AN 4.114 Nāgasutta: A Royal Elephant

“Mendicants, a royal bull elephant with four factors is worthy of a king, fit to serve a king, and is considered a factor of kingship. What four? A royal bull elephant listens, destroys, endures, and goes fast.

And how does a royal bull elephant listen? It’s when a royal bull elephant pays heed, pays attention, engages wholeheartedly, and lends an ear to whatever task the elephant trainer has it do, whether or not it has done it before. That’s how a royal bull elephant listens.

And how does a royal bull elephant destroy? It’s when a royal bull elephant in battle destroys elephants with their riders, horses with their riders, chariots and charioteers, and foot soldiers. That’s how a royal bull elephant destroys.

And how does a royal bull elephant endure? It’s when a royal bull elephant in battle endures being struck by spears, swords, arrows, and axes; it endures the thunder of the drums, kettledrums, horns, and cymbals. That’s how a royal bull elephant endures.

And how does a royal bull elephant go fast? It’s when a royal bull elephant swiftly goes in whatever direction the elephant trainer sends it, whether or not it has been there before. That’s how a royal bull elephant goes fast. A royal bull elephant with four factors is worthy of a king, fit to serve a king, and is considered a factor of kingship.

In the same way, a mendicant with four qualities is worthy of offerings dedicated to the gods, worthy of hospitality, worthy of a religious donation, worthy of veneration with joined palms, and is the supreme field of merit for the world. What four? A mendicant listens, destroys, endures, and goes fast.

And how does a mendicant listen? It’s when a mendicant pays heed, pays attention, engages wholeheartedly, and lends an ear when the teaching and training proclaimed by a Realized One is being taught. That’s how a mendicant listens.

And how does a mendicant destroy? It’s when a mendicant doesn’t tolerate a sensual, malicious, or cruel thought. They don’t tolerate any bad, unskillful qualities that have arisen, but give them up, get rid of them, eliminate them, and obliterate them. That’s how a mendicant destroys.

And how does a mendicant endure? It’s when a mendicant endures cold, heat, hunger, and thirst; the touch of flies, mosquitoes, wind, sun, and reptiles; rude and unwelcome criticism; and they put up with physical pain—sharp, severe, acute, unpleasant, disagreeable, and life-threatening. That’s how a mendicant endures.

And how does a mendicant go fast? It’s when a mendicant swiftly goes in the direction they’ve never gone before in all this long time; that is, the stilling of all activities, the letting go of all attachments, the ending of craving, fading away, cessation, extinguishment. That’s how a mendicant goes fast. A mendicant with these four qualities … is the supreme field of merit for the world.”


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SN 46.38 Anīvaraṇasutta: Without Hindrances

“When, bhikkhus, a noble disciple listens to the Dhamma with eager ears, attending to it as a matter of vital concern, directing his whole mind to it, on that occasion the five hindrances are not present in him; on that occasion the seven factors of enlightenment go to fulfilment by development.

“And what are the five hindrances that are not present on that occasion? The hindrance of sensual desire is not present on that occasion; the hindrance of ill will … the hindrance of sloth and torpor … the hindrance of restlessness and remorse … the hindrance of doubt is not present on that occasion. These are the five hindrances that are not present on that occasion.

“And what are the seven factors of enlightenment that go to fulfilment by development on that occasion? The enlightenment factor of mindfulness goes to fulfilment by development on that occasion…. the enlightenment factor of discrimination of states … the enlightenment factor of energy … the enlightenment factor of rapture … the enlightenment factor of tranquillity … the enlightenment factor of concentration …The enlightenment factor of equanimity goes to fulfilment by development on that occasion. These are the seven factors of enlightenment that go to fulfilment by development on that occasion.

“When, bhikkhus, a noble disciple listens to the Dhamma with eager ears, attending to it as a matter of vital concern, directing his whole mind to it, on that occasion these five hindrances are not present in him; on that occasion these seven factors of enlightenment go to fulfilment by development.”


Read this translation of Saṁyutta Nikāya 46.38 Anīvaraṇasutta: Without Hindrances by Bhikkhu Bodhi on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net.

AN 6.87 Voropitasutta: A Murderer

“Mendicants, someone with six qualities is unable to enter the sure path with regards to skillful qualities even when listening to the true teaching. What six?

