The Short Readings

(Khuddakapāṭha, Khuddakanikāya 1)

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7: The Beyond the Walls Discourse

They stand beyond the walls, and at the junctions and crossroads,
they stand at the door-posts, having come to their (former) homes.

But when abundant food and drink, both staple and non-staple, is prepared,
no one remembers these beings, because of their (past unwholesome) deeds,

Thus those who are compassionate give to their (departed) relatives,
at the right time, pure, excellent, suitable drink and food.

(thinking): “May this go to our relatives, may our relatives be happy!”
Those who have gathered, the departed relatives who have assembled

around the food and drink, respectfully offer their thanks:
(saying): “ May our relatives live long! Those to whom we owe this gain,

for we have been honoured, those who give are not without reward!”
For in that place there is no ploughing, and cattle-rearing is not found there,

similarly there is no trading, or buying and selling of gold.
The departed in that place who have died, (have to) subsist on gifts.

Just as water that rains on the highlands, flows down to the lowlands,
so too what has been given here is of benefit to the departed.

Just as rivers that are full (flow and) fill up the ocean,
so too what has been given here is of benefit to the departed.

(Thinking): “He gave to me, he worked for me, he was my relative, my friend, my companion,”
he should give gifts for the departed, remembering what they have done before.

For no tears, or grief, or any other lamentations,
are of any use to the departed, as long as their relatives continue (grieving) in this way.

But that gift that has been given, and well placed in the Sangha,
is of benefit to them for a long time, immediately it is of benefit.

This then is the definition of a relative's duties -
(and by this) great honour has been done to the departed,
strength has also been given to the monks,
and no little merit has been produced by you!

The Beyond the Walls Discourse is Finished