AN 8.25 Mahānāmasutta: Mahānāma

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling among the Sakyans at Kapilavatthu in the Banyan Tree Park. Then Mahānāma the Sakyan approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to him:

“In what way, Bhante, is one a lay follower?”

“When, Mahānāma, one has gone for refuge to the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Saṅgha, in that way one is a lay follower.”

“In what way, Bhante, is a lay follower virtuous?”

“When, Mahānāma, a lay follower abstains from the destruction of life, from taking what is not given, from sexual misconduct, from false speech, and from liquor, wine, and intoxicants, the basis for heedlessness, in that way a lay follower is virtuous.”

“In what way, Bhante, is a lay follower practicing for his own welfare but not for the welfare of others?”

  1. “When, Mahānāma, a lay follower is himself accomplished in faith but does not encourage others to accomplish faith;
  2. when he is himself accomplished in virtuous behavior but does not encourage others to accomplish virtuous behavior;
  3. when he is himself accomplished in generosity but does not encourage others to accomplish generosity;
  4. when he himself wants to see bhikkhus but does not encourage others to see bhikkhus;
  5. when he himself wants to hear the good Dhamma but does not encourage others to hear the good Dhamma;
  6. when he himself retains in mind the teachings he has heard but does not encourage others to retain the teachings in mind;
  7. when he himself examines the meaning of the teachings that have been retained in mind but does not encourage others to examine their meaning;
  8. when he himself has understood the meaning and the Dhamma and practices in accordance with the Dhamma, but does not encourage others to do so: it is in this way, Mahānāma, that a lay follower is practicing for his own welfare but not for the welfare of others.

“In what way, Bhante, is a lay follower practicing for his own welfare and for the welfare of others?”

  1. “When, Mahānāma, a lay follower is himself accomplished in faith and also encourages others to accomplish faith;
  2. when he is himself accomplished in virtuous behavior and also encourages others to accomplish virtuous behavior;
  3. when he is himself accomplished in generosity and also encourages others to accomplish generosity;
  4. when he himself wants to see bhikkhus and also encourages others to see bhikkhus;
  5. when he himself wants to hear the good Dhamma and also encourages others to hear the good Dhamma;
  6. when he himself retains in mind the teachings he has heard and also encourages others to retain the teachings in mind;
  7. when he himself examines the meaning of the teachings that have been retained in mind and also encourages others to examine their meaning;
  8. when he himself understands the meaning and the Dhamma and then practices in accordance with the Dhamma, and also encourages others to practice in accordance with the Dhamma: it is in this way, Mahānāma, that a lay follower is practicing for his own welfare and also for the welfare of others.”

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SN 1.49 Maccharisutta: Stingy

At Sāvatthī.

Then, late at night, a glorious deity, lighting up the entire Jeta’s Grove, went up to the Buddha, bowed, stood to one side. Standing to one side, that deity recited this verse in the Buddha’s presence:

“Those who are stingy here in the world,
Miserly folk, revilers,
People who create obstacles
For others engaged in giving alms:
What kind of result do they reap?
What kind of future destiny?
We’ve come to ask the Blessed One this:
How are we to understand it?”

The Blessed One:

“Those who are stingy here in the world,
Miserly folk, revilers,
People who create obstacles
For others engaged in giving alms:
They might be reborn in hell,
In the animal realm or Yama’s world.

“If they come back to the human state
They are born in a poor family
Where clothes, food, pleasures, and sport
Are obtained only with difficulty.

“Whatever the fools may expect from others,
Even that they do not obtain.
This is the result in this very life;
And in the future a bad destination.”

Devatā:

“We understand thus what you have said;
We ask, O Gotama, another question:
Those here who, on gaining the human state,
Are amiable and generous,
Confident in the Buddha and the Dhamma
And deeply respectful towards the Saṅgha:
What kind of result do they reap?
What kind of future destiny?
We’ve come to ask the Blessed One this:
How are we to understand it?”

