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Iti 60 Puññakiriyavatthusutta: Grounds for Making Merit

This was said by the Buddha, the Perfected One: that is what I heard.

“Mendicants, there are these three grounds for making merit. What three? Giving, ethical conduct, and meditation are all grounds for making merit. These are the three grounds for making merit.”

The Buddha spoke this matter. On this it is said:

“One should practice only good deeds,
whose happy outcome stretches ahead.
Giving and moral conduct,
developing a mind of love:

having developed these
three things yielding happiness,
that astute one is reborn
in a happy, pleasing world.”

This too is a matter that was spoken by the Blessed One: that is what I heard.


Read this translation of Itivuttaka 60 Puññakiriyavatthusutta: Grounds for Making Merit by Bhikkhu Sujato 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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Kp 7 Tirokuṭṭasutta: Outside the Walls

Outside the walls they stand and wait,
at the junctions and the crossroads.
Returning to their former homes
they wait beside the door posts.

But when lavish food and drink
of many kinds is set out,
no-one remembers them at all,
because of those beings’s deeds.

That’s why those who have compassion
give to their relatives
food and drink at the right time,
that’s clean, delicious, and suitable.

“May this be for our relatives!
May our relatives be happy!”
Those ghosts who have gathered there,
the departed relatives who have come

for the lavish food and drink
gratefully express appreciation:
“May our relatives live long!
For those to whom we owe this gain,

who have given honor to us,
it will not be fruitless for the donor.”
There is no farming there,
no cow pasture can be found;

likewise there’s no trading,
and no commerce in gold.
The departed, the dead in that place
live on what is given here.

Just as water that rains on high
flows down to the plains,
so too what is given here
aids the departed ghosts.

Just as the rivers full
swell the ocean seas
so too what is given here
aids the departed ghosts.

Thinking: “They gave to me, they did for me,
they were my family, friend, companion”,
give offerings to departed kin,
remembering past deeds.

For neither tears nor grief
or other lamentations
are of any use to the departed,
so long as their relatives stay like this.

This offering that has been given,
well placed in the Saṅgha,
is for their lasting welfare,
and aids them right away.

The relative’s duty has now been shown:
how high honor to departed is performed,
how the mendicants can be kept healthy,
and how no little merit is produced by you.



Read this translation of Khuddakapāṭha 7 Tirokuṭṭasutta: Outside the Walls by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaFriends.org, DhammaTalks.org or Ancient-Buddhist-Texts.net. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

Or read a translation in Deutsch, Italiano, 日本語, မြန်မာဘာသာ, Nederlands, සිංහල, Tiếng Việt, or 汉语. Learn how to find your language.

AN 10.177 Jāṇussoṇisutta: With Jānussoṇi

Then the brahmin Jānussoṇi went up to the Buddha, and exchanged greetings with him.

When the greetings and polite conversation were over, he sat down to one side and said to the Buddha, “We who are known as brahmins give gifts and perform memorial rites for the dead: ‘May this gift aid my departed relatives and family. May they partake of this gift.’ But does this gift really aid departed relatives and family? Do they actually partake of it?”

“It aids them if the conditions are right, brahmin, but not if the conditions are wrong.”

“Then, Master Gotama, what are the right and wrong conditions?”

“Brahmin, take someone who kills living creatures, steals, and commits sexual misconduct. They use speech that’s false, divisive, harsh, or nonsensical. And they’re covetous, malicious, with wrong view. When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in hell. There they survive feeding on the food of the hell beings. The conditions there are wrong, so the gift does not aid the one who lives there.

Take someone else who kills living creatures … and has wrong view. When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in the animal realm. There they survive feeding on the food of the beings in the animal realm. The conditions there too are wrong, so the gift does not aid the one who lives there.

Take someone else who doesn’t kill living creatures, steal, commit sexual misconduct, or use speech that’s false, divisive, harsh, or nonsensical. They’re contented, kind-hearted, and have right view. When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in the human realm. There they survive feeding on human food. The conditions there too are wrong, so the gift does not aid the one who lives there.

Take someone else who doesn’t kill living creatures … and has right view. When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in the company of the gods. There they survive feeding on the food of the gods. The conditions there too are wrong, so the gift does not aid the one who lives there.

