[1846] MN 135 Cullakammavibhanga Sutta—Daniel J. Gogerly

Cullakammavibhaṅga Sutta: The Discourse on the Minor Results of Conduct, or, The Discourse Addressed to Subha.

Note: This translation appears in the Journal of the Ceylon Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1846-7. It was reprinted in “The Ceylon Friend”, 1876.

Note from @Snowbird : This edition found in Ceylon Buddhism being the collected writings of Daniel John Gogerly, Volume II, 1909. You can download here, but beware, the file is over 600mb. Below, I have modernized the punctuation and fixed a typo or two.

Translator’s Introduction

The following discourses of Gotama, which I have the pleasure to lay before the Society, will tend in some measure to illustrate the ethics of Buddhism, The first of them is exceedingly popular, and is regarded as a perfect solution of the difficulties connected with the unequal distribution of prosperity and adversity in the present state. But in this solution a discriminating Providence is not recognized. No judge—no examination—no sentence of an intelligent being, whether supreme or otherwise, is acknowledged; but the whole is referred to an occult power, an irresistible fate, resulting from the merit or demerit of actions performed in a previous state of existence. In the discourses attributed to Buddha there are many verbal repetitions which add nothing to the meaning, although in the original they are supposed to contribute both to the elegance and force of the passages. A contrary effect, however, results from a literal translation of them into English, in consequence of which I have frequently omitted them, still preserving the sense entire.




When Bhagava was residing near Savatthi, in the monastery founded by Anathapindika at Jetavana, a young man named Subha, the son of Todeyya, came to his residence, and after a respectful salutation sat down. Being seated he said, “Venerable Gotama, from what cause or by what means is it, that among mankind some persons are in prosperous and others in adverse circumstances? It is seen, venerable Gotama, that some men are short lived, while others live long; some are much diseased, while others have good health; some are disgusting in appearance, while others are beautiful; some are without influence, while others are powerful; some are poor, while others are rich; some are ignoble, while others are high born; some are wise, while others are foolish. From what cause, venerable Gotama, or by what means is it, that among mankind some are prosperous while others are in adversity?”

“Young man, living beings receive the results of their own conduct [^1]; their conduct forms their inheritance, their birth, their relationship, their circumstances in life. Conduct apportions to living beings prosperity or adversity.”

“I do not distinctly understand that which has been thus briefly and obscurely spoken by the venerable Gotama. Will the venerable Gotama be pleased to explain fully the doctrine which has been thus briefly stated, so that I may comprehend it?”

“If this be your wish, young man, attend carefully, and I will explain it.” Subha the son of Todeyya replied, “Let the Venerable One do so,” upon which Bhagava said,

“If in this world a woman or a man be a destroyer of life, cruel, bloody-handed, ever slaughtering, and destitute of kindness towards living beings, upon the dissolution of his frame by death, in consequence of the conduct to which he has thus been so fully accustomed, he will be born in hell, wretched, miserable and tormented. But if upon the dissolution of his frame by death he be not born in hell wretched, miserable, and tormented, but again becomes a man, wherever he may be born he will be short lived. The path which leads to shortness of life is this: The being a destroyer of life, cruel, bloody-handed, ever slaughtering, and destitute of kindness towards every living thing.

“If in this world a woman or a man, abstain from destroying life; lay aside the club and the knife; if he be gentle and compassionate to all living beings, upon the dissolution of his frame by death, in consequence of the conduct to which he has been so fully accustomed he will be born in heaven, in a state of happiness. Or if he be not born in heaven, but again becomes a man, wherever he may be born he will be long lived. The path which leads to longevity is this: The abstaining from destroying life, the laying aside the club and the knife, and the being gentle and compassionate to every living thing.

“If in this world a woman or a man be a tormentor of living beings with the hand, with stones, sticks or knives, upon the dissolution of his frame by death, in consequence of the conduct to which he has thus been so fully accustomed he will be born in hell, wretched, miserable and tormented. But if upon the dissolution of his frame by death he be not born in hell, but if he again become a man, wherever he may be born he will be much afflicted with disease. The path which leads to a state of disease is this: To be a tormentor of living beings with the hand, with stones, with sticks or with knives.

“If in this world a woman or a man be not a tormentor of living beings with the hand, with stones, with sticks or with knives, upon the dissolution of his frame by death, in consequence of the conduct to which he has been so fully accustomed, he will be born in heaven, in a state of happiness. Or if he be not born in heaven, but if he again become a man, wherever he may be born he will enjoy good health. The path which leads to the enjoyment of good health is this: To abstain from tormenting living beings with the hand, with stones, with sticks, or with knives.

“In this world a woman or a man is wrathful and very passionate; if when a few words are spoken he becomes angry, wrathful, enraged and malicious, giving way to anger, hatred and discontent, upon the dissolution of his frame by death, in consequence of the conduct to which he has been so fully accustomed, he will be born in hell, wretched, miserable and tormented. Or if he be not born in hell, but if he again become a man, wherever he may be born he will be ill favoured. The path which leads to ugliness is this: To be wrathful and passionate: when a few words are spoken to be angry, wrathful, enraged and malicious; giving way to anger, hatred and discontent.

“In this world a woman or a man is neither wrathful nor passionate, but when much provocation is given, is not angry, wrathful, enraged nor malicious, and does not give way to anger, hatred, or discontent. He, in consequence of the conduct to which he has been so fully accustomed, upon the dissolution of his frame by death, will be born in heaven, but if he again become a man, wherever he may be born he will be beautiful. The path for obtaining personal beauty is: To be free from anger and passion; even when much provocation is given to be neither angry, wrathful, enraged nor malicious; and to avoid giving way to anger, hatred and discontent.

“In this world a woman or a man is an envious person, jealous of the prosperity, honour, and respect enjoyed by others, and dissatisfied and annoyed at perceiving these marks of honour conferred on others. This person, in consequence of the conduct to which he has been so fully accustomed, upon the dissolution of his frame by death, will be born in hell, wretched, miserable and tormented. Or if he be not born in hell, but if he again become a human being, wherever he may be born he will be destitute of power and influence. The path which leads to a destitution of influence is: To be envious, jealous, dissatisfied and annoyed at the prosperity, honour, and respect enjoyed by others.

“In this world a woman or a man is not an envious person; is neither jealous, dissatisfied nor annoyed at the prosperity, honour, or respect enjoyed by others. This person, in consequence of the conduct to which he has been so fully accustomed, upon the dissolution of his frame by death, will be born in heaven, in a state of happiness. Or if he be not born in heaven, but if he again become a human being, wherever he may be born he will be possessed of extensive power. The path for the attainment of great power is: To be free from envy, and to be neither jealous, dissatisfied, nor annoyed at the prosperity, honour, or respect enjoyed by others.

“In this world a woman or a man does not give to Samanas and Brahmins meat, drink, garments, a conveyance for travelling, flowers, perfumes, ointments, a couch, a chamber, a lamp. This person, in consequence of the conduct to which he has become so fully accustomed, upon the dissolution of his frame by death will be born in hell, wretched, miserable and tormented. Or if he be not born in hell, but if he again become a human being, wherever he may be born he will be poor. The path leading to poverty is: To omit giving to Samanas and Brahmins meat, drink, clothing, a conveyance, flowers, perfumes and ointments, a couch, a chamber and a lamp.

“In this world a woman or a man gives to Samanas or Brahmins meat, drink, clothing, a conveyance, flowers, perfumes and ointments, a couch, a chamber, and a lamp. This person, in consequence of the conduct to which he has become so fully accustomed, upon the dissolution of his frame by death will be born in heaven, in the enjoyment of happiness. Or if he be not born in heaven, but if he again become a human being, wherever he may be born he will be rich. The path for the attainment of riches is: To give to Samanas or Brahmins meat, drink, clothing, a conveyance, flowers, perfumes, and ointments, a couch, a chamber, and a lamp.

