Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
III. Upari Paṇṇāsa
2. Anupada Vagga

The Middle Length Sayings
III. The Final Fifty Discourses
2. The Division of the Uninterrupted

Sutta 113

Sappurisa Suttaɱ

Discourse on the Good Man

Translated from the Pali by I.B. Horner.
For free distribution only.
From Taming the Mind: Discourses of the Buddha (WH 51),
edited by the Buddhist Publication Society,
(Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1983).
Copyright ©1983 Buddhist Publication Society.
Used with permission.

 


 

[1][chlm][than][upal] Thus I have heard:

At one time the Lord was staying near Sāvatthī
in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika's monastery.

While he was there the Lord addressed the monks, saying:

"Monks."

"Revered One," these monks answered the Lord in assent.

The Lord spoke thus:

"I will teach you, monks, dhamma of good men and dhamma of bad men.

Listen to it,
pay careful attention
and I will speak."

"Yes, revered sir,"
these monks answered the Lord in assent.

The Lord spoke thus:

"And what, monks, is dhamma of good men?

As to this, monks,
a bad man has gone forth from a high family.[1]

He reflects thus:

'I have gone forth from this high family;
but these other monks
have not gone forth from a high family.'

Because he belongs to a high family
he exalts himself,
disparages the others.

This, monks, is dhamma of a bad man.

But a good man, monks, reflects thus:

'It is not because of one's belonging to a high family
that things of [90] greed,
things of aversion,
things of confusion
go to destruction.

For even if one be not gone forth from a high family,
one may still fare along
in complete accordance with dhamma,
may fare along correctly,
may be a farer according to dhamma,
and therefore be one to be honoured and commended.'

He, having made the course itself the main thing,[2]
neither exalts himself for belonging to a high family
nor disparages others.

This, monks, is dhamma of a good man.

Again, monks, a bad man has gone forth from a great family.[3][4]

He reflects thus:

'I have gone forth from this great family;
but these other monks
have not gone forth from a great family.'

Because he belongs to a great family
he exalts himself,
disparages the others.

This, monks, is dhamma of a bad man.

But a good man, monks, reflects thus:

'It is not because of one's belonging to a great family
that things of greed,
things of aversion,
things of confusion
go to destruction.

For even if one be not gone forth from a great family,
one may still fare along
in complete accordance with dhamma,
may fare along correctly,
may be a farer according to dhamma,
and therefore be one to be honoured and commended.'

He, having made the course itself the main thing,
neither exalts himself for belonging to a great family
nor disparages others.

This, monks, is dhamma of a good man.

Again, monks, a bad man has gone forth from a very rich family.

He reflects thus:

'I have gone forth from this very rich family;
but these other monks
have not gone forth from a very rich family.'

Because he belongs to a very rich family
he exalts himself,
disparages the others.

This, monks, is dhamma of a bad man.

But a good man, monks, reflects thus:

'It is not because of one's belonging to a very rich family
that things of greed,
things of aversion,
things of confusion
go to destruction.

For even if one be not gone forth from a very rich family,
one may still fare along
in complete accordance with dhamma,
may fare along correctly,
may be a farer according to dhamma,
and therefore be one to be honoured and commended.'

He, having made the course itself the main thing,
neither exalts himself for belonging to a very rich family
nor disparages others.

This, monks, is dhamma of a good man.

Again, monks, a bad man has gone forth from an eminent family.

He reflects thus:

'I have gone forth from this very eminent family;
but these other monks
have not gone forth from an eminent family.'

Because he belongs to an eminent family
he exalts himself,
disparages the others.

This, monks, is dhamma of a bad man.

But a good man, monks, reflects thus:

'It is not because of one's belonging to an eminent family
that things of greed,
things of aversion,
things of confusion
go to destruction.

For even if one be not gone forth from an eminent family,
one may still fare along
in complete accordance with dhamma,
may fare along correctly,
may be a farer according to dhamma,
and therefore be one to be honoured and commended.'

He, having made the course itself the main thing,
neither exalts himself for belonging to an eminent family
nor disparages others.

This, too monks, is dhamma of a good man.

And again, monks, a bad man is well-known,
famous.

He reflects thus:

'I am well-known,
famous,
but these other monks are little known,
of no esteem.'[5]

Because of his being well-known he exalts himself,
disparages the others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a bad man.

