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NAGASENABHIKSHU SUTRA - A COMPARATIVE STUDY
(Through Pali and Chinese sources)
BHIKKHU THICH MINH CHAU
COMPARATIVE STUDY OF THE P AND C TEXT
BAHIRAKATHA OR INTRODUCTORY SECTION
(A) Opening Of The Text.
The C opens at once with the previous life of Na-hsien and of the king; while the P starts with an introductory gàthà in which Nàgasena and Milinda are introduced with their outstanding qualifications quoted and praised. It adds an exhortation to listen to the questions and answers asked and replied by the king and the monk respectively. Then the prose starts with "Tam yathà anusùyate" and the description of Sàgala.
(B) Previous Lives Of Na-Hsien and Mi-Lan
As the P text is already widely known, only a detailed account of the previous lives of Na-hsien and Mi-lan according to the C text is given below.
(C: 52a,5-19; 52b;53a, I-14)
Lord Buddha was at She-Wei (Sàvatthi) Ch'i trees (Jetavana), Kei-ku-tu garden (Anàthapindikàrà-ma). Daily more than 10,000 people, bhikshus, bhikshunis, layman disciples, laywoman disciples, deities, kings, great ministers, honourable men, people and followers of 96 heretical religious, (more than 10.000 people) came to Lord Buddha to listen to the Dharma.
Being weary by this large attendance. Lord Buddha entered the mountain, came under a clump of Hsiao-lo trees and pondered over the pure Dharma. Not far from his place, there was a herd of more than 500 elephants with an elephant king who was virtuous, sage, and knew how to discern good actions from bad actions.
The herd of elephants surrounded him and the little ones, while drinking water, made it dirty, while eating grass and young plants, trampled upon them. Thus the elephant king could not drink pure water and eat clean grass.
So the elephant-king left the herd, entered the mountain and came under a clump of Hsiao-lo trees. He saw the Buddha sitting under the tree, became happy, lowered his head, kneeled down to pay homage to Lord Buddha and stood at one side. The Buddha thought: "I left my crowd of people to come to this place; the elephant-king also left the herd and came to this place. Both shared the same purpose."
Then the Buddha preached the doctrine to the elephant and showed the similarity between the two concerning their highest position among their respective followers and their desire for solitude. The elephant-king understood what the Buddha had said.
He saw the Buddha walking to and fro on the circumambulatory path. He took water from the pond, watered the path, used the plant-leaves to sweep it clean and with his feet, he trampled down the path and levelled it.
Thus the elephant-king served the Buddha day and night. After the Buddha's Parinirvàna, he wandered round in search of the Buddha but could not find him and used to cry with bitterness and to abstain from food.
At that time, there was a Buddha monastery on the top of a mountain called Chia-yuan. In this vihàra, dwelt 500 monks who had attained Arahantship and who used to recite the Dharma up to morning. He knew the six days of recital and would come on those days (K.E. adds: The 8th , the 14th , the 15th , the 23rd , the 29th and the 30th ).
The monks came to know of this and waited till the arrival of the elephant to start the recitation of the Dharma. The elephant-king used to listen to the Dharma up to morning without sleeping, lying down and moving. He died and owning to his listening to the Dharma and his service to the Buddha, after long time, he was born as a son in a Brahmin family.
When he came of age, he did not hear about the Buddha-dharma and did not see the monks. Afterwards, he left the household life, entered the forest and was engaged in the study of Brahmanism (K.E. Of heretical religions), at the top of a mountain. Near by, lived a Brahmin hermit and both became well-acquainted.
One of them thought: "If in this world I am unable to overcome sorrow, suffering, old age and sick ness, after my death, I shall be born in the Hell, in the animal Kingdom, in the Kingdom of the departed spirits or in a poor family. To escape all these, I make a vow to become a recluse, wear the yellow robe and strive after transcendental attainment and Nirvàna (K.E. Arahantship and Nirvàna)". The other man thought: "I hope to become a powerful king, reigning all over this world and making all people obey my command."
Afterwards, both died and were born as men. The one who made vow to become a king was born as a prince of a city near the sea and was named Mi-lan. The other who made a vow to become a monk and strive after transcendental attainment and Nirvàna was born in Tien-chu (Jambudipa), in the district of Chi-pin (Kashmir) and was named T'o-la. He was born along with the yellow robe on him owing to his vow in his previous life.
In this house, an elephant was born on the same day. As in T'ien-chu, an elephant was called Nàg, so the father named his son Na-hsien. Na-hsien grew up and reached 14, 15 years of age. He had a paternel uncle named Lou-han who was a recluse, peerless, endowed with heavenly eye, with heavenly ear, capable of flying through the air, entering the Never Ceasing Hell, endowed with miraculous powers, and knowing how to read the thoughts of all creatures from deities, men up to insects, and the places of their rebirth.
Na-hsien came to see his uncle, told him of his own delight in the Buddha doctrine and requested his uncle to ordain him and to receive him as his disciple. Lou-han knew Na-hsien's good deeds in his previous life and his wisdom, so Lou-han gave him the ten precepts and ordained him as a novice.
Na-hsien daily recited the doctrine, pondered over the Dharma and the Vinaya, attained the four Dhyànas and grasped the essence of the doctrine, but he did not obtain the high ordination. At that time, there was a Buddhist temple called Ho-ch'an in which dwelt 500 recluses who had attained Arahantship.
The highest among them was O-po-yueh who knew the past, the present and the future of things in the world. When Na-hsien reached 20 years of age, he received high ordination and came to the Ho-ch'an tenple, at Ven. O-po-yueh's place.
At that time, it was a full moon day and for the sake of reciting the rules of the great recluses (Pràtimoksha), the monks entered the hall, Na-hsien entered also and sat among them. Ven. O-po-yueh saw that all the monks were Arahants except Na-hsien. He said that just like black grains of rice among white grains of rice, Na-hsien was black and not an Arahant while all the monks were white and pure.
On hearing this, Na-hsien felt deeply sorrowful, worshipped the monks, went out of the hall and thought: "It is unbecoming of me, who am not yet emancipated to sit in the assembly of monks who are already emancipated. It is like a jackal sitting among the lions. From now on, if I do not attain Arahantship, I shall not enter the hall."
O-po-yueh knew Na-hsien's thought, stroke Na-hsien's head and said: "Before long you will attain arahantship, do not worry", and he asked Na-hsien to stay there. Na-hsien had a teacher more than 80years old named Chia-wei-yueh. There was a great layman-disciple who daily offered food to Chia-wei-yueh's disciple (K.E.:To Chia-wei-yueh).
Na-hsien was told by the teacher to go to this layman-disciple with his begging bowl and bring back food. The teacher asked Na-hsien to fill his mouth with water and proceed to the layman's house to take food.
The layman-devotee saw Na-hsien young, good looking, far above common people, of sharp intelligence and capable of expounding the Dharma. When Na-hsien entered his house, the layman-disciple paid homage to him and said that he had offered food to the monks for a long time and the monks had preached the Dharma to him (K.E.: Not preached). Now he asked Na-hsien to expound the Dharma to him so that his mind might be emancipated. Na-hsien thought that his teacher ordered him to fill his mouth with water and not to speak. If now he spat out the water and spoke, he would disobey his teacher's order. So how should he act now?
Then he thought: "The lay-devotee is intelligent and of noble aspiration. If I preach to him, he may attain the truth." So Na-hsien spat out the water and expounded the Dharma: "People should give charity, perform meritorious acts and observe moral precepts. In the present life, they will be secure; in the next life, they will be reborn either in the heaven or in this world as men of wisdom, of intelligence and of wealth (K.E. omits: Of wisdom and of intelligence). They will not be reborn in the Hell, in the Kingdom of hungry ghosts, in the animal Kingdom (K.E. adds: In a poor family). People who do not observe Dharma and moral precepts suffer in the present world and in the next life, will fall into the three evil realms, for an indefinite period." (K.E. omits the whole passage.").
Na-hsien knew that the lay-devotee was glad at heart, then he preached the deeper dharma, that all things were passing away, not permanent; being impermanent (K.E. Being conditioned), they were subject to suffering. The men's body in the world was the same. But people in the world considered their body as being their self (K.E. not available), so they were not independent. The path to Nirvàna was all happiness. He who attained Nirvàna was not subject to birth, old age, sickness, death, sorrow and to dejection. All his evil and suffering were eradicated."
When Na-hsien finished his preaching, the lay-devotee attained the first stage of Stream-winner and Na-hsien himself obtained the same attainment. The lay-devotee was overjoyed and offered excellent, delicious food to Na-hsien. Na-hsien asked him first to fill the teacher's bowl with food.
