, “Weigh this man on the scales, then having killed him by strangling with a bow string, weigh him again.” Having replied, “Very well, they do so. While he was alive he was lighter, softer, and more flexible. After he was dead he was heavier, stiffer, and less flexible. This too, friend Kassapa, is a reason why I say that there is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions.”

#TheAllegoryoftheConchBlowerThe Allegory of the Red-hot Iron Ball

424. “Then, prince, I will make an allegory. Perhaps by means of an allegory a wise man will understand the meaning. [335] It is as if, prince, a man would weigh an iron ball that had been heated for the whole day, burning, blazing, and glowing; then weigh it again after it had cooled. When would it be lighter, softer, and more flexible? When it was burning, blazing, and glowing; or when it had cooled?”

“When, friend Kassapa, that iron ball was burning, blazing, and glowing with the elements of fire and wind, then it would be lighter, softer, and more flexible. When it had become cold, with neither the element of fire nor the element of wind, then it would be heavier, stiffer, and less flexible.”

“In the same way, prince, when the body has the elements of life, heat, and consciousness, then it is lighter, softer, and more flexible. When it has neither the element of life, heat, or consciousness, then it is heavier, stiffer, and less flexible. For this reason too, prince, you should think thus: ‘There is another world, there are spontaneously arisen beings, there is a fruit and result of good and evil volitional actions’.”

425. “Whatever friend Kassapa says, this is my view: “There is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions.”

“Is there any reason, prince, that you hold this view: ‘There is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions’?”

“There is, friend Kassapa, a reason why I hold this view …”

“What is that, prince?”

“Herein, friend Kassapa, having caught a thief, my men bring him before me saying: ‘This thief, sir, is an evil-doer; punish him however you wish.’ [336] I say to them: “Kill this man without damaging his epidermis (chavi), dermis (camma), flesh (maṃsa), sinews (nhāru), bones (aṭṭhi), or bone-marrow (aṭṭhimiñjā), deprive him of life, perhaps we will see his soul leaving.” Having replied to me, ‘Very well,’ they do so. When is not quite dead I say to them: “Then, friends, lay this man on his back.” They lay that man on his back, but we do not see his soul leaving. Then I say to them, “Then, friends, lay this man face-down.” They lay that man face-down, but we do not see his soul leaving. They lay him on his side, on his other side, standing up, upside down, they pummel him with their fists, with clods, with sticks, with swords ... shake him from side-to-side, up and down, perhaps we will see his soul leaving.” They do so. Nevertheless, we do not see his soul leaving. Though he has eyes and there are forms he does not experience the sense-faculty of sight. Though he has ears and there are sounds he does not experience the sense-faculty of hearing. Though he has a nose and there are odours he does not experience the sense-faculty of smell. Though he has a tongue [337] and there are flavours he does not experience the sense-faculty of taste. Though he has a body and there are contacts he does not experience the sense-faculty of touch. This too, friend Kassapa, is a reason why I say that there is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions.”

#TheAllegoryoftheFireworshippingMattedhairAsceticThe Allegory of the Conch-Blower

426. “Then, prince, I will make an allegory. Perhaps by means of an allegory a wise man will understand the meaning. At one time, prince, a certain conch-blower, having taken his conch shell (saṅkhaṃ), went to the outlying districts. He approached a certain village, and having approached, blew his conch shell three times standing in the middle of the village. Putting the conch shell down on the ground, he sat down at one side. Then, prince, the people of those outlying districts thought: ‘Where did that sound come from that is so enchanting, so pleasing, so intoxicating, so addictive, so bewitching?’ Having gathered there they asked the conch-blower: ‘Where did this sound come from that is so enchanting (rajanīyo), so pleasing (kamanīyo), so intoxicating (madanīyo), so addictive (bandhanīyo), so bewitching (mucchanīyo)?’ ‘This conch shell is where those sounds came from, so enchanting, so pleasing, so intoxicating, so addictive, so bewitching.’

