Udāna 6: Jaccandhavaggo
The Chapter (including the Discourse) about the Congenitally Blind

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8: The Discourse about the Courtesan

 

Thus I heard:
at one time the Gracious One was dwelling near Rājagaha, in Bamboo Wood, at the Squirrels' Feeding Place.

Then at that time in Rājagaha there were two gangs, who were impassioned with a certain courtesan, whose minds were bound. Contending, quarelling, and disputing, they attacked each other with their hands, attacked with clods of earth, attacked with sticks, attacked with swords, and there (and then) they underwent death, and pain like unto death.

Then many monks, having dressed in the morning time, after picking up their bowls and robes, entered Rājagaha for alms, and after walking for alms in Rājagaha, 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: “Here, reverend Sir, in Rājagaha there are two gangs, who are impassioned with a certain courtesan, whose minds are bound. Contending, quarelling, and disputing, they attack each other with their hands, attack with clods of earth, attack with sticks, attack with swords, and there (and then) they undergo death, and pain like unto death.”

Then the Gracious One, having understood the significance of it, on that occasion uttered this exalted utterance: It will be noted that the Udāna that follows has very little to do with the prose introduction. One can’t help feeling that there is some sort of mis-match here, and that the real occasion for the utterance has been lost. It is also worth pointing out that the Udāna is in prose in this section, whereas most (if not all) are in verse, which casts further doubt on the authenticity of the Discourse as it stands.01

“What has been attained, and what can be attained -
these two are strewn with dust, for that miserable one in (wrong) training.

Those who hold the training rules as the essence, or virtue and practices, (right) livelihood, celibacy, and attendance as the essence - this is one end.

Those who say this: ‘There is no fault in sense pleasures” - this is the second end.

Thus these two ends promote the cemetery grounds, and the cemetery grounds promote (wrong) view. Not having understood these two ends, some get stuck, some go too far.

But for those who have understood these, who were not in that, and because of that do not conceive (a conceit) - there is no Cycle (of Saṁsāra) to be assigned for them.”