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Piya Sutta

Dear

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: "Just now, lord, while I was alone in seclusion, this train of thought arose in my awareness: 'Who are dear to themselves, and who are not dear to themselves? Then it occurred to me: 'Those who engage in bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, and mental misconduct are not dear to themselves. Even though they may say, "We are dear to ourselves," still they aren't dear to themselves. Why is that? Of their own accord, they act toward themselves as an enemy would act toward an enemy; thus they aren't dear to themselves. But those who engage in good bodily conduct, good verbal conduct, and good mental conduct are dear to themselves. Even though they may say, "We aren't dear to ourselves," still they are dear to themselves. Why is that? Of their own accord, they act toward themselves as a dear one would act toward a dear one; thus they are dear to themselves.'"

"That's the way it is, great king! That's the way it is! Those who engage in bodily misconduct, verbal misconduct, and mental misconduct are not dear to themselves. Even though they may say, 'We are dear to ourselves,' still they aren't dear to themselves. Why is that? Of their own accord, they act toward themselves as an enemy would act toward an enemy; thus they aren't dear to themselves. But those who engage in good bodily conduct, good verbal conduct, and good mental conduct are dear to themselves. Even though they may say, 'We aren't dear to ourselves,' still they are dear to themselves. Why is that? Of their own accord, they act toward themselves as a dear one would act toward a dear one; thus they are dear to themselves."

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

If you hold yourself dear
then don't fetter yourself
with evil,
for happiness isn't easily gained
by one who commits
a wrong-doing.

When seized by the End-maker
as you abandon the human state,
what's truly your own?
What do you take along when you go?
What follows behind you
 like a shadow
 that never leaves?

  Both the merit and evil
  that you as a mortal
  perform here:
  that's what's truly your own,
  what you take along when you go;
  that's what follows behind you
  like a shadow
  that never leaves.

So do what is admirable,
as an accumulation
for the future life.
Deeds of merit are the support for beings
when they arise
 in the other world.

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