[IV. In Rājagaha]

Sāriputta-Moggallānapabbajjākathā
41. The Story of the Going-Forth of Sāriputta and Moggallāna

Tena kho pana samayena Sañjayo paribbājako Rājagahe paṭivasati
Then at that time the wanderer Sañjaya Apparently to be identified with Sañjaya Belaṭṭhiputta, one of the six famous teachers in Lord Buddha's time, who taught a radical scepticism.01 was living near Rājagaha

mahatiyā paribbājakaparisāya saddhiṁ,
together with a great assembly of wanderers,

aḍḍhateyyehi paribbājakasatehi.
with two hundred and fifty wanderers.

Tena kho pana samayena Sāriputta-Moggallānā
Then at that time Sāriputta and Moggallāna

Sañjaye paribbājake brahmacariyaṁ caranti,
were living the spiritual life under the wanderer Sañjaya,

tehi katikā katā hoti:
and there was an agreement amongst themselves:

“Yo paṭhamaṁ Amataṁ adhigacchati, so itarassa ārocetū.” ti
“Whoever attains the Deathless first, he should inform the other.” The comm. explains that seeking the Deathless the two friends had joined Sañjaya's Wanderers, but soon realised that the essence (sāra = Nibbāna) was not to be found there, so they made the above pact.02

Atha kho āyasmā Assaji, pubbaṇhasamayaṁ nivāsetvā,
Then the venerable Assaji, having dressed in the morning time,

pattacīvaram-ādāya Rājagahaṁ piṇḍāya pāvisi,
after taking up his bowl and robe, entered Rājagaha for alms,

pāsādikena abhikkantena paṭikkantena, ālokitena vilokitena,
pleasing in going forwards, in going back, in looking ahead, in looking around,

sammiñjitena pasāritena, okkhittacakkhu iriyāpathasampanno.
in bending, in stretching, having downcast eyes, and endowed with good posture.

Addasā kho Sāriputto paribbājako
The wanderer Sāriputta saw

āyasmantaṁ Assajiṁ Rājagahe piṇḍāya carantaṁ,
the venerable Assaji walking for alms in Rājagaha,

pāsādikena abhikkantena paṭikkantena, ālokitena vilokitena,
pleasing in going forwards, in going back, in looking ahead, in looking around,

sammiñjitena pasāritena, okkhittacakkhuṁ iriyāpathasampannaṁ,
in bending, in stretching, having downcast eyes, and endowed with good posture,

disvānassa etad-ahosi:
and having seen (him), this occurred to him:

“Ye vata loke Arahanto vā Arahattamaggaṁ vā samāpannā
“Of those in the world who are Worthy or have entered the path to Worthiness

ayaṁ tesaṁ bhikkhu aññataro.
this monk is a certain one of them.

Yan-nūnāhaṁ imaṁ bhikkhuṁ upasaṅkamitvā puccheyyaṁ:
Now what if I, having approached this monk, were to ask:

‘Kaṁsi tvaṁ āvuso uddissa pabbajito,
‘On account of whom, friend, did you go forth,

ko vā te Satthā, kassa vā tvaṁ Dhammaṁ rocesī?’ ” ti
who is your teacher, what Dhamma do you prefer?’ ”

Atha kho Sāriputtassa paribbājakassa etad-ahosi:
Then this occurred to the wanderer Sāriputta:

“Akālo kho imaṁ bhikkhuṁ pucchituṁ,
“This is the wrong time to ask the monk,

antaragharaṁ paviṭṭho piṇḍāya carati.
he has entered amongst the houses for alms.

Yan-nūnāhaṁ imaṁ bhikkhuṁ piṭṭhito piṭṭhito anubandheyyaṁ
Now what if I were to follow along closely behind Word repetition normally signifies emphasis in Pāḷi: piṭṭhito = behind, piṭṭhito piṭṭhito = closely behind.03 this monk

atthikehi upaññātaṁ maggan?” ti
with a desire (to find) the path he has found?”

