Sacred Texts Buddhist Articles
On one occasion when Bhagavâ resided in Kalandaka-Nivâpa, in the Welu forest, near Râjagaha, the Gahapati Singâlo rose early in the morning and going out of Râjagaha, stood with his hair and his garments wet, and with his clasped hands elevated, bowed down to the various quarters, and worshipped the East, the South, the West, the North, the Nadir and the Zenith. On the same morning Bhagavâ, having arisen early and put on his robes, took his bowl and proceeded to Râjagaha in order to obtain food from the charitable, and seeing Singâlo engaged in his devotions he said to him: "Gahapati, why do you rise early in the morning, and with wet hair and wet garments bow down towards the several quarters and worship the East, the South, the West, the Nadir and the Zenith?"
He replied: "Venerable Sir, my father when dying said to me, Son, worship the quarters: and therefore respecting, honouring, reverencing and holding sacred the words of my father, I rise early in the morning, and going out of Râjagaha, and with my hair and garments wet, with clasped hands I bow down towards the various quarters, and worship the East, the South, the West, the North, the Nadir and the Zenith.--That is not the proper way, Gahapati, according to the teachings of holy sages to worship the six points.--Which then, Venerable Sir, is the correct mode of worshipping the six points according to the teaching of holy sages? Will the Venerable Bhagavâ explain the doctrine?--Listen then, Gahapati, and carefully attend: I will explain it." Singâlo replied: "Do so, Venerable Sir." Upon which Bhagavâ said:
"Gahapati, the disciples of holy sages abstain from the four actions which pollute the man; they are not influenced to commit sin by the four sources of evil; neither do they addict themselves to the six modes of procedure, which are paths leading to the destruction of property. Keeping themselves from these fourteen evils they are well guarded on the six sides, and are fully prepared for both worlds; for they are holy in this world, and upon the dissolution of their frame by death they will obtain an existence in the heavenly worlds.
"Which are the four polluting actions from which they abstain? The destruction of animal life is a polluting act; theft is a polluting act; illicit intercourse with women is a polluting act; lying is a polluting act. From these sources of pollution they refrain."
Thus spake Bhagavâ: the excellent one having declared this, the teacher further said:
"The destruction of animal life; the taking the property of another; the speaking falsehood, and debauching another man's wife, are things dispraised by the wise.
"Which, Gahapati, are the four principles from which men sin? They are influenced by self-will, by anger, by fear, and by folly. But the disciple of holy sages is not led by self-will, by anger, by fear nor by folly, and does not from these four principles commit sin."
Thus spake Bhagavâ: the excellent one having declared this, the teacher further said:
"He who is led by self-will, by anger, by fear, or by folly, to overstep the bounds of virtue, will have his honour obscured, as the moon is obscured during the period of darkness.
"He who is not induced by self-will, by anger, by fear, or by folly, to transgress the rules of virtue, shall have his honour resplendent as the moon during the period of brightness.
"Which are the six modes of procedure being the paths leading to the destruction of property? The being addicted to intoxicating liquors is a path leading to the destruction of property. The wandering about the streets at unseasonable hours p. 313 is a path leading to the destruction of property. The frequenting places of public amusement is a path leading to the destruction of property. An addiction to gambling is a path leading to the destruction of property. The associating with profligate companions is a path leading to the destruction of property. Idleness is a path to the destruction of property.
"Six evils, Gahapati, result from being addicted to intoxicating liquors: the waste of property; contentious brawls; the accession of disease; loss of character; shameless exposure of the person; and mental imbecility.
"Six evils, Gahapati, result to a man from wandering about the streets at unseasonable hours: his health is neglected and uncared for; his wife and children are neglected and unprotected; his property is neglected and exposed to robbery; he is liable to the suspicion of having been in places of bad resort; evil reports circulate respecting him; and he has to encounter many painful circumstances.
"Six evils, Gahapati, result from persons frequenting places of public diversion. They are constantly enquiring Where is there an exhibition of dancing? Where is there singing? Where is there instrumental music? Where recitation? Where sleight of hand? Where theatrical exhibitions?
"Six evils, Gahapati, attend an addiction to gambling: the winner is the object of hatred; the loser is miserable; property is dissipated; his word is not credited in courts of law, his friends and relatives are estranged from him; and he is not regarded as eligible for matrimonial alliances; for a gamester cannot maintain a wife and family with respectability.
"Six evils, Gahapati, result from associating with profligate companions: every gambler, every libertine, every hard drinker, every rogue, every cheat, every burglar, claims him as a friend.
"Six evils, Gahapati, are connected with indolence: he says, It is very cold, and he does not work; it is very hot, and he does not work; it is very late, and he does not work; it is very early, and he does not work; he says, I am very hungry, and p. 314 he does not work; I have eaten too much, and he does not work. He thus lives neglectful of his occupations; he neither acquires fresh property, nor preserves that which he had in his possession."
