Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa

Introduction to 1.4.9
Ratanasuttaṃ - Taking Refuge in the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Saṅgha

Idampi buddhe ratanaṃ paṇītaṃ;
etena saccena suvatthi hotu.
Idampi dhamme ratanaṃ paṇītaṃ;
etena saccena suvatthi hotu.
Idampi saṅghe ratanaṃ paṇītaṃ,
etena saccena suvatthi hotu.

In the Buddha is this precious jewel.
By the utterance of this truth, may there be happiness.
In the Dhamma is this precious jewel.
By the utterance of this truth, may there be happiness.
In the Sangha is this precious jewel.
By the utterance of this truth, may there be happiness


Today, with the Coronavirus, the world faces a worry- and fear-inducing disease that is wreaking havoc on the modern world. The fear and worry are increased in the modern age by the great developments in technology coupled with the constant cycle of news around the world. People are no longer isolated to their local regions and are constantly informed about the rest of the globe. Despite a variety of problems such as wars, poverty, debilitating pollution and exploitation of nature’s resources, etc. for the last fifty years or so, the majority of humankind enjoys increasingly secured health. While COVID-19 is a rather unfamiliar challenge to today’s generation, in the past humans had to undergo such periods of what was called, during the Buddha’s time, the ‘three fears of mankind’ (tividhaṃ bhayaṃ). These three fears referred to periods of draught and disease, famine and invisible, non-human beings that infested human bodies which resulted in all kind of diseases, illness and starvation. In ancient times people had the strong belief and conviction that whenever any of the three fears of mankind pestered some country, something was flawed either in their social principles of kingship or that a severe lack of moral and ethical standards had occurred.1

This course has now decided to add the well-known and often recited Ratanasutta2 as a ‘latecomer’ to conclude this chapter. It distinctively accentuates the qualities of the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Saṅgha as a ‘gem’ or ‘jewel’ to illustrate the absolute veracity of their supreme qualities as a sacchikiriyā (an expression of an utterly truthful statement for the well-being and happiness of mankind).

The selection of the First Chapter of this course points to the rare opportunity of beings to encounter the Buddha and his teaching. So quotes were chosen where the Buddha expressed how few people actually encounter and, ultimately, will walk on the Noble Path. This last part of the First Chapter intends to enthuse and inspire with the expressed qualities of those who have walked the path for which the Ratanasutta with its specific historical background seems to be a suitable focal point.

The Ratanasutta was taught by the Buddha to Ānanda to be recited at the city of Vesāli in order to relieve its inhabitants from the horrible situation they were in. Vesāli, at that time, was suffering from drought and scarcity of food. Corpses and starving people covered the streets and the disgusting smell invited evil spirits, whose presence further multiplied the diseases.3

Historically the city of Vesāli had received its name because it had to enlarge and extend its walls repeatedly due to its growing population.4 The inhabitants of Vesāli were the Vajjians who were also known by their original name of Licchavi. As the story goes the chief queen of Benares had given birth to something she mistook as a ‘lump of flesh.’ Being afraid of criticism, she enclosed the so-called ‘lump of flesh’ into a vase and sent it down the Gaṅga river. Protected by deities, the floating vase was discovered by a hermit who took care of the content and after some time the two pieces of flesh developed twin-like into a boy and a girl. They grew up and because of their transparent skin their bodies were like a crystal jar, entirely visible inside. Some considered them as skinless (niccha chavi) while others said that their two bodies looked like they were ‘being stitched together’ (līnā chavi).5 Whichever way they were described, this special feature earned them the name Licchavī.6

In the course of events the cowherds living in the neighbourhood came to know that the hermit parented two children and they offered to take care of them as it wasn’t considered proper for an ascetic to nurse any children. Growing up the twins used to play with the cowherd’s children where regular quarrels arose. So the cowherds decided to keep the twins away from their own children and chose a large location for them far away where they could dwell and develop.7 Because they were to be shunned, the area where they lived was to be known as Vajjī8 and so the people of these parts received the name Vajjians.9 With the support of the cowherd a town was built which over time grew with city walls being extended, and so Vesāli got its name and developed into a prosperous and affluent place.

