Pāyāsi Sutta: About Pāyāsi | 2 part

Pāyāsi Sutta: About Pāyāsi

Debate with a Sceptic

2 Part

20. 'Whatever you may say about that, Reverend Kassapa, I still think there is no other world...'
'Have you any reason for this assertion, Prince?'
'I have, Reverend Kassapa.'
'What is that, Prince?'

'Reverend Kassapa, take the case of a thief they bring before me... and I say: "Strip away this man's outer skin, and perhaps we shall be able to see his soul emerging."

Then I tell them to strip away his inner skin, his flesh, sinews, bones, bone-marrow...but still we cannot see any soul emerging.

And that is why, Reverend Kassapa, I believe there is no other world...'

21. 'Well then, Prince, I will give you a parable...

Once there was a matted-haired fire-worshipper who dwelt in the forest in a leaf-hut. And a certain tribe was on the move, and its leader stayed for one night near the fire-worshipper's dwelling, and then left.

So the fire-worshipper thought he would go to the site to see if he could find anything he could make use of. He got up early and went to the site, and there he saw a tiny delicate baby boy lying abandoned on his back.

At the sight he thought: "It would not be right for me to look on and let a human being die. I had better take this child to my hermitage, take care of him, feed him and bring him up." So he did so.

When the boy was ten or twelve, the hermit had some business to do in the neighbourhood. So he said to the boy:

"I want to go to the neighbourhood, my son. You look after the fire and don't let it go out. If it should go out, here is an axe, here are some sticks, here are the fire-sticks, so you can relight the fire and look after it."

Having thus instructed the boy, the hermit went into the neighbourhood.

But the boy, being absorbed in his games, let the fire go out.

Then he thought: "Father said: '...here is an axe...so you can relight the fire and look after it.' Now I'd better do so!"

So he chopped up the fire-sticks with the axe, thinking: "I expect I'll get a fire this way." But he got no fire. He cut the fire-sticks into two, into three, into four, into five, ten, a hundred pieces, he splintered them, he pounded them in a mortar, he winnowed them in a great wind, thinking: "I expect I'll get a fire this way."

But he got no fire, and when the hermit came back, having finished his business, he said: "Son, why have you let the fire go out?" and the boy told him what had happened.

The hermit thought: "How stupid this boy is, how senseless! What a thoughtless way to try to get a fire!"

So, while the boy looked on, he took the fire-sticks and rekindled the fire, saying: "Son, that's the way to rekindle a fire, not the stupid, senseless, thoughtless way you tried to do it!"

'In just the same way, Prince, you are looking foolishly, senselessly and unreasonably for another world. Prince, give up this evil viewpoint, give it up! Do not let it cause you misfortune and suffering for a long time!'

22. 'Even though you say this, Reverend Kassapa, still I cannot bear to give up this evil opinion. King Pasenadi of Kosala knows my opinions, and so do kings abroad. If I give it up, they will say: "What a fool Prince Pāyāsi is, how stupidly he grasps at wrong views!" I will stick to this view out of anger, contempt and spite!'

23. 'Well then, Prince, I will give you a parable...

Once, Prince, a great caravan of a thousand carts was travelling from east to west. And wherever they went, they rapidly consumed all the grass, wood and green stuff.

Now this caravan had two leaders, each in charge of five hundred carts. And they thought:

"This is a great caravan of a thousand carts. Wherever we go we use up all the supplies. Perhaps we should divide the caravan into two groups of five hundred , carts each", and they did so.

Then one of the leaders collected plenty of grass, wood and water, and set off.

After two or three days' journey he saw a dark red-eyed man coming towards him wearing a quiver and a wreath of white water-lilies, with his clothes and hair all wet, driving a donkey-chariot whose wheels were splashed with mud.

On seeing this man, the leader said: "Where do you come from, sir?" "From such-and-such."

"And where are you going?" 'To so-and-so."

"Has there been much rainfall in the jungle ahead?"

