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Compiled by Professor Ko Lay
& Edited by Editorial Committee



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Chapter I

What is Vinaya Pitaka? P5 - P8

Chapter II

Vinaya Pitaka P9 - P18

Chapter III

What is Suttanta Pitaka? P19 - P24

Chapter IV

Suttanta Pitaka P24 - P44

Chapter V

Majjhima Nikaya P45 - P82

Chapter VI

Samyutta Nikaya P83 - P109

Chapter VII

Anguttara Nikaya P110 - P124

Chapter VIII

Khuddaka Nikaya P125 - P138

Chapter IX

What is Abhidhamma Pitaka? P139 - P142

Chapter X

Abhidhamma Pitaka P143 - P153

Chapter I
What is Vinaya Pitaka?

Disciplinary and Procedural Rules for the Samgha

        The Vinaya Pitaka is made up of rules of discipline laid down for regulating the conduct of the Buddha's disciples who have been admitted as bhikkhus and bhikkhunis into the Order. These rules embody authoritative injunctions of the Buddha on modes of conduct and restraints on both physical and verbal actions. They deal with transgressions of discipline, and with various categories of restraints and admonitions in accordance with the nature of the offence.

        (a) Seven Kinds of Transgression or Offence, Apatti

        The rules of discipline first laid down by the Buddha are called Mulapannatti (the root regulation); those supplemented later are known as Anupannatti. Together they are known as Sikkhapadas, rules of discipline. The act of tranagressing these rules of discipline, thereby incurring a penalty by the guilty bhikkhu, is called Apatti, which means 'reaching, committing'.

        The offences for which penalties are laid down may be classified under seven categories depending on their nature:

  • (i) Parajika
  • (ii) Samghadisesa
  • (iii) Thullaccaya
  • (iv) Pacittiya
  • (v) Patidesaniya (vi)
  • (vi) Dukkata
  • (vii) Dubbhasita.

        An offence in the first category of offences, Parajika, is classified as a grave offence, Garukapatti, which is irremediable, atekiccha and entails the falling off of the offender from bhikkhuhood.

        An offence in the second category, Samghadisesa, is also classified as a grave offence but it is remediable, satekiccha. The offender is put on a probationary period of penance, during which he has to undertake certain difficult practices and after which he is rehabilitated by the Samgha assembly.

        The remaining five categories consist of light offences, lahukapatti, which are remediable and incur the penalty of having to confess the transgression to another bhikkhu. After carrying out the prescribed penalty, the bhikkhu transgressor becomes cleansed of the offence.

        (b) When and how the disciplinary rules were laid down.

        For twenty years after the establishment of the Order there was neither injunction nor rule concerning Parajika and Samghadisesa offences. The members of the Order of the early days were all Ariyas, the least advanced of whom was a Stream-winner, one who had attained the first Magga and Fruition, and there was no need for proscribing rules relating to grave offences.

        But as the years went by, the Samgha grew in strength. Undesirable elements not having the purest of motives but attracted only by the fame and gain of the bhikkhus began to get into the Buddha's Order. Some twenty years after the founding of the Order, it became necessary to begin establishing rules relating to grave offences.

        It was through Bhikkhu Sudinna, a native of Kalanda Village near Vesali, who committed the offence of having sexual intercourse with his ex-wife, that the first Parajika rule came to be promulgated. It was laid down to deter bhikkhus from indulging in sexual intercourse.

        When such a grave cause had arisen for which the laying down of a prohibitory rule became necessary, the Buddha convened an assembly of the bhikkhus. It was only after questioning the bhikkhu concerned and after the undesirability of committing such an offence had been made clear that a certain rule was laid down in order to prevent future lapses of similar nature.

        The Buddha also followed the precedence set by earlier Buddhas. Using his supernormal powers, he reflected on what rules the earlier Buddhas would lay down under certain given conditions. Then he adopted similar regulations to meet the situation that had arisen in his time.

        (c) Admission of Bhikkhunis into the Order

        After spending four vassas (residence period during the rains) after his Enlightenment, the Buddha visited Kapilavatthu, his native royal city, at the request of his ailing father, King Suddhodana. All that time, Mahapajapati, Buddha's foster mother requested him to admit her into the Order. Mahapajapati was not alone in desiring to join the Order. Five hundred Sakyan ladies whose husbands had left the household life were also eager to be admitted into the Order.

        After his father's death, the Buddha went back to Vesali, refusing the repeated request of Mahapajapati for admission into the Order. The determined foster mother of the Buddha and widow of the recently deceased King Suddhodana, having cut off her hair and put on bark-dyed clothes, accompanied by five hundred Sakyan ladies, made her way to Vesali where the Buddha was staying in the Mahavana, in the Kutagara Hall.

        The Venerable Ananda saw them outside the gateway of the Kutagara Hall, dust-laden with swollen feet, dejected, tearful, standing and weeping. Out of great compassion for the ladies, the Venerable Ananda interceded with the Buddha on their behalf and entreated him to accept them in the Order. The Buddha continued to stand firm. But when the Venerable Ananda asked the Buddha whether women were not capable of attaining Magga and Phala Insight, the Buddha replied that women were indeed capable of doing so, provided they left the household life like their menfolk.

        Thereupon Ananda made his entreaties again saying that Mahapajapati had been of great service to the Buddha waiting on him as his guardian and nurse, suckling him when his mother died. And as women were capable of attaining the Magga and Phala Insight, she should be permitted to join the Order and become a bhikkhuni.

        The Buddha finally acceded to Ananda's entreaties: "Ananda, if Mahapajapati accepts eight special rules, garu-dhamma, let such acceptance mean her admission to the Order."

        The eight special rules* are:

  • (i) A bhikkhuni, even if she enjoys a seniority of a hundred years in the Order, must pay respect to a bhikkhu though he may have been a bhikkhu only for a day.
  • (ii) A bhikkhuni must not keep her rains-residence in a place where there are no bhikkhus.
  • (iii) Every fortnight a bhikkhuni must do two things: To ask the bhikkhu Samgha the day of uposatha, and to approach the bhikkhu Samgha for instruction and admonition.
  • (iv) When the rains-residence period is over, a bhikkhuni must attend the pavarana ceremony conducted at both the assemblies of bhikkhus and bhikkhunis, in each of which she must invite criticism on what has been seen, what has been heard or what has been suspected of her.
  • (v) A bhikkhuni who has committed a Samghadisesa offence must undergo penance for a half-month, pakkha manatta, in each assembly of bhikkhus and bhikkhunis.
  • (vi) Admission to the Order must be sought, from both assemblies, by a woman novice only after two year's probationary training as a candidate.
  • (vii) A bhikkhuni should not revile a bhikkhu in any way, not even obliquely.
  • (viii) A bhikkhuni must abide by instructions given her by bhikkhus, but must not give instructions or advice to bhikkhus.

        Mahapajapati accepted unhesitatingly these eight conditions imposed by the Buddha and was consequently admitted into the Order.

        * 1. vide, Vinaya - II, 74-75.