Thus spake Bhagavâ: the excellent one having declared this, the teacher further said:
"Some friends are only drinking companions; others are friends so long as it suits their convenience, and others for the sake of gain.
"Lying in bed after the sun has arisen; adulterous intercourse with women; an irritable disposition; injustice to others; consorting with profligate companions, or being greedy of enjoyment, are six things which lead a man to ruin.
"By gaming, by profligacy, by debauching the wife dear to the husband as his life, by debasing pursuits, and by neglecting the study of wisdom, the honor of a man is obscured, as the moon is obscured during the period of darkness.
"He whose friends are sinful, whose associates are profligate, and whose instructors are unholy, will be ruined in this world, and in that which is to come.
"Gaming, whoredom, drinking, singing and dancing, sleeping by day and wandering about by night, and an insatiate thirst for pleasure, are six things which ruin a man.
"The drunkard, destitute and in abject poverty, yet thirsty and led thereby to drink intoxicating liquors like water, will increase his debts, and rapidly destroy his family.
"He who sleeps by day and rises at night, who is constantly inebriated and attached to lewd women, cannot remain in his own house.
"The young man who says, It is too hot; it is too cold; it is too late, by neglecting his business will come to poverty; but he, who disregardful of heat or cold, performs his manly duties, will not cease to be prosperous.
"Four classes of persons, Gahapati, bear the semblance of friends while they are the reverse: the self-interested man; the man of much profession, the flatterer and the spendthrift.
"In four ways the self-interested man, while professing to be a friend, may be known to be the reverse. He takes away your property; he gives little and expects much in return; he acts from fear (and not from affection), and he sees only his own advantage.
"In four ways the man of much profession, while bearing the semblance of a friend, may be known to be the reverse. He will appear to be interested respecting past circumstances, or respecting those which are future; he will be profuse in unprofitable compliments, but he will forsake you in the hour of need.
"In four ways the flatterer, while professing to be a friend, may be known to be the reverse: he approves of your vices, and he approves of your virtues; he praises you while present, and reviles you when absent.
"In four ways the spendthrift, while professing to be a friend, may be known to be the reverse: he is a friend if you frequent taverns, or wander about the streets at night; if you visit the theatres, or frequent gaming houses."
Thus spake Bhagavâ: the excellent one having stated this, the teacher further said:
"The friend who takes away your property, or who abounds in profession, or who is a sycophant, or a spendthrift;
"These four the wise man does not regard to be friends, but removes from them as he would from a path beset with eminent dangers.
"Gahapati, by these four marks the faithful friend may be known: He assists in time of need; he is a friend in adversity as well as in prosperity; he gives judicious advice; and manifests affection towards you.
"Gahapati, the friend who assists in time of need may be known by these four marks: He guards you when you are carelessly exposed; watches over your property when it is in danger; aids in the hour of peril; and affords two fold help in the time of need.
"In four ways the friend faithful in adversity as well as in p. 316 prosperity may be known: He keeps your secrets, does not divulge your affairs, stands by you in the hour of difficulty, and is willing to sacrifice his life for your welfare.
"The faithful friend who gives judicious advice may be known in four ways: He restrains you from vice, and encourages you in virtue; imparts instruction, and points out the way to heaven.
"The true friend who manifests affection towards you may he known by these four marks: He does not rejoice when his friend suffers privations, but rejoices in his prosperity; he repels slanders uttered against him, and joins in celebrating his virtues."
Thus Bhagavâ spoke: the excellent one having declared this, the teacher further said:
"He is a friend who renders assistance, who is faithful in prosperity and in adversity, who gives judicious advice, and shews kindness of feeling.
"The wise man, knowing them to be his friends cleaves constantly to them, as the child clings to his mother.
"The virtuous wise man shines as a brightly resplendent light. If he partake of the wealth of others, it is as the bee (who gathers honey without injuring the beauty or fragrance of the flower); and if he accumulate wealth, it is as the white ant (by unremitted exertions and minute increments); builds up its nest; and thus he is able to provide for his family.
"The property he accumulates he divides into four portions: certainly with one portion he will cement friendships; one he will appropriate to his own sustenance; one portion he will apply to the conducting his business; and the other portion he will treasure up against a time of adversity.
"How, Gahapati, does the disciple of holy sages carefully guard the six sides? The six sides are the following: His parents constitute the East side, his teachers the South, his wife and children the West, his friends and relatives the North, his slaves and dependents constitute the Nadir, and Samanas and Brahmans are the Zenith.
"Gahapati, the son should minister to his parents, who constitute the East quarter, in five ways: he should say I will sustain them in old age who supported me in youth: the family duties incumbent on them I will perform: I will guard their possessions, I will watch over their property, and when they die I will perform their funeral solemnities. In these fives modes, Gahapati, the parents, forming the East quarter, are to be ministered to. The parents also in five modes shew their affection to their son: they restrain him from vice, and train him in virtue; they cause him to be instructed in arts and sciences; provide him with a suitable wife, and at a proper season, endow him with an inheritance. Thus the East quarter is preserved in peace and free from danger.
