Mahāparinibbānasuttaṁ
The Discourse about the Great Emancipation

[Paṭhamabhāṇavāraṁ]
[The First Chapter for Recitation]

[12: Pāṭaligāmamāpanaṁ] cf. Pāṭaligāmiyasuttaṁ, Part Two (Ud. 8-6); Bhessajjakkhandakaṁ: Sunīdhavassakāravatthu, Vin. Mhv. 1.228-230.01
[Building up Pāṭaligāma]

Tena kho pana samayena Sunīdha-Vassakārā Magadhamahāmattā
Now at that time the Magadhan chief ministers Sunīdha and Vassakāra Other versions of this discourse do not mention Sunīdha. According to the Commentary they were both brahmins, not nobles, which shows that the class system was not strictly applied at this time.02

Pāṭaligāme nagaraṁ māpenti Vajjīnaṁ paṭibāhāya.
were building up a city at Pāṭaligāma to ward off the Vajjians. Remember the dispute between the Magadhans and the Vajjīs mentioned above was over control of the trade along the River Ganges. Pāṭaligāma stood just across the waters from the Vajjī territories, and was strategically placed on the bank of that great River. Later the capital of Magadha was to move from Rājagaha (which was somewhat inland) to Pāṭaligāma (a.k.a. Pāṭaliputta).03

Tena kho pana samayena sambahulā Devatāyo, sahassasahasseva,
Then at that time a great many Divinities, thousands upon thousands,

Pāṭaligāme vatthūni parigaṇhanti.
were taking possession of grounds at Pāṭaligāma.

Yasmiṁ padese mahesakkhā Devatā vatthūni parigaṇhanti,
In that place where the great Divinities took possession of grounds,

mahesakkhānaṁ tattha raññaṁ rājamahāmattānaṁ cittāni
there the powerful rulers and great royal ministers' minds

namanti nivesanāni māpetuṁ.
inclined to building up residences.

Yasmiṁ padese majjhimā Devatā vatthūni parigaṇhanti,
In that place where the middling Divinities took possession of grounds,

majjhimānaṁ tattha raññaṁ rājamahāmattānaṁ cittāni
there the middling rulers and middling royal ministers' minds

namanti nivesanāni māpetuṁ.
inclined to building up residences.

Yasmiṁ padese nīcā Devatā vatthūni parigaṇhanti,
In that place where the lower Divinities took possession of grounds,

nīcānaṁ tattha raññaṁ rājamahāmattānaṁ cittāni
there the lower rulers and lower royal ministers' minds

namanti nivesanāni māpetuṁ.
inclined to building up residences.

 

Addasā kho Bhagavā Dibbena cakkhunā,
The Gracious One saw with his Divine-eye,

visuddhena atikkantamānusakena,
which is purified, and surpasses that of (normal) men,

tā Devatāyo sahassasahasseva Pāṭaligāme vatthūni parigaṇhantiyo.
that those Divinities, thousands upon thousands, were taking possession of grounds at Pāṭaligāma.

 

Atha kho Bhagavā rattiyā paccūsasamaye paccuṭṭhāya,
Then towards the time of dawn, having risen from his seat, the Gracious One

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

“Ko nu kho Ānanda Pāṭaligāme nagaraṁ māpetī?” ti
“Now who, Ānanda, is building a city at Pāṭaligāma?”

“Sunīdha-Vassakārā Bhante Magadhamahāmattā
“The Magadhan chief ministers Sunīdha and Vassakāra, reverend Sir,

Pāṭaligāme nagaraṁ māpenti Vajjīnaṁ paṭibāhāyā.” ti
are building up a city at Pāṭaligāma to ward off the Vajjians.”

“Seyyathā pi Ānanda Devehi Tāvatiṁsehi saddhiṁ mantetvā,
“It is just as though, Ānanda, (they are building) after consulting with the Tāvatiṁsa Divinities,

evam-eva kho Ānanda Sunīdha-Vassakārā Magadhamahāmattā
so, Ānanda, are the Magadhan chief ministers Sunīdha and Vassakāra

Pāṭaligāme nagaraṁ māpenti Vajjīnaṁ paṭibāhāya.
building up a city at Pāṭaligāma to ward off the Vajjians.

 

Idhāhaṁ Ānanda addasaṁ Dibbena cakkhunā,
Here, Ānanda, I saw with my Divine-eye,

visuddhena atikkantamānusakena,
which is purified, and surpasses that of (normal) men,

sambahulā Devatāyo sahassasahasseva Pāṭaligāme vatthūni parigaṇhantiyo.
that a great many Divinities, thousands upon thousands, were taking possession of grounds at Pāṭaligāma.

Yasmiṁ padese mahesakkhā Devatā vatthūni parigaṇhanti,
In that place where the great Divinities took possession of grounds,

mahesakkhānaṁ tattha raññaṁ rājamahāmattānaṁ cittāni
there the powerful rulers and great royal ministers' minds

namanti nivesanāni māpetuṁ.
inclined to building up residences.