Now it occurred that Vesāli endured draught and scarcity of food and so people suffered and many perished. The king’s ministers and advisers tried to enquire about and locate respective illicit conduct as they were convinced that whenever some of the three fears of mankind (tividhaṃ bhayaṃ - rogāmanussa-dubbhikkhaṃ10 – disease, non-human beings and famine) pestered some country, area or city then something either in their social principles or kingship were flawed, or there was a severe lack of moral and ethical standards that had occurred. Since their investigation was in vain, they decided to invite the Buddha as they knew he would preach them dhammic principles.

The Buddha at that time sojourned in the neighbouring country of Magadha at Rājagaha and enjoyed the hospitality of King Bimbisāra. After he had accepted the invitation the road was prepared and, accompanied by King Bimbisāra, the Buddha walked towards the River Gaṅges which separated the two realms. The Licchavi regents were expecting him on the other shore. It is said that as soon as the Buddha crossed the Gaṅges, a great downpour of rain, mixed with dark clouds and lightening11 from all four directions filled the ground up to the neck and washed away the corpses. Then, waiting at the shore of the Gaṅges and before entering the city, Buddha asked Ānanda to proceed and recite the Ratanasutta.12 While Ānanda encircled the city walls sprinkling water from the Buddha’s bowl, all the non-human beings fled Vesāli and the city was purified from all remaining deleterious inputs.

The Ratanasutta starts by inviting all beings (yānīdha bhūtāni), terrestrial and those dwelling in the sky (bhummāni vā yāni va antalikkhe) not excluding anyone (sabbeti anavasesā), (explicitly not excluding even a single one13) and including non-human beings (bhūtāti amanussā). The Buddha and Ānanda then invite all to listen closely and attentively with a peaceful, happy and joyful mind. All beings are asked — with the base of such a peaceful, happy and joyful mind — to provide compassion, goodwill and loving kindness to the humans who are suffering (mettaṃ karotha mānusiyā pajāyā) so profoundly from these three fears:

Tassattho – yāyaṃ tīhi upaddavehi upaddutā14 mānusī pajā, tassā mānusiyā pajāya mettaṃ mittabhāvaṃ hitajjhāsayataṃ15 paccupaṭṭhapethāti.16

The meaning here is: The human beings are oppressed by these three dreads so provide these humans with metta and friendliness intending their benefit.

These suffering human beings used to pay respect in different ways and provide offerings day and night. Therefore, out of gratitude they should be repaid, diligently protected, their worries dispelled, and their welfare supported.17

Each of the subsequent verses expresses what is called sacchikiriyā: a practice of the olden days where, based on the declaration of an utterly truthful statement and the power of its verity, good wishes for well-being were expressed. It is said that these truths highlighted in this sutta are communicated for the well-being of the inhabitants of Vesāli, who would through this truthful exposition (nayena saccavacanaṃ) of the special supreme qualities of the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Saṅgha have the opportunity to listen to the Dhamma (dhammassavanatthaṃ) and subsequently their plagues (upaddavavūpasamanatthaṃ) would be eased.18 Also it is said:

Tassattho … Yadi hi etaṃ saccaṃ, athaetena saccena imesaṃ pāṇīnaṃ suvatthi hotu, sobhanānaṃ atthitā hotu arogatānirupaddavatāti.

This is the meaning here: … Because if this is true then by this very truth may there be well-being for those breathing beings, may there be satisfying existence, freedom from diseases and freedom from distress.


The absolute veracities that are articulated here in the Ratanasutta and which rectify the resultant wishes for well-being for the inhabitants of Vesāli are the unquestionable facts that there are no other jewels as rare and precious in this world as the three gems in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Saṅgha:

Idampi buddhe, dhamme, saṅghe ratanaṃ paṇītaṃ etena saccena suvatthi hotu.


