Dīgha Nikāya

[Home]  [Sutta Indexes]  [Glossology]  [Site Sub-Sections]


Sacred Books of the Buddhists
Volume IV

Dīgha Nikāya

Dialogues of the Buddha
Part III

Sutta 33

Saŋgīti Suttantaɱ

The Recital


Translated from the Pali by T.W. Rhys Davids and
C.A.F. Rhys Davids

Public Domain

Originally published under the patronage of
His Majesty King Chulālankarana,
King of Siam
by The Pali Text Society, Oxford



[221] 11. Fourfold doctrines, friends, have been perfectly set forth by the Exalted One who knows, who sees, the Arahant, Buddha supreme. Here should be a chanting in concord by all, not a wrangling...for...the happiness of devas and of men. Which are these?

[4.01][bodh][olds] Four applications of mindfulness,[1] to wit: — Herein, friends, let a brother as to the body ... as [215] to feelings ... as to thoughts ... as to ideas continue so to look on these [severally and in order], that he remains ardent, self-possessed and mindful, overcoming both the hankering and the dejection common in the world.

[4.02][bodh][olds] Four supreme efforts,[2] to wit: — Herein, friends, a brother, in order that unrisen wrong and wicked ideas may not arise ... in order that wrong and wicked ideas if arisen, may be put away ... in order that unrisen good ideas may arise ... in order that good ideas, if arisen, may persist, may be clarified, multiplied, expanded, developed, perfected, generates will endeavours, stirs up energy, makes firm his mind, struggles.

[4.03][bodh][olds] Four stages to efficiency (iddhi).[3] Herein, friends, a brother develops the stage which is characterized by (1) the mental co-efficient of an effort of purposive concentration; (2) by the mental co-efficient of an effort of intellectual concentration; (3) by the mental co-efficient of an effort of energized [222]concentration; (4) by the mental co-efficient of an effort of investigating concentration.

[4.04][bodh][olds] Four Jhānas. Herein, friends, a brother, aloof from sensuous appetites, aloof from evil ideas, enters into and abides in the First Jhāna, wherein there is initiative and sustained thought, which is born of solitude, and is full of zest and ease.[4] Secondly, when suppressing initiative and sustained thought, he enters into and abides in the Second Jhāna, which is self-evoked, born of concentration, full of zest and ease, in that, set free from initial and sustained thought, the mind grows calm and sure, dwelling on high. Thirdly, when a brother, no longer fired with zest, abides calmly contemplative, while mindful and self-possessed he feel in his body that ease whereof Ariyans declare: He that is calmly contemplative and aware, he dwelleth at ease, so does he enter into and abide in the Third Jhāna. Fourthly, by putting aside ease and by putting aside malaise, by the passing away of the joy and the sorrow he used to feel, he enters into and abides in the Fourth Jhāna, rapture of utter purity of mindfulness and equanimity, wherein neither ease is felt nor any ill.

[4.05][bodh][olds] Four developments of concentration,[5] to wit, that which when practised and expanded, conduces to (1) pleasure in this life; (2) acquisition of intuition and insight; (3) mindfulness and well-awareness; (4) destruction of 'spiritual intoxicants. Which are these severally? (1) is the Fourfold Jhāna. [223](2) is when a brother attends to the sensation of light,[6] sustains the perception of daylight, and attends to light [216] no less in the night-time, and thus, with open and unmuffled consciousness, creates a radiant luminous mind. (3) is the understanding of each feeling, or perception or thought, as they severally arise, remain present and vanish. (4) is the keeping watch over the five aggregates of grasping, as they rise and cease:--'This is material ... this is the appearance of something material ... this is the vanishing, and so on.'

[4.06][bodh][olds] Four 'infinitudes,'[7] to wit: — Herein, brethren, a brother lets his mind pervade one quarter of the world with thoughts of love ... pity ... sympathy ... in joy ... equanimity, and so the second quarter, and so the third, and so the fourth. And thus [224] the whole wide world, above, below, around and everywhere does he continue to pervade with heart ... far-reaching, grown great and beyond measure, free from anger and ill-will.

