Ratana Sutta

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The Ratana Sutta (Burmese: ရတနသုတ်) is a Buddhist discourse (Sanskrit sutra Pali, sutta) found in the Pali Canon's Sutta Nipata (Snp 2.1) and Khuddakapatha (Khp 7); with a parallel in the Mahavastu. In the Pali it is seventeen verses in length, and in the Sanskrit version nineteen.[1] The Ratana Sutta extols the characteristics of the three ratana (Pali for "gem" or "jewel" or "treasure") in Buddhism: the Enlightened One (Buddha), the Teaching (Dhamma) and the noble community of disciples (ariya Sangha).

Background[edit]

In Theravada Buddhism, according to post-canonical Pali commentaries, the background story for the Ratana Sutta is that the town of Vesali (or Visala) was being plagued by disease, non-human beings and famine; in despair, the townspeople called upon the Buddha for aid; he had the Ven. Ananda go through town reciting this discourse leading to the dispersal of the town's woes.[2]

Contents[edit]

The Ratana Sutta upholds the Three Jewels as follows:

  • the Buddha as the unequalled Realized One (verse 3: na no samam atthi Tathagatena)
  • the Teaching (dhamma) of:
    • Nirvana (verse 4: khayam viragam amatam panitam), and
    • the unsurpassed concentration (verse 5: samadhim) leading to Nirvana
  • the noble Community (ariya sangha) for having:
    • attained Nirvana (verses 7: te pattipatta amatam vigayha),
    • realized the Four Noble Truths (verses 8-9: yo ariyasaccani avecca passati), and
    • abandoned the first three fetters (verse 10: tayas su dhamma jahita bhavanti) that bind us to samsara.[3]

Use[edit]

In Theravada countries and institutions, this discourse is often recited as part of religious, public and private ceremonies for the purpose of blessing new endeavors and dispelling inauspicious forces.[4]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ See Anandajoti Ratanasutta - A Comparative Edition
  2. ^ See, e.g., Anandajoti (2004), p. 45, "Introductory Verses" to the Ratana Sutta; and, Bodhi (2004).
  3. ^ For a transcription of the Pali along with a line-by-line English translation, see, e.g., Anandajoti (2004), pp. 45-52.
  4. ^ See, e.g., Piyadassi (1999); and, Bodhi (2004).

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]