[I: The First Teachings]


[7: The Abstainer Upaka]

Then the Gracious One, having dwelt for as long as he liked left on walking tour for Bārāṇasī. Jā Nid says this took place on the morning of the 14th day of the fortnight, which would only give the Buddha a day to reach Isipatana, about 250 km away; Mahāvastu is more realistic, giving much more detail which, when we inspect it would mean the Buddha took at least a week to make the journey, see Uruvilvā to Ṛṣipatana elsewhere on this website.01 The Abstainer He belonged to the Ājīvaka sect founded by Gosāla Makkhaliputta, one of the six famous teachers in Lord Buddha's time. The title of the sect indicates that they were known to have special rules in regard to their livelihood (ājīva), and abstained from taking support from various people or in various circumstances.02 Upaka saw the Gracious One going along the highway between the Bodhi (tree) and Gayā, According to Mahāvastu the meeting took place at Cundadvīlā, which is mentioned elsewhere in the Pāḷi texts as Cundavīlā.03 and after seeing (him), he said this to the Gracious One: “Your faculties, friend, Āvuso is a contraction of āyasmanto, a plural form, normally used politely when addressing an individual.04 are very clear, purified is your skin and bright, on account of whom, friend, did you go forth or who is your teacher, or what Dhamma do you prefer?” After this was said, the Gracious One addressed the Abstainer Upaka with verses:

“All-Conquering, All-Wise am I, First verse = Dhp 353. Comm: All-Conquering means he stood having conquered all states in the three grounds (of existence), All-Wise means he knew and understood all states in the four grounds (including Emancipation).05
Undefiled in regard to all things,
Having given up everything, liberated through the destruction of craving,
Having deep knowledge myself, who should I point to (as Teacher)? Comm: who should I point to means what other should I point to saying, this is my Teacher?06

There is no Teacher for me, The commentary makes clear that this refers to being a Teacher of the Supermundane state, of course the Bodhisatta is not forgetting his mundane teachers.07 no one like me is found,
There is no person equal to me in the world with its gods.

I am a Worthy One in the world, I am the Unsurpassed Teacher,
I am the One Perfect Sambuddha, cool and passionless.

I go to Kāsi's city Kāsi is the state of which Bārāṇasī was the capital.08 to set the Dhamma-Wheel rolling,
I will beat the drum of the Deathless in a world that is blind.”

“It is as if you claim, friend, you are a Worthy One, an Infinite Victor!” This is apparently said incredulously, although the words themselves do not really make it clear.09

“There are surely Victors like me, This sounds odd here after the claims to uniqueness above.10 who have attained the destruction of the pollutants.
I have been victorious over all wicked things, therefore, Upaka, I am a Victor.”

When this was said, the Abstainer Upaka, after saying: “It may be so, friend,” The form Huveyya is a dialectical form that has been preserved here, which probably marks it as an authentic remembrance. It is missing from Mahāvastu though.11 shaking his head, and taking the wrong path, Wrong path is evidently mentioned here in contrast to the Noble Path, which is soon to be introduced.12 went away.