The Analysis of Deeds
(Karma-vibhaṅga)



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[1-14: Health and Wealth]

1. Numbers and titles are added by the editor for easy reference, they do not appear in the original text. Short Life

Herein, what is the deed that leads to a short life?

It is said:

[1] Killing living beings.
[2] Rejoicing in the killing of living beings.
[3] Speaking in praise of the killing of living beings.
[4] Greatly enjoying the death of enemies.
[5] Encouraging the death of enemies.
[6] Speaking in praise of the death of enemies.
[7] Destroying what is in the womb.
[8] Speaking in praise of destroying what is in the womb.
[9] Causing a place to be established where many animals are killed – buffalos, cattle, pigs, chickens and so on – during the course of a sacrifice for sons, grandsons, or aiming at advantages for other people.
[10] Destroying living beings while acting out of fear and fright.

1a

Just as in the great city in Kashmir a certain monk, who it seems was a Worthy One, was stood in the doorway. Then near to a house on the main road a bellowing bull was being led along. That monk, having seen that, said: “Unfortunate! Pitiful! Alas!” The people asked him: “Noble one, why cry out this: ‘Unfortunate! Pitiful! Alas!’ ?” He said: “There is nothing to say to the unfaithful, but here it is proper and I will speak: The bellowing bull which is being led along was previously a chief amongst the merchants, who had land prepared to carry out a year-long animal Paśu means both a bull and a sacrificial animal in general, hence the various translations here. sacrifice. And because of this many animals were slaughtered there. At the time of death he invited his son, and said: ‘Son, if you have love for me, then this year-long animal sacrifice I am carrying out, you should continue it when I have passed away.’ His son replied: ‘So be it!’ Then he, at the time of death, because of this deluded killing of living beings that he attended to, was reborn as a bull in his own home, and from birth to birth he was slaughtered. Now this is the sixty-first time he is being led away to slaughter. Then that monk having compassion for that bull said this: ‘It is you yourself who had land prepared, you who carried out the sacrifice, and many cattle were slaughtered. Why bellow? All of it is useless.’ ”

1b

As with such a preparation of land, so it is with the spectacle of war, where many beings are killed, including elephants, horses, people and so on, and greatly rejoicing in weapons and what is connected to wars.

1c

As in what was said by the Fortunate One at Vaiśālī in the Kālika discourse: We find a parallel to the quoted passage in AN 8.40: Duccarita-vipāka-sutta: The killing of breathing beings, monastics, when practiced, developed, made much of, leads to hell, leads to the animal realm, to the realm of petas. The lightest result for killing breathing beings is that it leads to a short life as a human being. “Associating with the killing of living beings, Ānanda, making much of it, leads to hell, it leads to the animal realm, it leads to the preta-realm, and therefore even a little killing of living beings has the result that when reborn amongst human beings, it leads to a short life.”

1d

Also, the ten dangers spoken of in the Nandika discourse This discourse is unknown in Pāḷi and Sanskrit, and I do not know of a list of specifically ten dangers. The discourse is apparently found in Tibetan. It is mentioned again at 13 and 14 below. regarding the killing of living beings.

This is the deed that leads to a short life.

2. Long Life

Herein, what is the deed that leads to a long life?

It is said:

[1] Ceasing from killing living beings.
[2] Speaking in praise of ceasing from killing living beings.
[3] Herein, encouraging ceasing from killing living beings.
[4] Speaking in praise of encouraging the ceasing from killing living beings.
[5] The release of those due to be slaughtered, whether men, cattle, pigs, chickens and so on.
[6] Giving fearlessness to frightened people, Sattva in Sanskrit usually indicates beings, but many times in Sanskrit Buddhist texts it seems to have the more defined significance of people, as is the case here and mainly throughout this text. and having thoughts of compassion in the midst of people who are helpless.
[7] Having thoughts of loving-kindness in the midst of people who are sick.
[8] Giving food to others, whether young or old, and having thoughts of loving-kindness towards those who receive it.
[9] What was said previously, on the side of wholesomeness, regarding the spectacle of war, etc.
[10] Restoring broken monasteries, temples, and stūpas.