“They laid the conch shell on its back saying: ‘Make a sound, conch shell, make a sound.’ The laid it face-down, on its side, on its other side, [338] they pummelled it with their fists, with clods, with sticks, with swords … they shook it from side-to-side, up and down saying: ‘Make a sound, conch shell, make a sound.’ However, the conch shell made no sound.

“Then, prince, that conch-blower thought: ‘How foolish these people from the outlying districts are; how unwisely they seek the sound of the conch-shell.’ As they watched, having taken the conch shell, he blew it three times and went away taking it with him. Then, prince, those people from the outlying districts thought: ‘When this conch shell is accompanied with a man, with effort, and with wind, then this conch shell makes a sound; but without a man, without effort, without wind, it makes no sound.’ In the same way, prince, when this body has life, heat, and consciousness, then it can go and come, stand, sit, or lie down, see forms with the eyes, hear sounds with the ears, smell odours with the nose, taste flavours with the tongue, feel contacts with the body, and know thoughts with the mind. When this body has neither life, heat, nor consciousness then it cannot do this. For this reason too, prince, you should think thus: ‘There is another world, there are spontaneously arisen beings, there is a fruit and result of good and evil volitional actions’.”

427. “Whatever friend Kassapa says, [339] this is my view: “There is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions.”

“Is there any reason, prince, that you hold this view: ‘There is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions’?”

“There is, friend Kassapa, a reason why I hold this view …”

“What is that, prince?”

“Herein, friend Kassapa, having caught a thief, my men bring him before me saying: ‘This thief, sir, is an evil-doer; punish him however you wish.’ I say to them: ‘Cut off his epidermis, perhaps we will see his soul leaving. Nevertheless, we do not see his soul leaving. Then I say to them, ‘Cut off his dermis, cut off his flesh, cut off his sinews, cut out his bones, cut out his bone-marrow, perhaps we will see his soul leaving.’ They do so, nevertheless we do not see his soul leaving. This too, friend Kassapa, is a reason why I say that there is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions.”

#TheAllegoryoftheTwoCaravansThe Allegory of the Fire-worshipping Matted-hair Ascetic

428. “Then, prince, I will make an allegory. Perhaps by means of an allegory a wise man will understand the meaning. At one time, prince, a certain fire-worshipping matted-hair ascetic dwelt in a leaf-hut in the forest. Then, prince, a certain travelling group was on the move, and having stayed one night near the ascetic’s dwelling, they departed. Then, prince, the ascetic thought: [340] ‘I will go to their camp site, perhaps I will find something that I can use.’ Then the ascetic went out early and approached the camp site, and having approached he saw there an abandoned baby boy lying on his back. Having seen him, he thought: ‘It would not be right for me to let a human being die, let me take this boy to my dwelling, feed him, and bring him up.’ Thus the ascetic fed the boy and raised him in his hermitage. When the boy was ten or twelve years old, the fire-worshipping matted-hair ascetic had some business to attend to in the district. Then the ascetic said to that boy: ‘I wish, son, to go to the district; attend to the fire. Do not let the fire go out. If the fire goes out, this is the axe, these are the fire sticks, this is the fire-drill, if the fire should go out you can relight it and attend to it. Then, having instructed the boy, the ascetic left to go to the district. The boy, engrossed in playing games, let the fire go out.

“Then that boy thought: ‘My father said to me, “Son, attend to the fire. Do not let the fire go out. If the fire goes out, this is the axe, these are the fire sticks, this is the fire-drill, if the fire should go out you can relight it and attend to it.” The fire has gone out, so let me relight it and attend to it. [341] Then that boy chopped the fire-drill with the axe (thinking): ‘Perhaps this will make fire,’ but it did not. He chopped the fire-drill into two, three, four, five, ten, a hundred pieces, he splintered it into bits, he pounded it in a mortar, he winnowed it in a strong wind (thinking): ‘Perhaps this will make fire,’ but it did not.

