Translating Classical Buddhism to Modern English

Alternate Agama Sutras

T780: The Ten Powers

1. Thus have I heard:[1] One time, the Buddha was staying at Anāthapiṇḍada’s Park in Jeta’s Grove of Śrāvastī.

2. It was then that the Bhagavān addressed the monks, “You should know that Buddhas, Tathāgatas, Arhats, and Completely Awakened Ones perfect ten powers. They’re called Tathāgatas, Arhats, and Completely Awakened Ones because they perfected these ten powers. Being supreme, extraordinary, mighty, and sovereign, they turn the unsurpassed and pure Brahma wheel and correctly roar the lion’s roar amid a great assembly.

3. “What are the ten? The Tathāgata, Arhat, and Completely Awakened One knows what’s possible as it really is: ‘That’s possible.’ He knows what’s impossible as it really is: ‘That’s impossible.’ Suppose Tathāgatas, Arhats, and Completely Awakened Ones know what’s possible as it really is: ‘That’s possible.’ They know what’s impossible as it really is: ‘That’s impossible.’ Because they know what’s possible and impossible as they really are, this is called the first knowledge power about what’s possible and impossible. “They can be called Tathāgata, Arhat, and Correctly and Completely Awakened One because they perfect this power. Being supreme, extraordinary, mighty, and sovereign, they turn the unsurpassed and pure Brahma wheel and correctly roar the lion’s roar amid a great assembly.

4. “Furthermore, a Tathāgata, Arhat, and Completely Awakened One knows as they really are the past, future, and present actions of sentient beings and the things they will experience when they come to fruition. Suppose Tathāgatas, Arhats, and Completely Awakened Ones know as they really are the past, future, and present actions of sentient beings and the things they will experience when they come to fruition. This is called the second knowledge power about the fruition of actions.

“They can be called Tathāgatas, Arhats, and Completely Awakened Ones because they perfect this power. Being supreme, extraordinary, mighty, and sovereign, they turn the unsurpassed and pure Brahma wheel and correctly roar the lion’s roar amid a great assembly.

5. “Furthermore, a Tathāgata, Arhat, and Completely Awakened One knows as they really are the meditations, liberations, and concentrations of sentient beings, the purification of defilements and liberation, their establishment, and their distinctions. Suppose Tathāgatas, Arhats, and Completely Awakened Ones know as they really are the meditations, liberations, and concentrations of sentient beings, the purification of defilements and liberation, their establishment, and their distinctions. This is called the third knowledge power about meditations, liberations, and concentrations.

“They can be called Tathāgatas, Arhats, and Completely Awakened Ones because they perfect this power. Being supreme, extraordinary, mighty, and sovereign, they turn the unsurpassed and pure Brahma wheel and correctly roar the lion’s roar amid a great assembly.

6. “Furthermore, a Tathāgata, Arhat, and Completely Awakened One knows as they really are the greater and lesser faculties of sentient beings. Suppose Tathāgatas, Arhats, and Completely Awakened Ones know as they really are the greater and lesser faculties of sentient beings. This is called the fourth knowledge power about greater and lesser faculties.

“They can be called Tathāgatas, Arhats, and Completely Awakened Ones because they perfect this power. Being supreme, extraordinary, mighty, and sovereign, they turn the unsurpassed and pure Brahma wheel and correctly roar the lion’s roar amid a great assembly.

7. “Furthermore, a Tathāgata, Arhat, and Completely Awakened One knows as they really are the various interests and convictions of sentient beings. Suppose Tathāgatas, Arhats, and Completely Awakened Ones know as they really are the various interests and convictions of sentient beings. This, therefore, is called the fifth knowledge power about various interests and convictions.

“They can be called Tathāgatas, Arhats, and Completely Awakened Ones because they perfect this power. Being supreme, extraordinary, mighty, and sovereign, they turn the unsurpassed and pure Brahma wheel and correctly roar the lion’s roar amid a great assembly.

8. “Furthermore, a Tathāgata, Arhat, and Completely Awakened One knows as they really are the various elements and dispositions of sentient beings in the whole world. Suppose Tathāgatas, Arhats, and Completely Awakened Ones know as they really are the various elements and dispositions of sentient beings in the whole world. This, therefore, is called the sixth knowledge power about various elements.

