DN24.4. On the Naked Ascetic Pāṭikaputta

Pāṭika Sutta ("About Pāṭikaputta")

This one time, Bhaggava, I was staying right there near Vesālī, at the Great Wood, in the hall with the peaked roof. Now at that time the naked ascetic Pāṭikaputta was residing in Vesālī. And in the Vajjian capital he had reached the peak of material possessions and fame. He was telling a crowd in Vesālī: ‘Both the ascetic Gotama and I speak from knowledge. One who speaks from knowledge ought to display a superhuman demonstration of psychic power to another who speaks from knowledge. If the ascetic Gotama meets me half-way, there we should both perform a superhuman demonstration of psychic power. If he performs one demonstration of psychic power, I’ll perform two. If he performs two, I’ll perform four. If he performs four, I’ll perform eight. However many demonstrations of psychic power the ascetic Gotama performs, I’ll perform double.’

Then Sunakkhatta came to me, bowed, sat down to one side, and told me of all this.

I said to him, ‘Sunakkhatta, the naked ascetic Pāṭikaputta is not capable of coming into my presence, unless he gives up that statement and that intention, and lets go of that view. If he thinks he can come into my presence without giving up those things, his head may explode.’

‘Careful what you say, Blessed One! Careful what you say, Holy One!’

‘But why do you say this to me, Sunakkhatta?’

‘Sir, the Buddha has definitively asserted that Pāṭikaputta is not capable of coming into the Buddha’s presence, otherwise his head may explode. But Pāṭikaputta might come into the Buddha’s presence in disguise, proving the Buddha wrong.’

‘Sunakkhatta, would the Realized One make an ambiguous statement?’

‘But sir, did you make that statement after comprehending Pāṭikaputta’s mind with your mind? Or did deities tell you about it?’

‘Both, Sunakkhatta. For Ajita the Licchavi general has recently passed away and been reborn in the host of the Thirty-Three. He came and told me this, “The naked ascetic Pāṭikaputta is shameless, sir, he is a liar. For he has declared of me in the Vajjian capital: ‘Ajita the Licchavi general has been reborn in the Great Hell.’

But that is not true—I have been reborn in the host of the Thirty-Three. The naked ascetic Pāṭikaputta is shameless, sir, he is a liar. Pāṭikaputta is not capable of coming into the Buddha’s presence, otherwise his head may explode.”

Thus I both made that statement after comprehending Pāṭikaputta’s mind with my mind, and deities told me about it.

So Sunakkhatta, I’ll wander for alms in Vesālī. After the meal, on my return from alms-round, I’ll go to Pāṭikaputta’s monastery for the day’s meditation. Now you may tell him, if you so wish.’

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