Cunda Sutta | Sn I-5


5. Cunda Sutta

Discourse On the Kinds of Bhikkhus

83. (Cunda, son of the gold-smith addressed the Buddha thus):

O Buddha, the one with extensive wisdom, the lord of the Dhamma, the One devoid of craving, the Supreme One among Humanity and, the celestial worlds of Brahmas and Devas,

the greatest of teachers, the One with complete Knowledge of the 4 Noble Truths, may I be allowed to ask a question?

My question is this:

How many kinds of Bhikkhu are there in the world?

Pray, would the Buddha enlighten me on this point? (1)

84. (And the Buddha replied):

Cunda, there are 4 kinds of Bhikkhu, and never a 5th kind.

Having put the question directly to Me, you shall have your answer now.

The 4 kinds are:

  1. the Bhikkhu who has won his victory along the Path,
  2. the Bhikkhu who can show the Path;
  3. the Bhikkhu who is living on, as a learner along the Path, 
  4. and the Bhikkhu who destroys the Path. (2).

85. (Cunda, the goldsmith's son further asked):

Venerable Sir, who, according to the Buddhas, is called the victorious Bhikkhu along the path?

And who is the Bhikkhu that is living as a learner along the Path?

And who is the Bhikkhu that destroys the Path?

May I know how they are defined? (3)

86. (Thereupon the Buddha explained thus):

“He who has overcome doubt, who is free from the poisonous thorns of desire and kindred kleśas, who takes a particular delight in Nibbāna, who knows no greed, who can give guidance to the 3 worlds,

such a person is called the Bhikkhu who has won victory along the Path. (4)

87. He who has, after reviewing knowledge of one’s own insight, satisfied, oneself that Nibbāna transcends all Dhammas, and is able to teach the way to Nibbāna to others and is able to distinguish the nature of Nibbāna, who has uprooted doubt, and who is free from desire,

- such a person is called the 2nd type of Bhikkhu one who can show the Path. (5)

88. He who is self-controlled, with an attentive awareness exercises the mind in the factors of enlightenment, abides in the Path of the well-taught-Dhamma,

- is called the 3rd type of Bhikkhu who is living on as a learner along the Path. (6)

89. - He dons himself with the raiment of the religious recluse and enters the Order of the Bhikkhus.

In conduct he is despicable licentious, treacherous and knows no self-restraint, the scum of Bhikkhu-hood.

Such an imposter who goes about in the garb or a Bhikkhu is called the Bhikkhu who destroys the Path. (7)

90. When a certain layman is well-informed in the teachings of the Buddha and has a discriminating knowledge about these 4 types of Bhikkhu, then his confidence in the Saṅgha is not in any way affected by seeing such and such bad Bhikkhus.

For how could he take the Keeper of the Path to be the same as the Destroyer of the Path?

How could he class the pure with the impure? (8)

End of the fifth Cunda Sutta.