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AN 4.15 Paññattisutta: Proclamations

“Bhikkhus, there are these four proclamations of the foremost. What four?

(1) “The foremost of those with bodies is Rāhu, lord of the asuras. (2) The foremost of those who enjoy sensual pleasures is King Mandhātā. (3) The foremost of those who exercise authority is Māra the Evil One. (4) In this world with its devas, Māra, and Brahmā, among this population with its ascetics and brahmins, its devas and humans, the Tathāgata, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One is declared foremost. These are the four proclamations of those who are foremost.”

Rāhu is the foremost of those with bodies,
Mandhātā, of those enjoying sense pleasures;
Māra is the foremost of rulers,
blazing with power and glory.

In this world together with its devas
above, across, and below,
as far as the world extends,
the Buddha is declared foremost.


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 4.15 Paññattisutta: Proclamations by Bhikkhu Bodhi on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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AN 4.195 Vappasutta: With Vappa

At one time the Buddha was staying in the land of the Sakyans, near Kapilavatthu in the Banyan Tree Monastery. Then Vappa of the Sakyans, a disciple of the Jains, went up to Venerable Mahāmoggallāna, bowed, and sat down to one side. Mahāmoggallāna said to him:

“Vappa, take a person who is restrained in body, speech, and mind. When ignorance fades away and knowledge arises, do you see any reason why defilements giving rise to painful feelings would defile that person in the next life?”

“Sir, I do see such a case. Take a person who did bad deeds in a past life. But the result of that has not yet ripened. For this reason defilements giving rise to painful feelings would defile that person in the next life.” But this conversation between Mahāmoggallāna and Vappa was left unfinished.

Then in the late afternoon, the Buddha came out of retreat and went to the assembly hall. He sat down on the seat spread out, and said to Mahāmoggallāna, “Moggallāna, what were you sitting talking about just now? What conversation was left unfinished?”

Moggallāna repeated the entire conversation to the Buddha, and concluded: “This was my conversation with Vappa that was unfinished when the Buddha arrived.”

Then the Buddha said to Vappa, “Vappa, we can discuss this. But only if you allow what should be allowed, and reject what should be rejected. And if you ask me the meaning of anything you don’t understand, saying: ‘Sir, why is this? What’s the meaning of that?’”

“Sir, let us discuss this. I will do as you say.”

“What do you think, Vappa? There are distressing and feverish defilements that arise because of instigating bodily activity. These don’t occur in someone who avoids such bodily activity. They don’t perform any new deeds, and old deeds are eliminated by experiencing their results little by little. This wearing away is apparent in the present life, immediately effective, inviting inspection, relevant, so that sensible people can know it for themselves. Do you see any reason why defilements giving rise to painful feelings would defile that person in the next life?”

“No, sir.”

“What do you think, Vappa? There are distressing and feverish defilements that arise because of instigating verbal activity. These don’t occur in someone who avoids such verbal activity. They don’t perform any new deeds, and old deeds are eliminated by experiencing their results little by little. This wearing away is apparent in the present life, immediately effective, inviting inspection, relevant, so that sensible people can know it for themselves. Do you see any reason why defilements giving rise to painful feelings would defile that person in the next life?”

“No, sir.”

“What do you think, Vappa? There are distressing and feverish defilements that arise because of instigating mental activity. These don’t occur in someone who avoids such mental activity. They don’t perform any new deeds, and old deeds are eliminated by experiencing their results little by little. This wearing away is apparent in the present life, immediately effective, inviting inspection, relevant, so that sensible people can know it for themselves. Do you see any reason why defilements giving rise to painful feelings would defile that person in the next life?”

“No, sir.”

“What do you think, Vappa? There are distressing and feverish defilements that arise because of ignorance. These don’t occur when ignorance fades away and knowledge arises. They don’t perform any new deeds, and old deeds are eliminated by experiencing their results little by little. This wearing away is apparent in the present life, immediately effective, inviting inspection, relevant, so that sensible people can know it for themselves. Do you see any reason why defilements giving rise to painful feelings would defile that person in the next life?”

“No, sir.”

“A mendicant whose mind is rightly freed like this has achieved six consistent responses. Seeing a sight with the eye, they’re neither happy nor sad, but remain equanimous, mindful and aware. Hearing a sound with the ears … Smelling an odor with the nose … Tasting a flavor with the tongue … Feeling a touch with the body … Knowing an idea with the mind, they’re neither happy nor sad, but remain equanimous, mindful and aware. Feeling the end of the body approaching, they understand: ‘I feel the end of the body approaching.’ Feeling the end of life approaching, they understand: ‘I feel the end of life approaching.’ They understand: ‘When my body breaks up and my life has come to an end, everything that’s felt, being no longer relished, will become cool right here.’

Suppose there was a shadow cast by a sacrificial post. Then along comes a person with a spade and basket. They cut down the sacrificial post at its base, dig it up, and pull it out by its roots, right down to the fibers and stems. Then they split it apart, cut up the parts, and chop them into splinters. Next they dry the splinters in the wind and sun, burn them with fire, and reduce them to ashes. Then they sweep away the ashes in a strong wind, or float them away down a swift stream. And so the shadow cast by the post is cut off at the root, made like a palm stump, obliterated, and unable to arise in the future.

In the same way, a mendicant whose mind is rightly freed like this has achieved six consistent responses. Seeing a sight with the eye, they’re neither happy nor sad, but remain equanimous, mindful and aware. Hearing a sound with the ears … Smelling an odor with the nose … Tasting a flavor with the tongue … Feeling a touch with the body … Knowing an idea with the mind, they’re neither happy nor sad, but remain equanimous, mindful and aware. Feeling the end of the body approaching, they understand: ‘I feel the end of the body approaching.’ Feeling the end of life approaching, they understand: ‘I feel the end of life approaching.’ They understand: ‘When my body breaks up and my life has come to an end, everything that’s felt, being no longer relished, will become cool right here.’”

When he said this, Vappa the Sakyan, the disciple of the Jains, said to the Buddha:

“Sir, suppose there was a man who raised commercial horses for profit. But he never made any profit, and instead just got weary and frustrated. In the same way, I paid homage to those Jain fools for profit. But I never made any profit, and instead just got weary and frustrated. From this day forth, any confidence I had in those Jain fools I sweep away as in a strong wind, or float away as down a swift stream.

Excellent, sir! … From this day forth, may the Buddha remember me as a lay follower who has gone for refuge for life.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 4.195 Vappasutta: With Vappa by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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AN 4.77 Acinteyyasutta: Unthinkable

“Mendicants, these four things are unthinkable. They should not be thought about, and anyone who tries to think about them will go mad or get frustrated. What four?

The scope of the Buddhas …

The scope of one in absorption …

The results of deeds …

Speculation about the world …

These are the four unthinkable things. They should not be thought about, and anyone who tries to think about them will go mad or get frustrated.”


Note: The very brief statement, “The results of deeds…” is understood to mean the exact way specific actions done by an individual will manifest as results. Of course we have seen many ways that types of actions lead to types of results.

Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 4.77 Acinteyyasutta: Unthinkable by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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AN 2.17: Done and Not Done

Then the brahmin Jānussoṇi went up to the Buddha, and exchanged greetings with him. When the greetings and polite conversation were over, he sat down to one side and said to the Buddha:

“What is the cause, Mister Gotama, what is the reason why some sentient beings, when their body breaks up, after death, are reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell?”

“What they’ve done and what they’ve not done. That’s why some sentient beings, when their body breaks up, after death, are reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell.”

“But what is the cause, Mister Gotama, what is the reason why some sentient beings, when their body breaks up, after death, are reborn in a good place, a heavenly realm?”

“What they’ve done and what they’ve not done. That’s why some sentient beings, when their body breaks up, after death, are reborn in a good place, a heavenly realm.”

“I don’t understand the meaning of what Mister Gotama has said in brief, without explaining the details. Mister Gotama, please teach me this matter in detail so I can understand the meaning.”

“Well then, brahmin, listen and apply your mind well, I will speak.”

“Yes sir,” Jānussoṇi replied. The Buddha said this:

“Firstly, brahmin, someone has done bad things and not done good things by way of body, speech, and mind. So what they’ve done and what they’ve not done is why some sentient beings, when their body breaks up, after death, are reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell. Furthermore, brahmin, someone has done good things and not done bad things by way of body, speech, and mind. So what they’ve done and what they’ve not done is why some sentient beings, when their body breaks up, after death, are reborn in a good place, a heavenly realm.”

“Excellent, Mister Gotama! … From this day forth, may Mister Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone for refuge for life.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 2.17 by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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AN 3.76 Paṭhamabhavasutta: Continued Existence (1st)

Then Venerable Ānanda went up to the Buddha, bowed, sat down to one side, and said to him:

“Sir, they speak of this thing called ‘continued existence’. How is continued existence defined?”

“If, Ānanda, there were no deeds to result in the sensual realm, would continued existence in the sensual realm still come about?”

“No, sir.”

“So, Ānanda, deeds are the field, consciousness is the seed, and craving is the moisture. The consciousness of sentient beings—shrouded by ignorance and fettered by craving—is established in a lower realm. That’s how there is rebirth into a new state of existence in the future.

If there were no deeds to result in the realm of luminous form, would continued existence in the realm of luminous form still come about?”

“No, sir.”

“So, Ānanda, deeds are the field, consciousness is the seed, and craving is the moisture. The consciousness of sentient beings—shrouded by ignorance and fettered by craving—is established in a middle realm. That’s how there is rebirth into a new state of existence in the future.

If there were no deeds to result in the formless realm, would continued existence in the formless realm still come about?”

“No, sir.”

“So, Ānanda, deeds are the field, consciousness is the seed, and craving is the moisture. The consciousness of sentient beings—shrouded by ignorance and fettered by craving—is established in a higher realm. That’s how there is rebirth into a new state of existence in the future. That’s how continued existence is defined.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 3.76 Paṭhamabhavasutta: Continued Existence (1st) by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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AN 5.57 From… Abhiṇhapaccavekkhitabbaṭhāna sutta: Themes—Owners of Actions

…(5) “And for the sake of what benefit should a woman or a man, a householder or one gone forth, often reflect thus: ‘I am the owner of my kamma, the heir of my kamma; I have kamma as my origin, kamma as my relative, kamma as my resort; I will be the heir of whatever kamma, good or bad, that I do’? People engage in misconduct by body, speech, and mind. But when one often reflects upon this theme, such misconduct 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 the owner of my kamma, the heir of my kamma; I have kamma as my origin, kamma as my relative, kamma as my resort; I will be the heir of whatever kamma, good or bad, that I do.’…

…“This noble disciple reflects thus: ‘I am not the only one who is the owner of one’s kamma, the heir of one’s kamma; who has kamma as one’s origin, kamma as one’s relative, kamma as one’s resort; who will be the heir of whatever kamma, good or bad, that one does. All beings that come and go, that pass away and undergo rebirth, are owners of their kamma, heirs of their kamma; all have kamma as their origin, kamma as their relative, kamma as their resort; all will be heirs of whatever kamma, good or bad, that they do.’ 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.…


Read the entire translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 5.57 Abhiṇhapaccavekkhitabbaṭhāna sutta: Themes by Bhikkhu Bodhi on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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AN 6.63 From… Nibbedhikasutta: Penetrative

[Note: The selection below is just a small part of a longer sutta which you may like to read as it analyzes many important Dhamma terms.]

…‘Deeds should be known. And their source, diversity, result, cessation, and the practice that leads to their cessation should be known.’ That’s what I said, but why did I say it? It is intention that I call deeds. For after making a choice one acts by way of body, speech, and mind.

And what is the source of deeds? Contact is their source.

And what is the diversity of deeds? There are deeds that lead to rebirth in hell, the animal realm, the ghost realm, the human world, and the world of the gods. This is called the diversity of deeds.

And what is the result of deeds? The result of deeds is threefold, I say: in this very life, on rebirth in the next life, or at some later time. This is called the result of deeds.

And what is the cessation of deeds? When contact ceases, deeds cease. The practice that leads to the cessation of deeds is simply this noble eightfold path, that is: right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right immersion.

When a noble disciple understands deeds in this way … they understand that this penetrative spiritual life is the cessation of deeds. ‘Deeds should be known. And their source, diversity, result, cessation, and the practice that leads to their cessation should be known.’ That’s what I said, and this is why I said it.…



Read the entire translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 6.63 Nibbedhikasutta: Penetrative by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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AN 3.155 Pubbaṇhasutta: Morning

“Mendicants, those sentient beings who do good things in the morning by way of body, speech, and mind have a good morning.

Those sentient beings who do good things at midday by way of body, speech, and mind have a good midday.

Those sentient beings who do good things in the evening by way of body, speech, and mind have a good evening.

A good star, a good fortune,
a good dawn, a good rising,
a good moment, a good hour:
these come with good gifts to spiritual practitioners.

Worthy deeds of body,
verbal worthy deeds,
worthy deeds of mind,
worthy resolutions:
when your deeds have been worthy,
you get worthy benefits.

Those happy with these benefits
flourish in the Buddha’s teaching.
May you and all your relatives
be healthy and happy!”



Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 3.155 Pubbaṇhasutta: Morning by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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AN 5.245 Dutiyaduccaritasutta: Bad Conduct (2nd)

“Mendicants, there are these five drawbacks of bad conduct. What five? You blame yourself. After examination, sensible people criticize you. You get a bad reputation. You drift away from true teachings. You settle on untrue teachings. These are the five drawbacks of bad conduct.

There are these five benefits of good conduct. What five? You don’t blame yourself. After examination, sensible people praise you. You get a good reputation. You drift away from untrue teachings. You settle on true teachings. These are the five benefits of good conduct.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 5.245 Dutiyaduccaritasutta: Bad Conduct (2nd) by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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AN 5.129 Parikuppasutta: Fatal Wounds

[Note: Tradition holds that these five actions prevent one from attaining stages of enlightenment in the current life, lead directly to hell after the current life, and must have their results experienced fully before someone attains full enlightenment at passing away.]

“Mendicants, these five fatal wounds lead to a place of loss, to hell. What five? Murdering your mother or father or a perfected one; maliciously shedding the blood of a Realized One; and causing a schism in the Saṅgha. These five fatal wounds lead to a place of loss, to hell.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 5.129 Parikuppasutta: Fatal Wounds by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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AN 6.57 Chaḷabhijātisutta: The Six Classes of Rebirth

At one time the Buddha was staying near Rājagaha, on the Vulture’s Peak Mountain. Then Venerable Ānanda went up to the Buddha, bowed, sat down to one side, and said to him:

“Sir, Pūraṇa Kassapa describes six classes of rebirth: black, blue, red, yellow, white, and ultimate white.

The black class of rebirth consists of slaughterers of sheep, pigs, poultry, or deer, hunters or fishers, bandits, executioners, butchers of cattle, jailers, and any others with a cruel livelihood.

The blue class of rebirth consists of mendicants whose life is thorny, and any others who teach the efficacy of deeds and action.

The red class of rebirth consists of the Jain ascetics who wear one cloth.

The yellow class of rebirth consists of the lay people dressed in white who are disciples of the naked ascetics.

The white class of rebirth consists of male and female Ājīvaka ascetics.

And the ultimate white class of rebirth consists of Nanda Vaccha, Kisa Saṅkicca, and the bamboo-staffed ascetic Gosāla.

These are the six classes of rebirth that Pūraṇa Kassapa describes.”

“But Ānanda, did the whole world authorize Pūraṇa Kassapa to describe these six classes of rebirth?”

“No, sir.”

“It’s as if they were to force a chop on a poor, penniless person, telling them, “Eat this meat and pay for it!”. In the same way, Pūraṇa Kassapa has described these six classes of rebirth without the consent of those ascetics and brahmins. And he has done so in a foolish, incompetent, unskilled way, lacking common sense.

I, however, also describe six classes of rebirth. Listen and apply your mind well, I will speak.”

“Yes, sir,” Ānanda replied. The Buddha said this:

“And what, Ānanda, are the six classes of rebirth? Someone born into a dark class gives rise to a dark result. Someone born into a dark class gives rise to a bright result. Someone born into a dark class gives rise to extinguishment, which is neither dark nor bright. Someone born into a bright class gives rise to a dark result. Someone born into a bright class gives rise to a bright result. Someone born into a bright class gives rise to extinguishment, which is neither dark nor bright.

And how does someone born into a dark class give rise to a dark result? It’s when someone is reborn in a low family—a family of corpse-workers, bamboo-workers, hunters, chariot-makers, or scavengers—poor, with little to eat or drink, where life is tough, and food and shelter are hard to find. And they’re ugly, unsightly, deformed, sickly—one-eyed, crippled, lame, or half-paralyzed. They don’t get to have food, drink, clothes, and vehicles; garlands, fragrance, and makeup; or bed, house, and lighting. And they do bad things by way of body, speech, and mind. When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell. That’s how someone born into a dark class gives rise to a dark result.

And how does someone born into a dark class give rise to a bright result? It’s when some person is reborn in a low family … But they do good things by way of body, speech, and mind. When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in a good place, a heavenly realm. That’s how someone born into a dark class gives rise to a bright result.

And how does someone born into a dark class give rise to extinguishment, which is neither dark nor bright? It’s when some person is reborn in a low family … They shave off their hair and beard, dress in ocher robes, and go forth from the lay life to homelessness. They give up the five hindrances, corruptions of the heart that weaken wisdom. They firmly establish their mind in the four kinds of mindfulness meditation. They truly develop the seven awakening factors. And then they give rise to extinguishment, which is neither dark nor bright. That’s how someone born in a dark class gives rise to extinguishment, which is neither dark nor bright.

And how does someone born into a bright class give rise to a dark result? It’s when some person is reborn in an eminent family—a well-to-do family of aristocrats, brahmins, or householders—rich, affluent, and wealthy, with lots of gold and silver, lots of property and assets, and lots of money and grain. And they’re attractive, good-looking, lovely, of surpassing beauty. They get to have food, drink, clothes, and vehicles; garlands, fragrance, and makeup; and bed, house, and lighting. But they do bad things by way of body, speech, and mind. When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell. That’s how someone born into a bright class gives rise to a dark result.

And how does someone born into a bright class give rise to a bright result? It’s when some person is reborn in an eminent family … And they do good things by way of body, speech, and mind. When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in a good place, a heavenly realm. That’s how someone born into a bright class give rise to a bright result.

And how does someone born into a bright class give rise to extinguishment, which is neither dark nor bright? It’s when some person is reborn in an eminent family … They shave off their hair and beard, dress in ocher robes, and go forth from the lay life to homelessness. They give up the five hindrances, corruptions of the heart that weaken wisdom. They firmly establish their mind in the four kinds of mindfulness meditation. They truly develop the seven awakening factors. And then they give rise to extinguishment, which is neither dark nor bright. That’s how someone born into a bright class gives rise to extinguishment, which is neither dark nor bright.

These are the six classes of rebirth.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 6.57 Chaḷabhijātisutta: The Six Classes of Rebirth by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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AN 1.290–295 Actions

290

“It is impossible, mendicants, it cannot happen that someone who has engaged in bad bodily conduct, could for that reason alone, when their body breaks up, after death, be reborn in a good place, a heavenly realm. But it is possible that someone who has engaged in bad bodily conduct could, for that reason alone, when their body breaks up, after death, be reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell.”

291–292

“It is impossible, mendicants, it cannot happen that someone who has engaged in bad verbalbad mental conduct could, for that reason alone, when their body breaks up, after death, be reborn in a good place, a heavenly realm. But it is possible that someone who has engaged in bad verbalbad mental conduct could, for that reason alone, when their body breaks up, after death, be reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell.”

293

“It is impossible, mendicants, it cannot happen that someone who has engaged in good bodily conduct could, for that reason alone, when their body breaks up, after death, be reborn in a place of loss, the underworld, a lower realm, hell. But it is possible that someone who has engaged in good bodily conduct could, for that reason alone, when their body breaks up, after death, be reborn in a good place, a heavenly realm.”

294–295

“It is impossible, mendicants, it cannot happen that someone who has engaged in good verbalgood mental conduct could, for that reason alone, when their body breaks up, after death, be reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell. But it is possible that someone who has engaged in good verbalgood mental conduct could, for that reason alone, when their body breaks up, after death, be reborn in a good place, heavenly realm.”


Read the entire translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 1.287–295 Tatiyavagga by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaFriends.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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AN 4.182 Pāṭibhogasutta: Guarantee

“There are four things that no-one can guarantee—not an ascetic, a brahmin, a god, a Māra, a Brahmā, or anyone in the world.

What four? No-one can guarantee that someone liable to old age will not grow old. No-one can guarantee that someone liable to sickness will not get sick. No-one can guarantee that someone liable to death will not die. No-one can guarantee that the bad deeds done in past lives—corrupting, leading to future lives, hurtful, resulting in suffering and future rebirth, old age, and death—will not produce their result.

These are the four things that no-one can guarantee—not an ascetic, a brahmin, a god, a Māra, a Brahmā, or anyone in the world.”


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AN 8.40 Duccaritavipākasutta: Conducive

(1) “Bhikkhus, the destruction of life, repeatedly pursued, developed, and cultivated, is conducive to hell, to the animal realm, and to the sphere of afflicted spirits; for one reborn as a human being the destruction of life at minimum conduces to a short life span.

(2) “Taking what is not given, repeatedly pursued, developed, and cultivated, is conducive to hell, to the animal realm, and to the sphere of afflicted spirits; for one reborn as a human being taking what is not given at minimum conduces to loss of wealth.

