excellent and wonderful things
- in the great ocean and
The simile method of teaching in
the Dhamma is one of the most influential methods of communicating the Dhamma adopted by
the Buddha. This method has been used in many discourses. The discourse of the simile of
the Ocean ( A. N. ii.47.Paharada Sutta)is one such a discourse. Here the Buddha expounded
eight characteristics in the Order which are parallel with the Ocean. According to the
Sutta once Paharada, a chief of the Asura (demi-gods "titans" who are hostile
towards the gods and often engage in battle with them) came to the Buddha and having
saluted the Buddha sat down at aside. After their courteous greetings the Buddha inquired
about how many excellent and wonderful things do they perceive in the great Ocean. So
Paharada pointed out eight excellent and wonderful things in the great Ocean. He said
" There are ,Ven. Sir, eight excellent and wonderful things which we again and again
perceive in the great Ocean and therefore take delight in it."
These are the eight:
- The great Ocean, slopes away gradually, falls gradually, inclines gradually, and not in
an abrupt way like a precipice.
- The great Ocean is stable and does not overflow its boundaries.
- The great Ocean does not tolerate a dead body, a corpse. If there is a dead body in it
the great Ocean will quickly carry it to the shore cast it on to the land.
- When these mighty rivers, like the Ganga, the Yamuna, the Aciravati and the Sarabhu etc
reach the great Ocean, they lose their former names and designations, and are reckoned
just as the great Ocean.
- Though all the streams of the world flow into the great Ocean and rains falls into it
from the sky, yet there appears neither a decrease nor an increase in the great Ocean.
- The great Ocean has only one taste, that of salt.
- In the great Ocean there are many and variegated precious things: There are pearls,
gems, lapis, lazuli, shells, quartz, corals, silver, gold, rubies and cats-eyes.
- The great Ocean is the abode of vast creatures, the timi, the timingala, the
timirapingala, Asuras, Nagas and Gandhabba. There are, in the great Ocean beings one
hundred yojanas long or two ,three, four, five hundred yojanas long.
When the chief of Asura, Paharada said so, explaining the nature of the
Order the Buddha said that there were eight excellent and wonderful things in the
Order(Teaching and discipline) which the monks again and again perceive and therefore find
delight in it. They are as follows:
The Buddha said
- " Just as the great Ocean slopes away gradually, falls gradually, inclines
gradually, and not in an abrupt way like a precipice, even so Paharada, is this teaching
and discipline: there is a gradual training (anupubbasikkha), gradual
practice(anupubbakiriya), gradual progress (anupubbapatipada); there is no penetration to
highest knowledge in an abrupt way. (It means that taking a leap like a frog, without
practicing from the very beginning i.e. the fulfillment of morality(sila)
concentration(samadhi) and wisdom(panna) respectively, there is no attainment of
Arahantship. One has to practise the Dhamma in due order, No concentration can be gained
without morality and there is no cultivation of wisdom without concentration of mind).
- Just as the great Ocean is stable and does not overflow its boundaries, even so when I
have made known a rule of training to my disciples ,they will not transgress it even for
- Just as the great Ocean will not tolerate a dead body, a corpse, but quickly carries it
to the shore and casts it on to the land; even so the Order will not tolerate a person who
is immoral, of bad character, of impure and suspicious conduct, secretive in his actions,
not a true recluse but rather a sham-recluse, not chaste but pretending chastity, rotten
to the core , lustful and of vile behaviour. (in such a case) ,the Order quickly assembles
and expels such a person. Even if seated in the midst of monks' assembly, yet he is far
from the assembly, yet he is far from the Order and the order is far from him. (Regarding
this, in this period of decadence of the Sasana we all can see, and have to accept that
there are certain bad elements in the order today. They really are impediments to the
Order. They commit even grave offences. But there is no immediate assemble of the
community of monks and expulsion. Undoubtedly stern actions are to be taken by the Head of
the monks and the regime in power in order to purify the Sasana).
- Just as the might rivers like Ganga and yamuna, on reaching the great Ocean lose their
former names and designations and are just reckoned as the great ocean; even so when
members of the four castes -nobles, brahmins, burghers, and menials go forth from home
into homelessness life in this teaching and discipline proclaimed by the Buddha, they lose
their former names and lineage and are reckoned only as recluses of the Son of the Sakyas
- Just as in the great ocean neither a decrease nor an increase will appear thought all
the streams of the world flow into it and rains fall into it from the sky; even so in the
Nibbana element that is without a remainder of substrata of existence; there is no
decrease nor increase even if many monks enter it.
- Just as the great ocean has only one taste, that of salt ; even so has this teaching and
discipline only one taste, the taste of liberation.
- Just as in the great ocean there are many and variegated precious things as pearls,
gems, etc, even so there is in this teaching and discipline much that is precious; and
there are the precious things init; the four foundations of mindfulness, the four right
efforts, the five spiritual powers, the seven factors of enlightenment, the noble
- Just as the great ocean is the abode of vast creatures the timingala... etc; even so is
this teaching and discipline the domain of great beings; the stream-enterer
(sotapanna),and he who practises for the realization of the fruition of stream
entry(sotapattiphala),the once-returner (sakadagami),and he who practises for the
realization of the fruition of once returner(sakadagamiphala),the Nonreturner
(Anagami) and he who practises for the realization of the fruition of Nonreturn
(Anagamiphala); the Arahant and he who practises for Arahantship.
According to this discourse in the Dhamma, it is crystal clear that
there is a gradual training, gradual practice and gradual progress in the Sasana. This is
very important in the context of practicing the Dhamma. One should be wise enough to
understand the nature of the Dhamma. It is impossible to realize the Dhamma in a hasty
There are three aspects to be followed namely Sila (morality)
samadhi(concentration) and wisdom(panna). In keeping with the prtactical side of them, the
Buddha had explained the significance of practicing all three simultaneously, which means
that all three mutually support each other. There is little or no possible of reaching the
goal (Nibbana) by developing only one aspect of the triad. Therefore let us strive to
understand the Dhamma properly and practise it gradually in our daily life.
- Paramita International Buddhist Centre