Take someone else who kills living creatures … and has wrong view. When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in the ghost realm. There they survive feeding on the food of the beings in the ghost realm. Or else they survive feeding on what friends and colleagues, relatives and kin provide them with from here. The conditions there are right, so the gift aids the one who lives there.”

“But Master Gotama, who partakes of that gift if the departed relative is not reborn in that place?”

“Other departed relatives reborn there will partake of that gift.”

“But who partakes of the gift when neither that relative nor other relatives have been reborn in that place?”

“It’s impossible, brahmin, it cannot happen that that place is vacant of departed relatives in all this long time. It’s never fruitless for the donor.”

“Does Master Gotama propose this even when the conditions are wrong?”

“I propose this even when the conditions are wrong. Take someone who kills living creatures, steals, and commits sexual misconduct. They use speech that’s false, divisive, harsh, or nonsensical. And they’re covetous, malicious, with wrong view. They give to ascetics or brahmins such things as food, drink, clothing, vehicles; garlands, perfumes, and makeup; and bed, house, and lighting. When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in the company of elephants. There they get to have food and drink, garlands and various adornments.

Since in this life they killed living creatures … and had wrong view, they were reborn in the company of elephants. Since they gave to ascetics or brahmins … they get to have food and drink, garlands and various adornments.

Take someone else who kills living creatures … and has wrong view. They give to ascetics or brahmins … When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in the company of horses. … cattle … dogs. There they get to have food and drink, garlands and various adornments.

Since in this life they killed living creatures … and had wrong view, they were reborn in the company of dogs. Since they gave to ascetics or brahmins … they get to have food and drink, garlands and various adornments.

Take someone else who doesn’t kill living creatures, steal, or commit sexual misconduct. They don’t use speech that’s false, divisive, harsh, or nonsensical. And they’re contented, kind-hearted, with right view. They give to ascetics or brahmins … When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in the human realm. There they get to have the five kinds of human sensual stimulation.

Since in this life they didn’t kill living creatures … and had right view, they were reborn in the company of humans. Since they gave to ascetics or brahmins … they get to have the five kinds of human sensual stimulation.

Take someone else who doesn’t kill living creatures … and has right view. They give to ascetics or brahmins … When their body breaks up, after death, they’re reborn in the company of the gods. There they get to have the five kinds of heavenly sensual stimulation.

Since in this life they didn’t kill living creatures … and had right view, they were reborn in the company of the gods. Since they gave to ascetics or brahmins … they get to have the five kinds of heavenly sensual stimulation. It’s never fruitless for the donor.”

“It’s incredible, Master Gotama, it’s amazing, This is quite enough to justify giving gifts and performing memorial rites for the dead, since it’s never fruitless for the donor.”

“That’s so true, brahmin. It’s never fruitless for the donor.”

“Excellent, Master Gotama! Excellent! … From this day forth, may Master Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone for refuge for life.”



Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 10.177 Jāṇussoṇisutta: With Jānussoṇi 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

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SN 55.43 Tatiya Asaṇkheyya Sutta: Incalculable 3

“Monks, there are four kinds of streams of merit and streams of wholesomeness that generate happiness. What four?

  1. The first is when a noble disciple has unshakable confidence in the Buddha… This is the first stream of merit and stream of wholesomeness that generates happiness.
  2. The second is when a noble disciple has unshakable confidence in the Dhamma… This is the second stream of merit and stream of wholesomeness that generates happiness.
  3. The third is when a noble disciple has unshakable confidence in the Saṅgha… This is the third stream of merit and stream of wholesomeness that generates happiness.
  4. The fourth is when a noble disciple is wise. He has the wisdom of understanding the arising and passing away of all conditioned things. That wisdom is noble, penetrative, and leads to the complete ending of suffering. This is the fourth stream of merit and stream of wholesomeness that generates happiness.

These are the four streams of merit and streams of wholesomeness that generate happiness.

“When a noble disciple has these four streams of merit and streams of wholesomeness, it’s not easy to measure how much merit he has by saying, ‘This is the amount of happiness generated by his stream of merit and stream of wholesomeness.’ His merit simply is incalculable, immeasurable and is vast.”

