Mahāparinibbānasuttaṁ
The Discourse about the Great Emancipation

[Paṭhamabhāṇavāraṁ]
[The First Chapter for Recitation]

[2: Satta Vajjī-Aparihāniyā Dhammā] cf. AN Bk. 7.22-23.01
[Seven Things which Prevent Decline in the Vajjians] The seven things which prevent decline for the Vajjians are echoed later in the first of the seven things that prevent decline for the Saṅgha.02

Tena kho pana samayena āyasmā Ānando
Now at that time venerable Ānanda

Bhagavato piṭṭhito ṭhito hoti Bhagavantaṁ vījamāno.
was stood behind the Gracious One fanning the Gracious One. For the past 25 years Ānanda had been the Buddha's main attendant, upaṭṭhāka, which literally means: one who stands near.03

Atha kho Bhagavā āyasmantaṁ Ānandaṁ āmantesi:
Then the Gracious One addressed venerable Ānanda, (saying): The Buddha doesn't reply directly to Vassakāra, but speaks to Ānanda with Vassakāra within listening range, so he can hear and understand.04

1) “Kin-ti te Ānanda sutaṁ: ‘Vajjī abhiṇhasannipātā sannipātabahulā?’ ” ti
“Have you heard, Ānanda: ‘The Vajjians assemble regularly and assemble frequently?’ ” The Commentary explains the importance of meeting regularly and frequently by saying when that is the case they will hear reports affecting the security of the country as they happen and will be able to deal with it there and then.05

“Sutaṁ metaṁ Bhante: ‘Vajjī abhiṇhasannipātā sannipātabahulā.’ ” ti
“I have heard this, reverend Sir: ‘The Vajjians assemble regularly and assemble frequently.’ ”

“Yāvakīvañ-ca Ānanda Vajjī abhiṇhasannipātā sannipātabahulā bhavissanti
“For as long, Ānanda, as the Vajjians will assemble regularly and assemble frequently

vuḍḍhi yeva Ānanda Vajjīnaṁ pāṭikaṅkhā no parihāni.
surely growth, Ānanda, is to be expected for the Vajjians not decline.

2) Kin-ti te Ānanda sutaṁ: ‘Vajjī samaggā sannipatanti, samaggā vuṭṭhahanti,
Have you heard, Ānanda: ‘The Vajjians assemble unanimously, rise unanimously,

samaggā Vajjīkaraṇīyāni karontī?’ ” ti
and carry out their Vajjian duties unanimously?’ ”

“Sutaṁ metaṁ Bhante Vajjī samaggā sannipatanti samaggā vuṭṭhahanti,
“I have heard this, reverend Sir, that the Vajjians assemble unanimously, rise unanimously,

samaggā Vajjīkaraṇīyāni karontī.” ti
and carry out their Vajjian duties unanimously.”

“Yāvakīvañ-ca Ānanda Vajjī samaggā sannipatissanti samaggā vuṭṭhahissanti,
“For as long, Ānanda, as the Vajjians will assemble unanimously, rise unanimously,

samaggā Vajjīkaraṇīyāni karissanti,
and carry out their Vajjian duties unanimously,

vuḍḍhi yeva Ānanda Vajjīnaṁ pāṭikaṅkhā no parihāni.
surely growth, Ānanda, is to be expected for the Vajjians not decline.

