The Discourse about the Great Emancipation

[The First Chapter for Recitation]

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[10: Sāriputta's Lion's Roar]

Then the Gracious One, after living near Ambalaṭṭhikā for as long as he liked, addressed venerable Ānanda, (saying): “Come Ānanda let us approach Nāḷandā.” Nāḷandā was only a league away from Rājagaha (about 7 - 10 kilometres). At other times it was the setting for the Kevaṭṭasuttaṁ (DN 11) and Upālisuttaṁ (MN 56) amongst others. It became the seat of the largest Buddhist University in India.01

“Very well, reverend Sir,” venerable Ānanda replied to the Gracious One. Then the Gracious One together with a great Community of monks arrived at Nāḷandā. There the Gracious One lived near Nāḷandā in Pāvārika's Mango Wood. This was a monastery built for the Buddha by Pāvārika, a rich merchant from Kosambī (see DPPN).02

Then venerable Sāriputta approached the Gracious One, and after approaching and worshipping the Gracious One, he sat down on one side. While sitting on one side venerable Sāriputta said this to the Gracious One: “I have confidence, reverend Sir, in the Gracious One in this way: that neither in the past, the future, or at present is there found another ascetic or brahmin who has more deep knowledge in regard to Perfect Awakening than the Gracious One.”

“You have spoken this great and imposing speech, Sāriputta, a definite, (well-)grasped, lion's roar that was roared, (saying): ‘I have confidence, reverend Sir, in the Gracious One in this way: that neither in the past, the future, or at present is there found another ascetic or brahmin who has more deep knowledge in regard to Perfect Awakening than the Gracious One.’

But have you, Sāriputta, understood those who, in past times, were Worthy and Perfect Sambuddhas, and known with your mind the minds of those Gracious Ones? (Or that) those Gracious Ones had such and such virtues, those Gracious Ones had such and such qualities, those Gracious Ones had such and such wisdom, those Gracious Ones had such and such lifestyles, those Gracious Ones had such and such liberations?”

“No, reverend Sir.”

“But have you, Sāriputta, understood those who, in the future times, will be Worthy and Perfect Sambuddhas, and known with your mind the minds of those Gracious Ones? (Or that) those Gracious Ones will have such and such virtues, those Gracious Ones will have such and such qualities, those Gracious Ones will have such and such wisdom, those Gracious Ones will have such and such lifestyles, those Gracious Ones will have such and such liberations?”

“No, reverend Sir.”

“But have you understood I, who am, at present, a Worthy and Perfect Sambuddha, and known with your mind (my) mind? (Or that) the Gracious One has such and such virtues, the Gracious One has such and such qualities, the Gracious One has such and such wisdom, the Gracious One has such and such a lifestyle, the Gracious One has such and such a liberation?”

“No, reverend Sir.”

“Here then, Sāriputta, in regard to those past, future, and present Worthy and Perfect Sambuddhas you have no full and exact knowledge with (your own) mind. Then how is it, Sāriputta, at present that you have spoken (such) a great and imposing speech, a definite, (well-)grasped, lion's roar that was roared, (saying): ‘I have confidence, reverend Sir, in the Gracious One in this way: that neither in the past, the future, or at present is there found another ascetic or brahmin who has more deep knowledge in regard to Perfect Awakening than the Gracious One’?”

“I do not, reverend Sir, in regard to those past, future, and present Worthy and Perfect Sambuddhas have full and exact knowledge with (my own) mind. However, I understand (what I said) is in conformity with the Teaching.

It is like a King's city, reverend Sir, near the border areas, having strong foundations, strong walls and gateways, and a single door, and there is a watchman, wise, accomplished, and intelligent, warding off those unknown, and letting through those well-known. While going around the road on inspection through the whole of that city he may not see (such) fissures in the wall or openings in the wall that even a cat could go out through, it may be so, (but he knows): ‘Whatever grosser beings enter or depart from this city all of them surely enter or depart through this door.’

Similarly, reverend Sir, I understand it is in conformity with the Teaching, that whoever, reverend Sir, in the past times, are Worthy Ones, Perfect Sambuddhas, all those Gracious Ones, after giving up the five hindrances, The five hinderances (pañcanīvaraṇa) are sensuality (kāmacchanda), ill-will (byāpāda), sloth and torpor (thīnamiddha), worry (kukkucca), and doubt (vicikicchā).03 have penetrated with wisdom the corruptions of the mind that make one feeble, have established their minds in the four ways of attending to mindfulness, Attending to mindfulness of the body (kāyānupassanā), feelings (vedanānupassanā), mind (cittānupassanā), and (the nature of various) things (dhammānupassanā). See my text and translation of Mahāsatipaṭṭhānasuttaṁ elsewhere on this website.04 and after developing just as it is the Seven Factors of Awakening, The Seven Factors of Awakening (sattabhojjaṅgā) are mindfulness (sati), investigation of (the nature of) things (dhammavicaya), energy (viriya), joyful-interest (pīti), calmness (passaddhi), concentration (samādhi), and equanimity (upekkhā).05 have awakened to the unsurpassed and Perfect Awakening.

That whoever, reverend Sir, in the future times, are Worthy Ones, Perfect Sambuddhas all those Gracious Ones, after giving up the five hindrances, and penetrating with wisdom the corruptions of the mind that make one feeble, and establishing their minds in the four ways of attending to mindfulness, and developing just as it is the Seven Factors of Awakening, will awaken to the unsurpassed and Perfect Awakening.

And the Gracious One, reverend Sir, in the present time, the Worthy One, the Perfect Sambuddha, (also) after giving up the five hindrances, has penetrated with wisdom the corruptions of the mind that make one feeble, has established his mind in the four ways of attending to mindfulness, and after developing just as it is the Seven Factors of Awakening, has awoken to the unsurpassed and Perfect Awakening.”

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There also the Gracious One, while living near Nāḷandā in Pāvārika's Mango Wood, spoke frequently to the monks about the Teaching, (saying):

“Such is virtue, such is concentration, such is wisdom, when virtue is well-developed it yields great fruit and brings great advantages in regard to concentration, when concentration is well-developed it yields great fruit and brings great advantages in regard to wisdom, when wisdom is well-developed the mind is completely liberated from the pollutants, that is to say: the pollutant of sensuality, the pollutant of (craving for) continued existence, the pollutant of ignorance.”