Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
III. Upari-Paṇṇāsa
4. Vibhaŋga Vagga

Sacred Books of the Buddhists
Volume VI
Dialogues of the Buddha
Part V

Further Dialogues of the Buddha
Volume II

Translated from the Pali
by Lord Chalmers, G.C.B.
Sometime Governor of Ceylon

London
Humphrey Milford
Oxford University Press
1927
Public Domain

Sutta 142

Dakkhiṇa-Vibhaŋga Suttaɱ

Analysis of Almsgiving

 


[253] [299]

[1][pts][upal] THUS have I heard:

Once when the Lord was living in the Sakyan country at Kapilavatthu
in the Banyan grove there,
Mahā-Pajāpatī the Gotamid came to the Lord
with two new lengths of cloth
which she begged the Lord
to be so good as to accept from her,
as being the work of her own hands at the loom
expressly for him.

To her the Lord made answer: -

Give it to the Confraternity, Gotami,
and thereby show honour both to me
and also to the Confraternity.

A second,
and a third time,
she repeated her request,
only to receive the same answer.

Then said the reverend Ānanda to the Lord: -

Pray accept, sir,
the cloth from Mahā-Pajāpatī the Gotamid!

She was of great service to the Lord
as nurse and foster-mother,
suckling her nephew
when his own mother died.

Of great service to her too
has the Lord been; -
all through the Lord,
[300] she has found refuge with the Buddha
and with his Doctrine
and his Confraternity;
all through the Lord,
she keeps herself from taking life,
from taking what is not given her,
from lechery,
from lying
and from all manner of strong drink;
all through the Lord,
she has absolute faith in the Buddha
and his Doctrine
and his Confraternity,
and [254] is an embodiment
of all noble and lovely virtue;
and, all through' the Lord,
she has an unclouded belief in the Four Truths
of Ill,
the origin of Ill,
the cessation of Ill,
and the path that leads to the cessation of Ill.

Yes, the Lord has been of great service to her too.

Quite so, Ānanda;
quite so.

For, if a man has been led by a teacher
to find refuge in the Buddha
and his Doctrine
and his Confraternity,
the service rendered him
cannot be requited by salutations
or civilities
or by presents of robes and other requisites;
nor again are such things a recompense
for being led either to abstain from taking life,
stealing,
lechery,
lying
and strong drink,
or to have absolute faith in the Buddha
and his Doctrine
and his Confraternity,
or to have become an embodiment
of all noble and lovely virtue,
or to have an unclouded belief
in the Four Truths.

Donations to individuals
are ranked in fourteen grades.

First ranks giving to a Truth-finder,
arahat All-Enlightened;
second comes giving to a Pacceka-Buddha;
the third is giving to a Truth-finder's arahat disciples;
the fourth is giving to one
who is on the way to become a perfected arahat;
the fifth is giving to one
who will never be reborn on earth;
[255] the sixth is giving to one
who is on the way never to be reborn on earth;
the seventh is giving to one
who will return to earth only once more;
the eighth is giving to one
who is on the way to return to earth but once again;
the ninth is giving to one
who has entered the Paths;
the tenth is giving to one
who is on the way to enter the Paths;
the eleventh is giving to one
who, though outside our pale,
is superior to sensual pleasure;
the twelfth is giving to an ordinary but virtuous man;
the thirteenth is giving to an ordinary but non-virtuous [301] man;
and the fourteenth is giving to those
who have been reborn as animals.

Herein, Ānanda,
the yield to be looked for
from a donation to an animal
is a hundred-fold,
to an ordinary non-virtuous man
a thousand-fold,
to an ordinary but virtuous man
a hundred-thousand-fold,
to him who,
though outside the pale,
is superior to sensual pleasure
a million-million-fold,
to the man who is on his way to enter the Paths
incalculable and beyond all measure.

What words can express it
for the higher stages?

What words can express it
for a Truth-finder,
arahat all-enlightened?

Donations to the Confraternity are seven.

First among these ranks the donation
to both Almsmen and Almswomen
with the Buddha at their head;
second comes a donation
to both Almsmen and Almswomen
when the Buddha is no more;
third is giving to the whole body of Almsmen;
fourth to the whole body of Almswomen;
fifth [256] is to a fixed number
of selected Almsmen and Almswomen;
sixth to a fixed number
of selected Almsmen
and the seventh Confraternity donation
is giving to a fixed number of selected Almswomen.

In days to come
there will be yellow-garbed members of this spiritual clan
without virtue and of bad dispositions,
to whom for the Confraternity's sake
gifts will be given.

Even then, say I,
a donation to the Confraternity
is of incalculable and measureless worth;
but never, say I,
is a donation to an individual
more fruitful
than a donation to the Confraternity as a whole.

There are four degrees of purity in donations, -
there may be purity
(i) of donor but not of recipient,
(ii) of recipient but not of donor,
(iii) of neither, and
(iv) of both.

The first of the four
is when the donor is a virtuous man of good dispositions,
while the recipients are without virtue
and of bad dispositions.

The second is when
the donor is without virtue
and of bad dispositions,
while the recipients are virtuous men
of good dispositions.

[302] The third is when
both are without virtue
and of bad dispositions.

And the fourth is when
both donor and recipients are virtuous men of good dispositions.

[257] Thus spoke the Lord;
and the Blessed One,
as Master,
added the following: -

When to th'unworthy pious virtue gives,
with grounded faith, what's rightly its to give,
then from the action fruit abundant grows.
- The gift is hallow'd here by him who gives.

When from th'unworthy pious virtue takes
what ne'er was theirs to give, nor have they faith,
still from the action fruit abundant grows.
- The gift is hallow'd here by him who takes.

When from unworthy hands th'unworthy take
what ne'er was theirs to give, nor have they faith,
still from the action fruit abundant grows.
- The gift is hallow'd here by neither side.

When pious virtue unto virtue gives,
with grounded faith what's rightly its to give,
then from the action fruit abundant grows,
- That gift, say I, bears overflowing fruits.

When pious Saint on Saint bestows as gifts,
with grounded faith, what's rightly his to give,
then from the action fruit abundant grows.
- The things thus given make a mighty gift.


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