V : The To-the-Far-Shore Chapter  (Pārāyana Vagga)


That is what the Blessed One said when dwelling among the Magadhans at the Pāsāṇaka shrine. Asked in turn by the sixteen brahmans, he answered their questions. And if one were to practice the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma,1 knowing the meaning and Dhamma of each of these questions, one would go to the far shore of birth & death. Because these Dhammas lead there, this Dhamma-sequence is called “To the Far Shore.”

Ajita, Tissa-metteyya,

Puṇṇaka & Mettagū,

Dhotaka & Upasīva,

Nanda & Hemaka,

Todeyya & Kappa,

the wise Jatukaṇṇin,

Bhadrāvudha & Udaya,

Posāla the brahman,

Mogharāja the intelligent,

and Piṅgiya the great seer:

They went to the Awakened One,

consummate in conduct, the seer.

They went to the excellent Awakened One,

asking subtle questions.

The Awakened One,

when asked their questions,

answered in line with the truth.

By answering their questions, the sage

delighted the brahmans.

They, delighted by the One with Eyes—

Awakened, Kinsman of the Sun—

lived the holy life

in the presence of the one

of foremost discernment.

Whoever would practice

as the Awakened One taught

concerning each of these questions,

would go from the near shore to the far—

would go from the near shore to the far

developing the path supreme.

The path is for going beyond,

and so it’s called “To the Far Shore.”

Ven. Piṅgiya:2

“I will recite ‘To the Far Shore.’

As he saw, so he taught—

stainless, of deep intelligence,

the Nāga with

no sensuality,

no forest3:

For what reason would he tell a lie?

His delusion & stains

left behind; left behind,

his hypocrisy, conceit:

Let me praise his beautiful words.

He who is truly described


dispeller of darkness,


All-around Eye,

gone to the end of the cosmos,4

all his becoming transcended,


his stress all abandoned:

He is served by me.

As a bird leaving a scrubby grove

would dwell in a forest abundant in fruit,

even so, I have left those of next-to-no vision,

have arrived

like a swan at a large lake.

In the past,

before hearing Gotama’s message,

when anyone explained ‘It is,’ ‘It will be,’

all that was hearsay,

quotation marks.

All that promoted conjecture

and gave me no pleasure.5

Sitting alone—

the dispeller of darkness,

shining, bringer of light,

Gotama of deep knowledge,

Gotama of deep intelligence:

He taught me the Dhamma

timeless, visible here-&-now,

the ending of craving,


whose likeness is nowhere at all.”


“Piṅgiya, for even a moment

can you stay apart from him—

Gotama of deep knowledge,

Gotama of deep intelligence,

who taught you the Dhamma

timeless, visible here-&-now,

the ending of craving,


whose likeness is nowhere at all?”

Ven. Piṅgiya:

“No, brahman, not even for a moment

can I stay apart from him—

Gotama of deep knowledge,

Gotama of deep intelligence,

who taught me the Dhamma

timeless, visible here-&-now,

the ending of craving,


whose likeness is nowhere at all.

I see him with my heart

as if with my eye—

heedful, brahman, by day & by night.

I spend the night paying homage to him,

and that way, as it were,

not staying apart.

My conviction, rapture,

mindfulness, & heart,

don’t stray from Gotama’s message.

To whatever direction he goes,

the one deeply discerning,

to that direction I bow down.

I am old, my stamina frail,

which is why my body doesn’t run away to there.

But through the machine of my resolves

I constantly go,

for my heart, brahman, is connected to him.

Floundering in the mud,

I swam from island to island,

but then I saw the One Self-Awakened,

crossed over the flood, effluent-free.

‘As Vakkali has shown his conviction6

as Bhadrāvudha & Āḷavi Gotama too—

so will you show your conviction, Piṅgiya.

You will go beyond the realm of death.’

I feel confidence all the more,

having heard the words of the sage,

his roof opened-up, self-awakened,

quick-witted, free from rigidity.

Knowing the supreme devas,7

he knows all dhammas, from high to low:

the Teacher who puts an end

to the questions

of those admitting

their doubt.

To the untaken-in, unshaken,8

whose likeness is nowhere at all:

Yes, I will go there.

I’ve no doubt about that.

Remember me thus

as one whose mind

is decided.

vv. 1124–1149


1. See SN 22:39–42.

2. According to SnA, the sixteen brahmans, after their questions were answered, requested and received the Going-forth and Acceptance. After that, Piṅgiya, now Ven. Piṅgiya, received permission from the Buddha to return to Bāvarī to report the results of their trip.

3. Reading nikkāmo nibbano nāgo with the Sri Lankan and Burmese versions, a reading confirmed by Nd II. The Thai version has nibbuto, “unbound,” instead of nibbano. The PTS version has nātho, “protector,” instead of nāgo.

According to Nd II, “no forest” here means free from the forests of passion, aversion, delusion, resentment, and all other unskillful mental fabrications. See Dhp 283.

4. See SN 35:82, SN 35:116, and AN 4:45.

5. The phrase, “and gave me no pleasure,” appears in the Thai edition but not the others.

6. According to Nd IIA, to show conviction means to attain arahantship through the strength of conviction. The expression also occurs in SN 6:1, where it seems to have a more general meaning. Ven. Vakkali’s story appears in SN 22:87. At AN 1:147 (1:208) the Buddha cites him as foremost among the monks in being decisive in his conviction. Bhadrāvudha is apparently the same Bhadrāvudha in Sn 5:12. Āḷavi Gotama is mentioned nowhere else in the Canon.

7. In AN 8:71 (AN 8:64 in the PTS reckoning), the Buddha states that he did not claim full awakening until his knowledge of the deva world was complete.

8. See MN 131.

See also: SN 55:23