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WHOEVER put this Sutta together must have been deeply imbued with the spirit of subtle irony that plays no less a part in the Suttas than it does in so many of the Jātakas. I have already called attention to the great importance for the right understanding of early Buddhist teaching of a constant appreciation of this sort of subtle humour. [1] It has been hitherto, so far as I am aware, entirely overlooked that is, in the Suttas; every one recognises it in the Jātaka tales. The humour is not at all intended to raise a laugh, scarcely even a smile. And the aroma of it, pervading the whole of an expositionnone the less delightful because of the very serious earnestness of the narrator, all the while, as regards the ethical point at issueis apt to be lost sight of precisely because of that earnestness. And just as a joke may be explained, but the point of it spoilt in the process, so in the attempt to write about this irony, much more delicate than any joke, one runs great danger of smothering it under the explanatory words.

The attempt, nevertheless, must be made. And it is most easy, perhaps, to do so by an example which no one will dispute. In the Rājovāda Jātaka [2] we are told of the two kings, reigning over the famous lands of Benares and Kosala, who simultaneously determined to examine into their own faults! No courtier would tell them of any. So they each went, and went in vain, to the people in the city, outside the palace on a similar quest. Finding no faultfinders there, they each went on to the city gate, and then to the surrounding suburbs, all in vain. So they each made over the kingdom to their respective ministers, and with a single attendant as charioteer, sallied forth into the world, [\q 161/] to find some one to tell them of their faults. Bent on this, so serious, quest, the two came face to face in a low cart-track with precipitous sides. Each calls on the other to make way for a king. Both are kings! How to settle the point? ‘I have it,’ says one charioteer: ‘Let the younger give way. The kings turn out to be exactly of an age. ‘Then let the lord of the lesser realm go back.’ Their kingdoms are exactly equal in size. And so on, in succession, are found to be the strength of their two armies, the amount of their treasure, the glory of their renown, the fame of their realms, the distinction of their caste, and tribe, and family. Then at last comes the solution. The king of Kosala overcomes evil by evil. Of the other, the king of Benares, it is said:

Anger he conquers by calmness,
And by goodness the wicked,
The stingy he conquers by gifts.
And by truth the speaker of lies [3]

And on this being proclaimed, the king of Kosala and his charioteer alighted from their chariot. And they took out the horses, and removed their chariot, and made way for the king of Benares.

There is not a word in the whole story, here told in abstract [4] to suggest that it is not all sober history. But of course the whole story is invented. The two kings are brought on to the stage merely to carry on their broad shoulders, the moral of the tale, and the dry humour of the predicament in which they find themselves is there to attract attention to, to add emphasis to, the lesson taught.

What is the especial point in this funa kind of fun quite unknown in the West? It is the piquancy of the contrast between the mock seriousness of the extravagant, even impossible details, and the real serious earnestness of the ethical tone. The fun of the extravagance can be matched, easily enough, in European, and especially in American humour. The piquancy of this contrast is Indian, and especially Buddhist. Even the theosophic myth-makers of the Vedas had a sense of the humour in the incongruities, the half realities of their myths. One feels it occasionally even in the Brāhmaṇas. In the Upanishads it is very marked. The Liturgy of the Dogs, the Fable of the Senses, the War of the Devas and Asuras, and several other such episodes [\q 162/] have this mixture of unreality and earnestness, and it finds its perhaps most touching expression in the legend of Naciketas. And the Buddhists, in their Jātaka stories, often adopted and developed old Indian tales of a similar sort.

But why should we think that this sort of humour is confined to the Jātakas? We have a Jātaka story of the Great King of Glory, certainly based on the Sutta of the same name, for it expressly quotes it, and embodies the numerous details which lead up to the sublime lesson at the end of it. [5] And those details are at least as extravagant as the details in the Rājovāda Jātaka. Allowing for all the earnestness undeniably animating both the story-teller and the hearers, it is clear that they enjoyed, all the time, the dry humour of the exaggeration and grotesqueness of the details of the story as it went along. Now the details are given only in the Sutta; and omitted, as well-known, in the Jātaka. They build up a gorgeous fairy tale in which the ancient mythology of the sun-myth is brought into play in order to show how the greatest possible majesty and glory of the greatest and best of all possible kings is, after all, but vanity. And the details, here also, in the Sutta, are enlivened by an intentional exaggeration, a designed dry humour, similar to that in the Rājovāda Jātaka, above referred to.

A similar state of things is found in the Aggañña Sutta, as pointed out above in the Introduction to the Ambaṭṭha; in the Kevaṭṭa Sutta, translated below; and in many other Suttas. In all of them there is the same exaggeration, the same dry humour, the same restrained art of the storyteller. It is impossible not to see that to the early tellers and hearers of these legends, always striking, often with a special beauty of their own, the unreality of the whole thing was just as evident, and was meant to be as evident, as it is now to us. They knew quite well that the lesson taught was the principal matter, the main point compared with which all others were quite subservient. And it made no difference that, for instance, the Great King of Glory was expressly identified with the Buddha in a former birth. They accepted it all; and entered none the less into the spirit of the legend as legend, because they enjoyed both the lesson and the manner of the telling of it.

And so, I would submit, stands the case also with our present Sutta. The whole legend is obviously invented ad hoc. Its details are not meant to be taken seriously as [\q 163/] historical fact. The forced twist given to the meaning of the words vidhā and parikkhāro is not serious. The words could not be used in the new sense assigned. What we have is a sort of pun, a play upon the words, a piece of dialectic smartness, delightful to the hearers then, and unfortunately quite impossible to be rendered adequately, in English prose, for readers now.

And it is quite open to question whether this does not apply as much to the whole Sutta as to the legend of King Wide-realm. The Brahman Kūṭadanta (pointed-tooth) is mentioned nowhere else, and is very likely meant to be rather the hero of a tale than an historical character. In that case we should have before us a novelette, an historical romance, in which the Very Reverend Sir Goldstick Sharp-tooth, lord of the manor of Khānumatacruel enough, no doubt, and very keen on being sure that his ‘soul’ should be as comfortable in the next world as he was, now, in this, makes up his mind to secure that most desirable end by the murder of a number of his fellow creatures, in honour of a god, or as he would put it, by celebrating a sacrifice.

In order to make certain that not one of the technical detailsfor to the accurate performance of all these the god was supposed to attach great weightshould be done wrong, the intending sacrificer is ironically represented as doing the very last thing any Brahman of position, under similar circumstances, would think of doing. He goes to the Samaṇa Gotama for advice about the modes of the ritual to be performed at the sacrifice; and about the requisite utensils, the altar-furniture, to be used in making it.

The Buddha’s answer is to tell him a wonderful legend of a King Wide-realm, and of the sacrifice he offered—truly the most extraordinary sacrifice imaginable. All its marvellous details, each one settled, be it noted, on the advice of a Brahman, are described with a deliberate extravagance none the less delicious because of the evident earnestness of the moral to be inferred.

The Brahman of our Sutta wants to know the three modes in which the ritual is to be performed. The three ‘modes’ are declared in the legend (? 15) to be simply three conditions of mind, or rather one condition of mind at three different times, the harbouring of no regret, either before or during or after the sacrifice, at the expenditure involved. And the material accessories required, the altar-furniture, the priest’s outfit, what is that? It is the hearty co-operation with the king of four divisions of his people, the nobles, the officials, the Brahmans, and the householders. That [\q 164/]makes four articles of furniture. And eight personal qualifications of the king himself. That makes other eight. And four personal qualifications of his advising Brahman make up the total of the sixteen articles required. No living thing, either animal or vegetable, is injured. All the labour is voluntary. And all the world co-operates in adding its share to the largesse of food, on strict vegetarian principles, in which, alone, the sacrifice consists. It is offered on behalf, not only of the king himself, but of all the good. And the king desires to propitiate, not any god, but living men. And the muttering of mystic verses over each article used and over mangled and bleeding bodies of unhappy victims, verses on which all the magic efficacy of a sacrifice had been supposed to depend, is quietly ignored.

It is all ironical, of coursejust the very contrary, in every respect, of a typical Vedic sacrifice. And the evident unreality of the legend may be one explanation of the curious fact that the authors of the Jātaka book (notwithstanding that King Wide-realm’s Chaplain is actually identified in the Sutta with the Buddha himself in a previous birth) have not included this professedly Jātaka story in their collection. This is the only case, so far discovered, in which a similar omission has been made.

Having thus laughed the Brahman ideal of sacrifice out of court with the gentle irony of a sarcastic travesty, the author or authors of the Sutta go on to say what they think a sacrifice ought to be. Far from exalting King Wide-realm’s procedure, they put his sacrifice at the very bottom of a long list of sacrifices each better than the other, and leading up to the sweetest and highest of all, which is the attainment of Arahatship.

Here again, except in the last paragraph, there is nothing exclusively Buddhistic. That a sacrifice of the heart is better than a sacrifice of bullocks, the ethical more worthy than any physical sacrifice, is simply the sensible, rational, human view of the matter. The whole long history of the development of Indian thought, as carried on chiefly by Brahmans (however much it may have owed in the earliest period to the nobles and others), shows that they, the more enlightened and cultured of the Brahmans, were not only as fully alive to this truth as any Buddhist, but that they took it all along for granted.

Even in the Vedas themselves there is already the germ of this view in the mental attitude as regards Aditi and Varuṇa. And in the pre-Buddhistic Chāndogya, in the mystic identification of the sacrifice with man [6] we find [\q 165/] certain moral states placed on an equality with certain parts of the sacrificial procedure. And among these moral states, ahiṃsā, the habit of causing no injury to any living thing, is especially mentioned. This comes very near to the Hebrew prophet’s: ‘I will have mercy, and not sacrifice.’ [7] The more characteristically Indian point of view is, no doubt, in the words of the old saying long afterwards taken up into the Mahābhārata, that it is truth (not mercy) that outweighs a thousand sacrifices. [8] But there is a very great probability that the ahiṃsā doctrine, foreshadowed in the Upanishad, and afterwards so extravagantly taken up by the Nigaṇṭhas, the Gains of the Buddha’s time, was also a part of the earlier Gain doctrine, and therefore not only in germ, but as a developed teaching, pre-Buddhistic. Though the Buddhists did not accept this extreme position, there would seem therefore to be no valid reason for doubting the accuracy of the Buddhist tradition that their view of sacrifice was based on a very ancient belief which was, in fact, common ground to the wise, whether inside or outside, the ranks of the Brahmans.

Our Sutta is, then, merely the oldest extant expression, in so thorough and uncompromising a way, of an ancient and widely held trend of opinion. On this question, as on the question of caste or social privileges, the early Buddhists took up, and pushed to its logical conclusions, a rational view held also by others. And on this question of sacrifice their party won. The Vedic sacrifices, of animals, had practically been given up when the long struggle between Brahmanism and Buddhism reached its close. Isolated instances of such sacrifices are known even down to the Muhammadan invasion. But the battle was really won by the Buddhists and their allies. And the combined ridicule and earnestness of our Sutta will have had its share in bringing about the victory.

That they did win is a suggestive fact. How could they have done so if the Indians of that time had been, as is so often asserted of them by European writers, more deeply addicted to all manner of ritual than any other nation under heaven, more superstitious, more averse to change in religious ceremonial? There seems to me no reason to believe that they were very different, in these respects, from [\q 166/] Greeks or Romans of the same period. On the contrary there was a well marked lay feeling, a wide-spread antagonism to the priests, a real sense of humour, a strong fund of common sense. Above all there was then the most complete and unquestioned freedom of thought and expression in religious matters that the world had yet witnessed. To regard the Indian peoples through Brahman spectacles, to judge them from the tone prevalent in the Ṣrauta and Gṛihya Sūtras, it would seem impossible that this victory could have been won. But it was won. And our views of Indian history must be modified accordingly.

There is a curious expression in the stock phrase describing the learned Brahman, so often found in the Piṭakas, which I have left untranslated in this Sutta, being uncertain as to the meaning in which it was used at the time when our Sutta was composed. It will be instructive, in more ways than one, to collect and consider the other passages in which the word occurs.

Lokāyata is explained by Wilson as ‘the system of atheistical philosophy taught by Cārvāka, [9] and by the Petersburg Dictionary as ‘Materialism’. Now the description of the good Brahman as put, in the Buddhist Suttas, into the mouth of Brahmans themselves, [10] mentions Lokāyata as one branch of his learning. The whole paragraph is complimentary. And though the exact connotation of one or two of the other terms is doubtful, they are all descriptive of just those things which a Brahman would have been rightly proud to be judged a master of. It is evident, therefore, that the Dictionary interpretations of the word are quite out of place in this connection.

