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Snp 2.11 Rāhulasutta: With Rāhula

[NOTE: This is a conversation between the Buddha and his son Ven. Rāhula. The “torch for all humanity” refers to the Arahant Sāriputta, who was often Ven. Rāhula’s teacher. This sutta is a good reminder that there are parts of the training to be developed in preparation for meditation.]

“Does familiarity breed contempt,
even for the man of wisdom?
Do you honor he who holds aloft
the torch for all humanity?”

“Familiarity breeds no contempt
for the man of wisdom.
I always honor he who holds aloft
the torch for all humanity.”

“One who’s given up the five sensual stimulations,
so pleasing and delightful,
and who’s left the home life out of faith—
let them make an end to suffering!

Mix with spiritual friends,
stay in remote lodgings,
secluded and quiet,
and eat in moderation.

Robes, almsfood,
requisites and lodgings:
don’t crave such things;
don’t come back to this world again.

Be restrained in the monastic code,
and the five sense faculties,
With mindfulness immersed in the body,
be full of disillusionment.

Turn away from the sign
that’s attractive, provoking lust.
With mind unified and serene,
meditate on the ugly aspects of the body.

Meditate on the signless,
give up the tendency to conceit;
and when you comprehend conceit,
you will live at peace.”

That is how the Buddha regularly advised Venerable Rāhula with these verses.


Read this translation of Snp 2.11 Rāhulasutta: With Rāhula by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net.

DN 31 From… Siṅgālasutta: Advice to Sigālaka—Good Friends

“…Householder’s son, you should recognize these four good-hearted friends: the helper, the friend in good times and bad, the counselor, and the one who’s compassionate.

You can recognize a good-hearted friend who’s a helper on four grounds. They guard you when you’re negligent. They guard your property when you’re negligent. They keep you safe in times of danger. When something needs doing, they provide you with twice the money you need. You can recognize a good-hearted friend who’s a helper on these four grounds.

You can recognize a good-hearted friend who’s the same in good times and bad on four grounds. They tell you secrets. They keep your secrets. They don’t abandon you in times of trouble. They’d even give their life for your welfare. You can recognize a good-hearted friend who’s the same in good times and bad on these four grounds.

You can recognize a good-hearted friend who’s a counselor on four grounds. They keep you from doing bad. They support you in doing good. They teach you what you do not know. They explain the path to heaven. You can recognize a good-hearted friend who’s a counselor on these four grounds.

You can recognize a good-hearted friend who’s compassionate on four grounds. They don’t delight in your misfortune. They delight in your good fortune. They keep others from criticizing you. They encourage praise of you. You can recognize a good-hearted friend who’s compassionate on these four grounds.”

The Buddha spoke this matter. Then the Holy One, the Teacher, went on to say:

“A friend who’s a helper,
one the same in both pleasure and pain,
a friend of good counsel,
and one of compassion;

an astute person understands
these four friends for what they are
and carefully looks after them,
like a mother the child at her breast.
The astute and virtuous
shine like a burning flame.

They pick up riches as bees
roaming round pick up pollen.
And their riches proceed to grow,
like an ant-hill piling up.

In gathering wealth like this,
a householder does enough for their family.
And they’d hold on to friends
by dividing their wealth in four.

One portion is to enjoy.
Two parts invest in work.
And the fourth should be kept
for times of trouble.”…


Read the entire translation of Dīgha Nikāya 31 Siṅgālasutta: Advice to Sigālaka by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net.

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SN 45.2 Upaḍḍhasutta: Half the Holy Life

[Note: Often just a single line of the Buddha’s response to Ven. Ananda is quoted from this sutta. But it’s important to remember the detailed meaning that the Buddha reveals.]

Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling among the Sakyans where there was a town of the Sakyans named Nagaraka. Then the Venerable Ānanda approached the Blessed One. Having approached, he paid homage to the Blessed One, sat down to one side, and said to him:

“Venerable sir, this is half of the holy life, that is, good friendship, good companionship, good comradeship.”

“Not so, Ānanda! Not so, Ānanda! This is the entire holy life, Ānanda, that is, good friendship, good companionship, good comradeship. When a bhikkhu has a good friend, a good companion, a good comrade, it is to be expected that he will develop and cultivate the Noble Eightfold Path.

