अम्बेडकरवाद को दुबारा जीवित करना तभी किसी काम का है जब यह टिकाऊ रह सके।
To revive Ambedkarism is only worth if it can survive.
in 57) Classical Latin
LVII) Classical Latin, 58) Classical Latvian-Klasiskā latviešu valoda,59) Classical Lithuanian-klasikinis lietuvis,60) Classical Luxembourgish -Klassesch Lëtzebuergesch,61) Classical Macedonian-Класичен луксембуршки,62) Classical Malagasy-Malagasy,63) Classical Malay- Melayu Klasik,64) Classical Malayalam -ക്ലാസിക്കൽ മലയാളം,65) Classical Maltese- Klassiku Malti,
Digha Nikaya - in “collectio diu”
Digha Nikaya - “garā kolekcija”
In music, a canon is a contrapuntal (counterpoint-based) compositional technique that employs a melody with one or more imitations of the melody played after a given duration
(e.g., quarter rest, one measure, etc.). The initial melody is called
the leader (or dux), while the imitative melody, which is played in a
different voice, is called the follower (or comes). The follower must imitate the leader, either as an exact replication of its rhythms and intervals or some transformation thereof (see “Types of canon“, below). Repeating canons in which all voices are musically identical are called rounds—”Row, Row, Row Your Boat” and “Frère Jacques” are popular examples.
An accompanied canon is a canon accompanied by one or more additional independent parts that do not imitate the melody.
During the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Baroque—that is, through the early 18th century—any kind of imitative musical counterpoints were called fugues, with the strict imitation now known as canon qualified as fuga ligata, meaning “fettered fugue” (Bridge 1881, 76; Mann, Wilson, and Urquhart n.d.; Walker 2000, 1). Only in the 16th century did the word “canon” begin to be used to describe the strict, imitative texture created by such a procedure (Mann, Wilson, and Urquhart n.d.). The word is derived from the Greek “κανών”, Latinised as canon, which means “law” or “norm”, and may be related to 8th century Byzantine hymns, or canons, like the Great Canon by St. Andrew of Crete.
In contrapuntal usage, the word refers to the “rule” explaining the
number of parts, places of entry, transposition, and so on, according to
which one or more additional parts may be derived from a single written
melodic line. This rule was usually given verbally, but could also be
supplemented by special signs in the score, sometimes themselves called
canoni (Bridge 1881, 76). The earliest known non-religious canons are English rounds, a form called rondellus, starting in the 14th century (Mann, Wilson, and Urquhart n.d.); the best known is Sumer Is Icumen In (composed around 1250), called a rota (”wheel”) in the manuscript source (Sanders 2001a; Sanders 2001b).
Canons featured in the music of the Italian Trecento and the 14th-century ars nova in France. An Italian example is Tosto che l’alba by Gherardello da Firenze.
In both France and Italy, canons were often used to illustrate hunting
songs. The Italian word for hunting is “caccia”, the Medieval French
word “chace” (modern spelling: “chasse”). A well-known French chace is
the anonymous Se je chant mains. Richard Taruskin (2010,
331) describes Se je chant mains as evoking the atmosphere of a falcon
hunt: “The middle section is truly a tour de force, but of a wholly new
and off-beat type: a riot of hockets set to ‘words’ mixing French,
bird-language, and hound-language in an onomatopoetical mélange.” Guillaume de Machaut
also used the 3-voice “chace” form in movements from his masterpiece Le
Lai de la Fontaine (1361). Referring to the setting of the fourth
stanza of this work, Taruskin (2010, 334–35) describes it as, “Harmony in the most literal, etymological sense. Like the Trinity
itself, a well-wrought chace can be far more than the sum of its parts;
and this particular chace is possible Machaut’s greatest feat of
many pieces in three contrapuntal parts, only two of the voices are in
canon, while the remaining voice is a free melodic line. In Dufay’s song “Resvelons nous, amoureux”, the lower two voices are in canon, but the upper part is what David Fallows (1982, 89) describes as a “florid top line”:
Both J.S. Bach and Handel featured canons in their works. The final variation of Handel’s keyboard Chaconne in G major (HWV
442) is a canon in which the player’s right hand is imitated at the
distance of one beat, creating rhythmic ambiguity within the prevailing
Beethoven’s works feature a number of passages in canon. The following comes from his Symphony No. 4:
Antony Hopkins (1981,
108) describes the above as “a delightfully naïve canon”. More
sophisticated and varied in its treatment of intervals and harmonic
implications is the canonic passage from the second movement of his
Piano Sonata 28 in A major, Op. 101:
An even subtler example comes from Beethoven’s Piano Sonata 29. Wilfrid Mellers (1982, 176) describes the trio section of the scherzo
movement as “mysterious”, with a metrical ambiguity that “makes the
melodic phrases irregular.” When the tune is repeated, it is “now in the
left hand, [with] the flowing triplets in the right… in canon with
the bass line.” Mellers concludes: “Here contrapuntal oneness serves to
control any airy floating in the tune’s asymmetry: it is not merely the
wide-spread texture that sounds hollow, almost forlorn.”
the Romantic era, the use of devices such as canon was even more often
subtly hidden, as for example in Schumann’s piano piece “Vogel als
According to Nicholas Cook (1990,
164), “the canon is, as it were, absorbed into the texture of the
music—it is there, but one doesn’t easily hear it.” Even more elusive is
the following passage from Brahms’ Intermezzo in F minor, Op. 118 No. 4, where the left hand shadows the right at the time distance of one beat and at the pitch interval of an octave lower:
Michael Musgrave (1985,
262) writes that as a result of the strict canon at the octave, the
piece is “of an anxious, suppressed nature, […] in the central section
this tension is temporarily eased through a very contained passage
which employs the canon in chordal terms between the hands.”
the many types of canon “in the tonal repertoire”, it may be ironic
that “canon—the strictest type of imitation—has such a wide variety of
possibilities” (Davidian 2015,
136). The most rigid and ingenious forms of canon are not strictly
concerned with pattern but also with content. Canons are classified by
various traits including the number of voices, the interval at which
each successive voice is transposed in relation to the preceding voice,
whether voices are inverse, retrograde, or retrograde-inverse;
the temporal distance between each voice, whether the intervals of the
second voice are exactly those of the original or if they are adjusted
to fit the diatonic scale, and the tempo of successive voices. However, canons may use more than one of the above methods.
for clarity, this article uses leader and follower(s) to denote the
leading voice in a canon and those that imitate it, musicological
literature also uses the traditional Latin terms dux and comes for “leader” and “follower”, respectively.
canon of two voices may be called a canon in two, similarly a canon of x
voices would be called a canon in x. This terminology may be used in
combination with a similar terminology for the interval between each
voice, different from the terminology in the following paragraph.
standard designation is “Canon: Two in One”, which means two voices in
one canon. “Canon: Four in Two” means four voices with two simultaneous
canons. While “Canon: Six in Three” means six voices with three
simultaneous canons, and so on.
A simple canon (also known as a round) imitates the leader perfectly at the octave or unison. Well-known canons of this type include the famous children’s songs Row, Row, Row Your Boat and Frère Jacques.
the follower imitates the precise interval quality of the leader, then
it is called a strict canon; if the follower imitates the interval
number (but not the quality—e.g., a major third may become a minor third), it is called a free canon (Kennedy 1994).
The follower is by definition a contrapuntal derivation of the leader.
An inversion canon (also called an al rovescio canon) has the follower moving in contrary motion to the leader. Where the leader would go down by a particular interval, the follower goes up by that same interval (Kennedy 1994).
In a retrograde canon, also known as a canon cancrizans (Latin for crab canon,
derived from the Latin cancer = crab), the follower accompanies the
leader backward (in retrograde). Alternative names for this type are
canon per recte et retro or canon per rectus et inversus (Kennedy 1994).
In a mensuration canon (also known as a prolation canon,
or a proportional canon), the follower imitates the leader by some
rhythmic proportion. The follower may double the rhythmic values of the
leader (augmentation or sloth canon) or it may cut the rhythmic
proportions in half (diminution canon). Phasing
involves the application of modulating rhythmic proportions according
to a sliding scale. The cancrizans, and often the mensuration canon,
take exception to the rule that the follower must start later than the
leader; that is, in a typical canon, a follower cannot come before the
leader (for then the labels ‘leader’ and ‘follower’ should be reversed)
or at the same time as the leader (for then two lines together would
constantly be in unison, or parallel thirds, etc., and there would be no
counterpoint), whereas in a crab canon or mensuration canon the two
lines can start at the same time and still respect good counterpoint.
