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Majjhima Nikāya - Book I Part 4-5

IV. Mahāyamaka Vagga

1. Cūḷagosiṅga Sutta

The Venerable Anuruddha, the Venerable Nandiya and the Venerable Kimila were staying in the Gosiṅga Sāl tree woodland.

The Buddha visited them and praised them on their way of living, practising the holy life with perfect harmony and concord amongst themselves, thus forming an adornment to the lovely woodland park.

 2. Mahāgosiṅga Sutta

Once while the Buddha was residing in the Gosiṅga Sāl tree woodland, the Venerable Sāriputta asked the Buddha:

“Who would most adorn this woodland park and enhance its beauty?”

The discourse records the different answers provided by the Venerable Revata, Anuruddha, Maha Kassapa, Maha Moggallāna, Sāriputta and by the Buddha himself.

3. Mahāgopālaka Sutta

This discourse, given by the Buddha at Sāvatthi, explains the conditions under which the Teaching would grow and prosper and the conditions under which it would decline and decay.

The example of a cowherd is given. When a cowherd is equipped with eleven skills of managing and tending his cattle, there is progress and growth in his work.

So also when the bhikkhu is skilled and accomplished in eleven factors such as knowledge of truth about the khandhas, practice of śīla, samādhi and paññā etc., the Teaching will grow and prosper.

4. Cūḷagopālaka Sutta

This discourse deals with eleven factors, the failure to fulfil which would contribute to the downfall and ruin of the Teaching.

Just as the cattle under the care of an unwise and unskilful cowherd crossed the river from a wrong quay on the bank and met with destruction instead of reaching the other shore,

so also the followers of the teachers who were not accomplished in the knowledge of truth, khandhas, etc., would end up only in disaster.

5. Cūḷasaccaka Sutta

This discourse, given at Vesālī, gives an account of the debate between the Buddha and Saccaka the wandering ascetic on the subject of atta.

Saccaka maintained that rūpa, vedanā, saññā, saṅkhāra and viññāṇa were one's atta. It was atta which enjoyed the fruits of good deeds and suffered the consequences of bad deeds.

The Buddha refuted his theory, pointing out that none of the khandhas was atta, each being subjected to the laws of anicca, dukkha, and anatta, and not amenable to anyone's control.

Saccaka had to admit his defeat in the presence of his followers.

6. Mahāsaccaka Sutta

The same Saccaka, the wandering ascetic, came again to the Buddha the next day and asked about the cultivation of mind and body. He knew only the wrong methods of developing concentration.

The Buddha explained to Saccaka the various practices he himself had followed and mistakes he had made until he found the middle Path that finally led him to the realization of Nibbāna.

7. Cūḷataṇhāsaṅkhaya Sutta

On enquiry by the king of devas how a disciple of the Buddha trained himself to realize Nibbāna,

the Buddha gave him a short description of how a householder, after leaving his home, put himself on a course of training that gradually purified his mind of all moral defilements and led him to the final goal.

8. Mahātaṇhāsaṅkhaya Sutta

A disciple of the Buddha, Sati by name, held the view that the Buddha taught: “The same consciousness transmigrates and wanders about.” Other disciples tried to rid him of this wrong view but to no avail.

The Buddha told him that he never taught such wrong views. He only taught: “Consciousness arises out of conditions; there is no arising of Consciousness without conditions.”

9. Mahā-assapura Sutta

The people of Assapura, a market town of Anga country, were ardently devoted to the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha, helping and assisting the members of the Order by offering them the bhikkhu requisites.

Out of gratitude for such support, the Buddha urged the bhikkhus to make strenuous efforts in their training and practice of Dhamma, gradually going up stage by stage:

starting from avoiding evil deeds by restraint of physical and vocal actions, to proceed to mental restraint through meditation,

then progressing towards attainment of four stages of jhāna, and finally to the stage where all moral defilements were eliminated and Nibbāna was attained.

10. Cūḷa-assapura Sutta

Out of gratitude for the support given by the lay devotees of Assapura, a market town in the country of Anga, the Buddha urged the bhikkhus to be worthy of the name of samaṇa and brāhmaṇa.

Samaṇa means one who has stilled his passions; brāhmaṇa one who has rid himself of defilements.

A bhikkhu should therefore subject himself to the course of discipline and practice as laid down by the Buddha until he had eliminated the twelve defilements such as envy, ill will, deceit, wrong views, etc.

V. Cūḷayamaka Vagga

1. Sāḷeyyaka Sutta

This exposition was given to villagers of Sālā on ten demeritorious deeds that would lead to states of misery and woe and ten meritorious deeds that would give rise to rebirth in happy realms.

2. Verañjaka Sutta

This discourse was given to the householders of Verañjā dealing with identical subjects as in the Sāḷeyyaka Sutta.

3. Mahāvedalla Sutta

The Venerable Mahākoṭṭhika asked many questions to the Venerable Sāriputta at Sāvatthi regarding an uninstructed person with no paññā, and instructed persons with paññā;

many questions on viññāṇa and vedanā, on the difference between paññā and viññāṇa, and many other things. The Venerable Sāriputta obliged him with detailed answers.

4. Cūḷavedalla Sutta

Then Dhammadinnā was asked many questions by the householder Visākha about personality, Sakkāya, the origin of Sakkāya, the cessation of Sakkāya and the way leading to cessation of Sakkāya.

All the questions were satisfactorily answered by the Therī.

5. Cūḷadhammasamādāna Sutta

This sutta describes four practices involving:

1. happy living now, followed by dire consequences in the future;
2. unhappy living now, followed by dire consequences in the future;
3. unhappy living now, followed by a happy life in the future;
4. happy living now, followed by a happy life in the future.

6. Mahādhammasamādāna Sutta

In this discourse, the four practices as described in Cūḷadhammasamādāna Sutta are explained with more details giving similes of poisoned fruit juice, delicious cordial and medicinal preparation of cows urine.

7. Vīmaṁsaka Sutta

Any claim to Buddhahood may be put to acid tests as provided in this sutta. A detailed procedure to scrutinize such claim is laid down here.

8. Kosambiya Sutta

This discourse on how loving-kindness should be the basis of their relations was given by the Buddha to the bhikkhus of Kosambī who were living in discord because of disagreement over trifling matters.

9. Brahmanimantanika Sutta

The Brahma Baka held the wrong view of eternity, believing in permanence, stability, and endurance. The Buddha showed him how wrong his belief was.

10. Māratajjanīya Sutta

This is an account given by the Venerable Mahā Moggallāna of how Mara once troubled him by causing pains and aches in the stomach.

He had to coax him to stop annoying him by telling him that he had been Maras uncle at the time of Kakusandha Buddha.