Anguttara Nikaya


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Anguttara Nikāya
Sattaka Nipāta
Mahāyañña-Vagga

The Book of the
Gradual Sayings
The Book of the Sevens
Chapter V: The Great Sacrifice

Sutta 49

On Giving

Translated from the Pali by E.M. Hare.

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

Once, when the Exalted One dwelt near Campā[1]
on the banks of lake Gaggarā,
a company of lay-disciples from Campā visited the venerable Sāriputta,
saluted him
and sat down at one side.

And seated thus, they said to him:

''Tis long, reverend[2] sir,
since we heard a Dhamma-talk from the Exalted One's mouth;
how good it would be to do so!'

'Then come next Observance[3] day, friends,[4]
and maybe you'll hear a Dhamma-talk from the Exalted One's mouth'

'Yes, reverend sir,' they rejoined;
and getting up,
the lay-disciples from Campā saluted the venerable Sāriputta and departed,
keeping him on their right.

Now when the day was come,
they approached the venerable one,
saluted
and stood at one side;
and with them the venerable Sāriputta visited the Exalted One,
saluted and sat down at one side.

So seated, he said to the Exalted One:

'Lord,[2] may a man's gift
be given here in such a way
as to become not great in fruit, great in profit;
and may the gift be given in such a way
as to become great in fruit, great in profit?'

'It may, Sāriputta.

The text here for Sariptta's question reads: "na mahapphalaɱ na mahānisaɱsaɱ.", "not of great fruit not of great profit", but here and hereafter for Gotama's response reads: mahapphalaɱ na mahānisaɱsaɱ. 'of great fruit, not of great profit.' When Sariputta then asks for a reasoned explanation, he alters his question to conform to the way in which Gotama states the matter. According to a note to the text the first 'na' in Sariputta's question is left out in all mss. except T. M.6[Turnour Morris Mss]. In the concluding paragraph of the text the wording reverts to: "na mahapphalaɱ na mahānisaɱsaɱ.". The fact is that on the face of it the outcomes of the lesser gifts described here must surely be counted as being of great fruit, and that gifts of lesser scope than the examples given here are always spoken of as bearing great fruit. But as to profit the final outcome for the one giving to improve his mind conforms to the goal of the Dhamma and is shown to be the greater because of that. The most natural rendering would be for Sariputta's question to have been "not of great fruit, not of great profit", then for Gotama's response to have been 'of great fruit, not of great profit', and then for Sariptutta to have altered his question to 'of great fruit of great profit' and for the conclusion to have been 'of great fruit, not of great profit'; 'of great fruit, of great profit.' It is a common occurance for suttas to conclude with a repetition of the opening statement, so it is likely that, the incorrect concusion was formed from Sariputtas question rather than Gotama's first statement. I think we are being asked to make a distinction between 'fruit' and 'profit.' Bhks. Thanissaro and Bodhi, and Sister Upalavana all overlook this problem.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

A man's gift may
be given here in such a way
as to become not great in fruit, great in profit;
and the gift may be given in such a way
as to become great in fruit, great in profit.'

'And what, lord, is the reason, the cause
that a man's gift may
be given here in such a way
as to become not great in fruit, great in profit;
and the gift may be given in such a way
as to become great in fruit, great in profit?'

[34] 'Consider, Sāriputta, a self-seeking[5] man,
wrapt[6] up (in the result),
seeking reward,
who gives a gift, thinking:

'I'll enjoy this hereafter!"

and to recluses and godly men gives this gift:
food,
drink,
clothing,
a vehicle,
garlands,
perfumes,
ointments,
bed,
dwelling,
lighting.[7]

What think you, Sāriputta,
might a man give here such a gift?

'Yes, lord.'

'Now Sāriputta, a self-seeking man,
wrapt up (in the result),
seeking reward,
who gives a gift, thinking:

'I'll enjoy this hereafter!"

and to recluses and godly men gives this gift:
food,
drink,
clothing,
a vehicle,
garlands,
perfumes,
ointments,
bed,
dwelling,
lighting,
thereafter,
on the breaking up of the body after death,
arises in the company of the Four Royal devas;
and when he has exhausted that deed,
power,
glory,
dominion,
he becomes a returner,[8]
a comer to this state here.

 


 

Then consider one who gives a gift
but is no self-seeker,
not wrapt up in the result,
seeking no reward,
nor thinks to enjoy the fruit hereafter;
yet gives thinking:

"It's good to give!

and to recluses and godly men gives this gift:
food,
drink,
clothing,
a vehicle,
garlands,
perfumes,
ointments,
bed,
dwelling,
lighting.

What think you, Sāriputta,
might a man give here such a gift?

'Yes, lord.'

'Now Sāriputta, a man who gives a gift but is no self-seeker,
not wrapt up in the result,
seeking no reward,
nor thinks to enjoy the fruit hereafter;
yet gives thinking:

"It's good to give!

and to recluses and godly men gives this gift:
food,
drink,
clothing,
a vehicle,
garlands,
perfumes,
ointments,
bed,
dwelling,
lighting,
thereafter,
on the breaking up of the body after death,
arises in the company of the Four Royal devas;
and when he has exhausted that deed,
power,
glory,
dominion,
he becomes a returner,
a comer to this state here.

 


 

Then consider one who gives a gift
but is no self-seeker,
not wrapt up in the result,
seeking no reward,
nor thinks to enjoy the fruit hereafter;
nor gives thinking: "It's good to give!"

but:

"This was given in the past,
done in the past by my father
and my father's father;
I ought not to allow this ancient family custom to lapse."

and to recluses and godly men gives this gift:
food,
drink,
clothing,
a vehicle,
garlands,
perfumes,
ointments,
bed,
dwelling,
lighting.

What think you, Sāriputta,
might a man give here such a gift?

'Yes, lord.'

'Now Sāriputta, a man who gives a gift
but is no self-seeker,
not wrapt up in the result,
seeking no reward,
nor thinks to enjoy the fruit hereafter;
nor gives thinking: "It's good to give!"

but, thinking:

"This was given in the past,
done in the past by my father
and my father's father;
I ought not to allow this ancient family custom to lapse"

and to recluses and godly men gives this gift:
food,
drink,
clothing,
a vehicle,
garlands,
perfumes,
ointments,
bed,
dwelling,
lighting,
thereafter,
on the breaking up of the body after death,
arises in the company of the Four Royal devas;
and when he has exhausted that deed,
power,
glory,
dominion,
he becomes a returner,
a comer to this state here.

 


 

Then consider one who gives a gift
but is no self-seeker,
not wrapt up in the result,
seeking no reward,
nor thinks to enjoy the fruit hereafter;
nor gives thinking: "It's good to give!"
nor gives thinking: "This was given in the past,
done in the past by my father
and my father's father;
I ought not to allow this ancient family custom to lapse."

but:

Hare's translation thoroughly obscures the meaning and additionally he has reversed the meaning. The idea is that one who is still working at it should give to one who is further ahead. "I who am qualifying am not worthy to not give gifts..." The literal translation, as almost always, is very clear.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

"I am qualifying,[9]
these are not qualifying;
I who am qualifying am not worthy to give gifts
to those who are no longer qualifying."

and to recluses and godly men gives this gift:
food,
drink,
clothing,
a vehicle,
garlands,
perfumes,
ointments,
bed,
dwelling,
lighting.

What think you, Sāriputta,
might a man give here such a gift?

'Yes, lord.'

'Now Sāriputta, a man who gives a gift
but is no self-seeker,
not wrapt up in the result,
seeking no reward,
nor thinks to enjoy the fruit hereafter;
nor gives thinking: "It's good to give!"
nor gives thinking: "This was given in the past,
done in the past by my father
and my father's father;
I ought not to allow this ancient family custom to lapse,"
but thinking:

"I am qualifying,
these are not qualifying;
I who am qualifying
am not worthy to give gifts
to those who are no longer qualifying."

and to recluses and godly men gives this gift:
food,
drink,
clothing,
a vehicle,
garlands,
perfumes,
ointments,
bed,
dwelling,
lighting,
thereafter,
on the breaking up of the body after death,
arises in the company of the Four Royal devas;
and when he has exhausted that deed,
power,
glory,
dominion,
he becomes a returner,
a comer to this state here.

