Pali text, illustration and English translation of Dhammapada verse 218:
chandajāto anakkhāte manasā ca phuṭo siyā |
kāmesu ca appaṭibaddhacitto uddhaṃsoto’ti vuccati || 218 ||
218. One with a wish for the Undeclared, with mind so well-pervaded, a mind not bound in pleasures of sense, an ‘upstream-goer’s’ called.
The Story of an Anāgāmi Venerable
While residing at the Jetavana Monastery, the Buddha spoke this verse with reference to an elder who was an anāgāmi.
On one occasion, the pupils of the elder asked him whether he had attained any of the maggas; but he did not say anything, although he had attained the anāgāmi magga, the third magga. He kept silent because he had resolved not to talk about his attainment until he had attained arahatship. But the thera passed away without attaining arahatship, and also without saying anything about his attainment of anāgāmi magga insight.
His pupils thought their teacher had passed away without attaining any of the maggas and they felt sorry for him. They went to the Buddha and asked him where their teacher was reborn. The Buddha replied, “Monks! Your teacher, who was an anāgāmi before he passed away, is now reborn in the abodes of the Brāhmins (suddhāvāsa Brāhmaloka). He did not reveal his attainment of anāgāmi magga because he felt ashamed that he had achieved only that much, and he was ardently striving to attain arahatship. Your teacher is now freed from the attachment to the sensual world (kāmaloka) and will certainly rise to higher realms.”
Explanatory Translation (Verse 218)
anakkhāte chandajāto manasā phuṭo ca siyā kāmesu
appaṭibaddhacitto ca uddhaṃsoto iti vuccati
anakkhāte: (in whom) in the undefineable (Nibbāna); chandajāto [chandajāta]: yearning has arisen; manasā: in mind; phuṭo ca siyā: has also touched (Nibbāna); kāmesu: in desires; appaṭibaddhacitto ca: also unattached; uddhaṃsoto iti: (such a person) is called; vuccati: upstream-bound
In that person a deep yearning for the undefined–for Nibbāna–has arisen. He has already touched it mentally. He is called a swimmer against the current–an upstream-bound person. He has already started the process towards Nibbāna.
Commentary and exegetical material (Verse 218)
Anāgāmi: the non-returner. The elder of this stanza had attained the path to anāgāmi (non-returner status), but did not reveal it.
Anāgāmi is a noble disciple (ariya-puggala) on the third stage of holiness. There are five classes of non-returners and it is said:
“A being through the disappearing of the five lower fetters (samyojana) reappears in a higher world (amongst the devas of the pure abodes, suddhāvāsa), and without returning from that world (into the sensuous sphere) he there reaches Nibbāna.
(1) “He may, immediately after appearing there (in the ‘Pure Abodes’) or without having gone beyond the half life-time, attain the holy path for the overcoming of the higher fetters. Such a being is called one who reaches Nibbāna within the first half of the life (antarāparinibbāyi).
(2) “Or, whilst living beyond the half life-time, or at the moment of death, he attains the holy path for the overcoming of the higher fetters. Such a being is called one who reaches Nibbāna after crossing half the life-time (upahacca-parinibbāyi).
(3) “Or, with exertion he attains the holy path for the overcoming of the higher fetters. Such a being is called one who reaches Nibbāna with exertion” (sasankhāra-parinibbāyi).
(4) “Or, without exertion he attains the holy path for the overcoming of the higher fetters. Such a being is called one who reaches Nibbāna without exertion (asankhāra-parinibbāyi).
(5) “Or, after vanishing from the heaven of the aviha-gods, (suddhāvāsa), he appears in the heaven of the unworried (ātappa) gods. After vanishing from there he appears in the heaven of the clearly-visible (sudassa) gods, from there in the heaven of the clear-visioned (sudassi) gods, from there in the heaven of the highest (akaniṭṭha) gods. There he attains the holy path for the overcoming of the higher fetters. Such a being is called one who passes upstream to the highest gods (uddhaṃsota-akaniṭṭha-gāmi).”