Vinaya Pitaka (3): Khandhaka

by I. B. Horner | 2014 | 386,194 words | ISBN-13: 9781921842160

The English translation of the Khandhaka: the second book of the Pali Vinaya Pitaka, one of the three major ‘baskets’ of Therevada canonical literature. It is a collection of various narratives. The English translation of the Vinaya-pitaka (third part, khandhaka) contains many Pali original words, but transliterated using a system similar to the I...

The story of Sunidha and Vassakāra

Now at that time Sunidha[1] and Vassakāra, chief ministers in Magadha, were building a (fortified) town[2] at Pāṭaligāma for repelling the Vajjis. Then the Lord, getting up at the end of that night towards dawn, saw with deva-sight, pure and surpassing that of men, many[3]devatās occupying the sites at Pāṭaligāma. Now in whatever region powerful devatās occupy sites, they bend the minds of powerful kings and the kings’ chief ministers to build dwellings there; in whatever region devatās of middling (power) occupy sites, they bend the minds of kings of middling (power), and the kings’ chief ministers to build dwellings BD.4.312 there; in whatever region devatās of lowly (power) occupy sites, they bend the minds of kings of lowly (power) and the kings’ chief ministers to build dwellings there.

Kd.6.28.8 Then the Lord addressed the venerable Ānanda, saying: “Now, who, Ānanda, are these who are building a (fortified) town at Pāṭaligāma?”

“Sunidha and Vin.1.229 Vassakāra, Lord, chief ministers in Magadha, … for repelling the Vajjis.”

“As though, Ānanda, having consulted together with the Devas of the Thirty, even so, Ānanda, do Sunidha and Vassakāra, chief ministers in Magadha, build a (fortified) town at Pāṭaligāma for repelling the Vajjis. Now I, Ānanda, getting up at the end of this night towards dawn, saw with deva-sight … in whatever region devatās of lowly (power) occupy sites, they bend the minds of kings of lowly (power) and the kings’ chief ministers to build dwellings there. Ānanda, as far as the ariyan region[4](extends), as far as there is trading,[5]this will be a leading town, Pāṭaliputta,[6] (where there was) the breaking of the seed-boxes.[7] But, Ānanda, there will be three dangers to Pāṭaliputta: from fire or from water or from internal dissension.”[8]

Kd.6.28.9 Then Sunidha and Vassakāra, chief ministers in Magadha, approached the Lord; having approached they exchanged friendly greetings with the Lord; having exchanged greetings of friendliness and courtesy, they stood at a respectful distance. BD.4.313 As they were standing at a respectful distance, Sunidha and Vassakāra, chief ministers in Magadha, spoke thus to the Lord: “May the revered Gotama together with the Order of monks consent to a meal with us today.” The Lord consented by becoming silent. Then Sunidha and Vassakāra, chief ministers in Magadha, departed[9] having understood the Lord’s consent.

Kd.6.28.10 Then Sunidha and Vassakāra, chief ministers in Magadha, having had sumptuous solid food and soft food prepared, had the time announced to the Lord, saying: “It is time, good Gotama, the meal is ready.” Then the Lord, having dressed in the morning, taking his bowl and robe, approached the food distribution[10] of Sunidha and Vassakāra, chief ministers in Magadha; having approached, he sat down together with the Order of monks on the appointed seat. Then Sunidha and Vassakāra, chief ministers in Magadha, having with their own hands served and satisfied with sumptuous food, solid and soft, the Order of monks with the awakened one at its head, when the Lord had eaten and had withdrawn his hand from his bowl, sat down at a respectful distance; and as Sunidha and Vassakāra, chief ministers in Magadha, were sitting down at a respectful distance, the Lord gave thanks in these verses:

Kd.6.28.11

“Wherever the prudent man shall take up his abode,
Having offered food to those here of moral habit, good Brahma-farers,
If he makes an offering to those[11] devatās who may be there—
These revered, do revere, honoured, do honour him. Vin.1.230
Hence they sympathise with him, as a mother with her own child.
The man with whom devatās sympathise, ever sees good luck.”

Then the Lord, having in these verses given thanks to Sunidha and Vassakāra, chief ministers in Magadha, rising from his seat, departed.

Kd.6.28.12 Then Sunidha and Vassakāra, chief ministers in Magadha, BD.4.314 following close behind the Lord, thought: “By whichever gate the recluse Gotama goes out today, that shall be called Gotama’s Gate; by whichever ford he crosses the river Ganges, that shall be called Gotama’s Ford.” Accordingly the gate by which the Lord departed came to be called Gotama’s Gate.