After his meal, Na-hsien (K.E. adds: washed his hands and rinsed his mouth), took the bowl filled with food and brought it to his teacher. The teacher on seeing him said: "You have brought very good food with you, this means that you have acted against the Sangha, so you should be expelled and will not be allowed to stay among the Order."
Ven. O-po-yuch said: "Just like a man who, with one arrow, shoots two targets, such a man should not be expelled. Na-hsien attained the Stream-winner stage, so did the lay-devotee. Do not expel him." Ven. Chia-wei-yueh said: "Even if with one arrow, he shoots 100 targets, he still commits an offence against the Sangha, he is not allowed to stay in the middle of the Order. The observance of the rules by others cannot be equated with the attainment of Na-hsien. It is better to punish Na-hsien to serve as a reminder for the future."
The Sangha kept silent. So the teacher expelled Na-hsien. Na-hsien worshipped his teacher and the Order, went out of the monastery, entered a deep mountain, sat under a tree and exerted himself, reflecting upon the Dharma day and night without break and attained Arahantship.
Now he could fly, had divine eye and ear, knew the minds of others and previous births. When Na-hsien attained Arahantship, he re-entered Ho-ch'an temple, came before the Sangha, confessed his offence and asked for rehabilitation. The Sangha accepted his request.
Then Na-hsien worshipped the Order, undertook a preaching tour from village to village, from town to town, and exhorted people to perform meritorious acts. Some people received the five precepts and attained the Stream-winner stage, the Once-returner stage, the No-returner stage; some become monks and attained Arahantship.
The four heavenly kings of the first heaven Tao-li-t'ieh (P: Tàvatimsa), Ti-Shih (P: Inda) of the second Tushita heaven, Brahmà of the seventh heaven came, worshipped Na-hsien, and Na-hsien preached the Dharma to them. Na-hsien's fame was well-known in the heaven. Wherever he went, deities, human beings, spirits, dragons welcomed him, were happy to see him and obtained merit.
Then Na-hsien came to the country of She-chieh (P:Sàgala) and stayed at Hsieh-chih(or ti)-chia temple. At that time, at the seaside, there was a prince, Mi-lan by name. When he was young, he studied and knew heretical religions well and no heretical teachers could beat him in arguments. When his father died, Mi-lan became king. The king asked his minister if in the country there were any religious men or lay people who were able to hold discussions with him about religions. The minister replied that there was a Buddhist monk who was intelligent and clever, and who would be able to discuss religious doctrine with the king.
(C) Description of Sàgala:
(C: 53a, 17-20):
"In the North of Ta-ch'in country there was a Kingdom called She-chieh, a citadel of ancient kings. This country enjoyed internal and external peace and its people were good and honest. The city was surrounded on all four directions by an underground road (Futao?). The gates of the citadel were adorned with sculptures and engravings.
In the palace, the ladies had (special) apartment. The streets and markets were aligned rows after rows. Roads and thoroughfares were large, with shops ranged on both sides. Elephants, horses, chariots, infantry, gentlemen and ladies were prosperous and crowded; recluses, religious men, relatives, workers, people together (K.E. not available) with small Kingdoms were wise and noble.
People were dressed in dazzling colours. The women and girls were white (Ch'uan-pai?) and they adorned themselves with jewels (K.E, not available). The land was high, dry and rich in precious stones. Customers from four directions came for trade and paid for their trade in golden coins; five kinds of crop were in plenty and even modest families had savings. Stalls near market were selling pastry and foodstuffs to satisfy every hunger, and grape juices and various sorts of wine slacken all kinds of thirst (K.E.,not available). (All) were enjoying happiness difficult to describe."
(P: I, 13-21; 2,1-15):
Here the P far excels the C in its description pf Sàgala. While all the C details are found more or less in the same form in the P text, the P description of the city far outdoes the C counterpart in richness of details, in romantic background and in dazzling style.
Thus the city of Sàgala is eulogized in such a beautiful and romantic description: nadi-pabbata-sobhitam ramanìya-bhùmippadesabhàgam àràmuy-yànopavana-talàka-pokkha-rani-sampannam nadipab-bata-vana-ràmaneyyakam (a beautiful country well-decorated with rivers and mountains; abounded in delighful parks, gardens, groves, lakes, ponds, rivers, hills, forests).
While the C mentions simply that the city was surrounded in four directions by an underground road running round and with gates adorned with sculptures and engravings, the Pàli describes:"Vividha vicitra-dalha-mattàla-kottakam varapavara-gopurat-oranam gambhìraparikhà-pandarapàkàra-parikkhitta- antepu- ram (with various strong ramparts and towers, gateways, archways, deep moats, white walls, inner town.)
The same can be said of the C description of people dressed in fine dazzling colours, while the P speaks of Sàgala streets crowded with elephants, horses, carriages, pedestrians, a resort for handsome men and beautiful women and people of all classes and conditions, with shops selling Kàsi cloths, Kotumbara stuffs and a variety of other linens.
While the C refers simply to the country full of precious stones and pearls and that the merchants paid their wares in golden coins, the P poetically speaks of an abode of dazzling hidden treasures (pajjotamànanidhi-niketam) full of golden coins, silver, gold, copper and earthenwares. At the end, the P compares the city of Sàgala as the city of the gods (Devapura) like Alakam-andà and like Uttara-kuru in crops.
(C: 53b, 1-2;)
The C text refers to King Mi-lan in the following terms: 'King Mi-lan governed the country in accordance with the right Dharma. He was skilful and clever, knew well the religious theories of the world and capable of asKing puzzling questions concerning the past, the future and the present. (K.E. not available) He was expert in administrative works and arts of warfare (K.E. not available). As far as strategies in warfare were concerned, he mastered them all. He knew the 96 heretical doctrines. Inehaustible were the questions put to him and he guessed at once the meaning of the words scarcely uttered.
(P: 3, 26-32; 4-I-5):
Here again the P far excels the C in the description of Milinda's outstanding qualities. He is described as pandito byatto medhàvi patibalo, well learned in 19 arts and sciences such as Suti Sammuti, sankhyà, yogà, nìti, visesikà, ganikà, gandhabbà, tikicchà, càtubbedà, purànà, itihàsà, jotisà, màyà, hetu, mantanà, yuddhà, chandasà, muddà (tradition, lore, Sankhyà, Yogà, Nyàya philosophy, Vaisesika philosophy, arithmetic, music, medicine, the four Vedas, the Purànas, the Itihàsas, astronomy, mystic formular, logic, mantra spells, warfare, poetry, art of calculation). As a debater, he is duràsada, duppasaho (hard to challenge, hard to overcome) and was recognised as leader of all heretical heads. He was matchless in strength, in agility, in valour, in wisdom, very wealthy, very prosperous and with countless army forces.
(E) Meeting of Ven Ayupala with King Milinda:
(C: 53b. 2-11): (P: 19, 7-32)
(1) In the P, King Milinda asked his privy councillors as to whom he might visit to discuss the Dhamma and the five hundred Yonakas answered the king. In the C, the king addressed to his ministers by his side and minister Chan-mi-li-wang-ch'un answered his question.
(2). In the P, King Milinda, after sending a messenger, came to see Elder Ayupàla along with 500 Yonakas; in the C, first the monk Yeh-ho-Lo was invited to come and meet King Mi-lan, the monk replied that the King should come but not himself, and the king came along with 500 attendants.
(3). Milinda's question is almost the same in both versions; in the P, Ayupàla answered that for the sake of living in righteousness and living in spiritual calm (Dhammacariyasamacariyatthà) the monks adopted the religious life; in the C, Yeh-ho-Io replied that they learned the Buddha doctrine so as to live in righteousness and to obtain merits in the present and also in the next life.
(4) While in the C, the monk Yeh-ho-Io merely replied in the affirmative, when King Mi-lan asked whether there were laymen who could live in righteousness and obtain merits in the present and in future lives; in the P, Ayupàla added to his affirmative answer five instances to support his reply: when the Buddha delivered the Dhammacakkapavattanasutta, the Màhasamayasuttanta, the Mahàmangalasutta, the Samacittapariyàyasuttanta and the Ràhulovàdasuttan-ta, 18 kotis of Brahmàgods and other deities who were not monks attained the penetration of truth (Dhammàbhisamaya).
(5) In the C, King Mi-lan simply said that Yeh-ho-Io had given up his worldly life in vain and Yeh-ho-Io could not answer the king; in the P, King Milinda added a long passage in which he pointed out that the present practice of the 13 dhutangas by the monks was not moral practice (sìla), was not ascetism, was not purity of life but rather a kind of punishment for their misdeeds in the past and to this long invective, Ayupàla kept silent.