[4.07][bodh][olds] Four Jhānas of Arūpa-consciousness, to wit:[8] — Herein, brethren, a brother, by passing beyond the consciousness of matter, by the dying out of the sensation of resistance, by paying no heed to the idea of difference, at the thought: 'space is infinite!' attains to and abides in the conceptual sphere of space as infinite. (2) Having wholly transcended this, at the thought: 'Infinite is consciousness!' he attaines to and abides in the conceptual sphere of consciousness as infinite. (3) Having wholly transcended this, at the thought: 'It is nothing!' he attains to and abides in the conceptual sphere of nothingness. (4) Having wholly transcended this, he attains to and abides in the sphere of neither consciousness nor unconsciousness.

[4.08][bodh][olds] Four Bases of Conduct:[9] — Herein, brethren, a brother judges that a certain thing is to be habitually pursued, another thing is to be endured, another to be avoided, another to be suppressed.

[217] [4.09][bodh][olds] Four Ariyan lineages. Herein, brethren, a brother is content with whatever robes [he may have], commends contentment of this kind, and does not try togain robes in improper unsuitable ways. And he is not dismayed if he gain no robe, but when he has gained one,he is not greedy, nor infatuated nor overwhelmed; he wears it heedful lest he incur evil and understanding its object. Finally, by this contentment as to any garment, he heither is puffed up nor disparages others. Now he that is expert, not slothful, heedful, mindful, [225] is called, brethren, a brother who is true to the ancient distinguished lineage of the Ariyans.
The same is he who is similarly content with his alms, and with his lodging.
Lastly, bethren, the brother who, having the love both of eliminating on the one hand, and of developing on the other, loves both to eliminate and to develop, in loving both, neither is puffed up, nor disparages others. He that is herein expert, not slothful, heedful, mindful, is called a brother who is true to the ancient distinguished lineage of the Ariyans.

[4.10][bodh][olds] Four exertions, to wit, self-control, eliminating, developing, safe-guarding. What is the first? Herein, brethren, when a brother sees an object with the eye, and is not entranced by the general appearance or the details of it, [226] but sets himself to restrain that which might give occasion for bad, wicked states, covetousness, dejection to flow in over him were he to dwell unrestrained as to the faculty of sight, and to keep watch over that faculty, and attains to mastery over it ... and similarly as to the other four senses and mind, such an effort is called exertion in self-control.[10] (2) What is exertion in elimination? Herein, brethren, a brother, when a sensual, malign, or cruel thought has arisen, will not endure it, but puts it away, suppresses, exterminates it and makes it non-existent. Such an [218] exertion is called exertion in elimination. (3) What is exertion in developing? Herein, brethren, a brother cultivates each of the seven factors of enlightenment[11] which are based upon detachment, upon passionlessness, upon cessation, and wherein is maturity[12] of self-surrender.[13] This is called exertion in development. (4) What is exertion in safe-guarding? Herein, brethren, a brother keeps pure and genuine[14] an auspicious object of concentrated imagination when it has arise, [such as] one of the contemplations of foul things. This is called exertion in safe-guarding.

[4.11][bodh][olds] Four knowledges,[15] to wit, knowledge of the Doctrine, knowledge in its corollaries, knowledge of what is in another's consciousness,[16] and popular knowledge.[17]

[227] [4.12][bodh][olds] Other four knowledges, to wit: knowledge regarding suffering, genesis, cessation, path.

[4.13][bodh][olds] Four factors in 'Stream-attainment,' to wit, intercourse with the good, hearing the good doctrine, systematized[18] attention, practice in those things that lead up to the doctrine and its corollaries.

