Chapter VII - ARAHANTA VAGGA - The Worthy
NOBLE IS HE WHO IS NOT CREDULOUS
Assaddho akatannu ca sandhicchedo ca yo naro
Hatavakaso vantaso sa ve uttama poriso.
The man 1 who is not credulous, 2 who understands the Uncreate 3 (Nibbana), who has cut off the links, 4 who has put an end to occasion 5 (of good and evil), who has eschewed 6 all desires, 7 he indeed, is a supreme man.
VII: 08 Faith alone cannot make one realise Nibbana
Thirty bhikkhus from a village had arrived at the Jetavana monastery to pay homage to the Buddha. He knew that the time was ripe for those bhikkhus to attain Arahanthood. So, he sent for Sariputta, and in the presence of those bhikkhus, he asked, 'My son, do you accept the fact that by meditating on the senses one could realise Nibbana?' Sariputta answered, 'Venerable Sir, in the matter of realisation of Nibbana by meditating on the senses, I do not accept it simply because I have faith*in you. It is only those who have not personally realised it who accept the fact from others.' Sariputta's answer was not properly understood by the bhikkhus, who thought, 'Sariputta has not given up wrong views yet. Even now, he has no faith in the Buddha.'
Then the Buddha explained, 'Bhikkhus, the meaning of Sariputta's answer is simply this: he accepts the fact that Nibbana is realised by means of meditation on the senses, but his acceptance is due to his own personal realisation and not merely because I have said it or somebody else has said it. Sariputta has faith in me. He also has faith in the consequences of good and bad deeds.'
- The pun in the original Pali is lost in the translation.
- Assaddho, lit., unfaithful. He does not merely accept from other sources because he himself knows from personal experience.
- Akata, Nibbana. It is so called because it is not created by anyone. Akatannu can also be interpreted as ungrateful.
- The links of existence and rebirth. Sandhicchedo also means a housebreaker, that is, a burglar.
- Hata + avakaso = he who has destroyed the opportunity.
- Vanta + aso = he who eats vomit is another meaning.
- By means of the four paths of Sainthood. Gross forms of desire are eradicated at the first three stages, the subtle forms at the last stage.
- * Faith in the Buddhist perspective derives through proper understanding and realisation of truth and not through fear of the divine or a need to satisfy the emotions. Real faith appears in the mind when it reaches the unshakable state. Blind faith or fanatical religious beliefs have no place in the Buddha's Teaching.
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