Many such canons were composed during the Renaissance, particularly in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries; Johannes Ockeghem wrote an entire mass (the Missa prolationum) in which each section is a mensuration canon, and all at different speeds and entry intervals. In the 20th century, Conlon Nancarrow composed complex tempo or mensural canons, mostly for the player piano as they are extremely difficult to play. Larry Polansky has an album of mensuration canons, Four-Voice Canons. Arvo Pärt has written several mensuration canons, including Cantus in Memoriam Benjamin Britten, Arbos and Festina Lente. Per Nørgård’s infinity series has a sloth canon structure (Mortensen n.d.). This self-similarity of sloth canons makes it “fractal like” and the same idea is explored in Fractal Tune Smithy’s Sloth Canons
The most familiar of the canons is the perpetual/infinite canon (in Latin: canon perpetuus) or round. As each voice of the canon arrives at its end it can begin again, in a perpetuum mobile fashion; e.g., “Three Blind Mice”. Such a canon is also called a round or, in medieval Latin terminology, a rota. Sumer is icumen in is one example of a piece designated rota.
types include the spiral canon, accompanied canon, and double or triple
canon. A double canon is a canon with two simultaneous themes, a triple canon has three.
In a mirror canon
(or canon by contrary motion), the subsequent voice imitates the
initial voice in inversion. They are not very common, though examples of
mirror canons can be found in the works of Bach, Mozart (e.g., the trio
from Serenade for Wind Octet in C, K. 388), Webern, and other
Problems playing this file? See media help.
A Table canon is a retrograde and inverse
canon meant to be placed on a table in between two musicians, who both
read the same line of music in opposite directions. As both parts are
included in each single line, a second line is not needed. Bach wrote a few table canons (Benjamin 2003, 120).
employed a technique which he called “rhythmic canon”, a polyphony of
independent strands in which the pitch material differs. An example is
found in the piano part of the first of the Trois petites liturgies de la présence divine, where the left hand (doubled by strings and maracas), and the right hand (doubled by vibraphone)
play the same rhythmic sequence in a 3:2 ratio, but the right hand
adapts a sequence of 13 chords in the sixth mode (B-C-D-E-F-F-G-A-B)
onto the 18 duration values, while the left hand twice states nine
chords in the third mode (Griffiths 2001). Peter Maxwell Davies was another post-tonal composer who favoured rhythmic canons, where the pitch materials are not obliged to correspond (Scholes, Nagley, and Whittall n.d.).
puzzle canon, riddle canon, or enigma canon is a canon in which only
one voice is notated and the rules for determining the remaining parts
and the time intervals of their entrances must be guessed (Merriam-Webster).
“The enigmatical character of a [puzzle] canon does not consist of any
special way of composing it, but only of the method of writing it down,
of which a solution is required” (Richter 1888, 38). Clues hinting at the solution may be provided by the composer, in which case the term “riddle canon” can be used (Scholes, Nagley, and Whittall n.d.). J S Bach presented many of his canons in this form, for example in The Musical Offering. Mozart, after solving Father Martini’s puzzles (Zaslaw and Cowdery 1990,
98), composed his own riddles using Latin epigrams such as “Sit trium
series una” and “Ter ternis canite vocibus” (”Let there be one series of
three parts” and “sing three times with three voices”) (Karhausen 2011, 151).
Other notable contributors to the genre include Ciconia, Ockeghem, Byrd, Beethoven, Brumel; Busnois, Haydn, Josquin des Prez, Mendelssohn, Pierre de la Rue, Brahms, Schoenberg, Nono and Maxwell Davies (Carvalho 1999, 38–39; Davidian 2015, 136; Davies 1971; Davies 1972; Hartmann 1989, passim; Hewett 1957, passim; Johnson 1994, 162–63; Jones 2009, 152; Leven 1948, 361 Litterick 2000, 388; Mann, Wilson, and Urquhart n.d.; Morley 1597, 173, 176; Perkins 2001; Tatlow 1991, 15, 126; Todd 2003, 165; van Rij 2006, 215; Watkins 1986, 239). According to Oliver B. Ellsworth, the earliest known enigma canon appears to be an anonymous ballade, En la maison Dedalus,
found at the end of a collection of five theory treatises from the
third quarter of the fourteenth century collected in the Berkeley
Manuscript (Ciconia 1993, 411n12).