(3) “Sexual misconduct, repeatedly pursued, developed, and cultivated, is conducive to hell, to the animal realm, and to the sphere of afflicted spirits; for one reborn as a human being sexual misconduct at minimum conduces to enmity and rivalry.

(4) “False speech, repeatedly pursued, developed, and cultivated, is conducive to hell, to the animal realm, and to the sphere of afflicted spirits; for one reborn as a human being false speech at minimum conduces to false accusations.

(5) “Divisive speech, repeatedly pursued, developed, and cultivated, is conducive to hell, to the animal realm, and to the sphere of afflicted spirits; for one reborn as a human being divisive speech at minimum conduces to being divided from one’s friends.

(6) “Harsh speech, repeatedly pursued, developed, and cultivated, is conducive to hell, to the animal realm, and to the sphere of afflicted spirits; for one reborn as a human being harsh speech at minimum conduces to disagreeable sounds.

(7) “Idle chatter, repeatedly pursued, developed, and cultivated, is conducive to hell, to the animal realm, and to the sphere of afflicted spirits; for one reborn as a human being idle chatter at minimum conduces to others distrusting one’s words.

(8) “Drinking liquor and wine, repeatedly pursued, developed, and cultivated, is conducive to hell, to the animal realm, and to the sphere of afflicted spirits; for one reborn as a human being drinking liquor and wine at minimum conduces to madness.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 8.40 Duccaritavipākasutta: Conducive by Bhikkhu Bodhi on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net, SuttaFriends.org or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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AN 6.25 From… Anussatiṭṭhānasutta: Topics for Recollection—The Buddha

“Mendicants, there are these six topics for recollection. What six?

Firstly, a noble disciple recollects the Realized One: ‘That Blessed One is perfected, a fully awakened Buddha, accomplished in knowledge and conduct, holy, knower of the world, supreme guide for those who wish to train, teacher of gods and humans, awakened, blessed.’ When a noble disciple recollects the Realized One their mind is not full of greed, hate, and delusion. At that time their mind is unswerving. They’ve left behind greed; they’re free of it and have risen above it. ‘Greed’ is a term for the five kinds of sensual stimulation. Relying on this, some sentient beings are purified in this way.…


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AN 6.96 Pātubhāvasutta: Appearance

“Mendicants, the appearance of six things is rare in the world. What six?

  1. A Realized One, a perfected one, a fully awakened Buddha.
  2. A person who teaches the teaching and training proclaimed by a Realized One.
  3. Rebirth in a civilized region.
  4. Unimpaired sense faculties.
  5. Being bright and clever.
  6. Enthusiasm for skillful qualities.

The appearance of these six things is rare in the world.”


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AN 4.247 Thūpārahasutta: Worthy of a Monument

[Note: Many people may not realize that the Buddha himself encouraged the building of stupas/thupas to hold the relics of special people.]

“Mendicants, these four are worthy of a monument. What four? A Realized One, a perfected one, a fully awakened Buddha; an independent Buddha; a disciple of a Realized One; and a wheel-turning monarch. These four are worthy of a monument.”


[“Independent Buddha” is the translation of Paccekabuddha, a Buddha who does not establish a teaching.]

Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 4.247 Thūpārahasutta: Worthy of a Monument by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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AN 8.85 Samaṇasutta: Terms for the Realized One

[Happy Vesak to everyone!]

“‘Ascetic’ is a term for the Realized One, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha. ‘Brahmin’, ‘Knowledge Master’, ‘Healer’, ‘Unstained’, ‘Immaculate’, ‘Knower’, and ‘Freed’ are terms for the Realized One, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha.

The supreme should be attained by an ascetic,
a brahmin who has lived the life;
it should be attained by a knowledge master,
a healer.

The supreme should be attained by the unstained,
stainless and pure;
it should be attained by a knower,
who is free.

I am victorious in battle!
Released, I release others from their chains.
I am a dragon completely tamed,
an adept, I am extinguished.”


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AN 6.55 From… Soṇasutta: With Soṇa

[Note: In this sutta we see the Buddha’s great skill in giving a teaching based on the listener’s experience. Below is only the first half of the sutta. Read the entire sutta on SuttaCentral.net.]

So I have heard. At one time the Buddha was staying near Rājagaha, on the Vulture’s Peak Mountain.

Now at that time Venerable Soṇa was staying near Rājagaha in the Cool Grove. Then as he was in private retreat this thought came to his mind, “I am one of the Buddha’s most energetic disciples. Yet my mind is not freed from defilements by not grasping. But my family has wealth. I could enjoy that wealth and make merit. Why don’t I resign the training and return to a lesser life, so I can enjoy my wealth and make merit?”

Then the Buddha knew what Venerable Soṇa was thinking. As easily as a strong person would extend or contract their arm, he vanished from the Vulture’s Peak and reappeared in the Cool Grove in front of Soṇa, and sat on the seat spread out. Soṇa bowed to the Buddha and sat down to one side.

The Buddha said to him, “Soṇa, as you were in private retreat didn’t this thought come to your mind: ‘I am one of the Buddha’s most energetic disciples. Yet my mind is not freed from defilements by not grasping. But my family has wealth. I could enjoy that wealth and make merit. Why don’t I resign the training and return to a lesser life, so I can enjoy my wealth and make merit?’”

“Yes, sir.”

“What do you think, Soṇa? When you were still a layman, weren’t you a good player of the arched harp?”

“Yes, sir.”

“When your harp’s strings were tuned too tight, was it resonant and playable?”

“No, sir.”

“When your harp’s strings were tuned too slack, was it resonant and playable?”

“No, sir.”

“But when your harp’s strings were tuned neither too tight nor too slack, but fixed at an even tension, was it resonant and playable?”

“Yes, sir.”

“In the same way, Soṇa, when energy is too forceful it leads to restlessness. When energy is too slack it leads to laziness. So, Soṇa, you should apply yourself to energy and serenity, find a balance of the faculties, and learn the pattern of this situation.”

“Yes, sir,” Soṇa replied.

After advising Soṇa like this, the Buddha, as easily as a strong person would extend or contract their arm, vanished from the Cool Grove and reappeared on the Vulture’s Peak.

After some time Soṇa applied himself to energy and serenity, found a balance of the faculties, and learned the pattern of this situation. Then Soṇa, living alone, withdrawn, diligent, keen, and resolute, soon realized the supreme culmination of the spiritual path in this very life. He lived having achieved with his own insight the goal for which gentlemen rightly go forth from the lay life to homelessness.

He understood: “Rebirth is ended; the spiritual journey has been completed; what had to be done has been done; there is no return to any state of existence.” And Venerable Soṇa became one of the perfected.

Then, when Soṇa had attained perfection, he thought, “Why don’t I go to the Buddha and declare my enlightenment in his presence?” Then Soṇa went up to the Buddha, bowed, sat down to one side, and said to him: …


Read the entire translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 6.55 Soṇasutta: With Soṇa by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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AN 1.277: One Buddha

“It is impossible, mendicants, it cannot happen for two perfected ones, fully awakened Buddhas to arise in the same solar system at the same time. But it is possible for just one perfected one, a fully awakened Buddha, to arise in one solar system.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 1.277 by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read another translation on SuttaFriends.org. Or read the Pāli on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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AN 2.54: Deaths Regretted by Many

“There are two people, mendicants, whose death is regretted by many people. What two? The Realized One, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha; and the wheel-turning monarch. These are the two people, mendicants, whose death is regretted by many people.”


