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Aŋguttara Nikāya
4. Catukka Nipāta
VII. Pattakamma Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
The Book of the Fours Chapter VII: Deeds of Merit

Sutta 61

Pattakamma Suttaɱ

Four Deeds of Merit[1]

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

Copyright The Pali Text Society
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[65] [73]

[1][bodh] THUS have I heard:

On a certain occasion the Exalted One was staying near Sāvatthī.

Now the housefather Anāthapiṇḍika came to visit the Exalted One,
and on coming to him
saluted him
and sat down at one side.

As he thus sat
the Exalted One said this to the housefather Anāthapiṇḍika:

[74] "Housefather, there are these four conditions
(to realize which is) desirable,
dear,
delightful,
hard to win in the world.

What four?

(The wish:) 'O may wealth
by lawful means
come to me!'

This is the first condition
desirable,
dear,
delightful,
hard to win in the world.

'Wealth being gotten
by lawful means,
may good report attend me[2]
along with my kinsmen and teachers!'

This is the second condition
desirable,
dear,
delightful,
hard to win in the world.

'Wealth being gotten by lawful means,
and good report being gotten by me
along with my kinsmen and teachers,
may I live long
and reach a great age!'

This is the third condition
desirable,
dear,
delightful,
hard to win in the world.

Wealth being gotten by lawful means,
and good report being gotten by me
along with my kinsmen and teachers,
and long life,
when body breaks up,
on the other side of death
may I attain the happy bourn,
the heaven world!

This is the fourth condition
desirable,
dear,
delightful,
hard to win in the world.

These, housefather,
are the four conditions (to realize which is)
desirable,
dear,
delightful,
hard to win in the world.

 


 

Now, housefather,
to the winning of these four conditions
desirable,
dear,
delightful,
hard to win in the world,
four conditions conduce.

Whhat four?

Perfection of faith,
perfection of virtue,
perfection of generosity
and perfection of wisdom.[3]

 

§

 

And what, housefather, is perfection of faith?

Herein the Ariyan disciple is faithful, he has faith in the enlightenment of the Tathāgata, thus:

He it is, Exalted One, Arahant, perfectly enlightened, and so forth, a Buddha is the Exalted One.

This, housefather, is called "perfection of faith."

 

§

 

And what is perfection of virtue?

Herein the Ariyan disciple abstains from taking life,
stealing,
wrong-doing in sense-desires,
lying,
he is not given to the use of liquor
fermented and distilled
which causes sloth.

This is called
"perfection of virtue."

 

§

 

And what is perfection of generosity?

Herein the Ariyan disciple lives at home
with heart free from the taint of stinginess,
he is open-handed,
pure-handed,
delighting in self-surrender,
one to ask a favour of,
one who [75] delights in dispensing charitable gifts.[4]

This, housefather, is called
"perfection of generosity."

 

§

 

And what is perfection of wisdom?

Housefather, living with his heart overcome
by coveting and wrongful desire,
one does what he should not
fails to do what he should;
so doing,
so failing to do,
he falls[5] from good report
and happiness.

Living with his heart overcome
by malice,
one does what he should not
fails to do what he should;
so doing,
so failing to do,
he falls from good report
and happiness.

Living with his heart overcome
by sloth-and-torpor,
one does what he should not
fails to do what he should;
so doing,
so failing to do,
he falls from good report
and happiness.

Living with his heart overcome
by distraction-and-flurry,
one does what he should not
fails to do what he should;
so doing,
so failing to do,
he falls from good report
and happiness.

Living with his heart overcome
by doubt-and-wavering,
one does what he should not
fails to do what he should;
so doing,
so failing to do,
he falls from good report
and happiness.

Now, housefather, that Ariyan disciple,
knowing coveting and wrong desire
to be a depravity of the mind,
casts out the mind's depravity
of coveting and wrong desire;

knowing malice
to be a depravity of the mind,
casts out the mind's depravity
of malice;

knowing sloth-and-torpor
to be a depravity of the mind,
casts out the mind's depravity
of sloth-and-torpor;

knowing distraction-and-flurry
to be a depravity of the mind,
casts out the mind's depravity
of distraction-and-flurry;

knowing doubt-and-wavering
to be a depravity of the mind,
casts out the mind's depravity
of doubt-and-wavering.

Now, housefather, in so far as the Ariyan disciple,
knowing coveting and wrong desire
to be a depravity of the mind,
casts out the mind's depravity
of coveting and wrong desire;

knowing malice
to be a depravity of the mind,
casts out the mind's depravity
of malice;

knowing sloth-and-torpor
to be a depravity of the mind,
casts out the mind's depravity
of sloth-and-torpor;

knowing distraction-and-flurry
to be a depravity of the mind,
casts out the mind's depravity
of distraction-and-flurry;

knowing doubt-and-wavering
to be a depravity of the mind,
casts out the mind's depravity
of doubt-and-wavering
this Ariyan disciple is called
"of great wisdom,
of far-spread wisdom,
of clear range of vision,[6]
one perfect in wisdom."

