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English translation of
Holy Digha Nikaya

English translation by T. W. Rhys Davids
taken from http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/dob/

Brahma-gâla Sutta: Chapter 2

1.
There are, brethren, some recluses and Brahmans who are Eternalists with regard to some things, and in regard to others Non-Eternalists; who on four grounds maintain that the soul and the world are partly eternal and partly not.

'And what is it that these venerable ones depend upon, what is it that they start from, in arriving at this conclusion?

2.
'Now there comes a time, brethren, when, sooner or later, after the lapse of a long long period, this world-system passes away. And when this happens beings have mostly been reborn in the World of Radiance, and there they dwell made of mind, feeding on joy, radiating light from themselves, traversing the air, continuing in glory; and thus they remain for a long long period of time.

3.
'Now there comes also a time, brethren, when, sooner or later, this world-system begins to re-evolve. When this happens the Palace of Brahmâ appears, but it is empty. And some being or other, either because his span of years has passed or his merit is exhausted, falls from that World of Radiance, and comes to life in the Palace of Brahmâ. And there also he lives made of mind, feeding on joy, radiating light from himself, traversing the air, continuing in glory; and thus does he remain for a long long period of time.

4.
'Now there arises in him, from his dwelling there so long alone, a dissatisfaction and a longing: "O! would that other beings might come to join me in this place!" And just then, either because their span of years had passed or their merit was exhausted, other beings fall from the World of Radiance, and appear in the Palace of Brahmâ as companions to him, and in all respects like him.

5.
'On this, brethren, the one who was first reborn thinks thus to himself: "I am Brahmâ, the Great Brahmâ, the Supreme One, the Mighty, the All-seeing, the Ruler, the Lord of all, the Maker, the Creator, the Chief of all, appointing to each his place, the Ancient of days, the Father of all that are and are to be. These other beings are of my creation. And why is that so? A while ago I thought, 'Would that they might come!' And on my mental aspiration, behold the beings came."

'And those beings themselves, too, think thus: "This must be Brahmâ, the Great Brahmâ, the Supreme, the Mighty, the All-seeing, the Ruler, the Lord of all, the Maker, the Creator, the Chief of all, appointing to each his place, the Ancient of days, the Father of all that are and are to be, And we must have been created by him. And why? Because, as we see, it was he who was here first, and we came after that."

6.
'On this, brethren, the one who first came into existence there is of longer life, and more glorious, and more powerful than those who appeared after him. And it might well be, brethren, that some being on his falling from that state, should come hither. And having come hither he might go forth from the household life into the homeless state, And having thus become a recluse he, by reason of ardour of exertion of application of earnestness of careful thought, reaches up to such rapture of heart that, rapt in heart, he calls to mind his last dwelling-place, but not the previous ones. He says to himself: "That illustrious Brahmâ, the Great Brahmâ, the Supreme One, the Mighty, the All-seeing, the Ruler, the Lord of all, the Maker, the Creator, the Chief of all, appointing to each his place, the Ancient of days, the Father of all that are and are to be, he by whom we were created, he is steadfast immutable eternal, of a nature that knows no change, and he will remain so for ever and ever. But we who were created by him have come hither as being impermanent mutable limited in duration of life.

'This, brethren, is the first state of things on account of which, starting out from which, some recluses and Brahmans, being Eternalists as to some things, and Non-eternalists as to others, maintain that the soul and the world are partly eternal and partly not.

7.
'And what is the second?

'There are, brethren, certain gods called the "Debauched by Pleasure," For ages they pass their time in the pursuit of the laughter and sport of sensual lusts. In consequence thereof their self-possession is corrupted, and through the loss of their self-control they fall from that state:.

8.
'Now it might well be, brethren, that some being, on his falling from that state, should come hither. And having come hither he should, as in the last case, become a recluse, and acquire the power of recollecting his last birth, but only his last one.

9.
'And he would say to himself: "Those gods who are not debauched by pleasure are steadfast, immutable, eternal, of a nature that knows no change, and they will remain so for ever and ever. But we--who fell from that state, having lost our self-control through being debauched by pleasure--we have come hither as being impermanent, mutable, limited in duration of life."

10.
'And what is the third?

'There are, brethren, certain gods called "the Debauched in Mind." They burn continually with envy one against another, and being thus irritated, their hearts become ill-disposed towards each other, and being thus debauched, their bodies become feeble, and their minds imbecile. And those gods fall from that state.

11.
'Now it might well be, brethren, that some being, on his falling from that state, should come hither; and having become a recluse should, as in the other cases, acquire the power of recollecting his last birth, but only his last one.