Thomas Morley complained that sometimes a solution, “which being founde (it might bee) was scant worth the hearing” (Morley 1597, 104, cited, inter al., by Barrett 2014, 123). J. G. Albrechtsberger admits that, “when we have traced the secret, we have gained but little; as the proverb says, ‘Parturiunt montes, etc.‘” but adds that, “these speculative passages…serve to sharpen acumen” (Albrechtsberger 1855, 234).
In his early work, such as Piano Phase (1967) and Clapping Music (1972), Steve Reich used a process he calls phasing
which is a “continually adjusting” canon with variable distance between
the voices, in which melodic and harmonic elements are not important,
but rely simply on the time intervals of imitation (Mann, Wilson, and Urquhart n.d.).
59) Classical Lithuanian
59) klasikinis lietuvis
(”pali ti”, “trys”, “pitaka”, “krepšeliai”) arba “Pali canon” yra
pirminių pali kalbos tekstų rinkinys, sudarantis Theravada budizmo
doktrininį pagrindą. Tipitaka ir parakanoninis Pali tekstas (komentarai, kronikos ir kt.) Kartu sudaro visą klasikinių Theravada tekstų kūną.
“Pali canon” yra didžiulis literatūros sąrašas: vertimuose anglų kalba tekstai susideda iš tūkstančių spausdintų puslapių. Dauguma (bet ne visos) “Canon” jau seniai buvo paskelbtos anglų kalba. Selv om kun et lille del af disse tekster er tilgængelige på denne hjemmeside, kan denne samling være et godt sted at starte.
Trys Tipitaka padaliniai yra:
rinkinys, susijęs su elgesio taisyklėmis, reguliuojančiomis kasdienius
reikalus Sanghoje - bhikkhus bendruomenės (šventųjų vienuolių) ir
bhikkūnų (ordinuojamų vienuolių). Virš taisyklių sąrašo Vinaya Pitaka taip pat apima pasakojimus apie
kiekvienos taisyklės kilmę, išsamiai aprašydama Budos sprendimą, kaip
išlaikyti bendruomeninę harmoniją didelėje ir įvairioje dvasinėje
ar diskursų rinkinys priskiriamas Budai ir keletui jo artimiausių
mokinių, kuriuose yra visi pagrindiniai Theravada budizmo mokymai. (Šioje svetainėje galima rasti daugiau nei tūkstantį vertimų.) Suttos yra suskirstytos į penkias nikayas (rinkinius):
“Digha Nikaya” - “ilgoji kolekcija”
Majjhima Nikaya - “vidutinio ilgio kolekcija”
Samyutta Nikaya - “sugrupuota kolekcija”
Anguttara Nikaya - “tolesnė fokusuota kolekcija”
Khuddaka Nikaya - “mažų tekstų rinkinys”:
Nettakarana (įtraukta tik į Birmos Tipitaka leidimą)
tekstui, vadovaujantis pagrindine doktrinære principene ir Sutta
Pitaka, rebarejdet ir reorganizuojant i sistemingai ramme, galiu
susipażinti su nepakankamumu ir nusiunćia jus nuo smalsumo.
60) Classical Luxembourgish
60) Klassesch Lëtzebuergesch
(Pali ti, “dräi,” + pitaka, “Kuerf”) oder Pali kanon, ass d’Sammlung
primär Pali Sproochexter, déi d’Doctrinalstëftung vum Theravada
Buddhismus bilden. D’Tipitaka an d’Paracanonical Pali Texter (Kommentaren, Chroniken,
etc.) bilden déi komplett Kierper vun klassesch Theravada Texter.
Pali kanon ass eng riesech Kierper vun der Literatur: Bei der
englescher Iwwersetzung sinn déi Texter op d’Dausende vu gedréckte
Säiten eropzelueden. Déi meescht (awer net alles) vum Canon ass scho laang an Englesch publizéiert. Selwë ka Kun eng Lille vun dësem Text opzemaachen op dës Homepage, kann dës Sammlunge vläit e gudde Stéck opgoen.
