About Saddha Sutta (SN 1.36)

In SN 1.36 Saddha Sutta there are verses by devas on various topic, but when we read the sutta, it seems there are missing verses by the Buddha because in this sutta there is no reply by the Buddha to correct or confirm the devas like usually in other suttas of Devata Samyutta.

And the information supplied in the SC site says:

The identifications of the verses in this unclear, and comparison with the Chinese parallels suggests the Pali may have suffered textual loss.

So I’m curious what the Chinese parallels of this sutta said. Anyone can help me with the parallels version? :grin:

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Dear Bhante @sujato,

Just fyi, the Chinese parallels listed in SC for SN 1.36 are SA 1286 and SA-2 284 which at quick glance are different in content from the sutta. So they are not the parallels of SN 1.36.

And perhaps @cdpatton can help with the true parallel of this sutta?

Thank you :anjal:


I’m away from my office this week, so I not able to check the books, but the SA sutras may have been listed in Akunuma’s parallels. It’s tenuous at best, but I do see some similar lines and concepts in the Pali and Chinese verses. In Chinese, the god’s question is like the Buddha’s conclusion in Pali, as an example. It’s jumbled up with a bunch of material that isn’t shared. I’m not able to take the time to check all the Dharmapada parallel references at the moment.


Dear @cdpatton

Here I try to translate SA 1286 and SA-2 284 loosely (word by word) with using Chinese lookup tools from SC site:

SA 1286:

Saṁyuktāgama 1286




Thus I have heard:

一時,佛住舍衛國祇樹給 孤獨園。

One time, the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī at Jeta Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park.

時,有天子容色絕妙,於後夜時來 詣佛所,稽首佛足,退坐一面。其身光明遍 照祇樹給孤獨園。

At the time, there was a god with wonderful appearance, at last watch of night came visiting the Buddha. He bowed his head at the Buddha’s feet, then withdrew to sit at one side. With his shining body he illuminated all of Jeta Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park.


At the time, the god spoke to the Buddha with a verse:

「若人行放逸, 愚癡離惡慧,
禪思不放逸, 疾得盡諸漏。」

“If one who is negligent and ignorant
leaves evil, [becomes] wise,
meditates diligently,
he will swiftly eliminate all taints.”


At the time, the World-Honored One replied with verses:

「非世間眾事, 是則之為欲,
心法馳覺想, 是名士夫欲。

“Things in the world
Is not only sensual pleasures.
The mind chasing after thought-perception (vittaka-saññā?)[1]
Is sensual pleasures for a person.

世間種種事, 常在於世間,
智慧修禪思, 愛欲永潛伏。

All kinds of worldly things
Always depend on the world.
Wisely practicing meditation,
Sensual desire is forever overcome.

信為士夫伴, 不信則不度,
信增其名稱, 命終得生天。

Faith is a person’s partner.
Without faith one will not liberated.
Faith increases his fame.
When dies he goes to heaven.

於身虛空想, 名色不堅固,
不著名色者, 遠離於積聚

Contemplating body as empty,
Name and form as impermanent,
One who do not attach to name and form
Escapes from the heap[2]

觀此真實義, 如解脫哀愍,
由斯智慧故, 世稱歎供養。

Contemplating this real truth,
Thus he is free from sorrow.
Because of this wisdom,
The world praises offering [to him].

能斷眾雜相, 超絕生死流,
超度諸流已, 是名為比丘。」

Being able to cutt of all cause,
He surpasses stream of rebirth.
Having crossed all streams,
He is called as a monk."


At the time, the god again spoke with verse:

「久見婆羅門, 逮得般涅槃,
一切怖已過, 永超世恩愛。」

“After long time I see a brahmin,
Who is fully quenched,
Have surpassed all fears,
Fully crossed attachment to the world.”

於是,天子聞佛所說,歡喜隨喜,稽首佛足, 即沒不現。

Then, the god having heard what the Buddha said, approved delightedly. He bowed his head at the Buddha feet then disappeared.

