මා හට අසන්නට ලැබුනේ මේ විදිහටයි. එ් දිනවල භාග්යවතුන් වහන්සේ වැඩසිටියේ සැවැත් නුවර ජේතවනය නම් වූ අනේපිඬු සිටුතුමාගේ ආරාමයේ. එ් කාලෙ ආයුෂ්මත් මහා කච්චාන තෙරුන් වැඩසිටියේ අවන්ති රටේ කුරරඝර නගරය අසල, පවත්ත කියන පර්වතයේ. එ් දිනවල ආයුෂ්මත් මහා කච්චාන තෙරුන්ට උපස්ථාන කළේ සෝණ කුටිකණ්ණ උපාසකතුමායි. සෝණ කුටිකණ්ණ උපාසකතුමා හුදෙකලාවේ භාවනාවෙන් ඉන්න කොට මෙවැනි කල්පනාවක් ඇති වුනා. ‘ආර්ය වූ මහා කච්චාන තෙරුන් එ් එ් ආකාරයෙන් ධර්මය කියා දෙනවා. එ් එ් ආකාරයෙන් මමත් නුවණින් සිහි කරන කොට මෙහෙම ගිහි ගෙදර ඉඳලා නම් මේ තරම් පිරිපුන්, මේ තරම් පිරිසිදු සුදෝ සුදු බඹසර හැසිරෙන එක ලේසි දෙයක් නොවෙයි. මමත් ගිහි ගේ අත්හැරලා, කෙස් රැුවුල් බාලා, කසාවත් පොරොවාගෙන බුද්ධ ශාසනයේ මහණ වෙනවා නම් කොයිතරම් දෙයක්ද’ කියලා.
ඉතින් සෝණ කුටිකණ්ණ උපාසකතුමා ආයුෂ්මත් මහා කච්චාන තෙරුන් ළඟට ගියා. ගිහින් ආයුෂ්මත් මහා කච්චාන තෙරුන්ට ආදරයෙන් වන්දනා කරලා පැත්තකින් වාඩි වුනා. පැත්තකින් වාඩි වුන සෝණ කුටිකණ්ණ උපාසකතුමා ආයුෂ්මත් මහා කච්චාන තෙරුන්ට මෙහෙම කිව්වා. ”ස්වාමීනී, මං මෙහෙම හුදෙකලාවේ භාවනාවෙන් ඉන්න කොට මේ වගේ කල්පනාවක් ඇතිවුනා. ‘ආර්ය වූ මහා කච්චාන තෙරුන් එ් එ් ආකාරයෙන් ධර්මය කියා දෙනවා. එ් එ් ආකාරයෙන් මමත් නුවණින් සිහි කරන කොට මෙහෙම ගිහි ගෙදර ඉඳලා නම් මේ තරම් පිරිපුන්, මේ තරම් පිරිසිදු සුදෝ සුදු බඹසර හැසිරෙන එක ලේසි දෙයක් නොවෙයි. මමත් ගිහි ගේ අත්හැරලා, කෙස් රැුවුල් බාලා, කසාවත් පොරොවාගෙන බුද්ධ ශාසනයේ මහණ වෙනවා නම් කොයිතරම් දෙයක්ද’කියලා. ස්වාමීනී, ආර්ය වූ මහා කච්චානයන් වහන්සේ මාව පැවිදි කරන සේක්වා!”
මෙහෙම කිව්වට පස්සේ ආයුෂ්මත් මහා කච්චාන තෙරුන් වහන්සේ සෝණ කුටිකණ්ණ උපාසකතුමාට මෙහෙම කිව්වා. ”පින්වත් සෝණ, ජීවිතාන්තය දක්වාම එක වේලෙන් ජීවත් වෙන එක ගොඩාක් දුෂ්කරයි. තනියම හුදෙකලාවෙ ඉන්න එකත් ගොඩාක් දුෂ්කරයි. බඹසර වාසයත් දුෂ්කරයි. එ් නිසා පින්වත් සෝණ, ඔබ මෙහෙම කරන්න. ගිහි ගෙයි වසමින් බුදු සසුනේ යෙදෙන්න. සුදුසු කාලයට (උපෝසථ දවසට* එක වේලෙනුත් ජීවත් වෙන්න. තනියම හුදෙකලාවේ බඹසර ජීවිතෙත් ගත කරන්න”කියලා. ඊට පස්සේ සෝණ කුටිකණ්ණ උපාසකතුමාට පැවිදි වෙන්න තිබුණු එ් වුවමනාව සංසිඳිලා ගියා.
දෙවෙනි වතාවටත් සෝණ කුටිකණ්ණ උපාසකතුමා හුදෙකලාවෙ භාවනාවෙන් ඉන්න කොට මෙවැනි කල්පනාවක් ඇති වුනා. ‘ආර්ය වූ මහා කච්චාන තෙරුන් එ් එ් ආකාරයෙන් ධර්මය කියා දෙනවා. එ් එ් ආකාරයෙන් මමත් නුවණින් සිහි කරන කොට මෙහෙම ගිහි ගෙදර ඉඳලා නම් මේ තරම් පිරිපුන්, මේ තරම් පිරිසිදු සුදෝ සුදු බඹසර හැසිරෙන එක ලේසි දෙයක් නොවෙයි. මමත් ගිහි ගේ අත්හැරලා, කෙස් රැුවුල් බාලා, කසාවත් පොරොවාගෙන බුද්ධ ශාසනයේ මහණ වෙනවා නම් කොයිතරම් දෙයක්ද’කියලා.
දෙවෙනි වතාවටත් ………
මාව පැවිදි කරන සේක්වා!”
