SN 4.24 Sattavassānubandhasutta: Seven Years of Pursuit

Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Uruvela on the bank of the river Nerañjara at the foot of the Goatherd’s Banyan Tree. Now on that occasion Mara the Evil One had been following the Blessed One for seven years, seeking to gain access to him but without success. Then Mara the Evil One approached the Blessed One and addressed him in verse:

“Is it because you are sunk in sorrow
That you meditate in the woods?
Because you’ve lost wealth or pine for it,
Or committed some crime in the village?
Why don’t you make friends with people?
Why don’t you form any intimate ties?”

The Blessed One:

“Having dug up entirely the root of sorrow,
Guiltless, I meditate free from sorrow.
Having cut off all greedy urge for existence,
I meditate taintless, O kinsman of the negligent!”

Mara:

“That of which they say ‘It’s mine,’
And those who speak in terms of ‘mine’—
If your mind exists among these,
You won’t escape me, ascetic.”

The Blessed One:

“That which they speak of is not mine,
I’m not one of those who speak of mine.
You should know thus, O Evil One:
Even my path you will not see.”

Mara:

“If you have discovered the path,
The secure way leading to the Deathless,
Be off and walk that path alone;
What’s the point of instructing others?”

The Blessed One:

“Those people going to the far shore
Ask what lies beyond Death’s realm.
When asked, I explain to them
The truth without acquisitions.”

Mara: “Suppose, venerable sir, not far from a village or a town there was a lotus pond in which a crab was living. Then a group of boys and girls would leave the village or town and go to the pond. They would pull the crab out from the water and set it down on high ground. Then, whenever that crab would extend one of its claws, those boys and girls would cut it off, break it, and smash it to bits with sticks and stones. Thus, when all its claws have been cut off, broken, and smashed to bits, that crab would be unable to return to that pond. So too, venerable sir, all those distortions, manoeuvres, and contortions of mine have been cut off, broken, and smashed to bits by the Blessed One. Now, venerable sir, I am unable to approach the Blessed One again seeking to gain access to him.”

Then Mara the Evil One, in the presence of the Blessed One, recited these verses of disappointment:

“There was a crow that walked around
A stone that looked like a lump of fat.
‘Let’s find something tender here,’ he thought,
‘Perhaps there’s something nice and tasty.’

But because he found nothing tasty there,
The crow departed from that spot.
Just like the crow that attacked the stone,
We leave Gotama disappointed.”


Read this translation of Saṁyutta Nikāya 4.24 Sattavassānubandhasutta: Seven Years of Pursuit by Bhikkhu Bodhi on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com.

Ud 3.10 Lokavolokanasuttaṁ: The Discourse about Looking Around the World

Thus I heard: at one time the Fortunate One was dwelling near Uruvelā, on the bank of the river Nerañjarā, at the root of the Awakening tree, in the first (period) after attaining Awakening.

Then at that time the Fortunate One was sitting in one cross-legged posture for seven days experiencing the happiness of freedom.

Then with the passing of those seven days the Fortunate One, after rising from that concentration, looked around the world with his Buddha-eye. The Fortunate One looking around the world with his Buddha-eye saw beings being tormented with many torments, and being burned with many fevers, born from passion, and born from hatred, and born from delusion.

Then the Fortunate One, having understood the significance of it, on that occasion uttered this exalted utterance:

“This world, overcome by contact, is tormented,
It speaks of a disease as the self,
For with whatever it conceives
Hereafter it becomes otherwise.

Continually becoming other, the world is shackled by continuity, overcome by continuity,

It greatly rejoices in continuity,
What it rejoices in, that is fearful,
What it fears, that is suffering.

This spiritual life is lived for the complete giving up of continuity. For whatever the ascetics or brāhmaṇas say about freedom from continuity being through (further) continuity, all of them are not free from continuity, I say. Or whatever the ascetics or brāhmaṇas say about the escape from continuity being through discontinuity, all of them have not escaped from continuity, I say.

Conditioned by cleaving this suffering originates, through the destruction of all attachment there is no origination of suffering. See this world overcome by many kinds of ignorance beings, who delight in beings, are not free from continuity. Whatever continuities (in existence) there are, everywhere, in every respect, all those continuities are impermanent, suffering, changeable things.

