Digha Nikaya

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Sacred Books of the Buddhists
Volume IV

Dīgha Nikāya

Dialogues of the Buddha
Part III

Sutta 33

Saŋgīti Suttantaɱ

The Recital


Translated from the Pali by T.W. Rhys Davids and
C.A.F. Rhys Davids

Public Domain

Originally published under the patronage of
His Majesty King Chulālankarana,
King of Siam
by The Pali Text Society, Oxford



[224] There are Fivefold Doctrines, friends, which have been perfectly declared by the Exalted One, who knows, who sees, Arahant, Buddha supreme. Hereon there should be a chanting by all in concord, not wrangling ... for the happiness of devas and men: — Which they?

[5.01][wp][bd] Five aggregates, to wit, of material qualities, feeling, perception, volitional complexes, consciousness.

[225] [5.02][wp][bd] Five aggregates [regarded as vehicles] of grasping, to wit, as above...[234]

[5.03][wp][bd] Five kinds of sensuous pleasures, to wit, the five kinds of sense-objects cognized severally through each sense as desirable, pleasant, agreable, charming and lovely, bound up with sensuous desires and exciting the passions.

[5.04][wp][bd] Five ways of destiny, to wit, purgatory, the animal kingdom,the realm of the 'departed' (Petas), mankind, the devas.

[5.05][wp][bd] Five forms of meanness,[1] to wit, in hospitality, in [monopolizing a ministering] family, in gains acquired, in beauty physical and moral, in [manopolizing learnt] truths.

[5.06][wp][bd] Five hindrances, to wit, sensuality, ill-will, sloth and torpor, excitement and worry, doubt.

[5.07][wp][bd] Five fetters as to lower worlds, to wit, error of permanent individual entity, doubt, wrong judgment as to rules and ritual, sensuality, malevolence.

[5.08][wp][bd] Five fetters as to upper [worlds], to wit, lust after rebirth in Rūpa [worlds], lust after rebirth in Arūpa [worlds], conceit, excitement, ignorance.

[235] [5.09][wp][bd] Five branches of moral training, to wit, abhorrence of murder, theft, inchastity, lying, and intemperance in drink.

[5.10][wp][bd] Five impossibles, to wit, for an Arahant intentionally to take life, or to take what is not given, so as to amount to theft, or to commit sexual offences, or to lie deliberately, or to spend stored up treasures in worldly enjoyments, as in the days before he left the world.

[5.11][wp][bd] Five kinds of losses, to wit, of kinsfolk, of wealth, disease, loss of character, loss of sound opinions. No being, friends, because of any of the first three kinds of loss, is after death and bodily dissolution reborn to disaster, to evil destiny, to downfall, to purgatory. But this happens because of the last two kinds of loss.

[226] [5.12][wp][bd] Five kinds of prosperity, to wit, in kinsfolk, wealth, health, virtue, and sound opinion. No being, friends, because of any of the first three kinds, is after death and dissolution reborn to a happy destiny in a bright world. But this happens because of success in virtue and in winning sound opinions.

[5.13][wp][bd] Five disasters to the immoral by lapse from virtuous habits. [236]Herein, friends, an immoral person, having lapsed in virtuous habits, incurs, through want of industry, great loss of wealth. Secondly, an evil reputation as to his moral lapse spreads abroad. Thirdly, whatever assembly he attends, whether of nobles, brahmins, householders, members of a religious order, he comes in diffident and disturbed. Fourthly, he dies baffled and without assurance. Fifthly, on the dissolution of the body after death, he is reborn into an unhappy state, an evil destiny, a downfall, a purgatory.[2]

[5.14][wp][bd] Five advantages to the moral man through his success in virtuous conduct. Herein, friends, in the first place, he acquires through industry great wealth. Secondly, good reports of him spread abroad. Thirdly, whatever assembly he attends, whether or nobles, brahmins, householders, or members of a religious order, he enters confident and undisturbed. Fourthly, he dies with lucid and assured mind. Fifthly, he is reborn to a happy destiny in a bright world.