3) Kin-ti te Ānanda sutaṁ: ‘Vajjī apaññattaṁ na paññāpenti,
Have you heard, Ānanda: ‘The Vajjians do not establish (new) laws that were not established,

paññattaṁ na samucchindanti,
(or) cut off (old) laws that were established,

yathāpaññatte porāṇe Vajjidhamme samādāya vattantī.’ ” ti
and carry on with such laws as were accepted in the Ancient Vajjian Constitution?’ ”

“Sutaṁ metaṁ Bhante: ‘Vajjī apaññattaṁ na paññāpenti,
“I have heard this, reverend Sir: ‘The Vajjians do not establish (new) laws that were not established,

paññattaṁ na samucchindanti,
(or) cut off (old) laws that were established,

yathāpaññatte porāṇe Vajjidhamme samādāya vattantī.’ ” ti
and they carry on with such laws as were accepted in the Ancient Vajjian Constitution.’ ”

“Yāvakīvañ-ca Ānanda Vajjī apaññattaṁ na paññāpessanti,
“For as long, Ānanda, as the Vajjians do not establish (new) laws that were not established,

paññattaṁ na samucchindissanti,
(or) cut off (old) laws that were established,

yathāpaññatte porāṇe Vajjidhamme samādāya vattissanti
and they carry on with such laws as were accepted in the Ancient Vajjian Constitution

vuḍḍhi yeva Ānanda Vajjīnaṁ pāṭikaṅkhā no parihāni.
surely growth, Ānanda, is to be expected for the Vajjians not decline.

4) Kin-ti te Ānanda sutaṁ: ‘Vajjī ye te Vajjīnaṁ Vajjimahallakā te sakkaronti
Have you heard, Ānanda: ‘The Vajjians honour the elders of the Vajjians,

garukaronti mānenti pūjenti tesañ-ca sotabbaṁ maññantī.’ ” ti
respect, revere, worship and think them worth listening to?’ ”

“Sutaṁ metaṁ Bhante: ‘Vajjī ye te Vajjīnaṁ Vajjimahallakā te sakkaronti
“I have heard this, reverend Sir: ‘The Vajjians honour the elders of the Vajjians,

garukaronti mānenti pūjenti tesañ-ca sotabbaṁ maññantī.’ ” ti
respect, revere, worship and think them worth listening to.’ ”

“Yāvakīvañ-ca Ānanda Vajjī ye te Vajjīnaṁ Vajjimahallakā te sakkarissanti,
“For as long, Ānanda, as the Vajjians will honour the elders of the Vajjians,

garukarissanti mānessanti pūjessanti tesañ-ca sotabbaṁ maññissanti,
respect, revere, worship and think them worth listening to,

vuḍḍhi yeva Ānanda Vajjīnaṁ pāṭikaṅkhā no parihāni.
surely growth, Ānanda, is to be expected for the Vajjians not decline.

5) Kin-ti te Ānanda sutaṁ:
Have you heard, Ānanda:

‘Vajjī yā tā kulitthiyo kulakumāriyo tā na okkassa pasayha vāsentī?’ ” ti
‘The Vajjians do not coerce and force their women and girls to dwell (with them) against their will?’ ” The parallel to this in the following section reads: For as long as the monks do not come under the influence of craving which has arisen for continued existence; which seems a bit tenuous.06

“Sutaṁ metaṁ Bhante:
“I have heard this, reverend Sir:

‘Vajjī yā tā kulitthiyo kulakumāriyo tā na okkassa pasayha vāsentī.’ ” ti
‘The Vajjians do not coerce and force their women and girls to dwell (with them) against their will.’ ”

“Yāvakīvañ-ca Ānanda,
“For as long, Ānanda,

Vajjī yā tā kulitthiyo kulakumāriyo tā na okkassa pasayha vāsessanti,
as the Vajjians will not coerce and force their women and girls to dwell (with them) against their will,

vuḍḍhi yeva Ānanda Vajjīnaṁ pāṭikaṅkhā no parihāni.
surely growth, Ānanda, is to be expected for the Vajjians not decline.

6) Kin-ti te Ānanda sutaṁ:
Have you heard, Ānanda:

‘Vajjī yāni tāni Vajjīnaṁ Vajjicetiyāni,
* ‘The Vajjians honour the Vajjian shrines amongst the Vajjians,

abbhantarāni ceva bāhirāni ca tāni sakkaronti,
both within and without (the city),

garukaronti mānenti pūjenti,
respect, revere, and worship (them),

tesañ-ca dinnapubbaṁ katapubbaṁ dhammikaṁ baliṁ no parihāpentī?’ ” ti
and do not allow the righteous sacrifices that were formerly given, formerly made, to be neglected?’ ”

“Sutaṁ metaṁ Bhante:
“I have heard this, reverend Sir:

‘Vajjī yāni tāni Vajjīnaṁ Vajjicetiyāni,
* ‘The Vajjians honour the Vajjian shrines amongst the Vajjians,

abbhantarāni ceva bāhirāni ca tāni sakkaronti,
both within and without (the city),

garukaronti mānenti pūjenti,
respect, revere, and worship (them),

tesañ-ca dinnapubbaṁ katapubbaṁ dhammikaṁ baliṁ no parihāpentī.” ti
and do not allow the righteous sacrifices that were formerly given, formerly made, to be neglected.”

“Yāvakīvañ-ca Ānanda,
“For as long, Ānanda,

Vajjī yāni tāni Vajjīnaṁ Vajjicetiyāni,
* as the Vajjians will honour the Vajjian shrines amongst the Vajjians,

abbhantarāni ceva bāhirāni ca tāni sakkarissanti,
both within and without (the city),

garukarissanti mānessanti pūjessanti,
respect, revere, and worship (them),

tesañ-ca dinnapubbaṁ katapubbaṁ dhammikaṁ baliṁ no parihāpessanti
and do not allow the righteous sacrifices that were formerly given, formerly made, to be neglected

vuḍḍhi yeva Ānanda Vajjīnaṁ pāṭikaṅkhā no parihāni.
surely growth, Ānanda, is to be expected for the Vajjians not decline. This gives the lie to the belief that the Buddha opposed all forms of sacrifice. It would seem he was only opposed to those that were against moral principles, like animal sacrifices and the like. Similarly with rites and rituals, it was clinging to them and the mistaken notion that these are sufficient in themselves that the Buddha opposed, not their performance entirely.07

7) Kin-ti te Ānanda sutaṁ:
Have you heard, Ānanda:

‘Vajjīnaṁ Arahantesu dhammikā rakkhāvaraṇagutti susaṁvihitā,
‘The Vajjians have made good arrangements in regard to the lawful protection, safety, and guarding of the Worthy Ones,

kin-ti anāgatā ca Arahanto vijitaṁ āgaccheyyuṁ,
so that Worthy Ones in the future can enter the realm,

āgatā ca Arahanto vijite phāsuṁ ChS: phāsu, here and below, but we need an accusative.08 vihareyyun?’ ”-ti
and having entered the Worthy Ones can live comfortably in the realm?”

“Sutaṁ metaṁ Bhante:
“I have heard this, reverend Sir:

‘Vajjīnaṁ Arahantesu dhammikā rakkhāvaraṇagutti susaṁvihitā,
‘The Vajjians have made good arrangements in regard to the lawful protection, safety, and guarding of the Worthy Ones,

kin-ti anāgatā ca Arahanto vijitaṁ āgaccheyyuṁ,
and that the Worthy Ones in the future can enter the realm,

āgatā ca Arahanto vijite phāsuṁ vihareyyun.’ ”-ti
and having entered the Worthy Ones can live comfortably in the realm.”

“Yāvakīvañ-ca Ānanda,
“For as long, Ānanda,

Vajjīnaṁ Arahantesu dhammikā rakkhāvaraṇagutti susaṁvihitā bhavissati,
as the Vajjians will make good arrangements in regard to the lawful protection, safety, and guarding of the Worthy Ones,

kin-ti anāgatā ca Arahanto vijitaṁ āgaccheyyuṁ,
and that the Worthy Ones in the future can enter the realm,

āgatā ca Arahanto vijite phāsuṁ vihareyyuṁ,
and having entered, the Worthy Ones can live comfortably in the realm,

vuḍḍhi yeva Ānanda Vajjīnaṁ pāṭikaṅkhā no parihānī.” ti
surely growth, Ānanda, is to be expected for the Vajjians not decline.”

