And what else should be done? You should think: ‘Our bodily conduct must be perfectly pure, clear, open, without defect and controlled. But not because of our being pure will we exalt ourselves or disparage others.’ This is how you should train yourselves.
What are the eight bucking people and their eight faults? Concerning this, when one is reproved by one of his fellows, he sidesteps the matter and pleads forgetfulness, saying: ‘I don’t remember. I don’t remember doing that.’ Just as a bucking horse, when prodded and urged on by his driver, bucks and twists the carriage round with his hind legs, this person is like that.
Or, on being reproved by his fellows, he blurts out at his reprover: ‘What right have you to speak you ignorant fool? Who are you to speak?’ Just as a bucking horse jumps back and batters the carriage railing and breaks the triple bar, this person is like that.
Or, on being reproved by his fellows, he retorts: ‘Well, you also have done such things. Fix yourself first!’ Just as a bucking horse looses his hind legs from the pole and tramples on it, this person is like that.
Again, when one is reproved by one of his fellows, he evades the question, turns the issue aside and shows umbrage, anger and sulkiness. Just as a bucking horse takes the wrong road and makes the carriage sway, this person is like that.
Or again, on being reproved, he speaks to the assembly with much gesticulation. Just as a bucking horse rears high and strikes out with his hooves, this person is like that.
Yet again, on being reproved, he disregards the assembly and the reprover and continues to offend just as before. Just as a bucking horse takes no notice of his driver or the whip and pulls his bit, this person is like that.
Once again, on being reproved, he says: ‘I am not guilty, and I don’t care what you say,’ and he annoys the assembly by his silence. Just as a bucking horse, when urged on, goes neither back nor forward, but stands still like a post – this person is like that.
And finally, when one is reproved by one of his fellows he says: ‘Sirs, why should you worry so much about me? I will give up the training and return to the ordinary life. I hope you are satisfied.’ Just like a bucking horse, when whipped and urged forward by the driver, draws his legs together and just sits down, this person is, I say, just like that.
Whatever monks possess virtue, concentration, vision, freedom and knowledge and vision – just to see them brings much good; just to hear about them brings much good. To visit them, to sit beside them, to remember what they say, and to follow them in going forth in the holy life also brings much good.
The brahmin Aramadanda asked Venerable Kaccana: “What is the cause, what is the reason why nobles, brahmins and householders all quarrel with each other?”
“They do so because of their bondage and servitude to sensual pleasures, their attachment to and greed for sensual pleasures.”
“What is the cause, Master Kaccana, what is the reason why monks quarrel with monks?”
“They do so because of their bondage and servitude to opinions, their attachment to and greed for opinions.”
With four things women win power in this world, this world is in their hand. What four? Concerning this, a woman is capable at her work, she manages the servants properly, she is loved by her husband and she guards his wealth. And how is a woman capable at her work? Whatever her husband’s home industries, whether in wool or cotton, she is deft and tireless, gifted with an inquiring turn of mind into ways and means and able to arrange and carry out the job. And how does she manage the servants properly? Whether there be servants, messengers or workers in her husband’s household, she knows the work of each and what has been done, she knows what has to be avoided, she knows the strengths and weaknesses of the sick, she shares out the food, both hard and soft, according to their share. And how is she loved by her husband? Whatever her husband considers unlovely, she would never do, not even to save her life. And how does she guard her husband’s wealth? Whatever money, grain, silver or gold he brings home, she secures, watches and guards; never does she steal, misuse or waste it.
If, in an argument, the accused and the accuser do not practice honest self-examination, you can expect that it will lead to drawn out, bitter, contentious strife and no one will be able to live in peace. And how should the two parties practice strict self-examination? The accused should reflect: ‘I have committed some wrong and that other person saw me. When he saw, he got annoyed and said so. He rebuked me and I got annoyed and went and told the others. So, it is I who am at fault.’ And how does the accuser practice strict self-examination? The accuser should reflect: ‘This person has committed some wrong and I saw him. Had he not done it, I would not have seen it, but as he did it, I saw it. When I saw, I was displeased and I told him so. He got annoyed and told the others. So it is I who am at fault.’ Thus it is that if in an argument the accused and the accuser both practice strict self-examination, you can expect that all will be able to live in peace.