“And how, Ānanda, does a bhikkhu who has a good friend, a good companion, a good comrade, develop and cultivate the Noble Eightfold Path? Here, Ānanda, a bhikkhu develops right view, which is based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in release. He develops right intention … right speech … right action … right livelihood … right effort … right mindfulness … right concentration, which is based upon seclusion, dispassion, and cessation, maturing in release. It is in this way, Ānanda, that a bhikkhu who has a good friend, a good companion, a good comrade, develops and cultivates the Noble Eightfold Path.

By the following method too, Ānanda, it may be understood how the entire holy life is good friendship, good companionship, good comradeship: by relying upon me as a good friend, Ānanda, beings subject to birth are freed from birth; beings subject to aging are freed from aging; beings subject to death are freed from death; beings subject to sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair are freed from sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair. By this method, Ānanda, it may be understood how the entire holy life is good friendship, good companionship, good comradeship.”


Read this translation of Saṁyutta Nikāya 45.2 Upaḍḍhasutta: Half the Holy Life by Bhikkhu Bodhi on SuttaCentral.net.

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AN 3.26 Sevitabbasutta: To be Associated With

“Bhikkhus, there are these three kinds of persons found existing in the world. What three? (1) There is a person who is not to be associated with, followed, and served; (2) a person who is to be associated with, followed, and served; and (3) a person who is to be associated with, followed, and served with honor and respect.

(1) “And what kind of person, bhikkhus, is not to be associated with, followed, and served? Here, some person is inferior to oneself in virtuous behavior, concentration, and wisdom. Such a person is not to be associated with, followed, and served except out of sympathy and compassion.

(2) “And what kind of person is to be associated with, followed, and served? Here, some person is similar to oneself in virtuous behavior, concentration, and wisdom. Such a person is to be associated with, followed, and served. For what reason? Because one considers: ‘Since we are similar with regard to virtuous behavior, we will have a discussion on virtuous behavior, and it will flow on smoothly between us, and we will feel at ease. Since we are similar with regard to concentration, we will have a discussion on concentration, and it will flow on smoothly between us, and we will feel at ease. Since we are similar with regard to wisdom, we will have a discussion on wisdom, and it will flow on smoothly between us, and we will feel at ease.’ Therefore such a person is to be associated with, followed, and served.

(3) “And what kind of person is to be associated with, followed, and served with honor and respect? Here, some person is superior to oneself in virtuous behavior, concentration, and wisdom. Such a person is to be associated with, followed, and served with honor and respect. For what reason? Because one considers: ‘In such a way I will fulfill the aggregate of virtuous behavior that I have not yet fulfilled or assist with wisdom in various respects the aggregate of virtuous behavior that I have fulfilled. I will fulfill the aggregate of concentration that I have not yet fulfilled or assist with wisdom in various respects the aggregate of concentration that I have fulfilled. I will fulfill the aggregate of wisdom that I have not yet fulfilled or assist with wisdom in various respects the aggregate of wisdom that I have fulfilled.’ Therefore such a person is to be associated with, followed, and served with honor and respect.

“These, bhikkhus, are the three kinds of persons found existing in the world.”

One who associates with an inferior person declines;
one who associates with an equal does not decline;
attending on a superior person one develops quickly;
therefore you should follow one superior to yourself.



Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 3.26 Sevitabbasutta: To be Associated With by Bhikkhu Bodhi on SuttaCentral.net.

DN 16 From… Mahāparinibbānasutta: The Great Discourse on the Buddha’s Extinguishment—Decline

[Note: We often see the Buddha criticizing the love of company. We also see him praising good spiritual companionship. These two things are not a contradiction. We should seek out wise companionship and avoid useless socializing.]

…I will teach you seven more principles that prevent decline. …

  1. As long as the mendicants don’t relish work, loving it and liking to relish it, they can expect growth, not decline.
  2. As long as they don’t relish talk …
  3. sleep …
  4. company …
  5. they don’t have corrupt wishes, falling under the sway of corrupt wishes …
  6. they don’t have bad friends, companions, and associates …
  7. they don’t stop half-way after achieving some insignificant distinction, they can expect growth, not decline.

As long as these seven principles that prevent decline last among the mendicants, and as long as the mendicants are seen following them, they can expect growth, not decline.


Read the entire translation of Dīgha Nikāya 16 Mahāparinibbānasutta: The Great Discourse on the Buddha’s Extinguishment by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on DhammaTalks.org, Ancient-Buddhist-Texts.net or AccessToInsight.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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Iti 17 Dutiyasekhasutta: The Good Friend

This was said by the Lord, said by the Arahant, so I heard:

“Bhikkhus, in regard to external factors, I do not perceive another single factor so helpful as good friendship for a bhikkhu who is a learner, who has not attained perfection but lives aspiring for the supreme security from bondage. Bhikkhus, a bhikkhu who has a good friend abandons what is unwholesome and develops what is wholesome.”

