MN 61 From… Ambalaṭṭhikā Rāhulovāda Sutta: The Exhortation to Rāhula at Mango Stone

“…Whenever you want to do a verbal action, you should reflect on it: ‘This verbal action I want to do—would it lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both? Would it be an unskillful verbal action, with painful consequences, painful results?’ If, on reflection, you know that it would lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both; it would be an unskillful verbal action with painful consequences, painful results, then any verbal action of that sort is absolutely unfit for you to do. But if on reflection you know that it would not cause affliction… it would be a skillful verbal action with pleasant consequences, pleasant results, then any verbal action of that sort is fit for you to do.

“While you are doing a verbal action, you should reflect on it: ‘This verbal action I am doing—is it leading to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both? Is it an unskillful verbal action, with painful consequences, painful results?’ If, on reflection, you know that it is leading to self-affliction, to affliction of others, or both… you should give it up. But if on reflection you know that it is not… you may continue with it.

“Having done a verbal action, you should reflect on it: ‘This verbal action I have done—did it lead to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both? Was it an unskillful verbal action, with painful consequences, painful results?’ If, on reflection, you know that it led to self-affliction, to the affliction of others, or to both; it was an unskillful verbal action with painful consequences, painful results, then you should confess it, reveal it, lay it open to the Teacher or to an observant companion in the holy life. Having confessed it… you should exercise restraint in the future. But if on reflection you know that it did not lead to affliction… it was a skillful verbal action with pleasant consequences, pleasant results, then you should stay mentally refreshed & joyful, training day & night in skillful qualities.…


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 61 Ambalaṭṭhikā Rāhulovāda Sutta. The Exhortation to Rāhula at Mango Stone by Bhikkhu Ṭhanissaro on DhammaTalks.org. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

MN 58 Abhayarājakumārasutta: With Prince Abhaya

[Note: This is another longer weekend read. But it’s such a wonderful story, it’s hard to pass up.]

So I have heard. At one time the Buddha was staying near Rājagaha, in the Bamboo Grove, the squirrels’ feeding ground.

Then Prince Abhaya went up to Nigaṇṭha Nātaputta, bowed, and sat down to one side. Nigaṇṭha Nātaputta said to him, “Come, prince, refute the ascetic Gotama’s doctrine. Then you will get a good reputation: ‘Prince Abhaya refuted the doctrine of the ascetic Gotama, so mighty and powerful!’”

“But sir, how am I to do this?”

“Here, prince, go to the ascetic Gotama and say to him: ‘Sir, might the Realized One utter speech that is disliked by others?’ When he’s asked this, if he answers: ‘He might, prince,’ say this to him, ‘Then, sir, what exactly is the difference between you and an ordinary person? For even an ordinary person might utter speech that is disliked by others.’ But if he answers, ‘He would not, prince,’ say this to him: ‘Then, sir, why exactly did you declare of Devadatta: “Devadatta is going to a place of loss, to hell, there to remain for an eon, irredeemable”? Devadatta was angry and upset with what you said.’

When you put this dilemma to him, the Buddha won’t be able to either spit it out or swallow it down. He’ll be like a man with an iron cross stuck in his throat, unable to either spit it out or swallow it down.”

“Yes, sir,” replied Abhaya. He got up from his seat, bowed, and respectfully circled Nigaṇṭha Nāṭaputta, keeping him on his right. Then he went to the Buddha, bowed, and sat down to one side.

Then he looked up at the sun and thought, “It’s too late to refute the Buddha’s doctrine today. I shall refute his doctrine in my own home tomorrow.” He said to the Buddha, “Sir, may the Buddha please accept tomorrow’s meal from me, together with three other monks.” The Buddha consented in silence.

Then, knowing that the Buddha had consented, Abhaya got up from his seat, bowed, and respectfully circled the Buddha, keeping him on his right, before leaving.

Then when the night had passed, the Buddha robed up in the morning and, taking his bowl and robe, went to Abhaya’s home, and sat down on the seat spread out. Then Abhaya served and satisfied the Buddha with his own hands with a variety of delicious foods.

