The mind is luminous but it is stained by defilements that come from without. Ordinary folk do not realize this, so they do not cultivate their minds. The mind is luminous but it can be cleansed of defilements that come from without. This the noble disciples understand, so they do cultivate their minds.
Who is one’s own best friend, and who is one’s own worst enemy? Those whose thoughts, speech and actions are evil, they are their own worst enemy. Even if they were to say: ‘We care about ourselves,’ nevertheless they would still be their own worst enemy. And why? Because that which one would do to an enemy they do to themselves.
Those whose thoughts, speech and actions are good, they are their own best friends. Even if they were to say: ‘We don’t care about ourselves,’ nevertheless they would still be their own best friend. And why? Because that which one would do to a friend, they do to themselves.
Greed, hatred and delusion are unskillful. Whatever the greedy, hating or deluded person does with body, speech or mind – that is unskillful too. Whatever one overwhelmed by greed, hatred or delusion and with mind uncontrolled, does to another, unjustly causing him suffering through punishment, imprisonment, fine, abuse, banishment, or on the excuse that ‘might is right’ – all that is unskillful, too.
Four things lead to worldly progress. What four? Achievement in alertness, in caution, in good friendship and achievement in balanced livelihood. And what is achievement in alertness? Concerning this, in whatever way one earns a living, whether by farming, trading, cattle rearing, archery, service to the king or by some craft, in that one becomes deft and tireless, gifted with an inquiring turn of mind into ways and means, and able to arrange and carry out the job properly.
And what is achievement in caution? Concerning this, whatever wealth one acquired by energetic striving, won by strength of arm and sweat of brow, justly and lawfully, one husbands, watches and guards so that kings do not confiscate it, thieves do not steal it, fire or water do not destroy it, and unwanted heirs do not remove it.
And what is good friendship? Concerning this, in whatever village or town one lives, one associates with, converses with, discusses things with people either young or old, who are cultured, full of faith, full of virtue, full of charity and full of wisdom. One acts in accordance with the faith of the faithful, the virtue of the virtuous, the charity of the charitable and the wisdom of the wise.
And what is balanced livelihood? Concerning this, one knows both his income and expenditure and lives neither extravagantly nor miserly, knowing that income after expenditure will stand at so much and that expenses will not exceed income. Just as a goldsmith or his apprentice holding up the scales, knows that it has dipped down by so much or that it has tilted up by so much, one knows one’s income and one’s expenditure. If one with small income were to lead an extravagant life people would say: ‘He enjoys his wealth like a wood-apple eater.’ Likewise, if one with a good income were to be miserly, people would say: ‘He will die like a beggar.’
There are four channels through which the wealth one has collected is lost: debauchery, drunkenness, gambling and friendship with evildoers. Imagine there were a great tank of water with four inlets and four outlets, and a man was to close the inlets but keep the outlets open. If there were no rain we could expect the water to decrease. In the same way, there are the four channels through which wealth is lost. There are these four channels through which the wealth one has collected is preserved. What four? Avoidance of debauchery, drunkenness, gambling and friendship with evildoers. Imagine there were a great tank of water with four inlets and outlets, and a man was to keep the inlets open and close the outlets. If he did this and there were good rainfall, we could expect the water to increase. In the same way, there are these four channels through which wealth is preserved.
Do not be a judge of others, do not judge others. Whoever judges others digs a pit for themselves.
These five trades ought not to be practiced by a layperson. What five? Trade in weapons, trade in human beings, trade in flesh, trade in alcohol and trade in poisons.
Possessed of four qualities, one can be considered a good person. What four? Concerning this, the good person does not speak of what is to the discredit of another, even when asked. What then when unasked? If, however, on being questioned, he is required to speak, then with reserve, hesitation and in brief he dispraises the other person. This is the meaning of the saying: ‘This person is good.’
Again, the good person, even when unasked, speaks of what is to the credit of another. What then when asked? If, however, on being questioned, he is required to speak, then without reserve, willingly and in full, he praises the other person. This is the meaning of the saying: ‘This person is good.’
Once again, the good person, even when unasked, speaks of what is to his own discredit. What then when asked? If, however, on being questioned, he is required to speak, then without reserve or hesitation and in full he speaks of what is to his own discredit. This is the meaning of the saying: ‘This person is good.’
Finally, the good person does not speak of what is to his own credit, even when asked. What then when unasked? If, however, on being questioned, he is required to speak, then with reserve, unwillingly and in brief he speaks of what is to his own credit. This is the meaning of the saying: ‘This person is good.’
Even if one should seize the hem of my robe and walk step by step behind me, if he is covetous in his desires, fierce in his longings, malevolent of heart, with corrupt mind, careless and unrestrained, noisy and distracted and with uncontrolled senses, he is far from me. And why? He does not see the Dhamma, and not seeing the Dhamma, he does not see me.