“Then that fire-worshipping matted-hair ascetic, having accomplished his business in the district, approached his own hermitage, and having approached said to that boy: ‘Why, son, has the fire gone out?’ The boy told him that it had gone out while he was engrossed in playing games, and how he had tried to relight it. Then that ascetic thought: ‘How foolish and unskilled this boy is that he seeks fire in this way.’ Then as the boy watched, the ascetic took some fire-sticks and a fire-drill, and started a fire, saying to that boy: ‘This, son, is how a fire should be produced. [342] Not in the foolish, unskilful, and unwise way that you tried to do it.’ In the same way, prince, you foolishly, unskilfully, and unwisely seek the other world. Prince, renounce your evil view, give up your evil view, do not let it be for your prolonged harm and misery.”

429. “Even though, friend Kassapa, says this, I am not able to renounce this evil view. King Pasenadi of Kosala knows of me, and so do foreign kings, ‘Prince Pāyāsi holds this doctrine, this view, “There is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions.” If, friend Kassapa, I renounce this evil view, they will say about me: “How foolish is Prince Pāyāsi, unskilled in grasping things wrongly.” I will maintain it out of anger (kopena), out of stubbornness (makkhena), out of arrogance (palāsa).”

#TheAllegoryoftheDungCarrierThe Allegory of the Two Caravans

430. “Then, prince, I will make an allegory. Perhaps by means of an allegory a wise man will understand the meaning. At one time, prince, a great caravan of a thousand wagons was travelling from the east to the west. Wherever they went they quickly consumed all grass, firewood, and vegetation. This great caravan had two leaders [343] each with five hundred wagons. Therefore the two caravan leaders thought: ‘This great caravan of a thousand wagons quickly consumes all grass, firewood, and vegetation wherever it goes. What if we divide into two caravans of five hundred wagons,’ and they did so. One caravan leader gathered plenty of grass, firewood, and water, and set off. After two or three days that caravan leader saw a dark man with red eyes, coming down the path towards him, carrying a bow and quiver, and wearing a garland of white lotuses. His clothes and hair were wet, his donkey-cart’s wheels were splattered with mud. Seeing him, he said: ‘Friend, where have you come from?’ He replied, ‘From such and such a district.’ ‘Where are you going?’ ‘To such and such a district.’ ‘Has there, friend, been a storm ahead of us?’ ‘Indeed, friend. There has been a storm ahead of you, the path is wet and there is plenty of grass, [344] firewood, and water. Friend, throw away the grass, firewood, and water that you already have, with a light load your wagons will go quicker, do not weary your draught animals.’

“Then the caravan leader said to his wagon drivers: ‘The man said that there has been a storm and the path ahead is wet, there is plenty of grass, firewood, and water. Throw away the grass, firewood, and water that you already have, friends, with a light load your wagons will go quicker, do not weary your draught animals.’ They replied to the caravan leader, ‘Very well, friend,’ and they did so. The caravan then set off with lightened wagons. At the first camp site they saw neither grass, nor firewood, nor water. At the second camp site … At the third camp site … At the fourth camp site … At the fifth camp site … At the sixth camp site … At the seventh camp site … They all came to distress and destruction. Whatever human beings or cattle were in that caravan were eaten by that non-human (amanussa) demon (yakkha), and only bones remained.

“Then the second caravan leader said: ‘Friends, the (first) caravan has long since left.’ They gathered plenty of grass, firewood, and water, and the (second) caravan set off. After two or three days, that caravan leader saw a dark man with red eyes, coming down the path towards him, carrying a bow and quiver, and wearing a garland of white lotuses. His clothes and hair were wet, his donkey-cart’s wheels were splattered with mud. Seeing him, [345] he said: ‘Friend, where have you come from?’ He replied, ‘From such and such a district.’ ‘Where are you going?’ ‘To such and such a district.’ ‘Has there, friend, been a storm ahead of us?’ ‘Indeed, friend. There has been a storm ahead of you, the path is wet and there is plenty of grass, firewood, and water. Friend, throw away the grass, firewood, and water that you already have, with a light load your wagons will go quicker, do not weary your draught animals.’

