MN 93: Assalayana Sutta — With Assalayana

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MN 93: Assalayana Sutta — With Assalayana

Postby mikenz66 » Wed Jul 04, 2012 9:26 am

MN 93 PTS: M ii 147
Assalayana Sutta: With Assalayana
translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu


The Buddha enters into a debate with a brahman on whether one's worth as a person is determined by birth or by behavior. Although some of the arguments he presents here deal with the specifics of brahman caste pride, many of them are applicable to issues of racism and nationalism in general.

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html




I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monstery. And on that occasion five hundred brahmans from various provinces were staying at Savatthi on some business or other. The thought occurred to them, "This Gotama the contemplative prescribes purity for the four castes. Now who is capable of disputing with him on this statement?" And on that occasion the brahman student Assalayana was staying at Savatthi. Young, shaven-headed, sixteen years old, he was a master of the Three Vedas with their vocabularies, liturgy, phonology, etymology, & histories as a fifth; skilled in philology & grammar, he was fully versed in cosmology and in the marks of a Great Man. The thought occurred to the brahmans, "This brahman student Assalayana is staying in Savatthi... He is capable of disputing with Gotama the contemplative on this statement."

So the brahmans went to the brahman student Assalayana and said to him, "Master Assalayana, this Gotama the contemplative prescribes purity for the four castes. Come and dispute with him on this statement."

When this was said, the brahman student Assalayana said to the brahmans, "Sirs, Gotama the contemplative is one who speaks Dhamma. And those who speak Dhamma are hard to dispute with. I can't dispute with him on this statement."

A second time... A third time, the brahmans said to the brahman student Assalayana, "Master Assalayana, this Gotama the contemplative prescribes purity for the four castes. Come and dispute with him on this statement, for you have lived the life of a wanderer. Don't be defeated without being defeated in battle."

When this was said, the brahman student Assalayana said to the brahmans, "Apparently, sirs, I don't get leave from you (to avoid the matter by saying), 'Gotama the contemplative is one who speaks Dhamma. And those who speak Dhamma are hard to dispute with. I can't dispute with him on this statement.' But at your bidding I will go."

The the brahman student Assalayana went with a large group of brahmans to the Blessed One and, on arrival, exchanged courteous greetings with him. After an exchange of friendly greetings & courtesies, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "Master Gotama, the brahmans say, 'Brahmans are the superior caste; any other caste is inferior. Only brahmans are the fair caste; any other caste is dark. Only brahmans are pure, not non-brahmans. Only brahmans are the sons & offspring of Brahma: born of his mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma.' What does Master Gotama have to say with regard to that?"

"But, Assalayana, the brahmans' brahman-women are plainly seen having their periods, becoming pregnant, giving birth, and nursing [their children]. And yet the brahmans, being born through the birth canal, say, 'Brahmans are the superior caste; any other caste is inferior. Only brahmans are the fair caste; any other caste is dark. Only brahmans are pure, not non-brahmans. Only brahmans are the sons & offspring of Brahma: born of his mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma.'"

"Even though Master Gotama says that, still the brahmans think, 'Brahmans are the superior caste... the sons & offspring of Brahma: born of his mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma.'"

"What do you think, Assalayana? Have you heard that in Yana & Kamboja and other outlying countries there are only two castes — masters & slaves — and that having been a master one (can) become a slave, and that having been a slave one (can) become a master?"

"Yes, Master Gotama..."

"So what strength is there, Assalayana, what assurance, when the brahmans say, 'Brahmans are the superior caste... the sons & offspring of Brahma: born of his mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma'?"

"Even though Master Gotama says that, still the brahmans think, 'Brahmans are the superior caste... the sons & offspring of Brahma: born of his mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma.'"

"What do you think, Assalayana? Is it only a noble warrior who — taking life, stealing, engaging in sexual misconduct, telling lies, speaking divisively, speaking harshly, engaging in idle chatter, greedy, bearing thoughts of ill will, and holding wrong views — on the break-up of the body, after death, reappears in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell, and not a brahman? Is it only a merchant...? Is it only a worker who — taking life, stealing, engaging in sexual misconduct, telling lies, speaking divisively, speaking harshly, engaging in idle chatter, greedy, bearing thoughts of ill will, and holding wrong views — on the break-up of the body, after death, reappears in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell, and not a brahman?"