[5.15][wp][bd] Five points, friends, should be present inwardly to a brother who is desirous of chiding another. 'I will speak at a timely moment, not at an untimely moment.[3] I will utter what is true, not what is fictitious, I will speak mildly, not roughly. I will speak from a desire [237] for his good, not for his hurt. I will speak with love in my heart, not enmity.'

[5.16][wp][bd] Five factors in spiritual wrestling. Herein, [227] friends, a brother has confidence, believing in the Tathāgata's enlightenment: — 'Thus is the Exalted One: he is Arahant fully awakened, wisdom he has, and righteousness; he is the Well-Farer; he has knowledge of the worlds; he is the supreme driver of men willing to be tamed; the teacher of devas and men; the Awakened and Exalted One'—he is in good health, exempt from suffering, endowed with a smoothly assimilating digstion, neither overheated nor too chilly, but medium, suited for exertion. He is not deceitful nor crafty, honestly making known himself for what he is to the Teacher, or to wise persons among his fellow-disciples. He maintains a flow of energy in eliminating wrong states of mind and evoking good states, vigorous, strongly reaching out, not shirking toil with respect to good states of mind. He has insight, being endowed with understanding which goes to the rise and cessation of all things. Ariyan, penetrating, going to the perfect destruction of ill.

[5.17][wp][bd] Five Pure Abodes, to wit, the heavens called Avihā, Atappā, Sudassā, Sudassī, Akaniṭṭha.[4]

[5.18][wp][bd] Five classes of persons become Never-returners: — one who passes away before middle age in that world in which he has been reborn, one who so passes after middle age, one who so passes without much toil, with ease, one who so passes with toil and difficulty, one who striving 'upstream' is reborn in the Akaniṭṭha world.[5]

[5.19][wp][bd] Five spiritual barrennesses.[6] [238]Herein, friends, a brother doubts, is perplexed about the Master, comes to no definite choice, is not satisfied. He being thus, his mind does (mo: sic? does not) incline (lit. bend) towards ardour, devotion, perserverance, exertion: — this is the first barrenness. When he doubts, is perplexed about the Doctrine, the Order, the Training, these are, in [228] order, the second, third and fourth barrennesses. When he is offended with his fellow-disciples, vexed, agitated, sterile towards them, he being thus, his mind does not incline towards ardour, etc.[7]

[5.20][wp][bd] Five bondages of the mind. Herein, brethren, when a brother has not got rid of the passion for sense-desires, of desire, fondness, thirst, fever, craving for them, he being thus, his mind does not incline towards ardour, devotion, perseverance, exertion. In the same way, when a brother has not got rid of the passion, desire, fondness, thirst, fever, craving for his own person,[8] or again for external objects, he being thus, his mind does not incline towards ardour, devotion, perseverance, exertion. Fourthly, if a brother have eaten as much as his stomach can hold,[9] and then abides given over to the ease of repose, of turning from this side to that,[10] of sloth . . . and, fifthly, [239] if a brother have adopted the religious life with the aspiration of belonging to some one or other of the deva-groups, thinking: — 'By these rules or by these rites or by these austerities or by this religious life I shall become a greater, or a lesser deva;[11] he being thus, his mind does not incline towards ardour, devotion, perseverance, exertion.

[5.21][wp][bd] Five faculties,[12] to wit, those of the five senses.

[5.22][wp][bd] Other five faculties, to wit,that of pleasure, of pain, joy, grief, indifference.

[5.23][wp][bd] Other five faculties, to wit,that of faith, energy, mindfulness, concentration, insight.

[5.24][wp][bd] Five elements tending to deliverance. Herein, [229] friends, when a brother is contemplating sensuous desires, his heart does not leap forward to them, nor rest complacent in them, does not choose them.[13] But when he is contemplating renunciation of them, his heart leaps forward, rests complacent in it, chooses it. [240]This frame of mind he gets well inhand, well developed, well lifted up, well freed and detached from sense desires. And those intoxicants, whose miseries, those fevers which arise in consequence of sense-desires, from all these he is freed, nor does he feel that sort of feeling. This is pronounced to be the first deliverance. Similarly for the other four elements, namely, from ill will, cruelty, external objects and individuality.

