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Words of Wisdom

Embracing the Dharma: Excerpts from the Sutta Nipata, Part 1 of 2

2023-11-24
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Today, we present to you excerpts from the Sutta Nipata, in which the Blessed One, Shakyamuni Buddha (vegan), explains the various causes of loss or setbacks leading to spiritual regression.

CHAPTER 1 SECTION 6 [DISCOURSE ON DOWNFALL]

“So it was heard by me: At one time, the Blessed One dwelt at Sâvatthî, in Getavana, in the park of Anâthapindika. Then when the night had gone, a certain deity of a beautiful appearance, having illuminated the whole Getavana, went up to the Blessed One, and having approached and saluted Him, he stood apart, and standing apart that deity addressed the Blessed One in stanzas:

‘We ask (Thee), Gautama [the Blessed One], about a man that suffers loss; having come to ask, the Blessed One , (tell us) what is the cause (of loss) to the losing (man).’

The Blessed One: ‘The winner is easily known, easily known (is also) the loser: he who loves Dharma is the winner, he who hates Dharma is the loser.’

Deity: ‘We know this to be so, this is the first loser; tell (us) the second, O Blessed One, what is the cause (of loss) to the losing (man).’

The Blessed One: ‘Wicked men are dear to him, he does not do anything that is dear to the good, he approves of the Dharma of the wicked, – that is the cause (of loss) to the losing (man).’

Deity: ‘We know this to be so, this is the second loser; tell us the third, O Blessed One, what is the cause (of loss) to the losing (man).’

The Blessed One: ‘The man who is drowsy, fond of society and without energy, lazy, given to anger, – that is the cause (of loss) to the losing (man).’

Deity: ‘We know this to be so, this is the third loser; tell us the fourth, O Blessed One, what is the cause (of loss) to the losing (man).’

The Blessed One: ‘He who being rich does not support mother or father who are old or past their youth, – that is the cause (of loss) to the losing (man).’

Deity: ‘We know this to be so, this is the fourth loser; tell us the fifth, O Blessed One, what is the cause (of loss) to the losing (man).’

The Blessed One: ‘He who by falsehood deceives either a Brâmana [a sage] or a Samana [an ascetic] or any other mendicant, – that is the cause (of loss) to the losing (man).’

Deity: ‘We know this to be so, this is the fifth loser; tell us the sixth, O Blessed One, what is the cause (of loss) to the losing (man).’

The Blessed One: ‘The man who is possessed of much property, who has gold and food, (and still) enjoys alone his sweet things, – that is the cause (of loss) to the losing (man).’

Deity: ‘We know this to be so, this is the sixth loser; tell us the seventh, O Blessed One, what is the cause (of loss) to the losing (man).’

The Blessed One: ‘The man who proud of his birth, of his wealth, and of his family, despises his relatives, – that is the cause (of loss) to the losing (man).’

Deity: ‘We know this to be so, this is the seventh loser; tell us the eighth, O Blessed One, what is the cause (of loss) to the losing (man).’

The Blessed One: ‘The man who given to women, to strong drink, and to dice, wastes whatever he has gained, – that is the cause (of loss) to the losing (man).’

Deity: ‘We know this to be so, this is the eighth loser; tell us the ninth, O Blessed One, what is the cause (of loss) to the losing (man).’

The Blessed One: ‘He who, not satisfied with his own wife, is seen with harlots and the wives of others, – that is the cause (of loss) to the losing (man).’

Deity: ‘We know this to be so, this is the ninth loser; tell us the tenth, O Blessed One, what (is) the cause (of loss) to the losing (man).’

The Blessed One: ‘The man who, past his youth, brings home a woman […], and for jealousy of her cannot sleep, – that is the cause (of loss) to the losing (man).’

Deity: ‘We know this to be so, this is the tenth loser; tell us the eleventh, O Blessed One, what is the cause (of loss) to the losing (man).’

The Blessed One: ‘He who places in supremacy a woman given to drink and squandering, or a man of the same kind, – that is the cause (of loss) to the losing (man).’

Deity: ‘We know this to be so, this is the eleventh loser; tell us the twelfth, O Blessed One, what is the cause (of loss) to the losing (man).’

The Blessed One: ‘He who has little property, (but) great desire, is born in a Khattiya [aristocratic] family and wishes for the kingdom in this world, – that is the cause (of loss) to the losing (man).’

Having taken into consideration these losses in the world, the wise, venerable man, who is endowed with insight, cultivates the happy world (of the gods).’”
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