Just as the radiance of all stars is not worth a sixteenth part of the moon’s radiance; just as in the last month of the rainy season in the autumn, when the sky is clear and free from clouds, the sun rises into the sky and flashes, radiates and dispels all darkness; just as in the pre-dawn light the healing star shines, flashes and radiates; so too, whatever good deeds one might do for the purpose of a good rebirth, none of them are worth a sixteenth part of that love which frees the mind. It is the love that frees the mind which shines, flashes and radiates forth out-surpassing all those good deeds
Whoever makes love grow boundless,
And sets their mind for seeing the end of birth,
Their fetters are worn thin.
If with a pure mind one feels love
Towards even a single being,
That alone makes one a good person.
Having a mind filled with compassion,
The Noble One does great good.
Thus is Dhamma well taught by me, made manifest, opened up, well proclaimed and stripped of its wrappings. And because of this, all those who are striving for Dhamma through faith are bound for enlightenment.
How does one dwell pervading one direction with a mind filled with love? Just as one would feel love for a loving, pleasant person, like this one pervades all beings with love. And concerning this, what is love? That which in beings is love, the act of love, the state of love, love that is free from ill-will. And how does one dwell pervading one direction with a mind filled with compassion? Just as one would feel compassion for a miserable or an evil person, like this one pervades all beings with compassion. And concerning this, what is compassion? That which in beings is compassion, the act of being compassionate, the state of being compassionate, compassion that is free from cruelty. And how does one dwell pervading one direction with a mind filled with sympathetic joy? Just as one would feel joyful for a lovely, a pleasant person, like this one pervades all beings with sympathetic joy. And concerning this, what is sympathetic joy? That which in beings is sympathetic joy, the act of sympathetic joy, the state of sympathetic joy, sympathetic joy that is free from envy. And how does one dwell pervading one direction with a mind filled with equanimity? Just as one would feel equanimity for a person neither pleasant nor unpleasant, like this one pervades all beings with equanimity. And concerning this, what is equanimity? That which in beings is equanimity, the act of equanimity, the state of equanimity, equanimity that is free from distress.
Increasing in five ways a noble woman disciple increases in the noble growth, grasps the essentials, grasps the heart of the matter. What five? She grows in faith, in virtue, in learning, in generosity and she grows in wisdom.
There are these four right times. What four? Hearing Dhamma at the right time, discussing the Dhamma at the right time, calming at the right time and wisdom at the right time.
What sort of person should be followed, served and honoured? The person who is virtuous and has a lovely nature. And why should such a one be followed? Because even though one may not agree with his ideas, a good reputation spreads around that you associate with the lovely, that you have worthy friends, that you consort with the worthy.
Now at that time, between Savatthi and the Jeta’s Grove a number of boys were tormenting fish. Then the Lord saw those boys and he went up to them and said: “My boys, are you afraid of pain? Do you dislike pain?”
“Yes, sir, we do.”
Then the Lord uttered this verse:
“If you are afraid of and dislike pain,
Do no evil either openly or in secret.
If you are doing or plan to do evil,
You will not escape from pain
By running away or fleeing.”
Maha Kotthita asked Venerable Sariputta: “How many things make Perfect View come about ?”
“There are two things that bring Perfect View into existence; the words of another and careful attention.”
“How many things furthering Perfect View result in freedom of mind and the advantages of freedom of mind, freedom through wisdom and the advantages of freedom through wisdom?”
“If Perfect View is furthered by five things – virtue, learning, discussion, calm and vision – freedom of mind and the advantages of freedom of mind, freedom through wisdom and the advantages of freedom through wisdom will result.”
There are these two types of sickness. What two? Sickness of body and sickness of mind. There are beings who can claim they have been free from bodily sickness for one year, two, ten, fifty, perhaps even a hundred years. But it is hard to find beings who can admit to being free from mental sickness for even a moment, except those who have destroyed the defilements.
Love is characterized as promoting the welfare of others. Its function is to desire their welfare. It is manifested as the removal of annoyance. Its proximate cause is seeing the loveable-ness in beings. It succeeds when it makes ill-will subside, and it fails when it gives rise to selfish affection.
Compassion is characterized as removing the suffering of others. Its function is not to be able to bear the suffering of others. It is manifested as kindness. Its proximate cause is seeing helplessness in those overwhelmed by suffering. It succeeds when it makes cruelty subside, and it fails when it gives rise to sorrow.
