The Mahavastu (great story)

by J. J. Jones | 1949 | 502,133 words | ISBN-10: 086013041X

This page describes questions of sabhika which is Chapter XXXVIII of the English translation of the Mahavastu (“great story”), dating to the 2nd-century BC. This work belongs to the Mahasanghika school of early Buddhism and contains narrative stories of the Buddha’s former lives, such as Apadanas, Jatakas and more..

Chapter XXXVIII - The questions of Sabhika

Note: Cf. Sn. pp. 91ff.

The Exalted One, perfectly enlightened and having attained the goal he had set himself, was staying in Benares, in the Deer Park at Ṛṣivadana, teaching devas and men, and so on.

Now in Mathura there lived a guild-president. He was rich and wealthy, having great possessions and property, money, treasuries and granaries, abundance of gold and silver and other resources, a large number of elephants, horses, goats and sheep, female and male slaves and men servants. To this guild-president was born a daughter, one of triplets.[1] Considering that she was unlucky[2] he dedicated her to a religious life. And when she had grown up (390) he bade the nurse, “Take her away from home and you will be given a salary.”[3] For a nurse had been given her who brought up the young girl and all whose expenses were paid by the guild-president.

The young girl grew up like a blue, red or white lotus, and when she had reached years of discretion[4] she took up the religious life of a Wanderer. She was trained[5] as a seer and she mastered all the lore of the Wanderers. She used to hold debate with one or another of the female Wanderers, but none had a wider understanding[6] than she. Thus she came to have the highest reputation for[7] eloquence and for proficiency in all branches of learning.

Now there was a certain brahman who was proficient in the Vedas and master of all branches of learning, adept[8] in exposition,[9] and eloquent of speech. He came to Mathura from the south country. He entered Mathura with a copper vessel tied[10] to his side, in which he carried a large flaming torch. In the market-place in the centre of the city he made this announcement. “Is there any one here skilled in words who will have a debate with me?” The people of Mathurā said to him, “Put out that torch. We have here a female Wanderer who is young, of tender years. She will debate with you on the seventh day from this, if that is, you will be able to hold debate with her; so eloquent is she.” He replied, “So be it, in seven days I will hold a debate with this female Wanderer, and you, sirs, must attend.”

Then the townsmen of Mathurā and the people of the surrounding districts summoned the female Wanderer, and said to her, “A brahman from the south country has come, who is eloquent, proficient in the Vedas and eager to talk on matters of exposition. Can you hold a debate with him in seven days’ time?” She replied, “I am well able to hold a debate with this or any other brahman. I, too, am eager to speak.”

When the townsmen of Mathurā heard the female Wanderer, bells were rung in the town at the cross-roads, at street-entrances and other places for making proclamations,[11] (391) and an announcement was made that the female Wanderer would on the seventh day hold a debate with an eloquent brāhman from the south country. All who wished to listen were to come. Platforms were set up around a stage.[12] And when they heard of this a great crowd of the country people came to Mathurā.

Then the brāhman thought, “What sort of a Wanderer is she who is going to debate with me? What if I were to have a look at her?” So out of curiosity he went to the dwelling of the Wanderers to make inquiries. When he got there he asked, “Who is this Wanderer who is going to debate in public with the brāhman from the south country?” Those whom he asked pointed out the Wanderer to him sitting in her own cell,[13] and reciting in a clear voice and with concentration.[14] The brahman approached the Wanderer and asked her, “Lady, is it you who are going to debate with me in public?” She replied, “Certainly. What doubt can there be? I will debate in public with you or with any other believer.”[15]

Now the brahman was young and handsome, and the female Wanderer was young and handsome, too, and they fell completely in love with each other at first sight. The brahman said to the female Wanderer, “Lady, I am in love with you.”[16] She replied, “And I am in love with you.” He said, “Since it is so, lady, let us so arrange that we meet without anyone else knowing. We will come to an understanding before we debate in public. The one who is defeated must become the pupil of the other. There will be nothing strange in the woman being defeated by the man. But if you, a woman, defeat me I shall be reviled and despised by the whole crowd. People will say to me, ‘You were defeated by a mere woman’s two-inch wit.’[17] So, lady, arrange it that I defeat you there. Then you will become my pupil, (392) and we can meet each other and no one will know of it.” The female Wanderer said, “So be it.” And the brahman having made this plan with her went away.