This is the meaning of what the Lord said. So in regard to this it was said:

When a bhikkhu has good friends,
And is reverential and respectful,
Doing what his friends advise,
Clearly comprehending and mindful,
He may progressively attain
The destruction of all fetters.

This too is the meaning of what was said by the Lord, so I heard.


Read this translation of Itivuttaka 17 Dutiyasekhasutta: The Good Friend by John D. Ireland on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net, SuttaFriends.org or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

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AN 7.64 Kodhanasutta: Irritable

“Mendicants, these seven things that please and assist an enemy happen to an irritable woman or man. What seven?

Firstly, an enemy wishes for an enemy: ‘If only they’d become ugly!’ Why is that? Because an enemy doesn’t like to have a beautiful enemy. An irritable person, overcome and overwhelmed by anger, is ugly, even though they’re nicely bathed and anointed, with hair and beard dressed, and wearing white clothes. This is the first thing that pleases and assists an enemy which happens to an irritable woman or man.

Furthermore, an enemy wishes for an enemy: ‘If only they’d sleep badly!’ Why is that? Because an enemy doesn’t like to have an enemy who sleeps at ease. An irritable person, overcome and overwhelmed by anger, sleeps badly, even though they sleep on a couch spread with woolen covers—shag-piled, pure white, or embroidered with flowers—and spread with a fine deer hide, with a canopy above and red pillows at both ends. This is the second thing …

Furthermore, an enemy wishes for an enemy: ‘If only they don’t get all they need!’ Why is that? Because an enemy doesn’t like to have an enemy who gets all they need. When an irritable person, overcome and overwhelmed by anger, gets what they don’t need they think, ‘I’ve got what I need.’ When they get what they need they think, ‘I’ve got what I don’t need.’ When an angry person gets these things that are the exact opposite of what they need, it’s for their lasting harm and suffering. This is the third thing …

Furthermore, an enemy wishes for an enemy: ‘If only they weren’t wealthy!’ Why is that? Because an enemy doesn’t like to have an enemy who is wealthy. When a person is irritable, overcome and overwhelmed by anger, the rulers seize the legitimate wealth they’ve earned by their efforts, built up with their own hands, gathered by the sweat of their brow. This is the fourth thing …

Furthermore, an enemy wishes for an enemy: ‘If only they weren’t famous!’ Why is that? Because an enemy doesn’t like to have a famous enemy. When a person is irritable, overcome and overwhelmed by anger, any fame they have acquired by diligence falls to dust. This is the fifth thing …

Furthermore, an enemy wishes for an enemy: ‘If only they had no friends!’ Why is that? Because an enemy doesn’t like to have an enemy with friends. When a person is irritable, overcome and overwhelmed by anger, their friends and colleagues, relatives and kin avoid them from afar. This is the sixth thing …

Furthermore, an enemy wishes for an enemy: ‘If only, when their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell!’ Why is that? Because an enemy doesn’t like to have an enemy who goes to a good place. When a person is irritable, overcome and overwhelmed by anger, they do bad things by way of body, speech, and mind. When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in a place of loss, a bad place, the underworld, hell. This is the seventh thing that pleases and assists an enemy which happens to an irritable woman or man.

These are the seven things that please and assist an enemy which happen to an irritable woman or man.

An irritable person is ugly
and they sleep badly.
When they get what they need,
they take it to be what they don’t need.

An angry person
kills with body or speech;
overcome with anger,
they lose their wealth.

Mad with anger,
they fall into disgrace.
Family, friends, and loved ones
avoid an irritable person.

Anger creates harm;
anger upsets the mind.
That person doesn’t recognize
the danger that arises within.

An angry person doesn’t know the good.
An angry person doesn’t see the truth.
When a person is beset by anger,
only blind darkness is left.

An angry person destroys with ease
what was hard to build.
Afterwards, when the anger is spent,
they’re tormented as if burnt by fire.

Their look betrays their sulkiness
like a fire’s smoky plume.
And when their anger flares up,
they make others angry.

They have no conscience or prudence,
nor any respectful speech.
One overcome by anger
has no island refuge anywhere.

The deeds that torment a man
are far from those that are good.
I’ll explain them now;
listen to this, for it is the truth.

