[I. The First Teachings]

[Upako Ājīvako]
[7. The Abstainer Upaka]

Atha kho Bhagavā Uruvelāyaṁ yathābhirantaṁ viharitvā,
Then the Gracious One, having dwelt for as long as he liked

yena Bārāṇasī tena cārikaṁ pakkāmi.
left on walking tour for Bārāṇasī. Jā Nid says this took place on the morning of the 14th day of the fortnight, which would only give the Buddha a day to reach Isipatana, about 250 km away; Mahāvastu is more realistic, giving much more detail which, when we inspect it would mean the Buddha took at least a week to make the journey, see Uruvilvā to Ṛṣipatana elsewhere on this website.01

Addasā kho Upako Ājīvako Bhagavantaṁ
The Abstainer He belonged to the Ājīvaka sect founded by Gosāla Makkhaliputta, one of the six famous teachers in Lord Buddha's time. The title of the sect indicates that they were known to have special rules in regard to their livelihood (ājīva), and abstained from taking support from various people or in various circumstances.02 Upaka saw the Gracious One

antarā ca Gayaṁ antarā ca Bodhiṁ addhānamaggappaṭipannaṁ,
going along the highway between the Bodhi (tree) and Gayā, According to Mahāvastu the meeting took place at Cundadvīlā, which is mentioned elsewhere in the Pāḷi texts as Cundavīlā.03

disvāna Bhagavantaṁ etad-avoca:
and after seeing (him), he said this to the Gracious One:

“Vippasannāni kho te āvuso indriyāni, parisuddho chavivaṇṇo pariyodāto,
“Your faculties, friend, Āvuso is a contraction of āyasmanto, a plural form, normally used politely when addressing an individual.04 are very clear, purified is your skin and bright,

kaṁsi tvaṁ āvuso uddissa pabbajito
on account of whom, friend, did you go forth

ko vā te Satthā, kassa vā tvaṁ Dhammaṁ rocesī?” ti
or who is your teacher, or what Dhamma do you prefer?”

Evaṁ vutte Bhagavā Upakaṁ Ājīvakaṁ gāthāhi ajjhabhāsi:
After this was said, the Gracious One addressed the Abstainer Upaka with verses:

“Sabbābhibhū Sabbavidūham-asmi,
“All-Conquering, All-Wise am I, First verse = Dhp 353. Comm: sabbābhibhū ti sabbaṁ tebhūmakadhammaṁ abhibhavitvā ṭhito, sabbavidū ti sabbaṁ catubhūmakadhammaṁ avediṁ aññāsiṁ; All-Conquering means he stood having conquered all states in the three grounds (of existence), All-Wise means he knew and understood all states in the four grounds (including Emancipation).05

Sabbesu dhammesu anūpalitto,
Undefiled in regard to all things,

Sabbañjaho taṇhakkhaye vimutto
Having given up everything, liberated through the destruction of craving,

Sayaṁ abhiññāya kam-uddiseyyaṁ?
Having deep knowledge myself, who should I point to (as Teacher)? Comm: kam-uddiseyyan-ti kaṁ aññaṁ “ayaṁ me Ācariyo” ti uddiseyyaṁ, who should I point to means what other should I point to saying, this is my Teacher?06

Na me Ācariyo atthi, sadiso me na vijjati,
There is no Teacher for me, The commentary makes clear that this refers to being a Teacher of the Supermundane state (Lokuttaradhamma), of course the Bodhisatta is not forgetting his mundane teachers.07 no one like me is found,

Sadevakasmiṁ lokasmiṁ natthi me paṭipuggalo.
There is no person equal to me in the world with its gods.


Ahañ-hi Arahā loke ahaṁ Satthā Anuttaro,
I am a Worthy One in the world, I am the Unsurpassed Teacher,

Ekomhi Sammāsambuddho sītibhūtosmi nibbuto.
I am the One Perfect Sambuddha, cool and passionless.


Dhammacakkaṁ pavattetuṁ gacchāmi Kāsinaṁ puraṁ,
I go to Kāsī's city Kāsī is the state of which Bārāṇasī was the capital.08 to set the Dhamma-Wheel rolling,

Andhabhūtasmiṁ lokasmiṁ āhañchaṁ Amatadundubhin.”-ti
I will beat the drum of the Deathless in a world that is blind.”

“Yathā kho tvaṁ āvuso paṭijānāsi Arahasi Anantajino!” ti
“It is as if you claim, friend, you are a Worthy One, an Infinite Victor!” This is apparently said incredulously, although the words themselves do not really make it clear.09

“Mādisā ve Jinā honti, ye pattā āsavakkhayaṁ.
“There are surely Victors like me, This sounds odd here after the claims to uniqueness above.10 who have attained the destruction of the pollutants.

Jitā me pāpakā dhammā, tasmāham-Upakā Jino.” ti
I have been victorious over all wicked things, therefore, Upaka, I am a Victor.”

Evaṁ vutte Upako Ājīvako “Huveyyāvuso” ti vatvāna,
When this was said, the Abstainer Upaka, after saying: “It may be so, friend,” The form Huveyya is a dialectical form that has been preserved here, which probably marks it as an authentic remembrance. It is missing from Mahāvastu though.11

sīsaṁ okampetvā ummaggaṁ gahetvā pakkāmi.
shaking his head, and taking the wrong path, Ummagga is evidently mentioned here in contrast to the Ariyamagga, Noble Path, which is soon to be introduced.12 went away.