Anguttara Nikaya


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Anguttara Nikāya
Sattaka Nipāta
Avyākata Vaggo

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
The Book of the Sevens
Chapter VI: The Unexplained

Sutta 59

Wives

Translated from the Pali by E.M. Hare.

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[1] THUS have I heard:

Once the Exalted One was dwelling near Sāvatthī, at Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park

'And early one morning,
after robing himself,
the Exalted One, taking bowl and cloak,
went to the home of Anāthapiṇḍika, the householder;
and when he was come,
he sat down on the seat made ready.

Now at that time the people of the house were making a great noise and clatter;
and when Anāthapiṇḍika had come and saluted him
and had sat down at one side,
the Exalted One said:

'Why, housefather, do the people of your house
make all this din and uproar?

It is just like fisherfolk
with a great haul,[1] methinks!'

'Lord, it is Sujata,[2] my daughter-in-law,
who lives with us.

She is rich and has been brought here from a wealthy family.

She pays no heed to her mother-in-law,
nor to her father-in-law,
nor to her husband;
neither does she venerate,
honour,
reverence
nor respect the Exalted One.'

Then the Exalted One called to her, saying:

'Come, Sujata!'[3]

'Yes, lord,' she replied,
and came and saluted the Exalted One
and sat down at one side.

Then said the Exalted One:

'Sujata, a man may have these seven kinds of wives.

What seven?

One like a slayer,
one like a robber,
one like a mistress,
one like a mother,
one like a sister,
one like a companion
and one like a handmaid.[4]

These, Sujata, are the seven;
and which of them are you?

'Lord,, I do not fully understand
what the Exalted One has put so briefly.

Well were it for me, lord,
if the Exalted One would teach me Dhamma,
so that I may understand the meaning of the words
spoken so tersely by the Exalted One.'

' Then pay heed,
listen,
I will speak, Sujata.'

'Yes, lord,' she replied, and the Exalted One said:

'Whoso is pitiless, corrupt in mind,
Neglecting husband and unamiable,
Inflamed by other men, a prostitute,[5]
On murder bent -
Let her be called: a slayer and a wife!

Whoso would rob her husband of his gains-
Though little be the profit that he makes,
Whether by craftsmanship, or from his trade,
Or by the plough -
Let her be called: a robber and a wife!

The slothful glutton, bent on doing nothing,
A gossip and a shrew with strident voice,
Who brings to low account her husband's zeal
And industry -
Let her be called: a mistress and a wife!

Whoever and with loving sympathy,
Just as a mother for her only son,[6]
For husband cares, and o'er his stored-up wealth
Keeps watch and ward -
Let her be called: a mother and a wife!

Who holds her husband in the same regard
As younger sister holds the elder born,
The meek in heart, who in his every wish
Her husband serves -
Let her be called: a sister and a wife!

And she who is as glad her lord to see
As boon companions long apart to meet,
A gracious character of gentle birth,
A fond helpmate -
Let her be called: companion and a wife!

If fearless of the lash and stick,[7] unmoved,
All things enduring, calm and pure in heart,
She bear obedience to her husband's word,
From anger free -
Let her be called: a handmaid[8] and a wife!

Now she who's called: a mistress, slayer, thief,
Who's harsh, immoral, lacking in respect,
When cometh death -
Will wander in the miseries of hell.

But mother, sister or companion, slave,[9]
In precept long established and restrained,
When cometh death -
Will wander in the happy heaven world.[10]

These, Sujata, are the seven kinds of wives a man may have;
and which of them are you?

'Lord, let the Exalted One think of me as a handmaid[11] and a wife
from this day forth.'

 


[1] This simile recurs at M. i, 457; A. iii, 31, 342; Ud. 24; below, p. 224.

[2] Cf. J. ii, 347, where the same story is told. The Comy. observes that she was the younger sister of Visākhā (A.A. i, 404; below, p. 174); her father's name was Dhanañjaya Seṭṭhi, Ud.A. 158.

[3] Ehi, Sujāte; 'ehi, bhikkhu!'is the oldest formula of admission to the Order, cf. Vin. i, 12; it was also used for nuns.

[4] Cf. Vin. iii, 139; M. i, 286; A. v, 264 for other ten; Rockhill's Life of B., 61, n. 2, quoting the Dulva (the Tibetan Vinaya-piṭaka) for other five.

[5] Dhanena kītassa. Comy. dhanena kītā assa: she who may be bought by wealth.

[6] Cf. D. ii, 89; Sisters 38 and references there.

[7] Vadhadaṇḍa.

[8] Dāsī.

[9] In the text the number of lines in these last two verses alters.

[10] The text reads: dāsīsamaɱ; S.e. so. Comy. dāsiyavattimanti: sāmikassa vattapūrikā dāsī. The Comy. adds that she was then established in the refuges; the Jātaka [269] that she won the fruit of the Streamwinner, and gives her past 'life.' (P.E.D. omits pūrikā.)

[11] Cf. Vism. 299; trsl. ii, 344; SnA. 11.

 


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