(6) The C adds a sentence in which the ministers declared the king winner and Ven. Yeh-ho-Io accepted his defeat. The P also adds a passage in which King Milinda deelared Jambudìpa to be empty of recluses and bràhmanas able to discuss with him and solve his doubts.
(F) Meeting between Nàgasena and Milinda:
(C: 53b. 11-20; 54a, 1-2): (P: 21,12-21;22;23;24)
1. Nàgasena's learning and qualities:
The C refers to Na-hsien as the teacher of monks, the knower of the essence of the Dharma, clever in explaining the twelve divisions of the Scriptures, expert in making out chapters and sentences, the knower of the Path to Nirvàna, unchallenged, unconquered, the dispeller of doubts (K.E. not available), with wisdom like the ocean, the tamer of the 96 heretical doctrines, well respected by four categories of disciples of the Buddha (K.E.: simply disciples of the Buddha), a place of refuge and an object of respect for the wise men (K.E. not available), the teacher of the Dharma. Again Na-hsien is referred to as a fierce lion, with subtle wisdom, with clear understanding of the abstruse points in the sacred lore, able to remove doubts.
All the above details count nothing if we compare them with the corresponding ones of the P version which sails itself in a long eulogy of Nàgasena's qualities far outstripping the C texts in rich metaphors and romantic settings. Thus Nàgasena was described as Sàgaro viya akkhobbho (unshakable like the sea), giriràjà viya niccalo (imperturbable like the king of mountain) etc...dhàrento dhammapajjotam (the upholder of the torch of Dhamma)........ pagganhàpento dhammad-dhajam (holding aloof the banner of Dhamma), uppalàsento dhammasankham (blowing the conch of Dhamma), àhananto dhammabherim (beating the drum of Dhamma). Among the details in the P version, the following points are interesting. The P mentions Nàgasena as Tepitako, master of the three baskets, thus including the Abhidhamma in the Canon. It refers also to navangasatthusàsana pariyattidharo, thus opting for the nine divisions of the Scriptures instead of the twelve divisions mentioned in the C. The number of monks following Nàgasena in the P text mounts up to 80.000 which strikes a rather exaggerated note, while the C text simply mentions the followers of Na-hsien.
2. Meeting between Nàgasena and King Milinda:
(a) In the P version, when King Milinda heard his attendants mention Nàgasena's name, he suddenly felt afraid and was also frightened when he was in the presence of Nàgasena with a foreboding of approaching defeat. The C omits the first passage in which King Milinda became afraid at the mere name of Nàgasena (K.E. adds Chan-mi-li-wang-ch'un saying that Na-hsien was able to discuss the Dharma with Brahma-deities of the 7th heaven, what to speak of the king of human beings).
(b) In the P version, the king himself, after having sent a messenger, came with 500 Yonakas to pay a visit to Nàgasena, while in the C version, King Mi-lan sent an invitation to Na-hsien to come to the palace and see him and Na-hsien accepted the invitation and came himself with a retinue.
(c) Both versions mention King Milinda's fear when brought into the presence of Nàgasena, but the P adds a passage in which the author resorts to a long series of similes to describe the king's fear such as an elephant surrounded by rhinoceroses, a serpent surrounded by garulas etc.
(d) In the P, King Milinda himself detected Nàgasena sitting in the middle of the Sangha and rejoiced to have recognised Nàgasena without any help; in the C, it was the king who asked the minister: "Who was Na-hsien?", and when the minister pointed out Na-hsien to him, King Mi-lan said that what he guessed was right.
(e) The P adds two gàthas, the first of which is a eulogy of Nàgasena's qualities, and the second mentions Milinda's foreboding when he came into Nàgasena's presence.
LAKKHANA PAÑHA: QUESTIONS ABOUT CHARACTERISTICS
1. Questions about a name:
(a) (C: 54a.2)
The C version starts first with Na-hsien Preaching the Dharma to King Mi-lan, without the latter asking him. He preached thus: "The Buddha's doctrine proclaims that men's good health is the highest benefit, men's contentment is the greatest wealth, men's faith is the highest blessing (Hou) and Nirvàna is the highest happiness." This passage is missing in the P.
(b) (C; 54a.2-4).
The king then asked Na-hsien: "What is your name?" Na h-sien replied: "My parents gave me the name Na-hsien and called me Na-hsien. Sometimes they called me Wei-hsien, sometimes they called me Shou-lo-hsien (K.E-: Shou-na-hsien), sometimes they called me Wei-chia-hsien. Due to that, people came to recognise me. People in the world have names only."
(P:25, 1-27; 26, 1-3):
The P is with more details. It adds that Nàgasena also referred to his Brahma-farers calling him by the name Nàgasena. The C speaks of four names given by his parents, Na-hsien, Wei-sien, Shou-lo-hsien, Wei-chia-hsien. The P also quotes four names: Nàgasena, Sùrasena. Virasena, Sìhasena.
While the C refers simply: "Due to that, people came to recognise me. People in the world have names only," in the P, Nàgasena referred to his names as mere conventional terms, mere names without any individuality therein: "sankhà samannà pannatti vohàro nàmamattam...na h'ettha puggalo upalabbhati"
And the P adds a long passage in which Milinda called the Yonakas and the monks to witness this declaration of Nàgasena and he asked Nàgasena a series of questions to prove the falsity of Nàgasena's declaration, such as: if there was no individuality, then who gave the four requisites to the monks, who enjoyed them, who observed the precepts? etc....
(c) (C: 54a, 4-10):
King Mi-lan then asked Na-hsien a series of questions to which the latter replied in the negative such as: " Is the head Na-hsien?", "Are the eyes Na-hsien?" The matters referred to are in the following order: "Head, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, neck (K.E.adds I: chin), shoulder, arms, feet, hands, buttocks, legs, complexion, painful feelings, meritorious,demeritorious body, liver, lungs, heart, spleen, arteries, intestines, the coming together of material forms, painful and pleasant feelings, meritorious, demeritorious body and mind, the non-coming together of material forms, sound, echo, cough, breath. In all there are 30 matters.
(P: 26, 5-24):
The matters referred to are not the same and not in the same order, They are as follows: hairs, hairs of the body, nails, teeth, skin, flesh, sinews, bones, marrow, kidney, heart, liver, diaphragm, spleen,lungs, intestines, mesentery, stomach, excrements, bile, phlegm, pus, blood, sweat, fat, tears, skin-grease, saliva, nasal mucus, oil of the joints, urine, brains, material form, feelings, perception, mental tendencies, consciousness, all the five aggregates together, others than the five aggregates. Here in the P, King Milinda accused Nàgasena of speaking falsehood as he saw Nàgasena in flesh before him, but the monk spoke of Nàgasena as merely a name.
(d) (C: 54a, 10-16):
Then Na-hsien asked King Mi-lan what the carriage was, while referring to many parts in a carriage such as axle, felloe, spokes, hub, shaft, yoke, bottom of a carriage, pole, roof, the putting together of wood, the non-putting together of wood, sounds, noise. (K.E.: Axle, hub, spokes, felloe, shaft, yoke, bottom of a carriage, roof, the putting together of wood, sounds.) To all these questions King Mi-lan replied in the negative.
Then Na-hsien asked: "What is the chariot?" To such a question, King Mi-lan kept silent. Then Na-hsien said: "The Buddhasùtra said that with the coming together of wood, with the necessity of making a carriage, people obtain a carriage. A man is the same. With the coming together of head.....up to...meritorious, demeritorious body, mind, it comes to be known as a man." The king said: "Very good, very good".
(P: 26, 25-32; 27; 28, 1-12):
Here again the P offers more details. It adds a long passage in which Nàgasena referred to the delicate upbringing of the king and of his coming in a carriage. Then Nàgasena asked what a carriage was. The matters referred to here are in the following order: Pole, axle, wheels, framework, shafts, yokes rope, goad, the putting together of these parts, things outside these parts of the carriage.
Here the P adds another long passage in which Nàgasena now accused King Milinda of speaking a falsehood as the king said that he came in a carriage, whereas Nàgasena found that a carriage was merely a name. He called upon the Yonakas and the monks to bear witness to the king's declaration. And the Yonakas shouted their approval and challenged the king to come out of this impasse. Then the king denied having spoken an untruth. Due to the coming together of these different parts of a carriage, the conventional term "carriage" was used.
Then Nàgasena approved of the king's answer and said that it was due to the coming together of 32 organic matters and of the five aggregates that the conventional appellation "Nàgasena" was used. Then he quoted sister Vajirà's gàthà to prove his explanation, Here also King Milinda praised Nàgasena's reply as wonderful and marvellous, saying that he had solved the most puzzling question and would elicit the Buddha's approval were the Buddha alive.
2. Seven years of ordination:
The passage in which King Milinda asked Nàgasena about his years of seniority is missing in the Chinese text.
3. Ways of discussion:
(C: 54a, 16-20; 54b, 1-2) = (P: 28, 28-33;29,1-15)
Almost the same, with the following slight differences.
C: Wise men speak words of contention, words of explanation, words that are high, words that are low, words that bring in victory, words that bring about defeat, right words, wrong words. Wise men know what is right, what is wrong; that is the highest
wisdom. Wise men do not become angry. Thus do wise men discuss = P: Here the P refers to àvethanan (explanation, winding up), nibbethanam (unravelling), niggaho (censure), patikammam (redress), viseso (distinction), pativiseso (sub-discrimination) and says that wise men are not angy during the discussion. As to the discussion of a king, it is almost the same in both versions. (K.E. 45b, 10-15, adds another way of discussion, that of a foolish man who does not know words that are correct, words that are incorrect, and tries to win over by inconsiderate compulsion.)
Again the C adds two more sentences to the verbal dual between the king and Nàgasena. The P stops with these words. "Kim pana Bhante tayà vissajjitanti?" (What have you answered?) "Kim pana mahàràja tayà pucchitanti" (What have you asked, O King?) the C adds two more sentences: "The king said: "I asked nothing", Na-hsien replied: "I replied nothing."
4. Invitation to come again for discussion:
(C: 54b,2-9)=(P: 29,16-32; 30,1-16)
Almost the same in both versions with the following differences:
(a) The C mentions Chan-mi-li-wang-ch'un and other attending ministers=P: Devamantiyo ca Anantakàyo ca Mankuro ca Sabbadinno ca.
(b) In the C version, King Mi-lan became angry and threatened to punish the minister called the Stingy One (P: Sabbadinna), when the latter insisted on Na-hsien coming accompanied by ten monks only while in the P, Sabbadinna was simply rebuked and silenced by the king.
(c) Both versions mention that the king departed on horse back, while muttering the name of Nàgasena The C adds that the king thought of Na-hsien up to the next morning.
5. Talk between Anantakàya and Nàgasena:
(C: 54, 9-17)=(P: 30,17-31; 31,1-11)
Almost the same. The C mentions that Na-hsien accompanied by 80 monks including Yeh-ho-Lo, while the P refers up to 80.000 monks and omits Ayupàla. In the C, it was Chan-mi-li-wang-ch'un who came alone to Na-hsien and asked Na-hsien some questions, while the P mentions the coming of Devamantiya. Anantakàya and Mankura, and it was Anantakàya who asked question.
The conversation between Nàgasena and Ananta-kàya is almost the same with the following difference:
(a) C: A man who blows a reed whistle, a man who blows a goldsmith pipe, a man who blows a horn =P: Vamsadhamaka, Singadhamaka. (K.E. refers to only two cases and omits a person who blows a horn).
(b) In the P, Anantakàya confessed his inability to converse with such a mighty arguer, in the C, Chan-mi-li-wang-ch'un said that he did not know the interval between breathing in and breathing out and requested Na-hsien to reply.
(c) In the P, Nàgasena explained that there was no Jìva (principle of life) and that breathing in and out are kàyasankhàra (activities of the body); in the C, Na-hsien explained that breathing in and breathing out were functions of the body, speaking was a function of the tongue, and doubt in the mind was a function of the mind, each had its own master; but if one analysed and looked at them, it was only empty space, there was no Na-hsien.
(d) The P mentions that Nàgasena referred to Abhidhamma to explain to Anantakàya with such an effect that the latter became a lay-disciple; in the C, there is no mention of Abhidharma, Chan-mi-li-wang-ch'un understood Na-hsien's explanation, accepted the five precepts and became a lay-disciple.
6. Another meeting between Nàgasena and King Milinda:
(C: 54b, 17-20; 55a,1) = (P: 31, 12-26)
King Milinda's reception to Nàgasena is almost the same in both versions, except that in the C, King Mi-lan paid homage to Na-hsien and after their meal, offered to each monk a robe with a pair of sandals and to Na-hsien and Yeh-ho-lo a set of three robes and a pair of sandals. And when only ten monks remained behind with Na-hsien, King Mi-lan ordered his lady-folk to sit behind a curtain and witness the conversation. The P omits the offering of sandals, the presence of Ayupàla and that of lady-folk. It adds that King Milinda took a lower seat and sat down.
7. Aim of adopting a religious life:
(C: 55a, I-6)=(P: 31, 27-32, I-II)
Milinda's question is almost the same in both versions, except that the C puts the highest aim of religious life first, while the P puts it after. Nàgasena's answer is not exactly the same.
C: "We want to eradicate suffering of the present world and do not want suffering of the next world. For this purpose, we adopt the religious life. We consider it to be the highest good".
=P: Our adoption of a religious life is to eradicate this suffering and to prevent other suffering to arise. Our supermundane aim is the Parinibbàna without clinging."
Among the categories of monks who go forth, the P adds one extra, those who go forth for fear of robbers.
C: Those who go forth for fear of officials.
=P: Those who go forth for fear of kings.
C: Those who go forth because of poverty.
=P: Those who go forth for the sake of livelihood.
C: There are those who really want to eradicate suffering of the present life and of the next life, so they go forth
=P: Those who go forth rightly are those who go forth for the only purpose (of eradicating this suffering and preventing further suffering to arise.) The rest is almost the same, except that the wording is slightly different.
(8) About rebirth:
(C: 55a, 6-10)=(p: 32, 12-32; 33. 1-10)
Here the C uses one paragraph, while the P uses three paragraphs with Milinda's praise: "Kallo si Bhante Nàgasenàti" separating them. Both versions are almost the same. With the following differences:
C: "People who have craving and longing for sense-desires are to be reborn in the next life, those who have no craving, no longing for sense-desires are not to be reborn in the next life"
=P:"He who is with depravity (sankileso) will be reborn, he who is without depravity (nikkileso) will not be reborn."
Here the P adds that when questioned by the king if he were to be reborn or not, Nàgasena replied that if he were with clinging, he would be reborn; if he were without clinging, he would not be reborn. Both versions agree that it is on account of three factors that one was not to be reborn.
While wisdom and other good qualities are the same, the C mentions: "Thinking of the right dharma with one-mindedness," While the P prefers Yoniso manasikàro for the first factor. The difference between Pannà and Yoniso manasikàra is clearly stated in the P, that sheep, goats, oxen, buffaloes, camels, asses have right consideration but not Pannà, but the C states that oxen, horses, the six domestic anomals have wisdom but their heart (or mind) is diferent.
In the P, Uhana (examination) is considered to be the characteristic of right consideration and chedana as the characteristic of wisdom. Here Nàgasena quoted the simile of wheat reapers (yavalàvakà), who with their left hand took hold of the wheat, and with sickle in their right hand cut the wheat, to illustrate that the recluse by right consideration took hold of the mind and by wisdom cut off his depravities.
But the C, while quoting the same simile, mentions simply that men endowed with wisdom, eradicate craving and sense-desire just like the wheat-reapers. Here the P is far clearer than the C.
(9) Other good qualities:
(C: 55a, 10-20; 55b. I)=(P: 33, II-14; 34, 26-30; 35; 36, I-18)
(a) Other six qualities: C: Faith, filial piety, exertion, thinking of good, one-mindedness, wisdom
=P (Only five): Morality, faith, exertion, concentration, wisdom.
(b) Faith: Almost the same with the following differences: The P omits the definition of faith, as described in the following terms in the C text: "Faith means without doubts. Faith in the existence of the Buddha, the Buddha-dharma and of the Order of monks; faith in the existence of Arahants, in the existence of the present world, of the next world; faith in the existence of filial piety towards parents; faith in good remuneration from good actions, in bad remuneration from bad actions."
While the P mentions the characteristic of faith as sampasàdanà (tranquillizing, serenity) and sampakkhandanà (aspiration, emulation) the C mentions simply: "When one obtains faith, the mind becomes pure and the five bad qualities are eradicated.
C: Five bad qualities =P: Nìvaranàni.
C: "If these five bad qualities are removed, then the mind is pure."
=P: "When faith arises, the hindrances are eradicated. The mind, free from hindrances, becomes clear, purified, unstained". The simile of the purifying gem is almost the same except that the P offers more details.
C: "Water-purifying gem (or) gem clear like a brilliant moon"=P: "Udakappasàdako mani".
