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Factors Leading to Welfare - Vyagghapajja Sutta
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Factors Leading to Welfare

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In this sutta Buddha instructs rich householders how to preserve and increase their prosperity and avoid loss of wealth.

Wealth alone, however, does not make a complete man nor a harmonious society. Buddha adds four factors fit for welfare and better development. These are proper confidence, virtue, liberality and wisdom. They attune one to higher values.

For example, without ignoring his or her own material concerns and sound duties toward society, the one with a developed and wise liberality sometimes reduces tensions and conflicts around him or her. Below are extracts with some additions and slight modifications.

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Once Buddha was staying among the Koliyans, in their market town named Kakkarapatta. Then the Koliyan Dighajanu approached and asked of Buddha a divine favour:

Factors of Worldly Progress

We laymen enjoy worldly pleasures and find ourselves encumbered by wife and children. We deck ourselves with garlands, perfume and unguents, and use gold and silver. Pray, teach us those things that lead to prosperous well-being and happiness in this life and in future lives.

[Buddha:] Persistent and cogent enough effort; proper watchfulness and attentiveness; relevant, good friendship and balanced, sound livelihood effect toward a householder's prosperous well-being and happiness in this very life.

What is meant by persistent effort?

It is whatever activity a householder earns his living by, farming, trading, rearing cattle, archery, service under the king, or any other kind of craft at that he becomes skilful and is not lazy. He manages to discern as to proper ways and means; he can carry out and allocate (duties). This is the accomplishment of persistent effort.

What is meant by proper watchfulness?

It is whatever wealth a householder owns, had by effort, strength of arm, by exertions, justly acquired by right means. He also guards and takes care of it so that kings would not seize it, thieves would not steal it, fire would not burn it, water would not carry it away, nor ill-disposed heirs remove it. This is the accomplishment of watchfulness.

What is sound friendship?

It lies in this: In whatever village or market town a householder lives, he associates, converses, engages in discussions with householders or householders' sons, whether young and highly cultured or old and highly cultured, full of fit faith (saddha) [1] virtue (sila), charity (caga), and wisdom (panna). He acts according to the faith of the faithful, the virtue of the virtuous, the charity of the charitable, and the wisdom of the wise. This is called good friendship.

1. Saddha is not blind faith. It is confidence based on knowledge.
What is balanced livelihood?

A householder is to know his income and expenses and leads a balanced life, neither extravagant nor miserly, knowing that thus his income will stand in excess of his expenses, but not his expenses in excess of his income. [Check and tend to the balance.]

Amassed wealth has four sources of destruction:

  1. Debauchery,
  2. Drunkenness,
  3. Gambling,
  4. Friendship, companionship and intimacy with evil-doers [can drain more resources than what comes in].
There are four sources for increasing amassed wealth: abstaining from debauchery and drunkenness, not indulging in gambling; [choosing your friends with care,] having companionship and intimacy with the good.

These four are conductive to prosperous well-being and happiness in this very life.

Factors of Spiritual Progress

Four things contribute to a householder's prosperous well-being and happiness in his future life. Which four?

They are faith, virtue, charity, and wisdom.

What is the faith asked for?

A Tathagata [Thus-come, Buddha] is pure, fully enlightened, with knowledge and of fit conduct, and knows the worlds, and is blessed on high he has accomplished faith.

What is the virtue asked for?

To avoid killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, and abstain from intoxicants that cause infatuation and heedlessness, and to back up sound virtue.

What kind of charity is called for?

To live at home peacefully, charitable to oneself, one's nearest, and further - favouring the worthy ones and not the unworthy ones that is being fitly open-handed. It may also be proper to attend to the worthy needy, and distribute alms to such ones. This is called the accomplishment of charity.

What is sound, accomplished wisdom?

The wise one has subtle and noble, penetrating insight that leads to destruction of sufferings. This is called the accomplishment of wisdom.

These four factors, then, can aid a householder's prosperous well-being and happiness in his future life."

Energetic and heedful in his tasks,
Administering his wealth wisely,
He lives a balanced life,
Protecting what he has collected.

Endowed with faith and virtue too,
He is [adequately] generous and free from greed;
He wisely works to clear the path
That leads to prosperous well-being in future life.

Thus to the layman full of faith,
By him, so truly named 'Awakened,'
These eight may foster great happiness in this life and later.

Contents


Buddhist teachings, Factors Leading to Welfare, Vyagghapajja Sutta, Literature  

Based on Narada Thera. "Vyagghapajja Sutta: Conditions of Welfare" (Anguttara Nikaya, Atthaka-nipata, No. 54). In The Light of the Dhamma. The Wheel Publication No. 14. Kandy, Sri Lanka: Buddhist Publication Society, 1985. On-line adaptation: Access to Insight edition 1995.
www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/narada/wheel014.html

Buddhist teachings, Factors Leading to Welfare, Vyagghapajja Sutta, Buddhism, To top Section Set Next

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