Seeing it like this, as it really is, with right wisdom,
Craving for continuity is given up, and he does not rejoice in discontinuity.

From the complete destruction of craving there is a fading away (of ignorance) without remainder, cessation, and Emancipation.

For that monk who is emancipated,
Without attachment, there is no continuity in existence.
He has vanquished Māra, is victorious in battle,
He is such a one who has overcome all continuations (in existence).”


Read this translation of Ud 3.10 Lokavolokanasuttaṁ: The Discourse about Looking Around the World by Bhikkhu Ānandajoti on DhammaTalks.org, or Ancient-Buddhist-Texts.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net or SuttaFriends.org.

MN 26 From Ariyapariyesanāsutta: The Noble Search—Meeting Upaka

“…Then, bhikkhus, when I had stayed at Uruvelā as long as I chose, I set out to wander by stages to Benares. Between Gayā and the Place of Enlightenment the Ājīvaka Upaka saw me on the road and said: ‘Friend, your faculties are clear, the colour of your skin is pure and bright. Under whom have you gone forth, friend? Who is your teacher? Whose Dhamma do you profess? ’ I replied to the Ājīvaka Upaka in stanzas:

‘I am one who has transcended all, a knower of all,
Unsullied among all things, renouncing all,
By craving’s ceasing freed. Having known this all
For myself, to whom should I point as teacher?

I have no teacher, and one like me
Exists nowhere in all the world
With all its gods, because I have
No person for my counterpart.

I am the Accomplished One in the world,
I am the Teacher Supreme.
I alone am a Fully Enlightened One
Whose fires are quenched and extinguished.

I go now to the city of Kāsi
To set in motion the Wheel of Dhamma.
In a world that has become blind
I go to beat the drum of the Deathless.’

‘By your claims, friend, you ought to be the Universal Victor.’
‘The victors are those like me
Who have won to destruction of taints.
I have vanquished all evil states,
Therefore, Upaka, I am a victor.’

“When this was said, the Ājīvaka Upaka said: ‘May it be so, friend.’ Shaking his head, he took a bypath and departed.


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 26 Ariyapariyesanāsutta: The Noble Search by Bhikkhu Bodhi on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net, DhammaTalks.org, or Ancient-Buddhist-Texts.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com.

AN 4.127 Paṭhamatathāgataacchariyasutta: Incredible Things About the Realized One (1st)

“Mendicants, with the appearance of a Realized One, a perfected one, a fully awakened Buddha, four incredible and amazing things appear. What four?

When the being intent on awakening passes away from the host of Joyful Gods, he’s conceived in his mother’s womb, mindful and aware. And then—in this world with its gods, Māras and Brahmās, this population with its ascetics and brahmins, gods and humans—an immeasurable, magnificent light appears, surpassing the glory of the gods. Even in the boundless desolation of interstellar space—so utterly dark that even the light of the moon and the sun, so mighty and powerful, makes no impression—an immeasurable, magnificent light appears, surpassing the glory of the gods. And the sentient beings reborn there recognize each other by that light: ‘So, it seems other sentient beings have been reborn here!’ This is the first incredible and amazing thing that appears with the appearance of a Realized One.

Furthermore, the being intent on awakening emerges from his mother’s womb, mindful and aware. And then—in this world with its gods, Māras and Brahmās, this population with its ascetics and brahmins, gods and humans—an immeasurable, magnificent light appears, surpassing the glory of the gods. Even in the boundless desolation of interstellar space—so utterly dark that even the light of the moon and the sun, so mighty and powerful, makes no impression—an immeasurable, magnificent light appears, surpassing the glory of the gods. And the sentient beings reborn there recognize each other by that light: ‘So, it seems other sentient beings have been reborn here!’ This is the second incredible and amazing thing that appears with the appearance of a Realized One.