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AN 5.133 Dhammarājāsutta: A Principled King

[Note: The word “principle” below is a translation for the Pali word Dhamma.]

“Mendicants, even a wheel-turning monarch, a just and principled king, does not wield power without having their own king.”

When he said this, one of the mendicants asked the Buddha, “But who is the king of the wheel-turning monarch, the just and principled king?”

“It is principle, monk,” said the Buddha.

“Monk, a wheel-turning monarch provides just protection and security for his court, relying only on principle—honoring, respecting, and venerating principle, having principle as his flag, banner, and authority.

He provides just protection and security for his aristocrats, vassals, troops, brahmins and householders, people of town and country, ascetics and brahmins, beasts and birds. When he has done this, he wields power only in a principled manner. And this power cannot be undermined by any human enemy.

In the same way, monk, a Realized One, a perfected one, a fully awakened Buddha, a just and principled king, provides just protection and security for the monks, relying only on principle—honoring, respecting, and venerating principle, having principle as his flag, banner, and authority. ‘This kind of bodily action should be cultivated. This kind of bodily action should not be cultivated. This kind of verbal action should be cultivated. This kind of verbal action should not be cultivated. This kind of mental action should be cultivated. This kind of mental action should not be cultivated. This kind of livelihood should be cultivated. This kind of livelihood should not be cultivated. This kind of market town should be cultivated. This kind of market town should not be cultivated.’

In the same way, monk, a Realized One, a perfected one, a fully awakened Buddha, a just and principled king, provides just protection and security for the nuns … laymen … laywomen, relying only on principle—honoring, respecting, and venerating principle, having principle as his flag, banner, and authority. ‘This kind of bodily action should be cultivated. This kind of bodily action should not be cultivated. This kind of verbal action should be cultivated. This kind of verbal action should not be cultivated. This kind of mental action should be cultivated. This kind of mental action should not be cultivated. This kind of livelihood should be cultivated. This kind of livelihood should not be cultivated. This kind of market town should be cultivated. This kind of market town should not be cultivated.’

When a Realized One, a perfected one, a fully awakened Buddha has provided just protection and security for the monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen, he rolls forth the supreme Wheel of Dhamma only in a principled manner. And that wheel cannot be rolled back by any ascetic or brahmin or god or Māra or Brahmā or by anyone in the world.”


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AN 4.22 Dutiyauruvelasutta: Uruvelā (2)

“Bhikkhus, on one occasion I was dwelling at Uruvelā, by the goatherds’ banyan tree on the bank of the Neranjarā River, just after I had attained full enlightenment. Then a number of brahmins, old, aged, burdened with years, advanced in life, come to the last stage, approached me and exchanged greetings with me. When they had concluded their greetings and cordial talk, they sat down to one side and said to me:

“‘We have heard, Master Gotama: “The ascetic Gotama does not pay homage to brahmins who are old, aged, burdened with years, advanced in life, come to the last stage; nor does he stand up for them or offer them a seat.” This is indeed true, for Master Gotama does not pay homage to brahmins who are old, aged, burdened with years, advanced in life, come to the last stage; nor does he stand up for them or offer them a seat. This is not proper, Master Gotama.’

“It then occurred to me: These venerable ones do not know what an elder is or what the qualities that make one an elder are. Even though someone is old—eighty, ninety, or a hundred years from birth—if he speaks at an improper time, speaks falsely, speaks what is unbeneficial, speaks contrary to the Dhamma and the discipline, if at an improper time he speaks words that are worthless, unreasonable, rambling, and unbeneficial, then he is reckoned as a foolish childish elder.

“But even though someone is young, a youth with black hair, endowed with the blessing of youth, in the prime of life, if he speaks at a proper time, speaks what is truthful, speaks what is beneficial, speaks on the Dhamma and the discipline, and if at a proper time he speaks words that are worth recording, reasonable, succinct, and beneficial, then he is reckoned as a wise elder.

“There are, bhikkhus, these four qualities that make one an elder. What four?

(1) “Here, a bhikkhu is virtuous; he dwells restrained by the Pātimokkha, possessed of good conduct and resort, seeing danger in minute faults. Having undertaken the training rules, he trains in them.

(2) “He has learned much, remembers what he has learned, and accumulates what he has learned. Those teachings that are good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, with the right meaning and phrasing, which proclaim the perfectly complete and pure spiritual life—such teachings as these he has learned much of, retained in mind, recited verbally, investigated with the mind, and penetrated well by view.

(3) “He is one who gains at will, without trouble or difficulty, the four jhānas that constitute the higher mind and are pleasant dwellings in this very life.

(4) “With the destruction of the taints, he has realized for himself with direct knowledge, in this very life, the taintless liberation of mind, liberation by wisdom, and having entered upon it, he dwells in it.

“These are the four qualities that make one an elder.”

The dullard with a restless mind
who speaks much chatter,
his thoughts unsettled,
delighting in a bad teaching,
holding bad views, disrespectful,
is far from an elder’s stature.

But one accomplished in virtue,
learned and discerning,
self-controlled in the factors of firmness,
who clearly sees the meaning with wisdom;
gone beyond all phenomena,
not barren, discerning;

who has abandoned birth and death,
consummate in the spiritual life,
in whom there are no taints—
he is the one I call an elder.
With the destruction of the taints
a bhikkhu is called an elder.



Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 4.22 Dutiyauruvelasutta: Uruvelā (2) by Bhikkhu Bodhi on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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AN 1.175–186 From… Ekapuggalavagga: One Person

“With the appearance of one person, mendicants, there is

  • the appearance of a great eye,
  • a great light,
  • a great radiance,
  • and the six unsurpassable things;
  • the realization of the four kinds of textual analysis;
  • the penetration of many and diverse elements;
  • the realization of the fruit of knowledge and freedom;
  • the realization of the fruits of stream-entry,
  • once-return,
  • non-return,
  • and perfection.

What one person? The Realized One, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha. This is the one person whose appearance brings the appearance of a great eye, a great light, a great radiance, and the six unsurpassable things; the realization of the four kinds of textual analysis; the penetration of many and diverse elements; the realization of the fruit of knowledge and release; the realization of the fruits of stream-entry, once-return, non-return, and perfection.”


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AN 5.7 Kāmasutta: Sensual Pleasures

“Bhikkhus, beings for the most part are captivated by sensual pleasures. When a clansman has forsaken the sickle and carrying-pole and gone forth from the household life into homelessness, he can be described as a clansman who has gone forth out of faith. For what reason? Sensual pleasures, whether of this or that kind, can be obtained by a youth. Inferior sensual pleasures, middling sensual pleasures, and superior sensual pleasures are all reckoned simply as sensual pleasures.

“Suppose a young infant boy, ignorant, lying on his back, were to put a stick or pebble in his mouth because of his nurse’s heedlessness. His nurse would quickly attend to him and try to take it out. If she could not quickly take it out, she would brace the boy’s head with her left hand and, hooking a finger of her right hand, she would take it out even if she had to draw blood. For what reason? There would be some distress for the boy—this I don’t deny—but the nurse has to do so for his good and welfare, out of compassion for him. However, when the boy has grown up and has enough sense, the nurse would be unconcerned about him, thinking: ‘The boy can now look after himself. He won’t be heedless.’

