Mahābyūha Sutta | Sn IV-13


13. Mahābyūha Sutta

Discourse on the Great Combination

901. (Question): Some monks and Brahmins, dwelling in their own view, claim that their view is the truth. Are all of them liable to blame? Or do some of them deserve praise? (1)

902. (Answer): An occasional (a little) praise may be forthcoming, but their views cannot pacify the passions.

I declare there are 2 results in a quarrel, the winner (cheers) and the loser (jeers) seeing the futility, of both the outcomes, one should not quarrel but strive to see, the strife-free Nibbāna which only is secure. (2)

903. All sorts of usage and nomenclature (denomination) are the work of worldlings. The wise man is not deluded into believing them as reality.

With a (wakeful) one who restrains himself not to take delight in things seen or heard, how could he go to any substrata of existence? (3)

904. Those who set store by precepts say keeping the precepts purifies you; they observe perverted practices with meticulous care.

Claiming that they are skilful in their own doctrine, they are actually bringing themselves under the forces of rebirth (by clinging).

So they say (quite empty though that those precepts, and practices should be observed (for purity). (4)

905. If he falters in his precepts and (perverse) practices, he trembles, like a man who, having left home in the company of caravans, gets lost on the way and longs for his home or for the caravans. The deficient devotee mutters and yearns for the pure practice he has dropped. (5)

906. Abandoning all precepts and perverse practices, as well as all merits and demerits, a Bhikkhu, not caring for purity or impurity, should avoid the false doctrines and go about in all aloofness from the (so-called) peace the false-believers presume. (6)

907. Those who eject the fruitfulness of one's volitional actions, depend on loathsome practices or things heard, or seem, or otherwise perceived thro' the senses.

Craving for various forms of existence is very much alive in them, hence they (wishfully) preach (extol) the doctrine that death will bring purity. (7)

908. (Question): Some say a certain doctrine is excellent, but the same doctrine is mocked by others, all of them claim to be wise, accomplished.

Which of those different doctrines is the truth? (8)

909. He who wishes must mutter with longing. Fancy (brought up by craving and delusion), always carries worry in its objects. In this world an Arahant has no rebirth and (its consequence of) death. For him whichever object could interest him as worth having? And hence where would he have occasion to mutter about? (9)

910. (Answer): “My doctrine only is perfect” - some would claim, and say that other beliefs are deficient. In this manner by each taking his own stand they quarrel with each other.

Each of them holding fast to his own preference as the ultimate truth, they call whatever doctrine they pronounce the truth. (10)

911. If one were to become deficient just by being run down by others, then there would be no outstanding creed that remains, because most people are always running down other beliefs, while asserting their own firmly. (11)

912. In as much as they extol their own doctrine, they believe in the infallibility of their teachers whom they pay homage. For them devotion to the teacher, and the teacher's doctrine is most right and proper.

Judged by the devotion of their devotees, all of those doctrines would seem decidedly right. Yet the way they seek purification is so different from one another. (12)

913. With an Arahant there's nothing that someone else has to teach him:

He does not subscribe to any view whatever. No view is worth imbibing outside of the Noble Truth, seen by Insight (through mindfulness). Hence he stands aloof from controversy. (13)

914. “I know, I see”, some monks and Brahmins would say, and believe in what they know and see as true. They think they have purified themselves.

But even if they do see by their own ways, their vision is just void, because (devoid of the 4 Noble Truths) what vision would be valid?

It is only the deluded ones who claim purity by other means (than Insight-Knowledge attainable only through mindfulness). (14)

915. The seer (of other people's minds etc.) sees mind and matter (in their apparent view only, as a self-entity);

as he sees, so will he know (in the apparent knowledge only, as a self-entity), whether such seeing be in a big way or in a small way, the vision acquired has nothing to do with purity, according to the wise. (15)

916. One who has experienced personally that one considers the truth, is never a willing one for correction and guidance.

So also is one who is guided by speculative views. Whichever view one leans on, that view is proclaimed good. Claiming himself as pure, he is secure in the truth of his own belief. (16)

917. Knowing the Noble Truth by Insight, an Arahant does not enter into speculation (by way of craving and delusion); all false views are essentially unacceptable to him.

Nor does he form further bondage (of craving and delusion), by trying to gain supra-mundane powers.

He knows the emptiness of all (the 62 forms of), false views that worldlings take up; so, what worldlings follow faithfully (under the spell of craving and delusion), he regards with sublime indifference. (17)

918. In this world an Arahant has untied all knots that held him in bondage.

When controversies arise he does not side with either party. By remaining indifferent to the consuming fires (of lust and allied defilements), he has pacified himself.

Therefore what others uphold in life (by way of craving and delusion), He has not the slightest interest in. (18)

919. The wise Bhikkhu has forsaken all taints pertaining to past aggregates; he does not allow himself to be tempted by the present aggregates.

Not partial to any view, he does not make any view his resolved creed. So he does not propagate any view and is freed from the snares of all false faiths. Not smeared (by craving and delusion) regarding the world, he feels no remorse or no regrets. (19)

920. The Arahant has overcome all evils, arising from things seen or heard or perceived otherwise; having laid down the burden of existence, he is a liberated one.

He does not indulge in speculation (the usual course of craving and delusion); he is not the one who needs any abstinence (like a worldling), for he has no will for any form of existence. (20)

End of the Thirteenth Mahābyūha Sutta