That is what the Buddha said. Then the Blessed One further said,

“The person who desires merit
and is established in wholesomeness,
develops the Eightfold Path
for realizing Nibbāna.
Once he’s reached the core of the Dhamma,
delighting in destroying defilements,
he doesn’t tremble at the approach of Māra.”


Read this translation of Saṁyutta Nikāya 55.43 Tatiya Asaṇkheyya Sutta: Incalculable 3 by Ven. Kiribathgoda Gnananda Thero on SuttaFriends.org. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

Vv 7.5 Amba Sutta: Mango Mansion

Moggallāna Bhante:

Dear Deva, your mansion is very high in the sky and spreads over a hundred and twenty kilometers. Pillars of beryl and other gemstones, and seven hundred pinnacled buildings are in your estate. It is extremely beautiful. Inside the mansion, you drink and eat and enjoy the sweetness of heavenly food. The sweet music of guitars plays. You have many sensual pleasures. Devas are dancing and they are wearing golden jewelry.

What are the meritorious deeds that you have done to gain this happiness and your position as a leader?

Tell me Deva, what kind of meritorious action did you do when you were in the human world to have gained this beauty that shines in all directions, and to have earned all these wonderful things?

That deva, delighted at being questioned by Arahant Moggallāna, gladly explained what he had done that resulted in such great happiness.

Deva:

When I was in the human world, in the last month of the summer, the sun was very hot. There I was the guard of a mango grove and my duty was to watch over the mangoes and water them. One day, the famous Arahant Sāriputta Bhante was passing by the mango grove. He appeared to be very tired, although his mind was never tired.

While I was watering the mango trees, I saw Sāriputta Bhante approaching the grove. I said, “If I could bathe Bhante, it would lead to my happiness.”

Out of pity for me, Sāriputta Bhante set aside his outer robes and bowl and sat down in the shade at the foot of a tree wearing his lower robe. I was so delighted. I bathed the Bhante with clean water while he sat there wearing his lower robe. I watered the mango tree and bathed the Bhante at the same time. The merit I collected was not small. My whole body was filled with joy.

That is the only meritorious action I did in the human world. When I passed away, I was reborn in this Nandana Park. I enjoy living in this park, surrounded by various birds and singing and dancing goddesses.


Read this translation of Vimānavatthu 7.5 Amba Sutta: Mango Mansion by Ven. Kiribathgoda Gnananda Thero on SuttaFriends.org. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

You can find the entire translation of the Vimanavatthu: Stories of Heavenly Mansions available on SuttaFriends.org.

SN 1.51 Jarāsutta: Old Age

At Sāvatthī.

Then, late at night, a glorious deity, lighting up the entire Jeta’s Grove, went up to the Buddha, bowed, and stood to one side. Standing to one side, that deity recited this verse in the Buddha’s presence:

“What’s still good in old age?
What’s good when grounded?
What is people’s treasure?
What’s hard for thieves to take?”

The Buddha:

“Ethics are still good in old age.
Faith is good when grounded.
Wisdom is people’s treasure.
Merit’s hard for thieves to take.”


Read this translation of Saṁyutta Nikāya 1.51 Jarāsutta: Old Age Jarāsutta by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

Vv 3.9 Visālakkhī Sutta: Mansion of the Beautiful-Eyed Goddess

God Sakka:

Devata, with large beautiful eyes you walk around surrounded by many other goddesses in the delightful Cittalata Forest. What is your name?

When the gods of the Tavatimsa Heaven enter this forest their bodies, horses, and chariots become more beautiful.

Even though you are not wearing any golden flower jewelry, you are still extremely beautiful. Tell us, what meritorious deed have you done to gain this beauty?

Devata:

Lord of Devas, I have received this heavenly birth, beautiful body, and divine psychic powers due to my meritorious deeds. I will tell you what I did.

In the human world, I lived in the beautiful city of Rajagaha. My name was Sunanda and I was a female lay disciple of the Supreme Buddha. I had faith, virtue and was very generous. I had great confidence in the noble monks with pure minds. I offered them robes, food, resting places, and lamps.

