The Second of Three Divisions of the Tipitaka
MAJJHIMA NIKAYA MN 26
The Buddha's Meeting With Upaka, the Wandering Ascetic
The Blessed One had not gone far from the Bodhi Tree on the way to Gaya when he came across the wandering ascetic Upaka, a disciple of the great leader Nataputta. On seeing the Blessed One, Upaka addressed him, "Your countenance, friend, is clear and serene; your complexion is pure and bright. In whose name have you gone forth? Who is your teacher? Of whose teaching do you profess?" The Blessed One replied:
Sabbesu Dhammesu anupalitto
Sabbin.jaho tanhakkhaye vimutto
Sayam Abinnaya kamuddiseyyam.
"I am one who has overcome all, who knows all, I am detached from all things; having abandonded everything, obtained emancipation, by the destruction of desire. Having by myself gained knowledge, whom should I call master?"
The Blessed One made known his status more emphatically as follows:
na me acariyo atthi
sadiso me na vijjati
nathi me patipuggalo
"I have no teacher, One like me is not, in the world of men and gods, none is my counterpart
Upon this Upaka wondered whether the Blessed One had gained Arahatship. The Buddha replied:
Aham hi araha loke
Aham sattha anuttaro
"I, indeed am the Arahat in the world, the teacher with no peer, the sole Buddha, supreme, ENLIGHTENED, all passions extinguished, I have gained Peace."
Upaka then asked the Blessed One where he was bound for and on what purpose. "To start in motion the Wheel of Law, I go to the Kasis' town. In the world of blind beings, I shall beat the drum of the Deathless," replied the Blessed One. Upon this Upaka queried: "By the manner in which you profess yourself, are you worthy to be an Infinite Conqueror?" And the Buddha said:
Madisa ve jina honti, Ye patta Asavakkhayam
jita me papaka Dhamma, Tasamahamupaka jino.
"Those are the Conquerors who, like me, have reached the extinction of cankers. I have vanquished all thoughts, ideas, notions of evil. For that reason, Upaka, I am a Jina a Conqueror, a victorious One."
Upaka belonged to a sect of ascetics under the leadership of Nataputta who was addressed by his disciples as Jina, the Conqueror. The Blessed One in his reply explained that only those who have really extinguished the cankers, eradicated the defilements, like him, are entitled to be called a Jina.
After this declaration by the Blessed One that he was truly an Infinite Conqueror, the ascetic Upaka muttered: "It may be so, friend," shook his head and giving way to the Blessed One, continued on his journey.
It is important to note carefully this event of Upaka's meeting with the Buddha and how it relates to you, the world, and spiritual Attainment generally. Most people either just look past the sutra, bypassing its significance in the overall scheme of things or simply ignore it. Here was this man, Upaka, a spiritual mendicant in his own right, coming face to face with a truly Enlightened One, but he did not realize it. Right in front of the Buddha himself and still not able to sense or recognize Enlightenment. Even when the Blessed One openly confessed that he was indeed a Buddha, Upaka remained skeptical.
However, it must be brought to your attention, even though he did not evince complete acceptance ofWhat the Buddha Said, Upaka appeared to have somehow gone away with a certain amount of faith in the Buddha, as he came back to the Buddha some years later. After leaving the Buddha, he eventually got married to one Capa (Chawa), a hunter's daughter, and when a son was born of the marriage, he became weary of the household life and became a recluse under the Blessed One. Practising the Buddha's teaching, he gained the stage of Once-returner, the Anagami. Foreseeing this beneficial result which would accrue out of his meeting with Upaka, the Blessed One continued on foot on his long journey to Benares.
FOR A PLAIN TEXT NON-SUTRA VERSION SEE:
UPAKA THE ASCETIC
Fundamentally, our experience as experienced is not different from the Zen master's. Where
we differ is that we place a fog, a particular kind of conceptual overlay onto that experience
and then make an emotional investment in that overlay, taking it to be "real" in and of itself.
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