Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa
The Orimatīrasutta1 is likewise found in the ‘chapter with ten’, the Dasakanipātapāḷi from Aṅguttaranikāyo. It repeats from another angle the content of the preceding sutta and introduces a kind of shortcut: ‘peyyāla’—‘repetition, phrase, succession, formula’, often simply indicated by ‘… pe…’, an abbreviation of ‘peyyāla’ and is used to indicate that the directly preceding passages are repeated. Such (usually well known) passages should be filled in from memory. While these often long and repeated recurrences had their own place and were a gratifying aid during the period of oral recitations, the use of ‘peyyāla’ is more common today as a way of saving time and printing costs. It is used in this text mostly to denote important phrases and inspire the student to memorise these or to reconsider their succession. In this lesson the constituent parts of the Noble Eightfold Path from the preceding sutta need to be filled in.
The Sutta also introduces a common phrase: —‘taṃ suṇātha, sādhukaṃ manasi karotha; bhāsissāmī’— which the Buddha often uses to invite the Bhikkhus to listen. This is followed by their reply: ‘te bhikkhū bhagavato paccassosuṃ’. ‘Paccassosuṃ’: after, in return to—‘paṭi’ turns into ‘pacca’— their listening: —‘assosuṃ’— and usually translated as ‘they replied’.
Reaching the ‘other shore’, the shore of walking the path of Dhamma with the perspective of gaining enlightenment has been solely made possible by the Buddha. Although it had been his genuine aspiration to sacrifice his own liberation so he could become a Sammasambuddha himself to help other beings out from ignorance and suffering to the further shore2, the Buddha had been reluctant to teach the Dhamma. Before the Enlightened One finally set out on the full moon day of Āsāḷha from the Bodhimaṇḍala at Bodhgaya, the place of his enlightenment, to disseminate the Dhamma, it first needed the request of Brahma Sahampati, the ruler of the Brahma worlds, to pledge the Buddha to teach the Dhamma to the people in spite of his hesitation:
“Bhante, may the Bhagavā teach the Dhamma. May the Well-gone One teach the Dhamma. There are beings with little defilements, if they do not hear the Dhamma, they will come to ruin! They will understand the Dhamma!”
“Uṭṭhehi vīra vijitasaṅgāma; satthavāha aṇaṇa6 vicara loke.
desassu bhagavā dhammaṃ; aññātāro bhavissantī”ti.
“Arise, great hero! You have succeeded in your battle!
Leader of the caravan, you have freed yourself from debt walking in this world! May the Bhagavā teach the Dhamma, there will be some who comprehend it!”
The Buddha finally realized, after surveying the world full of compassion with his Buddha-eye because of the repeated entreaties of Brahma Sahampati, that there were some people able to receive and readily accept his teaching7 and would accomplish crossing the ocean of misery:
“Atha kho bhagavā brahmuno ca ajjhesanaṃ viditvā sattesu ca kāruññataṃ8 paṭicca buddhacakkhunā lokaṃ volokesi.
“When the Bhagavā surveyed the world, he perceived beings whose mental capacities were only slightly covered by dust and perceived those whose mental capacities were completely covered by dust. There were beings of sharp faculties and beings of dull faculties. There were beings of good disposition, beings of poor disposition, some suitable for instruction, some unsuitable for instruction, beings that were aware of the dangers of future lives and unwholesome actions, and those who did not care.”
1. The text starts with: ‘Orimañca, bhikkhave, tīraṃ’– If the preceding word ends in ‘ṃ’ and is combined with ‘ca’—‘and’ the pronunciation rules demand the change from ‘ṃ + ca’ to the palatal: ‘ñca’. Thus: ‘Orimaṃ + ca + tīraṃ’—this + and + shore
3. apparajakkhajātikā: appa + raja + k + kha + jātikā: little + dust, defilements + clan, beings
4. assavanatā: with attention, in attention
5.Pāsarāsisuttaṃ, Opammavaggo, Mūlapaṇṇāsapāḷi, Majjhimanikāyo also titled Ariyapariyesanāsuttaṃ
6. aṇaṇa: free from debt
8. kāruññataṃ: out of compassion
9. tikkhindriye: tikkha + indriye: sharp, quick + faculty
10. paralokavajjabhayadassāvine: para + loka + vajja + bhaya + dassāvi: next + world + fault, to be shunned + fear + with insight, seeing