I was eager to observe the Eight Precepts four times a month on each of the four moon phases. I led a restrained life and delighted in sharing.

I abstained from killing, stealing, lying, and taking intoxicants. I did not cheat on my husband. I was delighted to keep these Five Precepts every day. I was a lay follower of Gautama Supreme Buddha who had the great wisdom to see the reality of the world. I was wise enough to realize the Four Noble Truths.

A servant girl, working for my relatives, used to bring me flower garlands every day. I offered all those flower garlands with a happy mind to the relic stupa of the Supreme Buddha. I also went to relic puja ceremonies every Eight Precepts-Observance day. With great faith, I personally offered garlands, perfumes, and lotions to the stupa. God Sakka, I received this heavenly birth, beautiful body, and divine psychic powers by offering flower garlands.

I also collected merit by keeping the precepts, but that merit has not yet ripened. Lord Sakka, in my mind I have the desire to be a once-returner.


Read this translation of Vimānavatthu 3.9 Visālakkhī Sutta: Mansion of the Beautiful-Eyed Goddess by Ven. Kiribathgoda Gnananda Thero on SuttaFriends.org. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

You can find the entire translation of the Vimanavatthu: Stories of Heavenly Mansions available on SuttaFriends.org.

AN 5.34 Sīha Sutta: To General Sīha (On Giving)

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Vesālī at the Gabled Hall in the Great Forest. Then General Sīha went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: “Is it possible, lord, to point out a fruit of giving visible in the here & now?”

“It is possible, Sīha. One who is generous, a master of giving, is dear & charming to people at large. And the fact that who is generous, a master of giving, is dear & charming to people at large: This is a fruit of giving visible in the here & now.

“And further, good people, people of integrity, admire one who is generous, a master of giving. And the fact that good people, people of integrity, admire one who is generous, a master of giving: This, too, is a fruit of giving visible in the here & now.

“And further, the fine reputation of one who is generous, a master of giving, is spread far & wide. And the fact that the fine reputation of one who is generous, a master of giving, is spread far & wide: This, too, is a fruit of giving visible in the here & now.

“And further, when one who is generous, a master of giving, approaches any assembly of people—noble warriors, brahmans, householders, or contemplatives—he/she does so confidently & without embarrassment. And the fact that when one who is generous, a master of giving, approaches any assembly of people—noble warriors, brahmans, householders, or contemplatives—he/she does so confidently & without embarrassment: This, too, is a fruit of giving visible in the here & now.

“And further, at the break-up of the body, after death, one who is generous, a master of giving, reappears in a good destination, a heavenly world. And the fact that at the break-up of the body, after death, one who is generous, a master of giving, reappears in a good destination, a heavenly world: This is a fruit of giving in the next life.”

When this was said, General Sīha said to the Blessed One: “As for the four fruits of giving visible in the here & now that have been pointed out by the Blessed One, it’s not the case that I go by conviction in the Blessed One with regard to them. I know them, too.

  • I am generous, a master of giving, dear & charming to people at large.
  • I am generous, a master of giving; good people, people of integrity, admire me.
  • I am generous, a master of giving, and my fine reputation is spread far & wide: ‘Sīha is generous, a doer, a supporter of the Saṅgha.’
  • I am generous, a master of giving, and when I approach any assembly of people—noble warriors, brahmans, householders, or contemplatives—I do so confidently & without embarrassment.

“But when the Blessed One says to me, ‘At the break-up of the body, after death, one who is generous, a master of giving, reappears in a good destination, a heavenly world,’ that I do not know. That is where I go by conviction in the Blessed One.”

“So it is, Sīha. So it is. At the break-up of the body, after death, one who is generous, a master of giving, reappears in a good destination, a heavenly world.”

One who gives is dear.
People at large admire him.
He gains honor. His status grows.
He enters an assembly unembarrassed.
He is confident—the unmiserly man.

Therefore the wise give gifts.
Seeking bliss, they would subdue the stain of miserliness.
Established in the three-fold heavenly world,
they enjoy themselves long
in fellowship with the devas.

Having made the opportunity for themselves,
having done what is skillful,
then when they fall from here
they fare on, self-radiant, in Nandana [the garden of the devas].

