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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.

MN 40 From… Cūḷaassapurasutta: The Shorter Discourse at Assapura

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

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

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

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

They meditate spreading a heart full of compassion …

They meditate spreading a heart full of rejoicing …

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

MN 50 From… Māratajjanīyasutta: The Rebuke of Māra

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

MN 52 From… Aṭṭhakanāgarasutta: The Man from Aṭṭhakanāgara

“…Again, a bhikkhu abides pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; so above, below, around, and everywhere, and to all as to himself, he abides pervading the all-encompassing world with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill will.

“He considers this and understands it thus: ‘This deliverance of mind through loving-kindness is conditioned and volitionally produced. But whatever is conditioned and volitionally produced is impermanent, subject to cessation.’ If he is steady in that, he attains the destruction of the taints. But if he does not attain the destruction of the taints because of that desire for the Dhamma, that delight in the Dhamma, then with the destruction of the five lower fetters he becomes one due to reappear spontaneously in the Pure Abodes and there attain final Nibbāna without ever returning from that world.

“This too is one thing proclaimed by the Blessed One who knows and sees, accomplished and fully enlightened, wherein if a bhikkhu abides diligent, ardent, and resolute, his unliberated mind comes to be liberated, his undestroyed taints come to be destroyed, and he attains the supreme security from bondage that he had not attained before.


Attaining the destruction of the taints means becoming an arahant.

The five lower fetters are

  • identity view
  • doubt
  • distorted grasp of rules and vows
  • sensual desire
  • ill will

They are eliminated by a non-returner. Non-returners are reborn in the Pure Abodes where they eventually become arahants.

Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 52 Aṭṭhakanāgarasutta: The Man from Aṭṭhakanāgara 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 21 From… Kakacūpamasutta: The Simile of the Saw—Painting the Sky

…Suppose a person was to come along with dye such as red lac, turmeric, indigo, or rose madder, and say, ‘I shall draw pictures on the sky, making pictures appear there.

What do you think, mendicants? Could that person draw pictures on the sky?”

“No, sir. Why is that? Because the sky is formless and invisible. It’s not easy to draw pictures there. That person will eventually get weary and frustrated.”

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


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

MN 21 From… Kakacūpamasutta: The Simile of the Saw—Digging away the Great Earth

…Mendicants, there are these five ways in which others might criticize you. Their speech may be

  1. timely or untimely,
  2. true or false,
  3. gentle or harsh,
  4. beneficial or harmful,
  5. from a heart of love or from secret hate.

When others criticize you, they may do so in any of these ways. If that happens, you should train like this: ‘Our minds will remain unaffected. We will blurt out no bad words. We will remain full of compassion, with a heart of love and no secret hate. We will meditate spreading a heart of love to that person. And with them as a basis, we will meditate spreading a heart full of love to everyone in the world—abundant, expansive, limitless, free of enmity and ill will.’ That’s how you should train.

Suppose a person was to come along carrying a spade and basket and say, ‘I shall make this great earth be without earth!’ And they’d dig all over, scatter all over, spit all over, and urinate all over, saying, ‘Be without earth! Be without earth!’

What do you think, mendicants? Could that person make this great earth be without earth?”

“No, sir. Why is that? Because this great earth is deep and limitless. It’s not easy to make it be without earth. That person will eventually get weary and frustrated.”

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



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

MN 48 From… Kosambiyā Sutta: In Kosambī—Proper Listening

“…And further, the disciple of the noble ones considers thus: ‘I am endowed with the strength of a person consummate in view?’ And what, monks, is the strength of a person consummate in view? This is the strength of a person consummate in view: When the Dhamma & Vinaya proclaimed by the Tathāgata is being taught, he heeds it, gives it attention, engages it with all his mind, hears the Dhamma with eager ears.