ඊට පස්සේ ආයුෂ්මත් මහා කච්චානයන් වහන්සේ සෝණ කුටිකණ්ණ උපාසකතුමා පැවිදි කළා. එ් කාලෙ (සැවැත් නුවරට දකුණු දෙසින් ඇති* අවන්ති ජනපදයේ වැඩසිටියේ භික්ෂූන් වහන්සේලා ටික නමයි. ඊට පස්සේ ආයුෂ්මත් මහා කච්චානයන් වහන්සේ, අවුරුදු තුනක් විතර ගෙවිලා ගියාට පස්සේ, ගොඩක් දුක සේ, ගොඩාක් අමාරුවෙන් එ් එ් තැන්වලින් භික්ෂූන් වහන්සේලා දස නමක් පමණ රැුස් කරගත්තා. ආයුෂ්මත් සෝණයන්ව උපසම්පදා කළා.
ඉන්පසු වස් කාලය ගත කොට නිම වූ ආයුෂ්මත් සෝණයන් විවේකයෙන් හුදෙකලාවේ භාවනාවෙන් වැඩසිටින විට මේ වගේ කල්පනාවක් ඇතිවුනා.‘ඇත්තෙන්ම මම තවම එ් භාග්යවතුන් වහන්සේව මගේ දෑසින් දැක ගත්තෙ නෑ නෙව. එ් භාග්යවතුන් වහන්සේ මෙසේ වන සේක. මේ විදිහට වන සේකැයි කියලා විතරයි මම අහලා තියෙන්නේ. ඉදින්, මගේ උපාධ්යායයන් වහන්සේ අනුදැන වදාරනවා නම්, මමත් එ් භාග්යවත් අරහත් සම්මා සම්බුදුරජාණන් වහන්සේව දැකබලා ගන්න යනවා’කියලා.
ඊට පසු එ් ආයුෂ්මත් සෝණයන් වහන්සේ සවස් කාලෙ භාවනාවෙන් නැගී සිටියා. ආයුෂ්මත් මහා කච්චාන තෙරුන් වැඩසිටි තැනට ගියා. ගිහින් ආයුෂ්මත් මහා කච්චාන තෙරුන්ට ආදරයෙන් වන්දනා කළා. පැත්තකින් වාඩි වුණා. පැත්තකින් වාඩි වුන ආයුෂ්මත් සෝණයන් ආයුෂ්මත් මහා කච්චානයන් වහන්සේට මෙහෙම කිව්වා.
”ස්වාමීනී, මෙහි මම විවේකයෙන් හුදකලාවේ ඉන්න කොට මෙන්න මේ වගේ අදහසක් ඇති වුනා. ‘ඇත්තෙන්ම මම තවම එ් භාග්යවතුන් වහන්සේව මගේ දෑසින් දැක ගත්තෙ නෑ නෙව. එ් භාග්යවතුන් වහන්සේ මෙසේ වන සේක. මේ විදිහට වන සේකැයි කියලා විතරයි මම අහලා තියෙන්නේ. ඉදින්, මගේ උපාධ්යායයන් වහන්සේ අනුදැන වදාරනවා නම්, මමත් එ් භාග්යවත් අරහත් සම්මා සම්බුදුරජාණන් වහන්සේව දැකබලා ගන්න යනවා’ කියලා.””සාදු! සාදු! පින්වත් සෝණ, පින්වත් සෝණ ඔබ යන්න. ගිහිල්ලා භාග්යවත් අරහත් සම්මා සම්බුදුරජාණන් වහන්සේව දැක බලාගන්න.
පින්වත් සෝණ, දුටු පමණින්ම නෙත් සිත් පහන් කරවන්නා වූ, ප්රාසදනීය වූ, ශාන්ත ඉන්ද්රියන් ඇති, ශාන්ත වූ සිත් ඇති, උතුම් වූ සංසිඳීමටත්, දමනයටත් පැමිණි. දාන්ත වූ, මනා කොට හික්මුණු, එ් යතීන්ද්ර වූ නාගයන් වහන්සේව බැහැදකින්න. බැහැදැකලා මගේ වචනයෙන් භාග්යවතුන් වහන්සේගේ සිරි පා කමල් මත හිස තබා වන්දනා කරන්න. ………. ”එසේය, ස්වාමීනී” කියලා ආයුෂ්මත් සෝණයන් වහන්සේ ආයුෂ්මත් මහා කච්චානයන් වහන්සේගේ වචන සතුටින් පිළිගත්තා. අනුමෝදන් වුනා.
ආසනයෙන් නැගිටලා ආයුෂ්මත් මහා කච්චානයන් වහන්සේට ආදරයෙන් වන්දනා කළා. ප්රදක්ෂිණා කළා. සෙනසුන පිළිවෙලකට තැබුවා. පාත්ර සිවුරු අරගෙන සැවැත් නුවර බලා චාරිකාවේ පිටත් වුනා. අනුපිළිවෙලින් චාරිකාවේ වඩිමින්, එ් භාග්යවතුන් වහන්සේ වැඩසිටින සැවැත් නුවර ජේතවනය නම් වූ අනේපිඬු සිටුතුමාගේ ආරාමයට පැමිණුනා. පැමිණිලා භාග්යවතුන් වහන්සේට ආදරයෙන් වන්දනා කළා. පැත්තකින් වාඩි වුනා. පැත්තකින් වාඩිවුන ආයුෂ්මත් සෝණයන් භාග්යවතුන් වහන්සේට මෙහෙම කිව්වා.
”ස්වාමීනී, මගේ උපාධ්යාය වූ මහා කච්චානයන් වහන්සේ භාග්යවතුන් වහන්සේගේ සිරි පා කමල් මත හිස තබා වඳිනවා. ආබාධ රහිත බවත්, රෝග රහිත බවත්, සැහැල්ලූ බවත්, කාය බලයත්, පහසු විහරණයත් විමසනවා.””පින්වත් භික්ෂුව, ඉවසන්නට පුළුවන් වුනාද? (මඟ තොට පීඩා නැතුව* පහසුවෙන් යැපුනාද? කොහොමද ඔබ මේ දුර මාර්ගය අපහසුවක් නැතුව ආවාද? පිණ්ඩපාතයෙන් අපහසුවක් වුනේ නැද්ද?”
”භාග්යවතුන් වහන්ස, ඇත්තෙන්ම ඉවසන්න පුළුවන් වුනා. මම පහසුවෙන් යැපුනා. ස්වාමීනී, මේ දුර මාර්ගය වැඩි මහන්සියක් නැතුවම මම ආවා. පිණ්ඩපාතයෙනුත් අපහසුවක් වුනේ නෑ”
ඉන්පසුව භාග්යවතුන් වහන්සේ ආයුෂ්මත් ආනන්ද තෙරුන් අමතා වදාළා. ”පින්වත් ආනන්ද, මේ ආගන්තුක භික්ෂුවට සේනාසනයක් පිළියෙල කරන්න.”
ඊට පස්සේ ආයුෂ්මත් ආනන්ද තෙරුන්ට මෙහෙම හිතුනා. ‘යම්කිසි භික්ෂුවක් වෙනුවෙන් භාග්යවතුන් වහන්සේ මට වදාළ සේක් නම් ‘පින්වත් ආනන්ද, මේ ආගන්තුක භික්ෂුවට සේනාසනයක් පිළියෙල කරන්න’ කියලා (එ් කියන්නේ* භාග්යවතුන් වහන්සේ ඒ භික්ෂුව සමඟ එකම විහාරයක වැඩ සිටින්නට කැමැති බවයි. භාග්යවතුන් වහන්සේ ආයුෂ්මත් සෝණයන් සමඟ එකම විහාරයක වැඩසිටින්නට කැමැතියි.’ ඉතින් භාග්යවතුන් වහන්සේ වැඩඉන්න විහාරයේම ආයුෂ්මත් සෝණයන්ටත් සේනාසනයක් පැණෙව්වා.
ඊට පස්සේ භාග්යවතුන් වහන්සේ රාත්රී බොහෝ වේලාවක් එළිමහනේ වැඩසිටිමින් කල්යවා, සිරි පා යුග දොවා විහාරයට වැඩම කළා. ආයුෂ්මත් සෝණයන්ද රාත්රී එළිමහනේ සිට කල්යවා, පා සෝදා ගෙන විහාරයට පිවිසියා. ඉන්පසු භාග්යවතුන් වහන්සේ ? පාන්දර වේලේ අවදි වෙලා ආයුෂ්මත් සෝණයන් වහන්සේව ඇමතුවා.
”පින්වත් භික්ෂුව, ඔබ ඉගෙන ගත් ධර්මය ප්රකාශ කරන්න” කියලා.”එසේය, ස්වාමීනී” කියලා ආයුෂ්මත් සෝණයන් පිළිතුරු දුන්නා. (සුත්ත නිපාතයේ* අට්ඨක වර්ගයට අයත් දහසයක් වූ සියලූම සූත්ර දේශනාවන් ඉතාම මිහිරට හඬ නගා පැවසූ එ් දහම් ඉතා සතුටින් අනුමෝදන් වී වදාළා.”සාදු! සාදු! පින්වත් භික්ෂුව, අට්ඨක වර්ගයට අයත් සූත්ර ඔබ ඉතා හොඳින් ඉගෙන ගෙන තියෙනවා. ඉතා හොඳින් නුවණින් විමසලා තියෙනවා. අර්ථයත් ඉතා හොඳින් සිතේ ධාරණය කරගෙන තියෙනවා. ඉතාම යහපත් වචනවලින් යුක්තයි. අර්ථ විසිරිලා නෑ. පැටලෙන වචන නෑ. අර්ථය මැනැවින්ම මතුවෙනවා. පින්වත් භික්ෂුව, ඔබ උපසම්පදා වෙලා අවුරුදු කීයක් වෙනවාද?””භාග්යවතුන් වහන්ස, මම තවම උපසම්පදාවෙන් එක් අවුරුද්දයි.””පින්වත් භික්ෂුව, ඔබ ඇයි මෙච්චර කාලයක් ගත්තේ?”
”ස්වාමීනී, මා විසින් බොහෝ කලකට පෙර තමයි මේ කාමයන්ගේ ආදීනව දැක්කේ. නමුත් ස්වාමීනී, මේ ගිහි ජීවිතේදී ගොඩාක් බාධක තියෙනවා. ගොඩාක් කටයුතුත් තියෙනවා. කරන්නට ඕන දේවලූත් බොහෝම තියෙනවා.(එ් නිසයි ප්රමාද වුනේ.*”
ඉතින් භාග්යවතුන් වහන්සේ මේ කරුණ දැනගෙන, එ් වෙලාවේ මේ උදානය වදාළා.
”ජීවිතය නැමැති ලෝකයේ ආදීනව දැක්කට පස්සේ එ් අමා නිවන එකම සැනසීම හැටියට දැනගත්තට පස්සේ, ආර්ය පුද්ගලයා පව්වල ඇලෙන්නේ නෑ. පාපී දේවල් කවදාවත් පිරිසිදු කෙනාගේ ඇලෙන්නේ නෑ.”
සාදු! සාදු!! සාදු!!!
ආයුෂ්මත් සෝණකුටිකණ්ණ නම් රහත් මුනිඳුන් වදාළ ගාථාව
5.1.11.-1 “මාත් උපසම්පදාව ලබාගත්තා. නිකෙලෙස් වූ චිත්ත විමුක්තිය ඇති කරගත්තා. භාග්යවතුන් වහන්සේව බැහැ දකින්ට ගිය වෙලාවේ ඒ බුදු සමිඳාණන් වැඩවසන විහාරයේ පවා මට වාසය කරන්නට ලැබුණා.”
5.1.11.-2 “එදා රාත්රී බොහෝ වෙලාවක් යනතුරු භාග්යවතුන් වහන්සේ සක්මන් කරමිනුයි වැඩසිටියේ. විවිධාකාර සමාපත්තිවලින් වැඩසිටින්ට දක්ෂ වූ අපගේ ශාස්තෘන් වහන්සේ එකල ගන්ධ කුටියට වැඩි සේක.”
5.1.11-3 “ඒ ගෞතම සමිඳාණන් දෙපට සිවුර අතුරා සිංහ සෙය්ය්යාවෙන් සැතපුණේ බිය තැති ගැනීම් කිසිවක් නැතිව ගල්ලෙනක වාසය කරන සිංහ රාජයෙක් වගේ.”
5.1.11.-4 “එදා එතනදී සම්බුදු සමිඳාණන්ගේ ශ්රාවකයෙක් වූ, මිහිරි ලෙස කතා කරන, සෝණ කුටිකණ්ණ, ඒ ශ්රේෂ්ඨ වූ බුදු සමිඳාණන් ඉදිරියේ දහම් දෙසුවා.”
5.1.11.-5 “පංච උපාදානස්කන්ධයන්ගේ සැබෑ තත්වය අවබෝධ කරගත්තා. ආර්ය අෂ්ටාංගික ධර්මය ප්රගුණ කරගත්ත පරම ශාන්තියට පත්වුණා. නිකෙලෙස් සිතින් පිරිනිවන් පාන්නට ඔහුට දැන් පුළුවන්.”
Arahat Sona-Kotikanna. Thero
A Thera, declared chief – of those possessing clear utterance (A.i.24). He was the son of Kālī Kuraragharikā, and was conceived before the Buddha appeared in the world. (According to ThagA.i.429, his father was a rich setthi; no mention is made there of his mother).
A little while before the birth of the child Kālī went to her parents’ house in Rājagaha, and one day, as she was cooling herself, she heard a conversation between two Yakkhas, Sātāgira and Hemavata. As she listened to their talk, her mind was filled with thoughts of the virtues of the Buddha, and she became a sotāpanna. That same night the child was born and was called Sona. His mother later returned to Kuraraghara. At that time Mahā Kaccāna lived near by and often visited her home. Sona was very attached to him, and was later ordained by him. Three years later he received the upasampadā, and, with Mahā Kaccāna’s leave, visited the, Buddha. Kālī gave him a large carpet to spread in the Buddha’s Gandhakuti.
When Sona arrived at the Gandhakuti, he worshipped the Buddha, who asked Ananda to find him a lodging. Ananda, reading the Buddha’s thoughts, spread a rug in the Buddha’s chamber. Late at night Sona went to bed, and, very early the next morning, the Buddha woke him and asked him to recite the Dhamma. Sona recited the whole of the Atthakavagga, which he had learnt from Mahā Kaccāna. At the end of the recital the Buddha applauded him and gave him a boon. Sona asked for the “Vinaya-dharapañcamaganena upasampadā, which Kaccāna had asked him to choose. (This means permission to admit a monk into the Order with a chapter of only five monks, one of whom was versed in the Vinaya. For details of Sona’s visit to the Buddha, see Vin.i.194ff.; cf. Ud.v.6). Later he returned to Kuraraghara and visited his mother’s house. She had heard of the Buddha’s applause from the devas, and wished Sona to recite the Dhamma just as he had done before the Buddha, and this he did.
In the time of Padumuttara Buddha Sona had resolved to win this eminence. In the time of Vipassī Buddha he was a member of the Order and sewed a robe for a monk. Later he was a tailor of Benares and mended a Pacceka Buddha’s robe (Thag.vss.365-9; AA.i.133f.; ThagA.i.429).
The Dhammapada Commentary says (DhA.iv.103f) that, on the day when Sona recited the Dhamma in Kuraraghara, Kālī went to listen to him, leaving only one female slave in the house. Her house had seven walls and fortified gates and savage dogs on leash. Molten lead flowed round the walls at night, and in the night it proved a slippery surface, difficult to walk on. Nine hundred thieves had been awaiting a chance of breaking into the house, and this day they saw their opportunity. They stationed one of their number to watch Kālī going to the monastery, and to kill her if she started homewards after the thieves entered her house. When they came her female servant ran to the monastery to tell her about it. But she would not be disturbed and sent her back. Again the servant went, and again she was sent back. When the thief, stationed near Kālī, saw her extraordinary piety, he was filled with remorse, and, at the end of the sermon, begged her forgiveness. All the nine hundred thieves joined the Order under Sona Kutikanna, and on the day they became arahants the Buddha appeared before them in a ray of light to encourage them.
According to the Udāna Commentary (UdA.307), Sona was called Kutikanna because he wore ear ornaments worth one crore (koti). It is said that he once went with a caravan to Ujjeni, and when the caravan stopped for the night he slept away from the rest of its members. The caravan started very early and nobody waked Sona. When he finally awoke, he ran along the road till he came to a large tree. There he saw an ugly man tearing off his own flesh and eating it. On enquiry, Sona learnt that he had been a wicked merchant of Bhārukaccha, who had been born as a peta because he had deceived his patrons. This revelation filled Sona with great misgivings, which were increased by the sight of two peta boys with blood pouring out of their lips. They had been youths, also of Bhārukaccha, who had found fault with their mother for feeding an arahant monk. When Sona returned from Ujjeni he consulted Mahā Kaccāna about these things, and resolved to enter the Order.
The Vinaya says (Vin.i.195f) that when Kaccāna wished to confer the higher ordination on Sona, it was three years before he could get together the necessary chapter of ten monks. This was because there were but few monks in Avanti and in the Southern Country; hence Sona’s request to the Buddha that he should allow five monks to officiate in Avanti. Other boons asked for by Sona and allowed by the Buddha were:
- (1) Permission to use, in Avanti, shoes with thick linings, because the soil of Avanti was black and always muddy;
- (2) permission to bath constantly;
- (3) to use skins for coverlets;
- (4) to accept robes set apart for absent monks even after the lapse of ten days.