[4.14][bodh][olds] Four factors of his state who has attained the stream. Herein, brethren, the Ariyan disciple has an [219] unshakeable faith (1) in the Buddha:--'So he too, the Exalted One, is Arahant, supremely enlightened, full of wisdom and goodness, Blessed One, world-knower, peerless driver and tamer of men, teacher of devas and men, Buddha, Exalted One!' (2) in the Norm:--Well proclaimed by the Exalted One is the Norm, effective in this life and without delay, bidding us come and see, leading us onward, to be known by the wise as a personal experience. (3) in the Order:-- Well practised is the Order of the Exalted One's disciples, in uprightness, method and propriety, namely, the four pairs of persons, the eight classes of individuals. Thi is the Order of the Exalted One's disciples, to whom offerings and ministering should be made, and gifts and reverent greeting as unto the supreme field of merit throughout the world. (4) Endowed is it with virtues lovely to the Ariyans, unbroken and flawless, consistently practised, unblemished, making men free, commended by the wise, unperverted and conducing to rapt concentration.[19]

[4.15][bodh][olds] Four fruits of the life of a recluse, to wit, the fruit of [the fourfold path, i.e. of] Stream-attainment, of the Once-returner, of the Never-returner, of Arahantship.[20]

[228] [4.16][bodh][olds] Four elements, to wit, the extended [or earthy], the cohesive [or watery], the hot [or fiery], the mobile [or aerial] element.

[4.17][bodh][olds] Four supports [or foods], to wit, solid [bodily] food, whether gross or subtle, contact, as the second, motive or purpose as third, consciousness [in rebirth] as fourth.[21]

[4.18][bodh][olds] Four stations of consciousness. Brethren, when consciousness gaining a foothold persists, it is [220] either in connection with material qualities, or with [a co-efficient of] feeling, or perception or volitional complexes. In connection with any of these as an instrument, as an object of thought, as a platform, as a set of enjoyment, it attains to growth, increase, abundance.[22]

[4.19][bodh][olds] Four ways of going astray,[23] to wit, through partiality, hate, illusion, fear.

[4.20][bodh][olds] Four uprisings of craving. Brethren, craving arises in a brother because of raiment, alms, lodging, and dainty foods.[24]

[4.21][bodh][olds] Four rates of progress, to wit, when progress is difficult and intuition slow, when progress is difficult but intuition comes swiftly, when progress is easy, but intuition is slow, and when progress is easy, and intuition comes swiftly.[25]

[229][4.22][bodh][olds] Other four modes of progress, to wit, exercise without endurance, with endurance, with taming (of faculties), with calm.[26]

[4.23][bodh][olds] Four divisions of doctrine, to wit, [when the highest things are attained by an attitude of] (1) disinterestedness, or (2) amity, or (3) perfect mindfulness, or (4) perfect concentration.[27]

[4.24][bodh][olds] Four religious undertakings:--(1) one that brings present suffering and in the future painful consequences; (2) one that brings present suffering and in [221] the future happy consequences; (3) one that brings present pleasure and in the future painful consequences; (4) one that brings present happiness and in the future happy consequences.[28]

[4.25][bodh][olds] Four bodies of doctrine, to wit, morals, concentrative exercise, insight,[29] emancipation.

[4.26][bodh][olds] Four powers, to wit, energy, mindfulness, concentration, insight.

[4.27][bodh][olds] Four resolves, to wit, to gain insight, to win truth, to surrender [all evil], to master self.

[4.28][bodh][olds] Four modes of answering questions, to wit, the categorical reply, the discriminating reply, the counter-question reply, the waived question.[30]

[230] [4.29][bodh][olds] Four kinds of action, to wit, that which is dark with dark result, that which is bright with bright result, mixed, with mixed result, that which is neither, with neither kind of result, and conduces to the destruction of karma (action).[31]

[4.30][bodh][olds] Four matters to be realized,[32] to wit, former lives, to be realized by clear mentality;[33] decease and rebirth, to be realized by the 'heavenly eye'; the eight deliverances, to be realized by all the mental factors;[33] destruction of intoxicants, to be realized by insight.[34]

[222] [4.31][bodh][olds] Four floods, to wit, sensual desires,life renewed, error, ignorance.

[4.32][bodh][olds] Four bonds, to wit, sensual desires, life renewed, error, ignorance.

[4.33][bodh][olds] Four bond-loosenings, to wit, from sensual desires, life renewed, error, ignorance.

