Dear Ven. Kumara,
I'm not advanced enough to analyze the Pali itself, but here are how
Thanissaro and John Ireland translated that section in their respective
"Rejoice, Nanda, rejoice, Nanda! I guarantee that you will obtain five
hundred pink-footed nymphs."
"If, revered sir, the Lord guarantees that I will obtain five hundred
pink-footed nymphs, I shall be content in living the holy life under the
"Then take joy, Nanda. Take joy! I am your guarantor for getting 500
"If the Blessed One is my guarantor for getting 500 dove-footed nymphs, I
will enjoy leading the holy life under the Blessed One."
Here are a couple of definitions for guarantor:
Definition of 'Guarantor'
A person who guarantees to pay for someone else's debt if he or she should
default on a loan obligation. A guarantor acts as a co-signor of sorts, in
that they pledge their own assets or services if a situation arises in
which the original debtor cannot perform their obligations.
Read more: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/g/guarantor.asp#ixzz2Kf3Q6kh0
and freedictionary.com says:
1. One, such as a person or corporation, that makes or gives a promise,
assurance, or pledge typically relating to quality, durability, or
2. One who makes or gives a guaranty.
As I stated earlier, I would have no problem with the sutta if the Buddha
stated something such as:
"Nanda, I guarantee that if you follow my program on siila and samaadhi,
you will be irresistible to celestial nymphs, and you could easily attract
500 of them. "
I would consider that statement truthful, and the tricky factor is still
there but ethically negligible. It's not guaranteeing or promising Nanda
anything that would violate right livelihood, right action, vinaya rules,
However, if we analyze either Thanissaro's or Irelands translation, there
are several disturbing implications. The guarantee implies an ironclad
promise that the Buddha will deliver 500 nymphs regardless of whether Nanda
even successfully completes the program of siila and samaadhi. Moreover,
what about the rights of the 500 nymphs? Do they not have a say on who they
are promised to? Last time I checked Tathaagatas are not in the business of
trafficking celestial slave nymphs. I'd like to think celestial nymphs have
the right to decide whether it's a good idea to engage in inter-species
relationship with a celibate bhikkhu.
On Sun, Feb 10, 2013 at 8:02 PM, Kumara Bhikkhu <kumara.bhikkhu@...>wrote:
> You mean this part?
> "Then take joy, Nanda. Take joy!
> I am your guarantee for getting
> 500 dove-footed nymphs."
> I don't see a lie there. I see it as a trick though. He probably knew
> what would eventually happen.
> Frank K wrote thus at 12:41 AM 10-02-13:
> >the story in the Udana of
> >the Buddha using the incentive of guaranteeing his cousin Nanda celestial
> >nymphs as a way to encourage him to not disrobe. Especially with so many
> >passages in the canon explicitly detailing right speech and the danger of
> >the smallest lie, I find it extremely offensive that a Buddha would need
> >even entertain the use of a white lie as a way to help his disciples
> >advance in their practice.
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