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1. The king said: 'In how many ways, Nâgasena, does memory spring up?'

'In sixteen ways, O king. That is to say: by personal experience 1, as when the venerable Ânanda, or the devoted woman Khugguttarâ, or any others who had that power, called to mind their previous births--[79] or by outward aid 2, as when others continue to remind one who is by nature forgetful--or by the impression made by the greatness of some occasion 3, as kings remember their coronation day, or as we remember the day of our conversion-by the impression made by joy 4, as when one remembers that which gave him pleasure--or by the impression made by sorrow 5, as when one remembers that which pained him--or from similarity of appearance 6, as on seeing one like them we call to mind the mother or father or sister or brother, or on seeing a camel or an ox or an ass we call to mind others like them--or by difference of appearance 7, as when we remember that such and such a colour, sound, smell, taste, or touch belong to such and such a thing--or by the knowledge of speech 8, as when one who is by nature forgetful is reminded by others and then himself remembers--or by a sign 9, as when we recognise a draught bullock by a brand mark or some other sign-or from effort to recollect 10 as when one by

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nature forgetful is made to recollect by being urged again and again: "try and think of it"--or by calculation 11, as when one knows by the training he has received in writing that such and such a letter ought to follow after such and such a one--or by arithmetic 12, as when accountants do big sums by their knowledge of figures--or by learning by heart 13, as the repeaters of the scriptures by their skill in learning by heart recollect so much--[80] or by meditation 14, as when a Bhikkhu calls to mind his temporary states in days gone by--by reference to a book 15, as when kings calling to mind a previous regulation, say: "Bring the book here," and remind themselves out of that--or by a pledge 16, as when at the sight of goods deposited a man recollects (the circumstances under which they were pledged)--or by association 17, as when one remembers a thing because one has seen it, or a sound because one has heard it, or an odour because one has smelt it, or a touch because one has felt it, or a concept because one has perceived it.'

'Very good, Nâgasena!'


2. The king said: 'Your people say, Nâgasena, that though a man should have lived a hundred

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years an evil life, yet if, at the moment of death, thoughts of the Buddha should enter his mind, he will be reborn among the gods. This I don't believe. And thus do they also say: "By one case of destruction of life a man may be reborn in purgatory." That, too, I cannot believe.'

'But tell me, O king. Would even a tiny stone float on the water without a boat?'

'Certainly not.'

'Very well; but would not a hundred cart-loads of stones float on the water if they were loaded in a boat?'

'Yes, they would float right enough.'

'Well, good deeds are like the boat.'

'Very good, Nâgasena!'


3. The king said: 'Do you (recluses), Nâgasena, strive after the removal of past sorrow?'


'What then? Is it future sorrow you strive to remove?'


'Present sorrow, then?' [81]

'Not that either.'

'Then if it be neither past, nor future, nor present sorrow that you strive to remove, whereunto, is it that you strive?'

'What are you asking, O king? That this sorrow should cease and no other sorrow should arise--that is what we strive after.'

'But, Nâgasena, is there (now) such a thing as future sorrow?'

'No. I grant that.'

'Then you are mighty clever people to strive after the removal of that which does not exist!'

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'Has it ever happened to you, O king, that rival kings rose up against you as enemies and opponents?'

'Yes, certainly.'

'Then you set to work, I suppose, to have moats dug, and ramparts thrown up, and watch towers erected, and strongholds built, and stores of food collected 1?'

'Not at all. All that had been prepared beforehand.'

'Or you had yourself trained in the management of war elephants, and in horsemanship, and in the use of the war chariot, and in archery and fencing?'

'Not at all. I had learnt all that before.'

'But why?'

'With the object of warding off future danger.'

'How so? Is there such a thing (now) as future danger?'

'No. I must grant that.'

'Then you kings are mighty clever people to trouble yourselves about the warding off of that which does not exist!'

'Give me a further illustration.'

'Tell me, O king. Is it when you are athirst that you set to work to have wells dug, or ponds hollowed out, or reservoirs formed, with the object of getting something to drink?'

'Certainly not. All that has been prepared beforehand.'

'But to what end?'

'With the object of preventing future thirst.'

'How so? Is there such a thing as future thirst?'

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'No, Sir.'

'So you are mighty clever people, O king, [82] to take all that trouble to prevent the future thirst which all the time does not exist!'

'Give me a further illustration.'

[Then the Elder referred, as before, to the means people always took of warding against future hunger, and the king expressed his pleasure at the way in which the puzzle had been solved.]


4. The king said: 'How far is it, Nâgasena, from here to the Brahma world 1?'

'Very far is it, O king. If a rock, the size of an upper chamber, were to fall from there, it would take four months to reach the earth, though it came down eight-and-forty thousand leagues 2 each day and night.'

