Udāna 7: Cullavaggo
The Chapter (including) the Short (Discourses)

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9: The Discourse about the Well

 

Thus I heard:
at one time the Gracious One was walking on walking tour amongst the Mallas with a great Community of monks and arrived at the brāhmaṇa village of the Mallas called Thūna.

The brāhmaṇa householders of Thūna heard: The Commentary explains brāhmaṇagahapatikā as a dvanda compound brāhmaṇā ca gahapatikā ca, and goes on to state that the gahapatikā were of the vessā class, but this goes very much against the clear reference in the discourse to it being a brāhmaṇa village. It seems better therefore to take the compound as a kammadhāraya, as in the translation here. Almost certainly the reason for trying to prevent the monks using the well is that they were vivaṇṇā, classless, and therefore considered polluting to the class-conscious brāhmaṇas.01 “The ascetic Gotama, the son of the Sakyans who has gone forth from the Sakyan clan, is walking on walking tour amongst the Mallas with a great Community of monks and has arrived at Thūna”, and they completely filled the well to the top with grass and chaff, (thinking): “May these shaveling ascetics not drink (our) drinking water.”

Then the Gracious One, having gone down from the road, went to the root of a certain tree, and after going, he sat down on the prepared seat. While sat the Gracious One addressed venerable Ānanda, (saying): “Come now, Ānanda, bring drinking water from that well.”

After that was said, venerable Ānanda said this to the Gracious One: “Now the well, reverend Sir, has been filled to the top with grass and chaff by the brāhmaṇa householders of Thūna, (thinking): ‘May these shaveling ascetics not drink (our) drinking water.’ ”

For a second time the Gracious One addressed venerable Ānanda, (saying): “Come now, Ānanda, bring drinking water from that well.”

After that was said, venerable Ānanda said this to the Gracious One: “Now the well, reverend Sir, has been filled to the top with grass and chaff by the brāhmaṇa householders of Thūna, (thinking): ‘May these shaveling ascetics not drink (our) drinking water.’ ”

For a third time the Gracious One addressed venerable Ānanda, (saying): “Come now, Ānanda, bring drinking water from that well.”

“Yes, reverend Sir”, said venerable Ānanda, and after replying to the Gracious One, and taking the bowl, he went to the well. Then as venerable Ānanda was going to that well, all the grass and chaff was thrown away from the top (of the well), and it stood full of transparent, undisturbed, clear water, to the top so that one might think it was overflowing.

Then it occurred to venerable Ānanda: “Surely it is wonderful, surely it is marvellous, the Realised One's great power and great majesty, in that as I was going to that well, all the grass and chaff was thrown away from the top (of the well), and it stood full of transparent, undisturbed, clear water, to the top so that one might think it was overflowing.”

After taking drinking water with a bowl he went to the Gracious One, and after going, he said this to the Gracious One: “It is wonderful, reverend Sir, it is marvellous, reverend Sir, the Realised One's great power and great majesty, in that as I was going to that well, all the grass and chaff was thrown away from the top (of the well), and it stood full of transparent, undisturbed, clear water, to the top so that one might think it was overflowing. Please drink the drinking water, Gracious One! Please drink the drinking water, Fortunate One!”

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

“What will he do with a well, if there will be water at all times?
Having cut off craving at the root, who will go about seeking?”