Déi dräi Divisioune vun der Tipitaka ginn:
vu Texter iwwer d’Regelen vum Behuelen, deen de deeglechen Affären am
Sangha - d’Gemeinschaft vu bhikkhus (geweihte Mönche) an bhikkhunis
(Offline Nonnen) regéiert. Vill méi wéi d’Lëscht vun de Regelen ass d’Vinaya Pitaka och
d’Geschichten hannert dem Urspronk vun all Reglement. Dee detailéierte
Rechnung iwwer d’Buddha-Léisung op d’Fro stellt wéi d’Kommunistesch
Harmonie innerhalb enger grousser a diverser geeschtlecher Gemeinschaft
vu Suttas oder Diskussiounen, déi de Buddha a puer vu sengen Jénger
zouginn huet, déi all déi zentrale Léierin vum Theravada Buddhismus
enthalen. (Méi wéi dausend Iwwersetzunge sinn op dëser Websäit verfügbar.) D’Suttë ginn ënnert 5 Niwwelen (Sammlungen) gedeelt:
Digha Nikaya - déi “laang Kollektioun”
Majjhima Nikaya - d’”mëttlere Kollektioun”
Samyutta Nikaya - déi “Gruppéierter Collectioun”
Anguttara Nikaya - d’”weider Faktore Sammlung”
Khuddaka Nikaya - d’”Sammlung vu kleng Texter”:
Nettakarana (nëmmen an der birmanescher Editioun vum Tipitaka)
Sammelstil vun der Zeechnung, wéi d’ënnersträicht Doktrinære Prinzipien
a Sutta Pitaka erbaut a rekonstituéiert an en systematesche Rama, sou
datt et an engem Ënnersichel an d’Naturen vu Sons a Malerei anzesetzen.
61) Classical Macedonian
61) Класичен луксембуршки
(Пали ти, “три”, + питака, “кошници”) или пали канон е збирката на
примарни текстови на пали јазик кои ја формираат доктрината основа на
Теравадата будизмот. Тектиката и Паракононичките пали текстови (коментари, хроники, итн.)
Заедно го сочинуваат целото тело на класичните текстови Теравада.
Палискиот канон е огромно тело на литература: во преводот на англиски, текстовите содржат илјадници печатени страници. Повеќето (но не сите) на Канон веќе биле објавени на англиски јазик со текот на годините. Доколку сакате да го направите тоа, можете да ги најдете на почеток, за да може да започнете со работа.
Три одделенија на Tipitaka се:
на текстови во врска со правилата на однесување кои ги регулираат
секојдневните работи во рамките на сангха - заедницата на бихикус
(ракоположени монаси) и бихикуни (ракоположен калуѓерки). Многу повеќе отколку само листа на правила, Vinaya Pitaka også
вклучува приказни зад потеклото на секоја власт, Обезбедување на детална
сметка за решение на две spørgsmålet на Буда како bevare комунални
хармонија inom голема и разновидна духовна заедница.
на сутати, или дискурси, му се припишува на Буда и на неколку негови
најблиски ученици, ги содржат сите централни учења на Теравада будизмот.
(Повеќе од илјада преводи се достапни на оваа веб-страница.) Сутите се поделени меѓу пет нијакаи (збирки):
Дига Никаја - “долгата колекција”
Мајџхима Никаја - “колекција од средна должина”
Самутта Никаја - “групирана колекција”
Anguttara Nikaya - “натамошна колекција”
Khuddaka Nikaya - “колекција на мали текстови”:
Nettakarana (вклучени само во бурманскиот издание на Tipitaka)
Petakopadesa ( “”)
на текстови во som основните принципи Доктрината презентирани во Сута
Pitaka се преработил и реорганизирана во систематско рамка som кан
Применета сусам en истрага за природата на умот и материјата.
The Kevaddha Sutta* (Dīgha Nikāya
11) opens with Kevaddha, a householder, who tells the Buddha that there
are many potential converts to the Buddha dhamma living nearby in
Nāḷandā. He suggests that the Buddha get one of his monks to use
miracles to excite and amaze them. This would, he says, be sure to gain
many new adherents.
But the Buddha does not assent:
Kevaddha, this is not the way I teach Dhamma to the
monks, by saying: “Go, monks, and perform superhuman feats and miracles
for the white-clothed laypeople!” (1)
Pressed by Kevaddha, the Buddha clarifies himself. He says he
recognizes just three forms of miracle: certain psychic powers,
telepathic mind reading, and instruction in the dhamma. However, he is
only willing to countenance the “miracle of instruction” in the dhamma
when it comes to attracting new adherents.
