Mahāparinibbānasuttaṁ
The Discourse about the Great Emancipation

[Pañcamabhāṇavāraṁ]
[The Fifth Chapter for Recitation]

[39: Subhaddo Pacchimo Sakkhisāvako]
[Subhadda, the Last Direct Disciple]

Tena kho pana samayena Subhaddo nāma paribbājako Kusinārāyaṁ paṭivasati.
Now at that time a wanderer named Subhadda The Commentary says he was a clothed wanderer (channaparibbājaka) born into a brāhmaṇa family, and gives an interesting story telling how there were two brothers in a previous life who made offerings (to Paccekabuddhas, it seems, though it is not stated). The elder brother gave offerings 9 times from each crop and was reborn as the person who became Aññāta Koṇḍañña (the first disciple to attain), and the younger one also gave an offering and was later reborn as Subhadda (the last direct disciple to attain).01 had arrived at Kusinārā.

Assosi kho Subhaddo paribbājako:
The wanderer Subhadda heard:

“Ajja kira rattiyā pacchime yāme,
“Today, it seems, in the last watch of the night,

samaṇassa Gotamassa Parinibbānaṁ bhavissatī.” ti
will be the ascetic Gotama's attainment of Final Emancipation.”

Atha kho Subhaddassa paribbājakassa etad-ahosi:
Then this occurred to the wanderer Subhadda:

“Sutaṁ kho pana metaṁ paribbājakānaṁ vuḍḍhānaṁ mahallakānaṁ,
“I have heard this from old, elderly wanderers,

ācariyapācariyānaṁ bhāsamānānaṁ:
who are teachers and teachers' teachers, when they said:

‘Kadāci karahaci Tathāgatā loke uppajjanti Arahanto Sammāsambuddhā.’ ti
‘Only occasionally, rarely, do Realised Ones, Worthy Ones, Perfect Sambuddhas arise in the world.’

Ajjeva rattiyā pacchime yāme samaṇassa Gotamassa Parinibbānaṁ bhavissati.
Today, in the last watch of the night, will be the ascetic Gotama's attainment of Final Emancipation.

Atthi ca me ayaṁ kaṅkhādhammo uppanno,
There is a doubt that has arisen for me,

evaṁ pasanno ahaṁ samaṇe Gotame:
and I have confidence in the ascetic Gotama thus:

‘Pahoti me samaṇo Gotamo tathā Dhammaṁ desetuṁ
‘The ascetic Gotama is able to teach the Teaching

yathāhaṁ imaṁ kaṅkhādhammaṁ pajaheyyan.’ ”-ti
in such a way that I will be able to abandon that doubt.’ ”

 

Atha kho Subhaddo paribbājako yena Upavattanaṁ Mallānaṁ Sālavanaṁ,
Then the wanderer Subhadda approached the Mallas' Sal Wood at Upavattana,

yen' Āyasmā Ānando tenupasaṅkami,
and approached venerable Ānanda,

upasaṅkamitvā āyasmantaṁ Ānandaṁ etad-avoca:
and after approaching he said to venerable Ānanda:

“Sutaṁ metaṁ bho Ānanda paribbājakānaṁ vuḍḍhānaṁ mahallakānaṁ,
“I have heard this from old, elderly wanderers, dear Ānanda,

ācariyapācariyānaṁ bhāsamānānaṁ:
who are teachers and teachers' teachers, when they said:

‘Kadāci karahaci Tathāgatā loke uppajjanti Arahanto Sammāsambuddhā.’ ti
‘Only occasionally, rarely, do Realised Ones, Worthy Ones, Perfect Sambuddhas arise in the world.’

Ajjeva rattiyā pacchime yāme samaṇassa Gotamassa Parinibbānaṁ bhavissati.
Today, in the last watch of the night, will be the ascetic Gotama's attainment of Final Emancipation.