Atha kho āyasmā Assaji, Rājagahe piṇḍāya caritvā
Then the venerable Assaji, after walking for alms in Rājagaha

piṇḍapātaṁ ādāya paṭikkami.
and taking his alms food, went back.

Atha kho Sāriputto paribbājako yenāyasmā Assaji tenupasaṅkami,
Then the wanderer Sāriputta approached the venerable Assaji,

upasaṅkamitvā āyasmatā Assajinā saddhiṁ sammodi,
and after approaching he exchanged greetings with the venerable Assaji,

sammodanīyaṁ kathaṁ sārāṇīyaṁ vītisāretvā, ekam-antaṁ aṭṭhāsi.
and after exchanging polite and courteous greetings, he stood on one side.

Ekam-antaṁ ṭhito kho Sāriputto paribbājako
While standing on one side the wanderer Sāriputta

āyasmantaṁ Assajiṁ etad-avoca:
said this to the venerable Assaji:

“Vippasannāni kho te āvuso indriyāni, parisuddho chavivaṇṇo pariyodāto,
“Your faculties, friend, are very clear, purified is your skin and bright,

kaṁsi tvaṁ āvuso uddissa pabbajito,
on account of whom, friend, did you go forth,

ko vā te Satthā, kassa vā tvaṁ Dhammaṁ rocesī?” ti
who is your teacher, what Dhamma do you prefer?”

“Atthāvuso Mahāsamaṇo Sakyaputto Sakyakulā pabbajito,
“There is, friend, a Great Ascetic, a Sakyan Son, who has gone forth from the Sakya family,

tāhaṁ Bhagavantaṁ uddissa pabbajito,
on account of that Gracious One I went forth,

so ca me Bhagavā Satthā, tassa cāhaṁ Bhagavato Dhammaṁ rocemī.” ti
that Gracious One is my Teacher, that Gracious One's Dhamma I prefer.”

“Kiṁvādī panāyasmato Satthā kim-akkhāyī?” ti
“But what is the doctrine of the venerable's Teacher, what does he say?”

“Ahaṁ kho āvuso navo acirapabbajito,
“I am new, friend, one not long gone forth,

adhunāgato imaṁ Dhammavinayaṁ,
recently come to this Dhamma and Discipline, This Assaji is always identified as one of the group-of-five disciples, who listened to the Discourse that Set the Dhamma Wheel Rolling and became a Worthy One while listening to the Discourse on the Characteristic of Non-Self --- he was one of the five most senior disciples in the Saṅgha. It is hard to reconcile these facts with his self-characterisation here. Also there is no mention of Assaji accompanying the Buddha to Rājagaha. Assaji must have been a common name at the time, and I think it likely we are dealing with a different Assaji here to the one whom we met in Isipatana.04

na tāhaṁ sakkomi vitthārena Dhammaṁ desetuṁ,
I am not able to teach the Dhamma at length,

api ca te saṅkhittena atthaṁ vakkhāmī.” ti
but I can explain the meaning to you in brief.”

Atha kho Sāriputto paribbājako āyasmantaṁ Assajiṁ etad-avoca: “Hotu āvuso,
Then the wanderer Sāriputta said this to the venerable Assaji: “Friend,

Appaṁ vā bahuṁ vā bhāsassu atthaṁ yeva me brūhi,
Speak little or much, but tell the meaning to me,

Attheneva me attho, kiṁ kāhasi byañjanaṁ bahun?”-ti
The meaning is useful to me, what to do with many words?” Byañjana literally means syllable in this context.05

Atha kho āyasmā Assaji Sāriputtassa paribbājakassa
Then the venerable Assaji recited this Dhamma instruction

imaṁ Dhammapariyāyaṁ abhāsi:
to the wanderer Sāriputta:

“Ye dhammā hetuppabhavā tesaṁ hetuṁ Tathāgato āha,
“Whatever things Comm: pañcakkhandhā; the five constituents (of mind and matter making up a human being).06 have a cause and source, their cause the Realised One has told,

Tesañ-ca yo nirodho - evaṁvādī Mahāsamaṇo.” ti
And also that which is their cessation Regarding this famous verse the commentary points out that the first line refers to the Truth of Suffering the second to the Arising of Suffering, and the third to the Cessation of Suffering.07 - such is the Great Ascetic's doctrine.”

Atha kho Sāriputtassa paribbājakassa, imaṁ Dhammapariyāyaṁ sutvā,
Then to the wanderer Sāriputta, after hearing this Dhamma instruction,

virajaṁ vītamalaṁ Dhammacakkhuṁ udapādi:
the dust-free, stainless Vision-of-the-Dhamma arose:

“Yaṁ kiñci samudayadhammaṁ,
“Whatever has the nature of arising,

sabban-taṁ nirodhadhamman.”-ti
all that has the nature of ceasing.”

“Eseva Dhammŏ yadi tāvad-eva paccavyathā Padam-Asokaṁ,
And he said: “This really is the Dhamma if you have penetrated the Sorrowless State,

adiṭṭhaṁ abbhatītaṁ bahukehi kappanahutehī.” ti
unseen through many myriads of past aeons.”

Atha kho Sāriputto paribbājako yena Moggallāno paribbājako tenupasaṅkami.
Then the wanderer Sāriputta approached the wanderer Moggallāna.

Addasā kho Moggallāno paribbājako
The wanderer Moggallāna saw

Sāriputtaṁ paribbājakaṁ dūrato va āgacchantaṁ,
the wanderer Sāriputta coming while still far away,

disvāna Sāriputtaṁ paribbājakaṁ etad-avoca:
and after seeing (him), he said this to the wanderer Sāriputta:

“Vippasannāni kho te āvuso indriyāni, parisuddho chavivaṇṇo pariyodāto,
“Your faculties, friend, are very clear, purified is your skin and bright,

kacci nu tvaṁ āvuso Amatam-adhigato?” ti
have you, friend, attained the Deathless?”

“Āmāvuso Amatam-adhigato.” ti
“Yes, friend, I have attained the Deathless.”

“Yathā kathaṁ pana tvaṁ āvuso Amatam-adhigato?” ti
“But how did you, friend, attain the Deathless?”

“Idhāhaṁ āvuso addasaṁ Assajiṁ bhikkhuṁ Rājagahe piṇḍāya carantaṁ,
“Here, friend, I saw the monk Assaji walking for alms in Rājagaha,

pāsādikena abhikkantena paṭikkantena, ālokitena vilokitena,
pleasing in going forwards, in going back, in looking ahead, in looking around,

sammiñjitena pasāritena, okkhittacakkhuṁ iriyāpathasampannaṁ,
in bending, in stretching, having downcast eyes, and endowed with good posture,

disvāna me etad-ahosi:
and having seen (him), this occurred to me:

‘Ye vata loke Arahanto vā Arahattamaggaṁ vā samāpannā
‘Of those in the world who are Worthy or have entered the path to Worthiness

ayaṁ tesaṁ bhikkhu aññataro.’
this monk is one of them.’

Yan-nūnāhaṁ imaṁ bhikkhuṁ upasaṅkamitvā puccheyyaṁ:
Now what if I, having approached this monk, were to ask:

“Kaṁsi tvaṁ āvuso uddissa pabbajito,
“On account of whom, friend, did you go forth,

ko vā te Satthā, kassa vā tvaṁ Dhammaṁ rocesī?” ti
who is your teacher, what Dhamma do you prefer?”

Tassa mayhaṁ āvuso etad-ahosi:
Then this, friend, occurred to me:

“Akālo kho imaṁ bhikkhuṁ pucchituṁ,
“This is the wrong time to ask the monk,

antaragharaṁ paviṭṭho piṇḍāya carati.
he has entered amongst the houses for alms.

Yan-nūnāhaṁ imaṁ bhikkhuṁ piṭṭhito piṭṭhito anubandheyyaṁ
Now what if I were to follow along close behind this monk

atthikehi upaññātaṁ maggan?”-ti
with a desire to find out the path?”

Atha kho āvuso Assaji bhikkhu Rājagahe piṇḍāya caritvā,
Then, friend, the monk Assaji, after walking for alms in Rājagaha,

piṇḍapātaṁ ādāya paṭikkami.
and taking his alms food, went back.

Atha khvāhaṁ āvuso yena Assaji bhikkhu tenupasaṅkami,
Then I, friend, approached the monk Assaji,

upasaṅkamitvā Assajinā bhikkhunā saddhiṁ sammodiṁ,
and after approaching I exchanged greetings with the monk Assaji,

sammodanīyaṁ kathaṁ sārāṇīyaṁ vītisāretvā ekam-antaṁ aṭṭhāsiṁ.
and after exchanging polite and courteous greetings, I stood on one side.

Ekam-antaṁ ṭhito kho ahaṁ āvuso Assajiṁ bhikkhuṁ etad-avocaṁ:
While standing on one side, friend, I said this to the monk Assaji:

“Vippasannāni kho te āvuso indriyāni, parisuddho chavivaṇṇo pariyodāto,
“Your faculties, friend, are very clear, purified is your skin and bright,

kaṁsi tvaṁ āvuso uddissa pabbajito,
on account of whom, friend, did you go forth,

ko vā te Satthā, kassa vā tvaṁ Dhammaṁ rocesī?” ti
who is your teacher, what Dhamma do you prefer?”

“Atthāvuso Mahāsamaṇo Sakyaputto Sakyakulā pabbajito,
“There is, friend, a Great Ascetic, the Sakyan Son, who has gone forth from the Sakya family,

tāhaṁ Bhagavantaṁ uddissa pabbajito,
on account of that Gracious One I went forth,

so ca me Bhagavā Satthā, tassa cāhaṁ Bhagavato Dhammaṁ rocemī.” ti
that Gracious One is my Teacher, that Gracious One's Dhamma I prefer.”

“Kiṁvādī panāyasmato Satthā kim-akkhāyī?” ti
“But what is the doctrine of the venerable's Teacher, what does he say?”

“Ahaṁ kho āvuso navo acirapabbajito,
“I am new, friend, not long gone forth,

adhunāgato imaṁ Dhammavinayaṁ,
recently come to this Dhamma and Discipline,

na tāhaṁ sakkomi vitthārena Dhammaṁ desetuṁ,
I am not able to teach the Dhamma at length,

api ca te saṅkhittena atthaṁ vakkhāmī.” ti
but I can explain the meaning to you in brief.”

Atha khvāhaṁ āvuso Assajiṁ bhikkhuṁ etad-avoca: “Hotu āvuso,
Then, friend, I said this to the venerable Assaji: “Friend,

Appaṁ vā bahuṁ vā bhāsassu atthaṁ yeva me brŭhi,
Speak little or much, but tell the meaning to me,

Attheneva me attho kiṁ kāhasi byañjanaṁ bahun?”-ti
The meaning is useful to me, what to do with many words?”

Atha kho āvuso Assaji bhikkhu imaṁ Dhammapariyāyaṁ abhāsi:
Then, friend, the monk Assaji recited this Dhamma instruction:

“Ye dhammā hetuppabhavā tesaṁ hetuṁ Tathāgato āha,
“Whatever things have a cause and source, their cause the Realised One told,

Tesañ-ca yo nirodho - evaṁvādī Mahāsamaṇo.” ti
And also that which is their cessation - such is the Great Ascetic's doctrine.”

