There is a sutta where a man kept asking the Buddha about forecasting destinations or future lives or something similar and the Buddha said to the man: "Enough!" and exhorted the purpose or goal of the holy life is to be dispassionate.

Can someone help me locate this sutta? Thanks

5 Answers 5


SN 42.3 (To Yodhajiva The Warrior) and SN 42.2 (To Talaputa the Actor) both contain the phrase,

"Enough, headman, put that aside. Don't ask me that."

The reason why he says "enough" seems to be that he doesn't want to have to tell them that they'll be reborn in hell or the animal realm.

The sutta to the Warrior includes a warning against wrong view; and the sutta to the Actor a warning against delusion, passion, intoxication and heedlessness.

  • what is a "headman?" Commented Apr 19, 2019 at 22:23
  • @brothereric The word is gāmaṇi which means something like "leader". It refers to leaders of groups of people (warriors or actors in these instances). Commented Apr 20, 2019 at 3:07

In the Kukkuravatika Sutta (MN57), there are two ascetics who talk to the Buddha. One ascetic (Seniya) had taken the vow to live like a dog and the other (Punna) had taken the vow to live like a cow.

Punna asked the Buddha what would be Seniya's future destiny, having taken the dog vow, and the Buddha replied:

"Enough, Punna, let it be! Don't ask me that."

And vice versa.

On being compelled further, the Buddha stated that the one who lived his life behaving like a dog, thinking like a dog and having the mind of a dog, fully and without break, will either be born in the company of dogs in future, or in hell. And similarly for one who lived his life behaving like a cow.

As ChrisW has said, the reason why he says "enough" seems to be that he doesn't want to have to tell them that they'll be reborn in hell or the animal realm.


MN 79 is close but is probably not the sutta:

Udāyī, someone who can recollect their many kinds of past lives, with features and details, might ask me a question about the past, or I might ask them a question about the past. And they might satisfy me with their answer, or I might satisfy them with my answer. Someone who, with clairvoyance that is purified and superhuman, understands how sentient beings are reborn according to their deeds might ask me a question about the future, or I might ask them a question about the future. And they might satisfy me with their answer, or I might satisfy them with my answer.

Nevertheless, Udāyī, leave aside the past and the future. I shall teach you the Dhamma: ‘When this exists, that is; due to the arising of this, that arises. When this doesn’t exist, that is not; due to the cessation of this, that ceases.’


Adding an answer here as I think the two answers posted so far address a slightly different thing (the Buddha putting an end to the discussion because the news is going to be unpalatable and perhaps unhelpful to the audience) rather than what the spirit of the OP's question might be (because the question is rather indeterminate and not worth speculating on for that reason).

The closest I can think of is the Acintita sutta, Aṅguttara Nikāya 4.77 where the Buddha lists the 4 imponderables (acinteyya). One of them is the precise working out of the results of kamma. I.e., the futility of speculating about the exact effects of any given kamma. And of course, the nature of one's rebirth would be included in such effects.

This, I think counts as an example although he did not use the words "Enough!" as he did in other Suttas such as the Kukkuravatika Sutta.


Maybe the idea of such existing was mixed up with the occation where a monk told the Buddha that he would leave the holly life if he would not tell him whether there is a "Self" or not. In such way confronted the monk got hardly rebuked an asked if the Buddha ever told that he teaches, will teach such. (Link, later?) Going then back to his usual way of teaching dispassion.

But of course, to speculate about futher existences, likewise past or present, lies in the sphere of "I-making" (papanca, or craving-verbalisations). Of which my person guesses that the thought such "Enough" statment like in the OP-Question derives from.

"This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?' Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?' (MN 2]

there are 108 craving-verbalizations.

"This, monks is craving the ensnarer that has flowed along, spread out, and caught hold, with which this world is smothered & enveloped like a tangled skein, a knotted ball of string, like matted rushes and reeds, and does not go beyond transmigration, beyond the planes of deprivation, woe, & bad destinations." (AN 4.199)

The fact that "selves" get reborn is at least no encouragement to seek for it, and as also mentioned in the question: the Buddhas teachings are about getting dispassionate with1 all kinds of becoming. It (notion of self and it's possible harm or support) just used as a governing prinziple to gain a good notion of self. When ever there is no more notion of any self indentification then such as rebirth has come to an and.

Of course it is nonsense to speculate about "what" kind of rebirth if still subject, if there is still a condition for it. Of what rebirth one may gain next, the Buddha described with the falling of a stick thrown into the air, one time falling on this end, then this, or on the side (link later) But in regard that certain actions give certain results on ones being, when ever such may ripe, and there is rebirth if the is the condition for it, in this regard the Buddha was clear and did not let any door for speculation but encouraged one with it to better take the secure way and let short timely "fortune" and "misfortune" better behind: in putting an end to birth.

[Note: This is a gift of Dhamma and not meant for commercial purpose or other low wordily gains by means of trade and exchange.]

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .