[\q 96/]

Sutta Start


THIS is one of several Suttas (mentioned in the notes to the celebrated verse quoted at the end of Chapter I) which deal with the subject of caste.

It is sufficiently evident from the comparative frequency of the discussions on the matter of Brahman pretensions that this was a burning question at the time when the Dialogues were composed. No other social problem is referred to so often; and Brahman would not be so often represented as expressing astonishment or indignation at the position taken up regarding it by the early Buddhists unless there had really been a serious difference on the subject between the two schools. But the difference, though real, has been gravely misunderstood.

Some writers on Buddhism do not hesitate to ascribe to Gotama the role of a successful political reformer, by representing him as having fought for the poor and despised against the rich and privileged classes, and as having gone far to abolish caste. Other writers gird at the Buddha because most of the leaders of this Order were drawn from the ranks of the respectable and the well-to-do, with an education in keeping with their social position; and disparage him for neglecting the humble and the wretched, for not using his influence to abolish, or to mitigate, the harshness of caste rules.

Both views are equally unhistorical. It is well-known that the population of India is now divided into a number of sections (we call them ‘castes’), the members of which are debarred from the right of intermarriage (from the connubium) with those outside their caste, and also, but in constantly varying degrees, from the right of eating together (of commensality) with the members of other sections. Each such ‘caste’ has also a council or committee by which it is governed, and which settles all disputes regarding the caste.

The disastrous effects, from the ethical, social, and political points of view, of these restrictions, and of caste as a whole, have been often grossly exaggerated, and the benefits of the [\q 97/] system ignored. And we are entirely unwarranted in supposing the system, as it now exists, to have been in existence also at the time when Buddhism arose in the valley of the Ganges. Our knowledge of the actual facts of caste, even as it now exists, is still confused and inaccurate. The theories put forward to explain the facts are loose and irreconcilable. And an accurate statement of the corresponding facts, if any, at the time of Gotama, has yet to be drawn up.

We have long known that the connubium was the cause of a long and determined struggle between the patricians and the plebeians in Rome. Evidence has been yearly accumulating on the existence of restrictions as to intermarriage, and as to the right of eating together, among other Aryan tribes — Greeks, Germans, Russians, and so on. Even without the fact of the existence, now, of such restrictions among the modern successors of the ancient Aryans in India, it would have been almost certain that they also were addicted to similar customs. It is certain that the notion of such usages was familiar enough to some at least of the tribes that preceded the Aryans in India. It is quite a mistake to look upon all these tribes as far below the Aryans in culture. Both the Kolarians and the Dravidians were probably quite the equals of the Aryans in social organisation. And the Aryans probably adopted much from them, especially in matters relating to land tenure, village community, government, taxation, and so on. Their custom of endogamy and exogamy, their ideas as to purity and the reverse, may have differed from those of the Aryans, but were similar in kind. Rules of endogamy and exogamy; privileges, restricted to certain classes, of eating together, are not only Indian or Aryan, but worldwide phenomena. Both the spirit, and to a large degree the actual details, of modern Indian caste usages, are identical with these ancient, and no doubt universal, customs. It is in them that we have Ṭhe key to the origin of caste.

At any moment in the history of a nation such customs seem, to a superficial observer, to be fixed and immutable. As a matter of fact they are never quite the same in successive centuries, or even generations. A man’s visible frame, though no change is at any moment perceptible, is really never the same for two consecutive moments, and the result of constant minute variations becomes clear after the lapse of time. The numerous and complicated details which we sum up under the convenient (but often misleading) single name of caste are solely dependent for their sanction on public opinion. That opinion seems stable. But it is always tending to vary as to the degree of importance attached to some particular one of [\q 98/] the details, as to the size and complexity of the particular groups in which each detail ought to be observed.

This last statement may be illustrated by the case of the Chaliyas. When the Dutch started cinnamon cultivation in Ceylon on a large scale, they wanted labourers. ‘The peasantry, who belonged almost exclusively to one caste, the Goigamas, regarded it as unworthy of a free man to work for hire. Some of them, however, in the struggle of motives, found the pressure of poverty too strong for them, and accepted service as coolies. The others, thinking this bad form, became averse to giving their daughters in marriage to such coolies. These feelings were naturally stronger at first among the Goigamas of good social position, and it became a mark of superiority not to have a relative married to a worker in the cinnamon gardens. And such workers were called Chaliyas. By the time that the families of Chaliyas were numerous enough to afford mates for the male or female coolies, the Chaliyas found it impossible to find wives elsewhere. And thus, under the very eyes of Europeans, the size of one group had been diminished by the very considerable number of persons engaged in a new and despised trade. In other words, what we call a new caste had arisen, the caste of the Chaliyas. When the English took Ceylon they gave up the government cultivation of cinnamon. The gardens were carried on, in ever lessening numbers, by private individuals. The number of the Chaliyas consequently declined. Numbers of them, as they gradually returned to ordinary peasant work, became reabsorbed among the Goigamas. This was an instance of a change precisely contrary to that which happened when the caste gradually arose. But all did not succeed in returning; and there are, therefore, still some Chaliyas left. And the caste survives though the members of it are now no longer exclusively, or even largely, employed in cinnamon gardens; and many of them have become wealthy and honoured.

What had happened in this case was, not two separate and striking revolutions, but a long series of slight changes in public opinion, no doubt quite imperceptible at the time to the very people among whom the changes were taking place. And after all the changes were not so very slow. Three or four generations were enough to cover the whole series with the consequent results. Who can doubt but that the history of ancient India, if we had only access to the necessary evidence, would be found to cover, in its two thousand five hundred years, and through its wide territory, a constant succession of similar variations; and that similar variations are recurring still today.

[\q 99/] Owing to the fact that the particular set of people who worked their way to the top based its claims on religious grounds, not on political power or wealth, the system has, no doubt, lasted longer in India than in Europe. But public opinion still insists in considerable circles, even in Europe, on restrictions of a more or less defined kind, both as to marriage and as to eating together. And in India the problem still remains to trace in the literature the gradual growth of the system — the gradual formation of new sections among the people, the gradual extension of the institution to the families of people engaged. in certain trades, belonging to the same sect or tribe’, tracing their ancestry (whether rightly or wrongly) to the same source. All these factors, and others besides, are real factors. But they are phases of the extension and growth, not explanations of the origin, of the system.

There is no evidence to show that at the time when the conversations recorded in the Dialogues took place (that is to say, in the sixth century B. C.) there was any substantial difference, as regards the barriers in question, between the peoples dwelling in the valley of the Ganges and their contemporaries dwelling on the shores of the Mediterranean. The point of greatest weight in the establishment of the great difference in the subsequent development — the supremacy, in India, of the priests — was still being hotly debated. And all our evidence tends to show that at least in the wide extent of territory covered by the Piṭakas — countries close upon a hundred thousand square miles in area — the struggle was being decided rather against the Brahman than for them. There were distinctions as to marriage; endogamous and exogamous groups. In a few instances, all among the lower classes of the people, these amounted, probably, to what would now be called caste-divisions. But of castes, in the modern sense, among the preponderating majority there is little or no conclusive evidence.

There was a common phrase current among the people, which divided all the world into four vaṇṇā (colours or complexions)-the nobles, the priests, the other Aryan people, and the non-Aryan Sūdras (Khattiyā, Brāhmaṇā, Vessā, and Suddā). The priests put themselves first, and had a theological legend in support of their contention. But it is clear from the Piṭakas that this was not admitted by the nobles. And it is also clear that no one of these divisions was a caste. There was neither connubium nor commensality between all the members of one vaṇṇa, nor was there a governing council for each. The fourth was distinguished from the others by race. The remaining three were distinguished from each other by [\q 100/] social position. And though in a general rough way the classification corresponded to the actual facts of life, there were insensible gradations within the four classes, and the boundary between them was both variable and undefined.

And this enumeration of the populace was. not complete. Outside these classes there were others, resembling in many points the modern low castes, and always when mentioned in the Piṭakas following after the above four. Thus in Aṅguttara I, 162 [1] the argument is that just as there is no real difference in oxen, in spite of the fact that they can be arranged in classes by difference of colour (vaṇṇa), and the strong, active, well-trained ox is selected by preference, without regard to his colour (vaṇṇa) ; so also, when presenting gifts, the man of strong, active, well-trained mind should be selected as donee — without reference to the fact of his belonging to any one of the four classes of society (vaṇṇā), or of his being a Kaṇḍāla or a Pukkusa. It is plain that this passage distinguishes the last two from the four vaṇṇā and therefore from the Sūdras

Other old texts [2] insert between these two three further names — the Veṇas, the Nesādas, and the Rathakāras, that is to say, the workers in rushes, [3] bird-catchers, and cartmakers. By these are meant aboriginal tribesmen who were hereditary craftsmen in these three crafts; for they are called hīna-jātiyo, low tribes. They no doubt formed castes in the modern sense, though we have no information as to their marriage customs. They are represented in the Jātaka book as living in villages of their own, outside the towns in which ordinary people dwelt, and formed evidently a numerically insignificant portion of the populace.

In the last passage quoted in the previous note there are mentioned, as distinct from these low tribes (the hīna-jātiyo), certain low occupations (hīna-sippāni) mat-makers, potters, weavers, leather-workers, and barbers. As they are excluded from the list of those distinguished by birth (jāti), it is implied that there was no hard and fast line, determined by birth, for those who gained their living by these trades. There would be a natural tendency for the son to follow the father’s craft [4]; [\q 101/] centuries afterwards they had become castes, and they were then on the borderline. But they were not castes as yet.