But a good man reflects thus:

'It is not because of one's being well-known
that things of greed,
aversion,
confusion
go to destruction.

For even if one be not well-known,
famous,
one may still fare along in complete accordance with dhamma
and therefore be one to be honoured and commended.'

He, having made the course itself the main thing,
neither exalts himself for being well-known
nor disparages others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a good man.

And again, monks, a bad man
acquires the requisites of robe-material,
almsfood,
lodgings
and medicines for the sick.

He reflects [91] thus:

'I am an acquirer of the requisites of robe-material,
almsfood,
lodgings
and medicines for the sick,
but these other monks are not acquirers of the requisites of robe-material,
almsfood,
lodgings
and medicines for the sick.'

Because of these acquisitions he exalts himself, disparages the others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a bad man.

But a good man reflects thus:

'It is not because of one's being an acquirer of the requisites of robe-material,
almsfood,
lodgings
and medicines for the sick,

that things of greed,
aversion,
confusion
go to destruction.

For even if one be not an acquirer of the requisites of robe-material,
almsfood,
lodgings
and medicines for the sick,
one may still fare along in complete accordance with dhamma
and therefore be one to be honoured and commended.'

He, having made the course itself the main thing,
neither exalts himself for being an acquirer of the requisites of robe-material,
almsfood,
lodgings
and medicines for the sick,
nor disparages others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a good man.

And again, monks, a bad man
is one who has heard much.

He reflects thus:

'I am one who has heard much,
but these other monks are not ones who has heard much.'

Because of these acquisitions he exalts himself, disparages the others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a bad man.

But a good man reflects thus:

'It is not because of one's being one who has heard much,

that things of greed,
aversion,
confusion
go to destruction.

For even if one be not one who has heard much,
one may still fare along in complete accordance with dhamma
and therefore be one to be honoured and commended.'

He, having made the course itself the main thing,
neither exalts himself for being one who has heard much,
nor disparages others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a good man.

And again, monks, a bad man
is one who is expert in Vinaya.

He reflects thus:

'I am one who is expert in Vinaya,
but these other monks are not ones who are expert in Vinaya.'

Because of being expert in Vinaya he exalts himself,
disparages the others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a bad man.

But a good man reflects thus:

'It is not because of one's being one who is expert in Vinaya,

that things of greed,
aversion,
confusion
go to destruction.

For even if one be not one who is expert in Vinaya,
one may still fare along in complete accordance with dhamma
and therefore be one to be honoured and commended.'

He, having made the course itself the main thing,
neither exalts himself for being one who is expert in Vinaya,
nor disparages others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a good man.

And again, monks, a bad man
is one who is a speaker on dhamma.

He reflects thus:

'I am one who is a speaker on dhamma,
but these other monks are not ones who are speakers on dhamma.'

Because of being a speaker on dhamma he exalts himself,
disparages the others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a bad man.

But a good man reflects thus:

'It is not because of one's being a speaker on dhamma,

that things of greed,
aversion,
confusion
go to destruction.

For even if one be not a speaker on dhamma,
one may still fare along in complete accordance with dhamma
and therefore be one to be honoured and commended.'

He, having made the course itself the main thing,
neither exalts himself for being one who is a speaker on dhamma,
nor disparages others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a good man.

And again, monks, a bad man
is one who is a forest-dweller[6].

He reflects thus:

'I am one who is a forest-dweller,
but these other monks are not ones who are forest-dwellers.'

Because of being a forest-dweller he exalts himself,
disparages the others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a bad man.

But a good man reflects thus:

'It is not because of one's being a forest-dweller,

that things of greed,
aversion,
confusion
go to destruction.

For even if one be not a forest-dweller,
one may still fare along in complete accordance with dhamma
and therefore be one to be honoured and commended.'

He, having made the course itself the main thing,
neither exalts himself for being one who is a forest-dweller,
nor disparages others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a good man.

And again, monks, a bad man
is one who is a wearer of robes taken from the dust-heap.

He reflects thus:

'I am one who is a wearer of robes taken from the dust-heap,
but these other monks are not ones who are wearers of robes taken from the dust-heap.'

Because of being a wearer of robes taken from the dust-heap he exalts himself,
disparages the others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a bad man.