[4.34][bodh][olds] Four knots, to wit, the body-knots[35] of covetousness, of malevolence, of inverted judgment as to rule and ritual, and of the inclination to dogmatize.

[4.35][bodh][olds] Four graspings,[36] to wit, the laying hold of sensual desires, of error, of rules and rites, of the soul-theory.

[4.36][bodh][olds] Four matrices, to wit, the matrix of birth by an egg, the viviparous matrix, the matrix of moist places, and rebirth as deva.

[231] [4.37][bodh][olds] Four classes of conception at rebirth.[37] Herein, brethren, one person descends into the mother's womb unknowing, abides there unknowing, departs thence unknowing. This is the first class of conception. Next, another person descends deliberately, but abides and departs unknowing. Next another person descends and abides deliberately, but departs unknowing. Lastly, another person descends, abides and departs deliberately.

[4.38][bodh][olds] Four methods of acquiring new personality, to wit, (1) in which our own volition works, not another's, (2) in which another's volition works, not ours, (3) in which both our own and another's volition work, (4) in which the volition of neither works.[38]

[4.39][bodh][olds] Four modes of purity in offerings, to wit, (1) when a gift is purely made on the part of the giver, but not purely received; (2) when a gift is made pure by the recipient, not by the giver; (3) when the gift is [223] made pure by both; (4) when the gift is made pure by neither.[39]

[232][4.40][bodh][olds] Four grounds of popularity, to wit, liberality, kindly speech, justice, impartiality.[40]

[4.41][bodh][olds] Four un-Ariyan modes of speech, to wit, lying, slander, abuse, vain chatter.

[4.42][bodh][olds] Four Ariyan modes of speech, to wit, abstinence from any of the preceding.[41]

[4.43][bodh][olds] Other four un-Ariyan modes of speech, to wit, declaring that to have been seen, heard, thought of,[42] known, which has not been seen, not been herd, not thought of, not known.

[4.44][bodh][olds] Other four Ariyan modes of speech, to wit, declaring truthfully respecting the four preceding cases.

[4.45][bodh][olds] Other four Ariyan modes of speech, to wit, declaring that to have been unseen, unheard, etc, which ws seen,heard, etc.

[4.46][bodh][olds] Other four Ariyan modes of speech, to wit, declaring that which has been seen to have been seen, etc.

[4.47][bodh][olds] Four classes of individuals. Herein, brethren (1) a certain individual torments himself, is devoted to self-mortification; (2) another torments others, is devoted to torturing others; (3) another torments both himself and others; (4) another torments neither himself nor others nor is devoted to tormenting either. He thus abstaining [233] lives his life void of longings, perfected, cool, in blissful enjoyment, his whole self ennobled.[43]

[224] [4.48][bodh][olds] Other four individuals. Herein, brethren, (1) a certain person whose conduct makes for his own good, not for that of others; (2) another whose conduct makes for other's good, not his own; (3) another's conduct makes for neither; (4) another's conduct makes both for his own good and for that of others.[44]

[4.49][bodh][olds] Other four individuals, to wit, (1) living in darkness and bound for the dark; (2) living in darkness and bound for the light; (3) living in the light and bound for the darkness; (4) living in the light and bound for the light.[45]

[4.50][bodh][olds] Other four individuals, to wit, the unshaken recluse, the blue lotus recluse, the white lotus recluse, the exquisite recluse.[46]

These fourfold doctrines, friends, have been perfectly set forth by the Exalted One who knows, who sees. Hereon there should be a chanting by all in concord, not a wrangling, that thus this holy life may persist and be long maintained. That may be for the welfare and happiness of many folk, for compassion on the world, for the good, the welfare, the happiness of devas and of men.


[1] See Vol. II, p. 327 f.

[2] Above, Vol. II, 344.

[3] Vol. II, 110

[4] Above, p. 123 f. (mo: omitted here; I have inserted the sequence into the text above)

[5] Ang. II, 44

[6] Proceeding from sun, moon, gems, etc. S. Sumangala renders the next clause as:--'fixing it in his mind that at night the sun is up and there is light, and vice versá during the day.'