The Blessed One:

“Those here who, on gaining the human state,
Are amiable and generous,
Confident in the Buddha and the Dhamma
And deeply respectful towards the Saṅgha,
These brighten up the heavens
Where they’ve been reborn.

“If they come back to the human state
They are reborn in a rich family
Where clothes, food, pleasures, and sport
Are obtained without difficulty.

“They rejoice like the devas who control
The goods amassed by others.
This is the result in this very life;
And in the future a good destination.”


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AN 3.42 Tiṭhānasutta: Cases

“Bhikkhus, in three cases one may be understood to have faith and confidence. What three? When one desires to see those of virtuous behavior; when one desires to hear the good Dhamma; and when one dwells at home with a mind devoid of the stain of miserliness, freely generous, openhanded, delighting in relinquishment, devoted to charity, delighting in giving and sharing. In these three cases, one may be understood to have faith and confidence.”

One who desires to see the virtuous ones,
who wishes to hear the good Dhamma,
who has removed the stain of miserliness,
is called a person endowed with faith.


Faith: saddha
Confidence: pasanna

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AN 4.61 Pattakammasutta: Worthy Deeds

NOTE: This sutta is longer than usual, but it gives lots of wonderful advice for lay life. Especially on wealth and how to use it.

Then the householder Anāthapiṇḍika approached the Blessed One…. The Blessed One said to him:

“Householder, there are these four things that are wished for, desired, agreeable, and rarely gained in the world. What four?

(1) “One thinks: ‘May wealth come to me righteously!’ This is the first thing in the world that is wished for … and rarely gained in the world.

(2) “Having gained wealth righteously, one thinks: ‘May fame come to me and to my relatives and preceptors!’ This is the second thing … rarely gained in the world.

(3) “Having gained wealth righteously and having gained fame for oneself and for one’s relatives and preceptors, one thinks: ‘May I live long and enjoy a long life span!’ This is the third thing … rarely gained in the world.

(4) “Having gained wealth righteously, having gained fame for oneself and for one’s relatives and preceptors, living long and enjoying a long life span, one thinks: ‘With the breakup of the body, after death, may I be reborn in a good destination, in a heavenly world!’ This is the fourth thing … rarely gained in the world.

“These are the four things that are wished for, desired, agreeable, and rarely gained in the world.

“There are, householder, four other things that lead to obtaining those four things. What four? Accomplishment in faith, accomplishment in virtuous behavior, accomplishment in generosity, and accomplishment in wisdom.

(1) “And what, householder, is accomplishment in faith? Here, a noble disciple is endowed with faith; he places faith in the enlightenment of the Tathāgata thus: ‘The Blessed One is an arahant, perfectly enlightened, accomplished in true knowledge and conduct, fortunate, knower of the world, unsurpassed trainer of persons to be tamed, teacher of devas and humans, the Enlightened One, the Blessed One.’ This is called accomplishment in faith.

(2) “And what is accomplishment in virtuous behavior? Here, a noble disciple abstains from the destruction of life … abstains from liquor, wine, and intoxicants, the basis for heedlessness. This is called accomplishment in virtuous behavior.

(3) “And what is accomplishment in generosity? Here, a noble disciple dwells at home with a mind free from the stain of miserliness, freely generous, openhanded, delighting in relinquishment, devoted to charity, delighting in giving and sharing. This is called accomplishment in generosity.

(4) “And what is accomplishment in wisdom? If one dwells with a heart overcome by longing and unrighteous greed, one does what should be avoided and neglects one’s duty, so that one’s fame and happiness are spoiled. If one dwells with a heart overcome by ill will … by dullness and drowsiness … by restlessness and remorse … by doubt, one does what should be avoided and neglects one’s duty, so that one’s fame and happiness are spoiled.

“When, householder, a noble disciple has understood thus: ‘Longing and unrighteous greed are a defilement of the mind,’ he abandons them.

When he has understood thus: ‘Ill will is a defilement of the mind,’ he abandons it.

When he has understood thus: ‘Dullness and drowsiness are a defilement of the mind,’ he abandons them.

