Introduction to 1.3.2 Orimatīrasuttam (The Hither and the Further Shore)
This very question, why the Buddha in spite of his aspiration and arduous work had not immediately decided to help many others to cross the shore but hesitated, still distressed the King Milinda five hundred years later. (Dhammadesanāya, Appossukkapañho, Meṇḍakapañho, Milindapañhapāḷi) King Milinda is identified with the renowned and righteous Bactrian King Menander, who continued the dominion founded by Alexander the great:
“Venerable Nāgasena, you say on the one hand, that the Tathāgata worked for four asaṅkhyeyye and hundred thousand kappā to realize omniscient wisdom in order to take a great number of beings safely across the shore. But on the other hand you say, that after having realized omniscient wisdom he was reluctant to teach Dhamma. Either the one, or the other must be false, not both can be true. This is a double-edged question for you, profound, difficult to unravel, that you will have to solve!”
“Bhante nāgasena, tumhe bhaṇatha ‘tathāgatena catūhi ca asaṅkhyeyyehi kappānaṃ satasahassena ca etthantare sabbaññutañāṇaṃ paripācitaṃ mahato janakāyassa samuddharaṇāyā’ti. Puna ca ‘sabbaññutaṃ pattassa appossukkatāya cittaṃ nami, no dhammadesanāyā’ti. Ayampi ubhato koṭiko pañho gambhīro dunnibbeṭho tavānuppatto, so tayā nibbāhitabbo”ti.
“Just, oh great king, as a skilful physician having been called to a man suffering from manifold diseases will consider well, how to ease and treat that illnesses, in the same way, oh great king, the Tathāgata, considering on the one hand how profound, obscure subtle, intricate to grasp and difficult to penetrate Dhamma was and perceiving on the other hand the beings, oppressed by suffering due to manifold sinful desires wonders: Why should I? How should I? Reflecting on the mental ability of beings of being able for deeper penetration, his mind he was reluctant to teach Dhamma.
“Yathā, mahārāja, bhisakko sallakatto anekabyādhiparipīḷitaṃ naraṃ upasaṅkamitvā evaṃ cintayati ‘kena nu kho upakkamena katamena vā bhesajjena imassa byādhi vūpasameyyā’ti, evameva kho, mahārāja, tathāgatassa sabbakilesabyādhiparipīḷitaṃ janaṃ dhammassa ca gambhīranipuṇaduddasaduranubodhasukhumaduppaṭivedhataṃ disvā ‘kiṃ nu kho, kathaṃ nu kho’ti appossukkatāya cittaṃ nami, no dhammadesanāya, sattānaṃ paṭivedhacintanamānasaṃ yevetaṃ.
The Orimatīrasutta repeats from another angle the content of the preceding sutta and introduces a kind of shortcut: -peyyāla- . While the oral tradition spent time to train memory with repetition and succession, today in printing -peyyāla- is used to indicate repetition of preceding passages. In this collection of texts it is only used, when the context should be clear and in this way also offers a good opportunity to recite from memory or by heart.
Pāli lesson (with audio) 1.3.2
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