Sona is evidently identical with Pātihīrasaññaka of the Apadāna (Ap.ii.392). Gosāla Thera was a friend of Sona Kutikanna. ThagA.i.79.
She is described as the among laywomen as the best of those who believe even from hearsay (anussavappasannānam) (A.i.26).
She was the mother of Sona Kutikanna, and her husband belonged to Kuraraghara in Avanti. When with child, she came to her parents in Rājagaha, and there, while enjoying the cool breeze on the balcony above her roof (sīhapañjare), she overheard the conversation which took place between Sātāgira and Hemavata on the excellences of the Buddha and of his teaching (Especially the dhammacakkappavattana sutta) ; as she listened, faith in the Buddha grew in her and she became a sotāpanna. That same night Sona was born. Later, Kālī returned to Kuraraghara and there waited on Mahā Kaccāna. When Sona entered the Order under Kaccāna and visited the Buddha, she gave him a costly rug to be spread in the Buddha’s chamber. When Sona returned home after this visit, Kālī asked him to preach to her in the same way as he had earlier preached to the Buddha, earning the applause of the Buddha himself and of the devas of the ten thousand worlds.
Kālī was considered most senior among the women who became sotāpannas (sabbamātugāmānam antare pathamakasotāpannā sabbajetthikā) (AA.i.133ff; SnA.i.208f). She was the constant companion and staunch friend of Kātiyāni (AA.i.245). Kālī’s wish to attain to the eminence which she reached in this life was made in the time of Padumuttara Buddha when she heard a laywoman declared pre-eminent among those who had begotten faith by hearsay (AA.i.247).
A conversation between her and Mahā Kaccāna is related in the Kālī Sutta.
The Buddha, while staying at the Nigrodhārāma, visits his kinswoman Kāligodhā of Kapilavatthu, and tells her of the four qualities to be found in the sotāpanna –
- unwavering loyalty to the Buddha,
- the Dhamma and
- the Sangha,
- freedom from all taint of stinginess,
- delight in self-surrender and
- in the dispensing of charitable gifts.
Kāligodhā states that she possesses all these qualities. S.v.396.
The Chapter of Octads
The Atthaka Vagga,(‘chapter containing suttas with eight verses’ – although some suttas have more than eight verses) is the fourth chapter of the Sutta Nipata. Its last three suttas are translated here by Tahn Varado.
Venerable Mahakaccana was one of the eminent disciples of the Buddha, considered chief amongst monks who could explain in full the brief sayings of the Buddha. He was born in Ujjeni town (modern-day Ujjain) in an area called Avanti. This area, now part of modern-day Madhya Pradesh, lay 400 kilometres south-west of Savatthi, one of the centres of early Buddhism. Having travelled to visit the Buddha and having attained arahantship, he returned to Avanti.
Venerable Mahakaccana had a lay supporter in Avanti called Sona Kutikanna. Sona was a layperson, and keen to become a monk, but Venerable Mahakaccana discouraged him by recounting the difficulties of the monks’ life: “Difficult, Sona, for as long as life lasts are solitary sleeping places, eating once a day and the brahmacariya (celibacy). Please Sona, remain a householder as you are and on the Observance days practise the solitary sleeping place, the one meal a day and the brahmacariya.”
Sona was not to be discouraged, however, and eventually Venerable Mahakaccana agreed to give him ordination. As they were so far from the centre of Buddhist practice in India, it took three years to gather the necessary quorum of monks for the ceremony. After spending his first vassa (rainy season) in Avanti, Venerable Sona felt it was time to go and visit the Buddha. When he asked his preceptor for permission, his preceptor replied: “Yes, very good, Sona. Go and see the Blessed One, the Arahant, the Perfectly Self-Awakened One. You will see the Blessed One, lovely to behold, inspiring confidence, with senses calmed, with tranquil mind, attained to the greatest self-mastery and calm, who is tamed, watchful, well controlled, a Great Being. In my name, bow your head to his feet and say, ‘My preceptor, Venerable Mahakaccana, bows his head to your feet and asks if you are well, in good health, with little illness, vigorous and abiding in comfort.’”
With this, Venerable Sona set off and eventually arrived at Jeta’s Grove, Anathapindika’s Monastery in Savatthi and paid his respects to the Buddha. The Buddha said to his attendant monk, Venerable Ananda, “Assign a place for this visiting monk to rest.” Venerable Ananda thought, “The Lord wants to share a dwelling with this visiting monk,” and assigned him a place in the Buddha’s own dwelling.
The Buddha and Venerable Sona spent the early part of that night meditating outside then rested till early dawn. When the Buddha arose he invited Venerable Sona to speak Dhamma. Venerable Sona recited the Chapter of Octads. When he had finished, the Buddha praised him saying:
“Well done, monk! The Chapter of Octads is well memorised by you. You have pondered it carefully, reflected upon it thoroughly. You have a beautiful voice, a good delivery, and clear articulation. You made the meaning clear. How long have you been a monk?”
“I am of one year’s standing, Lord.”
“How did it take you so long to receive ordination?”
“For long Lord, I have seen the danger of sensuality, but the household life is obstructive: it involves many duties and obligations.” (Vin.1.194-7)
The Buddha later declared:
Chief among my monks who are of beautiful speech is Sona Kutikanna. (AN.1.24)
14: The Quick Discourse
I ask the Kinsman of the Sun, the Great Master,
About seclusion and the state of peace.
Seeing in what way is a monk free of passion,
Grasping at nothing in the world?
A sage should put an end to the root cause of psychological distortion,
The thought “I am.”
He should train himself to abolish whatever craving he finds in himself.
Whatever he is aware of, either within himself or externally,
He should not allow it to be a cause of obstinacy,
For this is not called peaceful by the Good;
He should not think himself to be better, inferior or equal on account of anything.
Although affected by a variety of experiences
He should not acquiesce in the thought of self.
A monk should find peace within.
He should not seek it from someone else.