Sympathetic joy is characterized as joy in the success of others. Its function is being free from envy. It is manifested as the elimination of aversion. Its proximate cause is seeing other’s success. It succeeds when it makes aversion subside, and it fails when it gives rise to merriment.
Equanimity is characterized as promoting equipoise towards beings. Its function is to see the equality in beings. It is manifested as quieting like and dislike. Its proximate cause is seeing the ownership of deeds thus: “Beings are heirs to their deeds. Whose, if not theirs, is the choice by which they will become happy, or will be free from suffering, or will not fall away from the success they have reached?” It succeeds when it makes like and dislike subside, and it fails when it gives rise to the indifference of ignorance based on the household life.
One may be a believer, be virtuous and be learned, but not a teacher of Dhamma, and to that degree one is incomplete. One must remedy this defect by thinking: “How can I be a believer, be virtuous, be learned and be a teacher of Dhamma also?” When one has all these, then one is complete.
The Lord said to the monks: “Consider it true that Hatthaka of Alavi is endowed with seven marvelous qualities. What seven? He has faith, virtue, self-respect, fear of blame, learning, generosity and wisdom.” Having said this, the Lord rose from his seat and entered the dwelling. Then a monk went to Hatthaka and told him all that the Lord had said. And Hatthaka said to that monk: “I hope there were no laymen dressed in white present.”
“No, friend, there were none.”
After that monk returned from his alms-round, he went to the Lord and told him the conversation he had had with Hatthaka, and the Lord said: “Well done, monk, well done! That clansman is modest. He does not wish his good qualities to be known by others. So, consider it is true that Hatthaka of Alavi is endowed with this eighth marvelous and wonderful quality, namely, modesty.”
First in the world is the Teacher, that mighty sage,
Next is the disciples who have developed themselves,
And then the learner who is walking the Path,
Who is deeply learned and who keeps
The rules of virtue perfectly.
These three are the highest among gods and humans,
They are bringers of light, speakers of Dhamma,
They open the doors of the Immortal
And set many beings free from bondage.
Whoever walks the path clearly shown
By the matchless leader of the caravan,
And follows the teachings earnestly –
They will overcome suffering in this very life.
Then after begging for his food Venerable Sariputta sat eating it while leaning against a wall. Then the female wanderer Sucimukhi came up to Sariputta and said: “O monk, why do you eat looking downwards?”
“I do not eat looking downwards.”
“Then do you eat looking up?”
“I do not eat looking up.”
“Then do you eat looking at the four directions?”
“I do not eat looking at the four directions.”
“Then you must eat looking at the points in between?”
“I do not eat looking at the points in between.”
“Then how do you eat?”
“Whatever monks and brahmins get their living in such wrong ways as divination and other low arts; they are called those who eat looking down. Whatever monks and brahmins get their living in such wrong ways as astrology and other low arts; they are called those who eat looking up. Whatever monks and brahmins get their living in such wrong ways as sending messages and running errands, they are called those who eat looking in four directions. And whatever monks and brahmins get their living in such wrong ways as palmistry and other low arts; they are called those who eat looking at the points in between. But I am one who gets his living in none of these ways. I seek my food rightly and rightly do I eat it after I have sought it.”
How is one contented? Concerning this, one is satisfied with a robe to protect the body and food to satisfy the stomach. Having accepted enough, he goes on his way as a bird with wings flies here and there taking nothing with it but its wings.
There are these five advantages of listening to Dhamma. What five? One hears things not previously heard, clarifies things previously heard, dispels doubts, straightens one’s understanding, and one’s heart becomes calm.
When the Tathagata or the Tathagata’s disciples live in the world it is for the welfare of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare and happiness of both gods and humans. And what is a Tathagata? Concerning this, a Tathagata arises in the world, a Noble One, fully enlightened Buddha, of perfect knowledge and conduct, happily attained, a knower of the worlds, a guide unsurpassed of men to be trained, a teacher of gods and humans, a Buddha, the Lord. And what is a Tathagata’s disciple? He is one who teaches Dhamma that is lovely at the beginning, lovely in the middle and lovely at the end, in both in the letter and in the spirit. He makes plain the holy life, entirely complete and purified. This is the Tathagata and this is the Tathagata’s disciple, and when they live in the world, it is done for the welfare of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare and happiness of both gods and humans.
