AN 4.191 Sotānugata Sutta: Followed by Ear

“Monks, when the teachings have been followed by ear, recited by speech, examined by mind, and well penetrated by view, four rewards can be expected. Which four?

“There is the case where a monk has mastered the Dhamma: dialogues, narratives of mixed prose & verse, explanations, verses, spontaneous exclamations, quotations, birth stories, amazing events, question & answer sessions (i.e. the earliest classifications of the Buddha’s teachings). In him, these teachings have been followed by ear, recited by speech, examined by mind, and well penetrated by view. Passing away when his mindfulness is muddled, he arises in a certain group of devas. To him, happy there, they recite verses of Dhamma. Slow is the arising of his mindfulness, but when mindful, he quickly arrives at distinction. When the teachings have been followed by ear, recited by speech, examined by mind, and well penetrated by view, this is the first reward that can be expected.

“Further, there is the case where a monk has mastered the Dhamma: dialogues… question & answer sessions. In him, these teachings have been followed by ear, recited by speech, examined by mind, and well penetrated by view. Passing away when his mindfulness is muddled, he arises in a certain group of devas. It doesn’t happen that they recite verses of Dhamma to him, happy there. But a monk with psychic power, attained to mastery of awareness, teaches the Dhamma to the assembly of devas. The thought occurs to the new deva: ‘This is the Dhamma & Vinaya under which I used to live the holy life.’ Slow is the arising of his mindfulness, but when mindful, he quickly arrives at distinction.

“Suppose a man skilled in the sound of a war drum were to hear the sound of a war drum while traveling along a highway. He would have no doubt or perplexity, ‘Is that the sound of a war drum or not the sound of a war drum?’ He would come to the conclusion, ‘That’s the sound of a war drum for sure.’ In the same way, there is the case where a monk has mastered the Dhamma.… Passing away when his mindfulness is muddled, he arises in a certain group of devas.… A monk with psychic power, attained to mastery of awareness, teaches the Dhamma to the assembly of devas. The thought occurs [to the new deva]: ‘This is the Dhamma & Vinaya under which I used to live the holy life.’ Slow is the arising of his mindfulness, but when mindful, he quickly arrives at distinction. When the teachings have been followed by ear, recited by speech, examined by mind, and well penetrated by view, this is the second reward that can be expected.

“Further, there is the case where a monk has mastered the Dhamma: dialogues… question & answer sessions. In him, these teachings have been followed by ear, recited by speech, examined by mind, and well penetrated by view. Passing away when his mindfulness is muddled, he arises in a certain group of devas. It doesn’t happen that they recite verses of Dhamma to him, happy there. Nor does a monk with psychic power, attained to mastery of awareness, teach the Dhamma to the assembly of devas. But a deva teaches the Dhamma to the assembly of devas. The thought occurs to the new deva: ‘This is the Dhamma & Vinaya under which I used to live the holy life.’ Slow is the arising of his mindfulness, but when mindful, he quickly arrives at distinction.

“Suppose a man skilled in the sound of a conch were to hear the sound of a conch while traveling along a highway. He would have no doubt or perplexity, ‘Is that the sound of a conch or not the sound of a conch?’ He would come to the conclusion, ‘That’s the sound of a conch for sure.’ In the same way, there is the case where a monk has mastered the Dhamma.… Passing away when his mindfulness is muddled, he arises in a certain group of devas.… A deva teaches the Dhamma to the assembly of devas. The thought occurs to the new deva: ‘This is the Dhamma & Vinaya under which I used to live the holy life.’ Slow is the arising of his mindfulness, but when mindful, he quickly arrives at distinction. When the teachings have been followed by ear, recited by speech, examined by mind, and well penetrated by view, this is the third reward that can be expected.

