WHEN the Blessed One was residing on the mounted called Vulture's Peak, near Rajagaha, Ajatasattu king of Magadha, who reigned in the place of Bimbisara, planned an attack on the Vajjis, and he said to Vassakara, his prime mister: "I will root out the Vajjis, mighty though they be. I will destroy the Vajjis; I will bring them to utter ruin! Come now, O Brahman, and go to the Blessed One; inquire in my name for his health, and tell him my purpose. Bear carefully in mind what the Blessed One may say, and repeat it to me, for the Buddhas speak nothing untrue."
When Vassakara, the prime minister, had greeted the Blessed One and delivered his message, the venerable Ananda stood behind the Blessed One and fanned him, and the Blessed One said to him: "Hast thou heard, Ananda, that the Vajjis hold full and frequent public assemblies?" He replied, "Lord, so I have heard."
"So long, Ananda," said the Blessed One, "as the Vajjis hold these full and frequent public assemblies, they may be expected not to decline, but to prosper. So long as they meet together in concord, so long as they honor their elders, so long as they respect womanhood, so long as they remain religious, performing all proper rites, so long as they extend the rightful protection, defense and support to the holy ones, the Vajjis may be expected not to decline, but to prosper." Then the Blessed One addressed Vassakara and said: "When I stayed, O Brahman, at Vesali, I taught the Vajjis these conditions of welfare, that so long as they should remain well instructed, so long as they will continue in the right path, so long as they live up to the precepts of righteousness, we could expect them not to decline, but to prosper."
As soon as the king's messenger had gone, the Blessed One had the brethren, that were in the neighborhood of Rajagaha, assembled in the service-hall and addressed them, saying: "I will teach you, O bhikkhus, the conditions of the welfare of a community. Listen well, and I will speak.
"So long, O bhikkhus, as the brethren hold full and frequent assemblies, meeting in concord, rising in concord, and attending in concord to the affairs of the Sangha; so long as they, O bhikkhus, do not abrogate that which experience has proved to be good, and introduce nothing except such things as have been carefully tested; so long as their elders practice justice; so long as the brethren esteem, revere, and support their elders, and hearken unto their words; so long as the brethren are not under the influence of craving, but delight in the blessings of religion, so that good and holy men shall come to them and dwell among them in quiet; so long as the brethren shall not be addicted to sloth and idleness; so long as the brethren shall exercise themselves in the sevenfold higher wisdom of mental activity, search after truth, energy, joy, modesty, self-control, earnest contemplation, and equanimity of mind, so long the Sangha may be expected to prosper. Therefore, O bhikkhus, be full of faith, modest in heart, afraid of sin, anxious to learn, strong in energy, active in mind, and full of wisdom.