Dīgha Nikāya second sutta

Hello everyone, I wish you a good day.
I would like to have a question about second sutta of Dīgha Nikāya.

Exactly the last parts of this sutta, after the king left. The eye of Dhamma did not open in him because of what he has done. There is five more things (wrong deeds) which will cause the same result (a person cannot attain enlightenment during this lifetime), if I understand correctly.

My question are:

  1. The king had to wait until next life to corrects his deeds and then try to attain enlightenment?

  2. If his bad deeds weren’t intention… if it was (a)by mistake, (b)because of ignorance, c)because of negligence, (d)inattention etc.
    Simply said, if it wasn’t a simple intention to take a life of his father, then he could attain enlightenment during this life?

Hi Kraty, welcome to SC! :slight_smile: I’m not sure I have any definite answers, but I’ve a few thoughts.

On your second question, IIRC killing is a Pārājika offence (entailing permanent and lifelong expulsion of a monastic from the Sangha) but only if it is intentional. The fine print on any rules relating to this might perhaps relate to this intentionality question.

I’m not sure about your first question. It seems a clear general rule in the suttas that a sotapanna cannot commit one of the five great wrongs (matricide, patricide, causing a schism, injuring a Buddha and killing an arahant). It is also said that a sotapanna who is a monastic (can’t remember the exact sutta at the moment) can only break lesser training rules so definitely could not commit a Pārājika offence such as killing. However, for the reverse, the act of killing, per se, does not inevitably mean one cannot become a sotapanna, e.g. the example of Angulimala.

Does the specific story at the end of DN2 point to a more general rule? Maybe. It sounds like it when the Buddha talks about how the King has ruined himself with this act. Is this a specific case or a more general pattern? Perhaps there are other relevant examples in the suttas? I cannot think of any at the moment.

The five great wrongs are usually deemed to have great kammic consequences (seemingly immediately sending one to hell in the next life). Though I wonder does this notion have a sutta or EBT basis? Becoming a sotapanna would negate that (who cannot be reborn in lower realms). I suppose if it is always the case (with no exceptions) that an intentional committer of one of the five great wrongs always goes to an unfortunate destination in the next life, then stream entry cannot be possible in the current life. Otherwise, the definitions conflict. Or maybe this inevitability isn’t as clear as all that in suttas?

Apologies for probably confusing things even more! :yum: Hopefully, some of the very knowledgeable people in these parts may have better ideas! :slight_smile:

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Hello and thank you for your answer. Yes, Angulimala is example of bad person who later become good. But if I understand correctly, he could attain enlightenment (become arahant) because he did not make any of five great wrongs.

What I was meaning was intention of kings deed exactly.
I will try to explain.
Kamma is connected with intention, right? If, for example, a driver will cause accident (he knew that he should be careful but he was negligent, ignorant, simply said he didn’t care).
The result of his serious deed will be different than in the
second case, where he would intend to do so… if I understand correctly.

Question is, if this would apply to those serious deeds (five great wrongs) which prevents the attainment of enlightenment in this life.
For me it looked like the king wanted to make amends.

DN 2:

"Ajatasattu was the son of King Bimbisara of Magadha, one of the Buddha’s earliest followers. Urged on by Devadatta — the Buddha’s cousin, who wished to use Ajatasattu’s support in his bid to take over the Buddha’s position as head of the Sangha — Ajatasattu arranged for his father’s death so that he could secure his own position on the throne. As a result of this evil deed, he was destined not only to be killed by his own son — Udayibhadda (mentioned in the discourse) — but also to take immediate rebirth in one of the lowest regions of hell.

In this discourse, Ajatasattu visits the Buddha in hopes that the latter will bring some peace to his mind. The question he puts to the Buddha shows the limited level of his own understanding, so the Buddha patiently describes the steps of the training, beginning at a very basic level and gradually moving up, as a way of raising the king’s spiritual horizons. At the end of the talk, Ajatasattu takes refuge in the Triple Gem. Although his earlier deeds were so heavy that this expression of faith could have only limited consequences in the immediate present, the Commentary assures us that the king’s story would ultimately have a happy ending. After the Buddha’s death, he sponsored the First Council, at which a congress of arahant disciples produced the first standardized account of the Buddha’s teachings. As a result of the merit coming from this deed, Ajatasattu is destined — after his release from hell — to attain Awakening as a Private Buddha."—Thanissaro

