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Readings from the Pali Canon

The Bodhisattva Soon Surpasses

The Accomplishments Of His Teachers

"Having gone forth in search of what might be skillful, seeking the unexcelled state of sublime peace, I went to Alara Kalama and, on arrival, said to him: Friend Kalama, I want to practice in this doctrine and discipline.

"When this was said, he replied to me, you may stay here, my friend. This doctrine is such that a wise person can soon enter and dwell in his own teachers knowledge, having realized it for himself through direct knowledge.

"It was not long before I learned the doctrine. As far as mere lip reciting and repetition, I could speak the words of knowledge, the words of the elders, and I could affirm that I knew and saw -- I, along with others.

"I thought: it isnt through mere conviction alone that Alara Kalama declares, "I have entered and dwell in this Dhamma, having realized it for myself through direct knowledge." Certainly he dwells knowing and seeing this Dhamma. So I went to him and said, To what extent do you declare that you have entered and dwell in this Dhamma? When this was said, he declared the sphere of nothingness.

"I thought: not only does Alara Kalama have conviction, persistence, mindfulness, concentration, and discernment. I, too, have conviction, persistence, mindfulness, concentration, and discernment. What if I were to endeavor to realize for myself the Dhamma that Alara Kalama declares he has entered and dwells in, having realized it for himself through direct knowledge. So it was not long before I quickly entered and dwelled in that Dhamma, having realized it for myself through direct knowledge. I went to him and said, Friend Kalama, is this the extent to which you have entered and dwell in this Dhamma, having realized it for yourself through direct knowledge?

"Yes, my friend...

"This, friend, is the extent to which I, too, have entered and dwell in this Dhamma, having realized it for myself through direct knowledge.

"It is a gain for us, my friend, a great gain for us, that we have such a companion in the holy life. So the Dhamma I declare I have entered and dwell in, having realized it for myself through direct knowledge, is the Dhamma you declare you have entered and dwell in, having realized it for yourself through direct knowledge. And the Dhamma you declare you have entered and dwell in, having realized it for yourself through direct knowledge, is the Dhamma I declare I have entered and dwell in, having realized it for myself through direct knowledge. The Dhamma I know is the Dhamma you know; the Dhamma you know is the Dhamma I know. As I am, so are you; as you are, so am I. Come friend, let us now lead this community together.

"In this way did Alara Kalama, my teacher, place me, his pupil, on the same level with himself and pay me great honor. But the thought occurred to me, This Dhamma leads not to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge, to Awakening, nor to Unbinding (nibbana), but only to reappearance in the sphere of nothingness. So, dissatisfied with that Dhamma, I left.

"In search of what might be skillful, seeking the unexcelled state of sublime peace, I went to Uddaka Ramaputta and, on arrival, said to him: Friend Uddaka, I want to practice in this doctrine and discipline.

"When this was said, he replied to me, You may stay here, my friend. This doctrine is such that a wise person can soon enter and dwell in his own teachers knowledge, having realized it for himself through direct knowledge.

"It was not long before I quickly learned the doctrine. As far as mere lip reciting and repetition, I could speak the words of knowledge, the words of the elders, and I could affirm that I knew and saw -- I, along with others.

"I thought: it wasnt through mere conviction alone that Rama declared, "I have entered and dwell in this Dhamma, having realized it for myself through direct knowledge." Certainly he dwelled knowing and seeing this Dhamma. So I went to Uddaka and said, To what extent did Rama declare that he had entered and dwelled in this Dhamma? When this was said, Uddaka declared the sphere of neither perception nor non perception.

"I thought: not only did Rama have conviction, persistence, mindfulness, concentration, and discernment. I, too, have conviction, persistence, mindfulness, concentration, and discernment. What if I were to endeavor to realize for myself the Dhamma that Rama declared he entered and dwelled in, having realized it for himself through direct knowledge. So it was not long before I quickly entered and dwelled in that Dhamma, having realized it for myself through direct knowledge. I went to Uddaka and said, Friend Uddaka, is this the extent to which Rama entered and dwelled in this Dhamma, having realized it for himself through direct knowledge?

"Yes, my friend...

"This, friend, is the extent to which I, too, have entered and dwell in this Dhamma, having realized it for myself through direct knowledge.

"It is a gain for us, my friend, a great gain for us, that we have such a companion in the holy life. So the Dhamma Rama declared he entered and dwelled in, having realized it for himself through direct knowledge is the Dhamma you declare you have entered and dwell in, having realized it for yourself through direct knowledge. And the Dhamma you declare you have entered and dwell in, having realized it for yourself through direct knowledge, is the Dhamma Rama declared he entered and dwelled in, having realized it for himself through direct knowledge. The Dhamma he knew is the Dhamma you know; the Dhamma you know is the Dhamma he knew. As he was, so are you; as you are, so was he. Come friend, lead this community.

"In this way did Uddaka Ramaputta, my companion in the holy life, place me in the position of teacher and pay me great honor. But the thought occurred to me, This Dhamma leads not to disenchantment, to dispassion, to cessation, to stilling, to direct knowledge, to Awakening, nor to Unbinding (nibbana), but only to reappearance in the sphere of neither perception nor non perception. So, dissatisfied with that Dhamma, I left.

[MN 36]

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