Atha kho Moggallānassa paribbājakassa imaṁ Dhammapariyāyaṁ sutvā,
Then to the wanderer Moggallāna, after hearing this Dhamma instruction,

virajaṁ vītamalaṁ Dhammacakkhuṁ udapādi:
the dust-free, stainless Vision-of-the-Dhamma arose:

“Yaṁ kiñci samudayadhammaṁ,
“Whatever has the nature of arising,

sabban-taṁ nirodhadhamman.”-ti
all that has the nature of ceasing.”

“Eseva Dhammŏ yadi tāvad-eva paccavyathā Padam-Asokaṁ,
And he said: “This really is the Dhamma if you have penetrated the Sorrowless State,

adiṭṭhaṁ abbhatītaṁ bahukehi kappanahutehī.” ti
unseen through many myriads of past aeons.”

 

Atha kho Moggallāno paribbājako Sāriputtaṁ paribbājakaṁ etad-avoca:
Then the wanderer Moggallāna said this to the wanderer Sāriputta:

“Gacchāma mayaṁ āvuso Bhagavato santike, so no Bhagavā Satthā.” ti
“Let us go, friend, to the Gracious One, the Gracious One is the Teacher for us.”

“Imāni kho āvuso aḍḍhateyyāni paribbājakasatāni,
“These two hundred and fifty wanderers, friend,

amhe nissāya amhe sampassantā idha viharanti,
are living here depending on us, looking to us,

te pi tāva apalokema yathā te maññissanti tathā karissantī.” ti
we should get their permission, then whatever they will think that they will do.”

Atha kho Sāriputta-Moggallānā yena te paribbājakā tenupasaṅkamiṁsu,
Then Sāriputta and Moggallāna approached those wanderers,

upasaṅkamitvā te paribbājake etad-avocuṁ:
and after approaching, they said this to those wanderers:

“Gacchāma mayaṁ āvuso Bhagavato santike, so no Bhagavā Satthā.” ti
“We are going, friends, to the Gracious One, the Gracious One is the Teacher for us.”

“Mayaṁ āyasmante nissāya āyasmante sampassantā idha viharāma,
“We are living here depending on you, venerable ones, looking to you, venerable ones,

sace āyasmantā Mahāsamaṇe brahmacariyaṁ carissanti
if you venerable ones will live the spiritual life under the Great Ascetic

sabbe va mayaṁ Mahāsamaṇe brahmacariyaṁ carissāmā.” ti
all of us will surely live the spiritual life under the Great Ascetic.”

Atha kho Sāriputta-Moggallānā yena Sañjayo paribbājako tenupasaṅkamiṁsu,
Then Sāriputta and Moggallāna approached the wanderer Sañjaya,

upasaṅkamitvā Sañjayaṁ paribbājakaṁ etad-avocuṁ:
and after approaching, they said this to the wanderer Sañjaya:

“Gacchāma mayaṁ āvuso Bhagavato santike, so no Bhagavā Satthā.” ti
“We are going, friend, to the Gracious One, the Gracious One is our Teacher.”

“Alaṁ āvuso mā gamittha sabbe va tayo imaṁ gaṇaṁ pariharissāmā.” ti
“Enough, friend, don't go, the three of us will look after this group.” I.e. he is offering them joint leadership of the group.08

Dutiyam-pi kho Sāriputta-Moggallānā Sañjayaṁ paribbājakaṁ etad-avocuṁ:
For a second time Sāriputta and Moggallāna said this to the wanderer Sañjaya:

“Gacchāma mayaṁ āvuso Bhagavato santike, so no Bhagavā Satthā.” ti
“We are going, friend, to the Gracious One, the Gracious One is our Teacher.”

“Alaṁ āvuso mā gamittha sabbe va tayo imaṁ gaṇaṁ pariharissāmā.” ti
“Enough, friend, don't go, the three of us will look after this group.”

