Categories
Samyutta Nikaya
Kosala Saṁyutta

SN 3.21 Puggala Sutta
Persons

The Buddha explains the four types of people and how their actions lead them in this cycle of rebirth.

At the city of Sāvatthī…

One day, King Pasenadi went up to the Buddha, bowed respectfully, and sat down to one side. The Buddha said to him:

“Great king, there are four types of people in the world. What four?

1. The person who goes from darkness to darkness.
2. The person who goes from darkness to light.
3. The person who goes from light to darkness.
4. The person who goes from light to light.

“Great King, how does a person go from darkness to darkness? A certain person is reborn in a low family—a family of outcasts, bamboo-workers, hunters, cart-makers, or waste-collectors—poor, with little to eat or drink, where life is tough, and food and shelter are hard to find. And he’s ugly, unsightly, deformed, chronically ill—one-eyed, crippled, lame, or half-paralyzed. He doesn’t get to have enough food, drink, clothes, vehicles, jewellery, perfumes, makeup, beds, houses, or lighting. Unfortunately, he does bad things by body, speech, and mind. After death, he’s reborn in a place of misery, in hell.

“This person is like someone who goes from darkness to darkness, from gloominess to gloominess, from misfortune to misfortune. That’s how a person goes from darkness to darkness.

“And how does a person go from darkness to light? A certain person is reborn in a low family—a family of outcasts, bamboo-workers, hunters, cart-makers, or waste-collectors—poor, with little to eat or drink, where life is tough, and food and shelter are hard to find. And he’s ugly, unsightly, deformed, chronically ill—one-eyed, crippled, lame, or half-paralyzed. He doesn’t get to have enough food, drink, clothes, vehicles, jewellery, perfumes, makeup, beds, houses, or lighting. Fortunately, he does good things by body, speech, and mind. After death, he’s reborn in a happier place, in heaven.

“This person is like someone who goes from the ground to a couch; from a couch to horseback; from horseback to an elephant; and from an elephant to a palace. That’s how a person goes from darkness to light.

“And how does a person go from light to darkness? A certain person is reborn in a rich, high caste or royal family. He is rich, famous, and wealthy, with lots of gold and silver, lots of property, and lots of money and possessions. And he’s attractive, good-looking, lovely and of stunning beauty. He gets to have plenty of food, drink, clothes, vehicles, jewellery, perfumes, makeup, beds, houses, and lighting. Unfortunately, he does bad things by body, speech, and mind. After death, he’s reborn in a place of misery, in hell.

“This person is like someone who climbs down from a palace to an elephant; from an elephant to horseback; from horseback to a couch; and from a couch to the ground; and from the ground they enter darkness. That’s how a person goes from light to darkness.

“And how does a person go from light to light? A certain person is reborn in a rich, high caste or royal family. He is rich, famous, and wealthy, with lots of gold and silver, lots of property, and lots of money and possessions. And he’s attractive, good-looking, lovely and of stunning beauty. He gets to have plenty of food, drink, clothes, vehicles, jewellery, perfumes, makeup, beds, houses, and lighting. Fortunately, he does good things by body, speech, and mind. After death, he’s reborn in a happier place, in heaven.

“This person is like someone who moves from one couch to another; from the back of one horse to another; from one elephant to another; or from one palace to another. That’s how a person goes from light to light. These are the four types of people in the world.”

“Great king, some people are poor,
faithless and stingy.
Miserly, with bad intentions,
they lack compassion for others, they have wrong views.

They pretend to be poor,
they abuse and insult
monks, homeless people
and others who are needy.

They prevent others from giving
food to those who are hungry.
Great king, ruler of the people,
when such people die,
they fall into a terrible hell—
they go from darkness to darkness.

Great king, some people are poor,
but faithful and not stingy.
They are generous and compassionate to others
and have noble intentions.
They rise from their seats and worship
monks and virtuous people.

They treat those people and anybody in need well.
They desire to be trained in good qualities.
They don’t prevent others from giving
food to those who are hungry.

Great king, ruler of the people,
when such people die,
they go to the Tāvatiṁsa heaven.
They go from darkness to light.

Great king, some people are rich,
but faithless and stingy.
Miserly, with bad intentions,
they lack compassion for others, they have wrong views.

They pretend to be poor,
they abuse and insult
monks, homeless people
and others who are needy.
They prevent others from giving
food to those who are hungry.

Great king, ruler of the people,
when such people die,
they fall into a terrible hell.
They go from light to darkness.

Great king, some people are rich,
faithful and not stingy.
They are generous and compassionate to others
and have noble intentions.

They rise from their seats and worship
monks and virtuous people.
They treat those people and anybody in need well.
They desire to be trained in good qualities.
They don’t prevent others from giving
food to those who are hungry.

Great king, ruler of the people,
when such people die,
they go to the Tāvatiṁsa heaven.
They go from light to light.”

Three Bar Menu Button

Saṁyutta Nikāya 3.21 Puggala Sutta: Persons

Explore other suttas with this individual:

Have a question?

Do you have a question about what you have read?