The qualities that make the three gems such a precious and supreme jewel are highlighted in the respective verses:

❧   Idampi buddhe ratanaṃ paṇītaṃ;etena saccena suvatthi hotu:

• ‘There does not exist either in this world nor beyond any treasure equal to the Tathāgata’.19 Compared with all jewels existing anywhere in the universe, used by grander beings, much admired, greatly valued, inestimable and of rare occurrence20 there can be no jewel superior than the Tathāgata. His special, supreme and unequalled qualities are sīla, samādhi, pañña, vimutti and paññāvimutti which he proclaims and that is why he is declared to be the highest among all beings.21

• ‘The sublime doctrine that he expounded leads to nibbāna the highest good of beings’.22 The glorious Dhamma that the Buddha taught (pariyattidhammavaraṃ) blooms forth like the blossoms that crown the top of trees in a forest during the first warmth that spring forth in the early summer month. It brings forth the extraordinary splendour of the ‘flowers’ leading to extinction (nibbānagāmimaggadīpanato) as it contains the superior potentials of sīla, samādhi and pañña (sīlasamādhikkhandhādīhi).

• ‘The Sublime One, the knower of the sublime, the bestower of the sublime, the bringer of the sublime,has taught the unsurpassed Dhamma’.23 The Buddha is sublime (varo) because he possesses special qualities, he knows the sublime (varaññū) as he has penetrated the path he teaches himself and reached the goal,24 he is a giver of the sublime (varado) as he was participating in the penetration of many gods and men25 and he has taught the unsurpassed Dhamma (varāharo) as a teacher of many. He shared the sublime Dhamma that he knew and gave and provided it by teaching it – in this way he is truly a precious jewel.26


❧  idampi dhamme ratanaṃ paṇītaṃ;etena saccena suvatthi hotu.

•  ‘Cessation of defilements, freedom from passion, and the deathless state’.27 The teaching of the Dhamma has the inherent quality (nibbānadhammaguṇena) of leading to nibbāna – because of the extinction of craving, lust, passion and their vanishing and no more of their arising - all defilements completely dwindle, get entirely driven out and are completely abolished. This waning (khayaṃ) and fading (virāgaṃ) leads to the state which is called deathless (amataṃ) where it neither is born, nor ages or dies.28 That is why the Buddha says.29 “… among all Dhammas, whether determined or undetermined, freedom from passion is the highest among them all.”

•  ‘Concentration without interruption; there is nothing equal to that concentration’.30 The Buddha taught a concentration which is called samādhimānantarika because it produces its fruit straight away after its arising. There can exist nothing in this world, even if it was at the moment of the aeon to be consumed that can stop such a person whose path-concentration has arisen to receive the fruit.31 If such a person was to obtain the sotāpattiphala32 the aeon would not be consumed and take a hold as long as this this person will have entered into the fruition of nibbāna.33 That is why the Buddha stated that, among all determined Dhamma the Eight-Fold Path is the highest Dhamma.34

idampi saṅghe ratanaṃ paṇītaṃ, etena saccena suvatthi hotu.

•  ‘Eight individuals praised by the virtuous, constituting four pairs’.35 Those eight individuals are at peace and well praised (sataṃ pasatthā) as four pairs (eight is the numerical delimitation): Four who have entered upon the way and four stand in/receive the fruition which makes them eight (te hi cattāro ca paṭipannā cattāro ca phale ṭhitāti aṭṭha honti). These eight person are praised for their conascent qualities36 of sīla, samādhi and pañña. Therefore they are worthy of gifts, they merit offerings which repay a rich reward if given without any expectation. Here the Buddha says: “Among those that are the most praised are the four pairs of men, the eight persons. These disciples of the Bhagava … produce the foremost result.” 37