Yet they are each of them, at least for a later period, well authenticated. Kumārila Bhaṭṭa, in his Vārttika (verse 10), charges the Mīmāṃsā system with having been, for the most part, converted into a Lokāyata system, and claims for his own book the merit of bringing it back to theistic lines. [11] Now of course the Mīmāṃsists would indignantly deny this. Kumārila, who seems to have been a good deal of a bigot, is here merely hurling at adversaries, who claimed to be as orthodox as himself, a term of abuse. But it is clear that he uses that term in the sense of ‘atheistic.’ The exact phrase [\q 167/] would be nāstika, as opposed to his own āstika-patha: that is, the system or the man who says ‘there is not,’ an infidel. This is somewhat wider than atheist; it comes however, in Kumārila’s mouth, to much the same thing.

Saṅkarācārya uses the word lokāyata several times, [12] and always in the same specific sense as the view of those who look upon the soul as identical with the body, as existing only so long as the body exists, not continuing, after death, in a new condition and separate from the body. A very similar, if not indeed the very same view is also controverted in the Brahmajāla Sutta (above, P. 46); and is constantly referred to throughout the Piṭakas under the stock phrase taṃ jīvaṃ taṃ sarīraṃ. [13] But it is never called Lokāyata in the Piṭakas. It seems to be the view that there is a soul; but that it is diffused through the body, and dies with it; and is not a separate unity, within the body but not of it, which flies away from the body after death. It is not necessary to suppose that either. Saṅkara or the Buddhists had in their minds any book setting forth a philosophy based on this single proposition, or any actual school using such a book as a manual. It may have been so. But the expressions used point rather to an opinion held by certain thinkers, in union with other opinions, and not expounded in any special treatise. Nor do either the Buddhists or Ṣaṅkara pretend to set out that opinion in full. They are dealing with it only so far as is necessary to enforce their own contrary positions. And though ‘materialist,’ as a rough and ready translation of. Saṅkara’s Lokāyatika, gives a good idea, to a European reader, of the sort of feeling conveyed to Saṅkara’s Indian readers, yet it is not quite exact. European ‘materialists’ (and one or two may be discovered by careful search) do not hold the view which Ṣaṅkara describes to his Lokāyatikas.

Buddhaghosa in our passage has: Lokāyataṃ vuccati vitaṇḍa-vāda-satthaṃ, ‘the Lokāyata is a text-book of the Vitaṇḍas (Sophists) [14] This does not help us much; but previously, p. 91, he explains Lokakkhāyikā as follows: ‘Foolish talk according to the Lokāyata, that is the Vitaṇḍa, such as: “By whom was this world created? By [\q 168/] such a one. A crow is white from the whiteness of its bones; cranes are red from the redness of their blood.”

Other Pāli comments on the word are the Abhidhāna Padīpikā (verse 112), which says simply, probably following Buddhaghosa: Vitaṇḍa-satthaṃ viññeyyaṃ yaṃ taṃ lokāyataṃ. The date of this work is, the middle of the twelfth century A. D. Much clearer is Aggavaṃsa in the Sadda-nīti, which is a generation older. He says: [15]

Loko ti bāla-loko; ettha āyatanti ussāhanti vāyamanti vādassādenāti lokāyataṃ. Ayatati vā tena loko, na yatati na īhati vā, lokāyataṃ. Taṃ hi gandhaṃ nissāya sattā puñña-kiriyāya. kittaṃ na uppadenti. Lokāyataṃ. nāma: sabbaṃ Ucchiṭṭhaṃ sabbaṃ anucchiṭṭhaṃ seto kāko kāḷo bako iminā va iminā va kāranenāti evam-ādi-niratthaka-karaṃa-paṭisaṃyuttaṃ titthiya-satthaṃ, yaṃ loke Vitaṇḍasatthaṃ vuccati, yaṃ sandhāya Bodhisatto asamadhuro Vidhūra-paṇḍito:

Na seve Lokāyatikaṃ, n’etaṃ puññāya vaḍḍhanaṃ ti āha.

Loko means the common world. Lokāyata means: “on that they āyatanti;” that is, they exert themselves about it, strive about it, through the pleasure they take in discussion. Or perhaps it means: “the world does not yatati by it”; that is, does not depend on it, move on by it. For living beings do not stir up their hearts to right-doing by reason of that book. [16] Now the Lokāyata is the book of the unbelievers (of the Titthiyas) full of such useless disputations as the following: “All is impure; all is not impure; the crow is white, the crane is black; and for this reason or for that”the book known in the world as the Vitaṇḍa-sattha, of which the Bodisat, the incomparable leader, Vidhūra the pandit, said:

“Follow not the Lokāyata, that works not for progress in merit.”

[\q 169/] The verse quotedcertainly a very old oneis in the Vidhūra Jātaka, [17] and the commentator there says: ‘This means: Follow not Lokāyata disputation, Vitaṇḍa chatter, concerned with useless matters which neither give paradise nor lead men on into the Path.’

Saṅkara says: ‘There is thus, according to them, no soul, separate from the body, and capable of going to the heavenly world or obtaining release.’ [18] The unknown author of the Jātaka commentary, who certainly wrote however in the fifth century, gives the allied proposition as his own conclusion from the uselessness of their discussions, not as the opinion of the Lokāyatikas themselves. It would be an easy transition from the one expression to the other. And the difference is suggestive, especially in the light of other passages in both Sanskrit and Pāli books.

For while the Mahābhārata has precisely the same use of the word as the Piṭakas, later works use it in a manner approximating more and more nearly to that of Saṅkara. The passage in the Mahābhārata is at I, 2889 (= Hari Vaṃsa 14068), where, at the end of a list of the accomplishments of learned Brahmans, they are said to be masters of the Lokāyata. Being mentioned, as in our passage, at the end of the list, it is plain that this branch of learning is meant to be taken as of minor importance. But it is not yet considered unfavourably, much less opprobiously. And the Petersburg Dictionary, from which I take most of these references, points out that the word may possibly, in this passage, have some other meaning than ‘Materialism.’

