Aṅguttara Nikāya

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III. Tika Nipāta
VI. Brāhmaṇa Vagga

The Book of the Gradual Sayings
More-Numbered Suttas

III. The Book of the Threes
VI. The Brāhmins

Sutta 57

Vaccha-Gotta Suttaɱ


Translated from the Pali by
F.L. Woodward, M.A.

Copyright The Pali Text Society
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[160] [143]

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

On a certain occasion the Exalted One was staying near Sāvatthī.

Now Vacchagotta[1] the Wanderer came to see the Exalted One.

On coming to him he greeted him courteously
and sat down at one side.

As he sat at one side
that brahmin said this to the Exalted One:

"I have heard it said, master Gotama,
that Gotama the recluse speaks thus:

'Alms should be given to me,
not to others:
to my followers,
not to another's followers.

Alms given to me are of great fruit,
not so those given to others.

Alms given to my followers
are of great profit,
not alms given to another's followers.'

Now, master Gotama,
do they who say these things
correctly repeat the views of the worthy Gotama,
without misrepresenting him
by uttering an untruth?

Do they expound their views
in accordance with his teaching,
so that one who is of his doctrine,
of his way of thinking,[2]
may not give grounds for reproach
in stating it?

Indeed we are anxious not to misrepresent the worthy Gotama."

[144] "Those who say so, Vaccha,
are not of my way of thinking.

Moreover such misrepresent me
by stating what is not true[3]
but a falsehood.

Indeed, Vaccha,
whoso prevents another from giving alms,
obstructs him in three ways,
robs him of three things.

What three?

He obstructs the giver in acquiring merit:
he prevents the receivers from getting a gift:
and his own self is already ruined,[4]
utterly ruined.

Whoso prevents another from giving alms, Vaccha,
obstructs him in three ways,
robs him of three things.

But this is what I really do declare, Vaccha:-

If one should throw away pot-scourings
or the rinsings of cups
into a pool
or cesspit,
even with the idea of feeding
the creatures that live therein,
I declare it would be a source[5] of merit to him;
to say nothing of his feeding beings that are human.




Nevertheless I say, Vaccha,
that a gift given in the case of the virtuous
is of great fruit,
not those given in the case of the wicked.

By 'virtuous' I mean
one who has abandoned five qualities
and possesses five qualities.

What are the five qualities
he has abandoned?

Sensual desire is abandoned,
malevolence is abandoned,
sloth-and-torpor is abandoned,
excitement-and-flurry is abandoned,
doubt-and-wavering is abandoned.

These are the five.

And of what five qualities
is he possessed?

He possesses the constituents of morality
possessed by the adept,[6]
he possesses the constituents of concentration,
possessed by the adept,
he possesses the constituents of insight,
possessed by the adept,
he possesses the constituents of emancipation,
possessed by the adept,
he possesses the constituents of release by knowledge and vision
possessed by the adept,.

He has these five qualities.

Thus, where five qualities are abandoned
and five possessed,
a gift is of great fruit,
I declare."



[145] As,[7] in a herd of cattle, white or black,
Red, tawny, dappled, uniform, dove-hued,[8] -
Whate'er the hue, - when a tamed bull is found,[9]
A beast of burden, mighty, fair and swift,
Heedless of hue men yoke him to a load:
So among men, wherever he be born,[10]
Noble or brahmin, merchant, serf, or casteless, -
Just a mean scavenger,[11] - whate'er he be,
He who is tamed, devout,[12] just,[13] virtuous,
Truth-speaking, shamefaced, done with birth and death,
One perfect[14] in the holy life, load-free,
Detached from worldly ties, whose task is done,
Taintless, one gone beyond[15] all states, not clinging
To anything, one utterly released, -
To such an one, a dustless, lustless field,[16]
Abundant, fertile offerings become.
But fools, unknowing, witless, ignorant,
Outside the pale[17] make offerings, nor come near
Unto the good. They who come near the good, -
Those full of wisdom, those revered as sages,[18]
Aud trust in them, - such have their roots firm fixed
I'the Wellfarer. To deva-world they go,
Or here born of good family, in course
Of time the wise Nibbāna will attain.


[1] Cf. M. i, 481 ff.; K.S. iii, 202 ff.; iv, 276 ff. The name occurs infra, text 181.

[2] Cf. S. ii, 33, 36; iii, 6, where text has vādānuvādo, but Comy. vādānupāto (as in our text, A. ii, 31 and Comy.) explains as vādassa anupāto anupatanaɱ pavattati.

[3] Asatā.

[4] Pubb'eva kho pan'assa attā khato, cf. Vin. ii, 26 = M. i, 132 (attānañ ca khaṇasi ['digs himself up'] bahuñ ca apuññaɱ pāsavasi). Comy. has guṇa-khaṇanena khato hoti: guṇa-paghāten'eva, = upahato. Cf. supra, text 155, khataɱ upahataɱ attānaɱ pariharati.

[5] Āgama.

[6] Asekhena sīla-kkhandhena.

[7] These gathas occur at A. iii, 214.

[8] Pārevatāsu ('pigeon-hued,' Comy.), but A. iii pārāpatāsu.

[9] Jāyati. I trans. 'found' as he would not be born so.

[10] Comy. Yasmiɱ kasmiñci jātiye for kasmiñ ca jātiyaɱ of text.

[11] Caṇḍāla-pukkusa, cf. Buddh. India, 55 (enslaved aborigines to whom the meanest tasks were given); S. i, 166.

[12] Subbata.

[13] Dhamm'aṭṭho.

[14] Kevalī.

[15] Pāragū.

[16] Text tasmiɱ yeva viraje; A. iii, tasmiñ ca viraje; Comy. virajo (?).

[17] Bahiddhā = imamhā sāsanā b. Comy.

[18] Dhīra-sammate, cf. sādhu-sammate, D. i, 47.

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