•  ‘With a steadfast mind they have attained that which should be attained, plunged into the deathless, enjoying the peace they have gained without expense’.38 These disciples of the Bhagava are ‘well yoked’ (suppayuttā) in leading a pure life by means of the practise of Vipassana (suddhājīvitaṃ nissāya vipassanāya). In this way they are fully established in sīla.39 With their steadfast mind they are firmly fixed in concentration (thirasamādhiyuttena cetasāti) which proves their accomplishment in samādhi.40 They dwell passionless because they have accomplished the eradication of all defilements by energy yoked to paññā41 which proofs their full completion in paññā perfected by energy.42 Now how is it to be understood that they have ‘plunged into the deathless, enjoying the peace they have gained without expense’? It is because they are firmly established in the teaching of Gotama, the Buddha, by perfection of sīla, they have strength of mind by means of their perfection in samādhi, they are without desires left because of their perfection in paññā and thus they have reached their goal by encountering the Deathless. Here they enjoy the attainment of fruition also called allayment (nibbutiṃ).43 

•  ‘Pure-minded person who thoroughly realizes the Noble truths’:44 The simile of the deeply planted ‘locking-post’ that cannot be shaken by any of the winds from any direction refers to anyone who has seen the Four Noble Truths by fully understanding and realizing them by one’s own experience (yo cattāri ariyasaccāni paññāya ajjhogāhetvā passati).45 Of them it is said that they know the Four Noble Truths: ‘This is suffering’; ‘This is the arising of suffering;’ ‘This is the cessation of suffering’ and ‘This is the Path leading to the cessation of suffering.’ They will never examine the face of any other Samaṇa or Brāhmaṇa to find out if there was anything else worth knowing or seeing. Why? Because the Four Noble Truths have fully been seen by them.46

•  ‘Those who have clearly understood the Noble truths,well-taught by him of deep wisdom, however heedless they may be, do not take an eighth rebirth’.47 There are, depending on their developed qualities by accomplishing the training precepts (sikkhāpadāni), three kinds of Sotāpanna:48 one who realizes nibbāna in his very next existence,49 one who travels through three more existences in different clans50 and the one who travels and transmigrates for up to seven times among devas and mankind.51 Wherever they will dwell even if heedless they are established in the determination of a consciousness that their very existence is for the purpose to complete cessation which is gained through the knowledge of a stream-enterer.52

•  ‘Three things abandoned: illusion of self, doubt, and [clinging to] rites and rituals and such like’.53 A Sotāpanna has abolished these first three of the ‘lower fetters’ (orambhāgiyānaṃ saṃyojanānaṃ). Sensuous craving (kāmarāga) and ill will (vyāpāda) will be overcome in their grosser form by the fruition of a Sakadāgāmi.54 The base here is that a Sotāpanna has experienced the reality of nibbāna through his excellence of seeing, (dassanasampadāyāti sotāpattimaggasampattiyā) and his actually realizing annihilation. So he loses the illusion of self or ‘embodiment belief’. It is due to this attainment (dukkhadassanasampadāya) that he has accomplished which abolishes dukkha, his doubt and uncertainty gets removed by realising its arising (samudayadassanasampadāya) and by actually encountering the magga leading to the attainment of nibbāna (maggadassananibbānadassanasampadāya) he abolishes all clinging to rites and rituals.55

•  ‘Free from the four woeful realms and incapable of committing the six heinous crimes’: Such a person when migrating up to seven more existences may be unaware of his being on the way to fulfilling his enlightenment (except for his abhisaṅkhāraviññāṇa). Even so he will be neither capable of migrating into any of the four lower realms56 nor of performing any of what is called heinous crimes.57

•  ‘Incapable of hiding any unwholesome deed committed by body, speech, or thought - such concealment is not possible for one who has seen the state of nibbāna’: Whatever minor transgressions such a person may perform, mostly related to minor offences in his training precepts committed by body, gossip or harsh words committed by speech or generating greed or ill will in his mind, he immediately confesses these along with the vow to not perform suchlike in any given future.58

•  ‘With the old [kamma] destroyed and no new arising, the mind is unattached to a future birth. The seeds destroyed, the desire [for becoming] does not grow - these wise ones go out even as this lamp is extinguished’.59 With all desire faded (virattacittāti vītarāgacittā) from their mind for any future existence and no zeal for growth (virūḷhichandavirahitā) they stop burning (nibbantīti vijjhāyanti), they go out just like the lamp with the ceasing of the last consciousness.60 They go to a place that has no words and is not possible to be described.