“In this world a woman or a man is proud and haughty, not worshipping those who ought to be worshipped; not arising from their seat in the presence of those who should be thus reverenced; not requesting those to be seated who are worthy of that honour, nor removing out of the path when eminent persons approach; not treating with hospitality, respect, and reverence those who should be thus respected. This person, in consequence of the conduct to which he has been so fully accustomed, upon the dissolution of his body by death will be born in hell, wretched, miserable, and tormented, or if he be not born in hell, but if he again become a human being, wherever he may be born he will be of ignoble birth. The path which leads to an ignoble birth is this: The being proud and haughty, not worshipping those who ought to be worshipped; not rising up in the presence of those who should be thus reverenced; not offering a seat to those worthy of that honour; not giving the path to eminent persons; not treating with hospitality, respect and reverence those who should be thus respected.

“In this world a woman or a man is not proud nor haughty, but worships those who ought to be worshipped; rises up in the presence of those who should be thus reverenced; requests them to be seated who are worthy of that honour; gives the path to eminent persons, and treats with hospitality, respect, and reverence, those who should be thus respected. This person, in consequence of the conduct to which he has been so fully accustomed, upon the dissolution of his frame by death will be born In heaven, in the enjoyment of happiness. Or if he be not born in heaven, but if he again become a human being, wherever he may be born he will be of honorable parentage. The path for obtaining honourable parentage is this: Not to be proud nor haughty; to worship those who ought to be worshipped; to rise up in the presence of those who should be thus reverenced; to request them to be seated who are worthy of that honour; to give the path to eminent persons, and to treat with hospitality; respect and reverence those who should be thus respected.

“In this world a woman or a man does not wait upon a Samana or a Brahmin to enquire of him saying, ‘Sir What constitutes merit and what demerit? What actions are criminal, and what are innocent? What things ought to be done, and what left undone? What actions are those which, if done, will produce protracted distress and wretchedness? Or what are those which will be productive of lengthened tranquillity and happiness?’ This person, In consequence of the conduct to which he has become so fully accustomed, upon the dissolution of his frame by death will be born in hell, wretched, miserable and tormented. Or if he be not born in hell, but if he again become a human being, wherever he may be born he will be destitute of wisdom. The path to mental imbecility is this: To neglect to wait upon a Samana or Brahmin for the purpose of enquiring of him, saying, ‘Sir, what constitutes merit and what demerit? What actions are criminal, and what innocent? What things ought to be done, and what left undone? What actions are those which, if done, will cause me protracted distress and wretchedness, or what are those: which will be productive of lengthened tranquillity and happiness?’

“In this world a woman or a man waits upon a Samana or Brahmin, and enquires of him, saying, ‘What constitutes merit, and what demerit? What actions are criminal, and what are innocent? What things ought to be done and what left undone? What actions are those which if done will cause me protracted distress and wretchedness, or what are those which will be productive of lengthened tranquillity and happiness?’ This person, in consequence of the conduct to which he has become so fully accustomed, upon the dissolution of his frame by death will be born in heaven, in the enjoyment of happiness. Or if he be not born in heaven, but if he again become a human being, wherever he may be born he will be possessed of great wisdom. The path for the attainment of great wisdom is this: To wait upon a Samana or Brahmin for the purpose of enquiry, saying, ‘Sir, what constitutes merit, and what demerit? What actions are criminal, and what are innocent? What things ought to be done, and what left undone? What actions are those which, if done, will cause me protracted distress and wretchedness, or what are those which will be productive of lengthened tranquillity and happiness?’

Thus, young man, the conduct [^2] (or path) productive of shortness of life leads to a short life: the conduct productive of length of life leads to longevity. The conduct productive of continued sickness, leads to a state of disease, and that which is productive of ugliness leads to a disgusting appearance; and that which is productive of comeliness leads to personal beauty. The conduct productive of great influence leads to a state of great authority. The conduct productive of want leads to a state of poverty, and that productive of wealth leads to opulence. The con- duct productive of low birth leads to an ignoble parentage, and that productive of honour leads to a noble birth. The conduct productive of ignorance leads to a state of mental imbecility, and that productive of knowledge leads to a state of wisdom. Living beings receive the results of their own conduct; their conduct forms their inheritance, their birth, their relationship, their circumstances in life. Conduct apportions to living beings prosperity or adversity.”
When Gotama ended the discourse, Subha warmly expressed his admiration, and embraced the Buddhist faith.




