Digha Nikaya

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Digha Nikaya

The Long Discourses of the Buddha

Sutta 33

Sangiti Suttanta

The Chanting Together


© Maurice Walshe 1987.
Used with the permission of Wisdom Publications.



'There are [sets of] three things ... Which are they?

[3.01][pts][bd] 'Three unwholesome roots: of greed, hatred, delusion [483] (lobho akusala-mulam, doso akusala-mulam, moho akusala-mulam).

[3.02][pts][bd] 'Three wholesome roots: of non-greed, non-hatred non-delusion (alobho ... ).

[3.03][pts][bd] 'Three kinds of wrong conduct: in body, speech and thought (kaya-duccaritam, vaci-duccaritam, mano-duccaritam.). [215]

[3.04][pts][bd] 'Three kinds of right conduct: in body, speech and thought (kaya-sucaritam ... ).

[3.05][pts][bd] 'Three kinds of unwholesome thought (akusala-vitakka): of sensuality, of enmity, of cruelty (kama-vitakko, vyapada-vitakko, vihinsa-vitakko).

[3.06][pts][bd] 'Three kinds of wholesome thought: of renunciation (nekkhamma-vitakko), of non-enmity, of non-cruelty.

[3.07][pts][bd] 'Three kinds of unwholesome motivation (sankappa):[1029] through sensuality, enmity, cruelty.

[3.08][pts][bd] 'Three kinds of wholesome motivation: through renunciation (nekkhamma), non-enmity, non-cruelty.

[3.09][pts][bd] 'Three kinds of unwholesome perception (sanna): of sensuality, of enmity, of cruelty.

[3.10][pts][bd] 'Three kinds of wholesome perception: of renunciation, of non-enmity, of non-cruelty.

[3.11][pts][bd] (11) 'Three unwholesome elements (dhatuyo): sensuality, enmity, cruelty.

[3.12][pts][bd] 'Three wholesome elements: renunciation, non-enmity, non-cruelty.

[3.13][pts][bd] 'Three more elements: the element of sense-desire,[1030] the element of form, the formless element (kama-dhatu, rupa-dhatu, arupa-dhatu).

[3.14][pts][bd] 'Three more elements: the element of form, the formless element, the element of cessation[1031] (rupa-dhatu, arupa-dhatu, nirodha-dhatu).

[3.15][pts][bd] 'Three more elements: the low element, the middling element, the sublime element (hina dhatu, majjhima dhatu, panita dhatu).[216]

[3.16][pts][bd] 'Three kinds of craving: sensual craving, craving for becoming,[1032] craving for extinction[1033] (kama-tanha, bhavatanha, vibhava-tanha).

[3.17][pts][bd] 'Three more kinds of craving: craving for [the World of] Sense-Desires, for [the World of] Form, for the Formless [World] (kama-tanha, rupa-tanha, arupa-tanha).

[484] [3.18][pts][bd] 'Three more kinds of craving: for [the World of] Form, for the Formless [World], for cessation (as for (14)).

[3.19][pts][bd] 'Three fetters (sanyojanani): of personality-belief, of doubt, of attachment to rite and ritual (sakkaya-ditthi, vicikiccha, silabbata-paramaso).

[3.20][pts][bd] 'Three corruptions (asava): of sense-desire, of becoming, of ignorance (kamasavo, bhavasavo, avijjasavo).

[3.21][pts][bd] 'Three kinds of becoming: [in the World] of Sense-Desire, of Form, in the Formless World (kama-bhavo, rupa-bhavo, arupa-bhavo).

[3.22][pts][bd] 'Three quests: for sense-desires, for becoming, for the holy life (kamesana, bhavesana, brahmacariyesana).

[3.23][pts][bd] 'Three forms of conceit: "I am better than ... ", "I am equal to ... ", "I am worse than ... " ("seyyo'ham asmiti" vidha, "sadiso'ham asmiti" vidha, "hino'ham asmiti" vidha).

[3.24][pts][bd] 'Three times: past, future, present (atito addha, anagato addha, paccuppanno addha).

[3.25][pts][bd] 'Three "ends" (anta):[1034] personality, its arising, its cessation (sakkaya anto, sakkaya-samudayo anto, sakkaya-nirodho anto).

[3.26][pts][bd] 'Three feelings: pleasant, painful, neither (sukha vedana, dukkha vedana, adukkham-asukha vedana).

[3.27][pts][bd] 'Three kinds of suffering: as pain, as inherent in formations, as due to change (dukkha-dukkhata, sankhara-dukkhata, viparinama-dukkhata).

[3.28][pts][bd] [217] 'Three accumulations: evil with fixed result,[1035] good with fixed result,[1036] indeterminate (micchatta-niyato rasi, sammatta-niyato rasi, aniyato-rasi).