When he has understood thus: ‘Restlessness and remorse are a defilement of the mind,’ he abandons them.

When he has understood thus: ‘Doubt is a defilement of the mind,’ he abandons it.

“When, householder, a noble disciple has understood thus: ‘Longing and unrighteous greed are a defilement of the mind’ and has abandoned them; when he has understood thus: ‘Ill will … Dullness and drowsiness … Restlessness and remorse … Doubt is a defilement of the mind,’ and has abandoned it, he is then called a noble disciple of great wisdom, of wide wisdom, one who sees the range, one accomplished in wisdom. This is called accomplishment in wisdom.

“These are the four other things that lead to obtaining the four things that are wished for, desired, agreeable, and rarely gained in the world.

“With wealth acquired by energetic striving, amassed by the strength of his arms, earned by the sweat of his brow, righteous wealth righteously gained, the noble disciple undertakes four worthy deeds. What four?

(1) “Here, householder, with wealth acquired by energetic striving … righteously gained, the noble disciple makes himself happy and pleased and properly maintains himself in happiness; he makes his parents happy and pleased and properly maintains them in happiness; he makes his wife and children, his slaves, workers, and servants happy and pleased and properly maintains them in happiness; he makes his friends and companions happy and pleased and properly maintains them in happiness. This is the first case of wealth that has gone to good use, that has been properly utilized and used for a worthy cause.

(2) “Again, with wealth acquired by energetic striving … righteously gained, the noble disciple makes provisions against the losses that might arise from fire, floods, kings, thieves, or displeasing heirs; he makes himself secure against them. This is the second case of wealth that has gone to good use … for a worthy cause.

(3) “Again, with wealth acquired by energetic striving … righteously gained, the noble disciple makes the five oblations: to relatives, guests, ancestors, the king, and the deities. This is the third case of wealth that has gone to good use … for a worthy cause.

(4) “Again, with wealth acquired by energetic striving … righteously gained, the noble disciple establishes an uplifting offering of alms—an offering that is heavenly, resulting in happiness, conducive to heaven—to those ascetics and brahmins who refrain from intoxication and heedlessness, who are settled in patience and mildness, who tame themselves, calm themselves, and train themselves for nibbāna. This is the fourth case of wealth that has gone to good use, that has been properly employed and used for a worthy cause.

“These, householder, are the four worthy deeds that the noble disciple undertakes with wealth acquired by energetic striving, amassed by the strength of his arms, earned by the sweat of his brow, righteous wealth righteously gained. When anyone exhausts wealth on anything apart from these four worthy deeds, that wealth is said to have gone to waste, to have been squandered, to have been used frivolously. But when anyone exhausts wealth on these four worthy deeds, that wealth is said to have gone to good use, to have been properly used, to have been utilized for a worthy cause.

“I’ve enjoyed wealth,
supported my dependents,
and overcome adversities.
I have given an uplifting offering
and performed the five oblations.
I have served the virtuous monks,
the self-controlled celibate ones.

“I have achieved whatever purpose
a wise person, dwelling at home,
might have in desiring wealth;
what I have done brings me no regret.”

Recollecting this, a mortal
remains firm in the noble Dhamma.
They praise him here in this life,
and after death he rejoices in heaven.


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SN 1.41 Ādittasutta: Ablaze

Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Savatthi in Jeta’s Grove, Anathapiṇḍika’s Park. Then, when the night had advanced, a certain devatā of stunning beauty, illuminating the entire Jeta’s Grove, approached the Blessed One. Having approached, he paid homage to the Blessed One, stood to one side, and recited these verses in the presence of the Blessed One:

“When one’s house is ablaze
The vessel taken out
Is the one that is useful,
Not the one left burnt inside.

“So when the world is ablaze
With the fires of aging and death,
One should take out one’s wealth by giving:
What is given is well salvaged.

“What is given yields pleasant fruit,
But not so what is not given.
Thieves take it away, or kings,
It gets burnt by fire or is lost.

