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Personalities of the Buddhist Suttas


[247] At the top, Beggars, of those of my Female Beggars who are freed through faith (saddhadhimuttanam) is Sigalamata.


(DPPN: She belonged to a setthi's family in Rajagaha, and, after marriage, had a son called Sigalaka. She heard the Buddha preach and entered the Order. She was full of faith, and, when she went to hear the Buddha preach, would gaze at his beauty of personality. The Buddha, realizing her nature, preached so that her faith might reach its culmination, and, in due course, she became an arahant. Later she was declared chief of nuns who had attained release by faith (saddhadhimuttanam).

According to the Apadana, she was the mother of Sigala, to whom the Buddha preached the sutta regarding the worship of the directions ... She heard the sermon and became a sotapanna.

Highly Edited down version of The Sigalovada Suttanta, from PTS; T.W. and C.A.F Rhys Davids, The Dialogues of the Buddha, Part III, #31, pp173 (Sacred Books of the Buddhists, T.W. Rys Davids, ed., Published under the Patronage of His Majesty the King of Siam, First Published by The Oxford University Press in 1921)

This very famous Sutta is one of the most extensive in terms of counseling the layman.

(Irrelevant Note of Nostalgia: I noticed at the front of my copy of this volume a small sticker reading: Samuel Weiser, 845 B'way (bet. 13 & 14 St.) N.Y.C. — where I got this, my first copy of my first PTS translation of the Pali. [The Buddha tells us to always remember the place one became a Sotapanna and an Arahant; I suggest a couple of other spots for recollection are: 1. The Place one first heard of The Pali, 2. The Time and Place one first began sitting meditation] One of only three places in Manhattan during the early 60s where you could get such a book (used — 3 vol set $20) [the two others were Paragon Books and Orientalia — all three still in existence, I believe, although Weiser's has moved and Paragon has moved several times] this was when Weiser's was still in that musty walk down basement just shy of14th and you could really feel you were in a place of Power. My gratitude to Lenny Levinson for introducing me to that place.)

Thus have I heard: The Exalted One was once staying near Rajagaha in the Bamboo Wood at the Squirrels Feeding ground.

Now at this time young Sigala, a householders son, rising betimes, went forth from Rajagaha, and with wet hair and wet garments and clasped hands uplifted, paid worship to the several quarters of earth and sky: — to the east, south, west, and north, to the nadir and the zenith.

And the Exalted One early that morning dressed himself, took bowl and robe and entered Rajagaha seeking alms. Now he saw young Sigala worshipping and spoke to him thus: --

Why, young householder, do you ... worship the several quarters of earth and sky?

Sir, my father, when he was a-dying, said to me: Dear son, you should worship the quarters of earth and sky. So I, sir, honoring my father's word, reverencing, revering, holding it sacred ... worship on this wise.

But in the religion of an Ariyan, young householder, the six quarter should not be worshipped thus.

How then, sir, in the religion of an Ariyan, should the six quarters be worshipped?

Hear then, young householder, give ear to my words and I will speak.

So be it sir:

Inasmuch, young householder, as the Ariyan disciple has put away the four vices in conduct, inasmuch as he does no evil actions from the four motives, inasmuch as he does not pursue the six channels for dissipating wealth, he thus, avoiding these fourteen evil things is a coverer of the six quarters; he has practiced so as to conquer both worlds; he tastes success both in this world and in the next. At the dissolution of the body, after death, he is reborn to a happy destiny in heaven. What are the four vices of conduct that he has put away? The destruction of life, the taking what is not given, licentiousness, and lying speech. These are the four vices of conduct that he has put away.

By which four motives does he do no evil deed? Evil deeds are done from motives of partiality, enmity, stupidity and fear.

And which are the six channels for dissipating wealth? The being addicted to intoxicating liquors, frequenting the streets at unseemly hours, haunting fairs, the being infatuated by gambling, associating with evil companions, the habit of idleness.

There are, young householder, these six dangers through the being addicted to intoxicating liquors:-- actual loss of wealth, increase of quarrels, susceptibility to disease, loss of good character, indecent exposure, impaired intelligence.

Six, young householder, are the perils from frequenting the streets at unseemly hours: — he himself is without guard or protection and so also are wife and children; so also is his property; he moreover becomes suspected of crimes and false rumors fix on him, and many are the troubles he goes out to meet.

Six, young householder, are the perils from the haunting of fairs — He is always thinking: Where is there dancing? Where is there singing? Where is there music? Where is there recitation? Where are the cymbals? Where the tam-tams?

Six, young householder, are the perils for him who is infatuated with gambling: as winner he begets hatred; when beaten he mourns his lost wealth; his actual substance is wasted; his word has no weight in a court of law; he is despised by friends and officials; he is not sought after by those who would give or take in marriage, for they would say that a man who is a gambler cannot afford to keep a wife.

Six, young householder, are the perils from associating with evil companions: any gambler, any libertine, any tippler, any cheat, any swindler, any man of violence is his friend and companion.

Six, young householder, are the perils of the habit of idleness:-- he says, it is too cold, and does no work. He says, it is too hot, and does no work; he says, it is too early ... too late, and does no work. He says, I am too hungry and does no work ... too full, and does no work. And while all that he should do remains undone, new wealth he does not get, and such wealth as he has dwindles away.

Four, O young householder, are they who should be reckoned as foes in the likeness of friends; to wit, a rapacious person, the man of words not deeds, the flatterer, the fellow-waster.

Of these the first is on four grounds to be reckoned as a foe in the likeness of a friend:-- he is rapacious; he gives little and asks much; he does his duty out of fear; he pursues his own interests.

On four grounds the man of words, not deeds, is to be reckoned as a foe in the likeness of a friend: — he makes friendly profession as regards the past; he makes friendly profession as regards the future; he tries to gain your favor by empty sayings; when the opportunity for service has arisen he avows his disability.

On four grounds the flatterer is to be reckoned as a foe in the likeness of a friend: — he both consents to do wrong [Footnote: --to whatever you propose to do, he consents--], and dissents from doing right; he praises you to your face; he speaks ill of you to others.

On four grounds the fellow-waster companion is to be reckoned as a foe in the likeness of a friend:-- he is your companion when you indulge in strong drinks; he is your companion when you frequent the streets at untimely hours; he is your companion when you haunt shows and fairs; he is your companion when you are infatuated with gambling.

Four, O young householder, are the friends who should be reckoned as sound at heart: — the helper; the friend who is the same in happiness and adversity; the friend of good counsel; the friend who sympathizes.

On four grounds the friend who is a helper is to be reckoned as sound at heart: — he guards you when you are off your guard, he guards your property when you are off your guard; he is a refuge to you when you are afraid; when you have tasks to perform he provides a double supply.

On four grounds the friend who is the same in happiness and adversity is to be reckoned as sound of heart: — he tellsyou his secrets; he keeps secret your secrets; in your troubles he does not forsake you; he lays down even his life for your sake.

On four grounds the friend who declares what you need to do is ... sound of heart: — he restrains you from doing wrong; he enjoins you to do right; he informs you of what you had not heard before; he reveals to you the way to heaven.

On four grounds the friend who sympathizes is to be reckoned as sound at heart: — he does not rejoice over your misfortunes; he rejoices over your prosperity; he restrains anyone who is speaking ill of you; he commends anyone who is praising you.

And how, O young householder, does the Ariyan disciple protect the six quarters? The following should be looked upon as the six quarters: — parents as the east [Footnote: The symbolism is deliberately chosen: as the day in the East, so life begins with parents care; teachers' fees and the South are the same word: dakkhina; domestic cares follow when the youth becomes man, as the West holds the later daylight; North is 'beyond,' so by help of friends, etc., he gets beyond troubles. — Here Rhys Davids makes a point I have been making for years now with those who would say that what is meant by the saying that the Buddha taught with an open hand means that there is nothing hidden in these teachings: — These teachings have hidden meanings of this sort in every line!] teachers as the south, wife and children as the west, friends and companions as the north, servants and work people as the nadir, religious teachers and brahmins as the zenith.

In five ways a child should minister to his parents as the eastern quarter: — Once supported by them I will now be their support; I will perform duties incumbent on them; I will keep up the lineage and tradition of my family; I will make myself worthy of my heritage.

In five ways parents thus ministered to, as the eastern quarter, by their child, show their love for him:-- they restrain him from vice, they exhort him to virtue, they train him to a profession, they contract a suitable marriage for him, and in due time they hand over his inheritance.

Thus is this eastern quarter protected by him and made safe and secure.

In five ways should pupils minister to their teachers as the southern quarter: by rising, by waiting upon them, by eagerness to learn, by personal service, and by attention when receiving their teaching.

And in five ways do teachers, thus ministered to as the southern quarter by their pupils, love their pupil: — they train him in that wherein he has been well trained [this is a little hard to understand. I take it to mean something like encourages his strengths]; they make him hold fast that which is well held; they thoroughly instruct him in the lore of every art; they speak well of him among his friends and companions. They provide for his safety in every quarter.

Thus is this southern quarter protected by him and made safe and secure.

In five ways should a wife as western quarter be ministered to by her husband: — by respect, by courtesy, by faithfulness, by handing over authority to her, by providing her with adornment.

In these five ways does the wife, ministered to by her husband as the western quarter, love him: — her duties are well performed, by hospitality to the kin of both, by faithfulness, by watching over the goods he brings, and by skill and industry in discharging all her business.

Thus is the southern quarter protected by him and made safe and secure.

In five ways should a clansman minister to his friends and familiars as the northern quarter:-- by generosity, courtesy and benevolence, by treating them as he treats himself, and by being as good as his word.

In these five ways thus ministered to as the northern quarter, his friends and familiars love him:-- they protect him when he is off his guard, and on such occasions guard his property; they become a refuge in danger, they do not forsake him in his troubles, and they show consideration for his family.

Thus is the northern quarter protected by him and made safe and secure.

In five ways does an Ariyan master minister to his servants and employees as the nadir: — by assigning them work according to their strength; by supplying them with food and wages; by tending them in sickness; by sharing with them unusual delicacies; by granting leave at times.

In these ways ministered to by their master, servants and employees love their master in five ways: — they rise before him, they lie down to rest after him; they are content with what is given to them; they do their work well; and they carry about his praise and good fame.

Thus is the nadir protected by him and made safe and secure.

In five ways should the clansman minister to recluses and brahmins as the zenith: — by affection in act and speech and mind; by keeping open house to them, by supplying their temporal needs.

Thus ministered to as the zenith, recluses and brahmins show their love for the clansman in six ways:-- they restrain him from evil, they exhort him to good, they love him with kindly thoughts; they teach him what he had not heard, they correct and purify what he has heard, they reveal to him the way to heaven.

Thus is the zenith protected by him and made safe and secure.

When the Exalted One had thus spoken, Sigala the young householder said this: — Beautiful, lord, beautiful! As if one should set up again that which had been overthrown, or reveal that which had been hidden, or should disclose the road to one that was astray, orshould carry a lamp into darkness, saying They that have eyes will see! Even so hath the Truth been manifested by the Exalted One in many ways. And I, even I, do go to him as my refuge, and to the Truth and to the Order. May the Exalted One receive me as his lay-disciple, as one who has taken his refuge in him from this day forth as long as life endures.