Here the recitation of the Ratanasutta concludes. Sakkha, the king of the heavenly fields observing that safety has been brought to the people of Vesāli by the utterance of the truth of the special qualities of the Triple Gem, decided to also pay his respect to the Buddha, the Sangha and the Dhamma by himself reciting the last three verses61 for the purpose of the well-being of Vesāli 62.

The Buddha stayed for altogether a fortnight in Vesāli before returning to Rājagaha and repeated his recitation of the Ratanasutta for the first seven days. Later the Vajjians came to be renowned for their great unity and their perfect principles of state administration and modest way of life. They followed the aprihānīyadhammā63, the conditions to welfare, that were taught to them by the Buddha at one time when he dwelled in the Sārandada cave in close vicinity.64 These are: to hold and attend frequent meetings; make their decisions unanimously and carry them out in concord; continue traditions; uphold respect and support for the elders; neither take women nor girls by abduction; maintain and honour places of worship and support and protect saintly people. The Buddha wanted them to establish these seven principles as they would foster and constitute a healthy and wholesome society.65 Later he endorsed similar ones for the Bhikkhus for the Saṅgha to flourish.


These are Covid-19 Coronavirus stricken days. There can hardly be any hope in these modern times for anyone to perform66 a sacchikiriyā as the Buddha did, and by the power of which relief and ease could be achieved, all existing suffering alleviated, and well-being and happiness of mankind be restored. Still, we can have hope that the pandemic may be an impetus for reflection and change in the running of world affairs with all the various problems even before Corona. Could this be an impetus for reflection and change that shines light on all the ‘madness’ of the modern world and resets more minds to a more modest and sustaining lifestyle?

If there are any merits from introducing this Ratanasutta, may they be shared with all the severely suffering people around the world. And may there be hope that the qualities of the triple gem expressed in this sutta will inspire more to value a simple life with spiritual growth and stir some to enter upon the Eightfold Noble Path! The ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo will be highlighted in the coming chapters and can be walked by one and all for the benefit and well-being of many. It will enable all who undertake the efforts to join on such a purifying journey to gain and maintain inner calm in spite of all potential external predicaments.

1. An interesting example here is the Kurudhamma Jātaka: The state of Kuru has been famous for upholding their ethical standard to a great extent and Kuru was prosperous with content and cheerful inhabitants. When the neighboring state of Kaliṅga suffered from draught and scarcity of food the advisers immediately suggested sending messengers to Kuru in order to receive their principles of morality (the pañcasīla) and re-integrate these into Kaliṅga’s political and social control. While trying to receive the pañcasīla the messengers encounter all ranks of inhabitants who describe how they uphold their morality, fascinating to read.

2. The Ratanasutta is the sutta that is recited on day two of the 10-day meditation course by S. N. Goenka. For the selection of all the suttas along with the Hindi verses see the publication published by VRI and Pariyatti, The Gem Set in Gold

3. Iti tīhi dubbhikkhaamanussarogabhayehi upaddutā vesālinagaravāsino.

4. … tassa punappunaṃ visālīkatattā vesālītveva nāmaṃ jātaṃ. Idaṃ vesālivatthu. The quotes here and in the following footnotes are from the commentary: Ratanasuttavaṇṇanā, Khuddakapāṭha-aṭṭhakathā.