"In five respects, Gahapati, the pupil should minister to his teacher, who is as the South quarter: he should rise up in his presence; wait upon him; listen to all that he says with respectful attention; perform the duties necessary for his personal comfort; and carefully attend to his instruction. In these five respects the pupil should minister to his teacher. And in five things the teacher shews his affection to his pupil: he trains him in virtue and good manners; carefully instructs him; imparts unto him a knowledge of the sciences and wisdom of the ancients; speaks well of him to friends and relations, and guards him from danger. In these five modes the teacher shews his affection to his pupil, and thus the South quarter is preserved in peace and free from danger.
"In these five respects, Gahapati, the husband should minister to his wife, who is as the West quarter: he should treat her with respectful attention; his language to her should be courteous and affectionate; he should not illicitly consort with other women; should cause her to be honoured by others, and furnish her with suitable ornaments and apparel. In these five modes the husband should minister to his wife who is as the West quarter. And in five respects the wife should shew her affection towards her husband: she should affectionately attend to his personal wants; superintend his household; p. 318 preserve her chastity inviolate; be careful of her husband's property; and shew diligence and activity in all she has to do. In these five things the wife should shew her affection to her husband. Thus the West quarter will be preserved in peace and free from danger.
"In these five respects, Gahapati, the honourable man ministers to his friends and relatives who are as the North quarter: by presenting gifts, by courteous lauguage, by promoting their interests, by treating them as his equals, and by sharing with them his prosperity. In these five modes he ministers to his friends and relatives who are as the North quarter. And in five respects his friends and relations should shew their attachment to him. They should watch over him when he has negligently exposed himself; guard his property when he is careless; assist him in difficulties; stand by him, and help to provide for his family. In these five modes friends and relatives should manifest their attachment to him, and thus the North quarter is preserved in peace and free from danger.
"In five things, Gahapati, the master should minister to the wants of his slaves and dependents, who are as the Nadir: he assigns them labour suitable to their strength; provides for their comfortable support; he attends to them in sickness; causes them to partake of any extraordinary delicacy he may obtain, and makes them occasional presents. In these five modes the master ministers to his servants, who are as the Nadir. And in five modes the slaves and dependents manifest their attachment to their master: they rise before him in the morning, and retire later to rest; they do not purloin his property, do their work cheerfully and actively, and are respectful in their behaviour towards him. In these five respects the slaves and dependents should manifest their attachment to their master, and thus the Nadir is preserved in peace and free from danger.
"In five respects, Gahapati, the honourable man should minister to Samanas and Brahmans who are as the Zenith: by respectful affection manifested in his actions, in his words, and in his thoughls; by allowing them constant access to him, and by p. 319 supplying their temporal wants. In these five modes, Gahapati, he ministers to Samanas and Brahmans who are as the Zenith. And in five modes the Samanas and Brahmans should manifest their kind feelings towards him: they should dissuade him from vice; excite him to virtuous acts, being desirous of promoting the welfare of all; they should instruct him in the things he had not previously learned; confirm him in the truths he had received, and point out to him the way to heaven. In these five modes Samanas and Brahmans should manifest their kind feelings towards him, and thus the Zenith is preserved tranquil and free from danger."
Thus spoke Bhagavâ: the excellent one having declared those things, the teacher further added:
"The mother and father are the East quarter; the teacher is the South; the children and wife are the West; friends and relatives the North;
"Slaves and dependents are the Nadir; Samanas and Brahmans the Zenith. He who worships these six will be competent to the duties of a householder.
"The wise, virtuous, prudent, intelligent, teachable, docile man will become eminent.--The persevering diligent man, unshaken in adversity, and of inflexible determination, will become eminent,
"The well-informed, friendly disposed, prudent speaking, generous minded, self-controlled man, calm and self-possessed, will become eminent.
"In this world, generosity, mildness of speech, public spirit, and courteous behaviour, are worthy of respect under all circumstances, and will be valuable in all places.
"If these be not possessed, the mother will receive neither honour nor support from the son; neither will the father receive respect or honour, The wise man who carefully cultivates these will obtain both prosperity and honour."
When Bhagavâ had thus spoken, Singâlo said: "Excellent, Venerable Sir, most excellent. It is comparable to placing erect that which has been overturned; to the displaying that to view p. 320 which has been previously hidden; to the directing a wanderer into the right path; to bringing a brightly shining lamp into a dark place thus rendering objects visible. Even thus Bhagavâ, in various modes, made known his doctrine. I take refuge in Bhagavâ, in his doctrines, and in his priesthood. Receive me, Bhagavâ, as a disciple. From this day to the end of my life I take my refuge in Bhagavâ."