Cakkavatti-Sihanada Suttanta

INTRODUCTION TO THE CAKKAVATTI-SIHANADA SUTTANTA.

 

ASOKA states in his Edicts that it was the horrors of actual warfare, as brought to his notice during his conquest of Kalinga, that led him to the propagation, in those Edicts, of the Dhamma — the Norm — as the only true conquest. So the Buddha is represented in this Suttanta as setting out his own idea of conquest (not without ironical reference to the current ideas), and then as inculcating the observance of the Dhamma — the Norm — as the most important force for the material and moral progress of mankind.

 

The whole is a fairytale. The personages who play their part in it never existed. The events described in it never occurred. And more than that : a modern writer, telling a story to emphasize a moral, would always, like the creator of the immortal Dr. Teufelsdrockh, endeavour to give probability, vraisemblance, to the characters and events of his tale. Here the very opposite would seem to be the case. Recourse is had rather to the shock of improbability. This is in accord with the procedure in other cases (for instance, in the story of Sharp-tooth the Priest ; or in that of the Riddles of the God 1). The point of the moral — and in this fairy tale the moral is the thing — is the Reign of Law. Never before in the history of the world had this principle been proclaimed in so thorough-going and uncompromising a way. But of course it is not set out in such arguments as we find in modern treatises on ethics or philosophy. The authors are not writing a monograph on history or ethics. They are preaching a gospel, and their method is to state their view, and leave the hearer to accept it or not, just as he pleases.

 

The view was, so to speak, in the air at that time. The whole history of religion, in India as elsewhere, had been the history of a struggle between the opposing ideas, or groups of ideas, that may be summed up by the words Animism and Normalism.

 

1 Kutadanta and Sakka-Panha.

 

Animism has now become a well-known term. It is based on the very ancient hypothesis of a soul — a subtle, material homunculus, or manikin, supposed to dwell in the heart of a man. This afforded what seemed a simple and self-evident explanation of many mysterious things. When in his dream a man saw another, whom, when the dreamer woke, he knew to have been dead, he at once concluded, on the evidence of the dream, that the person he saw in his dream was still alive. It is true he had seen the body dead. But it was self-evident that a something, he knew not what, but very like the body, was still alive. He did not reason much about it, or stay to weigh the difficulties involved. But he was much too frightened of it to forget it. Once formed, the hypothesis was widely used. When a man awoke in the morning, after hunting all night in his dreams, and learnt from his companions that his body had been there all the time, it was, of course, his soul that had been away. In a similar way, death and trance and disease could be ascribed to the absence of the soul. Souls were believed to wander from body to body. Animals had souls, even things had souls, if they were uncanny, or when they seemed to have life and motion and sound. The awe-inspiring phenomena of nature were instinctively regarded as the result of spirit action; and rivers, plants, and stars, the earth, the air, and heaven, became full of souls of gods, each of them in fashion as a man, and with the passions of a man.

But wide-reaching as this hypothesis was, it could not cover everything. From the earliest times of which we have any record we find, in India as elsewhere, quite a number of religious beliefs and ceremonies which were not explained, and could not be explained by the hypothesis of a soul. In other words, they are not animistic. The first impression we get is that of the bewildering variety of such beliefs. But they can be arranged, with more or less exactitude, into overlapping groups — and behind all the groups can be discerned a single underlying principle. That principle is the belief in a certain rule, order, law. We have no word for such a belief in English ; and this, since the theory is as important, in the ancient Indian religions, as Animism, is a pity. I have suggested, in my lectures on Comparative Religion in Manchester, to call it Normalism.

 

Of course the men who held the beliefs, and practised the ceremonies so named, had no clear conception of the theory of Normalism, just as they had no clear conception of the theory of Animism. But they unmistakably held the view that things happened, effects were brought about, without the agency of a soul or god, and quite as a matter of course; and they regarded that as the rule in such and such a case. Now we do not ourselves believe in the rule, or in any one of the rules, thus laid down (any more than we believe in the hypothesis of a homunculus within the heart). But the word Animism has been found most useful in clearing up our appreciation of ancient views. Its usefulness is limited, it is true. It covers rather less than half of the main beliefs recorded in the most ancient literatures of the world. The other half would be covered by the corresponding hypothesis of Normalism.

 

This is not the place to raise the question of the importance of Normalism in the general history of rehgions. Perhaps one of the reasons why, in Europe, so much more attention has been paid to Animism, maybe the general trend of belief in Europe being itself predominantly Animistic. But it is at least certain that in the far East, and more especially in China and India, Normalism is the more important of the two.

 

In China it is the basis of the theory of the Tao (the Way), which finds its earliest expression in the famous tractate of Lao Tsu, but was undoubtedly earlier than that, and is taken for granted also by Confucius.

 

The Tao is quite Normalistic ; and though much debased in later times in the official circles of Taoism, the early form of it has never ceased to influence the various intellectual centres of Chinese belief. The theory of Yang and Yin, also so widely, indeed universally, held in China, and alsa going back to very early times, is equally Normalistic. No one of these three conceptions was ever personified. All three rested on the idea of law, or rule, independent of any soul.