"Oh yes, sir, there has been a great deal of rain in the jungle ahead of you, the roads are well watered and there is plenty of grass, wood and water.

Throw away the grass, wood and water you have already got, sir! You will make rapid progress with lightly-laden carts, so do not tire your draught-oxen!"

The caravan-leader told the carters what the man had said: "Throw away the grass, wood and water...", and they did so.

But at the first camping-place they did not find any grass, wood or water, nor at the second, the third, fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh, and thus they all came to ruin and destruction.

And whatever there was of them, men and cattle, they were all gobbled up by that yakkha- spirit, and only their bones remained.

'And when the leader of the second caravan was sure the first caravan had gone forward far enough, he stocked up with plenty of grass, wood and water.

After two or three days' journey this leader saw a dark red-eyed man coming towards him... who advised him to throw away his stocks of grass, wood and water.

Then the leader said to the carters: "This man told us that we should throw away the grass, wood and water we already have. But he is not one of our friends and relatives, so why should we trust him?

So do not throw away the grass, wood and water we have; let the caravan continue on its way with the goods we have brought, and do not throw any of them away!" The carters agreed and did as he said.

And at the first camping-place they did not find any grass, wood or water, nor at the second, the third, fourth, fifth, sixth or seventh, but there they saw the other caravan that had come to ruin and destruction, and they saw the bones of those men and cattle that had been gobbled up by the yakkha-spirit.

Then the caravan leader said to the carters: "That caravan came to ruin and destruction through the folly of its leader. So now let us leave behind such of our goods as are of little value, and take whatever is of greater value from the other caravan." And they did so.

And with that wise leader they passed safely through the jungle.

'In the same way you, Prince, will come to ruin and destruction if you foolishly and unwisely seek the other world in the wrong way. Those who think they can trust anything they hear are heading for ruin and destruction just like those carters.

Prince, give up this evil viewpoint, give it up! Do not let it cause you misfortune and suffering for a long time!'

24. 'Even though you say this, Reverend Kassapa, still I cannot bear to give up this evil opinion... If I give it up, they will say: "What a fool Prince Pāyāsi is'

25. 'Well then, Prince, I will give you a parable...

Once there was a swineherd who was going from his own village to another.

There he saw a heap of dry dung that had been thrown away, and he thought: "There's a lot of dry dung somebody's thrown away, that would be food for my pigs. I ought to carry it away.” And he spread out his cloak, gathered up the dung in it, made it into a bundle and put it on his head, and went on.

But on his way back there was a heavy shower of unseasonable rain, and he went on his way be-spattered with oozing, dripping dung to his finger-tips, and still carrying his load of dung.

Those who saw him said: "You must be mad! You must be crazy! Why do you go along carrying that load of dung that's oozing and dripping all over you down to your finger-tips?"

"You're the ones that are mad! You're the ones that are crazy! This stuff is food for my pigs."

Prince, you speak just like the dung-carrier in my parable. Prince, give up this evil viewpoint, give it up! Do not let it cause you misfortune and suffering for a long time!'

26. 'Even though you say this, Reverend Kassapa, still I cannot bear to give up this evil opinion... If I give it up, they will say: "What a fool Prince Pāyāsi is..."'

27. 'Well then, Prince, I will give you a parable...

Once there were two gamblers using nuts as dice. One of them, whenever he got the unlucky dice, swallowed it.

The other noticed what he was doing, and said: "Well, my friend, you're the winner all right! Give me the dice and I will make an offering of them."

"All right", said the first, and gave them to him. Then that one filled the dice with poison and then said: "Come on, let's have a game!"

The other agreed, they played again, and once again the one player, whenever he got the unlucky dice, swallowed it.

The second watched him do so, and then uttered this verse:

"The dice is smeared with burning stuff,
Though the swallower doesn't know.
Swallow, cheat, and swallow well —
Bitter it will be like hell!"

Prince, you speak just like the gambler in my parable. Prince, give up this evil viewpoint, give it up! Do not let it cause you misfortune and suffering for a long time!'

28. 'Even though you say this, Reverend Kassapa, still I cannot bear to give up this evil opinion... If I give it up, they will say: "What a fool Prince Pāyāsi is..."'

29. 'Well then, Prince, I will give you a parable...

Once, the inhabitants of a certain neighbourhood migrated. And one man said to his friend: "Come along, let's go to that neighbourhood, we might find something valuable!"

His friend agreed, so they went to that district, and came to a village street.

And there they saw a pile of hemp that had been thrown away, and one said: "Here's some hemp. You make a bundle, I'll make a bundle, and we'll both carry it off." The other agreed, and they did so.

Then, coming to another village street, they found some hemp-thread, and one said: "This pile of hemp-thread is just what we wanted the hemp for. Let's each throw away our bundle of hemp, and we'll go on with a load of hemp-thread each."

"I've brought this bundle of hemp a long way and it's well tied up. That will do for me — you do as you like!" So his companion threw away the hemp and took the hemp-thread.

'Coming to another village street, they found some hemp- cloth, and one said:

"This pile of hemp-cloth is just what we wanted the hemp or hemp-thread for. You throw away your load of hemp and I'll throw away my load of hemp-thread, and we'll go on with a load of hemp-cloth each."

But the other replied as before, so the one companion threw away the hemp-thread and took the hemp-cloth.

In another village they saw a pile of flax..., in another, linen-thread..., in another, linen-cloth..., in another, cotton..., in another, cotton- thread..., in another, cotton-cloth..., in another, iron..., in another, copper..., in another, tin..., in another, lead..., in another, silver..., in another, gold.

Then one said: "This pile of gold is just what we wanted the hemp, hemp-thread, hemp- cloth, flax, linen-thread, linen-cloth, cotton, cotton-thread, cotton-cloth, iron, copper, tin, lead, silver for. You throw away your load of hemp and I'll throw away my load of silver, and we'll both go on with a load of gold each."

"I've brought this load of hemp a long way and it's well tied up. That will do for me — you do as you like!" And this companion threw away the load of silver and took the load of gold.

"Then they came back to their own village. And there the one who brought a load of hemp gave no pleasure to his parents, nor to his wife and children, nor to his friends and colleagues, and he did not even get any joy or happiness from it himself.

But the one who came back with a load of gold pleased his parents, his wife and children, his friends and colleagues, and he derived joy and happiness from it himself as well.

'Prince, you speak just like the hemp-bearer in my parable. Prince, give up this evil view, give it up! Do not let it cause you misfortune and suffering for a long time!'

30. 'I was pleased and delighted with the Reverend Kassapa's first parable, and I wanted to hear his quick-witted replies to questions, because I thought he was a worthy opponent. Excellent, Reverend Kassapa, excellent!

It is as if someone were to set up what had been knocked down, or to point out the way to one who had got lost, or to bring an oil-lamp into a dark place, so that those with eyes could see what was there.

Just so has the Reverend Kassapa expounded the Dhamma in various ways.

And I, Reverend Kassapa, go for refuge to the Blessed Lord, to the Dhamma, and to the Sangha. May the Reverend Kassapa accept me from this day forth as a lay- follower as long as life shall last!

And, Reverend Kassapa, I want to make a great sacrifice. Instruct me, Reverend Kassapa, how this may be to my lasting benefit and happiness.'

31. 'Prince, when a sacrifice is made at which oxen are slain, or goats, fowl or pigs, or various creatures are slaughtered,

and the participants have wrong view, wrong thought, wrong speech, wrong action, wrong livelihood, wrong effort, wrong mindfulness and wrong concentration,

then that sacrifice is of no great fruit or profit, it is not very brilliant and has no great radiance.

Suppose, Prince, a farmer went into the forest with plough and seed, and there, in an untilled place with poor soil from which the stumps had not been uprooted, were to sow seeds that were broken, rotting, ruined by wind and heat, stale, and not properly embedded in the soil, and the rain-god did not send proper showers at the right time —

would those seeds germinate, develop and increase, and would the farmer get an abundant crop?'

'No, Reverend Kassapa.'

'Well then, Prince, it is the same with a sacrifice at which oxen are slain,... where the participants have wrong view, ... wrong concentration.

But when none of these creatures are put to death, and the participants have right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration, then that sacrifice is of great fruit and profit, it is brilliant and of great radiance.

Suppose, Prince, a farmer went into the forest with plough and seed, and there, in a well-tilled place with good soil from which the stumps had been uprooted, were to sow seeds that were not broken, rotting, ruined by wind and heat, or stale, and were firmly embedded in the soil, and the rain-god were to send proper showers at the right time —

would those seeds germinate, develop and increase, and would the farmer get an abundant crop?'

'He would, Reverend Kassapa.'

'In the same way, Prince, at a sacrifice at which no oxen are slain,... where the participants have right view,... right concentration, then that sacrifice is of great fruit and profit, it is brilliant and of great radiance.'

32. Then Prince Pāyāsi established a charity for ascetics and Brahmins, wayfarers, beggars and the needy. And there such food was given out as broken rice with sour gruel, and also rough clothing with ball-fringes.

And a young Brahmin called Uttara was put in charge of the distribution. Referring to it, he said: 'Through this charity I have been associated with Prince Pāyāsi in this world, but not in the next.'

And Prince Pāyāsi heard of his words, so he sent for him and asked him if he had said that.

'Yes, Lord.'

'But why did you say such a thing? Friend Uttara, don't we who wish to gain merit expect a reward for our charity?'

'But, Lord, the food you give — broken rice with sour gruel — you would not care to touch it with your foot, much less eat it! And the rough clothes with ball-fringes — you would not care to set foot on them, much less wear them!

Lord, you are kind and gentle to us, so how can we reconcile such kindness and gentleness with unkindness and roughness?'

'Well then, Uttara, you arrange to supply food as I eat and clothes such as I wear.'

'Very good, Lord', said Uttara, and he did so.

And Prince Pāyāsi, because he had established his charity grudgingly, not with his own hands, and without proper concern, like something casually tossed aside, was reborn after his death, at the breaking-up of the body, in the company of the Four Great Kings, in the empty Serīsaka mansion.

But Uttara, who had given the charity ungrudgingly, with his own hands and with proper concern, not as something tossed aside, was reborn after death, at the breaking-up of the body, in a good place, a heavenly realm, in the company of the Thirty-Three Gods.

33. Now at that time the Venerable Gavampati was accustomed to go to the empty Serīsaka mansion for his midday rest.

And Pāyāsi of the devas went to the Venerable Gavampati, saluted him, and stood to one side.

And the venerable Gavampati said to him, as he stood there: 'Who are you, friend?'

'Lord, I am Prince Pāyāsi.'

'Friend, are you not the one who used to say: "There is no other world, there are no spontaneously born beings, there is no fruit or result of good or evil deeds"?'

'Yes, Lord, I am the one who used to say that, but I was converted from that evil view by the Noble Kumara- Kassapa.'

'And where has the young Brahmin Uttara, who was in charge of the distribution of your charity, been re-born?'

'Lord, he who gave the charity ungrudgingly...was reborn in the company of the Thirty-Three Gods, but I, who gave grudgingly,... have been reborn here in the empty Serīsaka mansion.

Lord, please, when you return to earth, tell people to give ungrudgingly...and inform them of the way in which Prince Pāyāsi and the young Brahmin Uttara have been re-born.'

34. And so the Venerable Gavampati, on his return to earth, declared:

'You should give ungrudgingly, with your own hands, with proper concern, not carelessly.

Prince Pāyāsi did not do this, and at death, at the breaking-up of the body, he was reborn in the company of the Four Great Kings in the empty Serīsaka mansion,

whereas the administrator of his charity, the young Brahmin Uttara, who gave ungrudgingly, with his own hands, with proper concern and not carelessly, was reborn in the company of the Thirty-Three Gods.'