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Majjhima Nikaya

Majjhima Nikāya 89 Dhammacetiya Sutta
Discourse about the Monuments to the Dhamma

King Pasenadi visits the Buddha and explains why he has such great faith in the Buddha.

Thus have I heard: On one occasion the Blessed One was living in the Sākyan country where there was a town of the Sākyans, named Medatalumpa.

Now on that occasion King Pasenadi of Kosala had arrived at the city of Nagaraka for some business.

Then King Pasenadi of Kosala addressed Dīgha Kārāyana: “Dear Kārāyana, have the state carriages prepared. Let us go to the pleasure garden to see a pleasing spot.”

“Yes, sire,” Dīgha Kārāyana replied to King Pasenadi of Kosala. When the state carriages were prepared, he informed the king: “Sire, the state carriages are ready for you. You may go at your own convenience.”

Then King Pasenadi of Kosala mounted a state carriage, and accompanied by the other carriages, drove out from Nagaraka with the full pomp of royalty and proceeded towards the park. He went down the road as far as possible for carriages and then dismounted from his carriage, and entered the park on foot.

As he walked and wandered in the park for exercise, King Pasenadi of Kosala saw roots of trees that were lovely and inspiring, quiet and undisturbed by voices, with an atmosphere of seclusion, remote from people, favorable for retreat. The sight of these reminded him of the Blessed One thus:

“These roots of trees are lovely and inspiring, quiet and undisturbed by voices, with an atmosphere of seclusion, remote from people, favorable for retreat, like the places where we pay respect to the Blessed One, accomplished and fully enlightened.”

Then king Pasenadi of Kosala addressed Dīgha Kārāyana.

“Friend Kārāyana, these roots of trees are lovely and inspiring, quiet and undisturbed by voices, with an atmosphere of seclusion, remote from people, favorable for retreat, like the places where we pay respect to the Blessed One, accomplished and fully enlightened. Friend Kārāyana, where is he living now, the Blessed One, accomplished and fully enlightened?”

“There is, sire, a town of the Sākyans named Medatalumpa. The Blessed One, accomplished and fully enlightened, is now living there.”

“Friend Kārāyana, how far is it from Nagaraka to Medatalumpa, the town of the Sākyans?”

“It is not far, sire, only three leagues. We will get there before night.”

“Then, friend Kārāyana, have the state carriages prepared. Let us go and see the Blessed One, accomplished and fully enlightened.”

“Yes, sire,” Dīgha Kārāyana replied to King Pasendadi of Kosala. When the state carriages were prepared, he informed the king: “Sire, the state carriages are ready for you. You may go at your own convenience.”

Then King Pasenadi of Kosala mounted a state carriage, and accompanied by the other carriages, set out from Nagaraka towards the Sākyan town of Medatalumpa.

He arrived at the Sākyan town of Medatalumpa while it was still daylight and proceeded towards the park. He went as far as possible for carriages and then dismounted from his carriage, and entered the park on foot.

Now on that occasion a number of monks were walking up and down in the open. Then King Pasenadi of Kosala went to those monks and asked:

“Bhantes, where is he living now, the Blessed One, accomplished and fully enlightened? We like to see the Blessed One, accomplished and fully enlightened.”

“Great King, that is his dwelling, with the closed door. Approach it quietly, without hurrying, enter the porch, clear your throat, and tap on the panel. The Blessed One will open the door for you.”

King Pasenadi of Kosala handed over his sword and turban to Dīgha Kārāyana then and there. Then Dīgha Kārāyana thought: “The king is going into secret session, and I should wait here alone now!”

Without hurrying, King Pasenadi of Kosala went quietly up to the dwelling with the closed door, entered the porch, cleared his throat, and tapped on the panel. The Blessed One opened the door.

Then King Pasenadi of Kosala entered the dwelling. Bowing down with his head at the Blessed One’s sacred feet, he covered the Blessed One’s sacred feet with kisses and caressed them with his hands, pronouncing his name: “I am King Pasenadi of Kosala, oh Bhante; I am King Pasenadi of Kosala, oh Bhante.”

“But, great king, what reason do you see for doing such supreme honor to this body and for showing such veneration?”

“Bhante, I infer according to Dhamma about the Blessed One: ‘The Blessed One is fully enlightened, the Dhamma is well proclaimed by the Blessed One, the Blessed One’s community of monks is practising the pure way.’

“Bhante, I have seen some recluses and brāhmins leading a limited celibate life for ten years, twenty years, thirty years, or forty years. And then on a later occasion I have seen them well groomed and well anointed, with trimmed hair and beards, enjoying themselves, endowed with the five cords of sensual pleasure.