Even if one lives a hundred miles away, if he is not covetous in his desires, not fierce in his longings, with a kind heart and pure mind, mindful, composed, calmed, one-pointed and with restrained senses, then indeed, he is near to me and I am near to him. And why? He sees the Dhamma, and seeing the Dhamma, he sees me.
Whatever the Tathāgata utters, speaks and proclaims between the day of his enlightenment and the day he dies, all that is factual, not otherwise. That is why he is called the Tathagāta.
Whatever harm an enemy can do to an enemy,
Or a hater to a hater,
An ill-directed mind
Causes oneself even greater harm.
No mother or father
Or any other kin
Can do greater good for oneself
Than a well-directed mind.
One’s patience should be strengthened by thinking: ‘Those who have no patience are afflicted in this world and do actions that lead to affliction in the next life.’ One should think: ‘Although this suffering arises because of the wrong deeds of others, my body is the field for that suffering, and the actions which brought it into being are mine.’ One should think: ‘If there were no wrongdoers, how could I bring patience to perfection?’ One should think: ‘Although he is a wrongdoer now, in the past he may have been my benefactor.’ One should think: ‘A wrongdoer is at the same time a benefactor because through him patience can be practiced.’ One should think: ‘All beings are like my own children and who would get angry over the misdeeds of one’s own children?’ One should think: ‘He does me wrong because of some fault in myself; I should strive to remove this.’
These seven conditions overwhelm an angry man or woman and are gratifying and helpful to their rival. What seven? One may wish this of a rival: ‘I wish he was ugly.’ And why? One does not like an attractive rival. Overwhelmed and undermined by anger that person becomes ugly even though he is bathed, anointed, with trimmed hair and beard and clad in clean clothes.
Then one may wish this of a rival: ‘I hope he sleeps badly.’ And why? One does not like a rival to sleep well. Overwhelmed and undermined by anger that person sleeps badly even though he is lying on a bed spread with fleecy cover, spread with white blankets and woolen cover embroidered with flowers, covered by an antelope skin, with awning above and red cushions at each end.
Again, one may wish this of a rival: ‘I hope he becomes poor.’ And why? One does not like a rich rival. Overwhelmed and undermined by anger that person becomes poor because, owning whatever wealth he has acquired by energetic striving, won by strength of arm and sweat of brow, justly and lawfully, the king will order them all sent to the royal treasury because he is overwhelmed by anger.
Once again, one may wish this of a rival: ‘I hope he was without fame.’ And why? One does not like a famous rival. Overwhelmed and undermined by anger, whatever reputation that person has earned falls away because he is overwhelmed by anger.
Again, one may wish this of a rival: ‘I hope he has no friends.’ And why? One does not like a rival with friends. Overwhelmed and undermined by anger, whatever friends, intimates, relatives and kin that person has will all avoid him and keep away from him because he is overwhelmed by anger.
And finally, one may wish this of a rival: ‘I hope he goes to hell.’ And why? One does not like a rival to go to heaven. Overwhelmed and undermined by anger, that person misconducts himself in body, speech, and mind and thus goes to hell himself. These are the seven conditions that overwhelm an angry man or woman and are gratifying and helpful to their rival.
It is like a leper with his limbs all ravaged and festering, being eaten by vermin, who tears his open sores with his nails and scorches his body over a charcoal pit. The more he does it the more those open sores become septic, evil-smelling and putrefying. And the scratching brings but little relief. In a similar way do beings who are not yet freed from attachment to sense pleasures, while being consumed by the craving for and burning with the fever of sense pleasures, continue to chase after them. And the more they chase after them, the more they crave and burn for them. And this brings but little relief.
There are these six dangers associated with idleness. Thinking: ‘It’s too cold,’ one does not work. Thinking: ‘It’s too hot,’ one does not work. Thinking: ‘It’s too early,’ one does not work. Thinking: ‘It’s too late,’ one does not work. Thinking: ‘I am too hungry,’ one does not work. Thinking: ‘I am too full,’ one does not work.
When the good Gotama teaches Dhamma to an assembly in a park he does not exalt them or disparage them. On the contrary, he delights, uplifts, inspires, and gladdens that assembly with talk on Dhamma. The sound of the good Gotama’s voice has eight qualities. It is distinct and intelligible, sweet and audible, fluent and clear, deep and resonant. Therefore, when he instructs the assembly, his voice does not go beyond that assembly. After being delighted, uplifted, inspired and gladdened with talk on Dhamma, the audience rise from their seats and depart reluctantly, keeping their eyes upon him.
The fool may be known by his deeds. Likewise, the wise one may be known by his deeds. Wisdom is manifested by one’s deeds.
