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Paccha-bhumika Sutta

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Title: Paccha-bhumika Sutta: [Brahmans] of the Western Land

Summary: The Buddha explains how the principles of kamma and rebirth are as inviolable as the law of gravity. Choose your actions with care, lest you sink like a stone.

SN 42.6

PTS: S iv 311

CDB ii 1336

Paccha-bhumika Sutta: [Brahmans] of the Western Land

translated from the Pali by

Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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<p>On one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Nalanda in the Pavarika Mango Grove. Then Asibandhakaputta the headman went to the Blessed One and on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: “The brahmans of the Western lands, lord — those who carry water pots, wear garlands of water plants, purify with water, & worship fire — can take [the spirit of] a dead person, lift it out, instruct it, & send it to heaven. But the Blessed One, worthy & rightly self-awakened, can arrange it so that all the world, at the break-up of the body, after death, reappears in a good destination, the heavenly world.”

“Very well, then, headman, I will question you on this matter. Answer as you see fit. What do you think: There is the case where a man is one who takes life, steals, indulges in illicit sex; is a liar, one who speaks divisive speech, harsh speech, & idle chatter; is greedy, bears thoughts of ill-will, & holds to wrong views. Then a great crowd of people, gathering & congregating, would pray, praise, & circumambulate with their hands palm-to-palm over the heart [saying,] 'May this man, at the break-up of the body, after death, reappear in a good destination, the heavenly world!' What do you think: would that man — because of the prayers, praise, & circumambulation of that great crowd of people — at the break-up of the body, after death, reappear in a good destination, the heavenly world?”

“No, lord.”

Suppose a man were to throw a large boulder into a deep lake of water, and a great crowd of people, gathering & congregating, would pray, praise, & circumambulate with their hands palm-to-palm over the heart [saying,] 'Rise up, O boulder! Come floating up, O boulder! Come float to the shore, O boulder!' What do you think: would that boulder — because of the prayers, praise, & circumambulation of that great crowd of people — rise up, come floating up, or come float to the shore?”

“No, lord.”

“So it is with any man who takes life, steals, indulges in illicit sex; is a liar, one who speaks divisive speech, harsh speech, & idle chatter; is greedy, bears thoughts of ill-will, & holds to wrong views. Even though a great crowd of people, gathering & congregating, would pray, praise, & circumambulate with their hands palm-to-palm over the heart — [saying,] 'May this man, at the break-up of the body, after death, reappear in a good destination, the heavenly world!' — still, at the break-up of the body, after death, he would reappear in destitution, a bad destination, the lower realms, hell.

“Now what do you think: There is the case where a man is one who refrains from taking life, from stealing, & from indulging in illicit sex; he refrains from lying, from speaking divisive speech, from harsh speech, & from idle chatter; he is not greedy, bears no thoughts of ill-will, & holds to right view. Then a great crowd of people, gathering & congregating, would pray, praise, & circumambulate with their hands palm-to-palm over the heart [saying,] 'May this man, at the break-up of the body, after death, reappear in destitution, a bad destination, the lower realms, hell!' What do you think: would that man — because of the prayers, praise, & circumambulation of that great crowd of people — at the break-up of the body, after death, reappear in destitution, a bad destination, the lower realms, hell?”

“No, lord.”

Suppose a man were to throw a jar of ghee or a jar of oil into a deep lake of water, where it would break. There the shards & jar-fragments would go down, while the ghee or oil would come up. Then a great crowd of people, gathering & congregating, would pray, praise, & circumambulate with their hands palm-to-palm over the heart [saying,] 'Sink, O ghee/oil! Submerge, O ghee/oil! Go down, O ghee/oil!' What do you think: would that ghee/oil, because of the prayers, praise, & circumambulation of that great crowd of people sink, submerge, or go down?“

“No, lord.”

“So it is with any man who refrains from taking life, from stealing, & from indulging in illicit sex; refrains from lying, from speaking divisive speech, from harsh speech, & from idle chatter; is not greedy, bears no thoughts of ill-will, & holds to right view. Even though a great crowd of people, gathering & congregating, would pray, praise, & circumambulate with their hands palm-to-palm over the heart — [saying,] 'May this man, at the break-up of the body, after death, reappear in a destitution, a bad destination, the lower realms, hell!' — still, at the break-up of the body, after death, he would reappear in a good destination, the heavenly world.”

When this was said, Asibandhakaputta the headman said to the Blessed One: ”Magnificent, lord! Magnificent! Just as if he were to place upright what was overturned, to reveal what was hidden, to point out the way to one who was lost, or to carry a lamp into the dark so that those with eyes could see forms, in the same way has the Blessed One — through many lines of reasoning — made the Dhamma clear. I go to the Blessed One for refuge, to the Dhamma, & to the community of monks. May the Blessed One remember me as a lay follower who has gone for refuge from this day forward, for life.“</p>

<p>See also: AN 10.176.</p>

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<b>Provenance:</b>

	<div id="F_sourceCopy">The source of this work is the gift within Access to Insight "Offline Edition 2012.09.10.14", last replication 12. March 2013, generously given by John Bullitt and mentioned as: ©1999 Thanissaro Bhikkhu.</div>
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	<div id="F_sourceTitle">Transcribed from a file provided by the translator.</div>
	<div id="F_atiCopy">This Zugang zur Einsicht edition is <img width="8" src="./../../../img/d2.png" alt="[dana/©]" class='cd'/>2013 (ATI 1999-2012).</div>
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<div id="F_citation"><b>How to cite this document</b> (one suggested style): "Paccha-bhumika Sutta: [Brahmans] of the Western Land" (SN 42.6), translated from the Pali by  Thanissaro Bhikkhu. <i>Access to Insight</i>, 2 July 2010, [[http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn42/sn42.006.than.html|http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn42/sn42.006.than.html]] . Retrieved on 10 September 2012 (Offline Edition 2012.09.10.14), republished by <i>Zugang zur Einsicht</i> on &nbsp;

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en/tipitaka/sut/sn/sn42/sn42.006.than.txt · Last modified: 2018/11/14 04:27 by Johann