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“So long, monks, as my knowledge and vision of these Four Noble Truths as they really are in their three phases and twelve aspects was not thoroughly purified in this way, I did not claim to have awakened to the unsurpassed perfect enlightenment in this world with its devas, Mara, and Brahma, in this population with its ascetics and brahmins, its devas and humans. But when my knowledge and vision of these Four Noble Truths as they really are in their three phases and twelve aspects was thoroughly purified in this way, then I claimed to have awakened to the unsurpassed perfect enlightenment in this world with its devas, Mara, and Brahma, in this population with its ascetics and brahmins, its devas and humans. The knowledge and vision arose in me: ‘Unshakable is the liberation of my mind. This is my last birth. Now there is no more renewed existence.’”

This is what the Blessed One said. Elated, the monks of the group of five delighted in the Blessed One’s statement. And while this discourse was being spoken, there arose in the Venerable Kondañña the dust-free, stainless vision of the Dhamma: “Whatever is subject to origination is all subject to cessation.”

And when the wheel of the Dhamma had been set in motion by the Blessed One, the earth-dwelling devas raised a cry: “At Baranasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, this unsurpassed wheel of the Dhamma has been set in motion by the Blessed One, which cannot be stopped by any ascetic or brahmin or deva or Mara or Brahma or by anyone in the world.” Having heard the cry of the earth-dwelling devas, the devas of the realm of the Four Great Kings raised a cry: “At Baranasi… this unsurpassed wheel of the Dhamma has been set in motion by the Blessed One, which cannot be stopped… by anyone in the world.” Having heard the cry of the devas of the realm of the Four Great Kings, the Tavatimsa devas… the Yama devas… the Tusita devas…the devas who delight in creating…the devas who wield power over others’ creations… the devas of the Brahma’s company raised a cry: “At Baranasi, in the Deer Park at Isipatana, this unsurpassed wheel of the Dhamma has been set in motion by the Blessed One, which cannot be stopped by any ascetic or brahmin or deva or Mara or Brahma or by anyone in the world.”

Thus at that moment, at that instant, at that second, the cry spread as far as the brahma world, and this ten-thousand-fold world system shook, quaked, and trembled, and an immeasurable great radiance surpassing the divine majesty of the devas appeared in the world.

Then the Blessed One uttered this inspired utterance: “Kondañña has indeed understood! Kondañña has indeed understood!” In this way the Venerable Kondañña acquired the name “Añña Kondañña—Kondañña Who Has Understood”


Bhikkhu Bodhi is an American Buddhist monk ordained in Sri Lanka in 1972. He was president and editor of the Buddhist Publication Society. His books include The All-Embracing Net of Views, A Comprehensive Manual of Abhidhamma, and (as co-translator) The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha.

From In the Buddha’s Words: An Anthology of Discourses from the Pali Canon. Edited and introduced by Bhikkhu Bodhi. Copyright © 2005 by Bhikkhu Bodhi. Reprinted by permission of Wisdom Publications.