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English translation of
Holy Digha Nikaya

English translation by T. W. Rhys Davids
taken from http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/dob/

Mahâli Sutta

1.
Thus have I heard. The Blessed One was once staying at Vesâlî at the Gabled Hall in the Great Wood. Now at that time a number of Brahmans, who had been sent on pressing business of one kind or another from Kosali and Magadhâ, were lodging at Vesâlî.

And they heard the news: 'They say that the Samana Gotama of the Sâkya clan, who went out from a Sâkya family to adopt the religious life, is now staying at Vesâlî at the Gabled Hall in the Great Wood. Now regarding that venerable Gotama, such is the high reputation that has been noised abroad: "That Blessed One is an Arahat, a fully awakened one, abounding in wisdom and goodness, happy, who knows all worlds, unsurpassed as a guide to mortals willing to be led, a teacher for gods and men, a Blessed One, a Buddha. He, by himself, thoroughly knows and sees, as it were, face to face this universe,--including the worlds above of the gods, the Brahmâs, and the Mâras, and the world below with its recluses and Brahmans, its princes and peoples,--and having known it, he makes his knowledge known to others. The truth, lovely in its origin, lovely in its progress, lovely in its consummation, doth he proclaim, both in the spirit and in the letter, the higher life doth he make known, in all its fullness and in all its purity. And good is it to pay visits to Arahats like that."'

2.
So those Brahmans from Kosala and Magadhâ went out to the Great Wood, and to the Gabled Hall. Now at that time the venerable Nâgita was acting as the personal attendant on the Blessed One. And they went to him, and said: 'Where is it, Nâgita, that that venerable Gotama is lodging now, for we wish to see him.

'It is not a fitting time, Sirs, to call upon the Blessed One. He has retired into solitude.'

Then they sat down round about, saying, 'We will not go away without seeing the venerable Gotama.'

3.
And Hare-lip the Likkhavi, too, came to the Great Wood, and to the Gabled Hall, with a retinue of his clan; and going up to the venerable Nâgita, he saluted him, and reverently standing apart, he said to him: 'Where, venerable Nâgita, is the Blessed One now lodging, the Arahat, the Buddha; for we wish to see him?' And on receiving a similar reply he, too, sat down apart, saying: 'I will not go till I have seen the August One, the Arahat, the Buddha.'

4.
But Sîha, a novice, came up to the venerable Nâgita, and saluted him, and standing reverently apart, he said to him: 'These envoys of the Brahmans from Kosalâ and Magadhâ, many of them, have come, O Kassapa, to call upon the Blessed One; and Hare-lip the Likkhavi, too, with a retinue of his clan, has come to do the same. 'Twere best, O Kassapa, that all this folk should be allowed to see the Blessed One.'

'Very well, then, Sîha. Tell the Blessed One yourself.'

'Very good, Sir,' said Sîha the novice in assent to the venerable Nâgita. And he went where the Blessed One was, and saluted him, and standing reverently apart, he said to him even as he had said to Nâgita.

'Very well, Sîha. Spread out a mat for me in the shade in front of the house.'

Continued...

5.
And Sîha did so. And the Blessed One came out from the house, and sat down. And the Brahmans from Kosalâ and Magadhâ exchanged with him the greetings and compliments of politeness and courtesy, and took their seats on one side. And Hare-lip the Likkhavi also, with the retinue of his clan, bowed down to the Blessed One, and seated himself on one side. And when he was thus seated he addressed the Blessed One, and said:

'Some few days ago, Sir, Sunakkhatta of the Likkhavis came to me, and said: "It is only three years, Mahâli, since I first came under the Blessed One, and I can see heavenly forms, pleasant to behold, fitted to satisfy all one's desires, exciting longing in one's heart. But I cannot hear heavenly sounds like that." Now, Sir, are there such heavenly sounds, which he could not hear, or have they no existence?'

'They are real, those heavenly sounds, pleasant, fitted to satisfy one's desires, exciting longing in one's heart, which he could not hear. They are not things of nought.'

6.
'But what then is the proximate, and what the ultimate cause, why he could not hear them, they being thus real and not things of nought?'

7.
'Suppose a recluse, Mahâli, to have practised one-sided concentration of mind with the object of seeing such heavenly forms in any one direction,--in the East, or the South, or the West, or the North, or above; or below, or across,--and not with the object of hearing such heavenly sounds. Then since he has practised one-sided concentration, with the one object only in view, he only sees the sights, he hears not the sounds. And why not? Because of the nature of his self-concentration [samâdhi].

8, 9.
'And so also, Mahâli, if he have practised one-sided concentration with the object of hearing, in any one direction, the heavenly sounds. Then, and for the same reason, he hears the sounds, but he sees not the sights.

10, 11.
'But suppose, Mahâli, he has practised self-concentration with the double object in view of seeing and hearing, in any one direction, those heavenly sights and those heavenly sounds. Then since he has practised self-concentration with the double object in view, he both sees the sights and hears the sounds. And why so? Because of the nature of his self-concentration.'

12.
'Then, Sir, is it for the sake of attaining to the practice of such self-concentration that the brethren lead the religious life under the Blessed One?'

'No, Mahâli. There are things, higher and sweeter than that, for the sake of which they do so.'

13.
'And what, Sir, may those other things be?'

'In the first place, Mahâli, a brother by the complete destruction of the Three Bonds (the Delusions of self, Doubt, and Trust in the efficacy of good works and ceremonies) becomes a converted man, one who cannot be reborn in any state of woe, and is assured of attaining to the Insight (of the stages higher still). That, Mahâli, is a condition, higher and sweeter, for the sake of which the brethren lead the religious life under me.

'And then further, Mahâli, a brother by the complete destruction of those Three Bonds, and by reducing to a minimum lust, illwill, and dullness, becomes a Once-returner, one who on his first return to this world shall make an end of pain. That, Mahâli, is a condition higher still and sweeter, for the sake of which the brethren lead the religious life under me.

'And then further, Mahâli, a brother by the complete destruction of the Five Bonds that bind people to this world becomes an inheritor of the highest heavens, there to pass away, thence never to return. That, Mahâli, is a condition higher still and sweeter, for the sake of which the brethren lead the religious life under me.

'And then further. Mahâli, when a brother by the destruction of the Deadly Floods (or Intoxications--Lusts, Becomings, Delusion, and Ignorance) has, by himself, known and realised and continues to abide here, in this visible world, in that emancipation of mind, that emancipation of heart, which is Arahatship--that, Mahâli, is a condition higher still and sweeter still, for the sake of which the brethren lead the religious life under me.

'Such, Mahâli, are the conditions higher and sweeter (than seeing heavenly sights and hearing heavenly sounds), for the sake of which the brethren lead the religious life under me.'

14.
'But is there, Sir, a path, is there a method, for the realisation of these conditions?'

'Yes, Mahâli, there is.'

'And what, Sir, may be that path, what that method?'

'Verily it is this Noble Eightfold Path, that is to say: Right views, right aspirations, right speech, right action, a right means of livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right ecstasy in self-concentration. This, Mahâli, is the path, and this the method, for the realisation of these conditions.

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-- Book 6 --





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