Then on the seventh day many thousands of people gathered in the square arena. The king of Mathura came, and the princes and counsellors, the townsmen with the treasurer at their head, the community of traders with the chief merchant at their head, and the college of brahmans with the king’s chaplain at their head. The members of the eighteen guilds came,[18] and recluses, brahmans and heretical teachers.[19] The brahman, too, came, and the female Wanderer accompanied by several other female Wanderers, and when they had come into the middle of the throng they sat down on their seats.

The brahman stood up and made an announcement to the king and the crowd, saying, “Gentlemen, we do a stupid and insensate thing when we enter into a debate with women. It would not be strange if I were to defeat this female Wanderer. Men would only say, ‘What is there wonderful in a woman being defeated by a man?’ But if the female Wanderer were to defeat me, then I should be reviled and despised by the whole crowd, and men would say to me, ‘You have been defeated by a mere woman’s two-inch wit.’ So I make this announcement before the king and the crowd. If this female Wanderer can defeat me in the presence of this crowd, then I shall be bound to become her pupil, while if I defeat her she must become mine.”

The assembly asked the female Wanderer, (393) “What do you think[20] of what this brāhman says?” And she replied, “Let it be as he says.”

When this agreement had been made by the brāhman, he handed over his staff to the female Wanderer, and she in turn took off her cloak and gave it to the brāhman,[21] as a mark[22] of participating in the agreement. And so they spent that day in making statement and counter-statement, but neither was able to defeat the other. And as that day so the whole week went by. Men who came home so very late from the meeting were asked by their womenfolk, “How is it that you are so late to-day, and all the week as well?” They replied, “Do you not know the reason why we are so late? There is a brāhman here who has come from the south country. He is proficient in the six Vedaṅgas, adept in all the lore and in exposition. He has been debating a whole week with the female Wanderer, but he cannot defeat her.” The women said to their husbands, “You see then how clever women are. What man is there who can excel a woman in intelligence and in discussion?” The men thought, “If that brāhman be in any way defeated by that female Wanderer, then for all time the women will despise us and think us not worth a straw.”[23] The majority of the whole city became favourable to the male Wanderer rather than to the female.[24]

On the next day, when the crowd came together, the brāhman made a reply to the female Wanderer and she wilfully refrained from countering it.[25] Then the crowd shouted “Hurrah! The victory is the brāhman’s. The female Wanderer is beaten.” The brāhman made her raise up[26] his staff and hold his sunshade and shoes. She thus revealed herself in the eyes of the crowd to be in the state of pupillage. The brāhman (394) went to the dwelling-place of the female Wanderer, and there they lived together to their mutual pleasure. As a result of frequent intercourse the female Wanderer became pregnant.

They then left Mathurā and went travelling through the provinces of the south country. After nine or ten months they came to Śvetavalākā,[27] where they lodged for the night. In the inn[28] there the female Wanderer was delivered, and a boy was born, who was lovely, handsome, possessing the flower of perfect beauty. As the boy had been born in an inn they gave him the name Sabhika.[29]

The young brahman was brought up by his parents. When in due course he had reached years of discretion,[30] he was taught writing, numeration,[31] mnemonics,[32] and mathematics.[33] He was taught all the lore of a Wanderer, and he became an eloquent preacher.

He sailed over the ocean as he sought for a wise man in one who was not wise.[34] He wandered through the sixteen great provinces, and, coming to Benares, he went to the Exalted One in the Deer Park at Ṛṣivadana.

Sabhika the Wanderer exchanged friendly and courteous greetings with the Exalted One, and sat down to one side. He then asked a question of the Exalted One.[35]

In doubt and perplexity I have come hither wishful to ask a question. The question that Sabhika now asks do thou, Lord, answer duly, properly, correctly and truthfully.

The Exalted One replied:

(395) From afar have you come hither, O Sabhika, wishful to ask a question. I will reply to your question and answer it duly, properly, correctly and truthfully.

When this had been spoken Sabhika the Wanderer said to the Exalted One:

What has a man attained that he should be called a monk? How does he come to be called gentle[36] and tamed? How does one come to be styled a Buddha? This do I ask, and do thou, Lord, answer duly, properly, correctly and truthfully.

When this had been spoken the Exalted One said to Sabhika the Wanderer:

He who by a path he has himself made has won complete release and passed beyond all doubt, who has learnt what cessation of becoming[37] is and what coming-to-be, who has finished his life in the world and is no more liable to rebirth—he is a monk.

