Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa

Introduction to 1.4.2
Vandana: Esa Bhagavato sāvaka-saṅgho - Inspiration Gained through the Ariyan Disciples

Saddhāya taratī oghaṃ,1

appamādena aṇṇavaṃ;2

Vīriyena dukkhamacceti,3

paññāya parisujjhatī’ti.4


Through confidence one crosses the flood;

Through earnestness the ocean;

Through energy he conquers suffering,

By wisdom he gets purified.


The commentary5 to the Atthasālinī portrays a picture of a strong river inhabited with crocodiles, sharks, ogres and different dangerous animals and creatures. A timid crowd, expected to cross this perilous torrent, doesn’t dare do so. Here a courageous and daring warrior inquires why they wouldn’t cross the river but rather remain on this shore (kasmā ṭhitatthā’ti), and receives the reply that they are too afraid because crossing would involve too many dangers (sappaṭibhayabhāvena otarituṃ na visahāmā’ti). But when then the warrior himself delivers an example for all by crossing the river — repelling all fearful creatures and securing the passage — the whole crowd follows. 

In the same way saddhā exists as a forerunner and precursor, fulfilling various functions as the base for any further progress.

… saddhā pubbaṅgamā purecārikā hoti …

That is why, when King Milinda questioned the Venerable Nagāsena6 about the special importance and characteristic of saddhā7 and further asked about sampakkhandana (aspiration, leaping forward),8 Venerable Nagāsena characterized sampakkhandanalakkhaṇā by pointing to the model of the sāvaka-saṅgho.

Yathā, mahārāja, yogāvacaro aññesaṃ cittaṃ vimuttaṃ passitvā sotāpattiphale vā sakadāgāmiphale vā anāgāmiphale vā arahatte vā sampakkhandati yogaṃ karoti appattassa9 pattiyā anadhigatassa10 adhigamāya asacchikatassa sacchikiriyāya. Evaṃ kho, mahārāja, sampakkhandanalakkhaṇā saddhā’ti

It is, O’ King, when some recluse witnesses in others that they have achieved complete mental liberation and attained the fruit of either a Sotāpatti, a Sakadāgāmi, an Anāgāmi or an Arahatta, he aspires and applies himself to reach what has not been reached, to obtain what has not been obtained, to realise what has not been realised yet. This, O’ King is the special characteristic of saddhā as aspiration.


The quoted text here presents the wording when paying respect to the members of the Bhikkhusaṅgha. This formula was recommended by the Buddha at various occasions and is here introduced from the Dhajaggasutta. The Buddha preached the Dhajaggasutta to remind a meditator when overtaken with fear, doubt and an accumulation of obstacles to overcome them by recollecting the inspiring qualities of the Saṅgha in order to be stirred and strengthened.11

It is said when a meditator recollects such qualities of the Saṅgha his mind departs from greed, aversion and delusion, develops respectfulness, conquers fear, instigates faith and becomes filled with joy. He acquires a feeling as if he were living in the presence of the Saṅgha.

… saṅghaguṇādhigamāya cittaṃ namati, vītikkamitabbavatthusamāyoge12 cassa sammukhā saṅghaṃ passato viya hirottappaṃ paccupaṭṭhāti, uttari appaṭivijjhanto13 pana sugatiparāyano hoti.

… his mind worships the attainment of the qualities of the Saṅgha, in case of occasion for any wrongdoing he encounters a sense of shame as he would stand face to face with the Saṅgha and he is bound for a happy destiny if he does not penetrates even further.14

When the formula uses the term cattāri purisa-yugāni, aṭṭha-purisa-puggalā and concludes: Atha saṅghaṃ sareyyātha, puññakkhettaṃ anuttaraṃ.

One may refer to the Saṅghānussatikathā, Visuddhimaggo which further explains these ‘four pairs of men’ which then add up to ‘eight kinds of individuals’.

Yadidaṃ cattāri purisa-yugāni, aṭṭha-purisa-puggalā:

Cattāri purisayugānīti yugaḷavasena paṭhamamaggaṭṭho15 phalaṭṭhoti idamekaṃ yugaḷanti evaṃ cattāri purisayugaḷāni honti.

The four pairs of men:

Taking them in pairs, the one staying on the first path and the one enjoying the fruition is one pair, thus making them four pairs of men.16

Aṭṭha purisapuggalāti purisapuggalavasena eko paṭhamamaggaṭṭho eko phalaṭṭhoti iminā nayena aṭṭheva purisapuggalā honti.

The eight kinds of individuals:

Considering each as individual, the one who is staying on the first path and the one enjoying the fruition is another one, thus making them eight kinds of individuals.

Ettha ca purisoti vā puggaloti vā ekatthāni etāni padāni:

Thus the words person and individual have the same meaning.

