I ask of the Sage abundantly wise,
Buddha, Lord of Dharma, one who’s craving-free,
Best among men, charioteer beyond compare,
Please do tell me what sorts of samaṇas there are.
Asked by you personally I shall explain:
Four are the samaṇas, not a fifth is found—
Won to the Path, of the Path the Indicator,
Who lives upon the Path, as well the Path-polluter.
Who do the Buddhas say is winner of the Path?
How will the Path-teacher be incomparable?
Tell about that one who lives upon the Path,
Also the one who is the Path-polluter?
Whoso has passed beyond the dart of doubts,
Nirvāṇa-delighted, no greediness at all,
Leader of the world together with the gods,
is Such, the Path-winner, so the Buddhas say.
Who knows the Best as what is best indeed,
then teaches Dharma and analyses it,
a sage all doubt severed, one undisturbed,
they call bhikkhu number two, indicator of the Path.
Who lives on the Way, the well-taught Dharma Path,
one well-trained and mindful as well,
whatever’s unobstructing, a practitioner of that
they call bhikkhu number three, one who lives the Path.
Making a semblance of those with good vows,
deceitful one, worthless and quite unrestrained,
Insolent, braggart and family-defiler,
who goes in disguise is polluter of the Path.
A noble disciple who’s recognised each and every one,
and knowing that among them, all are not alike,
this having seen, that person’s faith does not decrease.
For how with the corrupt
can the uncorrupted be compared?
Or those purified with those who are impure?