“He discerns that, ‘I am endowed with the strength of a person consummate in view.’ This is the sixth knowledge attained by him that is noble, transcendent, not held in common with run-of-the-mill people.…


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 48 Kosambiyā Sutta. In Kosambī by Bhikkhu Ṭhanissaro on DhammaTalks.org. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net.

MN 33 From… Mahāgopālakasutta: The Longer Discourse on the Cowherd—Knowing the ford

…And how does a mendicant not know the ford? It’s when a mendicant doesn’t from time to time go up to those mendicants who are very learned—knowledgeable in the scriptures, who have memorized the teachings, the monastic law, and the outlines—and ask them questions: ‘Why, sir, does it say this? What does that mean?’ Those venerables don’t clarify what is unclear, reveal what is obscure, and dispel doubt regarding the many doubtful matters. That’s how a mendicant doesn’t know the ford.

And how does a mendicant not know satisfaction? It’s when a mendicant, when the teaching and training proclaimed by the Realized One are being taught, finds no inspiration in the meaning and the teaching, and finds no joy connected with the teaching. That’s how a mendicant doesn’t know satisfaction.…



Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 33 Mahāgopālakasutta: The Longer Discourse on the Cowherd by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net.

MN 43 From Mahā Vedalla Sutta: The Greater Set of Questions & Answers

Ven. Mahā Koṭṭhita:
“…Friend, how many conditions are there for the arising of right view?”

Ven. Sāriputta:
“Friend, there are two conditions for the arising of right view: the voice of another and appropriate attention. These are the two conditions for the arising of right view.…”


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 43 Mahā Vedalla Sutta. The Greater Set of Questions & Answers by Bhikkhu Ṭhanissaro on DhammaTalks.org. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or SC-Voice.net.

MN 108 From Gopakamoggallānasutta: With Gopaka Moggallāna—No Single Bhikkhu

…Then the brahmin Vassakāra, the minister of Magadha, having delighted and rejoiced in the venerable Ānanda’s words, rose from his seat and departed.

Then, soon after he had left, the brahmin Gopaka Moggallāna said to the venerable Ānanda: “Master Ānanda has not yet answered what we asked him.”

“Did we not tell you, brahmin: ‘There is no single bhikkhu, brahmin, who possesses in each and every way all those qualities that were possessed by the Blessed One, accomplished and fully enlightened. For the Blessed One was the arouser of the unarisen path, the producer of the unproduced path, the declarer of the undeclared path; he was the knower of the path, the finder of the path, the one skilled in the path. But his disciples now abide following that path and become possessed of it afterwards’?”


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 108 Gopakamoggallānasutta: With Gopaka Moggallāna by Bhikkhu Bodhi on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net, or DhammaTalks.org.

Or listen on PaliAudio.com.

MN 26 From Ariyapariyesanāsutta: The Noble Search—Meeting Upaka

“…Then, bhikkhus, when I had stayed at Uruvelā as long as I chose, I set out to wander by stages to Benares. Between Gayā and the Place of Enlightenment the Ājīvaka Upaka saw me on the road and said: ‘Friend, your faculties are clear, the colour of your skin is pure and bright. Under whom have you gone forth, friend? Who is your teacher? Whose Dhamma do you profess? ’ I replied to the Ājīvaka Upaka in stanzas:

‘I am one who has transcended all, a knower of all,
Unsullied among all things, renouncing all,
By craving’s ceasing freed. Having known this all
For myself, to whom should I point as teacher?

I have no teacher, and one like me
Exists nowhere in all the world
With all its gods, because I have
No person for my counterpart.

I am the Accomplished One in the world,
I am the Teacher Supreme.
I alone am a Fully Enlightened One
Whose fires are quenched and extinguished.

I go now to the city of Kāsi
To set in motion the Wheel of Dhamma.
In a world that has become blind
I go to beat the drum of the Deathless.’

‘By your claims, friend, you ought to be the Universal Victor.’
‘The victors are those like me
Who have won to destruction of taints.
I have vanquished all evil states,
Therefore, Upaka, I am a victor.’

