Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa
Itthiyā vā purisena vā gahaṭṭhena vā pabbajitena vā sāmaññena vā brahmaññena vā brahmacariyena vā - A Beneficial Path for One and All
2.1.0 Kutikasuttaṃ - Leaving Behind All Bondages
The title for Chapter Two is Itthiyā vā purisena vā gahaṭṭhena vā pabbajitena vā sāmaññena vā brahmaññena vā brahmacariyena vā (A Beneficial Path for One and All). It refers to the veracity that the path the Buddha laid out is a path that can be achieved by anyone desirous of doing so, whether ‘female or male, a householder or someone that has left the householders’ life be it any ascetic, recluse, a Brahman or anyone who leads the life of purity’. The Buddha has proclaimed the Dhamma to everyone making no distinction whatsoever; he laid out the same path for each and every one and encouraged all to follow his example of becoming liberated from all bondages.
The short Kuṭikāsutta opens this second chapter. It presents another sutta from the Saṃyuttanikāyo, Sagāthāvaggo1 and is a lovely example of the ancient tradition of “Q&A”, where a question asked by a devatā is answered by the Buddha in the same manner and meter.
The interrogative particle kacci used here expresses doubt, uncertainty and is countered by the Buddha with the affirmative particle taggha by confirming that he has gone beyond all attachments and bondages. When the devatā again asks kintāhaṃ … brūmi (‘What do you think is what I call …’), she wants to be certain whether the Buddha has really grasped the question’s intention since he merely replied in the negative without giving any further explanation.
The aim of compiling this collection of suttas is to instigate faith; to inspire practice. Therefore a “red” thread tries to link the different chapters by connecting the subtitles: So Fortunate Who Encounters a Path (Chapter One), Which Is Beneficial for One and All (Chapter Two), with the main chapter that depicts the Eightfold Noble Path in detail in all its components: Which Is the Ariyo Aṭṭhaṅgiko Maggo with Its Eight Constituents (Chapter Three). With the purification resulting from this Eightfold Noble Path, one is easily empowered by: Enabling for Generosity, Compassion and Goodwill (Chapter Four), while a final chapter is planned to present various suttas especially important for a meditator: Eliminating the Impurities and Leading towards Liberation’ (Chapter Five).
Although the Buddha was to make a prophesy that this sāsana was to only last for about five-hundred years,2 beings in this present time are extremely fortunate to be able to take refuge in the very same teaching, theoretically pristine in its purity as well as practicable with the technique of Vipassana. It is the great privilege of beings in the current period that the Buddha’s legacy remains alive and his teaching available both in pariyatti (which offers stirring inspiration to apply the practice) and paṭipatti. A multitude of saintly people have assiduously maintained the path so that clear, practicable instructions and admonitions, as how to walk the path, are available. That is why the Buddha before his passing away said to Ānanda:
Kiṃ panānanda, bhikkhusaṅgho mayi paccāsīsati?3 Desito, ānanda, mayā dhammo anantaraṃ abāhiraṃ karitvā.4 Natthānanda, tathāgatassa dhammesu ācariyamuṭṭhi.5 Yassa nūna, ānanda, evamassa– ‘ahaṃ bhikkhusaṅghaṃ pariharissāmī 6 ’ti vā ‘mamuddesiko7 bhikkhusaṅgho’ti vā, so nūna, ānanda, bhikkhusaṅghaṃ ārabbha8 kiñcideva udāhareyya. Tathāgatassa kho, ānanda, na evaṃ hoti– ‘ahaṃ bhikkhusaṅghaṃ pariharissāmī’ti vā ‘mamuddesiko bhikkhusaṅgho’ti vā. Sakiṃ, ānanda, tathāgato bhikkhusaṅghaṃ ārabbha kiñcideva udāharissati.9
What, Ānanda does the Bhikkhusaṅgha expect from me? I have, Ānanda, laid out the Dhamma from all angles without making any distinction. There is nothing, Ānanda that a Tathāgata would hold back, in regard to Dhamma, in the teacher`s fist. If, Ānanda someone would consider thus: ‘It is I who shall lead the Bhikkhusaṅgha’ or ‘the Bhikkhusaṅgha shall depend upon me’ he would indeed, Ānanda, begin to lay out instructions regarding the Bhikkhusaṅgha. But the Tathāgata has no such consideration: ‘It is I who shall lead the Bhikkhusaṅgha’ or ‘the Bhikkhusaṅgha shall depend upon me’.
So why, Ānanda, should the Tathāgata begin to lay out instruction regarding the Bhikkhusaṅgha?10
May all beings benefit from the invaluable Dhamma and be enabled to follow the advice the Buddha has given to one and all! May all be enabled to sincerely announce:
Sāhu muttomhi bandhanā!
2. See 2.1.1 Kesamuttisuttaṃ, (part 1) – Don’t Believe in Tradition, in Hearsay, in Teachers but Your Own Experience and the following introductions for a more detailed historical account of this prophesy but also as to how the teaching was made available to last 5000 years.
3. paccāsīsati: paṭi + āsīsati/āsiṃsati – hope for, expect.
4. an + antaraṃ: a + bāhiraṃ karitvā – lit. having made not–inner and not-outer. It is at times translated as: without making any distinction of esoteric or exoteric doctrine.
5. ācariyamuṭṭhi: ācariya + muṭṭhi – teacher + fist: keeping something of the teaching back from the disciple.
6. pariharissāmī: I will attend to, I will look after, I will take up, I will preserve.
7. mamuddesiko: maṃ + uddesiko – me + defining, me + referring to, me + respecting.
8. ārabbha: starting, undertaking.
9. Veḷuvagāmavassūpagamanaṃ, Mahāparinibbānasuttaṃ, Mahāvaggapāḷi, Dīghanikāyo.
10. A full and detailed reference to this quote is presented later in lesson 3.8.16 Mahāparinibbānasuttaṃ, Veḷuvagāmavassūpagamanaṃ - Be an Island within Yourselves (attadīpāviharatha attasaraṇā).