 

In India, our earliest records, the thousand and more V'edic hymns, seem at first sight to be altogether Animistic. They consist almost exclusively in appeals to various gods. The European books on Indian religions are concerned in treating of the Vedic period, with descriptions of these gods, based on the epithets applied to them, or the acts attributed to them, and so on. But these poems make no pretension to being a complete statement of the beliefs held by the tribes whose priests made or used the poems. Other poems, not included in our present collection, were doubtless extant in the community at the time when the collection was made. Other beliefs, not mentioned in the poems, were widely influential among the people. What we have is not complete even as a summary of the theosophy or the ritual or the mythology of the priests ; and it refers only incidentally to other beliefs, unconnected with gods, of great importance as a factor in religion and daily life.

 

This conclusion might be justified as rendered necessary by a critical consideration of the simple, known facts as to the composition of the anthology we call the Rig Veda. It is confirmed by the discovery in later Vedic books, especially in the manuals of domestic rites, of customs and beliefs, that must evidently go back to the Rig Veda period (though not referred to in that collection) ; and even of one or two such cases that certainly go back to an earlier period still. We have space here for only one or two sample instances, and even they can only be treated in the merest outline.

 

Take the case of Rita. The meaning of the word would seem to have passed through some such evolution as motion, rhythmic motion, order, cosmic order, moral order, the right. In those slowly moving ages a long period must be postulated for the growth and consolidation of such ideas. The word is found, incidentally mentioned, at the end of its career, in the Avesta and the Veda. It must have been in full use before the Persian Arj^ans had separated from the Indian Aryans. The idea may therefore with reasonable probability be traced back to the third millennium before Christ. The use of the word died out in India before the time of the rise of Buddhism. Of the pre-Buddhistic Upanishads it occurs only in one — the Taittirlya. In the peroration to that work Rita is placed above, before the gods. The word occurs, it is true, in three or four isolated passages of post-Buddhistic works, but these are archaisms. It has not been traced in either the Buddhist or the Jain canonical literature.

 

The process of the gradual decline in the use of an abstract word is precisely analogous to the process of the gradual decay and death of a god.1 The word covers not one idea only, but a number of connotations. The implications involved in it are constantly, though imperceptibly, changing. Sooner or later one or other phase of it overmasters the others, and some new word or words, emphasizing some one or other of the various connotations of the older word, come gradually into use as more adequate or more clear. When that process is complete, the older word is dead. But it lives again in the newer word, or words, that have taken its place, and would never have been born or thought of unless the older word had previously lived. It was so with Rita — a broader and deeper conception than the Greek Moira ; and

 

1 See Buddhist India, p. 234.

 

more akin to the Chinese Tao. Like these, Rita was never personified, and it lives again in the clearer and more definite (though still very imperfect) phrases of the Suttanta before us now.

 

The case of Rita is by no means unique. I have elsewhere discussed at some length another case, that of Tapas or self- mortification, austerity.1 It was held in India from Vedic times onwards that tapas (originally burning glow, but afterwards used of fasting and other forms of self-mortification) worked out its effects by itself, without the intervention of any deity. This is only the more remarkable since it is almost certain that in India, as elsewhere, the ecstatic state of mind which rendered such austerity possible was originally often regarded as due to the inspiration of a spirit. But it is, so far as I know, never mentioned that the supranormal effects of the austerity were due to the spirit from whom the inspiration came. The effects were due to the austerity itself. Very often indeed there was no question of any deity's help in the determination to carry out the self- torture — just as in the case of the pujaris at the ghats in modern India.

 

Even the very sacrifice itself — made to gods, supposed to give sustenance and strength to gods, accompanied by hymns and invocations addressed to gods — was not entirely free from such Normalistic ideas. The hymns themselves already contain phrases which suggest that their authors began to see a certain mystic power over the gods in a properly conducted sacrifice. And we know that afterwards, in the Brahmanas, this conception was carried to great lengths. So also we have evidence of a mystic power, independent of the gods, in the words, the verses, that accompany the sacrifice. And it is no contradiction of this that we find thus mystic power itself deified and becoming, indeed, in the course of centuries of speculation, the highest of the gods. And it is significative, in this connection, that the string of Behaspati's bow is precisely Rita.

 

It would be tedious (and it would also, after the above instances, be unnecessary, I trust) to quote the very numerous other instances in Vedic works of a slighter character and less importance, showing the existence of a theory of life the very opposite of Animism. They are naturally only quite incidental in the Rig Veda itself, and more and more frequent as the books get later, being most numerous in the Sutra

 

1 Dialogues of the Buddha I, 209-218. See also Oldenberg, Religion du Veda (R. Henry), 344-34.7.

 

period. Many of these can be classed under one or other of the various meanings given by anthropologists to the ambiguous and confusing word Magic 1 — the magic of names, or numbers, or propinquity, or likeness, or association, or sympathy, and so on. Many will also be found in the long list of practices from which it is said in the Silas (one of the very earliest of our Buddhist documents, earlier than the Pitakas) that the Samana Gotama refrains.2

 

The above suffices to show something of the position of Normalism in pre-Buddhistic India. Our present Suttanta shows the stage it had reached in the period of the early Buddhists. It is a stage of great interest — differing, as it does, from the line of development followed by Normalism in other countries.

 

T. W. Rhys Davids.

 

1 For some of these divergent and contradictory meanings see Proceedings of the Oxford Congress of Religions, 1908.

 

2 Dialogues of the Buddha, \'ol. I, pp. 16-30.

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CAKKAVATTI-SIHANADA SUTTANTA 1

 

(The Lion-roar on the Turning of the Wheel.)

