Under the rose-apple tree

Under the rose-apple tree

Thursday, 25 February 2016

Dependent Arising: The Fourth Discourse, Taught to the Māgadhans


In the fourth recorded discourse after his awakening, the Buddha sets forth for the first time the 12 links in the twelvefold chain of the dependent arising of suffering. The record is contained in the Mahā-vastu (“The Great Event”) , which was written in in so-called Buddhist hybrid Sanskrit – as opposed to the classical Sanskrit of Aśvaghoṣa and Nāgārjuna. Broadly, Mahā-vastu is the Sanskrit equivalent of the Pali Mahākhandhaka (“The Great Chapter”), serving as a kind of introduction to the vinaya.

The following is a revised version of the text and translation published by Ānandajoti Bhikkhu, who, based on its content, gave it the title Utpadyana-nirudhyana-sūtra, The Discourse on Arising and Ceasing.

In the Chinese version of the Āgama Sūtras, the section is titled 頻鞞娑邏王迎佛, King Bimbisāra Welcomes the Buddha.


Atha khalu Bhagavāṁ teṣāṁ Māgadhakānāṁ brāhmaṇa-gṛhapatikānāṁ Dhārmyāṁ kathāṁ praṇāmaye:
Then the Glorious One gave a Dharma talk to the devotees of spiritual development, and the householders, of Māgadha:

“Rūpaṁ brāhmaṇa-gṛhapataye utpadyati pi nirudhyati pi,
“Bodily form, O devotees and householders, arises and ceases,

vedanā utpadyati pi nirudhyati pi,
feeling arises and ceases,

saṁjñā utpadyati pi nirudhyati pi,
perception arises and ceases,

saṁskārā utpadyanti pi nirudhyanti pi,
habitual doings arise and cease,

vijñānaṁ utpadyati pi nirudhyati pi.
consciousness arises and ceases.

Ārya-śrāvako ca brāhmaṇa-gṛhapatayo,
The noble disciple, O devotees and householders,

‘rūpaṁ utpāda-vyaya-dharmo’ ti samanupaśyanto,
reflecting that bodily form has the nature to arise and pass,

‘vedanā saṁjñā saṁskārā vijñānam anityan’-ti samanupaśyati,
reflects that feeling, perception, habitual doings, and consciousness are impermanent;

‘rūpam anityan’-ti samanupaśyanto’,
reflecting that bodily form is impermanent,

‘vedanā saṁjñā saṁskārā vijñānam anityan’-ti samanupaśyanto,
he reflects that feeling, perception, habitual doings, and consciousness are impermanent;

‘rūpaṁ duḥkhaṁ’ ti samanupaśyanto,
reflecting that bodily form is suffering,

‘vedanā saṁjñā saṁskārā vijñānaṁ duḥkhaṁ’ ti samanupaśyanto,
reflecting that feeling, perception, habitual doings, and consciousness are suffering,

‘rūpam anātme’-ti samanupaśyati,
he reflects that bodily form is not self,

‘vedanā saṁjñā saṁskārā vijñānaṁ anātme’-ti samanupaśyati,
he reflects that feeling, perception, habitual doings, and consciousness are not self;

so ‘rūpaṁ anātme’-ti samanupaśyanto,
reflecting that bodily form is not self,

‘vedanā saṁjñā saṁskārā vijñānaṁ anātme’-ti samanupaśyanto,
reflecting that feeling, perception, habitual doings, and consciousness are not self,

‘rūpam udaya-vyayaṁ’ ti prajānāti,
he knows that bodily form arises and passes;