 

§

 

These four conditions, housefather,
conduce to the winning of these four conditions
desirable,
dear,
delightful,
hard to win in the world.

 


 

Now, housefather, that same Ariyan disciple,
with the wealth acquired by energetic striving,
amassed by strength of arm,
won by sweat,
lawful and lawfully gotten,
is the doer of four deeds.

What are the four?

Herein, housefather, with the wealth acquired by energetic striving,
amassed by strength of arm,
won by sweat,
lawful and lawfully gotten,
the Ariyan disciple makes himself happy and cheerful,[7]
he is a contriver of perfect happiness;[8]
and [76] makes his mother and father, his children and wife, his servants and workmen, his friends and comrades
cheerful and happy,
he is a contriver of perfect happiness.

This, housefather, is the first opportunity
seized by him,
turned to merit
and fittingly[9] made use of.

Then again, housefather,
the Ariyan disciple with the wealth acquired by energetic striving,
amassed by strength of arm,
won by sweat,
lawful and lawfully gotten, -
with that wealth
he makes himself secure
against all misfortunes whatsoever,
such as may happen by way of fire,
water,
the rajah,
a robber,
an ill-disposed person
or an (expectant) heir.

He takes steps[10] for his defence,
he makes himself secure.

This, housefather, is the second opportunity
seized by him,
turned to merit
and fittingly made use of.

Again, housefather,
with the wealth acquired by energetic striving,
amassed by strength of arm,
won by sweat,
lawful and lawfully gotten, -
the Ariyan disciple is a maker
of the fivefold offering,[11] namely:
to relatives,
to guests,
to departed petas,
to the rajah
and to the devata.

This is the third opportunity
seized by him,
turned to merit
and fittingly made use of.

Then again, housefather,
with the wealth acquired by energetic striving,
amassed by strength of arm,
won by sweat,
lawful and lawfully gotten,
the Ariyan disciple offers a gift
to all such recluses and brahmins
as abstain from sloth and negligence,
who are bent on kindness and forbearance,
who tame the one self,
calm the one self,
cool[12] the one self,[13] -
to such he offers a gift
which has the highest results,
a gift heavenly,
resulting in happiness
and leading to heaven.[14]

This [77] is the fourth opportunity
seized by him,
turned to merit
and fittingly made use of.

So, housefather, this same Ariyan disciple,
with the wealth acquired by energetic striving,
amassed by strength of arm,
won by sweat,
lawful and lawfully gotten,
is a doer of these four deeds of merit.

If the wealth of anyone
be spent[15] without these four deeds of merit,
such wealth is called
"wealth that has failed
to seize its opportunity,
failed to win merit,
unfittingly[16] made use of.'

But, housefather, if the wealth of anyone
be spent on these four deeds of merit,
then it is called
"wealth that has seized its opportunity,
turned to merit,
and is fittingly made use of."

I have enjoyed my wealth. Those serving me
And those dependent on me have escaped
From dangers. I have made the best of gifts,
Nay, done th' oblations five. The virtuous,
Composed, who live the good life, I've supported.
That aim[17] the which to win householders wise
Should long for wealth, I've won. I've done a deed
Never to be regretted, - pondering thus
A mortal man in Ariyan dhamma firm
Is praised in this world, then in heaven rejoices.'[18]

 


[1] Patta-kammāni (in last line of the sutta) -yutta-k., anucchavika-k. (Comy.), but it might be taken in the sense of patta-dhamma, patta-mānasa, etc. - i.e., mastery, as at M. i, 4; S. ii, 229, v, 326; Itiv. 76, 96; infra, Ī 90.

[2] Abbhugacchatu maɱ.

[3] Above, Ch. VI, Ī 5. Perfection = sampadā.

[4] Cf. K.S. v, 340, one of the 'limbs of Stream-winning.'

[5] Dhaɱsati.

[6] Āpatha-daso (not in Index or P. Dict.). Comy. taɱ taɱ atthaɱ āpāthe ti tam eva passati; sukhumam pi'ssa attha-jātaɱ āpāthaɱ āgacchati yevā ti attho.

[7] As at D. i, 51, etc.

[8] Sammā sukhaɱ pariharati. This may mean 'he carries about with him.'

[9] Āyatanaao (not in Index or P. Dict.), 'in its proper sphere.' Comy. has kāraṇen'eva.

[10] Text reads vattanti (? vattan ti), but Sinh. text and Comy. vattati (he proceeds).

[11] Bali. Cf. Petavatthu and Khuddaka-P. Petas are those still in purgatory; devatā those in deva-loka.

[12] As at D. iii, 61 (among the duties of the Wheel-turning Monarch), and at A. i, 166, where I should translate thus.

[13] On this phrase cf. Vol. I, 151, where it fits the context far better than it does here.

[14] Cf. D. iii, 66.

[15] Parikkhayaɱ gacchati = 'runs out.'

[16] Text should read anāyatanaso.

[17] Text should read attho.

[18] The gathas are at A. iii, 46.


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