 

WAR, WICKEDNESS, AND WEALTH.

 

 

 

[58] Thus have I heard :

 

1. The Exalted One was once staying in the land of the Magadhese at Mrituhl. Now there the Exalted One addressed the brethren,2 saying : Brethren ! And they made answer : Lord ! The Exalted One spake thus :

 

Live ye as islands 3 unto yourselves, brethren, as refuges unto yourselves, taking no other as your refuge ; live with the doctrine (the Norm), as your island, with the Norm as your refuge, taking no other as your refuge.

 

But how, brethren, does a brother live as an island unto himself, as a refuge unto himself, taking no other as his refuge ? how does he live with the Norm as his island, with the Norm as his refuge, taking no other refuge ?

 

Herein,4 brethren, a brother as to the body, as to the feelings, as to thought, as to ideas, 5 continues so to look upon these that he remains ardent, self-possessed, and mindful, that he may overcome both the hankering and the dejection common in the world. Thus, brethren, does a brother live as an island unto himself . . . with the Norm as his . . . refuge, taking no other as his refuge.

 

1 This and the next Suttanta have been excellently translated into German by R. Otto Franke, in his selections from the Digha Nikaya, Gottingen, 1913, pp. 260 ff.

 

2 Twenty in number. Corny.

 

3 Dipa, lamp, or island Buddhaghosa here takes to mean island: as an island in the midst of the ocean make self the terra fivma. Cf. above, II, 100.

 

4 As above, II, 327 ff.

 

5 Ih., p. 325.

 

Keep to your own pastures,1 brethren, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.^ If ye thus walk in them the Evil One will find no landing-place, no basis of attack. It is precisely by the cultivation of good qualities that this merit grows.

 

[59] 2. Long, long ago, brethren, there was a sovran overlord named Strongtyre, a righteous king ruling in righteousness,3 lord of the four quarters of the earth, conqueror, the protector of his people, possessor of the seven precious things. His were these seven precious things, to wit, the Wheel, the Elephant, the Horse, the Gem, the Woman, the House-father, the Counsellor. More than a thousand sons also were his, heroes, vigorous of frame, crushers of the hosts of the enemy.4 He lived in supremacy over this earth to its ocean bounds, having conquered it, not by the scourge, not by the sword, but by righteousness.

 

3. Now, brethren, after many years, after many hundred years, after many thousand years, King Strongtyre commanded a certain man, saying : If thou shouldst see, sirrah, that the Celestial Wheel has sunk a little, has slipped down from its place, bring me word.

 

Even so, sire, replied the man.

 

Now after many years, after many hundred years, after many thousand years that man saw that the Celestial Wheel had sunk, had slipped down from its place. On seeing that he went to King Strongtyre and said : Know, sire, for a truth that thy Celestial Wheel has sunk, has slipped down from its place.

 

1 G o c a r a : cattle-range.

 

2 Pettikevisaye:or your native beat. This injunction forms the moral in the Jataka of the Quail and the Falcon (II, 59). It must have been an old story, for it is told already (not as a Jataka) in Saniyutta V, 146, 147. The parable must have been familiar in the oldest Buddhist period and should be added to the list given in Buddhist India, p. 195.

 

3 On the omission here of an anointed Kshatriya, see II, 199, n. 2.

 

4 Cf. II, 13-

 

Then King Strongtyre, brethren, let the prince his eldest son be sent for, and spake thus :

 

Behold, dear boy, my Celestial Wheel has sunk a little, has slipped down from its place. Now it has been told me : If the Celestial Wheelof a Wheel-turning King shall sink down, shall slip down from its place, that king has not much longer to live. I have had my fill [60] of human pleasures ; 'tis time to seek after divine joys. Come, dear boy, take thou charge over this earth bounded by the ocean. But I, shaving hair and beard, and donning yellow robes, will go forth from home into the homeless state.

 

So, brethren, King Strongtyre, having in due form established his eldest son on the throne, shaved hair and beard, donned yellow robes and went forth from home into the homeless state. But on the seventh day after the royal hermit had gone forth, the Celestial Wheel disappeared.1

 

4. Then a certain man went to the king, the anointed warrior, and told him, saying : Know, O king, for a truth, that the Celestial Wheel has disappeared !

 

Then that king, brethren, the anointed warrior, was erieved thereat and afflicted with sorrow. And he went to the royal hermit and told him, saying : Know, sire, for a truth, that the Celestial Wheel has disappeared.

 

And the anointed king so saying, the royal hermit made reply : Grieve thou not, dear son, that the Celestial Wheel has disappeared, nor be afflicted. For no paternal heritage of thine, dear son, is the Celestial Wheel, But verily, dear son, turn thou in the Ariyan turning of the Wheel-turners.2 [Act up to the noble ideal of duty set before themselves by the true sovrans of the world.]3 Then it may well be that if thou carry

 

1 Like the extinguished flame of a lamp. Corny.

 

2 I.e. do good (make good karma) as I did, and earn the Wheel. Cf. the Great King of Glory's reflection, II, 218.

 

3 It is impossible to render the pregnant phrase into intelligible English without a paraphrase. There is a play upon the words vatta, and Ariya. Vatta means turning, but also duty (the way one ought to turn). Franke has Widme dich der hohen Cakkavatti-Pllicht. On the threefold meaning of Ar(i)yan — racial, ethical, and aesthetic — see Rhys Davids, Early Buddhism, 49, 50. On the new meaning here put into the curious word Wheel-turner, see Introduction.