The noble quality of love should be thought about like this: ‘One concerned only with his own welfare, without concern for others, cannot achieve success in this world or happiness in the next. How then can one wishing to help all beings but not having loved himself succeed in attaining Nirvana? And if you wish to lead all beings to Nirvana, you should begin by wishing for their mundane welfare here and now.’ One should think: ‘I cannot provide for the welfare and happiness of others merely by wishing it. Let me make an effort to accomplish it.’ One should think: ‘Now I support them by promoting their welfare and happiness, and later they will be my companions in sharing the Dhamma.’ Then one should think: ‘Without these beings, I could not perfect the requisites of enlightenment. Because they are the reason for practicing and perfecting all the Buddha-like qualities, these beings are for me the highest field of merit, the incomparable basis for planting wholesome roots, and thus the ultimate object of reverence.’ So one should arouse an especially strong inclination towards promoting the welfare of all beings. And why should love be developed towards all beings? Because it is the foundation of compassion. For when one delights in providing for the welfare and happiness of other beings with an unbounded heart, the desire to remove their afflictions and suffering becomes strongly and firmly established. And compassion is the pre-eminent quality in Buddhahood; it is its basis, its foundation, its root, its head and its chief.
Once, while the Lord was staying among the Bhaggis on the Crocodile Hill in the Deer Park at Bhesakala Grove, the householder Nakulapita lay sick, ailing and seriously ill. And his wife Nakulamata said to him: “I beg you, good man, do not die worried, for the Lord has said that to die fretfully is not good. Maybe you think: ‘Alas, when I am gone, my wife will be unable to support the children or keep the household together.’ But do not think like that. For I am skilled in spinning cotton and carding wool and I will manage to support the children and keep the household together after you are gone. Maybe you think: ‘My wife will take another husband after I am gone.’ But do not think like that, for you and I know that for sixteen years we have lived as householders in the holy life. Or maybe you think: ‘After I am gone, my wife will have no desire to see the Lord or to see the monks.’ But do not think like that, for my desire to see them shall be even greater. Or maybe you think: ‘My wife will not keep the virtues in full.’ But do not think like that, for as long as the Lord has female disciples dressed in white, living at home and keeping the virtues in full, I shall be one. And if any doubt it, let them ask the Lord. Or maybe you think: ‘After I am gone, my wife will not have a calm mind.’ But do not think like that, for as long as the Lord has female disciples dressed in white, living at home, who gain that state, I shall be one. And if any doubt it, let them ask the Lord. Or maybe you think: ‘My wife will not win a firm foundation, a firm foothold in this Dhamma and discipline, she will not win comfort, dissolve doubt, be free from uncertainty, become confident, self-reliant, and live by the Teacher’s words.’ But do not think like that, either. For as long as the Lord has female disciples dressed in white, living at home, who win a firm foundation, a firm foothold, who have won comfort, dissolved doubt, who are free from uncertainty, who have become confident, self-reliant and live by the Teacher’s words, I shall be one. And if any doubt it, let them go and ask the Lord.”
Now, while Nakulapita was being counselled thus by his wife, even as he lay there his sickness subsided and he recovered. And not long after, he got up, and leaning on a stick, went to visit the Lord and told him what had happened. And the Lord said: “It has been a gain; you have greatly gained from having Nakulamata as your counsellor and teacher, full of compassion for you, and desiring your welfare.”
I have learned two things. Not to be content with good states one has already developed, and not to give up trying. Without giving up, I keep trying and think: ‘Gladly would I have my skin, bones and sinews wither and my flesh and blood dry up, if only I can win that which can be won by human effort.’ It was by such earnest endeavor that I won enlightenment and the highest freedom from bonds.
Without stalling and without hurrying did I cross the flood. For when I stalled I sank and when I hurried I was whirled about. And so, without tarrying and without hurrying did I cross the flood.
Just as the great ocean slopes away gradually, tends downwards gradually, without any abrupt precipice, even so this Dhamma and discipline is a gradual doing, a gradual training, a gradual practice. There is no sudden penetration of knowledge.