Besides the above, who were all freemen, there were also slaves. We only hear of them quite occasionally, as domestic servants, in the houses of the very rich. Individuals had been captured in predatory raids, and reduced to slavery (Jāt. IV, 220); or had been deprived of their freedom as a judicial punishment (Jāt. I, 200); or had submitted to slavery of their own accord (‘Vinaya Texts,’ I,191; Sum. I, 168). Children born to such slaves were also slaves, and the emancipation of slaves is often referred to. But we hear nothing of such later developments of slavery as rendered the Roman latifundia, or the plantations of some Christian slave-owners, scenes of misery and oppression. For the most part the slaves were household servants, and not badly treated, and their numbers seem to have been insignificant [5]

What we find then, in the Buddha’s time, is caste in the making. The great mass of the people were distinguished quite roughly into four classes-social strata-of which the boundary lines were vague and uncertain. At the one end of the scale certain outlying tribes, and certain hereditary crafts of a dirty or despised kind, were already, probably, castes. At the other end of the scale Brahman by birth were putting forward caste claims that were not yet universally admitted. There were social customs about the details of which we know very little (and dependent probably, more exactly upon the gotta rather than upon the jāti), which raised barriers, not seldom broken through, as to intermarriage of people admittedly belonging to the same vaṇṇa, and a fortiori of others. And there was a social code, based on the idea of impurity, which prevented familiar intercourse (such as commensality) between people of different rank; and rendered disgraceful the use of certain foods. We find, however, no usages which cannot be amply paralleled in the history of other peoples throughout the world in similar stages of social evolution. The key-stone of the arch of the peculiarly Indian caste organisation-the absolute supremacy of the Brahmans — had not yet been put in position, had not, in fact, been yet made ready. The caste-system, in any proper or exact use of the term, did not exist.

In the face of this set of circumstances Gotama took up [\q 102/] a distinct position. It meets us, it is true, in two phases; but it forms one consistent and logical whole.

In the first place, as regards his own Order, over which alone he had complete control, he ignores completely and absolutely all advantages or disadvantages arising from birth, occupation, and social status, and sweeps away all barriers and disabilities arising from the arbitrary rules of mere Ceremonial or social impurity.

One of the most distinguished members of his Order the very one of them who was referred to as the chief authority, after Gotama himself, on the rules of the Order, was Upāli, who had formerly been a barber, one of the despised occupations. So Sunīta, one of the brethren whose verses are chosen for insertion in the Thera Jāthā, was a Pukkusa, one of the low tribes. Sāti, the propounder of a deadly heresy, was of the sons of the fisherfolk, afterwards a low caste, and even then an occupation, on account of its cruelty, particularly abhorred. Nanda was a cowherd. The two Paṇṭhakas were born out of wedlock, to a girl of good family through intercourse with a slave (so that by the rule laid down in Manu 31, they were actually outcasts). Kāpā was the daughter of a deer-stalker, Puṇṇā and Puṇṇikā had been slave girls. Sumangalamātā was daughter and wife to workers in rushes, and Subhā was the daughter of a smith. More instances could doubtless be quoted already, and others will become known when more texts are published.

It does not show much historical insight to sneer at the numbers as small, and to suggest that the supposed enlightenment or liberality was mere pretence. The facts speak for themselves; and the percentage of low-born members of the Order was probably in fair proportion to the percentage of persons belonging to the despised jātis and sippas as compared with the rest of the population. Thus of the Therīs mentioned in the Therī Gāthā we know the social position of sixty, of whom five are mentioned above-that is 8 1/2 per cent. of the whole number were base-born. It is most likely that this is just about the proportion which persons in similar social rank bore to the rest of the population.

Whether the Buddhist Order differed in this respect from the other similar communities which are mentioned in the Buddhist books as having already existed when the Buddhist Order was founded, is still matter of controversy. The Buddhist books are mostly silent on the matter. But that very silence is valuable evidence. It is scarcely likely that, if there had been much difference, there should be no allusion to it in the Piṭakas. And the few passages in print confirm this. We [\q 103/] have seen how in the Sāmañña-phala Sutta (above, P. 77) it is taken for granted that a slave would join an Order (that is any order, not the Buddhist). And in the Aggañña Sutta of the Dīgha, and the Madhura Sutta of the Majjhima, there is express mention of Sūdras becoming Samaṇas, as if it were a recognised and common occurrence, long before the time of the rise of Buddhism. So in the Jātaka (III, 381) we hear of a potter, and at IV, 392 of a Kaṇḍāla, who become Samaṇas (not Buddhist Samaṇas). [6]

On the other hand, it is just possible that in these passages the custom afterwards followed in the Buddhist Order is simply put back to earlier times, and is an anachronism. The low-born, however earnest in their search after truth, were no doubt excluded from any community of hermits or religious recluses in which Brahmans had the upper hand. But all the twice-born (the Dvijas, that is the Khattiyas, Brāhmaṇas, and Vessas) were certainly justified, by public opinion, in becoming Samaṇas. To what extent the Sūdras, and the tribes below the Sūdras, were accorded, in communities other than the Buddhist, a similar privilege, is at present doubtful. But the Buddha certainly adopted, and probably extended, the most rational view current at the time.

There is one point, however, in which he seems to have restricted (and for a valid reason) the existing custom. It is impossible to avoid the inference from the passage just referred to (in the Sāmañña-phala, above, P. 77), that the existing orders, or most of them, admitted slaves to their ranks. Now among a number of rules laid down to regulate admission to the Buddhist Order, in such wise that the existing rights of third parties should not be encroached upon, there is a rule (translated in ‘Vinaya Texts,’ S. B. E., I, 199) that no runaway slave, shall be admitted. And in the form of words to be used at the chapter held for admitting new members, one of the questions asked of the candidate is: ‘Are you a freeman?’ [7] Whenever slaves were admitted to the Order, they must have previously obtained the consent of their masters, and also, I think, have been emancipated.

Secondly, as regards all such matters as we may now fairly call ‘questions of caste’ outside the Order, the Buddha adopted the only course then open to any man of sense; that is to say, he strove to influence that public opinion, on which the observances depend, by a constant inculcation of reasonable views. Thus in the Āmagandha Sutta [8] of the Sutta [\q 104/] Nipāta (certainly one of the very oldest of our documents) it is laid down, in eloquent words, that defilement does not come from eating this or that, prepared or given by this or that person, but from evil deeds and words and thoughts.

This is a particularly interesting passage, being one of the few in which sayings of previous Buddhas are recorded. In other words the Buddhists put forward this view as having been enunciated long ago-with the intended implication that it was a self-evident proposition which was common ground to the wise. No originality, no special insight, is claimed on account of a view that would have put an end to so many foolish prejudices based on superstition. The Buddha’s position is again to adopt, in this matter, the sensible position already put forward by others.

As to other details also, which it would take too long to set out here, Gotama followed the same plan. On the general question, however, he had opinions, presumably his own. For they are not found elsewhere. And in the early Buddhist texts (always ready to give credit to others, and even anxious wherever possible to support their views by showing that others, especially in ancient times, had held them) these views are not referred to as part of the doctrine of either earlier or contemporary teachers.

We may class the utterances on this point under three heads-biological, ethical, and historical.

In the Vāseṭṭha Sutta of the Sutta Nipāta (several verses of which have been inserted also in the Dhammapada) the question, as in the Soṇadaṇḍa Sutta, translated below, is as to what makes a man a Brahman. As his answer the Buddha reminds his questioners of the fact that whereas, in the case of plants (large or small), insects, quadrupeds, serpents, fish, and birds, there are many species and marks (due to the species) by which they can be distinguished-in the case of man there are no such species, and no such marks. ‘Herein,’ as pointed out by Mr. Chalmers, [9] ‘Gotama was in accord with the conclusion of modern biologists, that “the Anthropidae are represented by the single genus and species, Man”—a conclusion the more remarkable as the accident of colour did not mislead Gotama’ as it did so many of his contemporaries then; and even, within living memory, so many in the West. He goes on to draw the conclusion that distinctions made between different men are mere matters of prejudice and custom; that it is wisdom and goodness that make the only valid distinction, that make a man a Brahman; that the [\q 105/] Arahat is therefore the true Brahman; and that it is only the ignorant who had, for so long, maintained that it was birth that made a man a Brahman.

Similar arguments frequently recur. In the Madhura Sutta, a dialogue, shortly after the Buddha’s death, between the king of Madhura and Kaccāna, the point raised is whether the Brahmans are right in their exclusive claims. ‘The Brahmans say thus, Kaccāna: “The Brahmans are the most distinguished of the four divisions into which the people is classified]; [10] every other division is inferior. The Brahmans are the white division; all the rest are black. The Brahmans alone are accounted pure, not those who are not Brahmans. The Brahmans are the legitimate sons of God (of Brahmā), born from His mouth, specially made by Him, heirs of Brahmā! What do you, Sir, say to this?”’

The Buddhist answer is first to remind the king of the actual facts of life-how a prosperous member of any one of the four vaṇṇas would find members of each of the other three to wait upon him and serve him. There was no difference between them in this respect. Then, secondly, he points out how a wicked man (whatever his vaṇṇa), in accordance with the doctrine of Karma acknowledged by all good men (not only by Buddhists), will be reborn in some state of woe; and a good man in some state of bliss. Thirdly, a criminal, whatever his vaṇṇa, would be equally subject to punishment for his crime. And lastly, a man, whatever his vaṇṇa, would, on joining an order, on becoming a religieux, receive equal respect and honour from the people]. [11]

A Brahman might object that all this ignores the important point that the Brahman were, originally, born of Brahma, and are his legitimate heirs. It was this claim to especial connection with the mysterious powers of a supernatural kind, so widely believed in, that formed their chief weapon in the struggle. We find the Buddhist reply to that in the Aggañña Sutta of the Dīgha, in many respects one. of the most interesting and instructive of all the Dialogues]. [12] It is a kind [\q 106/] of Buddhist book of Genesis. In it the pretensions of the Brahman are put forward in the same terms as those just quoted above from the Madhura Sutta.

Gotama replies that they make these claims in forgetfulness of the past. The claims have no basis in fact. It is righteousness (dhamma) and not class distinction (vaṇṇa) that makes the real difference between man and man]. [13] Do we not daily see Brahman women with child and bearing sons just like other folk? How can they then say that they are born of God? And as to their origin, when the evolution of the world began, beings were at first immaterial, feeding on joy, giving light from themselves, passing through the air. There was thick darkness round about them, and neither sun nor moon, nor stars, nor sex, nor measures of time. Then the earth rose in the midst of the waters, beautiful as honey in taste and colour and smell, and the beings, eating thereof, lost their brightness, and then sun and moon and stars appeared, and time began to run. And then also their bodies became more coarse and material, and differences of complexion (vaṇṇa) became manifest among them. Then some prided themselves, and despised others, on the ground of their finer complexion. And thereupon the fine-tasting earth ceased to be so.

Then successively fine moss, and sweet creepers, and delicate rice appeared, and each time the beings ate thereof with a similar result. Then differences of sex appeared; and households were formed; and the lazy stored up the rice, instead of gathering it each evening and morning; and the rights of property arose, and were infringed. And when lusts were felt, and thefts committed, the beings, now become men, met together, and chose certain men, differing from the others in no wise except in virtue (dhamma), to restrain the evil doers by blame or fines or banishment. These were the first Kshatriyas. And others they chose to restrain the evil dispositions which led to the evil doing. And these were the first Brahman, differing from the others in no wise, except only in virtue (dhamma).

Then certain others, to keep their households going, and maintain their wives, started occupations of various kinds. And these were the first vessas. And some abandoned their homes and became the first recluses (samaṇas). But all were alike in origin, and the only distinction between them was in virtue. And the highest of them all was acknowledged [\q 107/] to be the Arahat, who had made himself so by the destruction of the Four Mental Intoxications (the āsavas) and by breaking the bonds that tied him to rebirths; the man who had laid aside every burden, who had lived the life, had accomplished a11 that had to be done, had gained his end, and by the highest knowledge was set free!

We may not accept the historical accuracy of this legend. Indeed a continual note of good-humoured irony runs through the whole story, with its fanciful etymologies of the names of the four vaṇṇā; and the aroma of it would be lost on the hearer who took it au grand szeezrieux. But it reveals a sound and healthy insight, and is much nearer to the actual facts than the Brahman legend it was intended to replace.

Had the Buddha’s views on the whole question won the day-and widely shared, as they were, by others, they very nearly prevailed-the evolution of social grades and distinctions would have gone on in India on lines similar to those it followed in the West, and the caste system of India would never have been built up]. [14]

[\q 108/]


Chapter I.

1. Thus have I heard. The Blessed One, when once on a tour through the Kosala country with a great company of the brethren, with about five hundred brethren, arrived at a Brahman village in Kosala named Icchānankala; and while there he stayed in the Icchānankala Wood.

Now at that time the Brahman Pokkharasādi was dwelling at Ukkaṭṭha, a spot teeming with life, with much grassland and woodland and corn, on a royal domain, granted him by King Pasenadi of Kosala as a royal gift, with power over it as if he were the king. [15]

2. Now the Brahman Pokkharasādi [16] heard the news:

[\q 109/] ‘They say that the Samaṇa Gotama, of the Sākya clan, who went out from a Sākya family to adopt the religious life, has now arrived, with a great company of the brethren of his Order, at Icchānankala, and is staying there in the Icchānankala Wood. Now regarding that venerable Gotama, such is the high reputation that has been noised abroad:ñThat Blessed One is an Arahat, a fully awakened one, abounding in wisdom and goodness, happy, with knowledge of the 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,ñincluding the worlds above of the gods, the Brahmas, and the Māras, and the world below with its recluses and Brahman, its princes and peoples,ñand 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.

[88] ‘And good is it to pay visits to Arahats like that.’

3. Now at that time a young Brahman, an Ambaṭṭha, [17] was a pupil under Pokkharasādi the Brahman. And he was a repeater (of the sacred words) knowing the mystic verses by heart, one who had mastered the Three Vedas, with the indices, the ritual, the phonology, and the exegesis (as a fourth), [18] and the legends [\q 110/] as a fifth, learned in the idioms and the grammar, versed in Lokāyata sophistry, and in the theory of the signs on the body of a great man, [19]ñso recognised an authority in the system of the threefold Vedic knowledge as expounded by his master, that he could say of him: ‘What I know that you know, and what you know that I know.’

4. And Pokkharasādi told Ambaṭṭha the news, and said: ‘Come now, dear Ambaṭṭha, go to the Samaṇa Gotama, and find out whether the reputations so noised abroad regarding him is in accord with the facts or not, whether the Samaṇa Gotama is such as they say or not.’

5. ‘But how, Sir, shall I know whether that is so or not?’

‘There have been handed down, Ambaṭṭha, in our mystic verses thirty-two bodily signs of a great man,ñ signs which, if a man has, he will become one of two things, and no other. [20] If he dwells at home he will become a sovran of the world, a righteous king, bearing rule even to the shores of the four great oceans, a conqueror, the protector of his people, possessor of the seven royal treasures. [89] And these are the seven treasures that he hasñthe Wheel, the Elephant, the Horse, the Gem, the Woman, the Treasurer, and the [\q 111/] Adviser as a seventh. [21] And he has more than a thousand sons, heroes, mighty in frame, beating down the armies of the foe. And he dwells in complete ascendancy over the wide earth from sea to sea, ruling it in righteousness without the need of baton or of sword. But if he go forth from the household life into the houseless state, then he will become a Buddha who removes the veil from the eyes of the world. Now I, Ambaṭṭha, am a giver of the mystic verses; you have received them from me.’

6. ‘Very good, Sir,’ said Ambaṭṭha in reply; and rising from his seat and paying reverence to Pokkharasādi, he mounted a chariot drawn by mares, and proceeded, with a retinue of young Brahman, to the Icchānankala Wood. And when he had gone on in the chariot as far as the road was practicable for vehicles, he got down, and went on, into the park, on foot.

7. Now at that time a number of the brethren were walking up and down in the open air. And Ambaṭṭha went up to them, and said: ‘Where may the venerable Gotama be lodging now? We have come hither to call upon him.’

8. Then the brethren thought: ‘This young Brahman Ambaṭṭha is of distinguished family, and a pupil of the distinguished Brahman Pokkharasādi. The Blessed One will not find it difficult to hold conversation with such.’ And they said to Ambaṭṭha: ‘There, Ambaṭṭha, is his lodging, [22] where the door is shut, go quietly up and enter the porch gently, and give a cough, and knock on the cross-bar. The Blessed One will open the door for you.’

9. Then Ambaṭṭha did so. And the Blessed One opened the door, and Ambaṭṭha entered in. And the other young Brahman also went in; and they exchanged with the Blessed One the greetings and [\q 112/] compliments of politeness and courtesy, and took their seats. But Ambaṭṭha, walking about, said something or other of a civil kind in an off-hand way, fidgeting about the while, or standing up, to the Blessed One sitting there.

[90] 10. And the Blessed One said to him: ‘Is that the way, Ambaṭṭha, that you would hold converse with aged teachers, and teachers of your teachers well stricken in years, as you now do, moving about the while or standing, with me thus seated?’

11. ‘Certainly not, Gotama. It is proper to speak with a Brahman as one goes along only when the Brahman himself is walking, and standing to a Brahman who stands, and seated to a Brahman who has taken his seat, or reclining to a Brahman who reclines. But with shavelings, sham friars, menial black fellows, the offscouring of our kinsman’s heels [23]ñwith them I would talk as I now do to you!’

‘But you must have been wanting something, Ambaṭṭha, when you came here. Turn your thoughts rather to the object you had in view when you came. This young Brahman Ambaṭṭha is ill bred, though he prides himself on his culture; what can this come from except from want of training?’ [24]

12. Then Ambaṭṭha was displeased and angry with the Blessed One at being called rude; and at the thought that the Blessed One was vexed with him, he said, scoffing, jeering, and sneering at the Blessed One: ‘Rough is this Sākya breed of yours, Gotama, and rude; touchy is this Sākya breed of yours and [\q 113/] violent.

[91] Menials, mere menials, [25] they neither venerate, nor value, nor esteem, nor give gifts to, nor pay honour to Brahman. That, Gotama, is neither fitting, nor is it seemly!’

Thus did the young Brahman Ambaṭṭha for the first time charge the Sākyas with being menials.

13. ‘But in what then, Ambaṭṭha, have the Sākyas given you offence?’

‘Once, Gotama, I had to go to Kapilavatthu on some business or other of Pokkharasādi’s, and went into the Sākyas’ Congress Hall. [26] Now at that time there were a number of Sākyas, old and young, seated in the hall on grand seats, making merry and joking together, nudging one another with their fingers; [27] and for a truth, methinks, it was I myself that was the subject of their jokes; and not one of them even offered me a seat. That, Gotama, is neither fitting, nor is it seemly, that the Sākyas, menials as they are, mere menials, should neither venerate, nor value, nor esteem, nor give gifts to, nor pay honour to Brahman.’

Thus did the young Brahman Ambaṭṭha for the second time charge the Sākyas with being menials.

[\q 114/] 14. ‘Why a quail, Ambaṭṭha, little hen bird though she be, can say what she likes in her own nest. And there the Sākyas are at their own home, in Kapilavatthu. It is not fitting for you to take offence at so trifling a thing.’

15. ‘There are these four grades [28] Gotama,ñthe nobles, the Brahman, the tradesfolk, and the workpeople. And of these four, threeñthe nobles, the tradesfolk, and the work-peopleñare, verily, but attendants on the Brahman. [92] So, Gotama, that is neither fitting, nor is it seemly, that the, Sākyas, menials as they are, mere menials, should neither venerate, nor value, nor esteem, nor give gifts to, nor pay honour to the Brahman.’

Thus did the young Brahman Ambaṭṭha for the third time charge the Sākyas with being menials.

16. Then the Blessed One thought thus: ‘This Ambaṭṭha is very set on humbling the Sākyas with his charge of servile origin in. What if I were to ask him as to his own lineage?’ And he said to him:

‘And what family do you then, Ambaṭṭha, belong to?’

‘I am a Kaṇhāyana.’

‘Yes, but if one were to follow up your ancient name and lineage, Ambaṭṭha, on the father’s and the mother’s side, it would appear that the Sākyas were once your masters, and that you are the offspring of one of their slave girls. But the Sākyas trace their line back to Okkāka the king. [29]

‘Long ago, Ambaṭṭha, King Okkāka, wanting to divert the succession in favour of the son of his favourite queen, banished his elder childrenñOkkāmukha, Karaṇḍa Hatthinika, and Sinipurañfrom the land. And being thus banished they took up their dwelling on the slopes of the Himālaya, on the borders of a lake where a mighty oak tree grew.

[\q 115/] And through fear of injuring the purity of their line they intermarried with their sisters.

‘Now Okkāka the king asked the ministers at his court: “Where, Sirs, are the children now?” [30]

‘There is a spot, Sire, on the slopes of the Himālaya, on the, borders of a lake, where there grows a mighty oak (sako). There do they dwell. And lest they should injure the purity of their line they have married their own (sakāhi) sisters.’

‘Then did Okkāka the king burst forth in admiration [93]: “Hearts of oak (sakyā) are those young fellows! Right well they hold their own (paramasakyā)!” [31]

‘That is the reason, Ambaṭṭha, why they are known as Sākyas. Now Okkāka had a slave girl called Disā. She gave birth to a black baby. And no sooner was it born than the little black thing said, “Wash me, mother. Bathe me, mother. Set me free, mother, of this dirt. So shall I be of use to you.”

‘Now just as now, Ambaṭṭha, people- call devils “devils,” so then they called devils “black fellows” (kaṇhe). And they said: “This fellow spoke as soon as he was born. ‘Tis a black thing (kaṇha) that is born, a devil has been born!” And that is the origin, Ambaṭṭha, of the Kaṇhāyanas. [32] He was the ancestor of the Kaṇhāyanas. [33] And thus is it, Ambaṭṭha, that if one were to follow up your ancient name and lineage, on the father’s and on the mother’s side, it would appear that the Sākyas were once your masters, and that you are the offspring of one of their slave girls.’

17. When he had thus spoken the young Brahman said to the Blessed One: ‘Let not the venerable [\q 116/] Gotama humble Ambaṭṭha too sternly with this reproach of being descended from a slave girl. He is well born, Gotama, and of good family; he is versed in the sacred hymns, an able reciter, a learned man. And he is able to give answer to the venerable Gotama in these matters.’

18. Then the Blessed One said to them: ‘Quite so. If 194] you thought otherwise, then it would be for you to carry on our discussion further. But as you think so, let Ambaṭṭha himself speak.’ [34]

19. ‘ We do think so; and we will hold our peace. Ambaṭṭha is able to give answer to the venerable Gotama in these matters.’

20. Then the Blessed One said to Ambaṭṭha the Brahman: ‘Then this further question arises, Ambaṭṭha, a very reasonable one which, even though unwillingly, you should answer. If you do not give a clear reply, or go off upon another issue, [35] or remain silent, or go away, then your head will split in pieces on the spot. [36] What have you heard, when Brahman old and well stricken in years, teachers of yours or their teachers, were talking together, as to whence the Kaṇhāyanas draw their origin, and who the ancestor was to whom they trace themselves back?’

And when he had thus spoken Ambaṭṭha remained silent. And the Blessed One asked the same question again. [95] And still Ambaṭṭha remained silent. Then the Blessed One said to him: ‘You [\q 117/] had better answer, now, Ambaṭṭha. This is no time for you to hold your peace. For whosoever, Ambaṭṭha, does not, even up to the third time of asking, answer a reasonable question put by a Tathāgata (by one who has won the truth), his head splits into pieces ‘on the spot.’

21. Now at that time the spirit who bears the thunderbolt [37] stood over above Ambaṭṭha in the sky with a mighty mass of iron, all fiery, dazzling, and aglow, with the intention, if he did not answer, there and then to split his head in pieces. And the Blessed One perceived the spirit bearing the thunderbolt, and so did Ambaṭṭha the Brahman. And Ambaṭṭha on becoming aware of it, terrified, startled, and agitated, seeking safety and protection and help from the Blessed One, crouched down beside him in awe, [38] and said: ‘What was it the Blessed One said? Say it once again!’

‘What do you think, Ambaṭṭha? What have you heard, when Brahman old and well stricken in years, teachers of yours or their teachers, were talking together, as to whence the Kaṇhāyanas draw their origin, and who the ancestor was to whom they trace themselves back?’

‘Just so, Gotama, did I hear, even as the venerable Gotama hath said. That is the origin of the Kaṇhāyanas, and that the ancestor to whom they trace themselves back.’

22. And when he had thus spoken the. young Brahman fell into tumult, and uproar, and turmoil; and said: ‘Low born, they say, is Ambaṭṭha the Brahman; his family, they say, is not of good standing; they say he is descended from a slave girl; and the Sākyas were his masters. We did not suppose that the Samaṇa Gotama, whose words are righteousness itself, was not a man to be trusted!’

23. And the Blessed One thought: [96] ‘They [\q 118/] go too far, these Brahman, in their depreciation of Ambaṭṭha as the offspring of a slave girl. Let me set him free from their reproach.’ And he said to them: ‘Be not too severe in disparaging Ambaṭṭha the Brahman on the ground of his descent. That Kaṇha became a mighty seer. [39] He went into the Dekkan, there he learnt mystic verses, and returning to Okkāka the king, he demanded his daughter. Madda-rūpī in marriage. To him the king in answer said: “Who forsooth is this fellow, who — son of my slave girl as he is — asks for my daughter in marriage;” and, angry and displeased, he fitted an arrow to his bow. But neither could he let the arrow fly, nor could he take it off the string again. [40]

‘Then the ministers and courtiers went to Kaṇha the seer, and said “Let the king go safe, Sir; let the king go safe." [41]

“The king shall suffer no harm. But should he shoot the arrow downwards, then would the earth dry up as far as his realm extends.” [42]

“Let the king, Sir, go safe, and the country too.”

“The king shall suffer no harm, nor his land. But should he shoot the arrow upwards, the god would not rain for seven years as far as his realm extends.”

“Let the king, Sir, go safe, and the country too; and let the god rain.”

“The king shall suffer no harm, nor the land either, and the god shall rain. But let the king aim the arrow at his eldest son. The prince shall suffer no harm, not a hair of him shall be touched."

Then, O Brahmans, the ministers told this to Okkāka, [\q 119/] and said: “Let the king aim at his eldest son. [43] He will suffer neither harm nor terror.” And the king did so, and no harm was done. But the king, terrified at the lesson given him, [97] gave the man his daughter Madda-rūpī to wife. You should not, O Brahmans, be too severe to disparage Ambaṭṭha in the matter of his slave-girl ancestress. That Kaṇha was a mighty seer.’

24. Then the Blessed One said to Ambaṭṭha: ‘What think you, Ambaṭṭha? Suppose a young Kshatriya should have connection with a Brahman maiden, and from their intercourse a son should be born. Now would the son thus come to the Brahman maiden through the Kshatriya youth receive a seat and water (as tokens of respect) from the Brahmans?"

‘Yes, he would, Gotama.’

‘But would the Brahman allow him to partake of the feast offered to the dead, or of the food boiled in milk, [44] or of the offerings to the gods, or of food sent as a present?’

‘Yes, they would, Gotama.’

‘But would the Brahman teach him their verses or not?’

‘They would, Gotama.’

‘But would he be shut off, or not, from their women?’

‘He would not be shut off.’

‘But would the Kshatriyas allow him to receive the consecration ceremony of a Kshatriya?’

‘Certainly not, Gotama.’

‘Why not that?’

‘Because he is not of pure descent on the mother’s side.’

25. ‘Then what think you, Ambaṭṭha? Suppose a Brahman youth should have connection with a Kshatriya maiden, and from their intercourse a son should be born. Now would the son thus come to the Kshatriya maiden through the Brahman youth receive [\q 120/] a seat and water (as tokens of respect) from the Brahmans?’

‘Yes, he would, Gotama.’

‘But would the Brahman allow him to partake of the feast offered to the dead, or of food boiled in milk, or of an offering to the gods, or of food sent as a present?’

‘Yes, they would, Gotama.’

‘But would the Brahman teach him their verses or not?’

‘They would, Gotama.’

[98] ‘But would he be shut off, or not, from their women?’

‘He would not, Gotama.’

‘But would the Kshatriyas allow him to receive the consecration ceremony of a Kshatriya?’

‘Certainly not, Gotama.’

‘Why not that?’

‘Because he is not of pure descent on the father’s side.’