 

out the Ariyan duty of a Wheel-turning Monarch, and on the feast of the full moon thou wilt o-o with bathed head to keep the feast on the chief upper terrace, lo ! the Celestial Wheel will manifest itself with its thousand spokes, its tyre, navel, and all its parts complete.

 

[61] 5. But what, sire, is this Ariyan duty of a Wheel-turning Monarch ?

 

This, dear son, that thou, leaning- on the Norm [the Law of truth and righteousness]1 honouring, respecting and revering it, doing homage to it, hallowing it, being thyself a Norm-banner, a Norm-signal, having the Norm as thy master, shouldst provide the right watch, ward, and protection for thine own folk, for the army, for the nobles, for vassals, for brahmins, and householders, for town and country dwellers, for the religious world, and for beasts and birds. Throughout thy kingdom let no wrongdoing prevail. And whosoever in thy kingdom is poor, to him let wealth be given.

 

And when, dear son, in thy kingdom men of religious life, renouncing the carelessness arising from the intoxication of the senses, and devoted to forbearance and sympathy, each mastering self, each calming self, each perfecting self, shall come to thee from time to time, and question thee concerning what is good and what is bad, what is criminal and what is not, what is to be done and what left undone, what line of action will in the long run work for weal or for woe, thou shouldst hear what they have to say, and thou shouldst deter them from evil, and bid them take up what is

 

 

1 The Norm is Dhamma. We must coin a word for this. Both French and Germans have a better word in droit and Rccht, each of which means both law and right. See Mrs. Rhys Davids above, II, 325, and Buddhism (1912), 227. The whole passage in the Pali is a striking outburst on the superiority of right over might, on the ideal of empire as held by the early Buddhists. Its eloquence has suffered much in our translation.

 

good. This, dear son, is the Ariyan duty of a sovran of the world.

 

Even so, sire, answered the anointed king, and obeying, carried out the Ariyan duty of a sovran lord. To him, thus behaving, when1 on the feast of the full moon he had gone in due observance with bathed head to the chief upper terrace, the Celestial Wheel revealed itself, with its thousand spokes, its tyre, its navel, and all its parts complete. And seeing this it occurred to the king : It has been told me that a king to whom on such an occasion the Celestial

Wheel reveals itself completely, [62] becomes a Wheel- turning monarch. May I even I also become a sovran of the world !

 

6. Then, brethren, the king arose from his seat, and uncovering his robe from one shoulder, took in his left hand a pitcher, and with his right hand sprinkled up over the Celestial Wheel, saying : Roll onward, O lord Wheel ! Go forth and overcome, O lord Wheel !

 

Then, brethren, the Celestial Wheel rolled onwards towards the region of the East, and after it went the Wheel-turning king, and with him his army, horses and chariots and elephants and men. And in whatever place, brethren, the Wheel stopped, there the king, the victorious war-lord, took up his abode, and with him his fourfold army. Then all the rival kings in the reo;ion of the East came to the sovran king- and said : Come, O mighty king ! Welcome, O mighty king ! All is thine, O mighty king ! Teach us, O mighty king !2

 

The king, the sovran war-lord, spake thus : Ye shall slay no living thing. Ye shall not take that which has not been given. Ye shall not act wrongly touching bodily desires. Ye shall speak no lie. Ye shall drink

 

1 Cf. II, p. 202.

 

2 In this parody on the ordinary methods of conquest all the horrors and crimes of war are absent. The conqueror simply follows the bright and beneficent Wheel, and the conquered, with jcy and trust, ask only for instruction.

 

no maddening drink. Enjoy your possessions as you have been wont to do.1

 

Then, brethren, all they that were enemy kings in the region of the East became vassals to the king, the Wheel-turner.

 

7. Then, brethren, the Celestial Wheel, plunging down into the Eastern ocean, rose up out again, and rolled onwards to the region of the South . . . [and there all happened as had happened In the East. And in like manner the Celestial Wheel, plunging into the Southern ocean, rose up out again and rolled onward to the region of the West . . . [63] and of the North ; and there too all happened as had happened in the South and West].

 

Then when the Celestial Wheel had gone forth conquering over the whole earth to its ocean boundary, it returned to the royal city, and stood, so that one might think it fixed, in front of the judgment hall at the entrance to the inner apartments of the king, the Wheel-turner, lighting up with its glory the facade of the inner apartments of the king, the sovran of the world.

 

8. And a second king, brethren, also a Wheel-turning monarch . . . and a third . . . and a fourth . . . and a fifth . . . and a sixth . . . and a seventh king, a victorious war-lord, after many years, after many hundred years, after many thousand years, commanded a certain man, saying :

 

If thou shouldst see, sirrah, that the Celestial Wheel has sunk down, has slid from its place, bring me word.

 

Even so, sire, replied the man.

 

Now after many years, after many hundred years,

 

1 Yath ab hu 1 1 aiu bhunjatha. But see above, II, 203, and Franke, op. cit., 263. To enjoy this paragraph as it deserves the reader should bear in mind the kind of method of which it is a parody, the laws that would be made, say, by an Assyrian or Hun conqueror, with a motto of f rightfulness, for his conquered foes. Saiuyutta I, 10 (Kindred Sayings I, 15, ;?. i) has a similar play on the various meanings of b h u t v a.

