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MN 54 From… Potaliyasutta: With Potaliya the Householder

[Note: These are very famous similes that are frequently mentioned in brief throughout the suttas. This is just part of a longer sutta.]

…“Householder, suppose a dog weak with hunger was hanging around a butcher’s shop. Then a deft butcher or their apprentice would toss them a skeleton scraped clean of flesh and smeared in blood. What do you think, householder? Gnawing on such a fleshless skeleton, would that dog still get rid of its hunger?”

“No, sir. Why not? Because that skeleton is scraped clean of flesh and smeared in blood. That dog will eventually get weary and frustrated.”

“In the same way, a noble disciple reflects: ‘With the simile of a skeleton the Buddha said that sensual pleasures give little gratification and much suffering and distress, and they are all the more full of drawbacks.’ Having truly seen this with right understanding, they reject equanimity based on diversity and develop only the equanimity based on unity, where all kinds of grasping to the world’s material delights cease without anything left over.

Suppose a vulture or a crow or a hawk was to grab a lump of meat and fly away. Other vultures, crows, and hawks would keep chasing it, pecking and clawing. What do you think, householder? If that vulture, crow, or hawk doesn’t quickly let go of that lump of meat, wouldn’t that result in death or deadly suffering for them?”

“Yes, sir.” …

“Suppose a person carrying a blazing grass torch was to walk against the wind. What do you think, householder? If that person doesn’t quickly let go of that blazing grass torch, wouldn’t they burn their hands or arm or other limb, resulting in death or deadly suffering for them?”

“Yes, sir.” …

“Suppose there was a pit of glowing coals deeper than a man’s height, full of glowing coals that neither flamed nor smoked. Then a person would come along who wants to live and doesn’t want to die, who wants to be happy and recoils from pain. Then two strong men would grab them by the arms and drag them towards the pit of glowing coals. What do you think, householder? Wouldn’t that person writhe and struggle to and fro?”

“Yes, sir. Why is that? For that person knows: ‘If I fall in that pit of glowing coals, that’d result in my death or deadly pain.’” …

“Suppose a person was to see delightful parks, woods, meadows, and lotus ponds in a dream. But when they woke they couldn’t see them at all. …

Suppose a man had borrowed some goods—a gentleman’s carriage and fine jewelled earrings—and preceded and surrounded by these he proceeded through the middle of Āpaṇa. When people saw him they’d say: ‘This must be a wealthy man! For that’s how the wealthy enjoy their wealth.’ But when the owners saw him, they’d take back what was theirs. What do you think? Would that be enough for that man to get upset?”

“Yes, sir. Why is that? Because the owners took back what was theirs.” …

“Suppose there was a dark forest grove not far from a town or village. And there was a tree laden with fruit, yet none of the fruit had fallen to the ground. And along came a person in need of fruit, wandering in search of fruit. Having plunged deep into that forest grove, they’d see that tree laden with fruit. They’d think: ‘That tree is laden with fruit, yet none of the fruit has fallen to the ground. But I know how to climb a tree. Why don’t I climb the tree, eat as much as I like, then fill my pouch?’ And that’s what they’d do. And along would come a second person in need of fruit, wandering in search of fruit, carrying a sharp axe. Having plunged deep into that forest grove, they’d see that tree laden with fruit. They’d think: ‘That tree is laden with fruit, yet none of the fruit has fallen to the ground. But I don’t know how to climb a tree. Why don’t I chop this tree down at the root, eat as much as I like, then fill my pouch?’ And so they’d chop the tree down at the root. What do you think, householder? If the first person, who climbed the tree, doesn’t quickly come down, when that tree fell wouldn’t they break their hand or arm or other limb, resulting in death or deadly suffering for them?”

“Yes, sir.”

“In the same way, a noble disciple reflects: ‘With the simile of the fruit tree the Buddha said that sensual pleasures give little gratification and much suffering and distress, and they are all the more full of drawbacks.’ Having truly seen this with right understanding, they reject equanimity based on diversity and develop only the equanimity based on unity, where all kinds of grasping to the world’s material delights cease without anything left over.…



Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 54 Potaliyasutta: With Potaliya the Householder 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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MN 75 From… Māgaṇḍiyasutta: With Māgaṇḍiya

[Note: This is from a longer that gives even more wonderful similes about sense pleasures. Please read the whole sutta if you are able.]

[The Buddha:] “…Suppose there was a person affected by leprosy, with sores and blisters on their limbs. Being devoured by worms, scratching with their nails at the opening of their wounds, they’d cauterize their body over a pit of glowing coals. Their friends and colleagues, relatives and kin would get a field surgeon to treat them. The field surgeon would make medicine for them, and by using that they’d be cured of leprosy. They’d be healthy, happy, autonomous, master of themselves, able to go where they wanted. Then they’d see another person affected by leprosy, with sores and blisters on their limbs, being devoured by worms, scratching with their nails at the opening of their wounds, cauterizing their body over a pit of glowing coals.

What do you think, Māgaṇḍiya? Would that person envy that other person affected by leprosy for their pit of glowing coals or for taking medicine?”

“No, Master Gotama. Why is that? Because you need to take medicine only when there’s a disease. When there’s no disease, there’s no need for medicine.”

“In the same way, Māgaṇḍiya, when I was still a layperson I used to entertain myself with sights … sounds … smells … tastes … touches known by the body that are likable, desirable, agreeable, pleasant, sensual, and arousing. Some time later—having truly understood the origin, ending, gratification, drawback, and escape of sensual pleasures, and having given up craving and dispelled passion for sensual pleasures—I live rid of thirst, my mind peaceful inside. I see other sentient beings who are not free from sensual pleasures being consumed by craving for sensual pleasures, burning with passion for sensual pleasures, indulging in sensual pleasures. I don’t envy them, nor do I hope to enjoy that. Why is that? Because there is a satisfaction that is apart from sensual pleasures and unskillful qualities, which even achieves the level of heavenly pleasure. Enjoying that satisfaction, I don’t envy what is inferior, nor do I hope to enjoy it.

Suppose there was a person affected by leprosy, with sores and blisters on their limbs. Being devoured by worms, scratching with their nails at the opening of their wounds, they’d cauterize their body over a pit of glowing coals. Their friends and colleagues, relatives and kin would get a field surgeon to treat them. The field surgeon would make medicine for them, and by using that they’d be cured of leprosy. They’d be healthy, happy, autonomous, master of themselves, able to go where they wanted. Then two strong men would grab them by the arms and drag them towards the pit of glowing coals.

What do you think, Māgaṇḍiya? Wouldn’t that person writhe and struggle to and fro?”

“Yes, Master Gotama. Why is that? Because that fire is really painful to touch, fiercely burning and scorching.”

“What do you think, Māgaṇḍiya? Is it only now that the fire is really painful to touch, fiercely burning and scorching, or was it painful previously as well?”

“That fire is painful now and it was also painful previously. That person was affected by leprosy, with sores and blisters on their limbs. Being devoured by worms, scratching with their nails at the opening of their wounds, their sense faculties were impaired. So even though the fire was actually painful to touch, they had a distorted perception that it was pleasant.”

In the same way, sensual pleasures of the past, future, and present are painful to touch, fiercely burning and scorching. These sentient beings who are not free from sensual pleasures—being consumed by craving for sensual pleasures, burning with passion for sensual pleasures—have impaired sense faculties. So even though sensual pleasures are actually painful to touch, they have a distorted perception that they are pleasant.…



Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 75 Māgaṇḍiyasutta: With Māgaṇḍiya 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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MN 146 From… Nandakovādasutta: Advice from Nandaka

…“Suppose a deft butcher or their apprentice was to kill a cow and carve it with a sharp meat cleaver. Without damaging the flesh inside or the hide outside, they’d cut, carve, sever, and slice through the connecting tendons, sinews, and ligaments, and then peel off the outer hide. Then they’d wrap that cow up in that very same hide and say: ‘This cow is joined to its hide just like before.’ Would they be speaking rightly?”

“No, sir. Why is that? Because even if they wrap that cow up in that very same hide and say: ‘This cow is joined to its hide just like before,’ still that cow is not joined to that hide.”

“I’ve made up this simile to make a point. And this is the point. ‘The inner flesh’ is a term for the six interior sense fields. ‘The outer hide’ is a term for the six exterior sense fields. ‘The connecting tendons, sinews, and ligaments’ is a term for greed and relishing. ‘A sharp meat cleaver’ is a term for noble wisdom. And it is that noble wisdom which cuts, carves, severs, and slices the connecting corruption, fetter, and bond.

Sisters, by developing and cultivating these seven awakening factors, a mendicant realizes the undefiled freedom of heart and freedom by wisdom in this very life. And they live having realized it with their own insight due to the ending of defilements. What seven? It’s when a mendicant develops the awakening factors of mindfulness, investigation of principles, energy, rapture, tranquility, immersion, and equanimity, which rely on seclusion, fading away, and cessation, and ripen as letting go. It is by developing and cultivating these seven awakening factors that a mendicant realizes the undefiled freedom of heart and freedom by wisdom in this very life. And they live having realized it with their own insight due to the ending of defilements.”…


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 146 Nandakovādasutta: Advice from Nandaka by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net.

Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net, DhammaTalks.org or Ancient-Buddhist-Texts.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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MN 125 From… Dantabhūmisutta: The Level of the Tamed

[Note: Although this selection is on the long side, it is just the first part of a wonderful longer sutta. If you have time to read the whole thing it would be good. The rest of the sutta selections this week will be back to their normal length.]

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

Now at that time the novice Aciravata was staying in a wilderness hut. Then as Prince Jayasena was going for a walk he approached Aciravata, and exchanged greetings with him.

When the greetings and polite conversation were over, he sat down to one side and said to Aciravata, “Master Aggivessana, I have heard that a mendicant who meditates diligently, keenly, and resolutely can experience unification of mind.”

“That’s so true, Prince! That’s so true! A mendicant who meditates diligently, keenly, and resolutely can experience unification of mind.”

“Master Aggivessana, please teach me the Dhamma as you have learned and memorized it.”

“I’m not competent to do so, Prince. For if I were to teach you the Dhamma as I have learned and memorized it, you might not understand the meaning, which would be wearying and troublesome for me.”

“Master Aggivessana, please teach me the Dhamma as you have learned and memorized it. Hopefully I will understand the meaning of what you say.”

“Then I shall teach you. If you understand the meaning of what I say, that’s good. If not, then leave each to his own, and do not question me about it further.”

“Master Aggivessana, please teach me the Dhamma as you have learned and memorized it. If I understand the meaning of what you say, that’s good. If not, then I will leave each to his own, and not question you about it further.”

Then the novice Aciravata taught Prince Jayasena the Dhamma as he had learned and memorized it. When he had spoken, Jayasena said to him, “It is impossible, Master Aggivessana, it cannot happen that a mendicant who meditates diligently, keenly, and resolutely can experience unification of mind.” Having declared that this was impossible, Jayasena got up from his seat and left.

Not long after he had left, Aciravata went to the Buddha, bowed, sat down to one side, and informed the Buddha of all they had discussed.

When he had spoken, the Buddha said to him,

“How could it possibly be otherwise, Aggivessana? Prince Jayasena dwells in the midst of sensual pleasures, enjoying them, consumed by thoughts of them, burning with fever for them, and eagerly seeking more. It’s simply impossible for him to know or see or realize what can only be known, seen, and realized by renunciation.

Suppose there was a pair of elephants or horse or oxen in training who were well tamed and well trained. And there was a pair who were not tamed or trained. What do you think, Aggivessana? Wouldn’t the pair that was well tamed and well trained perform the tasks of the tamed and reach the level of the tamed?”

“Yes, sir.”

“But would the pair that was not tamed and trained perform the tasks of the tamed and reach the level of the tamed, just like the tamed pair?”

“No, sir.”

“In the same way, Prince Jayasena dwells in the midst of sensual pleasures, enjoying them, consumed by thoughts of them, burning with fever for them, and eagerly seeking more. It’s simply impossible for him to know or see or realize what can only be known, seen, and realized by renunciation.

Suppose there was a big mountain not far from a town or village. And two friends set out from that village or town, lending each other a hand up to the mountain. Once there, one friend would remain at the foot of the mountain, while the other would climb to the peak. Then the one standing at the foot would say to the one at the peak, ‘My friend, what do you see, standing there at the peak?’ They’d reply, ‘Standing at the peak, I see delightful parks, woods, meadows, and lotus ponds!’

But the other would say, ‘It’s impossible, it cannot happen that, standing at the peak, you can see delightful parks, woods, meadows, and lotus ponds.’ So their friend would come down from the peak, take their friend by the arm, and make them climb to the peak. After giving them a moment to catch their breath, they’d say, ‘My friend, what do you see, standing here at the peak?’ They’d reply, ‘Standing at the peak, I see delightful parks, woods, meadows, and lotus ponds!’

They’d say, ‘Just now I understood you to say: “It’s impossible, it cannot happen that, standing at the peak, you can see delightful parks, woods, meadows, and lotus ponds.” But now you say: “Standing at the peak, I see delightful parks, woods, meadows, and lotus ponds!”’ They’d say, ‘But my friend, it was because I was obstructed by this big mountain that I didn’t see what could be seen.’

But bigger than that is the mass of ignorance by which Prince Jayasena is veiled, shrouded, covered, and engulfed. Prince Jayasena dwells in the midst of sensual pleasures, enjoying them, consumed by thoughts of them, burning with fever for them, and eagerly seeking more. It’s quite impossible for him to know or see or realize what can only be known, seen, and realized by renunciation. It wouldn’t be surprising if, had these two similes occurred to you, Prince Jayasena would have gained confidence in you and shown his confidence.”…



Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 125 Dantabhūmisutta: The Level of the Tamed by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net.

Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net, DhammaTalks.org or AccessToInsight.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

Or read a translation in Bengali, Català, Deutsch, Español, हिन्दी, Indonesian, Italiano, မြန်မာဘာသာ, Norsk, Português, ру́сский язы́к, සිංහල, Srpski, ไทย, Tiếng Việt, or 汉语. Learn how to find your language.

MN 44 From… Cūḷavedallasutta: The Shorter Classification

[Note: This is part of a conversation between the lay disciple Visākha and his former wife, the Venerable Dhammadinnā. When their conversation is finished he reports it to the Buddha and the Buddha approves of all of her answers. If you are able it’s good to read the whole sutta.]


…“Ma’am, they speak of this thing called ‘the origin of identity’. What is the origin of identity that the Buddha spoke of?”

“It’s the craving that leads to future lives, mixed up with relishing and greed, chasing pleasure in various realms. That is, craving for sensual pleasures, craving to continue existence, and craving to end existence. The Buddha said that this is the origin of identity.”

“Ma’am, they speak of this thing called ‘the cessation of identity’. What is the cessation of identity that the Buddha spoke of?”

“It’s the fading away and cessation of that very same craving with nothing left over; giving it away, letting it go, releasing it, and not clinging to it. The Buddha said that this is the cessation of identity.”

“Ma’am, they speak of the practice that leads to the cessation of identity. What is the practice that leads to the cessation of identity that the Buddha spoke of?”

“The practice that leads to the cessation of identity that the Buddha spoke of 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.”

“But ma’am, is that grasping the exact same thing as the five grasping aggregates? Or is grasping one thing and the five grasping aggregates another?”

“That grasping is not the exact same thing as the five grasping aggregates. Nor is grasping one thing and the five grasping aggregates another. The desire and greed for the five grasping aggregates is the grasping there.”

“But ma’am, how does identity view come about?”

“It’s when an unlearned ordinary person has not seen the noble ones, and is neither skilled nor trained in the teaching of the noble ones. They’ve not seen good persons, and are neither skilled nor trained in the teaching of the good persons. They regard form as self, self as having form, form in self, or self in form. They regard feeling … perception … choices … consciousness as self, self as having consciousness, consciousness in self, or self in consciousness. That’s how identity view comes about.”

“But ma’am, how does identity view not come about?”

“It’s when a learned noble disciple has seen the noble ones, and is skilled and trained in the teaching of the noble ones. They’ve seen good persons, and are skilled and trained in the teaching of the good persons. They don’t regard form as self, self as having form, form in self, or self in form. They don’t regard feeling … perception … choices … consciousness as self, self as having consciousness, consciousness in self, or self in consciousness. That’s how identity view does not come about.”

“But ma’am, what is the noble eightfold path?”

“It 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.”

“But ma’am, is the noble eightfold path conditioned or unconditioned?”

“The noble eightfold path is conditioned.”

“Are the three practice categories included in the noble eightfold path? Or is the noble eightfold path included in the three practice categories?”

“The three practice categories are not included in the noble eightfold path. Rather, the noble eightfold path is included in the three practice categories. Right speech, right action, and right livelihood: these things are included in the category of ethics. Right effort, right mindfulness, and right immersion: these things are included in the category of immersion. Right view and right thought: these things are included in the category of wisdom.”…


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 44 Cūḷavedallasutta: The Shorter Classification by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net.

Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net, DhammaTalks.org or Ancient-Buddhist-Texts.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

Or read a translation in Deutsch, Bengali, Čeština, Español, Suomi, Français, हिन्दी, hrvatski, Magyar, Indonesian, Italiano, မြန်မာဘာသာ, Norsk, Português, ру́сский язы́к, සිංහල, Slovenščina, ไทย, Tiếng Việt, or 汉语. Learn how to find your language.

MN 149 Mahāsaḷāyatanikasutta: The Great Discourse on the Six Sense Fields

So I have heard. At one time the Buddha was staying near Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. There the Buddha addressed the mendicants, “Mendicants!”

“Venerable sir,” they replied. The Buddha said this:

“Mendicants, I shall teach you the great discourse on the six sense fields. Listen and apply your mind well, I will speak.”

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

“Mendicants, when you don’t truly know and see the eye, sights, eye consciousness, eye contact, and what is felt as pleasant, painful, or neutral that arises conditioned by eye contact, you’re aroused by these things.

Someone who lives aroused like this—fettered, confused, concentrating on gratification—accumulates the five grasping aggregates for themselves in the future. And their craving—which leads to future lives, mixed up with relishing and greed, chasing pleasure in various realms—grows. Their physical and mental stress, torment, and fever grow. And they experience physical and mental suffering.

When you don’t truly know and see the ear … nose … tongue … body … mind, thoughts, mind consciousness, mind contact, and what is felt as pleasant, painful, or neutral that arises conditioned by mind contact, you’re aroused by these things.

Someone who lives aroused like this—fettered, confused, concentrating on gratification—accumulates the five grasping aggregates for themselves in the future. And their craving—which leads to future lives, mixed up with relishing and greed, chasing pleasure in various realms—grows. Their physical and mental stress, torment, and fever grow. And they experience physical and mental suffering.

When you do truly know and see the eye, sights, eye consciousness, eye contact, and what is felt as pleasant, painful, or neutral that arises conditioned by eye contact, you’re not aroused by these things.

Someone who lives unaroused like this—unfettered, unconfused, concentrating on drawbacks—disperses the the five grasping aggregates for themselves in the future. And their craving—which leads to future lives, mixed up with relishing and greed, chasing pleasure in various realms—is given up. Their physical and mental stress, torment, and fever are given up. And they experience physical and mental pleasure.

The view of such a person is right view. Their intention is right intention, their effort is right effort, their mindfulness is right mindfulness, and their immersion is right immersion. And their actions of body and speech have already been fully purified before. So this noble eightfold path is fully developed.

When the noble eightfold path is developed, the following are fully developed: the four kinds of mindfulness meditation, the four right efforts, the four bases of psychic power, the five faculties, the five powers, and the seven awakening factors.

And these two qualities proceed in conjunction: serenity and discernment. They completely understand by direct knowledge those things that should be completely understood by direct knowledge. They give up by direct knowledge those things that should be given up by direct knowledge. They develop by direct knowledge those things that should be developed by direct knowledge. They realize by direct knowledge those things that should be realized by direct knowledge.

And what are the things that should be completely understood by direct knowledge? You should say: ‘The five grasping aggregates.’ That is: form, feeling, perception, choices, and consciousness. These are the things that should be completely understood by direct knowledge.

And what are the things that should be given up by direct knowledge? Ignorance and craving for continued existence. These are the things that should be given up by direct knowledge.

And what are the things that should be developed by direct knowledge? Serenity and discernment. These are the things that should be developed by direct knowledge.

And what are the things that should be realized by direct knowledge? Knowledge and freedom. These are the things that should be realized by direct knowledge.