Ever patient and mindful, he harms no one in the world; he is an immaculate recluse who has crossed the stream. He does not, puffed up with pride,[38] contract any āśrava.[39]

He who in this world has developed his faculties, (396) both those within and those without, who has plumbed[40] this world and the world beyond, and awaits the end[41] well-trained—he is the tamed man.

He who has scattered[42] all false fancies,[43] the ills of rebirth, passing away and coming-to-be,[44] who is free of blemish, defilement and sin, and who has reached the stopping and ending of life—he is called a monk.[46]

Then Sabhika the Wanderer, delighted at the words of the Exalted One, asked him a further question:

What has a man attained that he should he called a brahman?[48] How does a man come to he called a recluse, and how “one who has bathed” ? How does a man come to he called a pure Nāga? This, Lord, I ask thee. Do thou reply duly, properly, correctly and truthfully.

When this had been spoken the Exalted One said to Sabhika the Wanderer:

He who has kept away[50] from all sins, who is stainless, well-composed and steadfast; he who has passed beyond[52] the whole round of recurrent life, who has lived his life, and is no longer liable to rebirth—he is a brahman.

He who is tranquil, having abandoned all merit and its maturing,[45] he who is passionless, knowing this world and the world beyond, (397) who has overcome birth and death—such an one is truly called a recluse.

He who has washed away all his sins, within, without, in all the world; who does not again come to the world of time among devas and men who are subject to time[47]—he is “one who has bathed”.[49]

He who commits no wrong[51] in the world, who sheds the bonds that tie him to all attachments, who is ever independent and free—such an one is truly called a Nāga.

Then Sabhika the Wanderer said to the Exalted One:

What has a man attained that he should be called an expert in knowledge?[53] How do men say that one is learned and how do they say that one is energetic? And how does a man come to be styled a sterling man? This question do I ask thee, Lord, and do thou answer duly, properly, correctly and truthfully.

When this had been spoken the Exalted One said to Sabhika the Wanderer:

He who has tested[54] all the experiences[55] of recluses (and brahmans).[56] he, rid of passion in all feelings, having passed beyond all feelings, is the expert in knowledge.

(398) He who has seen through[57] illusive[58] individuality within and without, recognising that it is instinct with passion;[59] he who has been delivered from the bond at passion’s root, such an one is truly called a learned man.

He who has cast off his bonds, is full of striving;[60] he who has realised the stopping of ill, who is rid of defilement and always protects others[61]—he is truly called an energetic man.

He whose bonds have all been broken, within, without, in all the world, and is delivered from the bonds of passion, him do the very wise men call a sterling man.

Again did Sabhika the Wanderer ask a question of the Exalted One:

“Then there is the man who is a knower of the field,”[62] said Sabhika as he asked a question of the Sage. “How, I pray thee, is a man called a sage? This question I ask of thee, Lord, and do thou answer duly, properly, correctly and truthfully.”

When this had been spoken the Exalted One said to Sabhika the Wanderer:

He who has control[63] over all fields, of devas, of men and of Brahmā, (399) and is freed from every bond that lies at the root of the fields,[64] such an one is truly called a knower of the field.

He who has tested[65] all the treasures of devas, of men and of Brahmā, and is freed from bondage to any treasure—such an one is truly called an expert.[66]

He who has tested[67] both kinds of senses,[68] those within and those without; who has overcome the root of light and the root of darkness—such an one is truly called a skilled man.[69]

He who knows the dharma of the good and the bad; who is emancipated of heart, within and without; who is honoured of devas and men and has escaped the contamination of ties—he is a sage.

Then Sabhika the Wanderer said to the Exalted One:[70]

“What has a man attained that he should be called learned? Why is one called an Āryan? How does a man come to be called a man of good conduct? And what is a Wanderer? This question do I ask of thee, Lord. Do thou answer duly, properly, correctly and truthfully.”

When this had been spoken the Exalted One said to Sabhika the Wanderer:

He who hears and understands all things, the blameworthy and the blameless, in the worlds of devas and of men; (400) who is unselfish,[71] ungrasping, pure and free from evil[72]—such an one do they call a learned man.

He who has cut out[73] all clingings and all āśravas[74]: who has escaped his bonds, who goes no more to lie in a womb, and who has no delight in sinful things—such an one is truly called an Āryan.

He who has achieved all that can be achieved in conduct[75]; who with perfect knowledge surmounts all things and is endowed with knowledge and conduct—he is truly called “one whose conduct is good.”

He who, faring with understanding, eschews everything[76] that bears ill fruit, above, below, between, in the worlds of devas and of men; who makes an end of deceit[77] and pride, and of wrath and greed, and of individuality—him do men call a Wanderer who has attained what is to be attained.

Then Sabhika the Wanderer gratified with and grateful for the eloquent words of the Exalted One extolled him in these appropriate verses:

(401) In thy great wisdom thou, O Hero, hast cleared[78] from the path the three and sixty tenets based on the arguments of recluses,[79] based on taking sound for sense,[80] those outworn creeds.[81]

Thou art the ender of ill; thou hast passed through all states. Thou art perfect Buddha, rid of all the āśravas. Thou art glorious, resolute, replete with wisdom. Making an end of ill thou art free of all passion.

O Sage, thou hast successfully and unwaveringly trod the path of sagedom. O Peerless One, kinsman of the sun, thou art a gentle[82] giver of freedom.

When thou, O Nāga of Nāgas,[83] O great Hero, speakest, all the devas rejoice, and both Nārada and Parvata[84] as well.

The Man of insight explained things to me when he saw that I was in doubt.[85] All these troubles are dispelled and ended.

Truly, O Sage, thou art perfect Buddha. No longer are there any hindrances.[86] By neither merit nor sin art thou soiled.

Thou art cooled and tamed, glorious{GL_NOTE::} and truthful. O Hero, put forth thy feet, that Sabhika may bow down at them.

Then was Sabhika converted by the Exalted One to mastery over the powers, and ordained and initiated with the words “Come, monk.” Such was the ordination, initiation and admission into monkhood of the venerable Sabhika.

Here ends the story of Sabhika, his questions, the ending of his āśravas, and his ordination.

Footnotes and references:


Tryantarā, “among three”. But the meaning must remain doubtful. In the Chinese version she is one of twins.


As being one of triplets(?).


The text does not make it clear to whom this order was given. It has simply nāṃ pravājehi va vṛttikā te bheṣyati, “take her from home (start her in the religious life) and you will have a salary.” The nurse is first mentioned in the next sentence.


Vijñaprāpta. See vol. 2, p. 201, n. 4.


Sekhita = śekhita, past pt. of śekhayati, śekheti, “Mg. sehai, denom. from Pali sek(k)ha, AMg. seha” (B.H.S.D.).


Literally “was not able to understand farther,” na śaknoti uttaraṃ sandhitum.


Agramākhyāyati. Ākhyāyati in pass, sense. Cf. Pali aggaṃ akkhāyati. B.H.S.D. does not note this usage.




Vaiyākaraṇa, here, of course, with reference to brāhman scriptures, not to the ninth division of the Buddhist canon so named. Seep. 120, n. 4.


Vethayitvā from veṭhayati, veṭheti, Pali id., “MIndic form of Sk. veṣṭ” (B.H.S.D.).


Śravaṇāmukhā.” See p. 93, n. 1.


Or “an arena”. Senart suggests that for tatra raṅgena, a better reading would be caturaṅgena, as on the next page. This would give “platforms were set up around a square stage or arena.”


Pariveṇa. Though the etymology of this word is unknown, its occurrence in Pali is well authenticated. This is the only instance of it in BSk., however, and Edgerton (B.H.S.D.) points out that it is really Senart’s restoration for what appears in the MSS. to be some form of purima, “in front of (him).”


Abhisaṃskāra, Pali abhisaṅkhāra, properly “intent performance of an action.”


Śraddhāvādin, “one who claims or professes the faith.”


Arthika, with instr. case.


Or “two-finger wit,” dvyaṅgulaprajñā. Cf. Pali S. 1.129 = Thig. 60. “According to comm, on Therig. 67, 1-5, the word refers to a feminine habit of taking grains of rice between two fingers to see if the rice is cooked enough.” (B.H.S.D.).


Samāgatavo. For this plural form see p. 355, n. 4.


Gaṇika = gaṇin. The sole example cited in B.H.S.D.


Literally, “How does it occur to you?” kathaṃ tava utpadyati.