Notes

[^1] : Conduct, kammaṁ, signifies an action performed, and also the merit or demerit of the action.
[^2] : Conduct, or path. Saṁvattanikā paṭipadā, the path which is appropriated to that special purpose; leading to that termination and to no other. The doctrine is simple, namely: That the present circumstances of men are the results of actions performed in previous states of existence; and the same law will apply to future states. The destroyer of life will, in a future state, soon die; the conserver of life will live long; the cruel will be diseased; the merciful enjoy constant health. The passionate person will be ugly, the placid person beautiful. The envious man will be destitute of power, but he who rejoices in the prosperity of another will be in authority. The covetous man will be poor, and the liberal man rich. Pride and arrogance will lead to low birth; rendering respect and honour to nobility. The irreligious man will become a fool, and the religious man will become wise.

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My notes…

  • This was first published three years before T.W. Rhys Davids was born.
  • Gogerly was a British Methodist missionary to what was then known as Ceylon. He arrived there in 1818. He was one of the first missionaries to preach in Sinhala language. His interest in Pali language was driven by his wish to show the superiority of Christianity. [^1] Gogerly published the first (but partial) translation of the Dhammapada into English in 1840.
  • It’s interesting that Gogerly omitted the “Evam me sutaṁ” from the beginning and the actual text of Subha’s declaration of faith. But other than that, it seems to me to be a good translation with just some words that are not quite “modern.”
  • “Mental imbecility” is an interesting term. It seems that the original meaning (1540s?) of imbecile was physically weak and later(from mid-18c) shifted to mentally weak. [^2] Much later (early 1900s) it became a medical/legal/eugenics term. Shortly thereafter it fell into common use as a derogatory term.

[^1] : Daniel Gogerly - Wikipedia
[^2] : imbecile | Origin and meaning of imbecile by Online Etymology Dictionary

And here’s the man himself:

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Wow! Thanks for posting! Actually kind of refreshing in a weird way to see such a different translation style…

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Wondering if you can elaborate on that.

When was the last time you saw “wretchedness” in a Pāli translation!

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AN6.24:1.1: “Mendicants, a mendicant who has six qualities could shatter Himalaya, the king of mountains, let alone this wretched ignorance! What six? It’s when a mendicant is skilled in entering immersion, skilled in remaining in immersion, skilled in emerging from immersion, skilled in gladdening the mind for immersion, skilled in the meditation subjects for immersion, and skilled in projecting the mind purified by immersion. A mendicant who has these six qualities could shatter Himalaya, the king of mountains, let alone this wretched ignorance!”

Thig5.8:5.1:
The five aggregates are fully understood;
they remain, but their root is cut.
Curse you, wretched old age!
now there’ll be no more future lives.

:wink:

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Context:

" The Buddhist revival[(View source for Buddhism in Sri Lanka - Wikipedia)]

Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera, an important Buddhist scholar of the revival with Colonel Henry Steel Olcott.

In the second half of the 19th century, a national Buddhist revival movement began as a response to Christian missionaries and British colonial rule.[105] This movement was empowered by the results of several public debates between Christian priests and Buddhist monks such as Migettuwatte Gunananda Thera and Hikkaduwe Sri Sumangala Thera. The big five public debates with Protestant missionaries were held in 1865 (the Baddegama and Waragoda debates), 1866 (Udanwita debate), 1871 (Gampola debate), and 1873 (Panadura debate). Topics of the debates included God, the Soul, the resurrection, Karma, Rebirth, Nirvana and the principle of dependent origination.[106] One of these debates, the famed “Panadura debate” of 1873 was widely seen as a victory for Gunananda Thera.[107]

