Anguttara Nikaya


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Anguttara Nikāya
Sattaka Nipāta
Devatā vaggo

The Book of the
Gradual Sayings
The Book of the Sevens
Chapter IV: Devas

Sutta 39

Grounds for Praise

Translated from the Pali by E.M. Hare.

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[1] THUS have I heard:

One morning, while the Exalted One dwelt near Sāvatthī in Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.;
the venerable Sāriputta robed early and, taking cloak and bowl, entered Sāvatthī for alms.

Now the venerable Sāriputta thought thus:

'Too soon still is it to visit Sāvatthī for alms;
what if I go to the park of the wanderers of other views!'

And he approached their park;
and, having come,
greeted them,
exchanged the usual polite talk with them
and sat down at one side.

Now at that time this remark
by chance arose among them
as they sat assembled:

'Reverend sirs, whosoever lives the godly life in its fulness and purity for twelve years,
it is right to say of him:

"The monk is praiseworthy."'

And the venerable Sāriputta neither belauded nor decried their words,
but got up and departed, thinking:

'I shall learn the truth of this talk from the Exalted One.'[1]

Then when he had gone his round for alms in Sāvatthī
and returned and eaten his meal,
he approached the Exalted One,
saluted
and sat down at one side;
and so seated,
he told the Exalted One:[2]

This morning, lord, I robed early and, taking cloak and bowl, entered Sāvatthī for alms.

Then I thought thus:

'Too soon still is it to visit Sāvatthī for alms;
what if I go to the park of the wanderers of other views!'

And I approached their park;
and, having come,
greeted them,
exchanged the usual polite talk with them
and sat down at one side.

Now at that time this remark
by chance arose among them
as they sat assembled:

'Reverend sirs, whosoever lives the godly life in its fulness and purity for twelve years,
it is right to say of him:

"The monk is praiseworthy."'

And I neither belauded nor decried their words,
but got up and departed, thinking:

'I shall learn the truth of this talk from the Exalted One.'

'Is it possible, lord,
in this Dhamma-discipline
to declare a monk praiseworthy
just merely on the score of years?

'No, Sāriputta,
it is not possible in this Dhamma-discipline
to declare a monk praiseworthy
just merely on the score of years;
these seven grounds for praise
have been taught by me,
who have realized the matter by personal knowledge.

What seven?

Consider the monk who is keenly eager to undergo the training
and whose zeal wanes not in the days of his training;

who is keenly eager to observe Dhamma
and whose zeal wanes not in the days of his training;

who is keenly eager to discipline desire
and whose zeal wanes not in the days of his training;

who is keenly eager to go apart
and whose zeal wanes not in the days of his training;

who is keenly eager to put forth energy
and whose zeal wanes not in the days of his training;

who is keenly eager to master mindfulness
and whose zeal wanes not in the days of his training;

who is keenly eager to penetrate views
and whose zeal wanes not in the days of his training.[3]

Verily, Sāriputta,
these are the seven grounds for praise taught by me,
who have realized the matter by personal knowledge.

Indeed, Sāriputta,
if a monk, possessed of these seven grounds,
live the godly life in its fulness and purity for twelve years,
it is right to say of him:

"The monk is praiseworthy;"

if he live the godly life for twefity-four years
it is right to say of him:

"The monk is praiseworthy;"

for thirty-six years
it is right to say of him:

"The monk is praiseworthy;"

for forty-eight years,
it is right to say of him:

"The monk is praiseworthy;"'[4]

 


[1] This is stock; see D. i, 178; M. i, 84; S. v, 108; below, p. 252.

[2] The text repeats. [Reconstructed here.]

[3] Above, p. 9.

[4] Niddaso. Comy. thinks that this is derived from dasa = ten, and is a mere figure of speech; if one died within ten years of going forth, he was praiseworthy - i.e., in the ten-year class! So, too, he might be in the twenty, thirty, forty class. Niddesa is no doubt the word, = pointed to. In any case the periods in the text fairly obviously refer to those of brahman studentship; cf. Āpastamba 2, 12 (S.B.E. ii, 7).


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