Atthi ca me ayaṁ kaṅkhādhammo uppanno,
There is a doubt that has arisen for me,

evaṁ pasanno ahaṁ samaṇe Gotame:
and I have confidence in the ascetic Gotama thus:

‘Pahoti me samaṇo Gotamo tathā Dhammaṁ desetuṁ
‘The ascetic Gotama is able to teach the Teaching

yathāhaṁ imaṁ kaṅkhādhammaṁ pajaheyyaṁ’.
in such a way that I will be able to abandon that doubt’.

Sādhāhaṁ bho Ānanda labheyyaṁ samaṇaṁ Gotamaṁ dassanāyā.” ti
It would be well, dear Ānanda, if I was allowed to see the ascetic Gotama.”

Evaṁ vutte āyasmā Ānando Subhaddaṁ paribbājakaṁ etad-avoca:
After this was said, venerable Ānanda said this to the wanderer Subhadda:

“Alaṁ āvuso Subhadda mā Tathāgataṁ viheṭhesi kilanto Bhagavā.” ti
“Enough, friend Subhadda, do not trouble the Realised One, the Gracious One is exhausted.”

 

Dutiyam-pi kho Subhaddo paribbājako āyasmantaṁ Ānandaṁ etad-avoca:
For a second time the wanderer Subhadda said this to venerable Ānanda:

“Sutaṁ metaṁ bho Ānanda paribbājakānaṁ vuḍḍhānaṁ mahallakānaṁ,
“I have heard this from old, elderly wanderers, dear Ānanda,

ācariyapācariyānaṁ bhāsamānānaṁ:
who are teachers and teachers' teachers, when they said:

‘Kadāci karahaci Tathāgatā loke uppajjanti Arahanto Sammāsambuddhā.’
‘Only occasionally, rarely, do Realised Ones, Worthy Ones, Perfect Sambuddhas arise in the world.’

Ajjeva rattiyā pacchime yāme samaṇassa Gotamassa Parinibbānaṁ bhavissati.
Today, in the last watch of the night, will be the Realised One's attainment of Final Emancipation.

Atthi ca me ayaṁ kaṅkhādhammo uppanno,
There is a doubt that has arisen for me,

evaṁ pasanno ahaṁ samaṇe Gotame:
and I have confidence in the ascetic Gotama thus:

‘Pahoti me samaṇo Gotamo tathā Dhammaṁ desetuṁ
‘The ascetic Gotama is able to teach the Teaching

yathāhaṁ imaṁ kaṅkhādhammaṁ pajaheyyaṁ’.
in such a way that I will be able to abandon that doubt’.

Sādhāhaṁ bho Ānanda labheyyaṁ samaṇaṁ Gotamaṁ dassanāyā.” ti
It would be well, dear Ānanda, if I was allowed to see the ascetic Gotama.

Dutiyam-pi kho āyasmā Ānando Subhaddaṁ paribbājakaṁ etad-avoca:
For a second time venerable Ānanda said this to the wanderer Subhadda:

“Alaṁ āvuso Subhadda mā Tathāgataṁ viheṭhesi kilanto Bhagavā.” ti
“Enough, friend Subhadda, do not trouble the Realised One, the Gracious One is exhausted.”

 

Tatiyam-pi kho Subhaddo paribbājako āyasmantaṁ Ānandaṁ etad-avoca:
For a third time the wanderer Subhadda said this to venerable Ānanda:

“Sutaṁ metaṁ bho Ānanda paribbājakānaṁ vuḍḍhānaṁ mahallakānaṁ,
“I have heard this from old, elderly wanderers, dear Ānanda,

ācariyapācariyānaṁ bhāsamānānaṁ:
who are teachers and teachers' teachers, when they said:

‘Kadāci karahaci Tathāgatā loke uppajjanti Arahanto Sammāsambuddhā.’ ti
‘Only occasionally, rarely, do Realised Ones, Worthy Ones, Perfect Sambuddhas arise in the world.’

Ajjeva rattiyā pacchime yāme samaṇassa Gotamassa Parinibbānaṁ bhavissati.
Today, in the last watch of the night, will be the ascetic Gotama's attainment of Final Emancipation.

