The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha - Selections

V. The Minor Chapter

41 (1) Present
“Bhikkhus, when three things are present, a clansman endowed with faith generates much merit. What three? (1) When faith is present, a clansman endowed with faith generates much merit. (2) When an object to be given i numerical-discourses-divine-messengers present, a clansman endowed with faith generates much merit. (3) When those worthy of offerings are present, a clansman endowed with faith generates much merit. When these three things are present, a clansman endowed with faith generates much merit.”

42 (2) Cases
“Bhikkhus, in three cases one may be understood to have faith and confidence. What three? When one desires to see those of virtuous behavior; when one desires to hear the good Dhamma; and when one dwells at home with a mind devoid of the stain of miserliness, freely generous, open-handed, delighting in relinquishment, devoted to charity, delighting in giving and sharing. In these three cases, one may be understood to have faith and confidence.”

One who desires to see the virtuous ones,
who wishes to hear the good Dhamma,
who has removed the stain of miserliness,
is called a person endowed with faith. [151]

43 (3) Advantages
“Bhikkhus, when one sees three advantages, it is enough to teach others the Dhamma. What three? (1) The one who teaches the Dhamma experiences the meaning and the Dhamma. (2) The one who hears the Dhamma experiences the meaning and the Dhamma. (3) Both the one who teaches the Dhamma and the one who hears the Dhamma experience the meaning and the Dhamma. Seeing these three advantages, it is enough to teach others the Dhamma.”

44 (4) Smooth Flow
“Bhikkhus, in three cases talk flows smoothly. What three? (1) When the one who teaches the Dhamma experiences the meaning and the Dhamma. (2) When the one who hears the Dhamma experiences the meaning and the Dhamma. (3) When both the one who teaches the Dhamma and the one who hears the Dhamma experience the meaning and the Dhamma. In these three cases talk flows smoothly.”

45 (5) The Wise
“Bhikkhus, there are these three things prescribed by the wise, prescribed by good people. What three? (1) Giving is prescribed by the wise, prescribed by good people. (2) The going forth is prescribed by the wise, prescribed by good people. (3) Attending upon one’s mother and father is prescribed by the wise, prescribed by good people. These three things are prescribed by the wise, prescribed by good people.”

Good people prescribe giving,
harmlessness, self-control, and self-taming,
service to one’s mother and father
and to the peaceful followers of the spiritual life.

These are the deeds of the good
which the wise person should pursue.
The noble one possessed of vision
goes to an auspicious world.

46 (6) Virtuous
“Bhikkhus, when virtuous renunciants dwell in dependence on a village or a town, the people there generate much merit in three ways. What three? [152] By body, speech, and mind. When virtuous renunciants dwell in dependence on a village or a town, the people there generate much merit in these three ways.”

47 (7) Conditioned
“Bhikkhus, there are these three characteristics that define the conditioned. What three? An arising is seen, a vanishing is seen, and its alteration while it persists is seen. These are the three characteristics that define the conditioned.
    “Bhikkhus, there are these three characteristics that define the unconditioned. What three? No arising is seen, no vanishing is seen, and no alteration while it persists is seen. These are the three characteristics that define the unconditioned.”

48 (8) Mountains
“Bhikkhus, based on the Himalayas, the king of mountains, great sal trees grow in three ways. What three? (1) They grow in branches, leaves, and foliage; (2) they grow in bark and shoots; and (3) they grow in softwood and heartwood. Based on the Himalayas, the king of mountains, great sal trees grow in these three ways.
    “So too, when the head of a family is endowed with faith, the people in the family who depend on him grow in three ways. What three? (1) They grow in faith; (2) they grow in virtuous behavior; and (3) they grow in wisdom. When the head of a family has faith, the people in the family who depend on him grow in these three ways.”

Just as the trees that grow
in dependence on a rocky mountain
in a vast forest wilderness
might become great ‘woodland lords,’
so, when the head of a family here
possesses faith and virtue,
his wife, children, and relatives
all grow in dependence upon him;
so too his friends, his family circle,
and those dependent on him. [153]

Those possessed of discernment,
seeing that virtuous man’s good conduct,
his generosity and good deeds,
emulate his example.

Having lived here in accord with Dhamma,
the path leading to a good destination,
those who desire sensual pleasures rejoice,
delighting in the deva world.

49 (9) Ardor 
“Bhikkhus, in three cases ardor should be exercised. What three? (1) Ardor should be exercised for the non-arising of unarisen bad unwholesome qualities. (2) Ardor should be exercised for the arising of unarisen wholesome qualities. (3) Ardor should be exercised for enduring arisen bodily feelings that are painful, racking, sharp, piercing, harrowing, disagreeable, sapping one’s vitality. In these three cases ardor should be exercised.
    “When a bhikkhu exercises ardor for the non-arising of unarisen bad unwholesome qualities, for the arising of unarisen wholesome qualities, and for enduring arisen bodily feelings that are painful, racking, sharp, piercing, harrowing, disagreeable, sapping one’s vitality, he is called a bhikkhu who is ardent, alert, and mindful in order to make a complete end of suffering.”

50 (10) A Master Thief
“Bhikkhus, possessing three factors, a master thief breaks into houses, plunders wealth, commits banditry, and ambushes highways. What three? Here, a master thief depends on the uneven, on thickets, and on powerful people.
    (1) “And how does a master thief depend on the uneven? Here, a master thief depends on rivers that are hard to cross and rugged mountains. It is in this way that a master thief depends on the uneven.
    (2) “And how does a master thief depend on thickets? Here, a master thief depends on a a thicket of cane, [154] a thicket of trees, a coppice, or a large dense jungle. It is in this way that a master thief depends on thickets.
    (3) “And how does a master thief depend on powerful people? Here, a master thief depends on kings or royal ministers. He thinks: ‘If anyone accuses me of anything, these kings or royal ministers will dismiss the case.’ If anyone accuses him of anything, those kings or royal ministers dismiss the case. It is in this way that a master thief depends on powerful people.
    “It is by possessing these three factors that a master thief breaks into houses, plunders wealth, commits banditry, and ambushes highways.
    “So too, bhikkhus, possessing three qualities, an evil bhikkhu maintains himself in a maimed and injured condition, is blameworthy and subject to reproach by the wise, and generates much demerit. What three? Here, an evil bhikkhu depends on the uneven, on thickets, and on powerful people.
    (1) “And how does an evil bhikkhu depend on the uneven? Here, an evil bhikkhu engages in unrighteous bodily, verbal, and mental action. It is in this way that an evil bhikkhu depends on the uneven.
    (2) “And how does an evil bhikkhu depend on thickets? Here, an evil bhikkhu holds wrong view, adopts an extremist view. It is in this way that an evil bhikkhu depends on thickets.
    (3) “And how does an evil bhikkhu depend on powerful people? Here, an evil bhikkhu depends on kings or royal ministers. He thinks: ‘If anyone accuses me of anything, these kings or royal ministers will dismiss the case.’ If anyone accuses him of anything, those kings or royal ministers dismiss the case. It is in this way that an evil bhikkhu depends on the powerful. [155]
    “It is by possessing these three qualities that an evil bhikkhu maintains himself in a maimed and injured condition, is blameworthy and subject to reproach by the wise, and generates much demerit.”
 

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© Bhikkhu Bodhi, The Numerical Discourses of the Buddha (Wisdom Publications, 2012)

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