These four who are accomplished in wisdom, who are disciplined, confident, deeply learned, upholders of Dhamma and who live in accordance with Dhamma – these four illuminate the Sangha. Which four? A monk, a nun, a layman and a laywoman.
Whoever is wise, disciplined and deeply learned,
Upholding Dhamma and living according to it,
They are called ‘Light of the Sangha.’
The monk well-possessed of virtue,
The nun who is widely learned,
Male and female disciples full of faith –
It is they who illuminate the Sangha.
‘Light of the Sangha’ they are called.
Malunkyaputta said to the Lord: “Sir, as I was meditating, this thought came to me: ‘Those speculative views about the world, whether it is finite or infinite, whether it is both or neither; those speculative views about whether the soul is the same as the body or different from it; those speculative views about whether the Tathagata exists after death or does not, whether he both exists and does not exist, whether he neither exists nor does not exist; the Lord has not addressed these views, he has sidestepped them and ignored them.’ Sir, if you do not explain these views for me, I will leave this training. If you know the answers to these questions, you should explain them to me. And if you don’t know, then it would be honest and say so.”
“But Malunkyaputta, did I ever say to you: ‘Come, be my disciple, and I will answer all these questions for you?’”
“Then, did you ever say to me: ‘I will become your disciple only if you answer all these questions?’”
“So, who are you and what is your complaint, you foolish man? If one were to say that they would not become my disciple until all these views had been explained by me, he might be dead before it could be done. It is as if a man had been shot by a poisoned arrow and his friends might get a doctor to help him. And he might say: ‘Wait! I do not want the arrow removed until I know the name of the man who shot it, what caste he is, whether he is short or tall, fat or thin. I do not want the arrow removed until I know whether the bow that shot the arrow was a spring bow, a crossbow or a longbow. I do not want the arrow removed until I know whether the bow was made from reed, wood or bamboo, or whether the head of the arrow was a calf-tooth head, an ordinary head, a jagged head or an iron head.’ Long before all these questions could be answered, that man would be dead. In the same way, if someone were to say that they would not become my disciple until all the questions about whether the world is infinite or not were answered, they might be dead before it could be done. Living the holy life could not be said to depend upon whether the world is infinite or not, whether it is both infinite and finite, whether it is neither infinite nor finite or any of the other questions. Whether the world is infinite or not, there is birth, there is aging, there is dying, there is grief, sorrow, suffering, lamentation and despair, and it is for the ending of this that I teach. Therefore, understand as not explained what has not been explained by me, and understand as explained what has been explained by me. And what has not been explained by me? All these speculative views that you ask about. And why? Because it is not connected with the goal, it is not fundamental to the holy life, it does not conduce to good, to turning away, to fading, to calming, to higher knowledge or to Nirvana. And what has been explained by me? The Four Noble Truths. And why? Because it is connected with the goal, it is fundamental to the holy life, it does conduce to good, to turning away, to fading, to calming, to higher knowledge and to Nirvana.”
Venerable Subhuti and a believing monk came to the Lord, sat down, and the Lord said to Subhuti: “Who, Subhuti, is this monk with you?”
“Sir, he is a believer, the son of a believing disciple; he went forth from a believer’s home.”
“But, Subhuti, does he have the traditional characteristics of a believer?”
“Now would be a good time, Lord, to tell me the traditional characteristics of a believer; then I will know whether or not this monk has them.”
“Then listen carefully and I will speak. Concerning this, a monk is virtuous, he lives restrained by the rules of training, he is well-equipped with practice, seeing danger in the slightest fault, and he follows the precepts and applies himself to them. He has heard much, and what he has learned he keeps it in mind and remembers it. Those teachings that are beautiful in the beginning, beautiful in the middle and beautiful in the end, in both the letter and the spirit, laying down the holy life in all its perfection and purity, those teachings he listens much to, remembers, recites, ponders over and penetrates with wisdom. Further, he has friendship with the beautiful, fellowship with the beautiful, companionship with the beautiful. He is pleasant to speak to, endowed with the qualities that make him easy to speak to, he is patient and clever at grasping the meaning of instructions. Yet again, in all dealings with his fellow monks, whether in matters great or small, he is clever and energetic, possessing the ability to give proper consideration to them, knowing what the right thing is and how to do it. He delights in Dhamma, he rejoices greatly in higher Dhamma and higher discipline, and is pleasant to speak with about it. Yet again, he has resolute energy for abandoning bad qualities; he is stout and strong in acquiring good qualities, not shirking the burden of good qualities. He can attain easily and without difficulty the four jhanas which are of the clearest consciousness and are connected with happiness here and now. He can recall his former lives – one, two, five, ten, a hundred, and a hundred thousand. Yet again, with god-like vision, purified and surpassing that of ordinary people, he can see the rising and passing away of beings. And finally, by the destruction of the defilements, in this very life and by his own comprehension, he attains freedom of mind, freedom through wisdom and he abides in it. These, Subhuti, are the traditional characteristics of a believer.”
