AN 10.55 From… Parihānasutta: Decline

“…In what way, friends, has the Blessed One said that a person is subject to decline? Here,

1. a bhikkhu does not get to hear a teaching he has not heard before,
2. forgets those teachings he has already heard,
3. does not bring to mind those teachings with which he is already familiar, and
4. does not understand what he has not understood.

It is in this way that the Blessed One has said a person is subject to decline.

“And in what way, friends, has the Blessed One said that a person is not subject to decline? Here,

a bhikkhu gets to hear a teaching he has not heard before,
does not forget those teachings he has already heard,
brings to mind those teachings with which he is already familiar,
and understands what he has not understood. It is in this way that the Blessed One has said a person is not subject to decline….



Read the entire translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 10.55 Parihānasutta: Decline by Bhikkhu Bodhi on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net.

AN 5.153 Tatiyasammattaniyāmasutta: Inevitability Regarding the Right Path (3rd)

“Mendicants, someone with five qualities is unable to enter the sure path with regards to skillful qualities even when listening to the true teaching. What five?

They listen to the teaching bent only on putting it down.
They listen to the teaching with a hostile, fault-finding mind.
They’re antagonistic to the teacher, planning to attack them.
They’re witless, dull, and stupid.
And they think they know what they don’t know.

Someone with these five qualities is unable to enter the sure path with regards to skillful qualities even when listening to the true teaching.

Someone with five qualities is able to enter the sure path with regards to skillful qualities when listening to the true teaching. What five?

They don’t listen to the teaching bent only on putting it down.
They don’t listen to the teaching with a hostile, fault-finding mind.
They’re not antagonistic to the teacher, and not planning to attack them.
They’re wise, bright, and clever.
And they don’t think they know what they don’t know.

Someone with these five qualities is able to enter the sure path with regards to skillful qualities when listening to the true teaching.”



Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 5.153 Tatiyasammattaniyāmasutta: Inevitability Regarding the Right Path (3rd) by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net.

AN 4.133 Ugghaṭitaññūsutta: One Who Understands Immediately

“Mendicants, these four people are found in the world. What four?

One who understands immediately,
one who understands after detailed explanation,
one who needs education,
and one who merely learns by rote.

These are the four people found in the world.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 4.133 Ugghaṭitaññūsutta: One Who Understands Immediately by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net.

AN 1.338–345 Catutthavagga: Few and Many

338

“Just as, mendicants, in India the delightful parks, woods, meadows, and lotus ponds are few, while the hilly terrain, inaccessible riverlands, stumps and thorns, and rugged mountains are many; so too the sentient beings who get to see a Realized One are few, while those who don’t get to see a Realized One are many.

339

… so too the sentient beings who get to hear the teaching and training proclaimed by a Realized One are few, while those sentient beings who don’t get to hear the teaching and training proclaimed by a Realized One are many.

340

… so too the sentient beings who remember the teachings they hear are few, while those who don’t remember the teachings are many.

341

… so too the sentient beings who examine the meaning of the teachings they have memorized are few, while those who don’t examine the meaning of the teachings are many.

342

… so too the sentient beings who understand the meaning and the teaching and practice accordingly are few, while those who understand the meaning and the teaching but don’t practice accordingly are many.

343

… so too the sentient beings inspired by inspiring places are few, while those who are uninspired are many.

344

… so too the sentient beings who, being inspired, strive effectively are few, while those who, even though inspired, don’t strive effectively are many.

345

… so too the sentient beings who, relying on letting go, gain immersion, gain unification of mind are few, while those who don’t gain immersion, don’t gain unification of mind relying on letting go are many.


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 1.333–377 Catutthavagga by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net, or SuttaFriends.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net.

AN 3.30 Avakujja Sutta: Upside Down

“Monks, there are these three types of persons to be found existing in the world. Which three? The person of upside down discernment, the person of lap discernment, and the person of wide-open discernment.

