I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Pāva at the Ajakalāpaka [Herd-of-Goats] shrine, the dwelling of the Ajakalāpaka spirit. And on that occasion, in the pitch-black darkness of the night, the Blessed One was sitting in the open air, and the rain was falling in scattered drops.
Then the Ajakalāpaka spirit — wanting to cause fear, terror, & horripilation in the Blessed One — went to him and, on arrival, not far from him, three times made a commotion & pandemonium: "Commotion & pandemonium! Commotion & pandemonium! Commotion & pandemonium! — That's a goblin for you, contemplative!"
Then, on realizing the significance of that, the Blessed One on that occasion exclaimed:
with regard to his own qualities,
a brahman is one
who has gone beyond,
he transcends this goblin
and his pandemonium.
- Dhammas. This is apparently a reference to skillful and unskillful mental qualities — which would mean that this sutta sides with the passages in the Canon categorizing unbinding not as a dhamma, but as the transcending of all dhammas. (The suttas in general are inconsistent on this point. Iti 90, among others, states clearly that unbinding counts as a dhamma. AN 10.58, on the other hand, calls unbinding the ending of all dhammas. Sn 5.6 calls the attainment of the goal the transcending of all dhammas, just as Sn 4.6 and Sn 4.10 state that the arahant has transcended dispassion, said to be the highest dhamma. MN 22, in the famous simile of the raft, states that all dhammas are abandoned at the end of the path.)