Mahāparinibbānasuttaṁ
The Discourse about the Great Emancipation

[Paṭhamabhāṇavāraṁ]
[The First Chapter for Recitation]

[1: Rājā Ajātasattu] cf. AN Bk. 7.22-23. Titles placed in square brackets do not occur in the discourse, but are included to help orientate the reader. BJT and ChS also supply titles, but the divisions and titles often differ from the ones given here.01
[King Ajātasattu]

Evaṁ me sutaṁ:
Thus I heard:

Ekaṁ samayaṁ Bhagavā Rājagahe viharati Gijjhakūṭe pabbate.
At one time the Gracious One was living near Rājagaha on the Vultures' Peak Mountain. The discourse opens about one year before the Parinibbāna. Rājagaha was the capital of the Magadhan State, and Vulture's Peak was one of the 7 mountains surrounding the city.02

Tena kho pana samayena Rājā Māgadho Ajātasattu Vedehiputto,
Now at that time the Magadhan King Ajātasattu, Ajātasattu came to power in Magadha about 7 years before the Parinibbāna. His name is an epithet meaning one with no born enemy; but after he had starved his Father to death, the good King Bimbisāra, the name was re-interpreted to mean one who was an enemy (to his Father even) before being born.03 the son of Lady Wisdom,

Vajjī abhiyātukāmo hoti.
had a desire to attack the Vajjians. The Kingdom of Magadha and the Vajjian Republic were neighbouring countries. According to the Commentary they seem to have been in dispute about control of the trade along the Ganges river. The period the Buddha was living in saw the gradual rise of the Monarchies to power, displacing the Republics until a couple of centuries later the whole of India was eventually united under King Asoka.04

So evam-āha: “Ahaṁ hime Vajjī evaṁmahiddhike evaṁmahānubhāve ucchecchāmi,
He said this: “I will annihilate these Vajjians, who are so successful, so powerful,

vināsessāmi Vajjī, anayabyasanaṁ āpādessāmi Vajjī” ti.
I will destroy the Vajjians, I will bring about the downfall and destruction of the Vajjians”.

Atha kho Rājā Māgadho Ajātasattu Vedehiputto,
Then the Magadhan King Ajātasattu, the son of Lady Wisdom, So the meaning of the phrase is interpreted by the Commentary (Vedehī ti pana paṇḍitādhivacanam-etaṁ). The lady in question was the daughter of a King of Kosala.05

Vassakāraṁ brāhmaṇaṁ Magadhamahāmattaṁ āmantesi:
addressed the Magadhan chief minister the brahmin Vassakāra, (saying): We find later on in this discourse that there were two chief ministers under Ajātasattu: Sunīdha and Vassakāra.06

“Ehi tvaṁ brāhmaṇa yena Bhagavā tenupasaṅkama,
“Go, brahmin, and approach the Gracious One,

upasaṅkamitvā mama vacanena Bhagavato pāde sirasā vandāhi,
and after approaching worship the Gracious One's feet in my name,

appābādhaṁ appātaṅkaṁ lahuṭṭhānaṁ balaṁ phāsuvihāraṁ puccha:
and ask whether he is free from sickness, free from illness, in good health, and living comfortably, (and say):

‘Rājā Bhante Māgadho Ajātasattu Vedehiputto Bhagavato pāde sirasā vandati,
‘The Magadhan King Ajātasattu, the son of Lady Wisdom, reverend Sir, worships with his head at the Gracious One's feet,

appābādhaṁ appātaṅkaṁ lahuṭṭhānaṁ balaṁ phāsuvihāraṁ pucchatī.’ ti
and asks whether you are free from sickness, free from illness, in good health, and living comfortably.’

Evañ-ca vadehi:
And say this:

‘Rājā Bhante Māgadho Ajātasattu Vedehiputto Vajjī abhiyātukāmo.
‘The Magadhan King Ajātasattu, the son of Lady Wisdom, reverend Sir, desires to attack the Vajjians.

