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11/30/11
452 LESSON 30 11 2011 Sudatta Sutta About Sudatta Anathapindika
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452 LESSON 30 11 2011 Sudatta Sutta About Sudatta Anathapindika

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 LESSON 452

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Dukkha Away

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SN 10.8


PTS: S i 210


CDB i 311


Sudatta Sutta: About Sudatta (Anathapindika)


translated from the Pali by


Thanissaro Bhikkhu


© 1999–2011


Translator’s note


Many discourses are set in
Jeta’s Grove, the monastery donated by Anathapindika. Here we learn how Anathapindika
first met the Buddha. A dramatic point in the story revolves around the fact
that most people knew of him by his epithet — Anathapindika means
“Almsgiver to those without protection” — rather than by his given
name. Thus he is surprised to hear the Buddha, at their first meeting, address
him correctly.


The Cullavagga (VI) gives
this same story in greater detail and adds more incidents: After reciting the
verse with which this discourse ends, the Buddha gives Anathapindika a
step-by-step teaching, culminating in an explanation of the four noble truths.
At the end of the teaching, Anathapindika attains stream-entry. He then returns
home to Savatthi, purchases a grove from Prince Jeta at immense price, and
establishes a monastery for the Buddha and the Sangha. There, according to the
commentaries, the Buddha spent more rains retreats than at any other monastery.


I have heard that on one
occasion the Blessed One was staying near Rajagaha in the
Cool Grove. Now at that time Anathapindika the householder had arrived in
Rajagaha on some business. He heard, “An Awakened One, they say, has
appeared in the world,” and he wanted to go right then to see the Blessed
One. Then the thought occurred to him, “Today is not the proper time to go
to see the Blessed One. Tomorrow I will go to see the Blessed One at the proper
time.” With his mindfulness immersed in the Awakened One he lay down to
sleep. Three times he got up during the night, thinking it was light. Then he
went to the gate to the charnel ground. Non-human beings opened the gate.


When Anathapindika the
householder had left the city, the light vanished and darkness appeared. Fear,
terror, & horripilation arose, and because of that he wanted to turn back.
Then Sivaka the yakkha-spirit, invisible, proclaimed:


A hundred elephants, a hundred horses, a hundred mule-drawn carts, a
hundred-thousand maidens adorned with jewels & earrings aren’t worth
one-sixteenth of one step forward. Go forward, householder! Go forward,
householder! Going forward is better for you, not back!


The darkness then vanished
for Anathapindika and the light appeared. The fear, terror, & horripilation
he had felt subsided.


For a second time… a
third time, the light vanished and darkness appeared. Fear, terror, &
horripilation arose, and because of that Anathapindika wanted to turn back.
Then for a third time, Sivaka the yakkha-spirit, invisible, proclaimed:


A hundred elephants, a hundred horses, a hundred mule-drawn carts, a
hundred-thousand maidens adorned with jewels & earrings aren’t worth one-sixteenth
of one step forward. Go forward, householder! Go forward, householder! Going
forward is better for you, not back!


The darkness then vanished
for Anathapindika and the light appeared. The fear, terror, & horripilation
he had felt subsided.


So Anathapindika went to
the Cool Grove. Now at that time, the Blessed One — having gotten up as the
night was ending — was pacing back & forth in the open air. He saw
Anathapindika the householder coming from afar. On seeing him, he got down from
his meditation path and sat on a seat made ready. As he was sitting there he
said to Anathapindika, “Come, Sudatta.”


Then Anathapindika,
[thinking,] “The Blessed One is calling me by my given name!” threw
himself down right there at the Blessed One’s feet and said to him, “Lord,
I hope the Blessed One has slept in ease.”


[The Buddha:]


Always, always, he sleeps in ease: the brahman totally unbound, who
doesn’t adhere to sensual pleasures, who’s without acquisitions & cooled.
Having cut all ties & subdued fear in the heart, calmed, he sleeps in ease,
having reached peace of awareness.


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