"No, Master Gotama. Even a noble warrior... Even a brahman... Even a merchant... Even a worker... (Members of) all four castes — if they take life, steal, engage in sexual misconduct, tell lies, speak divisively, speak harshly, engage in idle chatter, are greedy, bear thoughts of ill will, & hold wrong views — on the break-up of the body, after death, reappear in the plane of deprivation, the bad destination, the lower realms, in hell."

"So what strength is there, Assalayana, what assurance, when the brahmans say, 'Brahmans are the superior caste... the sons & offspring of Brahma: born of his mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma'?"

"Even though Master Gotama says that, still the brahmans think, 'Brahmans are the superior caste... the sons & offspring of Brahma: born of his mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma.'"

"What do you think, Assalayana? Is it only a brahman who — refraining from taking life, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from telling lies, from speaking divisive speech, from harsh speech, & from idle chatter, not greedy, bearing no thoughts of ill-will, & holding to right view — on the break-up of the body, after death, reappears in the good destination, the heavenly world, and not a noble warrior, not a merchant, not a worker?"

"No, Master Gotama. Even a noble warrior... Even a brahman... Even a merchant... Even a worker... (Members of) all four castes — if they refrain from taking life, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from telling lies, from speaking divisive speech, from harsh speech, & from idle chatter, are not greedy, bear no thoughts of ill-will, & hold to right view — on the break-up of the body, after death, reappear in the good destination, the heavenly world."

"So what strength is there, Assalayana, what assurance, when the brahmans say, 'Brahmans are the superior caste... the sons & offspring of Brahma: born of his mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma'?"

"Even though Master Gotama says that, still the brahmans think, 'Brahmans are the superior caste... the sons & offspring of Brahma: born of his mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma.'"

"What do you think, Assalayana? Is it only a brahman who is capable of developing in any direction a heart of good will — free from animosity, free from ill will — and not a noble warrior, not a merchant, not a worker?"

"No, Master Gotama. Even a noble warrior... Even a brahman... Even a merchant... Even a worker... (Members of) all four castes are capable of developing in any direction a heart of good will — free from animosity, free from ill will."

"So what strength is there, Assalayana, what assurance, when the brahmans say, 'Brahmans are the superior caste... the sons & offspring of Brahma: born of his mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma'?"

"Even though Master Gotama says that, still the brahmans think, 'Brahmans are the superior caste... the sons & offspring of Brahma: born of his mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma.'"

"What do you think, Assalayana? Is it only a brahman who is capable of taking a loofah & bath powder, going to a river, and scrubbing off dust & dirt, and not a noble warrior, not a merchant, not a worker?"

"No, Master Gotama. Even a noble warrior... Even a brahman... Even a merchant... Even a worker... (Members of) all four castes are capable of taking a loofah & bath powder, going to a river, and scrubbing off dust & dirt."

"So what strength is there, Assalayana, what assurance, when the brahmans say, 'Brahmans are the superior caste... Only brahmans are pure, not non-brahmans. Only brahmans are the sons & offspring of Brahma: born of his mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma'?"

"Even though Master Gotama says that, still the brahmans think, 'Brahmans are the superior caste... Only brahmans are pure, not non-brahmans. Only brahmans are the sons & offspring of Brahma: born of his mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma.'"

