Samyuktagama 106

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Saṃyuktāgama 106. [Discourse to Anurādha]

This have I heard. At one time the Buddha was staying at Rājagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrels’ Feeding Place. At that time a monk called Anurādha was staying on Mount Vulture Peak.

Then a group of many heterodox wanderers approached Anurādha and exchanged greetings. Having exchanged greetings and standing at one side, they said to Anurādha: “We would like to ask a question. Would you have free time to explain it?”

Anurādha said to the heterodox [wanderers]: “Ask according to your wish, on knowing it I shall reply.”

The heterodox [wanderers] asked again: “How is it, venerable one, does the Tathāgata exist after death?”

Anurādha said: “According to the teaching of the Blessed One, this is [left] undeclared.”

They asked again: “Does the Tathāgata not exist after death?”

Anurādha said: “According to the teaching of the Blessed One, this is also [left] undeclared.”

They asked again: “Does the Tathāgata exist and not exist after death? Does he neither exist nor not exist [after death]?”

Anurādha said: “According to the teaching of the Blessed One, this is also [left] undeclared.”

They again asked Anurādha: “How is this, venerable one? [Being asked]: ‘Does the Tathāgata exist after death?’, you reply that this is [left] undeclared. [Being asked]: ‘Does he not exist after death?’, you reply that this is [left] undeclared. [Being asked]: ‘Does he exist and not exist after death? Does he neither exist nor not exist?’, you reply that this is [left] undeclared. How is this, venerable one, is the re­cluse Gotama without knowledge and without vision?”

Anurādha said: “The Blessed One is not without knowledge, he is not without vision.”

Then the minds of the heterodox [wanderers] did not delight in what Anurādha had said. Having blamed him, they rose from their seats and left.

When Anurādha knew that the heterodox [wanderers] had left, he ap­proached the Buddha, paid respect with his head at the Buddha’s feet and, standing at one side, told the Buddha fully what he had been asked by the heterodox [wanderers]. He said to the Buddha:

“Blessed One, having been asked in this way, on replying in this way, have I been speaking in line with the teachings? Have I not gotten into misrepresenting the Blessed One? Is this in line with the Dharma or is this in violation of the Dharma? On being closely questioned by others who have come, will this not cause me to fall into an occasion for crit­icism?”

The Buddha said to Anurādha: “I will now ask you, answer according to my questions. Anurādha, is bodily form permanent or is it imper­manent?”

[Anurādha] replied: “It is impermanent.”

[The Buddha asked again]: “Is feeling … perception … formations … consciousness permanent or is it impermanent?”

[Anurādha] replied: “It is impermanent, Blessed One.”

As spoken fully in the Discourse to Yamaka, up to: “Is consciousness the Tathāgata?”

[Anurādha] replied: “No.”

The Buddha said to Anurādha: “One who speaks in this way is in ac­cordance and in line with all that has been declared [by me], he does not misrepresent the Tathāgata and does not come to be [speaking] out of order. He speaks as the Tathāgata speaks and is in order with all teachings. On being closely questioned by others who have come, there is nothing capable of being criticized. Why is that?

“I understand bodily form as it really is, I understand the arising of bodily form … the cessation of bodily form … the path to the cessa­tion of bodily form as it really is. [Feeling … perception … forma­tions … consciousness is also like this].

“Anurādha, if one leaves behind what the Tathāgata has done and claims he is without knowledge and without vision, then this is not correctly spoken.”

When the Buddha had spoken this discourse, Anurādha, hearing what the Buddha had said, was delighted and received it respectfully.