 


 

Then consider one who gives a gift
but is no self-seeker,
not wrapt up in the result,
seeking no reward,
nor thinks to enjoy the fruit hereafter;
nor gives thinking: "It's good to give!"
nor gives thinking: "This was given in the past,
done in the past by my father
and my father's father;
I ought not to allow this ancient family custom to lapse,"
nor gives thinking: "I am qualifying,
these are not qualifying;
I who am qualifying
am not worthy to give gifts
to those who are no longer qualifying."

but:

"As those sages of old had those great offerings -
Aṭṭhaka,
Vāmaka,
Vāmadeva,
Vessāmitta,
Yamataggi,
Aŋgīrasa,
Bhāradvāja,
Vāseṭṭha,
Kassapa
and Bhagu
[10] -
so will I make this alms distribution."

and to recluses and godly men gives this gift:
food,
drink,
clothing,
a vehicle,
garlands,
perfumes,
ointments,
bed,
dwelling,
lighting."

What think you, Sāriputta,
might a man give here such a gift?

'Yes, lord.'

'Now Sāriputta, a man who gives a gift
but is no self-seeker,
not wrapt up in the result,
seeking no reward,
nor thinks to enjoy the fruit hereafter;
nor gives thinking: "It's good to give!"
nor gives thinking: "This was given in the past,
done in the past by my father
and my father's father;
I ought not to allow this ancient family custom to lapse,"
nor gives thinking: "I am qualifying,
these are not qualifying;
I who am qualifying
am not worthy to give gifts
to those who are no longer qualifying,"
but thinking:

"As those sages of old had those great offerings -
Aṭṭhaka,
Vāmaka,
Vāmadeva,
Vessāmitta,
Yamataggi,
Aŋgīrasa,
Bhāradvāja,
Vāseṭṭha,
Kassapa
and Bhagu
-
so will I make this alms distribution."

and to recluses and godly men gives this gift:
food,
drink,
clothing,
a vehicle,
garlands,
perfumes,
ointments,
bed,
dwelling,
lighting,
thereafter,
on the breaking up of the body after death,
arises in the company of the Four Royal devas;
and when he has exhausted that deed,
power,
glory,
dominion,
he becomes a returner,
a comer to this state here.

 


 

Then consider one who gives a gift
but is no self-seeker,
not wrapt up in the result,
seeking no reward,
nor thinks to enjoy the fruit hereafter;
nor gives thinking: "It's good to give!"
nor gives thinking: "This was given in the past,
done in the past by my father
and my father's father;
I ought not to allow this ancient family custom to lapse,"
nor gives thinking: "I am qualifying,
these are not qualifying;
I who am qualifying
am not worthy to give gifts
to those who are no longer qualifying,
nor gives thinking: "As those sages of old had those great offerings -
Aṭṭhaka,
Vāmaka,
Vāmadeva,
Vessāmitta,
Yamataggi,
Aŋgīrasa,
Bhāradvāja,
Vāseṭṭha,
Kassapa
and Bhagu -

so will I make this alms distribution.

but:

"This gift of mine calms the mind,
joy and gladness arise."

And to recluses and godly men gives this gift:
food,
drink,
clothing,
a vehicle,
garlands,
perfumes,
ointments,
bed,
dwelling,
lighting.

What think you, Sāriputta,
might a man give here such a gift?

'Yes, lord.'

[35] Now Sāriputta, a man who gives a gift
but is no self-seeker,
not wrapt up in the result,
seeking no reward,
nor thinks to enjoy the fruit hereafter;
nor gives thinking: "It's good to give!"
nor gives thinking: "This was given in the past,
done in the past by my father
and my father's father;
I ought not to allow this ancient family custom to lapse,"
nor gives thinking: "I am qualifying,
these are not qualifying;
I who am qualifying
am not worthy to give gifts
to those who are no longer qualifying,
nor gives thinking: "As those sages of old had those great offerings -
Aṭṭhaka,
Vāmaka,
Vāmadeva,
Vessāmitta,
Yamataggi,
Aŋgīrasa,
Bhāradvāja,
Vāseṭṭha,
Kassapa
and Bhagu -

so will I make this alms distribution
but thinking:

"This gift of mine calms the mind,
joy and gladness arise."

and to recluses and godly men gives this gift:
food,
drink,
clothing,
a vehicle,
garlands,
perfumes,
ointments,
bed,
dwelling,
lighting,
thereafter,
on the breaking up of the body after death,
arises in the company of the Four Royal devas;
and when he has exhausted that deed,
power,
glory,
dominion,
he becomes a returner,
a comer to this state here.