There they delight, enjoy, are joyful,
replete with the five sensuality strands.
Having followed the words of the sage who is Such,
they enjoy themselves in heaven—
disciples of the One Well-Gone.


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 5.34 Sīha Sutta. To General Sīha (On Giving) by Bhikkhu Ṭhanissaro on DhammaTalks.org. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

SN 3.25 Pabbatūpamasutta: The Simile of the Mountain

At Sāvatthī.

King Pasenadi of Kosala sat to one side, and the Buddha said to him, “So, great king, where are you coming from in the middle of the day?”

“Sir, there are anointed aristocratic kings who are infatuated with authority, and obsessed with greed for sensual pleasures. They have attained stability in the country, occupying a vast conquered territory. Today I have been busy fulfilling the duties of such kings.”

“What do you think, great king? Suppose a trustworthy and reliable man were to come from the east. He’d approach you and say: ‘Please sir, you should know this. I come from the east. There I saw a huge mountain that reached the clouds. And it was coming this way, crushing all creatures. So then, great king, do what you must!’

Then a second trustworthy and reliable man were to come from the west … a third from the north … and a fourth from the south. He’d approach you and say: ‘Please sir, you should know this. I come from the south. There I saw a huge mountain that reached the clouds. And it was coming this way, crushing all creatures. So then, great king, do what you must!’

Should such a dire threat arise—a terrible loss of human life, when human birth is so rare—what would you do?”

“Sir, what could I do but practice the teachings, practice morality, doing skillful and good actions?”

“I tell you, great king, I announce to you: old age and death are advancing upon you. Since old age and death are advancing upon you, what would you do?”

“Sir, what can I do but practice the teachings, practice morality, doing skillful and good actions?

Sir, there are anointed aristocratic kings who are infatuated with authority, and obsessed with greed for sensual pleasures. They have attained stability in the country, occupying a vast conquered territory. Such kings engage in battles of elephants, cavalry, chariots, or infantry. But there is no place, no scope for such battles when old age and death are advancing.

In this royal court there are ministers of wise counsel who are capable of dividing an approaching enemy by wise counsel. But there is no place, no scope for such diplomatic battles when old age and death are advancing.

In this royal court there is abundant gold coin and bullion stored in dungeons and towers. Using this wealth we can pay off an approaching enemy. But there is no place, no scope for such monetary battles when old age and death are advancing.

When old age and death are advancing, what can I do but practice the teachings, practice morality, doing skillful and good actions?”

“That’s so true, great king! That’s so true! When old age and death are advancing, what can you do but practice the teachings, practice morality, doing skillful and good actions?”

That is what the Buddha said. Then the Holy One, the Teacher, went on to say:

“Suppose there were vast mountains
of solid rock touching the sky
drawing in from all sides
and crushing the four quarters.

So too old age and death
advance upon all living creatures—
aristocrats, brahmins, merchants,
workers, outcastes, and scavengers.
They spare nothing.
They crush all beneath them.

There’s nowhere for elephants to take a stand,
nor chariots nor infantry.
They can’t be defeated
by diplomatic battles or by wealth.

That’s why an astute person,
seeing what’s good for themselves,
being wise, would place faith
in the Buddha, the teaching, and the Saṅgha.

Whoever lives by the teaching
in body, speech, and mind,
is praised in this life
and departs to rejoice in heaven.”


Read this translation of Saṁyutta Nikāya 3.25 Pabbatūpamasutta: The Simile of the Mountain by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net.

SN 3.22 Ayyikāsutta: Grandmother

At Sāvatthī.

King Pasenadi of Kosala sat to one side, and the Buddha said to him, “So, great king, where are you coming from in the middle of the day?”

“Sir, my grandmother has passed away. She was old, elderly and senior. She was advanced in years and had reached the final stage of life; she was a hundred and twenty years old. But I loved my grandmother; she was dear to me. If by giving away the elephant-treasure I could get my grandmother back, I’d do it. If by giving away the horse-treasure I could get my grandmother back, I’d do it. If by giving away a prize village I could get my grandmother back, I’d do it. If by giving away the whole country I could get my grandmother back, I’d do it.”