Once, when I was resting under the Goatherd’s Banyan Tree on the banks of the Neranjara River just after my enlightenment, Mara came to see me and said: ‘Pass away now, now is a good time for the Lord to die.’ But I replied to Mara saying: ‘I shall not die until the monks, the nuns, the laymen and the laywomen have become deeply learned, wise and well trained, remembering the teachings, proficient in the greater and lesser doctrines, virtuous and learned, until they are able to tell it to others, teach it, make it known, establish it, open it up, explain it and make it clear, until they are able to refute false doctrines taught by the others and to spread the convincing and liberating truth abroad. I shall not die until the holy life has become successful, widespread, well-regarded and popular, until it has become well proclaimed among both gods and humans.’
These five things should often be contemplated by both men and women, by both householder and home leaver. What five? ‘Old age can come to me; I have not got beyond old age. Sickness can come to me: I have not got beyond sickness. Death can come to me; I have not got beyond death. I am the result of my own deeds, the heir of my deeds – deeds are the source, the kin and the foundation of what I am. Whatever deed I do, whether good or bad, I shall become heir to that.’ These five things should often be contemplated by both women and men, by both householder and home-leaver.
In the southern districts, they have an ablution ceremony. At that time, there is much food and drink, edibles both hard and soft, syrups and drinks, much singing, dancing and music. This ceremony is a washing, but it is not a washing away. It is low, common vulgar and ignoble. It does not conduce to good, to turning away, to fading, to calming, to higher knowledge, or to Nirvana. So I will teach you a washing that does conduce to good, to turning away, to fading, to calming, to higher knowledge and to Nirvana, a washing that frees beings liable to rebirth, decay, death, sorrow, suffering, lamentation, woe, and dejection from such things.
And what is that washing? For one who has Perfect Understanding, Perfect Thought, Perfect Speech, Perfect Action, Perfect Livelihood, Perfect Effort, Perfect Mindfulness, Perfect Concentration and Perfect Knowledge and Freedom; for the person who practices these things wrong understanding, wrong thought, wrong speech and so on are washed away. And those evil unskilled states that arise due to them are washed away. Those good and skillful states that arise due to Perfect Understanding, Perfect Thought, Perfect Speech, Perfect Action, Perfect Livelihood, Perfect Effort, Perfect Mindfulness and Perfect Concentration – those states come to maturity.
When you speak to others you might speak at the right time or at the wrong time, according to fact or not, gently or harshly, about the goal or not, with a mind full of love or with a mind full of hatred. You should train yourself like this: ‘Our minds will not be perverted nor will we utter evil speech, but kindly and
we will live with a mind free from hatred and full of love. We will live having suffused first one person with a mind full of love and beginning with them, suffuse the whole world with a love that is far reaching, widespread, immeasurable, without enmity, without malevolence.’ This is how you should train yourself.
What is wrongful envy? Concerning this, a householder or his son is wealthy in grain, silver or gold. Then a servant or underling thinks: ‘If only that wealth didn’t belong to them.’ Or suppose a monk or brahmin gets a good supply of robes, food, lodging or medicine for sickness, and another monk or brahmin thinks: ‘If only he didn’t get a good supply of those things.’ This is called wrongful envy and is not abandoned by acts of body or speech, but by seeing it with wisdom.
Let one control speech and mind
And do no wrong deed with the body.
If one’s home is well stocked with goods,
Let one have faith, be gentle,
Share his goods with others and speak kindly.
If one were to give the gift of a hundred coins in the morning, again at noon and once again at night, or instead, if one were to develop the mind of love in the morning, again at noon and once again at night, even for as long as it takes to pull a cow’s udder, this would be by far the more beneficial of the two. Therefore, you should train yourself thinking: ‘We will develop the liberation of the mind through love. We will practice it often. We will make it our vehicle and foundation. We will take our stand upon it, store it up and promote it.’
Those who take a discourse rightly, conforming to both the letter and the spirit, they are responsible for the welfare of the many, for the happiness of the many, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare and happiness of both gods and humans. Moreover, they create great good and help establish the Dhamma.
Nakulapita said to the Lord: “Lord, I am a broken down old man, aged, I have reached the end of my days. Rarely am I able to see the Lord and the monks so worthy of respect. Therefore, let the Lord cheer and comfort me so that it will be to my welfare and happiness for a long time.”
The Lord replied: “It is true, householder, what you say is true. For one carrying about the body, to claim even a moment’s health would be foolishness. Therefore, you should train yourself thinking: ‘Though my body be sick, my mind shall not sick.’ This is how you should train yourself.”