Anguttara Nikaya


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The Pali is transliterated as Velthuis (aaiiuu.m'n~n.t.d.n.l). Alternatives:
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Anguttara Nikaaya
Navaka Nipaata

The Book of the
Gradual Sayings
The Book of the Nines
Chapter II: The Lion Roar

Sutta 20

Velaama Sutta.m

Velama[1]

Translated from the Pali by E.M. Hare.

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

Once, when the Exalted One was dwelling near Saavatthii,
at Jeta Grove,
in Anaathapi.n.dika's Park,
the householder, Anaathapi.n.dika, visited him
and after saluting sat down at one side.

And the Exalted One addressed Anaathapi.n.dika thus:

'Is alms given in your family,[2] householder?

'Yes, lord, alms are given, but it consists of a coarse mess of broken rice grains together with sour gruel.'[3]

'Householder, whether one give coarse alms or choice,[4]
if one give casually,
without thought,
not with one's own hand,
give but orts[5]
and with no view to the future[6];
then, wheresoever that almsgiving bear fruit,[7]
his mind will not turn to [263] the enjoyment of excellent food,
of fine raiment,
of rich carriages,
to the enjoyment of the excellencies of the five senses;
and one's sons and one's daughters,
one's slaves,
messengers and workfolk
will have no desire to listen to one,
nor lend an ear,
nor bring understanding to bear[8] (on what one says).

And wherefore?

Such is the result, householder,
of deeds done casually.

But whether one give coarse alms or choice, householder,
if one give considerately,
after taking thought,
with one's own hand,
give other than orts
and with a view to the future;
then, wheresoever that almsgiving bear fruit,
his mind will turn to the enjoyment of good food,
of fine raiment,
of rich carriages,
of the excellences of the five senses;
and one's sons and one's daughters,
one's slaves,
messengers and workfolk
will desire to listen to one,
will lend an ear
and bring understanding to bear (on what one says).

And wherefore?

Such is the result, householder,
of deeds done considerately.

Long ago, householder, there lived a brahman called Velama.

He gave very rich gifts, such as these:

He gave eighty-four thousand golden bowls,
filled with silver;
he gave eighty-four thousand silver bowls,
filled with gold;
he gave eighty-four thousand copper bowls,
filled with treasure;[9]
he gave eighty-four thousand steeds,[10]
with trappings of gold,
with banners of gold,
covered with nets of gold thread;
he gave eighty-four thousand chariots,
spread with lion-skins,
tiger-skins,
leopard-skins,
saffron-coloured blankets,
with golden trappings,
golden banners,
covered with nets of gold thread;
he gave eighty-four thousand milch kine,
with tethers of fine jute,
with milk-pails of silver;[11]
he gave eighty-four thousand maidens
adorned with jewelled ear-rings;
he gave eighty-four thousand [264] couches,
spread with fleecy covers,
white blankets and woollen flower-embroidered coverlets,
covered with rugs of antelope skins,
with awnings above
and crimson cushions at each end[12]
he gave eighty-four thousand lengths[13] of cloth,
of finest flax,
of finest silk,
of finest wool,
of finest cotton.

And who shall tell of the food and the drink that he gave,
food both hard and soft,
sweetmeats and syrups!

They flowed, methinks, as rivers![14]

Perhaps, householder, you may think thus:

Maybe Velama, the brahman,
who made that very rich gift,
was someone else.

But think not so,
for it was I,
who at that time was Velama, the brahman;
it was I who made that very rich gift.

But when that alms was given, householder,
there was no one worthy to receive the gift;
there was none to sanctify that gift.

For, though brahman Velama gave that very rich gift,
greater would have been the fruit thereof,
had he fed one person of right view.[15]

Though he gave that very rich gift,
or though he fed a hundred persons of right view,
greater would have been the fruit thereof,
had he fed one Once-returner.