“Then that caravan leader said: ‘Friends, this man said, “There has been a storm ahead of us, the path is wet and there is plenty of grass, firewood, and water. Friend, throw away the grass, firewood, and water that you already have, with a light load your wagons will go quicker, do not weary your draught animals.” This good man is neither our friend, nor our relative, why should we trust him? Do not throw away the grass, firewood, and water that you already have. Set out with what goods you have.’ Replying to the caravan leader, ‘Very well, friend,’ the caravan set off with the goods that they had. At the first camp site they saw neither grass, [346] nor firewood, nor water. At the second camp site … At the third camp site … At the fourth camp site … At the fifth camp site … At the sixth camp site … At the seventh camp site they saw neither grass, nor firewood, nor water. Then they saw the caravan that had fallen into distress and destruction, and they saw the bones of the human beings and cattle that had been eaten by that non-human demon.

“Then that caravan leader said: ‘This caravan, friends, fell into distress and destruction due to the advice of the foolish caravan leader. Then, friends, throw away whatever in our vehicles is of little value, and take whatever in this caravan is of great value.’ Replying to that caravan leader, ‘Very well, friend,’ they did so. Having heeded the advice of the wise caravan leader they safely crossed over that wilderness. In the same way, prince, you will come to distress and destruction like the first caravan leader if you seek for the other world in the wrong way. Those who believe whatever they hear, they are also heading for distress and destruction, like the wagon drivers. Prince, renounce your evil view, give up your evil view, do not let it be for your prolonged harm and misery.”

431. “Even though, friend Kassapa, says this, I am not able to renounce this evil view. [347] King Pasenadi of Kosala knows of me, and so do foreign kings, ‘Prince Pāyāsi holds this doctrine, this view, “There is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions.” If, friend Kassapa, I renounce this evil view, they will say about me: “How foolish is Prince Pāyāsi, unskilled in grasping things wrongly.” I will maintain it out of anger, out of stubbornness, out of arrogance.”

#TheAllegoryofthePoisonedDiceThe Allegory of the Dung Carrier

432. “Then, prince, I will make an allegory. Perhaps by means of an allegory a wise man will understand the meaning. At one time, prince, there was a swineherd who was going from his own village to another. There he saw a big heap of dried dung that had been thrown away. Seeing it, he thought: ‘This big heap of dried dung will be food for my pigs; I should take it with me.’ Having spread out his upper cloak, he gathered the heap of dung in it, tied it into a bundle, and carried it away on his head.

“As he was going along there was a sudden heavy shower of rain. He continued on his way, splattered with dung oozing and dripping to the tips of his toes. Those people who saw him said: ‘Are you out of your mind, man‽ Are you crazy‽ Why are you carrying this bundle of dung, oozing and dripping down to the tips of your toes‽’ ‘You are the ones out of your minds, you are crazy! [348] This will be food for my pigs.’

“In the same way, prince, you reply like the dung carrier in my allegory. Prince, renounce your evil view, give up your evil view, do not let it be for your prolonged harm and misery.”

433. “Even though, friend Kassapa, says this, I am not able to renounce this evil view. King Pasenadi of Kosala knows of me, and so do foreign kings, ‘Prince Pāyāsi holds this doctrine, this view, “There is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions.” If, friend Kassapa, I renounce this evil view, they will say about me: “How foolish is Prince Pāyāsi, unskilled in grasping things wrongly.” I will maintain it out of anger, out of stubbornness, out of arrogance.”

#TheAllegoryoftheHempCarrierThe Allegory of the Poisoned Dice

434. “Then, prince, I will make an allegory. Perhaps by means of an allegory a wise man will understand the meaning. At one time, prince, two gamblers were gambling with dice. One of the gamblers swallowed the unlucky dice when it fell. The second gambler noticed what he was doing and said: ‘You are always winning. Give me the dice, and I will make a prayer with them.’ The first gambler saying, ‘OK buddy,’ gave the dice to the second gambler. Then that gambler smeared the dice with poison and said to the first gambler, ‘Let’s play again buddy.’ The other replied, ‘OK buddy,’ and they played for a second time. [349] Again the first gambler swallowed the unlucky dice when it fell. Seeing what he was doing again the second gambler said:–

“It is smeared with the hottest fire, but the man who swallows it is not aware.
Swallow! Go on, swallow, you cheat! Afterwards you will regret it bitterly!”