‘rūpam udaya-vyayaṁ’ ti prajānanto
knowing that bodily form arises and passes,

‘vedanā saṁjñā saṁskārā vijñānam udaya-vyayan’ -ti prajānāti,
he knows that feeling, perception, habitual doings, and consciousness arise and pass;

prajānanto ‘rūpam anityan’-ti prajānāti,
[so] knowing, he knows that bodily form is impermanent;

prajānanto vedanā saṁjñā saṁskārā vijñānam anityan-ti prajānāti,
[so] knowing, he knows that feeling, perception, habitual doings, and consciousness are impermanent;

prajānanto ‘rūpaṁ duḥkhan’-ti prajānāti,
[so] knowing, he knows that bodily form is suffering,

prajānanto ‘vedanā saṁjñā saṁskārā vijñānaṁ duḥkhaṁ’ ti prajānāti,
[so] knowing, he knows that feeling, perception, habitual doings, and consciousness are suffering,

prajānanto ‘rūpam anātme’-ti prajānāti,
[so] knowing, he knows that bodily form is not self,

prajānanto ‘vedanā saṁjñā saṁskārā vijñānaṁ anātme’-ti prajānāti,
[so] knowing, he knows that feeling, perception, habitual doings, and consciousness are not self;

prajānanto kiṁcil loke na upādīyati,
[so] knowing, he does not cling to anything in the world,

anupādīyanto pratyātmam eva parinirvāyati,
not clinging, he for one comes completely to quiet,

‘Kṣīṇā me jātir
Destroyed for me is (re)birth,

uṣitaṁ brahmacaryaṁ
lived is the spiritual life,

kṛtaṁ karaṇīyaṁ
done is what was to be done, 

noparim ityatvam iti prajānāti.’
no more is there of this mundane state' – this he knows."




Atha khalu teṣāṁ Māgadhakānāṁ brāhmaṇa-gṛhapatikānāṁ etad abhūṣi:
Then this occurred to those devotees and householders of Māgadha: 

“Yato kila bho rūpam anātmā,
“Since bodily form, allegedly, is not self,

vedanā saṁjñā saṁskārā vijñānam anātmā,
since feeling, perception, habitual doings, and consciousness are not self,

atha ko tarhi kārako vā kārāpako vā,
then who in that case is the doer, or the agent, 

utthāpako vā samutthāpako vā nikṣepako vā,
or the one that gives rise to, or stirs up, or casts off [these habitual doings]? 

yo imāṁ saṁskārāṁ ādīyati vā nikṣipati vā,
Who takes up these habitual doings or casts them off?

yasyime saṁskārā śūnyā anātmanīyā, ātmena vā ātmanīyena vā?
For who – [thinking practically] in terms of the self or of what belongs to the self – are these doings empty and not belonging to a self?




Atha khalu Bhagavāṁ teṣāṁ Māgadhakānāṁ brāhmaṇa-gṛhapatikānāṁ imam eva rūpaṁ cetaso parivitarkam ājñāya, bhikṣūn āmantrayati:
Then the Glorious One, knowing exactly what had taken shape in the minds of those devotees and householders of Māgadha, addressed the monks:

“Prajñapeti bhikṣavo bālo abhyupagato anātmā
“The fool, monks, though he lets it be know that he has realized non-self,

vedanā saṁjñā saṁskārā vijñāno ‘me ātmā’;
[still clings to] his feelings, perceptions, habitual doings, and consciousness, as ‘my self.'

na ca punar ahaṁ evaṁ vademi:
I, however, do not speak like this:

‘Ahaṁ so atra kārako vā kārāpako vā,
‘I am the doer here, or the agent,

utthāpako vā ādīyako vā nikṣepako vā,
or the one that gives rise to, or initiates, or casts off [habitual doings],

yo imāṁ ca saṁskārān nikṣipati anyāṁ ca upādīyati anyatra.’
who casts off these habitual doings here and takes them up elsewhere.’

Atha khalu saṁskārā eva utpadyanti saṁskārā eva nirudhyanti,
Habitual doings arise, habitual doings cease;

te ca sahetukā utpadyanti sahetukā eva nirudhyanti,
they arise with cause, and they cease with cause;

sahetukā saṁskāra-pratisaṁdhir bhikṣavas tathāgato ‘ātmā’ ti ‘ādīyako’ ti.
Rebirth grounded in habitual doings, rebirth which has a cause, monks, the Tathāgata [explains] with the words 'self' and 'one that initiates.'

Satvānāṁ cyutopapādaṁ prajñapayāmi.
I point out the falling away and the arising of living beings.

Paśyāmy ahaṁ bhikṣavaḥ divyena cakṣuṣā viśuddhenātikrānta-mānuṣyakena satvāṁ cyavantāṁ upapadyantāṁ:
With divine insight – with the eye which is purified and surpasses that of men – I see the falling away and arising of living beings:

suvarṇāṁ durvavarṇāṁ, sugatāṁ durgatāṁ, hīnāṁ praṇītāṁ, 
beautiful and ugly, well born and low born, base and excellent –

yathākarmopagāṁ satvāṁ prajānāmi,
I know that beings are born according to their actions.

na ca punaḥ ahaṁ evaṁ vadāmi:
But I, again, do not speak like this:

‘Ahaṁ so atra kārako vā kārāpako vā,
‘I am the doer here, or the agent,

utthāpako vā samutthāpako vā ādīyako vā nikṣepako vā,
or the one that gives rise to, or stirs up, or initiates, or casts off [habitual doings],

yo imāṁ ca saṁskārān nikṣipati anyāṁ ca upādīyati anyatra.’
who casts off these habitual doings there and takes hold of them elsewhere.’

Atha khalu saṁskārā eva utpadyanti saṁskārā eva nirudhyanti,
Habitual doings arise and habitual doings cease;

te ca sa-hetu-pratyayā utpadyanti sa-hetu-pratyayā nirudhyanti.
they arise with causes and conditions, and they cease with causes and conditions.

Sahetu-dṛṣṭī bhavābhava-dṛṣṭī,
There is the view which affirms causes – the view on existence and non-existence.

‘sahetu-saṁskāra-samudayaṁ’ bhikṣavo yathābhūtaṁ samyakprajñayā paśyato
[But] when the causal arising of habitual doing is seen with true wisdom, monks, as it really is,

yā bhava-dṛṣṭi śāśvata-dṛṣṭi sā na bhavati;
whatever existence-view there was, whatever eternity-view there was, does not exist.

‘sahetu-saṁskāra-nirodhaṁ’ ca bhikṣavaḥ yathābhūtaṁ samyakprajñayā paśyato
Again, when the causal cessation of habitual doing is seen with true wisdom, monks, as it really is,

yā vibhava-dṛṣṭi, uccheda-dṛṣṭi sāpi na bhavati.
whatever destruction-view there was, whatever annihilation-view there was, also does not exist.

Tena bhikṣavo ubhau antau anugamya madhyena Tathāgato Dharmaṁ deśayati:
Thus, monks, not having approached either of these two extremes, the Tathāgata teaches the Dharma by way of the middle:

Avidyā-pratyayā saṁskārā...
With ignorance as their causal grounds, there are habitual doings;

saṁskāra-pratyayaṁ vijñānaṁ,
with habitual doings as its causal grounds – divided consciousness;

vijñāna-pratyayaṁ nāmarūpaṁ,
with divided consciousness as its causal grounds – psycho-physicality;

nāmarūpa-pratyayaṁ ṣaḍāyatanaṁ,
with psycho-physicality as causal grounds – six senses;

ṣaḍāyatana-pratyayaṁ sparśaḥ,
with six senses as causal grounds – contact;

sparśa-pratyayā vedanā,
with contact as its causal grounds – feeling;

vedanā-pratyayā tṛṣṇā,
with feeling as its causal grounds – thirsting;

tṛṣṇā-pratyayam upādānaṁ, 
with thirsting as its causal grounds – taking hold;

upādāna-pratyayo bhavo,
with taking hold as its causal grounds – becoming;

bhava-pratyayā jātir, 
with becoming as its causal grounds – birth;

jāti-pratyayā jarā-maraṇa-śoka-parideva-duḥkha-daurmanasyopayāsā.
with birth as causal grounds – old age, death, grief, lamentations, pain, downheartedness, and despair;

Evam asya kevalasya mahato duḥkha-skaṁdhasya samudayo bhavati.
And so there is an arising of this whole great mass of suffering.

