Snp 3.1  Pabbajjāsutta: The Going Forth

I will praise the Going Forth,
how he went forth, the One with Eyes,
how he reasoned and chose the Going Forth.
     “Household life is confining,
          a realm of dust,
     while going forth
          is the open air.”
Seeing this, he went forth.

On going forth,
     he avoided evil deeds in body.
     Abandoning verbal misconduct,
     he purified his livelihood.
Then he, the Buddha, went to Rājagaha,
the mountain fortress of the Magadhans,
     and wandered for alms,
teeming with the foremost marks.
King Bimbisāra, standing in his palace, saw him,
and on seeing him, consummate in marks,
     said this:
“Look at this one, sirs.
How handsome, stately, pure!
How consummate his demeanor!
Mindful, his eyes downcast,
looking only a plow-length before him.
This one’s not like one
from a lowly lineage:
Have the royal messengers hurry
to see where this monk will go.”

They—the messengers dispatched—
followed behind him.
     “Where will this monk go?
     Where will his dwelling place be?”
As he went from house to house—
well-restrained, his sense-doors guarded,
     mindful, alert—
his bowl filled quickly.
Then he, the sage, completing his alms round,
left the city, headed for Mount Paṇḍava.
     “That’s where his dwelling will be.”
Seeing him go to his dwelling place,
three messengers sat down,
while one returned to tell the king.
“That monk, your majesty,
on the flank of Paṇḍava,
sits like a tiger, a bull,
a lion in a mountain cleft.”

Hearing the messenger’s words,
the noble-warrior king
straight away set out by royal coach,
for Mount Paṇḍava.
Going as far as the coach would go,
the noble-warrior king
got down from the coach,
went up on foot,
and on arrival sat down.
Sitting there,
he exchanged courteous greetings,
and after giving friendly greetings,
     said this:
“Young you are, and youthful,
in the first stage of youth,
consummate in stature & coloring
     like a noble-warrior by birth.
You would look glorious
     in the vanguard of an army,
     arrayed with an elephant squadron.
I offer you wealth : Enjoy it.
I ask your birth : Inform me.”

“Straight ahead, your majesty,
by the foothills of the Himalayas,
is a country consummate
in energy & wealth,
inhabited by Kosalans:
     Solar by clan,
     Sakyans by birth.
From that lineage I have gone forth,
but not in hope of sensuality.
Seeing the danger in sensuality
—and renunciation as rest—
          I go to strive.

     That’s where my heart delights.”


Read this translation of Snp 3.1 The Going Forth by Bhikkhu Ṭhanissaro on DhammaTalks.org. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net or SuttaFriends.org.

PLEASE NOTE:
The email for this sutta contained an error in the footer that gave the title and links to sutta SN 3.1 instead of Snp 3.1. For errors like this emails will not be resent. Please always refer to the website for the most up to date versions. Apologies for any confusion this has caused. SN 3.1 is a great sutta too!

MN 26 From Ariyapariyesanāsutta: The Noble Search—Seeking the Unborn

“…Bhikkhus, before my enlightenment, while I was still only an unenlightened Bodhisatta, I too, being myself subject to birth, sought what was also subject to birth; being myself subject to ageing, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement, I sought what was also subject to ageing, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement. Then I considered thus: ‘Why, being myself subject to birth, do I seek what is also subject to birth? Why, being myself subject to ageing, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement, do I seek what is also subject to ageing, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement? Suppose that, being myself subject to birth, having understood the danger in what is subject to birth, I seek the unborn supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna. Suppose that, being myself subject to ageing, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement, having understood the danger in what is subject to ageing, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement, I seek the unageing, unailing, deathless, sorrowless, and undefiled supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna.’

“Later, while still young, a black-haired young man endowed with the blessing of youth, in the prime of life, though my mother and father wished otherwise and wept with tearful faces, I shaved off my hair and beard, put on the yellow robe, and went forth from the home life into homelessness.…”


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

AN 3.39 Sukhumālasutta: A Delicate Lifestyle

“My lifestyle was delicate, mendicants, most delicate, extremely delicate.

In my father’s home, lotus ponds were made just for me. In some, blue water lilies blossomed, while in others, there were pink or white lotuses, just for my benefit. I only used sandalwood from Kāsī, and my turbans, jackets, sarongs, and upper robes also came from Kāsī. And a white parasol was held over me night and day, with the thought: ‘Don’t let cold, heat, grass, dust, or damp bother him.’

I had three stilt longhouses—one for the winter, one for the summer, and one for the rainy season. I stayed in a stilt longhouse without coming downstairs for the four months of the rainy season, where I was entertained by musicians—none of them men.