“Then in the end one leaves the body
Along with one’s possessions.
Having understood this, the wise person
Should enjoy himself but also give.
Having given and enjoyed as fits his means,
Blameless he goes to the heavenly state.”

This is what that devatā said. The Teacher approved. Then that devatā, thinking, “The Teacher has approved of me,” paid homage to the Blessed One and, keeping him on the right, disappeared right there.


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SN 1.66 Attahatasutta: Afflicted

Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Savatthi in Jeta’s Grove, Anathapiṇḍika’s Park. Then, when the night had advanced, a certain devatā of stunning beauty, illuminating the entire Jeta’s Grove, approached the Blessed One. Having approached, he paid homage to the Blessed One, stood to one side, and said to him:

“By what is the world afflicted?
By what is it enveloped?
By what dart has it been wounded?
With what is it always burning?”

The Blessed One:

“The world is afflicted with death,
Enveloped by old age;
Wounded by the dart of craving,
It is always burning with desire.”


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AN 5.57 From… Abhiṇhapaccavekkhitabbaṭhānasutta: Themes

“…And for the sake of what benefit should a woman or a man, a householder or one gone forth, often reflect thus: ‘I am subject to death; I am not exempt from death’? During their lives beings are intoxicated with life, and when they are intoxicated with life they engage in misconduct by body, speech, and mind. But when one often reflects upon this theme, the intoxication with life is either completely abandoned or diminished. It is for the sake of this benefit that a woman or a man, a householder or one gone forth, should often reflect thus: ‘I am subject to death; I am not exempt from death.…’

“…This noble disciple reflects thus: ‘I am not the only one who is subject to death, not exempt from death. All beings that come and go, that pass away and undergo rebirth, are subject to death; none are exempt from death.’ As he often reflects on this theme, the path is generated. He pursues this path, develops it, and cultivates it. As he does so, the fetters are entirely abandoned and the underlying tendencies are uprooted.…


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SN 12.2 From… Vibhaṅgasutta: Analysis


And what, bhikkhus, is aging-and-death? The aging of the various beings in the various orders of beings, their growing old, brokenness of teeth, greyness of hair, wrinkling of skin, decline of vitality, degeneration of the faculties: this is called aging. The passing away of the various beings from the various orders of beings, their perishing, breakup, disappearance, mortality, death, completion of time, the breakup of the aggregates, the laying down of the carcass: this is called death. Thus this aging and this death are together called aging-and-death.


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AN 4.29 Dhammapadasutta: Dhamma Factors

[NOTE: The term “good will” below is abyāpādo, sometimes translated literally as “non-ill will.”]

“Bhikkhus, there are these four Dhamma factors, primal, of long standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated and never before adulterated, which are not being adulterated and will not be adulterated, which are not repudiated by wise ascetics and brahmins. What four?

(1) “Non-longing is a Dhamma factor, primal, of long standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated and never before adulterated, which is not being adulterated and will not be adulterated, which is not repudiated by wise ascetics and brahmins.

(2) Good will is a Dhamma factor, primal, of long standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated and never before adulterated, which is not being adulterated and will not be adulterated, which is not repudiated by wise ascetics and brahmins.

(3) Right mindfulness is a Dhamma factor, primal, of long standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated and never before adulterated, which is not being adulterated and will not be adulterated, which is not repudiated by wise ascetics and brahmins.

(4) Right concentration is a Dhamma factor, primal, of long standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated and never before adulterated, which is not being adulterated and will not be adulterated, which is not repudiated by wise ascetics and brahmins.

“These are the four Dhamma factors, primal, of long standing, traditional, ancient, unadulterated and never before adulterated, which are not being adulterated and will not be adulterated, which are not repudiated by wise ascetics and brahmins.”

One should dwell free from longing
with a heart of good will.
One should be mindful and one-pointed in mind,
internally well concentrated.


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AN 3.63 Venāgapurasutta: Venāga

[NOTE: Since it is the weekend, today’s sutta will be a bit longer than usual.]