"What do you think, Assalayana? There is the case where a consecrated noble warrior king might call together one hundred men of different births (and say to them), 'Come, masters. Those of you there born from a noble warrior clan, from a brahman clan, or from a royal clan: taking an upper fire-stick of saala wood, salala wood, sandalwood, or padumaka wood, produce fire & make heat appear. And come, masters. Those of you there born from an outcast clan, a trapper clan, a wicker workers' clan, a cartwrights' clan, or a scavengers' clan: taking an upper fire-stick from a dog's drinking trough, from a pig's trough, from a dustbin, or of castor-oil wood, produce fire & make heat appear.' What do you think, Assalayana? Would the fire made by those born from a noble warrior clan, a brahman clan, or a royal clan — who had produced fire & made heat appear by taking an upper fire-stick of saala wood, salala wood, sandalwood, or padumaka wood — be the only one with flame, color, & radiance, able to do whatever a fire might be needed to do? And would the fire made by those born those born from an outcast clan, a trapper clan, a wicker workers' clan, a cartwrights' clan, or a scavengers' clan — who had produced fire & made heat appear by taking an upper fire-stick from a dog's drinking trough, from a pig's trough, from a dustbin, or of castor-oil wood — be without flame, color, & radiance, unable to do what a fire might be needed to do?"

"No, Master Gotama. The fire made by those born from a noble warrior clan, a brahman clan, or a royal clan... would have flame, color, & radiance, able to do whatever a fire might be needed to do. And the fire made by those born from an outcast clan, a trapper clan, a wicker workers' clan, a cartwrights' clan, or a scavengers' clan... would have flame, color, & radiance, able to do whatever a fire might be needed to do. For all fire has flame, color, & radiance, and is able to do whatever a fire might be needed to do."

"So what strength is there, Assalayana, what assurance, when the brahmans say, 'Brahmans are the superior caste... Only brahmans are pure, not non-brahmans. Only brahmans are the sons & offspring of Brahma: born of his mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma'?"

"Even though Master Gotama says that, still the brahmans think, 'Brahmans are the superior caste... Only brahmans are pure, not non-brahmans. Only brahmans are the sons & offspring of Brahma: born of his mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma.'"

"What do you think, Assalayana? There is the case where a noble warrior youth might cohabit with a brahman maiden, and from their cohabitation a son would be born. Would the son born from the noble warrior youth and brahman maiden be like the father and like the mother? Should it be called a noble warrior & a brahman?"

"Yes, Master Gotama..."

"What do you think, Assalayana? There is the case where a brahman youth might cohabit with a noble warrior maiden, and from their cohabitation a son would be born. Would the son born from the brahman youth and noble warrior maiden be like the father and like the mother? Should it be called a noble warrior & a brahman?"

"Yes, Master Gotama..."

"What do you think, Assalayana? There is the case where a mare might mate with a donkey, and from their mating a foal would be born. Would the foal born from the mare & the donkey be like the father and like the mother? Should it be called a horse & a donkey?"

"Master Gotama, from the mixed breeding it would be a mule. Here I see that it [the mixed breeding] makes a difference, but there [in the other two cases] I don't see that it makes a difference."

"What do you think, Assalayana? There is the case where there might be two brahman-student brothers, born of the same mother: one learned & initiated, the other not learned & uninitiated. Which of the two would the brahmans serve first at a funeral feast, a milk-rice offering, a sacrifice, or a feast for guests?"

"The brahman student who was learned & initiated, Master Gotama... For what great fruit would there be for what is given to one who is not learned & uninitiated?"

"What do you think, Assalayana? There is the case where there might be two brahman-student brothers, born of the same mother: one learned & initiated (but) unvirtuous & of evil character, the other not learned & uninitiated, (but) virtuous & of fine character. Which of the two would the brahmans serve first at a funeral feast, a milk-rice offering, a sacrifice, or a feast for guests?"

"The brahman student who was not learned & uninitiated, (but) virtuous & of fine character, Master Gotama... For what great fruit would there be for what is given to one who is unvirtuous & of evil character?"

"First, Assalayana, you went by birth. Then, having gone by birth, you went by mantras. Then, having gone by mantras, putting them both aside, you have come around to the purity of the four castes that I prescribe."

When this was said, the brahman student Assalayana sat silent, abashed, his shoulders drooping, his head down, brooding, at a loss for words.

Then the Blessed One — seeing that the brahman student Assalayana was sitting silent, abashed, his shoulders drooping, his head down, brooding, at a loss for words — said to him, "Once, Assalayana, this evil viewpoint arose in the seven brahman seers as they were consulting together in leaf huts in the wilderness: 'Brahmans are the superior caste; any other caste is inferior. Only brahmans are the fair caste; any other caste is dark. Only brahmans are pure, not non-brahmans. Only brahmans are the sons & offspring of Brahma: born of his mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma.' Then the seer Devala the Dark heard, 'This evil viewpoint has arisen in the seven brahman seers as they are consulting together in leaf huts in the wilderness: 'Brahmans are the superior caste; any other caste is inferior... Only brahmans are the sons & offspring of Brahma: born of his mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma.' So, arranging his hair & beard, putting on crimson garments, wearing multi-layered sandals, and carrying a staff made of gold, he appeared in the courtyard of the seven brahman seers. Then he walked back & forth in the courtyard of the seven brahman seers saying, "Well, now, where have these masters, the brahman seers, gone? Well, now, where have these masters, the brahman seers, gone?"

"Then the seven brahman seers said to the seer Devala the Dark, 'Now who is this, walking back & forth in the courtyard of the seven brahman seers like a village lout, saying, "Well, now, where have these masters, the brahman seers, gone? Well, now, where have these masters, the brahman seers, gone?" Let's curse him!' So the seven brahman seers cursed the seer Devala the Dark: "Be ashes, dribble-spit![1] Be ashes, dribble-spit! Be ashes, dribble-spit!"' But the more they cursed him, the more beautiful, good-looking, & inspiring he became. Then the thought occurred to the seven brahman seers, 'Our asceticism is in vain! Our holy-life is fruitless! For before, whenever we cursed anyone, "Be ashes, dribble-spit!" he would always become ashes. But the more we curse this one, the more beautiful, good-looking, & inspiring he becomes!'

"'Masters, your asceticism is not in vain, and your holy-life not fruitless. Please, masters, abandon your hatred toward me.'

"'We abandon our hatred toward you, master. Who are you?'

"'Have you heard of the seer Devala the Dark?'

"'Yes, master.'

"'I am he.'

"Then the seven brahman seers approached him to bow down to him, and he said to them, 'I have heard that this evil viewpoint has arisen in the seven brahman seers as they are consulting together in leaf huts in the wilderness: "Brahmans are the superior caste; any other caste is inferior... Only brahmans are the sons & offspring of Brahma: born of his mouth, born of Brahma, created by Brahma, heirs of Brahma."'

"That is so, master.'

"'But do you know, masters, if the mother who bore you went only with a brahman, and not with a non-brahman?'

"'No, master.'

"'And do you know if the mothers of the mother who bore you — back seven generations of mothers — went only with brahmans, and not with non-brahmans?'

"'No, master.'

"'And do you know if the father who sired you went only with a brahman woman, and not with a non-brahman woman?'

"'No, master.'

"'And do you know if the fathers of the father who bore you — back seven generations of fathers — went only with brahman women, and not with non-brahman women?'

"'No, master.'

"'Do you know how there is the descent of an embryo?'

"'Yes, master, we know how there is the descent of an embryo. There is the case where the mother & father have come together, the mother is fertile, and a gandhabba [the being about to be reborn] is standing present. The coming together of these three is the descent of the embryo.'

"'But do you know for sure whether the gandhabba is a noble warrior, a brahman, a merchant, or a worker?'

"'No, master.'

"'That being the case, do you know who you are?'

"'That being the case, master, we don't know who we are.'

"Now, Assalayana, when those seven brahman seers couldn't defend their own birth-statement when interrogated, pressed, & rebuked by the seer Devala the Dark, how can you now defend your own birth-statement when interrogated, pressed, & rebuked by me — you, their lineage holder, but not (the equal of) Punna, their ladle holder?"

When this was said, the brahman student Assalayana said to the Blessed One: "Magnificent, Master Gotama! Magnificent! Just as if he were to place upright what was overturned, to reveal what was hidden, to show the way to one who was lost, or to carry a lamp into the dark so that those with eyes could see forms, in the same way has Master Gotama — through many lines of reasoning — made the Dhamma clear. I go to Master Gotama for refuge, to the Dhamma, and to the Sangha of monks. May Master Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone to him for refuge, from this day forward, for life."