The Buddha gives an argument as to why he does not accept using the
two real kinds of miracle, psychic powers and telepathy. While he
recognizes them as real, he also recognizes that they will not convince
the skeptic. The Buddha says that there are certain charms (the Gandhāra
and Maṇika charms, in particular) that are reputed to give one
miraculous powers, and so any skeptic who sees such powers will
attribute them to the work of a charm rather than to the abilities of
the person performing the miracle. If so, of course, the skeptic will
not be convinced that the miracle worker is one with true wisdom.
For this reason, the Buddha says, using psychic powers and telepathy
are not good ways to bring new adherents. “And that is why, Kevaddha,
seeing the danger of such miracles, I dislike, reject and despise them.”
Now, there are several things one can say about the Buddha’s
argument. The translator, Maurice Walshe, claims that the skeptic’s
position is weak: he or she “does not have a really convincing way of
explaining things away. Modern parallels suggest themselves.” (p.
557n.235). In other words, there is little reason to accept the
existence of the Gandhāra and Maṇika charms, and so the Buddha’s skeptic
would only be dismissing these miracles in an ad hoc fashion. Walshe apparently believes modern skeptics follow the same pattern.
But I don’t think this is an adequate interpretation of the passage.
For one, Kevaddha also appears familiar with the existence of the
Gandhāra and Maṇika charms, and there is no independent reason for
supposing either he or the Buddha believed them ineffective. If so, then
the skeptic’s argument would have been convincing at the time, if not
to a modern ear.
But to go deeper, why should the Buddha care if some skeptic might
misconstrue the source of this miraculous power? Surely many in a large
audience would be convinced by such marvels as becoming invisible,
walking on water, or flying through the air, to take three of the
abilities that fall under the Buddha’s conception of “psychic power”.
Surely many would accept the Buddha as a powerful, knowledgeable
teacher, even if some skeptics were left to one side. So it is perhaps
more accurate to say that the Buddha doesn’t have a convincing way of
explaining why he should not use miraculous powers, if they are
available to him. Or at least he doesn’t present a very convincing
argument in the sutta.
So what is really going on here? Two possible explanations come to
mind. The first is what the Buddha may have wanted to get across to
Kevaddha, the second is a bit subtler.
Perhaps the Buddha is really saying that these miracles don’t bring
people to the dhamma for the right reasons. They are mere circus show;
the sorts of things that stun and delight the crowd but don’t really
instruct. Thus their contrast with the so-called “miracle of
instruction”. In effect, the miracles are but sense delights; the sorts
of things that lead to attachment and craving. The real miracle is not
supernatural at all. It is the ‘miracle’ of the dhamma: of teaching true
The second explanation is that the Buddha may have known that his
miraculous powers were largely or wholly internal and subjective:
thoughts and images in states of deep meditation, instead of actual
invisibility; subtle demonstrations open to interpretation, unlikely to
sway the unconvinced. If so, it’s not only a few crafty skeptics who
would have been unmoved, since powers such as becoming invisible,
walking on water, or flying through the air would not have been publicly
available, or at least not in a way likely to dazzle the householders.
And it is all too easy for a smart cross-examiner, such as those
“hair-splitting marksmen” mentioned in the Cūḷahatthipadopama Sutta, to unmask apparent examples of telepathy.
The dhamma, on the other hand, is publicly explicable, hard to find fault with, and more likely to convince.
If this is the correct reading, then the Buddha was right to abjure miraculous folderol and stick to true instruction.
Brahmā Behind the Curtain
The second part of the Kevaddha Sutta contains one of the
great satires of the ancient world. Here the Buddha speaks about “a
certain monk” of his order who wanted to know “where the four great
elements … cease without remainder.” He had meditative capacities that
gave him access to the devas, so rather than investigate the dhamma for
himself, he decided just to ask them to give him the right answer.
This monk went from deva to deva, asking each his question, however
each one pleaded ignorance and passed him to the next, until the monk
arrived at the Great Brahmā himself, claimed Creator of the Universe.