On one occasion the Blessed One was wandering on tour among the Kosalans together with a large Saṅgha of bhikkhus when he reached the Kosalan brahmin village named Venāgapura. The brahmin householders of Venāgapura heard: “It is said that the ascetic Gotama, the son of the Sakyans who went forth from a Sakyan family, has arrived at Venāgapura. Now a good report about that Master Gotama has circulated thus: ‘That Blessed One is an arahant, perfectly enlightened, accomplished in true knowledge and conduct, fortunate, knower of the world, unsurpassed leader of persons to be tamed, teacher of devas and humans, the Enlightened One, the Blessed One. Having realized by his own direct knowledge this world with its devas, Māra, and Brahmā, this population with its ascetics and brahmins, its devas and humans, he makes it known to others. He teaches a Dhamma that is good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, with the right meaning and phrasing; he reveals a spiritual life that is perfectly complete and pure.’ Now it is good to see such arahants.”

Then the brahmin householders of Venāgapura approached the Blessed One. Some paid homage to the Blessed One and sat down to one side; some exchanged greetings with him and, when they had concluded their greetings and cordial talk, sat down to one side; some reverentially saluted him and sat down to one side; some pronounced their name and clan and sat down to one side; some kept silent and sat down to one side. The brahmin Vacchagotta of Venāgapura then said to the Blessed One:

“It is astounding and amazing, Master Gotama, how Master Gotama’s faculties are tranquil and the color of his skin is pure and bright. Just as a yellow jujube fruit in the autumn is pure and bright, so Master Gotama’s faculties are tranquil and the color of his skin is pure and bright. Just as a palm fruit that has just been removed from its stalk is pure and bright, so Master Gotama’s faculties are tranquil and the color of his skin is pure and bright. Just as an ornament of finest gold, well prepared by a skilled goldsmith and very skillfully wrought in the furnace, placed on red brocade, shines and beams and radiates, so Master Gotama’s faculties are tranquil and the color of his skin is pure and bright.

“Whatever high and luxurious kinds of bedding there are—that is, a sofa, a divan, a long-haired coverlet, a coverlet of diverse colors, a white coverlet, a woolen coverlet with floral designs, a quilt of cotton wool, a woolen coverlet ornamented with animal figures, a woolen coverlet with double borders, a woolen coverlet with a single border, a silken sheet studded with gems, a sheet made with silk threads and studded with gems, a dancer’s rug, an elephant rug, a horse rug, a chariot rug, a rug of antelope hide, a spread made of the hide of the kadali-deer, a bed with a canopy above and red bolsters at both ends—Master Gotama surely gains them at will, without trouble or difficulty.”

“Brahmin, those high and luxurious kinds of bedding are rarely obtained by those who have gone forth, and if they are obtained, they are not allowed.

“But, brahmin, there are three kinds of high and luxurious beds that at present I gain at will, without trouble or difficulty. What three? The celestial high and luxurious bed, the divine high and luxurious bed, and the noble high and luxurious bed. These are the three kinds of high and luxurious beds that at present I gain at will, without trouble or difficulty.”

(1) “But, Master Gotama, what is the celestial high and luxurious bed that at present you gain at will, without trouble or difficulty?”

“Here, brahmin, when I am dwelling in dependence on a village or town, in the morning I dress, take my bowl and robe, and enter that village or town for alms. After the meal, when I have returned from the alms round, I enter a grove. I collect some grass or leaves that I find there into a pile and then sit down. Having folded my legs crosswise and straightened my body, I establish mindfulness in front of me. Then, secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states, I enter and dwell in the first jhāna, which consists of rapture and pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by thought and examination. With the subsiding of thought and examination, I enter and dwell in the second jhāna, which has internal placidity and unification of mind and consists of rapture and pleasure born of concentration, without thought and examination. With the fading away as well of rapture, I dwell equanimous and, mindful and clearly comprehending, I experience pleasure with the body; I enter and dwell in the third jhāna of which the noble ones declare: ‘He is equanimous, mindful, one who dwells happily.’ With the abandoning of pleasure and pain, and with the previous passing away of joy and dejection, I enter and dwell in the fourth jhāna, neither painful nor pleasant, which has purification of mindfulness by equanimity.

