Mahāparinibbānasuttaṁ
The Discourse about the Great Emancipation

[Catutthabhāṇavāraṁ]
[The Fourth Chapter for Recitation]

[28: Cattāro Mahāpadesā] cf. Mahāpadesasuttaṁ (AN Bk. 4:180).01
[The Four Great Referrals]

Atha kho Bhagavā Bhaṇḍagāme yathābhirantaṁ viharitvā,
Then the Gracious One, after living near Bhaṇḍagāma for as long as he liked,

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

“Āyām' Ānanda yena Hatthigāmo, yena Ambagāmo,
“Come Ānanda let us approach Hatthigāma (Elephant Village), Ambagāma (Mango Village),

yena Jambugāmo, yena Bhoganagaraṁ tenupasaṅkamissāmā.” ti
Jambugāma (Rose-Apple Village), Bhoganagara (Wealthy Village).”

“Evaṁ Bhante,” ti kho āyasmā Ānando Bhagavato paccassosi.
“Very well, reverend Sir,” venerable Ānanda replied to the Gracious One.

Atha kho Bhagavā mahatā bhikkhusaṅghena saddhiṁ yena Bhoganagaraṁ tad-avasari.
Then the Gracious One together with a great Community of monks arrived at Bhoganagara.

Tatra sudaṁ Bhagavā Bhoganagare viharati Ānande Cetiye.
There the Gracious One lived near Bhoganagara at the Joyous Shrine.

 

Tatra kho Bhagavā bhikkhū āmantesi:
There the Gracious One addressed the monks, (saying):

“Cattārome bhikkhave Mahāpadese desessāmi,
“I will teach these Four Great Referrals, Parse as mahā + apadesa. It should not be translated as authority, the authorities are actually stated below to be the Teaching and the Discipline (Dhammavinaya).02 monks,

taṁ suṇātha sādhukaṁ manasikarotha bhāsissāmī.” ti
listen to it, apply your minds well, and I will speak.”

“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:

“Idha bhikkhave bhikkhu evaṁ vadeyya:
“Here, monks, a monk might speak like this:

‘Sammukhā metaṁ āvuso Bhagavato sutaṁ, sammukhā paṭiggahitaṁ:
‘I have heard this directly from the Gracious One, friend, directly I learned it:

“Ayaṁ Dhammo ayaṁ Vinayo idaṁ Satthu Sāsanan” ’-ti .
“This is the Teaching, this is the Discipline, this is the Teacher's Dispensation.” ’

Tassa bhikkhave bhikkhuno bhāsitaṁ neva abhinanditabbaṁ na paṭikkositabbaṁ.
That monk's speech, monks, is not to be rejoiced over, not to be scorned at.

Anabhinanditvā appaṭikkositvā tāni padabyañjanāni sādhukaṁ uggahetvā,
Without having rejoiced over it, without having scorned it, after learning those words and syllables well,

Sutte osāretabbāni BJT, PTS: otāretabbāni, and similarly throughout. The (ChS) Commentary gives these laconic definitions: “Sutte osāretabbānī” ti sutte otāretabbāni. “Vinaye sandassetabbānī” ti vinaye saṁsandetabbāni. This reading rules out taking otāretabbāni in the text. Without taking this interpretation into account the natural meaning would be admitted into the Discourses, instructed in the Discipline. As it is hard to make sense of this in the context, I follow the Commentary.03 Vinaye sandassetabbāni.
they should be laid alongside the Discourses, they should be compared with the Discipline. The Commentary has a hard time here explaining what is comprehended by Sutta and Vinaya, because the Abhidhamma is not mentioned explicitly. Eventually it settles on the following definition: Sutte ti Tepiṭake Buddhavacane otāretabbāni. Vinaye ti etasmiṁ rāgādivinayakāraṇe saṁsandetabbānī ti; alongside the Discourses, they should be laid alongside the Buddha's word in the Three Baskets. With the Discipline, they should be compared with the means of disciplining passion.04

Tāni ce Sutte osāriyamānāni Vinaye sandassiyamānāni,
If, when these are laid alongside the Discourses, compared with the Discipline,

na ceva Sutte osaranti na ca Vinaye sandissanti,
they do not fit in with the Discourses, they do not compare (well) with the Discipline,

niṭṭham-ettha gantabbaṁ: ‘Addhā idaṁ na ceva tassa Bhagavato vacanaṁ,
you may here come to this conclusion: ‘Certainly this is not the Gracious One's word,

imassa ca bhikkhuno duggahitan’-ti iti hetaṁ bhikkhave chaḍḍeyyātha.
it is not well learned by that monk,’ and, monks, you should abandon it.

Tāni ce Sutte osāriyamānāni Vinaye sandassiyamānāni,
If when these are laid alongside the Discourses, compared with the Discipline,

Sutte ceva osaranti Vinaye ca sandissanti,
they do fit in with the Discourses, they do compare (well) with the Discipline,

niṭṭham-ettha gantabbaṁ: ‘Addhā idaṁ tassa Bhagavato vacanaṁ,
you may come to this conclusion: ‘Certainly this is the Gracious One's word,

imassa ca bhikkhuno suggahitan’-ti
it is well-learned by that monk.’

Idaṁ bhikkhave paṭhamaṁ Mahāpadesaṁ dhāreyyātha.
This, monks, is the first Great Referral you should bear in mind.

* * *

Idha pana bhikkhave bhikkhu evaṁ vadeyya:
Here, monks, a monk might speak like this:

‘Amukasmiṁ nāma āvāse Saṅgho viharati sathero sapāmokkho,
‘In a certain dwelling place lives a Community with elders and leaders,

tassa me Saṅghassa sammukhā sutaṁ sammukhā paṭiggahitaṁ:
I have heard this directly from that Community, directly I learned it:

“Ayaṁ Dhammo ayaṁ Vinayo idaṁ Satthu Sāsanan-” ’ti .
“This is the Teaching, this is the Discipline, this is the Teacher's Dispensation.” ’

Tassa bhikkhave bhikkhuno bhāsitaṁ neva abhinanditabbaṁ na paṭikkositabbaṁ.
Those monks' speech, monks, is not to be rejoiced over, not to be scorned at.

Anabhinanditvā appaṭikkositvā tāni padabyañjanāni sādhukaṁ uggahetvā,
Without having rejoiced over it, without having scorned it, after learning those words and syllables well,

Sutte osāretabbāni Vinaye sandassetabbāni.
they should be laid alongside the Discourses, they should be compared with the Discipline.

Tāni ce Sutte osāriyamānāni Vinaye sandassiyamānāni,
If, when these are laid alongside the Discourses, compared with the Discipline,

na ceva Sutte osaranti na ca Vinaye sandissanti,
they do not fit in with the Discourses, they do not compare (well) with the Discipline,

niṭṭham-ettha gantabbaṁ: ‘Addhā idaṁ na ceva tassa Bhagavato vacanaṁ,
you may here come to this conclusion: ‘Certainly this is not the Gracious One's word,

tassa ca Saṅghassa duggahitan’-ti iti hetaṁ bhikkhave chaḍḍeyyātha.
it is not well learned by that Community,’ and, monks, you should abandon it.

Tāni ce Sutte osāriyamānāni Vinaye sandassiyamānāni,
If when these are laid alongside the Discourses, compared with the Discipline,

Sutte ceva osaranti Vinaye ca sandissanti,
they do fit in with the Discourses, they do compare (well) with the Discipline,

Niṭṭham-ettha gantabbaṁ: ‘Addhā idaṁ tassa Bhagavato vacanaṁ,
you may here come to this conclusion: ‘Certainly this is the Gracious One's word,

tassa ca Saṅghassa suggahitan.’-ti
it is well-learned by that Community.’

Idaṁ bhikkhave dutiyaṁ Mahāpadesaṁ dhāreyyātha.
This, monks, is the second Great Referral you should bear in mind.

* * *

Idha pana bhikkhave bhikkhu evaṁ vadeyya:
Here, monks, a monk might speak like this:

‘Amukasmiṁ nāma āvāse sambahulā therā bhikkhū viharanti,
‘In a certain dwelling place live many elders,

bahussutā āgatāgamā Dhammadharā Vinayadharā Mātikādharā
very learned, who have learned the traditions, who are bearers of the Teaching, bearers of the Discipline, bearers of the Tabulation, Commenting on this phrase the Commentary to AN (PTS 2:189) says: Dhammadharā ti Suttantapiṭakadharā, Vinayadharā ti Vinayapiṭakadharā, Mātikādharā ti Dvemātikādharā. The last item in defined therefore as being bearers of both the Bhikkhu- and Bhikkhuṇī-Pātimokkhā.05

tesaṁ me therānaṁ sammukhā sutaṁ sammukhā paṭiggahitaṁ:
I have heard this directly from those elders, directly I learned it:

“Ayaṁ Dhammo ayaṁ Vinayo idaṁ Satthu Sāsanan-” ’ ti.
“This is the Teaching, this is the Discipline, this is the Teacher's Dispensation.” ’

Tassa bhikkhave bhikkhuno bhāsitaṁ neva abhinanditabbaṁ na paṭikkositabbaṁ.
Those monks' speech, monks, is not to be rejoiced over, not to be scorned at.

Anabhinanditvā appaṭikkositvā tāni padabyañjanāni sādhukaṁ uggahetvā,
Without having rejoiced over it, without having scorned it, after learning those words and syllables well,

Sutte osāretabbāni Vinaye sandassetabbāni.
they should be laid alongside the Discourses, they should be compared with the Discipline.

Tāni ce Sutte osāriyamānāni Vinaye sandassiyamānāni,
If, when these are laid alongside the Discourses, compared with the Discipline,

na ceva Sutte osaranti na ca Vinaye sandissanti,
they do not fit in with the Discourses, they do not compare (well) with the Discipline,

niṭṭham-ettha gantabbaṁ: ‘Addhā idaṁ na ceva tassa Bhagavato vacanaṁ,
you may here come to this conclusion: ‘Certainly this is not the Gracious One's word,

tesañ-ca therānaṁ duggahitan’-ti iti hetaṁ bhikkhave chaḍḍeyyātha.
it is not well learned by those elders,’ and, monks, you should abandon it.

Tāni ce Sutte osāriyamānāni Vinaye sandassiyamānāni
If when these are laid alongside the Discourses, compared with the Discipline

Sutte ceva osaranti Vinaye ca sandissanti,
they do fit in with the Discourses, they do compare (well) with the Discipline,

Niṭṭham-ettha gantabbaṁ: ‘Addhā idaṁ tassa Bhagavato vacanaṁ,
you may here come to this conclusion: ‘Certainly this is the Gracious One's word,

tesañ-ca therānaṁ suggahitan.’-ti
it is well-learned by those elders.’

Idaṁ bhikkhave tatiyaṁ mahāpadesaṁ dhāreyyātha.
This, monks, is the third Great Referral you should bear in mind.

* * *

Idha pana bhikkhave bhikkhu evaṁ vadeyya:
Here, monks, a monk might speak like this:

‘Amukasmiṁ nāma āvāse eko thero bhikkhu viharati,
‘In a certain dwelling place lives one elder,

bahussuto āgatāgamo Dhammadharo Vinayadharo Mātikādharo,
very learned, who has learned the traditions, a bearer of the Teaching, a bearer of the Discipline, a bearer of the Tabulation,

tassa me therassa sammukhā sutaṁ sammukhā paṭiggahitaṁ:
I have heard this directly from that elder, directly I learned it:

“Ayaṁ Dhammo ayaṁ Vinayo idaṁ Satthu Sāsanan.-” ’ti
“This is the Teaching, this is the Discipline, this is the Teacher's Dispensation.” ’

Tassa bhikkhave bhikkhuno bhāsitaṁ neva abhinanditabbaṁ na paṭikkositabbaṁ.
That monk's speech, monks, is not to be rejoiced over, not to be scorned at.

Anabhinanditvā appaṭikkositvā tāni padabyañjanāni sādhukaṁ uggahetvā,
Without having rejoiced over it, without having scorned it, after learning those words and syllables well,

Sutte osāretabbāni Vinaye sandassetabbāni.
they should be laid alongside the Discourses, they should be compared with the Discipline.

Tāni ce Sutte osāriyamānāni Vinaye sandassiyamānāni
If, when these are laid alongside the Discourses, compared with the Discipline

na ceva Sutte osaranti na ca Vinaye sandissanti,
they do not fit in with the Discourses, they do not compare (well) with the Discipline,

niṭṭham-ettha gantabbaṁ: ‘Addhā idaṁ na ceva tassa Bhagavato vacanaṁ,
you may here come to this conclusion: ‘Certainly this is not the Gracious One's word,

tassa ca therassa duggahitan’-ti iti hetaṁ bhikkhave chaḍḍeyyātha.
it is not well learned by that elder,’ and, monks, you should abandon it.

Tāni ce Sutte osāriyamānāni Vinaye sandassiyamānāni,
If when these are laid alongside the Discourses, compared with the Discipline,

Sutte ceva osaranti Vinaye ca sandissanti,
they do fit in with the Discourses, they do compare (well) with the Discipline,

niṭṭham-ettha gantabbaṁ: ‘Addhā idaṁ tassa Bhagavato vacanaṁ,
you may here come to this conclusion: ‘Certainly this is the Gracious One's word,

tassa ca therassa suggahitan.’-ti
it is well-learned by that elder.’

Idaṁ bhikkhave catutthaṁ Mahāpadesaṁ dhāreyyātha.
This, monks, is the fourth Great Referral you should bear in mind.

Ime kho bhikkhave cattāro mahāpadese dhāreyyāthā.” ti
These, monks, are the Four Great Referrals you should bear in mind.”

* * *

Tatra pi sudaṁ Bhagavā Bhoganagare viharanto Ānande Cetiye,
There also the Gracious One, while living near Bhoganagara at the Joyful Shrine,

etad-eva bahulaṁ bhikkhūnaṁ Dhammiṁ kathaṁ karoti:
spoke frequently to the monks about the Teaching, (saying):

“Iti sīlaṁ, iti samādhi, iti paññā,
“Such is virtue, such is concentration, such is wisdom,

sīlaparibhāvito samādhi mahapphalo hoti mahānisaṁso,
when virtue is well-developed it yields great fruit and brings great advantages in regard to concentration,

samādhiparibhāvitā paññā mahapphalā hoti mahānisaṁsā,
when concentration is well-developed it yields great fruit and brings great advantages in regard to wisdom,

Paññāparibhāvitaṁ cittaṁ sammad-eva āsavehi vimuccati,
when wisdom is well-developed the mind is completely liberated from the pollutants,

seyyathīdaṁ: kāmāsavā bhavāsavā avijjāsavā.” ti
that is to say: the pollutant of sensuality, the pollutant of (craving for) continued existence, the pollutant of ignorance.”