While the bondservants, workers, and staff in other houses are given rough gruel with pickles to eat, in my father’s home they eat fine rice with meat.

Amid such prosperity and such a delicate lifestyle, I thought: ‘When an uneducated ordinary person—who is liable to grow old, not being exempt from old age—sees someone else who is old, they’re horrified, repelled, and disgusted, overlooking the fact that they themselves are in the same situation. But since I, too, am liable to grow old, it would not be appropriate for me to be horrified, embarrassed, and disgusted, when I see someone else who is old.’ Reflecting like this, I entirely gave up the vanity of youth.

‘When an uneducated ordinary person—who is liable to get sick, not being exempt from sickness—sees someone else who is sick, they’re horrified, repelled, and disgusted, overlooking the fact that they themselves are in the same situation. But since I, too, am liable to get sick, it would not be appropriate for me to be horrified, embarrassed, and disgusted, when I see someone else who is sick.’ Reflecting like this, I entirely gave up the vanity of health.

‘When an uneducated ordinary person—who is liable to die, not being exempt from death—sees someone else who is dead, they’re horrified, repelled, and disgusted, overlooking the fact that they themselves are in the same situation. But since I, too, am liable to die, it would not be appropriate for me to be horrified, embarrassed, and disgusted, when I see someone else who is dead.’ Reflecting like this, I entirely gave up the vanity of life.

There are these three vanities. What three? The vanity of youth, of health, and of life.

Intoxicated with the vanity of youth, an uneducated ordinary person does bad things by way of body, speech, and mind. When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell.

Intoxicated with the vanity of health …

Intoxicated with the vanity of life, an uneducated ordinary person does bad things by way of body, speech, and mind. When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell.

Intoxicated with the vanity of youth, health, or life, a mendicant resigns the training and returns to a lesser life.

For others, sickness is natural,
and so are old age and death.
Though this is how their nature is,
ordinary people feel disgusted.

If I were to be disgusted
with creatures whose nature is such,
it would not be appropriate for me,
since my life is just the same.

Living in such a way,
I understood the reality without attachments.
I mastered all vanities—
of health, of youth,

and even of life—
seeing renunciation as sanctuary.
Zeal sprang up in me
as I looked to extinguishment.

Now I’m unable
to indulge in sensual pleasures;
there’s no turning back,
I’m committed to the spiritual life.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 3.39 Sukhumālasutta: A Delicate Lifestyle by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net, or DhammaTalks.org.

SN 6.1 Ayācana Sutta The Discourse on Brahmā’s Request

This is how I heard. At one time the Blessed One was staying in the province of Uruvelā on the Nerañjarā river bank at the foot of the Goatherd’s Banyan tree, just after the Blessed One had become fully enlightened. Then, while the Blessed One was alone in meditation, a thought occurred in his mind thus:

“This Dhamma that I have realized is deep, hard to see, hard to understand, peaceful and sublime, cannot be realized by reasoning, subtle, and to be experienced by the wise. But this generation is stuck in desire, delights in desire, and rejoices in desire. For a generation that is stuck in desire, delights in desire, and rejoices in desire, realizing this Dhamma that is about the law of causality and the law of dependent arising will be very hard to understand. Nibbāna is the state of dispassion, cessation, stilling in all formations, complete removal of all defilements, and the destruction of craving. Attaining this Nibbāna is very hard for such a generation.

“Therefore if I were to teach the Dhamma and if others would not understand me, that would be tiresome for me, and that would be troublesome for me.”

Thereupon these astounding verses, not heard before in the past, occurred to the Blessed One:

“I realized this Dhamma with so much hardship.
It is of no use teaching this to others.
These beings who are burdened
by lust and hate wouldn’t easily
understand this Dhamma.

“This Dhamma practice
is like going upstream.
It is deep, subtle, and hard to see.
These beings that are fired by lust
and covered by darkness of ignorance
will never see this very refined Dhamma.”

As the Blessed One reflected thus, his mind inclined to living at ease, not to teaching the Dhamma. Then Brahmā Sahampati, having known the reflection in the Blessed One’s mind, thought: “Alas, the world is lost! The world will perish! The mind of the Tathāgata, the Arahant, the Supremely Enlightened One has inclined to living at ease, not to teaching the Dhamma.”

Then, just as quickly as a strong man extends his drawn-in arm or draws in his extended arm, Brahmā Sahampati disappeared from the brahmā world and reappeared in front of the Blessed One. Brahmā Sahampati arranged his upper robe over one shoulder, knelt down with his right knee on the ground, worshipping respectfully, he said to the Blessed One: “Bhante, let the Blessed One teach the Dhamma! Let the Fortunate One teach the Dhamma! There are beings with little defilement. If they do not get to hear the Dhamma they will deteriorate. There will be those who will understand the Dhamma if they get to hear it.”

Having said this, Brahmā Sahampati further said this verse:

“In the past
among the people in the province of Magadha,
many impure views appeared
that were introduced by defiled people.
Therefore please open the door
to the Deathless, Nibbāna!
Let all beings hear the Supreme Dhamma
discovered by the Supreme Buddha
who has stainless wisdom.

“Just as one standing on a mountain peak
might see below the people all around,
so too, oh wise one,
the sage who sees everything,
please, ascend the palace made of the Dhamma.
Look at the people
disturbed by sorrow
and burdened by birth and decay!

“Rise up, oh hero,
victor in battle with Māra!
Oh caravan leader, debt-free sage,
wander in the world.
Oh Blessed One,
please teach the Supreme Dhamma!
There will be those who will definitely understand.”

Then the Blessed One, having understood brahmā’s request, surveyed the world out of great compassion for beings, with the eye of a Buddha. As the Blessed One surveyed the world with the eye of a Buddha, the Blessed One saw some beings with little defilement, and some with much defilement, some with the potential for keen wisdom, some with less potential for wisdom, some with easy access for understanding things clearly, some with weak access for understanding things clearly, some easy to teach, and some difficult to teach, some live seeing fear in wrongdoing and fear about the next world, some live without fear of wrongdoing and without fear about the next world.

Just as in a pond of blue or red or white lotuses, some lotuses having been born in the water, grown in the water, and submerged in the water do not rise up from the water. Some lotuses having been born in the water and grown in the water, stand at an even level with the water. Some lotuses having been born in the water and grown in the water, rise up from the water and stand without being soiled by the water. So too, surveying the world with the eye of a Buddha, the Blessed One saw some beings with little defilement, and some with much defilement, some with the potential for keen wisdom, some with less potential for wisdom, some with easy access for understanding things clearly, some weak access for understanding things clearly, some easy to teach, and some difficult to teach, some live seeing fear in wrong doing and fear about the next world, some live without fear of wrong doing and no fear about the next world.

Having seeing the world in this way, The Blessed One answered Brahmā Sahampati in verse:

“I opened the doors to the Deathless,
Nibbāna.
Let those who have ears
come with confidence.
Oh brahmā, foreseeing trouble,
I didn’t teach people the Dhamma
which has been well realized by me.”

Then Brahmā Sahampati, thinking, “The Blessed One has accepted my request for teaching the Dhamma,” paid homage to the Blessed One and disappeared right there.

Read this translation of SN 6.1 Ayācana Sutta: The Discourse on Brahmā’s Request on ReadingFaithfully.org or on SuttaCentral.net and DhammaTalks.org.

MN 123 From Acchariyaabbhutasutta: Incredible and Amazing—Proclamation

“…I have learned this in the presence of the Buddha: ‘As soon as he’s born, the being intent on awakening stands firm with his own feet on the ground. Facing north, he takes seven strides with a white parasol held above him, surveys all quarters, and makes this dramatic proclamation:

“I am the foremost in the world!
I am the eldest in the world!
I am the first in the world!
This is my last rebirth.
Now there are no more future lives.”’

This too I remember as an incredible quality of the Buddha.

Spoken by Venerable Ānanda


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 123 Acchariyaabbhutasutta: Incredible and Amazing by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on DhammaTalks.org.

AN 1.170 from Ekapuggalavagga: One Person

“One person, mendicants, arises in the world for the welfare and happiness of the people, out of compassion for the world, for the benefit, welfare, and happiness of gods and humans. What one person? The Realized One, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha. This is the one person, mendicants, who arises in the world for the welfare and happiness of the people, out of compassion for the world, for the benefit, welfare, and happiness of gods and humans.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 1.170–187 Ekapuggalavagga: 170 by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaFriends.org.

MN 123 From Acchariyaabbhutasutta: Incredible and Amazing—Birth

“…I have learned this in the presence of the Buddha: ‘When the being intent on awakening emerges from his mother’s womb, 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!” And this galaxy shakes and rocks and trembles. And an immeasurable, magnificent light appears in the world, surpassing the glory of the gods.’ This too I remember as an incredible and amazing quality of the Buddha.”

Spoken by Venerable Ānanda


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 123 Acchariyaabbhutasutta: Incredible and Amazing by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on DhammaTalks.org.