Furthermore, the Realized One understands the supreme perfect awakening. And then—in this world with its gods, Māras and Brahmās, this population with its ascetics and brahmins, gods and humans—an immeasurable, magnificent light appears, surpassing the glory of the gods. Even in the boundless desolation of interstellar space—so utterly dark that even the light of the moon and the sun, so mighty and powerful, makes no impression—an immeasurable, magnificent light appears, surpassing the glory of the gods. And the sentient beings reborn there recognize each other by that light: ‘So, it seems other sentient beings have been reborn here!’ This is the third incredible and amazing thing that appears with the appearance of a Realized One.

Furthermore, the Realized One rolls forth the supreme Wheel of Dhamma. And then—in this world with its gods, Māras and Brahmās, this population with its ascetics and brahmins, gods and humans—an immeasurable, magnificent light appears, surpassing the glory of the gods. Even in the boundless desolation of interstellar space—so utterly dark that even the light of the moon and the sun, so mighty and powerful, makes no impression—an immeasurable, magnificent light appears, surpassing the glory of the gods. And the sentient beings reborn there recognize each other by that light: ‘So, it seems other sentient beings have been reborn here!’ This is the fourth incredible and amazing thing that appears with the appearance of a Realized One.

With the appearance of a Realized One, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha, these four incredible and amazing things appear.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 4.127 Paṭhamatathāgataacchariyasutta: Incredible Things About the Realized One (1st) by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net.

Dhp Chapter 11 From Jarā Vagga: Old Age

153. Through many births, in this journey of misery, I have wandered on and on, searching for the builder of this house of suffering. To be born again and again is indeed suffering!

154. Oh house-builder, you are seen! You will not build a house for me again. All the rafters are broken into pieces and the ridgepole is shattered. My mind has reached the unconditioned. I have attained the destruction of craving.


Read the entire translation of Dhammapada 11 Jarā Vagga: Old Age (146-156) by Ven. Kiribathgoda Gnananda Thero on SuttaFriends.org. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net, DhammaTalks.org, or Ancient-Buddhist-Texts.net.

Snp 3.11 Nālakasutta: Nālaka the Seer

Asita the seer, in his mid-day meditation,
saw the Group of Thirty—
Sakka the king, and devas dressed in pure white
     exultant, ecstatic—
holding up banners, cheering wildly,
& on seeing the devas so joyful & happy,
having paid his respects, he said:

“Why is the deva community
     so wildly elated?
Why are they holding up banners
& waving them around?
Even after the war with the Asuras
     —when victory was the devas’,
     the Asuras defeated—
even then there was nothing hair-raising like this.
Seeing what marvel
are the devas so joyful?
     They whistle,
     they sing,
     play music,
     clap their hands,
     dance.
So I ask you, who live on Mount Meru’s summit.
Please dispel my doubt quickly, dear sirs.”

“The Bodhisatta, the foremost jewel,
     unequaled,
has been born for welfare & happiness
     in the human world,
in a town in the Sakyan countryside,
     Lumbini.
That’s why we’re contented, so wildly elated.
He, the highest of all beings,
the ultimate person,
a bull among men, highest of all people,
will set turning the Wheel [of Dhamma]
in the forest named after the seers,
like a strong, roaring lion,
the conqueror of beasts.”

Hearing these words,
Asita quickly descended [from heaven]
and went to Suddhodana’s dwelling.
There, taking a seat, he said to the Sakyans:
     “Where is the prince?
     I, too, want to see him.”
The Sakyans then showed
to the seer named Asita
     their son, the prince,
     like gold aglow,
burnished by a most skillful smith
in the mouth of the furnace,
blazing with glory, flawless in color.
On seeing the prince blazing like flame,
pure like the bull of the stars
going across the sky
     —the burning sun,
     released from the clouds of autumn—
he was exultant, filled with abundant rapture.
The devas held in the sky
a many-spoked sunshade
of a thousand circles.
Gold-handled whisks
waved up & down,
but those holding the whisks & the sunshade
     couldn’t be seen.

The coiled-haired seer
named Dark Splendor,
seeing the boy, like an ornament of gold
on the red woolen blanket,
a white sunshade held over his head,
received him, joyful in mind & pleased.
And on receiving the bull of the Sakyans,
longingly, the master of mantras & signs
exclaimed with a confident mind:
     “This one is unsurpassed,
     the highest of the biped race.”

