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Sanskrit Kātyāyana Sūtra
1. The Bhagavan was staying in Nādikā in the Guñjakā 1 House.
2. Venerable Faithful-Kātyāyana2 went to the Bhagavan. 3 Having approached, he saluted
the Bhagavan’s feet with his head 4 , and stood to one side. Standing to one side Faithful
Kātyāyana said this to the Bhagavan:
3. “‘Right-view (samyagdṛṣṭi), right view’ is said Sir. In what way5 is there rightview?
To what extent does the Tathāgata teach (prajñapayati) the understanding (prajñapayamāna)
of rightview?”6
4. That said, the bhagavan said to Faithful Kātyāyana:
5. “Generally, Kātyāyana, this world relies on a duality (dvayaṃ) of existence (astitā)
and non-existence (nāstitā). 7 This world which relies on existence and non-existence is
attached, grasping and bound.8And this obstinate tendency of the mind to grasp and cling
they don’t hold, they don’t accept, insist on or have a tendency to say: this is my self (ātmā
me). This arising is disappointment arising; ceasing is disappointment ceasing – here he has
no doubt, no uncertainty, and has independent knowledge of this.”
6. “In this way there is right-view, Kātyāyana. In this way the Tathāgata teaches the
understanding of right-view.”
7. “Why is that? Arising in the world, Kātyayana, seen and correctly understood just as it
is, [shows] there is no non-existence in the world. Cessation in the world, Kātyayana, seen
and correctly understood just as it is, [shows] there is no [permanent] existence in the
world.”9
1
MW: guñjakā: the berry of Abrus precatorius. Pali: giñjikāsatha; DOPN ‘a brick hall in Nādikā’. Compare SN
14.12 (SN ii.153) the Giñjakāvasatha Sutta preached to a person named Saddha Kaccāyana. It is generally
assumed that Kacccāna and Saddha Kaccāyana are the same person. C.f. Choong Mun-keat & Piya Tan
(2004); Thanisaro (2010), Walsh (1981). The name Kātyāyana is the yuvan-name of a member of the Kātya
gotra, the clan descended from the ancestor Kati. It is the name used when the patriarch of the family is still
alive. The yuvan-name is also used as a sign of repect is intended (it implies that the ancestral patriarch lives
on). Brough (1946). Since the available forms of the name are: Kati, Kātya, and Kātyāyana it is apparent that
the Pāli form Kaccāna is a defective form of Kaccāyana (though we would expect kāccāyana). The
descendents of Kati shine in both Brahmanical and Buddhist texts.
2
The name is given here as sandhākātyāyana. BHSD suggests that saṃdhā means ‘real’ in relation to speech.
MW: ‘intimate union, compact, agreement’ etc. from saṃ√dhā . However the Pali saddha means ‘faithful’,
which suggests Skt. śraddha. Is this a genuine difference or a wrong Sanskritisation? C.f note above. Another
bhikkhu called Sandha vists that Buddha in the Giñjakā-satha in Ñātikā (A.v.323f) and DOPN speculates that
this might also refer to Saddha Kaccāyana. In SN 14.13 the dialogue is clearly related to SN 12.15. Ñātika and
Nādika appear to be (dialectical?) variants of the same name.
3
Unlike Pāli the Sanskrit uses a perfect form of the verb √gam.
4
This detail is missing from the Pāli but present in the Chinese.
5
Skt. kiyatā (Pāli kittāvatā) ‘to what extent?’
6
Skt. prajñapayati is a causative ‘cause to understand, teach’; while prajñapayamānaḥ is the present participial
form ‘understanding; teaching’.
7
Skt astitā is an abstract noun from the verb √as ‘to be, to exist’ and thus means ‘being, existence’, with the
emphasis on static existence rather than the more dynamic becoming indicated by √bhū ‘to be, to become’.
8
Skt. upadhy-upādāna-vinibaddhaḥ. Pāli has upāya-upādāna-abhinivesa-vinibandha ‘bound to the tendency to
grasp strategems’. BHSD sv upadhi: Skt. upadhi = Pāli upadhi (upa √dhā) ‘foundation, basis’; or upādi PED =
upādāna; also equivalent to substratum of existence or khandhas.
9
This is word for word identical with the Pāli except that Sanskrit lacks the dialectical variant hoti for bhavati.
However this paragraph comes earlier in the Pāli. The Chinese has the same paragraph order.
8. Thus avoiding both extremes the Tathāgata teaches a dharma by the middle path
(madhyamayā pratipadā).10
9. That is: this being, that becomes; with the arising of this, that arises. 11 With ignorance
(avidyā) as condition there is volition (saṃkārā)… as before for arising and cessation.
10. While hearing this exposition of the Dharma (dharmaparyāya) the mind of venerable
Faithful Kātyāyana was liberated from the taints (āsrava) through non-clinging
(anupādāya).12
10
= Pāli Ete te, kaccāna, ubho ante anupagamma majjhena tathāgato dhammaṃ deseti. The word for middle is
still in the instrumental, but the Sanskrit adds the word for path: pratipada. In the Pāli the extremes (anta) are
further spelt out as everything exists (sabbṃ atthi) and nothing exists (Sabbaṃ natthi).
11
yad utāsmin satīdaṃ bhavaty asyotpādād idam utpadyate (Without sandhi: yad uta asmin sati idaṃ bhavati
asi utpādād idam utpadyate) C.f. Pāli from elsewhere …yadidaṃ imasmiṃ sati idaṃ hoti, imass'uppādā idaṃ
uppajjati. The imasmiṃ formula occurs at: M i.263, ii.32, iii.63; S ii.28, 65, 70, 78, 79, 95, 96, v.388; A v.184;
Ud 1, 2. All of the references in S ii are in the nidāna saṃyutta.
12
Tripāṭhī (1962): “Als diese Gesetzesverkündung verkündet wurde, war der geist des ehrwürdigen
Sandhākātyāyana von den sündigen Leidenschaften voll und ganz erlöst.” Tripāṭhī points out that though this
passage is missing in KP, that Pali has the same pericope, and gives the example of SN ii.189 “Imasmiñca
pana veyyākaraṇasmiṃ bhaññamāne tiṃsamattānaṃ pāveyyakānaṃ bhikkhūnaṃ anupādāya āsavehi cittāni
vimucciṃsūti.” (And while this exposition was being spoken, the minds of the thirty bhikkhus from Pāva were
liberated from the taints by non-clinging. He also points to Vin 1.14 “Imasmiñca pana veyyākaraṇasmiṃ
bhaññamāne pañcavaggiyānaṃ bhikkhūnaṃ anupādāya āsavehi cittāni vimucciṃsu.”