Note

1. Reading capalii with the Thai edition of the Canon. The PTS edition has vasalii ("one having a vile person (as a mother?)"); the Sri Lankan edition, vasala, "vile person."
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Re: MN 93: Assalayana Sutta — With Assalayana

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jul 07, 2012 12:26 am

Now at that time five hundred brahmins from diverse provinces were staying at Sāvatthī for some business or other. Then those brahmins thought: “This recluse Gotama describes purification for all the four castes. Who is there able to dispute with him about this assertion?”
BB: The argument in favour of this thesis is set forth at MN 90.10–12.
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
    "I'm not asking about the present life, lord. I'm asking about the future life. Is there any distinction or difference among these four castes?"

    "Great king, there are these five factors for exertion. Which five?
    ...
    "As for the four castes, great king: If they were endowed with these five factors for exertion, that would be for their long-term welfare & happiness."


So the brahmins went to the brahmin student Assalāyana and said to him: “Master Assalāyana, this recluse Gotama describes purification for all the four castes. Let Master Assalāyana come and dispute with the recluse Gotama about this assertion.”

When this was said, the brahmin student Assalāyana replied: “Sirs, the recluse Gotama is one who speaks the Dhamma. Now those who speak the Dhamma are difficult to dispute with. I am not able to dispute with the recluse Gotama about this assertion.”

A second time the brahmins said to him: “Master Assalāyana, this recluse Gotama describes purification for all the four castes. Let Master Assalāyana come and dispute with the recluse Gotama about this assertion. For the training of a wanderer has been completed by Master Assalāyana.”

MA: They speak thus intending to say: “Having studied the Three Vedas, you have trained in the mantras by which those who go forth undertake their going forth and the mantras they maintain after they have gone forth. You have practised their mode of conduct. Therefore, you will not be defeated. Victory will be yours.”

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Re: MN 93: Assalayana Sutta — With Assalayana

Postby mikenz66 » Sat Jul 07, 2012 9:37 pm

“Now, Assalāyana, the brahmin women are seen having their periods, becoming pregnant, giving birth, and giving suck.
BB: This statement is intended to show that brahmins are born of women, just like other human beings, and there is thus no substance to their claim that they are born of Brahmā’s mouth.

And yet those brahmins, though born from the womb, say thus: ‘Brahmins are the highest caste…brahmins alone are the sons of Brahmā, the offspring of Brahmā, born of his mouth, born of Brahmā, created by Brahmā, heirs of Brahmā.’”

“Although Master Gotama says this, still the brahmins think thus: ‘Brahmins are the highest caste…heirs of Brahmā.’”

“What do you think, Assalāyana? Have you heard that in Yona and Kamboja and in other outland countries there are only two castes, masters and slaves, and that masters become slaves and slaves masters?”

BB: Yona is the Pali transliteration of Ionia. Kamboja is a region to the northwest of the Indian “Middle Country.”

“So I have heard, sir.”

“Then on the strength of what [argument] or with the support of what [authority] do the brahmins in this case say thus: ‘Brahmins are the highest caste…heirs of Brahmā’?”

“Although Master Gotama says this, still the brahmins think thus: ‘Brahmins are the highest caste…heirs of Brahmā.’”
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Re: MN 93: Assalayana Sutta — With Assalayana

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:44 pm

“What do you think, Assalāyana? Suppose a noble were to kill living beings, take what is not given, misconduct himself in sensual pleasures, speak falsely, speak maliciously, speak harshly, gossip, be covetous, have a mind of ill will, and hold wrong view. On the dissolution of the body, after death, would only he [be likely to] reappear in a state of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, even in hell—and not a brahmin? Suppose a merchant…a worker were to kill living beings…and hold wrong view. On the dissolution of the body after death, would only he [be likely to] reappear in a state of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, even in hell—and not a brahmin?”

