Kassapa Sīhanāda Sutta ("The Longer Discourse on the Lion’s Roar")

SO I HAVE HEARD. At one time the Buddha was staying near Ujuñña, in the deer park at Kaṇṇakatthala.

Then the naked ascetic Kassapa went up to the Buddha and exchanged greetings with him. When the greetings and polite conversation were over, he stood to one side, and said to the Buddha:

“Master Gotama, I have heard the following: ‘The ascetic Gotama criticizes all forms of mortification. He categorically condemns and denounces those self-mortifiers who live rough.’ Do those who say this repeat what the Buddha has said, and not misrepresent him with an untruth? Is their explanation in line with the teaching? Are there any legitimate grounds for rebuke and criticism? For we don’t want to misrepresent Master Gotama.”

“Kassapa, those who say this do not repeat what I have said. They misrepresent me with what is false, baseless, and untrue. With clairvoyance that is purified and superhuman, I see some self-mortifier who lives rough reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell. But I see another self-mortifier who lives rough reborn in a good place, a heavenly realm.

I see some self-mortifier who takes it easy reborn in a place of loss. But I see another self-mortifier who takes it easy reborn in a good place, a heavenly realm. Since I truly understand the coming and going, passing away and rebirth of these self-mortifiers in this way, how could I criticize all forms of mortification, or categorically condemn and denounce those self-mortifiers who live rough?

There are some clever ascetics and brahmins who are subtle, accomplished in the doctrines of others, hair-splitters. You’d think they live to demolish convictions with their intellect. They agree with me in some matters and disagree in others. Some of the things that they applaud, I also applaud. Some of the things that they don’t applaud, I also don’t applaud. But some of the things that they applaud, I don’t applaud. And some of the things that they don’t applaud, I do applaud.

Some of the things that I applaud, others also applaud. Some of the things that I don’t applaud, they also don’t applaud. But some of the things that I don’t applaud, others do applaud. And some of the things that I do applaud, others don’t applaud.

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