This is Senart’s interpretation of the Sk. brāhmaṇaṃ... uttaraṃ pratyuddhāreti, and would certainly seem to be in accord with the context. For as we have just been told that the brāhman held out his staff to the woman, presumably as a gage, so we should expect to hear of some kind of reciprocal action on her part to clinch the bargain. And the sentence, beginning as it does with parivrājikāpi, where api may be correctly explained as a sign of change of subject (“but she for her part”), would lead us to suppose that such an action was meant to be described. Unfortunately there is a lexicographical difficulty with regard to the verb pratyuddhāreti. While Senart cites Childers for the Buddhist use of the substantive paccuddhara to denote a ritualistic giving up of a robe, Edgerton (B.H.S.D.), though citing MSV. 2.156 for a similar use of the verb, maintains that its meaning here is “to hold back, restrain.” According to him the sense is that the woman held back or moderated her answer (uttaraṃ, which means “cloak” in Senart’s interpretation), that is, she deliberately refrained from doing her best in the debate. This, of course, was the secret purpose of the agreement between the two debaters. But the account of the debate has not yet begun, and when it does we are told that for seven days each matched the other’s statements with counter-statements. The basic sense of the verb in both BSk. and Pali is, according to Edgerton, “to remove”, But it is not easy to accept the logic of the stages through which this meaning becomes gradually modified until finally it comes to mean “to moderate”. Pratyuddhāreti has, therefore, been taken in its literal sense of “to take off in return.” Taṃ brāhmaṇam remains accusative of the recipient under either interpretation. Miss I. B. Horner, in a letter, says that she would now be inclined to revise her note on paccuddharati in Bk. of Disc., 2, p. 22, n. 3, and is of the opinion that “to give or hand over formally” makes better sense than “to take away”, both on p. 22, and pp. 411, 412 of the same volume.


“In order to”, artham. But the whole compound of which it forms the last part is difficult to explain. As the text has it, it reads samajyāpratyanubhāvārtham. Samajyā is possibly to be emended into samaya, the word already used in this passage for “agreement”, unless it can be assumed that samajya, “a gathering together”, may like samaya, “a coming together”, also have the meaning of “agreement”. But the expression must remain doubtful. Senart renders, “pour s’en servir personellement au cours de cette réunion”, and Edgerton (l.c., under samajya), “in order to participate in the public meeting.”


Literally “produce grass-notions (concerning us),” tṛṇasaṃjñāṃ pi tā utpādayensuḥ.


The text runs nagaraṃ sarvaṃ yobhūyena... parivrājakasya yobhūyena... parivrājikāye anukūlakaṃ saṃvṛttam, which would give the sense that the city became favourable mostly to both. The translation given above assumes the accidental dropping (haplography) of the negative na after the second yobhūyena. Miss I. B. Horner notes the implication here that Wanderers could be brāhmans as well as recluses.


Literally, “was not replied to (by her),” na pratyanubhāṣṭam from pratyanubhāṣati. See B.H.S.D. for an instance of this verb in Śk.


Ārūpayitvā from ārūpayati, BSk. = Sk. āropayati.


Apparently mentioned only here.


Sabhā. Cf. Pali id., J. 1.302. But D.P.N. says “her child was born in the open (sabhāyam), hence his name.”


He is called Sobhiya in the Chinese version (Beal, op. cit., p. 280), but the explanation of his name is the same there as it is here, which shows that the correct form should be Sabhiya.


Vijñaprāpta. See vol. 2, p. 201, n. 4.


Gaṇanā. See vol. 2, p. 376, 387.


Dhāraṇa. See ibid.


Nikṣepaṇa, “working at mathematical problems”(?) So B.H.S.D.


Or, “a Buddha in one who was not a Buddha,” abuddhe buddhaṃ mārgati.


The verses following are practically identical with those of Sn. 510 ff.


The text (so MSS.) has here suvrata “pious”, which does not suit the context. It must be regarded as a mistaken Sk. equivalent of the BSk. surata or sūrata, corresponding to the Pali sorata, “gentle, kind, self-restrained”. See P.E.D. and B.H.S.D. The latter does not note the occurrence of suvrata here.




Utsanna, “excessive”, as in Pah ussanna, the adjective corresponding to ussada, BSk. utsada (see vol. 1, p. 6, n. 1), from udsyand. The Sk. utsanna (ud-sad) in the sense of “raised” “exalted”, would not be quite inapposite, but the corresponding Pali, ussadā yassa na santi (Sn. 516), makes it clear that the former is the right interpretation here.


Na karoti āśravam. The Pali has sorato so, “he is the gentle man.”


