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Issattha Sutta

Archery Skills

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
For free distribution only.
 

At Savatthi. As he was sitting to one side, King Pasenadi Kosala said to the Blessed One: "Where, lord, should a gift be given?"

"Wherever the mind feels confidence, great king."

"But a gift given where, lord, bears great fruit?"

"This [question] is one thing, great king -- 'Where should a gift be given?' -- while this -- 'A gift given where bears great fruit?' -- is something else entirely. What is given to a virtuous person -- rather than to an unvirtuous one -- bears great fruit. In that case, great king, I will ask you a counter-question. Answer as you see fit.

"What do you think, great king? There is the case where you have a war at hand, a battle imminent. A noble-warrior youth would come along -- untrained, unpracticed, undisciplined, undrilled, fearful, terrified, cowardly, quick to flee. Would you take him on? Would you have any use for a man like that?"

"No, lord, I wouldn't take him on. I wouldn't have any use for a man like that."

"Then a brahman youth... a merchant youth... a laborer youth would come along -- untrained, unpracticed, undisciplined, undrilled, fearful, terrified, cowardly, quick to flee. Would you take him on? Would you have any use for a man like that?"

"No, lord, I wouldn't take him on. I wouldn't have any use for a man like that."

"Now, what do you think, great king? There is the case where you have a war at hand, a battle imminent. A noble-warrior youth would come along -- trained, practiced, disciplined, drilled, fearless, unterrified, not cowardly, not quick to flee. Would you take him on? Would you have any use for a man like that?"

"Yes, lord, I would take him on. I would have use for a man like that."

"Then a brahman youth... a merchant youth... a laborer youth would come along -- trained, practiced, disciplined, drilled, fearless, unterrified, not cowardly, not quick to flee. Would you take him on? Would you have any use for a man like that?"

"Yes, lord, I would take him on. I would have use for a man like that."

"In the same way, great king. When someone has gone forth from the home life into homelessness -- no matter from what clan -- and he has abandoned five factors and is endowed with five, what is given to him bears great fruit.

"And which five factors has he abandoned? He has abandoned sensual desire... ill will... sloth & drowsiness... restlessness & anxiety... uncertainty. These are the five factors he has abandoned. And with which five factors is he endowed? He is endowed with the aggregate of virtue of one beyond training... the aggregate of concentration of one beyond training... the aggregate of discernment of one beyond training... the aggregate of release of one beyond training... the aggregate of knowledge & vision of release of one beyond training. These are the five factors with which he is endowed.

"What is given to one who has abandoned five factors and is endowed with five factors in this way bears great fruit."

That is what the Blessed One said. Having said that, the One Well-Gone, the Teacher, said further:

 

"As a king intent on battle
would hire a youth
in whom there are
    archery skills,
    persistence,
    & strength,
and not, on the basis of birth,
            a coward;
so, too, you should honor
a person of noble conduct, wise,
in whom are established
        composure
        & patience,
even though
his birth may be lowly.

Let donors build
pleasant hermitages
and there invite the learned to stay.
Let them make reservoirs
    in dry forests
and walking paths
    where it's rough
Let them, with a clear, calm awareness,
give food, drink, snacks,
clothing, & lodgings
to those who've become
    straightforward.

Just as a hundred-peaked,
    lightning-garlanded,
thundering cloud,
raining on the fertile earth,
fills the plateaus & gullies,
    even so
a person of conviction & learning,
    wise,
having stored up provisions,
satisfies wayfarers
with food & drink.
Delighting in distributing alms,
    'Give to them!
    Give!'
    he says.
That
is his thunder,
like a raining cloud's.
That shower of merit,
    abundant,
rains back on the one
    who gives."

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