SN 16.13 Saddhamma patiruupakam Sutta

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Saddhamma-pa.tiruupaka.m Sutta: False Dhamma

translated from the Pali by

Maurice O'Connell Walshe

[At Saavatthii Kassapa asked the Buddha:] "What is the reason, Lord, and depending on what conditions is it that formerly there were fewer precepts, yet more monks attained enlightenment?[1] What is the reason, Lord, and depending on what conditions is it that nowadays there are more precepts, and fewer monks attain enlightenment?"

"It is like this, Kassapa. When beings are in decline,[2] and the true Dhamma is waning, then there are more precepts and fewer monks attain enlightenment. But there is no disappearance of the true Dhamma, Kassapa, till a counterfeit Dhamma arises in the world; but when a counterfeit Dhamma arises, then there is a disappearance of the true Dhamma, just as there is no disappearing of gold so long as no counterfeit gold has arisen in the world...[3] The earth-element[4] does not make the true Dhamma disappear, the water-element... the fire-element... the air-element..., But right here[5] men of straw[6] appear, and it is they who bring about the disappearance of the true Dhamma. A ship, Kassapa, may sink all at once, but it is not thus that the true Dhamma disappears. There are five contributory[7] factors, Kassapa, which lead to the adulteration[8] and disappearance of the true Dhamma. Which five? It is when monks and nuns, male and female lay-followers behave disrespectfully and rebelliously towards the Teacher,... towards the Dhamma,... towards the Sangha,... towards the training,... towards meditation.[9]

"But when monks and nuns, male and female lay followers behave respectfully and deferentially towards the Dhamma,... towards the Sangha,... towards the training,... towards meditation, then these five things conduce to the maintenance, the purity and the preservation of the true Dhamma."

Notes

1. Aññaa: "highest knowledge, gnosis": the knowledge gained by Arahants.

2. Sattesu haayamaanesu "with the dwindling of [numbers of] beings." Mrs Rhys Davids has "when members [sic! = numbers?] decrease," with a note: "As in the case of physical cataclysms, such as the three cosmic "involutions"... discussed in Visuddhimagga 414f. [VM XIII, 28ff.]."

3. A Buddhist "Gresham's Law"?

4. The "four great elements" (mahaabhuutaa) cf. Vol. III, n. 232.

5. Here in the Sangha.

6. Worthless, empty men.

7. Okkamaniyaa dhammaa: "factors which enter in" (okkamati=avakamati). Mrs Rhys Davids has "lowering factors." The article on the verb okkamati in PED is thoroughly muddled and muddling.

8. Sammosaaya: "confusing, bewildering": from the same root as musaa- in musaavaadaa "wrong speech."

9. Samaadhi, here in the general sense of "meditation."