'Good, Nâgasena! Now do not your people say that a Bhikkhu, who has the power of Iddhi and the mastery over his mind 3, can vanish from Gambu-dîpa, and appear in the Brahma world, as quickly as a strong man could stretch forth his bent up arm, or bend it in again if it were stretched out? That is a saying I cannot believe. How is it possible that he could traverse so quickly so many hundreds of leagues?'

The Elder replied: 'In what district, O king, were you born?'

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'There is an island called Alasanda 1. It was there I was born.'

'And how far is Alasanda from here?'

'About two hundred leagues.'

'Do you know for certain of any business you once did there and now recollect?'

'Oh, yes.'

'So quickly, great king, have you gone about two hundred leagues.'

'Very good, Nâgasena!'


5. The king said: 'If one man, Nâgasena, were to die here and be reborn in the Brahma world, and another were to die here and be reborn in Kashmir, which of the two would arrive first?'

'Both together, O king.'

Give me an illustration.'

'In what town [83], O king, were you born?'

'There is a village called Kalasi. It was there I was born.'

'And how far is Kalasi from here?'

'About two hundred leagues.'

'How far is Kashmir from here?'

'Twelve leagues.'

'Now, great king, think of Kalasi.'

'I have done so.'

'And now, think of Kashmir.'

'I have done so.'

'Well, which did you think of quickest?'

'Of each in the same time.'

'Just so, great king, would it take no longer to be reborn in the Brahma world than to be reborn in Kashmir. And tell me, O king. Suppose two

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birds were flying, and one were to alight on a tall tree, and the other on a small shrub. If they settled both at the same moment, whose shadow would first fall to the ground?'

'The two shadows would fall together.'

'Just so, great king, in the case you put.'

'Very good, Nâgasena!'

6. The king said: 'Venerable Nâgasena, how many kinds of wisdom are there?'

'Seven, O king.'

'And by how many kinds of Wisdom does one become wise?'

'By one: that is to say by the kind of wisdom called "the investigation of the Truth 1."'

'Then why is it said there are seven?'

'Tell me, O king. Suppose a sword were lying in its sheath and not taken in the hand, could it cut off anything you wanted to cut off with it?'

'Certainly not.'

'Just so, great king, by the other kinds of wisdom can nothing be understood without investigation of the Truth.'

'Very good, Nâgasena!'


7. The king said: 'Which, Nâgasena, is there more of, merit or demerit?'

'Merit.' [84]

'But why?'

'He who does wrong, O king, comes to feel remorse, and acknowledges his evil-doing. So demerit does not increase. But he who does well feels no remorse, and feeling no remorse gladness will

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spring up within him, and joy will arise to him thus gladdened, and so rejoicing all his frame will be at peace, and being thus at peace he will experience a blissful feeling of content, and in that bliss his heart will be at rest, and he whose heart is thus at rest knows things as they really are 1. For that reason merit increases. A man, for example, though his hands and feet are cut off, if he gave to the Blessed One merely a handful of lotuses, would not enter purgatory for ninety-one Kalpas. That is why I said, O king, that there is more merit than demerit.'

'Very good, Nâgasena!'


8. The king said: 'Whose, Nâgasena, is the greater demerit--his who sins consciously, or his who sins inadvertently?'

'He who sins inadvertently, O king, has the greater demerit.'

'In that case, reverend Sir, we shall punish doubly any of our family or our court who do wrong unintentionally.'

'But what do you think, O king? If one man were to seize hold intentionally of a fiery mass of metal glowing with heat, and another were to seize hold of it unintentionally, which would be more burnt?'

'The one who did not know what he was doing.'

'Well, it is just the same with the man who does wrong.'

'Very good, Nâgasena!'


9. The king said: 'Is there any one, Nâgasena,

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who can go with this bodily frame to Uttara-kuru or to the Brahma world, or to any other of the four great continents (into which the world is divided)?'

'Yes, there are such people.'

'But how can they?' [85]

'Do you recollect, O king, having ever jumped a foot or two feet across the ground?'

'Yes, Nâgasena, I can jump twelve feet.'

'But how?'

'I fix my mind on the idea of alighting there, and at the moment of my determination my body comes to seem light to me.'

'Just so, O king, can the Bhikkhu, who has the power of Iddhi, and has the mastery over his mind, when he has made his mind rise up to the occasion, travel through the sky by means of his mind.'

'Very good, Nâgasena!'


10. The king said: 'Your people say there are bones even a hundred leagues long. Now there is no tree even one hundred leagues in length, how then can there be bones so long?'

'But tell me, O king. Have you not heard of fishes in the sea five hundred leagues in length?'

'Yes. I have heard of such.'

'If so, could they not have bones a hundred leagues long?'

'Very good, Nâgasena!'


11. The king said: 'Your people, Nâgasena, say that it is possible to suppress the inhaling and exhaling (of one's breath).'