12.
I And he would say to himself: "Those gods who are not debauched in mind do not continually burn with envy against each other, so their hearts do not become evil disposed one towards another, nor their bodies feeble and their minds imbecile. Therefore they fall not from that state; they are steadfast, immutable, eternal, of a nature that knows no change, and they will remain so for ever and ever. But we were corrupted in mind, being constantly excited by envy against one another. And being thus envious and corrupt our bodies became feeble, and our minds imbecile, and we fell from that state, and have come hither as being impermanent, mutable, limited in duration of life."

'This, brethren, is the third case.

13.
'And what is the fourth?

'In this case, brethren, some recluse or Brahman is addicted to logic and reasoning. He gives utterance to the following conclusion of his own, beaten out by his argumentations and based on his sophistry: "This which is called eye and ear and nose and tongue and body is a self which is impermanent, unstable, not eternal, subject to change. But this which is called heart, or mind, or consciousness is a self which is permanent, steadfast, eternal, and knows no change, and it will remain for ever and ever."

'This, brethren, is the fourth state of things, on the ground of which, starting from which, some recluses and Brahmans are Semi-eternalists, and in four ways maintain that the soul and the world are in some respects eternal, and in some not.

14.
'These, brethren, are those recluses and Brahmans who are Semi-eternalists, and in four ways maintain that the soul and the world are eternal in some cases and not in others. For whosoever of the recluses and Brahmans are such and maintain this, they do so in these four ways or in one or other of the same; and outside these there is no way in which this opinion is arrived at.

15.
'Now of these, brethren, the Tathâgata knows that these speculations thus arrived at, thus insisted on, will have such and such a result, such and such an effect on the future condition of those who trust in them. That does he know, and he knows also other things far beyond (far better than those speculations); and having that knowledge, he is not puffed up, and thus untarnished he has, in his own heart, realised the way of escape from them, has understood, as they really are, the rising up and passing away of sensations, their sweet taste, their danger, how they cannot be relied on, and not grasping after any (of those things men are eager for) he, the Tathâgata, is quite set free.

'These, brethren, are those other things, profound, difficult to realise, hard to understand, tranquillising, sweet, not to be grasped by mere logic, subtle, comprehensible only by the wise, which the Tathâgata, having himself realised and seen face to face, hath set forth; and it is concerning these that they who would rightly praise the Tathâgata in accordance with the truth, should speak.'

16.
'There are, brethren, certain recluses and Brahmans who are Extensionists, and who in four ways set forth the infinity or finiteness of the world. And on what ground, starting out from what, do these venerable ones maintain this?

17.
'In the first case, brethren, some recluse or Brahman, by means of ardour of exertion of application of earnestness of careful thought, reaches up to such rapture of heart that he, rapt in heart, dwells in the world imagining it finite. And he says thus to himself: "Finite is the world, so that a path could be traced round it. And why is this so? Since I, by means of ardour of exertion of application of earnestness of careful thought, can reach up to such rapture of heart that, rapt in heart, I dwell in the world perceiving it to be finite--by that I know this."

'This, brethren, is the first case.

18.
'The second case is similar, only that the conclusion is: "Infinite is the world without a limit. Those recluses and Brahmans who say it is finite, so that a path could be traced round it, are wrong."

19.
'The third case is similar, only that the conclusion is that he imagines the world limited in the upward and downward directions, but infinite across; he declares both the former conclusions to be wrong.

20.
'In the fourth case, brethren, some recluse or Brahman is addicted to logic and reasoning. He gives utterance to the following conclusion of his own, beaten out by his argumentations and based on his sophistry: "This world is neither finite nor yet infinite, Those recluses and Brahmans who maintain either the first, or the second, or the third conclusion, are wrong. Neither is the world finite, nor is it infinite."

'This, brethren, is the fourth case.

21.
'These, brethren, are those recluses and Brahmans who are Extensionists, and in four ways maintain that the world is finite or infinite. For whosoever of the recluses and Brahmans are such, and maintain this, they do so in these four ways or in one or other of the same; and outside these there is no way in which this opinion is arrived at.

22.
'Now of these, brethren, the Tathâgata knows that these speculations thus arrived at, thus insisted on, will have such and such a result, such and such an effect on the future condition: of those who trust in them. That does he know, and he knows also other things far beyond (far better than those speculations); and having that knowledge he is not puffed up, and thus untarnished he has, in his own heart, realised the way of escape from them, has understood, as they really are, the rising up and passing away of sensations, their sweet taste, their danger, how they cannot be relied on, and not grasping after any (of those things men are eager for) he, the Tathâgata, is quite set free.

'These, brethren, are those other things, profound, difficult to realise, hard to understand, tranquillising, sweet, not to be grasped by mere logic, subtle, comprehensible only by the wise, which the Tathâgata, having himself realised and seen face to face, hath set forth; and it is concerning these that they who would rightly praise the Tathâgata in accordance with the truth, should speak:

23.
'There are, brethren, some recluses and Brahmans who wriggle like eels; and when a question is put to them on this or that they resort to equivocation, to eel-wriggling, and this in four ways.

'Now on what ground, starting out from what, do those venerable ones do so?

24.
'In the first place, brethren, some recluse or Brahman does not understand the good in its real nature, nor the evil. And he thinks: "I neither know the good, as it really is, nor the evil. That being so, were I to pronounce this to be good or that to be evil, I might be influenced therein by my feelings or desires, by illwill or resentment. And under these circumstances I might be wrong; and my having been wrong might cause me the pain of remorse; and the sense of remorse might become a hindrance to me." Thus fearing and abhorring the being wrong in an expressed opinion, he will neither declare anything to be good, nor to be bad; but on a question being put to him on this or that, he resorts to eel-wriggling, to equivocation, and says: "I don't take it thus. I don't take it the other way. But I advance no different opinion. And I don't deny your position. And I don't say it is neither the one, nor the other."

'This is the first case.

'And what is the second?

Continued...

25.
[The same, reading] '. . . "Under these circumstances I might fall into that grasping condition of heart which causes rebirth; and my so falling might cause me the pain of remorse; and the sense of remorse might become a hindrance to me." Thus fearing and abhorring the falling into that state, he will neither declare ( c., as in 24).

'This is the second case.

'And what is the third?

26.
[The same, reading] 'And he thinks: "I neither know the good, as it really is, nor the evil. Now there are recluses and Brahmans who are clever, subtle, experienced in controversy, hair-splitters, who go about, methinks, breaking to pieces by their wisdom the speculations of others. Were I to pronounce this to be good, or that to be evil, these men might join issue with me, call upon me for my reasons, point out my errors. And on their doing so, I might be unable to explain. And that might cause me the pain of remorse; and the sense of remorse might become a hindrance to me." Thus fearing and abhorring the joinder of issue, he will neither declare ( c., as in 24).

'This is the third case.

'And what is the fourth?

27.
'In this case, brethren, some recluse or Brahman is dull, stupid. And it is by reason of his dullness, his stupidity, that when a question on this or that is put to him, he resorts to equivocation, to wriggling like an eel--"If you ask me whether there is another world,--well, if I thought there were, I would say so. But I don't say so. And I don't think it is thus or thus. And I don't think it is otherwise. And I don't deny it. And I don't say there neither is, nor is not, another world." Thus does he equivocate, and in like manner about each of such propositions as the following:--

This, brethren, is the fourth case.

28.
'These, brethren, are those recluses and Brahmans who wriggle like eels; and who, when a question is put to them on this or that, resort to equivocation, to eel-wriggling; and that in four ways. For whosoever do so, they do so in these four ways, or in one or other of the same; there is no other way in which they do so.

29.
'Now of these, brethren, the Tathâgata knows that these speculations thus arrived at, thus insisted on, will have such and such a result, such and such an effect on the future condition of those who trust in them. That does he know, and he knows also other things far beyond (far better than those speculations); and having that knowledge he is not puffed up, and thus untarnished he has, in his own heart, realised the way of escape from them, has understood, as they really are, the rising up and passing away of sensations, their sweet taste, their danger, how they cannot be relied on, and not grasping after any (of those things men are eager for) he, the Tathâgata, is quite set free.

'These, brethren, are those other things, profound, difficult to realise, hard to understand, tranquillising, sweet, not to be grasped by mere logic, subtle, comprehensible only by the wise, which the Tathâgata; having himself realised and seen face to face, hath setforth and it is concerning these that they who would rightly praise the Tathâgata in accordance with the truth, should speak.'

30.
'There are, brethren, some recluses and Brahmans who are Fortuitous-Originists, and who in two ways maintain that the soul and the world arise without a cause. And on what ground, starting out from what, do they do so?

31.
'There are, brethren, certain gods called Unconscious Beings. As soon as an idea occurs to them they fall from that state. Now it may well be, brethren, that a being, on falling from that state, should come hither; and having come hither he might go forth from the household life into the homeless state. And having thus become a recluse he, by reason of ardour and so on (as in the other cases) reaches up to such rapture of heart that, rapt in heart, he calls to mind how that idea occurred to him, but not more than that. He says to himself: "Fortuitous in origin are the soul and the world. And why so? Because formerly I was not, but now am. Having not been, I have come to be."