[3.29][pts][bd] 'Three obscurations (tama):[1037] One hesitates (kankhati), vacillates (vicikicchati), is undecided (nadhimuccati), is unsettled (na sampasidati) about the past, the future, the present.

[3.30][pts][bd] 'Three things a Tathagata has no need to guard against:
A Tathagata is perfectly pure in bodily conduct, in speech and in thought (parisuddha-kaya-, -vaci-, -mano-samacaro). There is no misdeed of body, speech or thought which he must conceal lest anyone should get to hear about it.

[3.31][pts][bd] 'Three obstacles:[1038] lust, hatred, delusion (rago kincanam, dosa kincanam, moho kincanam).

[3.32][pts][bd] 'Three fires: lust, hatred, delusion (ragaggi, dosaggi, mohaggi).

[3.33][pts][bd] [485] 'Three more fires: the fire of those to be revered, of the householder, of those worthy of offerings[1039] (ahuneyyaggi, gahapataggi, dakkhineyyaggi).

[3.34][pts][bd] 'Threefold classification of matter: visible and resisting, invisible and resisting, invisible and unresisting[1040] (sanidassana-sappatigham rupam, anidassana-sappatigham ruparh, anidassana-appatigham rupam).

[3.35][pts][bd] 'Three kinds of karmic formation:[1041] meritorious, demeritorious, imperturbable[1042] (punnabhisankharo, apunnabhisankharo, anennabhisankharo).

[3.36][pts][bd] [218] 'Three persons: the learner, the non-learner, the one who is neither[1043] (sekho puggalo, asekho puggalo, n'eva sekho nasekho puggalo).

[3.37][pts][bd] 'Three elders: an elder by birth, in Dhamma, by convention[1044] (jati-thero, dhamma-thero, sammuti-thero).

[3.38][pts][bd] 'Three grounds based on merit: that of giving, of morality, of meditation (danamayam punna-kiriya-vatthu, silamayam punna-kiriya-vatthu, bhavanamaya punna-kiriya-vatthu).

[3.39][pts][bd] (39) 'Three grounds for reproof: based on what has been seen, heard, suspected (ditthena, sutena, parisankaya).

[3.40][pts][bd] 'Three kinds of rebirth in the Realm of Sense-Desire (kamupapattiyo):[1045] There are beings who desire what presents itself to them (paccuppatthita-kama), and are in the grip of that desire, such as human beings, some devas, and some in states of woe. There are beings who desire what they have created (nimmita-kama), ... such as the devas Who Rejoice in Their Own Creation (Nimmanarati). There are beings who rejoice in the creations of others, ... such as the devas Having Power over Others' Creation (Paranimmita-vasavatti).

[3.41][pts][bd] 'Three happy rebirths (sukhupapattiyo):[1046] There are beings who, having continually produced happiness now dwell in happiness, such as the devas of the Brahma group. There are beings who are overflowing with happiness, drenched with it, full of it, immersed in it, so that they occasionally exclaim: "Oh what bliss!" such as the Radiant devas (Abhassara). There are beings ... immersed in happiness, who, supremely blissful, [219] experience only perfect happiness, such as the Lustrous devas (Subhakinna).

[3.42][pts][bd] 'Three kinds of wisdom: of the learner, of the non-learner, of the one who is neither (as (36)).

[3.43][pts][bd] [486] 'Three more kinds of wisdom: based on thought, on learning [hearing], on mental development [meditation] (cintamaya panna, sutamaya panna, bhavanamaya panna).

[3.44][pts][bd] 'Three armaments[1047] (avudhani): what one has learnt, detachment, wisdom (sutavudham, pavivekavudham, pannavudham).

[3.45][pts][bd] 'Three faculties:[1048] of knowing that one will know the unknown, of highest knowledge, of the one who knows (anannatam- nassamitindriyam, annindriyam, annata-v-indriyam).

[3.46][pts][bd] 'Three eyes: the fleshly eye, the divine eye,[1049] the eye of wisdom[1050] (mamsa-cakkhu, dibba-cakkhu, panna-cakkhu).

[3.47][pts][bd] 'Three kinds of training: in higher morality, higher thought, higher wisdom (adhisila-sikkha, adhicitta-sikkha, adhipanna-sikkha).

[3.48][pts][bd] 'Three kinds of development: of the emotions,[1051] of mind, of wisdom (kaya-bhavana, citta-bhavana, panna-bhavana).

[3.49][pts][bd] 'Three "unsurpassables": of vision, of practice, of liberation (dassan¢nuttariyam, patipadanuttariyam, vimutt¢nuttariyam).