5. Tesaṃ yaṃ yaṃ udaraṃ paviṭṭhaṃ, taṃ sabbaṃ maṇibhājanagataṃ viya dissati. Evaṃ licchavī ahesuṃ. Apare panāhu ‘‘sibbetvā ṭhapitā viya nesaṃ aññamaññaṃ līnā chavi ahosī’’ti.

6. Evaṃ te nicchavitāya vā līnacchavitāya vā licchavīti paññāyiṃsu.

7. Tato tesaṃ mātāpitaro ‘‘ime dārakā aññe dārake viheṭhenti dukkhāpenti, na ime saṅgahetabbā, vajjitabbā ime’’ti āhaṃsu.

8. vajjeti: to avoid, leave out, escape from.

9. Tato pabhuti kira so padeso ‘‘vajjī’’ti vuccati, tiyojanasataṃ parimāṇena.

10. rogāmanussa-dubbhikkhaṃ: roga + amanussa-dubbhikkhaṃ – disease + non-human + famine.

11. Teneva khaṇena tena muhuttena vijjuppabhāvinaddhandhakāravisaṭakūṭo gaḷagaḷāyanto catūsu disāsu mahāmegho vuṭṭhāsi. vijju + p + pabhā + vinaddhaandhakāra + visaṭa + kūṭo: lightening + light + covered + darkness + diffused + multitude.

12. Evaṃ bhagavato vesāliṃ anuppattadivaseyeva vesālinagaradvāre tesaṃ upaddavānaṃ paṭighātatthāya vuttamidaṃ ratanasuttaṃ uggahetvā āyasmā ānando parittatthāya bhāsamāno bhagavato pattena udakamādāya sabbanagaraṃ abbhukkiranto anuvicari.

13. … evāti avadhāraṇe, ekampi anapanetvāti adhippāyo – each and … is for emphasis not excluding even one.

14. upaddutā: pp. of upaddavati –  troubled, oppressed, overcome, distressed.

15. hitajjhāsayataṃ: hita + ajjhāsayata: well-being, benefit + intention, wish.

16. paccupaṭṭhapethāti: caus. of paccupaṭṭhahati: arrange, provide, wait upon.

17. Yato evaṃ divā ca ratto ca tumhe uddissa karonti ye baliṃ, tasmā hi ne rakkhatha; tasmā balikammakaraṇāpi te manusse rakkhatha gopayatha, ahitaṃ nesaṃ apanetha, hitaṃ upanetha appamattā hutvā taṃ kataññubhāvaṃ hadaye katvā niccamanussarantāti.

18. … tesaṃ upaddavavūpasamanatthaṃ buddhādiguṇappakāsanena ca devamanussānaṃ dhammassavanatthaṃ ‘‘yaṃkiñci vitta’’ntiādinā nayena saccavacanaṃ payuñjitumāraddho.

19. This verse expresses the truth of the special qualities of the Buddha: Evaṃ buddhaguṇena saccaṃ vatvā

20. ‘‘Cittīkataṃ mahagghañca, atulaṃ dullabhadassanaṃ; anomasattaparibhogaṃ, ratanaṃ tena vuccatī’’ti.

21. tathāgato tesaṃ aggamakkhāyatīaggam + akkhāyati: top, formost + praise.

22. This verse likewise expresses the truth of the special qualities of the Buddha who has taught a Path in detail that leads to nibbāna: Evaṃ bhagavā pariyattidhammena buddhādhiṭṭhānaṃ saccaṃ vatvā.

23. This verse also expresses the truth of the special qualities of the Buddha who has taught the supreme nine fold Dhamma - (magga (four), phala (four) nibbāna (one) = nine): Evaṃ bhagavā navavidhena lokuttaradhammena attano guṇaṃ vatvā.

24. varaññūti nibbānaññū.

25. devamanussānaṃ nibbedhabhāgiyavāsanābhāgiyavaradhammadāyīti.

26. Kevalaṃ pana yaṃ varaṃ lokuttaradhammaṃ esa aññāsi, yañca adāsi, yañca āhari, yañca desesi, idampi buddhe ratanaṃ paṇītanti evaṃ yojetabbaṃ.

