AN 10.91 Kāmabhogīsutta: Pleasure Seekers

[Another weekend long read. But this sutta gives some interesting information on wealth and giving that we don’t find spelled out like this elsewhere. Because there a number of factors, read carefully to see the differences.]


At one time the Buddha was staying near Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Then the householder Anāthapiṇḍika went up to the Buddha, bowed, and sat down to one side. Seated to one side, the Buddha said to the householder Anāthapiṇḍika:

“These ten pleasure seekers are found in the world. What ten?

  1. First, a pleasure seeker seeks wealth using illegitimate, coercive means. They don’t make themselves happy and pleased, nor share it and make merit.
  2. Next, a pleasure seeker seeks wealth using illegitimate, coercive means. They make themselves happy and pleased, but don’t share it and make merit.
  3. Next, a pleasure seeker seeks wealth using illegitimate, coercive means. They make themselves happy and pleased, and they share it and make merit.
  4. Next, a pleasure seeker seeks wealth using means both legitimate and illegitimate, and coercive and non-coercive. They don’t make themselves happy and pleased, nor share it and make merit.
  5. Next, a pleasure seeker seeks wealth using means both legitimate and illegitimate, and coercive and non-coercive. They make themselves happy and pleased, but don’t share it and make merit.
  6. Next, a pleasure seeker seeks wealth using means both legitimate and illegitimate, and coercive and non-coercive. They make themselves happy and pleased, and they share it and make merit.
  7. Next, a pleasure seeker seeks wealth using legitimate, non-coercive means. They don’t make themselves happy and pleased, nor share it and make merit.
  8. Next, a pleasure seeker seeks wealth using legitimate, non-coercive means. They make themselves happy and pleased, but don’t share it and make merit.
  9. Next, a pleasure seeker seeks wealth using legitimate, non-coercive means. They make themselves happy and pleased, and they share it and make merit. But they enjoy that wealth tied, infatuated, attached, blind to the drawbacks, and not understanding the escape.
  10. Next, a pleasure seeker seeks wealth using legitimate, non-coercive means. They make themselves happy and pleased, and they share it and make merit. And they enjoy that wealth untied, uninfatuated, unattached, seeing the drawbacks, and understanding the escape.

Now, consider the pleasure seeker who seeks wealth using illegitimate, coercive means, and who doesn’t make themselves happy and pleased, nor share it and make merit. They may be criticized on three grounds. They seek for wealth using illegitimate, coercive means. This is the first ground for criticism. They don’t make themselves happy and pleased. This is the second ground for criticism. They don’t share it and make merit. This is the third ground for criticism. This pleasure seeker may be criticized on these three grounds.

Now, consider the pleasure seeker who seeks wealth using illegitimate, coercive means, and who makes themselves happy and pleased, but doesn’t share it and make merit. They may be criticized on two grounds, and praised on one. They seek for wealth using illegitimate, coercive means. This is the first ground for criticism. They make themselves happy and pleased. This is the one ground for praise. They don’t share it and make merit. This is the second ground for criticism. This pleasure seeker may be criticized on these two grounds, and praised on this one.

Now, consider the pleasure seeker who seeks wealth using illegitimate, coercive means, and who makes themselves happy and pleased, and shares it and makes merit. They may be criticized on one ground, and praised on two. They seek for wealth using illegitimate, coercive means. This is the one ground for criticism. They make themselves happy and pleased. This is the first ground for praise. They share it and make merit. This is the second ground for praise. This pleasure seeker may be criticized on this one ground, and praised on these two.

Now, consider the pleasure seeker who seeks wealth using means both legitimate and illegitimate, and coercive and non-coercive, and who doesn’t make themselves happy and pleased, nor share it and make merit. They may be praised on one ground, and criticized on three. They seek for wealth using legitimate, non-coercive means. This is the one ground for praise. They seek for wealth using illegitimate, coercive means. This is the first ground for criticism. They don’t make themselves happy and pleased. This is the second ground for criticism. They don’t share it and make merit. This is the third ground for criticism. This pleasure seeker may be praised on this one ground, and criticized on these three.

Now, consider the pleasure seeker who seeks wealth using means both legitimate and illegitimate, and coercive and non-coercive, and who makes themselves happy and pleased, but doesn’t share it and make merit. They may be praised on two grounds, and criticized on two. They seek for wealth using legitimate, non-coercive means. This is the first ground for praise. They seek for wealth using illegitimate, coercive means. This is the first ground for criticism. They make themselves happy and pleased. This is the second ground for praise. They don’t share it and make merit. This is the second ground for criticism. This pleasure seeker may be praised on these two grounds, and criticized on these two.

