Mahāparinibbānasuttaṁ
The Discourse about the Great Emancipation

[Tatiyabhāṇavāraṁ]
[The Third Chapter for Recitation]

[19: Aṭṭha Bhūmicālahetū] cf. Bhūmicālasuttaṁ (Part Two) (AN Bk. 8:70). Rhys-Davids in his translation suggests that the narrative is interrupted by what follows, but it seems to me that this section about the earthquakes follows quite naturally in the course of the narrative. The sections that follow this however appear to be foreign to the text, perhaps inserted through association with this section. See the Introduction.01
[Eight Reasons for Earthquakes]

Atha kho āyasmato Ānandassa etad-ahosi:
Then it occured to venerable Ānanda:

“Acchariyaṁ vata bho abbhutaṁ vata bho mahā vatāyaṁ bhūmicālo,
“Surely it is wonderful, surely it is marvellous, this great earthquake,

sumahā vatāyaṁ bhūmicālo bhiṁsanako lomahaṁso Devadundubhiyo ca phaliṁsu.
this very great earthquake, and (this) awful, hair-raising, crash of the Divinities' (thunder) drum.

Ko nu kho hetu ko paccayo mahato bhūmicālassa pātubhāvāyā?” ti
What was the reason, what was the cause, for the occurrence of this great earthquake?”

Atha kho āyasmā Ānando yena Bhagavā tenupasaṅkami,
Then venerable Ānanda approached the Gracious One,

upasaṅkamitvā Bhagavantaṁ abhivādetvā, ekam-antaṁ nisīdi.
and after approaching and worshipping the Gracious One, he sat down at one side.

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

“Acchariyaṁ Bhante abbhutaṁ Bhante mahā vatāyaṁ Bhante bhūmicālo,
“Surely it is wonderful, reverend Sir, surely it is marvellous, reverend Sir, this great earthquake,

sumahā vatāyaṁ Bhante bhūmicālo,
this very great earthquake,

bhiṁsanako lomahaṁso Devadundubhiyo ca phaliṁsu.
and (this) awful, hair-raising, crash of the Divinities' (thunder) drum.

Ko nu kho Bhante hetu ko paccayo mahato bhūmicālassa pātubhāvāyā?” ti.
What was the reason, reverend Sir, what was the cause, for the occurrence of this great earthquake?”

“Aṭṭha kho ime Ānanda hetū aṭṭha paccayā mahato bhūmicālassa pātubhāvāya.
“There are these eight reasons, eight causes, Ānanda, for the occurrence of a great earthquake.

Katame aṭṭha?
Which eight?

Ayaṁ Ānanda Mahāpaṭhavī udake patiṭṭhitā,
This great Earth, Ānanda, stands in the water,

udakaṁ vāte patiṭṭhitaṁ, vāto ākāsaṭṭho.
the water stands in the atmosphere, the atmosphere stands in space. I interpret vāta (normally wind) here as atmosphere. This is quite an accurate description of the facts, especially given the time it was made.02

1) Hoti so kho Ānanda samayo yaṁ mahāvātā vāyanti, mahāvātā vāyantā,
There comes a time, Ānanda, when great winds blow, with the great winds blowing,

udakaṁ kampenti, udakaṁ kampitaṁ, Paṭhaviṁ kampeti.
the waters move, the waters having moved, the Earth moves.

Ayaṁ paṭhamo hetu paṭhamo paccayo mahato bhūmicālassa pātubhāvāya.
This is the first reason, the first cause for the occurrence of a great earthquake.

2) Puna caparaṁ Ānanda samaṇo vā hoti brāhmaṇo vā
Furthermore, Ānanda, when an ascetic or a brahmin

iddhimā cetovasippatto Devo vā mahiddhiko mahānubhāvo,
or a Divinity, one of great power, one of great majesty, has, through spiritual power, attained (complete) mastery of the mind,

tassa parittā Paṭhavisaññā bhāvitā hoti appamāṇā āposaññā,
and has then developed even a trifling perception of the Earth, or an unlimited perception of water,

so imaṁ Paṭhaviṁ kampeti saṅkampeti sampakampeti sampavedheti.
this Earth moves, wavers, flutters, and shakes.

Ayaṁ dutiyo hetu dutiyo paccayo mahato bhūmicālassa pātubhāvāya.
This is the second reason, the second cause for the occurrence of a great earthquake.

3) Puna caparaṁ Ānanda yadā Bodhisatto Tusitā kāyā cavitvā,
Furthermore, Ānanda, when the Buddha-to-be falls away from the Tusita hosts, A Buddha-to-be is said to always spend his penultimate life amongst the Gods in Tusita Heaven, and from there to descend to Earth for the last time.04

sato sampajāno mātukucchiṁ okkamati,
and mindfully, with full awareness, enters his mother's womb,

tadāyaṁ Paṭhavī kampati saṅkampati sampakampati sampavedhati.
this Earth moves, wavers, flutters, and shakes.

Ayaṁ tatiyo hetu tatiyo paccayo mahato bhūmicālassa pātubhāvāya.
This is the third reason, the third cause for the occurrence of a great earthquake.

4) Puna caparaṁ Ānanda yadā Bodhisatto
Furthermore, Ānanda, when the Buddha-to-be

sato sampajāno mātukucchimhā nikkhamati,
mindfully, with full awareness, exits his mother's womb,

tadāyaṁ Paṭhavī kampati saṅkampati sampakampati sampavedhati.
this Earth moves, wavers, flutters, and shakes.

Ayaṁ catuttho hetu catuttho paccayo mahato bhūmicālassa pātubhāvāya.
This is the fourth reason, the fourth cause for the occurrence of a great earthquake.

5) Puna caparaṁ Ānanda yadā Tathāgato
Furthermore, Ānanda, when the Realised One

anuttaraṁ Sammāsambodhiṁ abhisambujjhati,
perfectly awakens to the unsurpassed and Perfect Awakening,

tadāyaṁ Paṭhavī kampati saṅkampati sampakampati sampavedhati.
this Earth moves, wavers, flutters, and shakes.

Ayaṁ pañcamo hetu pañcamo paccayo mahato bhūmicālassa pātubhāvāya.
This is the fifth reason, the fifth cause for the occurrence of a great earthquake.

6) Puna caparaṁ Ānanda yadā Tathāgato anuttaraṁ Dhammacakkaṁ pavatteti,
Furthermore, Ānanda, when the Realised One sets the unsurpassed wheel of the Teaching rolling,

tadāyaṁ Paṭhavī kampati saṅkampati sampakampati sampavedhati.
this Earth moves, wavers, flutters, and shakes.

Ayaṁ chaṭṭho hetu chaṭṭho paccayo mahato bhūmicālassa pātubhāvāya.
This is the sixth reason, the sixth cause for the occurrence of a great earthquake.

7) Puna caparaṁ Ānanda yadā Tathāgato
Furthermore, Ānanda, when the Realised One

sato sampajāno āyusaṅkhāraṁ ossajati,
mindfully, with full awareness gives up the life-process,

tadāyaṁ Paṭhavī kampati saṅkampati sampakampati sampavedhati.
this Earth moves, wavers, flutters, and shakes.

Ayaṁ sattamo hetu sattamo paccayo mahato bhūmicālassa pātubhāvāya.
This is the seventh reason, the seventh cause for the occurrence of a great earthquake.

8) Puna caparaṁ Ānanda yadā Tathāgato
Furthermore, Ānanda, when the Realised One

anupādisesāya Nibbānadhātuyā parinibbāyati,
is Finally Emancipated in the Emancipation-element which has no basis for attachment remaining,

tadāyaṁ Paṭhavī kampati saṅkampati sampakampati sampavedhati.
this Earth moves, wavers, flutters, and shakes.

Ayaṁ aṭṭhamo hetu aṭṭhamo paccayo mahato bhūmicālassa pātubhāvāya.
This is the eighth reason, the eighth cause for the occurrence of a great earthquake.

Ime kho Ānanda aṭṭha hetū aṭṭha paccayā mahato bhūmicālassa pātubhāvāyā ti.
These are the eight reasons, the eight causes, Ānanda, for the occurrence of a great earthquake.