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Rohitassa Sutta

To Rohitassa

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
For free distribution only

On one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Savatthi, in Jeta's Grove, Anathapindika's monastery. Then Rohitassa, the son of a deva, in the far extreme of the night, his extreme radiance lighting up the entirety of Jeta's Grove, went to the Blessed One. On arrival, having bowed down to the Blessed One, he stood to one side. As he was standing there he said to the Blessed One: "Is it possible, lord, by traveling, to know or see or reach a far end of the cosmos where one does not take birth, age, die, pass away or reappear?"

"I tell you, friend, that it is not possible by traveling to know or see or reach a far end of the cosmos where one does not take birth, age, die, pass away, or reappear."

"It is amazing, lord, and awesome, how well that has been said by the Blessed One: 'I tell you, friend, that it is not possible by traveling to know or see or reach a far end of the cosmos where one does not take birth, age, die, pass away, or reappear.' Once I was a seer named Rohitassa, a student of Bhoja, a powerful sky-walker. My speed was as fast as that of a strong archer -- well trained, a practiced hand, a practiced sharpshooter -- shooting a light arrow across the shadow of a palm tree. My stride stretched as far as the east sea is from the west. To me, endowed with such speed, such a stride, there came the desire: 'I will go traveling to the end of the cosmos.' I -- with a one-hundred year life, a one-hundred year span -- spent one hundred years traveling -- apart from the time spent on eating, drinking, chewing and tasting, urinating and defecating, and sleeping to fight off weariness -- but without reaching the end of the cosmos I died along the way. So it is amazing, lord, and awesome, how well that has been said by the Blessed One: 'I tell you, friend, that it is not possible by traveling to know or see or reach a far end of the cosmos where one does not take birth, age, die, pass away, or reappear.'"

When this was said, the Blessed One responded: "I tell you, friend, that it is not possible by traveling to know or see or reach a far end of the cosmos where one does not take birth, age, die, pass away, or reappear. But at the same time, I tell you that there is no making an end of suffering and stress without reaching the end of the cosmos. Yet it is just within this fathom-long body, with its perception and intellect, that I declare that there is the cosmos, the origination of the cosmos, the cessation of the cosmos, and the path of practice leading to the cessation of the cosmos."

It's not to be reached by traveling,
 the end of the cosmos --
 regardless.
And it's not without reaching
 the end of the cosmos
 that there is release
 from suffering and stress.

So, truly, the wise one,
an expert with regard to the cosmos,
a knower of the end of the cosmos,
having fulfilled the holy life,
 calmed,
knowing the cosmos' end,
 doesn’t long for this cosmos
 or for any other.

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