When the Buddha had eaten and washed his hand and bowl, Abhaya took a low seat, sat to one side, and said to him, “Sir, might the Realized One utter speech that is disliked by others?”

“This is no simple matter, prince.”

“Then the Jains have lost in this, sir.”

“But prince, why do you say that the Jains have lost in this?”

Then Abhaya told the Buddha all that had happened.

Now at that time a little baby boy was sitting in Prince Abhaya’s lap. Then the Buddha said to Abhaya, “What do you think, prince? If—because of your negligence or his nurse’s negligence—your boy was to put a stick or stone in his mouth, what would you do to him?”

“I’d try to take it out, sir. If that didn’t work, I’d hold his head with my left hand, and take it out using a hooked finger of my right hand, even if it drew blood. Why is that? Because I have compassion for the boy, sir.”

“In the same way, prince,

  • the Realized One does not utter speech that he knows to be untrue, false, and harmful, and which is disliked by others.
  • The Realized One does not utter speech that he knows to be true and substantive, but which is harmful and disliked by others.
  • The Realized One knows the right time to speak so as to explain what he knows to be true, substantive, and beneficial, but which is disliked by others.
  • The Realized One does not utter speech that he knows to be untrue, false, and harmful, but which is liked by others.
  • The Realized One does not utter speech that he knows to be true and substantive, but which is harmful, even if it is liked by others.
  • The Realized One knows the right time to speak so as to explain what he knows to be true, substantive, and beneficial, and which is liked by others. Why is that? Because the Realized One has compassion for sentient beings.”

“Sir, there are clever aristocrats, brahmins, householders, or ascetics who come to see you with a question already planned. Do you think beforehand that if they ask you like this, you’ll answer like that, or does the answer just appear to you on the spot?”

“Well then, prince, I’ll ask you about this in return, and you can answer as you like. What do you think, prince? Are you skilled in the various parts of a chariot?”

“I am, sir.”

“What do you think, prince? When they come to you and ask: ‘What’s the name of this chariot part?’ Do you think beforehand that if they ask you like this, you’ll answer like that, or does the answer appear to you on the spot?”

“Sir, I’m well-known as a charioteer skilled in a chariot’s parts. All the parts are well-known to me. The answer just appears to me on the spot.”

“In the same way, when clever aristocrats, brahmins, householders, or ascetics come to see me with a question already planned, the answer just appears to me on the spot. Why is that? Because the Realized One has clearly comprehended the principle of the teachings, so that the answer just appears to him on the spot.”

When he had spoken, Prince Abhaya said to the Buddha, “Excellent, sir! Excellent! … From this day forth, may Master Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone for refuge for life.”


Read this translation of Majjhima Nikāya 58 Abhayarājakumārasutta: With Prince Abhaya by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net.

MN 135 From… Cūḷakammavibhaṅgasutta: The Shorter Analysis of Deeds

…Take some woman or man who doesn’t give to ascetics or brahmins such things as food, drink, clothing, vehicles; garlands, perfumes, and makeup; and bed, house, and lighting. Because of undertaking such deeds, after death they’re reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell. If they return to the human realm, they’re poor. For not giving to ascetics or brahmins such things as food, drink, clothing, vehicles; garlands, perfumes, and makeup; and bed, house, and lighting is the path leading to poverty.

But take some woman or man who does give to ascetics or brahmins such things as food, drink, clothing, vehicles; garlands, perfumes, and makeup; and bed, house, and lighting. Because of undertaking such deeds, after death they’re reborn in a good place, a heavenly realm. If they’re not reborn in a heavenly realm, but return to the human realm, then wherever they’re reborn they’re they’re rich. For giving to ascetics or brahmins such things as food, drink, clothing, vehicles; garlands, perfumes, and makeup; and bed, house, and lighting is the path leading to a long lifespan.…


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 135 Cūḷakammavibhaṅgasutta: The Shorter Analysis of Deeds Cūḷakammavibhaṅgasutta by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net, SuttaFriends.org or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

MN 142 Dakkhiṇāvibhaṅgasutta: The Analysis of Religious Donations

NOTE: Today’s selection is very long, but it is one of the richest teachings on giving. We learn about repaying gifts, the benefits of giving to even the lowest of beings, the value of giving to the saṅgha, and the ways the receiver and the giver determine the merit of the gift.