The five bad qualities mentioned by the C are: lust, anger, sloth and torpor (K.E.: proness to lying down), sport and enjoyment (K.E.: Songs and enjoyment), doubt, while the P mentions simply Nìvaranàni.
As to the second characteristic of faith, the C puts it into another paragraph while the P combines the two characteristics into one. Here both versions are almost the same.
C: 'Faith as exertion or endeavour'
= P: "Sampakkhandanalakkhanà."
The simile is almost the same but the quotation is rather different.
C: "He whose heart has faith can save himself. People of the world can check and overcome the five sense-desires by themselves. He who knows that body is suffering can save himself. People with the help of windom achieve their morality" (1)
=P: "With faith he crosses the ocean; by vigilance, the ocean of life; by exertion, he gets over suffering; by wisdom, he purifies (himself)."
(c) C: Filial piety = P: Sìla:
(C: 55b. 1-13) = (P: 33, 14-32; 34, 1-25)
The C translation of Filial piety is rather misleading, although the definition in both versions is almost the same. The C mentions the 37 qualities (leading) to Bodhi and follows the usual order, while the P mentions: indriya-bala-bojjhanga-magga-satipatthàna-sammappadhàna-iddhipàda-jhàna- vimo-kkha-samàpatti. Here the C is more with details as it gives the definition of all the 37 qualities, which makes an interesting study when compared with the usual P definition.
(i) The four resting places of the mind:
C: (Ssu-i-chih): with sati translated as I and upatthàna as chih (meaning to rest). The later translators prefer Ssu-nien-ch'u which interprets upatthàna as place. The four are: Kuan-shen-shen chih (not shen-shen-kuan-chih as in the text): Resting of the mind on the body with the consideration of the body
(K.E.: Contemplation of one's own body, outwardly and inwardly);
Kuan-t'ung-yang-t'ung-yang-chih: Resting of the mind on pain and itching with the consideration of pain and itching
=P: Vedanà-nupassanà satipatthànam
(K.E.: Knowledge of the mind being pleasant or unpleasant)
Kuan-i-i-chih: Resting (of the mind) on mind with the consideration of the mind:
=P: Cittànupassanà satipatthànam(K.E.:knowle-dge of the heart being meritorious or demeritorious);
Kuan-fa-fa-chih: Resting of the mind on dharmas with the consideration of dharmas:
=P: Dhammànupassanà satipatthànam (K.E.: Knowledge of the right dharma). Thus the K.E. definitions are closer to the P ones.
(ii) C: Ssu-i-tuan = P: Cattàro Sammappadhànà.
The C refers to the four eradications of the mind, while the usual P is Sammappadhàna (the four right exertions). Here the C translator interpreted padhàna as pahàna. The later translators opted for the term Ssu-cheng-chin (the four right exertions). The definiti-on here is rather curious: " The Buddha said: Having analysed the four resting places of the mind, one would not think any further, this is called the four eradications of the mind". Thus it is far different from the usual P definitions.
(K.E. mentions simply four things which are as follows: Check on one's own mind, prevention of bad dharmas from entering the heart; removal of bad dharmas from the heart; prevention of good dharmas in the heart from vanishing away. Here the K. E. is closer to the P version.)
(iii) C: The four psychic powers =P: Cattàro iddhipàdà
C: Here the C refers to four of the five Abhinnà. "The eyes can see everything, the ears can hear everything; knowledge of others'mind; the body can fly." The C here is totally different with the usual P chandiddhipàdo, cittiddhipàdo, viriyiddhipàdo, vìmansiddhipàdo.
(K. E.: "Again there are four things which one can perform as one likes: wish, exertion, check of the heart, reflection." Thus the K.E. definitions are nearer to the P definitions)
(iv) C: The five faculties=P: Pancindriyàni
C: "The eyes see good material shapes, bad material shapes, but there is no attachment of the mind to them; the ears hear good sounds, bad, abusive sounds, but there is no attachment of the mind to them; the nose smells good odours, bad odours, but there is no attachment of the mind to them; the mouth receives delicious tastes, bitter tastes, astringent tastes, but there is no attachment of the mind to them; when the body receives harsh, rough touches, there is no dislike." Thus here the C interpretation is totally different from the usual P explanation: saddhindr-iyam, viriyindriyam, satindriyam, samàdhi-ndriyam, pannindriyam.
(K.E. explanation is as follows: faith, filial piety, exertion, wholeheartedly thinking of good, wisdom. Thus it is nearer to the P.)
(v) C: The five powers: P: Pancabalàni:
C: "Control of the eyes, control of the ears, control of the nose, control of the mouth, control of the body so that the mind does not fall (in the wrong way). (K.E. not available). Thus the C interpretation is totally different from the usual P interpretations: Saddhàbal-am. viriyabalam, satibalam, samàdhibalam, pannàbalam.
(vi) C: Ch'i-chueh-i=P: Sattabojjhangàni
Here the C uses the expression I (mind) for anga. The later translators preferred Ch'i-chueh-chih which renders the exact meaning of the expression. C: Mind, discrimination, exertion, joy, serenity concentration, protection. Here the C uses I (mind) for mindfulness (sati), Kho for pìti, I (serenity) for passaddhi, Hu (Protection) for upekkhà. The later translators prefe-rred Hsi for pìti and ching-an for passaddhi and Ch'e for upekkhà.
(K.E. Again there are seven things which eradicate bad dharmas and are called the seven good dharmas or the seven factors of wisdom).
(vii) C: The Eight-fold Path = P: Atthangiko Maggo
C: Straight view, straight thought, straight speech, straight livelihood, straight action, straight means, straight mind, straight concentration. Thus we remark here the C uses the term straight for the P sammà; the later translators preferred the term straight for the P Sammà; the later translators preferred the term Cheng which means right. Here the C uses the term Nien (Thought) for the P sankappo; the term Chih livelihood.) for the P àjìvo; the term Fang-pien (means) for the P vàyàmo; the term I (mind) for the term sati. The later translators opted for ssu-wei (Sankappo), ming (àjìvo), Ching-chin (Vàyàmo) and nien (Sati).
(K.E. The Eight fold path which is also called A-kou?)
Both versions resort to four similes to illustrate that good qualities depend upon Sìla or morality as foundation. They are not exactly in the same order and the explanations are almost the same with the P offering more details.
C 1=P 2; C 2=P I; C 3=P 3; C 4=P 4.
Thus in C 3=P 3, the C mentions simply that if an architect wants to build a big town, first he should measure and lay the foundation then he will be able to build the town. But the P mentions more details, such as clearing the place where the town is located, the removal of all stumps and thorns, the levelling of the earth, then the laying out of streets, squares, cross-roads, etc and so he build the city.
The C concludes this passage with Na-hsien saying that if one thinks of the Dharma with one-mindedness, lust and craving would cease by themselves. The P here quotes two gàthàs, the first is the same with the introductory gàthà of Visuddhimag-ga and both gàthas emphasize that Sìla should be the basis for all spiritual developments and attainments.
(C: 55b, 13-17)=(P: 36, 19-41; 37, 1-4)
Almost the same.
C: "To hold fast to good qualities, to support good qualities". (K.E. Only to support good qualities)
=P: "With the support of exertion, all good qualities do not vanish away". In the first simile, the P speaks of a falling house, the C adds one more instance, that of a wall on the verge of collapsing.
The second simile is almost the same in both versions, except that the C adds that people with bad qualities are like the weak army. When people use good qualities to destroy bad qualities, it is like the king who sends reinforcements to the weak army. With the help of five good qualities, one destroys the five bad qualities, just as the reinforced army wins over the battle.
In the C, Na-hsien concluded this paragraph by saying that exertion helped people attain the meritorious path, and go beyond the worldly path without falling back again; the P quotes a saying of the Blessed One, explaining that the noble disciple with the help of exertion eradicates evil, cultivates good qualities, eradicates what is faulty, cultivates what is not censurable and thus purifying himself.
(e) C: Mindfulness=P: Sati
(C: 55b, 17-20; 56a. 1-2)=(P: 37, 5-34; 38, 1-17)
Here the C uses the term I (Mind) to translate the term Sati. C: "Mind thinks of demeritorious dharma =P: "Sati apilàpanalakkhanà."
Here the C explains that the trainee in the Dharma should be mindful of the 37 qualities leading to enlightenment. With his mindfulness, he knows the meritorious and the demeritorious, what should be practised, what should not be practised; he distinguishes between the black ones and the white ones. Having pondered over he then gives up the demeritorious and cultivates the meritorious. The P explanation is almost the same and it adds more good dhammas such as samatho, vipassanà, vijjà, vimutti.