[7] Called 'devine states' (Brahma vihārā) in lix. of the Triple Doctrines. See Vol. II, p. 219f.; Visuddhi Magga, p. 320.

[8] Cf. Bud. Psy., 117 f.; Bud. Psy. Eth., §§ 265 f.; Dial., I, 249 f.; II, 119 f.

[9] Cf. R. Morris in J.P.T.S., 1884, p.71, on the term apassena.

[10] Cf. Bud. Psy. Eth., § 1347.

[11] Or 'wings of wisdom,' i.e., mindfulness, investigation of doctrine, energy, zest, serenity, rapt contemplation, equanimity.

[12] All synonyms, says B., for Nibbāna.

[13] B. repeats this rendering of vossagga-pariṇāmi in commenting on S. I, 88 (K.S., p. 113, n.3). Surrender means both giving up and plunging in (after Nibbāna).

[14] So B.: sodhati. The text merely repeats anurakkhati.

[15] Of this category, (1) and (2) occur in S. II, 57 f. There they are described respectively as the 'four truths' applied to 'decay and death,' and this tradition as loyally held and to be held. Vibhanga, 329 f., gives the four, describing (1) as understanding the four paths and their fruits, and (2) as tradition of the four truths respecting suffering as loyally held, etc. B. here quotes Vibh., but defines (1) as the four truths.

[16] For pariccheda- read (as in B. and Vibh.) paricce- B.: paresaŋ citta-paricchede ñāṇaŋ. But he reads paricce in the text.

[17] Cf. Milinda i, 226.

[18] On yoniso as thus rendered, cf. K.S. I, 131, and in Index.

[19] Cf. II, 100

[20] Cf. I, 65 f., where the 'fruits' are differently, less technically less eschatologically described; and above, p. 124, § 25, where they agree with the present description.

[21] Cf. Bud. Psy. Eth., p 61 f. B. gives as a special aspect under which sections xāi-xv. are to be regarded, 'their [relative] grossness and subtlety by way of harsh or pleasant basis' (lūkhapaṇītavatthuvasena)

[22] Cf. S. III, 53, where B.'s comment is fuller: consciousness, functioning by the other four khandhas, eventuates in action; action (karma) entails rebirth, hence increase or propagation of consciousness.

[23] Agatiɱ gacchati, literally, he goes to a not-going, or wrong going, or impasse. See above, XXIX, § 26; XXXI, 5.
[mo: from: XXIX § 26:
"The brother who is arahant, in whom the intoxicants are destroyed, who has lived the life, who has done his task, who has laid low his burden, who has attained salvation, who has utterly destroyed the fetter of rebirth, who is emancipated by the true gnosis, he is incapable of perpetrating nine things:--
1. He is incapable of deliberately depriving a living creature of life.
2. He is incapable of taking what is not given so that it constitutes theft.
3. He is incapable of sexual impurity.
4. He is incapable of deliberately telling lies.
5. He is incapable of laying up treasure for indulgence in worldly pleasure as he used to do in the life of the house.
6. He is incapable of taking a wrong course through partiality.
7. He is incapable of taking a wrong course through hate.
8. He is incapable of taking a wrong course through stupidity.
9. He is incapable of taking a wrong course through fear.
from XXXI § 5:
By which four motives does he do no evil deed? Evil deeds are done from motives of partiality, enmity, stupidity and fear.]

[24] Bhavābhavo, existence-nonexistence, is an idiomatic expression for future life or annihilation, e.g. Sutta Nipāta, 496 (and Comy.); or higher or lower rebirth, Psalms of the Brethren, verse 784. Here, according to B., it means oil, honey, ghee, etc.

[25] See XXVII, § 10. [mo: from XXVII, § 10: "...unsurpassable is the way in which the Exalted One teaches the norm concerning rates of progress:--that there are four such rates of progress...In the first case, progress is reckoned as bad both from difficulty and slowness; in the second case, progress is reckoned as bad from its difficulty. In the third case, progress is reckoned as bad from slowness. In the fourth case, progress is reckoned as excellent because of both ease and swiftness."