“Great king, all sentient beings are liable to die. Death is their end; they’re not exempt from death.”

“It’s incredible, sir, it’s amazing, how well said this was by the Buddha: ‘All sentient beings are liable to die. Death is their end; they’re not exempt from death.’”

“That’s so true, great king! That’s so true! All sentient beings are liable to die. Death is their end; they’re not exempt from death. It’s like the vessels made by potters. Whatever kind they are, whether baked or unbaked, all of them are liable to break apart. Breaking is their end; they’re not exempt from breakage. In the same way, all sentient beings are liable to die. Death is their end; they’re not exempt from death.”

That is what the Buddha said. …

“All beings will die,
for life ends with death.
They pass on according to their deeds,
reaping the fruits of good and bad.
Those who do bad go to hell,
and if you do good you go to heaven.

That’s why you should do good,
investing in the future life.
The good deeds of sentient beings
support them in the next world.”



Read this translation of Saṁyutta Nikāya 3.22 Ayyikāsutta: Grandmother by Bhikkhu Sujato on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaFriends.org or DhammaTalks.org. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

SN 1.3 Upanīya Sutta: The Discourse About Life That Is Led on Towards Death

This is as I heard. At one time the Blessed One was staying in the province of Sāvatthī, in Jeta’s park, at Anathapiṇḍika’s monastery. Then, late at night, a glorious deity, lighting up the entire Jeta’s park, went up to the Blessed One, bowed, stood to one side, and recited this verse:

“This life is led on towards death.
The time left to live is short.
Beings led on towards death by old age
have no place to find shelter.
One who sees this fear in death
must do good deeds that bring comfort.”

The Blessed One:

“This life is led on towards death.
The time left to live is short.
Beings led on towards death by old age
have no place to find shelter.
One who sees this fear in death,
seeking the comfort attained by Nibbāna,
should drop the world’s bait.”

Sādhu! Sādhu!! Sādhu!!!


Read this translation of Saṁyutta Nikāya 1.3 Upanīya Sutta: The Discourse About Life That Is Led on Towards Death by Ven. Kiribathgoda Gnananda Thero on SuttaFriends.org. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net. Or listen on PaliAudio.com or Voice.SuttaCentral.net. Or explore the Pali on DigitalPaliReader.online.

Iti 27 Mettācetovimutti Sutta: The Development of Loving-kindness

This discourse was taught by the Blessed One, taught by the Arahant, the fully enlightened Supreme Buddha. This is as I heard:

“Monks, all the ways of making merit leading to future happiness do not equal a sixteenth part of the mind-liberation of loving-kindness. The mind-liberation of loving-kindness surpasses them and shines, blazes, and dazzles.”

“Just as the radiance of all the stars does not equal a sixteenth part of the radiance of the moon, the moon’s radiance surpasses them and shines, blazes, and dazzles, so do all the grounds for making merit leading to future happiness not equal a sixteenth part of the mind-liberation of loving-kindness. The mind-liberation of loving-kindness surpasses them and shines, blazes, and dazzles.”

“Just as in the last month of the rainy season, in the autumn, when the sky is clear and cloudless, the sun, on ascending the sky, dispels the darkness of space and shines, blazes and dazzles, so do all the grounds for making merit leading to future happiness do not equal a sixteenth part of the mind-liberation of loving-kindness. The mind-liberation of loving-kindness surpasses them and shines, blazes, and dazzles.

“Just as in the last stage of the night, not yet dawn, the morning star shines, blazes, and dazzles, so do all the grounds for making merit leading to future happiness do not equal a sixteenth part of the mind-liberation of loving-kindness. The mind-liberation of loving-kindness surpasses them and shines, blazes, and dazzles.

This is the meaning of what the Blessed One said. So, with regard to this, it was said:

The one, who mindfully develops loving-kindness immeasurably, sees the destruction of defilements. The fetters in his mind are worn away.

If one spreads boundless loving-kindness without having a hateful mind, even for one being, as a result, he becomes a skilled Dhamma practitioner, not to speak of the power of abundance of merit accumulated by the noble one who has a compassionate mind towards all beings.

In this world, powerful kings who have conquered the earth crowded with beings have gone about performing sacrifices: the horse sacrifice, human sacrifice, water rites, and soma rites.

But those sacrifices do not equal even a sixteenth part of a well-developed mind of loving-kindness; just as all the stars in the sky do not equal even a sixteenth part of the radiance of the moon.

The one who neither kills nor influences others to kill nor defeats others nor influences others to defeat, spreads loving-kindness to all beings – he has no hatred towards anyone or anything at all.

This, too, is the meaning of what was said by the Blessed One. This is exactly as I heard.


Read this translation of Itivuttaka 27 Mettācetovimutti Sutta: The Development of Loving-kindness by Ven. Kiribathgoda Gnananda Thero on SuttaFriends.org. 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.

AN 5.31 Sumanasutta: Sumanā

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. Then Princess Sumanā, accompanied by five hundred chariots and five hundred court girls, approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, and sat down to one side. Princess Sumanā then said to the Blessed One:

“Here, Bhante, there might be two disciples of the Blessed One equal in faith, virtuous behavior, and wisdom, but one is generous while the other is not. With the breakup of the body, after death, they would both be reborn in a good destination, in a heavenly world. When they have become devas, would there be any distinction or difference between them?”

“There would be, Sumanā,” the Blessed One said. “The generous one, having become a deva, would surpass the other in five ways: in celestial life span, celestial beauty, celestial happiness, celestial glory, and celestial authority. The generous one, having become a deva, would surpass the other in these five ways.”

“But, Bhante, if these two pass away from there and again become human beings, would there still be some distinction or difference between them?”

“There would be, Sumanā,” the Blessed One said. “When they again become human beings, the generous one would surpass the other in five ways: in human life span, human beauty, human happiness, human fame, and human authority. When they again become human beings, the generous one would surpass the other in these five ways.”

“But, Bhante, if these two should go forth from the household life into homelessness, would there still be some distinction or difference between them?”

“There would be, Sumanā,” the Blessed One said. “The generous one, having gone forth, would surpass the other in five ways. 1) He would usually use a robe that has been specifically offered to him, seldom one that had not been specifically offered to him. 2) He would usually eat almsfood that has been specifically offered to him, seldom almsfood that had not been specifically offered to him. 3) He would usually use a lodging that had been specifically offered to him, seldom one that had not been specifically offered to him. 4) He would usually use medicines and provisions for the sick that had been specifically offered to him, seldom those that had not been specifically offered to him. 5) His fellow monastics, those with whom he dwells, would usually behave toward him in agreeable ways by bodily, verbal, and mental action, seldom in disagreeable ways. They would usually present him what is agreeable, seldom what is disagreeable. The generous one, having gone forth, would surpass the other in these five ways.”

But, Bhante, if both attain arahantship, would there still be some distinction or difference between them after they have attained arahantship?”

“In this case, Sumanā, I declare, there would be no difference between the liberation of one and the liberation of the other.”

“It’s astounding and amazing, Bhante! Truly, one has good reason to give alms and do meritorious deeds, since they will be helpful if one becomes a deva, again becomes a human being, or goes forth.”

“So it is, Sumanā! So it is, Sumanā! Truly, one has good reason to give alms and do meritorious deeds, since they will be helpful if one becomes a deva, again becomes a human being, or goes forth.”

This is what the Blessed One said. Having said this, the Fortunate One, the Teacher, further said this:

“As the stainless moon
moving through the sphere of space
outshines with its radiance
all the stars in the world,
so one accomplished in virtuous behavior,
a person endowed with faith,
outshines by generosity
all the misers in the world.

“As the hundred-peaked rain cloud,
thundering, wreathed in lightning,
pours down rain upon the earth,
inundating the plains and lowlands,
so the Perfectly Enlightened One’s disciple,
the wise one accomplished in vision,
surpasses the miserly person
in five specific respects:
life span and glory,
beauty and happiness.
Possessed of wealth, after death
he rejoices in heaven.”


Read this translation of Aṅguttara Nikāya 5.31 Sumanasutta: Sumanā by Bhikkhu Bodhi on SuttaCentral.net. Or read a different translation on SuttaCentral.net, SuttaFriends.org or DhammaTalks.org.

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