Tatiyam-pi kho Sāriputta-Moggallānā Sañjayaṁ paribbājakaṁ etad-avocuṁ:
For a third time Sāriputta and Moggallāna said this to the wanderer Sañjaya:

“Gacchāma mayaṁ āvuso Bhagavato santike, so no Bhagavā Satthā.” ti
“We are going, friend, to the Gracious One, the Gracious One is our Teacher.”

“Alaṁ āvuso mā gamittha sabbe va tayo imaṁ gaṇaṁ pariharissāmā.” ti
“Enough, friend, don't go, the three of us will look after this group.”

Atha kho Sāriputta-Moggallānā tāni aḍḍhateyyāni paribbājakasatāni ādāya
Then Sāriputta and Moggallāna taking those two hundred and fifty wanderers

yena Veḷuvanaṁ tenupasaṅkamiṁsu.
approached the Bamboo Wood.

Sañjayassa pana paribbājakassa tattheva uṇhaṁ lohitaṁ mukhato uggañchi.
But the wanderer Sañjaya right there threw up hot blood from his mouth.

 

Addasā kho Bhagavā Sāriputta-Moggallāne dūrato va āgacchante,
The Gracious One saw Sāriputta and Moggallāna coming while still far away,

disvāna bhikkhū āmantesi:
and having seen (them), he addressed the monks, (saying):

“Ete bhikkhave dve sahāyā āgacchanti, Kolito Upatisso ca,
“These two companions who are coming, Kolita and Upatissa,

etaṁ me Sāvakayugaṁ bhavissati Aggaṁ bhaddayugan.” ti
will be my pair of Chief Disciples, an auspicious pair.”

Gambhīre ñāṇavisayĕ anuttare upadhisaṅkhayĕ vimutte
After (they had) attained deep knowledge in the realm of unsurpassed liberation with the destruction of attachments This phrase is a locative absolutive, not as extraordinary as Rhys-Davids makes out.09

Anuppatte Veḷuvanaṁ atha nĕ Satthā byākāsi:
The Teacher then spoke about them in the Bamboo Wood, (saying):

“Ete dve sahāyā āyanti, Kolitŏ Upatisso ca,
“These two companions who are coming, Kolita and Upatissa

Etaṁ mĕ Sāvakayugaṁ bhavissati Aggaṁ bhaddayugan.” ti
Will be my pair of Chief Disciples, an auspicious pair.”

Atha kho Sāriputta-Moggallānā yena Bhagavā tenupasaṅkamiṁsu,
Then Sāriputta and Moggallāna approached the Gracious One,

upasaṅkamitvā Bhagavato pādesu sirasā nipatitvā,
and after approaching and falling with their heads at the feet of the Gracious One,

Bhagavantaṁ etad-avocuṁ:
they said this to the Gracious One:

“Labheyyāma mayaṁ Bhante Bhagavato santike pabbajjaṁ,
“May we receive the going-forth, venerable Sir, in the presence of the Gracious One,

labheyyāma upasampadan.”-ti
may we receive the full ordination.”

“Etha bhikkhavo” ti Bhagavā avoca “svākkhāto Dhammo,
“Come, monks,” said the Gracious One, “the Dhamma has been well-proclaimed,

caratha brahmacariyaṁ sammā dukkhassa antakiriyāyā.” ti
live the spiritual life for the complete ending of suffering.” Comm: Mahāmoggallānatthero sattahi divasehi Arahatte patiṭṭhito, Sāriputtatthero aḍḍhamāsena; the Elder Mahāmoggallāna was established in Worthiness within seven days, the Elder Sāriputta within half a month.10

Sā va tesaṁ āyasmantānaṁ upasampadā ahosi.
That was these venerable ones' full ordination. The commentary explains that at the time of the Buddha Anomadassī there were two ascetics named Sarada and Sirīvaḍḍha who, seeing that Buddha's Chief Disciples, aspired to be Chief Disciples themselves, and later were reborn and became Sāriputta and Mahāmoggallāna respectively.11