The noble disciple who is utterly devoted to and has unshakable faith in the Tathagata can have no doubt or wavering concerning the Tathagata or his teachings. And it may be expected that such a disciple will live resolute in energy, always striving to abandon bad qualities and develop good ones, and that he will be energetic in exerting himself and will not drop the good.
There are these five ways of overcoming malice which ought to be overcome when it arises. What five? In whoever malice arises, that one should develop love. In whoever malice arises, that one should develop compassion. In whoever malice arises, that one should develop equanimity. In whoever malice arises, that one should forget about it, pay no attention to it. In whoever malice arises, that one should consider the fact that it is of his own making and he should think: “This is of my own making, the outcome of actions; actions are its matrix, actions are its kin and foundation. And whatever one does, good or bad, one will become an heir to that.” In these five ways malice should be put away.
If good people quarrel they should quickly be reconciled and form a bond that long endures. Like useless cracked or broken pots, only fools do not seek reconciliation. One who understands this, who considers this teaching, does what’s hard to do and is a worthy brother. He who bears the abuse of others is fit to be a conciliator.
One may not be skilled in the habit of other’s thoughts but at least one can make this resolve: ‘I will be skilled in the habit of my own thoughts.’ This is how you should train yourself, and this is how it is done. A woman, a man or a youth fond of adornment, examining their reflection in a bright, clear mirror or a bowl of clear water might see a blemish or pimple and try to remove it. And when they sees it is no longer there, they would be pleased and satisfied and thinks: ‘It is an advantage to be clean.’ In the same way, one’s introspection is most fruitful in good states when one thinks: ‘Am I usually greedy or hateful, overcome by sloth and torpor, with agitated mind, filled with doubt or anger, or am I not? Do I usually live with soiled thoughts, or with clean thoughts, with body passionate or not, sluggish or full of energy, uncontrolled or well controlled?’ If, on self-examination, one finds that he does live with these evil unprofitable states, then he must put forth extra desire, effort, endeavor, exertion, energy, awareness and attention to abandon them. And if on self-examination he finds that he does not live with the evil unprofitable states, he should make an effort to establish those profitable states and further destroy the defilements.
At one time, the Lord, having stayed as long as he liked at Benares, set off for Uruvela. Then turning off the road, he entered a woodland grove and sat down at the foot of a tree. Now at that time a group of about thirty high-born friends and their wives were enjoying themselves in that same woodland. One of the friends had no wife, so a prostitute had been brought along for him, and while they were enjoying themselves she took their belongings and run away. So these friends began looking around for the woman and as they roamed about they saw the Lord at the foot of the tree. They approached him and asked: “Lord, have you seen a woman?”
“What, young men, have you to do with a woman?”
So they told the Lord what had happened and why they were looking for the woman. And the Lord said to them: “What do you think? Which is better? To seek for this woman or to seek for yourself?”
“It would be better to seek for ourselves.”
“Well then, sit down and I will teach you Dhamma.”
So those friends sat down and the Lord gave a progressive talk, that is, on virtue, on heaven, on the danger, the futility and the disadvantages of sense pleasures and the advantages of giving them up. Then, when the Lord knew that their minds were ready, malleable, free from hindrance, uplifted and gladdened, he explained to them the teaching which is unique to the Buddhas – suffering, its cause, its overcoming and the way to its overcoming.
There are these six dangers of being addicted to gambling. In winning one begets hatred, in losing one mourns the loss of wealth, one’s word is not accepted in court, one is avoided by both friends and officials, and one is not sought after for marriage because people say a gambler cannot support a wife.
No food is tastier than that given by a loving friend. Even the sweetest confection made with care is not as tasty as the plainest gruel given with love.
Jivaka said: “I have heard this said that it is sublime to abide in love and the Lord is proof of this because I can see that he abides in love.” The Lord replied: “Any lust, hatred or delusion which could give rise to ill will has been abandoned by the Tathagata, cut off at the root, made like a palm tree stump, finished so that it cannot grow again in the future. If that is what you are referring to Jivaka, then I agree with you.”
Now at that time a certain monk was suffering from dysentery and lay where he had fallen in his own excrement. The Lord and Ananda were visiting the lodgings and they came to where the sick monk lay and the Lord asked him: “Monk, what is wrong with you.”
“I have dysentery, Lord.”
“Is there no one to look after you?”
“Then why is it that the other monks do not look after you?”
“It is because I am of no use to them, Lord.”
Then the Lord said to Ananda: “Go and fetch water so we can wash this monk.” So Ananda brought water and the Lord poured it out while Ananda washed the monk all over. Then taking the monk by the head and feet, the Lord and Ananda together carried him and laid him on a bed. Later, the Lord called the monks together and asked them: “Why monks, did you not look after that sick monk?”
“Because he was of no use to us, Lord.”
“Monks, you have no mother or father to look after you. If you do not look after each other who will? He who would nurse me, let him nurse the sick.”
Then Venerable Sariputta said: “There are these five ways of putting away malice that arises. What five? Take the case of a person who is impure in deed but not in word. Suppose a monk who wears rag robes were to see a rag on the road. He would hold it with his left foot, spread it out with his right foot to see if he could make use of it, and then proceed on his way. In the same way, one who is impure in deed but not in word, his deed ought to be disregarded. Think instead about his ways that are pure.
And concerning one who words are impure but who is pure in deed, how should malice be put away? Suppose a man, tortured and overcome by heat, exhausted, wearied, craving and thirsty were to come upon a pond overgrown with mossy slime and water plants. He would dive into the pond, scatter the water plants this way and that, cup his hands, drink, and then go his way refreshed. In the same way, one whose words are impure but who is pure in deed, his words ought to be disregarded. Think instead about his ways that are pure.
And what of one whose words and deed are both impure, but who occasionally attains mental clarity and calm? Suppose a man, tortured and overcome by heat, exhausted, wearied craving and thirsty, were to come upon a puddle in a cow’s footprint. He might think: ‘If I drink from this puddle using my hands or a cup I will stir up the mud and make it unfit to drink. I will crouch down on all fours, bend low and drink, as does a cow?’ Then he does this. In the same way, one whose word and deed are both impure but who occasionally attains mental clarity and calm from time to time, his words and deeds ought to be disregarded. Think only of his clarity and calm.
And what of one whose words and deeds are both impure and who cannot even occasionally attain mental clarity and calm? Suppose a sick ailing and grievously ill man was going along a highway with no village in front or behind, unable to get proper food, medicine or attention, or even a guide to the next village. If another man were to see him, he might feel pity and he might say to himself: ‘This poor man! He should get help or he will suffer to his detriment.’ In the same way, for one whose ways are impure and who cannot even occasionally attain mental clarity and calm, pity, compassion and commiseration ought to arise and you should think: ‘This poor man! He should give up the bad and develop the good, or else after death he will have a bad rebirth.’
And concerning one whose words and deeds are both pure and who has mental clarity and calm, how should malice be put away? Suppose a man, tortured and overcome by heat, wearied, craving and thirsty were to come upon a pool of sweet, cool, limpid water, a lovely resting place shaded by all kinds of trees. He would dive into the pond, bathe, drink and then come out and lie in the shade. In the same way, of this person, think about this person’s pure words, deeds and his mental clarity and calm.”
Suppose an enemy has hurt you.
That is his business.
Why should you annoy yourself
And hurt your mind, which is your business?
In tears you left your family,
They who were so kind and helpful.
So why not leave behind your enemy
And the anger that brings so much harm?
This anger which you embrace
Eats away at the very roots
Of all the virtues you strive to develop.
Who would be such a fool?
Someone else does evil deeds
And you get angry. But why?
Do you wish to copy him
And act as he does?
Suppose to annoy someone,
Provokes you to do something evil.
Why allow anger to arise and thereby
Do exactly what he wants you to do?
If you get angry
Then maybe he will suffer, maybe not.
But by being angry yourself
You certainly will suffer.
If enemies blinded by anger
Are content to walk the path of woe,
Why should you follow them
By getting angry yourself?
If a foe provokes you
To hurt yourself by getting angry,
Let that anger subside.
Do not harm yourself needlessly.
Citta the householder said to the monks: “Suppose a black ox and a white ox were tied together by a rope or a yoke. Now, if one were to say that the black ox was the fetter of the white one, or that the white ox was the fetter of the black one, would one be speaking rightly?”
“No, they would not, householder. They are fettered by the rope or yoke.”
“Well, in the same way, monks, the eye is not the fetter of objects, nor is the object the fetter of the eye. Rather, the desire and craving that arises owing to the pair of them, that is the fetter. The ear and sounds, the nose and smells, the tongue and tastes, the mind and thoughts, are not fetters, but rather the desire and craving that arises owing to the pairs of them, that is the fetter.”
“Good for you, householder, well said. You have the eye of wisdom that is consistent with the Buddha’s deep teaching.”
Kimbila asked the Lord: “What will be the cause, what the reason why, after the Tathagata attains final Nirvana, the good Dhamma will last long?”
“If, after the Tathagata has attained final Nirvana, the monks and the nuns, the laymen and the laywomen, live with reverence and care towards the Teacher, the Dhamma and the Sangha, live with reverence and care towards the training, towards concentration, towards earnestness and towards goodwill, then the good Dhamma will last long.”
Some foolish people here, on being advised by me to give something up, say: ‘But what is this small and insignificant matter? This monk lays too much stress on minor things.’ And so they do not give up that thing and they cause dissatisfaction to be nursed against me and those who do desire the training. This becomes a strong, solid and stout bond for them, a bond not easily worn away, like a thick block of wood.