Note on Ajātasattu’s Enlightenment

"If it is true that King Ajātasattu could have gained the Sotāpatti-Path Knowledge instantly but for his parricide, how can he become a Pacceka Buddha and attain Parinibbāna? If it is true that he will become a Paccekabuddha and attain Parinibbāna, how could he have gained the state of a sotāpanna? Enlightenment of a Paccekabuddha consists in the fulfilment of five things: (1) manussatta (a human life), (2) liṅga-sampatti (being a male), (3) vigatāsava-dassana (discernment leading to freedom from āsavas), (4) adhikāra

(service), and (5) chandatā (aspiration). Enlightenment of a disciple requires only two factors: (1) adhikāra and (2) chandatā. As regards the duration of time for their fulfilment of pāramīs, it takes two asaṅkhyeyyas and a hundred thousand aeons for the Enlightenment of a Paccekabuddha, one asaṅkhyeyya and a hundred thousand aeons for that of a Disciple. In realising the Four Truths, the former has no teacher while the latter has. For these reasons, are not the two kinds of Enlightenment basically different from each other?

The answer is that they cannot be different. For Ajātasattu will fulfil whatever is necessary for the attainment of Enlightenment as a Paccekabuddha, only after suffering for sixty thousand years in the Lohakumbhī hell. Indeed those who seek Enlightenment as a Disciple will gain it as Paccekabuddhas, if circumstances are not favourable for them to become Disciples. For they must have resolved to gain release as Paccekabuddhas. (This is the answer given by the first school of teachers. According to them, although the King had the potential for gaining release as a disciple, he could not do so in the present life because of his association with his evil friend, Devadatta, which made circumstances unfavourable and damaged the prospects for his attainment of sotāpatti-magga. But later on he will fulfil everything that will contribute to his attainment of Paccekabuddhahood and he will gain release.)

But according to other teachers, Ajātasattu had resolved to gain only the Enlightenment as a Paccekabuddha. But in the absence of any definite prediction of a Buddha, even those who have performed good deeds for Paccekabuddhahood cannot gain maturity of their Enlightenment in their capacity as Paccekabuddhas; instead they will attain Enlightenment as disciples in the presence of a Buddha. Hence the Buddha said: “Monks, if he had not put his father to death, he would have attained Sotāpatti Path while being seated here as he heard this Sāmaññā-phala Sutta.”

Of the three kinds of future personages, namely, the future Buddha, the future Paccekabuddha and the future Disciple, only the future Buddha is free from the pañcānantariya-kamma; the other two future Ones are not. That is true. Though Devadatta had been assured (though he had received the definite prediction) that he would become a Paccekabuddha, because of his grudge that he had long harboured, he committed the ānantariya-kamma by creating schism (saṅghabhedaka-kamma) and causing bloodshed to the Buddha (lohit’uppādaka-kamma) which were most serious crimes. Taking these into consideration, it may be understood that future Paccekabuddhas and future Disciples are not so invulnerable. It may also be understood therefore that King Ajātasattu missed his opportunity to gain Sotāpatti Knowledge in the present life because of his parricide and that he will later on become a Paccekabuddha by the name of Vijitāvī in accordance with the law of Paccekabuddha Enlightenment (Paccekabuddha-Bodhi Niyāma). This is the view of the other teachers. Choose between these two views what you think is more reasonable. (Exposition on the Sāmañña-phala Sutta, Sīlakkhandha Tika, Vol. II)"—Wisdom Library

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Yes, my thinking, for what it’s worth :slight_smile: , would be that, as you say, intention is key. IMO if there is no malicious intent behind it, then it is not murder and not one of the five great wrongs (intent is also necessary for a monastic to be expelled from the Sangha so why would it be any different here?). That might not get one completely kammically off the hook. I suppose there sometimes may be some contributory carelessness or lack of attention, but if the original act wasn’t intentionally done with deliberate malice or bad intent, then I don’t see how it could be classified as one of the five great wrongs. I happened to recently read MN115 and in it injuring a Buddha has the words “with malice” (Sujato translation) tagged onto it. I’d guess that malicious intent is essential for an act to make it into this category.

Again, thank you very much for your answers. Today I found this sutta AN 5.129.
So if I understand right, the king is trapped in samsara forever with no chance in future lives?

No! In Buddhism, everything in samsara in finite. Even the worst karma runs out and is eventually exhausted (Buddhist Hell, unlike Christian Hell, is only for a finite though, maybe very long, period). Those five great wrongs will perhaps exclude a being from enlightenment in their current life, but it will always again become attainable in some future life. So even the remorse shown by the King is a good thing. While it may not change things in his current life, it will feed into his kamma in a positive way for some future life.