MN 078-Samanamandika Sutta

Ven Bhikku Bodhi Explains the Sutta

Ascetic Invincible

§ 1. THUS HAVE I HEARD.
On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Savatthl in Jeta’s Grove, Anathapindika’s Park. Now on that occasion the wanderer Uggahamana Samanamandikaputta was staying in Mallika’s Park, the single-hailed Tinduka plantation for philosophical debates,771
[771.MA: The park had been built by Queen Mallika, the wife of King Pasenadi of Kosala, and beautified with flower trees and fruit trees. A t first only one hall was built, which accounts for its name, but afterwards many halls were built. Various companies of brahmins and wanderers would assemble here to expound and discuss their doctrines][23] together with a large following of wanderers, with as many as three hundred wanderers.

§ 2. The carpenter Pancakanga went out from Savatthl at midday in order to see the Blessed One. Then he thought: “It is not the right time to see the Blessed One; he is still in retreat. And it is not the right time to see bhikkhus worthy of esteem; they are still in retreat. Suppose I went to Mallika’s Park, to the wanderer Uggahamana Samanamandikaputta?” And he went to Mallika’s Park.

§ 3. Now on that occasion the wanderer Uggahamana was seated with a large assembly of wanderers who were making an uproar, loudly and noisily talking many kinds of pointless talk, such as talk of kings…(as Sutta 76 Sandaka Sutta: To Sandaka, §4)...whether things are so or are not so. 

The wanderer Uggahamana Samanamandikaputta saw the carpenter Pancakanga coming in the distance. Seeing him, he quieted his own assembly thus:
“Sirs, be quiet; sirs make no noise. Here comes the carpenter Pancakanga, a disciple of the recluse Gotama, one of the recluse Gotama’s white-clothed lay disciples staying at Savatthl. These venerable ones like quiet; they are disciplined in quiet; they commend quiet. Perhaps if he finds our assembly a quiet one, he will think to join us.”
Then the wanderers became silent.

§ 4. The carpenter Pancakanga went to the wanderer Uggahamana and exchanged greetings with him. [24] When this courteous and amiable talk was finished, he sat down at one side. The wanderer Uggahamana then said to him:

§ 5. “Carpenter, when a man possesses four qualities, I describe him as accomplished in what is wholesome, perfected in what is wholesome, attained to the supreme attainment, an ascetic invincible.
What are the four?

  1. Here he does no evil bodily actions,
  2. he utters no evil speech,
  3. he has no evil intentions, and 
  4. he does not make his living by any evil livelihood.

When a man possesses these four qualities, I describe him as accomplished in what is wholesome, perfected in what is wholesome, attained to the supreme attainment, an ascetic invincible.

§ 6. Then the carpenter Pancakanga neither approved nor disapproved of the wanderer Uggahamana’s words. Without doing either he rose from his seat and went away, thinking: “I shall learn the meaning of this statement in the presence of the Blessed One.”

§ 7. Then he went to the Blessed One, and after paying homage to him, he sat down at one side and reported to the Blessed One his entire conversation with the wanderer Uggahamana. Thereupon the Blessed One said:

“If that were so, carpenter, then a young tender infant lying prone is accomplished in what is wholesome, perfected in what is wholesome, attained to the supreme attainment, an ascetic invincible, according to the wanderer Uggahamana’s statement 

  • For a young tender infant lying prone does not even have the notion ‘body,’
    so how should he do an evil action beyond mere wriggling?
  • A young tender infant lying prone does not even have the notion ‘speech,’
    so how should he utter evil speech beyond mere whining?
  • A young tender infant lying prone does not even have the notion ‘intention,
    so how should he have evil intentions beyond mere sulking?
  • A young tender infant lying prone does not even have the notion ‘livelihood,’ 
    so how [25] should he make his living by evil livelihood beyond being suckled at his mother’s breast?

If that were so, carpenter, then a young tender infant lying prone is  accomplished in what is wholesome…according to the wanderer Uggahamana’s statement.


§ 8. “When a man possesses four qualities, carpenter, I describe him, not as accomplished in what is wholesome or perfected in what is wholesome or attained to the supreme attainment or an ascetic invincible, but as one who stands in the same category as the young tender infant lying prone. What are the four?

  1. Here he does no evil bodily actions,
  2. he utters no evil speech,
  3. he has no evil intentions, and
  4. he does not make his living by any evil livelihood.