“In the same way, prince, you speak like the first gambler in my allegory. Prince, renounce your evil view, give up your evil view, do not let it be for your prolonged harm and misery.”

435. “Even though, friend Kassapa, says this, I am not able to renounce this evil view. King Pasenadi of Kosala knows of me, and so do foreign kings, ‘Prince Pāyāsi holds this doctrine, this view, “There is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions.” If, friend Kassapa, I renounce this evil view, they will say about me: “How foolish is Prince Pāyāsi, unskilled in grasping things wrongly.” I will maintain it out of anger, out of stubbornness, out of arrogance.”

#GoingforRefugeThe Allegory of the Hemp Carrier

436. “Then, prince, I will make an allegory. Perhaps by means of an allegory a wise man will understand the meaning. At one time, prince, a certain tribe migrated. Then a man said to his friend, ‘Come, buddy, let us go to that district. Perhaps we may find something valuable. ‘Very well, buddy,’ his friend replied. They came to a village street [350] and saw there a big pile of abandoned hemp. He said, ‘This hemp is abandoned. You bundle up as much as you want, and I will bundle up as much as I want, and we will both go having taken bundles of hemp.’ Having agreed, they did so. They came to another village street, and saw there a big pile of abandoned hemp-thread. He said to his friend, ‘The hemp-thread is what we wanted the hemp for. This hemp-thread is abandoned. Throw away the hemp, and bundle up as much hemp-thread as you want, I will bundle up as much as I want, and we will both go having taken bundles of hemp-thread.’ His friend replied, ‘I have brought this bundle of hemp a long way and it is well tied up. It is enough for me; you do as you wish.’ Then his friend threw away his bundle of hemp and took a bundle of hemp-thread.

“Then they reached another village street, and saw there a big heap of abandoned hemp-cloth. ‘This hemp-cloth is what we wanted the hemp or the hemp-thread for. This hemp-cloth is abandoned. Throw away your hemp, I will throw away my hemp-thread. We will both bundle up as much hemp-cloth as we want, and go having taken bundles of hemp-cloth.’ His friend replied, ‘I have brought this bundle of hemp a long way and it is well tied up. It is enough for me; you do as you wish.’ Then his friend threw away his bundle of hemp-thread and took a bundle of hemp-cloth. [351]

“Then they reached another village street, and saw a big heap of abandoned linen (khomaṃ) … linen-thread … linen-cloth … silk (kappāsaṃ) … silk-thread … silk-cloth … copper (lohaṃ) … tin (tipuṃ) … lead (sīsaṃ) … silver (sajjhaṃ) … and saw a big heap of abandoned gold (suvaṇṇaṃ). He said to his friend, ‘This gold is why we wanted the other goods. This big heap of gold is abandoned. Throw away your bundle of hemp and bundle up as much gold as you want, I will bundle up as much as I want, and we will both go having taken bundles of gold.’ His friend replied, ‘I have brought this bundle of hemp a long way and it is well tied up.⁵ It is enough for me; you do as you wish.’ Then his friend threw away his bundle of silver and took a bundle of gold.

“Then they approached their own village. The friend who brought a bundle of hemp neither pleased his parents, nor his wife and children, nor his friends and colleagues, nor did he attain any joy [352] or happiness from it for himself. However, his friend who came back with a bundle of gold pleased his parents, pleased his wife and children, pleased his friends and colleagues, and attained joy and happiness from it for himself. “In the same way, prince, you speak like the hemp carrier in my allegory. Prince, renounce your evil view, give up your evil view, do not let it be for your prolonged harm and misery.”

#TalkonSacrificeGoing for Refuge

437. “I was pleased and delighted with friend Kassapa’s first allegory, but I wanted to hear these eloquent replies to my questions. The Venerable Kassapa is a skilled adversary in debate. Excellent, friend Kassapa, magnificent, friend Kassapa! It is as if, friend Kassapa, what was overturned was set upright, what was hidden was revealed, the right way was pointed out to someone who was lost, or a light was lit in the darkness so that those with eyes could see. Thus, the truth has been explained in various ways by friend Kassapa. I go for refuge to the Venerable (bhavantaṃ) ⁶ Gotama, to the Dhamma, and to the Saṅgha of monks. May friend Kassapa regard me as a disciple gone for refuge from today onwards for as long as I live.”

