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DN 23 From… Pāyāsisutta: With Pāyāsi

…Then the chieftain Pāyāsi set up an offering for ascetics and brahmins, for paupers, vagrants, travelers, and beggars. At that offering such food as rough gruel with pickles was given, and heavy clothes with knotted fringes. Now, it was a brahmin student named Uttara who organized that offering.

When the offering was over he referred to it like this, “Through this offering may I be together with the chieftain Pāyāsi in this world, but not in the next.

Pāyāsi heard of this, so he summoned Uttara and said, “Is it really true, dear Uttara, that you referred to the offering in this way?”

“Yes, sir.”

“But why? Don’t we who seek merit expect some result from the offering?”

“At your offering such food as rough gruel with pickles was given, which you wouldn’t even want to touch with your foot, much less eat. And also heavy clothes with knotted fringes, which you also wouldn’t want to touch with your foot, much less wear. Sir, you’re dear and beloved to me. But how can I reconcile one so dear with something so disagreeable?”

“Well then, dear Uttara, set up an offering with the same kind of food that I eat, and the same kind of clothes that I wear.”

“Yes, sir,” replied Uttara, and did so.

So the chieftain Pāyāsi gave gifts carelessly, thoughtlessly, not with his own hands, giving the dregs. When his body broke up, after death, he was reborn in company with the gods of the Four Great Kings, in an empty palace of acacia. But the brahmin student Uttara who organized the offering gave gifts carefully, thoughtfully, with his own hands, not giving the dregs. When his body broke up, after death, he was reborn in company with the gods of the Thirty-Three.

Now at that time Venerable Gavampati would often go to that empty acacia palace for the day’s meditation. Then the god Pāyāsi went up to him, bowed, and stood to one side. Gavampati said to him, “Who are you, reverend?”

“Sir, I am the chieftain Pāyāsi.”

“Didn’t you have the view that there’s no afterlife, no beings are reborn spontaneously, and there’s no fruit or result of good and bad deeds?”

“It’s true, sir, I did have such a view. But Venerable Kassapa the Prince dissuaded me from that harmful misconception.”

“But the student named Uttara who organized that offering for you—where has he been reborn?”

“Sir, Uttara

  1. gave gifts carefully,
  2. thoughtfully,
  3. with his own hands,
  4. not giving the dregs.

When his body broke up, after death, he was reborn in company with the gods of the Thirty-Three. But I gave gifts carelessly, thoughtlessly, not with my own hands, giving the dregs. When my body broke up, after death, I was reborn in company with the gods of the Four Great Kings, in an empty palace of acacia.

So, sir, when you’ve returned to the human realm, please announce this: ‘Give gifts carefully, thoughtfully, with your own hands, not giving the dregs. The chieftain Pāyāsi gave gifts carelessly, thoughtlessly, not with his own hands, giving the dregs. When his body broke up, after death, he was reborn in company with the gods of the Four Great Kings, in an empty palace of acacia. But the brahmin student Uttara who organized the offering gave gifts carefully, thoughtfully, with his own hands, not giving the dregs. When his body broke up, after death, he was reborn in company with the gods of the Thirty-Three.’”

So when Venerable Gavampati returned to the human realm he made that announcement.


Read the entire translation of Dīgha Nikāya 23 Pāyāsisutta: With Pāyāsi by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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