Categories
Samyutta Nikaya
Kosala Saṁyutta

3.24 Issatta Sutta
Archery

King Pasenadi asks the Buddha who one should give gifts to, so that one gains the most merit?

At the city of Sāvatthī…

Seated to one side, King Pasenadi asked the Buddha, “Bhante, who should I give gifts to?”

“Great king, you should give to anybody you like.”

“But bhante, in order to gain more powerful merit, who should I give to?”

“Great king, ‘Who should I give gifts to?’ is one question, but ‘In order to gain more powerful merit, who should I give to?’ is another question. Giving a gift generates more powerful merit when it’s given to a virtuous person, not so much to an unvirtuous person. Well then, great king, I’ll ask you about this in return, and you can answer as you understand.

“What do you think, great king? Suppose you were at war, ready to fight a battle. Then along comes a royal youth who is untrained, unskilled, unfit and inexperienced. He’s fearful, weak, trembling and quick to flee. Would you employ such a man? Would he be of any use to you?”

“No, bhante, I would have no use for such a man.”

“What about a high caste youth, a merchant youth, or a worker youth who was similar?”

“No, bhante, I would have no use for such a man.”

“What do you think, great king? Suppose you were at war, ready to fight a battle. Then along comes a royal youth who is trained, skilled, fit and experienced. He’s fearless, brave, courageous, strong, heroic and never flees. Would you employ such a man? Would he be of any use to you?”

“Yes, bhante, I would have a use for such a man.”

“What about a high caste youth, a merchant youth, or a worker youth who was similar? Would you employ such a man? Would he be of any use to you?”

“Yes, bhante, I would have a use for such a man.”

“In the same way, a gift given to anyone who has given up five factors and possesses five factors is very fruitful, no matter what family he’s come from to become a monk.

What are the five factors he’s given up? Worldly desires, ill will, sleepiness and drowsiness, restlessness and remorse, and doubt. These are the five factors he’s given up.

What are the five factors he possesses? Virtue that has been practised fully1, concentration that has been practised fully, wisdom that has been practised fully, liberation that has been practised fully, and knowledge and vision of liberation that has been practised fully. These are the five factors he possesses.

I say that a gift given to anyone who has given up those five factors and possesses these five factors is very fruitful.”

That is what the Buddha said. Then the Blessed One further said,

“Any youth skilled in archery,
powerful and energetic,
would be employed by a king going to war—
unskilled people are not employed
just because of their high caste.

“Just so, whoever is well established
in the qualities of patience and gentleness,
a wise person with noble conduct,
is respected even if he’s low born.
People build lovely monasteries and offer to
those monks with vast Dhamma knowledge.
People set up ponds in monasteries
where it is hard to find water
and make paths to practise walking meditation
in places hard to walk.
People with confident hearts
offer food, drink, fruit,
robes, and shelters
to the enlightened monks.

“The thundering rain cloud,
with its hundreds of peaks, shines in lightning,
pours down over the rich earth,
filling the lakes and valleys.

“So too a wise follower of the Buddha,
faithful and learned,
prepares food to satisfy
those who are hungry.
Rejoicing, he distributes gifts,
saying, ‘Give! give!’

His encouraging words are his thunder,
like the thundering when it rains.
That stream of merit so heavy
showers down on the giver and soaks him well.”

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Saṁyutta Nikāya 3.24 Issatta Sutta: Archery

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