The sky and the Earth are far apart, and this side of the ocean is far from the other side. But they say even further apart than this is the Dhamma of the good from the Dhamma of the bad.
There are these four Perfect Efforts. What four? Concerning this, one generates desire to prevent the arising of evil, unprofitable states that have not yet arisen. One makes an effort, sets going energy, lays hold of and exerts the mind to this end. One generates desire for the abandoning of evil unprofitable states that have already arisen. One makes an effort, sets going energy, lays hold of and exerts the mind to this end. One generates desire for the arising of profitable states that have not yet arisen. One makes an effort, sets going energy, lays hold of and exerts the mind to this end. And one generates desire for the persisting, the non-confusion, the further development, the increase, cultivation and fulfillment of profitable states that have already arisen. One makes an effort, sets going energy, lays hold of and exerts the mind to this end.
Abandon wrong. It can be done. If it were impossible to do, I would not urge you to do so. But since it can be done, I say to you: ‘Abandon wrong.’ If abandoning wrong brought loss and sorrow, I would not urge you to do so. But since it conduces to your benefit and happiness, I say to you: ‘Abandon wrong.’ Cultivate the good. It can be done. If it were impossible to do, I would not urge you to do so. But since it can be done, I say to you: ‘Cultivate the good.’ If cultivating the good brought loss and sorrow, I would not urge you to do so. But since it conduces to your benefit and happiness, I say to you: ‘Cultivate good.’
A teacher should look upon his pupil as a son. A pupil should look upon his teacher as a father. These two, united by mutual reverence and deference and living in communion together will achieve increase, growth and progress in this Dhamma and discipline.
One whose faith in the Tathagata is settled, fixed, established, firm, unshaken by any monk or brahmin, by any god, Mara, Brahma or anyone in the world, can confidently say: ‘I am the true child of the Lord, born of Dhamma, created by Dhamma, an heir of Dhamma.’
The Lord said: “Words that have these four qualities are well-spoken, not ill-spoken, faultless, not blamed by the wise. What four? Concerning this, one speaks words that are well-spoken not ill-spoken, words that are right not wrong, words of love not hate, one speaks words that are truthful not false.
The virtuous say well-spoken words are best,
Secondly comes right speech, not wrong,
Thirdly come words of love not hatred,
And fourthly come truthful, not false words.”
Then Venerable Vangisa rose from his seat, arranged his robe on one shoulder, put his palms together and said: “Something occurs to me, Lord.” Then he spoke these words in praise of the Lord:
“One should utter only words
Which do no harm for oneself
Or cause harm to others
That is truly beautiful speech.
Speak loving words,
Words rejoiced at and welcomed,
Words that bear ill-will to none;
Always speak lovingly to others.
Truthful speech is of the Immortal.
This is an eternal truth.
The good say the Dhamma and the goal
Are based on words that are true.
The Buddha speaks words that lead
To the winning of security,
The ending of sorrow, and the attaining of Nirvana.
Truly, this is the speech supreme.”
If anyone were to say that just as a person does a deed, so is his experience determined by it, and if this were true, then living the holy life would not be possible, there would be no opportunity for the overcoming of suffering. But if anyone were to say that a person does a deed that is to be experienced, so does he experience it, then living the holy life would be possible, there would be an opportunity for the ending of suffering.
For instance, a small evil deed done by one person may be experienced here in this life or perhaps not at all. Now, what sort of person commits a small evil that takes him to hell? Take a person who is careless in the development of body, speech and mind. He has not developed wisdom, he is insignificant, he has not developed himself, his life is restricted, and he is miserable. Even a small evil deed may bring such a person to hell. Now, take the person who is careful in development of body, speech and mind, he has developed wisdom, he is not insignificant, he has developed himself, his life is unrestricted and he is immeasurable. For such a person, a small evil deed may be experienced here or perhaps not at all.