When you truly know and see the ear … nose … tongue … body … mind, thoughts, mind consciousness, mind contact, and what is felt as pleasant, painful, or neutral that arises conditioned by mind contact, you are not aroused by these things. …

These are the things that should be realized by direct knowledge.”

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


Read this translation of Majjhima Nikāya 149 Mahāsaḷāyatanikasutta: The Great Discourse on the Six Sense Fields 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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MN 117 Mahācattārīsakasutta: The Great Forty

[Note: Today’s sutta is very long, but it’s an important one when studying the Noble Eightfold Path. It includes the definition of two types of right view, right intention, right action, right speech and right livelihood.]

Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. There he addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus.”—“Venerable sir,” they replied. The Blessed One said this:

“Bhikkhus, I shall teach you noble right concentration with its supports and its requisites. Listen and attend closely to what I shall say.”—“Yes, venerable sir,” the bhikkhus replied. The Blessed One said this:

“What, bhikkhus, is noble right concentration with its supports and its requisites, that is, right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, and right mindfulness? Unification of mind equipped with these seven factors is called noble right concentration with its supports and its requisites.

View

“Therein, bhikkhus, right view comes first. And how does right view come first? One understands wrong view as wrong view and right view as right view: this is one’s right view.

“And what, bhikkhus, is wrong view? ‘There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed; no fruit or result of good and bad actions; no this world, no other world; no mother, no father; no beings who are reborn spontaneously; no good and virtuous recluses and brahmins in the world who have realised for themselves by direct knowledge and declare this world and the other world.’ This is wrong view.

“And what, bhikkhus, is right view? Right view, I say, is twofold: there is right view that is affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening in the acquisitions; and there is right view that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path.

“And what, bhikkhus, is right view that is affected by the taints, partaking of merit, ripening in the acquisitions? ‘There is what is given and what is offered and what is sacrificed; there is fruit and result of good and bad actions; there is this world and the other world; there is mother and father; there are beings who are reborn spontaneously; there are in the world good and virtuous recluses and brahmins who have realised for themselves by direct knowledge and declare this world and the other world.’ This is right view affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening in the acquisitions.

“And what, bhikkhus, is right view that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path? The wisdom, the faculty of wisdom, the power of wisdom, the investigation-of-states enlightenment factor, the path factor of right view in one whose mind is noble, whose mind is taintless, who possesses the noble path and is developing the noble path: this is right view that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path.

“One makes an effort to abandon wrong view and to enter upon right view: this is one’s right effort. Mindfully one abandons wrong view, mindfully one enters upon and abides in right view: this is one’s right mindfulness. Thus these three states run and circle around right view, that is, right view, right effort, and right mindfulness.

Intention

“Therein, bhikkhus, right view comes first. And how does right view come first? One understands wrong intention as wrong intention and right intention as right intention: this is one’s right view.

“And what, bhikkhus, is wrong intention? The intention of sensual desire, the intention of ill will, and the intention of cruelty: this is wrong intention.

“And what, bhikkhus, is right intention? Right intention, I say, is twofold: there is right intention that is affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening in the acquisitions, and there is right intention that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path.

“And what, bhikkhus, is right intention that is affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening in the acquisitions? The intention of renunciation, the intention of non-ill will, and the intention of non-cruelty: this is right intention that is affected by taints…ripening in the acquisitions.

“And what, bhikkhus, is right intention that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path? The thinking, thought, intention, mental absorption, mental fixity, directing of mind, verbal formation in one whose mind is noble, whose mind is taintless, who possesses the noble path and is developing the noble path: this is right intention that is noble…a factor of the path.

“One makes an effort to abandon wrong intention and to enter upon right intention: this is one’s right effort. Mindfully one abandons wrong intention, mindfully one enters upon and abides in right intention: this is one’s right mindfulness. Thus these three states run and circle around right intention, that is, right view, right effort, and right mindfulness.

Speech

“Therein, bhikkhus, right view comes first. And how does right view come first? One understands wrong speech as wrong speech and right speech as right speech: this is one’s right view.

“And what, bhikkhus, is wrong speech? False speech, malicious speech, harsh speech, and gossip: this is wrong speech.

“And what, bhikkhus, is right speech? Right speech, I say, is twofold: there is right speech that is affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening in the acquisitions; and there is right speech that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path.

“And what, bhikkhus, is right speech that is affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening in the acquisitions? Abstinence from false speech, abstinence from malicious speech, abstinence from harsh speech, abstinence from gossip: this is right speech that is affected by taints…ripening in the acquisitions.

“And what, bhikkhus, is right speech that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path? The desisting from the four kinds of verbal misconduct, the abstaining, refraining, abstinence from them in one whose mind is noble, whose mind is taintless, who possesses the noble path and is developing the noble path: this is right speech that is noble…a factor of the path.

“One makes an effort to abandon wrong speech and to enter upon right speech: this is one’s right effort. Mindfully one abandons wrong speech, mindfully one enters upon and abides in right speech: this is one’s right mindfulness. Thus these three states run and circle around right speech, that is, right view, right effort, and right mindfulness.

Action

“Therein, bhikkhus, right view comes first. And how does right view come first? One understands wrong action as wrong action and right action as right action: this is one’s right view.

“And what, bhikkhus, is wrong action? Killing living beings, taking what is not given, and misconduct in sensual pleasures: this is wrong action.

“And what, bhikkhus, is right action? Right action, I say, is twofold: there is right action that is affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening in the acquisitions; and there is right action that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path.

“And what, bhikkhus, is right action that is affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening in the acquisitions? Abstinence from killing living beings, abstinence from taking what is not given, abstinence from misconduct in sensual pleasures: this is right action that is affected by taints…ripening in the acquisitions.

“And what, bhikkhus, is right action that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path? The desisting from the three kinds of bodily misconduct, the abstaining, refraining, abstinence from them in one whose mind is noble, whose mind is taintless, who possesses the noble path and is developing the noble path: this is right action that is noble…a factor of the path.

“One makes an effort to abandon wrong action and to enter upon right action: this is one’s right effort. Mindfully one abandons wrong action, mindfully one enters upon and dwells in right action: this is one’s right mindfulness. Thus these three states run and circle around right action, that is, right view, right effort, and right mindfulness.

Livelihood

“Therein, bhikkhus, right view comes first. And how does right view come first? One understands wrong livelihood as wrong livelihood and right livelihood as right livelihood: this is one’s right view.

“And what, bhikkhus, is wrong livelihood? Scheming, talking, hinting, belittling, pursuing gain with gain: this is wrong livelihood.

“And what, bhikkhus, is right livelihood? Right livelihood, I say, is twofold: there is right livelihood that is affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening in the acquisitions; and there is right livelihood that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path.

“And what, bhikkhus, is right livelihood that is affected by taints, partaking of merit, ripening in the acquisitions? Here, bhikkhus, a noble disciple abandons wrong livelihood and gains his living by right livelihood: this is right livelihood that is affected by taints…ripening in the acquisitions.

“And what, bhikkhus, is right livelihood that is noble, taintless, supramundane, a factor of the path? The desisting from wrong livelihood, the abstaining, refraining, abstinence from it in one whose mind is noble, whose mind is taintless, who possesses the noble path and is developing the noble path: this is right livelihood that is noble…a factor of the path.

“One makes an effort to abandon wrong livelihood and to enter upon right livelihood: this is one’s right effort. Mindfully one abandons wrong livelihood, mindfully one enters upon and dwells in right livelihood: this is one’s right mindfulness. Thus these three states run and circle around right livelihood, that is, right view, right effort, and right mindfulness.

The Great Forty

“Therein, bhikkhus, right view comes first. And how does right view come first? In one of right view, right intention comes into being; in one of right intention, right speech comes into being; in one of right speech, right action comes into being; in one of right action, right livelihood comes into being; in one of right livelihood, right effort comes into being; in one of right effort, right mindfulness comes into being; in one of right mindfulness, right concentration comes into being; in one of right concentration, right knowledge comes into being; in one of right knowledge, right deliverance comes into being. Thus, bhikkhus, the path of the disciple in higher training possesses eight factors, the arahant possesses ten factors.

“Therein, bhikkhus, right view comes first. And how does right view come first? In one of right view, wrong view is abolished, and the many evil unwholesome states that originate with wrong view as condition are also abolished, and the many wholesome states that originate with right view as condition come to fulfilment by development.

“In one of right intention, wrong intention is abolished, and the many evil unwholesome states that originate with wrong intention as condition are also abolished, and the many wholesome states that originate with right intention as condition come to fulfilment by development.

“In one of right speech, wrong speech is abolished…In one of right action, wrong action is abolished…In one of right livelihood, wrong livelihood is abolished …In one of right effort, wrong effort is abolished…In one of right mindfulness, wrong mindfulness is abolished…In one of right concentration, wrong concentration is abolished…In one of right knowledge, wrong knowledge is abolished…In one of right deliverance, wrong deliverance is abolished, and the many evil unwholesome states that originate with wrong deliverance as condition are also abolished, and the many wholesome states that originate with right deliverance as condition come to fulfilment by development.

“Thus, bhikkhus, there are twenty factors on the side of the wholesome, and twenty factors on the side of the unwholesome. This Dhamma discourse on the Great Forty has been set rolling and cannot be stopped by any recluse or brahmin or god or Māra or Brahmā or anyone in the world.

“Bhikkhus, if any recluse or brahmin thinks that this Dhamma discourse on the Great Forty should be censured and rejected, then there are ten legitimate deductions from his assertions that would provide grounds for censuring him here and now. If that worthy one censures right view, then he would honour and praise those recluses and brahmins who are of wrong view. If that worthy one censures right intention, then he would honour and praise those recluses and brahmins who are of wrong intention. If that worthy one censures right speech… right action…right livelihood…right effort…right mindfulness…right concentration…right knowledge…right deliverance, then he would honour and praise those recluses and brahmins who are of wrong deliverance. If any recluse or brahmin thinks that this Dhamma discourse on the Great Forty should be censured and rejected, then these are ten legitimate deductions from his assertions that would provide grounds for censuring him here and now.

“Bhikkhus, even those teachers from Okkala, Vassa and Bhañña, who held the doctrine of non-causality, the doctrine of non-doing, and the doctrine of nihilism, would not think that this Dhamma discourse on the Great Forty should be censured and rejected. Why is that? For fear of blame, attack, and confutation.”