So I have heard. At one time the Buddha was staying in the land of the Sakyans, near Kapilavatthu in the Banyan Tree Monastery.

Then Mahāpajāpati Gotamī approached the Buddha bringing a new pair of garments. She bowed, sat down to one side, and said to the Buddha, “Sir, I have spun and woven this new pair of garments specially for the Buddha. May the Buddha please accept this from me out of compassion.”

When she said this, the Buddha said to her, “Give it to the Saṅgha, Gotamī. When you give to the Saṅgha, both the Saṅgha and I will be honored.”

For a second time …

For a third time, Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī said to the Buddha, “Sir, I have spun and woven this new pair of garments specially for the Buddha. May the Buddha please accept this from me out of compassion.”

And for a third time, the Buddha said to her, “Give it to the Saṅgha, Gotamī. When you give to the Saṅgha, both the Saṅgha and I will be honored.”

When he said this, Venerable Ānanda said to the Buddha, “Sir, please accept the new pair of garments from Mahāpajāpatī Gotamī. Sir, Mahāpajāpatī was very helpful to the Buddha. As his aunt, she raised him, nurtured him, and gave him her milk. When the Buddha’s birth mother passed away, she nurtured him at her own breast.

And the Buddha has been very helpful to Mahāpajāpatī. It is owing to the Buddha that Mahāpajāpatī has gone for refuge to the Buddha, the teaching, and the Saṅgha. It’s owing to the Buddha that she refrains from killing living creatures, stealing, committing sexual misconduct, lying, and taking alcoholic drinks that cause negligence. It’s owing to the Buddha that she has experiential confidence in the Buddha, the teaching, and the Saṅgha, and has the ethics loved by the noble ones. It’s owing to the Buddha that she is free of doubt regarding suffering, its origin, its cessation, and the practice that leads to its cessation. The Buddha has been very helpful to Mahāpajāpatī.”

“That’s so true, Ānanda. When someone has enabled you to go for refuge, it’s not easy to repay them by bowing down to them, rising up for them, greeting them with joined palms, and observing proper etiquette for them; or by providing them with robes, almsfood, lodgings, and medicines and supplies for the sick.

When someone has enabled you to refrain from killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, and alcoholic drinks that cause negligence, it’s not easy to repay them …

When someone has enabled you to have experiential confidence in the Buddha, the teaching, and the Saṅgha, and the ethics loved by the noble ones, it’s not easy to repay them …

When someone has enabled you to be free of doubt regarding suffering, its origin, its cessation, and the practice that leads to its cessation, it’s not easy to repay them by bowing down to them, rising up for them, greeting them with joined palms, and observing proper etiquette for them; or by providing them with robes, almsfood, lodgings, and medicines and supplies for the sick.

Ānanda, there are these fourteen religious donations to individuals. What fourteen?

  1. One gives a gift to the Realized One, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha. This is the first religious donation to an individual.
  2. One gives a gift to a Buddha awakened for themselves. This is the second religious donation to an individual.
  3. One gives a gift to a perfected one. This is the third religious donation to an individual.
  4. One gives a gift to someone practicing to realize the fruit of perfection. This is the fourth religious donation to an individual.
  5. One gives a gift to a non-returner. This is the fifth religious donation to an individual.
  6. One gives a gift to someone practicing to realize the fruit of non-return. This is the sixth religious donation to an individual.
  7. One gives a gift to a once-returner. This is the seventh religious donation to an individual.
  8. One gives a gift to someone practicing to realize the fruit of once-return. This is the eighth religious donation to an individual.
  9. One gives a gift to a stream-enterer. This is the ninth religious donation to an individual.
  10. One gives a gift to someone practicing to realize the fruit of stream-entry. This is the tenth religious donation to an individual.
  11. One gives a gift to an outsider who is free of sensual desire. This is the eleventh religious donation to an individual.
  12. One gives a gift to an ordinary person who has good ethical conduct. This is the twelfth religious donation to an individual.
  13. One gives a gift to an ordinary person who has bad ethical conduct. This is the thirteenth religious donation to an individual.
  14. One gives a gift to an animal. This is the fourteenth religious donation to an individual.