When a man possesses these four qualities, I describe him, not as accomplished…but as one who stands in the same category as the young tender infant lying prone.

§ 9. “When a man possesses ten qualities, carpenter, I describe him as accomplished in what is wholesome, perfected in what is wholesome, attained to the supreme attainment, an ascetic invincible. [But first of all] I say, it must be understood thus:772
[MA: First the Buddha shows the plane of the arahant, the one beyond training (i.e., by mentioning the ten qualities), then he sets up an outline applicable to the sekha, the disciple in higher training. The word rendered as “habits” is sila, which in some contexts can assume a wider range of meaning than “virtue.”]

‘These are unwholesome habits,’ and thus: ‘Unwholesome habits originate from this and thus: ‘Unwholesome habits cease without remainder here and thus: ‘One practising in this way is practising the way to the cessation of unwholesome habits.’ And I say, it must be understood thus:
“These are wholesome habits, and thus: ‘Wholesome habits originate from this,’ and thus:

‘Wholesome habits cease without remainder here and thus:
‘One practising in this way is practising the way to the cessation of wholesome habits.
‘ And I say, it must be understood thus:
‘These are unwholesome intentions and thus ‘Unwholesome intentions originate from this [26] and thus:
‘Unwholesome intentions cease without remainder here/ and thus ‘One practising in this way is practising the way to the cessation of unwholesome intentions.’ And l say, it must be understood thus:
‘These are wholesome intentions/ and thus: ‘Wholesome intentions originate from this/ and thus:
‘Wholesome intentions cease without remainder here/ and thus: ‘One practising in this way is practising the way to the cessation of wholesome intentions.’

§ 10. “What are unwholesome habits?
They are unwholesome bodily actions, unwholesome verbal actions, and evil livelihood. 

These are called unwholesome habits.
“And what do these unwholesome habits originate from?
Their origin is stated: they should be said to originate from mind.
What mind?
Though mind is multiple, varied, and of different aspects, there is mind affected by lust, by hate, and by delusion. Unwholesome habits originate from this.


“And where do these unwholesome habits cease without remainder?
Their cessation is stated:
here a bhikkhu abandons bodily misconduct and develops good bodily conduct; he abandons verbal misconduct and develops good verbal conduct; he abandons mental misconduct and develops good mental conduct; he abandons wrong livelihood and gains a living by right livelihood.773

[773: MA explains that this refers to the fruit of stream-entry, for it is at that point that the virtue of restraint by the Patimokkha is fulfilled (and, for a lay Buddhist, the observance of the Five Precepts). MA will also explain the subsequent passages by reference to the other supramundane paths and fruits. Although the text of the sutta does not expressly mention these attainments, the commentarial interpretation seems to b e justified by the expression “cease without remainder” (aparisesa nirujjhanti), for it is only with the attainment of the respective paths and fruits that a total cessation of the particular defilement occurs. The commentary’s view is further supported by the culmination of the entire discourse in the figure of the arahant.]

It is here that unwholesome habits cease without remainder.

§ 11 . “And how practising does he practise the way to the cessation of unwholesome habits?

Here a bhikkhu awakens zeal for the  non-arising of unarisen evil unwholesome states and he makes effort, arouses energy, exerts his mind, and strives.
He awakens zeal for the abandoning of arisen evil unwholesome states…
He awakens zeal for the arising of unarisen wholesome states…
He awakens zeal for the continuance, non-disappearance, strengthening, increase, and fulfilment by development of arisen wholesome states, and he makes effort, arouses energy, exerts his mind, and strives. [27]
One so practising practises the way to the cessation of unwholesome habits.774

[MA: As far as the path of stream-entry he is said to be practising for their cessation; when he has attained the fruit of stream-entry they are said to have ceased.]

§ 12. “What are wholesome habits?
They are wholesome bodily actions, wholesome verbal actions, and purification of livelihood.

These are called wholesome habits.
“And what do these wholesome habits originate from?
Their origin is stated: they should be said to originate from mind.

What mind?
Though mind is multiple, varied, and of different aspects, there is mind unaffected by lust, by hate, or by delusion.

Wholesome habits originate from this.
“And where do these wholesome habits cease without remainder?
Their cessation is stated: here a bhikkhu is virtuous,

but he does not identify with his virtue, and he understands as it actually is that deliverance of mind and deliverance by wisdom where these wholesome habits cease without remainder.775
[775:-This passage shows the arahant, who maintains virtuous conduct but no longer identifies with his virtue by conceiving it as “I” and “mine.” Since his virtuous habits no longer generate kamma, they are not describable as “wholesome. “]

§ 13 “And how practising does he practise the way to the cessation of wholesome habits?

