Anguttara Nikaya


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Aŋguttara-Nikāya
III. Tikanipāta
III. Puggala Vagga

The Book of the
Gradual Sayings
or
More-Numbered Suttas

Part III
The Book of the Threes

Chapter III
On Persons

Sutta 28

Gūthabhāṇī Suttaɱ

Fair-spoken[1]

Translated from the Pali by
F.L. Woodward, M.A.

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[1][olds][bodh] Thus have I heard:

On a certain occasion the Exalted One was staying near Savatthi at Jeta Grove,
in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

Then the Exalted One addressed the monks, saying:

'Monks.'

'Yes, Lord,' replied those monks to the Exalted One.

The Exalted One said this:

'Monks, these three persons are found existing in the world.

What three?

The tricky-tongued,[2]
the fair-spoken[3]
and the honey-tongued.

And of what sort, monks, is the tricky-tongued?

Herein, monks, a certain person is summoned to go before a court,
a company or gathering of his relations,
or a guild,
or to the royal palace,
and as an eye-witness (of some deed) is cross-examined thus:

"Come now, my man,[4] say what you know!

Then, though ignorant, he says that he knows.
Though he knows, he denies all knowledge.
Though he was not an eye-witness of the event,
he says he was.
Though an eye-witness, he denies it.

Thus to shield himself or others,
or for the sake of some triffling gain,
he knowingly tells a lie.

This one, monks, is called "the tricky-tongued."

And of what sort, monks, is the fair-spoken?

Herein, monks, a certain person is summoned to go before a court,
a company or gathering of his relations,
or a guild,
or to the royal palace,
and as an eye-witness (of some deed) is cross-examined thus:

"Come now, my man, say what you know!

Then, ignorant, he denies all knowledge.
Knowing, he says that he knows.
An eye-witness of the event,
he says he was.
Not an eye-witness, he denies it.

Thus neither to shield himself or others,
nor for the sake of some triffling gain,
does he knowingly tell a lie.

This one, monks, is called "the fair-spoken."

And of what sort, monks, is the honey-tongued?

In this case a certain person,
abandoning harsh speech, abstains therefrom.

Whatsoever speech is harmless,
pleasant to the ear,
agreeable,
touching the heart,
courteous,
delightful to many folk,
pleasant to many folk
— such speech he uses.

This one is called "the honey-tongued."

These are the three persons found existing in the world.'

 


[1] Cf. Pugg., p. 29

[2] Text and Comy. gūtha-bhāṇī. I read kūṭa- with Kern's emendation of Pugg., for the textual explanation favours the meaning 'deceit.' Comy. paraphr. as akantaŋ vacanaŋ.

[3] Puppha-bhāṇī, lit. 'flower-spoken'.

[4] Text evam bho purisa. Sinh. text eh'ambho, acc. to which I trans.


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