Now, Ānanda, gifts to the following persons may be expected to yield the following returns. To an animal, a hundred times. To an unethical ordinary person, a thousand. To an ethical ordinary person, a hundred thousand. To an outsider free of sensual desire, 10,000,000,000. But a gift to someone practicing to realize the fruit of stream-entry may be expected to yield incalculable, immeasurable returns. How much more so a gift to a stream-enterer, someone practicing to realize the fruit of once-return, a once-returner, someone practicing to realize the fruit of non-return, a non-returner, someone practicing to realize the fruit of perfection, a perfected one, or a Buddha awakened for themselves? How much more so a Realized One, a perfected one, a fully awakened Buddha?

But there are, Ānanda, seven religious donations bestowed on a Saṅgha. What seven?

  1. One gives a gift to the communities of both monks and nuns headed by the Buddha. This is the first religious donation bestowed on a Saṅgha.
  2. One gives a gift to the communities of both monks and nuns after the Buddha has finally become extinguished. This is the second religious donation bestowed on a Saṅgha.
  3. One gives a gift to the Saṅgha of monks. This is the third religious donation bestowed on a Saṅgha.
  4. One gives a gift to the Saṅgha of nuns. This is the fourth religious donation bestowed on a Saṅgha.
  5. One gives a gift, thinking: ‘Appoint this many monks and nuns for me from the Saṅgha.’ This is the fifth religious donation bestowed on a Saṅgha.
  6. One gives a gift, thinking: ‘Appoint this many monks for me from the Saṅgha.’ This is the sixth religious donation bestowed on a Saṅgha.
  7. One gives a gift, thinking: ‘Appoint this many nuns for me from the Saṅgha.’ This is the seventh religious donation bestowed on a Saṅgha.

In times to come there will be members of the spiritual family merely by virtue of wearing ocher cloth around their necks; but they are unethical and of bad character. People will give gifts to those unethical people in the name of the Saṅgha. Even then, I say, a religious donation bestowed on the Saṅgha is incalculable and immeasurable. But I say that there is no way a personal offering can be more fruitful than one bestowed on a Saṅgha.

Ānanda, there are these four ways of purifying a religious donation. What four?

  1. There’s a religious donation that’s purified by the giver, not the recipient.
  2. There’s a religious donation that’s purified by the recipient, not the giver.
  3. There’s a religious donation that’s purified by neither the giver nor the recipient.
  4. There’s a religious donation that’s purified by both the giver and the recipient.

And how is a religious donation purified by the giver, not the recipient? It’s when the giver is ethical, of good character, but the recipient is unethical, of bad character.

And how is a religious donation purified by the recipient, not the giver? It’s when the giver is unethical, of bad character, but the recipient is ethical, of good character.

And how is a religious donation purified by neither the giver nor the recipient? It’s when both the giver and the recipient are unethical, of bad character.

And how is a religious donation purified by both the giver and the recipient? It’s when both the giver and the recipient are ethical, of good character. These are the four ways of purifying a religious donation.”

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

“When an ethical person with trusting heart
gives a proper gift to unethical persons,
trusting in the ample fruit of deeds,
that offering is purified by the giver.

When an unethical and untrusting person,
gives an improper gift to ethical persons,
not trusting in the ample fruit of deeds,
that offering is purified by the receivers.

When an unethical and untrusting person,
gives an improper gift to unethical persons,
not trusting in the ample fruit of deeds,
I declare that gift is not very fruitful.

When an ethical person with trusting heart
gives a proper gift to ethical persons,
trusting in the ample fruit of deeds,
I declare that gift is abundantly fruitful.

But when a passionless one gives to the passionless
a proper gift with trusting heart,
trusting in the ample fruit of deeds,
that’s truly the best of material gifts.”



Read this translation of Majjhima Nikāya 142 Dakkhiṇāvibhaṅgasutta: The Analysis of Religious Donations by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaFriends.org or Ancient-Buddhist-Texts.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

MN 87 Piyajātikasutta: Born From the Beloved

So I have heard. At one time the Buddha was staying near Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery.

Now at that time a certain householder’s dear and beloved only child passed away. After their death he didn’t feel like working or eating. He would go to the cemetery and wail, “Where are you, my only child? Where are you, my only child?”

Then he went to the Buddha, bowed, and sat down to one side. The Buddha said to him, “Householder, you look like someone who’s not in their right mind; your faculties have deteriorated.”

“And how, sir, could my faculties not have deteriorated? For my dear and beloved only child has passed away. Since their death I haven’t felt like working or eating. I go to the cemetery and wail: ‘Where are you, my only child? Where are you, my only child?’”

“That’s so true, householder! That’s so true, householder! For our loved ones are a source of sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress.”

“Sir, who on earth could ever think such a thing! For our loved ones are a source of joy and happiness.” Disagreeing with the Buddha’s statement, rejecting it, he got up from his seat and left.

Now at that time several gamblers were playing dice not far from the Buddha. That householder approached them and told them what had happened.

“That’s so true, householder! That’s so true, householder! For our loved ones are a source of joy and happiness.”

Thinking, “The gamblers and I are in agreement,” the householder left.

Eventually that topic of discussion reached the royal compound. Then King Pasenadi addressed Queen Mallikā, “Mallika, your ascetic Gotama said this: ‘Our loved ones are a source of sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress.’”

“If that’s what the Buddha said, great king, then that’s how it is.”

“No matter what the ascetic Gotama says, Mallikā agrees with him: ‘If that’s what the Buddha said, great king, then that’s how it is.’ You’re just like a student who agrees with everything their teacher says. Go away, Mallikā, get out of here!”

Then Queen Mallikā addressed the brahmin Nāḷijaṅgha, “Please, brahmin, go to the Buddha, and in my name bow with your head to his feet. Ask him if he is healthy and well, nimble, strong, and living comfortably. And then say: ‘Sir, did the Buddha make this statement: “Our loved ones are a source of sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress”?’ Remember well how the Buddha answers and tell it to me. For Realized Ones say nothing that is not so.”

“Yes, ma’am,” he replied. He went 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, “Master Gotama, Queen Mallikā bows with her head to your feet. She asks if you are healthy and well, nimble, strong, and living comfortably. And she asks whether the Buddha made this statement: ‘Our loved ones are a source of sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress.’”

“That’s right, brahmin, that’s right! For our loved ones are a source of sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress.

And here’s a way to understand how our loved ones are a source of sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress. Once upon a time right here in Sāvatthī a certain woman’s mother passed away. And because of that she went mad and lost her mind. She went from street to street and from square to square saying, ‘Has anyone seen my mother? Has anyone seen my mother?’

And here’s another way to understand how our loved ones are a source of sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress.

Once upon a time right here in Sāvatthī a certain woman’s father … brother … sister … son … daughter … husband passed away. And because of that she went mad and lost her mind. She went from street to street and from square to square saying, ‘Has anyone seen my husband? Has anyone seen my husband?’

And here’s another way to understand how our loved ones are a source of sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress.

Once upon a time right here in Sāvatthī a certain man’s mother … father … brother … sister … son … daughter … wife passed away. And because of that he went mad and lost his mind. He went from street to street and from square to square saying, ‘Has anyone seen my wife? Has anyone seen my wife?’

And here’s another way to understand how our loved ones are a source of sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress.

