Udāna 4: Meghiyavaggo
The Chapter (including the Discourse) about Meghiya

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8: The Discourse about Sundarī

 

Thus I heard:
at one time the Gracious One was dwelling near Sāvatthī, in Jeta's Wood, at Anāthapiṇḍika's monastery.

Then at that time the Gracious One was venerated, respected, revered, honoured, esteemed, and in receipt of robes, almsfood, dwellings, and medicinal requisites to help when sick; also the Community of monks were venerated, respected, revered, honoured, esteemed, and in receipt of robes, almsfood, dwellings, and medicinal requisites to help when sick.

But wanderers from other sects were not venerated, not respected, not revered, not honoured, not esteemed, nor were they in receipt of robes, almsfood, dwellings, and medicinal requisites to help when sick.

Then those wanderers from other sects being unable to bear the veneration of the Gracious One and the Community of monks, went to the female wanderer Sundarī (Beautiful), and after going, they said this to the female wanderer Sundarī: “Sister, what would you venture to do for your kinsmens' welfare?” “What can I do, Masters, what am I unable to do? I have given up my life for my kinsmens' welfare.” “Then, sister, you must frequently go to Jeta's Wood.”

“Yes, Masters”, said the female wanderer Sundarī, and after replying to those wanderers from other sects, she frequently went to Jeta's Wood.

When those wanderers from other sects knew: “The female wanderer Sundarī has been seen by many people frequently going to Jeta's Wood”, then having deprived her of life, and buried her into a trench-pit right there in Jeta's Wood, they went to the Kosalan King Pasenadi, and after going, they said this to the Kosalan King Pasenadi: “Great King, we no longer see the female wanderer Sundarī.”

“But where do you suspect (she is)?” “In Jeta's Wood, Great King.” “Then you must search Jeta's Wood.”

Then those wanderers from other sects after searching Jeta's Wood, lifting (the body) up from the trench-pit where it had been buried, putting it on a bier, and entering Sāvatthī, going from road to road, from cross-roads to cross-roads, made people find fault, (saying):

“See, Masters, what the Sakyan ascetics have done, shameless are these Sakyan ascetics, lacking in virtue, of bad character, speakers of what is false, not living the spiritual life. But they will claim that they live by Dhamma, live in peace, live spiritually, speak the truth, are virtuous, and are of good character. They have no asceticism, they have no spirituality, their asceticism has perished, their spirituality has perished. Where is their asceticism? Where is their spirituality? They have gone away from asceticism, they have gone away from sprituality. For what man, having done what a man can do, would deprive a woman of life?”

That at that time, the people in Sāvatthī, after seeing the monks, with vulgar and rough words scolded, abused, annoyed, and troubled them, (saying): “Shameless are these Sakyan ascetics, lacking in virtue, of bad character, speakers of what is false, not living the spiritual life. But they will claim that they live by Dhamma, live in peace, live spiritually, speak the truth, are virtuous, and are of good character. They have no asceticism, they have no spirituality, their asceticism has perished, their spirituality has perished. Where is their asceticism? Where is their spirituality? They have gone away from asceticism, they have gone away from sprituality. For what man, having done what a man can do, would deprive a woman of life?”

Then many monks, having dressed in the morning time, after picking up their bowls and robes, entered Sāvatthī for alms, and after walking for alms in Sāvatthī, while returning from the alms-round after the meal, went to the Gracious One, and after going and worshipping the Gracious One, they sat down on one side.

While sat on one side those monks said this to the Gracious One: “At present, reverend Sir, the people in Sāvatthī, after seeing the monks, with vulgar and rough words scold, abuse, annoy, and trouble them, (saying): ‘Shameless are these Sakyan ascetics, lacking in virtue, of bad character, speakers of what is false, not living the spiritual life. But they will claim that they live by Dhamma, live in peace, live spiritually, speak the truth, are virtuous, and are of good character. They have no asceticism, they have no spirituality, their asceticism has perished, their spirituality has perished. Where is their asceticism? Where is their spirituality? They have gone away from asceticism, they have gone away from sprituality. For what man, having done what a man can do, would deprive a woman of life?’ ”

“This noise will not last long, monks, it will last for only seven days, and with the passing of seven days it will disappear. So, monks, when those people, after seeing the monks, with vulgar and rough words scold, abuse, annoy, and trouble them, you should reprove them with this verse:

‘He who speaks what is untrue goes to the nether regions,
Also he who says ‘I did not do’ what he has done,
Both of those men who have performed base deeds
Are the same when they have passed away, in the other world.’ ”

Then those monks, having mastered that verse in the presence of the Gracious One, when those people, after seeing the monks, with vulgar and rough words scolded, abused, annoyed, and troubled them, reproved them with this verse:

“He who speaks what is untrue goes to the nether regions,
Also he who says ‘I did not do’ what he has done,
Both of those men who have performed base deeds
Are the same when they have passed away to the other world.”

Then this occurred to those people: “These Sakyan ascetics are not the doers, this wasn't done by them, these Sakyan ascetics are asserting (the truth).” That noise did not last long, it only lasted for seven days, and with the passing of seven days it disappeared.

Then many monks went to the Gracious One, and after going and worshipping the Gracious One, they sat down on one side. While sat on one side those monks said this to the Gracious One: “It is wonderful, reverend Sir, it is marvellous, reverend Sir, how well spoken that was, reverend Sir, by the Gracious One: ‘This noise will not last long, monks, it will last for only seven days, and with the passing of seven days it will disappear.’ That noise, reverend Sir, has disappeared.”

Then the Gracious One, having understood the significance of it, on that occasion uttered this exalted utterance:

“Unrestrained the people pierce (others) with words,
Like (they pierce) an elephant with arrows in a battle,
(But) having heard that rough speech broadcast around,
A monk should bear it with an uncorrupt mind.”