27. This verse expresses the truth of the special qualities of the Dhamma in respect to leading to nibbāna: Evaṃ nibbānadhammaguṇena saccaṃ vatvā.

28. na jāyati na jīyati na mīyatīti katvā amatanti vuccati.

29. ‘‘yāvatā, bhikkhave, dhammā saṅkhatā vā asaṅkhatā vā, virāgo tesaṃ aggamakkhāyatī’’tiādi.

30. This verse expresses the truth of the special qualities of the Dhamma as the means leading to the realization of the Eightfold Noble Path: Evaṃ maggadhammaguṇenāpi saccaṃ vatvā.

31. Na hi maggasamādhimhi uppanne tassa phaluppattinisedhako koci antarāyo atthi.

32. neva tāva kappo uḍḍayheyya, yāvāyaṃ puggalo na sotāpattiphalaṃ sacchikaroti.

33. That is why such a person is also called: ‘holder-up of an aeon’: ayaṃ vuccati puggalo ṭhitakappī.

34. yāvatā, bhikkhave, dhammā saṅkhatā…pe… ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo, tesaṃ aggamakkhāyatī’’.

35. This verse expresses the truth of the special quality of the Saṅgha in regard to their establishment in the path and the fruition: Evaṃ maggaṭṭhaphalaṭṭhānaṃ vasena saṅghaguṇena saccaṃ vatvā.

36. sahajātasīlādiguṇayogā: saha + jāta + sīla + ādi + guṇa + yogā – together-born + sīla + and so on + quality + being yoked.

37. Yāvatā, bhikkhave, saṅghā vā gaṇā vā tathāgatasāvakasaṅgho, tesaṃ aggamakkhāyati, yadidaṃ cattāri purisayugāni aṭṭha purisapuggalā, esa bhagavato sāvakasaṅgho…pe… aggo vipāko hotī.

38. This verse expresses the truth of the special quality of the Saṅgha in regard to those Enlightened One’s, the Arahants, who are without any remaining impurities: Evaṃ khīṇāsavapuggalānaṃ guṇena saṅghādhiṭṭhānaṃ saccaṃ vatvā.

39. Tena tesaṃ sīlakkhandhaṃ dasseti.

40. Tena tesaṃ samādhikkhandhaṃ dasseti.

41. paññādhurena vīriyena sabbakilesehi katanikkamanā.

42. Tena tesaṃ vīriyasampannaṃ paññakkhandhaṃ dasseti.

43. Kiṃ vuttaṃ hoti? Ye imasmiṃ gotamasāsanamhi sīlasampannattā suppayuttā, samādhisampannattā manasā daḷhena, paññāsampannattā nikkāmino, te imāya sammāpaṭipadāya amataṃ vigayha mudhā laddhā phalasamāpattisaññitaṃ nibbutiṃ bhuñjamānā pattipattā nāma hontīti.

44. This verse expresses the truth of the special quality of the Saṅgha in regard to those who have entered the stream, the Sotāpanna in general: Evaṃ avisesato sotāpannassa guṇena saṅghādhiṭṭhānaṃ saccaṃ vatvā.

45. ajjhogāhetvā: ger. of ajjhogāhati – plunge into, enter.

46. ye ca kho keci samaṇā vā brāhmaṇā vā ‘idaṃ dukkhanti…pe… paṭipadā’ti yathābhūtaṃ pajānanti, te na aññassa samaṇassa vā brāhmaṇassa vā mukhaṃ olokenti ‘ayaṃ nūna bhavaṃ jānaṃ jānāti, passaṃ passatī’ti. Taṃ kissa hetu? Sudiṭṭhattā, bhikkhave, catunnaṃ ariyasaccāna’’nti.

47. This verse expresses the truth of the special quality of the Saṅgha in regard to those who have entered the stream, the Sotāpanna and will encounter ‘seven at the most’ further existences: Evaṃ sattakkhattuparamassa aṭṭhamaṃ bhavaṃ anādiyanaguṇena saṅghādhiṭṭhānaṃ saccaṃ vatvā.