“I wish, friend Kassapa, to make a great sacrifice (mahāyaññaṃ). Exhort me, Venerable (bhavaṃ) Kassapa, for my welfare and happiness for a long time.”

#TheStoryoftheBrahminYouthUttaraTalk on Sacrifice

438. “That kind of sacrifice, prince, where cattle are killed, goats are killed, chickens are killed, or various kinds of living things are slaughtered, and where the recipients [353] have wrong-view, wrong-thought, wrong-speech, wrong-action, wrong-livelihood, wrong-effort, wrong-mindfulness, and wrong-concentration; such sacrifices, prince, are not of great fruit, great benefit, great splendour, nor very pervasive (mahāvipphāro).⁷ It is as if, prince, a farmer were to enter the forest taking his seeds and plough. There, in an untilled field with unfertile soil where the tree stumps had not been pulled out, he would plant seeds that were broken, rotten, damaged by heat and wind, stale, not prosperous; and the rain god did not send rain at the proper time. Would those seeds germinate, grow, and prosper? Would the farmer get and abundant harvest?” “Indeed not, friend Kassapa.” “In the same way, prince, a sacrifice where cattle are killed … living things are slaughtered, where the recipients are of wrong-view, wrong-thought, wrong-speech, wrong-action, wrong-livelihood, wrong-effort, wrong-mindfulness, and wrong-concentration; such a sacrifice, prince, is not of great fruit, great benefit, great splendour, nor very pervasive.

“That kind of sacrifice, prince, where cattle … living things are not slaughtered, and where the recipients have right-view, right-thought, right-speech, right-action, right-livelihood, right-effort, right-mindfulness, and right-concentration; such sacrifices, prince, are of great fruit, great benefit, great splendour, and very pervasive. It is as if, prince, a farmer were to enter the forest taking his seeds and plough. There, in a well-tilled field with fertile soil where the tree stumps had been pulled out, he would plant seeds [354] that were unbroken, not rotten, undamaged by heat and wind, fresh, prosperous; and the rain god sent rain at the proper time. Would those seeds germinate, grow, and prosper?” “Indeed they would, friend Kassapa.” “In the same way, prince, a sacrifice where cattle … living things are not slaughtered, where the recipients are of right-view, right-thought, right-speech, right-action, right-livelihood, right-effort, right-mindfulness, and right-concentration; such a sacrifice is of great fruit, great benefit, great splendour, and very pervasive.”

#TheDeityPāyāsiThe Story of the Brahmin Youth Uttara

439. Then Prince Pāyāsi established an alms-giving for recluses (samaṇa), priests (brāhmaṇa), the poor (kapaṇa), travellers (addhika), tramps (vaṇibbbaka), and beggars (yācakānaṃ). At that alms-giving this kind of food was given: broken rice porridge with sour gruel; and coarse cloths with ball fringes were given. A brahmin youth named Uttara was put in charge of the distribution. Having given that alms he said: “Through this alms-giving I have been associated with Prince Pāyāsi in this world, but not in the other world.” Prince Pāyāsi heard about this, [355] and having summoned him said: “Is it true, dear Uttara, that you said this?” “Indeed it is, friend.” “Why did you say, dear Uttara, having given the alms: ‘Through this alms-giving I have been associated with Prince Pāyāsi in this world, but not in the other world’? Do we, friend Uttara, not wish to make merit and gain a reward for our charity?”

“Friend, you would not want to touch this kind of food with your foot, much less eat it. You would not want to touch this kind of cloth with your food, much less wear it. You are affectionate and kind to us, how can we reconcile such kindness with coarseness?” “Very well then, dear Uttara, arrange to give such food as I eat and such cloths as I wear.” Having replied, “Very well, friend,” to Prince Pāyāsi he did so. [356]

440. Then Prince Pāyāsi — having given alms carelessly (asakkaccaṃ), not with his own hand (asahatthā), disrespectfully (acittikataṃ), as something discarded (apaviddhaṃ) — on the break-up of the body after death arose among the deities of the Four Great Kings, in the empty Serīsaka mansion. However, Uttara — having given alms carefully, with his own hand, respectfully, not as something discarded — on the break-up of the body after death arose among the deities of the Thirty-three.

