Majjhima Nikāya

The Middle Length Sayings

Jīvaka Suttaṃ

55. Discourse to Jīvaka

Thus have I heard: At one time the Lord was staying at Rājagaha in Jīvaka Komārabhacca's Mango Grove. Then Jīvaka Komārabhacca approached the Lord; having approached, having greeted the Lord, he sat down at a respectful distance. As he was sitting down at a respectful distance, Jīvaka Komārabhacca spoke thus to the Lord:

“This is what I have heard, revered sir: that they kill living creatures on purpose for the recluse Gotama, and that the recluse Gotama knowingly makes use of meat killed on purpose and specially provided for him. Those who speak thus, revered sir: ‘They kill living creatures on purpose for the recluse Gotama, and the recluse Gotama knowingly makes use of meat killed on purpose and specially provided for him’, now, are these quoting the Lord's own words, revered sir, not misrepresenting the Lord with what is not fact, are they explaining in conformity with Dhamma, and does no reasoned thesis give occasion for contempt?”

“Jīvaka, those who speak thus: ‘They kill living creatures on purpose for the recluse Gotama, and the recluse Gotama knowingly makes use of meat killed on purpose and specially provided for him’, these are not quoting my own words, but are misrepresenting me with what is not true, with what is not fact. I, Jīvaka, say that in three cases meat may not be used: if it is seen, heard, suspected (to have been killed on purpose for a monk). In these three cases I, Jīvaka, say that meat may not be used. But I, Jīvaka, say that in three cases meat may be used: if it is not seen, heard, suspected (to have been killed on purpose for a monk). In these three cases I, Jīvaka, say that meat may be used.

As to this, Jīvaka, a monk lives depending on a village or market town. He dwells having suffused the first quarter with a mind of friendliness, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; just so above, below, across; he dwells having suffused the whole world everywhere, in every way, with a mind of friendliness that is far-reaching, wide-spread, immeasurable, without enmity, without malevolence. A householder or a householder's son, having approached him, invites him to a meal on the morrow. The monk accepts, Jīvaka, if he so desires. At the end of that night, having dressed in the early morning, taking his bowl and robe, he approaches the dwelling of that householder or householder's son; having approached, he sits down on the appointed seat, and the householder or householder's son waits on him with sumptuous almsfood.

It does not occur to him: ‘Indeed it is good that a householder or a householder's son waits on me with sumptuous almsfood. O may a householder or a householder's son also wait on me in the future with similar sumptuous almsfood’, this does not occur to him. He makes use of that almsfood without being ensnared, entranced or enthralled by it, but seeing the peril in it, wise as to the escape. What do you think about this, Jīvaka? Is that monk at that time striving for the hurt of self or is he striving for the hurt of others or is he striving for the hurt of both?” “Not this, revered sir.” “Is not that monk at that time, Jīvaka, eating food that is blameless?” “Yes, revered sir. I had heard this, revered sir: Sublime is abiding in friendliness! The Lord is seen as my witness for this, revered sir, for the Lord is abiding in friendliness.”

“Jīvaka, that attachment, that aversion, that confusion through which there might be malevolence, these have been got rid of by the Tathāgata, cut off at the root, made like a palm-tree stump that can come to no further existence in the future. If this is the meaning of what you said, Jīvaka, I agree with you.” “This is the exact meaning of what I said, revered sir.”

“As to this, Jīvaka, a monk lives depending on a village or market town. He dwells having suffused the first quarter with a mind of compassion, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; just so above, below, across; he dwells having suffused the whole world everywhere, in every way, with a mind of compassion that is far-reaching, wide-spread, immeasurable, without enmity, without malevolence. A householder or a householder's son, having approached him, invites him to a meal on the morrow. The monk accepts, Jīvaka, if he so desires. At the end of that night, having dressed in the early morning, taking his bowl and robe, he approaches the dwelling of that householder or householder's son; having approached, he sits down on the appointed seat, and the householder or householder's son waits on him with sumptuous almsfood.

It does not occur to him: ‘Indeed it is good that a householder or a householder's son waits on me with sumptuous almsfood. O may a householder or a householder's son also wait on me in the future with similar sumptuous almsfood’, this does not occur to him. He makes use of that almsfood without being ensnared, entranced or enthralled by it, but seeing the peril in it, wise as to the escape. What do you think about this, Jīvaka? Is that monk at that time striving for the hurt of self or is he striving for the hurt of others or is he striving for the hurt of both?” “Not this, revered sir.” “Is not that monk at that time, Jīvaka, eating food that is blameless?” “Yes, revered sir. I had heard this, revered sir: Sublime is abiding in compassion! The Lord is seen as my witness for this, revered sir, for the Lord is abiding in compassion.”

“Jīvaka, that attachment, that aversion, that confusion through which there might be malevolence, these have been got rid of by the Tathāgata, cut off at the root, made like a palm-tree stump that can come to no further existence in the future. If this is the meaning of what you said, Jīvaka, I agree with you.” “This is the exact meaning of what I said, revered sir.”

“As to this, Jīvaka, a monk lives depending on a village or market town. He dwells having suffused the first quarter with a mind of sympathetic joy, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; just so above, below, across; he dwells having suffused the whole world everywhere, in every way, with a mind of sympathetic joy that is far-reaching, wide-spread, immeasurable, without enmity, without malevolence. A householder or a householder's son, having approached him, invites him to a meal on the morrow. The monk accepts, Jīvaka, if he so desires. At the end of that night, having dressed in the early morning, taking his bowl and robe, he approaches the dwelling of that householder or householder's son; having approached, he sits down on the appointed seat, and the householder or householder's son waits on him with sumptuous almsfood.

It does not occur to him: ‘Indeed it is good that a householder or a householder's son waits on me with sumptuous almsfood. 0 may a householder or a householder's son also wait on me in the future with similar sumptuous almsfood’, this does not occur to him. He makes use of that almsfood without being ensnared, entranced or enthralled by it, but seeing the peril in it, wise as to the escape. What do you think about this, Jīvaka? Is that monk at that time striving for the hurt of self or is he striving for the hurt of others or is he striving for the hurt of both?” “Not this, revered sir.” “Is not that monk at that time, Jīvaka, eating food that is blameless?” “Yes, revered sir. I had heard this, revered sir: Sublime is abiding in sympathetic joy! The Lord is seen as my witness for this, revered sir, for the Lord is abiding in sympathetic joy.”

“Jīvaka, that attachment, that aversion, that confusion through which there might be malevolence, these have been got rid of by the Tathāgata, cut off at the root, made like a palm-tree stump that can come to no further existence in the future. If this is the meaning of what you said, Jīvaka, I agree with you.” “This is the exact meaning of what I said, revered sir.”

“As to this, Jīvaka, a monk lives depending on a village or market town. He dwells having suffused the first quarter with a mind of equanimity, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; just so above, below, across; he dwells having suffused the whole world everywhere, in every way, with a mind of equanimity that is far-reaching, wide-spread, immeasurable, without enmity, without malevolence. A householder or a householder's son, having approached him, invites him to a meal on the morrow. The monk accepts, Jīvaka, if he so desires. At the end of that night, having dressed in the early morning, taking his bowl and robe, he approaches the dwelling of that householder or householder's son; having approached, he sits down on the appointed seat, and the householder or householder's son waits on him with sumptuous almsfood.

It does not occur to him: ‘Indeed it is good that a householder or a householder's son waits on me with sumptuous almsfood. 0 may a householder or a householder's son also wait on me in the future with similar sumptuous almsfood’, this does not occur to him. He makes use of that almsfood without being ensnared, entranced or enthralled by it, but seeing the peril in it, wise as to the escape. What do you think about this, Jīvaka? Is that monk at that time striving for the hurt of self or is he striving for the hurt of others or is he striving for the hurt of both?” “Not this, revered sir.” “Is not that monk at that time, Jīvaka, eating food that is blameless?” “Yes, revered sir. I had heard this, revered sir: Sublime is abiding in equanimity! The Lord is seen as my witness for this, revered sir, for the Lord is abiding in equanimity.”

“Jīvaka, that attachment, that aversion, that confusion through which there might be annoyance, through which there might be dislike, through which there might be repugnance, these have been got rid of by the Tathāgata, cut off at the root, made like a palm-tree stump that can come to no further existence in the future. If this is the meaning of what you said, Jīvaka, I agree with you.” “This is the exact meaning of what I said, revered sir.”

“Jīvaka, he who kills a living creature on purpose for a Tathāgata or a Tathāgata's disciple stores up much demerit in five ways: In that, when he speaks thus: ‘Go and fetch such and such a living creature,’ in this first way he stores up much demerit. In that, while this living creature is being fetched it experiences pain and distress because of the affliction to its throat, in this second way he stores up much demerit. In that, when he speaks thus: ‘Go and kill that living creature’, in this third way he stores up much demerit. In that, while this living creature is being killed it experiences pain and distress, in this fourth way he stores up much demerit. In that, if he proffers to a Tathāgata or a Tathāgata's disciple what is not allowable, in this fifth way he stores up much demerit. He who, Jīvaka, kills a living creature on purpose for a Tathāgata or a Tathāgata's disciple stores up much demerit in these five ways.”

When this had been said, Jīvaka Komārabhacca spoke thus to the Lord: “It is wonderful, revered sir, it is marvellous, revered sir. Indeed, revered sir, the monks eat food that is allowable; indeed, revered sir, the monks eat food that is blameless. It is excellent, revered sir, it is excellent, revered sir. It is as if, revered sir, one might set upright what had been upset, or might disclose what was covered, or point out the way to one who had gone astray, or might bring an oil-lamp into the darkness so that those with vision might see material shapes, even so is Dhamma made clear in many a figure by the Lord. I am going to the Lord for refuge, and to Dhamma and to the Order of monks. May the Lord accept me as a lay-disciple going for refuge from this day forth for as long as life lasts.”

Discourse to Jīvaka: The Fifth