“They can be called Tathāgatas, Arhats, and Completely Awakened Ones because they perfect this power. Being supreme, extraordinary, mighty, and sovereign, they turn the unsurpassed and pure Brahma wheel and correctly roar the lion’s roar amid a great assembly.

9. “Furthermore, a Tathāgata, Arhat, and Completely Awakened One knows as they really are all the destinations and practices of sentient beings. Suppose Tathāgatas, Arhats, and Completely Awakened Ones know as they really are all the destinations and practices of sentient beings. This, therefore, is called the seventh knowledge power about all destinations and practices.

“They can be called Tathāgatas, Arhats, and Completely Awakened Ones because they perfect this power. Being supreme, extraordinary, mighty, and sovereign, they turn the unsurpassed and pure Brahma wheel and correctly roar the lion’s roar amid a great assembly.

10. “Furthermore, a Tathāgata, Arhat, and Completely Awakened One knows as they really are measureless past lives, abodes, and events of sentient beings, which could be one birth to ten births, 20 births to 100,000 births, measureless births, or one eon of increase or decrease to hundreds of thousands of measureless eons of increase or decrease. ‘Those kinds of sentient beings had such names, such locations, such castes and clans, such meals, such pleasures and pains, and such life spans that were long or short in duration. When their lives ended in that place, they were born there. When their lives ended in this place, they were born here. In those places, their lives had these practices, consciousnesses, and perceptions.’ This, therefore, is called the eighth knowledge power about past lives.

“They can be called Tathāgatas, Arhats, and Completely Awakened Ones because they perfect this power. Being supreme, extraordinary, mighty, and sovereign, they turn the unsurpassed and pure Brahma wheel and correctly roar the lion’s roar amid a great assembly.

11. “Furthermore, a Tathāgata, Arhat, and Completely Awakened One sees sentient beings as they die and are born with his pure heavenly eye that transcends that of humans. He knows as they really are their good and bad forms, superior and inferior conduct, practice of what’s skillful and unskillful, and experiences that are good and bad. He also sees sentient beings undertaking bad physical, verbal, and mental acts, slandering the noble ones, producing wrong views, doing acts of wrong view, and being endowed with the conditions for these acts. When their bodies break up and their lives end, they fall to the three bad destinies. He also sees sentient beings undertaking good physical, verbal, and mental acts, not slandering the noble ones, and not criticizing correct beliefs. Their minds form right views, perform acts of right view, and are endowed with the conditions for these acts. When their bodies break up and their lives end, they are born up in heaven. Because he knows these things as they really are, this is called the ninth knowledge power about birth and death.

“They can be called Tathāgatas, Arhats, and Completely Awakened Ones because they perfect this power. Being supreme, extraordinary, mighty, and sovereign, they turn the unsurpassed and pure Brahma wheel and correctly roar the lion’s roar amid a great assembly.

12. “Furthermore, a Tathāgata, Arhat, and Completely Awakened One in meditation ends the contaminants. His mind is liberated, and his wisdom is liberated. He stands in wisdom penetrated by self-realization: ‘My births have been ended, the religious life has been established, and the task has been accomplished. I won’t be subject to a later existence, and I know it as it really is.’ Suppose Tathāgatas, Arhats, and Completely Awakened Ones end the contaminants in meditation. Their minds are liberated, and their wisdom is liberated. They stand in wisdom penetrated by self-realization: ‘My births have been ended, the religious life has been established, and the task has been accomplished. I won’t be subject to a later existence, and I know it as it really is.’ This is called the tenth knowledge power about ending the contaminants.

“They can be called Tathāgatas, Arhats, and Completely Awakened Ones because they perfect this power. Being supreme, extraordinary, mighty, and sovereign, they turn the unsurpassed and pure Brahma wheel and correctly roar the lion’s roar amid a great assembly.

13. After the Bhagavān had spoken this sūtra, the assembly of monks, gods, nāgas, yakṣas, gandharvas, and asuras rejoiced, believed, and approved of it.

Notes

  1. This sūtra is parallel with AN 6.64 and 10.21, SA 11.41, T781, and T802. [back]

Translator: Charles Patton

Last Revised: 9 December 2020