Atthi ca me ayaṁ kaṅkhādhammo uppanno,
There is a doubt that has arisen for me,

evaṁ pasanno ahaṁ samaṇe Gotame:
and I have confidence in the ascetic Gotama thus:

‘Pahoti me samaṇo Gotamo tathā Dhammaṁ desetuṁ
‘The ascetic Gotama is able to teach the Teaching

yathāhaṁ imaṁ kaṅkhādhammaṁ pajaheyyaṁ’.
in such a way that I will be able to abandon that doubt’.

Sādhāhaṁ bho Ānanda labheyyaṁ samaṇaṁ Gotamaṁ dassanāyā.” ti
It would be well, dear Ānanda, if I was allowed to see the ascetic Gotama.”

Tatiyam-pi kho āyasmā Ānando Subhaddaṁ paribbājakaṁ etad-avoca:
For a third time venerable Ānanda said this to the wanderer Subhadda:

“Alaṁ āvuso Subhadda mā Tathāgataṁ viheṭhesi kilanto Bhagavā.” ti
“Enough, friend Subhadda, do not trouble the Realised One, the Gracious One is exhausted.”

 

Assosi kho Bhagavā āyasmato Ānandassa
The Gracious One heard venerable Ānanda

Subhaddena paribbājakena saddhiṁ imaṁ kathāsallāpaṁ.
having this conversation with the wanderer Subhadda.

Atha kho Bhagavā āyasmantaṁ Ānandaṁ āmantesi:
Then the Gracious One said this to venerable Ānanda:

“Alaṁ Ānanda mā Subhaddaṁ vāresi
“Enough, Ānanda, do not obstruct Subhadda

labhataṁ Ānanda Subhaddo Tathāgataṁ dassanāya.
allow Subhadda to see the Realised One. It is curious that the Buddha has to intervene here as he has just been praising Ānanda for knowing the right time for letting people see him!02

Yaṁ kiñci maṁ Subhaddo pucchissati
Whatever Subhadda will ask of me

sabbaṁ taṁ aññāpekkho va maṁ pucchissati no vihesāpekkho.
all of it he will ask of me seeking for deep knowledge, and not to trouble me.

Yañ-cassāhaṁ puṭṭho byākarissāmi, taṁ khippam-eva ājānissatī.” ti
Whatever question is put I will answer, and he will quickly understand it.”

Atha kho āyasmā Ānando Subhaddaṁ paribbājakaṁ etad-avoca:
Then venerable Ānanda said this to the wanderer Subhadda:

“Gacchāvuso Subhadda karoti te Bhagavā okāsan.”-ti
“Go, friend Subhadda, the Gracious One has given you permission.”

 

Atha kho Subhaddo paribbājako yena Bhagavā tenupasaṅkami,
Then the wanderer Subhadda approached the Gracious One,

upasaṅkamitvā Bhagavatā saddhiṁ sammodi,
and after approaching, he exchanged greetings with the Gracious One,

sammodanīyaṁ kathaṁ sārāṇīyaṁ vītisāretvā, ekam-antaṁ nisīdi.
and after exchanging courteous talk and greetings, he sat down on one side.

Ekam-antaṁ nisinno kho Subhaddo paribbājako Bhagavantaṁ etad-avoca:
While sitting on one side the wanderer Subhadda said this to the Gracious One:

“Yeme bho Gotama samaṇabrāhmaṇā saṅghino gaṇino gaṇācariyā,
“Those ascetics and brahmins, dear Gotama, who have a community, a group, who teach a group,

ñātā yasassino titthakarā sādhusammatā bahujanassa,
well-known, famous, religious founders, agreed upon as good for the people,

seyyathīdaṁ: Pūraṇo Kassapo, Makkhali Gosālo, Ajito Kesakambalo,
such as: Pūraṇa Kassapa, Makkhali Gosāla, Ajita Kesakambala,

Pakudho Kaccāyano, Sañjayo Belaṭṭhaputto, Nigaṇṭho Nāṭaputto,
Pakudha Kaccāyana, Sañjaya Belaṭṭhaputta, Nigaṇṭha Nāṭaputta, These are six famous teachers of Lord Buddha's time. The Nigaṇṭha Nāṭaputta at least had died some time before this.03

sabbe te sakāya paṭiññāya abbhaññiṁsu?
have they all understood, according to their own avowal?

Sabbeva na abbhaññiṁsu?
Have they all not understood?

Udāhu ekacce abbhaññiṁsu?
Or, have some understood?

Udāhu ekacce na abbhaññiṁsū?” ti
Or, have some not understood?”

“Alaṁ Subhadda tiṭṭhatetaṁ:
“Enough, Subhadda, stop this: The Commentary notes that it was neither profitable nor opportune for the Buddha to refute the various sectarians at this point in time, so he simply taught his own Teaching.04

‘Sabbe te sakāya paṭiññāya abbhaññiṁsu?
‘Have they all understood, according to their own avowal?

Sabbeva na abbhaññiṁsu?
Have they all not understood?

Udāhu ekacce abbhaññiṁsu?
Or, have some understood?

Udāhu ekacce na abbhaññiṁsu?’ ti
Or, have some not understood?’

Dhammaṁ te Subhadda desissāmi,
I will teach the Teaching to you, Subhadda,

taṁ suṇāhi sādhukaṁ manasikarohi bhāsissāmī.” ti
listen to it, apply your mind well, and I will speak.”

“Evaṁ Bhante,” ti kho Subhaddo paribbājako Bhagavato paccassosi,
“Very well, reverend Sir,” the wanderer Subhadda replied to the Gracious One,

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

“Yasmiṁ kho Subhadda Dhammavinaye Ariyo Aṭṭhaṅgiko Maggo na upalabbhati
“Wherever, Subhadda, the Noble Eightfold Path is not found in a Teaching and Discipline

samaṇo pi tattha na upalabbhati,
there a (true) ascetic is not found, A (true) ascetic here refers to one who has reached the first path of Awakening, and is an Ariya Sotāpanna. Similarly with the second (Sakadāgāmī) third (Anāgāmī), and fourth (Arahatta) ascetics below.05

dutiyo pi tattha samaṇo na upalabbhati,
there a second (true) ascetic is not found,

tatiyo pi tattha samaṇo na upalabbhati,
there a third (true) ascetic is not found,

catuttho pi tattha samaṇo na upalabbhati.
there a fourth (true) ascetic is not found.

Yasmiñ-ca kho Subhadda Dhammavinaye Ariyo Aṭṭhaṅgiko Maggo upalabbhati
But wherever, Subhadda, the Noble Eightfold Path is found in a Teaching and Discipline

samaṇo pi tattha upalabbhati,
there a (true) ascetic is found,

dutiyo pi tattha samaṇo upalabbhati,
there a second (true) ascetic is found,

tatiyo pi tattha samaṇo upalabbhati,
there a third (true) ascetic is found,

catuttho pi tattha samaṇo upalabbhati.
there a fourth (true) ascetic is found.

Imasmiṁ kho Subhadda Dhammavinaye Ariyo Aṭṭhaṅgiko Maggo upalabbhati,
In this Teaching and Discipline, Subhadda, the Noble Eightfold Path is found,

idheva Subhadda samaṇo,
here a (true) ascetic is found,

idha dutiyo samaṇo,
here a second (true) ascetic is found,

idha tatiyo samaṇo,
here a third (true) ascetic is found,

idha catuttho samaṇo.
here a fourth (true) ascetic is found.

Suññā parappavādā samaṇebhi aññehi ime ca Subhadda,
Void are the outside doctrines of these other ascetics, Subcomm: Parappavādā ti paresaṁ aññatitthiyānaṁ nānappakārā vādā titthāyatanāni; outside doctrines means the various doctrines and belief systems of the other sectarians.06 Subhadda,

bhikkhū sammā vihareyyuṁ asuñño loko Arahantehi assa.
(but) if monks should live well, Comm: sammā vihareyyun-ti ettha sotāpanno attano adhigataṭṭhānaṁ aññassa kathetvā taṁ sotāpannaṁ karonto sammā viharati nāma, should live well, here a stream-enterer, having spoken about his attainment to another, (thereby) making him a stream-enterer, then this is known as living well. The same for those with the other attainments, or practising for the other attainments.07 the world will not be void of Worthy Ones.