“When this was said, the Ājīvaka Upaka said: ‘May it be so, friend.’ Shaking his head, he took a bypath and departed.


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 26 Ariyapariyesanāsutta: The Noble Search by Bhikkhu Bodhi on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net, DhammaTalks.org, or Ancient-Buddhist-Texts.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com.

MN 12 From… Mahāsīhanādasutta: The Greater Discourse on the Lion’s Roar—Purification

“…Sāriputta, there are certain recluses and brahmins whose doctrine and view is this: ‘Purification comes about through food.’ They say: ‘Let us live on kola-fruits,’ and they eat kola-fruits, they eat kola-fruit powder, they drink kola-fruit water, and they make many kinds of kola-fruit concoctions. Now I recall having eaten a single kola-fruit a day. Sāriputta, you may think that the kola-fruit was bigger at that time, yet you should not regard it so: the kola-fruit was then at most the same size as now. Through feeding on a single kola-fruit a day, my body reached a state of extreme emaciation. Because of eating so little my limbs became like the jointed segments of vine stems or bamboo stems. Because of eating so little my backside became like a camel’s hoof. Because of eating so little the projections on my spine stood forth like corded beads. Because of eating so little my ribs jutted out as gaunt as the crazy rafters of an old roof-less barn. Because of eating so little the gleam of my eyes sank far down in their sockets, looking like a gleam of water that has sunk far down in a deep well. Because of eating so little my scalp shrivelled and withered as a green bitter gourd shrivels and withers in the wind and sun. Because of eating so little my belly skin adhered to my backbone; thus if I wanted to touch my belly skin I encountered my backbone, and if I wanted to touch my backbone I encountered my belly skin. Because of eating so little, if I wanted to defecate or urinate, I fell over on my face right there. Because of eating so little, if I tried to ease my body by rubbing my limbs with my hands, the hair, rotted at its roots, fell from my body as I rubbed.

“Sāriputta, there are certain recluses and brahmins whose doctrine and view is this: ‘Purification comes about through food.’ They say: ‘Let us live on beans,’…‘Let us live on sesamum,’…‘Let us live on rice,’ and they eat rice, they eat rice powder, they drink rice water, and they make many kinds of rice concoctions. Now I recall having eaten a single rice grain a day. Sāriputta, you may think that the rice grain was bigger at that time, yet you should not regard it so: the rice grain was then at most the same size as now. Through feeding on a single rice grain a day, my body reached a state of extreme emaciation. Because of eating so little…the hair, rotted at its roots, fell from my body as I rubbed.

Yet, Sāriputta, by such conduct, by such practice, by such performance of austerities, I did not attain any superhuman states, any distinction in knowledge and vision worthy of the noble ones. Why was that? Because I did not attain that noble wisdom which when attained is noble and emancipating and leads the one who practises in accordance with it to the complete destruction of suffering.

“Sāriputta, there are certain recluses and brahmins whose doctrine and view is this: ‘Purification comes about through the round of rebirths.’ But it is not easy to find a realm in the round that I have not already passed through in this long journey, except for the gods of the Pure Abodes; and had I passed through the round as a god in the Pure Abodes, I would never have returned to this world.

“There are certain recluses and brahmins whose doctrine and view is this: ‘Purification comes about through some particular kind of rebirth.’ But it is not easy to find a kind of rebirth that I have not been reborn in already in this long journey, except for the gods of the Pure Abodes…

“There are certain recluses and brahmins whose doctrine and view is this: ‘Purification comes about through some particular abode.’ But it is not easy to find a kind of abode that I have not already dwelt in…except for the gods of the Pure Abodes…

“There are certain recluses and brahmins whose doctrine and view is this: ‘Purification comes about through sacrifice.’ But it is not easy to find a kind of sacrifice that has not already been offered up by me in this long journey, when I was either a head-anointed noble king or a well-to-do brahmin.