“But in the Blessed One’s training I see monks leading the perfect and pure celibate life as long as life and breath last. Indeed Bhante, I do not see any other celibate life elsewhere as perfect and pure, as in the Blessed One’s training. This is why, Bhante, I infer according to Dhamma about the Blessed One: ‘The Blessed One is fully enlightened, the Dhamma is well proclaimed by the Blessed One, the Blessed One’s community of monks is practising the pure way.’

“Again, Bhante, kings quarrel with kings, nobles with nobles, brāhmins with brāhmins, householders with householders; mother quarrels with son, son with mother, father with son, son with father; brother quarrels with brother, brother with sister, sister with brother, and friend with friend.

“But Bhante, in the Blessed One’s training I see monks living in harmony, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, blending like milk and water, viewing each other with kind eyes. Bhante, I do not see any other assembly elsewhere with such harmony. This too, Bhante, is why I infer according to Dhamma about the Blessed One: ‘The Blessed One is fully enlightened, the Dhamma is well proclaimed by the Blessed One, the Blessed One’s community of monks is practising the pure way.’

“Again, Bhante, I have walked and wandered from park to park and from garden to garden. There I have seen some recluses and brāhmins who are lean, wretched, unsightly, jaundiced, with veins standing out on their limbs, such that people would not want to look at them again. I have thought, Bhante: ‘Surely these venerable ones are leading the celibate life in discontent, or they have done some evil deed and are concealing it, so lean and wretched are they, that people would not want to look at them again.’I went up to them and asked: ‘Why are you venerable ones so lean and wretched, that people would not want to look at you again?’ Their reply was: ‘It is our family sickness, great king.’

“But Bhante, in the Blessed One’s training I see monks smiling and cheerful, sincerely joyful, plainly delighting, their faculties fresh, living at ease, humbly subsisting on what others give, abiding with mind free of longing. I have thought Bhante: ‘Surely these venerable ones have achieved special noble knowledges in the Blessed One’s Dispensation, that is why they abide smiling and cheerful, sincerely joyful, plainly delighting, their faculties fresh, living at ease, humbly subsisting on what others give, abiding with mind free of longing.’ This too, Bhante, is why I infer according to Dhamma about the Blessed One: ‘The Blessed One is fully enlightened, the Dhamma is well proclaimed by the Blessed One, the Blessed One’s community of monks is practising the pure way.’

“Again, Bhante, being a head anointed noble king, I am able to have executed those who should be executed, to fine those who should be fined, to exile those who should be exiled. Yet, Bhante, when I am sitting in council, they break in and interrupt me. Though I say: ‘Gentlemen, do not break in and interrupt me when I am sitting in council wait till the end of my speech,’ still they break in and interrupt me.

“But Bhante, I see monks while the Blessed One is teaching the Dhamma to an assembly of several hundred followers and then there is not even the sound of a disciple of the Blessed One coughing or clearing his throat. Once , Bhante , the Blessed One was teaching the Dhamma to an assembly of several hundred followers and there a disciple cleared his throat. Thereupon one of his companions in the holy life nudged him with his knee to indicate: ‘Be quiet, friend, make no noise; the Blessed One, the Teacher, is teaching us the Dhamma.’ I thought, Bhante: ‘It is wonderful, it is marvellous how an assembly can be so well disciplined without force or weapon!’ Indeed, I do not see any other assembly elsewhere so well disciplined. This too, Bhante, is why I infer according to Dhamma about the Blessed One: ‘The Blessed One is fully enlightened, the Dhamma is well proclaimed by the Blessed One, the Blessed One’s community of monks is practising the pure way.’

“Again, Bhante, I have seen here certain well-learned kings who are clever, knowledgeable about the doctrines of others, as sharp as hair-splitting marksmen; they wander about, as it were, demolishing the views of others with their sharp wits. They hear: ‘The recluse Gotama will visit such and such a village or town.’

“Then they formulate a question thus: ‘We will go to the recluse Gotama and ask him this question. If he is asked like this, he will answer like this, and so we will refute his doctrine in this way; and if he is asked like that, he will answer like that, and so we will refute his doctrine in that way.’

“They hear: ‘The recluse Gotama has come to visit such and such a village or town.’ They go to the Blessed One, and the Blessed One instructs, urges, rouses, and gladdens them with a talk on the Dhamma. After they have been instructed, urged, roused, and gladdened by the Blessed One with a talk on the Dhamma, they do not so much as ask him a question, so how should they refute his doctrine? In actual fact, they become his disciples. This too, Bhante, is why I infer according to Dhamma about the Blessed One: ‘The Blessed One is fully enlightened, the Dhamma is well proclaimed by the Blessed One, the Blessed One’s community of monks is practising the pure way.’

“Again, Bhante, I have seen here certain learned brāhmins, learned householders, and learned recluses who are clever, knowledgeable about the doctrines of others, as sharp as hair-splitting marksmen; they wander about, as it were, demolishing the views of others with their sharp wits. They hear: ‘The recluse Gotama will visit such and such a village or town.’ Then they formulate a question thus: ‘We will go to the recluse Gotama and ask him this question. If he is asked like this, he will answer like this, and so we will refute his doctrine in this way; and if he is asked like that, he will answer like that, and so we will refute his doctrine in that way.’

“They hear: ‘The recluse Gotama has come to visit such and such a village or town.’ They go to the Blessed One, and the Blessed One instructs, urges, rouses, and gladdens them with a talk on the Dhamma. After they have been instructed, urged, roused, and gladdened by the Blessed One with a talk on the Dhamma; they do not so much as ask him a question, so how should they refute his doctrine? In actual fact, they beg the Blessed One to allow them to go forth from the home life into homelessness and become monks.

“And the Blessed One ordains them as monks. Not long after they have gone forth, dwelling alone, withdrawn, diligent, ardent, and resolute, by realizing for themselves, with direct knowledge, they here and now enter upon and abide in that supreme goal of the holy life for the sake of which clansmen rightly become monks, having gone forth from the home life into homelessness.

“They say thus: ‘We were very nearly lost, we were very nearly perished, for we formerly claimed that we were recluses though we were not really recluses; we claimed that we were brāhmins though we were not really brāhmins; we claimed that we were liberated ones though we were not really liberated ones. But now we are true recluses, now we are true brāhmins, now we are true liberated ones.’ This too, Bhante, is why I infer according to Dhamma about the Blessed One: ‘The Blessed One is fully enlightened, the Dhamma is well proclaimed by the Blessed One, the Blessed One’s community of monks is practising the pure way.’

“Again, Bhante, Isidatta and Purāna, my two carpenters, eat my food and use my carriages. I provide them with a livelihood and bring them fame. Yet despite this, they do not do such honour to me as they do to the Blessed One.

“Once, Bhante, when I had gone out leading an army and was testing these carpenters, Isidatta and Purāna, I happened to stay in very cramped quarters. Then, Bhante, these two carpenters, Isidatta and Purāna, after spending much of the night in talk on the Dhamma, lay down with their heads in the direction where the Blessed One was staying and with their feet towards me. Bhante, then it occurred to me: ‘It is wonderful, it is marvellous! These two carpenters, Isidatta and Purāna, eat my food and use my carriages; I provide them with a livelihood and bring them fame. Yet despite this, they do not do such honour to me as they do to the Blessed One. Surely these good people have attained some kind of noble realization in the Blessed One’s Dispensation.’ This too, Bhante, is why I infer according to Dhamma about the Blessed One: ‘The Blessed One is fully enlightened, the Dhamma is well proclaimed by the Blessed One, the Blessed One’s community of monks is practising the pure way.’

“Again, Bhante, the Blessed One is from the clan of kings and I am also from the clan of kings, the Blessed One is from the country of Kosala and I am also from the country of Kosala, the Blessed One is eighty years old and I am also eighty years old. In this way, Bhante, because the Blessed One is from the clan of kings, and I am also from the clan of kings, the Blessed One is from the country of Kosala and I am also from the country of Kosala; the Blessed One is eighty years old and I am also eighty years old, I think it is proper to do such supreme honour to the Blessed One and to show such veneration.”

“And now, Bhante, we depart. We are busy and have much to do.” “You may go, great king, at your convenience.” Then King Pasenadi of Kosala rose from his seat, and after paying homage to the Blessed One, keeping him on his right, he departed.

Then, soon after King Pasenadi of Kosala had left, the Blessed One addressed the monks thus: “Monks, before rising from his seat and departing, this King Pasenadi of Kosala uttered monuments to the Dhamma. Oh monks, learn the monuments to the Dhamma; oh monks, master the monuments to the Dhamma; oh monks, remember the monuments to the Dhamma. Oh monks, the monuments to the Dhamma are beneficial, and they belong to the fundamentals of the holy life.”

The Blessed One taught this discourse. The monks were satisfied and delighted in the discourse that was taught by the Blessed One.

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Majjhima Nikāya 89 Dhammacetiya Sutta: Discourse about the Monuments to the Dhamma

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