Yasmiṁ padese majjhimā Devatā vatthūni parigaṇhanti,
In that place where the middling Divinities took possession of grounds,

majjhimānaṁ tattha raññaṁ rājamahāmattānaṁ cittāni
there the middling rulers and middling royal ministers' minds

namanti nivesanāni māpetuṁ.
inclined to building up residences.

Yasmiṁ padese nīcā Devatā vatthūni parigaṇhanti,
In that place where the lower Divinities took possession of grounds,

nīcānaṁ tattha raññaṁ rājamahāmattānaṁ cittāni
there the lower rulers and lower royal ministers' minds

namanti nivesanāni māpetuṁ.
inclined to building up residences.

Yāvatā Ānanda Ariyaṁ āyatanaṁ, yāvatā vaṇippatho,
For as long, Ānanda, as there is an Ariyan sphere (of influence), for as long as there is trade,

idaṁ agganagaraṁ bhavissati Pāṭaliputtaṁ puṭabhedanaṁ.
this basket-opening Pāṭaliputta will be the chief city.

Pāṭaliputtassa kho Ānanda tayo antarāyā bhavissanti:
For Pāṭaliputta, Ānanda, there will be three dangers:

aggito vā udakato vā mithubhedā vā.” ti
from fire and from water and from the breaking of an alliance.” The Commentary explains that here has the sense of and rather than the usual or meaning (ca-kārattho vā-saddo).04

 

Atha kho Sunīdha-Vassakārā Magadhamahāmattā
Then the Magadhan chief ministers Sunīdha and Vassakāra

yena Bhagavā tenupasaṅkamiṁsu, upasaṅkamitvā Bhagavatā saddhiṁ sammodiṁsu,
approached the Gracious One, and after approaching, they exchanged greetings with the Gracious One,

sammodanīyaṁ kathaṁ sārāṇīyaṁ vītisāretvā, ekam-antaṁ aṭṭhaṁsu.
and after exchanging courteous talk and greetings, they stood on one side.

Ekam-antaṁ ṭhitā kho Sunīdha-Vassakārā Magadhamahāmattā
While standing on one side the Magadhan chief ministers Sunīdha and Vassakāra

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

“Adhivāsetu no bhavaṁ Gotamo,
“May dear Gotama consent to us

ajjatanāya bhattaṁ saddhiṁ Bhikkhusaṅghenā.” ti
(offering him) a meal today, together with the Community of monks.”

Adhivāsesi Bhagavā tuṇhībhāvena.
The Gracious One consented by maintaining silence.

Atha kho Sunīdha-Vassakārā Magadhamahāmattā
Then the Magadhan chief ministers Sunīdha and Vassakāra

Bhagavato adhivāsanaṁ viditvā, yena sako āvasatho tenupasaṅkamiṁsu,
having understood the Gracious One's consent, approached their own dwelling,

upasaṅkamitvā, sake āvasathe,
and after approaching, in their own dwellings,

paṇītaṁ khādanīyaṁ bhojanīyaṁ paṭiyādāpetvā,
having had excellent foodstuffs made ready, Using the plural foodstuffs to translate the two words in Pāḷi khādanīyaṁ and bhojanīyaṁ. We might say in English had excellent food and drink made ready, but that doesn't translate the Pāḷi accurately, and there is hardly a synonym for food in English that doesn't sound quaint these days. Ajahn Ṭhānissaro argues that the words mean staple and non-staple food, but it sounds awkward when used in these contexts.05

Bhagavato kālaṁ ārocāpesuṁ: “Kālo bho Gotama niṭṭhitaṁ bhattan.”-ti
had the time announced to the Gracious One, (saying): “It is time, dear Gotama, the meal is ready.”

 

Atha kho Bhagavā, pubbaṇhasamayaṁ nivāsetvā,
Then the Gracious One, having dressed in the morning time,

pattacīvaram-ādāya, saddhiṁ Bhikkhusaṅghena,
after picking up his bowl and robe, together with the Community of monks,

yena Sunīdha-Vassakārānaṁ Magadhamahāmattānaṁ āvasatho tenupasaṅkami,
approached the dwelling of the Magadhan chief ministers Sunīdha and Vassakāra,

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

Atha kho Sunīdha-Vassakārā Magadhamahāmattā
Then the Magadhan chief ministers Sunīdha and Vassakāra

Buddhappamukhaṁ Bhikkhusaṅghaṁ paṇītena
* with their own hands served and satisfied the Community of monks with the Buddha at its head

khādanīyena bhojanīyena sahatthā santappesuṁ sampavāresuṁ.
with excellent foodstuffs.

Atha kho Sunīdha-Vassakārā Magadhamahāmattā,
Then the Magadhan chief ministers Sunīdha and Vassakāra,

Bhagavantaṁ bhuttāviṁ onītapattapāṇiṁ,
when the Gracious One had eaten and washed his hand and bowl,

aññataraṁ nīcaṁ āsanaṁ gahetvā, ekam-antaṁ nisīdiṁsu.
having taken a low seat, sat down on one side.