The Rāmāyaṇa goes further. There the word is also in a list, but the Laukāyatikā are blamed as ‘clever in useless things.’ [19] So in the Saddharma Puṇḍarīka, the good Mahāyānist does not serve or court or wait upon (among other low people) ‘the Lokāyatikas who know by heart the Lokāyata mantras (mystic verses).’ [20] The date of [\q 170/] this may be a century or two after Christ. And in the Gain book, entitled the Bhagavatī, which Weber puts at about the same time, the Lokāyatikas occur in a similar list of blameworthy persons. [21]

In the Milinda, which is probably somewhat earlier, the word is mentioned twice. One passage ascribes a knowledge of the Lokāyata (in a sentence expanded from the very clause in our Sutta) to the hero of the story, Nāgasena. [22] Here the Milinda is quite at the old standpoint. The other passage is in a parenthesis, [23] in which the sub-hero, the king, is described as ‘fond of wordy disputations, and in the habit of wrangling against the quibbles of Lokāyatas and Vitaṇḍas.’ This may possibly be a gloss which has crept into the text. But in any case it is evidence that, at the time when it was written, the later view of the meaning of the word had become prevalent.

In the long list of various sorts of hermits given in the Harsha Carita the Lokāyatikas come among others who would be classed by Vedāntists as heretics. [24] We cannot, unfortunately, draw any certain conclusion as to whether or not there were actually any Lokāyatikas living in Bāṇa’s time. In expanding previous descriptions of the concourse of hermits in the forest, he may be merely including in his list all the sorts of such people he had ever heard or read of.

Lastly, the Lokāyata system is, in various works of the fourteenth century and later, appropriately fathered on Cārvāka, a mythical character in the Mahābhārata, an ogre, who appears in the garb of a Brahman. [25] It is not certain whether this is due to the ingenuity of a friend or a foe. In either case, like the fathering of the later Sāṅkhya on the ancient sage Kapila; or the fathering of the collection of fables, made by Planudes in the fourteenth century A. D., upon Aesop the story-teller of the fifth century B. C., it has been eminently successful, has deceived many, and is still widely accepted.

Pending the discovery of other texts, and especially of [\q 171/] such as are not only the testimony of opponents, the best working hypothesis to explain the above facts seems to be that about 500 B. C. the word Lokāyata was used in a complimentary way as the name of a branch of Brahman learning, and probably meant Nature-lorewise sayings, riddles, rhymes, and theories handed down by tradition as to cosmogony, the elements, the stars, the weather, scraps of astronomy, of elementary physics, even of anatomy, and knowledge of the nature of precious stones, and of birds and beasts and plants. To be a master of such lore was then considered by no means unbecoming to a learned Brahman, though it ranked, of course, below his other studies. At that time there was no school so called, and no special handbook of such knowledge. But portions of it trenched so closely upon, were so often useful as metaphor in discussing the higher and more especially priestly wisdom, that we find sayings that may well have belonged to it preserved in the pre-Buddhistic literature. Such passages, for instance, as Bṛi. Ār. Up. III, 8, 3, Chānd. Up. IV, 17, 1, and VI, 2-7, on the worlds and on cosmogony; Chānd. III. on the colour of the rays of the sun; Bṛi. Ār. Up. II, 1, 5-7, and III, 7, 3-7, on the elements; Ait. Ār. III, 2, 1, 4, and others, on the parts of the body; and many others of a similar kind on these and other subjects might be cited as examples.

The amount then existing of such lore was too small to make a fair proficiency in it incompatible with other knowledge. As the amount of it grew larger, and several branches of natural science were regularly studied, a too exclusive acquaintance with Lokāyata became looked upon with disfavour. Even before the Christian era masters of the dark sayings, the mysteries, of such mundane lore were marked with sophists and casuists. This feeling is increasingly vouched for in the early centuries of our era. In the fifth century we hear of a book, presumably on the ‘riddles and mysteries of the craft, as it is called ‘a book of quibbles.’ Various branches of mundane science had been by that time fairly well worked out. Lokāyata was still the name for the old Nature-lore, on the same level as folk-lore, and in contradistinction, not only to theosophy on the one hand, but to such science as there was on the other.

In the first half of the eighth century Kumārila uses the word as a mere term of abuse, and in the sense of infidel of his equally orthodox opponents, the Mīmāṃsists. And shortly afterwards Saṅkara, in setting forth his theory of the soul, controverts a curious opinion which he ascribes to Lokāyatikaspossibly wrongly, as the very same opinion [\q 172/] was controverted ages before in the Piṭakas, and not there called Lokāyata, though the word was in use in Piṭaka times.

Finally in the fourteenth century the great theologian Sāyaṇa-Mādhava has a longish chapter in which he ascribes to the Lokāyatikas the most extreme forms of the let-us-eat-and-drink-for-tomorrow-we-die view of life; of Pyrrhonism in philosophy, and of atheism in theology. The Lokāyata had no doubt, at that time, long ceased to exist. His very able description has all the appearance of being drawn from his own imagination; and is chiefly based on certain infidel doggrel verses which cannot possibly have formed a part of the Lokāyata studied by the Brahmans of old. [26] It is the ideal of what will happen to the man of some intellect, but morally so depraved that he will not accept the theosophist position.

Throughout the whole story we have no evidence of any one who called himself a Lokāyatika, or his own knowledge Lokāyata. After the early use of the word in some such sense as Nature-lore, folk-lore, there is a tone of unreality over all the statements we have. And of the real existence of a school of thought, or of a system of philosophy that called itself by the name there is no trace. In the middle period the riddles and quibbles of the Nature-lorists are despised. In the last period the words Lokāyata, Lokāyatika, become mere hobby horses, pegs on which certain writers can hang the views that they impute to their adversaries, and give them, in doing so, an odious name.

[\q 173/]
English Introduction


[127] 1. Thus have I heard. The Blessed One once, when going on a tour through Magadhā, with a great multitude of the brethren, with about five hundred brethren, came to a Brahman village in Magadhā called Khānumata. And there at Khānumata he lodged in the Ambalaṭṭhikā pleasaunce. [27]

Now at that time the Brahman Kūṭadanta was dwelling at Kānumata, a place teeming with life, with much grassland and woodland and water and corn, on a royal domain presented him by Seniya Bimbisāra the king of Magadhā, as a royal gift, with power over it as if he were the king.