Ekūnatiṁso vayasā Subhadda,
(At) twenty-nine years, Subhadda,

Yaṁ pabbajiṁ kiṁkusalānu-esī,
I went forth a seeker of what is good, The Commentary says yaṁ here is merely a particle (without meaning), and continues: kiṁ kusalan-ti sabbaññutaññāṇaṁ adhippetaṁ; what is good means omniscient knowledge.08

Vassāni paññāsasamādhikāni,
More than fifty years ago, This is counting from the time of his going forth from the household life, after which he spent 6 years as an ascetic before Awakening, and forty-five years thereafter teaching.09

Yato ahaṁ pabbajito Subhadda.
Wherefore I am (truly) gone forth, Subhadda.

Ñāyassa Dhammassa padesavatti
Existing in the realm of the right Teaching Comm: padesavattī ti padese vipassanāmagge pavattanto; existing in the realm means continuing along the path of insight.10

Ito bahiddhā samaṇo pi natthi,
Outside of this there is no (true) ascetic, Comm: padesavattivipassako pi natthi, paṭhamasamaṇo sotāpanno pi natthī ti vuttaṁ hoti; no one practising in the realm of insight, also no first ascetic who is a stream-enterer, this is what is said.11

dutiyo pi samaṇo natthi,
a second (true) ascetic is not found,

tatiyo pi samaṇo natthi,
a third (true) ascetic is not found,

catuttho pi samaṇo natthi.
a fourth (true) ascetic is not found.

Suññā parappavādā samaṇebhi aññehi ime ca Subhadda,
Void are the outside doctrines of these other ascetics, Subhadda,

bhikkhū sammā vihareyyuṁ asuñño loko Arahantehi assā.” ti
(but) if monks should live well, the world will not be void of Worthy Ones.”

 

Evaṁ vutte Subhaddo paribbājako Bhagavantaṁ etad-avoca:
After this was said, the wanderer Subhadda said this to the Gracious One:

“Abhikkantaṁ Bhante! Abhikkantaṁ Bhante!
“Excellent, reverend Sir! Excellent, reverend Sir!

Seyyathā pi Bhante nikkujjitaṁ vā ukkujjeyya,
Just as, reverend Sir, one might set upright what has been overturned,

paṭicchannaṁ vā vivareyya, mūḷhassa vā maggaṁ ācikkheyya,
or open up what has been closed, or show a path to one who is lost,

andhakāre vā telapajjotaṁ dhāreyya,
or bear an oil lamp in the darkness,

cakkhumanto rūpāni dakkhinti,
so that one who has eyes can see forms,

evam-evaṁ Bhagavatā anekapariyāyena Dhammo pakāsito.
just so has the Teaching been made clear by the Gracious One in more than one way.

Esāhaṁ Bhante Bhagavantaṁ saraṇaṁ gacchāmi,
I go to the Gracious One for refuge, reverend Sir,

Dhammañ-ca Bhikkhusaṅghañ-ca.
and to the Teaching, and to the Community of monks.

Labheyyāhaṁ Bhante Bhagavato santike pabbajjaṁ
May I receive the going-forth, reverend Sir, in the presence of the Gracious One,

labheyyaṁ upasampadan.”-ti
may I receive the full ordination.”

“Yo kho Subhadda aññatitthiyapubbo imasmiṁ Dhammavinaye
“Those who were formerly of another sect who in this Teaching and Discipline

ākaṅkhati pabbajjaṁ ākaṅkhati upasampadaṁ so cattāro māse parivasati,
desire the going-forth, who desire full ordination, live on probation for four months,

catunnaṁ māsānaṁ accayena,
and at the end of four months,

āraddhacittā bhikkhū pabbājenti upasampādenti bhikkhubhāvāya.
the minds of the monks being satisfied, they give the going-forth and the full ordination into the monkhood.