That is what the Blessed One said. The bhikkhus were satisfied and delighted in the Blessed One’s words.


Read this translation of Majjhima Nikāya 117 Mahācattārīsakasutta: The Great Forty by Bhikkhu Bodhi 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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MN 126 Bhūmijasutta: With Bhūmija

[Note: Today’s sutta is a bit longer than usual, but it’s easy to read.]

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

Then Venerable Bhūmija robed up in the morning and, taking his bowl and robe, went to the home of Prince Jayasena, where he sat on the seat spread out.

Then Jayasena approached and exchanged greetings with him. When the greetings and polite conversation were over, he sat down to one side and said to Bhūmija:

“Master Bhūmija, there are some ascetics and brahmins who have this doctrine and view: ‘If you make a wish and lead the spiritual life, you can’t win the fruit. If you don’t make a wish and lead the spiritual life, you can’t win the fruit. If you both make a wish and don’t make a wish and lead the spiritual life, you can’t win the fruit. If you neither make a wish nor don’t make a wish and lead the spiritual life, you can’t win the fruit.’ What does Master Bhūmija’s Teacher say about this? How does he explain it?”

“Prince, I haven’t heard and learned this in the presence of the Buddha. But it’s possible that he might explain it like this: ‘If you lead the spiritual life irrationally, you can’t win the fruit, regardless of whether you make a wish, you don’t make a wish, you both do and do not make a wish, or you neither do nor don’t make a wish. But if you lead the spiritual life rationally, you can win the fruit, regardless of whether you make a wish, you don’t make a wish, you both do and do not make a wish, or you neither do nor don’t make a wish.’ I haven’t heard and learned this in the presence of the Buddha. But it’s possible that he might explain it like that.”

“If that’s what your teacher says, Master Bhūmija, he clearly stands head and shoulders above all the various other ascetics and brahmins.” Then Prince Jayasena served Venerable Bhūmija from his own dish.

Then after the meal, on his return from almsround, Bhūmija went to the Buddha, bowed, sat down to one side, and told him all that had happened, adding: “Answering this way, I trust that I repeated what the Buddha has said, and didn’t misrepresent him with an untruth. I trust my explanation was in line with the teaching, and that there are no legitimate grounds for rebuke or criticism.”

“Indeed, Bhūmija, in answering this way you repeated what I’ve said, and didn’t misrepresent me with an untruth. Your explanation was in line with the teaching, and there are no legitimate grounds for rebuke or criticism.

There are some ascetics and brahmins who have wrong view, wrong thought, wrong speech, wrong action, wrong livelihood, wrong effort, wrong mindfulness, and wrong immersion. If they lead the spiritual life, they can’t win the fruit, regardless of whether they make a wish, they don’t make a wish, they both do and do not make a wish, or they neither do nor don’t make a wish. Why is that? Because that’s an irrational way to win the fruit.

Suppose there was a person in need of oil. While wandering in search of oil, they tried heaping sand in a bucket, sprinkling it thoroughly with water, and pressing it out. But by doing this, they couldn’t extract any oil, regardless of whether they made a wish, didn’t make a wish, both did and did not make a wish, or neither did nor did not make a wish. Why is that? Because that’s an irrational way to extract oil.

And so it is for any ascetics and brahmins who have wrong view, wrong thought, wrong speech, wrong action, wrong livelihood, wrong effort, wrong mindfulness, and wrong immersion. If they lead the spiritual life, they can’t win the fruit, regardless of whether or not they make a wish. Why is that? Because that’s an irrational way to win the fruit.

Suppose there was a person in need of milk. While wandering in search of milk, they tried pulling the horn of a newly-calved cow. But by doing this, they couldn’t get any milk, regardless of whether they made a wish, didn’t make a wish, both did and did not make a wish, or neither did nor did not make a wish. Why is that? Because that’s an irrational way to get milk.

And so it is for any ascetics and brahmins who have wrong view … Because that’s an irrational way to win the fruit.

Suppose there was a person in need of butter. While wandering in search of butter, they tried pouring water into a pot and churning it with a stick. But by doing this, they couldn’t produce any butter, regardless of whether they made a wish, didn’t make a wish, both did and did not make a wish, or neither did nor did not make a wish. Why is that? Because that’s an irrational way to produce butter.

And so it is for any ascetics and brahmins who have wrong view … Because that’s an irrational way to win the fruit.

Suppose there was a person in need of fire. While wandering in search of fire, they tried drilling a green, sappy log with a drill-stick. But by doing this, they couldn’t start a fire, regardless of whether they made a wish, didn’t make a wish, both did and did not make a wish, or neither did nor did not make a wish. Why is that? Because that’s an irrational way to start a fire.

And so it is for any ascetics and brahmins who have wrong view … Because that’s an irrational way to win the fruit.

There are some ascetics and brahmins who have right view, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right immersion. If they lead the spiritual life, they can win the fruit, regardless of whether they make a wish, they don’t make a wish, they both do and do not make a wish, or they neither do nor do not make a wish. Why is that? Because that’s a rational way to win the fruit.

Suppose there was a person in need of oil. While wandering in search of oil, they tried heaping sesame flour in a bucket, sprinkling it thoroughly with water, and pressing it out. By doing this, they could extract oil, regardless of whether they made a wish, didn’t make a wish, both did and did not make a wish, or neither did nor did not make a wish. Why is that? Because that’s a rational way to extract oil.

And so it is for any ascetics and brahmins who have right view … Because that’s a rational way to win the fruit.

Suppose there was a person in need of milk. While wandering in search of milk, they tried pulling the udder of a newly-calved cow. By doing this, they could get milk, regardless of whether they made a wish, didn’t make a wish, both did and did not make a wish, or neither did nor did not make a wish. Why is that? Because that’s a rational way to get milk.

And so it is for any ascetics and brahmins who have right view … Because that’s a rational way to win the fruit.

Suppose there was a person in need of butter. While wandering in search of butter, they tried pouring curds into a pot and churning them with a stick. By doing this, they could produce butter, regardless of whether they made a wish, didn’t make a wish, both did and did not make a wish, or neither did nor did not make a wish. Why is that? Because that’s a rational way to produce butter.

And so it is for any ascetics and brahmins who have right view … Because that’s a rational way to win the fruit.

Suppose there was a person in need of fire. While wandering in search of fire, they tried drilling a dried up, withered log with a drill-stick. By doing this, they could start a fire, regardless of whether they made a wish, didn’t make a wish, both did and did not make a wish, or neither did nor did not make a wish. Why is that? Because that’s a rational way to start a fire.

And so it is for any ascetics and brahmins who have right view … Because that’s a rational way to win the fruit.

Bhūmija, it wouldn’t be surprising if, had these four similes occurred to you, Prince Jayasena would have gained confidence in you and shown his confidence.”

“But sir, how could these four similes have occurred to me as they did to the Buddha, since they were neither supernaturally inspired, nor learned before in the past?”

That is what the Buddha said. Satisfied, Venerable Bhūmija was happy with what the Buddha said.


Read this translation of Majjhima Nikāya 126 Bhūmijasutta: With Bhūmija 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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MN 139 From… Araṇavibhaṅgasutta: The Analysis of Non-Conflict—Just Teach Dhamma

[Note: In this excerpt, the Buddha takes the teaching on avoiding the extremes of self mortification and self indulgence (which he gave in his very first sermon) and illuminates how we can think about these teachings without criticizing or praising others. In this way we can avoid conflict while still teaching the Dhamma. It’s a wonderful reminder of how he was able to talk about good and bad qualities without personally criticizing people. This is just one of many cases of the Buddha showing his “supreme trainer of persons to be tamed” quality.]

‘Don’t indulge in sensual pleasures, which are low, crude, ordinary, ignoble, and pointless. And don’t indulge in self-mortification, which is painful, ignoble, and pointless.’ That’s what I said, but why did I say it?

Pleasure linked to sensuality is low, crude, ordinary, ignoble, and pointless. Indulging in such happiness is a principle beset by pain, harm, stress, and fever, and it is the wrong way. Breaking off such indulgence is a principle free of pain, harm, stress, and fever, and it is the right way.

Indulging in self-mortification is painful, ignoble, and pointless. It is a principle beset by pain, harm, stress, and fever, and it is the wrong way. Breaking off such indulgence is a principle free of pain, harm, stress, and fever, and it is the right way.

‘Don’t indulge in sensual pleasures, which are low, crude, ordinary, ignoble, and pointless. And don’t indulge in self-mortification, which is painful, ignoble, and pointless.’ That’s what I said, and this is why I said it.

· • ·

‘Avoiding these two extremes, the Realized One woke up by understanding the middle way of practice, which gives vision and knowledge, and leads to peace, direct knowledge, awakening, and extinguishment.’ That’s what I said, but why did I say it? It 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.

‘Avoiding these two extremes, the Realized One woke up by understanding the middle way of practice, which gives vision and knowledge, and leads to peace, direct knowledge, awakening, and extinguishment.’ That’s what I said, and this is why I said it.

· • ·

‘Know what it means to flatter and to rebuke. Knowing these, avoid them, and just teach Dhamma.’ That’s what I said, but why did I say it? And how is there flattering and rebuking without teaching Dhamma?

In speaking like this, some are rebuked: ‘Pleasure linked to sensuality is low, crude, ordinary, ignoble, and pointless. All those who indulge in such happiness are beset by pain, harm, stress, and fever, and they are practicing the wrong way.’

In speaking like this, some are flattered: ‘Pleasure linked to sensuality is low, crude, ordinary, ignoble, and pointless. All those who have broken off such indulgence are free of pain, harm, stress, and fever, and they are practicing the right way.’

In speaking like this, some are rebuked: ‘Indulging in self-mortification is painful, ignoble, and pointless. All those who indulge in it are beset by pain, harm, stress, and fever, and they are practicing the wrong way.’

In speaking like this, some are flattered: ‘Indulging in self-mortification is painful, ignoble, and pointless. All those who have broken off such indulgence are free of pain, harm, stress, and fever, and they are practicing the right way.’

In speaking like this, some are rebuked: ‘All those who have not given up the fetters of rebirth are beset by pain, harm, stress, and fever, and they are practicing the wrong way.’

