Book XXIV. Thirst Or Craving, Taṇhā Vagga

XXIV. 9. The Skeptical Ascetic This story is derived from the Vinaya, Mahā Vagga, i. 6. 7-9: i. 8. Cf. also Majjhima, 26: i. 170-171; and Therī-Gatha Commentary, lxviii: 220-222. Text: N iv. 71-72.01

353. I have overcome all things...

This religious instruction was given by the Teacher with reference to the Ājīvaka ascetic Upaka, whom he met by the way. {4.72}

For on a certain occasion the Teacher, having attained Omniscience, having spent seven weeks at the Throne of Wisdom, took his own bowl and robe, and set out on the road leading to Benāres eighteen leagues distant, that he might there set in motion the Wheel of the Law. As he walked along the road, he saw a certain lay disciple of the Ājīvaka Order. When the Ājīvaka ascetic saw the Teacher, he asked him, “Brother, your senses are tranquil, your complexion is bright and clear. In whose name have you retired from the world? Who is your teacher? Whose doctrine do you profess?” The Teacher replied, “I have no preceptor or teacher.” So saying, he pronounced the following Stanza,

353. I have overcome all things, and know all things.
In all the conditions of life I am free from taint.
I have renounced all, and by the destruction of Craving have attained Emancipation.
Since by myself I have attained Supernatural Knowledge, to whom can I point as my teacher?

At the conclusion of the lesson Upaka the Ājīvaka expressed neither approval nor disapproval of the words which the Tathāgata had spoken, but shaking his head and wagging his tongue, set out on a by-path, and went to the abode of a certain hunter.