And just then a great sacrifice was being got ready on behalf of Kūṭadanta the Brahman. And a hundred bulls, and a hundred steers, and a hundred heifers, and a hundred goats, and a hundred rams had been brought to the post for the sacrifice.

2. Now the Brahmans and householders of Khānumata heard the news of the arrival of the Samaṇa Gotama. [28] [128] And they began to leave Khānumata in companies and in bands to go to the Ambalaṭṭhikā pleasaunce.

3. And just then Kūṭadanta the Brahman had gone apart to the upper terrace of his house for his siesta; and seeing the people thus go by, he asked his doorkeeper the reason. And the doorkeeper told him. [29]

[\q 174/] 4. Then Kūṭadanta thought: ‘I have heard that the Samaṇa Gotama understands about the successful performance of a sacrifice with its threefold method and its sixteen accessory instruments. Now I don’t know all this, and yet I want to carry out a sacrifice. [129] It would be well for me to go to the Samaṇa Gotama, and ask him about it.’

So he sent his doorkeeper to the Brahmans and householders of Khānumata, to ask them to wait till he could go with them to call upon the Blessed One.

5. But there were at that time a number of Brahmans staying at Khānumata to take part in the great sacrifice. And when they heard this they went to Kūṭadanta, and persuaded him, on the same grounds as the Brahmans had laid before Soṇadaṇḍa, not to go. But he answered them in the same terms as Soṇadaṇḍa had used to those Brahmans. [134] Then they were satisfied, and went with him to call upon the Blessed One. [30]

9. And when he was seated there Kūṭadanta the Brahman told the Blessed One what he had heard, [31] and requested him to tell him about success in performing a sacrifice in its three modes [32] and with its accessory articles of furniture of sixteen kinds. [33]

[\q 175/] ‘Well then, O Brahman, give ear and listen attentively and I will speak.’

‘Very well, Sir,’ said Kūṭadanta in reply; and the Blessed One spake as follows:

10. ‘Long ago, O Brahman, there was a king by name Wide-realm (Mahā Vijita), [34] mighty, with great wealth and large property; with stores of silver and gold, of aids to enjoyment, [35] of goods and corn; with his treasure-houses and his garners full. Now when King Wide-realm was once sitting alone in meditation he became anxious at the thought: “I have in abundance all the good things a mortal can enjoy. The whole wide circle of the earth is mine by conquest to possess. “Twere well if I were to offer a great sacrifice that should ensure me weal and welfare for many days.”

‘And he had the Brahman, his chaplain, called; and telling him all that he had thought, [135] he said: “So I would fain, O Brahman, offer a great sacrifice—let the venerable one instruct me how—for my weal and my welfare for many days.”

11. ‘Thereupon the Brahman who was chaplain said to the king: “The king’s country, Sire, is harassed and harried. There are dacoits abroad who pillage the villages and townships, and who make the roads unsafe. Were the king, so long as that is so, to levy a fresh tax, verily his majesty would be acting wrongly. But perchance his majesty might think: ‘I’ll soon put a stop to these scoundrels’ game by degradation and banishment, and fines and bonds and death!’ But their licence cannot be satisfactorily put a stop to so. The remnant left unpunished would still go on harassing the realm. Now there is one method to adopt to [\q 176/] put a thorough end to this disorder. Whosoever there be in the king’s realm who devote themselves to keeping cattle and the farm, to them let his majesty the king give food and seed-corn. Whosoever there be in the king’s realm who devote themselves to trade, to them let his majesty the kinggive capital. Whosoever there be in the king’s realm who devote themselves to government service, [36] to them let his majesty the king give wages and food. Then those men, following each his own business, will no longer harass the realm., the king’s revenue will go up; the country w ill be quiet and at peace; and the populace, pleased one with another and happy, dancing their children in their arms, will dwell with open doors.”

‘Then King Wide-realm, O Brahman, accepted the word of his chaplain, [136] and did as he had said. And those men, following each his business, harassed the realm no more. And the king’s revenue went up. And the country became quiet and at peace. And the populace, pleased one with another and happy, dancing their children in their arms, dwelt with open doors.

12. ‘So King Wide-realm had his chaplain called, and said: “The disorder is at an end. The country is at peace. I want to offer that great sacrifice—let the venerable one instruct me how—for my weal and my welfare for many days.”

Then let his majesty the king send invitations to whomsoever there may be in his realm who are Kshatriyas, vassals of his, either in the country or the towns; or who are ministers and officials of his, either in the country or the towns; or who are Brahmans of position, either in the country or the towns; or who are householders of substance, either in the country or the towns, saying: “I intend to offer a great sacrifice. Let the venerable ones give their sanction to what will be to me for weal and welfare for many days.”

‘Then King Wide-realm, O Brahman, accepted the [\q 177/] word of his chaplain, [137] and did as he had said. And they each—Kshatriyas and Ministers and Brahmans and householders—made alike reply: “Let his majesty the king celebrate the sacrifice. The time is suitable, O king [37]!”

‘Thus did these four, as colleagues by consent, become wherewithal to furnish forth that sacrifice. [38]

13. ‘King Wide-realm was gifted in the following eight ways:

‘He was well born on both sides, on the mother’s side and on the father’s, of pure descent back through seven generations, and no slur was cast upon him, and no reproach, in respect of birth.

‘He was handsome, pleasant in appearance, inspiring trust, gifted with great beauty of complexion, fair in colour, fine in presence, stately to behold.

‘He was mighty, with great wealth, and large property, with stores of silver and gold, of aids to enjoyment, of goods and corn, with his treasure-houses and his garners full.

‘He was powerful, in command of an army, loyal and disciplined, in four divisions (of elephants, cavalry, chariots, and bowmen), burning up, methinks, his enemies by his very glory.

‘He was a believer, and generous, a noble giver, keeping open house, a welling spring [39] whence Samaṇas and Brahmans, the poor and the wayfarers, beggars, and petitioners might draw, a doer of good deeds.

He was learned in all kinds of knowledge.

He knew the meaning of what had been said, and could explain: “This saying has such and such a meaning, and that such and such.”

