Vaṅgīsa Sutta | Sn II-12


12. Nidyodhakappa Sutta (Vaṅgīsa Sutta)

Discourse on the Thera Nidyodhakappa

Thus have I heard:

On one occasion the Buddha was sojourning near Aggāḷava Shrine in Alavi.

It was not long after the demise (Parinibbāna) near that shrine of Thera Nidyodhakappa, the preceptor of the Venerable Vaṅgīsa.

At that time the Venerable Vaṅgīsa, in quiet seclusion, bethought himself, Did my preceptor die an Arahant, or did he not?

So in the evening the Venerable Vaṅgīsa rose from quiet seclusion, approached the Bhagavān and having himself seated at a (suitable) place addressed the Buddha as follows:

Venerable Sir, while in my quiet seclusion, this thought occurred to me: did my preceptor die an Arahant, or did he not.

Then he rose and, placing the folded robe on his left shoulder (as a mark of veneration in standing posture), raising the united palms in obeisance to the Bhagavān, further addressed him in the following verses:

345. O Buddha, possessed of lofty wisdom, may I be permitted to ask this:

that Bhikkhu has died near Aggāḷava shrine.
He who had in this life rid himself of sceptic doubt,
who was well-known, had vast followership and was of a pacified mind. (1)

346. He, who was a Brahmin by birth, was given the Bhikkhu name of Nidyodhakappa by the Buddha.

O Buddha, the Knower of the indestructible Nibbāna, that Bhikkhu desirous of liberation (Nibbāna) and vigorous in its pursuit, was going about, ever paying homage to the Buddha. (2)

347. O the All-seeing One of Sakyan lineage, the Omniscient One, the destiny of the disciple (Nidyodhakappa) is what we want to know.

All of us here are intent on hearing it from the Buddha our Teacher of Supreme nobility. (3)

348. O Buddha, endowed with wisdom as great as the Earth, Please clear away our doubts:

How ended his existence, that Venerable Nidyodhakappa?

Like the thousand-eyed Sakka explains things to his celestial subjects so would the All-seeing One explain it to us? (4)

349. In this life (of the 5 aggregates) all ties, route of Delusion-Way, associate of Ignorance, mainstay of Scepticism, get cleared up before the Buddha, the Supreme Eye in all the worlds. (5)

350. Without the wind that clears away the thick clouds the world would be cloaked in darkness;

so also without the defilement-dispelling discourses of the Great Man, the Buddha, the world would grope in the darkness of delusion.

No other luminary could light up a world without the Buddha's Teaching. (6)

351. It is only the wise that hold up the light, the light-giver truly the Buddha is that's how we regard the Diligent One.

We have come to the Superb seer seeking the answer about 'Kappa, the answer this audience awaits. (7)

352. O Buddha, endowed with pleasant beautiful voice, may we hear the pleasant words soon;

like the golden swan, raising its graceful neck, makes measured notes, so also will the Buddha speak out with mellifluous voice in words well-strung, which we all will listen in rapt attention. (8)

353. May the Buddha who has negated rebirth and death forever, favour, us with a sermon serving as detergent to defilement.

Inept as worldlings are to carry out things at their will, it is within the province of the Tathāgata’s (Buddha's) to exercise their consummate skill. (9)

354. O Buddha, possessed of lofty wisdom, the comprehensible words of your resplendent-knowledge, should satisfy all questions.

We bow to you again in worshipful homage. Knowing the destiny of Bhikkhu Kappa, please do not keep us in doubt. (10)

355. O Buddha, possessed of illustrious diligence, who has penetrated the Noble Truths and perceived all things, please do not keep us in doubt.

As a scorched traveller on a searing summer day longs for water, we are impatient to hear.

So, kindly shower on us the answering voice we await! (11)

356. Nidyodhakappa trained himself with zeal along the Noble Path; his efforts were not in vain, we'd suppose?

Did he die with defilements or did he attain total release from defilements and pass away as an Arahant?

That is what we wish to learn (hear). (12)

357. (Then the Buddha spoke thus:)

Yes, Kappa had cut clean, Māra's current of Death, the inclination to crave that lurks in one's mind and body by day and by night; completely crossed over (the floods of) rebirth and death,

- thus said the Buddha, the One who surpassed the Group of 5. (13)

358. O Buddha, the 7th Great Recluse, how gracious you are!
(I'm now satisfied) That I have not asked in vain.
Kappa of Brahmin origin has not let me down. (14)

359. As he said, so he lived, that disciple had destroyed Māra’s net of craving, which perpetuates existence and its horde of ills. (15)

360. O Buddha, Kappa had seen the origin of clinging to existence.
Kappa had indeed passed the province of Death,
the painful process of existence, hard to pass for most men. (16)

End of the Twelfth Nidyodhakappa Sutta