'Yes, that can be done.'

'But how?'

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'Tell me, O king. Have you ever heard of a man snoring 1?'


'Well, would not that sound stop if he bent his body?'


'Then surely if that sound would stop at the mere bending of the body of one who is untrained alike in body, in conduct, in mind, and in wisdom--why should it not be possible for the breathing of one trained in all these respects, and who has besides reached up to the fourth stage of the ecstatic contemplation 2, to be suppressed?'

'Very good, Nâgasena!'


12. The king said: 'There is the expression ocean, Nâgasena. Why is the water called ocean?'

The Elder replied [86]: 'Because there is just as much salt as water, O king, and just as much water as salt, therefore is it called ocean 3.'

'Very good, Nâgasena!'


13. The king said: 'Why, Nâgasena, is the ocean all of one taste, the taste of salt?'

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'Because the water in it has stood so long, therefore it is all of one taste, the taste of salt 1.'

'Very good, Nâgasena!'


14. The king said: 'Can even the most minute thing, Nâgasena, be divided?'

'Yes, it can.'

'And what, Sir, is the most minute of all things.'

'Truth (Dhamma), O king, is the most minute and subtle. But this is not true of all qualities (Dhammâ). Subtleness or the reverse are epithets of qualities. But whatever can be divided that can wisdom (Paññâ) divide, and there is no other quality which can divide wisdom.'

'Very good, Nâgasena!'


15. The king said: 'These three, Nâgasena,--perception, and reason, and the soul in a being,--are they all different both in letter and in essence, or the same in essence differing only in the letter?'

'Recognition, O king, is the mark of perception, and discrimination of reason 2, and there is no such thing as a soul in beings 3.'

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'But if there be no such thing as a soul, what is it then which sees forms with the eye, and hears sounds with the ear, and smells odours with the nose, and tastes tastes with the tongue, and feels touch with the body, or perceives qualities with the mind?'

The Elder replied: 'If there be a soul (distinct from the body) which does all this, then if the door of the eye were thrown down (if the eye were plucked out) could it stretch out its head, as it were, through the larger aperture and (with greater range) see forms much more clearly than before? Could one hear sounds better if the cars were torn away, or smell better if the nose were cut off, or taste better if the tongue were pulled out, or feel touch better if the body were destroyed?'

[87] 'Certainly not, Sir.'

'Then there can be no soul inside the body.'

'Very good, Nâgasena!'


16. The Elder said: 'A hard thing there is, O king, which the Blessed One has done.'

'And what is that?'

'The fixing of all those mental conditions which depend on one organ of sense, telling us that such is contact, and such sensation, and such idea, and such intention, and such thought 1.'

'Give me an illustration.'

'Suppose, O king, a man were to wade down into the sea, and taking some water in the palm of his hand, were to taste it with his tongue. Would he

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distinguish whether it were water from the Ganges, or from the Jumna, or from the Akiravatî, or from the Sarabhû, or from the Mahî?'

'Impossible, Sir.'

'More difficult than that, great king, is it to have distinguished between the mental conditions which follow on the exercise of any one of the organs of sense!'

'Very good, Nâgasena!'


Here ends the Seventh Chapter 1.

17. The Elder said: 'Do you know, O king, what time it is now?'

'Yes, Sir, I know. The first watch of the night is now passed. The middle watch is now going on. The torches are lit. The four banners are ordered to be raised, and appropriate gifts to be issued to you from the treasury.'

The Yonakas said: 'Very good, great king. Most able is the Bhikkhu.'

'Yes, my men. Most able is the Bhikkhu. Were the master like him and the pupil like me, [88] a clever scholar would not take long in getting at the truth.'

Then the king, pleased with the explanations given of the questions he had put, had Nâgasena robed in an embroidered cloak worth a hundred thousand 2, and said to him: 'Venerable Nâgasena, I hereby order that you shall be provided with your daily meal for eight hundred days; and give you the

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choice of anything in the palace that it is lawful for you to take.' And when the Elder refused, saying he had enough to live on, the king rejoined: 'I know, Sir, you have enough to live on. But you should both protect me and protect yourself--yourself from the possibility of a public rumour to the effect that you convinced me but received nothing from me, and me from the possibility of a public rumour that though I was convinced I would give nothing in acknowledgement.'

'Let it be as you wish, great king,' was the reply.

Then the king said: 'As the lion, the king of beasts, when put into a cage, though it were of gold, would turn his face longingly to the outside; even so do I, though I dwell in the world, turn my thoughts longingly to the higher life of you recluses. But, Sir, if I were to give up the household life and renounce the world it would not be long I should have to live, so many are my foes.'

Then the venerable Nâgasena, having thus solved the questions put by Milinda the king, arose from his seat and departed to the hermitage.