In speaking like this, some are flattered: ‘All those who have given up the fetters of rebirth are free of pain, harm, stress, and fever, and they are practicing the right way.’ That’s how there is flattering and rebuking without teaching Dhamma.

· • ·

And how is there neither flattering nor rebuking, and just teaching Dhamma? You don’t say: ‘Pleasure linked to sensuality is low, crude, ordinary, ignoble, and pointless. All those who indulge in such happiness are beset by pain, harm, stress, and fever, and they are practicing the wrong way.’ Rather, by saying this you just teach Dhamma: ‘The indulgence is a principle beset by pain, harm, stress, and fever, and it is the wrong way.’

You don’t say: ‘Pleasure linked to sensuality is low, crude, ordinary, ignoble, and pointless. All those who have broken off such indulgence are free of pain, harm, stress, and fever, and they are practicing the right way.’ Rather, by saying this you just teach Dhamma: ‘Breaking off the indulgence is a principle free of pain, harm, stress, and fever, and it is the right way.’

You don’t say: ‘Indulging in self-mortification is painful, ignoble, and pointless. All those who indulge in it are beset by pain, harm, stress, and fever, and they are practicing the wrong way.’ Rather, by saying this you just teach Dhamma: ‘The indulgence is a principle beset by pain, harm, stress, and fever, and it is the wrong way.’

You don’t say: ‘Indulging in self-mortification is painful, ignoble, and pointless. All those who have broken off such indulgence are free of pain, harm, stress, and fever, and they are practicing the right way.’ Rather, by saying this you just teach Dhamma: ‘Breaking off the indulgence is a principle free of pain, harm, stress, and fever, and it is the right way.’

You don’t say: ‘All those who have not given up the fetters of rebirth are beset by pain, harm, stress, and fever, and they are practicing the wrong way.’ Rather, by saying this you just teach Dhamma: ‘When the fetter of rebirth is not given up, rebirth is also not given up.’

You don’t say: ‘All those who have given up the fetters of rebirth are free of pain, harm, stress, and fever, and they are practicing the right way.’ Rather, by saying this you just teach Dhamma: ‘When the fetter of rebirth is given up, rebirth is also given up.’

That’s how there is neither flattering nor rebuking, and just teaching Dhamma. ‘Know what it means to flatter and to rebuke. Knowing these, avoid them, and just teach Dhamma.’ That’s what I said, and this is why I said it.



Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 139 Araṇavibhaṅgasutta: The Analysis of Non-Conflict by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net, SuttaFriends.org, DhammaTalks.org, Ancient-Buddhist-Texts.net or AccessToInsight.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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MN 133 From… Mahākaccānabhaddekarattasutta: Mahākaccāna and One Fine Night

[Note: The excerpt below is often found when people miss the opportunity of asking the Buddha a question and instead ask one of his disciples. It shows the great respect even the most capable disciples have for the Buddha.]

“…Who can explain in detail the meaning of this brief summary given by the Buddha?”

Then those mendicants thought:

“This Venerable Mahākaccāna is praised by the Buddha and esteemed by his sensible spiritual companions. He is capable of explaining in detail the meaning of this brief passage for recitation given by the Buddha. Let’s go to him, and ask him about this matter.”

Then those mendicants went to Mahākaccāna, and exchanged greetings with him. When the greetings and polite conversation were over, they sat down to one side. They told him what had happened, and said: “May Venerable Mahākaccāna please explain this.”

“Reverends, suppose there was a person in need of heartwood. And while wandering in search of heartwood he’d come across a large tree standing with heartwood. But he’d pass over the roots and trunk, imagining that the heartwood should be sought in the branches and leaves. Such is the consequence for the venerables. Though you were face to face with the Buddha, you overlooked him, imagining that you should ask me about this matter. For he is the Buddha, who knows and sees. He is vision, he is knowledge, he is the principle, he is the supreme holiness. He is the teacher, the proclaimer, the elucidator of meaning, the bestower of the deathless, the lord of truth, the Realized One. That was the time to approach the Buddha and ask about this matter. You should have remembered it in line with the Buddha’s answer.”

“Certainly he is the Buddha, who knows and sees. He is vision, he is knowledge, he is the principle, he is the supreme holiness. He is the teacher, the proclaimer, the elucidator of meaning, the bestower of the deathless, the lord of truth, the Realized One. That was the time to approach the Buddha and ask about this matter. We should have remembered it in line with the Buddha’s answer. Still, Venerable Mahākaccāna is praised by the Buddha and esteemed by his sensible spiritual companions. He is capable of explaining in detail the meaning of this brief passage for recitation given by the Buddha. Please explain this, if it’s no trouble.”

“Well then, reverends, listen and pay close attention, I will speak.…”


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 133 Mahākaccānabhaddekarattasutta: Mahākaccāna and One Fine Night 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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MN 103 From… Kintisutta: What Do You Think About Me?

[Note: The entire sutta is worth reading if you have time. “The Recluse” mentioned below refers to the Buddha.]

“While you are training in concord, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, there might arise mutual verbal friction, insolence in views, mental annoyance, bitterness, and dejection. Then whichever bhikkhu you think is the most reasonable of those who side together on the one part should be approached and addressed thus: ‘While we were training in concord, friend, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, there arose mutual verbal friction, insolence in views, mental annoyance, bitterness, and dejection. If the Recluse knew, would he censure that?’ Answering rightly, the bhikkhu would answer thus: ‘While we were training…If the Recluse knew, he would censure that.’ “‘But, friend, without abandoning that thing, can one realise Nibbāna?’ Answering rightly, the bhikkhu would answer thus: ‘Friend, without abandoning that thing, one cannot realise Nibbāna.’

“Then whichever bhikkhu you think is the most reasonable of those who side together on the opposite part should be approached and addressed thus: ‘While we were training in concord, friend, with mutual appreciation, without disputing, there arose mutual verbal friction, insolence in views, mental annoyance, bitterness, and dejection. If the Recluse knew, would he censure that?’ Answering rightly, the bhikkhu would answer thus: ‘While we were training…If the Recluse knew, he would censure that.’

“‘But, friend, without abandoning that thing, can one realise Nibbāna?’ Answering rightly, the bhikkhu would answer thus: ‘Friend, without abandoning that thing, one cannot realise Nibbāna.’

“If others should ask that bhikkhu thus: ‘Was it the venerable one who made those bhikkhus emerge from the unwholesome and established them in the wholesome?’ answering rightly, the bhikkhu would answer thus: ‘Here, friends, I went to the Blessed One. The Blessed One taught me the Dhamma. Having heard that Dhamma, I spoke to those bhikkhus. The bhikkhus heard that Dhamma, and they emerged from the unwholesome and became established in the wholesome.’ Answering thus, the bhikkhu neither exalts himself nor disparages others; he answers in accordance with the Dhamma in such a way that nothing which provides a ground for censure can be legitimately deduced from his assertion.”


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 103 Kintisutta: What Do You Think About Me? 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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MN 115 From… Bahudhātukasutta: Many Elements

“But sir, how is a mendicant qualified to be called ‘skilled in the possible and impossible’?”

…They understand: ‘It’s impossible for a person accomplished in view to murder their mother. But it’s possible for an ordinary person to murder their mother.’ They understand: ‘It’s impossible for a person accomplished in view to murder their father … or murder a perfected one. But it’s possible for an ordinary person to murder their father … or a perfected one.’ They understand: ‘It’s impossible for a person accomplished in view to injure a Realized One with malicious intent. But it’s possible for an ordinary person to injure a Realized One with malicious intent.’ They understand: ‘It’s impossible for a person accomplished in view to cause a schism in the Saṅgha. But it’s possible for an ordinary person to cause a schism in the Saṅgha.’ They understand: ‘It’s impossible for a person accomplished in view to dedicate themselves to another teacher. But it’s possible for an ordinary person to dedicate themselves to another teacher.’…


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 115 Bahudhātukasutta: Many Elements by Bhikkhu Sujato 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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MN 128 From… Upakkilesasutta: Corruptions

[Note: This is the first half of the sutta. After the section below, the Buddha goes on to give the harmonious monks help with their meditation.]

So I have heard. At one time the Buddha was staying near Kosambī, in Ghosita’s Monastery.

Now at that time the mendicants of Kosambī were arguing, quarreling, and disputing, continually wounding each other with barbed words.

Then a mendicant went up to the Buddha, bowed, stood to one side, and told him what was happening, adding: “Please, sir go to those mendicants out of compassion.” The Buddha consented with silence.

Then the Buddha went up to those mendicants and said, “Enough, mendicants! Stop arguing, quarreling, and disputing.”

When he said this, one of the mendicants said to the Buddha, “Wait, sir! Let the Buddha, the Lord of the Dhamma, remain passive, dwelling in blissful meditation in the present life. We will be known for this arguing, quarreling, and disputing.”

For a second time … and a third time the Buddha said to those mendicants, “Enough, mendicants! Stop arguing, quarreling, and disputing.”

For a third time that mendicant said to the Buddha, “Wait, sir! Let the Buddha, the Lord of the Dhamma, remain passive, dwelling in blissful meditation in the present life. We will be known for this arguing, quarreling, and disputing.”

Then the Buddha robed up in the morning and, taking his bowl and robe, entered Kosambī for alms. After the meal, on his return from almsround, he set his lodgings in order. Taking his bowl and robe, he recited these verses while standing right there:

“When many voices shout at once,
no-one thinks that they’re a fool!
While the Saṅgha’s being split,
none thought another to be better.

Dolts pretending to be astute,
they talk, their words right out of bounds.
They blab at will, their mouths agape,
and no-one knows what leads them on.

“They abused me, they hit me!
They beat me, they robbed me!”
For those who bear such a grudge,
hatred never ends.

“They abused me, they hit me!
They beat me, they robbed me!”
For those who bear no such grudge,
hatred has an end.

For never is hatred
settled by hate,
it’s only settled by love:
this is an eternal truth.

Others don’t understand
that here we need to be restrained.
But those who do understand this,
being clever, settle their conflicts.

Breakers of bones and takers of life,
thieves of cattle, horses, wealth,
those who plunder the nation:
even they can come together,
so why on earth can’t you?

If you find an alert companion,
a wise and virtuous friend,
then, overcoming all adversities,
wander with them, joyful and mindful.

If you find no alert companion,
no wise and virtuous friend,
then, like a king who flees his conquered realm,
wander alone like a tusker in the wilds.

It’s better to wander alone,
there’s no fellowship with fools.
Wander alone and do no wrong,
at ease like a tusker in the wilds.”

After speaking these verses while standing, the Buddha went to the village of the child salt-miners, where Venerable Bhagu was staying at the time. Bhagu saw the Buddha coming off in the distance, so he spread out a seat and placed water for washing the feet. The Buddha sat on the seat spread out, and washed his feet. Bhagu bowed to the Buddha and sat down to one side.

The Buddha said to him, “I hope you’re keeping well, mendicant; I hope you’re all right. And I hope you’re having no trouble getting almsfood.”

“I’m keeping well, sir; I’m all right. And I’m having no trouble getting almsfood.”

Then the Buddha educated, encouraged, fired up, and inspired Bhagu with a Dhamma talk, after which he got up from his seat and set out for the Eastern Bamboo Park.

Now at that time the venerables Anuruddha, Nandiya, and Kimbila were staying in the Eastern Bamboo Park. The park keeper saw the Buddha coming off in the distance and said to the Buddha, “Don’t come into this park, ascetic. There are three gentlemen who love themselves staying here. Don’t disturb them.”

Anuruddha heard the park keeper conversing with the Buddha, and said to him, “Don’t keep the Buddha out, good park keeper! Our Teacher, the Blessed One, has arrived.”

Then Anuruddha went to Nandiya and Kimbila, and said to them, “Come forth, venerables, come forth! Our Teacher, the Blessed One, has arrived!”

Then Anuruddha, Nandiya, and Kimbila came out to greet the Buddha. One received his bowl and robe, one spread out a seat, and one set out water for washing his feet. The Buddha sat on the seat spread out and washed his feet. Those venerables bowed and sat down to one side.

The Buddha said to Anuruddha, “I hope you’re keeping well, Anuruddha and friends; I hope you’re all right. And I hope you’re having no trouble getting almsfood.”

“We’re keeping well, sir; we’re all right. And we’re having no trouble getting almsfood.”

“I hope you’re living in harmony, appreciating each other, without quarreling, blending like milk and water, and regarding each other with kindly eyes?”

“Indeed, sir, we live in harmony as you say.”

“But how do you live this way?”

“In this case, sir, I think: ‘I’m fortunate, so very fortunate, to live together with spiritual companions such as these.’ I consistently treat these venerables with kindness by way of body, speech, and mind, both in public and in private. I think: ‘Why don’t I set aside my own ideas and just go along with these venerables’ ideas?’ And that’s what I do. Though we’re different in body, sir, we’re one in mind, it seems to me.”

And the venerables Nandiya and Kimbila spoke likewise, and they added: “That’s how we live in harmony, appreciating each other, without quarreling, blending like milk and water, and regarding each other with kindly eyes.”

“Good, good, Anuruddha and friends! But I hope you’re living diligently, keen, and resolute?”

“Indeed, sir, we live diligently.”

“But how do you live this way?”

“In this case, sir, whoever returns first from almsround prepares the seats, and puts out the drinking water and the rubbish bin. If there’s anything left over, whoever returns last eats it if they like. Otherwise they throw it out where there is little that grows, or drop it into water that has no living creatures. Then they put away the seats, drinking water, and rubbish bin, and sweep the refectory. If someone sees that the pot of water for washing, drinking, or the toilet is empty they set it up. If he can’t do it, he summons another with a wave of the hand, and they set it up by lifting it with their hands. But we don’t break into speech for that reason. And every five days we sit together for the whole night and discuss the teachings. That’s how we live diligently, keen, and resolute.…”


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 128 Upakkilesasutta: Corruptions 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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MN 108 From… Gopakamoggallānasutta: With Moggallāna the Guardian

[Note: Below is just a small part of a very interesting and important sutta that is worth the time to read if you can. The sabbath referred to is the uposatha day.]

…Moggallāna the Guardian saw Ānanda coming off in the distance and said to him, “Come, Master Ānanda! Welcome, Master Ānanda! It’s been a long time since you took the opportunity to come here. Please, sir, sit down, this seat is ready.”

Ānanda sat down on the seat spread out, while Moggallāna the Guardian took a low seat and sat to one side. Then he said to Ānanda, “Master Ānanda, is there even a single mendicant who has all the same qualities in each and every way as possessed by Master Gotama, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha?”

“No, brahmin, there is not. For the Blessed One gave rise to the unarisen path, gave birth to the unborn path, and explained the unexplained path. He is the knower of the path, the discoverer of the path, the expert on the path. And now the disciples live following the path; they acquire it later.”

But this conversation between Ānanda and Moggallāna the Guardian was left unfinished.

For just then the brahmin Vassakāra, a minister of Magadha, while supervising the work at Rājagaha, approached Ānanda at Moggallāna the Guardian’s place of work and exchanged greetings with him. When the greetings and polite conversation were over, he sat down to one side and said to Ānanda, “Master Ānanda, what were you sitting talking about just now? What conversation was left unfinished?”

So Ānanda told him of the conversation that they were having when Vassakāra arrived. Vassakāra said:

“Master Ānanda, is there even a single mendicant who was appointed by Master Gotama, saying: ‘This one will be your refuge when I have passed away,’ to whom you now turn?”

“No, there is not.”

“But is there even a single mendicant who has been elected to such a position by the Saṅgha and appointed by several senior mendicants?”

“No, there is not.”

“But since you lack a refuge, Master Ānanda, what’s the reason for your harmony?”

“We don’t lack a refuge, brahmin, we have a refuge. The teaching is our refuge.”

“But Master Ānanda, when asked whether there was even a single mendicant—either appointed by the Buddha, or elected by the Saṅgha and appointed by several senior mendicants—who serves as your refuge after the Buddha passed away, to whom you now turn, you replied, ‘No, there is not.’ But you say that the reason for your harmony is that you have the teaching as a refuge. How should I see the meaning of this statement?”

“The Blessed One, who knows and sees, the perfected one, the fully awakened Buddha laid down training rules and recited the monastic code for the mendicants. On the day of the sabbath all of us who live in dependence on one village district gather together as one. We invite one who has freshly rehearsed the code to recite it. If anyone remembers an offense or transgression while they’re reciting, we make them act in line with the teachings and in line with the instructions. It’s not the venerables that make us act, it’s the teaching that makes us act.”…


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 108 Gopakamoggallānasutta: With Moggallāna the Guardian 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.

MN 89 From… Dhammacetiyasutta: Shrines to the Teaching

…Then the king approached the Buddha’s dwelling and knocked, and the Buddha opened the door.

King Pasenadi entered the dwelling, and bowed with his head at the Buddha’s feet, caressing them and covering them with kisses, and pronounced his name: “Sir, I am Pasenadi, king of Kosala! I am Pasenadi, king of Kosala!”

“But great king, for what reason do you demonstrate such utmost devotion for this body, conveying your manifest love?”

“Sir, I infer about the Buddha from the teaching: ‘The Blessed One is a fully awakened Buddha. The teaching is well explained. The Saṅgha is practicing well.’ …

Furthermore, kings fight with kings, aristocrats fight with aristocrats, brahmins fight with brahmins, householders fight with householders. A mother fights with her child, child with mother, father with child, and child with father. Brother fights with brother, brother with sister, sister with brother, and friend fights with friend. But here I see the mendicants living in harmony, appreciating each other, without quarreling, blending like milk and water, and regarding each other with kindly eyes. I don’t see any other assembly elsewhere so harmonious. So I infer this about the Buddha from the teaching: ‘The Blessed One is a fully awakened Buddha. The teaching is well explained. The Saṅgha is practicing well.’…


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 89 Dhammacetiyasutta: Shrines to the Teaching 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.

MN 104 From… Sāmagāmasutta: At Sāmagāma

[Note: This is a slightly longer selection for the weekend. The entire sutta is good to read if you have time.]

Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was living in the Sakyan country at Sāmagāma.

Now on that occasion the Nigaṇṭha Nātaputta had just died at Pāvā. On his death the Nigaṇṭhas divided, split into two; and they had taken to quarrelling and brawling and were deep in disputes, stabbing each other with verbal daggers: “You do not understand this Dhamma and Discipline. I understand this Dhamma and Discipline. How could you understand this Dhamma and Discipline? Your way is wrong. My way is right. I am consistent. You are inconsistent. What should have been said first you said last. What should have been said last you said first. What you had so carefully thought up has been turned inside out. Your assertion has been shown up. You are refuted. Go and learn better, or disentangle yourself if you can!” It seemed as if there were nothing but slaughter among the Nigaṇṭha Nātaputta’s pupils. And his white-clothed lay disciples were disgusted, dismayed, and disappointed with the Nigaṇṭha Nātaputta’s pupils, as they were with his badly proclaimed and badly expounded Dhamma and Discipline, which was unemancipating, unconducive to peace, expounded by one not fully enlightened, and was now with its shrine broken, left without a refuge.

Then the novice Cunda, who had spent the Rains at Pāvā, went to the venerable Ānanda, and after paying homage to him, he sat down at one side and told him what was taking place.

The venerable Ānanda then said to the novice Cunda: “Friend Cunda, this is news that should be told to the Blessed One. Come, let us approach the Blessed One and tell him this.”

“Yes, venerable sir,” the novice Cunda replied.

Then the venerable Ānanda and the novice Cunda went together to the Blessed One. After paying homage to him, they sat down at one side, and the venerable Ānanda said to the Blessed One: “This novice Cunda, venerable sir, says thus: ‘Venerable sir, the Nigaṇṭha Nātaputta has just died. On his death the Nigaṇṭhas divided, split into two…and is now with its shrine broken, left without a refuge.’ I thought, venerable sir: ‘Let no dispute arise in the Sangha when the Blessed One has gone. For such a dispute would be for the harm and unhappiness of many, for the loss, harm, and suffering of gods and humans.’”

“What do you think, Ānanda? These things that I have taught you after directly knowing them—that is, the four foundations of mindfulness, the four right kinds of striving, the four bases for spiritual power, the five faculties, the five powers, the seven enlightenment factors, the Noble Eightfold Path—do you see, Ānanda, even two bhikkhus who make differing assertions about these things?”

“No, venerable sir, I do not see even two bhikkhus who make differing assertions about these things. But, venerable sir, there are people who live deferential towards the Blessed One who might, when he has gone, create a dispute in the Sangha about livelihood and about the Pātimokkha. Such a dispute would be for the harm and unhappiness of many, for the loss, harm, and suffering of gods and humans.”