[26] I.e., when engaged in concentration (samādhi), are cold and other hardships endured? Are sensuous thoughts tolerated? Comy.

[27] Namely, when jhāna, insight, a Path, a Fruit, Nibbāna is reached.

[28] (1) is the course followed by ascetics (acelakas); (2) is that of the religious student handicapped by passions but tearfully persevering; (3) is that of the sensualist; (4) that of the recluse in the Order, even though he be lacking in comforts. Comy.

[29] Read paññā- for puññā.

[30] B. says these are discussed in the 'Mahāpadesa kathā.' This is apparently not the sermon on the 'four Mahāpadese' in A. II, 167, nor the brief summary (as above) in A. II, 46, but the sermon on the 'Tiṇi Kathāvatthūni,' in A. I, 197. There is apparently no Mahāpadesa kathā in the Digha.

[31] Dark and bright are meant ethically and eschatologically; a parallel pair of terms: tamo, joti, is used in K.S. I, 118 f., and below, xlix. The fourth alternative is [mental activity in] Fourfold Path-knowledge.

[32] I.e., by making them present to the eye (paccakkha karaṇena) and acquiring them. Comy. Cf. below, 253. x.
[mo: which reads:
"Three...which are to be realized:--three branches of wisdom, to wit, intuition of former births, intuition of the deceases and rebirths of beings, intuition of the extinction of 'intoxicants.'

[33] I.e., by all co-nascent factors in the nāmakāyo, or mind-group, at any given moment.

[34] By knowledge of the fruit of Arahantship.

[35] Cf. Bud. Psy. Eth., p. 305, n. 1. B. repeats the same comment in both Commentaries.

[36] In other words, 'takings, seizings.' Comy.

[37] Cf. above XXVIII, § 5. [mo. which is the same, but where sampajano is consistently translated "knowing".]

[38] The second of these is illustrated by the slaughter of an animal by a butcher. The other three cases are referred to the decease and rebirth of the devas referred to in Vol. 1, pp. 32 and 33, and of other devas respectively. [See Brahmajala Sutta, Partial Eternalists (scroll down a little)]

[39] I.e., purified by the virtuous character and motives of the one or the other. B. illustrates (1) by Vessantara's elephant. Jāt. VI, 487. [mo: Jātaka Story #547]

[40] See above, p. 145. [mo: Vol III, pp145, where it is: "...popularity...giving, by kindly speech, by sagacious conduct and by impartiality..."]

[41] The Burmese printed edition transposes xli, xlii.

[42] Mutaɱ, sometimes interpreted as the other three senses, B. is silent. Cf. p. 127, n. 2 [mo: which reads: "Here, as in Papañca Sūdani on Majjhima I, 1, Buddhaghosa clls mutaŋ, mutvā, an equivalent term for the other three senses. And he refers viññātaŋ: discerned, to ideas pleasant and unpleasant. See Buddh. Psychological Ethics, 239, n. 1; and cf. Saɱyutta I, 186: diṭṭhasute paṭighe ca mute ca (cf. Kindred Sayings I, 237, n. 1]

[43] Literally, become as Brahmā, or at its best. The passage, which occurs in several Suttas, is quoted in the Kathāvatthu (Points, p. 25) by the Animists (Puggalavādins) to justify their asserting the existence of 'a puggala,' or animistic entity.

[44] B. instances (1) Thera Bākula (or Bakkula), who entered the Order at eighty (? too old to convert others), Psalms of the Brethren, p. 159. (2) Upananda, whose bad conduct hindered his own good, though as recluse he helped others, Vin. Texts, e.g., I, 321 f.; III, 392, n. 2. (3) Devadatta the schismatic, and (4) Great Kassapa (see Psalms of the Brethren, p. 359 f.).

[45] See above xxix.

[46] Interpreted as those in the Four Paths.


 [Ones-Twos]  [Threes]  [Fours]  [Fives]  [Sixes]  [Sevens]  [Eights]  [Nines]  [Tens]

Copyright Statement