26. ‘Then, Ambaṭṭha, whether one compares women with women, or men with men, the Kshatriyas are higher and the Brahmans inferior.

‘And what think you, Ambaṭṭha? Suppose the Brahman, for some offence [45] or other, were to outlaw a Brahman by shaving him and pouring ashes over his head, [46] were to banish him from the land or from the township. Would he be offered a seat or water among the Brahmans?’

‘Certainly not, Gotama.’

‘Or would the Brahman allow him to partake of the food. offered to the dead, or of the food boiled in milk, or of the offerings to the gods, or of food sent as a present?’

‘Certainly not, Gotama.’

[\q 121/] ‘Or would the Brahmans teach him their verses or not? ‘

‘Certainly not, Gotama.’

‘And would he be shut off, or not, from their women?’

‘He would be ‘shut off.’

27. But what think you, Ambaṭṭha? If the Kshatriyas had in the same way outlawed a Kshatriya, and banished him from the land or the township, would he, among the Brahmans, be offered water and a seat?’

‘Yes, he would, Gotama.’

‘And would he be allowed to partake of the food offered to the dead, or of the food boiled in milk, or of the offerings to the gods, or of food sent as a present?’

He would, Gotama.’

‘And would the Brahman teach him their verses?’

They would, Gotama?’

‘And would he be shut off, or not, from their women?’

‘He would not, Gotama.’

[99] ‘But thereby, Ambaṭṭha, the Kshatriya would have fallen into the deepest degradation, shaven as to his head, cut dead with the ash-basket, banished from land and township. So that, even when a Kshatriya has fallen into the deepest degradation, still it holds good that the Kshatriyas are higher, and the Brahman inferior.

28. ‘Moreover it was one of the Brahmā gods, Sanaṃ-kumāra, [47] who uttered this stanza [48]:

[\q 122/] “The Kshatriya is the best of those among this folk
who put their trust in lineage.
But he who is perfect in wisdom and righteousness,
he is the best among gods and men.”

‘Now this stanza, Ambaṭṭha, was well sung and not ill sung by the Brahmā Sanaṃ-kumāra, well said and not ill said, full of meaning and not void thereof And I too approve it; I also, Ambaṭṭha, say:

"The Kshatriya is the best of those among this folk who put their trust in lineage. [49]

But he who is perfect in wisdom and righteousness, he is the best among gods and men."’

Here ends the First Portion for Recitation [50]


Chapter II [\q 123/]

1. ‘But what, Gotama, is the righteousness, and what the wisdom spoken of in that verse?’

‘In the supreme perfection in wisdom and righteousness, Ambaṭṭha, there is no reference to the question either of birth, or of lineage, or of the pride which says: “You are held as worthy as I,” or “You are not. held as worthy as I.” It is where the talk is of marrying, or of giving in marriage, that reference is made to such things as that. For whosoever, Ambaṭṭha, are in bondage to the notions of birth or of lineage, or to the pride of social position, or of connection by marriage, they are far from the best wisdom and righteousness. It is only by having got rid of all such bondage that one can realise for himself [100] that supreme perfection in wisdom and in conduct.’

2.’ But what, Gotama, is that conduct, and what that wisdom?’

[Here follow, under Morality (Sīla[51]

The introductory paragraphs (Section 40-42 of the Sāmañña-phala, pp. 62, 63 of the text) on the appearance of a Buddha, his preaching, the conversion of a hearer, and his renunciation of the world: then come

1. The Sīlas, above, pp. 4-12 (Section 8-27) of the text. Only the refrain differs. It runs here, art the end of each clause, through the whole of this repeated passage: ‘This is reckoned in him as morality.’

[\q 124/] Then under Conduct (Caraṇa)

2. The paragraph on Confidence, above, p. 69 of he text, Section 63. The refrain from here onwards is: ‘This is reckoned to him as conduct.

3. The paragraph on ‘Guarded is the door of his senses,’ above, p.70 of the text, Section 64.

4. The paragraph on ‘Mindful and self-possessed,’ above p. 70 of the text, Section 65.

5. The paragraph on Content, above, p.71 of the text, Section 66.

6. The paragraph on Solitude, above, p.71 of the text Section 67.

7. The paragraphs on the Five Hindrances, above, pp. 71-72 of the text, Section 68-74.

8. The paragraphs on the Four Rapt Contemplations, [52] above , pp. 73-76, Section 75-82. The refrain at the end of each of them (‘higher and better than the last’) is here, of course to be read not as higher fruit of the life of a recluse, but as higher conduct.

Under Wisdom (Vijjā)

9. The paragraphs on Insight arising from Knowledge (Ñāṇa-dassanaṃ),above, p.76 of the text, Section 83,84. The refrain from here onwards is: ‘This is reckoned in him as wisdom, and it is higher and sweeter than the last.’

10. The paragraphs on the Mental Image, above, p.77 of the text, Section 85, 86.

11. The paragraphs on Mystic Gifts (Iddhi), above, p. 77 of the text, Section87, 88.

12. The paragraphs on the Heavenly Ear (Dibbasota) above , p.79 of the text, Section 89, 90.

13. The paragraphs on the Knowledge of the hearts of others (Ceto-pariya-ñāṇaṃ), above, p.79 of the text, Section 91, 92.

14. The paragraphs on Memory of one’s own previous [\q 125/] births (Pubbe-nivāsa-anussati-ñāṇa), above, p. 81 of the text, Section 93, 94.

15. The paragraph on the Divine Eye (Dibbacakkhu), above, p. 82 of the text, Section 95, 96.

16. He paragraphs on the Destruction of the Deadly Floods (Āsavānaṃ khaya-ñāṇaṃ), above, p. 83 of the text, Section 97, 98.] [53]

‘Such a man, Ambaṭṭha, is said to be perfect in wisdom, perfect in conduct, perfect in wisdom and conduct. And there is no other perfection in wisdom and conduct higher and sweeter than this.’

3. ‘Now, Ambaṭṭha, to this supreme perfection in wisdom and goodness [101] there are Four Leakages. [54] And what are the four?’

‘In case, Ambaṭṭha, any recluse or Brahman, without having thoroughly attained unto this supreme perfection in wisdom and conduct, with his yoke on his shoulder (to carry fire-sticks, a water-pot, needles, and the rest of a mendicant friar’s outfit), should plunge into the depths of the forest, vowing to himself: “I will henceforth be one of those who live only on fruits that have fallen of themselves” —then, verily, he turns out worthy only to be a servant unto him that hath attained to wisdom and righteousness.

‘And again, Ambaṭṭha, in case any recluse or Brahman, without having thoroughly attained unto this supreme perfection in wisdom and conduct, and without having attained to living only on fruits fallen of themselves, taking a hoe and a basket with him, should plunge into the depths of the forest, vowing to himself: “I will henceforth be one of those who live only on bulbs and roots and fruits” —then, verily, he turns out worthy only to be a servant unto him who hath attained to wisdom and righteousness.

[\q 126/] ‘And again, Ambaṭṭha, in case any recluse or Brahman, without having thoroughly attained unto this supreme perfection in wisdom and conduct, and without having, attained to living only on fruits fallen of them-selves, and without having attained to living only on bulbs and roots and fruits, should build himself a fire-shrine near the boundaries of some village or some town, and there dwell serving the fire-god [55] — then, verily, he turns out worthy only to be a servant unto him that hath attained to wisdom and righteousness.

‘And again, Ambaṭṭha, in case any recluse or Brahman, without having thoroughly attained unto this supreme perfection in wisdom and conduct, and without having attained to living only on fruits fallen of themselves, and without having attained to living only on bulbs and roots and fruits, and without having attained to serving the fire-god, [102] should build himself a four-doored almshouse at a crossing where four high roads meet, and dwell there, saying to himself: “Whosoever, whether recluse or Brahman, shall pass here, from either of these four directions, him will I entertain according to my ability and according to my power” — then, verily, he turns out worthy only to be a servant unto him who hath attained to wisdom and righteousness.

‘These are the Four Leakages, Ambaṭṭha, to supreme perfection in righteousness and conduct. [56]

4. ‘Now what think you, Ambaṭṭha? Have you, as one of a class of pupils under the same teacher, been instructed in this supreme perfection of wisdom and conduct?’ [57]

‘Not that, Gotama. How little is it that I can profess [\q 127/] to have learnt! How supreme this Perfection of wisdom and conduct! Far is it from me to have been trained therein?’

‘Then what think you, Ambaṭṭha? Although you have not thoroughly attained unto this supreme perfection of wisdom and goodness, have you been trained to take the yoke upon your shoulders, and plunge into the depths of the forest as one who would fain observe the vow of living only on fruits fallen of themselves?

‘Not even that, Gotama.’

‘Then what think you, Ambaṭṭha? Although you have not attained unto this supreme perfection of wisdom and goodness, nor have attained to living on fruits fallen of themselves, have you been trained to take hoe and basket, and plunge into the depths of the forest as one who would fain observe the vow of living only on bulbs and roots and fruits?’

‘Not even that, Gotama.’

‘Then what think you, Ambaṭṭha? Although you have not attained unto this supreme perfection of wisdom and goodness, and have not attained to living on fruits fallen of themselves, and have not attained to living on bulbs and roots and fruits, have you been taught to build yourself a fire-shrine on the borders of some village or some town, and dwell there as one who would fain serve the fire-god?’

[103] ‘Not even that, Gotama.’

‘Then what think you, Ambaṭṭha? Although you have not attained unto this supreme perfection of wisdom and goodness, and have not attained to living on fruits fallen of themselves, and have not attained to living on bulbs and roots and fruits, and have not attained to serving the fire-god, have you been taught to build yourself a four-doored almshouse at a spot where four high roads cross, and dwell there as one who would fain observe the vow to entertain whosoever might pass that way, from any of the four directions, according to your ability and according to your power?’

‘Not even that, Gotama.’

[\q 128/] 5. ‘So then you, Ambaṭṭha, as a pupil, have fallen short [58] of due training, not only in the supreme wisdom and conduct, but even in any one of the Four Leakages by which the complete attainment thereof is debarred. And your teacher too, the Brahman Pokkharasādi, has told you this saying: “Who are these shavelings, sham friars, menial black fellows, the offscouring of our kinsman’s heels, that they should claim converse with Brahmans versed in the threefold Vedic lore!” —he himself not having even fulfilled any one even of these lesser duties (which lead men to neglect the higher ones). See, Ambaṭṭha, how deeply your teacher, the Brahman Pokkharasādi, has herein done you wrong.’ [59]

6. ‘And the Brahman Pokkharasādi, Ambaṭṭha, is in the enjoyment of a grant from Pasenadi, the king of Kosala. But the king, does not allow him to come into his presence. When he consults with him he speaks to him only from behind a curtain. How is it, Ambaṭṭha, that the very king, from whom he accepts this pure and lawful maintenance, King Pasenadi of Kosala, does not admit him to his presence? See, Ambaṭṭha, how deeply your teacher, the Brahman Pokkharasādi, has herein done you wrong.’

7. ‘Now what think you, Ambaṭṭha? Suppose a king, either seated on the neck of his elephant or on the back of his horse, or standing on the footrug of his chariot, [104] should discuss some resolution of state with his chiefs or princes. And suppose as he left the spot and stepped on one side, a workman (Sūdra) or the slave of a workman should come up and, standing there, should discuss [\q 129/] the matter, saying: “Thus and thus said Pasenadi the king.” Although he should speak as the king might have spoken, or discuss as the king might have done, would he thereby be the king, or even as one of his officers?’

‘Certainly not, Gotama.’

8. ‘But just so, Ambaṭṭha, those ancient poets (Rishis) of the Brahmans, the authors of the verses, the utterers of the verses, whose ancient form of words so chanted, uttered, or composed, the Brahmans of today chant over again and rehearse, intoning or reciting exactly as has been intoned or recited -to wit, Aṭṭhaka, Vāmaka, Vāmadeva, Vessāmitta, Yamataggi. Angirasa, Bhāradvaja, Vāseṭṭha, Kassapa, and Bhagu [60] — though you can say: “I, as a pupil, know by heart their verses,” that you should on that account be a Rishi, or have attained to the state of a Rishi — such a condition of things has no existence!’

9. ‘Now what think you, Ambaṭṭha? What have you heard when Brahmans, old and well stricken in years, teachers of yours or their teachers, were talking together -did those ancient Rishis, whose verses you so chant over and repeat, parade about well groomed, perfumed, trimmed as to their hair and beard, adorned with garlands and gems, clad in white garments, in the full possession and enjoyment of the five pleasures of sense, as you, and your teacher too, do now?’

[105] ‘Not that, Gotama.’

‘Or did they live, as their food, on boiled rice of the best sorts, from which all the black specks had been sought out and removed, and flavoured with sauces and curries of various kinds, as you, and your teacher too, do now.

‘Not that, Gotama.’

‘Or were they waited upon by women with fringes [\q 130/] and furbelows, [61] round their loins, as you, and your teacher too, do now?’

‘Or did they go about driving chariots, drawn, by mares with plaited manes and tails, [62] using long wands and goads the while, as you, and your teacher too, do now?’

‘Not that, Gotama.’

‘Or did they have themselves guarded in fortified towns, with moats dug out round them [63] and crossbars let down before the gates, [64] by men girt with long swords, as you, and your teacher too, do now?’

‘Not that, Gotama.’

10. ‘So then, Ambaṭṭha, neither are you a Rishi, nor your teacher, nor do you live under the conditions under which the Rishis lived. But whatever it may be, Ambaṭṭha, concerning which you are in doubt or perplexity about me, ask me as to that. I will make it clear by explanation.’

11. Then the Blessed One went, forth from his chamber, and began to walk up and down. And Ambaṭṭha did the same. And as he thus walked [\q 131/] up and down, following the Blessed One, he took stock of the thirty-two signs of a great man, whether they appeared on the body of the Blessed One or not. And he perceived them all save only two. [106] With respect to those two — the concealed member and the extent of tongue [65] — he was in doubt and perplexity, not satisfied, not sure.

12. And the Blessed One knew that he was so in doubt. And he so arranged matters by his Wondrous Gift that Ambaṭṭha the Brahman saw how that part of the Blessed One that ought to be hidden by clothes was enclosed in a sheath. And the Blessed One so bent round his tongue that he touched and stroked both his ears, touched and stroked both his nostrils, and the whole circumference of his forehead he covered with his tongue. [66]

[\q 132/] And Ambaṭṭha, the young Brahman, thought: ‘The Samaṇa Gotama is endowed with the thirty two signs of a great man, with them all, not only with some of them.’ And he said to the Blessed One: ‘And now, Gotama, we would ‘fain depart. We are busy, and have much to do.’

‘Do, Ambaṭṭha, what seemeth to you fit.’

And Ambaṭṭha mounted his chariot drawn by mares, and departed thence.

13. Now at that time the Brahman Pokkharasādi had gone forth from Ukkaṭṭha with a great retinue of Brahmans, and was seated in his own pleasaunce waiting there for Ambaṭṭha. And Ambaṭṭha came on to the pleasaunce. And when he had come in his chariot as far as the path was practicable for chariots, he descended from it, and came on foot to where Pokkharasādi was, and saluted him, and took his seat respectfully on one side. And when he was so seated, Pokkharasādi said to him:

14. ‘Well, Ambaṭṭha! Did you see the Blessed One?’

‘Yes, Sir, we saw him.’

‘Well! is the venerable Gotama so as the reputation [107] about him I told you of declares; and not otherwise. Is he such a one, or is he not?’

‘He is so, Sir, as his reputation declares, and not otherwise. Such is he, not different. And he is endowed with the thirty-two signs of a great man, with all of them, not only with some.’

‘And did you have any talk, Ambaṭṭha, with the Samaṇa Gotama?’

‘Yes, Sir, I had.’

‘And how did the talk go?’

Then Ambaṭṭha told the Brahman Pokkharasādi all the talk that he had had with the Blessed One.

15. When he had thus spoken, Pokkharasādi said to him: ‘Oh! you wiseacre! Oh! you dullard! Oh! you [\q 133/] expert, forsooth, in our threefold Vedic lore! A man, they say, who should carry out his business thus, must, on the dissolution of the body, after death, be reborn into some dismal state of misery and woe. What could the very points you pressed in your insolent words lead up to, if not to the very disclosures the venerable Gotama made? [67] What a wiseacre; what a dullard; what an expert, forsooth, in our threefold Vedic lore.’ And angry and displeased, he struck out with his foot, and rolled Ambaṭṭha over. And he wanted, there and then, himself, to go and call on the Blessed One.

[108] 16. But the Brahman there spake thus to Pokkharasādi: ‘It is much too late, Sir, today to go to call on the Samaṇa Gotama. The venerable Pokkharasādi can do so tomorrow.’

So Pokkharasādi had sweet food, both hard and soft, made ready at his own house, and taken on wagons, by the light of blazing torches, out to Ukkaṭṭha. And he himself went on to the Icchānankala Wood, driving in his chariot as far as the road was practicable for vehicles, and then going on, on foot, to where the Blessed One was. And when he had exchanged with the Blessed One the greetings and compliments of politeness and courtesy, he took his seat on one side, and said to the Blessed One:

17. ‘Has our pupil, Gotama, the young Brahman Ambaṭṭha, been here?’

‘Yes, Brahman, he has.’

‘And did you, Gotama, have any talk with him?’

‘Yes, Brahman, I had.’

‘And on what wise was the talk that you had with him.’

18. Then the Blessed One told the Brahman Pokkharasādi all the talk that had taken place. And when [\q 134/] he had thus spoken Pokkharasādi said to the Blessed One:

‘He is young and foolish, Gotama, that young Brahman Ambaṭṭha. Forgive him, Gotama.’

‘Let him be quite happy, Brahman, ‘that young Brahman Ambaṭṭha.’

[109] 19. And the Brahman Pokkharasādi took stock, on the body of the Blessed One, of the thirty-two marks of a Great Being. And he saw them all plainly, save only two. As to two of them — the sheath-concealed member and the extensive tongue — he was still in doubt and undecided. But the Blessed One showed them to Pokkharasādi, even as he had shown them to Ambaṭṭha. [68] And Pokkharasādi perceived that the Blessed One was endowed with the thirty-two marks of a Great Being, with all of them, not only with some. And he said to the Blessed One: ‘May the venerable Gotama grant me the favour of taking his tomorrow’s meal with me, and also the members of the Order with him.’ And the Blessed One accepted, by silence, his request.

20. Then the Brahman Pokkharasādi, seeing that the Blessed One had accepted, had (on the morrow) the time announced to him: ‘It is time, oh Gotama, the meal is ready.’ And the Blessed One, who had dressed in the early morning, put on his outer robe, and taking his bowl with him, went, with the brethren, to Pokkharasādi’s house, and sat down on the seat prepared for him. And Pokkharasādi, the Brahman, satisfied the Blessed One, with his own hand, with sweet food, both hard and soft, until he refused any more, and the young Brahmans the members of the Order. And when the Blessed One had finished his meal, and cleansed the bowl and his [69] hands, Pokkharasādi took a low seat, and sat down beside him.

21. Then to him thus seated [110] the Blessed One [\q 135/] discoursed in due order; that is to say, he spake to him of generosity, of right conduct, of heaven, of the danger. the vanity, and the defilement of lusts, of the advantages of renunciation. And when the Blessed, One saw that Pokkharasādi, the Brahman, had become prepared, softened, unprejudiced, upraised, and believing in heart, then he proclaimed the doctrine the Buddhas alone have won; that is to say, the doctrine of sorrow, of its origin, of its cessation, and of the Path. And just as a clean cloth from which all stain has been washed away will readily take the dye, just even so did Pokkharasādi, the Brahman, obtain, even while sitting there, the pure and spotless Eye for the Truth, and he knew: ‘Whatsoever has a beginning in that is inherent also the necessity of dissolution.’

22. And then the Brahman Pokkharasādi, as one who had seen the Truth, had mastered it, understood it, dived deep down into it, who had passed beyond doubt and put away perplexity and gained full confidence, who had become dependent on no other man for his knowledge of the teaching of the Master, addressed the Blessed One, and said:

‘Most excellent, oh Gotama (are the words of thy mouth), most excellent! just as if a man were to set up that which has been thrown down, or were to reveal that which has been hidden away, or were to point out the right road to him who has gone. astray, or were to bring a light into the darkness so that those who had eyes could see external forms, — just even so, Lord, has the truth been made known to me, in many a figure, by the venerable Gotama. And I, oh Gotama, with my sons, and my wife, and my people, and my companions, betake myself to the venerable Gotama as my guide, to the truth, and to the Order. May the venerable Gotama accept me as a disciple, as one who, from this day forth, as long as life endures, has taken him as his guide. And just as the venerable Gotama visits the families of others, his disciples, at Ukkaṭṭha, so let him visit [\q 136/] mine. Whosoever there may be there, of Brahman or their wives, who shall pay reverence to the venerable Gotama, or stand up in his presence, or offer him a seat or water, or take delight in him, to him that will be, for long, a cause of weal and bliss.’

‘It is well, Brahman, what you say.’

Here ends the Ambaṭṭha Sutta.


[1] Compare Petavatthu II, 6, 12.

[2] Assalāyana (No. 93 in the Majjhima); Aṅguttara II, 85 = P.P. IV, 19 ; Saṃyutta I, 93; Vinaya IV, 6-10, &c.

[3] Sometimes explained as carpenters, sometimes as basket-makers, sometimes as makers of sunshades.

[4] Further exemplified by the number of people described as kevaṭṭa-putto, assāroha-putto, naṭa-putto, sūda-putto, &c.

[5] See also A. I, 145, 206; II, 67; III, 36, 132, 217; Vin. IV, 224; D. I, 5, 60, 72, 93, 141 (translated above); G

[6] See Fick, ‘Sociale Gliederung im nord"stlichen Indien,’ pp. 50, 51.

[7] ‘Vinaya Texts,’ I, 230.

[8] Translated by Fausb"ll, S. B. E., pp. 40-42

[9] J. R. A. S., 1894, p. 396

[10] Literally ‘are the best colour’ (vaṇṇa, with reference to the well-known classification into four vaṇṇas, neither of which was a caste, referred to above).

[11] This Madhura Sutta has now been edited and translated, with valuable introduction and notes, by Mr. Robert Chalmers, in the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1894.

[12] The larger portion of this Sutta (from the beginning of the genesis part down to the election of the first king) is also preserved in the Mahāvastu. See Senart’s edition, vol. i, pp. 338-348. The reading agninyaṃ (p. 340, 17, &c.) represents the Pāli aggaññaṃ

[13] The words here are quoted in the Milinda, vol. I, p. 229 of my translation.

[14] There is an admirable little book by M. Senart on the origin of caste, on the Brahman views about it, and on the present actual facts of caste in India, entitled ‘Les Castes dans l’Inde.’ Dr. Fick also in his ‘Sociale Gliedrung im nord"stlichen Indien zu Buddha’s Zeit’ has collected the evidence found in the Jātaka book, and analysed it with great skill. Similar monographs on the Piṭakas, and on the Epics, are much to be desired.

[15] So Buddhaghosa; but he gives no further details as to the terms of the grant, or of the tenancy. The whole string of adjectives recurs below, pp. 111, 114, 127, 131 of the text, and rāja-bhoggaṃ at Vin. III, 222. Compare Divyāvadāna, p. 620.

The land revenue payable, of course in kind, would be a tithe. If the king had full proprietary (zemindary) rights as well, which is the probable meaning of rāja-bhoggaṃ, his share would be, either with or without the land tax, on half. The grant would be of his own rights only. The rights of the peasants to the other half, and the use of the common and waste and woods, would remain to them. If Buddhaghosa’s interpretation of brahmadeyyaṃ is correct, then the grantee would also be the king’s representative for all purposes judicial and executive. Elsewhere the word has only been found as applied to marriage; and the first part of the compound (brahma) has always been interpreted by Brahmans as referring to themselves. But brahma as the first part of a compound never has that meaning in Pāli; and the word in our passage means literally ‘a full gift.’

[16] His full name was Pokkharasādi Opamañño Subhagavaniko (M. II, 200); where the second is the gotta (gens) name and the third a local name. See the introduction to the Mahāli Sutta.

[17] According to Jāt. IV, 363 (compare Jāt. IV, 366) there were also Ambaṭṭhas who were not Brahmans by birth but farmers.

[18] The fourth is not expressly mentioned. Buddhaghosa (p. 247) say we have to supply the fourth Veda, the Atharva. But the older Pāli texts do not accept the Atharva as a Veda. It only occurs , as the Athabbaṇa Veda, in the Aṭṭhakathās and Ṭīkās. And it is quite unnecessary to suppose a silent reference to it here. The fourth place is quite sufficiently filled as suggested in the translation. The Āthabbaṇa, given (in S. IV, 927) as the name of a mystic art (together with astrology, the interpretation of dreams and of lucky signs, and so forth), is probably not the Veda, but witchcraft or sorcery. The Piṭakas always take three Vedas, and three only, for granted. And the whole point of the tevijja Sutta (translated in full in my ‘Buddhist Suttas’) is this three-, not four-, fold division. Four Vedas are referred to in the Milinda, at p. 3, and the Atharva-veda, at p. 117.

[19] This is the standing description of the Suttas of a learned Brahman. See below, pp. 114,120 (of the text); A. I, 163; Mil. 10; Divyāvadāna 620, &c. One or two of the details are not quite certain, as yet.

[20] The knowledge of these thirty-two marks of a Great Being (Mahā-purusha) is one of the details in the often-recurring paragraph giving the points of Brahman wisdom, which we have just had a, Section 3. No such list has been found, so far as I know, in those portions of the pre-Buddhistic priestly literature that have survived. And the inference from both our passages is that the knowledge is scattered through the Brahman texts. Many of the details of the Buddhist list (see the note below on p. 106 of the text) are very obscure; and a collection of the older Brahman passages would probably throw light upon them, and upon a curious chapter in mythological superstition. Who will write us a monograph (historical of course) on the Mahā-purusha theory. as held in early times among the Aryans in India?

[21] For the details of these seven see further my ‘Buddhist Suttas,’ PP. 251-259.

[22] Vihāra; often rendered ‘monastery,’ a meaning the word never has in the older texts.

[23] Bandhupādāpakkā. Neumann, loc. cit. p. 521, says ‘treading on one another’s heels.’ Buddhaghosa refers the expression to the Brahman theory that the Sūdras were born from Brahmā’s heels. And this may well have been the meaning. For though Gotama and the majority of his order were well born, still others, of low caste, were admitted to it, and Ambaṭṭha is certainly represented as giving vent to caste prejudice when he calls the brethren ‘black fellows.’ Compare M. I, 334; S. IV, 117, and below, D. I, 103.

[24] And is therefore, after all, not so much his fault as that of his teacher. That this is the implication is clear from the text, pp. 90, 91 (Section 10-13) below.

[25] Ibbhā. Chalmers (J. R. A. S., 1894, p. 343) renders this ṅought but men of substance,’ and he has been followed by Frazer, ‘Literature of India,’ p. 118. But Buddhaghosa’s interpretation is confirmed both by the context and by the derivation.

[26] Santhāgāra. Childers is quite wrong about this word. It is the hall where a clan mote was held, and is used exclusively of places for the assemblies of the householders in the free republics of Northern Kosala. It never means a royal rest house, which is rājāgāraka, as we had above (p. 1, Section 2 of the Pāli text). Thus at M. I, 353, 4 and Jāt. IV, 147 we have this identical hall of the Sākyas at Kapilavatthu, and at M. I, 457 a similar one of the Sākyas at Cātumāya; at M. P. V, 56 (VI, 23 of the translation) in my ‘Buddhist Suttas’ we have the congress hall of the Mullas of Kusinārā, and at M. 1, 228 and Vin. I, 233 that of the Licchavis of Vesālī-all of them called Santhāgāra, and all referred to in connection with a public meeting of the clan.

[27] Anguli-patodakena. The Introductory Story to the 52nd Pācittiya (Vin. IV, 110 = III, 84) tells how a Bhikshu was inadvertently done to death by being made to laugh immoderately in this way. It must there mean ‘tickling.’ Here, and at A. IV, 343, it seems to have the meaning given above.

[28] Vaṇṇā

[29] On this famous old king see the legends preserved in the M. B. V, 13; Mahāvastu I, 348; Jāt. II, 311; Sum. I, 258.

[30] Sammanti, ‘dwell,’ not in Childers in this sense. But see S. I, 226 = Sum. I, 125 and Jāt. V, 396.

[31] The oak (which doesn’t grow in the text, and could not grow in the Terai) has been introduced to enable the word play to be adequately rendered. The Pāli Saka means a herb.

[32] Kaṇhāyana is the regular form of patronymic from Kaṇha.

[33] Buddhaghosa gives further details as to his subsequent life.

[34] Buddhaghosa (p. 263) says that Gotama’s object was to confine the discussion to a single opponent, since if all spoke at once, it could not well be brought to a conclusion. In the text Gotama repeats the whole speech of the Brahmans.

[35] Aññena aññaṃ paṭikarasi. For this idiom, not in Childers, see M. 1, 250; Vin. I, 85 ; A. I, 187, 198 ; Mil. 94 ; Sum. I, 264. It is answering one thing by alleging another.

[36] This curious threat-which never comes to anything, among the Buddhists, and is apparently never meant to — is a frequent form of expression in Indian books, and is pre-Buddhistic. Comp. Brihad Ār. Up. III, 6. 2 and 9. 26. Buddhist passages are M. I, 231; Dhp. 72 Dhp. A. 87, 140; Jāt. I, 54; V, 21, 33, 87, 92, 493, &c.

[37] Vajira-pāṇī: to wit, Indra, says Buddhaghosa.

[38] Upanisīdati; whence Upanishad, a mystery, secret, listened to in awe.

[39] Rishi, mystic sage, magician being no doubt implied, as in B. V. II, 81 = Jāt. 1, 17 (verse 90). Compare Merlin.

[40] The effect of course of the charm which, Buddhaghosa tells us (p.265), was known as the Ambaṭṭha charm.

[41] Sotthi hotu. This is the old mystic word swasti. We have lost the use of such expressions Fausium fac regem.

[42] All this, says Buddhaghosa, was brutum fulmen. The Ambaṭṭha charm had only power to stop the arrow going off; not to work such results as these.

[43] Literally ‘place the arrow (which had a barb shaped like a horseshoe) on his son.’

[44] Thālipāka. See Jāt. I, 186; Mil. 249. It is used in sacrifices. and also on special occasions.

[45] Pakarane. Perhaps ‘in consequence of some regulation or other.’ Buddhaghosa (p. 267) says ‘offence,’ but compare Mil. 189.

[46] Assa-puṭena vadhitvā, literally ‘killing him with (the proceeding called) the Ash-basket.’ Compare the idiom ‘cut him dead.’ It is also mentioned at A. II, 242.

[47] Sanaṃ-kumāra means ‘ever virgin.’ According to the legend common ground to Brahmans and Buddhists — there were five ‘mind born’ sons of Brahma, who remained always pure and innocent, and this Brahmā was one of the five. See the passages quoted by Chalmers in the J. R. A. S., 1894, P. 344.

Hofrath Bühler has pointed out that in the Mahābhārata III, 185 (Bombay edition) there is an interesting passage where Sanat-kumāra (the Sanskrit form of the name Sanaṃ — kumāra) is actually represented by the Brahmans themselves as having uttered, as referee in a dispute on a point similar to the one here discussed, not indeed the actual words here imputed to him, but others of a very similar import. See the whole article in the J. R. A. S., 1897, pp. 585-588. We either have in our text a quotation from an older recession of the same legend, or one of the two — either the Brahman editors of the Mahābhārata, or the composers of our Sutta — have twisted the legend a little in their own favour.

[48] The verse is a favourite one. it occurs also at M. I, 358; S. I, 153; II, 284; and below in the Aggañña Sutta.

[49] Gotta-patisārino. Either ‘tracing back their gotras’ or ‘referring back to their gotras’ according as we derive the word with Childers from -??root??sar, or with Bühler from??root??smar. It occurs also in the description (Mahā Sudassana Sutta) of the ideal woman as kiṃkāra-paṭisārinī. Bühler, log. cit., renders it ‘record their gotras.’

The next line might also be rendered ‘when perfect,’ &c., referring to the Kshatriya.

[50] ‘This question of caste, besides being often referred to in isolated passages, is described at length also in the Assalāyana, Kaṇṇakathāla, and Madhura Suttas, all in the Majjhima. The first has been translated into German by Professor Pischel and the last into English by Mr. Chalmers, J. R. A. S., 1894, p. 341 and foll. On the facts of caste as disclosed in the Jātaka book see Fick’s ‘Sociale Gliederung in Indien zu Buddha’s Zeit,’ Kiel, 1897 ; and on the general history of caste in India see Senart’s ‘Les Castes dans l’Inde,’ Paris, 1896.

[51] Buddhaghosa, p. 268, seems to have had a different reading idam p’assa, hoti sīlasmiṃ — from that preserved in our text. It comes to much the same result, but is better, as omitting the word bhikkhu.

[52] It is important to notice that these are put, not under wisdom, but under conduct.

[53] There are therefore eight divisions of conduct, and eight of the higher wisdom.

[54] Apāya-mukhāni, outlets, leakages, so that it cannot fill up.’ The word aya-mukhaṃ, inlet, is used in its concrete sense at D. I, 74, and both words at A. II, 166; and ‘outlet’ occurs figuratively, in a secondary sense, as in this passage, in the Sigālovāda Sutta, p. 299.

[55] For instances of this see Jāt I, 285, 494; II, 43. Such service paid to a god has already been condemned in the tract on the Sīlas, the minor details of mere morality (above, pp. 24, 25).

[56] Buddhaghosa here (p. 270) says that all sorts of Brahman ascetics are here intended to be included, and he gives further details of eight different sorts (discussed in the journal of the P. T. S. for 1891, pp; 34 foll.).

[57] Sandissasi sācariyako. Compare M. P. S. 6, 7, 8, 9, 24, 25.’

[58] Parihīnako sācariyako. ‘Have been done out of, neglected in the matter of, defrauded of, this wisdom,’ &c.

[59] By concealing this suggestive fact, and thereby leaving you ignorant that the king, a Kshatriya, looked down on a Brahman, even one whom he considered, as a Brahman, of great merit. So at Jāt. V, 257 a king calls a Brahman ‘low born’ (hīna-gacco) compared with himself.

[60] On these names see Tevijja Sutta I, 13 (p. 172 of my ‘Buddhist Stuttas’) and Vinaya Texts,’ II, 130.

[61] Veṭhaka-nata-passāhi. We have here probably the ancient name of the very elaborate girdles which all the fashionable women and goddesses wear on the old bas reliefs. Cunningham, ‘Stūpa of Bharhut,’ Pl. LI, gives figures and details of them. To judge from the has reliefs-and I cannot call to mind any Piṭaka passage contradicting them — the women (lay women of course, the Sisterhood wore robes from the shoulders downwards) have only very elaborate headdresses and necklaces, a skirt from the waist to the ankles, and a very broad and handsome girdle worn over the top of the skirt. They were unclothed from the neck to the waist.

[62] Kutta-vālehi. The chariot of the time, as represented on the bas reliefs, had standing room for four passengers, the steeds wore plumes on their heads, and had their manes and tails elaborately plaited. 1 Stūpa of Bharhut,’ PI. XII, shows us the chariot of Pasenadi, king of Kosala (see ibid. pp. 124, 125). Kutta is not in Childers. But it occurs frequently. See Jāt I, 296, 433; II, 127, 128; IV, 219; Asl. 321.

[63] Compare Jāt IV, 106; Mil. 330.

[64] Okkhitta-palighāsu. Childers says (following the Sanskrit dictionaries) bars ‘of iron.’ But where does the iron come in? This is surely a modern improvement. Unfortunately the word is found elsewhere (M. I, 139; A. III, 84; Dhp. 398) only in an ethical sense.

[65] Neither text nor commentary make it clear what these two marks really quite meant. The first, says Buddhaghosa, is ‘like an elephant’s,’ and the second seems, from what follows, to be the power of extending the tongue, like a snake’s, to a great length. This last is possibly derived from poetical descriptions of the tongues of flame or light playing round the disk of the sun.

As to the means by which the Buddha made the first visible to Ambaṭṭha, Buddhaghosa simply quotes Nāgasena (at Mil. 169) to show that he made a visible image of himself fully dressed in his robes. And the difficulty is to see how that would have helped matters. Only an historical explanation of the meaning of the marks can here guide us to what is inferred.

[66] These are two of the thirty-two bodily marks of a Great Being (Mahā-purisa), as handed down among the Brahmans (see note above, p. 88 of the text, Section 5) and adopted by the Buddhists. They are in part adaptations to a man of poetical epithets applied to the sun, or to the personification of the mystic human sacrifice; partly characteristics of personal beauty such as any man might have; and one or two of them — the little wart, for instance, between the eyes with white hair on it, and the protuberance at the top of the head — may possibly be added in reminiscence of personal bodily peculiarities which Gotama actually had.

One of the Dialogues in the Dīgha. the Lakhaṇa Sutta, is devoted to these thirty-two marks. They are also enumerated, with slight differences, in the Mahāpadhāna Sutta; and later books give other lists differing from each other, and from the old lists, in many small points.

The story told here in Section 11, 12 recurs in identical words in the Sela Sutta (S. N. NO. 33 = M. No. 92) and forms the subject of one of the dilemmas put by King Milinda to Nāgasena (Mil. 167).

[67] Āsagga āsagga . upanīyya upanīyya. Buddhaghosa is somewhat ambiguous in his interpretation of this idiomatic phrase, on which compare M. I, 250, 251; A. I, 172

[68] Above, p. 106 of the text, Section I 2 repeated.

[69] Onīta-patta-pāṇiṃ. See the note at Vinaya Texts,’ I, 83.