The British government, weary of religious conflict, largely attempted a policy of religious neutrality at this time.[108] During this period, Buddhists formed societies (such as the Society for the Propagation of Buddhism) and centers of learning (Vidyodaya Pirivena and Vidyalankara Pirivena) to promote Buddhism and to print Buddhist literature.[109] A new monastic fraternity was also formed, the Ramanna Nikaya (which split off from the Amarapura Nikaya), which stressed monastic discipline.[109] Indeed, the revival movement was mainly led by these two Nikayas, and the Siam Nikaya in Kandy largely remained uninvolved.[110]

In 1880 Henry Steel Olcott arrived in Sri Lanka with Madame Blavatsky of the Theosophical Society, causing much excitement on the island. He had been inspired when he read about the Panadura debate and had exchanged letters with Gunananda.[109] After learning about Buddhism from monks such as Sumangala Thera, Olcott converted to the religion. Olcott and the Sinhalese Buddhist leaders established the Buddhist Theosophical Society in 1880, with the goal of establishing Buddhist schools (there were only three at the time, by 1940, there were 429 Buddhist schools on the island).[4] He sponsored Buddhist collges such as Ananda College in Colombo and the Dharmaraja College in Kandy. Olcott also collected the Buddhist scriptures which had been translated by Western indologists and based on these, he composed a ‘Buddhist Catechism’ (1881), which promoted Buddhism as a ‘scientific religion’ and was used in Buddhist schools until the late 20th century.[111]

The Sri Lankan Theosophical society under Olcott also had its own publications to promote Buddhism; the Sinhalese newspaper, Sarasavisandarasa, and its English counterpart, The Buddhist. As a result of their efforts, Vesak became a public holiday, Buddhist registrars of marriage were allowed, and interest in Buddhism increased. Olcott was also part of the committee which designed the new Buddhist flag.[112] The presence of a group of westerners who championed Buddhism also had an energizing effect on the sangha.[113]

Dharmapala (seated centre) with other international members of the Mahabodhi Society, Calcutta

Another important figure in the revival is Anagarika Dharmapala, initially an interpreter for Olcott, he then travelled around the world preaching Buddhism and associating with clerics, Theosophists, scholars, elites and other interested folk. In Sri Lanka, he preached Buddhism, gave speeches and led the establishment of numerous Buddhist schools, hospitals, seminaries and the Buddhist newspaper Sinhala Bauddhaya (in which he wrote a regular weekly column).[114]

After visiting India, he established the pan-Buddhist Maha Bodhi Society in 1891 whose goal was to revive Buddhism in India, and restore the ancient Buddhist shrines at Bodh Gaya, Sarnath and Kushinara.[115] The society also sought to create a universal network of Buddhists around the world and unite the Buddhist world.[116] Dharmapala also represented Theravada Buddhism as a world religion at the World’s Parliament of Religions of 1893.[117]

A key element of the Buddhist revival was a strong nationalist anti-colonial stance mixed with a sense of Buddhist internationalism.[118] In spite of its strong anti-Christian missionary stance, the Buddhist revival has been described as a “Protestant Buddhism” (but more commonly “Buddhist modernism”) due to how similar the tactics, ideas and organizational forms were to modern protestant Christianity.[119][120]

Another key element of the revival was a temperance movement (that also included Sri Lankan Christians), which established numerous temperance societies, similar to the Christian temperance societies.[121] Many of the figures associated with the revival and with the temperance movement were also closely associated with the nationalist independence movement in the early 20th century.[122] The most famous of which is Anagarika Dharmapala, but also includes the Senanayake brothers, mainly F.R. Senanayake , D.C. Senanayake and D.S. Senanayake as well as D.B. Jayatilaka.[123]"—Wikipedia

Buddhist flag:

Buddhist flag

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Nice little history lesson! Thank you.

I’m not a fan of flags, as I see them as a reflection of conceit and are instruments of division (us vs. them). But if there was a vote on an official Buddhist flag, I think I would opt for the Dhammacakka flag instead of the six colored flag.

We usually use this one in Thailand:

flag

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