Suppose someone throws a grain of salt into a little cup of water. That water would be undrinkable. And why? Because the amount of water is small. Now, suppose throws a grain salt in River Ganges. That water would not be undrinkable. And why? Because the amount of water is great.
Sakka asked the Lord: “Sir, do all monks and brahmins teach the same Dhamma, practise the same discipline, desire the same thing and pursue the same goal?”
“No, Ruler of the Gods, they do not. And why not? This world is made up of many and various elements, and people adhere to one or another of these elements, and become tenaciously attached to them, saying: ‘This alone is true, all else is false.’ Therefore, all monks and Brahmins do not teach the same Dhamma, practice the same discipline, desire the same thing or pursue the same goal.”
What is the power of sympathy? There are these four bases of sympathy: generosity, kind speech, doing a good turn and treating all equally. The best generosity is generosity with the Dhamma. The best kind speech is teaching the Dhamma again and again to a good and attentive listener. The best good turn is inciting, encouraging and establishing the ways of faith in the doubting, the ways of virtue in the unvirtuous, the ways of generosity in the mean, and ways of wisdom in the foolish. The best equal treatment is the equality between Stream-Winner and Stream-Winner, between Once-Returner and Once-Returner, between Non-Returner and Non-Returner, and between Noble One and Noble One. This is called the power of sympathy.
Tasty or bland, much or little, one can eat anything made with love. Indeed, love is the highest taste.
When the Ageless exists,
What do you bother with sensual pleasures,
Which are bound up with old age and death
All births everywhere
Are inseparable from sickness and death.
But this is ageless and immortal;
This is the ageless immortal state,
Without grieving or enmity,
Without obstruction, without stumbling,
Without fear and without burning.
This immortal state
Has been attained by many,
And can be attained even today
By anyone who applies himself,
But not by those who do not strive.
Venerable Sona, meditating in solitude, thought to himself: “The Lord’s disciples live in energy and I am one of them, and yet my mind is not detached and free from the defilements. My family is rich so I am going to give up the training, return to the household life, enjoy riches and do good works.” Now, the Lord read Sona’s mind, and as easily as a strong man might stretch out his arm, he appeared in front of Sona and said: “What do you think, Sona? In the past when you were at home, were you not accomplished in the lute’s music?”
“Yes, I was, Lord.”
“And when the strings were too tight, was the lute melodious and playable?”
“When the strings were too loose, was it melodious and playable?”
“When the strings were neither too tight nor too loose, but tuned to the middle pitch, was the lute then melodious and playable?”
“Yes, Lord it was.”
“Even so, Sona, when effort is too strong it ends in agitation, and when too lax it ends in idleness. Therefore, balance your faculties and then you will attain that which is of true value.”
Then, King Milinda said to Venerable Nagasena: “What is the characteristic of faith?”
“Faith, Sir, has the characteristic of tranquility and leaping forward.”
“In what way is tranquility a characteristic of faith?”
“When faith arises, it destroys the hindrances, and when thought is without the hindrances, it is clear, pure and serene.”
“Give me a simile.”
“A king, going along a highway together with his army of four parts – elephants, cavalry, chariots and infantry – might cross a small stream, and the water might become dirty, turbid and muddy by being disturbed by the army. Then, the king might say: ‘Bring water, good sirs, I want to drink.’ They might answer him, saying: ‘Yes, your Majesty,’ and taking the king’s water-cleansing gem might put it in the water so that the various water plants would disappear, the mud subside and the water become clear, pure and serene. Then they would offer the water to the king, saying: ‘Let His Majesty drink.’ Thought is like the water, the people are like the earnest students of meditation, the defilements are like the water plants and mud, and faith is like the water-cleansing gem. As the water plants disappear, the mud subsides, and the water become clear, pure and serene when the water-cleansing gem is put in it – even so, the arising of faith destroys the hindrances and thought without hindrances is clear, pure and serene.”
“How, reverend sir, is leaping forward a characteristic of faith?”