And which is the person of upside-down discernment? There is the case where a person, having gone to a monastery, often listens to the Dhamma in the presence of the monks. The monks teach him the Dhamma admirable in the beginning, admirable in the middle, admirable in the end. They expound the holy life both in its particulars & in its meaning, entirely perfect, surpassingly pure. He, while sitting in that seat, doesn’t attend to the beginning of that talk, doesn’t attend to the middle, doesn’t attend to the end. Having gotten up from that seat, he doesn’t attend to the beginning of that talk, doesn’t attend to the middle, doesn’t attend to the end. Just as when a pot is turned upside down, water poured there runs off and doesn’t stay; in the same way, there is the case where a person, having gone to a monastery, often listens to the Dhamma in the presence of the monks. The monks teach him the Dhamma admirable in the beginning, admirable in the middle, admirable in the end. They expound the holy life both in its particulars & in its meaning, entirely perfect, surpassingly pure. He, while sitting in that seat, doesn’t attend to the beginning of that talk, doesn’t attend to the middle, doesn’t attend to the end. Having gotten up from that seat, he doesn’t attend to the beginning of that talk, doesn’t attend to the middle, doesn’t attend to the end. This is called a person of upside down discernment.

And which is the person of lap discernment? There is the case where a person, having gone to a monastery, often listens to the Dhamma in the presence of the monks. The monks teach him the Dhamma admirable in the beginning, admirable in the middle, admirable in the end. They expound the holy life both in its particulars & in its meaning, entirely perfect, surpassingly pure. He, while sitting in that seat, attends to the beginning of that talk, attends to the middle, attends to the end. But having gotten up from that seat, he doesn’t attend to the beginning of that talk, doesn’t attend to the middle, doesn’t attend to the end. Just as when a person has various foods strewn over his lap—sesame seeds, husked rice, cakes, & jujubes—and when getting up, his mindfulness lapsed, he would scatter them; in the same way, there is the case where a person, having gone to a monastery, often listens to the Dhamma in the presence of the monks. The monks teach him the Dhamma admirable in the beginning, admirable in the middle, admirable in the end. They expound the holy life both in its particulars & in its meaning, entirely perfect, surpassingly pure. He, while sitting in that seat, attends to the beginning of that talk, attends to the middle, attends to the end. But having gotten up from that seat, he doesn’t attend to the beginning of that talk, doesn’t attend to the middle, doesn’t attend to the end. This is called a person of lap discernment.

And which is the person of wide open discernment? There is the case where a person, having gone to a monastery, often listens to the Dhamma in the presence of the monks. The monks teach him the Dhamma admirable in the beginning, admirable in the middle, admirable in the end. They expound the holy life both in its particulars & in its meaning, entirely perfect, surpassingly pure. He, while sitting in that seat, attends to the beginning of that talk, attends to the middle, attends to the end. And having gotten up from that seat, attends to the beginning of that talk, attends to the middle, attends to the end. Just as when a pot is set right side up, water poured there stays and doesn’t run off; in the same way, there is the case where a person, having gone to a monastery, often listens to the Dhamma in the presence of the monks. The monks teach him the Dhamma admirable in the beginning, admirable in the middle, admirable in the end. They expound the holy life both in its particulars & in its meaning, entirely perfect, surpassingly pure. He, while sitting in that seat, attends to the beginning of that talk, attends to the middle, attends to the end. And having gotten up from that seat, attends to the beginning of that talk, attends to the middle, attends to the end. This is called a person of wide open discernment.”

A man of upside down discernment—
     stupid, injudicious,
even if he often goes in the presence of the monks,
can’t grasp anything
like the beginning, middle, or end of a talk,
     for discernment isn’t found in him.

A man of lap discernment
is said to be better than that one.
If he often goes in the presence of the monks,
while sitting in that seat, grasps the words
of the beginning, middle, & end of the talk,
but getting up, he doesn’t discern anything like that,
     for he forgets what he had grasped.

But a man of wide open discernment
is said to be better than those ones.
If he often goes in the presence of the monks,
while sitting in that seat, he grasps the words
of the beginning, middle, & end of the talk.
He remembers—the person of undivided mind,
with the best of resolves.
Practicing the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma,
     he’ll put an end
     to suffering & stress.


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 3.30 Avakujja Sutta. Upside Down by Bhikkhu Ṭhanissaro on DhammaTalks.org. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net by Bhikkhu Sujato or Bhikkhu Bodhi. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net.

AN 3.67 From Kathāvatthusutta: Topics of Discussion

Those who converse with hostility,
too sure of themselves, arrogant,
ignoble, attacking virtues,
they look for flaws in each other.

They rejoice together when their opponent
speaks poorly and makes a mistake,
becoming confused and defeated—
but the noble ones don’t discuss like this.

If an astute person wants to hold a discussion
connected with the teaching and its meaning—
the kind of discussion that noble ones hold—
then that wise one should start the discussion,

knowing when the time is right,
neither hostile nor arrogant.
Not over-excited,
contemptuous, or aggressive,

or with a mind full of jealousy,
they’d speak from what they rightly know.
They agree with what was well spoken,
without criticizing what was poorly said.

They’d not persist in finding faults,
nor seize on trivial mistakes,
neither intimidating nor crushing the other,
nor would they speak suggestively.

Good people consult
for the sake of knowledge and clarity.
That’s how the noble ones consult,
this is a noble consultation.
Knowing this, an intelligent person
would consult without arrogance.”


Read the entire translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 3.67 Kathāvatthusutta: Topics of Discussion by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net.

AN 5.202 Dhammassavanasutta: Listening to the Teaching

“Mendicants, there are these five benefits of listening to the teaching. What five?

You learn new things,
clarify what you’ve learned,
get over uncertainty,
correct your views,
and inspire confidence in your mind.

These are the five benefits of listening to the teaching.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 5.202 Dhammassavanasutta: Listening to the Teaching by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net.

AN 3.22 Gilānasutta: Patients

“These three patients are found in the world. What three?

In some cases a patient won’t recover from an illness, regardless of whether or not they get suitable food and medicines, and a capable carer.

In some cases a patient will recover from an illness, regardless of whether or not they get suitable food and medicines, and a capable carer.

In some cases a patient can recover from an illness, but only if they get suitable food and medicines, and a capable carer, and not if they don’t get these things.

Now, it’s for the sake of the last patient—who will recover only if they get suitable food and medicines, and a capable carer—that food, medicines, and a carer are prescribed. But also, for the sake of this patient, the other patients should be looked after.

These are the three kinds of patients found in the world.

In the same way, these three people similar to patients are found in the world. What three? Some people don’t enter the sure path with regards to skillful qualities, regardless of whether or not they get to see a Realized One, and to hear the teaching and training that he proclaims.

Some people do enter the sure path with regards to skillful qualities, regardless of whether or not they get to see a Realized One, and to hear the teaching and training that he proclaims.

Some people can enter the sure path with regards to skillful qualities, but only if they get to see a Realized One, and to hear the teaching and training that he proclaims, and not when they don’t get those things.

Now, it’s for the sake of this last person that teaching the Dhamma is prescribed, that is, the one who can enter the sure path with regards to skillful qualities, but only if they get to see a Realized One, and to hear the teaching and training that he proclaims. But also, for the sake of this person, the other people should be taught Dhamma.

These are the three people similar to patients found in the world.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 3.22 Gilānasutta: Patients by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net.

AN 9.19 Devatāsutta: A Deity

“Mendicants, tonight, several glorious deities, lighting up the entire Jeta’s Grove, came to me, bowed, stood to one side, and said to me: ‘Sir, formerly when we were human beings, renunciates came to our homes. We politely rose for them, but we didn’t bow. And so, having not fulfilled our duty, full of remorse and regret, we were reborn in a lesser realm.’

Then several other deities came to me and said: ‘Sir, formerly when we were human beings, renunciates came to our homes. We politely rose for them and bowed, but we didn’t offer a seat. And so, having not fulfilled our duty, full of remorse and regret, we were reborn in a lesser realm.’

Then several other deities came to me and said: ‘Sir, formerly when we were human beings, renunciates came to our homes. We politely rose for them, bowed, and offered a seat, but we didn’t share as best we could. …’

Then several other deities came to me and said: ‘… we didn’t sit nearby to listen to the teachings. …’

Then several other deities came to me and said: ‘… we didn’t lend an ear to the teachings. …’

Then several other deities came to me and said: ‘… we didn’t memorize the teachings. …’

Then several other deities came to me and said: ‘… we didn’t examine the meaning of teachings we’d memorized. …’

Then several other deities came to me and said: ‘… having understood the meaning and the teaching, we didn’t practice accordingly. And so, having not fulfilled our duty, full of remorse and regret, we were reborn in a lesser realm.’

Then several other deities came to me and said: ‘Sir, formerly when we were human beings, renunciates came to our homes. We politely rose, bowed, and offered them a seat. We shared as best we could. We sat nearby to listen to the teachings, lent an ear, memorized them, and examined their meaning. Understanding the teaching and the meaning we practiced accordingly. And so, having fulfilled our duty, free of remorse and regret, we were reborn in a superior realm.’

Here, mendicants, are these roots of trees, and here are these empty huts. Practice absorption, mendicants! Don’t be negligent! Don’t regret it later, like those former deities.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 9.19 Devatāsutta: A Deity by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net.

AN 7.29 Dutiyaparihānisutta: Non-decline for a Lay Follower

“These seven things lead to the decline of a lay follower. What seven?

1. They miss out on seeing the mendicants.
2. They neglect listening to the true teaching.
3. They don’t train in higher ethical conduct.
4. They’re very suspicious about mendicants, whether senior, junior, or middle.
5. They listen to the teaching with a hostile, fault-finding mind.
6. They seek outside of the Buddhist community for those worthy of religious donations.
7. And they serve them first.

These seven things lead to the decline of a lay follower.

These seven things don’t lead to the decline of a lay follower. What seven?

1. They don’t miss out on seeing the mendicants.
2. They don’t neglect listening to the true teaching.
3. They train in higher ethical conduct.
4. They’re very confident about mendicants, whether senior, junior, or middle.
5. They don’t listen to the teaching with a hostile, fault-finding mind.
6. They don’t seek outside of the Buddhist community for those worthy of religious donations.
7. And they serve the Buddhist community first.

These seven things don’t lead to the decline of a lay follower.”

That is what the Buddha said. Then the Holy One, the Teacher, went on to say:

“A lay follower misses out on seeing
those who are evolved
and listening to the teachings of the Noble One.
They don’t train in higher ethical conduct,

and their suspicion about mendicants
just grows and grows.
They want to listen to the true teaching
with a fault-finding mind.

They seek outside the Buddhist community
for someone else worthy of religious donations,
and that lay follower
serves them first.

These seven principles leading to decline
have been well taught.
A lay follower who practices them
falls away from the true teaching.

A lay follower doesn’t miss out on seeing
those who are evolved
and listening to the teachings of the Noble One.
They train in higher ethical conduct,

and their confidence in mendicants
just grows and grows.
They want to listen to the true teaching
without a fault-finding mind.

They don’t seek outside the Buddhist community
for someone else worthy of religious donations,
and that lay follower
serves the Buddhist community first.

These seven principles that prevent decline
have been well taught.
A lay follower who practices them
doesn’t fall away from the true teaching.”



Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 7.29 Dutiyaparihānisutta: Non-decline for a Lay Follower by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net.