Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa
Introduction to 1.4.6
Cūḷagosiṅgasuttaṃ - Like Milk and Water Dwelling in Harmony
Taggha mayaṃ, bhante, samaggā sammodamānā avivadamānā khīrodakībhūtā aññamaññaṃ piyacakkhūhi sampassantā viharāmā’ti.1
We are Bhante, dwelling in agreement, harmonious, without dispute like milk and water joined together and looking at each other with sympathy in the eyes.
At various occasions the Buddha visited Bhikkhus, who were dwelling at a remote, secluded place devoting themselves to their meditation. One of these occasions took place near Gosiṅga, where the three Elders, the Venerable Anuruddhā, the Venerable Nandiyo and the Venerable Kimilo were dwelling in the Sālavana (Sāla-tree forest). During one situation, the Venerable Ānanda with the Venerable Revata visited the Venerable Sāriputta who was staying at this Sālavana. After the exchange of greetings, the Venerable Sāriputta described the forest in the following way.
… So pleasant, friend Ānanda, is the Sāla grove of Gosiṅga on this moonlight night in this, with all the Sāla fruits in full blossom, to me it seems that heavenly smells are gliding through the area…
This conversation, depicting the caring demeanour of the Bhikkhus, took place when the Buddha visited them and is described in the Cūḷagosiṅgasutta - Shorter Sutta at Gosiṅga.4 The introducing enquiry about their well-being constitutes the current lesson.
The conduct among the three, following the regulations laid out by the Buddha, shows mutual respect, solidarity and comradeship. After being asked further how they dwell, they described how they support each other: ‘while the first one returning from alms he prepares seats, water for drinking and washing for the others, the last one may eat the remaining food but, in all cases, cleans everything properly; when support is needed they arrange it silently by signs and they meet regularly every five days to discuss the Dhamma all night. Thus they dwell without any negligence, ardent and unyielding.’
Evaṃ kho mayaṃ, bhante, appamattā ātāpino pahitattā viharāmā’ti.
Later on the Buddha further examined their progress in meditation by enquiring about their respective achievements and left the grove satisfied.
Anuruddhā was the cousin of the Buddha who, along with four more members, had joined the Saṅgha as representatives of the Sākyan families: Ānanda, Devadatta, Kimilo, Bhagu and their barber Upāli.
Such a demeanour is truly found amongst the four pairs of men.
2. sabbaphāliphullā: sabba + phāli + phullā — all + fruits + in blossom.
3. sampavati: sam + pavati — blow forth, diffuse a scent.
4. So called because the subsequent sutta is named the Mahāgosiṅgasutta - Greater Sutta at Gosiṅga.