[241] [5.25][wp][bd] Five occasions of emancipation. Herein, friends, when the Master, or a reverend fellow-disciple teaches the Norm to a brother, according as the teaching is given, the listener comes to know both the matter of the doctrine, and the text of the doctrine.[14] And gladness springs up in him, and in him gladdened zest springs up; his mind enraptured, the faculties[15] become serene; with serenity comes happiness, and of him thus happy the heart is stayed and firm.[16] This is the first occasion. In the next place, a brother has a similar experience not from hearing the Master or a reverend fellow-disciple teach, but while himself teaching others the Norm in detail, as he has learnt and got it by memory ... This is the second occasion. In the third place, a brother has a similar experience, not on those first two occasions, but when he is reciting the doctrines of the Norm in detail as he has learnt and got them by memory ... [242] This is the third occasion. In the fourth place, a brother has a similar experience, not on those first three occasions, but when he applies his thought to the Norm as he has [230] learnt and got it by memory, and sustains protracted meditation on it and contemplates it in mind ... This is the fourth occasion. Finally, a brother has a similar experience, not on those first four occasions, but whenhe has well grasped some givenclue to concentration,[17] has well applied his understanding, has well thought it out, has well penetrated it by intuition[18] ... [243] This is the fifth occasion.

[5.26][wp][bd] Five thoughts by which emancipation[19] reaches maturity, to wit, the notion of impermanence, the notion of suffering in impermanence, the notion of no-soul in suffering, the notion of elimination, the notion of passionlessness.

These fivefold doctrines, friends, have been perfectly set forth ... for the happiness of devas and men.


[1] Macchariyaṃ, implying also avarice, selfishness. Cf. Bud. Psy. Eth., § 1122 and n.; K.S., p. 27, § 2.

[2] These two paragraphs form an address, or the outlines of one, given to the lay disciples at Pāṭaligāma, See Volume II, 90 f.

[3] Not, e.g., in a public room, assembly, refectory; at the mid-day rest he should seek opportunity, saying, 'I should like to speak to the reverend brother,' but not in the case of anyone uttering slander. Comy. (mo: Why not? Because others observing this will think one is in agreement with the slanderer.)

[4] On the last four names, see (Volume) II, p. 41. B. refers to this. The five are the topmost Rūpa worlds. Cf. Points, 74, n. 2.

[5] It was believed that these completed life as we conceive it, in a final rebirth in one of these five heavens. Cf. A. IV. 14 f.

[6] See Bud. Suttas (S.B.E. XI), p. 223 f., also for following section (XX.): translation of the Cetokhila Sutta, Majjhima I.

[7] Paraphrased exegetically as unbelief, stubbornness

[8] Kāye. Attano kāye, is the comment. Kāyo means the whole personal aggregate, not the physical factor only; all that is ajjhattaṃ, in distinction to the next bondage, where rūpe is explained as bahiddhā; 'external' to self.

[9] Cf. Psalms of the Brethren, ver, 935, n. 1; J.P.T.S., 1886, 150.

[10] The Comy. reads passa not phassa, and explains as above. Cf. Psalms of the Brethren, ibid.

[11] B. explains as mahesakkho, appesakkho vā.

[12] Indriyāni, lit. controlling powers.

[13] Na vimuccati aādhimuccati.

[14] 'Matter' and 'text' are in the Comy. pāli-atthaṃ and pāliṃ

[15] Kāyo here=nāmakāyo, 'mental group.' Comy.

[16] 'By the samādhi of the fruit of arahantship.' Comy. Cf. Vol. I. 84, § 75. This sentence is rrepeated after each of the five.

[17] Samādhi nimittaŋ. On nimittaŋ see Points of Controversy, p. 387 f.

[18] Suppaṭividdhaŋ paññāya.

[19] I.e., Arahantship. Comy.


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