“There are certain recluses and brahmins whose doctrine and view is this: ‘Purification comes through fire-worship.’ But it is not easy to find a kind of fire that has not already been worshipped by me in this long journey, when I was either a head-anointed noble king or a well-to-do brahmin.


Read the complete translation of MN 12 Mahāsīhanādasutta: The Greater Discourse on the Lion’s Roar by Bhikkhu Bodhi on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net by Bhikkhu Sujato, Bhikkhu Suddhāso, or on DhammaTalks.org.

MN 85 From… Bodhirājakumārasutta: With Prince Bodhi

…After eating solid food and gathering my strength, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities, I entered and remained in the first absorption … second absorption … third absorption … fourth absorption. When my mind had immersed in samādhi like this—purified, bright, flawless, rid of corruptions, pliable, workable, steady, and imperturbable—I extended it toward recollection of past lives. I recollected many past lives. That is: one, two, three, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, a hundred, a thousand, a hundred thousand rebirths; many eons of the world contracting, many eons of the world expanding, many eons of the world contracting and expanding. And so I recollected my many kinds of past lives, with features and details. This was the first knowledge, which I achieved in the first watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed and knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed and light arose, as happens for a meditator who is diligent, keen, and resolute.

When my mind had immersed in samādhi like this—purified, bright, flawless, rid of corruptions, pliable, workable, steady, and imperturbable—I extended it toward knowledge of the death and rebirth of sentient beings. With clairvoyance that is purified and superhuman, I saw sentient beings passing away and being reborn—inferior and superior, beautiful and ugly, in a good place or a bad place. I understood how sentient beings are reborn according to their deeds.

This was the second knowledge, which I achieved in the middle watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed and knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed and light arose, as happens for a meditator who is diligent, keen, and resolute.

When my mind had immersed in samādhi like this—purified, bright, flawless, rid of corruptions, pliable, workable, steady, and imperturbable—I extended it toward knowledge of the ending of defilements. I truly understood: ‘This is suffering’ … ‘This is the origin of suffering’ … ‘This is the cessation of suffering’ … ‘This is the practice that leads to the cessation of suffering’. I truly understood: ‘These are defilements’ … ‘This is the origin of defilements’ … ‘This is the cessation of defilements’ … ‘This is the practice that leads to the cessation of defilements’.

Knowing and seeing like this, my mind was freed from the defilements of sensuality, desire to be reborn, and ignorance. When it was freed, I knew it was freed.

I understood: ‘Rebirth is ended; the spiritual journey has been completed; what had to be done has been done; there is no return to any state of existence.’

This was the third knowledge, which I achieved in the last watch of the night. Ignorance was destroyed and knowledge arose; darkness was destroyed and light arose, as happens for a meditator who is diligent, keen, and resolute.


Read the entire translation of MN 85 Bodhirājakumārasutta: With Prince Bodhi by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on Ancient-Buddhist-Texts.net.

MN 92 From Selasutta: With Sela


The Brahmin Sela:
…Your eyes are clear, your face is fair,
you’re formidable, upright, majestic.
In the midst of the Saṅgha of ascetics,
you shine like the sun.

You’re a mendicant fine to see,
with skin of golden sheen.
But with such excellent appearance,
what do you want with the ascetic life?

You’re fit to be a king,
a wheel-turning monarch, chief of charioteers,
victorious in the four directions,
lord of all India.

Aristocrats, nobles, and kings
ought follow your rule.
Gotama, you should reign
as king of kings, lord of men!”

The Buddha:
“I am a king, Sela,
the supreme king of the teaching.
By the teaching I roll forth the wheel
which cannot be rolled back.…”


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 92 Selasutta: With Sela by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on DhammaTalks.org.