“Then, brahmin, when I am in such a state, if I walk back and forth, on that occasion my walking back and forth is celestial. If I am standing, on that occasion my standing is celestial. If I am sitting, on that occasion my sitting is celestial. If I lie down, on that occasion this is my celestial high and luxurious bed. This is that celestial high and luxurious bed that at present I can gain at will, without trouble or difficulty.”

“It is astounding and amazing, Master Gotama! Who else, apart from Master Gotama, can gain at will, without trouble or difficulty, such a celestial high and luxurious bed?

(2) “But, Master Gotama, what is the divine high and luxurious bed that at present you gain at will, without trouble or difficulty?”

“Here, brahmin, when I am dwelling in dependence on a village or town, in the morning I dress, take my bowl and robe, and enter that village or town for alms. After the meal, when I have returned from the alms round, I enter a grove. I collect some grass or leaves that I find there into a pile and then sit down. Having folded my legs crosswise and straightened my body, I establish mindfulness in front of me. Then I dwell pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, likewise the second quarter, the third quarter, and the fourth quarter. Thus above, below, across, and everywhere, and to all as to myself, I dwell pervading the entire world with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, vast, exalted, measureless, without enmity, without ill will. I dwell pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with compassion … with a mind imbued with altruistic joy … with a mind imbued with equanimity, likewise the second quarter, the third quarter, and the fourth quarter. Thus above, below, across, and everywhere, and to all as to myself, I dwell pervading the entire world with a mind imbued with equanimity, vast, exalted, measureless, without enmity, without ill will.

“Then, brahmin, when I am in such a state, if I walk back and forth, on that occasion my walking back and forth is divine. If I am standing, on that occasion my standing is divine. If I am sitting, on that occasion my sitting is divine. If I lie down, on that occasion this is my divine high and luxurious bed. This is that divine high and luxurious bed that at present I can gain at will, without trouble or difficulty.”

“It is astounding and amazing, Master Gotama! Who else, apart from Master Gotama, can gain at will, without trouble or difficulty, such a high and luxurious bed?

(3) “But, Master Gotama, what is the noble high and luxurious bed that at present you gain at will, without trouble or difficulty?”

“Here, brahmin, when I am dwelling in dependence on a village or town, in the morning I dress, take my bowl and robe, and enter that village or town for alms. After the meal, when I have returned from the alms round, I enter a grove. I collect some grass or leaves that I find there into a pile and then sit down. Having folded my legs crosswise and straightened my body, I establish mindfulness in front of me. Then I understand thus: ‘I have abandoned greed, cut it off at the root, made it like a palm stump, obliterated it so that it is no more subject to future arising. I have abandoned hatred, cut it off at the root, made it like a palm stump, obliterated it so that it is no more subject to future arising. I have abandoned delusion, cut it off at the root, made it like a palm stump, obliterated it so that it is no more subject to future arising.’

“Then, brahmin, when I am in such a state, if I walk back and forth, on that occasion my walking back and forth is noble. If I am standing, on that occasion my standing is noble. If I am sitting, on that occasion my sitting is noble. If I lie down, on that occasion this is my noble high and luxurious bed. This is that noble high and luxurious bed that at present I can gain at will, without trouble or difficulty.”

“It is astounding and amazing, Master Gotama! Who else, apart from Master Gotama, can gain at will, without trouble or difficulty, such a noble high and luxurious bed?

“Excellent, Master Gotama! Excellent, Master Gotama! Master Gotama has made the Dhamma clear in many ways, as though he were turning upright what had been overthrown, revealing what was hidden, showing the way to one who was lost, or holding up a lamp in the darkness so those with good eyesight can see forms. We now go for refuge to Master Gotama, to the Dhamma, and to the Saṅgha of bhikkhus. Let Master Gotama consider us lay followers who from today have gone for refuge for life.”


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