Once upon a time right here in Sāvatthī a certain woman went to live with her relative’s family. But her relatives wanted to divorce her from her husband and give her to another, who she didn’t want. So she told her husband about this. But he cut her in two and disemboweled himself, thinking, ‘We shall be together after death.’ That’s another way to understand how our loved ones are a source of sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress.”

Then Nāḷijaṅgha the brahmin, having approved and agreed with what the Buddha said, got up from his seat, went to Queen Mallikā, and told her of all they had discussed. Then Queen Mallikā approached King Pasenadi and said to him, “What do you think, great king? Do you love Princess Vajirī?”

“Indeed I do, Mallikā.”

“What do you think, great king? If she were to decay and perish, would sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress arise in you?”

“If she were to decay and perish, my life would fall apart. How could sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress not arise in me?”

“This is what the Buddha was referring to when he said: ‘Our loved ones are a source of sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress.’

What do you think, great king? Do you love Lady Vāsabhā? …

Do you love your son, General Viḍūḍabha? …

Do you love me?”

“Indeed I do love you, Mallikā.”

“What do you think, great king? If I were to decay and perish, would sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress arise in you?”

“If you were to decay and perish, my life would fall apart. How could sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress not arise in me?”

“This is what the Buddha was referring to when he said: ‘Our loved ones are a source of sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress.’

What do you think, great king? Do you love the realms of Kāsi and Kosala?”

“Indeed I do, Mallikā. It’s due to the bounty of Kāsi and Kosala that we use sandalwood imported from Kāsi and wear garlands, perfumes, and makeup.”

“What do you think, great king? If these realms were to decay and perish, would sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress arise in you?”

“If they were to decay and perish, my life would fall apart. How could sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress not arise in me?”

“This is what the Buddha was referring to when he said: ‘Our loved ones are a source of sorrow, lamentation, pain, sadness, and distress.’”

“It’s incredible, Mallikā, it’s amazing, how far the Buddha sees with penetrating wisdom, it seems to me. Come, Mallikā, rinse my hands.”

Then King Pasenadi got up from his seat, arranged his robe over one shoulder, raised his joined palms toward the Buddha, and expressed this heartfelt sentiment three times:

“Homage to that Blessed One, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha!

Homage to that Blessed One, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha!

Homage to that Blessed One, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha!”


Read this translation of Majjhima Nikāya 87 Piyajātikasutta: Born From the Beloved by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net, SuttaFriends.org or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

MN 21 From… Kakacūpamasutta: The Simile of the Saw—The Bandits

…Even if low-down bandits were to sever you limb from limb, anyone who had a malevolent thought on that account would not be following my instructions. If that happens, you should train like this: ‘Our minds will remain unaffected. We will blurt out no bad words. We will remain full of compassion, with a heart of love and no secret hate. We will meditate spreading a heart of love to that person. And with them as a basis, we will meditate spreading a heart full of love to everyone in the world—abundant, expansive, limitless, free of enmity and ill will.’ That’s how you should train.

If you frequently reflect on this advice—the simile of the saw—do you see any criticism, large or small, that you could not endure?”

“No, sir.”

“So, mendicants, you should frequently reflect on this advice, the simile of the saw. This will be for your lasting welfare and happiness.”

That is what the Buddha said. Satisfied, the mendicants were happy with what the Buddha said.


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 21 Kakacūpamasutta: The Simile of the Saw by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaFriends.org or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

MN 40 From… Cūḷaassapurasutta: The Shorter Discourse at Assapura

…And how does a mendicant practice in the way that is proper for an ascetic?

There are some mendicants who have given up covetousness, ill will, irritability, hostility, disdain, contempt, jealousy, stinginess, deviousness, deceit, bad desires, and wrong view. These stains, defects, and dregs of an ascetic are grounds for rebirth in places of loss, and are experienced in bad places. When they have given these up, they are practicing in the way that is proper for an ascetic, I say.

They see themselves purified from all these bad, unskillful qualities. Seeing this, joy springs up. Being joyful, rapture springs up. When the mind is full of rapture, the body becomes tranquil. When the body is tranquil, they feel bliss. And when blissful, the mind becomes immersed in samādhi.