Iti pi avidyā-nirodhāt saṁskāra-nirodhaḥ,
Thus, again, from the cessation of ignorance, there is the cessation of habitual doings;

saṁskāra-nirodhād vijñānanirodho,
from the cessation of habitual doings – cessation of divided consciousness;

vijñāna-nirodhān nāmarūpanirodho,
from the cessation of divided consciousness – cessation of psycho-physicality;

nāmarūpa-nirodhāt ṣaḍāyatana-nirodhaḥ, 
from the cessation of psycho-physicality – cessation of six senses;

ṣaḍāyatana-nirodhāt sparśa-nirodhaḥ, 
from the cessation of six senses – cessation of contact;

sparśa-nirodhād vedanā-nirodho, 
from the cessation of contact – cessation of feeling;

vedanā-nirodhāt tṛṣṇā-nirodhaḥ, 
from the cessation of feeling – cessation of thirsting;

tṛṣṇā-nirodhād upādāna-nirodhaḥ, 
from the cessation of thirsting – cessation of taking hold,

upādāna-nirodhād bhava-nirodhāḥ, 
from the cessation of taking hold – cessation of becoming;

bhava-nirodhaj [sic] jāti-nirodho,
from the cessation of becoming – cessation of birth;

jāti-nirodhaj [sic] jarā-maraṇa-nirodho, 
from the cessation of birth – cessation of old age and death;

jarā-maraṇa-nirodho [sic] śoka-parideva-duḥkha-daurmanasyopayāsā nirodhyante
from the cessation of old age and death cease grief, lamentations, pain, downheartedness, and despair;

evam asya kevalasya mahato duḥkha-skandhasya nirodho bhavati."
and so there is a cessation of this whole great mass of suffering."


Idam avocad Bhagavān Rājagṛhe viharanto antagirismiṁ Yaṣṭīvane udyāne, 
The Glorious One said this, while living near Rājagṛha, on the mountainside in the Sapling Garden.

imasmiṁś ca punar vyākaraṇe bhāṣyamāṇe,
Moreover, as this exposition was being spoken,

rājño Śreṇyasya Bimbisārasya tatraivāsane niṣaṇṇasya,
King Śreṇya Bimbisāra, sitting right there on the seat,

virajaṁ vigata-malaṁ dharmeṣu Dharma-cakṣur viśuddhaṁ.
in all things was possessed of the dustless, stainless, pure Dharma-Eye.

Ekādaśānāṁ ca nayutānāṁ
Eleven myriad others, also,

virajaṁ vigata-malaṁ dharmeṣu Dharma-cakṣur viśuddhaṁ.
in all things were possessed of the dustless, stainless, pure Dharma-Eye.

Ye pi te dvādaśa-nayutā yugya-pālā yāna-pālā te pi tato paścād Buddhaṁ śaraṇaṁ gatā,
From the back, also, twelve myriads of men who worked yokes and drove carts went for refuge to the Buddha,

Dharmaṁ śaraṇaṁ gatāḥ, Saṁghaṁ śaraṇaṁ gatā,
went for refuge to the Dharma, went for refuge to the Saṅgha.

āttamanā te bhikṣū Rājā Śreṇyo Bimbisāro,
Uplifted were those monks, uplifted was King Śreṇya Bimbisāra,

Māgadhakā ca brāhmaṇa-gṛhapatikā Bhagavato bhāṣitam abhinande.
and uplifted were the devotees and householders of Māgadha – they greatly rejoiced in what the Glorious One said.


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