“No, Master Gotama. Whether it be a noble, or a brahmin, or a merchant, or a worker—those of all four castes who kill living beings [150]…and hold wrong view, on the dissolution of the body, after death, [are likely to] reappear in a state of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, even in hell.”

“Then on the strength of what [argument] or with the support of what [authority] do the brahmins in this case say thus: ‘Brahmins are the highest caste…heirs of Brahmā’?”

BB: The argument of here is substantially identical with that of MN 84.
http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pit ... ra-e1.html
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Re: MN 93: Assalayana Sutta — With Assalayana

Postby mikenz66 » Mon Jul 09, 2012 8:39 pm

“Once, Assalāyana, when seven brahmin seers were consulting together in leaf huts in the forest, this pernicious view arose in them: ‘Brahmins are the highest caste…[155]…heirs of Brahmā.’ Now the seer Devala the Dark heard this. Then he arranged his hair and beard, dressed in ochre-coloured garments, put on stout sandals, and taking a staff made of gold, he appeared in the courtyard of the seven brahmin seers. ...
BB: MA identifies Devala the Dark, Asita Devala, with the Buddha in an earlier life. The Buddha undertakes this teaching to show: “In the past, when you were of a superior birth and I was of an inferior birth, you could not answer a question I asked you about an assertion concerning birth. So how can you do so now, when you are inferior and I have become a Buddha?”
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Re: MN 93: Assalayana Sutta — With Assalayana

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jul 10, 2012 10:22 am

“‘But, sirs, do you know how the descent of an embryo comes about?’

“‘Sir, we know how the descent of an embryo comes about. Here, there is the union of the mother and father, and the mother is in season, and the gandhabba is present. Thus the descent of an embryo comes about through the union of these three things.’

“‘Then, sirs, do you know for sure whether that gandhabba is a noble, or a brahmin, or a merchant, or a worker?’

BB: As in MN 38.26. See n. 411. Note that the dialogue just below establishes the meaning of gandhabba as the deceased being about to be reborn.

MN 38 (another translation is here: http://www.metta.lk/tipitaka/2Sutta-Pitaka/2Majjhima-Nikaya/Majjhima1/038-mahatanhasankhaya-sutta-e1.html):
    26. “Bhikkhus, the descent of the embryo takes place through the union of three things. Here, there is the union of the mother and father, but the mother is not in season, and the gandhabba [411] is not present—in this case nodescent of an embryo takes place. Here, there is the union of the mother and father, and the mother is in season, but the gandhabba is not present—in this case too no descent of the embryo takes place. But when there is the union of the mother and father, and the mother is in season, and the gandhabba is present, through the union of these three things the descent of the embryo takes place.
    [Note 411] MA: The gandhabba is the being arriving there. It is not someone (i.e., a disembodied spirit) standing nearby watching the future parents having intercourse, but a being driven on by the mechanism of kamma, due to be reborn on that occasion.

    BB:[/b] The exact import of the word gandhabba in relation to the rebirth process is not explained in the Nikāyas, and the word in this sense occurs only here and at 93.18. DN 15/ii.63 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html speaks of consciousness as “descending into the mother’s womb,” this being a condition for rebirth to take place. Thus we might identify the gandhabba here as the stream of consciousness, conceived more animistically as coming over from the previous existence and bringing along its total accumulation of kammic tendencies and personality traits. The fullest study of the concept of the gandhabba is Wijesekera, “Vedic Gandharva and Pali Gandhabba,” in Buddhist and Vedic Studies, pp. 191–202.

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Re: MN 93: Assalayana Sutta — With Assalayana

Postby mikenz66 » Tue Jul 10, 2012 10:27 am

“Now, Assalāyana, even those seven brahmin seers, on being pressed and questioned and cross-questioned by the seer Devala the Dark on their own assertion about birth, were unable to support it. But how shall you, on being pressed and questioned and cross-questioned by me now on your assertion about birth, be able to support it? You, who rely on the teachers’ doctrines, are not [even fit to be] their spoon-holder Puṇṇa.”
MA: Pu˚˚a was the name of a servant of the seven seers; he would take a spoon, cook leaves, and serve them.
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