Majjhima Nikāya - Book II Part 4
IV. Raja Vagga
1. Ghaṭikāra Sutta
This discourse, given by the Buddha while journeying in Kosala, recounts the story of high devotion of Ghaṭikāra, the potter, who looked after his blind parents and who at the same time attended upon Kassapa Buddha with utter reverence.
There was also the account of how Ghaṭikāra forcibly pulled along his friend, young Jotipāla, to where Kassapa Buddha was, to pay respect.
After hearing the dhamma discourses young Jotipāla left the household life to be admitted into the Order by Kassapa Buddha.
This interesting ancient episode that had happened in Kassapa Buddha's time many aeons ago was recounted to the Venerable Ānanda by Gotama Buddha
standing on the very spot where once stood, a long, long time ago, the house of Ghaṭikāra, the potter.
The Buddha concluded his story by revealing that young Jotipāla was none other than the present Gotama Buddha.
2. Raṭṭhapāla Sutta
Raṭṭhapāla, the son of a wealthy brāhmin obtained his parents' permission with great difficulty to become a bhikkhu under the guidance of the Buddha.
After twelve years of strenuous endeavour, when he became a full-fledged Arahat, he visited his parents' home. His parents attempted to entice him with wealth and wife back to household life but to no avail.
He taught his parents the law of impermanence, anicca; he said he saw nothing alluring in the wealth and the wife.
3. Maghadeva Sutta
This discourse was given at the Royal mango grove at Mithilā. The Buddha told the Venerable Ānanda about the noble tradition laid down by the righteous King Maghadeva.
When his hair began to turn white, he gave up the household life leaving his dominions to his eldest son.
This tradition was handed down from king to son for generations and generations, over thousands and thousands of years until the reign of King Nimi.
King Nimi had a son by the name of Kaḷārajanaka who did not go forth from home life into homelessness when the time came like his predecessors.
Kaḷārajanaka terminated the noble practice laid down by the tradition. He thus became the last person of that tradition.
The Buddha revealed that he was the King Maghadeva of that ancient time laying down the noble tradition. The Buddha said that that noble tradition did not lead to calm, to higher knowledge. It only led to the realm of Brahmas.
But the noble practice which he was leading now as a Buddha certainly led to the disillusionment with the five khandhas, the abandonment of attachment and the cessation of dukkha; to calm, higher knowledge, penetrative insight and realization of Nibbāna.
The Buddha then exhorted, Ānanda, continue to follow this good practice which I have laid down. Let you not be the person with whom my tradition ends.
4. Madhura Sutta
This discourse was given by the Venerable Mahākaccāna at Madhura. He refuted the brāhmins' claim that only brāhmins were noble and superior, and that others were inferior.
He explained to King Madhura that it was one's morality, not birth that established one's nobility:
Anyone whether Brāhmin, Khattiya, Vessa or Sudda, committing a wrong deed would be born again in the states of woe; anyone doing a good deed would be born again in a happy realm.
After this discourse by the Venerable Mahākaccāna, King Madhura, formerly of another faith, took refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha.
5. Bodhirājakumāra Sutta
This discourse was given by the Buddha at Susumāragira in the country of Bhagga in connection with the statement made by Prince Bodhi that "sukha, happiness, cannot be attained through sukha; sukha can be attained only through dukkha".
The Buddha said he had also once thought in a similar manner, and recounted the whole story of his renunciation, his struggles with wrong practices, frantic search for the Truth, and ultimate enlightenment.
When asked by the prince how long would it take a bhikkhu to achieve, in this very lifetime, the supreme goal of the holy life, Arahatship, the Buddha stipulated five attributes for the aspiring bhikkhu.
If he was equipped with five attributes: faith, good health, integrity (not being deceitful), unrelenting zeal, and sufficient intellect to understand the phenomena of arising and passing away,
and having the Tathagata as his instructor and guide, a bhikkhu would achieve the Arahatship within seven years at most. Under the most favourable circumstances he could become accomplished within half a day.
6. Aṅgulimāla Sutta
This discourse, given by the Buddha at Sāvatthi, describes how Aṅgulimāla, the notorious robber and murderer, was tamed by the Buddha, and how he took refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha.
Although he had the name of Ahiṁsaka, Non-violence, he was formerly cruel and murderous and was called Aṅgulimāla by people.
Being tamed now by the Buddha, he ceased hurting anyone, and started living a life true to his name. He had become an Arahat.
7. Piyajātika Sutta
A householder of Sāvatthi whose son had died went to see the Buddha who told him that dear beloved ones formed a source of sorrow as they brought pain and grief.
The householder was displeased with what the Buddha said.
Gamblers playing with dice just close by the Buddha's monastery told him differently. They said that loved ones surely brought joy and happiness.
King Pasenadi concurred with the gamblers but his queen Mallikā maintained that only what the Buddha said must be true. She justified her faith in the Buddha by giving many illustrations of the Buddha's penetrating and illuminating wisdom.
King Pasenadi was finally won over to her view.
8. Bāhitika Sutta
This discourse was given at Sāvatthi by the Venerable Ānanda to King Pasenadi on the bank of the River Aciravatī.
He dealt with unwholesome deeds, words and thoughts which were blameworthy and wholesome deeds, words and thoughts which were praiseworthy.
King Pasenadi was pleased with the discourse and made a gift of cloth from the country of Bāhiti to the Venerable Ānanda.
9. Dhammacetiya Sutta
King Pasenadi of Kosala once came to see the Buddha. Entering the dwelling where the Buddha was staying, he fell on his forehead at the feet of the Buddha.
When asked by the Buddha why he was showing such extreme humbleness and respect to the body of the Buddha, the king launched eloquently on a eulogy of the Buddha, praising his virtues.
The Buddha told his bhikkhus that the words uttered by the king constituted a memorial in honour of the Dhamma and urged them to learn this memorial and recite it frequently.
10. Kaṇṇakatthala Sutta
This discourse, given by the Buddha at Uruññā, contains answers to King Pasenadi Kosala's questions about four classes of people and their destinations after death, about Sabbaññuta Ñāṇa, and about the great Brahma.