“So too, so long as a bhikkhu is still not accomplished in faith in cultivating wholesome qualities, in a sense of shame in cultivating wholesome qualities, in moral dread in cultivating wholesome qualities, in energy in cultivating wholesome qualities, and in wisdom in cultivating wholesome qualities, I must still look after him. But when that bhikkhu is accomplished in faith in cultivating wholesome qualities … accomplished in wisdom in cultivating wholesome qualities, then I am unconcerned about him, thinking: ‘The bhikkhu can now look after himself. He won’t be heedless.’”


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AN 8.64 Gayāsīsasutta: At Gayā Head

[Note: In today’s selection we get a rare glimpse into the Buddha’s struggle for enlightenment. While it may not relate very directly to our own practice, it is important for us to have an idea of what the Buddha achieved.]

At one time the Buddha was staying near Gayā on Gayā Head. There the Buddha addressed the mendicants:

“Mendicants, before my awakening—when I was still not awake but intent on awakening—I perceived light but did not see forms.

Then it occurred to me, ‘What if I were to both perceive light and see forms? Then my knowledge and vision would become even more purified.’

So after some time, living alone, withdrawn, diligent, keen, and resolute, I perceived light and saw visions. But I didn’t associate with those deities, converse, or engage in discussion.

Then it occurred to me, ‘What if I were to perceive light and see forms; and associate with those deities, converse, and engage in discussion? Then my knowledge and vision would become even more purified.’

So after some time … I perceived light and saw visions. And I associated with those deities, conversed, and engaged in discussion. But I didn’t know which orders of gods those deities came from.

Then it occurred to me, ‘What if I were to perceive light and see forms; and associate with those deities, converse, and engage in discussion; and find out which orders of gods those deities come from? Then my knowledge and vision would become even more purified.’

So after some time … I perceived light and saw visions. And I associated with those deities … And I found out which orders of gods those deities came from. But I didn’t know what deeds caused those deities to be reborn there after passing away from here.

So after some time … I found out what deeds caused those deities to be reborn there after passing away from here. But I didn’t know what deeds caused those deities to have such food and such an experience of pleasure and pain.

So after some time … I found out what deeds caused those deities to have such food and such an experience of pleasure and pain. But I didn’t know that these deities have a life-span of such a length.

So after some time … I found out that these deities have a life-span of such a length. But I didn’t know whether or not I had previously lived together with those deities.

Then it occurred to me, ‘What if I were to perceive light and see forms; and associate with those deities, converse, and engage in discussion; and find out which orders of gods those deities come from; and what deeds caused those deities to be reborn there after passing away from here; and what deeds caused those deities to have such food and such an experience of pleasure and pain; and that these deities have a life-span of such a length; and whether or not I have previously lived together with those deities? Then my knowledge and vision would become even more purified.’

So after some time … I found out whether or not I have previously lived together with those deities.

As long as my knowledge and vision about the deities was not fully purified from these eight perspectives, I didn’t announce my supreme perfect awakening in this world with its gods, Māras, and Brahmās, this population with its ascetics and brahmins, its gods and humans.

But when my knowledge and vision about the deities was fully purified from these eight perspectives, I announced my supreme perfect awakening in this world with its gods, Māras, and Brahmās, this population with its ascetics and brahmins, its gods and humans. Knowledge and vision arose in me: ‘My freedom is unshakable; this is my last rebirth; now there’ll be no more future lives.’”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 8.64 Gayāsīsasutta: At Gayā Head by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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AN 9.41 Tapussa Sutta: To Tapussa (On Renunciation)

[Note: Some of the weekend selections this month will be much longer than usual so that we can learn more about the Buddha and his path to enlightenment. In this sutta the Buddha talks about his own experience with meditation before his enlightenment. There is a lot of repetition, so if you are short of time skimming is better than not reading at all.]

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying among the Mallans near a Mallan town named Uruvelakappa. Then early in the morning the Blessed One—having adjusted his lower robe and carrying his bowl & outer robe—went into Uruvelakappa for alms. Having gone into Uruvelakappa for alms, after his meal, on his return from his alms round, he said to Ven. Ānanda, “Stay right here, Ānanda, while I go into the Great Forest for the day’s abiding.”

“As you say, lord,” Ven. Ānanda responded to him.

Then the Blessed One went into the Great Forest and sat down at the root of a certain tree for the day’s abiding.

Then Tapussa the householder went to Ven. Ānanda and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to Ven. Ānanda: “Venerable Ānanda, sir, we are householders who indulge in sensuality, delight in sensuality, enjoy sensuality, rejoice in sensuality. For us—indulging in sensuality, delighting in sensuality, enjoying sensuality, rejoicing in sensuality—renunciation seems like a sheer drop-off. Yet I’ve heard that in this Dhamma & Vinaya the hearts of the very young monks leap up at renunciation, grow confident, steadfast, & released, seeing it as peace. So right here is where this Dhamma & Vinaya is contrary to the great mass of people: i.e., (this issue of) renunciation.”

“This calls for a talk, householder. Let’s go see the Blessed One. Let’s approach him and, on arrival, tell him this matter. However he explains it to us, we will bear it in mind.”

“As you say, sir,” Tapussa the householder responded to Ven. Ānanda.

Then Ven. Ānanda, together with Tapussa the householder, went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there Ven. Ānanda said to the Blessed One: “Tapussa the householder, here, has said to me, ‘Venerable Ānanda, sir, we are householders who indulge in sensuality, delight in sensuality, enjoy sensuality, rejoice in sensuality. For us—indulging in sensuality, delighting in sensuality, enjoying sensuality, rejoicing in sensuality—renunciation seems like a sheer drop-off. Yet I’ve heard that in this Dhamma & Vinaya the hearts of the very young monks leap up at renunciation, grow confident, steadfast, & released, seeing it as peace. So right here is where this Dhamma & Vinaya is contrary to the great mass of people: i.e., (this issue of) renunciation.’”

“So it is, Ānanda. So it is. Even I myself, before my self-awakening, when I was still an unawakened bodhisatta, thought: ‘Renunciation is good. Seclusion is good.’ But my heart didn’t leap up at renunciation, didn’t grow confident, steadfast, or released, seeing it as peace. The thought occurred to me: ‘What is the cause, what is the reason, why my heart doesn’t leap up at renunciation, doesn’t grow confident, steadfast, or released, seeing it as peace?’ Then the thought occurred to me: ‘I haven’t seen the drawback of sensual pleasures; I haven’t pursued (that theme). I haven’t understood the reward of renunciation; I haven’t familiarized myself with it. That’s why my heart doesn’t leap up at renunciation, doesn’t grow confident, steadfast, or released, seeing it as peace.’

[1] “Then the thought occurred to me: ‘If, having seen the drawback of sensual pleasures, I were to pursue that theme; and if, having understood the reward of renunciation, I were to familiarize myself with it, there’s the possibility that my heart would leap up at renunciation, grow confident, steadfast, & released, seeing it as peace.’

“So at a later time, having seen the drawback of sensual pleasures, I pursued that theme; having understood the reward of renunciation, I familiarized myself with it. My heart leaped up at renunciation, grew confident, steadfast, & released, seeing it as peace. Then, quite secluded from sensuality, secluded from unskillful qualities, I entered & remained in the first jhāna: rapture & pleasure born of seclusion, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation.