Now, consider the pleasure seeker who seeks wealth using means both legitimate and illegitimate, and coercive and non-coercive, and who makes themselves happy and pleased, and shares it and make merit. They may be praised on three grounds, and criticized on one. They seek for wealth using legitimate, non-coercive means. This is the first ground for praise. They seek for wealth using illegitimate, coercive means. This is the one ground for criticism. They make themselves happy and pleased. This is the second ground for praise. They share it and make merit. This is the third ground for praise. This pleasure seeker may be praised on these three grounds, and criticized on this one.

Now, consider the pleasure seeker who seeks wealth using legitimate, non-coercive means, and who doesn’t make themselves happy and pleased, nor share it and make merit. They may be praised on one ground and criticized on two. They seek for wealth using legitimate, non-coercive means. This is the one ground for praise. They don’t make themselves happy and pleased. This is the first ground for criticism. They don’t share it and make merit. This is the second ground for criticism. This pleasure seeker may be praised on this one ground, and criticized on these two.

Now, consider the pleasure seeker who seeks wealth using legitimate, non-coercive means, and who makes themselves happy and pleased, but doesn’t share it and make merit. They may be praised on two grounds and criticized on one. They seek for wealth using legitimate, non-coercive means. This is the first ground for praise. They make themselves happy and pleased. This is the second ground for praise. They don’t share it and make merit. This is the one ground for criticism. This pleasure seeker may be praised on these two grounds, and criticized on this one.

Now, consider the pleasure seeker who seeks wealth using legitimate, non-coercive means, and who makes themselves happy and pleased, and shares it and makes merit. But they enjoy that wealth tied, infatuated, attached, blind to the drawbacks, and not understanding the escape. They may be praised on three grounds and criticized on one. They seek for wealth using legitimate, non-coercive means. This is the first ground for praise. They make themselves happy and pleased. This is the second ground for praise. They share it and make merit. This is the third ground for praise. They enjoy that wealth tied, infatuated, attached, blind to the drawbacks, and not understanding the escape. This is the one ground for criticism. This pleasure seeker may be praised on these three grounds, and criticized on this one.

Now, consider the pleasure seeker who seeks wealth using legitimate, non-coercive means, and who makes themselves happy and pleased, and shares it and makes merit. And they enjoy that wealth untied, uninfatuated, unattached, seeing the drawbacks, and understanding the escape. They may be praised on four grounds. They seek for wealth using legitimate, non-coercive means. This is the first ground for praise. They make themselves happy and pleased. This is the second ground for praise. They share it and make merit. This is the third ground for praise. They enjoy that wealth untied, uninfatuated, unattached, seeing the drawbacks, and understanding the escape. This is the fourth ground for praise. This pleasure seeker may be praised on these four grounds.

These are the ten pleasure seekers found in the world. The pleasure seeker who seeks wealth using legitimate, non-coercive means, who makes themselves happy and pleased, and shares it and makes merit, and who uses that wealth untied, uninfatuated, unattached, seeing the drawbacks, and understanding the escape is the foremost, best, chief, highest, and finest of the ten.

From a cow comes milk, from milk comes curds, from curds come butter, from butter comes ghee, and from ghee comes cream of ghee. And the cream of ghee is said to be the best of these.

In the same way, the pleasure seeker who seeks wealth using legitimate, non-coercive means, who makes themselves happy and pleased, and shares it and makes merit, and who uses that wealth untied, uninfatuated, unattached, seeing the drawbacks, and understanding the escape is the foremost, best, chief, highest, and finest of the ten.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 10.91 Kāmabhogīsutta: Pleasure Seekers Kāmabhogīsutta by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

AN 4.61 Pattakammasutta: Worthy Deeds

NOTE: This sutta is longer than usual, but it gives lots of wonderful advice for lay life. Especially on wealth and how to use it.

Then the householder Anāthapiṇḍika approached the Blessed One…. The Blessed One said to him:

“Householder, there are these four things that are wished for, desired, agreeable, and rarely gained in the world. What four?

(1) “One thinks: ‘May wealth come to me righteously!’ This is the first thing in the world that is wished for … and rarely gained in the world.

(2) “Having gained wealth righteously, one thinks: ‘May fame come to me and to my relatives and preceptors!’ This is the second thing … rarely gained in the world.

(3) “Having gained wealth righteously and having gained fame for oneself and for one’s relatives and preceptors, one thinks: ‘May I live long and enjoy a long life span!’ This is the third thing … rarely gained in the world.

(4) “Having gained wealth righteously, having gained fame for oneself and for one’s relatives and preceptors, living long and enjoying a long life span, one thinks: ‘With the breakup of the body, after death, may I be reborn in a good destination, in a heavenly world!’ This is the fourth thing … rarely gained in the world.

“These are the four things that are wished for, desired, agreeable, and rarely gained in the world.

“There are, householder, four other things that lead to obtaining those four things. What four? Accomplishment in faith, accomplishment in virtuous behavior, accomplishment in generosity, and accomplishment in wisdom.

(1) “And what, householder, is accomplishment in faith? Here, a noble disciple is endowed with faith; he places faith in the enlightenment of the Tathāgata thus: ‘The Blessed One is 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.’ This is called accomplishment in faith.

(2) “And what is accomplishment in virtuous behavior? Here, a noble disciple abstains from the destruction of life … abstains from liquor, wine, and intoxicants, the basis for heedlessness. This is called accomplishment in virtuous behavior.

(3) “And what is accomplishment in generosity? Here, a noble disciple dwells at home with a mind free from the stain of miserliness, freely generous, openhanded, delighting in relinquishment, devoted to charity, delighting in giving and sharing. This is called accomplishment in generosity.

(4) “And what is accomplishment in wisdom? If one dwells with a heart overcome by longing and unrighteous greed, one does what should be avoided and neglects one’s duty, so that one’s fame and happiness are spoiled. If one dwells with a heart overcome by ill will … by dullness and drowsiness … by restlessness and remorse … by doubt, one does what should be avoided and neglects one’s duty, so that one’s fame and happiness are spoiled.

“When, householder, a noble disciple has understood thus: ‘Longing and unrighteous greed are a defilement of the mind,’ he abandons them.

When he has understood thus: ‘Ill will is a defilement of the mind,’ he abandons it.

When he has understood thus: ‘Dullness and drowsiness are a defilement of the mind,’ he abandons them.

When he has understood thus: ‘Restlessness and remorse are a defilement of the mind,’ he abandons them.

When he has understood thus: ‘Doubt is a defilement of the mind,’ he abandons it.

“When, householder, a noble disciple has understood thus: ‘Longing and unrighteous greed are a defilement of the mind’ and has abandoned them; when he has understood thus: ‘Ill will … Dullness and drowsiness … Restlessness and remorse … Doubt is a defilement of the mind,’ and has abandoned it, he is then called a noble disciple of great wisdom, of wide wisdom, one who sees the range, one accomplished in wisdom. This is called accomplishment in wisdom.

“These are the four other things that lead to obtaining the four things that are wished for, desired, agreeable, and rarely gained in the world.

“With wealth acquired by energetic striving, amassed by the strength of his arms, earned by the sweat of his brow, righteous wealth righteously gained, the noble disciple undertakes four worthy deeds. What four?

(1) “Here, householder, with wealth acquired by energetic striving … righteously gained, the noble disciple makes himself happy and pleased and properly maintains himself in happiness; he makes his parents happy and pleased and properly maintains them in happiness; he makes his wife and children, his slaves, workers, and servants happy and pleased and properly maintains them in happiness; he makes his friends and companions happy and pleased and properly maintains them in happiness. This is the first case of wealth that has gone to good use, that has been properly utilized and used for a worthy cause.

(2) “Again, with wealth acquired by energetic striving … righteously gained, the noble disciple makes provisions against the losses that might arise from fire, floods, kings, thieves, or displeasing heirs; he makes himself secure against them. This is the second case of wealth that has gone to good use … for a worthy cause.

(3) “Again, with wealth acquired by energetic striving … righteously gained, the noble disciple makes the five oblations: to relatives, guests, ancestors, the king, and the deities. This is the third case of wealth that has gone to good use … for a worthy cause.

(4) “Again, with wealth acquired by energetic striving … righteously gained, the noble disciple establishes an uplifting offering of alms—an offering that is heavenly, resulting in happiness, conducive to heaven—to those ascetics and brahmins who refrain from intoxication and heedlessness, who are settled in patience and mildness, who tame themselves, calm themselves, and train themselves for nibbāna. This is the fourth case of wealth that has gone to good use, that has been properly employed and used for a worthy cause.

“These, householder, are the four worthy deeds that the noble disciple undertakes with wealth acquired by energetic striving, amassed by the strength of his arms, earned by the sweat of his brow, righteous wealth righteously gained. When anyone exhausts wealth on anything apart from these four worthy deeds, that wealth is said to have gone to waste, to have been squandered, to have been used frivolously. But when anyone exhausts wealth on these four worthy deeds, that wealth is said to have gone to good use, to have been properly used, to have been utilized for a worthy cause.

“I’ve enjoyed wealth,
supported my dependents,
and overcome adversities.
I have given an uplifting offering
and performed the five oblations.
I have served the virtuous monks,
the self-controlled celibate ones.

“I have achieved whatever purpose
a wise person, dwelling at home,
might have in desiring wealth;
what I have done brings me no regret.”

Recollecting this, a mortal
remains firm in the noble Dhamma.
They praise him here in this life,
and after death he rejoices in heaven.


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 4.61 Pattakammasutta: Worthy Deeds by Bhikkhu Bodhi on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net or Ancient-Buddhist-Texts.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.