They meditate spreading a heart full of love to one direction, and to the second, and to the third, and to the fourth. In the same way above, below, across, everywhere, all around, they spread a heart full of love to the whole world—abundant, expansive, limitless, free of enmity and ill will.

They meditate spreading a heart full of compassion …

They meditate spreading a heart full of rejoicing …

They meditate spreading a heart full of equanimity to one direction, and to the second, and to the third, and to the fourth. In the same way above, below, across, everywhere, all around, they spread a heart full of equanimity to the whole world—abundant, expansive, limitless, free of enmity and ill will.

Suppose there was a lotus pond with clear, sweet, cool water, clean, with smooth banks, delightful. Then along comes a person—whether from the east, west, north, or south—struggling in the oppressive heat, weary, thirsty, and parched. No matter what direction they come from, when they arrive at that lotus pond they would alleviate their thirst and heat exhaustion.

In the same way, suppose someone has gone forth from the lay life to homelessness—whether from a family of aristocrats, brahmins, merchants, or workers—and has arrived at the teaching and training proclaimed by a Realized One. Having developed love, compassion, rejoicing, and equanimity in this way they gain inner peace. Because of that inner peace they are practicing the way proper for an ascetic, I say. …


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 40 Cūḷaassapurasutta: The Shorter Discourse at Assapura Cūḷaassapurasutta by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

MN 21 From… Kakacūpamasutta: The Simile of the Saw—The Catskin Bag

…Suppose there was a catskin bag that was rubbed, well-rubbed, very well-rubbed, soft, silky, rid of rustling and crackling. Then a person comes along carrying a stick or a stone, and says, ‘I shall make this soft catskin bag rustle and crackle with this stick or stone.’

What do you think, mendicants? Could that person make that soft catskin bag rustle and crackle with that stick or stone?”

“No, sir. Why is that? Because that catskin bag is rubbed, well-rubbed, very well-rubbed, soft, silky, rid of rustling and crackling. It’s not easy to make it rustle or crackle with a stick or stone. That person will eventually get weary and frustrated.”

“In the same way, there are these five ways in which others might criticize you. Their speech may be timely or untimely, true or false, gentle or harsh, beneficial or harmful, from a heart of love or from secret hate. When others criticize you, they may do so in any of these ways. If that happens, you should train like this: ‘Our minds will remain unaffected. We will blurt out no bad words. We will remain full of compassion, with a heart of love and no secret hate. We will meditate spreading a heart of love to that person. And with them as a basis, we will meditate spreading a heart like a catskin bag to everyone in the world—abundant, expansive, limitless, free of enmity and ill will.’ That’s how you should train.…


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 21 Kakacūpamasutta: The Simile of the Saw by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaFriends.org or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

MN 50 From… Māratajjanīyasutta: The Rebuke of Māra

[NOTE: In the section below, Arahant Mahā Moggallāna is recounting a story from the time he was reborn as a Māra named Dūsī.]

…Then it occurred to Māra Dūsī, ‘I don’t know the course of rebirth of these ethical mendicants of good character. Why don’t I take possession of these brahmins and householders and say, “Come, all of you, abuse, attack, harass, and trouble the ethical mendicants of good character. Hopefully by doing this we can upset their minds so that Māra Dūsī can find a vulnerability.”’ And that’s exactly what he did.

Then those brahmins and householders abused, attacked, harassed, and troubled the ethical mendicants of good character: ‘These shavelings, fake ascetics, riffraff, black spawn from the feet of our Kinsman, say, “We practice absorption meditation! We practice absorption meditation!” Slouching, downcast, and dopey, they meditate and concentrate and contemplate and ruminate. They’re just like an owl on a branch, which meditates and concentrates and contemplates and ruminates as it hunts a mouse. They’re just like a jackal on a river-bank, which meditates and concentrates and contemplates and ruminates as it hunts a fish. They’re just like a cat by an alley or a drain or a dustbin, which meditates and concentrates and contemplates and ruminates as it hunts a mouse. They’re just like an unladen donkey by an alley or a drain or a dustbin, which meditates and concentrates and contemplates and ruminates. In the same way, these shavelings, fake ascetics, riffraff, black spawn from the feet of our Kinsman, say, “We practice absorption meditation! We practice absorption meditation!” Slouching, downcast, and dopey, they meditate and concentrate and contemplate and ruminate.’