For one who is peaceful within,
Having taken up nothing,
How could he reject anything?
In the depths of the ocean
There is no ebb and flow
Nor do waves swell up.
So in the monk,
There should be neither the ebb and flow of desire
Nor swellings of conceit about anything.
The Seer, the Dhamma Eyewitness, has proclaimed the removal of danger.
Now, Venerable Sir, speak about the path of practice,
About monastic discipline, and also about samadhi.
A person should not have covetous eyes.
He should close his ears to ordinary chatter.
He should not be greedy for flavours.
He should not cherish anything in the world.
In whatever way he is affected by sense contact
He should not lament over anything.
He should not long for continued existence.
He should not tremble amidst danger.
He should not store up what is given to him
Whether it is rice, other food, drinks or clothing,
Nor should he be concerned if he gets nothing.
Being meditative, a bhikkhu should not be foot-loose.
He should desist from worrying.
He should not be indolent.
He should live in lodgings where there is little noise.
He should not be given to oversleeping.
Being zealous, he should be given to wakefulness.
He should abandon laziness, deception, merriment,
Various kinds of amusements, sexual matters, and anything else like it.
A disciple of mine should not practice sorcery
Nor interpret dreams, tell fortunes, practise astrology, or interpret animal cries.
Neither should he treat infertility, nor practice medicine.
A monk should not fear blame,
Nor should he be conceited when praised.
He should drive out greed, selfishness, anger and malicious speech.
A monk should not engage in buying and selling.
He should not abuse anyone for any reason.
He should not linger in the village.
He should not chatter with people in the hope of gain.
A monk should not be a boaster.
He should not speak scheming words.
He should not make a habit of impudence.
He should not utter quarrelsome speech.
He should not be moved to tell lies.
He should not be deliberately treacherous.
He should not despise others for their way of life,
For their wisdom,
Or for their moral conduct and religious practices.
If contemplatives or ordinary people irritate him with their talkativeness
He should not respond harshly.
For the peaceful do not retaliate.
Knowing this Dhamma,
An ever mindful monk who investigates it should train himself in it.
Knowing the cooling of desire as Peace,
He should not be negligent in applying Gotama’s teaching.
The unconquered Conqueror
Realised Dhamma through his own insight, not through hearsay.
So, with regards to the Blessed One’s teaching,
One who is diligent should constantly venerate it by following his example.
15: Discourse on Violence
Violence breeds fear.
Looking at people in conflict,
I will tell you of my dismay, how moved I was.
I saw people floundering,
Feuding with each another like fish in a small pool.
When I realised this, dread arose in me.
The world is entirely worthless.
Every quarter is in turmoil.
Wanting somewhere for myself,
I saw nowhere that wasn’t taken.
Seeing nothing in the end but competition, I became disgusted.
Then I saw a splinter, hard to see, embedded in people’s hearts.
A person affected by this splinter rushes about in all directions.
But on pulling it out he neither rushes about nor dwindles away.
[Now follows the recitation of the training rules:]
Whatever is binding in the world, you should not pursue it.
Having wisely seen sensual pleasures, you should train yourself for Nibbana.
Be truthful, modest, not underhand, and rid of malicious speech.
Free of anger, the sage should overcome greed and selfishness.
He should conquer sleepiness, weariness and sloth.
He should not live negligently.
The man whose heart is set on Nibbana
Should not allow himself to be conceited.
He should not sink to false speech.
He should not cultivate lust for physical forms.
He should comprehend pride.
He should abstain from impetuous behaviour.
He should not be nostalgic for the past.
He should not relish what is new.
He should not grieve for what is lost
Nor be bound to whatever comes forth.
I call greed “the great deluge.”
Lust I call “the torrent.”
Plans are “the basis of the operation.”
Sense pleasure is “hard-to-cross mud.”
Not deviating from truth,
The sage, the Brahman, stands on high ground.
Having forsaken everything
He is called “truly peaceful”.
In discovering, he is the knower of the highest.
Having found Dhamma, he is emancipated.
Wandering through the world in the right way
He does not envy anyone here.
Whoever here goes beyond sensual pleasure,
An attachment hard to leave behind,
Is free of sorrow and anxiety.
With the torrent of craving destroyed, he is free of bonds.
Let wither what is gone.
Let there not be for you anything to come.
If you do not take up what is in between,
You will live at peace.
For whom there is nothing cherished in this body/mind complex,
And who does not grieve over what does not exist,
He suffers no loss in the world.
For whoever there is no thought “This is mine,”
Or “This belongs to others,”
Who has no feelings of possessiveness,
He does not grieve for anything, thinking “It is not mine”.
Being free of cruelty, hankering and craving,
And being everywhere tranquil:
When asked, I say that all these are the blessings for those who are unshakeable.
A person without craving, one of discernment,
Is free of accumulated kamma.
He abstains from initiating new kamma.
He knows safety everywhere.
The sage does not speak of himself as someone superior, inferior or equal.
At peace, unselfish, he neither possesses nor dispossesses.
16: Discourse with Sariputta
Never before have I seen or heard
Of a teacher coming from the host of Tusita heaven,
One having such lovely speech.
For the sake of the world with its gods
The Seer appears thus.
Having dispelled all darkness,
He alone has attained delight.
To that Buddha, unentangled,
Of such good qualities, sincere,
Having arrived here with his following,
I come with a question
On behalf of the many people here who are fettered.
For a monk repelled by the world,
Resorting to a lonely sitting place,
The foot of a tree, a cemetery, a mountain cave,
Or to various sleeping places:
How many fearful things are there at which he need not tremble,
There in his quiet abode?
For the monk going where he never before has gone,
How many are the difficulties that he must bear,
There, in his secluded abode?
What should be his manner of speech?
What should be the range of his conduct?
What should be that resolute monk’s precepts and religious practices?
For one attentive, prudent and mindful,
Undertaking what training could he remove his inner dross
Like a silversmith purifying molten silver?
As one who knows, I will explain to you
What comfort is for someone repelled by the world,
For someone resorting to a lonely place for practice,
Desiring awakening in accordance with Dhamma.
A sage, a bhikkhu, mindful, having a circumscribed lifestyle
Need not be afraid of five fears:
Horseflies, mosquitoes, snakes, humans and animals.
He need not be frightened by those following other religious teachings
Even on seeing their manifold threat.
He must bear other difficulties too, as he seeks what is wholesome.
Affected by illness and hunger,
By cold and suffocating heat, he should bear it.
That homeless one affected in many ways
Should put forth energy and make a firm endeavour.
He must not steal.
He must not lie.
He should touch beings with good-will,
Both the timid and the mettlesome.
When he is conscious that his mind is agitated
He should allay it with the thought:
“It is part of Darkness.”
He should not come under the influence of anger or conceit;
He should abide having uprooted them.
Then he should master what is loved and unloved.
Delighted by what is morally good,
He should conquer his difficulties.
He must overcome discontent in his secluded resting place.
He should overcome four laments:
“What will I eat?”
“Where will I eat?”
“How uncomfortably I slept!”
“Where will I sleep tonight?”
The person in training, wandering homeless,
Should subdue such thoughts which lead to lamentation.
When offered food and clothing at the appropriate time
He should know how much is enough for contentment.
Constrained in this respect, he should wander in the village with care.
Even when provoked, he must not speak a harsh word.
He should be restrained with his eyes.
He should not roam about.
He should apply himself to jhana.
He should be very vigilant.
He should develop equanimity and composure.
He should cut off the tendency to doubt and worry.
When being reprimanded,
Maintaining presence of mind, he should welcome it.
He must destroy any unfriendliness he might have for his fellows in the holy life.
He should utter words that are skilful and timely.
He should not think about things which are matters of gossip.
There are five kinds of impurity
For the removing of which he mindfully should train.
He should overcome passion for
Forms, sounds, tastes, smells, and tactile sensations.
Being possessed of mindfulness,
With a mind that is well-freed,
A monk should remove his desires for these things.
Contemplating Dhamma at suitable times in suitable ways,
With an attentive mind, he should put an end to Darkness.
(Forest Sangha newsletter)
1. Now at that time the venerable Mahâ Kakkayana was staying in Avanti on the hill called the Precipice, near Kuraraghara. And at that time the lay-disciple named Sona Kutikanna was the personal attendant upon the venerable Mahâ Kakkayana.
And the disciple Sona Kutikanna went to the place where the venerable Mahâ Kakkayana was, and saluted him, and took his seat beside him. And when he was thus seated, he said to the venerable Mahâ Kakkayana:
‘ As I understand the doctrine laid down by the venerable Mahâ Kakkayana, it is difficult for the man who dwells at home to live the higher life in all its fulness, in all its purity, in all its bright perfection. I wish therefore to cut off my hair and beard, to clothe myself in the orange-coloured robes, and to go forth from the household life into the houseless state. May the venerable Mahâ Kakkayana receive me into the Order of those who have renounced the world!’
2. ‘ Hard is it, Sona, your life long to live the higher life using only one bed, and with but one meal a day. Do you, therefore, Sona, remain in the state of a householder, and practise only for a time the higher life, the precepts of the Buddhas, using only one bed, and with but one meal a day.’ Then the desire for renunciation which had arisen in the disciple Sona Kutikanna abated in him.
A second time the disciple Sona Kutikanna [made the same request, and received the same reply with the same result].
And a third time Sona Kutikanna made the same request. Then the venerable Mahâ Kakkayana conferred the pabbagga (ordination) on the disciple Sona Kutikanna.
Now at that time in the Southern country and in Avanti there were but few Bhikkhus. And it was only after the lapse of three years that the venerable Mahâ Kakkayana was able, with difficulty, and with trouble, to get together a meeting of the Order in which ten Bhikkhus were present. And then he admitted the venerable Sona into the higher rank of the Order.
3. Now when the venerable Sona had passed the rainy season there sprang up in his mind, when he was meditating alone, this thought:
‘ I have heard indeed that the Blessed One is such and such a one. But I have not as yet seen him face to face. I should like to go and visit the Blessed One, the Arahat Buddha, if my superior would allow me.’
And in the evening the venerable Sowa, leaving his solitude, went to the place where the venerable Mahâ Kakk’iyana was, and saluted him, and took his seat beside him. And when he was thus seated, he said to the venerable Mahâ Kakkayana:
4. ‘ When I was meditating alone, venerable Sir, the following thought occurred to my mind,” I have heard (&c, as above).” Now I would go and visit the Blessed One, the Arahat Buddha, if you, as my superior, allow it.’