Ekam-antaṁ nisinne kho Sunīdha-Vassakāre Magadhamahāmatte Bhagavā
* While sitting on one side the Gracious One rejoiced the Magadhan chief ministers Sunīdha and Vassakāra

imāhi gāthāhi anumodi:
with these verses:

“Yasmiṁ padese kappeti vāsaṁ, paṇḍitajātiyo
* “In that place where he makes his dwelling, having entertained

Sīlavantettha bhojetvā, saññate brahmacārino,
The wise and virtuous here, the restrained, who live the spiritual life,

Yā tattha Devatā āsuṁ PTS: assu. The translation would then be: who may be in that place.06 tāsaṁ dakkhiṇam-ādise.
He should dedicate a gift (of merit) to those Divinities who were in that place.

Tā pūjitā pūjayanti mānitā mānayanti naṁ.
Honoured, they pay honour, revered, they revere him.

Tato naṁ anukampanti, mātā puttaṁ va orasaṁ,
Thereafter they have compassion on him, as a mother on her own son,

Devatānukampito poso sadā bhadrāni passatī.” ti
A man whom the Divinities has compassion on always sees what is auspicious.”

Atha kho Bhagavā Sunīdha-Vassakāre Magadhamahāmatte
* Then the Gracious One after rejoicing the Magadhan chief ministers Sunīdha and Vassakāra

imāhi gāthāhi anumoditvā, uṭṭhāyāsanā, pakkāmi.
with these verses, after rising from his seat, went away.

 

Tena kho pana samayena Sunīdha-Vassakārā Magadhamahāmattā
Now at that time the Magadhan chief ministers Sunīdha and Vassakāra

Bhagavantaṁ piṭṭhito piṭṭhito anubandhā honti:
were following close behind the Gracious One, (thinking):

“Yenajja samaṇo Gotamo dvārena nikkhamissati taṁ Gotamadvāraṁ nāma bhavissati,
“That gate by which the ascetic Gotama leaves will get the name the Gotama Gate,

yena titthena Gaṅgaṁ nadiṁ tarissati taṁ Gotamatitthaṁ nāma bhavissatī.” ti
and that ford by which he crosses the river Ganges will get the name the Gotama Ford.”

Atha kho Bhagavā yena dvārena nikkhami taṁ Gotamadvāraṁ nāma ahosi.
Then that gate by which the Gracious One left got the name the Gotama Gate.

Atha kho Bhagavā yena Gaṅgā nadī tenupasaṅkami.
Then the Gracious One approached the river Ganges.

Tena kho pana samayena Gaṅgā nadī pūrā hoti samatittikā kākapeyyā.
Now at that time the river Ganges was full to the brim, and could be drunk from by crows (perched on the bank).

Appekacce manussā nāvaṁ pariyesanti, appekacce uḷumpaṁ pariyesanti,
Some of the people were seeking boats, some were seeking floats,

appekacce kullaṁ bandhanti, apārāpāraṁ gantukāmā.
and some were binding rafts, desiring to go from this shore to the shore beyond.

Atha kho Bhagavā seyyathā pi nāma balavā puriso
Then the Gracious One, just as a strong man

sammiñjitaṁ vā bāhaṁ pasāreyya, pasāritaṁ vā bāhaṁ sammiñjeyya, ChS: samiñjeyya, similarly throughout. Although there is no historical reason for the doubling of the consonant it appears this is the normal way the form is written in Pāḷi.07
might stretch out a bent arm, or bend in an outstretched arm,

evam-eva Gaṅgāya nadiyā orimatīre antarahito,
so did he vanish from the near bank of the river Ganges,

pārimatīre paccuṭṭhāsi saddhiṁ Bhikkhusaṅghena.
and reappeared on the far bank, This would have been in Vajjian territory probably near to Ukkācelā which was just across the waters from Pāṭaligāma.08 together with the Community of monks.

Addasā kho Bhagavā te manusse, appekacce nāvaṁ pariyesante,
The Gracious One saw those people, some seeking boats,

appekacce uḷumpaṁ pariyesante,
some seeking floats,

appekacce kullaṁ bandhante, apārāpāraṁ gantukāme.
and some binding rafts, desiring to go from this shore to the shore beyond.

Atha kho Bhagavā, etam-atthaṁ viditvā,
Then the Gracious One, having understood the significance of it,

tāyaṁ velāyaṁ imaṁ udānaṁ udānesi:
on that occasion uttered this exalted utterance:

“Ye taranti aṇṇavaṁ saraṁ,
“Those who cross over a sea or a river, Comm: Saran-ti idha nadī adhippetā; sara here is a designation for a river. It normally means lake.09

Setuṁ katvāna, visajja pallalāni.
(Do so) after making a bridge, and leaving the marshes behind.

Kullaṁ hi jano pabandhati,
(While) people are still binding together a raft,

Tiṇṇā medhāvino janā.” ti
Intelligent people have crossed over.”

Paṭhamabhāṇavāraṁ
The First Chapter for Recital (is Finished)