Dhammika Sutta | Sn II-14


14. Dhammika Sutta

Discourse on the Dhammika Devotee

Thus have I heard:

On one occasion the Buddha was residing in the Jetavana monastery built by Anāthapiṇḍika in Sāvatthī, the rich householder.

It was then that Dhammika, one of the Buddha's lay disciples, together with 500 lay disciples, approached the Buddha

and after making obeisance to the Buddha, they sat at a (suitable) place and addressed the Buddha in the following verses: —

378. O Gotama Buddha, endowed with wisdom as great as the earth, May I ask a question, Sir:

A certain person leaves his home, and enters the homeless life of a Bhikkhu; another person as a lay disciple leads a pious life, devoted to the 3 Gems.

Of these 2 types of disciples, whom would you call a better disciple? (1)

379. O Buddha, You know the destinies of all sentient beings including the celestial worlds and you also know the release (from existence) that is Nibbāna.

The Peerless one, the Seer of subtle meaning you and you alone are the Excellent One, everyone says. (2)

380. O Buddha, the Compassionate One, the Knower and Revealer of all Dhamma, who has removed the shroud of darkness of defilements, the All-seeing One, whose splendour spread over all the worlds with purity unmatched anywhere. (3)

381. On hearing of the Buddha's conquest of kleśas, Eravan, the distinguished deva, the celestial elephant, had come to find out for himself; and having discussed the Dhamma with the Buddha, he came home greatly satisfied and delighted. (4)

382. O Buddha, the Diligent One, Kubera, the Vessavana deva came to ask a problem and the Buddha explained to him to his great delight. (5)

383. Given to self-glorification, heretics Ājīvika and Nigaṇṭha and all of their kind can never excel the Buddha in knowledge, just as one standing still can never catch up with one who is a fast walker, walking fast. (6)

384. Brahmins, old (like Pokkharasāti) and young (like Ambaṭṭha) alike upholding their own doctrines, come for consultation, questioning recognizing your superior wisdom.

All other great teachers preaching their own views, be they human or celestial, also came to you to be enlightened. (7)

385. O Buddha, the well-uttered Dhamma is subtle and beneficial so that everyone is glad to listen. Will the Exalted One being thus asked, Kindly give a discourse to us. (8)

386. We, Bhikkhus, are assembled here, as are the lay disciples to listen to the Buddha.

Like the devas listen gladly to Sakka's well-uttered words, so also let us (disciples) listen gladly to the well-acquired, Knowledge of the passion-free and pure Buddha. (9)


387. Listen ye, O Bhikkhus, I will now discourse on the Dhamma that can shake off all defilements. Apply them for your own benefit.

As a discerning person a Bhikkhu should adopt, the position conducive to knowledge. (10)

388. It does not behave you Bhikkhu that you go for the alms-round in the afternoon; alms-rounds are made only in the fore-noon.

A Bhikkhu who often goes about in the unsuitable period of the day (i.e. afternoon, night included) is liable to fall prey to his own passion and involvements.

That's why the Arahants who have seen the Four Noble Truths, never go about for alms in the afternoon. (11)

389. The 5 sense-objects, namely, the pertaining to the eye, the ear, the tongue, the nose and the body, are highly exhilarating, nay, intoxicating.

So you must deny yourself any passion or desire for them. Therefore, you should enter the village, for your (morning) meal only in the forenoon. (12)

390. Having received the alms -food in the forenoon the Bhikkhu should make a solitary retreat, from the neighbourhood to a secluded place

and sitting there contemplate on the 5 aggregates, that he is made up of, with a properly controlled mind that does not wander outside (of his mind and body).( 1 3)

391. If he has occasion to talk with either a disciple or a heretic or a layman or a Bhikkhu, he should talk about the exalted Dhamma, but never about matters slanderous or injurious to others. (14)

392. Some indulge in controversy, going head-on against others; such antagonistic persons with small wisdom, we never approve.

For unfriendly talk such as these make one involved in evil passions and distract the mind from its proper object (Vipassanā). (15)

393. The worthy and wise disciple heeding the Buddha’s teaching has circumspection whether in the use of food or shelter of living quarters or drinking water or in the act of washing his robes. (16)

394. That is why he does not get his mind smeared by defilement regarding his food or shelter or living quarters or drinking water, or in the act of washing his robes:

In much the same way as the lotus-leaf is never smeared (wetted) with water. (17)

395. Further, I will dwell in lay conduct, the keeping of which will make a good disciple.

Layman, who possesses land and other property, are not suited to the kind of conduct (as referred to above), which is meant only for Bhikkhus. (18)

396. A good lay disciple should lay down the rod towards everybody, thus never killing a fearless one or a frightful one, nor let another do the killing, nor cause the killing, nor give consent thereto. (19)

397. Moreover, wherever it may be, when it is known to be some other person's property, one should refrain from stealing it, nor let another do the stealing, nor cause the stealing, nor give consent thereto, anything not given must not be taken.(20)

398. A wise man should keep away from sexual indulgence as he would a blazing fireplace.

If strict abstinence is not found possible at least one should never commit adultery. (21)

399. Whether at an assembly or before any crowd, one should not speak falsely to another, nor let another tell a lie nor cause the lying, nor give consent thereto.

Anything false must not be spoken. (22)

400. A householder (layman), knowing that strong drinks ultimately lead to madness (insanity) and approving the advisability of abstinence, abstains from any intoxicants.

Neither would he cause the drinking nor give approval thereto. (23)

401. Drunkenness has often driven fools into killing and other misdeeds: these drunkards also bring others into their inebriate circle.

A sure cause of insanity in afterlife, as well as maddening ground of misdeeds intoxicants, the fool's favourite drink, should be avoided (at all costs.) (24)

402. Abstaining from killing, stealing, lying, and intoxicants; refraining from sexual indulgence and afternoon meals; (25)

403. Restraining from personal embellishments such as adornment of flowers, use of perfumes and unguents, denying oneself (the) luxurious seats or beds,

and making do with a single cot or even content to sleep on the earthen floor

- these 8-fold precepts noble and leading to the end of all ill, the Buddha has prescribed. (26)

404. On fasting days, falling on the 14th waxing or waning day of a month or on the 15th, or on the 8, keep the above said 8-fold precept.

On other non-fasting days before or after the fasting days also one who is so inclined may do the same as special way of self-discipline. (27)

405. Early next morning after the fasting day, the wise man, after making his fasting, in a pious mood offers to the Saṅgha food or beverages, apportioned appropriately to his circumstances and thereby (further) gladdens his heart. (28)

406. The layman who supports his parents by righteous means carries on a trade in a righteous way and follows the above said mode of conduct, goes to the celestial world (Devaloka) of self-resplendent beings. (29)

End of the Fourteenth Dhammika Sutta

Of the Second Sula Vagga