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Anguttara Nikaya

Aṅguttara Nikāya
10.46 Sakka Sutta
To the Sakyans

What are the benefits of living diligently?

One day, the Buddha was living in the kingdom of the Sakyans, at the city of Kapilavatthu, in the Nigrodha Monastery. On a full-moon day, several Sakyan lay followers went to the Buddha, bowed respectfully, and sat down to one side. The Buddha asked them:

“Sakyans, do you observe eight precepts?”

“Bhante, sometimes we do, sometimes we don’t.”

“Sakyans, you have this life which is subject to fear, sorrow and death. However, you are negligent in finding the way out. Sometimes you keep the eight precepts, and sometimes you don’t. That’s a great loss for you, it’s your misfortune.

“What do you think, Sakyans? Take a person who earns one hundred dollars per day by doing a certain job. Is this enough to call him a talented and energetic person?”

“Yes, Bhante.”

“What do you think, Sakyans? Take a person who earns two hundred dollars per day by doing a certain job. Is this enough to call him a talented and energetic person?”

“Yes, Bhante.”

“What do you think, Sakyans? Take a person who earns three hundred dollars… four hundred dollars… five hundred dollars… six hundred dollars… seven hundred dollars… eight hundred dollars… nine hundred dollars… one thousand dollars… ten thousand dollars… twenty thousand dollars… thirty thousand dollars… forty thousand dollars… fifty thousand dollars… a hundred thousand dollars. Is this enough to call him a talented and energetic person?”

“Yes, Bhante.”

“What do you think, Sakyans? Suppose that person earned a thousand or a hundred thousand dollars every day and saved it all up. If he lived for a hundred years, would he not accumulate a large mass of wealth?”

“Yes, Bhante.”

“What do you think, Sakyans? Would that person, using that wealth, experience perfect happiness for a single day, or even half a day?”

“No, Bhante.”

“Why is that?”

“Bhante, because worldly pleasures are impermanent, subject to change, and they give temporary happiness. Worldly pleasures deceive people in the guise of great happiness.”

“Sakyans, take one of my followers who lives diligent, keen, and energetic for ten years, practicing in line with my instructions. As a result, he can experience perfect happiness for a hundred years, ten thousand years, or a hundred thousand years. Also, he could become a non-returner, a once-returner, or at the very least, a stream-enterer.

“Let alone ten years, take one of my followers who lives diligent, keen, and energetic for nine years… eight years… seven years… six years… five years… four years… three years… two years… one year… ten months… nine months… eight months… seven months… six months… five months… four months… three months… two months… one month… two weeks… ten days… nine days… eight days… seven days… six days… five days… four days… three days… two days…

“Let alone two days, take one of my followers who lives diligent, keen, and energetic for just one day, practicing in line with my instructions. As a result, he can experience perfect happiness for a hundred years, ten thousand years, or a hundred thousand years. Also, he could become a non-returner, a once-returner, or at the very least, a stream-enterer.

“Sakyans, you have this life which is subject to fear, sorrow and death. However, you are negligent in finding the way out. Sometimes you keep the eight precepts, and sometimes you don’t. That’s a great loss for you, it’s your misfortune.”

“Bhante, from this day onwards, we will observe the eight precepts.”

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Aṅguttara Nikāya 10.46 Sakka Sutta: To the Sakyans

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