Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa

Introduction to 3.1.5
Paṭhamaparisuddhasuttaṃ
(Perfectly Pure pt.1)

This present sutta, the Paṭhamaparisuddhasuttaṃ as well as the next, the Dutiyaparisuddhasuttaṃ express the perfection of the Dhamma, which is pure in every aspect, where nothing has to be added and nothing has been left aside so it can be applied by one and all, female and male, whatever the background may be, lay-followers and recluses alike.


The Buddha’s teaching was and is for one and all. Naturally those who are able to leave the housholder’s life will have more time available to dedicate themselves to the path. But especially today, when the practise of abstinence and asceticism seems too challenging for many, still the path is available for householders. In spite of so many texts that verify that the Buddha has laid out his path to one and all; in spite of the fact that amongst his lay disciples were those who had reached higher stages like Sudatta (Anāthapiṇḍaka), Jīvaka, Citta and female lay followers like Sujātā, Visākhā, Khujjuttarā and Kaccānī (to give just a few examples) at times the misunderstanding remains, that the Buddha instructed only his Bhikkhus and the path was only for those who left the householders life. This doubt had already been expressed and resolved at the time of the Kathāvatthu (see lesson 3.2.9), which demonstrates with the examples of Yaso-kulaputto, Uttiyo-gahapati and Setu-māṇavo who had attained the state of Arahantship although being a householder that it were the inner fetters that decide about the ability to reach higher stages of liberation rather than the outer circumstances of life. Buddha directed many suttas to laypeople, amongst these we find the Kesamuttisuttaṃ (see lessons 2.1.1 and 2.1.2), the Sigālasutta (see lesson 3.7.4); the Paṭhamasamajīvīsuttaṃ (see lesson 3.6.6), addressed to the householder-couple Nakulapitā and Nakulamātā; the Piyatarasuttaṃ spoken to King Pasenadi and Queen Mallikā (see lesson 3.3.9), the Parābhavasuttaṃ (see 3.6.7) or to village headmen (gāmaṇi) like Talapuṭa, Rāsiya or Pāṭaliya. Also King Milinda, before he met and challenged the Venerable Nagasena, had harassed with this quest different eminent Bhikkhus of that time. Once he posed the following question to the Venerable Āyupālo (Milindapañhapāḷi, Bāhirakathā, Pubbayogādi):


Atha kho milindo rājā pañcamattehi yonakasatehi parivuto[1] rathavaramāruyha[2] yena saṅkhyeyyapariveṇaṃ[3] yenāyasmā āyupālo tenupasaṅkami, upasaṅkamitvā āyasmatā āyupālena saddhiṃ sammodi, sammodanīyaṃ kathaṃ sāraṇīyaṃ vītisāretvā ekamantaṃ nisīdi, ekamantaṃ nisinno kho milindo rājā āyasmantaṃ āyupālaṃ etadavoca “kimatthiyā, bhante āyupāla, tumhākaṃ pabbajjā, ko ca tumhākaṃ paramattho”ti.


Once the great King Milinda visited by royal chariot with five hundred of his ministers the Venerable Āyupālo in his Saṅkhyeyya hermitage. On reaching him, he saluted the Venerable Āyupālo and after the exchange of pleasant greetings and courtesies sat down at one side. Having thus sat down at one side, the great King Milinda adressed the Venerable Āyupālo thus: “How is it, Venerable Āyupālo, you have gone forth, what is your highest perspective?”


Thero āha “dhammacariyasamacariyatthā[4] kho, mahārāja, pabbajjā, sāmaññaphalaṃ kho pana amhākaṃ paramattho”ti.


The Venerable Āyupālo replied: “Going forth is done, O’ great king for the sake of walking in Dhamma uprightly, the highest perspective is to gain the fruit of Sāmaññaship.”


“Atthi pana, bhante, koci gihīpi dhammacārī samacārī”ti? “But are there, Bhante, amongst those householders some, who are walking in Dhamma uprightly?”–


“Āma[5], mahārāja, atthi gihīpi dhammacārī samacārī, bhagavati kho, mahārāja, bārāṇasiyaṃ isipatane migadāye dhammacakkaṃ pavattente aṭṭhārasannaṃ brahmakoṭīnaṃ dhammābhisamayo ahosi, devatānaṃ pana dhammābhisamayo gaṇanapathaṃ[6] vītivatto[7], sabbete gihibhūtā, na pabbajitā. Puna caparaṃ, mahārāja, bhagavatā kho mahāsamayasuttante desiyamāne, mahāmaṅgalasuttante desiyamāne, samacitta pariyāyasuttante desiyamāne, rāhulovādasuttante desiyamāne, parābhavasuttante desiyamāne gaṇanapathaṃ vītivattānaṃ devatānaṃ dhammābhisamayo ahosi, sabbete gihibhūtā, na pabbajitā”ti.


“There are, great king, householders who are walking in Dhamma uprightly. When the Bhagava set rolling the wheel of Dhamma at the deerpark Isipatane at Bārāṇasi, eighteen myriads[8] of devas from the Brahmāworlds and a great number of others attained the comprehension of Dhamma. None of them had renounced the world, all of them were householders. And again, when the Bhagava delivered the Mahāsamayasutta, the Mahāmaṅgalasutta, the Pariyāyasutta and the Rāhulovādasutta, a great number of devas attained the comprehension of Dhamma. None of them had renounced the world, all of them were householders.”


May the all links of this path, which are pure in every aspect and will directly lead towards the achieved goal, where nothing needs to be added nor anything has been left aside and which are so well explained be applied by one and all. Even today, may housholders and those who leave the housholders’ life walk on it for the benefit of one and all!


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[1] parivuto: attended, surrounded

[2] rathavaramāruyha: ratha + varaṃ + āruyha: chariot + excellent + having ascended

[3] saṅkhyeyyapariveṇaṃ: saṅkhyeyya + pariveṇaṃ: Saṅkhyeyya + hermit's cell

[4] dhammacariyasamacariyatthā: dhamma + cariya + samacariya +atthā: dhamma + walking + correct walking + for the purpose, reason of

[5] āma: yes, truly, indeed

[6] gaṇanapathaṃ: gaṇanā + patha: period of time, range of counting, measuring

[7] vītivatto: vīti + vatto: having overcome, gone through

[8] aṭṭhārsa koṭī - expresses an extremely high number. aṭṭhārasa is an alternative form to aṭṭhādasa.- 18. koṭī means the end of, the highest point of (space, time, number) and follows in high numbers dasasatasahassa: 1,000,000

Pāli lesson (with audio) 3.1.5

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Last modified: Monday, 14 December 2015, 8:31 AM