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Samyutta Nikaya
Sotāpatti Saṁyutta

55.37 Mahānāma Sutta
To Mahānāma

What does it mean to be a lay follower?

In those days, the Buddha was living in the Kingdom of the Sakyans, in the city of Kapilavatthu, at the Nigrodha Monastery. One day, Mahānāma the Sakyan went to the Buddha, bowed respectfully, sat down to one side, and asked him, “Bhante, how is a lay follower defined?”

“Mahānāma, when someone has gone for refuge to the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Saṅgha, he’s considered to be a lay follower.”

“Bhante, how is a virtuous lay follower defined?”

“Mahānāma, when a lay follower doesn’t kill beings, steal, commit sexual misconduct, lie, or consume alcoholic drinks and drugs that cause negligence, he’s considered to be a virtuous lay follower.”

“Bhante, how is a faithful lay follower defined?”

“Mahānāma, it’s when a lay follower has faith in the Buddha: ‘That Blessed One is liberated, self enlightened, has true knowledge and pure conduct, attained Nibbāna, knower of the world, supreme trainer of beings, teacher of gods and humans, the most generous, the most fortunate.’ Then he’s considered to be a faithful lay follower.”

“Bhante, how is a generous lay follower defined?”

“Mahānāma, it’s when a lay follower lives at home rid of the stain of stinginess, ready to give, open-handed, with desire to give, committed to charity, loves to give and share. Then he’s considered to be a generous lay follower.”

“Bhante, how is a wise lay follower defined?”

“Mahānāma, it’s when a lay follower is wise. He has the wisdom of arising and passing away which is noble, penetrative, and leads to the complete ending of suffering. Then he’s considered to be a wise lay follower.”

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Saṁyutta Nikāya 55.37 Mahānāma Sutta: To Mahānāma

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