‘ That is good, that is good, Sona! Go then, Sona, to visit the Blessed One, the Arahat Buddha. You shall see, Sowa, how the Blessed One arouses faith, is worthy of faith, calm in his senses, calm in his mind, gifted with the highest self-control and quietude, an elephant among men, subdued, guarded, with his senses in subjection to himself. Do you therefore, Sona, bow down in my name at the feet of the Blessed One, and say, ” Lord! my superior, the venerable Maha Kakkayana, bows down in salutation at the feet of the Blessed One!” and add, ” In the Southern country and in Avanti there are, Lord, but few Bhikkhus. And it was only after the lapse of three years that with difficulty and with trouble an assembly of the Order was got together, in which ten members were present, and I could be received into the higher rank of the Order. May the Blessed One be pleased, therefore, to allow the higher ordination in the Southern country and in Avanti before a meeting of a lesser number. In the Southern country and in Avanti, Lord, the soil is black on the surface ‘, rough, and trampled by the feet of cattle. May the Blessed One be pleased, therefore, to allow the use, in the Southern country and in Avanti, of shoes with thick linings. In the Southern country and in Avanti, Lord, men attach great importance to bathing, and are pure by use of water. May the Blessed One be pleased to allow, in the Southern country and in Avanti, the constant use of the bath. In the Southern country and in Avanti, Lord, skins, such as sheep-skins, goat-skins, and deer-skins, are used as coverlets. Just as in the Middle country the eragu, moragu, magghâru, and gantu grasses are used for coverlets, so are sheep-skins, goat-skins, and deer-skins in the Southern country and in Avanti. May the Blessed One be pleased to allow the use of such coverlets there. At present, Lord, people are in the habit of giving a set of robes to Bhikkhus, who have left the district, saying, ‘ We give this set of robes to (a Bhikkhu) of such and such a name.’ When they return, the Bhikkhus tell them, ‘ A set of robes has been given to you by a person of such and such a name.’ But they, fearing to offend, do not accept it, saying, ‘ Let us not be guilty of a Nissaggiya.’ May the Blessed One be pleased to’ make a detailed statement in the matter of robes.'” ‘ Even so, Lord,’ said the venerable Sona in assent to the venerable Mahâ Kakkayana, and, rising from his seat, he departed thence, keeping his right side towards him. And taking up his bed, he went on with his robe on, and his bowl in his hand to Sâvatthi.
8. And wandering from place to place he arrived at the place where the Blessed One was, at Sâvatthi in the Getavana, Anâtha-pindika’s park. And when he had come there he saluted the Blessed One, and took his seat beside him.
Then the Blessed One said to the venerable Ananda: ‘ Make ready a sleeping-place, Ananda, for this Bhikkhu who has just arrived.’ And the venerable Ananda thought:
‘ In as much as the Blessed One commands me to make ready a sleeping-place for the Bhikkhu who has just arrived, the Blessed One evidently desires to dwell in the same Vihara with that Bhikkhu, he desires to dwell in the same Vihara with the venerable Sowa.’ And he made ready a sleeping-place for the venerable Sona at the place where the Blessed One was staying.
9. Then the Blessed One, after spending the greater part of the night in the open air, entered the Vihara. And also the venerable Sona, having spent the greater part of the night in the open air, entered the Vihara. And the Blessed One rose up, early in the morning, towards dawn, and requested the venerable Sona, saying,
‘ May the Dhamma so become clear to you that you may speak. ‘ Even so, Lord!’ said the venerable Sona in assent to the Blessed One; and he intoned all the verses in the Book of the Eights (Atthaka-vaggikâni).
And the Blessed One, at the conclusion of the venerable Sona’s recitation, expressed his pleasure, saying,
‘ Excellent, most excellent, O Bhikkhu ! Well have the Eights been grasped by thee, well thought over, well learnt by heart: and with a fine voice art thou gifted, distinct, pleasant, able to make things understood. How many years is it since thou hast been ordained ?’
‘ One year, my Lord !’
10. ‘ But why have you postponed it so long ?’
‘ Tis long, Lord, since I saw into the danger of the passions, but life in a household is crowded with business and with cares.’
And the Blessed One, when he heard that matter, gave utterance at that time to the expression of emotion :
‘ When he has seen the danger of the world, when he has understood the Truth, when he has become free from Upadhi, ‘ The pilgrim finds in sin no pleasure, his delight is in the word, the pure.’
11. Then thought the venerable Sona: ‘The Blessed One is pleased with me. This then is the time which my superior spoke of.’ And rising from his seat, and arranging his robe on one shoulder, he bowed down with his head at the feet of the Blessed One, and said :
‘ Lord ! my superior Mahâ Kakkyana bows down in salutation at the feet of the Blessed One. In the Southern country and in Avanti there are (&c, as in §§ 4-7, down to the end of the message).’
Then the Blessed One on that occasion and in that connection, having delivered a religious discourse, addressed the Bhikkhus and said:
‘ The Southern country and Avanti has but few Bhikkhus. I allow the upasampada (ordination) in border countries to be held in a meeting of only four Bhikkhus, beside the chairman, who must be a Vinaya-dhara.’
12. ‘In this passage the following are the border countries referred to1. To the East is the town Kagangala, and beyond it Mahâsâlâ. Beyond that is border country; this side of it is the Middle country. To the South-east is the river Salalavati. Beyond that is border country; this side of it is the Middle country. To the South is the town Setakannika. Beyond that is border country; this side of it is the Middle country. To the West is the Brahman district of Thuna. Beyond that is border country; this side of it is the Middle country. To the North is the mountain range called Usiradhaga. Beyond that is border country; this side of it is the Middle country. In such border countries, I allow, O Bhikkhus, the upasampada (ordination) to be held in a meeting of only four Bhikkhus, beside the chairman, who must be a Vinayadhara.
13. ‘In the Southern country and in Avanti, O Bhikkhus, the soil is black on the surface and rough, and trampled by the feet of cattle. I allow the use, in all the border countries, O Bhikkhus, of shoes with thick linings.
‘ In the Southern country and in Avanti, O Bhikkhus, men attach great importance to bathing, and are pure by use of water. I allow the constant use of the bath, O Bhikkhus, in all the border countries.
‘ In the Southern country and in Avanti, O Bhikkhus, skins, such as sheep-skins, goat skins, and deer-skins, are used as coverlets. Just as in the Middle country, Bhikkhus, the eragu, moragu, magghâru, and gantu grasses are used for coverlets, so in the Southern country and in Avanti are used skins, such as sheep-skins, goat-skins, and deer-skins. I allow, O Bhikkhus, the use of skins, such as sheepskins, goat-skins, and deer-skins, as coverlets, in all the border countries.
‘ There also, O Bhikkhus, people are in the habit of giving a set of robes to Bhikkhus who have left the district, saying, ” We give this set of robes to (a Bhikkhu) with such and such a name.” I allow you, O Bhikkhus, to accept such robes. The set of robes does not become subject to the ten-days’ rule, before it reaches the hand (of the person for whom it was intended).’