Then, foreseeing his own imminent departure,
he, dejected, shed tears.
On seeing him weeping,
the Sakyans asked:
     “But surely there will be
     no danger for the prince?”
On seeing the Sakyans’ concern
he replied, “I foresee for the prince
     no harm.
Nor will there be any danger for him.
This one’s not insignificant: Be assured.
     This prince will touch
     the ultimate self-awakening.
He, seeing the utmost purity,
will set rolling the Wheel of Dhamma
through sympathy for the welfare of many.
His holy life will spread far & wide.

     But as for me,
my life here has no long remainder.
My death will take place before then.
     I won’t get to hear
the Dhamma of this one with the peerless role.
That’s why I’m stricken,
     afflicted, & pained.”

He, having brought the Sakyans
abundant rapture,
the follower of the holy life
left the inner chamber and,
out of sympathy for his nephew,
urged him on toward the Dhamma
of the one with the peerless role:
“When you hear from another the word,
     ‘Awakened One,’
or ‘Attaining self-awakening,
he lays open the path of the Dhamma,’
go there and, asking him yourself,
     follow the holy life
under that Blessed One.”

Instructed by the one
whose mind was set on his benefit,
          Such,
seeing in the future the utmost purity,
Nālaka, who had laid up a store of merit,
awaited the Victor expectantly,
guarding his senses.
On hearing word of the Victor’s
turning of the foremost wheel,
     he went, he saw
the bull among seers. Confident,
he asked the foremost sage
about the utmost sagacity,
now that Asita’s forecast
had come to pass.

Nālaka:
“Now that I know
Asita’s words to be true,
I ask you, Gotama,
you who have gone
to the beyond of all dhammas.
I’m intent on the homeless life;
I long for the almsround.
Tell me sage, when asked,
the highest state of sagacity.”

The Buddha:
“I’ll teach you
a sagacity          hard to do,
          hard to master.
Come now, I’ll tell you.
Be steadfast. Be firm.
Practice even-mindedness,
for in a village
there’s praise & abuse.
Ward off any flaw in the heart.
Go about calmed & not haughty.
High & low things will come up
like fire-flames in a forest.
Women seduce a sage.
     May they not seduce you.
Abstaining from sexual intercourse,
abandoning various sensual pleasures,
be unopposed, unattached,
to beings moving & still.
     ‘As I am, so are these.
     As are these, so am I.’
Drawing the parallel to
     yourself,
neither kill nor get others to kill.
Abandoning the wants & greed
where people run-of-the-mill are stuck,
     practice with vision,
     cross over this hell.

Stomach not full,
moderate in food,
modest,
not being greedy,
always not hungering for wants:
     One without hunger
     is one who’s unbound.

Having gone on his almsround, the sage
should then go to the forest,
     approaching the root of a tree,
     taking a seat.
The enlightened one, intent on jhāna,
should find delight in the forest,
should practice jhāna at the foot of a tree,
attaining his own satisfaction.
Then, at the end of the night,
he should go to the village,
     not delighting in an invitation
     or gift from the village.
Having gone to the village,
the sage should not go
forcing his way among families.
Cutting off chatter,
he shouldn’t utter a scheming word.
     ‘I got something,
     that’s fine.
     I got nothing,
     that, too, is good.’
Being such with regard to both,
he returns to the very same tree.
Wandering with his bowl in hand
     —not dumb,
     but seemingly dumb—
he shouldn’t despise a piddling gift
nor disparage the giver.
High & low are the practices
proclaimed by the contemplative.
They don’t go twice to the further shore.
This [unbinding] isn’t sensed only once.
In one who has no attachment—
the monk who has cut the stream,
abandoning what is
& isn’t a duty—
     no fever is found.

I’ll teach you
sagacity:Be like a razor’s edge.
Pressing tongue against palate,
     restrain your stomach.
Neither be lazy in mind,
nor have many thoughts.
Be free of raw stench,
     independent,
having the holy life as your aim.
Train in     solitude
          & the contemplative’s task,
     Solitude
     is called
     sagacity.
Alone, you truly delight
     & shine in the ten directions.

On hearing the fame of the enlightened
     —those who practice jhāna,
     relinquishing sensuality—
my disciple should foster
     all the more
     shame & conviction.

Know from the rivers
in clefts & in crevices:
Those in small channels flow
                    noisily,
     the great
     flow silent.

Whatever’s deficient
     makes noise.
Whatever is full
     is quiet.
The fool is like a half-empty pot;
one who is wise, a full lake.

A contemplative who speaks a great deal
     endowed with meaning:
     Knowing, he teaches the Dhamma;
     knowing, he speaks a great deal.
But he who,
     knowing, is restrained,
     knowing, doesn’t speak a great deal:
He is a sage
     worthy of sagehood.
He is a sage,
     his sagehood attained.”


Read this translation of Sn 3.11 Nālaka by Bhikkhu Ṭhanissaro on DhammaTalks.org. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net.

SN 44.1 From Khemāsutta: Khemā Therī’s Wisdom

…Then the Kosalan King Pasenadi approached the nun Khemā, and after approaching and worshipping the nun Khemā, he sat down on one side.

While sitting on one side the Kosalan King Pasenadi said this to the nun Khemā:

“How is it, Noble Lady, does the Realised One exist after death?

“This has not been answered, Great King, by the Fortunate One: ‘Does the Realised One exist after death?’”

“But how is it, Noble Lady, does the Realised One not exist after death?

“This has not been answered, Great King, by the Fortunate One: ‘Does the Realised One not exist after death?’”

“How is it, Noble Lady, does the Realised One exist and not exist after death?

“This has not been answered, Great King, by the Fortunate One: ‘Does the Realised One exist and not exist after death?’”

“But how is it, Noble Lady, does the Realised One neither exist nor not exist after death?

“This has not been answered, Great King, by the Fortunate One: ‘Does the Realised One neither exist nor not exist after death?’”

“‘How is it, Noble Lady, does the Realised One exist after death?’ – when there is this question, you say: ‘This has not been answered, Great King, by the Fortunate One: “Does the Realised One exist after death?”’

‘But how is it, Noble Lady, does the Realised One not exist after death?’ – when there is this question, you say: ‘This has not been answered, Great King, by the Fortunate One: “Does the Realised One not exist after death?”’

When there is this question, you say: ‘This has not been answered, Great King, by the Fortunate One: “Does the Realised One exist and not exist after death?”’

‘How is it, Noble Lady, does the Realised One neither exist nor not exist after death?’ – when there is this question, you say: ‘This has not been answered, Great King, by the Fortunate One: “Does the Realised One neither exist nor not exist after death?” ’

What is the cause, Noble Lady, what is the reason, why does the Fortunate One not answer this?”

“Now then, Great King, here I will ask you something in return, as you see fit, so you should answer.

What do you think, Great King, do you have a mathematician, or a calculator or an accountant who is able to count the amount of sand in the Ganges, saying: there is this much sand, or there are so many hundreds of grains of sand, or there are so many thousands of grains of sand, or there are so many hundreds of thousands of grains of sand?

“Certainly not, Noble Lady.”

“But do you have a mathematician, or a calculator or an accountant who is able to measure the water in the great ocean, saying: there are this many gallons of water, or there are this many hundreds of gallons of water, or there are this many thousands of gallons of water, or there are this many hundreds of thousands of gallons of water?”

“Certainly not, Noble Lady. What is the cause of that? Great is the ocean, Noble Lady, deep, immeasurable, hard to fathom.”

“Just so, Great King, through knowing whatever bodily form a Realised One can be known by, that form the Realised One has abandoned, cut off at the root, made a palm stump, made unviable, so that by nature it is unable to rise again in the future.

The Realised One, Great King, is free from being considered as bodily form, he is deep, immeasurable, hard to fathom, like the great ocean.

‘Does the Realised One exist after death?’ does not apply,
‘Does the Realised One not exist after death?’ does not apply,
‘Does the Realised One exist and not exist after death?’ does not apply,
‘Does the Realised One neither exist nor not exist after death?’ does not apply.


Read the complete translation of SN 44.1 Khemāsutta: Khemā Therī’s Wisdom by Bhikkhu Ānandajoti on Ancient-Buddhist-Texts.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net or DhammaTalks.org.