'This, brethren, is the first state of things on account of which, starting out from which, some recluses and Brahmans become Fortuitous-Originists, and maintain that the soul and the world arise without a cause.

32, 33.
'And what is the second?

'In this case, brethren, some recluse or Brahman is addicted to logic and reasoning. He gives utterance to the following conclusion of his own, beaten out by his argumentations, and based on his sophistry: "The soul and the world arose without a cause."

'This, brethren, is the second case.

34.
'Now of these, brethren, the Tathâgata knows that these speculations thus arrived at, thus insisted on, will have such and such a result, such and such an effect on the future condition of those who trust in them. That does he know, and he knows also other things far beyond (far better than those speculations); and having that knowledge he is not puffed up, and thus untarnished he has, in his own heart, realised the way of escape from them, has understood, as they really are, the rising up and passing away of sensations, their sweet taste, their danger, how they cannot be relied on, and not grasping after any (of those things men are eager for) he, the Tathâgata, is quite set free.

'These, brethren, are those other things, profound, difficult to realise, hard to understand, tranquillising, sweet, not to be grasped by mere logic, subtle, comprehensible only by the wise, which the Tathâgata, having himself realised and seen face to face, hath set forth; and it is concerning these that they who would rightly praise the Tathâgata in accordance with the truth, should speak.'

35.
'These, brethren, are the recluses and Brahmans who reconstruct the ultimate beginnings of things, whose speculations are concerned with the ultimate past, and who on eighteen grounds put forward various assertions regarding the past. And those who do so, all of them, do so in one or other of these eighteen ways. There is none beside.

36.
'Now of these, brethren, the Tathâgata knows that these speculations thus arrived at, thus insisted on, will have such and such a result, such and such an effect on the future condition of those who trust in them. That does he know, and he knows also other things far beyond (far better than those speculations); and having that knowledge he is not puffed up, and thus untarnished he has, in his own heart, realised the way of escape from them, has understood, as they really are, the rising up and passing away of sensations, their sweet taste, their danger, how they cannot be relied on, and not grasping after any (of those things men are eager for) he, the Tathâgata, is quite set free.

'These, brethren, are those other things, profound, difficult to realise, hard to understand, tranquillising, sweet, not to be grasped by mere logic, subtle, comprehensible only by the wise, which the Tathâgata, having himself realised and seen face to face, hath set forth; and it is concerning these that they who would rightly praise the Tathâgata in accordance with the truth, should speak.'

37.
'There are, brethren, recluses and Brahmans who arrange the future, whose speculations are concerned with the future, and who on forty-four grounds put forward various assertions regarding the future. And on account of what, starting out from what, do they do so?

38.
'There are, brethren, recluses and Brahmans who hold the doctrine of a conscious existence after death, and who maintain in sixteen ways that the soul after death is conscious. And how do they do so?

'They say of the soul: "The soul after death, not subject to decay, and conscious,
(1) has form,
(2) is formless,
(3) has, and has not, form,
(4) neither has, nor has not, form,
(5) is finite,
(6) is infinite,
(7) is both,
(8) is neither,
(9) has one mode of consciousness,
(10) has various modes of consciousness,
(11) has limited consciousness,
(12) has infinite consciousness,
(13) is altogether happy,
(14) is altogether miserable,
(15) is both,
(16) is neither."

39.
'These, brethren, are those recluses and Brahmans who hold the doctrine of a conscious existence after death, and who maintain in sixteen ways that the soul after death is conscious. And those who do so, all of them, do so in one or other of these sixteen ways. There is none beside.

40.
'Now of these, brethren, the Tathâgata knows that these speculations thus arrived at, thus insisted on, will have such and such a result, such and such an effect on the future condition of those who trust in them. That does he know, and he knows also other things far beyond (far better than those speculations); and having that knowledge he is not puffed up, and thus untarnished he has, in his own heart, realised the way of escape from them, has understood, as they really are, the rising up and passing away of sensations, their sweet taste, their danger, how they cannot be relied on, and not grasping after any (of those things men are eager for) he, the Tathâgata, is quite set free. 'These, brethren, are those other things, profound, difficult to realise, hard to understand. tranquillising, sweet, not to be grasped by mere logic, subtle, comprehensible only by the wise, which the Tathâgata, having himself realised and seen face to face, hath set forth; and it is concerning these that they who would rightly praise the Tathâgata in accordance with the truth, should speak.'

Here ends the Second Portion for Recitation.

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-- Book 1 : Chapter 2 --





 
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