As I remained there, I was beset with attention to perceptions dealing with sensuality. That was an affliction for me. Just as pain arises as an affliction for a healthy person, even so the attention to perceptions dealing with sensuality that beset me was an affliction for me.

[2] “The thought occurred to me: ‘What if, with the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, I were to enter & remain in the second jhāna: rapture & pleasure born of concentration, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation—internal assurance.’ But my heart didn’t leap up at being without directed thought, didn’t grow confident, steadfast, or released, seeing it as peace. The thought occurred to me: ‘What is the cause, what is the reason, why my heart doesn’t leap up at being without directed thought, doesn’t grow confident, steadfast, or released, seeing it as peace?’ Then the thought occurred to me: ‘I haven’t seen the drawback of directed thought; I haven’t pursued that theme. I haven’t understood the reward of being without directed thought; I haven’t familiarized myself with it. That’s why my heart doesn’t leap up at being without directed thought, doesn’t grow confident, steadfast, or released, seeing it as peace.’

“Then the thought occurred to me: ‘If, having seen the drawback of directed thought, I were to pursue that theme; and if, having understood the reward of being without directed thought, I were to familiarize myself with it, there’s the possibility that my heart would leap up at being without directed thought, grow confident, steadfast, & released, seeing it as peace.’

“So at a later time, having seen the drawback of directed thought, I pursued that theme; having understood the reward of being without directed thought, I familiarized myself with it. My heart leaped up at being without directed thought, grew confident, steadfast, & released, seeing it as peace. With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, I entered & remained in the second jhāna: rapture & pleasure born of concentration, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation—internal assurance.

As I remained there, I was beset with attention to perceptions dealing with directed thought. That was an affliction for me. Just as pain arises as an affliction for a healthy person, even so the attention to perceptions dealing with directed thought that beset me was an affliction for me.

[3] “The thought occurred to me: ‘What if, with the fading of rapture, I were to remain equanimous, mindful, & alert, to sense pleasure with the body, and to enter & remain in the third jhāna, of which the noble ones declare, “Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding”?’ But my heart didn’t leap up at being without rapture, didn’t grow confident, steadfast, or released, seeing it as peace.… So at a later time, having seen the drawback of rapture, I pursued that theme; having understood the reward of being without rapture, I familiarized myself with it. My heart leaped up at being without rapture, grew confident, steadfast, & released, seeing it as peace. With the fading of rapture, I remained equanimous, mindful, & alert, sensed pleasure with the body, and entered & remained in the third jhāna, of which the noble ones declare, ‘Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.’

As I remained there, I was beset with attention to perceptions dealing with rapture. That was an affliction for me. Just as pain arises as an affliction for a healthy person, even so the attention to perceptions dealing with rapture that beset me was an affliction for me.

[4] “The thought occurred to me: ‘What if, with the abandoning of pleasure & pain—as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress—I were to enter & remain in the fourth jhāna: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither-pleasure-nor-pain?’ But my heart didn’t leap up at being without the pleasure of equanimity, didn’t grow confident, steadfast, or released, seeing it as peace.… So at a later time, having seen the drawback of the pleasure of equanimity, I pursued that theme; having understood the reward of neither-pleasure-nor-pain, I familiarized myself with it. My heart leaped up at neither-pleasure-nor-pain, grew confident, steadfast, & released, seeing it as peace. With the abandoning of pleasure & pain—as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress—I entered & remained in the fourth jhāna: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither-pleasure-nor-pain.

As I remained there, I was beset with attention to perceptions dealing with equanimity. That was an affliction for me. Just as pain arises as an affliction for a healthy person, even so the attention to perceptions dealing with equanimity that beset me was an affliction for me.

[5] “The thought occurred to me: ‘What if, with the complete transcending of perceptions of form, with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance, and not attending to perceptions of multiplicity, (perceiving,) “Infinite space,” I were to enter & remain in the dimension of the infinitude of space?’ But my heart didn’t leap up at the dimension of the infinitude of space, didn’t grow confident, steadfast, or released, seeing it as peace.… So at a later time, having seen the drawback of forms, I pursued that theme; having understood the reward of the dimension of the infinitude of space, I familiarized myself with it. My heart leaped up at the dimension of the infinitude of space, grew confident, steadfast, & released, seeing it as peace. With the complete transcending of perceptions of (physical) form, with the disappearance of perceptions of resistance, and not attending to perceptions of multiplicity, (perceiving,) ‘Infinite space,’ I entered & remained in the dimension of the infinitude of space.

As I remained there, I was beset with attention to perceptions dealing with forms. That was an affliction for me. Just as pain arises as an affliction for a healthy person, even so the attention to perceptions dealing with forms that beset me was an affliction for me.

[6] “The thought occurred to me: ‘What if, with the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of space, (perceiving,) “Infinite consciousness,” I were to enter & remain in the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness?’ But my heart didn’t leap up at the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, didn’t grow confident, steadfast, or released, seeing it as peace.… So at a later time, having seen the drawback of the dimension of the infinitude of space, I pursued that theme; having understood the reward of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, I familiarized myself with it. My heart leaped up at the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, grew confident, steadfast, & released, seeing it as peace. With the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of space, (perceiving,) ‘Infinite consciousness,’ I entered & remained in the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness.

As I remained there, I was beset with attention to perceptions dealing with the dimension of the infinitude of space. That was an affliction for me. Just as pain arises as an affliction for a healthy person, even so the attention to perceptions dealing with the dimension of the infinitude of space that beset me was an affliction for me.

[7] “The thought occurred to me: ‘What if, with the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, (perceiving,) “There is nothing,” I were to enter & remain in the dimension of nothingness?’ But my heart didn’t leap up at the dimension of nothingness, didn’t grow confident, steadfast, or released, seeing it as peace.… So at a later time, having seen the drawback of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, I pursued that theme; having understood the reward of the dimension of nothingness, I familiarized myself with it. My heart leaped up at the dimension of nothingness, grew confident, steadfast, & released, seeing it as peace. With the complete transcending of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, (perceiving,) ‘There is nothing,’ I entered & remained in the dimension of nothingness.

As I remained there, I was beset with attention to perceptions dealing with the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness. That was an affliction for me. Just as pain arises as an affliction for a healthy person, even so the attention to perceptions dealing with the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness that beset me was an affliction for me.

[8] “The thought occurred to me: ‘What if I, with the complete transcending of the dimension of nothingness, were to enter & remain in the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception?’ But my heart didn’t leap up at the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, didn’t grow confident, steadfast, or released, seeing it as peace.… So at a later time, having seen the drawback of the dimension of nothingness, I pursued that theme; having understood the reward of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, I familiarized myself with it. My heart leaped up at the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, grew confident, steadfast, & released, seeing it as peace. With the complete transcending of the dimension of nothingness, I entered & remained in the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception.

As I remained there, I was beset with attention to perceptions dealing with the dimension of nothingness. That was an affliction for me. Just as pain arises as an affliction for a healthy person, even so the attention to perceptions dealing with the dimension of nothingness that beset me was an affliction for me.