2a

Hence this was said:

“There can be no unseasonable death for whoever repairs the ruins.”

2b

As is explained in the discourse about the Independant Brahmā Baka. For this story and some of the verses see Baka-brahma-jātaka (Jā 405). Then, it seems, having become a seer with the five deep knowledges, when a caravan was lost on the road and overcome by thirst, he made it rain down repeatedly with his spiritual powers. The meaning of it was spoken of by the Fortunate One in this verse:

“That virtuous deed that was done of old
I remember here like one wakened from a dream.” Pāḷi (Jā 405): That virtuous deed that was done of old, I recollect like one wakened from sleep.

In that caravan the Bodhisattva was the caravan-leader. He who was seized on the bank of the river Eṇī. Pāḷi: the person who was seized on the bank of the (river) Eṇī. On the bank of the river called the Eṇī a king was seized by an enemy and taken to the Himālaya. While being led along he was almost killed by the army and vehicles.

Then a seer through his spiritual power let loose winds and rains, and the enemy and his people were scattered through this means, and the king set free.

That was the second virtuous deed that was done, I remember like one wakened from a dream. The Bodhisattva was then the king.

The boat on the current of the stream
was seized by the power of a ferocious nāga.
Then at that time there was a great and powerful seer
with the five deep knowledges going along the bank of the river.

Then the crew who were calling out helplessly
were set free and returned to life.
That was the third virtuous deed that was done,
I remember like one wakened from a dream.

On that boat the leader was the Bodhisattva at that time. Such are the three times he did a deed, and because of that his life is long.

2c

Some teachers speak like this. The Fortunate One said: “Formerly, monks, in the Rose-Apple Isle an epidemic broke out amongst the people. Then a certain being living in another universe, who had spirtual powers, heard that an epidemic had fallen upon the Rose-Apple Isle. Then through the power of his merit he made this aspiration: ‘I will be reborn in the Rose-Apple Isle to accomplish the destruction of the sickness of all the people.’ He was reborn there.

And for those people with thirst he destroyed their sickness with water, for those people with hunger he destroyed their sickness with food, thus with whatever people needed, he destroyed their sickness. For him there was nothing that was not a medicine, whatever he took up that was surely a medicine.

Then the people of the Rose-Apple Isle made the name: the Cure-All. Then, monastics, this king of physicians, with his Cure-All, after giving life to many thousands of people, passed away.

After some time he was reborn in the royal family of Mithilā. Afterwards, when he had become a great king, eighty thousands of the warrior class went forth through his teaching of the Dharma. In the Rose-Apple Isle people lived for eighty thousand years, and were not wasted away.

Then, having fallen away from that life, after some time he turned up as Māndhātā in Kuśinagarī. Māndhātā’s story is mentioned again below, at 32a & 44a.

Again he was known as the young brahmin Sunetra in the Teaching about the Seven Suns. See AN 7.66, Satta-sūriya-sutta, where Sunetta taught loving-kindness and led his followers to rebirth in the Brahmā worlds; and he himself lived for a phenomenally long time in higher realms of existence.

At that time, monks, I was the king of physicians, with his Cure-All. The result of this deed should be connected to the length of life of the great king. And it should be connected to the length of life of Māndhātā and Sunetra.

This is the deed that leads to a long life.

3. Much Illness

What is the deed that leads to much illness?

It is said:

[1] Giving a beating with a fist or open hands. More idiomatic in English might be: giving a slap, but I have preferred to be more literal here.
[2] Rejoicing in the giving of a beating with a fist or open hands.
[3] Speaking in praise of giving a beating with a fist or open hands.
[4] Being satisfied with the giving out of those beatings with a fist or open hands.
[5] Annoying mother and father in body and mind.
[6] Similarly, afflicting the minds of others, such as virtuous ones who have gone forth.
[7] Being satisfied with the sicknesses of enemies. Lit: Not-friends, but it is more than someone who is simply not a friend, and indicates someone who is actively hostile.
[8] Being dissatisfied with the recovery from sicknesses of enemies.
[9] Giving what is not really medicine to those who are sick.
[10] Similarly, giving indigestible It seems here that jīrṇa is being used in the meaning of jīrṇi. Jīrṇa normally means old, decayed, rotten, but that cannot be the sense here, and in the following section, whereas jīrṇi, digestion would fit the meaning. This is also the meaning given by Lévi in his translation, but unusually he has no note to justify his understanding of the passage. food to those who are sick.