“A dispute about livelihood or about the Pātimokkha would be trifling, Ānanda. But should a dispute arise in the Sangha about the path or the way, such a dispute would be for the harm and unhappiness of many, for the loss, harm, and suffering of gods and humans.

“There are, Ānanda, these six roots of disputes. What six? Here, Ānanda, a bhikkhu is angry and resentful. Such a bhikkhu dwells disrespectful and undeferential towards the Teacher, towards the Dhamma, and towards the Sangha, and he does not fulfil the training. A bhikkhu who dwells disrespectful and undeferential towards the Teacher, towards the Dhamma, and towards the Sangha, and who does not fulfil the training, creates a dispute in the Sangha, which would be for the harm and unhappiness of many, for the loss, harm, and suffering of gods and humans. Now if you see any such root of dispute either in yourselves or externally, you should strive to abandon that same evil root of dispute. And if you do not see any such root of dispute either in yourselves or externally, you should practise in such a way that that same evil root of dispute does not erupt in the future. Thus there is the abandoning of that evil root of dispute; thus there is the non-eruption of that evil root of dispute in the future.

“Again, a bhikkhu is contemptuous and insolent…

envious and avaricious…

fraudulent and deceitful…

has evil wishes and wrong view…

adheres to his own views, holds on to them tenaciously, and relinquishes them with difficulty. Such a bhikkhu dwells disrespectful and undeferential towards the Teacher, towards the Dhamma, and towards the Sangha, and he does not fulfil the training. A bhikkhu who dwells disrespectful and undeferential towards the Teacher, towards the Dhamma, and towards the Sangha, and who does not fulfil the training, creates a dispute in the Sangha, which would be for the harm and unhappiness of many, for the loss, harm, and suffering of gods and humans. Now if you see any such root of dispute either in yourselves or externally, you should strive to abandon that same evil root of dispute. And if you do not see any such root of dispute either in yourselves or externally, you should practise in such a way that that same evil root of dispute does not erupt in the future. Thus there is the abandoning of that evil root of dispute; thus there is the non-eruption of that evil root of dispute in the future. These are the six roots of dispute.…


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 104 Sāmagāmasutta: At Sāmagāma 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.

MN 114 From… Sevitabbāsevitabbasutta: What Should and Should Not Be Cultivated

…‘I say that there are two kinds of mental behavior: that which you should cultivate, and that which you should not cultivate. And each of these is a kind of mental behavior.’ That’s what the Buddha said, but why did he say it? You should not cultivate the kind of mental behavior which causes unskillful qualities to grow while skillful qualities decline. And you should cultivate the kind of mental behavior which causes unskillful qualities to decline while skillful qualities grow.

And what kind of mental behavior causes unskillful qualities to grow while skillful qualities decline? It’s when someone is covetous. They covet the wealth and belongings of others: ‘Oh, if only their belongings were mine!’ They have ill will and malicious intentions: ‘May these sentient beings be killed, slaughtered, slain, destroyed, or annihilated!’ That kind of mental behavior causes unskillful qualities to grow while skillful qualities decline.

And what kind of mental behavior causes unskillful qualities to decline while skillful qualities grow? It’s when someone is content. They don’t covet the wealth and belongings of others: ‘Oh, if only their belongings were mine!’ They have a kind heart and loving intentions: ‘May these sentient beings live free of enmity and ill will, untroubled and happy!’ That kind of mental behavior causes unskillful qualities to decline while skillful qualities grow. ‘I say that there are two kinds of mental behavior: that which you should cultivate, and that which you should not cultivate. And each of these is a kind of mental behavior.’ That’s what the Buddha said, and this is why he said it.


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 114 Sevitabbāsevitabbasutta: What Should and Should Not Be Cultivated by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

MN 54 From… Potaliyasutta: With Potaliya the Householder

“‘…Anger and distress should be given up, relying on not being angry and distressed.’ That’s what I said, but why did I say it?

“It’s when a noble disciple reflects: ‘I am practicing to give up and cut off the fetters that might cause me to be angry and distressed. But if I were to be angry and distressed, because of that I would reprimand myself; sensible people, after examination, would criticize me; and when my body breaks up, after death, I could expect to be reborn in a bad place. And being angry and distressed is itself a fetter and a hindrance. The distressing and feverish defilements that might arise because of beinh angry and distressed do not occur in someone who does not get angry and distressed.’ ‘Being angry and distressed should be given up, relying on not being angry and distressed.’

“That’s what I said, and this is why I said it.…”


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 54 Potaliyasutta: With Potaliya the Householder 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.

MN 62 From… Mahārāhulovādasutta: 62. The Greater Discourse of Advice to Rāhula

…“Rāhula, practice ‘loving-kindness’ meditation. Rāhula, when you practice ‘loving-kindness’ meditation, hostility will be abandoned.

“Rāhula, practice ‘compassion’ meditation. Rāhula, when you practice ‘compassion’ meditation, cruelty will be abandoned.

“Rāhula, practice ‘rejoicing’ meditation. Rāhula, when you practice ‘rejoicing’ meditation, discontent will be abandoned.

“Rāhula, practice ‘equanimity’ meditation. Rāhula, when you practice ‘equanimity’ meditation, aversion will be abandoned.

“Rāhula, practice ‘non-beauty’ meditation. Rāhula, when you practice ‘non-beauty’ meditation, lust will be abandoned.

“Rāhula, practice ‘recognition of impermanence’ meditation. Rāhula, when you practice ‘recognition of impermanence’ meditation, the conceit of self-existence will be abandoned.


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 62 Mahārāhulovādasutta: 62. The Greater Discourse of Advice to Rāhula by Suddhāso Bhikkhu on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net, DhammaTalks.org or Ancient-Buddhist-Texts.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

MN 68 Naḷakapānasutta: At Naḷakapāna

[NOTE: This is just part of a longer sutta. It is valuable to read the whole thing if you have time.]

…What do you think, Anuruddha and friends? What advantage does the Realized One see in declaring the rebirth of his disciples who have passed away: ‘This one is reborn here, while that one is reborn there’?”

“Our teachings are rooted in the Buddha. He is our guide and our refuge. Sir, may the Buddha himself please clarify the meaning of this. The mendicants will listen and remember it.”

“The Realized One does not declare such things for the sake of deceiving people or flattering them, nor for the benefit of possessions, honor, or popularity, nor thinking, ‘So let people know about me!’ Rather, there are gentlemen of faith who are full of sublime joy and gladness. When they hear that, they apply their minds to that end. That is for their lasting welfare and happiness.

Take a monk who hears this: ‘The monk named so-and-so has passed away. The Buddha has declared that, with the ending of three fetters he’s a stream-enterer, not liable to be reborn in the underworld, bound for awakening.’ And he’s either seen for himself, or heard from someone else, that that venerable had such ethics, such qualities, such wisdom, such meditation, or such freedom. Recollecting that monk’s faith, ethics, learning, generosity, and wisdom, he applies his mind to that end. That too is how a monk lives at ease.

Take a nun who hears this: ‘The nun named so-and-so has passed away. The Buddha has declared that, with the ending of three fetters she’s a stream-enterer, not liable to be reborn in the underworld, bound for awakening.’ And she’s either seen for herself, or heard from someone else, that that sister had such ethics, such qualities, such wisdom, such meditation, or such freedom. Recollecting that nun’s faith, ethics, learning, generosity, and wisdom, she applies her mind to that end. That too is how a nun lives at ease.

Take a layman who hears this: ‘The layman named so-and-so has passed away. The Buddha has declared that, with the ending of three fetters he’s a stream-enterer, not liable to be reborn in the underworld, bound for awakening.’ And he’s either seen for himself, or heard from someone else, that that venerable had such ethics, such qualities, such wisdom, such meditation, or such freedom. Recollecting that layman’s faith, ethics, learning, generosity, and wisdom, he applies his mind to that end. That too is how a layman lives at ease.

Take a laywoman who hears this: ‘The laywoman named so-and-so has passed away. The Buddha has declared that, with the ending of three fetters she’s a stream-enterer, not liable to be reborn in the underworld, bound for awakening.’ And she’s either seen for herself, or heard from someone else, that that sister had such ethics, such qualities, such wisdom, such meditation, or such freedom. Recollecting that laywoman’s faith, ethics, learning, generosity, and wisdom, she applies her mind to that end. That too is how a laywoman lives at ease.

So it’s not for the sake of deceiving people or flattering them, nor for the benefit of possessions, honor, or popularity, nor thinking, ‘So let people know about me!’ that the Realized One declares the rebirth of his disciples who have passed away: ‘This one is reborn here, while that one is reborn there.’ Rather, there are gentlemen of faith who are full of joy and gladness. When they hear that, they apply their minds to that end. That is for their lasting welfare and happiness.”…


Read this translation of Majjhima Nikāya 68 Naḷakapānasutta: At Naḷakapāna by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

MN 48 Kosambiyasutta: The Mendicants of Kosambi

[Note: This is the second half of a sermon that the Buddha gives to the quarreling monks of Kosambi. It’s certainly worth reading the complete sutta if you have time.]

…And how does the view that is noble and emancipating lead one who practices it to the complete ending of suffering? It’s when a mendicant has gone to a wilderness, or to the root of a tree, or to an empty hut, and reflects like this, ‘Is there anything that I’m overcome with internally and haven’t given up, because of which I might not accurately know and see?’ If a mendicant is overcome with sensual desire, it’s their mind that’s overcome. If a mendicant is overcome with ill will, dullness and drowsiness, restlessness and remorse, doubt, pursuing speculation about this world, pursuing speculation about the next world, or arguing, quarreling, and disputing, continually wounding others with barbed words, it’s their mind that’s overcome. They understand, ‘There is nothing that I’m overcome with internally and haven’t given up, because of which I might not accurately know and see. My mind is properly disposed for awakening to the truths.’ This is the first knowledge they have achieved that is noble and transcendent, and is not shared with ordinary people.