 


 

Then consider one who gives a gift
but is no self-seeker,
not wrapt up in the result,
seeking no reward,
nor thinks to enjoy the fruit hereafter;

Nor does he think:

"It's good to give!

Nor does he think:

"This was given in the past,
done in the past by my father
and my father's father;
I ought not to allow this ancient family custom to lapse."

Nor does he think:

"I am qualifying,
these are not qualifying;
I who am qualifying
am not worthy to give gifts
to those who are no longer qualifying."

Nor does he think:

"As those sages of old had those great offerings -
Aṭṭhaka,
Vāmaka,
Vāmadeva,
Vessāmitta,
Yamataggi,
Aŋgīrasa,
Bhāradvāja,
Vāseṭṭha,
Kassapa
and Bhagu
-
so will I make this alms distribution."

Nor does he think:

"This gift of mine calms the mind,
joy and gladness arise."

But gives a gift to improve the mind,
to equip the mind;[11]
and to recluses and godly men gives this gift:
food,
drink,
clothing,
a vehicle,
garlands,
perfumes,
ointments,
bed,
dwelling,
lighting.

What think you, Sāriputta,
might a man give here such a gift?

'Yes, lord.'

'Now Sāriputta, a man who gives a gift
but is no self-seeker,
not wrapt up in the result,
seeking no reward,
nor thinks to enjoy the fruit hereafter;

Nor does he think:

"It's good to give!

Nor does he think:

"This was given in the past,
done in the past by my father
and my father's father;
I ought not to allow this ancient family custom to lapse."

Nor does he think:

"I am qualifying,
these are not qualifying;
I who am qualifying
am not worthy to give gifts
to those who are no longer qualifying."

Nor does he think:

"As those sages of old had those great offerings -
Aṭṭhaka,
Vāmaka,
Vāmadeva,
Vessāmitta,
Yamataggi,
Aŋgīrasa,
Bhāradvāja,
Vāseṭṭha,
Kassapa
and Bhagu
-
so will I make this alms distribution."

Nor does he think:

"This gift of mine calms the mind,
joy and gladness arise,
but thinking to improve the mind,
to equip the mind;
and to recluses and to recluses and godly men gives this gift:
food,
drink,
clothing,
a vehicle,
garlands,
perfumes,
ointments,
bed,
dwelling,
lighting
thereafter, on the breaking up of the body after death,
arises in the company of the devas of Brahma's hosts;
and when he has exhausted that deed,
power,
glory,
dominion,
he becomes a non-returner,
a comer not to this state here.

Verily, this is the reason,
the cause,
why a man's gift given in one way
may become not great in fruit, great in profit;
and this is the reason,
the cause,
why given in such a way
the gift may become great in fruit, great in profit.'

 


[1] The capital of Aŋga, east of Magadha, see Buddh. Ind. 35; Chwang ii, 181. See D.A. i, 279 regarding the lake. Pron. Champī.

[2] Bhante.

[3] Uposatha; see below, pp. 170 and 259.

[4] Āvuso.

[5] Sāpekho.

[6] Paṭibaddhacitio. Comy. vipāke baddhacitto.

[7] M. iii, 205; S. i, 94; A. i, 107; It. 65; below, p. 163.

[8] A. i, 63; ii, 159; It. 95.

[9] Ahaɱ pacāmi, etc., from \/Ḥpac, to cook. At Dial. iii, 240, where this recurs (see also below, p. 160), it is rendered literally; in Sk. the Middle or Reflexive voice has developed into meaning: ripen, mature and so, qualify. We may compare sekha, one who is still a learner; while the negative has come to mean an adept. Comy. is silent on the meaning, but observes that this gift is called niravasesa: without remainder; on apada: trackless, the way of one who has reached the sphere of 'infinite space' - at p. 291 below, Comy. glosses, nippada, niravasesa.

[10] See G.S. iii, 164.

[11] Comy. For calm and insight.


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