But instead of answering his question, Brahmā replied with a grand
oration, apparently intended to cow the monk into silence:
Monk, I am Brahmā, Great Brahmā, the Conqueror, the
Unconquered, the All-Seeing, All-Powerful, the Lord, the Maker and
Creator, the Ruler, Appointer and Orderer, Father of All That Have Been
and Shall Be. (81)
But the monk wasn’t intimidated. He asked Brahmā again, and again
Brahmā responded with the list of his great and fearsome qualities. Once
again the monk said, “Friend, I did not ask you that”. The Buddha
Then, Kevaddha, the Great Brahmā took that monk by the
arm, led him aside and said: “Monk, these devas believe there is nothing
Brahmā does not see, there is nothing he does not know, there is
nothing he is unaware of. That is why I did not speak in front of them.
But, monk, I don’t know where the four great elements cease without
remainder. … Now, monk, you just go to the Blessed Lord and put this
question to him, and whatever answer he gives, accept it.” (83)
As the Great Oz would say, “Pay no attention to that man behind the
curtain!” This is Buddhist humanism at its best: Brahmā, self-styled
Creator of the Universe, is revealed to be an ignorant blowhard, vainly
hiding his incompetence by pulling the poor monk offstage before
confiding in him the sad truth.
It’s all too easy to say that this story serves the Buddha well: it’s
a satire of the greatest of gods bowing down to his wisdom. And of
course, it is at least that. But it is more besides.
For it is also a rejection of revealed knowledge: the notion that in
order to become wise, all one need do is to ask the right divinity and
have the answer provided, packaged up in a revelation.
Buddhist Skeptical Humanism?
At first glance it might look as though there is little in common
between the two parts of this sutta. First we have Kevaddha asking the
Buddha to use miracles to attract the people of Nāḷandā, and second we
have a monk asking Brahmā how to attain nibbāna.
But in fact both parts illustrate the same basic point. The parable
of Brahmā, like Kevaddha’s insistence on using miracles to convince, is
about the pitfalls of trying to find answers through miraculous means.
Both reject using the supernatural to make an end-run around the
understanding of reality for oneself, the hard way.
Both also provide implicit warnings against any who would claim to ground their practice on the supernatural.
The world has witnessed many religious and spiritual leaders over the
centuries. It’s unusual to find any who would eschew displays of
supposed miracles or supernormal abilities in order to gain new
followers. And yet it’s clear from the Kevaddha Sutta that the Buddha preferred to edify rather than astound.
Finally, a word about the translations: the one available on the web
from Thanissaro Bhikkhu includes many paragraphs (indeed, an entire
middle section) that are apparently not original to the Kevaddha Sutta. They are passages identical to those from the Brahmajāla Sutta (DN 1), and the Sāmaññaphala Sutta (DN 2). It is only by leaving those passages to one side that we can see what is original and particular to the Kevaddha
itself; and it is only then that we see the point the Buddha may be
trying to make. Maurice Walshe’s translation for Wisdom excises all that
is not original, which clarifies things considerably.
That said, copied passages under “the miracle of instruction” include
such things as clairaudience, clairvoyance, mind reading, becoming
invisible, walking on water, flying through the air, indeed all the
various miracles which the Buddha says he “dislike
, reject , and despise “.
So if we take the complete sutta literally, it would seem that the
Buddha rejects these miracles under their own guise, but accepts them
under the guise of “the miracle of instruction”. And that seems a
Perhaps the compilers inserted the passages from the Sāmaññaphala Sutta
in order to explicate the entirety of the Buddhist path, without
realizing that doing so would introduce such a contradiction in the
sutta. Or perhaps more likely they believed that the Buddha’s
supernormal abilities were not to be presented to laypeople as
introductory instruction, but rather as the sort of thing that would
only come up as a matter of course to those fully involved in
monasticism, where they would play no part in recruitment. In the latter
case, neither would the monastics be in the position of
the “hair-splitting marksmen” mentioned above.
Understanding the sutta in its fullness deprives it of a measure of
skeptical and rational force, at least for a modern audience: the Buddha
clearly did not reject the miraculous outright. He only did so as an
aid to winning over householders, which is no small thing. However this
understanding also provides a caution against misreading the Buddha. For
while his message was humanist, rationalist and empirical, it was also
one that accepted the supernatural categories of his time and culture.
Noting this, of course, need not deprive us of celebrating skepticism and humanism where we find it in the Buddha’s message.
62) Classical Malagasy