[9] “The thought occurred to me: ‘What if I, with the complete transcending of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, were to enter & remain in the cessation of perception & feeling?’ But my heart didn’t leap up at the cessation of perception & feeling, didn’t grow confident, steadfast, or released, seeing it as peace. The thought occurred to me: ‘What is the cause, what is the reason, why my heart doesn’t leap up at the cessation of perception & feeling, doesn’t grow confident, steadfast, or released, seeing it as peace?’ Then the thought occurred to me: ‘I haven’t seen the drawback of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception; I haven’t pursued that theme. I haven’t understood the reward of the cessation of perception & feeling; I haven’t familiarized myself with it. That’s why my heart doesn’t leap up at the cessation of perception & feeling, doesn’t grow confident, steadfast, or released, seeing it as peace.’

“Then the thought occurred to me: ‘If, having seen the drawback of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, I were to pursue that theme; and if, having understood the reward of the cessation of perception & feeling, I were to familiarize myself with it, there’s the possibility that my heart would leap up at the cessation of perception & feeling, grow confident, steadfast, & released, seeing it as peace.’

“So at a later time, having seen the drawback of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, I pursued that theme; having understood the reward of the cessation of perception & feeling, I familiarized myself with it. My heart leaped up at the cessation of perception & feeling, grew confident, steadfast, & released, seeing it as peace. With the complete transcending of the dimension of neither perception nor non-perception, I entered & remained in the cessation of perception & feeling. And as I saw (that) with discernment, effluents were completely ended.

“Ānanda, as long as I had not attained & emerged from these nine step-by-step dwelling-attainments in forward & backward order in this way, I did not claim to have directly awakened to the right self-awakening unexcelled in the cosmos with its devas, Māras, & Brahmās, in this generation with its contemplatives & brahmans, its royalty & commonfolk. But as soon as I had attained & emerged from these nine step-by-step dwelling-attainments in forward & backward order in this way, then I did claim to have directly awakened to the right self-awakening unexcelled in the cosmos with its devas, Māras, & Brahmās, in this generation with its contemplatives & brahmans, its royalty & commonfolk. Knowledge & vision arose in me: ‘Unprovoked is my release. This is the last birth. There is now no further becoming.’”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 9.41 Tapussa Sutta. To Tapussa (On Renunciation) by Bhikkhu Ṭhanissaro on DhammaTalks.org. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

Or read a translation in Deutsch, বাংলা, Español, Bahasa Indonesia, Italiano, 日本語, မြန်မာဘာသာ, Português, Русский, සිංහල, ไทย, Tiếng Việt, or 汉语. Learn how to find your language.

AN 8.69 Parisāsutta: Assemblies

“Mendicants, there are these eight assemblies. What eight? The assemblies of aristocrats, brahmins, householders, and ascetics. An assembly of the gods under the Four Great Kings. An assembly of the gods under the Thirty-Three. An assembly of Māras. An assembly of Brahmās.

I recall having approached an assembly of hundreds of aristocrats. There I used to sit with them, converse, and engage in discussion. And my appearance and voice became just like theirs. I educated, encouraged, fired up, and inspired them with a Dhamma talk. But when I spoke they didn’t know: ‘Who is this that speaks? Is it a god or a human?’ And when my Dhamma talk was finished I vanished. But when I vanished they didn’t know: ‘Who was that who vanished? Was it a god or a human?’

I recall having approached an assembly of hundreds of brahmins … householders … ascetics … the gods under the Four Great Kings … the gods under the Thirty-Three … Māras … Brahmās. There too I used to sit with them, converse, and engage in discussion. And my appearance and voice became just like theirs. I educated, encouraged, fired up, and inspired them with a Dhamma talk. But when I spoke they didn’t know: ‘Who is this that speaks? Is it a god or a human?’ And when my Dhamma talk was finished I vanished. But when I vanished they didn’t know: ‘Who was that who vanished? Was it a god or a human?’ These are the eight assemblies.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 8.69 Parisāsutta: Assemblies by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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AN 9.14 Samiddhisutta: With Samiddhi

Then Venerable Samiddhi went up to Venerable Sāriputta, bowed, and sat to one side. Venerable Sāriputta said to him:

“Samiddhi, based on what do thoughts arise in a person?”

“Based on name and form, sir.”

“Where do they become diversified?”

“In the elements.”

“What is their origin?”

“Contact is their origin.”

“What is their meeting place?”

“Feeling is their meeting place.”

“What is their chief?”

“Immersion is their chief.”

“What is their ruler?”

“Mindfulness is their ruler.”

“What is their overseer?”

“Wisdom is their overseer.”

“What is their core?”

“Freedom is their core.”

“What is their culmination?”

“They culminate in freedom from death.”

“Samiddhi, when you were asked what is the basis on which thoughts arise in a person, you answered ‘name and form’. When you were asked … what is their culmination, you answered ‘freedom from death’. Good, good, Samiddhi! It’s good that you answered each question. But don’t get conceited because of that.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 9.14 Samiddhisutta: With Samiddhi by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation onDhammaTalks.org. Or listen on SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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AN 6.41 Dārukkhandhasutta: A Tree Trunk

So I have heard. At one time Venerable Sāriputta was staying near Rājagaha, on the Vulture’s Peak Mountain.

Then Venerable Sāriputta robed up in the morning and, taking his bowl and robe, descended the Vulture’s Peak together with several mendicants. At a certain spot he saw a large tree trunk, and he addressed the mendicants, “Reverends, do you see this large tree trunk?”

“Yes, reverend.”

“If they wanted to, a mendicant with psychic powers who has mastered their mind could determine this tree trunk to be nothing but earth. Why is that? Because the earth element exists in the tree trunk. Relying on that a mendicant with psychic powers could determine it to be nothing but earth. If they wanted to, a mendicant with psychic powers who has mastered their mind could determine this tree trunk to be nothing but water. … Or they could determine it to be nothing but fire … Or they could determine it to be nothing but air … Or they could determine it to be nothing but beautiful … Or they could determine it to be nothing but ugly. Why is that? Because the element of ugliness exists in the tree trunk. Relying on that a mendicant with psychic powers could determine it to be nothing but ugly.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 6.41 Dārukkhandhasutta: A Tree Trunk by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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AN 5.132 Dutiyacakkānuvattanasutta: Wielding Power (2nd)

“Mendicants, possessing five factors a wheel-turning monarch’s eldest son continues to wield the power set in motion by his father only in a principled manner. And this power cannot be undermined by any human enemy.

What five? A wheel-turning monarch’s oldest son knows what is right, knows principle, knows moderation, knows the right time, and knows the assembly. A wheel-turning monarch’s oldest son who possesses these five factors continues to wield the power set in motion by his father only in a principled manner. And this power cannot be undermined by any human enemy.

In the same way, possessing five qualities Sāriputta rightly keeps rolling the supreme Wheel of Dhamma that was rolled forth by the Realized One. And that wheel cannot be turned back by any ascetic or brahmin or god or Māra or Brahmā or by anyone in the world.

What five? Sāriputta knows what is right, knows principle, knows moderation, knows the right time, and knows the assembly. Possessing these five qualities Sāriputta rightly keeps rolling the supreme Wheel of Dhamma that was rolled forth by the Realized One. And that wheel cannot be turned back by any ascetic or brahmin or god or Māra or Brahmā or by anyone in the world.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 5.132 Dutiyacakkānuvattanasutta: Wielding Power (2nd) by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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