MN 12 From Mahāsīhanādasutta: The Longer Discourse on the Lion’s Roar—A Spiritual Path

“…Sāriputta, I recall having practiced a spiritual path consisting of four factors. I used to be a self-mortifier, the ultimate self-mortifier. I used to live rough, the ultimate rough-liver. I used to live in disgust at sin, the ultimate one living in disgust at sin. I used to be secluded, in ultimate seclusion.

And this is what my self-mortification was like. I went naked, ignoring conventions. I licked my hands, and didn’t come or stop when asked. I didn’t consent to food brought to me, or food prepared specially for me, or an invitation for a meal. I didn’t receive anything from a pot or bowl; or from someone who keeps sheep, or who has a weapon or a shovel in their home; or where a couple is eating; or where there is a woman who is pregnant, breastfeeding, or who has a man in her home; or where food for distribution is advertised; or where there’s a dog waiting or flies buzzing. I accepted no fish or meat or liquor or wine, and drank no beer. I went to just one house for alms, taking just one mouthful, or two houses and two mouthfuls, up to seven houses and seven mouthfuls. I fed on one saucer a day, two saucers a day, up to seven saucers a day. I ate once a day, once every second day, up to once a week, and so on, even up to once a fortnight. I lived committed to the practice of eating food at set intervals.

I ate herbs, millet, wild rice, poor rice, water lettuce, rice bran, scum from boiling rice, sesame flour, grass, or cow dung. I survived on forest roots and fruits, or eating fallen fruit.

I wore robes of sunn hemp, mixed hemp, corpse-wrapping cloth, rags, lodh tree bark, antelope hide (whole or in strips), kusa grass, bark, wood-chips, human hair, horse-tail hair, or owls’ wings. I tore out hair and beard, committed to this practice. I constantly stood, refusing seats. I squatted, committed to the endeavor of squatting. I lay on a mat of thorns, making a mat of thorns my bed. I was committed to the practice of immersion in water three times a day, including the evening. And so I lived committed to practicing these various ways of mortifying and tormenting the body. Such was my practice of self-mortification.

And this is what my rough living was like. The dust and dirt built up on my body over many years until it started flaking off. It’s like the trunk of a pale-moon ebony tree, which builds up bark over many years until it starts flaking off. But it didn’t occur to me: ‘Oh, this dust and dirt must be rubbed off by my hand or another’s.’ That didn’t occur to me. Such was my rough living.

And this is what my living in disgust of sin was like. I’d step forward or back ever so mindfully. I was full of pity even regarding a drop of water, thinking: ‘May I not accidentally injure any little creatures that happen to be in the wrong place.’ Such was my living in disgust of sin.

And this is what my seclusion was like. I would plunge deep into a wilderness region and stay there. When I saw a cowherd or a shepherd, or someone gathering grass or sticks, or a lumberjack, I’d flee from forest to forest, from thicket to thicket, from valley to valley, from uplands to uplands. Why is that? So that I wouldn’t see them, nor they me. I fled like a wild deer seeing a human being. Such was my practice of seclusion.

I would go on all fours into the cow-pens after the cattle had left and eat the dung of the young suckling calves. As long as my own urine and excrement lasted, I would even eat that. Such was my eating of most unnatural things.

I would plunge deep into an awe-inspiring forest grove and stay there. It was so awe-inspiring that normally it would make your hair stand on end if you weren’t free of greed. And on days such as the cold spell when the snow falls in the dead of winter, I stayed in the open by night and in the forest by day. But in the last month of summer I’d stay in the open by day and in the forest by night. And then these verses, which were neither supernaturally inspired, nor learned before in the past, occurred to me:

‘Scorched and frozen, alone in the awe-inspiring forest. Naked, no fire to sit beside, the sage still pursues his quest.’

I would make my bed in a charnel ground, with the bones of the dead for a pillow. Then the cowboys would come up to me. They’d spit and piss on me, throw mud on me, even poke sticks in my ears. But I don’t recall ever having a bad thought about them. Such was my abiding in equanimity.