After Hare, op. cit., p. 78, for nirvidhya, “penetrating”.


Kālaṃ rakṣati.


Vikīrya. Sn. 517 has viceyya, “discerning”, with which both Fausboll and Hare take kalpāni (see next note) in the sense of times.


Kalpāni. See B.H.S.D., for this sense of the word.


Catūpapātam, i.e. cata-upapātam. Senart retains cata for cuta, the BSk. and Pali form for cyuta, as he cannot decide whether the form is due to a scribal error or whether it is not the form found in the original text.


Puṇyavipāka, or, perhaps, “reward of merit,” or “maturing of merit Sn. 520 has puññapāpam “merit and sin,” or better, “good and evil” and as Senart says, the metre requires puṇyapāpam here also. In Mhvu. 1.316 (text) we have exactly the same expression as in Sn.


In Sn. 517, this is the definition of a “Buddha”.


Reading devamanuṣyehi kalpiyehi (instr. for loc.) on the analogy of devamanussesu kappiyesu of Sn. 521. In the text reading, devamanuṣyehi kalpitāni, the latter must bear the sense of “vain imaginings” (see p. 395, n. 8); it can hardly be a past part. pass, agreeing with pāpakāni of the first pāda.


Sc. in the Buddhist sense; and so for the other terms.


Reading, as Senart suggests, punaḥ sa for punar. The final me of the verse is difficult. Senart renders “pour moi”, “suivant moi,” that is, taking it as an ethic dative. It would seem better to go further than Senart in emending and restore the text as punar āhu snātako ti, “they (the punar has been taken with the preceding clause) call him “one who has bathed.”


Bāhetva, that is, vāhetva, cf. Pali bāheti.


Aguṃ (sic for āgun) na karoti, the popular etymology of Nāga. See vol. 1, p. 35, n. 4.


Avetya = ava-itya. Philologically this is the equivalent of Pali avecca, which form is, however, “not sufficiently cleared semantically” (P.E.D.), for it is used in the sense of “certainly”, definitely “absolutely”, etc. The corresponding Pali verse (Sn. 519), has aticca, that is, ati-itya. The Mhvu. text, however, may not be correct. One MS. has ayatya, which is possibly a corruption of atītya.


Vedaka, Pali vedagū, in the Buddhist sense, of course, not with reference to the Vedas. Cf. Nd. 2.612, where vedagū is defined as one having catusu maggesu ñānam, “knowledge of the four Paths.”


Vicārya. Sn. 529 has viceyya.


Vedāni, so translated here, as there is twice in the verse a play on the common root of veda “knowledge”, and vedanā, “feeling” or “sensation”.


Lacuna in text; the translation is supplied from Sn. 529.


Reading, as Senart suggests, anuvidya, to correspond with anuvicca (= anuvijja) of Sn. 530, for abhāvetvā of the text.


Prapañca, Pali papañca, “a word which in Pali and BSk. is very hard to define” (Edgerton, B.H.S.D.). Cf. P.E.D.


Rāgabhūta. Sn. 530 has rogamūlam “root of disease.”


Prahāṇavat, for pradhānavat, Pali padhānavant. Not given in the dictionaries, but cf. BSk. prahāṇa (for pradhāna), Pali padhāna. See vol. 2, p. 120, n. 2. This definition of the energetic man differs considerably from that in Sn. 531.


Nānyān sarvatra na rakṣati. But the text must be regarded as very doubtful.


Kṣetrajña, alluding probably to the field of karma. But Sn. 523 has kṣetrajina, “conqueror of the field of the senses” according to Hare, op. cit., p. 79, who here follows SnA. 2. 428.


Saṃyama, but the verbal form saṃyamya is surely needed here. It is curious to note that in the four instances where Sn. has viceyya, “discerning”, the Mhvu. has a different verb each time; see p. 395, n. 7 (vikīrya); p. 397, n. 2 (vicārya), saṃyama here, and vicārya again, n. 5.


Sarvamūlakṣetrabandhana. This compound would be more logically arranged as in Sn. 524, sabbakkhettamūlabandhana. But the exact meaning of mūlabandhana is obscure. P.E.D. says “fundamental bond (?)” or “set of causes (?)”. Fausboll, op. cit., p. 89 renders “radical bond”, and Hare, op. cit., p. 79, “all their roots and bines.” Perhaps the expression becomes clearer if kṣetra is taken as = “field of the senses”. The bond then that lies at the root, or is the root, of the field, that is, is the cause of sensual life, is attachment to the world.