Then the Lord approached the river Ganges. Now at that time the river Ganges was full, level with the banks, so that a crow could drink[12] (from it). Since they were desirous of going from the hither to the further (bank),[13] some people looked about for a boat, some looked about for a float,[14] others put together a raft.[15]

Kd.6.28.13 The Lord saw these people, of whom some were looking about for a boat, some were looking about for a float, others were putting together a raft since they were desirous of going from the hither to the further (bank). Seeing them, as a strong man might stretch out his bent arm or might bend back his outstretched arm, even so did he, vanishing from the hither bank[16] of the river Ganges, reappear[17] on the further bank together with the Order of monks. Then the Lord, having understood this matter, at that time uttered this solemn utterance:

“Those cross the deeps, the rivers,[18]
making a bridge, spanning the swamps.

See! people tie their rafts—
but crossed over[19] are the wise.”[20]


Footnotes and references:

1.

Sunīdha at DN.ii.86 and Ud.87.

2.

nagara, see BD.2.63, n.2.

3.

sambahulā, often in Vinaya when used of monks being equivalent to gaṇa, a group of from two to four monks. DN.ii.87, Ud.88 say sambahulā devatāyo sahassassa, many devatās (in companies) of a thousand.

4.

ariya āyatana. Cf. AN.iii.441. Vin-a.1095 says “as far as the place where ariyan people go to”.

5.

vaṇippatha.

6.

The modern Patna. The name is omitted at Ud.88.

7.

I follow Pali-English Dictionary (under puṭa) in thinking that the translation of puṭabhedana at Dialogues of the Buddha, ii.92 is wrong: “centre for interchange of all kinds of wares”, although Pāṭaliputta had a reputation as a trading centre, on which moreover the Commentaries lay stress, Vin-a.1096 reading bhaṇḍapuṭabhedanaṭṭhānaṃ, bhaṇḍagaṇḍikānaṃ mocanaṭṭhānānaṃ, a place for undoing goods and merchandise, a place for opening goods and wares; DN-a.ii.541, Ud-a.422 say much the same and add: “if people do not get goods in all Jambudīpa they will get them here.” But Pāṭaligāma was so called “because on the day of its foundation several patali-shoots sprouted forth from the ground” (Dictionary of Pali Proper Names). According to Waddell (E.R.E., art: Patna) the pāṭali-tree is the trumpet-flower tree (Bignonis suaveolens). Pāṭaliputta is also called “the city of flowers”, Pupphapura (Mahāvaṃsa iv.31, Dīpavaṃsa xi.28), and Kusumapura (Mahābodhivaṃsa p.153). Vinaya Texts ii.102 does not attempt a translation. Minor Anthologies ii.108 has “the place where men shall open up their bales of merchandise.”

8.

On the event prophesied here. Pāṭaliputta’s becoming the capital of the Magadha empire, and the possibility of the notice of the event’s late insertion into the text, see Vinaya Texts ii.102, n and Dialogues of the Buddha ii.92, n.3.

9.

DN.ii.88, Ud.89 say they went to their own residence, āvasatha.

10.

parivesanā;DN.ii.88, Ud.89 read āvasatha. Cf. Snp.p.13, SN.i.172.

11.

Cf. Thig.307, Thig.211; Mil.294.

12.

As at MN.i.435; SN.ii.134; DN.i.244; AN.iii.27.

13.

orā pāraṃ; DN: aparāparaṃ; Ud: apārā paraṃ, which Woodward (Minor Anthologies ii.109, n.4) proposes to correct to DN reading.

14.

uḷumpa. This may be a wooden or a bamboo raft. Vin-a.1096 says that it is made, having knocked in pegs.

15.

kulla. Vin-a.1096 says that it is made, having put together reeds and so on.

16.

orimatīre.

17.

paccuṭṭhāsi, instead of the more usual pāturahosi.

18.

sara, here a river, Vin-a.1096.

19.

tiṇṇa, a technical term frequent in the Suttas, meaning “crossed over” the four-fold flood of sense-pleasures, becoming, false view and ignorance, or over some other undesirable state, and so “crossed over” Māra’s stream, a river of death. See my Man Perfected, Ch. 8.

20.

To here, from beginning of Kd.6.28.1, the same as Ud.85, with a few minor variations.