 

after many thousand years, that man saw that the Celestial Wheel had sunk down, had become dislodged from its place. And so seeing he went to the king, the war-lord, and told him.

[64] Then that king did [even as Strongtyre had done]. And on the seventh day after the royal hermit had gone forth, the Celestial Wheel disappeared.

 

9. Then a certain man went and told this to the king. . . . Then the king, the anointed Kshatriya, was grieved at the disappearance of the Wheel, and afflicted with grief. But he did not go to the hermit- king to ask concerning the Ariyan Duty of a sovran war-lord. By his own ideas, forsooth, he governed his people ; and they so governed, differently from what they had been, did not prosper as they used to do under former kings who had carried out the Ariyan duty of a sovran king.

 

Then, brethren, the ministers and courtiers, the finance officials, the guards and doorkeepers, and they who lived by sacred verses 1 came to the king, the anointed warrior, and spake thus : [65] Thy people, O king, whilst thou governest them by thine own ideas, differently from the way to which they were used when former kings were carrying out the Ariyan duty, prosper not. Now there are in thy kingdom ministers and courtiers, finance officers, guards and custodians, and they who live by sacred verses — both all of us and others — who keep the knowledg-e of the Ariyan duty of a sovran king. Lo ! O king, do thou ask us concerning it ; to thee thus asking will we declare it.

 

10. Then, brethren, the king, the anointed warrior, having made the ministers and all the rest sit down together, asked them about the Ariyan duty of a sovran war-lord. And they declared it unto him. And when he had heard them, he did provide the due watch and ward and protection, but on the destitute he

 

1 Mantass'ajivin o — that is, the magicians, brahmins,

 

bestowed no wealth. And because this was not done, poverty became widespread.1

 

When poverty was thus become rife, a certain man took that which others had not given him, what people call by theft. Him they caught, and brought before the king, saying : This man, O king, has taken that which was not given him, and that is theft.

 

Thereupon the king spake thus to the man : Is it true, sirrah, that thou hast taken what no man gave thee, hast committed what men call theft ?

 

It is true, O king.

 

But why ?

 

O king, I have nothing to keep me alive.

 

[66] Then the king bestowed wealth on that man, saying : With this wealth, sirrah, do thou both keep thyself alive, maintain thy parents, maintain children and wife, carry on thy business, and keep up such alms for holy men as shall be of value in the realms above, heavenly gifts, the result whereof shall be happiness here and rebirth in the heavenly worlds.

 

Even so, O king, replied the man.

 

11. Now another man, brethren, took by theft what was not given him. Him they caught and brought before the king, the anointed Kshatriya, and told him, saying : This man, O king, hath taken by theft what was not given him.

 

And the king [spoke and did even as he had spoken and done to the former man].

 

12. Now men heard, brethren, that to them who had taken by theft what was not given them, the king was giving wealth. And hearing they thought : Let us then take by theft what has not been given us.

 

1 It should be noticed that this king is apparently doing his best — what he thinks is best — and yet that his action leads to long-continned and disastrous results. It is as if a man, doing his best, goes under a tree for protection during a storm, and is struck by lightning attracted by the tree. The cosmic law, the Dhamma, the Norm, acts on in the realm of morals as it does in the realm of physics. The law is inexpugnable, yes incxorahilis. If the law is not observed, the consequences are inevitable.

 

Now a certain man did so. And him they caught and charged before the king, the anointed Kshatriya, [67] who [as before] asked him why he had stolen.

 

Because, O king, I cannot maintain myself. Then the king thought : If I bestow wealth on anyone soever who has taken by theft what was not given him, there will be hereby an increase of this stealing. Let me now put a final stop to this, inflict condign punishment on him, have his head cut off!

 

So he bade his men saying: Now, look ye! bind this man's arms behind him with a strong rope and a tight knot, shave his head bald, lead him around with a harsh sounding- drum, from road to road, from crossways to crossways, take him out by the southern gate, and to the south of the town, put a final stop to this, inflict on him the uttermost penalty, cut off his head.

 

Even so, O king, answered the men, and carried out his commands.

 

13. Now men heard, brethren, that they who took by theft what was not given them, were thus put to death. And hearing, they thought : Let us also now have sharp swords made ready for ourselves, and them, from whom we take what is not given us [68] — what they call theft — let us put a final stop to them, inflict on them the uttermost penalty, and cut

their heads off.

 

And they gat themselves sharp swords, and came forth to sack village and town and city, and to work highway robbery. And them whom they robbed they made an end of, cutting off their heads.

 

14. Thus, brethren, from goods not being bestowed on the destitute poverty grew rife ; from poverty growing rife stealing increased, from the spread of stealing violence grew apace, from the growth of violence the destruction of life became common, from the frequency of murder 1 both the span of life in those beings and their comeliness also wasted away, so that,

 

1 Some MSS. include lying in this series.

 

of humans whose span of life was eighty thousand years, the sons lived but forty thousand years. Now among humans of the latter span of life, brethren, a certain man took by theft what was not given him and [even as those others was accused before the king and questioned if it was true that he had stolen].

 

Nay, O king, he replied, thus deliberately telling a lie.