As for similes, the C adds an extra one about a man who uses a thread to string various flowers together and thus they are not scattered by the wind.
The simile of a treasurer of a universal monarch is almost the same in both versions, except that the C simile omits the enumeration of elephants, horses, chariots, infantry, adds gem, jade, glassy matters, precious stones. In the second explanation, the C mentions that mindfulness helps to allow in only meritorious dharmas and to keep out demeritorious dharmas.
Here the P mentions upaganhana as the second characteristic of Sati in the sense that Sati helps to select out the qualities which are beneficial from those which are not beneficial, the good qualities from tha bad ones. The simile is almost the same in both versions. The C adds a quotation from a sùtra by Na-hsien as follows: "One should protect and check one's mind and the six cravings in one's own body (?). With the strict check and holding fast of the mind, one can transcend the world", while the P mentions that Sati is useful to all.
(f) C: Concentration=P: Samàdhi
(C: 56a, 2-5)=(P: 38, 18-32; 39, 1-4)
Almost the same in both versions. Except some epithets more or less. In the C, the concluding sentence is a quotation from the Scriptures as follows: "One-mindedness is the foundation of all good qualities. The trainee in the Dharma should first take refuge in one-mindedness. The man's body is subject to birth and death so many times in the past, just like the water flowing down the current, always in constant succession, without interruption." The P quotes the Blessed One saying: "O monks, you should cultivate concentration; he who is concentrated knows things as they really are."
(g) C: Wisdom=P: Pannà
(C: 56a, 5-8)=(P: 39, 5-21)
Almost the same in both versions. C: "To lighten the meritorious dharmas"=P: Obhàsanalakkhanà.Here the P adds that wisdom makes the four noble truths clearer and helps the yogàvacara realise the three characteristics of impermanence, suffering and no-self, while the C simply refers that the man endowed with wisdom is able to transcend the suffering of birth and death. Here the C adds another simile of a man cutting down the trees with a knife to show that wisdom is like a sharp knife cutting down demetorious dharmas. The other similes are almost the same.
(h) The meritorious dharmas
(C: 56a, 8-10)=(P: 39, 22-32)
Almost the same. In this passage, Nàgasena shows that although meritorious dhammas are different, they serve the same purpose of eradicating the demeritorious dhammas. The simile is almost the same. At the end of Mi-lan's praise, the C adds the king saying that Na-hsien quoted the Scriptures very readily.
LAKKHANA PAÑHA: QUESTIONS ABOUT CHARACTERISTICS
(1) The person who is reborn, does he remain the same or become another?
(C: 56a, 10-20; 56b, I) (P: 40; 41, 1-10)
The explanation is almost the same in both versions, but the expressions used and the details contained therein are not exactly the same. C: "When a man dies and is reborn in a meritorious or in a demeritorious realm, the spirit of the body who is reborn, does it remain the same as the old one or not remain the same?" =P: "He who is reborn does he remain the same or become another?"
Here the C uses the expression: "The spirit of the body."
Nàgasena asked the king whether the latter was the same or another when he was a baby and now he grew up, the latter replied that he and the child were different.
Then Nàgasena objected that if it were so, then the King had no mother, no father, no teacher, no learning, no morality, no wisdom. The C is the same but it omits the objection raised by Nàgasena.
The next question is rather different in both versions. C: Na-hsien asked "When a man is in the womb of the mother, the embryo which is just formed and the embryo which become turbid, and when it assumed skin and flesh; when he is newly born and when he is some years old, is the old embryo the same throughout? When a man learns a book, can another man do that work for him?" The king replied that another man could not do the work for him.
Again Na-hsien asked: "If a man infringes the law and is punished, can a non-guilty one replace him?" The king replied: "This cannot be." In the P, Nàgasena asked: "Is the mother of the embryo in abbuda...pesi....ghana stages... Is the mother of a child of some years old different from the mother of a grown-up person? Is the person in the training stage different from the person who has finished his training? Is the person who is an evil doer different from the person who has his hands and feet cut off? And the king replied: "Certainly not."
The simile of a lamp burning throughout the night and of the milk turning simultaneously into curd, butter, ghee are almost the same in both versions. with some differences in details and expressions.
But the summing up passage offers an interesti-ng reading in both the C and the P text. C: "The spirit of a man goes on continuously like this, one goes away, one comes into being. From one spirit, one is born, becomes old and dies. From the last spirit, one is reborn again to a new life and goes on continuously, thus it is not the same with the old spirit nor it is different from the old spirit. After death the spirit would go to be reborn again."
The P is rather simpler: "Thus, O King, the continuity of states is maintained, one comes into existence and another passes away, the continuity seems to be neither earlier nor later. Thus, it is neither the same nor the other, but the being goes together with the last consciousness.
"Evam eva kho mahàràja dhammasantati, sandahati, anno uppajjati anno nirujjhati, apubbam acarimam viya sandahati, tena na ca so na ca anno pacchimavinnànasangaham gacchatìti."
(2) The person who is free from rebith, is he aware of this?
(C:56b, 1-5)=(P: 41, 11-28)
There is not much difference between the two versions, except the following: C: "When he knows by himself that there is no craving no sense-desire, no use of bad qualities, then he knows that he will not be reborn"
=P: "With the cessation of cause (hetu) and condition (paccaya), he knows that he will not be reborn."
The simile is almost the same, with the P offering more details. While the P adopts the same concluding passage, the C offers a slightly different reading. "The man who obtains the Path is the same. When he knows by himself that he has already eradicated craving pleasant and painful feelings, with a mind devoid of desire, then he knows that he will not be reborn."
(3) Intelligence and wisdom.
(C: 56a, 5-20)=(P: 41, 29-31; 42, 1-18)
The subject-matter is the same, but there are many different details between the two versions. The P begins with a question put by the king as to a man who had intelligence, if he also possessed wisdom and to the positive reply of Nàgasena, the king asked if both were the same and Nàgasena replied also in the positive.
The C starts with a question not available in the P: "The man who is not to be reborn again, does he possess wisdom which is different from (other) people?" And Na-hsien replied: "Yes".
The next two questions are similar to the P ones. While the C simply mentions that what he did not learn before was beyond his understanding, the P adds two more that is: Agatapubbadisàya and assutapubbanàmapannattiya (places not yet visited and names and expressions not yet heard).
While the P mentions the three characteristics anicca, dukkha and anatta (impermanence, suffering and no-self) which are realized by those who possess wisdom, the C text presents a slightly different reading: "The man endowed with wisdom sees that people and things are always gone to the past (anicca) returm to emptiness (sunnata) and not independent (anatta); what the man's heart craves for and delights in are the source of all suffering and are leading to suffering. The man endowed with wisdom knows the impermanence, the rise and the fall of all matters."
As to the passage in which Nàgasena showed to King Milinda that wisdom having done its work would disappear while the work (that is understanding of the three characteristics of impermance, suffering and no-self) would remain, both versions are almost the same. The simile of a letter written at night, of the five pots to put out the five, of the doctor using five kinds of medicine, of the warrior using five arrows is almost the same with some details more or less.
One difference here is to be noted.
The five good qualities mentioned are not exactly the same.
C: (i) Faith in goodness and in the existence of evil (?), (ii) not infringing the precepts, (iii) energy, (iv) endowed with wisdom, mindful of good, (v) one-mindedness in reflecting on the Dharma.
=P: Saddhindriyam, viriyindriyam, satindriyam, samàdhindriyam, pannindriyam.
(K. E. Only the 1st portion is available. Its last portion refers to something else, which is not relevant to the passage in question).
4. Feeling suffered by the emancipated one:
(C: 56b, 20; 57a, 1-4) (P: 44, 19-34; 45, 1-7)
Almost the same, with these two differences:
C: "He is liable to suffer bodily pain because the view on body still exists; he is not liable to mental pain, because the mind has got rid of demeritorious dharmas, without any desire".
=P. "He is liable to suffer bodily pain because the cause and the condition of bodily pain still exist; he is not liable to suffer mental pain because the cause and the condition of mental pain do not exist. The Blessed One has said: "He feels only one kind of feeling, bodoly feeling, not mental feeling."
The rest is almost the same, but the C text seems to have missed one line with these questions from the king in succession. Sàriputta's gàthà is not exactly the same in both versions.
C: "I do not seek for death, I do not seek for birth. I only bide my time; when my time comes, I shall go" (Not exactly in gàthà form).
P: "Neither death nor life I welcome. I bide my time, aware and mindful". (K.E. not available).
5. Different kinds of feelings
(C: 57a, 9-19; 57b, 1-10)=(P: 45, 8-30; 46, 1-40)
Not exactly the same in both versions. In the P, the king asked if a pleasant feeling was good, or evil or neutral, and Nàgasena replied that it might be any one of these three, then the king refuted that if these dhammas were good, they could not be painful; and if they were painful they could not be good, the good dhammas could not be painful.
The C is different and not so clear. The king asked if a man is unhappy, is it kusala or akusala? (The Buddha's reply is given in words which are not clear). The king said: "It is as if the conditioned dharmas have no suffering" (?).
The next passage in which Nàgasena used the simile of a man holding at the same time a hot iron ball and a lump of ice is almost the same in both versions.
But the passage in which Nàgasena explained various kind of feelings is different.
The P refers to the Abhidhamma classification of 108 kinds of feelings: Three kinds of pleasant, unpleasant and neutral feelings, each divided into six kinds of feelings connected with the world and six kinds of feelings connected with renunciation, then it comes to 36 feelings. These feelings are again
LAKKHANA PAÑHA: QUESTIONS ABOUT CHARACTERISTICS
(1) The root of the past, of the future, of the present:
(C: 58b, 3-8) = (P: 50. 10-22)
Both versions explain that ignorance is the root cause of the past, of the future and of the present, but while the P follows this explanation with the Law of Paticcasamuppàda along with the usual twelve nidànas from avijjà up to jarà-maranam-soka-parideva dukkha-domanass-upàyàsà, the C also adopts the same explanation but this chain of causation is not the same as that of the P.
The C order is as follows: (1) ignorance, (2) spirit (shen), (3) body, (4) name, (5) form, (6) the six knowledges, (7) their touch with their respective object, (8) knowledge of pain and happiness, (9) attachment, craving, (10) lust, desire, (11) becoming, (12) birth, (13) old age, (14) disease, (15) death, (16) lamentation, (17) grief, (18) inner despair.
If we put name and form together, old age, disease, death, lamentation, grief, inner despair together, it comes to the same number twelve as in P. The C soul for sankhàrà, body for vinnàna, six knowledges for salàyatana, lust and desire for upàdàna are rather forceful and testify that the Chinese translator was not yet fully conversant with the terms of the law and could not properly render them into Chinese. The later Chinese translators adopted the same terminology with the P text. (K. E. not available).
(2) Birth and death have no end.
(C: 58b, 8-19) = (P: 50, 23-27; 51, 1-24).
Almost the same in both versions. C: "Due to that, birth and death have no end the old former body cannot be obtained".
=P: "The ultimate point in the poast is not known." The three similes to illustrate this passage are almost the same in both versions. The P further quotes an explanation of the Buddha about the Law of Paticcasamuppàda, starting with the eyes: "Dependent on eyes and material forms, eye consciousness arise. The meeting of these three factors is touch. Dependent upon touch, arise feelings; dependent upon feelings arises craving; from craving arises action (kamma); from kamma, eyes arise; then the circle starts again. The C explanation is almost the same. But it adds: "From craving arise lust and desire; from lust and desire arises becoming; from becoming, arises birth; from birth there arise good activities and bad activities; from good and bad activities, birth arises." (In the same way, with the other àyatanas and their respective objects). (K. E. not available).
(3) The root cause of birth and death cannot be obtained:
(C: 58b, 19-20; 59a, 1-3) = (P: 51, 25-35; 52, 1-9)
Both versions are not the same. Some passages of the C text are rather obscure to understand as some lines are missing. The C explains that the root-cause of birth and death cannot be obtained and for mankind, craving and desire are the root cause of birth and death.
The P mentions that the ultimate point in the past can not be perceived, but some can be perceived. The point of the past before the start of the origin cannot be perceived. But the beginning of each link can be perceived. (K. E. not available).
(4) The positive and negative aspects of the Law of Dependent Origination.
(C: 59a, 3-10) = (P: 52, 10-27)
Almost the same in both versions except some differences in expressions. The C starts first with the coming together of the sense organs, their respective objects and their respective consciousnesses. From this coming together arise painful and pleasant feelings, which give rise to craving; from craving, attachment and desire arise; from attachment, from desire arise the aggregates of suffering which constitute a human being. Eyes, ears, mouth, body, soul (mind), consciousness, cause touch (?) to arise; from touch arise painful and pleasant feelings; from painful and pleasant feelings arises craving; from craving arise desire and attachment; from desire and attachment arises becoming; from becoming arise birth; from birth arise old age and disease, from disease arise death; from death arises grief, from grief arises lamentation; from lamentation arises pain in the heart. Human life is like that.
Then the C deals with this Law of Dependent Origination in the negative way, starting first with the non-existence of eyes, the non-seeing of material form, resulting in non-knowledge (or rather non- consciousness). Due to non-knowledge, there is non coming together; due to the non-coming together, there are no painful, no pleasant feelings; due to no-painful, no pleasant feelings, there is no craving; due to no-craving there is no desire, no attachment; due to no-desire, no attachment, there is no becoming; due to no-becoming, there is no birth, no old age; due to no birth, no old age, there is no sickness, no death; due to no sickness, no death, there is no grief, no lamentation; due to no grief, no lamentation, there is no suffering in the inner heart; due to no such suffering, one is emancipated and obtains Nirvàna. (The same is said of the other sense-organs).
(5) Everything is generated from some causes, not without causes:
(C: 59a, 10-15) = (P: 52, 28-32; 53; 54; 1-16)
Almost the same. While the P uses the term sankhàrà which come into being not without a gradual becoming (bhavanta), the C mentions in a general way that in the world, everything is generated from causes, not without causes; and as a summing up for each simile, the C mentions that due to the coming together of elements(dhàtus), a man comes into being.
As to the similes, the C mentions only six similes while the P adds another extra, about trees, which come into existence due to sowing seeds in the earth. The remaining six similes are of the same purport, but there are some slight differences as to the wording and the expressions.
C1 = P1:
C: "Wall, mud, soil come from earth"
= P: "This mud come from the earth". It adds: "With the exertion of women and men:.
P2 = C no. "Trees come into being owing to the sowing of seeds in the ground, and they grow up and yield fruits and flowers."
C: " A potter takes the earth, water, makes it into mud, shapes it into various forms and burns them"
= P: "A potter digs up the clay out of the earth and shapes it into various vessels."
C3 = P4:
C: "A lute without strings, without frame, without people playing cannot produce sound"
= P: "A lute without sling (patta), without leather, without belly (doni), without arm, without neck, without strings, without plectrum, without man's effort."
C4 = P5:
C: Without both sticks, without man's twirling"
=P: "Without lower piece of wood (arani), without twirling stick (aranìpotako), without twirling cord (araniyottakam), without upper piece of wood (uttaràrani) without tinder (colakam), without man's effort."
C5 = P6:
C: "Without holding a speculum, without sun, without sky".
=P: "Without gem, without heat, without cow-dung, fire cannot be produced."
C6 = P7:
C: "Without mirror, without light, if one wants to see one's own image."
=P: "Without mirror, without light, without face." (K. E. not available).
(6) Is there an individuality or a soul?
(C: 59a,19-20;59b,1-16)=(P; 54,17-64;55;56;57,1-3)
Almost the same, but the wording as well as the exposition is rather different. In the P, the king asked if there was a thing called Vedagù (soul) and Nàgasena asked what vedagù was. Then the king explained that vedagù was the living principle inside the body, which saw forms with the eyes, heard sounds with the ears, smelt odours with the nose, savoured tastes with the tongue, felt touches with the body and thought if things with the mind, just as they were sitting in the palace and looked out of any window,
Then Nàgasena asked if it was possible for the living principle in the body to see forms not only through the eyes, but through the other organs as well and the king replied in the negative. The same should be said of the other four sense-organs and the mind.
The C is rather different. It starts with the king's question if in the world there was what was called a man (not a soul) and Na-hsien replied in the negative and he asked the king what he meant by a man. And the king replied that the living principle in the body was called a man.
Then Na-hsien asked the king if that man in the body could use eyes to see material forms, use the mind to think, and the king replied in the positive. Then Na-hsien asked the king if it was possible for them to see anything they liked through the windows, now that they were sitting in the palace with windows open to four directions and the king replied in the positive.
Then Na-hsien asked the king if it was possible for the living principle in the body to use any kind of orifice to see material forms, such as the ears to see material forms, the nose to see material forms... and the king replied in the negative. The same should be said of the other four sense-organs and the mind.
C: "The king's speeches before and after did not agree to each other".
=P: "Ma kho te mahàràja yujjati purimena và pacchimam pacchimena và purimam (What you said later did not agree to what you had said before, what you had said before did not agree to what you said later".