48. Detailed description of the different categories and stages of Enlightened Ones can be found in in the Samaṇavaggo, Dutiyapaṇṇāsakaṃ, Tikanipātapāḷi, Aṅguttaranikāyo such as Paṭhamasikkhāsuttaṃ, Dutiyasikkhāsuttaṃ, Tatiyasikkhāsuttaṃ.

49. ayaṃ ekabījī: he is of one-seed.

50. ayaṃ kolaṃkolo: he is one from clan to clan.

51. ayaṃ sattakkhattuparamo: he is a ‘seven at the most’.

52. sotāpattimaggañāṇena abhisaṅkhāraviññāṇassa nirodhena ṭhapetvā: abhisaṅkhāra is explained as kammic formations, accumulation of kamma.

53. This verse and the next express the truth of the special quality of the Saṅgha in regard to those who have entered the stream, the Sotāpanna and their distinguishing quality from other people who have not abandoned becoming: Evaṃ satta bhave ādiyatopi aññehi appahīnabhavādānehi puggalehi visiṭṭhaguṇena saṅghādhiṭṭhānaṃ saccaṃ vatvā.

54. An Anāgāmī has fully removed the five lower fetters, the remaining five higher fetters (uddhambhāgiya saṃyojana) are removed by an Arahatta: rūparāga, arūparāga, māna, uddhacca, avijjā.

55. Dukkhadassanasampadāya cettha sakkāyadiṭṭhi samudayadassanasampadāya vicikicchitaṃ, maggadassananibbānadassanasampadāya sīlabbataṃ pahīyatīti viññātabbaṃ.

56. Tattha cattāro apāyā nāma nirayatiracchānapettivisayaasurakāyā. Tehi esa satta bhave ādiyantopi vippamuttoti attho. These four lower states of deprivation are hell, the realm of animals, the realm of ghosts and of demons. What is meant is that even if he takes seven more births he is liberated from these realms.

57. These six crimes should be understood as: ‘mātughātapitughātaarahantaghātalohituppādasaṅghabhedaaññasatthāruddesakammānīti veditabbāni’ – matricide, parricide, Arahantcide, drawing their blood, creating schism in the Saṅgha and selecting another teacher.

58. … ‘‘na puna karissāmī’’ti evaṃ saṃvaritabbaṃ vā saṃvarati.

59. This verse expresses (once more) the truth of the special quality of the Saṅgha in regard to the Enlightened Ones and their having reached nibbāna without any residue of clinging left: … lokuttaradhammaṃ adhigamiṃsu, tesaṃ anupādisesanibbānapattiguṇaṃ nissāya puna saṅghādhiṭṭhānaṃ saccaṃ vattum

60. carimaviññāṇanirodhena yathāyaṃ padīpo nibbuto, evaṃ nibbanti.

61. These three last verses are added by S.N. Goenka to the end of every Sutta during his 10-day morning chanting before chanting which closes the Pāli-section before chanting his good wishes in Hindi.

62. Atha sakko devānamindo ‘‘bhagavatā ratanattayaguṇaṃ nissāya saccavacanaṃ payuñjamānena nāgarassa sotthi katā, mayāpi nāgarassa sotthitthaṃ ratanattayaguṇaṃ nissāya kiñci vattabba’’nti cintetvā avasāne gāthāttayaṃ abhāsi

63. a + parihāniye + dhammā: not + connected with decay, loss + principles.

64. These principles have been described in more detail in 3.6.13 Sārandadasuttaṃ – How to Live in Harmony and True Democracy?

65. See also lesson: 3.6.12 Cakkavattisuttaṃ - The Duties of a Righteous King.

66. Actually, even anyone to ‘believe’ in it will be probably very rare.

Last modified: Saturday, 2 December 2023, 5:12 PM