DN 16 From Mahāparinibbānasuttaṁ: The Discourse about the Great Emancipation—The Four Places

…“Formerly, reverend Sir, the monks, having dwelt for the Rains Retreat used to come to see the Realised One, and we would receive those meditating monks for assembling and seeing the Realised One. But after the Fortunate One has passed way, reverend Sir, we will not receive those meditating monks for assembling and seeing the Realised One.”

“There are these four places that can be seen, that produce enthusiasm, Ānanda, for a faithful man of good family.

Which four?

  • Thinking: ‘Here the Realised One was born’, Ānanda, that is a place to be seen that produces enthusiasm for a faithful man of good family.
  • Thinking: ‘Here the Realised One awoke to the unsurpassed and Perfect Awakening’, Ānanda, that is a place to be seen that produces enthusiasm for a faithful man of good family.
  • Thinking: ‘Here the Realised One set rolling the Wheel of the Teaching’, Ānanda, that is a place to be seen that produces enthusiasm for a faithful man of good family.
  • Thinking: ‘Here the Realised One was completely Emancipated in the Emancipation-element which has no basis for attachment remaining’, Ānanda, that is a place to be seen that produces enthusiasm for a faithful man of good family.

These are the four places, Ānanda, that are to be seen that produce enthusiasm for a faithful man of good family.

Faithful monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen will come, thinking: ‘Here the Realised One was born’, ‘Here the Realised One awoke to the unsurpassed and Perfect Awakening’, ‘Here the Realised One set rolling the Wheel of the Teaching’, ‘Here the Realised One was Finally Emancipated in the Emancipation-element which has no basis for attachment remaining’, and whoever, Ānanda, will die while on pilgrimage to the Shrines with a confident mind they will all, at the break-up of the body, after death, re-arise in a fortunate destiny, in a heavenly world.”…


Read the entire translation of DN 16 Mahāparinibbānasuttaṁ: The Discourse about the Great Emancipation by Ānandajoti Bhikkhu on Ancient-Buddhist-Texts.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net or DhammaTalks.org.

MN 12 Mahāsīhanādasutta: The Greater Discourse on the Lion’s Roar

“…Sāriputta, there are certain recluses and brahmins whose doctrine and view is this: ‘Purification comes about through food.’ They say: ‘Let us live on kola-fruits,’ and they eat kola-fruits, they eat kola-fruit powder, they drink kola-fruit water, and they make many kinds of kola-fruit concoctions. Now I recall having eaten a single kola-fruit a day. Sāriputta, you may think that the kola-fruit was bigger at that time, yet you should not regard it so: the kola-fruit was then at most the same size as now. Through feeding on a single kola-fruit a day, my body reached a state of extreme emaciation. Because of eating so little my limbs became like the jointed segments of vine stems or bamboo stems. Because of eating so little my backside became like a camel’s hoof. Because of eating so little the projections on my spine stood forth like corded beads. Because of eating so little my ribs jutted out as gaunt as the crazy rafters of an old roof-less barn. Because of eating so little the gleam of my eyes sank far down in their sockets, looking like a gleam of water that has sunk far down in a deep well. Because of eating so little my scalp shrivelled and withered as a green bitter gourd shrivels and withers in the wind and sun. Because of eating so little my belly skin adhered to my backbone; thus if I wanted to touch my belly skin I encountered my backbone, and if I wanted to touch my backbone I encountered my belly skin. Because of eating so little, if I wanted to defecate or urinate, I fell over on my face right there. Because of eating so little, if I tried to ease my body by rubbing my limbs with my hands, the hair, rotted at its roots, fell from my body as I rubbed.

“Sāriputta, there are certain recluses and brahmins whose doctrine and view is this: ‘Purification comes about through food.’ They say: ‘Let us live on beans,’…‘Let us live on sesamum,’…‘Let us live on rice,’ and they eat rice, they eat rice powder, they drink rice water, and they make many kinds of rice concoctions. Now I recall having eaten a single rice grain a day. Sāriputta, you may think that the rice grain was bigger at that time, yet you should not regard it so: the rice grain was then at most the same size as now. Through feeding on a single rice grain a day, my body reached a state of extreme emaciation. Because of eating so little…the hair, rotted at its roots, fell from my body as I rubbed.