Chapter II
Vinaya Pitaka

        The Vinaya Pitaka is made up of five books:

        (1) Parajika Pali

         (2) Pacittaya Pali

         (3) Mahavagga Pali

         (4) Culavagga Pali

         (5) Parivara Pali

1. Parajika Pali

         Parajika Pali which is Book I of the Vinaya Pitaka gives an elaborate explanation of the important rules of discipline concerning Parajika and Sanghadisesa, as well as Aniyata and Nissaggiya which are minor offences.

        (a) Parajika offences and penalties.

         Parajika discipline consists of four sets of rules laid down to prevent four grave offences. Any transgressor of these rules is defeated in his purpose in becoming a bhikkhu. In the parlance of Vinaya, the Parajika Apatti falls upon him; he automatically loses the status of a bhikkhu; he is no longer recognized as a member of the community of bhikkhus and is not permitted to become a bhikkhu again. He has either to go back to the household life as a layman or revert back to the status of a samanera, a novice.

         One who has lost the status of a bhikkhu for transgression of any of these rules is likened to (i) a person whose head has been cut off from his body; he cannot become alive even if the head is fixed back on the body; (ii) leaves which have fallen off the branches of the tree; they will not become green again even if they are attached back to the leaf-stalks; (iii) a flat rock which has been split; it cannot be made whole again; (iv) a palm tree which has been cut off from its stem; it will never grow again.

         Four Parajika offences which lead to loss of status as a bhikkhu.

  • (i) The first Parajika: Whatever bhikkhu should indulge in sexual intercourse loses his bhikkhuhood.
  • (ii) The second Parajika: Whatever bhikkhu should take with intention to steal what is not given loses his bhikkhuhood.
  • (iii) The third Parajika: Whatever bhikkhu should intentionally deprive a human being of life loses his bhikkhuhood.
  • (iv) The fourth Parajika: Whatever bhikkhu claims to attainments he does not really possess, namely, attainments to jhana or Magga and Phala Insight loses his bhikkhuhood.

        The parajika offender is guilty of a very grave transgression. He ceases to be a bhikkhu. His offence, Apatti, is irremediable.

        (b) Thirteen Samghadisesa offences and penalties

         Samhghadisesa discipline consists of a set of thirteen rules which require formal participation of the Samgha from beginning to end in the process of making him free from the guilt of transgression.

         (i) A bhikkhu having transgressed these rules, and wishing to be free from his offence must first approach the Samgha and confess having committed the offence. The Samgha determines his offence and orders him to observe the parivasa penance, a penalty requiring him to live under suspension from association with the rest of the Samgha, for as many day, as he has knowingly concealed his offence.

         (ii) At the end of the parivasa observance he undergoes a further period of penance, menatta, for six days to gain approbation of the Samgha.

         (iii) Having carried out the menatta penance, the bhikkhu requests the Samgha to reinstate him to full association with the rest of the Samgha.

         Being now convinced of the purity of his conduct as before, the Samgha lifts the Apatti at a special congregation attended by at least twenty bhikkhus, where natti, the motion for his reinstatement, is recited followed by three recitals of kammavaca, procedural text for formal acts of the Samgha.

         Some examples of the Samghadisesa offence

         (i) Kayasamsagga offence:

         If any bhikkhu with lustful, perverted thoughts engages in bodily contact with a woman, such as holding of hands, caressing the tresses of hair or touching any part of her body, he commits the Kayasamsagga Samghadisesa offence.

         (ii) Sancaritta offence:

         If any bhikkhu acts as a go-between between a man and a woman for their lawful living together as husband and wife or for temporary arrangement as man and mistress or woman and lover, he is guilty of Sancaritta Samghadisesa offence.

         (c) Two Aniyata offences and penalties

         Aniyata means indefinite, uncertain. There are two Aniyata offences the nature of which is uncertain and indefinite as to whether it is a Parajika offence, a Samghadisesa offence or a Pacittiya offence. It is to be determined according to provisions in the following rules:

        (i) If a bhikkhu sits down privately alone with a woman in a place which is secluded and hidden from view, and convenient for an immoral purpose and if a trustworthy lay woman (i.e., an Ariya), seeing him, accuses him of any one of the three offences (1) a Parajika offence (2) a Samghadisesa offence (3) a Pacittiya offence, and the bhikkhu himself admits that he was so sitting, he should be found guilty of one of these three offences as accused by the trustworthy lay woman.

        (ii) If a bhikkhu sits down privately alone with a woman in a place which is not hidden from view and not convenient for an immoral purpose but convenient for talking lewd words to her, and if a trustworthy lay woman (i.e., an Ariya), seeing him, accuses him of any one of the two offences (1) a Samghadisesa offence (2) a Pacittiya offence, and the bhikkhu himself admits that he was so sitting, he should be found guilty of one of these two offences as accused by the trustworthy lay woman.

        (d) Thirty Nissaggiya Pacittiya offences and penalties

        There are thirty rules under the Nissaggiya category of offences and penalties which are laid down to curb inordinate greed in bhikkhus for possession of material things such as robes, bowls etc. To give an example, an offence is done under those rules when objects not permitted are acquired, or when objects are acquired in more than the permitted quantity. The penalty consists firstly of giving up the objects in respect of which the offence has been committed. Then it is followed by confession of the breach of the rule, together with an undertaking not to repeat the same offence, to the Samgha as a whole, or to a group of bhikkhus, or to an individual bhikkhu to whom the wrongfully acquired objects have been surrendered.

        Some examples of the Nissaggiya Pacittiya offences.

        (i) First Nissaggiya Sikkhapada.

        If any bhikkhu keeps more than the permissible number of robes, namely, the lower robe, the upper robe and the great robe, he commits an offence for which he has to surrender the extra robes and confess his offence.

        (ii) Civara Acchindana Sikkhapada.

         If any bhikkhu gives away his own robe to another bhikkhu and afterwards, being angry or displeased, takes it back forcibly or causes it to be taken away by someone else, he commits a Nissaggiya Pacittiya offence.

        Nissaggiya offences are light offences compared with the grave offences of Parajika Apatti or Samghadisesa Apatti.

2. The Pacittiya Pali

        The Pacittiya Pali which is Book II of the Vinaya Pitaka deals with the remaining sets of rules for the bhikkhus, namely, the Pacittiya, the Patidesaniya, Sekhiya, Adhikaranasamatha and the corresponding disciplinary rules for the bhikkhunis. Although it is called in Pali just Pacittiya, it has the distinctive name of 'Suddha Pacittiya', ordinary Pacittiya, to distinguish it from Nissaggiya Pacittiya, described above.

        (a) Ninety two Pacittiya offences and penalties

        There are ninety two rules under this class of offences classified in nine sections. A few examples of this type of offences:

        (i) Telling a lie deliberately is a Pacittiya offence.

        (ii) A bhikkhu who sleeps under the same roof and within the walls along with a woman commits a Pacittiya offence.

        (iii) A bhikkhu who digs the ground or causes it to be dug commits a Pacittiya offence.

        A Pacittiya offence is remedied merely by admission of the offence to a bhikkhu.

         (b) Four Patidesaniya offences and penalties

        There are four offences under this classification and they all deal with the bhikkhu's conduct in accepting and eating alms-food offered to him. The bhikkhu tranagressing any of these rules, in making admission of his offence, must use a special formula stating the nature of his fault.

        The first rule of Patidesaniya offence reads: should a bhikkhu eat hard food or soft food having accepted it with his own hand from a bhikkhuni who is not his relation and who has gone among the houses for alms-food, it should be admitted to another bhikkhu by the bhikkhu saying, "friend, I have done a censurable thing which is unbecoming and which should be admitted. I admit having committed a Patidesaniya offence."

        The events that led to the laying down of the first of these rules happened in Savatthi, where one morning bhikkhus and bhikkhunis were going round for alms-food. A certain bhikkhuni offered the food she had received to a certain bhikkhu who took away all that was in her bowl. The bhikkhuni had to go without any food for the day. Three days in succession she offered to give her alms-food to the same bhikkhu who on all the three days deprived her of her entire alms-food. Consequently she became famished. On the fourth day while going on the alms round she fainted and fell down through weakness. When the Buddha came to hear about this, he censured the bhikkhu who was guilty of the wrong deed and laid down the above rule.

        (c) Seventy five Sekhiya rules of polite behaviour

         These seventy five rules laid down originally for the proper behaviour of bhikkhus also apply to novices who seek admission to the Order. Most of these rules were all laid down at Savatthi on account of indisciplined behaviour on the part of a group of six bhikkhus. The rules can be divided into four groups. The first group of twenty six rules is concerned with good conduct and behaviour when going into towns and villages. The second group of thirty rules deals with polite manners when accepting alms-food and when eating meals. The third group of sixteen rules contains rules which prohibit teaching of the Dhamma to disrespectful people. The fourth group of three rules relates to unbecoming ways of answering the calls of nature and of spitting.

         (d) Seven ways of settling disputes, Adhikaranasamatha.

        Pacittiya Pali concludes the disciplinary rules for bhikkhus with a Chapter on seven ways of settling cases, Adhikaranasamatha.

         Four kinds of cases are listed:

  • (i) Vivadadhikarana — Disputes as to what is dhamma, what is not dhamma; what is Vinaya, what is not Vinaya; what the Buddha said, what the Buddha did not say; and what constitutes an offence, what is not an offence.
  • (ii) Anuvadadhikarana — Accusations and disputes arising out of them concerning the virtue, practice, views and way of living of a bhikkhu.
  • (iii) Apattadhikarana — Infringement of any disciplinary rule.
  • (iv) Kiccadhikarana — Formal meeting or decisions made by the Samgha.

         For settlement of such disputes that may arise from time to time amongst the Order, precise and detailed methods are prescribed under seven heads:

  • (i) Sammukha Vinaya — before coming to a decision, conducting an enquiry in the presence of both parties in accordance with the rules of Vinaya.
  • (ii) Sati Vinaya — making a declaration by the Samgha of the innocence of an Arahat against whom some allegations have been made, after asking him if he remembers having committed the offence.
  • (iii) Amulha Vinaya — making a declaration by the Samgha when the accused is found to be insane.
  • (iv) Patinnata Karana — making a decision after admission by the party concerned.
  • (v) Yebhuyyasika Kamma — making a decision in accordance with the majority vote.
  • (vi) Tassapapiyasika Kamma — making a declaration by the Samgha when the accused proves to be unreliable, making admissions only to retract them, evading questions and telling lies.
  • (vii) Tinavattharaka Kamma the act of covering up with grass' — exonerating all offences except the offences of Parajika, Samghdisesa and those in connection with laymen and laywomen, when the disputing parties are made to reconcile by the Samgha.

         (e) Rules of Discipline for the bhikkhunis

         The concluding chapters in the Pacittiya Pali are devoted to the rules of Discipline for the bhikkhunis. The list of rules for bhikkhunis runs longer than that for the bhikkhus. The bhikkhuni rules were drawn up on exactly the same lines as those for the bhikkhus, with the exception of the two Aniyata rules which are not laid down for the bhikkhuni Order.

Bhikkhu Bhikkhuni
(1) Parajika 4 8
(2) Samghadisesa 13 17
(3) Aniyata 2 -
(4) Nissaggiya Pacittiya 30 30
(5) Suddha Pacittiya 92 166
(6) Patidesaniya 4 8
(7) Sekhiya 75 75
(8) Adhikaranasamatha 7 7
227 311

        These eight categories of disciplinary rules for bhikkhus and bhikkhunis of the Order are treated in detail in the first two books of the Vinaya Pitaka. For each rule an historical account is given as to how it comes to be laid down, followed by an exhortation of the Buddha ending with "This offence does not lead to rousing of faith in those who are not convinced of the Teaching, nor to increase of faith in those who are convinced." After the exhortation comes the particular rule laid down by the Buddha followed by word for word commentary on the rule.

3. Mahavagga Pali

         The next two books, namely, Mahavagga Pali which is Book III and Culavagga Pali which is Book IV Of the Vinaya Pitaka, deal with all those matters relating to the Samgha which have not been dealt with in the first two books.

        Mahavagga Pali, made up of ten sections known as Khandhakas, opens with an historical account of how the Buddha attained Supreme Enlightenment at the foot of the Bodhi tree, how he discovered the famous law of Dependent Origination, how he gave his first sermon to the Group of Five Bhikkhus on the discovery of the Four Noble Truths, namely, the great Discourse on The Turning of the Wheel of Dhamma, Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta · This was followed by another great discourse, the Anattalakkhana Sutta. These two suttas may be described as the Compendium of the Teaching of the Buddha.

        The first section continues to describe how young men of good families like Yasa sought refuge in him as a Buddha and embraced his Teaching; how the Buddha embarked upon the unique mission of spreading the Dhamma 'for the welfare and happiness of the many' when he had collected round him sixty disciples who were well established in the Dhamma and had become Arahats; how he began to establish the Order of the Samgha to serve as a living example of the Truth he preached; and how his famous disciples like Sariputta, Moggallana, Maha Kassapa, Ananda, Upali, Angulimala became members of the Order. The same section then deals with the rules for formal admission to the Order, (Upasampada), giving precise conditions to be fulfilled before any person can gain admission to the Order and the procedure to be followed for each admission.

         Mahavagga further deals with procedures for an Uposatha meeting, the assembly of the Samgha on every full moon day and on the fourteenth or fifteenth waning day of the lunar month when Patimokkha, a summary of the Vinaya rules, is recited. Then there are rules to be observed for rains retreat (vassa) during the rainy season as well as those for the formal ceremony of pavarana concluding the rains retreat, in which a bhikkhu invites criticism from his brethren in respect of what has been seen, heard or suspected about his conduct.

        There are also rules concerning sick bhikkhus, the use of leather for footwear and furniture, materials for robes, and those concerning medicine and food. A separate section deals with the ceremonies where annual making and offering of robes take place.

