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Puṇṇovāda Suttaṃ

(M.i.359)

An Admonition to Puṇṇa

Thus have I heard — On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthi in Prince Jeta’s grove at the monastery of Anāthapiṇḍika. Then the Venerable Puṇṇa having emerged from seclusion in the evening approached the Blessed One; having approached, he paid homage to the Blessed One and sat down at once side. Sitting on one side the Venerable Puṇṇa said to the Blessed One: “It would be good, venerable sir, if the Blessed One would admonish me in brief, having heard the teaching of the Blessed One I will abide aline, secluded, heedful, diligent, ardent, and resolute.”

“Then, Puṇṇa, listen, pay careful attention, I will speak.”

“Very well, Venerable sir,” the Venerable Puṇṇa replied to the Blessed One.

The Blessed One said: “There are, Puṇṇa, sights cognisable by the eye that are desired (iṭṭhā), lovely (kantā), pleasing (manāpā), enticing (piyarūpa), connected with sensuality (kāmūpasaṃhitā), and inciting lust (rajanīyā). If a monk delights in them (abhinandati), and welcomes them (abhivadati), he clings to them. Delighting in them, welcoming them, and clinging to them, delight arises. I declare, Puṇṇa, ‘With the arising of delight, suffering arises.’

“There are, Puṇṇa, sounds cognisable by the ear ... Odours cognisable by the nose ... flavours cognisable by the tongue ... touches cognisable by the body ... ideas cognisable by the mind that are desired, lovely, pleasing, enticing, connected with sensuality, and inciting lust. If a monk delights in them, and welcomes them, he clings to them. Delighting in them, welcoming them, and clining to them, delight arises. I declare, Puṇṇa, ‘With the arising of delight, suffering arises.’

“Now that I have given you this brief admonition, Puṇṇa, in which country will you dwell?”

“Now that the Blessed One has given me this brief admonition, I will dwell in Sunāparanta.”¹

“The people of Sunāparanta are quick-tempered, Puṇṇa; they speak harshly. If, Puṇṇa, the people of Sunāparanta abuse and scold you, how then will it be for you?”

“If, Venerable sir, the people of Sunāparanta abuse me and scold me, it will be thus for me: ‘These people of Sunāparanta are good (bhaddaka) for they do not hit me with their fists.’ That is how, Blessed One, it will be for me; that is how, Fortunate One, it will be for me.”

“If, Puṇṇa, the people of Sunāparanta hit you with fists, how then will it be for you?”

“If, Venerable sir, the people of Sunāparanta hit me with fists, it will be thus for me: ‘These people of Sunāparanta are good for they do not hit me with clods.’ That is how, Blessed One, it will be for me; that is how, Fortunate One, it will be for me.”

“If, Puṇṇa, the people of Sunāparanta hit you with clods, how then will it be for you?”

“If, Venerable sir, the people of Sunāparanta hit me with clods, it will be thus for me: ‘These people of Sunāparanta are good for they do not hit me with sticks.’ That is how, Blessed One, it will be for me; that is how, Fortunate One, it will be for me.”

“If, Puṇṇa, the people of Sunāparanta hit you with sticks, how then will it be for you?”

“If, Venerable sir, the people of Sunāparanta hit me with sticks, it will be thus for me: ‘These people of Sunāparanta are good for they do not stab me with knives.’ That is how, Blessed One, it will be for me; that is how, Fortunate One, it will be for me.”

“If, Puṇṇa, the people of Sunāparanta stab you with knives, how then will it be for you?”

“If, Venerable sir, the people of Sunāparanta stab me with knives, it will be thus for me: ‘These people of Sunāparanta are good for they do not deprive me of life with sharp knives.’ That is how, Blessed One, it will be for me; that is how, Fortunate One, it will be for me.”

“If, Puṇṇa, the people of Sunāparanta deprive you of life with sharp knives, how then will it be for you?”

“If, Venerable sir, the people of Sunāparanta deprive me of life with sharp knives, it will be thus for me: ‘These people of Sunāparanta are good for there have been disciples who, being vexed by, ashamed of, and disgusted with this body and life, have sought an assassin, but I have been deprived of life without having to seek an assassin.’ That is how, Blessed One, it will be for me; that is how, Fortunate One, it will be for me.”

“Well said, Puṇṇa, well said! Possessing such friendliness and self-control you will be able to dwell in Sunāparanta. It is time, Puṇṇa, for you to do whatever you think fit.”

Then having rejoiced in what the Blessed One had said, the Venerable Puṇṇa got up from his seat, paid homages to the Blessed One, and departed keeping his right side towards him. He then put his dwelling place in order, and taking his bowl and robes set out for Sunāparanta. Travelling in stages, he arrived at Sunāparanta and took up residence there. Then Venerable Puṇṇa dwelt at Sunāparanta. During the Rains Retreat he instructed (paṭivedesi five hundred male lay disciples and five hundred female lay disicples, and himself realised the three knowledges. Then the Venerable Puṇṇa later attained final cessation.

Then many monks approached the Blessed One, and having paid homage to the Blessed One, sat down at one side. Sitting at one side those monks said to the Blessed One: “Venerable sir, the Venerable Puṇṇa instructed in brief by the Blessed One has died. What is his destiny (gati), what is his future (abhisamparāyo)?”

“The Venerable Puṇṇa was wise, monks. He practised in accordance with the Dhamma and did not trouble me with questions about the Dhamma.³ The Venerable Puṇṇa has attained final cessation.”

This is what the Blessed One said. Those monks were pleased and rejoiced in what the Blessed One had said.

Notes:

1. Sunāparanta was the home district of Puṇṇa who was born at Suppāraka a sea-port in the area of Goa. It was 120 leagues (yojana) from Sāvatthi, or about 1,000 miles. The Commentary gives an elaborate story (summarised at the DPPN link) about the Buddha visiting Puṇṇa at Sunāparanta with 500 Arahants.

2. The Sinhala edition of the Pāḷi text here has paṭipādesi, which Bhikkhu Bodhi translates as “established in the practice.” The Thai and Cambodian editions have paṭidesesi. The verb paṭivedeti means to make known, declare, announce. One can only assume that he at least established them in the three refuges, the five precepts, and the practice of meditation.

3. This is an indirect criticism of those monks as if to say: “If you had practised properly in accordance with the Dhamma, as Puṇṇa did, you would not need to bother me with such questions.”

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