Most of the people who died at that time—when their body broke up, after death—were reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell.

Then Kakusandha the Blessed One, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha, addressed the mendicants: ‘Mendicants, the brahmins and householders have been possessed by Māra Dūsī. He told them to abuse you in the hope of upsetting your minds so that he can find a vulnerability. Come, all of you mendicants, meditate spreading a heart full of love to one direction, and to the second, and to the third, and to the fourth. In the same way above, below, across, everywhere, all around, spread a heart full of love to the whole world—abundant, expansive, limitless, free of enmity and ill will. Meditate spreading a heart full of compassion … Meditate spreading a heart full of rejoicing … Meditate spreading a heart full of equanimity to one direction, and to the second, and to the third, and to the fourth. In the same way above, below, across, everywhere, all around, spread a heart full of equanimity to the whole world—abundant, expansive, limitless, free of enmity and ill will.’

When those mendicants were instructed and advised by the Buddha Kakusandha in this way, they went to a wilderness, or to the root of a tree, or to an empty hut, where they meditated spreading a heart full of love … compassion … rejoicing … equanimity.

Then it occurred to Māra Dūsī, ‘Even when I do this I don’t know the course of rebirth of these ethical mendicants of good character. Why don’t I take possession of these brahmins and householders and say, “Come, all of you, honor, respect, esteem, and venerate the ethical mendicants of good character. Hopefully by doing this we can upset their minds so that Māra Dūsī can find a vulnerability.”’

And that’s exactly what he did. Then those brahmins and householders honored, respected, esteemed, and venerated the ethical mendicants of good character.

Most of the people who died at that time—when their body broke up, after death—were reborn in a good place, a heavenly realm.

Then Kakusandha the Blessed One, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha, addressed the mendicants: ‘Mendicants, the brahmins and householders have been possessed by Māra Dūsī. He told them to venerate you in the hope of upsetting your minds so that he can find a vulnerability. Come, all you mendicants, meditate observing the ugliness of the body, perceiving the repulsiveness of food, perceiving dissatisfaction with the whole world, and observing the impermanence of all conditions.’

When those mendicants were instructed and advised by the Buddha Kakusandha in this way, they went to a wilderness, or to the root of a tree, or to an empty hut, where they meditated observing the ugliness of the body, perceiving the repulsiveness of food, perceiving dissatisfaction with the whole world, and observing the impermanence of all conditions. …


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 50 Māratajjanīyasutta: The Rebuke of Māra by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

MN 21 From… Kakacūpamasutta: The Simile of the Saw—Burning away the Ganges

…Suppose a person was to come along carrying a blazing grass torch, and say, ‘I shall burn and scorch the river Ganges with this blazing grass torch.’

What do you think, mendicants? Could that person burn and scorch the river Ganges with a blazing grass torch?”

“No, sir. Why is that? Because the river Ganges is deep and limitless. It’s not easy to burn and scorch it with a blazing grass torch. That person will eventually get weary and frustrated.”

“In the same way, there are these five ways in which others might criticize you. Their speech may be timely or untimely, true or false, gentle or harsh, beneficial or harmful, from a heart of love or from secret hate. When others criticize you, they may do so in any of these ways. If that happens, you should train like this: ‘Our minds will remain unaffected. We will blurt out no bad words. We will remain full of compassion, with a heart of love and no secret hate. We will meditate spreading a heart of love to that person. And with them as a basis, we will meditate spreading a heart like the earth to everyone in the world—abundant, expansive, limitless, free of enmity and ill will.’ That’s how you should train.…


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 21 Kakacūpamasutta: The Simile of the Saw by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaFriends.org or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.