'Schism in an order' translation question on 'operations' and other questions

“The operations do not stop, no end to the operations is to be seen. When will the operations stop? When will an end to the operations be seen? When will we, possessed of and provided with the fivefold strand of sense pleasures, amuse ourselves unconcernedly?”

@Brahmali, here you have used ‘operations’, is that a translation of kammā? As in action or work? My pali isn’t quite up to ‘reading’ stage in order to find the relevant section to be sure.

Whatever the pali is, why did choose ‘operations’ as a translation? The context to me implies labours, duties, chores, or works…

Second question, occasionally the suttas have the Buddha saying things that appear quite harsh and even mean, such as:

Then Devadatta, thinking: “The Lord in an assembly which included a king disparaged me by (using) the term, ‘one to be vomited like spittle,’ while he extolled Sāriputta and Moggallāna,” angry, displeased, having greeted the Lord, departed keeping his right side towards him.

Is this likely to be authentic? I can understand the Buddha might be firm or blunt to tell someone (and other listeners) they are not suited to teaching/leading when it becomes necessary, but ‘to be vomited like spittle’ seems a bit OTT for the Buddha. Your thoughts? I know there are other cases similar to this in the suttas but they just don’t seem to fit the way the Buddha normally teaches people. Especially when this sutta later says that this was

“the first time that Devadatta felt malice towards the Lord.”

Next question, there are a few places in the suttas where something like:

“Then at that very place hot blood issued from Devadatta’s mouth.” happens.

I would think that this is not literal, but what does it actually mean? Is the person, in this case Devadatta, just so angry that they let out a tirade of horrible speech?


1 Like

@Anun, what is the source of this quote? :thinking:

1 Like

Thanks for clarifying @Anun.

What an interesting text, isn`t it?

I loved the conclustion of venerable Bhaddiya’s story:

“What circumstances were you, Bhaddiya, taking into account when, dwelling in a forest and at the root of a tree and in an empty place, you constantly uttered this utterance, ‘Ah, what happiness! Ah, what happiness!’?”

“Formerly, Lord, when I was a ruler there was a fully appointed guard both within my private quarters and outside my private quarters, there was a fully appointed guard both within the town and outside the town, and there was a fully appointed guard within the country districts.
But I, Lord, although being guarded and warded thus, dwelt afraid, anxious fearful, alarmed.
But now I, Lord, dwelling in a forest and at the root of a tree and in an empty place, am unafraid, not anxious, not fearful, not alarmed. I am unconcerned, unruffled, dependent on others, with a mind become as a wild creature’s.
This, Lord, was the circumstance I was taking into account when, dwelling in a forest and at the root of a tree and in an empty place, I constantly uttered this utterance, ‘Ah, what happiness! Ah, what happiness!’”

Then the Lord, having understood this matter, at that time uttered this utterance:

“In whom there inly lurk no spites,
Who has overcome becoming and not becoming thus or thus,
Him, gone past fear, blissful, sorrowless,
The devas do not win to see.”

aho sukhaṃ, aho sukhan! :man_cartwheeling:



I love the Bhaddiya story too, but I couldn’t work out how you got there from my questions about the ‘schism in an order’ section of the khandhakas?


The reason is … it’s not my translation! It’s I.B. Horner’s. Here is mine:

“But does the work never stop? I can’t see any end to it. When can you, free from bother, enjoy yourself with the five kinds of sensual pleasures?”

Before I say anything further, here is my translation:

Devadatta thought, “The Buddha disparages me in front of a gathering that includes the king as a devourer of junk, while praising Sāriputta and Mogallāna,” and he bowed down in anger, circumambulated the Buddha with his right side toward him, and left.

“Devourer of junk” and “one to be vomited like spittle” render the same Pali word, kheḷāsaka. The literal meaning is “one who eats spit”, which I take to be an idiom, and thus my translation. Seen in this light, it doesn’t look quite as bad. In other words, the Buddha may merely have used an idiom for someone who ingests something worthless. It still seems a bit rough, but perhaps not outside the bounds of what is possible.

Having said this, the whole story of Devadatta does have a number of hallmarks of being late. There are a number of supernormal events (such as Devadatta’s transformation into a snake), several aspects that seem exaggerated (such as the number of assassins and the complex plan for murdering the Buddha), and then the detailed story of Devadatta who is actually a fairly obscure character in the Suttas. There may well be more, but that’s what comes to mind. From this point of view the above quote is unlikely to be authentic, at least in the literal sense.

I think it might well be meant literally, except that “hot” should be amended to “warm”. Going by the story, it seems Devadatta got so upset or angry that the physical stress might have caused a blood vessel to rupture, in turn causing warm blood to issue from his mouth. Perhaps it is meant to show gastrointestinal bleeding, which apparently is life-threatening.


Hindi and Urdu have the idiomatic expression ‘thooke chaatna’ (literally ‘to lick up your own spit’) which means to go back on one’s words. Its usually used in the sense of a warning to a person that he is over-promising and won’t be able to deliver or as a disparaging comment about a person who hasn’t delivered what he promised in the past.
:slightly_smiling_face: :pray:


Ah, now that we have the doctor here: what do you think of the idea of blood issuing from the mouth? Does it make sense to take this literally?


Ajahn, I am inclined to take this as an idiom meaning hot words.
Similar idioms in Hindi include ‘angaare ugalna’ ( literally meaning to vomit out fiery embers) which means to get very angry and ‘garam khoon’ (literally meaning warm blood) which means hot, impetuous words/ behaviour.


Étienne Lamotte reports (3.2 MB) that the Sarvastivadin version makes this literal—having Devadatta accept spit from the mouth of Ajasatru—reifying the insult (and, I suppose, the story’s homoerotic insinuation)


I definitely prefer your translation!

I was thinking it was an idiom because literally it is a bit far fetched (at least I’ve never seen it happen!!) In English we might say that the person’s “head exploded” or that “they exploded”.


Oh, on a second reading of the text I now see it! I was rushing a bit when I read it the first time :slight_smile: