Dīgha Nikāya

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Dīgha Nikāya

The Long Discourses of the Buddha

Sutta 33

Saºgīti Suttanta

The Chanting Together


© Maurice Walshe 1987.
Used with the permission of Wisdom Publications.



'There are [sets of] three things ... Which are they?

[3.01][pts][olds] 'Three unwholesome roots: of greed, hatred, delusion [483] (lobho akusala-mūlaɱ, doso akusala-mūlaɱ, moho akusala-mūlaɱ).

[3.02][pts][olds] 'Three wholesome roots: of non-greed, non-hatred non-delusion (alobho ... ).

[3.03][pts][olds] 'Three kinds of wrong conduct: in body, speech and thought (kāya-duccaritaɱ, vacī-duccaritaɱ, mano-duccaritaɱ.). [215]

[3.04][pts][olds] 'Three kinds of right conduct: in body, speech and thought (kāya-sucaritaɱ ... ).

[3.05][pts][olds] 'Three kinds of unwholesome thought (akusala-vitakkā): of sensuality, of enmity, of cruelty (kāma-vitakko, vyāpāda-vitakko, vihiṅsa-vitakko).

[3.06][pts][olds] 'Three kinds of wholesome thought: of renunciation (nekkhamma-vitakko), of non-enmity, of non-cruelty.

[3.07][pts][olds] 'Three kinds of unwholesome motivation (sankappa):[1029] through sensuality, enmity, cruelty.

[3.08][pts][olds] 'Three kinds of wholesome motivation: through renunciation (nekkhamma), non-enmity, non-cruelty.

[3.09][pts][olds] 'Three kinds of unwholesome perception (saññā): of sensuality, of enmity, of cruelty.

[3.10][pts][olds] 'Three kinds of wholesome perception: of renunciation, of non-enmity, of non-cruelty.

[3.11][pts][olds] (11) 'Three unwholesome elements (dhātuyo): sensuality, enmity, cruelty.

[3.12][pts][olds] 'Three wholesome elements: renunciation, non-enmity, non-cruelty.

[3.13][pts][olds] 'Three more elements: the element of sense-desire,[1030] the element of form, the formless element (kāma-dhātu, rūpa-dhātu, arūpa-dhātu).

[3.14][pts][olds] 'Three more elements: the element of form, the formless element, the element of cessation[1031] (rūpa-dhātu, arūpa-dhātu, nirodha-dhātu).

[3.15][pts][olds] 'Three more elements: the low element, the middling element, the sublime element (hīnā dhātu, majjhimā dhātu, paṇītā dhātu).[216]

[3.16][pts][olds] 'Three kinds of craving: sensual craving, craving for becoming,[1032] craving for extinction[1033] (kāma-taṇhā, bhavataṇhā, vibhava-taṇhā).

[3.17][pts][olds] 'Three more kinds of craving: craving for [the World of] Sense-Desires, for [the World of] Form, for the Formless [World] (kāma-taṇhā, rūpa-taṇhā, arūpa-taṇhā).

[484] [3.18][pts][olds] 'Three more kinds of craving: for [the World of] Form, for the Formless [World], for cessation (as for (14)).

[3.19][pts][olds] 'Three fetters (saṅyojanāni): of personality-belief, of doubt, of attachment to rite and ritual (sakkāya-diṭṭhi, vicikicchā, sīlabbata-parāmāso).

[3.20][pts][olds] 'Three corruptions (āsavā): of sense-desire, of becoming, of ignorance (kāmāsavo, bhavāsavo, avijjāsavo).

[3.21][pts][olds] 'Three kinds of becoming: [in the World] of Sense-Desire, of Form, in the Formless World (kāma-bhavo, rūpa-bhavo, arūpa-bhavo).

[3.22][pts][olds] 'Three quests: for sense-desires, for becoming, for the holy life (kāmesanā, bhavesanā, brahmacariyesanā).

[3.23][pts][olds] 'Three forms of conceit: "I am better than ... ", "I am equal to ... ", "I am worse than ... " ("seyyo'ham asmīti" vidhā, "sadiso'ham asmīti" vidhā, "hīno'ham asmīti" vidhā).

[3.24][pts][olds] 'Three times: past, future, present (atīto addhā, anāgato addhā, paccuppanno addhā).

[3.25][pts][olds] 'Three "ends" (antā):[1034] personality, its arising, its cessation (sakkāya anto, sakkāya-samudayo anto, sakkāya-nirodho anto).

[3.26][pts][olds] 'Three feelings: pleasant, painful, neither (sukhā vedanā, dukkhā vedanā, adukkham-asukhā vedanā).

[3.27][pts][olds] 'Three kinds of suffering: as pain, as inherent in formations, as due to change (dukkha-dukkhatā, saṅkhāra-dukkhatā, vipariṇāma-dukkhatā).

[3.28][pts][olds] [217] 'Three accumulations: evil with fixed result,[1035] good with fixed result,[1036] indeterminate (micchatta-niyato rāsi, sammatta-niyato rāsi, aniyato-rāsi).

[3.29][pts][olds] 'Three obscurations (tamā):[1037] One hesitates (kankhati), vacillates (vicikicchati), is undecided (nādhimuccati), is unsettled (na sampasīdati) about the past, the future, the present.

[3.30][pts][olds] 'Three things a Tathāgata has no need to guard against:
A Tathāgata is perfectly pure in bodily conduct, in speech and in thought (parisuddha-kāya-, -vacī-, -mano-samācāro). There is no misdeed of body, speech or thought which he must conceal lest anyone should get to hear about it.

[3.31][pts][olds] 'Three obstacles:[1038] lust, hatred, delusion (rāgo kiñcanaɱ, dosa kiñcanaɱ, moho kiñcanaɱ).

[3.32][pts][olds] 'Three fires: lust, hatred, delusion (rāgaggi, dosaggi, mohaggi).

[3.33][pts][olds] [485] 'Three more fires: the fire of those to be revered, of the householder, of those worthy of offerings[1039] (āhuneyyaggi, gahapataggi, dakkhineyyaggi).

[3.34][pts][olds] 'Threefold classification of matter: visible and resisting, invisible and resisting, invisible and unresisting[1040] (sanidassana-sappaṭighaɱ rūpaɱ, anidassana-sappatighaɱ rūparh, anidassana-appaṭighaɱ rūpaɱ).

[3.35][pts][olds] 'Three kinds of karmic formation:[1041] meritorious, demeritorious, imperturbable[1042] (puññābhisankhāro, apuññābhisankhāro, āneññābhisankhāro).

[3.36][pts][olds] [218] 'Three persons: the learner, the non-learner, the one who is neither[1043] (sekho puggalo, asekho puggalo, n'eva sekho nāsekho puggalo).

[3.37][pts][olds] 'Three elders: an elder by birth, in Dhamma, by convention[1044] (jāti-thero, dhamma-thero, sammuti-thero).

[3.38][pts][olds] 'Three grounds based on merit: that of giving, of morality, of meditation (dānamayaɱ puñña-kiriya-vatthu, sīlamayaɱ puñña-kiriya-vatthu, bhāvanāmaya puñña-kiriya-vatthu).

[3.39][pts][olds] (39) 'Three grounds for reproof: based on what has been seen, heard, suspected (diṭṭhena, sutena, parisankāya).

[3.40][pts][olds] 'Three kinds of rebirth in the Realm of Sense-Desire (kāmupapattiyo):[1045] There are beings who desire what presents itself to them (paccuppaṭṭhita-kāmā), and are in the grip of that desire, such as human beings, some devas, and some in states of woe. There are beings who desire what they have created (nimmita-kāmā), ... such as the devas Who Rejoice in Their Own Creation (Nimmānaratī). There are beings who rejoice in the creations of others, ... such as the devas Having Power over Others' Creation (Paranimmita-vasavattī).

[3.41][pts][olds] 'Three happy rebirths (sukhupapattiyo):[1046] There are beings who, having continually produced happiness now dwell in happiness, such as the devas of the Brahma group. There are beings who are overflowing with happiness, drenched with it, full of it, immersed in it, so that they occasionally exclaim: "Oh what bliss!" such as the Radiant devas (Ābhassarā). There are beings ... immersed in happiness, who, supremely blissful, [219] experience only perfect happiness, such as the Lustrous devas (Subhakiññā).

[3.42][pts][olds] 'Three kinds of wisdom: of the learner, of the non-learner, of the one who is neither (as (36)).

[3.43][pts][olds] [486] 'Three more kinds of wisdom: based on thought, on learning [hearing], on mental development [meditation] (cintāmaya paññā, sutamayā paññā, bhāvanāmaya paññā).

[3.44][pts][olds] 'Three armaments[1047] (āvudhāni): what one has learnt, detachment, wisdom (sutāvudham, pavivekāvudham, paññāvudham).

[3.45][pts][olds] 'Three faculties:[1048] of knowing that one will know the unknown, of highest knowledge, of the one who knows (anaññātam- ñassāmītindriyaɱ, aññindriyaɱ, aññātā-v-indriyaɱ).

[3.46][pts][olds] 'Three eyes: the fleshly eye, the divine eye,[1049] the eye of wisdom[1050] (mamsa-cakkhu, dibba-cakkhu, paññā-cakkhu).

[3.47][pts][olds] 'Three kinds of training: in higher morality, higher thought, higher wisdom (adhisīla-sikkhā, adhicitta-sikkhā, adhipaññā-sikkhā).

[3.48][pts][olds] 'Three kinds of development: of the emotions,[1051] of mind, of wisdom (kāya-bhāvana, citta-bhāvanā, paññā-bhāvanā).

[3.49][pts][olds] 'Three "unsurpassables": of vision, of practice, of liberation (dassan¢nuttariyaɱ, paṭipadānuttariyaɱ, vimutt¢nuttariyaɱ).