But a good man reflects thus:

'It is not because of one's being a wearer of robes taken from the dust-heap,

that things of greed,
aversion,
confusion
go to destruction.

For even if one be not a a wearer of robes taken from the dust-heap,
one may still fare along in complete accordance with dhamma
and therefore be one to be honoured and commended.'

He, having made the course itself the main thing,
neither exalts himself for being one who is a wearer of robes taken from the dust-heap,
nor disparages others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a good man.

And again, monks, a bad man
is one who is a beggar for alms.

He reflects thus:

'I am one who is a beggar for alms,
but these other monks are not ones who are beggars for alms.'

Because of being a beggar for alms he exalts himself,
disparages the others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a bad man.

But a good man reflects thus:

'It is not because of one's being a beggar for alms,

that things of greed,
aversion,
confusion
go to destruction.

For even if one be not a beggar for alms,
one may still fare along in complete accordance with dhamma
and therefore be one to be honoured and commended.'

He, having made the course itself the main thing,
neither exalts himself for being one who is a beggar for alms,
nor disparages others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a good man.

And again, monks, a bad man
is one who stays at the root of a tree.

He reflects thus:

'I am one who stays at the root of a tree,
but these other monks are not ones who stay at the root of a tree.'

Because of being one who stays at the root of a tree he exalts himself,
disparages the others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a bad man.

But a good man reflects thus:

'It is not because of one's staying at the root of a tree,

that things of greed,
aversion,
confusion
go to destruction.

For even if one be not one who stays at the root of a tree,
one may still fare along in complete accordance with dhamma
and therefore be one to be honoured and commended.'

He, having made the course itself the main thing,
neither exalts himself for being one who stays at the root of a tree,
nor disparages others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a good man.

And again, monks, a bad man
is one who stays in a cemetery.

He reflects thus:

'I am one who stays in a cemetery,
but these other monks are not ones who stay in a cemetery.'

Because of being one who stays in a cemetery he exalts himself,
disparages the others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a bad man.

But a good man reflects thus:

'It is not because of one's staying in a cemetery,

that things of greed,
aversion,
confusion
go to destruction.

For even if one be not one who stays in a cemetery,
one may still fare along in complete accordance with dhamma
and therefore be one to be honoured and commended.'

He, having made the course itself the main thing,
neither exalts himself for being one who stays in a cemetery,
nor disparages others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a good man.

And again, monks, a bad man
is one who stays in the open air.

He reflects thus:

'I am one who stays in the open air,
but these other monks are not ones who stay in the open air.'

Because of being one who stays in the open air he exalts himself,
disparages the others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a bad man.

But a good man reflects thus:

'It is not because of one's staying in the open air,

that things of greed,
aversion,
confusion
go to destruction.

For even if one be not one who stays in the open air,
one may still fare along in complete accordance with dhamma
and therefore be one to be honoured and commended.'

He, having made the course itself the main thing,
neither exalts himself for being one who stays in the open air,
nor disparages others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a good man.

And again, monks, a bad man
is one who remains in a sitting posture.

He reflects thus:

'I am one who remains in a sitting posture,
but these other monks are not ones who remains in a sitting posture.'

Because of being one who remains in a sitting posture he exalts himself,
disparages the others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a bad man.

But a good man reflects thus:

'It is not because of one's remaining in a sitting posture,

that things of greed,
aversion,
confusion
go to destruction.

For even if one be not one who remains in a sitting posture,
one may still fare along in complete accordance with dhamma
and therefore be one to be honoured and commended.'

He, having made the course itself the main thing,
neither exalts himself for being one who remains in a sitting posture,
nor disparages others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a good man.

And again, monks, a bad man
is one who sits on the seat offered.

He reflects thus:

'I am one who sits on the seat offered,
but these other monks are not ones who sit on the seat offered.'

Because of being one who sits on the seat offered he exalts himself,
disparages the others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a bad man.

But a good man reflects thus:

'It is not because of one's sitting on the seat offered,

that things of greed,
aversion,
confusion
go to destruction.

For even if one be not one who sits on the seat offered,
one may still fare along in complete accordance with dhamma
and therefore be one to be honoured and commended.'

He, having made the course itself the main thing,
neither exalts himself for being one who sits on the seat offered,
nor disparages others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a good man.

And again, monks, a bad man
is one who eats once (a day only).