So evam-āha: “Ahaṁ hime Vajjī evaṁmahiddhike evaṁmahānubhāve ucchecchāmi,
He says this: “I will annihilate these Vajjians, who are so successful, so powerful,

vināsessāmi Vajjī, anayabyasanaṁ āpādessāmī Vajjī” ti.
I will destroy the Vajjians, I will bring about the downfall and destruction of the Vajjians.”

Yathā ca te Bhagavā byākaroti, taṁ sādhukaṁ uggahetvā, mama āroceyyāsi,
And just what the Gracious One says to you, after learning it well, you must inform me,

na hi Tathāgatā vitathaṁ bhaṇantī.” ti
for the Realised Ones do not speak falsely.”

“Evaṁ bho” ti kho Vassakāro brāhmaṇo Magadhamahāmatto,
“Very well, dear Sir,” and the Magadhan chief minister the brahmin Vassakāra,

Rañño Māgadhassa Ajātasattussa Vedehiputtassa paṭissutvā,
after replying to the Magadhan King Ajātasattu, the son of Lady Wisdom,

bhaddāni bhaddāni yānāni yojāpetvā, Thai, ChS: yojetvā, which would mean that they prepared, rather than had them prepared.07
and having (many) great and august vehicles prepared,

bhaddaṁ bhaddaṁ yānaṁ abhiruhitvā,
and mounting (those) great and august vehicles,

bhaddehi bhaddehi yānehi Rājagahamhā niyyāsi,
departed with those great and august vehicles from Rājagaha,

yena Gijjhakūṭo Pabbato tena pāyāsi yāvatikā yānassa bhūmi yānena gantvā,
and after approaching by vehicle to the Vultures' Peak Mountain as far as the ground for vehicles (would allow),

yānā paccorohitvā pattiko va yena Bhagavā tenupasaṅkami,
and descending from the vehicles, he approached the Gracious One by foot,

upasaṅkamitvā Bhagavatā saddhiṁ sammodi,
and after approaching, he exchanged greetings with the Gracious One,

sammodanīyaṁ kathaṁ sārāṇīyaṁ vītisāretvā, ekam-antaṁ nisīdi.
and after exchanging courteous talk and greetings, he sat down on one side.

Ekam-antaṁ nisinno kho Vassakāro brāhmaṇo Magadhamahāmatto
While sitting on one side, the Magadhan chief minister the brahmin Vassakāra

Bhagavantaṁ etad-avoca:
said this to the Gracious One:

“Rājā bho Gotama Māgadho Ajātasattu Vedehiputto
“The Magadhan King Ajātasattu, the son of Lady Wisdom, dear Gotama,

bhoto Gotamassa pāde sirasā vandati,
worships with his head at dear Gotama's feet,

appābādhaṁ appātaṅkaṁ lahuṭṭhānaṁ balaṁ phāsuvihāraṁ pucchati.
and asks whether you are free from sickness, free from illness, in good health, and living comfortably. This is an example of what is called elsewhere: courteous talk and greetings (sammodanīyaṁ kathaṁ sārāṇīyaṁ). Notice he doesn't wait for a reply because it is a formality, and a reply was not expected.08

Rājā bho Gotama Māgadho Ajātasattu Vedehiputto Vajjī abhiyātukāmo.
The Magadhan King Ajātasattu, the son of Lady Wisdom, dear Gotama, desires to attack the Vajjians.

So evam-āha: ‘Ahaṁ hime Vajjī evaṁmahiddhike evaṁmahānubhāve ucchecchāmi,
He says this: ‘I will annihilate these Vajjians, who are so successful, so powerful,

vināsessāmi Vajjī, anayabyasanaṁ āpādessāmī Vajjī.’ ” ti
I will destroy the Vajjians, I will bring about the downfall and destruction of the Vajjians’ ”.