[3.50][pts][olds] 'Three kinds of concentration: with thinking and pondering,[1052] with pondering without thinking, with neither (savitakko savicāro samādhi, avitakko vicāra-matto samādhi, avitakko avicāro samādhi).

[3.51][pts][olds] 'Three more kinds of concentration: on emptiness, the "signless", desireless (suññato samādhi, animitto samādhi, appaṇīihito samādhi).

[3.52][pts][olds] 'Three purities: of body, speech, mind (kāya-socceyyaɱ, vacī-socceyyaɱ, mano-socceyyaɱ).

[3.53][pts][olds] [220] 'Three qualities of the sage:[1053] as to body, speech, mind (kāya-moneyyaɱ, vacī-moneyyaɱ, mano-moneyyaɱ).

[3.54][pts][olds] 'Three skills: in going forward,[1054] in going down, in means to progress (āya-kosallaɱ, apāya-kosallaɱ, upāya-kosallaɱ).

[3.55][pts][olds] 'Three intoxications: with health, with youth, with life (ārogya-mado, yobbana-mado, jīvita-mado).

[3.56][pts][olds] 'Three predominant influences: oneself, the world, the Dhamma (attādhipateyyaɱ, lokadhipateyyaɱ, dhammādhipateyyaɱ).

[3.57][pts][olds] 'Three topics of discussion: Talk may be of the past: [487] "That's how it used to be"; of the future: "That's how it will be"; of the present: "That's how it is now."

[3.58][pts][olds] 'Three knowledges: of one's past lives, of the decease and rebirth of beings, of the destruction of the corruptions (pubbenivāsānussati-ñāṇaɱ vijjā, sattānaɱ cutupapāte ñāṇaɱ vijjā, āsavānaɱ khaye ñāṇaɱ vijjā).

[3.59][pts][olds] 'Three abidings: deva-abiding, Brahmā-abiding, the Ariyan abiding[1055] (dibbo vihāro, Brahmā-vihāro, ariyo vihāro).

[3.60][pts][olds] 'Three miracles:[1056] of psychic power, of telepathy, of instruction (iddhi-pāṭihāriyaɱ, ādesanā-pāṭihāriyaɱ, anusāsanipāṭihāriyaɱ).

'These are the [sets of] three things ... So we should all recite together ... for the benefit, welfare and happiness of devas and humans.'


[1029] Or 'thought', as in the second step of the Noble Eightfold Path.

[1030] Here, the World of Sense-Desire (kāma-loka).

[1031] Note the overlap with the previous three, which represented the 'Three Worlds'. Here We have the two 'higher worlds' and the supramundane (lokuttara), referred to here as 'cessation' (as in the Third Noble Truth).

[1032] Craving for continued existence.

[1033] Craving, not for 'cessation' (n.1031) but for (materialistic) extinction. Only those in whom the Dhamma-eye (n.140) has opened can clearly see the vital distinction between these, though it can be more or less dimly intuited by reason and/or faith. See n.703.

[1034] Lit. 'own body', this is the erroneous self-idea. The destruction of this fetter (with two other associated ones) constitutes the opening of the Dhamma-eye (n.1033) or 'Stream-Entry'.

[1035] Certain crimes (as parricide, cf. DN 2.100) have a fixed result which cannot be avoided.

[1036] When the first path-moment (or Stream-Entry, n.1034) has been gained, progress is inevitable, and retrogression to 'states of woe' impossible.

[1037] RD reads kankhā 'doubts'.

[1038] Lit. 'somethings', glossed by DA as 'obstacles'.

[1039] I.e. religious teachers (d. DN 31.29).

[1040] This refers to 'very subtle matter'.

[1041] 'They compound co-existent states and (their) future fruition-states' (DA).

[1042] This refers to rebirth in the Formless World.

[1043] Cf. n.542

[1044] The last receives the courtesy title of 'elder' from juniors without being strictly entitled to it.

[1045] These are all the realms from the hells up to the heaven of the Paranimmita-vasavatti devas. (See Introduction, p. 40).

[1046] These are all in the World of Form.

[1047] Ways in which one is 'guarded'.

[1048] The higher faculties of the Stream-Winner, etc.

[1049] Cf. n.140

[1050] That of the Stream-Winner.

[1051] Kāya here means not (as RD) 'the psycho-physiological mechanism of sense', but 'mental (i.e. broadly 'emotional') body'.

[1052] Different stages of jhāna. The distinction made between the first two seems to reflect the (later) Abhidhammic subdivision of the first jhāna into two.

[1053] Moneyya is derived from muni 'sage' (or 'anchorite', RD).

[1054] Note the play on words here: three derivatives of the root i 'to go'. Āya can also, in more mundane contexts, mean 'money-making' (as absurdly suggested for this passage in PED!). Apāya generally refers to 'states of woe' (evil rebirths), while upāya comes to mean 'skilful device', and as such is much used of the Bodhisattva in the Mahayana tradition.

[1055] The second refers to the Brahmavihāras (DN 13), the third to Arahantship.

[1056] Cf. DN 11.3 and nn.231-3.


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