4. Culavagga Pali

        Culavagga Pali which is Book IV of the Vinaya Pitaka continues to deal with more rules and procedures for institutional acts or functions known as Samghakamma. The twelve sections in this book deal with rules for offences such as Samghadisesa that come before the Samgha; rules for observance of penances such as parivasa and manatta and rules for reinstatement of a bhikkhu. There are also miscellaneous rules concerning bathing, dress, dwellings and furniture and, those dealing with treatment of visiting bhikkhus, and duties of tutors and novices. Some of the important enactments are concerned with Tajjaniya Kamma, formal act of censure by the Samgha taken against those bhikkhus who cause strife, quarrels, disputes, who associate familiarly with lay people and who speak in dispraise of the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Samgha; Ukkhepaniya Kamma, formal act of suspension to be taken against those who having committed an offence do not want to admit it; and Pakasaniya Kamma taken against Devadatta announcing publicly that "Whatever Devadatta does by deed or word, should be seen as Devadatta's own and has nothing to do with the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Samgha." The account of this action is followed by the story of Devadatta's three attempts on the life of the Buddha and the schism caused by Devadatta among the Samgha.

         There is, in section ten, the story of how Mahapajapati, the Buddha's foster mother, requested admission into the Order, how the Buddha refused permission at first, and how he finally acceded to the request be cause of Ananda's entreaties on her behalf.

        The last two sections describe two important events of historical interest, namely, the holding of the first Synod at Rajagaha and of the second Synod at Vesali.

5. Parivara Pali

         Parivara Pali which is Book V and the last book of the Vinaya Pitaka serves as a kind of manual. It is compiled in the form of a catechism, enabling the reader to make an analytical survey of the Vinaya Pitaka. All the rules, official acts, and other matters of the Vinaya are classified under separate categories according to subjects dealt with.

         Parivara explains how rules of the Order are drawn up to regulate the conduct of the bhikkhus as well as the administrative affairs of the Order. Precise procedures are prescribed for settling of disputes and handling matters of jurisprudence, for formation of Samgha courts and appointment of well-qualified Samgha judges. It lays down how Samgha Vinicchaya Committee, the Samgha court, is to be constituted with a body of learned Vinayadharas, experts in Vinaya rules, to hear and decide all kinds of monastic disputes.

         The Parivara Pali provides general principles and guidance in the spirit of which all the Samgha Vinicchaya proceedings are to be conducted for settlement of monastic disputes.

Chapter III


        The Suttanta Pitaka is a collection of all the discourses in their entirety delivered by the Buddha on various occasions. (A few discourses delivered by some of the distinguished disciples of the Buddha, such as the Venerable Sariputta, Maha Moggallana, Ananda, etc., as well as some narratives are also included in the books of the Suttanta Pitaka.) The discourses of the Buddha compiled together in the Suttanta Pitaka were expounded to suit different occasions, for various persons with different temperaments. Although the discourses were mostly intended for the benefit of bhikkhus, and deal with the practice of' the pure life and with the exposition of the Teaching, there are also several other discourses which deal with the material and moral progress of the lay disciples.

        The Suttanta Pitaka brings out the meaning of the Buddha's teachings, expresses them clearly, protects and guards them against distortion and misconstruction. Just like a string which serves as an plumb-line to guide the carpenters in their work, just like a thread which protects flowers from being scattered or dispersed when strung together by it, likewise by means of' suttas, the meaning of Buddha's teachings may be brought out clearly, grasped and understood correctly and given perfect protection from being misconstrued.

         The Suttanta Pitaka is divided into five separate collections known as Nikayas. They are Digha Nikaya, Majjhima Nikaya, Samyutta Nikaya, Anguttara Nikaya and Khuddaka Nikaya.

(a) Observances and Practices in the Teaching of the Buddha

         In the Suttanta Pitaka are found not only the fundamentals of the Dhamma but also pragmatic guidelines to make the Dhamma meaningful and applicable to daily life. All observances and practices which form practical steps in the Buddha's Noble Path of Eight Constituents lead to spiritual purification at three levels:

        Sila moral: purity through right conduct,

        Samadhi: purity of mind through concentration (Samatha),

        Panna: purity of Insight through Vipassana

        To begin with, one must make the right resolution to take refuge in the Buddha, to follow the Buddha's Teaching, and to be guided by the Samgha. The first disciples who made the declaration of faith in the Buddha and committed themselves to follow his Teaching were the two merchant brothers, Tapussa and Bhallika. They were travelling with their followers in five hundred carts when they saw the Buddha in the vicinity of' the Bodhi free after his Enlightenment. The two merchants offered him honey rice cakes. Accepting their offering and thus breaking the fast he had imposed on himself for seven weeks, the Buddha made them his disciples by letting them recite after him:

        "Buddham Saranam Gacchami (I take refuge in the Buddha)."

        " Dhamman Saranam Gacchami (I take refuge in the Dhamma ) "

        This recitation became the formula of declaration of faith in the Buddha and his Teaching. Later when the Samgha became established, the formula was extended to include the third commitment:

        "Samgha Saranam Gacchami. (I take refuge in the Samgha)."

(b) On the right way to give alms.

        As a practical step, capable of immediate and fruitful use by people in all walks of life, the Buddha gave discourses on charity, alms-giving, explaining its virtues and on the right way and the right attitude of mind with which an offering is to be made for spiritual uplift. The motivating force in an act of charity is the volition, the will to give. Charity is a meritorious action that arises only cut of volition. Without the will to give, there is no act of giving. Volition in giving alms is of three types:

        (i) The volition that starts with the thought 'I shall make an offering' and that exists during the period of preparations for making the offering - Pubba Cetana, volition before the act.

        (ii) The volition that arises at the moment of making the offering while handing it over to the donee - Munca Cetana, volition during the act.

        (iii) The volition accompanying the joy and rejoicing which arise during repeated recollection of or reflection on the act of giving - Apara Cetana, volition after the act.

        Whether the offering is made in homage to the living Buddha or to a minute particle of his relics after his passing away, it is the volition, its strength and purity that determine the nature of the result thereof.

        There is also explained in the discourses the wrong attitude of mind with which no act of charity should be performed.

        A donor should avoid looking down on others who cannot make a similar offering; nor should he exult over his own charity. Defiled by such unworthy thoughts, his volition is only of inferior grade.

        When the act of charity is motivated by expectations of beneficial results of immediate prosperity and happiness, or rebirth in higher existences, the accompanying volition is classed as mediocre.

         It is only when the good deed of alms-giving is performed out of a spirit of renunciation, motivated by thoughts of pure selflessness, aspiring only for attainment to Nibbana where all suffering ends, that the volition that brings about the act is regarded as of superior grade.

        Examples abound in the discourses concerning charity and modes of giving alms.

(c) Moral Purity through right conduct, Sila.

         Practice of Sila forms a most fundamental aspect of Buddhism. It consists of practice of Right Speech, Right Action and Right Livelihood to purge oneself of impure deeds, words and thoughts. Together with the commitment to the Threefold Refuge (as described above) a Buddhist lay disciple observes the Five Precepts by making a formal vow:

        (i) I undertale to observe the precept of abstaining from killings

        (ii) I undertake to observe the precept of abstaining from stealing.

        (iii) I undertake to observe the precept of abstaining from sexual misconduct.

        (vi) I undertake to observe the precept of abstaining from telling lies.

        (v) I undertake to observe the precept of abstaining from alcoholic drinks, drugs or intoxicants that becloud the mind.

        In addition to the negative aspect of the above formula which emphasizes abstinence, there is also the positive aspect of sila. For instance, we find in many discourses the statement: 'He refrains from killing, puts aside the cudgel and the sword; full of kindness and compassion he lives for the welfare and happiness of all living things.' Every precept laid down in the formula has these two aspects.

        Depending upon the individual and the stage of one's progress, other forms of precepts, namely, Eight Precepts, Ten Precepts etc., may be observed. For the bhikkhus of the Order, higher and advanced types of practices of morality are laid down. The Five Precepts are to be always observed by lay disciples who may occasionally enhance their self-discipline by observing the Eight or Ten Precepts. For those who have already embarked on the path of a holy life, the Ten Precepts are essential preliminaries to further progress.

        Sila of perfect purity serves as a foundation for the next stage of progress, namely, Samadhi - purity of mind through concentration-meditation.

(d) Practical methods of mental cultivation for develop ment of concentration, samadhi.

         Mental cultivation for spiritual uplift consists of two steps. The first step is to purify the mind from all defilements and corruption and to have it focused on a point. A determined effort (Right Exertion) must be made to narrow down the range of thoughts in the wavering, unsteady mind. Then attention (Right Mindfulness or Attentiveness) must be fixed on a selected object of meditation until one-pointedness of mind (Right concentration) is achieved. In such a state, the mind becomes freed from hindrances, pure, tranquil, powerful and bright. It is then ready to advance to the second step by which Magga Insight and Fruition may be attained in order to transcend the state of woe and sorrow.

        The Suttanta Pitaka records numerous methods of Meditation to bring about one-pointedness of mind. In the Suttas of the Pitaka are dispersed these methods of meditation, explained by the Buddha sometimes singly, sometimes collectively to suit the occasion and the purpose for which they are recommended. The Buddha knew the diversity of character and mental make-up of each individual, the different temperaments and inclinations of those who approached him for guidance. Accordingly he recommended different methods to different persons to suit the special character and need of each individual.

        The practice of mental cultivation which results ultimately in one-pointedness of mind is known as Samadhi Bhavana. Whoever wishes to develop Samadhi Bhavana must have been established in the observance of the precepts, with the senses controlled, calm and self-possessed, and must be contented. Having been established in these four conditions he selects a place suitable for meditation, a secluded spot. Then he should sit cross-legged keeping his body erect and his mind alert; he should start purifying his mind of five hindrances, namely, sensual desire, ill will, sloth and torpor, restlessness and worry, and doubt, by choosing a meditation method suitable to him, practising meditation with zeal and ardour. For instance, with the Anapana method he keeps watching the incoming and outgoing breath until he can have his mind fixed securely on the breath at the tip of the nose.

        When he realizes that the five hindrances have been got rid of, he becomes gladdened, delighted, calm and blissful. This is the beginning of samadhi, concentration, which will further develop until it attains one-pointedness of mind.

         Thus one-pointedness of mind is concentration of mind when it is aware of one object, and only one of a wholesome, salutary nature. This is attained by the practice of meditation upon one of the subjects recomended for the purpose by the Buddha.

(e) Practical methods of mental cultivation for development of Insight Knowledge, panna.

        The subject and methods of meditation as taught in the suttas of the Pitaka are designed both for attainment of samadhi as well as for development of Insight Knowledge, Vipassana as a direct path to Nibbana.

        As a second step in the practice of meditation, after achieving samadhi, when the concentrated mind has become purified, firm and imperturbable, the meditator directs and inclines his mind to Insight Knowledge, Vipassana Nana. With this Insight Knowledge he discerns the three characteristics of the phenomenal world, namely, Impermanence (Anicca), Suffering (Dukkha) and Non-Self (Anatta).

        As he advances in his practice and his mind be comes more and more purified, firm and imperturbable, he directs and inclines his mind to the knowledge of the extinction of moral intoxicants, Asavakkhaya Nana. He then truly understands dukkha, the cause of dukkha, the cessation of dukkha and the path leading to the cessation of dukkha. He also comes to understand fully the moral intoxicants (asavas) as they really are, the cause of asavas, the cessation of asavas and the path leading to the cessation of the asavas.

         With this knowledge of extinction of asavas he becomes liberated. The knowledge of liberation arises in him. He knows that rebirth is no more, that he has lived the holy life; he has done what he has to do for the realization of Magga; there is nothing more for him to do for such realization. The Buddha taught with only one object - the extinction of Suffering and release from conditioned existence. That object is to be obtained by the practice of meditation (for Calm and Insight) as laid down in numerous suttas of the Suttanta Pitaka.

Chapter IV


Digha Nikaya

Collection of Long Discourses of the Buddha

        This Collection in the Suttanta Pitaka, named Digha Nikaya as it is made up of thirty-four long discourses of the Buddha, is divided into three divisions (a) Silakkhandha Vagga, Division Concerning Morality (b) Maha Vagga, the Large Division (c) Pathika Vagga, the Division beginning with the discourse on Pathika, the Naked Ascetic.

(a) Silakkhandha Vagga

Pali Division Concerning Morality

        This division contains thirteen suttas which deal extensively with various types of morality, namely, Minor Morality, basic morality applicable to all; Middle Morality and Major Morality which are mostly practised by Samanas and Brahmanas. It also discusses the wrong views often prevalent as well as brahmin views of sacrifice and caste, and various religious practices such as extreme self-mortification.

(1) Brahmajala Sutta, Discourse on the Net of Perfect Wisdom.

        An argument between Suppiya, a wandering ascetic, and his pupil Brahmadatta, with the teacher maligning the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Samgha and the pupil praising the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Samgha gave rise to this famous discourse which is listed first in this Nikaya.

         In connection with the maligning of the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Samgha, the Buddha enjoined his disciples not to feel resentment, nor displeasure, nor anger, because it would only be spiritually harmful to them. As to the words of praise for the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Samgha, the Buddha advised his disciples not to feel pleased, delighted or elated, for it would be an obstacle to their progress in the Path.

        The Buddha said that whatever worldling, puthujjana, praised the Buddha he could not do full justice to the peerless virtues of the Buddha, namely, his Superior Concentration, samadhi, and Wisdom, panna. A worldling could touch on only "matters of a trifling and inferior nature, mere morality." The Buddha explained the three grades of morality and said that there were other dhammas profound, hard to see, subtle and intelligible only to the wise. Anyone wishing to praise correctly the true virtues of the Buddha should do so only in terms of these dhammas.

        Then the Buddha continued to expound on various wrong views. There were samanas and brahmanas who,speculating on the past adhered to and asserted their wrong views in eighteen different ways, namely,

        (i) Four Kinds of Belief in Eternity, Sassata Ditthi,

        (ii) Four Kinds of Dualistic belief in Eternity and Non-eternity, Ekacca Sassata Ditthi,

        (iii) Four Views of the World being Finite or Infinite, Antananta Ditthi,

        (iv) Four Kinds of ambiguous evasion, Amaravikkhepa

        (v) Two Doctrines of Non-Causality, Adhiccasamuppanna Vada.

        There were samanas and brahmanas, who, speculating on the future, adhered to and aserted their wrong views in forty-four ways, namely,

  1.         (i) Sixteen Kinds of Belief in the Existence of Sanna after death, Uddhamaghatanika Sanni Vada,
  2.         (ii) Eight Kinds of Belief in the Non-Existence of Sanna after death, Uddhamaghatanika Asanni Vada,
  3.         (iii) Eight Kinds of Belief in the Existence of Neither sanna nor non-sanna after death, Uddhamaghatanika Nevasanni Nassani Vada.
  4.         (iv) Seven Kinds of Belief in Annihilation, Uccheda Vada,
  5.         (v) Five Kinds of Mundane Nibbana as realizable in this very life, Ditthadhamma Nibbana Vada.

        The Buddha said that whatever samanas and brahmanas speculated on the past, or the future or both the past and the future, they did so in these sixty-two ways or one of these sixty-two ways. The Buddha announced further that he knew all these wrong views and also what would be the destination, the next existence, in which the one holding these views would be reborn. The Buddha gave a detailed analysis of these wrong views asserted in sixty-two ways and pointed out that these views had their origin in feeling which arose as a result of repeated contact through the six sense bases. Whatever person holds these wrong views, in him feeling gives rise to craving; craving gives rise to clinging; clinging gives rise to existence; the kammic causal process in existence gives rise to rebirth; and rebirth gives rise to ageing, death, grief, lamentation, pain, distress and despair.

        But whatever person knows, as they really are, the origin of the six sense bases of contact, their cessation, their pleasurableness, their danger and the way of escape from them, he realizes the dhammas, not only mere morality, sila, but also concentration,samadhi, and liberation, vimutti, wisdom, panna, that transcend all these wrong views.

        All the samanas and brahmanas holding the sixty-two categories of wrong views are caught in the net of this discourse just like all the fish in a lake are contained in a finely meshed net spread by a skilful fisher man or his apprentice.

        (2) Samannaphala Sutta, Discourse on the Fruits of the Life of a Samana

        On one fullmoon night while the Buddha was residing in Rajagaha at the mango grove of Jivaka this discourse on the fruits of the life of a samana, personally experienced in this very life, was taught to King Ajatasattu on request by him. The Buddha explained to him the advantage of the life of a samana by giving him the examples of a servant of his household or a landholder cultivating the King's own land becoming a samana to whom the King himself would show respect and make offerings of requisites, providing him protection and security at the same time.

         The Buddha provided further elucidation on other advantages, higher and better, of being a samana by elaborating on (i) how a householder, hearing the dhamma taught by a Buddha, leaves the homelife and becomes a samana out of pure faith; (ii) how he becomes established in three categories of sila, minor, middle and major; (iii) how he gains control over his sense-faculties so that no depraved states of mind as covetousness and dissatisfaction would overpower him; (iv) how he be comes endowed with mindfulness and clear comprehension and remains contented; (v) how, by dissociating himself from five hindrances, he achieves the four jhanas the first, the second, the third and the fourth - as higher advantages than those previously mentioned, (vi) how he becomes equipped with eight kinds of higher knowledge, namely, Insight Knowledge, the Power of Creation by Mind, the Psychic Powers, the Divine Power of Hearing, Knowledge of the Minds of others, Knowledge of Past existences, Divine Power of Sight, Knowledge of Extinction of moral intoxicants.

        Thus when the knowledge of liberation arises in him, he knows he has lived the life of purity. There is no other advantage of being a samana, personally experienced, more pleasing and higher than this.

        (3) Ambattha Sutta.

         Ambattha, a young disciple of Pokkharasati, the learned brahmin, was sent by his master to investigate whether Gotama was a genuine Buddha endowed with thirty-two personal characteristics of a great man. His insolent behaviour, taking pride in his birth as a brahmin, led the Buddha to subdue him by proving that Khattiya is in fact superior to Brahmana. The Buddha explained further that nobleness in man stemmed not from birth but from perfection in three categories of morality, achievements of four jhanas, and accomplishments in eight kinds of higher knowledge.

        (4) Sonadanda Sutta.

         This discourse was given to the brahmin Sonadanda who approached the Buddha while he was residing near Lake Gaggara at Camps in the country of Anga. He was asked by the Buddha what attributes should one possess to be acknowledged as a brahmin. Sonadanda enumerated high birth, learning in the Vedas, good personality, morality and knowledge as essential qualities to be a brahmin. When further questioned by the Buddha, he said that the minimum qualifications were morality and knowledge without which no one would be entitled to be called a brahmin. On his request, the Buddha explained to him the meaning of the terms morality and knowledge, which he confessed to be ignorant of, namely, the three categories of morality, achievements of four jhanas and accomplishments in eight kinds of higher knowledge.

         (5) Kutadanta Sutta

         On the eve of offering a great sacrificial feast, the brahmin Kutadanta went to see the Buddha for advice on how best to conduct the sacrifice. Giving the example of a former King Mahavijita, who also made a great sacrificial offering, the Buddha declared the principle of consent by four parties from the provinces, namely, noblemen, ministers, rich brahmins and house holders; the eight qualities to be possessed by the king who would make the offerings; the four qualities of the brahmin royal adviser who would conduct the ceremonies and the three attitudes of mind towards the sacrifices. With all these conditions fulfilled, the feast offered by the king was a great success, with no loss of life of sacrificial animals, no hardship on the people, no one impressed into service, every one co-operating in the great feast willingly. The brahmin Kutadanta then asked the Buddha if there was any sacrifice which could be made with less trouble and exertion, yet producing more fruitful result. The Buddha told him of the traditional practice of offering the four requisites to bhikkhus of high morality. Less troublesome and more profitable again was donating a monastery to the Order of Bhikkhus. Better still were the following practices in ascending order of beneficial effects. (i) Going to the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Samgha for refuge; (ii) observance of the Five Precepts; (iii) going forth from the homelife and leading the holy life, becoming established in morality, accomplished in the four jhanas, and equipped with eight kinds of higher knowledge resulting in the realization of extinction of asavas, the sacrifice which entails less trouble and exertion but which excels all other sacrifices.

         (6) Mahali Sutta

         Mahali Otthaddha, a Licchavi ruler, once came to see the Buddha to whom he recounted what Sunakkhatta, a Licchavi prince, had told him. Sunakkhatta had been a disciple of the Buddha for three years after which he left the Teaching. He told Mahali how he had acquired the Divine Power of Sight by which he had seen myriads of pleasant, desirable forms belonging to the deva world but that he had not heard sounds belonging to the deva world. Mahali wanted to know from the Buddha whether Sunakkhetta did not hear the sounds of the deva world because they were non-existent, or whether he did not hear them although they existed.

         The Buddha explained that there were sounds in the deva world but Sunakkhatta did not hear them because he had developed concentration only for one purpose, to achieve the Divine Power of Sight but not the Divine Power of Hearing.

         The Buddha explained further that his disciples practised the noble life under him not to acquire such divine powers but with a view to the realization of dhammas which far excel and transcend these mundane kinds of concentrations. Such dhammas are attainments of the Four States of Noble Fruition - states of a stream-winner, a once-returner, a non-returner, and the state of mind and knowledge of an Arahat freed of all asavas that have been rendered extinct.

         The Path by which these dhammas can be realized is the Noble Path of Eight Constituents: Right View, Right Thought, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right mindfulness, Right Concentration.

         (7) Jaliya Sutta

         Once when the Buddha was residing at Ghositarama Monastery near Kosambi, two wandering ascetics Mundiya and Jaliya approached him and asked whether the soul was the physical body or the physical body the soul, or whether the soul was one thing and the physical body another.