18. Not long after Nâgasena had gone, Milinda the king thought over to himself whether he had propounded his questions rightly, and whether the replies had been properly made. And he came to the conclusion that to questions well put replies had been well given. And Nâgasena likewise, when he reached the hermitage, thought the matter over to himself, and concluded that to questions well put right replies had been given.

Now Nâgasena robed himself early in the morning, and went with his bowl in his hand to the palace,

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and sat down on the seat prepared for him. And Milinda saluted the venerable Nâgasena, [89] and sat down respectfully at his side, and said to him: 'Pray do not think, Sir, that I was kept awake all the rest of the night exulting in the thought of having questioned you. I was debating with myself as to whether I had asked aright, and had been rightly answered. And I concluded that I had.'

And the Elder on his part said: 'Pray do not suppose, great king, that I passed the rest of the night rejoicing at having answered all you asked. I too was thinking over what had been said by us both. And I came to the result that you had questioned well, and that I had rightly answered.'

Thus did these two great men congratulate each the other on what he had spoken well.


Here ends the answering of the problems of the questions of Milinda.


122:1 Abhigânato.

122:2 Katumikâya.

122:3 Olârika-viññânato.

122:4 Hita-viññânato.

122:5 Ahita-viññânato.

122:6 Sabhâga-nimittato.

122:7 Visabhâga-nimittato.

122:8 Kathâbhiññânato.

122:9 Lakkhanato.

122:10 Saranato.

123:11 Muddâto (see above, p. 6).

123:12 Gananâto.

123:13 Dharanato. The noun dhâranakâ is only found here (where I follow the Simhalese interpretation) and at Gâtaka II, 203 (where it means 'debtor,' as in Sanskrit).

123:14 Bhâvanato. For a translation of the full text, here abridged in the text, see 'Buddhist Suttas,' pp. 215, 216 (§ 17).

123:15 Potthaka-nibandhanato.

123:16 Upanikkhepato.

123:17 Anubhûtato, perhaps 'experience.' There are really seventeen, not sixteen, so some two must have been regarded by the author as forming one between them. These may be Nos. 1 and 14, or more likely Nos. 4 and 5.

125:1 All that follows only differs by slight additions from III, 4, 3 above, pp. 100-102.

126:1 One of the highest heavens.

126:2 Yogana, a league of seven miles.

126:3 Ketovasippatto, which Hînati-kumburê renders mano vasi prâpta wû. I know of no passage in the Pitakas where the phrase occurs in connection with Iddhi; but it is often used by our author. See, for instance, just below, III, 7, 9.

127:1 Alexandria (in Baktria) built on an island in the Indus.

128:1 Dhamma-vikaya-sambogghangena.

129:1 The above is a paragraph constantly recurring in the Pâli Pitakas. See, for instance, Dîgha II, 75; Anguttara III, 104; and Mahâvagga VIII, 15, 13 (where I have annotated the details).

131:1 Kâkakkhamâno. See Gâtaka I, 60, 24; 160, 18. Hînati-kumburê renders it 'sleeping with a snore (gorawamin) like the sound of crows (kâka).'

131:2 Ghâna.

131:3 Samudda. The answer (to give opportunity for which the question is invented) is a kind of punning etymology of this Pâli word for ocean. Our author seems to take it as meaning 'equal water-ness,' from sama and ud(aka). The real derivation is very different. It is from the root ud, which is allied to our 'Wet' and the Greek , and the prefix sam in the sense of completeness. It is difficult to reconcile the reply to this. There is a kind of conversation condemned in the Dîgha I, 1, 17, and elsewhere as samuddakkhâyika, which is explained in the Sumangala, p. 91, as deriving samudda from sa, 'with,' and mudda, 'a seal ring.'

132:1 In the same way the Buddhist religion (the Dhamma-Vinaya) is said in the Kullavagga IX, 1, 4, to be 'all of one taste, the taste of salvation, emancipation' (Vimutti).

132:2 So also above, II, 3, 12. Here the words are Vigânanalakkhanam viññânam, pagânanâ-lakkhana paññâ, which the Ceylon translator amplifies into 'As a peasant, on seeing grains of gold, would recognise them as valuable, so is it the characteristic of viññâna to recognise aramunu (objects of sense) when it sees them. As a goldsmith, on seeing grains of gold, would not only know they were valuable, but also discriminate their value (as large or small), so is it the characteristic of paññâ, not only to recognise, but also to discriminate between the objects of sense.'

132:3 See above, II, 3, 6, and II, 3, 16. Hînati-kumburê here renders p. 133 gîvo by the 'life (or perhaps living principle, gîvitâ) inside the forms produced out of the four elements.'

133:1 Phasso, vedanâ, saññâ, ketanâ, kittam.

134:1 See the note at the end of Book II, Chapter 3, § 14.

134:2 That is kahâpanas, 'half-pennies.'

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