SA-2 284:

Saṁyuktāgama (2) 284


Thus I have heard:

一時,佛在舍衛國祇樹給孤 獨園

One time, the Buddha was staying at Sāvatthī at Jeta Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park.

爾時,有天,光色倍常,來至佛所,頂禮佛 足,在一面坐。是天威德,光明熾盛,普照祇洹, 悉皆大明。

At the time, there was a god, with remarkable light, visiting the Buddha, bowed at his feet, then sit at one side. With the god’s marvelous power, his bright light illuminated Jeta Grove so that all of it are very bright.


At the time the god promptly spoke with verse:

「雖到於五塵, 不名為貪欲。
思想生染著, 乃名為貪欲。
欲能縛世間, 健者得解脫。」

“ It is not five sense objects called sensual desires,
But thought which gives rise taints of clinging is called sensual desires.
Desires binds the world,
But the stronge one attains liberation.”


At the time, the World-Honored One replied with verses:

「欲性本無常, 斷滅則悟道,
著欲生繫縛, 永不得解脫。

“Desires is actually impermanent.
Eliminating it then one will realise the path.
Attachment to sensual pleasures gives rise bondage,
A person forever cannot attain liberation.

若以信為伴, 不信莫由起,
名稱轉增長, 壽終得生天。

With faith as a partner,
Then faithlessness does not rise.
His fame is more increasing.
When dies he goes to heaven.

若復斷除欲, 不數數受有,
不還來生死, 永入於涅槃。

If eliminating sensual desires,
One will not experience repeated existence,
No more rebirth,
And forever attaining Nirvana.

知身空無我, 觀名色不堅,
不著於名色, 從是而解脫。

Undestanding body is empty and not-self,
Contemplating name and form is impermanent,
One does not attach to name and form,
Hence he attains liberation.

亦不見解脫, 及以非解脫,
哀愍利群生, 廣饒益一切。」

Both those who do not see liberation
And those without liberation,[3]
He sympathizes and gives benefit
To all those creatures.


The god again spoke with verse:

「往昔已曾見, 婆羅門涅槃,
嫌怖久捨離, 能度世間愛。」

"[After] long time ago I have seen
A brahmin who is quenched,
Long ago have abandoned enmity and fear,
Being able to surpass attachment to the world.”


At the time, this god having spoken these verses, is delight then leaving.

I cannot sense the meaning of the words [1] 覺想 and [2] 積聚 in SA 1286 , also the expression [3] 亦不見解脫, 及以非解脫 in SA-2 284 which is rendered poorly.

Can you help me to correct this translation when you have free time?

That’s pretty good! There’s just a few cases that I would read some term differently knowing they are in Agamas, or the grammar isn’t that clear.

My first inclination would be to read 覺 as vedana rather than vitakka (which is normally 念 in Chinese, but sometimes 覺).

積聚 probably does mean a heap or pile. It might refer to the skandhas or the mass of suffering? Poets love to hint at things and make you think.

亦不見解脫, 及以非解脫 is probably something like “Both not seeing liberation/ and non-liberation.” 非 usually negates nouns (or whole clauses), so it’s like non- in English.

Other things:

若人行放逸 = If a person behaves recklessly,
愚癡離惡慧 = [But] the fool parts with his stupidity (惡慧 = duṣprajña)

非世間眾事 = It’s not the many things of the world
是則之為欲 = That are considered desires (為 is often used in a way that roughly translates as “consider/take as”)

常在於世間 = always present in the world (在 just means to be present or located somewhere)

不堅固 = unstable, changeable. Impermanence is almost always 無常

世稱歎供養 = The world praises and [gives him] offerings (probably two verbs in series)

能斷眾雜相 = Cutting off the various signs (相 doesn’t mean cause; it’s more like sign, attribute, or mental image)

諸流 probably translates ogha - the floods. Ogha was understood as a raging torrent in Chinese translation, so it looks like stream or river sometimes.

雖到於五塵 = Though [it involves] the five sense objects (到於 literally means “reaching to”)
不名為貪欲 = [they] aren’t called desire.

思想 probably translates saṃjñā, so it means something like “recognition, perception”.


Thank you so much for your time :anjal: