Mahāparinibbānasuttaṁ
The Discourse about the Great Emancipation

[Paṭhamabhāṇavāraṁ]
[The First Chapter for Recitation]

[3: Satta Saṅgha-Aparihāniyā Dhammā] cf. AN Bk. 7.23.01
[Seven Things which Prevent Decline in the Community (1-7)]

Atha kho Bhagavā acirapakkante Vassakāre brāhmaṇe Magadhamahāmatte,
Then the Gracious One, not long after the Magadhan chief minister, the brahmin Vassakāra, had gone,

āyasmantaṁ Ānandaṁ āmantesi:
addressed venerable Ānanda, (saying):

“Gaccha tvaṁ Ānanda yāvatikā bhikkhū Rājagahaṁ upanissāya viharanti,
“Go, Ānanda, and whatever monks there are living in dependence on Rājagaha, Living in dependence is an idiom which means subsisting on alms food (in the city).02

te sabbe Upaṭṭhānasālāyaṁ sannipātehī.” ti
assemble them in the Attendance Hall.”

“Evaṁ Bhante,” ti kho āyasmā Ānando Bhagavato paṭissutvā,
“Very well, reverend Sir,” said venerable Ānanda, and after replying to the Gracious One,

yāvatikā bhikkhū Rājagahaṁ upanissāya viharanti
* and assembling whatever monks there were living in dependence on Rājagaha

te sabbe Upaṭṭhānasālāyaṁ sannipātetvā yena Bhagavā tenupasaṅkami,
in the Attendance Hall, he approached the Gracious One,

upasaṅkamitvā Bhagavantaṁ abhivādetvā, ekam-antaṁ aṭṭhāsi.
and after approaching and worshipping the Gracious One, he stood on one side.

Ekam-antaṁ ṭhito kho āyasmā Ānando Bhagavantaṁ etad-avoca:
While standing on one side venerable Ānanda said this to the Gracious One:

“Sannipatito Bhante Bhikkhusaṅgho,
“The Community of monks have assembled, reverend Sir,

yassa dāni Bhante Bhagavā kālaṁ maññasī.” ti
now is the time, Gracious One, for whatever you are thinking.”

 

Atha kho Bhagavā uṭṭhāyāsanā yena Upaṭṭhānasālā tenupasaṅkami,
Then the Gracious One after rising from his seat approached the Attendance Hall,

upasaṅkamitvā paññatte āsane nisīdi.
and after approaching he sat down on the prepared seat.

Nisajja kho Bhagavā bhikkhū āmantesi:
While sitting the Gracious One addressed the monks, (saying):

“Satta vo bhikkhave aparihāniye dhamme desessāmi,
“I will teach you seven things which prevent decline,

taṁ suṇātha sādhukaṁ manasikarotha bhāsissāmī.” ti
listen to it, apply your minds well, and I will speak.” Here and throughout this discourse we see the Buddha's concern for the future welfare of the Community after his passing away, it very much looks like the Buddha was spontaneously applying the teaching about the Vajjīs to the Saṅgha here.03

“Evaṁ Bhante,” ti kho te bhikkhū Bhagavato paccassosuṁ,
“Very well, reverend Sir,” those monks replied to the Gracious One,

Bhagavā etad-avoca:
and the Gracious One said this:

1) “Yāvakīvañ-ca bhikkhave bhikkhū
“For as long, monks, as the monks

abhiṇhasannipātā sannipātabahulā bhavissanti,
will assemble regularly and assemble frequently,

vuḍḍhi yeva bhikkhave bhikkhūnaṁ pāṭikaṅkhā no parihāni.
surely growth, monks, is to be expected for the monks, not decline. The Commentary explains that when they assemble regularly and frequently they will hear of faults in the Community and quickly correct them, and lax monks will soon leave the Community.04

2) Yāvakīvañ-ca bhikkhave bhikkhū
For as long, monks, as the monks

samaggā sannipatissanti samaggā vuṭṭhahissanti,
will assemble unanimously, rise unanimously,

samaggā Saṅghakaraṇīyāni karissanti,
and carry out their Community duties unanimously,

vuḍḍhi yeva bhikkhave bhikkhūnaṁ pāṭikaṅkhā no parihāni.
surely growth, monks, is to be expected for the monks, not decline.

3) Yāvakīvañ-ca bhikkhave bhikkhū
For as long, monks, as the monks

apaññattaṁ na paññāpessanti paññattaṁ na samucchindissanti,
do not establish (new) laws that were not established, (or) cut off (old) laws that were established, The Commentary gives as an example of the latter the 10 practices that the Vesālī monks tried to change which eventually caused the 2nd Council (see Vin. II, p. 293ff). However, later in the discourse the Buddha will allow the monks to abrogate the minor rules (see 39: The Final Advice, below).05

yathāpaññattesu sikkhāpadesu samādāya vattissanti,
and they carry on with such training-rules as have been accepted,

vuḍḍhi yeva bhikkhave bhikkhūnaṁ pāṭikaṅkhā no parihāni.
surely growth, monks, is to be expected for the monks, not decline.

4) Yāvakīvañ-ca bhikkhave bhikkhū ye te bhikkhū therā,
* For as long, monks, as the monks will honour the elder monks,

rattaññū cirapabbajitā Saṅghapitaro Saṅghaparināyakā te sakkarissanti
those of long-standing, a long time gone-forth, the Fathers of the Community, the Leaders of the Community,

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

vuḍḍhi yeva bhikkhave bhikkhūnaṁ pāṭikaṅkhā no parihāni.
surely growth, monks, is to be expected for the monks, not decline.

5) Yāvakīvañ-ca bhikkhave bhikkhū
For as long, monks, as the monks

uppannāya taṇhāya ponobhavikāya na vasaṁ gacchissanti,
will not come under the influence of craving which has arisen for continued existence,

vuḍḍhi yeva bhikkhave bhikkhūnaṁ pāṭikaṅkhā no parihāni.
surely growth, monks, is to be expected for the monks, not decline.

6) Yāvakīvañ-ca bhikkhave bhikkhū
For as long, monks, as the monks

āraññakesu senāsanesu sāpekkhā bhavissanti,
will have desire for forest dwellings,

vuḍḍhi yeva bhikkhave bhikkhūnaṁ pāṭikaṅkhā no parihāni.
surely growth, monks, is to be expected for the monks, not decline.

7) Yāvakīvañ-ca bhikkhave bhikkhū paccattañ-ñeva satiṁ upaṭṭhapessanti,
For as long, monks, as the monks individually will attend to the ways of mindfulness,

kin-ti anāgatā ca pesalā sabrahmacārī āgaccheyyuṁ,
so that their fellow celibates, who are well-behaved, in the future can come,

āgatā ca pesalā sabrahmacārī phāsuṁ vihareyyuṁ,
and having come to their fellow celibates, who are well-behaved, can live comfortably,

vuḍḍhi yeva bhikkhave bhikkhūnaṁ pāṭikaṅkhā no parihāni.
surely growth, monks, is to be expected for the monks, not decline.

 

Yāvakīvañ-ca bhikkhave ime satta aparihāniyā dhammā bhikkhūsu ṭhassanti,
For as long, monks, as the monks will maintain these seven things which prevent decline,

imesu ca sattasu aparihāniyesu dhammesu bhikkhū sandississanti,
and the monks will agree with these seven things which prevent decline,

vuḍḍhi yeva bhikkhave bhikkhūnaṁ pāṭikaṅkhā no parihāni.
surely growth, monks, is to be expected for the monks, not decline.