 

15. Thus, from goods not being bestowed on the destitute, poverty grew rife . . . stealing . . . violence . . . murder . . . until lying grew common. [69] And from lying growing common both the span of life in those beings and the comeliness of them wasted away,

so that of humans whose span of life was forty thousand years, the sons lived but twenty thousand years.

 

Now among humans of the latter life-span, a certain man took by theft what was not given him. Him a certain man reported to the king, the anointed Kshatriya, saying : Such and such a man, O king, has taken by theft what was not given him — thus speaking evil of him.

 

16. And so, brethren, from goods not being bestowed on the destitute, poverty grew rife . . . stealing . . . violence . . . murder . . . lying . . . evil speaking grew abundant. And from evil speaking growing abundant, both the life-span of those beings and also the comeliness of them wasted away, so that, of humans whose life-span was twenty thousand years, the sons live but ten thousand years.

 

Now among humans of the latter span of life, brethren, some were comely and some were ugly. And so those who were ugly, coveting them that were comely, committed adultery with their neighbours' wives.

 

17. Thus from goods not being bestowed on the destitute, poverty . . . stealing . . . violence . . . murder . . . lying . . . evil speaking . . , immorality grew rife. And from the increase of immorality, both the life-span of those beings and also the comeliness of them wasted away, so that, of humans whose lifespan was ten thousand years, the sons lived but five thousand years.

 

Now among humans of the latter span of life, brethren, two things increased, abusive speech and idle talk. And from these two things increasing, both the life-span of those beings and the comeliness of them wasted away, so that, of humans whose life-span was five [70] thousand years, some sons lived but two and a half, some but two, thousand years.

 

Among humans of a life-span of two thousand years and a half, covetousness and ill-will waxed great. And thereby . . . the sons lived but a thousand years.

 

Among humans of the latter span of life, brethren, false opinions grew. And thereby the life-span of those beings and the comeliness of them wasted, so that, of humans whose span of life was a thousand years, the sons lived but five hundred years.

 

Among humans of the latter span of life, brethren, three things grew apace : incest, wanton greed, and perverted lust. Thereby the life-span of those beings and their comeliness wasted, so that, of humans whose span of life was five hundred years, some sons lived but two and a half centuries, some only two centuries.

 

Among humans of a life-span, brethren, of two and a half centuries, these things grew apace — lack of filial piety to mother and father, lack of religious piety to holy men, lack of regard for the head of the clan.1

 

18. Thus, brethren, from goods not being bestowed on the destitute, poverty grew great . . . stealing . . . violence . . . murder . . . lying . . . evil speaking . . . adultery . . . [71] abusive and idle talk . . . covetousness and ill-will . . . false opinions . . . incest, wanton greed and perverted lust . . . till finally lack of filial and religious piety and lack of regard for the head of the clan grew great. From these things growing, the

 

1 Kula-settha, not to be confused with gahapati, the head of the family.

 

life-span of those beings and the comeHness of them wasted, so that, of humans whose span of Hfe was two and a half centuries, the sons lived but one century.

 

19. There will come a time, brethren, when the descendants of those humans will have a life-span of ten years. Among humans of this life-span, maidens of five years will be of a marriageable age. Among such humans these kinds of tastes (savours) will disappear : ghee, butter, oil of tila, sugar, salt. Among such humans kudrusa grain1 will be the highest kind of food. Even as to-day. rice and curry is the highest kind of food, so will kudrusa grain be then. Among such humans the ten moral courses of conduct will altogether disappear, the ten immoral courses of action 2 will flourish excessively ; there will be no word3 for moral among such humans — far less any moral agent. Among such humans, brethren, they who lack filial [72] and religious piety, and show no respect for the head of the clan— 'tis they to whom homage and praise will be given, just as to-day homage and praise are given to the filial-minded, to the pious and to them who respect the heads of their clans.

 

20. Among such humans, brethren, there will be no [such thoughts of reverence as are a bar to inter-marriage with] mother, or mother's sister, or mother's sister-in-law, or teacher's wife, or father's sister-in-law. "4 The world will fall into promiscuity, like goats and sheep, fowls and swine, dogs and jackals.

 

Among such humans, brethren, keen mutual enmity will become the rule, keen ill-will, keen animosity, passionate thoughts even of killing, in a mother towards her child, in a child towards its mother, in a father towards his child and a child towards its father, in

 

1 Cf. Milinda II, 267. It is a kind of rye. Franke compares it with Sanskrit k o r a d u s a .

 

2 Given in the Yibhanga, p. 391. They are very nearly those referred to above.

 

3 Neither term — kusalan ti n a m a ij — nor concept — pani- natti-mattam p i — says Buddhaghosa.

 

4 Lit. wives of garu's (guru's). The Coiny. interprets this to mean wives of little father or great father — i.e. wives of father's brothers, younger and older.

 

brother to brother, in brother to sister, in sister to brother. Just as a sportsman feels towards the game1 that he sees, so will they feel.

 

[73] 21. Among such humans, brethren, there will arise a sword-period2 of seven days, during which they will look on each other as wild beasts ; sharp swords will appear ready to their hands, and they, thinking This is a wild beast, this is a wild beast, will with their swords deprive each other of life.

 

Then to some of those beings it will occur : Let us not slay just anyone ; nor let just anyone slay us ! Let us now, therefore, betake ourselves to dens of grass, or dens in the jungle, or holes in trees, or river fastnesses, or mountain clefts, and subsist on roots and fruits of the jungle. And they will do so for those seven days. And at the end of those seven days, coming forth from those dens and fastnesses and mountain clefts, they will embrace each other, and be of one accord3 comforting one another, and saying: Hail, O mortal, that thou livest still ! O happy sight to find thee still alive !

 

Then this, brethren, will occur to those beings :

Now, only because we had gotten into evil ways, have we had this heavy loss of kith and kin. Let us therefore now do good. What can we do that is good ? Let us now abstain from taking life. That is a good thing that we may take up and do. And they will abstain from slaughter, and will continue in this good way. Because of their getting into this good way, they will increase again both as to their span of life and as to their comeliness. [74] And to them thus increasing in life and comeliness, to them who

 

1 M i g o , deer, is capable of meaning all game, or wild animals.

 

2Satthantarakappa. Sattha is sword ; a n t a r a - kappa is a period included in another period. Here the first period, the one included, is seven days. See Ledi Sadaw in the Buddhist Review, January, igi6.

 

3 Sabhagayissanti. Both text and commentary are corrupt. Perhaps one should read sabhaga bhavissanti (one of three consecutive and very similar aksharas having fallen out). In the next clause read satta.

 

lived but one decade, there will be children who will live for twenty years.

 

22. Then this, brethren, will occur to those beings: Now we, because we have gotten into good ways, increase in length of life and comeliness. Let us now do still more good. Let us now abstain from taking what is not given, let us abstain from adultery, let us now abstain from lying, let us now abstain from evil speaking, let us now abstain from abuse and from idle talk, let us now abstain from covetousness, from ill-will, from false opinions, let us now abstain from the three things — incest, wanton greed and perverted desires ; let us now be filial towards our mothers, and our fathers, let us be pious toward holy men, let us respect the heads of clans, yea, let us continue to practise each of these good things.

 

So they will practise these virtues, [ . . . down to . . .] filial piety, religious piety, respect to heads of clans. And because of the good they do they will increase in length of life, and in comeliness, so that the sons of them who lived but twenty years, will come to live forty years. And the sons of these sons will come to live eighty years; their sons to i6o years; their sons to 320 years ; their sons to 640 years ; their sons to 2,000 years ; their sons to 4,000 years ; their sons to 8,000 years ; their sons to 20,000 years ; their

sons to 40,000 [75] years ; and the sons of those that lived 40,000 years will come to live 80,000 years.

 

23. Among humans living 80,000 years, brethren, maidens are marriageable at 500 years of age. Among such humans there will be only three kinds of disease — appetite, non-assimilation and old age. Among such humans, this India1 will be mighty and prosperous, the villages, towns and royal cities will be so close that a cock could fly from each one to the next.2 Among

 

1 Jambudipa, this world ( 1 o k o at Anguttara, I 1 59).

 

2 Kukkuta-sampatika, lit. cock's-flightish. R. Morris discusses this phrase in vain, J.P.T.S., 1885, p. 38. At Divya- vadana, p. 316, the editors (in the Index) give it up and suggest reading kak ur a. Franke here translates 'resembling flocks of birds.' Compare also Vinaya IV, 131. Buddhaghosa says here that another reading, kukkuta-sampadika is also possible in the sense of within a cock's walk, which amounts to much the same thing as the translation adopted above.

 

such humans this India — one might think it a Waveless Deep1 — will Be pervaded by mankind even as a jungle is by reeds and rushes. Among such humans the Benares of our day2 will be named Ketumati, a royal city, mighty and prosperous, full of people, crowded and well fed. Among such humans in this India there will be 84,000 towns, with Ketumati the royal city at their head.

 

24. Among such humans, brethren, at Ketumati the royal city, there will arise Sankha, a Wheel-turning king, righteous and ruling in righteousness, lord of the four quarters, conqueror, protector of his people, possessor of the seven precious things. His will be these seven precious things, to wit, the Wheel, the Elephant, the Horse, the Gem, the Woman, the House- father, the Councillor. More than a thousand also will be his offspring, heroes, vigorous of frame, crushers of the hosts of the enemy. He will live in supremacy over this earth to its ocean bounds, having conquered it not by the scourge, not by the sword, but by righteousness.

 

25. At that period, brethren, [76] there will arise

 

1 Avici. The tertiiim quid of this comparison is obscure. The Waveless Deep was, in later books, one of the purgatories. We, in this twentieth century, may well think a country so densely populated a purgatory. But the authors of our document are evidently speaking in praise, not disparagement of the density of the population. Can the Waveless Deep, in this connexion, have been originally used in that sense ? Buddhaghosa naturally explains it so, but that is not conclusive. The word does not occur in the four Nikayas except in this passage (which recurs at Anguttara I, 159). It does not occur in the list of the purgatories given in the Sutta Nipata (pp. 121-7) and Samyutta I, 154. It is found in a poem in the Itivuttaka (No. 89), which recurs in the Vinaya (II, 203), and in the Dhamma-Sangani, § 1,281. But the history of Avici and of the purgatory idea in India has yet to be written. In Vis. Magga avici= disintegration (p 449).

 

2 AyaijBaranasi. As the discourse was said to have been delivered in Magadha, the allusion must have been rather to the city as contemporary than to any contiguity in space. But perhaps the story may have had its origin among the K a s i s .

 

in the world an Exalted One named Metteyya, Arahant, Fully Awakened, abounding in wisdom and goodness, happy, with knowledge of the worlds, unsurpassed as a guide to mortals willing to be led, a teacher for gods and men, an, Exalted One, a Buddha, even as I am now. He, by himself, will thoroughly know and see, as it were face to face, this universe, with its worlds of the spirits, its BrahniiTs and its Maras, and its world of recluses and brahmins, of princes and peoples, even as I now, by myself, thoroughly know and see them. The truth [the Norm] lovely in its origin, lovely in its progress, lovely in its consumma- tion, will he proclaim, both in the spirit and in the letter, the higher life will he make known, in all its fulness and in all its purity, even as I do now. He will be accompanied by a congregation of some thousands of brethren, even as I am now accompanied by a congregation of some hundreds of brethren.

 

26. Then, brethren, King Sankha will raise up again the fairy palace which the King Great Panada had had built.1 And therein will he dwell. But afterwards he will give it away, hand it over as a gift to recluses and brahmins, to the destitute, wayfarers and beggars. And he himself, cutting off hair and beard, will don the yellow robes, and leave his home for the life that is homeless under Metteyya the Exalted One, the Arahant fully awakened. And he, having thus left the world, will remain alone and' separate, earnest, zealous and master of himself. And ere long he will attain to that supreme goal for the sake of which clansmen go forth from the [77] household life into the homeless state ; yea, that supreme goal will he, while yet in this visible world, bring himself to the knowledge of, and continue to realize and to know !

 

 

27. Live as islands unto yourselves, brethren, as refuges unto yourselves, take none other as your refuge, live with the Norm as your island, with the Norm as your refuge, take none other as your refuge.

 

1 See the passages quoted in Psalms of the Brethren, p. 130. It had been sunk in the Ganges at Payaga.

 

But how does a brother live as an island unto himself, as a refuge unto himself, taking none other as his refuge ? How does he live with the Norm as his island, with the Norm as his refuge, taking none other as his refuse ?

 

Herein a brother, as to the body, as to feelings, as to thought, as to ideas, continues so to look upon these that he remains ardent, self-possessed and mindful, that he may overcome both the hankering and the dejection common in the world. Thus is it, brethren, that a brother lives as an island and as a refuge unto himself . . . with the Norm as an island and as a refuge, having no other refuge.

 

28. Keep to your own pastures, brethren, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed. If ye so walk, ye shall grow in length of years, ye shall grow in comeliness, ye shall grow in happiness, ye shall grow in wealth, ye shall grow in power.

 

And what is the meaning of length of years to a brother? Herein that a brother practises the Four Roads to Iddhi,1 to wit. action, effort, and concentration applied to desire, to energy, to [the whole] consciousness, and to investigation. From practising and developing these Four Roads, he may, if he so desire, live on for an aeon, or the remainder of an aeon. This is the meaning of length of years to a brother.

 

And what is the meaning of comeliness to a brother ? Herein, that a brother live in the practice of right conduct, restrained according to the Rules of the Order, perfect in behaviour and habitude ; he sees danger in the least of the things he should avoid and, taking the precepts2 on himself, he trains himself therein. This is comeliness for a brother.

 

And what is the meaning of happiness for a brother ? Herein, that a brother estranged from lusts, aloof from evil dispositions, enters into and remains in the First Jhana — a state of zest and ease born of detachment, application and persistence of attention going on the while. Then suppressing all application and persist-

 

1 Cf. II, 128 f. 2 Cf. I, 79.

 

ence of attention, he enter's into and abides in the Second Jhana, a state of zest and ease, born of the serenity of concentration, wherein the mind is lifted up alone, and the heart grows calm within. And into the Third Jhana he enters and abides . . . and into the

Fourth. This is happiness for a brother.

 

And what is the meaning of wealth for a brother ? Herein that a brother abides letting his mind fraught with love pervade one quarter of the world, and so too the second quarter, and so the third, and so the fourth. And thus the whole wide world, above, below, around, and everywhere, and altogether does he continue to pervade with love-burdened thought, abounding, sublime, and beyond measure, free from hatred and ill will. And he lets his mind fraught with pity pervade . . . the world . . . fraught with sympathy . . . with equanimity . . . This is wealth for a brother.

 

And what is the meaning of power for a brother ? Herein, that a brother, by destruction of the deadly taints, enters into and abides in that untainted emancipation of mind and of insight, which he by himself has both known and realized.1 This is power for a brother.

 

I consider no power, brethren, so hard to subdue as the power of Mara. But this merit [the merit of these four groups of ethical concepts, beginning at Right Conduct, and culminating in Arahantship]"2 expands, brethren, by the taking up into oneself of that which is good.

 

Thus spake the Exalted One. Glad at heart the brethren rejoiced at the words of the Exalted One.

 

(Here ends the Cakkavatti-Slhanuda-Suttanta.)

 

1 That is to say, the Fruition of Arahantship. Corny.

 

2 This is added from Buddhaghosa. He does not think that the merit referred to is the conquest of Mara. That follows from the destruction of the mental intoxications. See above, I, 92, and § I of this Suttanta.

 

 


 

Source: “Dialogues of the Buddha, Translated from the Pali of the Digha Nikaya by T. W. and C. A. F. Rhys Davids Part III”, 1921


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