He reflects thus:

'I am one who eats once (a day only),
but these other monks are not ones who eat once (a day only).'

[92] Because of being one who eats once (a day only) he exalts himself,
disparages the others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a bad man.

But a good man reflects thus:

'It is not because of one's eating once (a day only),

that things of greed,
aversion,
confusion
go to destruction.

For even if one be not one who eats once (a day only),
one may still fare along in complete accordance with dhamma
and therefore be one to be honoured and commended.'

He, having made the course itself the main thing,
neither exalts himself for being one who eats once (a day only),
nor disparages others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a good man.

And again, monks, a bad man,
aloof from pleasures of the senses,
aloof from unskilled states of mind,
enters on
and abides in
the first meditation
which is accompanied by initial thought and discursive thought,
is born of aloofness,
and is rapturous and joyful.

He reflects thus:

'I am an acquirer of the attainment of the first meditation,
but these other monks are not acquirers of the attainment of the first meditation.'

Because of being one who acquires the attainment of the first meditation he exalts himself,
disparages the others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a bad man.

But a good man reflects thus:

'Lack of desire[7]
even for the attainment of the first meditation
has been spoken of by the Lord;
for whatever they imagine it to be,
it is otherwise.

He, having made lack of desire itself the main thing,
neither exalts himself on account of that attainment of the first meditation
nor disparages others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a good man.

And again, monks, a bad man,
by allaying initial and discursive thought,
his mind subjectively tranquillised
and fixed on one point,
enters on
and abides in
the second meditation
which is devoid of initial and discursive thought,
is born of concentration
and is rapturous and joyful.

He reflects thus:

'I am an acquirer of the attainment of the second meditation,
but these other monks are not acquirers of the attainment of the second meditation.'

Because of being one who acquires the attainment of the second meditation he exalts himself,
disparages the others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a bad man.

But a good man reflects thus:

'Lack of desire
even for the attainment of the second meditation
has been spoken of by the Lord;
for whatever they imagine it to be,
it is otherwise.

He, having made lack of desire itself the main thing,
neither exalts himself on account of that attainment of the second meditation
nor disparages others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a good man.

And again, monks, a bad man,
by the fading out of rapture,
dwells with equanimity,
attentive and clearly conscious,
and experiences in his person
that joy of which the ariyans say:
'Joyful lives he who has equanimity and is mindful,'
and he enters on
and abides in
the third meditation.

He reflects thus:

'I am an acquirer of the attainment of the third meditation,
but these other monks are not acquirers of the attainment of the third meditation.'

Because of being one who acquires the attainment of the third meditation he exalts himself,
disparages the others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a bad man.

But a good man reflects thus:

'Lack of desire
even for the attainment of the third meditation
has been spoken of by the Lord;
for whatever they imagine it to be,
it is otherwise.'

He, having made lack of desire itself the main thing,
neither exalts himself on account of that attainment of the third meditation
nor disparages others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a good man.

And again, monks, a bad man
by getting rid of joy,
by getting rid of anguish,
by the going down of his former pleasures and sorrows,
enters on
and abides in
the fourth meditation
which has neither anguish nor joy,
and which is entirely purified
by equanimity and mindfulness.

He reflects thus:

'I am an acquirer of the attainment of the fourth meditation,
but these other monks are not acquirers of the attainment of the fourth meditation.'

Because of being one who acquires the attainment of the fourth meditation he exalts himself,
disparages the others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a bad man.

But a good man reflects thus:

'Lack of desire
even for the attainment of the fourth meditation
has been spoken of by the Lord;
for whatever they imagine it to be,
it is otherwise.

He, having [93] made lack of desire itself the main thing,
neither exalts himself on account of that attainment of the fourth meditation
nor disparages others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a good man.

And again, monks, a bad man
by wholly transcending perception of material shapes,
by the going down of perception of sensory reactions,
by not attending to perception of variety,
thinking:
'Ether is unending,'
enters on
and abides in the plane of infinite ether.

He reflects thus:

'I am an acquirer of the attainment of the plane of infinite ether,
but these other monks are not acquirers of the attainment of the plane of infinite ether.'

Because of being one who acquires the attainment of the plane of infinite ether he exalts himself,
disparages the others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a bad man.

But a good man reflects thus:

'Lack of desire
even for the attainment of the plane of infinite ether
has been spoken of by the Lord;
for whatever they imagine it to be,
it is otherwise.