         The Buddha explained how a person who had finally realized liberation would not even consider whether the soul was the physical body, or the physical body the soul or whether the soul was one thing and the physical body another.

         (8) Mahasihanada Sutta

         This discourse defines what a true samanas, what a true brahmana is. The Buddha was residing in the Deer Park of Kannakathala at Urunna. Then the naked ascetic Kassapa approached him and said that he had heard that Samana Gotama disparaged all practices of self-mortification and that Samana Gotama reviled all those who led an austere life.

         The Buddha replied that they were slandering him with what was not said, what was not true. When the Buddha could see with his supernormal vision the bad destinies as well as the good destinies of those who practised extreme form of self-mortification, and of those who practised less extreme forms of self-mortification, how could he revile all systems of self-mortification.

         Kessapa then maintained that only those recluses who for the whole of their life cultivated the practice of standing or sitting, who were abstemious in food, eating only once in two days, seven days, fifteen days etc., were real samanas and brahmanas. The Buddha explained to him the futility of extreme self-mortification and said that only when a recluse practised to become accomplished in morality, concentration and knowledge; cultivated loving-kindness, and dwelt in the emancipation of mind, and emancipation through knowledge that he would be entitled to be called a samana and brahmana. Then the Buddha gave full exposition on morality, concentration and knowledge, resulting in Kassapa's decision to join the Order of the Buddha.

        (9) Potthapada Sutta

        Once the Buddha was staying at the Monastery of Anathapindika in the Jeta Grove at Savatthi he visited the Ekasalaka Hall where various views were debated. At that time Potthapada the wandering ascetic asked him about the nature of the cessation of Consciousness (sanna). Potthapada wanted to know how the cessation of Consciousness was brought about. The Buddha told him that it was through reason and cause that forms of Consciousness in a being arose and ceased, A certain form of Consciousness arose through practice (Adhicitta sikkha) and a certain form of Consciousness ceased through practice.

         The Buddha then proceeded to expound on these practices consisting of observance of sila and development of concentration which resulted in arising and ceasing of successive jhanas. The meditator progressed from one stage to the next in sequence until he achieved the Cessation of all forms of Consciousness (nirodha samapatti).

        (10) Subha Sutta

        This is a discourse given not by the Buddha but by his close attendant, the Venerable Ananda, on the request of young Subha. The Buddha had passed a way by then. And young Subha wanted to know from the lips of the Buddha's close attendant what dhammas were praised by the Buddha and what those dhammas were which he urged people to practise.

         Ananda told him that the Buddha had words of praise for the three aggregates of dhamma, namely, the aggregate of morality, the aggregate of concentration and the aggregate of knowledge. The Buddha urged people to practise these dhammas, dwell in them, and have them firmly established. Ananda explained these aggregates of dhamma in great detail to young Subha, in consequence of which he became a devoted lay disciple.

        (11) Kevatta Sutta

        The Buddha was residing at Nalanda in Pavarika's mango grove. A devoted lay disciple approached the Buddha and urged him to let one of his disciples perform miracles so that the City of Nalanda would become ever so much devoted to the Buddha.

         The Buddha told him about the three kinds of miracles which he had known and realised by himself through supernormal knowledge. The first miracle, iddhipatihariya was rejected by the Buddha because it could be mistaken as the black art called Gandhari magic. The Buddha also rejected the second miracle, adesana patihariya which might be mistaken as practice of Cintemani charm. He recommended the performance of the third miracle, the anusasani patihariya, the miracle of the power of the Teaching as it involved practice in Morality, Concentration and Knowledge leading finally to the extinction of Asavas, Asavakkhaye Nana.

        (12) Lohicca Sutta

         The discourse lays down three types of blame worthy teachers: (i) The teacher who is not yet accomplished in the noble practice and teaches pupils who do not listen to him. (ii) The teacher who is not yet accomplished in the noble practice and teaches pupils who practise as instructed by him and attain emancipation. (iii) The teacher who is fully accomplished in the noble practice and teaches pupils who do not listen to him

         The praiseworthy teacher is one who has become fully accomplished in the three practices of Morality, Concentration and Knowledge and teaches pupils who become fully accomplished like him.

        (13) Tevijja Sutta

         Two brahmin youths Vasettha and Bharadvaja came to see the Buddha while he was on a tour through the Kingdom of Kosala. They wanted the Buddha to settle their dispute as to the correct path that lead straight to companionship with the Brahma. Each one thought only the way shown by his own master was the true one.

         The Buddha told them that as none of their masters had seen the Brahma, they were like a line of blind men each holding on to the preceding one. Then he showed them the true path that really led to the Brahma realm, namely, the path of morality and concentration, and development of loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity towards all sentient beings.

(b) Maha Vagga Pali

The Large Division

        The ten suttas in this division are some of the most important ones of the Tipitaka, dealing with historical, and biographical aspects as well as the doctrinal aspects of Buddhism. The most famous sutta is the Mahaparinibbana Sutta which gives an account of the last days and the passing away of the Buddha and the distribution of his relics. Mahapadana Sutta deals with brief accounts of the last seven Buddhas and the life story of the Vipassi Buddha. Doctrinally important are the two suttas: the Mahanidana Sutta which explains the Chain of Cause and Effect, and the Mahasatipatthana Sutta dealing with the four Methods of Steadfast Mindfulness and practical aspects of Buddhist meditation.

        (1) Mahapadana Sutta

        This discourse was given at Savatthi to the bhikkhus who were one day discussing the Buddha's knowledge of past existences. He told them about the last seven Buddhas, with a full life story of one of them, the Vipassi Buddha, recalling all the facts of the Buddhas, their social rank, name, clan, life-span, the pairs of Chief Disciples, the assemblies of their followers, their attainments, and emancipation from defilements.

         The Buddha explained that his ability to remember and recall all the facts of past existences was due to his own penetrating discernment as well as due to the devas making these matters known to him.

        (2) Mahanidana Sutta

        This discourse was given at Kammasadhamna market town to the Venerable Ananda to correct his wrong view that the doctrine of Paticcasamuppada, although having signs of being deep and profound, was apparent and fathomable. The Buddha told him that this doctrine not only appeared to be deep and profound but was actually deep and profound on four counts: it was deep in meaning, deep as a doctrine, deep with respect to the manner in which it was taught, and deep with regard to the facts on which it was established.

        He then gave a thorough exposition on the doctrine and said that because of lack of proper understanding and penetrative comprehension of this doctrine, beings were caught in and unable to escape from, the miserable, ruinous round of rebirth. He concluded that without a clear understanding of this doctrine, even the mind of those, accomplished in the attainments of jhana, would be beclouded with ideas of atta.

        (3) Mahaparinibbana Sutta

        This sutta is an important narrative of the Buddha's last days, a detailed chronicle of what he did, what he said and what happened to him during the last year of his life. Compiled in a narrative form, it is interspersed with many discourses on some of the most fundamental and important aspects of the Buddha's Teaching. Being the longest discourse of the Digha Nikaya, it is divided into six chapters.

         On the eve of the last great tour, the Buddha while staying at Rajagaha gave the famous discourses on seven factors of Non-decline of kings and princes and seven factors of Non-decline of the bhikkhus.