Vicārya, for viceyya of Sn. 525.


Kuśala, apparently with a play on the words kośa, “treasury” and kuśala. Our text, however, does not contain the question asking for the definition of this term.


Vicārya, for viceyya of Sn. 526.


This translation is made from the corresponding Pali. The text has ubhayāni prahīṇāni, which Senart says is preferable to the text of Sn. 526. He says that the expression refers to the two kinds of action, good and bad. But how the past part. pass, prahīṇa, “abandoned”, comes to have this sense, it is impossible to see. The Pali has dubhayāni paṇḍarāni, which Fausboll, op. cit., p. 90, renders “two kinds of senses.” Hare, op. cit., p. 78, renders “twin warring states,” referring paṇḍarāni to root bhaṇḍati, “to quarrel” (cf. paṇḍa = bhaṇḍam P.E.D.). The P.E.D. gives to paṇḍara only the sense of “white, pale yellowish”. It is worth noting, however, that SnA. 2, 430 explains paṇḍarāni by āyatanāni, tāni hi pakatiparisuddhattā rūḷhiyā ca evaṃ vuccanti. This last reference is due to Miss I. B. Horner.


Paṇḍita. In Sn. 526 there is a play on the words paṇḍara and paṇḍita.


The following verse has too long a lacuna to admit of restoration. But the first word of the verse, śrotriya, is preserved, and this together with the verses given in reply, shows that the missing verse corresponded to Sn. 533. The translation here given is of the latter text.


Reading, with one MS., amamo for asamo, “unequalled”, of the text.


Anigha. See vol. 2, p. 339, n. 1, and now add B.H.S.D.


Literally “abandoned”, hitvā. Sn. 535 has chetvā, and this, or chitvā should probably be read here also.


Reading as Edgerton (B.H.S.D. s.v. āsaya) suggests āśravāṇi for āsayāni of the text. The latter could only be for āśayāni, “intentions”, which, as Edgerton points out, is not used in the pejorative sense required here.


The me in this line is inexplicable, unless it be an ethic dative, which is very improbable. Could not the right reading be iha, “here”‘corresponding to idha in Sn. 536?


Dharmā. Sn. 537 has karma.


Māyam, neut. for fem. māyā.


Osaresi. But this whole line as well as the corresponding one at Sn. 538 is regarded as corrupt. It may be questioned, however, whether the Mhvu. line is really as corrupt and inexplicable as it is made out to be, for example, by Edgerton in B.H.S.D., s.v. osaraṇa, and by the editors of Sn., p. 100, n. 8. Osaresi can well be explained as being from avaśirati, of which Edgerton himself says, “it is also spelled with or s for ś, and MSS. sometimes show “a” for “i” after the sibilant, oṣarati, osarati... cf. Pkt. Lex. osiraṇa = vyutsarjana, parityaja.” He then refers to Senart’s note on p. 390 of vol. 1, where the latter cites many instances of a verb variously spelled osarati, osirati and ośirati and meaning “to abandon, reject, etc.”, to which the most closely corresponding verb in Sk. would seem to be avasṛj. See Vol. 2 (trans.) p. 253, n. 5,p. 393, nn. 1 and 4. Senart’s rendering of the line is unfortunate. He takes osaraṇa in the sense of “doctrine” in general, and mārgā as gen., instead of abl., and renders “tu as rejeté les doctrines de la (bonne) voie” (!).






Osaraṇāni, pl. of osaraṇa, for the meaning of which see n. 2. Cf. SnA. 538, osaraṇāni = ogahanāni titthāni, diṭṭhiyo.


Śubhavrata, which cannot have its Sk. sense here, and must be regarded as a variant or even an error for suvrata, elsewhere found in this sūtra for sūrata = Pali sorata. See p. 395. n. 1. Sn. 540 has sorata.


No doubt the term here has reference to the definition of nāga given above.


Two well-known brāhman sages. For the former see vol. 2 (trans.), p. 50. n. 5.


Reading, on the analogy of Sn. 540, yaṃ me kāṅkṣitaṃ ājñāsi, for ahaṃ kāṅkṣitamanveśe, which would give the irrelevant sense—“I followed one who was in doubt.”


Dyutimān. Sn. 542 has dhitimā (= dhṛtimā), “resolute”.

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