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SN 35.133 PTS: S iv 121 CDB ii 1204
Verahaccaani Sutta: Verahaccaani
How to Listen to Dhamma
translated from the Pali by
The Pali title of this sutta is based on the PTS (Feer) edition.
[The Brahman lady Verahaccaani invites the Ven. Udaayii to a meal.]
Then the Brahman lady Verahaccaani served the Venerable Udaayii, with her own hands, with choice foods both hard and soft, until he had had enough. When he had eaten and withdrawn his hand from the bowl, the lady Verahaccaani put on her shoes, sat down on a high seat, covered her head,(1) and said to the Venerable Udaayii: “Teach me your doctrine, recluse.”
“The time will come for that, sister,” he said, and getting up from his seat he went on his way.
[The young man who had persuaded the lady to invite the Ven. Udaayii goes to him again, receives instruction, and returns to the lady with a renewed request to incite him. She says:] “You are speaking thus, my lad, in praise of the recluse Udaayii. But when I said to this Udaayii, 'Teach me your doctrine, recluse,' he replied, 'The time will come for that, sister,' and then got up from his seat and returned home.”
“Well, my lady, you put on your shoes, sat down on a high seat, covered your head, and said: 'Teach me your doctrine, recluse.' But these venerable recluses honor their doctrine, they hold it in high esteem.”
“Very well, young man. Invite the recluse Udaayii on my behalf to a meal tomorrow.”
[He does so, and the lady serves the Ven. Udaayii as before.]
When the Venerable Udaayii had eaten and withdrawn his hand from the bowl, the lady sat down, barefoot and bare-headed,(2) on a low seat and said to the Venerable Udaayii: “Tell me, Venerable Sir,(3) what do the Arahants say causes weal and woe to exist?(4) What do they say causes them not to exist?”
“Where the eye is, sister, the Arahants declare that weal and woe exist. Where the eye is absent, they declare that weal and woe do not exist. [Similarly for ear, nose, tongue, body (touch) mind.]”
[The lady Verahaccaani becomes a lay-follower.]
According to the sekhiya rules of the Paa.timokkha (cf. SN 47.46, n. 1), a monk is not allowed to instruct a person doing any of these three things.
The text says: “having taken off her shoes… and bared her head.” But presumably she was already barefooted and bareheaded. An example of the standardization of the sutta-text overreaching itself, as occasionally happens.
The lady now uses the proper respectful term of address.
It is noteworthy that now, instead of the curt “teach me your doctrine,” she asks a highly intelligent question.