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 12 Mahāsīhanādasutta: The Longer Discourse on the Lion’s Roar by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net by Bhikkhu Bodhi, Bhikkhu Suddhāso, or on DhammaTalks.org.

MN 26 From Ariyapariyesanāsutta: The Noble Search—Seeking the Unborn

“…Bhikkhus, before my enlightenment, while I was still only an unenlightened Bodhisatta, I too, being myself subject to birth, sought what was also subject to birth; being myself subject to ageing, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement, I sought what was also subject to ageing, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement. Then I considered thus: ‘Why, being myself subject to birth, do I seek what is also subject to birth? Why, being myself subject to ageing, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement, do I seek what is also subject to ageing, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement? Suppose that, being myself subject to birth, having understood the danger in what is subject to birth, I seek the unborn supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna. Suppose that, being myself subject to ageing, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement, having understood the danger in what is subject to ageing, sickness, death, sorrow, and defilement, I seek the unageing, unailing, deathless, sorrowless, and undefiled supreme security from bondage, Nibbāna.’

“Later, while still young, a black-haired young man endowed with the blessing of youth, in the prime of life, though my mother and father wished otherwise and wept with tearful faces, I shaved off my hair and beard, put on the yellow robe, and went forth from the home life into homelessness.…”


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 26 Pāsarāsisutta: The Noble Search by Bhikkhu Bodhi on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net, DhammaTalks.org, or Ancient-Buddhist-Texts.net.

MN 123 From Acchariyaabbhutasutta: Incredible and Amazing—Proclamation

“…I have learned this in the presence of the Buddha: ‘As soon as he’s born, the being intent on awakening stands firm with his own feet on the ground. Facing north, he takes seven strides with a white parasol held above him, surveys all quarters, and makes this dramatic proclamation:

“I am the foremost in the world!
I am the eldest in the world!
I am the first in the world!
This is my last rebirth.
Now there are no more future lives.”’

This too I remember as an incredible quality of the Buddha.

Spoken by Venerable Ānanda


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 123 Acchariyaabbhutasutta: Incredible and Amazing by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on DhammaTalks.org.

MN 123 From Acchariyaabbhutasutta: Incredible and Amazing—Birth

“…I have learned this in the presence of the Buddha: ‘When the being intent on awakening emerges from his mother’s womb, then—in this world with its gods, Māras and Brahmās, this population with its ascetics and brahmins, gods and humans—an immeasurable, magnificent light appears, surpassing the glory of the gods. Even in the boundless desolation of interstellar space—so utterly dark that even the light of the moon and the sun, so mighty and powerful, makes no impression—an immeasurable, magnificent light appears, surpassing the glory of the gods. And the sentient beings reborn there recognize each other by that light: “So, it seems other sentient beings have been reborn here!” And this galaxy shakes and rocks and trembles. And an immeasurable, magnificent light appears in the world, surpassing the glory of the gods.’ This too I remember as an incredible and amazing quality of the Buddha.”

Spoken by Venerable Ānanda


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 123 Acchariyaabbhutasutta: Incredible and Amazing by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on DhammaTalks.org.

MN 70 From… Kīṭāgirisutta: At Kīṭāgiri

“…Mendicants, I don’t say that enlightenment is achieved right away. Rather, enlightenment is achieved by gradual training, progress, and practice.

And how is enlightenment achieved by gradual training, progress, and practice?

It’s when someone in whom faith has arisen approaches a teacher.
They pay homage,
lend an ear,
hear the teachings,
remember the teachings,
reflect on their meaning,
and accept them after consideration.
Then enthusiasm springs up;
they make an effort,
weigh up,
and persevere.
Persevering, they directly realize the ultimate truth,
and see it with penetrating wisdom.


Read the entire translation of Majjhima Nikāya 70 Kīṭāgirisutta: At Kīṭāgiri by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net, or DhammaTalks.org.