Yet, Sāriputta, by such conduct, by such practice, by such performance of austerities, I did not attain any superhuman states, any distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones. Why was that? Because I did not attain that noble wisdom which when attained is noble and emancipating and leads the one who practises in accordance with it to the complete destruction of suffering.

“Sāriputta, there are certain recluses and brahmins whose doctrine and view is this: ‘Purification comes about through the round of rebirths.’ But it is not easy to find a realm in the round that I have not already passed through in this long journey, except for the gods of the Pure Abodes; and had I passed through the round as a god in the Pure Abodes, I would never have returned to this world.

“There are certain recluses and brahmins whose doctrine and view is this: ‘Purification comes about through some particular kind of rebirth.’ But it is not easy to find a kind of rebirth that I have not been reborn in already in this long journey, except for the gods of the Pure Abodes…

“There are certain recluses and brahmins whose doctrine and view is this: ‘Purification comes about through some particular abode.’ But it is not easy to find a kind of abode that I have not already dwelt in…except for the gods of the Pure Abodes…

“There are certain recluses and brahmins whose doctrine and view is this: ‘Purification comes about through sacrifice.’ But it is not easy to find a kind of sacrifice that has not already been offered up by me in this long journey, when I was either a head-anointed noble king or a well-to-do brahmin.

“There are certain recluses and brahmins whose doctrine and view is this: ‘Purification comes through fire-worship.’ But it is not easy to find a kind of fire that has not already been worshipped by me in this long journey, when I was either a head-anointed noble king or a well-to-do brahmin.


Read the complete translation of MN 12 Mahāsīhanādasutta: The Greater Discourse on the Lion’s Roar by Bhikkhu Bodhi on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net by Bhikkhu Sujato, Bhikkhu Suddhāso, or on DhammaTalks.org.

MN 85 From… Bodhirājakumārasutta: With Prince Bodhi

…After eating solid food and gathering my strength, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities, I entered and remained in the first absorption … second absorption … third absorption … fourth absorption. When my mind had immersed in samādhi like this—purified, bright, flawless, rid of corruptions, pliable, workable, steady, and imperturbable—I extended it toward recollection of past lives. I recollected many past lives. That is: one, two, three, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand rebirths; many eons of the world contracting, many eons of the world expanding, many eons of the world contracting and expanding. And so I recollected my many kinds of past lives, with features and details. This was the first knowledge, which I achieved in the first watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed and knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed and light arose, as happens for a meditator who is diligent, keen, and resolute.

When my mind had immersed in samādhi like this—purified, bright, flawless, rid of corruptions, pliable, workable, steady, and imperturbable—I extended it toward knowledge of the death and rebirth of sentient beings. With clairvoyance that is purified and superhuman, I saw sentient beings passing away and being reborn—inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, in a good place or a bad place. I understood how sentient beings are reborn according to their deeds.

This was the second knowledge, which I achieved in the middle watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed and knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed and light arose, as happens for a meditator who is diligent, keen, and resolute.

When my mind had immersed in samādhi like this—purified, bright, flawless, rid of corruptions, pliable, workable, steady, and imperturbable—I extended it toward knowledge of the ending of defilements. I truly understood: ‘This is suffering’ … ‘This is the origin of suffering’ … ‘This is the cessation of suffering’ … ‘This is the practice that leads to the cessation of suffering’. I truly understood: ‘These are defilements’ … ‘This is the origin of defilements’ … ‘This is the cessation of defilements’ … ‘This is the practice that leads to the cessation of defilements’.

Knowing and seeing like this, my mind was freed from the defilements of sensuality, desire to be reborn, and ignorance. When it was freed, I knew it was freed.

I understood: ‘Rebirth is ended; the spiritual journey has been completed; what had to be done has been done; there is no return to any state of existence.’

This was the third knowledge, which I achieved in the last watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed and knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed and light arose, as happens for a meditator who is diligent, keen, and resolute.


Read the entire translation of MN 85 Bodhirājakumārasutta: With Prince Bodhi by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on Ancient-Buddhist-Texts.net.