The other three instances were used by Nàgasena to show that while the sense-organs in appropriate conditions could work far and wide, the living principle inside the body was limited by the powers of the sense-organs themselves. These instances are almost the same in both versions, except the following differences:
C: The treasurer or storekeeper = P: Dinna.
C: A big jar of wine =P: A trough full of honey.
But the conclusion of this passage is rather different. Here Nàgasena explained the non-existence of the soul with reference to the Abhidhamma exposition, that due to eyes and material forms, eye-consciousness arises and with the coming together of these three factors the following dhammas arise together: phasso, vedanà, sannà, cetanà, ekaggatà jìvitindriyam, manasikaro. The remaining sense-organs are dealt with in the same way.
The C explanation is rather different and curious. C: "Man, owing to the eyes, sees material forms. Then the soul craves for (soul here is in the sense of individual). Due to the soul shaking, there arise painful and pleasant feelings, thoughts, mindfulness which come up together. In the same way with the ears, the nose, the mouth, the body and the mind. Due to the mind and objects of the mind, the soul has craving. Due the soul craving, there arise painful and pleasant feelings. From painful and pleasant feelings arise thoughts, arises mindfulness and gradually up to the notion of impermanence. (K. E. not available).
(7) Eye-consciousness and mind-consciousness.
(C:59b, 16-20; 60a, 1-11) = (P: 57, 4-30; 58;59;60, 1-2)
In this passage, Nàgasena showed to the king that where eye-consciousness ( as well as other consciousnesses) arose, mind-consciousness also arose, and that the former arose first, the latter came next, but there was no order, no command, no intercourse between them; and such a phenomenon happened due to bending down, due to the existence of a door, due to habit and due to practice.
Then Nàgasena explained them with appropriate similes to the king. Both versions are almost the same, with the following differences:
C: Spirit (sheùn)=P: Manovinnànam.
C: Eye=P: Eye-consciousness.
C: Due to the track of the car.
=P: Cinnattà (travelled over, made a habit of).
C: By repetition (shu)=P: Samudàcaritattà.
In the third simile, while the P simply mentions that the second cart follows the first, the C says that the second cart follows the track left by the first.
In the fourth simile, both texts are not the same. While the P mentions that in matter of such crafts like muddà gananà sankhà lekhà, the beginner is rather slow and clumsy, but by dint of practice, he becomes an expert, the C is rather different. Here the term used is shu, meaning repetition and also counting, calculating; books, commentaries, learning are called repetition. And it proceeds to show that due to the coming together of all the six consciousnesses, there arises knowledge, but not due to one consciousness. (K. E. not available).
(C: 60a, 11-14) = (P: 60, 3-25)
Although the definition of contact is almost the same in both versions, yet there are some differences in expressions and details. While the P mentions that where mind-consciousness arises, there are also contact, feelings, perception, volition, initial thought, sustained thought, the C refers to the coming together of eye (consciousness), painful and pleasant feelings having contact as root.
The similes are the same in both versions. The first two similes about the two rams, the two hands clashing together are the same. In the third one, the C refers to two stones while the P mentions 2 cymbals (sammà). (K. E. not available).
(C: 60 a, 14-17) = (P: 60, 26-34; 61, 1-8)
The definition of feelings and the two similes of a man enjoying sense-pleasures due to some service to the King and of a man who enjoys heavenly pleasure due to his meritorious activities in the past life are the same in both versions with some slight differences as follows:
C: To feel oneself is happiness.
=P: Vedayitalakkhanà vedanà anubhavanà lakk-hanà ca ( Experiencing, Enjoying).
C: Sense-desires =P: Five kinds of sense-desires.
C: Past meritorious bodily actions, vocal actions and mental actions.
=P: Good actions in the past.
(K. E. not available).
(C: 60a, 17-18)=(P: 61, 9-18)
Slightly diferent. C: Chueh =P: Sannà.
C: To know is perception=P: Sanjànanalakkhana-sannà.
And the P adds: "He recognises blue colour, yellow, red colour, white colour, crimson colour". The simile of a treasurer who opens a king's treasure is almost the same except that the objects are different.
C: "Coin, gold, silver, gems, jade, silken fabrics, cotton, mixed scents, mixed colours".
=P: "Treasures of the king of blue-yellow-red-white-crimson colours". (K.E. not available).
(C: 60a, 18-20)=(P: 61, 19-32; 62, 1-7)
Almost the same, with some slight differences.
C: "Due to what one thinks, one acts".
=P: "Cetayitalakkhanà cetanà abhisan-kharana-lakkhanà càti".
Both similes about a man drinking poison and causes others to drink, about his bad actions and inducing others to perform bad actions are the same. But here the P adds two more similes, the case of a man who drinks ghee, butter, oil, honey, molasses and causes other to drink, and the case of a man who performs good actions and induces others to do the same. These two similes are missing in the C.(K.E. not available).
(12) Consciousness and initial thought
(P: 62, 8-28)
Here the P adds two passages dealing with the characteristic of consciousness and initial thought with appropriate similes. These two passages are not available in the C. (K. E. not available)
(13) Sustained thought
(C: 60a, 20; 60b, 1-2)=(P: 62, 29-31; 63, 1-3)
Slightly different. C: Inner move =P; Vitakka.
C: "When there is thought, then there is inner move".
=P "ANumajjanalakkhano vicàro (Investigation)". The simile is not exactly the same. The P refers to a copper vessel which is beaten (àkotitam),and produces a humming sound (anuravati); when it is beaten, it is initial thought; when it produces humming sound, it is sustained thought.
=C: "When the copper plate is put into fire by a man, there is sound; when he raises his hand (?) there is sound. Thus when there is thought, there is inner move."
Na-hsien said: "When it is burnt, there is vibration (perhaps vitakka), when it produces various sound, there is motion, practice (perhaps vicàra)". Here the C is not clear. (K. E. not available).
LAKKHANA PAÑHA: QUESTIONS ABOUT CHARACTERISTICS
1. No possibility of distinguishing the Dhammas:
(C: 60b, 2-6) = (P: 63, 5-25; 64, 1-10)
Almost the same. Here the Dhammas referred to are different.
C: Contact, knowledge, thought, mind, vibration (perhaps vitakka)
=P: Phasso, vedanà, sannà, cetanà, vinnànam, vitakko, vicàro.
The simile is also almost the same, with difference in ingredients used to make the soup.
C: soup = P: Yùsam, rasam.
C: Water, meat, onion, garlic, ginger, salt, glutinous rice
= P: Curd, salt ginger. Cummin seed (jìrakam),black pepper (maricam). The P adds also various tastes such as sourness, saltness, bitterness, pungency, astringency, sweetness. (K. E. not available).
2. Can salt be weighed?
(C: 60b, 6-10) = (P: 64, II-24)
The purport is the same, but the exposition is rather different.
The C text runs as follows: "The king again asked Na-hsien: "A man with eyes sees the taste of salt. Can he separately distinguish it?" Na-hsien said: "O King, do you know like that? Can you with the eyes, see and know the taste of salt?" The king said: "Can the eyes know the taste of salt?" Na-hsien said: "A man uses the tongue to know and distinguish the taste. Man with the tongue can know the taste of salt, but with the eyes cannot know the taste of salt." The king again asked:"Can a man with the tongue know the taste?" Na-hsien said: "A man with the tongue can know the taste". The king asked: "Is the taste of all salt to be known separately by the tongue?" Na-hsien replied: "The taste of all salt is to be known separately by the tongue." The king again asked Na-hsien: "There is salt brought by chariot, there is salt brought by cow, can the chariot and the cow know the taste of salt?" Na-hsien replied: "The chariot and the cow cannot know the taste of salt." The king asked Na-hsien: "Can the taste of salt be weighed?" Na-hsien replied: "O King, you only know how to weigh the taste of salt. The taste of salt cannot be weighed. But its weight can be weighed." The king said: "Very good, very good !"
The P is not the same in exposition. The P first begins with Nàgasena asking the king if the salt could be known by the eyes. And to the positive reply of the king, the Elder asked him to be careful. Next the king asked: "If all salt is known by the tongue, why does a chariot bring cartloads of salt? Is not salt (taste) only to be brought?" Then Nàgasena explained that it was not possible for the salt (taste) to be brought. Those dhammas were one as to their nature, but different as to their range (Gocàra). Besides salt had heaviness. And this weight could be measured, but the taste of salt could not be measured.
Here the P mentions the end of the questions asked by King Milinda to Nàgasena, while the C does not even adopt a new paragraph. (K.E. not available).
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last updated: 01-06-2005