         Then he set out on his last journey going first to the village of Patali where he taught on the consequences of an immoral and a moral life. He then proceeded to the village of Koti where he expounded on the Four Noble Truths. Then the Buddha took up his residence at the village of Natika where the famous discourse on the Mirror of Truth was given.

         Next the Buddha went to Vesali with a large company of bhikkhus. At Vesali he accepted the park offered by the Courtesan Ambapali. From Vesali, the Buddha travelled to a small village named Veluva where he was overtaken by a severe illness that could have proved fatal. But the Buddha resolved to maintain the life-process and not to pass away without addressing his lay disciples and without taking leave of the Samgha. When Ananda informed the Buddha how worried he had been because of the Buddha's illness, the Buddha gave the famous injunction:

         "Let yourselves be your own support, your own refuge. Let the Dhamma, not anything else, be your refuge."

         It was at Vesali that the Buddha made the decision to pass away and realize parinibbana in three months' time. Upon his making this momentous decision, there was a great earthquake. Ananda, on learning from the Buddha the reason of the earthquake, supplicated him to change the decision, but to no avail.

         The Buddha then caused the Samgha to be assembled to whom he announced his approaching parinibbana. He then went over all the fundamental principles of his Teaching and exhorted them to be vigilant, alert, and to watch over one's own mind so as to make an end of suffering.

         The Buddha then left Vesali and went to Bhanda Village where he continued to give his discourses to the accompanying Samgha on sila, samadhi and panna. Proceeding further on his journey to the north, he gave the discourse on the four great Authorities, Mahapadesa, at the town of Bhoga.

         From there he went on to Pava and stayed in the Mango Grove of Cunda, the Goldsmith's son, who made an offering of food to the Buddha and his community of bhikkhus. After eating the meal offered by Cunda, a severe illness came upon the Buddha who nevertheless continued on his journey till he reached Kusinara where in the Sal Grove of the Malla princes he urged Ananda to lay out the couch for him. He lay down on the couch with mindfulness and deliberation, awaiting the hour of his parinibbana.

         Even on his death-bed the Buddha continued to teach, explaining that there are four places which arouse reverence and devotion, four persons worthy of a stupa, and answering Ananda's questions on how to conduct oneself with regard to women, or on what should be done regarding the remains of the Buddha. His last act of selflessness was to expound the Truth and show the Path to Subhadda, the wandering ascetic.

         Then after ascertaining that there was not a single bhikkhu who had perplexity or doubt about the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Samgha, the Buddha uttered his last words: "Inherent, in all compounded things is decay and dissolution. Strive well with full mindfulness."

         Then as the assembled bhikkhus, princes and people paid homage to him with deep reverence, the Buddha passed away, realizing parinibbana.

        (4) Mahasudassana Sutta

         This discourse was given by the Buddha while he was lying on his death-bed in the Sal Grove of the Mallas. When Ananda implored him not to realize parinibbana in an insignificant, barren, small town, the Buddha told him that Kusinara was not an insignificant, small place. In times long past, it was known as Kusavati, the capital city of Universal Monarchs who ruled over the four quarters of the world.

         The Buddha then described the magnificence and grandeur of Kusavati when King Mahasudassana was the ruler there. He also told how the King ruled over his dominions righteously and how finally abandoning all attachments and practising jhana he passed away and reached the blissful Brahma realm.

         The Buddha revealed that he himself was King Mahasudassana of that time. He had cast off the body in this place (former Kusavati) for six times as a Universal Monarch. Now he was casting it off for the seventh and last time. He ended the discourse reminding Ananda that all compounded things are indeed impermanent. Arising and decaying are their inherent nature. Only their ultimate cessation is blissful Nibbana.

         (5) Janavasabha Sutta

        This discourse is an extension of another discourse delivered by the Buddha on his last journey. Ananda wanted to know the destinies of lay disciples from the country of Magadha. The Buddha told him that innumerable persons from Magadha had reached the deva world by virtue of their faith in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Samgha. This information was given him by Janavasabha Deva who was formerly King Bimbisara. He informed the Buddha that there were regular assemblies of devas in the deva realm on uposatha days when the king of the devas and Sanankumara Brahma taught the Dhamma on development of the Bases of Psychic Power, on the Three Opportunities, on the Four Methods of Steadfast Mindfulness and the Seven Accessories of Concentration.

         (6) Mahagovinda Sutta

         In this discourse, Pancasikha, a gandhabba deva, told the deva assembly where Sanankumara Brahma taught the Dhamma as shown by Mahagovinda, the Bodhisatta who had reached the Brahma world. The Buddha said that Mahagovinda was none other than himself and explained that the Dhamma he taught at that time could lead one only to the Brahma World. With his Teaching now as Enlightened Buddha, higher attainments such as the Sotapatti, Sakadagami, Anagami and the highest achievement Arahatta phala were possible.

         (7) Mahasamaya Sutta

         The Buddha was residing in the Mahavana forest at Kapilavatthu with a company of Arahats numbering five hundred. Then devas and Brahmas from ten thousand Cakkavalas came to see the Buddha and, the community of bhikkhus. The Buddha told his disciples the names of the devas and Brahmas as listed in this sutta.

         (8) Sakkapanha Sutta

         Once when the Buddha was residing at the Indasala Cave near Rajagaha, Sakka, the king of devas, came to him to ask certain questions. He wanted to know why there was hostility and violence among various beings. The Buddha told him it was envy and selfishness that brought about hostility among beings. He further explained that envy and selfishness were caused by likes and dislikes, which in turn had their roots in desire. And desire grew from mental pre-occupation (vitakka) which had its origin in samsara-expanding illusions (papanca-sanna-sankha).

         The Buddha then gave an outline of practices to remove these samsara-expanding illusions including two types of quests, quests that should be pursued and quests that should not be pursued.

         (9) Mahasatipatthana Sutta

         This sutta is one of the most important doctrinal discourses of the Buddha. It propounds the only way for the purification of beings, for overcoming sorrow and lamentation, for the complete removal of pain and grief, for the attainment of the right path, and for the realization of Nibbana.' This discourse, given directly to the bhikkhus at the market town of Kammasadhamma, defines 'the only way' as the Four methods of Steadfast Mindfulness made up of fourteen ways of contemplating the body, nine ways of contemplating sensation, sixteen ways of contemplating the mind, and five ways of contemplating the dhamma. It ends with a definite assurance of fruitful results: Arahatship in this very existence or the state of an anagam within seven years, seven months or seven days.

         (10) Payasi Sutta

        This discourse recounts how the Venerable Kumarakassapa showed the right path to Governor Payasi of Setabya town in Kosala country. Governor Payasi held the wrong belief: "There is no other world; no beings arise again after death; there are no consequences of good or bad deeds." The Venerable Kumarakassapa showed him the right path, illustrating his teaching with numerous illuminating similes. Ultimately Payasi became full of faith and took refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Samgha. The Venerable Kumarakassapa taught him also the right kind of offerings to be made and that these offerings should be made with due respect, by one's own hands, with due esteem and not as if discarding them. Only under these conditions would the good deed of offerings bear splendid fruits.

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