Here a bhikkhu awakens zeal for the nonarising of unarisen evil unwholesome states…for the continuance, non-disappearance, strengthening, increase, and fulfilment by development of arisen wholesome states, and he makes effort, arouses energy, exerts his mind, and strives. One so practising practises the way to the cessation of wholesome habits.776

[776:-MA: A s far a s the path of arahantship he is said to be practising for their cessation; when he has attained the fruit of arahantship they are said to have ceased. ]

§ 13. “What are unwholesome intentions?
They are the intention of sensual desire,
the intention of ill will, and
the intention of cruelty.
These are called unwholesome intentions.

“And what do these unwholesome intentions originate from?
Their origin is stated: they should be said to originate from perception.
What perception?
Though perception is multiple, varied, and of different aspects, there is

perception of sensual desire,
perception of ill will, and
perception of cruelty.
Unwholesome intentions originate from this.

§ 14. “And where do these unwholesome intentions cease without remainder?
Their cessation is stated: here, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from [28] unwholesome states, a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the first jhana, which is accompanied by applied and sustained thought, with rapture and pleasure born of seclusion. It is here that unwholesome intentions cease without remainder.777
[777 MA: This refers to the first jhana pertaining to the fruit of non-returning. The path of non-returning eradicates sensual desire and ill will, and thus prevents any future arising of the three unwholesome intentions – those of sensual desire, ill will, and cruelty.]

“And how practicing does he practice the way to the cessation of unwholesome intentions?

Here a bhikkhu awakens zeal for the non-arising of unarisen evil unwholesome states…for the continuance, non-disappearance, strengthening, increase, and fulfilment by development of arisen wholesome states, and he makes effort, arouses energy, exerts his mind, and strives. One so practising practises the way to the cessation of unwholesome intentions.778
[778:-MA: As far as the path of non-returning he is said to be practising for their cessation; when he has attained the fruit of non-returning they are said to have ceased.]

§ 15 . “What are wholesome intentions?

They are the intention of renunciation,
the intention of non-ill will, and
the intention of non-cruelty.
These are called wholesome intentions.


“And what do these wholesome intentions originate from?
Their origin is stated: they? should be said to originate from perception.
What perception?
Though perception is multiple, varied, and of different aspects, there is perception of renunciation, perception of non-ill will, and perception of non-cruelty.

Wholesome intentions originate from this.

“And where do these wholesome intentions cease without remainder?
Their cessation is stated: here with the stilling of applied and sustained thought, a bhikkhu enters upon and abides in the second jhana, which has self-confidence and singleness of mind without applied and sustained thought, with rapture and pleasure born of concentration. It is here that these wholesome intentions cease without remainder.779
[779: MA: This refers to the second jhana pertaining to the fruit of arahantship]

“And how practising does he practise the way to the cessation of wholesome intentions?
Here a bhikkhu awakens zeal for the non-arising of unarisen evil unwholesome states…for the continuance, non-disappearance, strengthening, increase, and fulfilment by development of arisen wholesome states, and he makes effort, arouses energy, exerts his mind, and strives. One so practising practises the way to the cessation of wholesome intentions.780
[MA: As far as the path of arahantship he is said to be practising for their cessation; when he has obtained the fruit of arahantship they are said to have ceased. The virtuous intentions of the arahant are not described as “wholesome]

§ 14. “Now, carpenter, when a man possesses what ten qualities [29] do I describe him as accomplished in what is wholesome, perfected in what is wholesome, attained to the supreme attainment, an ascetic invincible?

Here a bhikkhu possesses

  1. the right view of one beyond training,781 [See MN 65.34]
  2. the right intention of one beyond training,
  3. the right speech of one beyond training,
  4. the right action of one beyond training,
  5. the right livelihood of one beyond training,
  6. the right effort of one beyond training,
  7. the right mindfulness of one beyond training,
  8. the right concentration of one beyond framing,
  9. the right knowledge of one beyond training, and
  10. the right deliverance of one beyond training.

When a man possesses these ten qualities, I describe him as accomplished in what is wholesome, perfected in what is wholesome, attained to the supreme attainment, an ascetic invincible.”

That is what the Blessed One said.
The carpenter Pancakanga was satisfied and delighted in the Blessed One’s words.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s