An angry person slays their father;
their mother, too, they slay.
An angry person slays a saint;
a normal person, too, they slay.

A man is raised by his mother,
who shows him the world.
But an angry ordinary person slays
even that good woman who gave him life.

Like oneself, all sentient beings
hold themselves most dear.
But angry people kill themselves all kinds of ways,
distraught for many reasons.

Some kill themselves with swords,
some, distraught, take poison.
Some hang themselves with rope,
or fling themselves down a mountain gorge.

When they commit deeds of destroying life
and killing themselves,
they don’t realize what they do,
for anger leads to their downfall.

The snare of death in the form of anger
lies hidden in the heart.
You should cut it out by self-control,
by wisdom, energy, and right ideas.

An astute person should cut out
this unskillful thing.
And they’d train in the teaching in just the same way,
not yielding to sulkiness.

Free of anger, free of despair,
free of greed, with no more longing,
tamed, having given up anger,
the undefiled become fully extinguished.


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 7.64 Kodhanasutta: Irritable by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

Thag 2.11 The Verses of Arahant Mahācunda (141-142)

141. In one who desires to listen to the Dhamma,
knowledge of Dhamma increases.
His wisdom grows through that knowledge of Dhamma.
Reality can be understood through that wisdom.
Realizing the truth brings true happiness.

142. One should live in remote and solitary monasteries.
One should practice the Dhamma
with the intention of freeing oneself
from the bondage of saṁsāra.
But if one doesn’t like to live in a forest far away,
guarding his faculties well
and establishing mindfulness well,
one should live under respected senior monks.

These verses were said by Arahant Mahācunda.


Read Thag 2.11 The Verses of Arahant Mahācunda (141-142) by Ven. Kiribathgoda Gnananda Thero on SuttaFriends.org. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net.

Thag 17.3 From Ānandattheragāthā: Ānanda

“82,000 from the Buddha,
and 2,000 more from the monks:
84,000 teachings I’ve learned,
and these are what I promulgate.”

“A person of little learning
ages like an ox—
their flesh grows,
but not their wisdom.

A learned person who, on account of their learning,
looks down on someone of little learning,
seems to me like
a blind man holding a lamp.

You should stay close to a learned person—
don’t lose what you’ve learned.
It is the root of the spiritual life,
which is why you should memorize the teaching.

Knowing the sequence and meaning of the teaching,
expert in the interpretation of terms,
they make sure it is well memorized,
and then examine the meaning.

Accepting the teachings, they become enthusiastic;
making an effort, they weigh up the teaching.
When it’s time, they strive
serene inside themselves.

If you want to understand the teaching,
you should befriend the sort of person
who is learned and has memorized the teachings,
a wise disciple of the Buddha.

One who is learned and has memorized the teaching,
a keeper of the great hermit’s treasury,
is a visionary for the whole world,
learned and honorable.

Delighting in the teaching, enjoying the teaching,
contemplating the teaching,
a mendicant who recollects the teaching
doesn’t decline in the true teaching.”


Read the entire translation of Theragāthā 17.3 Ānandattheragāthā: Ānanda 17.3. Ānandattheragāthā by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaFriends.org. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net.

Snp 2.8 Dhamma (nāvā) sutta: The Boat

Honor the person from whom you would learn the teaching,
as the gods honor Inda.
Then they will have confidence in you,
and being learned, they reveal the teaching.

Heeding well, a wise pupil
practicing in line with that teaching
grows intelligent, discerning, and subtle
through diligently sticking close to such a person.

But associating with a petty fool
who falls short of the goal, jealous,
then unable to discern the teaching in this life,
one proceeds to death still plagued by doubts.

It’s like a man who has plunged into a river,
a rushing torrent in spate.
As they are swept away downstream,
how could they help others across?

Just so, one unable to discern the teaching,
who hasn’t studied the meaning under the learned,
not knowing it oneself, still plagued by doubts,
how could they help others to contemplate?

But one who has embarked on a strong boat
equipped with rudder and oar,
would bring many others across there
with skill, care, and intelligence.

So too one who understands—a knowledge master,
evolved, learned, and unflappable—
can help others to contemplate,
so long as they are prepared to listen carefully.

That’s why you should spend time with a good person,
intelligent and learned.
Having understood the meaning, putting it into practice,
one who has realized the teaching may find happiness.


Read this translation of Snp 2.8 Dhamma (nāvā) sutta: The Boat by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net.