AN III 57 To Vacchagotta on Generosity

AN III 57 To Vacchagotta on Generosity

 

 

Vacchagotta Sutta #

 

 

Then,

 

Vacchagotta the recluse approached where the Lord was;

Having approached, 

He exchanged warm greetings with him

And sat down to one side.

 

Then, Vacchagotta the recluse asked the Lord saying:

 

 

[Vacchagotta]

I have heard, Sir Gotama:

 

“The samaṇa [1] Gotama speaks in this way:

 

(1) To me only are offerings properly given, 

not to anybody else;

 

(2) To my own disciples only are offerings properly given, 

not to anybody else’s disciples;

 

(3) To me only does what is given bear great fruits, 

not to anybody else;

 

(4) To my own disciples only do offerings bear great fruits, 

not to anybody else’s disciples.”

 

 

“I am unsure if that was truly the word of the good sir Gotama,

or if they accused the Lord Gotama with falsehood.”

 

 

“Was this declared in accordance with what is true?

Did those who come with these grounds for slander and criticism

not speak in agreement with the truth? 

It is not our intention to falsely accuse the Lord Gotama.”

 

 

[The Buddha]

Those who said:

 

“The samaṇa Gotama speaks in this way:

 

(1) To me only are offerings properly given, 

not to anybody else;

 

(2) To my own disciples only are offerings properly given, 

not to anybody else’s disciples;

 

(3) To me only is what is given bear great fruits, 

not to anybody else;

 

(4) To my own disciples only do offerings bear great fruits, 

not to anybody else’s disciples.”

 

 

“They are not repeating what was said by me.

They misrepresent me with what is not factual, and what is untrue.”

 

 

Vaccha, whoever prevents further offerings to be given

That person obstructs three persons,

He creates an obstacle for three persons.

 

What three?

 

(1) He obstructs the donor from making merits;

(2) He obstructs the beneficiary from gaining a gift;

(3) And he has wounded and injured himself in the first place.

 

 

Vaccha, whoever prevents further offerings to be given

That person obstructs three persons,

He creates an obstacle for these three persons.

 

 

Vaccha, this is how I speak:

 

Even when one goes to a pond or 

A cesspool containing living beings,

And there, throws away dish rinsing thinking:

 

“May all beings here thrive!”

 

 

Even in this Vaccha, 

I say one goes to the heart and merit accrues to him.

 

What to say about [giving to] human beings?

 

 

[Giving to the Virtuous] #

 

 

But here, Vaccha, 

I say that giving to the virtuous bears great fruits,

 

Not so much to the unvirtuous,

 

[The Virtuous] one who has abandoned five things

and who is endowed with five qualities.

 

What are the five things he has abandoned?

 

(1) Sensual gratification,

(2) Resentment,

(3) Laziness,

(4) Restlessness

(5) And Uncertainty [in the Dhamma].

 

These five things he has abandoned.[2]

 

 

What five qualities is he endowed with?

 

(1) The Virtue of one who has mastered oneself.

(2) The Samādhi of one who has mastered himself.

(3) The Wisdom of one who has mastered himself.

(4) The Liberation of one who has mastered himself.

(5) The Direct Experience of Liberation[3] 

of one who has mastered himself.

 

 

These are the five qualities he is endowed with.

 

 

To one freed from these five things,

And endowed with these five qualities, I say, 

What is given bears great fruits.

 

 

Thus black and white

Red or yellow

Spotted or flat,

Or even grey, a cow may be.

 

Among these many sorts of cattle

When a tamed bull is born[4];

A load bearer, possessed of strength

Advancing with good pace;

 

By him, the burden can be taken on

Regardless of his appearance.

 

 

So it is for human beings

Regardless of their birth

Khattiyas, Brāhmanas, Vassas,

Suddas or foraging outsiders.

 

Among these many sorts of people,

A tamed aspirant can be born,

Firm in the Dhamma, Virtuous,

Humble, a truth speaker,

 

 

One who has left behind birth and death,

Flawless in the Spiritual Life,

Having laid down the burden, unyoked,

Having fulfilled his duty, free from mental movements[5].

 

Having crossed beyond all things

Ungrasping and quenched;

 

Sown in this greedless field,

An offering is truly boundless.

 

[Those who have not tasted

The goodness of Dhamma]

Spend their offerings outside,

Not supporting the peaceful ones.[6]

 

But those who attend on the peaceful ones,

Sagacious and esteemed as sage,

Those, confident in the Sugato[7],

With firmly planted roots;

 

Bound for the celestial realms they are,

Or here, take birth in good families;

Gradually, towards Nibbāna,

The sage ever goes.

 

 


[1] Samaṇa [BSk. śramaṇa, fr. śram, but mixed in meaning with śam] a wanderer, recluse, religieux, monk.

[2] These are the five Hindrances to meditation or stillness of mind. (Samādhi)

[3] Vimutti-ñāṇa-dassana-kkhandhena: The element of Knowledge-and-Vision-of-Liberation.

[4] The Buddha was a Taurus.

[5] Anāsava: Without āsava, Effluent, outflows of the mind. The three Āsavas are: Kāmāsava: Outflow towards sensual gratification, Bhavāsava: Outflow of Becoming, Avijjāsava: Outflow of Ignorance.

[6] Bālā ca avijānantā, dummedhā assutāvino; Bahiddhā denti dānāni, na hi sante upāsare.

[7] An epithet of the Buddha, the well-gone, well-farer, the One Gone to Goodness.