“Further, there is the case where a monk has mastered the Dhamma: dialogues… question & answer sessions. In him, these teachings have been followed by ear, recited by speech, examined by mind, and well penetrated by view. Passing away when his mindfulness is muddled, he arises in a certain group of devas. It doesn’t happen that they recite verses of Dhamma to him, happy there. Nor does a monk with psychic power, attained to mastery of awareness, teach the Dhamma to the assembly of devas. Nor does a deva teach the Dhamma to the assembly of devas. But another spontaneously-arisen being reminds this spontaneously-arisen being, ‘Do you remember, my dear? Do you remember where we practiced the holy life together?’ He says, ‘I remember, my dear. I remember.’ Slow is the arising of his mindfulness, but when mindful, he quickly arrives at distinction.

“Suppose that there were two comrades who played together in the mud. They would happen to meet later at some time, at some place, and there one companion would say to the other, ‘Do you remember this, my friend? And do you remember this?’ And the other would say, ‘I remember, my friend. I remember.’ In the same way, there is the case where a monk has mastered the Dhamma: dialogues… question & answer sessions. In him, these teachings have been followed by ear, recited by speech, examined by mind, and well penetrated by view. Passing away when his mindfulness is muddled, he arises in a certain group of devas.… A spontaneously-arisen being reminds this spontaneously-arisen being, ‘Do you remember, my dear? Do you remember where we practiced the holy life together?’ He says, ‘I remember, my dear. I remember.’ Slow is the arising of his mindfulness, but when mindful, he quickly arrives at distinction. When the teachings have been followed by ear, recited by speech, examined by mind, and well penetrated by view, this is the fourth reward that can be expected.

“Monks, when the teachings have been followed by ear, recited by speech, examined by mind, and well penetrated by view, these four rewards can be expected.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 4.191 Sotānugata Sutta. Followed by Ear by Bhikkhu Ṭhanissaro on DhammaTalks.org. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net.

AN 4.33 Sīhasutta: The Lion

“Bhikkhus, in the evening the lion, the king of beasts, comes out from his lair, stretches his body, surveys the four quarters all around, and roars his lion’s roar three times. Then he sets out in search of game.

“Whatever animals hear the lion roaring for the most part are filled with fear, a sense of urgency, and terror. Those who live in holes enter their holes; those who live in the water enter the water; those who live in the woods enter the woods; and the birds resort to the sky. Even those royal bull elephants, bound by strong thongs in the villages, towns, and capital cities, burst and break their bonds asunder; frightened, they urinate and defecate and flee here and there. So powerful among the animals is the lion, the king of beasts, so majestic and mighty.

“So too, bhikkhus, when the Tathāgata arises in the world, an arahant, perfectly enlightened, accomplished in true knowledge and conduct, fortunate, knower of the world, unsurpassed trainer of persons to be tamed, teacher of devas and humans, the Enlightened One, the Blessed One, he teaches the Dhamma thus:

1) ‘Such is personal existence,
2) such the origin of personal existence,
3) such the cessation of personal existence,
4) such the way to the cessation of personal existence.’

“When those devas who are long-lived, beautiful, abounding in happiness, dwelling for a long time in lofty palaces, hear the Tathāgata’s teaching of the Dhamma, for the most part they are filled with fear, a sense of urgency, and terror thus: ‘It seems that we are actually impermanent, though we thought ourselves permanent; it seems that we are actually transient, though we thought ourselves everlasting; it seems that we are actually non-eternal, though we thought ourselves eternal. It seems that we are impermanent, transient, non-eternal, included in personal existence.’ So powerful is the Tathāgata, so majestic and mighty is he in this world together with its devas.”

When, through direct knowledge,
the Buddha, the teacher, the peerless person
in this world with its devas,
sets in motion the wheel of Dhamma,
he teaches personal existence, its cessation,
the origin of personal existence,
and the noble eightfold path
that leads to the calming down of suffering.

Then even those devas with long life spans—
beautiful, ablaze with glory—
become fearful and filled with terror,
like beasts who hear the lion’s roar.
“It seems that we are impermanent,
not beyond personal existence,” they say,
when they hear the word of the Arahant,
the Stable One who is fully freed.



Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 4.33 Sīhasutta: The Lion by Bhikkhu Bodhi on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com.