 

Atha kho Bhagavā Vassakāraṁ brāhmaṇaṁ Magadhamahāmattaṁ āmantesi:
Then the Gracious One addressed the Magadhan chief minister the brahmin Vassakāra, (saying):

“Ekam-idāhaṁ brāhmaṇa samayaṁ Vesāliyaṁ viharāmi Sārandade Cetiye
“At one time, brahmin, I was living near Vesālī near to the Sārandada Shrine

tatrāhaṁ Vajjīnaṁ ime satta aparihāniye dhamme desesiṁ.
and there I taught the Vajjians these seven things which prevent decline. This discourse is preserved at AN Bk 7.21. The Buddha often seems to have stayed at or near Shrines, as we will see later in this discourse.09

Yāvakīvañ-ca brāhmaṇa ime satta aparihāniyā dhammā Vajjīsu ṭhassanti,
For as long, brahmin, as the Vajjians maintain these seven things which prevent decline,

imesu ca sattasu aparihāniyesu dhammesu Vajjī sandississanti,
and the Vajjians agree with these seven things which prevent decline,

vuḍḍhi yeva brāhmaṇa Vajjīnaṁ pāṭikaṅkhā no parihānī.” ti
surely growth, brahmin, is to be expected for the Vajjians not decline.”

 

Evaṁ vutte Vassakāro brāhmaṇo Magadhamahāmatto Bhagavantaṁ etad-avoca:
After this was said, the Magadhan chief minister the brahmin Vassakāra addressed the Gracious One, (saying):

“Ekam-ekena pi bho Gotama aparihāniyena dhammena samannāgatānaṁ Vajjīnaṁ,
“If the Vajjians, dear Gotama, were endowed with even one or the other of these seven things which prevent decline,

vuḍḍhi yeva pāṭikaṅkhā no parihāni,
surely growth is to be expected not decline,

ko pana vādo sattahi aparihāniyehi dhammehi?
what to say about having seven things which prevent decline?

Akaraṇīyā va bho Gotama Vajjī Raññā Māgadhena Ajātasattunā Vedehiputtena,
The Vajjians cannot be overcome, dear Gotama, by the Magadhan King Ajātasattu, the son of Lady Wisdom,

yad-idaṁ yuddhassa Comm: yad-idaṁ, nipātamattaṁ, yuddhassā ti karaṇatthe sāmivacanaṁ; yad-idaṁ (untranslated here) is merely a particle, yuddhassa (by war) the genitive has the meaning of the instrumental. Upalāpanāya and mithubhedāya also appear to be genitives used with instrumental sense.10 aññatra upalāpanāya aññatra mithubhedāya.
by war, but only through diplomacy, or through the breaking of the alliance. According to the Commentary King Ajātasattu and his chief minister concocted an elaborate plan and did in fact manage to destroy the Vajjians three years after the Buddha's parinibbāna, by sowing dissension and breaking up their unity.11

Handa ca dāni mayaṁ bho Gotama gacchāma bahukiccā mayaṁ bahukaraṇīyā.” ti
And now, dear Gotama, we shall go, as we have many duties, and there is much which ought to be done.”

“Yassa dāni tvaṁ brāhmaṇa kālaṁ maññasī.” ti
“Now is the time, brahmin, for whatever you are thinking.” This is a polite way of giving permission to leave.12

Atha kho Vassakāro brāhmaṇo Magadhamahāmatto,
Then the Magadhan chief minister the brahmin Vassakāra,

Bhagavato bhāsitaṁ abhinanditvā anumoditvā uṭṭhāyāsanā pakkāmi.
after greatly rejoicing and gladly receiving this word of the Gracious One, rose from his seat and departed.