#NotesThe Deity Pāyāsi

441. Then on that occasion, the Venerable Gavampati regularly went to the empty Serīsaka mansion to spend the day. Then the deity Pāyāsi approached the Venerable Gavampati, and having approached, paid homage and stood at one side. As the deity Pāyāsi was standing there the Venerable Gavampati said to him: “Who are you, friend?” “I, venerable sir, am Prince Pāyāsi.” “Are you not the one, friend, who held this view: ‘There is no other world, there are no spontaneously arisen beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil volitional actions’? “It is true, venerable sir, I held this view. However, [357] I was dissuaded from this evil view by the Venerable Kumāra Kassapa.” “Where, friend, has the brahmin youth Uttara, who was in charge of your alms-giving, arisen?” “The brahmin youth Uttara — who was in charge of my alms-giving — having given alms carefully, with his own hand, respectfully, not as something discarded — on the break-up of the body after death arose among the deities of the Thirty-three. However, venerable sir, having given alms carelessly, not with my own hand, disrespectfully, as something discarded — on the break-up of the body after death, have arisen among the deities of the Four Great Kings, in this empty Serīsaka mansion. Therefore, Venerable Gavampati, having gone to the world of human beings, tell them: ‘Give alms carefully, with your own hand, respectfully, not as something discarded. Prince Pāyāsi — having given alms carelessly, not with his own hand, disrespectfully, as something discarded, on the break-up of the body after death has arisen about the deities of the Four Great Kings, in the empty Serīsaka mansion. The brahmin youth Uttara — who was in charge of my alms-giving — having given alms carefully, with his own hand, respectfully, not as something discarded — on the break-up of the body after death arose among the deities of the Thirty-three.”

Then the Venerable Gavampati, having returned to the world of human beings, told them: “Give alms carefully, with your own hand, respectfully, not as something discarded. Prince Pāyāsi — having given alms carelessly, not with his own hand, disrespectfully, as something discarded, on the break-up of the body after death has arisen about the deities of the Four Great Kings, in the empty Serīsaka mansion. The brahmin youth Uttara — who was in charge of my alms-giving — having given alms carefully, with his own hand, respectfully, not as something discarded — on the break-up of the body after death arose among the deities of the Thirty-three.”

#PāyāsiSuttaṃTopNotes

1. The Commentary to the Vammika Sutta says there were five monks in the group. The third monk was reborn in the time of the Buddha Gotama as Pukkusāti, the fourth as Bāhiya Dārucīriya, and the fifth as Kumāra Kassapa. Other sources say there were seven in the group, adding Dabba Mallaputta, and Sabhiya Thera.

2.“Bho” is a familiar term of address used towards equals or inferiors. Pāyāsi was not showing due respect as might be expected from a non-believer.

3. Samaṇābrāhmaṇā = recluses and priests. We should distinguish between householders of the brahmin caste, and brahmin priests who live a celibate life, but who are neither recluses nor monastics.

4. The Commentary glosses opabhaggā as pādaparicārikā — a wife or handmaiden. Opabhaggā is not in the PTS dictionary, but upabhogga is something to be enjoyed.

5.  Susannaddha = tightly bound, well tied up. How sad it is that many people are firmly attached to their views. The longer they have held them, the harder it is to give them up. Even when they know their views are faulty, they are reluctant to abandon them and adopt what is clearly a better path.

6. “Bhavantaṃ” is a polite form of address used towards superiors: “Sir, Lord, or Venerable.”

7. “Mahāvipphāro,” spreading far. When a great alms-giving is made, people praise it, and many get to hear about it. If it is insignificant, only those present know about it. The merits of giving depend on the virtue of the recipients, as well as on the virtue and generosity of the giver.