It is said that to encounter a congregation of such exemplars — which constitute the eight kinds of individuals who have not only maintained and walked the path but also realized its fruit — is truly worth a journey of many leagues17 and offers a limitless field of merit (anuttaraṃ puññakkhettaṃ lokassa) in this world. It is certainly worth paying respect to the members of the Bhikkhusaṅgha in the following different ways:

āhuneyyā18 — offering the four requisites (civāra, piṇḍapatā, senāsana, gilānapaccayabhesajjhaparikkhāra — robes, alms-bowl, place to sleep, medicinal appliances in case of illness);19

pāhuneyyā20 — expressing the hospitality given to members of the Saṅgha as given to family members;

dakkhiṇā21 — donating and offering out of faith with the intention to ease the suffering of beings in the lower realms;

añjalikaraṇīyā22 — expressing respect with folded hands above the head.

It is beneficial and worthwhile to be inspired by such a successful model as the teaching of the Buddha.

Tattha suppaṭipannoti suṭṭhu paṭipanno, sammāpaṭipadaṃ anivattipaṭipadaṃ23 anulomapaṭipadaṃ apaccanīkapaṭipadaṃ24 dhammānudhammapaṭipadaṃ paṭipannoti vuttaṃ hoti.

Those who have practised correctly” having entered on a way that is the correct way, the right way, a way irreversible, a way in conformity, a way without opposition, a way in accordance with Dhamma.

It is beneficial and worthwhile to become inspired to walk in the same manner.

Yasmā pana sā sammāpaṭipadā uju avaṅkā akuṭilā ajimhā25, ariyo ca ñāyotipi vuccati, anucchavikattā26 ca sāmīcītipi saṅkhaṃ gatā. Tasmā tampaṭipanno ariyasaṅgho ujuppaṭipanno ñāyappaṭipanno sāmīcippaṭipannotipi vutto.

‘Thus it is the right way, being straight, not crooked, not curved, not bent, it is what is called noble and righteous, described as befitting and proper. Therefore it is also said the Ariya Saṅgho are those who have practised uprightly, who have practised wisely, those who have practised properly.

1. ogha: flood, fig. flood of ignorance.

2. aṇṇava: ocean.

3. dukkhamacceti: dukkhaṃ + acceti — suffering + overcome, surpass.

4. Sampakkhandanalakkhaṇasaddhāpañho, Milindapañhapāḷi, Khuddakanikāye.

5. Indriyarāsivaṇṇanā, Dhammuddesavāro, Dhammasaṅgaṇī-aṭṭhakathā, Abhidhammapiṭake.

6. Sampakkhandanalakkhaṇasaddhāpañho, Milindapañhapāḷi, Khuddakanikāye.

7. See also the introducing lesson 1.4.0 – Cūḷahatthipadopamasuttaṃ, part oneSaddhā, Confidence is the Necessary Base for Walking the Path.

8. Kathaṃ, bhante, sampakkhandanalakkhaṇā saddhā’ti (see lesson 1.4.0).

9. appattassa: a + p + pattaassa: papuṇati (pp.) — not + attained, reached, gained.

10. anadhigatassa: an + adhi + gata + assa: adhigaccati (pp.) — obtained, attained.

11. For a short history of the Dhajaggasutta and further citation that the Buddha suggested to any meditator please see: 1.4.3 Dhajaggasuttaṃ - Verses for Protection.

12. vītikkamitabbavatthusamāyoge: vītikkamati (opt.) + vatthu + samāyoga — transgress + ground + combination.

13. appaṭivijjhanto: a + p + paṭi + vijjhati (prp.) — piercing through, penetrate.

14. All: Saṅghānussatikathā, Visuddhimaggo.

15. paṭhamamaggaṭṭho: paṭhama + maggaṭṭho — first + one who is on the path.

16. Four pairs: in regards to each step of enlightenment (Sotāpatti, Sakadāgāmi, Anāgāmi, Arahatta) constitutes one pair.

17. One yojana was the common measure of length as it could be travelled by one yoke, about seven miles (see Intr. 1.1.0).

18. āhuna: oblation, sacrifice.

19. Robes consist of the set of three: sanghāṭi, uttarāsaṅga, antaravāsaka.

20. pāhuna: guest.

21. dakkhiṇā: offering.

22. añjalikaraṇīyā: folding one’s hands + paying respect: worthy of being honoured in this way.

23. anivattipaṭipadaṃ: a + nivattipaṭipadaṃ: not + turning back, stopping + walking the path.

24. apaccanīkapaṭipadaṃ: a + paccanīka + paṭipadaṃ: not + reverse, contrary, adverse + walking the path.

25. avaṅkā akuṭilā ajimhā: a + vaṅkā, a + kuṭilā, ajimhā: not + bent, crooked + not + deceitful + straight, honest.

26. anucchavikattā: anucchavi + kattā: suitable, fit, proper, worthy + doer.

Last modified: Friday, 1 September 2023, 11:51 AM