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The Mendicants of Kosambi —Bhikkhu Sujato

Middle Discourses 48

The Mendicants of Kosambi

1.1So I have heard. 1.2At one time the Buddha was staying near Kosambi, in Ghosita’s Monastery.

2.1Now at that time the mendicants of Kosambi were arguing, quarreling, and fighting, continually wounding each other with barbed words. 2.2They couldn’t persuade each other or be persuaded, nor could they convince each other or be convinced.

3.1Then a mendicant went up to the Buddha, bowed, sat down to one side, and told him what was happening. 3.2

4.1So the Buddha said to a certain monk, 4.2“Please, monk, in my name tell those mendicants that 4.3the teacher summons them.

4.4“Yes, sir,” that monk replied. He went to those monks and said, 4.5“Venerables, the teacher summons you.”

4.6“Yes, reverend,” those monks replied. They went to the Buddha, bowed, and sat down to one side. The Buddha said to them,

4.7“Is it really true, mendicants, that you have been arguing, quarreling, and fighting, continually wounding each other with barbed words? 4.8And that you can’t persuade each other or be persuaded, nor can you convince each other or be convinced?”

4.9“Yes, sir,” they said.

5.1“What do you think, mendicants? 5.2When you’re arguing, quarreling, and fighting, continually wounding each other with barbed words, are you treating your spiritual companions with kindness by way of body, speech, and mind, both in public and in private?”

5.3“No, sir.”

5.4“So it seems that when you’re arguing you are not treating each other with kindness. 5.5So what exactly do you know and see, you foolish men, that you behave in such a way? 5.6This will be for your lasting harm and suffering.”

6.1Then the Buddha said to the mendicants:

6.2“Mendicants, these six warm-hearted qualities make for fondness and respect, conducing to inclusion, harmony, and unity, without quarreling. 6.3What six? 6.4Firstly, a mendicant consistently treats their spiritual companions with bodily kindness, both in public and in private. 6.5This warm-hearted quality makes for fondness and respect, conducing to inclusion, harmony, and unity, without quarreling.

6.6Furthermore, a mendicant consistently treats their spiritual companions with verbal kindness … 6.7

6.8Furthermore, a mendicant consistently treats their spiritual companions with mental kindness … 6.9

6.10Furthermore, a mendicant shares without reservation any material possessions they have gained by legitimate means, even the food placed in the alms-bowl, using them in common with their ethical spiritual companions … 6.11

6.12Furthermore, a mendicant lives according to the precepts shared with their spiritual companions, both in public and in private. Those precepts are unbroken, impeccable, spotless, and unmarred, liberating, praised by sensible people, not mistaken, and leading to immersion. … 6.13

6.14Furthermore, a mendicant lives according to the view shared with their spiritual companions, both in public and in private. That view is noble and emancipating, and leads one who practices it to the complete ending of suffering. 6.15This warm-hearted quality makes for fondness and respect, conducing to inclusion, harmony, and unity, without quarreling.

6.16These six warm-hearted qualities make for fondness and respect, conducing to inclusion, harmony, and unity, without quarreling.

7.1Of these six warm-hearted qualities, the chief is the view that is noble and emancipating, and leads one who practices it to the complete ending of suffering. It holds and binds everything together. 7.2It’s like a bungalow. The roof-peak is the chief point, which holds and binds everything together. 7.3In the same way, of these six warm-hearted qualities, the chief is the view that is noble and emancipating, and leads one who practices it to the complete ending of suffering. It holds and binds everything together.

8.1And how does the view that is noble and emancipating lead one who practices it to the complete ending of suffering? 8.2It’s when a mendicant has gone to a wilderness, or to the root of a tree, or to an empty hut, and reflects like this, 8.3‘Is there anything that I’m overcome with internally and haven’t given up, because of which I might not accurately know and see?’ 8.4If a mendicant is overcome with sensual desire, it’s their mind that’s overcome. 8.5If a mendicant is overcome with ill will, 8.6dullness and drowsiness, 8.7restlessness and remorse, 8.8doubt, 8.9pursuing speculation about this world, 8.10pursuing speculation about the next world, 8.11or arguing, quarreling, and fighting, continually wounding others with barbed words, it’s their mind that’s overcome. 8.12They understand, 8.13‘There is nothing that I’m overcome with internally and haven’t given up, because of which I might not accurately know and see. 8.14My mind is properly disposed for awakening to the truths.’ 8.15This is the first knowledge they have achieved that is noble and transcendent, and is not shared with ordinary people.

9.1Furthermore, a noble disciple reflects, 9.2‘When I develop, cultivate, and make much of this view, do I personally gain serenity and quenching?’ 9.3They understand, 9.4‘When I develop, cultivate, and make much of this view, I personally gain serenity and quenching.’ 9.5This is their second knowledge …

10.1Furthermore, a noble disciple reflects, 10.2‘Are there any ascetics or brahmins outside of the Buddhist community who have the same kind of view that I have?’ 10.3They understand, 10.4‘There are no ascetics or brahmins outside of the Buddhist community who have the same kind of view that I have.’ 10.5This is their third knowledge …

11.1Furthermore, a noble disciple reflects, 11.2‘Do I have the same nature as a person accomplished in view?’ 11.3And what, mendicants, is the nature of a person accomplished in view? 11.4This is the nature of a person accomplished in view. 11.5Though they may fall into a kind of offense for which rehabilitation has been laid down, they quickly disclose, clarify, and reveal it to the Teacher or a sensible spiritual companion. 11.6And having revealed it they restrain themselves in the future. 11.7Suppose there was a little baby boy. If he puts his hand or foot on a burning coal, he quickly pulls it back. 11.8In the same way, this is the nature of a person accomplished in view. 11.9Though they may still fall into a kind of offense for which rehabilitation has been laid down, they quickly reveal it to the Teacher or a sensible spiritual companion. 11.10And having revealed it they restrain themselves in the future. 11.11They understand, 11.12‘I have the same nature as a person accomplished in view.’ 11.13This is their fourth knowledge …

12.1Furthermore, a noble disciple reflects, 12.2‘Do I have the same nature as a person accomplished in view?’ 12.3And what, mendicants, is the nature of a person accomplished in view? 12.4This is the nature of a person accomplished in view. 12.5Though they might manage a diverse spectrum of duties for their spiritual companions, they still feel a keen regard for the training in higher ethics, higher mind, and higher wisdom. 12.6Suppose there was a cow with a baby calf. She keeps the calf close as she grazes. 12.7In the same way, this is the nature of a person accomplished in view. 12.8Though they might manage a diverse spectrum of duties for their spiritual companions, they still feel a keen regard for the training in higher ethics, higher mind, and higher wisdom. 12.9They understand, 12.10‘I have the same nature as a person accomplished in view.’ 12.11This is their fifth knowledge …

13.1Furthermore, a noble disciple reflects, 13.2‘Do I have the same strength as a person accomplished in view?’ 13.3And what, mendicants, is the strength of a person accomplished in view? 13.4The strength of a person accomplished in view is that, when the teaching and training proclaimed by the Realized One are being taught, they pay heed, pay attention, engage wholeheartedly, and lend an ear. 13.5They understand, 13.6‘I have the same strength as a person accomplished in view.’ 13.7This is their sixth knowledge …

14.1Furthermore, a noble disciple reflects, 14.2‘Do I have the same strength as a person accomplished in view?’ 14.3And what, mendicants, is the strength of a person accomplished in view? 14.4The strength of a person accomplished in view is that, when the teaching and training proclaimed by the Realized One are being taught, they find joy in the meaning and the teaching, and find joy connected with the teaching. 14.5They understand, 14.6‘I have the same strength as a person accomplished in view.’ 14.7This is the seventh knowledge they have achieved that is noble and transcendent, and is not shared with ordinary people.

15.1When a noble disciple has these seven factors, they have properly investigated their own nature with respect to the realization of the fruit of stream-entry. 15.2A noble disciple with these seven factors has the fruit of stream-entry.”

15.3That is what the Buddha said. 15.4Satisfied, the mendicants were happy with what the Buddha said.