Api ca-m-ettha puggalavemattatā viditā.” ti
But I understand there is a distinction between persons in this case.”

“Sace Bhante aññatitthiyapubbā imasmiṁ Dhammavinaye,
“If, reverend Sir, those who were formerly of another sect who in this Teaching and Discipline,

ākaṅkhantā pabbajjaṁ ākaṅkhantā upasampadaṁ cattāro māse parivasanti,
desire the going-forth, who desire full ordination, live on probation for four months,

catunnaṁ māsānaṁ accayena,
and at the end of four months,

āraddhacittā bhikkhū pabbājenti upasampādenti bhikkhubhāvāya,
the minds of the monks being satisfied, they give the going-forth and the full ordination into the monkhood,

ahaṁ cattāri vassāni parivasissāmi, catunnaṁ vassānaṁ accayena,
then I will live on probation for four years, and at the end of four years,

āraddhacittā bhikkhū pabbājentu upasampādentu bhikkhubhāvāyā.” ti
the minds of the monks being satisfied, they can give the going-forth and the full ordination into the monkhood.”

 

Atha kho Bhagavā āyasmantaṁ Ānandaṁ āmantesi:
Then the Gracious One said this to venerable Ānanda:

“Tena h' Ānanda Subhaddaṁ pabbājehī.” ti
“Then, Ānanda, give the going-forth to Subhadda.”

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

Atha kho Subhaddo paribbājako āyasmantaṁ Ānandaṁ etad-avoca:
Then the wanderer Subhadda said this to venerable Ānanda:

“Lābhā te āvuso Ānanda suladdhaṁ te āvuso Ānanda,
“There are certainly gains for you, friend Ānanda, it is certainly a good gain for you, friend Ānanda,

ye ettha Satthārā sammukhā antevāsikābhisekena abhisittā.” ti
that here, face to face with the Teacher, you have been consecrated with an attendant's consecration.” Or: you have been sanctified with an attendant's sanctification, meaning: you have been blessed with the blessing of being an attendent.12

Alattha kho Subhaddo paribbājako
The wanderer Subhadda received

Bhagavato santike pabbajjaṁ, alattha upasampadaṁ.
the going forth in the presence of the Gracious One, received full ordination.

 

Acirūpasampanno kho pan' Āyasmā Subhaddo,
Then not long after ordination, venerable Subhadda,

eko vūpakaṭṭho appamatto ātāpī pahitatto viharanto,
while dwelling solitary, secluded, heedful, ardent, and resolute,

na cirasseva yassatthāya kulaputtā sammad-eva
after no long time (attained) that good for which young gentlemen

agārasmā anagāriyaṁ pabbajanti,
rightly go forth from the house to the houseless life,

tad-anuttaraṁ brahmacariyapariyosānaṁ,
that unsurpassed conclusion to the spiritual life,

diṭṭhe va dhamme sayaṁ abhiññā sacchikatvā upasampajja vihāsi.
and dwelt having known, experienced, and attained it himself in this very life.

Khīṇā jāti
Destroyed is (re)birth

vusitaṁ brahmacariyaṁ
accomplished is the spiritual life

kataṁ karaṇīyaṁ
done is what ought to be done

nāparaṁ itthattāyā ti abbhaññāsi.
there is no more of this mundane state - this he knew.

Aññataro kho pan' Āyasmā Subhaddo Arahataṁ ahosi.
And venerable Subhadda became another of the Worthy Ones.

So Bhagavato pacchimo sakkhisāvako ahosī ti.
He was the last direct disciple of the Gracious One. Commentary: Saṅgītikārakānaṁ vacanaṁ; (these are) the words of those who held the (First) Council.13

Pañcamabhāṇavāraṁ
The Fifth Chapter for Recital (is Finished)