[3.50][pts][bd] 'Three kinds of concentration: with thinking and pondering,[1052] with pondering without thinking, with neither (savitakko savicaro samadhi, avitakko vicara-matto samadhi, avitakko avicaro samadhi).

[3.51][pts][bd] 'Three more kinds of concentration: on emptiness, the "signless", desireless (sunnato samadhi, animitto samadhi, appaniihito samadhi).

[3.52][pts][bd] 'Three purities: of body, speech, mind (kaya-socceyyam, vaci-socceyyam, mano-socceyyam).

[3.53][pts][bd] [220] 'Three qualities of the sage:[1053] as to body, speech, mind (kaya-moneyyam, vaci-moneyyam, mano-moneyyam).

[3.54][pts][bd] 'Three skills: in going forward,[1054] in going down, in means to progress (aya-kosallam, apaya-kosallam, upaya-kosallam).

[3.55][pts][bd] 'Three intoxications: with health, with youth, with life (arogya-mado, yobbana-mado, jivita-mado).

[3.56][pts][bd] 'Three predominant influences: oneself, the world, the Dhamma (attadhipateyyam, lokadhipateyyam, dhammadhipateyyam).

[3.57][pts][bd] 'Three topics of discussion: Talk may be of the past: [487] "That's how it used to be"; of the future: "That's how it will be"; of the present: "That's how it is now."

[3.58][pts][bd] 'Three knowledges: of one's past lives, of the decease and rebirth of beings, of the destruction of the corruptions (pubbenivasanussati-nanam vijja, sattanam cutupapate nanam vijja, asavanam khaye nanam vijja).

[3.59][pts][bd] 'Three abidings: deva-abiding, Brahma-abiding, the Ariyan abiding[1055] (dibbo viharo, Brahma-viharo, ariyo viharo).

[3.60][pts][bd] 'Three miracles:[1056] of psychic power, of telepathy, of instruction (iddhi-patihariyam, adesana-patihariyam, anusasanipatihariyam).

'These are the [sets of] three things ... So we should all recite together ... for the benefit, welfare and happiness of devas and humans.'


[1029] Or 'thought', as in the second step of the Noble Eightfold Path.

[1030] Here, the World of Sense-Desire (kama-loka).

[1031] Note the overlap with the previous three, which represented the 'Three Worlds'. Here We have the two 'higher worlds' and the supramundane (lokuttara), referred to here as 'cessation' (as in the Third Noble Truth).

[1032] Craving for continued existence.

[1033] Craving, not for 'cessation' (n.1031) but for (materialistic) extinction. Only those in whom the Dhamma-eye (n.140) has opened can clearly see the vital distinction between these, though it can be more or less dimly intuited by reason and/or faith. See n.703.

[1034] Lit. 'own body', this is the erroneous self-idea. The destruction of this fetter (with two other associated ones) constitutes the opening of the Dhamma-eye (n.1033) or 'Stream-Entry'.

[1035] Certain crimes (as parricide, cf. DN 2.100) have a fixed result which cannot be avoided.

[1036] When the first path-moment (or Stream-Entry, n.1034) has been gained, progress is inevitable, and retrogression to 'states of woe' impossible.

[1037] RD reads kankha 'doubts'.

[1038] Lit. 'somethings', glossed by DA as 'obstacles'.

[1039] I.e. religious teachers (d. DN 31.29).

[1040] This refers to 'very subtle matter'.

[1041] 'They compound co-existent states and (their) future fruition-states' (DA).

[1042] This refers to rebirth in the Formless World.

[1043] Cf. n.542

[1044] The last receives the courtesy title of 'elder' from juniors without being strictly entitled to it.

[1045] These are all the realms from the hells up to the heaven of the Paranimmita-vasavatti devas. (See Introduction, p. 40).

[1046] These are all in the World of Form.

[1047] Ways in which one is 'guarded'.

[1048] The higher faculties of the Stream-Winner, etc.

[1049] Cf. n.140

[1050] That of the Stream-Winner.

[1051] Kaya here means not (as RD) 'the psycho-physiological mechanism of sense', but 'mental (i.e. broadly 'emotional') body'.

[1052] Different stages of jhana. The distinction made between the first two seems to reflect the (later) Abhidhammic subdivision of the first jhana into two.

[1053] Moneyya is derived from muni 'sage' (or 'anchorite', RD).

[1054] Note the play on words here: three derivatives of the root i 'to go'. Aya can also, in more mundane contexts, mean 'money-making' (as absurdly suggested for this passage in PED!). Apaya generally refers to 'states of woe' (evil rebirths), while upaya comes to mean 'skilful device', and as such is much used of the Bodhisattva in the Mahayana tradition.

[1055] The second refers to the Brahmaviharas (DN 13), the third to Arahantship.

[1056] Cf. DN 11.3 and nn.231-3.


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