They murder their mother
or father
or a perfected one.
They maliciously shed the blood of a Realized One.
They cause a schism in the Saṅgha.
They’re witless, dull, and stupid.

Someone with these six qualities is unable to enter the sure path with regards to skillful qualities, even when listening to the true teaching.

Someone with six qualities is able to enter the sure path with regards to skillful qualities when listening to the true teaching. What six?

They don’t murder their mother
or father
or a perfected one.
They don’t maliciously shed the blood of a Realized One.
They don’t cause a schism in the Saṅgha.
They’re wise, bright, and clever.

Someone with these six qualities is able to enter the sure path with regards to skillful qualities when listening to the true teaching.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 6.87 Voropitasutta: A Murderer by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net.

AN 4.147 Dutiyakālasutta: Times (2nd)

“Mendicants, when these four times are rightly developed and progressed, they gradually lead to the ending of defilements. What four?

A time for listening to the teaching,
a time for discussing the teaching,
a time for serenity,
and a time for discernment.

It’s like when it rains heavily on a mountain top, and the water flows downhill to fill the hollows, crevices, and creeks. As they become full, they fill up the pools. The pools fill up the lakes, the lakes fill up the streams, and the streams fill up the rivers. And as the rivers become full, they fill up the ocean.

In the same way, when these four times are rightly developed and progressed, they gradually lead to the ending of defilements.”


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AN 5.26 Vimuttāyatanasutta: Opportunities for Freedom

“Mendicants, there are these five opportunities for freedom. If a mendicant stays diligent, keen, and resolute at these times, their mind is freed, their defilements are ended, and they arrive at the supreme sanctuary. What five?

Firstly, the Teacher or a respected spiritual companion teaches Dhamma to a mendicant. That mendicant feels inspired by the meaning and the teaching in that Dhamma, no matter how the Teacher or a respected spiritual companion teaches it. Feeling inspired, joy springs up. Being joyful, rapture springs up. When the mind is full of rapture, the body becomes tranquil. When the body is tranquil, one feels bliss. And when blissful, the mind becomes immersed in samādhi. This is the first opportunity for freedom. If a mendicant stays diligent, keen, and resolute at this time, their mind is freed, their defilements are ended, and they arrive at the supreme sanctuary.

Furthermore, it may be that neither the Teacher nor a respected spiritual companion teaches Dhamma to a mendicant. But the mendicant teaches Dhamma in detail to others as they learned and memorized it. That mendicant feels inspired by the meaning and the teaching in that Dhamma, no matter how they teach it in detail to others as they learned and memorized it. Feeling inspired, joy springs up. Being joyful, rapture springs up. When the mind is full of rapture, the body becomes tranquil. When the body is tranquil, one feels bliss. And when blissful, the mind becomes immersed in samādhi. This is the second opportunity for freedom. …

Furthermore, it may be that neither the Teacher nor … the mendicant teaches Dhamma. But the mendicant recites the teaching in detail as they learned and memorized it. That mendicant feels inspired by the meaning and the teaching in that Dhamma, no matter how they recite it in detail as they learned and memorized it. Feeling inspired, joy springs up. Being joyful, rapture springs up. When the mind is full of rapture, the body becomes tranquil. When the body is tranquil, one feels bliss. And when blissful, the mind becomes immersed in samādhi. This is the third opportunity for freedom. …

Furthermore, it may be that neither the Teacher nor … the mendicant teaches Dhamma … nor does the mendicant recite the teaching. But the mendicant thinks about and considers the teaching in their heart, examining it with the mind as they learned and memorized it. That mendicant feels inspired by the meaning and the teaching in that Dhamma, no matter how they think about and consider it in their heart, examining it with the mind as they learned and memorized it. Feeling inspired, joy springs up. Being joyful, rapture springs up. When the mind is full of rapture, the body becomes tranquil. When the body is tranquil, one feels bliss. And when blissful, the mind becomes immersed in samādhi. This is the fourth opportunity for freedom. …

Furthermore, it may be that neither the Teacher nor … the mendicant teaches Dhamma … nor does the mendicant recite the teaching … or think about it. But a meditation subject as a foundation of immersion is properly grasped, attended, borne in mind, and comprehended with wisdom. That mendicant feels inspired by the meaning and the teaching in that Dhamma, no matter how a meditation subject as a foundation of immersion is properly grasped, attended, borne in mind, and comprehended with wisdom. Feeling inspired, joy springs up. Being joyful, rapture springs up. When the mind is full of rapture, the body becomes tranquil. When the body is tranquil, one feels bliss. And when blissful, the mind becomes immersed in samādhi. This is the fifth opportunity for freedom. …

These are the five opportunities for freedom. If a mendicant stays diligent, keen, and resolute at these times, their mind is freed, their defilements are ended, and they arrive at the supreme sanctuary.



Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 5.26 Vimuttāyatanasutta: Opportunities for Freedom by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net.

AN 10.83 Puṇṇiyasutta: With Puṇṇiya

Then Venerable Puṇṇiya went up to the Buddha, bowed, sat down to one side, and said to him:

“Sir, what is the cause, what is the reason why sometimes the Realized One feels inspired to teach, and other times not?”

“Puṇṇiya, when a mendicant has faith but doesn’t approach, the Realized One doesn’t feel inspired to teach. But when a mendicant has faith and approaches, the Realized One feels inspired to teach.

When a mendicant has faith and approaches, but doesn’t pay homage … they pay homage, but don’t ask questions … they ask questions, but don’t lend an ear … they lend an ear, but don’t remember the teaching they’ve heard … they remember the teaching they’ve heard, but don’t reflect on the meaning of the teachings they’ve remembered … they reflect on the meaning of the teachings they’ve remembered, but, having understood the meaning and the teaching, they don’t practice accordingly … they practice accordingly, but they’re not a good speaker. Their voice is not polished, clear, articulate, and doesn’t express the meaning … They’re a good speaker, but they don’t educate, encourage, fire up, and inspire their spiritual companions. The Realized One doesn’t feel inspired to teach.

But when a mendicant

  1. has faith,
  2. approaches,
  3. pays homage,
  4. asks questions,
  5. lends an ear,
  6. remembers the teachings,
  7. reflects on the meaning,
  8. practices accordingly,
  9. has a good voice, and
  10. encourages their spiritual companions,

the Realized One feels inspired to teach. When someone has these ten qualities, the Realized One feels totally inspired to teach.”



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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.


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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 Voice.SuttaCentral.net.

AN 2.42–51 Parisavagga: 47—An assembly educated in fancy talk

“There are, mendicants, these two assemblies. What two? An assembly educated in fancy talk, not in questioning, and an assembly educated in questioning, not in fancy talk. And what is an assembly educated in fancy talk, not in questioning? It is an assembly where, when discourses spoken by the Realized One—deep, profound, transcendent, dealing with emptiness—are being recited the mendicants do not want to listen. They don’t pay attention or apply their minds to understand them, nor do they think those teachings are worth learning and memorizing. But when discourses composed by poets—poetry, with fancy words and phrases, composed by outsiders or spoken by disciples—are being recited the mendicants do want to listen. They pay attention and apply their minds to understand them, and they think those teachings are worth learning and memorizing. But when they’ve learned those teachings they don’t question or examine each other, saying: ‘Why does it say this? What does that mean?’ So they don’t clarify what is unclear, or reveal what is obscure, or dispel doubt regarding the many doubtful matters. This is called an assembly educated in fancy talk, not in questioning.

And what is an assembly educated in questioning, not in fancy talk? It is an assembly where, when discourses composed by poets—poetry, with fancy words and phrases, composed by outsiders or spoken by disciples—are being recited the mendicants do not want to listen. They don’t pay attention or apply their minds to understand them, nor do they think those teachings are worth learning and memorizing. But when discourses spoken by the Realized One—deep, profound, transcendent, dealing with emptiness—are being recited the mendicants do want to listen. They pay attention and apply their minds to understand them, and they think those teachings are worth learning and memorizing. And when they’ve learned those teachings they question and examine each other, saying: ‘Why does it say this? What does that mean?’ So they clarify what is unclear, reveal what is obscure, and dispel doubt regarding the many doubtful matters. This is called an assembly educated in questioning, not in fancy talk. These are the two assemblies. The better of these two assemblies is the assembly educated in questioning, not in fancy talk.”


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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 Voice.SuttaCentral.net.