DN2.3.5. The Doctrine of Nigaṇṭha Nātaputta

Sāmaññaphala Sutta ("The Fruits of the Ascetic Life")

One time, sir, I approached Nigaṇṭha Nātaputta and exchanged greetings with him. When the greetings and polite conversation were over, I sat down to one side, and asked him the same question.

He said: ‘Great king, consider a Jain ascetic who is restrained in the fourfold restraint. And how is a Jain ascetic restrained in the fourfold restraint? It’s when a Jain ascetic is obstructed by all water, devoted to all water, shaking off all water, pervaded by all water. That’s how a Jain ascetic is restrained in the fourfold restraint. When a Jain ascetic is restrained in the fourfold restraint, they’re called a knotless one who is self-realized, self-controlled, and steadfast.’

And so, when I asked Nigaṇṭha Nāṭaputta about the fruits of the ascetic life apparent in the present life, he answered with the fourfold restraint. It was like someone who, when asked about a mango, answered with a breadfruit, or when asked about a breadfruit, answered with a mango. I thought: ‘How could one such as I presume to rebuke an ascetic or brahmin living in my realm?’ So I neither approved nor dismissed that statement of Nigaṇṭha Nāṭaputta. I was displeased, but did not express my displeasure. Neither accepting what he said nor contradicting it, I got up from my seat and left.

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