[\q 178/] ‘He was intelligent, expert and wise, and able to think out things present or past or future. [40]

‘And these eight gifts of his, too, became wherewithal to furnish forth that sacrifice.

[138] 14. ‘The Brahman his chaplain was gifted in the following four ways:

‘He was well born on both sides, on the mother’s and on the father’s, of pure descent back through seven generations, with no slur cast upon him, and no reproach in respect of birth.

He was a student repeater who knew the mystic verses by heart, master of the Three Vedas, with the indices, the ritual, the phonology, and the exegesis (as a fourth), and the legends as a fifth, learned in the idioms and the grammar, versed in Lokāyata (Nature-lore) and in the thirty marks on the body of a great man.

‘He was virtuous, established in virtue, gifted with virtue that had grown great.

‘He was intelligent, expert, and wise; foremost, or at most the second, among those who hold out the ladle.’

‘Thus these four gifts of his, too, became wherewithal to furnish forth that sacrifice.

15. ‘And further, O Brahman, the chaplain, before the sacrifice had begun, explained to King Wide-realm the three modes:

‘Should his majesty the king, before starting on the great sacrifice, feel any such regret as: “Great, alas, will be the portion of my wealth used up herein,” let not the king harbour such regret. Should his majesty the king, whilst he is offering the great sacrifice, feel any such regret as: “Great, alas, will be the portion of my wealth used up herein,” let not the king harbour such regret. Should his majesty the king, when the great sacrifice has been offered, feel any such regret as: “Great, alas, has been the portion of my wealth used up herein,” let not the king harbour such regret.’

[\q 179/] ‘Thus did the chaplain, O Brahman, before the sacrifice had begun, explain to King Wide-realm the three modes.

16. ‘And further, O Brahman, the chaplain, before the sacrifice had begun, in order to prevent any compunction that might afterwards, in ten ways, arise as regards those who had taken part therein, said: “Now there will come to your sacrifice, Sire, men who destroy the life of living things, and men who refrain therefrommen who take what has not been given, and men who refrain therefrommen who act evilly in respect of lusts, and men who refrain therefrom—men who speak lies, and men who do not—men who slander, and men who do not—men who speak rudely, and men who do not—men who chatter vain things, and men who refrain therefrom[139, 140] men who covet, and men who covet not—men who harbour ill will, and men who,harbour it not—men whose views are wrong, and men whose views are right. Of each of these let them, who do evil, alone with their evil. For them who do well let your majesty offer, for them, Sire, arrange the rites, them let the king gratify, in them shall your heart within find peace.”

17. ‘And further, O Brahman, the chaplain, whilst the king was carrying out the sacrifice, instructed and aroused and incited and gladdened his heart in sixteen ways: “Should there be people who should say of the king, as he is offering the sacrifice: ‘King Wide-realm is celebrating sacrifice without having invited the four classes of his subjects, without himself having the eight personal gifts, without the assistance of a Brahman who has the four personal gifts;’ then would they speak not according to the fact. For the consent of the four classes has been obtained, the king has the eight, and his Brahman has the four, personal gifts. With regard to each and every one of these sixteen conditions the king may rest assured that it has been fulfilled. He can sacrifice, and be glad, and possess his heart in peace.” [41]

[\q 180/] [141] 18. ‘And further, O Brahman, at that sacrifice neither were any oxen slain, neither goats, nor fowls, nor fatted pigs, nor were any kinds of living creatures put to death. No trees were cut down to be used as posts, no Dabbha grasses mown to strew around the sacrificial spot. And the staves and messengers and workmen there employed were driven neither by rods nor fear, nor carried on their work weeping with tears upon their faces. Whoso chose to help, he worked; whoso chose not to help, worked not. What each chose to do, he did, what they chose not to do, that was left undone. With ghee, and oil, and butter, and milk, and honey, and sugar only was that sacrifice accomplished.

[142] 19. ‘And further, O Brahman, the Kshatriya vassals, and the ministers and officials, and the Brahmans of position, and the householders of substance, whether of the country or of the towns, went to King Wide-realm, taking with them much wealth, and said: “This abundant wealth, Sire, have we brought hither for the king’s use. Let his majesty accept it at our hands!”

‘Sufficient wealth have I, my friends, laid up, the produce of taxation that is just. Do you keep yours, and take away more with you!”

‘When they had thus been refused by the king, they went aside, and considered thus one with the other: “It would not beseem us now, were we to take this wealth away again to our own homes. King Wide-realm is offering, a great sacrifice. Let us too make an after-sacrifice!”

20. ‘So the Kshatriyas established a continual largesse to the east of the king’s sacrificial pit, and the officials to the south thereof, and the Brahmans to the west thereof, and the householders to the north thereof. And the things given, and the manner of their gift, was in all respects like unto the great sacrifice of King Wide-realm himself.

[143] ‘Thus, O Brahman, there was a fourfold co-operation, and King Wide-realm was gifted with [\q 181/] eight personal gifts, and his officiating Brahman with four. And there were three modes of the giving of that sacrifice. This, O Brahman, is what is called the due celebration of a sacrifice in its threefold mode and with its furniture of sixteen kinds!’

21. And when he had thus spoken, those Brahmans lifted up their voices in tumult, and said: ‘How glorious the sacrifice, how pure its accomplishment!’ But Kūṭadanta the Brahman sat there in silence.

Then those Brahmans said to Kūṭadanta: ‘Why do you not approve the good words of the Samaṇa Gotama as well-said?’

‘I do not fail to approve: for he who approves not as well-said that which has been well spoken by the Samaṇa Gotama, verily his head would split in twain. But I was considering that the Samaṇa Gotama does not say: “Thus have I heard,” nor “Thus behoves it to be,” but says only “Thus it was then,” or “It was like that then.” So I thought: “For a certainty the Samaṇa Gotama himself must at that time have been King Wide-realm, or the Brahman who officiated for him at that sacrifice. Does the venerable Gotama admit that he who celebrates such a sacrifice, or causes it to be celebrated, is reborn at the dissolution of the body, after death, into some state of happiness in heaven?’

‘Yes, O Brahman, that I admit. And at that time I was the Brahman who, as chaplain, had that sacrifice performed.’

22. ‘Is there, O Gotama, any other sacrifice less difficult and less troublesome, with more fruit and more advantage still than this?’

[144] ‘Yes, O Brahman, there is.’

‘And what, O Gotama, may that be?’

‘The perpetual gifts kept up in a family where they are given specifically to virtuous recluses.

23. ‘But what is the reason, O Gotama, and what the cause, why such perpetual givings specifically to virtuous recluses, and kept up in a family, are less difficult and troublesome, of greater fruit and greater [\q 182/] advantage than that other sacrifice with its three modes and its accessories of sixteen kinds?’

‘To the latter sort of sacrifice, O Brahman, neither will the Arahats go, nor such as have entered on the Arahat way. And why not? Because at it beating with sticks takes place, and seizing by the throat. [42] But they will go to the former, where such things are not. And therefore are such perpetual gifts above the other sort of sacrifice.’

24. ‘And is there, O Gotama, any other sacrifice less difficult and less troublesome, of greater fruit and of greater advantage than either of these?’

[145] ‘Yes, O Brahman, there is.’

‘And what, O Gotama, may that be? “The putting up of a dwelling place (vihāra) on behalf of the Order in all the four directions.’

25. ‘And is there, O Gotama, any other sacrifice less difficult and less troublesome, of greater fruit and of greater advantage than each and all of these three?’

‘Yes, O Brahman, there is.’

‘And what, O Gotama, may that be?’

He who with trusting heart takes a Buddha as his guide, and the Truth, and the Order—that is a sacrifice better than open largesse, better than perpetual alms, better than the gift to a dwelling place.’

[146] 26. ‘And is there, O Gotama, any other sacrifice less difficult and less troublesome, of greater fruit and of greater advantage than all these four?’

‘When a man with trusting heart takes upon himself the precepts—abstinence from destroying life; abstinence from taking what has not been given abstinence from evil; conduct in respect of lusts; abstinence from lying words; abstinence from strong, intoxicating, maddening drinks, the root of carelessness—that is a sacrifice better than open largesse, better than perpetual alms, better than the gift of dwelling places, better than accepting guidance.’

[\q 183/] 27. ‘And is there, O Gotama, any other sacrifice less difficult and less troublesome, of greater fruit and of greater advantage than all these five?’

‘Yes, O Brahman, there is.’

[147] ‘And what, O Gotama, may that be?’

[The answer is the long passage from the Sāmañña-phala,? 40, p. 62 (of the text), down to?75 (P. 74), on the First jhāna, as follows:

1. The Introductory paragraphs on the appearance of a Buddha, his preaching, the conversion of a hearer, and his renunciation of the world.

2. The Sīlas (minor morality).

3. The paragraph on Confidence.

4. The paragraph on ‘Guarded is the door of his senses. ‘

5. The paragraph on ‘Mindful and self possessed.’

6. The paragraph on Content.

7. The paragraph on Solitude.

8. The paragraphs on the Five Hindrances.

9. The description of the First jhāna.]

‘This, O Brahman, is a sacrifice less difficult and less troublesome, of greater fruit and greater advantage than the previous sacrifices.’

[The same is then said of the Second, Third, and Fourth jhānas, in succession (as in the Sāmañña-phala, Sections 77-82), and of the Insight arising from knowledge (ibid. Sections 83, 84), and further (omitting direct mention either way of Sections 85-96 inclusive) of the knowledge of the destruction of the Āsavas, the deadly intoxications or floods (ibid. Sections 97-98).]

‘And there is no sacrifice man can celebrate, O Brahman, higher and sweeter than this.’

28. And when he had thus spoken, Kūṭadanta the Brahman said to the Blessed One.

‘Most excellent, O Gotama, are the words of thy mouth, most excellent! just as if a man were to set up [\q 184/] what 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 has the truth been made known to me in many a figure by the venerable Gotama. I, even I, betake myself to the venerable Gotama as my guide, to the Doctrine and the Order. May the venerable One accept me as a disciple, as one who, from this day forth, as long as life endures, has taken him as his guide. And I [148] myself, O Gotama, will have the seven hundred bulls, and the seven hundred steers, and the seven hundred heifers, and the seven hundred goats, and the seven hundred rams set free. To them I grant their life. Let them eat green grass and drink fresh water, and may cool breezes waft around them.’

29. Then the Blessed One discoursed to Kūṭadanta the Brahman 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 became aware that Kūṭadanta the Brahman had become prepared, softened, unprejudiced, upraised, and believing in heart, then did he proclaim 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, with all stains in it washed away, will readily take the dye, just even so did Kūṭadanta the Brahman, even while seated there, obtain the pure and spotless Eye for the Truth, and he knew: ‘Whatsoever has a beginning, in that is inherent also the necessity of dissolution.’

30. And then the Brahman Kūṭadanta, 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 for his knowledge of the teaching of the Master, addressed the Blessed One and said:

[\q 185/] 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 signified, by silence, his consent. Then the Brahman Kūṭadanta, seeing that the Blessed One had accepted, rose from his scat, and keeping his right towards him as he passed, he departed thence. And at daybreak he had sweet food, both hard and soft, made ready at the pit prepared for his sacrifice, and had the time announced to the Blessed One: ‘It is time, O Gotama; and the meal is ready.’ And the Blessed One, who had dressed early in the. morning, put on his outer robe, and taking his bowl with him, went with the brethren to Kūṭadanta’s sacrificial pit, and sat down there on the seat prepared for him. And Kūṭadanta the Brahman [149] satisfied the brethren with the Buddha at their head, with his own hand, with sweet food, both hard and soft, till they refused any more. And when the Blessed One had finished his meal, and cleansed the bowl and his hands, Kūṭadanta the Brahman took a low seat and seated himself beside him. And when he was thus seated the Blessed One instructed and aroused and incited and gladdened Kūṭadanta the Brahman with religious discourse; and then arose from his seat and departed thence.

Kūṭadanta Sutta is ended.


[1] See, for instance, the notes above on P. 33; and the remarks, in the Introduction to the Ambaṭṭha, on the Aggañña Sutta.

[2] No. 1 in Vol. II of the Pāli text in Prof. Fausb"ll’s edition, and of the Cambridge translation edited by Prof. Cowell.

[3] This verse is quoted in the Dhammapada (verse 223).

[4] The full version can also be seen in my ‘Buddhist Birth Stories,’ pp. xxii-xxvi.

[5] Both Jātaka and Sutta are translated in full in my ‘Buddhist Suttas’ (vol. xi of the S. B. E., pp. 238-289).

[6] Chāndogya Upanishad III, 16 and 17.

[7] Hosea vi. 6; quoted Matt. ix. 13, and xii. 7. See also Micah vi. 6-8. Prov. xv. 8, and xxi. I 3, are, of course, later.

[8] Mahābhārata I, 3o95 nearly = XIII, 1544. Compare XIII, 6073Ṇ

[9] He gives as his authority, the Amara Koṣa; but the Koṣa merely mentions the word, in a list, without any explanation.

[10] Aṅguttara I, 163, and other passages.

[11] The passage is quoted in Muir’s Sanskrit Texts,’ III, 95.

[12] For instance in his commentary on the Brahma-Sūtra, I, 1, 2; II, 2, 2; III, 3, 53.

[13] For instance in the Mahāli and Jāliya Suttas, both translated below.

[14] Sum. I, 247. The Vitaṇḍas are quoted and refuted in the Attha Sālinī, pp. 3, 90, 92, 241 (where the word is wrongly spelt).

[15] Quoted sub voce in Subhūti’s ‘Abbidhānappadīpikā Sūci’ p. 310. According to the Sāsana Vaṃsa Dīpikā (Dr. Mabel Bode’s edition, p. 74), he lived at Arimaddana in Burma in 1127 A. D. See also Sāsana Vaṃsa Dīpo, verse 1238; Gandha Vaṃsa, pp. 63, 67; Forchammer, ‘Jardine Prize Essay,’ p. 34; J. P. T. S, 1882, p. 103.

[16] With this attempt at derivation may be compared Nīlakaṇṭha on the passage quoted below from the Mahābhārata (as given in B. R.), Loka evāyatante te lokayatikā. Also Prof. Cowell’s suggestion (Sarvad. S., p. 2) that Lokāyata may be analysed etymologically as ‘prevalent in the world.’ The exact meaning of āyata is really very doubtful.

[17] Fausb"ll’s edition, VI, 286. No less than four bas reliefs, illustrating this Jātaka, have been found at the Bharhut Tope. See my ‘Buddhist Birth Stories,’ p. cii. On the greater age of the verses, as compared with the prose, of the Jātakas, see ibid. lxxviii.

[18] Loc. cit. See Deussen, ‘Vedānta-system,’ 310; and Thibaut, ‘Vedānta-Sutras,’ II, 269.

[19] Gorresio’s edition, II, 109, 29. Both these passages from the epics are from later portions of them.

[20] Chapter XIII, at the beginning. Burnouf (p. 168) reads tantras (instead of mantras), no doubt wrongly, and has a curious blunder in his note on the passage (P. 409). He says Lokāyata means in Pāli ‘fabulous history, romance’; and quotes, as his authority, the passage given above from the Abhidhāna Padīpikā, in which Lokāyataṃ is simply explained as vitaṇḍa-satthaṃ. This last expression cannot possibly mean anything of that sort.

[21] Weber, Ueber ein fragment der Bhagavatī, II, 248.

[22] My Milinda, I, 7.

[23] Ibid. I, 17.

[24] Cowell’s Translation, p. 236.

[25] Madhusūdana Sarasvatī, Prabodhacandrodaya, Sarva-darṣana saṃgraha.

[26] Sarva-darṣana-saṃgraha, Chapter I, translated by Prof. Cowell in the version published in 1882.

[27] Not the same as the one with the same name half way between Rājagaha and Nālandā (above, p. 1 of the text). Buddhaghosa (p.294) says it was like it.

[28] The whole of Section 2 of the Soṇadaṇḍa is here repeated.

[29] All given in the text in full, as in the Soṇadaṇḍa Sutta.

[30] Sections 3-7 inclusive of the Soṇadaṇḍa are here repeated in full in the text.

[31] As in Section 4.

[32] Vidhā. Childers gives ‘pride’ as the only meaning of this word. But he has made a strange muddle between it and vidho. All that he has under both words should be struck out. All that he has under vidho should be entered under vidhā, which has always the one meaning ‘mode, manner, way.’ Used ethically of the Arahats it refers, no doubt, to divers ‘modes’ of pride or delusion (as for instance in vidhāsu na vikampanti at S. I, 84, and in the passage quoted in Childers). He makes vidhā a very rare word, and vidho a common one. It is just the contrary. Vidhā is frequent, especially at the end of adjectival compounds. Vidho is most rare. It is given doubtfully by Buddhaghosa, in discussing a doubtful reading at Sum. I, 269, in the sense of ‘yoke’; and is a possible reading at Vin. II, 136, 319; IV, 168, 363 in the sense of ‘brooch’ or ‘buckle.’

Here vidhā in Kūṭadanta’s mouth means, of course, mode of rite or ritual. Gotama lays hold of the ambiguity of the word, and twists it round to his ethical teaching in the sense of mode of generosity.

[33] Parikkhārā, ‘accessories, fillings, equipments, appurtenances,’the furniture of a room, the smallest things one wears, the few objects a wondering mendicant carries about with him, and so on.

Here again the word is turned into a riddle, the solution of which is the basis of the dialogue.

[34] Literally ‘he who has a great realm’just as we might say Lord Broadacres.

[35] ‘Such as jewels and plate.’ says Buddhaghosa (p. 295).

[36] Raja-porise. On this word, the locative singular of a neuter abstract form, compare M. I, 85.

[37] Because it was right and fit to do such deeds when one was young and rich. To spend one’s days in selfishness, and then, in old age to give gifts would be no good,’ says Buddhaghosa (P. 297).

[38] Yaññassa parikkhārā. The latter word is here twisted round to a new sense.

[39] Opāna = udapāna. Compare M. I, 379; Vin. I, 236; Mil. 411; Sum. I, 298; and the note at ‘Vinaya Texts,’ II, 115.

[40] Buddhaghosa explains this as meaning that he knew the result of Karma, he knew that his present prosperity was a gift to him by the good deeds done to others in the past, and that there would a similar result in future for his good deeds done now.

[41] This whole closing sentence is repeated, in the text, of each of the sixteen.

[42] The attendants, at such a general largesse, says Buddhaghosa (P.303), push the recipients about, make them stand in a queue, and use violence in doing so.