Anguttara Nikaya

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Aŋguttara Nikāya
4. Catukka Nipāta
IV. Cakka Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
The Book of the Fours
IV: The Wheel

Sutta 34

Aggappasāda Suttaɱ


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

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[34] [38]

[1][bodh] Thus have I heard:

On a certain occasion the Exalted One addressed the monks, saying:


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

The Exalted One said:

'Monks, there are these four best faiths.

What four?

Monks, as compared with creatures,
whether footless,
or those with many feet,
with form
or void of form,
with sense
or void of sense
or indeterminate in sense,
a Tathāgata,
an Arahant,
a Fully Enlightened One
is reckoned best of them.[2]

They who have faith in the Buddha
have [39] faith in the best:
of those who have faith in the best
the result is best.

Monks, as compared with things compounded,
the Ariyan eightfold way
is reckoned best of them.

They who have faith in the Ariyan eightfold way
have faith in the best:
of those who have faith in the best
the result is best.

Monks, as compared with things compounded
or not compounded,
freedom from passion
is reckoned best of them,
to wit:
the subduing of pride in self,[3]
the restraint of thirst,
the removal of clinging,
the cutting off of the base of rebirth,
the destruction of craving,
freedom from passion,

They who have faith in Dhamma
(which is passionless)[4]
have faith in the best:
of those who have faith in the best
the result is best.

Monks, as compared with orders and companies,
the Order of a Tathāgata's disciples is reckoned best,
to wit:
the four pairs of men,
the eight types of men,[5]
that is,
the Exalted One's Order of disciples.

Worthy of honour are they,
worthy of reverence,
worthy of offerings,
worthy of salutations with clasped hands, -
a field of merit unsurpassed for the world.

Monks, they who have faith in the Order
have faith in the best:
of those who have faith in the best
the result is best.

These are the four faiths.[6]

Of those who have faith at its best,
Who comprehend best Dhamma,
Of those who have faith in the Buddha,
Gift-worthy, unsurpassed:
Of those who have faith in Dhamma,
Passionless, calming, blissful:
[40] Of those who have faith in the Order,
The field of merit supreme:
Of those who give gifts of their best[7]
The merit doth increase.
Best is their life and beauty,
Fame, good report, bliss, strength.
The sage who gives of his best,
In best of dhammas calmed,
Deva-become or human,
Winning the best rejoiceth.'


[1] Pasādā. This sutta occurs at Itiv. 87 (and is included at A. iii, 36) in three sections; but to make it a Four the Eightfold Way is here inserted, but this is not in the gāthas, which are the same in all three books. The gāthas deal with the 'triple gem' and charity (four bests). It is also curious that Comy. does not mention the gāthas either here or at A. iii. Have they been added from Itivuttaka (which for several reasons I conclude to be an older collection than Anguttara)? Or does this show that the prose part is later than, or written up to, the gāthas (a thing which evidently has been done in some cases, not to mention the Jātaka Comy.)? Comy. on Ratana-sutta of Khuddaka-P. (KhpA) quotes our sutta several times.

[2] Quoted Vis. Mag. i, 293, where yāvatā (an adverb) is incorrectly taken as a pronoun, as also in our Comy. Text omits 'that is' (yad idaɱ), which is in the Itiv. text.

[3] Mada-nimmadana = māna-mada-purisa-mada, acc. to VM. loc. cit.; but our Comy. rāga-mada. We cannot help noting that all these negative virtues are regarded as the best things.

[4] Virāge (dhamme), not in text, but at A. iii, 36 and Itiv. 87" Cf. Vimāna V. 51, rāga-virāgam anejam asohaɱ dhammaɱ.

[5] Purisa-pugglā. Comy. does not notice this either here or at A. iii, 36. Cf. Dial. iii, 238: those on the four paths, together with those who have won the fruits thereof.

[6] Cf. K.S. v, 296 ff., where the Buddha remarks that the winning of four continents is not worth one-quarter of a quarter of these four.

[7] Aggassa dātā is taken by Comy. on Sn. 217 (SnA. ii, 270) as 'off the top,' 'first-fruits.' Cf. A. iii, 42, 61 (agga-dāyī).

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