Though he gave that very rich gift,
or though he fed a hundred Once-returners,
greater would have been the fruit thereof,
had he fed one Non-returner.

Though he gave that very rich gift,
or though he fed a hundred Non-returners,
greater would have been the fruit thereof,
had he fed one Arahant.

Though he gave that very rich gift,
or though he fed a hundred Arahants,
greater would have been the fruit thereof,
had he fed one silent Buddha.[16]

Though he gave that very rich gift,
or though he fed a hundred silent Buddhas,
greater would have been the fruit thereof,
had he fed one Tathagata, arahant, fully awake.

Though he gave that very rich gift,
or though he fed the Order of monks,
with the Buddha at their head,
greater would have been the fruit thereof,
had [265] he built a monastery
for the use of the monks
of the Order of the surrounding country.

Though he gave that very rich gift,
or though with pious heart
he took refuge in the Buddha, Dhamma and the Order,
greater would have been the fruit thereof,
had he with pious heart
undertaken to keep the precepts:
abstention from taking life,
from taking what is not given,
from carnal lusts,
from lying
and from intoxicating liquor,
the cause of sloth.

Though he gave that very rich gift,
or though with pious heart
he undertook to keep these precepts,
greater would have been the fruit thereof,
had he made become a mere passing fragrance[17] of amity.

Though he gave that very rich gift,
or though he made become just the fragrance of amity,
greater would have been the fruit thereof,
had he made become,
just for a finger-snap,
the thought of impermanence.'

 


[1] This sutta is referred to at J. i, 228; Khp.A. 222; D.A. i, 234.

[2] The Comy. observes that this question was not asked concerning gifts to the Order, of these he knew; but of gifts to the world at large (lokiyamahaajanassa).

[3] Cf. Vin. Texts iii, 9 n.; K.S. i, 115 (318 = Mp. 795); D. ii, 354.

[4] This set of five recurs at D. ii, 356; M. iii, 22; A. iii, 171.

[5] Apaviddha.m. Comy. here: na nirantara.m deti, sa'nvaccharika so.n.davallii viya; but ad A. iii, 171: atha vaa cha.d.datukaamo viya deti.

[6] Comy. Not believing in karma or fruit.

[7] S. i, 92.

[8] This phrase recurs at D. i, 230; M. iii, 133; A. i, 172; S. ii, 267; Vin. i, 10.

[9] Hira~n~na. Comy. gems.

[10] Cf. Dial. ii, 220; K.S. iii, 123. On the number 84000, see above, p. 65 n. Its use is common in Indian literature; cf. S.B.E. xxi, 241 (and Kern's note there); xlix, pt. 2, 177 (in the Mahaayanaa); by FaHien, Beal's Records, p. 1; as eighty-four see S.B.E. xv, 297 (the Maitraaya.na-Braahma.na-Upanishad).

[11] Ka.msuupadhaara.naani. Comy. rajata-maya-khiira-pa.ticchakaani.

[12] Cf. above, p. 59.

[13] Ko.ti. Comy. One ko.ti (made) twenty pairs of cloths.

[14] The text and S.e. read vissandati, but Comy. with v.l. vissandanti, observing: nadiyo viya vissandanti.

[15] Di.t.thisampanna.m. Comy. dassanasampanna.m sotaapanna.m.

[16] Paccekabuddha.

[17] Gandhuuhanamatta.m, or gadduuhana-; see Tr. P.M. 59; K.S. ii, 177. S.e. and Comy. have both. The Comy. on the former explains: a mere passing fragrance; as it were, merely the perfume there might be from taking a pinch of scent between the fingers. On the latter: merely, as it were, a pull at a cow's teat. Comy. Hew. ed. p. 806 reads thana-a~nchana-, v.l. -a~njana-; P.E.D. reads majjana; Tr. avi~njana from \/.Hpi~nj; see above, p. 51, n. 2; C.P.D. omits our readings; cf. a~nehati, M. i, 532.

 


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