Furthermore, a noble disciple reflects, ‘When I develop, cultivate, and make much of this view, do I personally gain serenity and quenching?’ They understand, ‘When I develop, cultivate, and make much of this view, I personally gain serenity and quenching.’ This is their second knowledge …

Furthermore, a noble disciple reflects, ‘Are there any ascetics or brahmins outside of the Buddhist community who have the same kind of view that I have?’ They understand, ‘There are no ascetics or brahmins outside of the Buddhist community who have the same kind of view that I have.’ This is their third knowledge …

Furthermore, a noble disciple reflects, ‘Do I have the same nature as a person accomplished in view?’ And what, mendicants, is the nature of a person accomplished in view? This is the nature of a person accomplished in view. Though they may fall into a kind of offense for which rehabilitation has been laid down, they quickly disclose, clarify, and reveal it to the Teacher or a sensible spiritual companion. And having revealed it they restrain themselves in the future. Suppose there was a little baby boy. If he puts his hand or foot on a burning coal, he quickly pulls it back. In the same way, this is the nature of a person accomplished in view. Though they may still fall into a kind of offense for which rehabilitation has been laid down, they quickly reveal it to the Teacher or a sensible spiritual companion. And having revealed it they restrain themselves in the future. They understand, ‘I have the same nature as a person accomplished in view.’ This is their fourth knowledge …

Furthermore, a noble disciple reflects, ‘Do I have the same nature as a person accomplished in view?’ And what, mendicants, is the nature of a person accomplished in view? This is the nature of a person accomplished in view. Though they might manage a diverse spectrum of duties for their spiritual companions, they still feel a keen regard for the training in higher ethics, higher mind, and higher wisdom. Suppose there was a cow with a baby calf. She keeps the calf close as she grazes. In the same way, this is the nature of a person accomplished in view. Though they might manage a diverse spectrum of duties for their spiritual companions, they still feel a keen regard for the training in higher ethics, higher mind, and higher wisdom. They understand, ‘I have the same nature as a person accomplished in view.’ This is their fifth knowledge …

Furthermore, a noble disciple reflects, ‘Do I have the same strength as a person accomplished in view?’ And what, mendicants, is the strength of a person accomplished in view? The strength of a person accomplished in view is that, when the teaching and training proclaimed by the Realized One are being taught, they pay heed, pay attention, engage wholeheartedly, and lend an ear. They understand, ‘I have the same strength as a person accomplished in view.’ This is their sixth knowledge …

Furthermore, a noble disciple reflects, ‘Do I have the same strength as a person accomplished in view?’ And what, mendicants, is the strength of a person accomplished in view? The strength of a person accomplished in view is that, when the teaching and training proclaimed by the Realized One are being taught, they find inspiration in the meaning and the teaching, and find joy connected with the teaching. They understand, ‘I have the same strength as a person accomplished in view.’ This is the seventh knowledge they have achieved that is noble and transcendent, and is not shared with ordinary people.

When a noble disciple has these seven factors, they have properly investigated their own nature with respect to the realization of the fruit of stream-entry. A noble disciple with these seven factors has the fruit of stream-entry.”

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


Read this translation of Majjhima Nikāya 48 Kosambiyasutta: The Mendicants of Kosambi 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.

MN 36 From… Mahāsaccakasutta: The Greater Discourse to Saccaka

[Note: These incidents took place when the Buddha was striving as the Bodhisatta. If you are not familiar with this time in his life, this is a good sutta to read.]

…“Now when deities saw me, some said: ‘The recluse Gotama is dead.’ Other deities said: ‘The recluse Gotama is not dead, he is dying.’ And other deities said: ‘The recluse Gotama is not dead nor dying; he is an arahant, for such is the way arahants abide.’

“I thought: ‘Suppose I practise entirely cutting off food.’ Then deities came to me and said: ‘Good sir, do not practise entirely cutting off food. If you do so, we shall infuse heavenly food into the pores of your skin and you will live on that.’ I considered: ‘If I claim to be completely fasting while these deities infuse heavenly food into the pores of my skin and I live on that, then I shall be lying.’ So I dismissed those deities, saying: ‘There is no need.’…



Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 36 Mahāsaccakasutta: The Greater Discourse to Saccaka by Bhikkhu Bodhi 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.

MN 12 From… Mahāsīhanādasutta: The Greater Discourse on the Lion‘s Roar—The Path to Heaven

“Sāriputta, using my own mind I might know the mind of a particular person: ‘This person is practicing and behaving in such a way, they have taken on such a path, that when this person is separated from the body after death, this person will appear in a good destination, in a heavenly world.’ Then on a later occasion, using divine vision which is pure and surpasses human vision, I see that when that person was separated from the body after death, they appeared in the world of devas, experiencing entirely pleasant feelings.

Sāriputta, it is just as if there was a palace with a peaked roof, plastered walls, impervious to wind, with lockable doors and shutters on the windows. In it there is a couch covered in cowhide, wool, embroidered blankets, and deer-hide blankets, with a canopy overhead and red pillows on both sides. Then a person comes who is scorched by heat, overwhelmed by heat, exhausted, dehydrated, and thirsty, going along a one-way road that leads to that palace. A person with eyes who saw that would say, ‘Based on how that person is practicing and behaving, based on the path that person has taken, that person will come to this particular palace.’ Then on a later occasion, they might see that person in that peaked-roof palace, sitting or reclining on the couch, experiencing entirely pleasant feelings.

In exactly the same way, Sāriputta, using my own mind I might know the mind of a particular person: ‘This person is practicing and behaving in such a way, they have taken on such a path, that when this person is separated from the body after death, this person will appear in a good destination, in a heavenly world.’ Then on a later occasion, using divine vision which is pure and surpasses human vision, I see that when that person was separated from the body after death, they appeared in a good destination, in a heavenly world, experiencing entirely pleasant feelings.


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 12 Mahāsīhanādasutta: 12. The Greater Discourse on the Lion‘s Roar by Suddhāso Bhikkhu 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.

MN 139 From… Araṇavibhaṅgasutta: The Analysis of Non-Conflict—Don’t talk behind people’s backs

‘…Don’t talk behind people’s backs, and don’t speak sharply in their presence.’ That’s what I said, but why did I say it?

  • When you know that what you say behind someone’s back is untrue, false, and harmful, then if at all possible you should not speak.
  • When you know that what you say behind someone’s back is true and correct, but harmful, then you should train yourself not to speak.
  • When you know that what you say behind someone’s back is true, correct, and beneficial, then you should know the right time to speak.
  • When you know that your sharp words in someone’s presence are untrue, false, and harmful, then if at all possible you should not speak.
  • When you know that your sharp words in someone’s presence are true and correct, but harmful, then you should train yourself not to speak.
  • When you know that your sharp words in someone’s presence are true, correct, and beneficial, then you should know the right time to speak.

‘Don’t talk behind people’s backs, and don’t speak sharply in their presence.’ That’s what I said, and this is why I said it.

‘Don’t speak hurriedly.’ That’s what I said, but why did I say it? When speaking hurriedly, your body gets tired, your mind gets stressed, your voice gets stressed, your throat gets sore, and your words become unclear and hard to understand. When not speaking hurriedly, your body doesn’t get tired, your mind doesn’t get stressed, your voice doesn’t get stressed, your throat doesn’t get sore, and your words are clear and easy to understand. ‘Don’t speak hurriedly.’ That’s what I said, and this is why I said it.…


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 139 Araṇavibhaṅgasutta: The Analysis of Non-Conflict by Bhikkhu Sujato 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.

MN 41 From… Sāleyyakasutta: The Brahmins of Sālā

“…And how, householders, are there four kinds of verbal conduct not in accordance with the Dhamma, unrighteous conduct?

  1. Here someone speaks falsehood; when summoned to a court, or to a meeting, or to his relatives’ presence, or to his guild, or to the royal family’s presence, and questioned as a witness thus: ‘So, good man, tell what you know,’ not knowing, he says, ‘I know,’ or knowing, he says, ‘I do not know’; not seeing, he says, ‘I see,’ or seeing, he says, ‘I do not see’; in full awareness he speaks falsehood for his own ends, or for another’s ends, or for some trifling worldly end.
  2. He speaks maliciously; he repeats elsewhere what he has heard here in order to divide those people from these, or he repeats to these people what he has heard elsewhere in order to divide these people from those; thus he is one who divides those who are united, a creator of divisions, who enjoys discord, rejoices in discord, delights in discord, a speaker of words that create discord.
  3. He speaks harshly; he utters such words as are rough, hard, hurtful to others, offensive to others, bordering on anger, unconducive to concentration.
  4. He is a gossip; he speaks at the wrong time, speaks what is not fact, speaks what is useless, speaks contrary to the Dhamma and the Discipline; at the wrong time he speaks such words as are worthless, unreasonable, immoderate, and unbeneficial.

That is how there are four kinds of verbal conduct not in accordance with the Dhamma, unrighteous conduct.…

“…And how, householders, are there four kinds of verbal conduct in accordance with the Dhamma, righteous conduct?

  1. Here someone, abandoning false speech, abstains from false speech; when summoned to a court, or to a meeting, or to his relatives’ presence, or to his guild, or to the royal family’s presence, and questioned as a witness thus: ‘So, good man, tell what you know,’ not knowing, he says, ‘I do not know,’ or knowing, he says, ‘I know’; not seeing, he says, ‘I do not see,’ or seeing, he says, ‘I see’; he does not in full awareness speak falsehood for his own ends, or for another’s ends, or for some trifling worldly end.
  2. Abandoning malicious speech, he abstains from malicious speech; he does not repeat elsewhere what he has heard here in order to divide those people from these, nor does he repeat to these people what he has heard elsewhere in order to divide these people from those; thus he is one who reunites those who are divided, a promoter of friendships, who enjoys concord, rejoices in concord, delights in concord, a speaker of words that promote concord.
  3. Abandoning harsh speech, he abstains from harsh speech; he speaks such words as are gentle, pleasing to the ear, and loveable, as go to the heart, are courteous, desired by many, and agreeable to many.
  4. Abandoning gossip, he abstains from gossip; he speaks at the right time, speaks what is fact, speaks on what is good, speaks on the Dhamma and the Discipline; at the right time he speaks such words as are worth recording, reasonable, moderate, and beneficial.

That is how there are four kinds of verbal conduct in accordance with the Dhamma, righteous conduct.…


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 41 Sāleyyakasutta: The Brahmins of Sālā by Bhikkhu Bodhi 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.


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 SC-Voice.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—Giving

…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 SC-Voice.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 SC-Voice.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 SC-Voice.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 SC-Voice.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.