“As, Sir, the earnest student of meditation, on seeing that the minds of others are freed, leaps forward after the fruits of Stream-Winning, of Once-Returning, of Non-Returning or of Arahantship, and practices meditation for the attainment of the unattained, for the mastery of the unmastered, for the realization of the unrealized. In this way is leaping forward a characteristic of faith.”
“Give me a simile.”
“A great rain cloud might pour down rain on a high mountain, so that the water rushing down the incline, after filling the gullies, the valleys and the small streams on the slopes, would fill the river, so that it would rush along, breaking its banks. Now, if a great crowd of people were to approach that river knowing neither its width nor depth, they would stand terrified and hesitant on its bank. Then, if a man were to approach who was confident of his own power and strength, and putting on a loincloth, were to dive into that river he would cross over. The other people, seeing that he had crossed over, would then cross over too. Even so Sir, the earnest student of meditation, on seeing that the minds of others are freed, leaps forward after the fruits of Stream-Winning, of Once-Returning or of Arhantship, and practices meditation for the attainment of the unattained, for the mastery of the unmastered, for the realization of the unrealized, and thus is leaping forward a characteristic of faith.”
One conceives hatred at the thought: ‘So-and-so has done me harm, he is doing me harm, he is going to do me harm.’ One conceives hatred at the thought: ‘So-and-so has done harm to one dear and precious to me, he is doing harm to one dear and precious to me, he is going to do harm to one dear and precious to me.’ One conceives hatred at the thought: ‘So-and-so has done good to one not dear and precious to me, is doing good to one not dear and precious to me, is going to do good to one not dear and precious to me.’ In this way, one is annoyed without good reason.
Monks! Brahmins and householders are most helpful to you since they provide you with your robe and bowl, your lodging and seat, your medicines and the necessities for sickness. You also are most helpful to them, since you teach them the Dhamma that is lovely in the beginning, lovely in the middle and lovely at the end, in both in the letter and the spirit. You proclaim to them the holy life in all its completeness and purity. Therefore, the holy life is lived for crossing the flood, for the overcoming of suffering, in mutual dependence.
The Buddha is like one who passes down the inheritance of the Dhamma. The good Dhamma is like that inheritance. The Sangha, which is like a group of children who are heirs of an inheritance, is heir to the inheritance of the good Dhamma.
While some monks and brahmins, while living on food provided by the faithful, make their living by such low arts, such wrong means of livelihood as palmistry, fortune-telling from signs, portents, dreams, marks on the body, and the gnawing of mice, by using a spoon to make offerings of rice husks, bran or grains to the fire god, by reading the fingertips, by house lore, garden lore, by purveying magic charms, by casting out ghosts, by practicing earth-house lore, snake lore, poison lore, rat lore, crow lore, by foretelling the length of someone’s life, by making charms against arrows or by interpreting the cries of animals, the monk Gotama abstains from such low arts, such wrong means of livelihood.
Just as the dawn is the forerunner, the herald of the arising of the sun – so too, friendship with the beautiful is the forerunner, the herald of the arising of the Noble Eightfold Path. When one is a friend of the beautiful, it may be expected that he will cultivate and develop the Noble Eightfold Path.
For one who is virtuous, in full possession of virtue, there is no need for the conscious thought: ‘May I be free from remorse.’ And why? Because it is natural that one who is virtuous is free from remorse. And for one free from remorse there is no need for the purposeful thought: ‘May I be joyful.’ And why? Because it is natural that one who is free from remorse is joyful.
Being devoted to the recollection on peace allows one to sleep happily and wake happily, have peaceful faculties, a peaceful mind, self-respect and fear of blame, to be confident, resolved to attain the highest state, and to be respected and revered by ones fellows in the holy life. And even if one attains no higher, one will have a happy rebirth.
There are two people you can never repay. Which two? Your father and your mother. Even if you were to carry them on your back and live for a hundred years, supporting them, anointing them with medicines, bathing and massaging their limbs and wiping up their excrement after them, even this would not repay them. Even if you were to give them absolute sovereignty over the whole world, this would not repay them. And why? Because parents do much for their children, they bring them up, nourish them and introduce them to the world. But whoever encourages their doubting parents to believe, their immoral parents to be virtuous, their stingy parents to be generous and their foolish parents to be wise, that one by so doing, does repay, does more than repay their parents.