He, having made lack of desire itself the main thing,
neither exalts himself on account of that attainment of the plane of infinite ether
nor disparages others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a good man.

And again, monks, a bad man
by wholly transcending the plane of infinite ether,
thinking:
'Consciousness is unending,'
enters on
and abides in
the plane of infinite consciousness.

He reflects thus:

'I am an acquirer of the attainment of the plane of infinite consciousness,
but these other monks are not acquirers of the attainment of the plane of infinite consciousness.'

Because of being one who acquires the attainment of the plane of infinite consciousness he exalts himself,
disparages the others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a bad man.

But a good man reflects thus:

'Lack of desire
even for the attainment of the plane of infinite consciousness
has been spoken of by the Lord;
for whatever they imagine it to be,
it is otherwise.

He, having made lack of desire itself the main thing,
neither exalts himself on account of that attainment of the plane of infinite consciousness
nor disparages others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a good man.

And again, monks, a bad man,
by wholly transcending the plane of infinite consciousness,
thinking:
'There is not anything,'
enters on
and abides in
the plane of no-thing.

He reflects thus:

'I am an acquirer of the attainment of the plane of no-thing,
but these other monks are not acquirers of the attainment of the plane of no-thing.'

Because of being one who acquires the attainment of the plane of no-thing he exalts himself,
disparages the others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a bad man.

But a good man reflects thus:

'Lack of desire
even for the attainment of the plane of no-thing
has been spoken of by the Lord;
for whatever they imagine it to be,
it is otherwise.

He, having made lack of desire itself the main thing,
neither exalts himself on account of that attainment of the plane of no-thing
nor disparages others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a good man.

And again, monks, a bad man,
by wholly transcending the plane of no-thing,
enters on
and abides in
the plane of neither-perception-nor-non-perception.

He reflects thus:

'I am an acquirer of the attainment of the plane of neither-perception-nor-non-perception,
but these other monks are not acquirers of the attainment of the plane of neither-perception-nor-non-perception.'

Because of being one who acquires the attainment of the plane of neither-perception-nor-non-perception he exalts himself,
disparages the others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a bad man.

But a good man reflects thus:

'Lack of desire
even for the attainment of the plane of neither-perception-nor-non-perception
has been spoken of by the Lord;
for whatever they imagine it to be,
it is otherwise.

He, having made lack of desire itself the main thing,
neither exalts himself on account of that attainment of the plane of neither-perception-nor-non-perception
nor disparages others.

This too, monks, is dhamma of a good man.

And again, monks, a good man,
by wholly transcending the plane of neither-perception-nor-non-perception,
enters on
and abides in
the stopping of perception and feeling;
and having seen by intuitive wisdom,
his cankers are caused to be destroyed.[8]

And [94] monks, this monk does not imagine
he[9] is aught
or anywhere
or in anything."[10]

Thus spoke the Lord.

Delighted, these monks rejoiced in what the Lord had said.

Discourse on the Good Man:
The Third

 


[1] MA. iv. 98, a khattiya (noble warrior) family or a brahman family. Cf. Vin. iv. 6 where distinguished birth, ukkaṭṭha, jāti, is assigned to these two.

[2] so paṭipadaṁ yeva antaraṁ karitvā, cf. M. iii. 14.

[3] A noble, brahman or merchant family, MA. iv. 98.

[4] [this material is abridged here thus: "(to be set out at length in the way given below)" and Ms. Horner then footnotes: "I.e. "above" to us who use a printed book instead of a palm-leaf MS."]

[5] Cf. M. i. 192.

[6] Here are mentioned nine out of the thirteen dhūtaŋga, or ascetic practices, for which see Vism. 61 ff.

[7] atammayatā, This is nittaṇhatā, while tamnmyatā is taṇhā, MA. iv. 99. Cf. M. i. 319, iii. 220, A. i. 150, iii. 444.

[8] parikkhayāpenti instead of the more usual parikkhīṇā honti. MA. iv. 99 speaks of this person as a non-returner. This attainment of stopping is not for the ordinary person, puthujjanassa sā n'atthi.

[9] puggala supplied by MA. iv. 99-100.

[10] na kiñci na kuhiñci na kenaci maññati. Cf. M. iii. 103, na katthaci na kuhiñci.


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