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Dighajanu Sutta

To Dighajanu

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
For free distribution only

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling among the Koliyans. Now the Koliyans have a town named Kakkarapatta. There Dighajanu (Long-Shin) the Koliyan went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to the Blessed One, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One, "We are lay people enjoying sensual pleasures; living crowded with spouses and children; using Kasi fabrics and sandalwood; wearing garlands, scents, and creams; handling gold and silver. May the Blessed One teach the Dhamma for those like us, for our happiness and well-being in this life, for our happiness and well-being in lives to come."

[The Blessed One said:] "There are these four qualities, Tiger-Paw, that lead to a lay person's happiness and well-being in this life. Which four? Being consummate in initiative, being consummate in vigilance, having admirable people as friends, and maintaining one's livelihood in tune.

"And what does it mean to be consummate in initiative? There is the case where a lay person, by whatever occupation he makes his living -- whether by farming or trading or cattle tending or archery or as a king's man or by any other craft -- is clever and untiring at it, endowed with discrimination in its techniques, enough to arrange and carry it out. This is called being consummate in initiative.

"And what does it mean to be consummate in vigilance? There is the case when a lay person has righteous wealth -- righteously gained, coming from his initiative, his striving, his making an effort, gathered by the strength of his arm, earned by his sweat -- he manages to protect it through vigilance [with the thought], 'How shall neither kings nor thieves make off with this property of mine, nor fire burn it, nor water sweep it away, nor hateful heirs make off with it?' This is called being consummate in vigilance.

"And what does it mean to have admirable people as friends? There is the case where a layperson, in whatever town or village he may dwell, spends time with householders or householders' sons, young or old, who are advanced in virtue. He talks with them, engages them in discussions. He emulates consummate conviction in those who are consummate in conviction, consummate virtue in those who are consummate in virtue, consummate generosity in those who are consummate in generosity, and consummate discernment in those who are consummate in discernment. This is called having admirable people as friends.

"And what does it mean to maintain one's livelihood in tune? There is the case where a layperson, knowing the income and outflow of his wealth, maintains a livelihood in tune, neither a spendthrift nor a penny-pincher, [thinking], 'Thus will my income exceed my outflow, and my outflow will not exceed my income.' Just as when a weigher or his apprentice, when holding the scales, knows, 'It has tipped down so much or has tipped up so much,' in the same way, the lay person, knowing the income and outflow of his wealth, maintains a livelihood in tune, neither a spendthrift nor a penny-pincher, [thinking], 'Thus will my income exceed my outflow, and my outflow will not exceed my income.' If a layperson has a small income but maintains a grand livelihood, it will be rumored of him, 'This clansman devours his wealth like a fruit-tree eater [Commentary: one who shakes more fruit off a tree than he can possibly eat].' If a layperson has a large income but maintains a miserable livelihood, it will be rumored of him, 'This clansman will die of starvation.' But when a lay person, knowing the income and outflow of his wealth, maintains a livelihood in tune, neither a spendthrift nor a penny-pincher, [thinking], 'Thus will my income exceed my outflow, and my outflow will not exceed my income,' this is called maintaining one's livelihood in tune.

"These are the four drains on one's store of wealth: being debauched in sex; being debauched in drink; being debauched in gambling; and having evil people as friends, associates, and companions. Just as if there were a great reservoir with four inlets and four drains, and a man were to close the inlets and open the drains, and the sky were not to pour down proper showers, the depletion of that great reservoir could be expected, not its increase. In the same way, these are the four drains on one's store of wealth: being debauched in sex, being debauched in drink, being debauched in gambling, and having evil people as friends, associates, and companions.

"These are the four inlets to one's store of wealth: not being debauched in sex; not being debauched in drink; not being debauched in gambling; and having admirable people as friends, associates, and companions. Just as if there were a great reservoir with four inlets and four drains, and a man were to open the inlets and close the drains, and the sky were to pour down proper showers, the increase of that great reservoir could be expected, not its depletion. In the same way, these are the four inlets to one's store of wealth: not being debauched in sex, not being debauched in drink, not being debauched in gambling, and having admirable people as friends, associates, and companions.

"These, Tiger-Paw, are the four qualities that lead to a lay person's happiness and well-being in this life.

"There are these four qualities that lead to a lay person's happiness and well-being in lives to come. Which four? Being consummate in conviction, being consummate in virtue, being consummate in generosity, being consummate in discernment.

"And what does it mean to be consummate in conviction? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones has conviction, is convinced of the Tathágata’s Awakening: 'Indeed, the Blessed One is worthy and rightly self-awakened, consummate in knowledge and conduct, well-gone, an expert with regard to the world, unexcelled as a trainer for those people fit to be tamed, the Teacher of divine and human beings, awakened, blessed.' This is called being consummate in conviction.

"And what does it mean to be consummate in virtue? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones abstains from taking life, abstains from stealing, abstains from illicit sexual conduct, abstains from lying, abstains from taking intoxicants that cause heedlessness. This is called being consummate in virtue.

"And what does it mean to be consummate in generosity? There is the case of a disciple of the noble ones, his awareness cleansed of the stain of miserliness, living at home, freely generous, openhanded, delighting in being magnanimous, responsive to requests, delighting in the distribution of alms. This is called being consummate in generosity.

"And what does it mean to be consummate in discernment? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones is discerning, endowed with discernment of arising and passing away -- noble, penetrating, leading to the right ending of stress. This is called being consummate in discernment.

"These, Tiger-Paw, are the four qualities that lead to a lay person's happiness and well-being in lives to come."

Heedful at administering
or working at one's occupation,
maintaining one's life in tune,
 one protects one's store of wealth.
A person of conviction,
consummate in virtue,
magnanimous, free of selfishness,
 constantly clears the path
 to security in the lives to come.
Thus for one who seeks the household life,
these eight qualities, leading to welfare and happiness
both in this life and in lives to come,
have been declared by the one
 whose name
 is truth.
And this is how, for householders,
generosity and merit increase.

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