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Saɱyutta Nikāya
I. Sagātha Vagga
8. Vaṅgīsa-Thera-Saɱyutta

The Book of the Kindred Sayings
I. Kindred Sayings with Verses
8. The Vaṅgisa Suttas

Sutta 5

Subhāsitā Suttam

Well Spoken

Translated by Mrs. Rhys Davids
Assisted by Sūriyagoḍa Sumangala Thera
Copyright The Pali Text Society. Public Domain.




On one occasion, when he was staying near Sāvatthī,
at the Jeta Vana,
the Exalted One addressed the brethren, saying:


"Yea, lord," they said responsive.

And he spake:

"Possessed of four qualities, Bhikkhus,
is the speech that is well
and not ill spoken,
and not blamable by the wise.

[240] Of what four qualities?

Here, Bhikkhus, if a brother speak well
and not badly,
speak righteously
and not unrighteously,
speak affectionately
and not unkindly,
speak truth
and not falsehood,
his speech having these four qualities,
is well spoken,
and not blamable by the wise."

Thus spake the Exalted One,
and the Blessed One saying this,
the Master spake thus further: —



"The good say: first let speech be nicely said,
And second, speak by good norm, not by bad,
Next, ye should kindly, not unkindly speak,
And fourthly, say ye what is true, not false."



Then the venerable Vaṅgīsa,
rising from his seat,
and draping his outer robe over one shoulder,
stretched forth his hands
saluting, to the Exalted One, and said:

"It is revealed to me, Exalted One,
it is revealed to me, Blessed One!"

The Exalted One said:

"Be it revealed to thee, Vaṅgīsa!"

Then the venerable Vaṅgīsa extolled the Exalted One in his presence
in suitable verses: —

"Whoso can speak a word whereby he works
No torment to himself, nor causeth harm
To fellow-men, that word is spoken well.
Whoso can speak a kindly word, a word
That's grateful to the ear, and lays not hold
Of other's faults, that word is kindly spoke.
Truth is ambrosial speech[1]; of saints of old
This was the ancient Norm[2]; on Truth and good
And Norm, 't is said, the saints do firmly stand.

The Word which the Awakened speaketh, sure
Safe guide to make Nibbāna ours, to put
An end to Ill: — that is the Word Supreme."


[1] 'Resembling ambrosia by its sweetness.' Comy. The word is here used inits more primitive mythical meaning.

[2] See above, I, 4, § 2; 8, § 3.

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