This is the deed that leads to much illness.

4. Little Illness

What is the deed that leads to little illness?

It is said:

[1] Ceasing from giving a beating with a fist or open hands.
[2] Herein, encouraging others to cease from giving a beating with a fist or open hands.
[3] Speaking in praise of ceasing from giving a beating with a fist or open hands.
[4] Greatly rejoicing in ceasing from giving a beating with a fist or open hands.
[5] Attending to mother and father when they are sick.
[6] Also attending to others, such as householders and those gone forth.
[7] Not being uplifted by the sicknesses of one’s enemies.
[8] Being uplifted by the recovery from these sicknesses.
[9] Giving effective medicine to those who are sick.
[10] Giving digestible food to those who are sick.

This is the deed that leads to little illness.

5. Ugliness

What is the deed that leads to ugliness?

It is said:

[1] Anger.
[2] Enmity.
[3] Hypocrisy.
[4] Contentiousness.
[5] Speaking in dispraise of mother and father.
[6] And speaking in dispraise of others, such as householders and those gone forth, whether young or old.
[7] Not keeping clean the grounds of the monasteries, the image house, the temple, and the area around stūpas. A stūpa is the familiar spherical building found in many temples, and which houses relics of the Buddha or other saints or upstanding members of the Buddhist Saṅgha.
[8] Breaking lights and statues at stūpas.
[9] Deriding ugly people.
[10] Similarly, deriding those who are pure at heart.

This is the deed that leads to ugliness.

6. Beauty

What is the deed that leads to beauty?

It is said:

[1] Lack of anger.
[2] Lack of enmity.
[3] Lack of hypocrisy.
[4] Giving of clothes.
[5] Giving of whitewash in the area around stūpas, the temple and the image house.
[6] Giving golden bowls.
[7] Giving incense and ointments.
[8] Giving decorations.
[9] Speaking in praise of mother and father.
[10] Speaking in praise of virtuous noble ones. Ārya in Buddhism generally has the meaning of one who has attained one of the four noble paths (stream-entry, once-returner, non-returner and arhat, or worthy one).
[11] Sweeping the monasteries and the area around stūpas.
[12] Constantly sweeping the image house.
[13] Not deriding ugly people, or others, young or old, or those who are living a pure life.

6a

Just as with the noble Sundarananda, For a similar story, concerning the Buddha’s cousin Nanda, see Beal, Romantic Legend of Śākya Buddha, pg. 378. it seems, in the time of the Perfectly Awakened Krakucchanda, who made a steam bath for bathing for the Sangha of monks. After seeing them, he had a faithful thought.

And he gave a covering of golden orpiment to a Pratyeka-buddha stūpa. After seeing that, he had a faithful thought, and he became very handsome.

Again he made the principal parasol for a stūpa that was being made. As he declared in his last existence:

“Through a steam bath for bathing, and a covering of golden orpiment,
and the giving of one parasol, I have attained a golden complexion.”

Through this he became handsome.

This is the deed that leads to beauty.

7. Undistinguished

What is the deed that leads to being undistinguished?

It is said:

[1] Jealousy.
[2] Selfishness.
[3] Being dissatisfied with the gains of others.
[4] Being dissatisfied by the speaking of praise of others.
[5] Contempt of mother and father.
[6] Contempt of virtuous noble ones.
[7] Similarly, contempt of others who are sick, foolish or old.
[8] Speaking in praise of unwholesome roots, The three unwholesome roots: greed, hatred and delusion. and of low things that are outside the Dharma. This plays on two meanings of hīna as low, or vile, and left out, excluded.
[9] Hindering the establishment of Bodhicitta. This is the mind that is intent of becoming a Buddha, and is one of the very few references to a specifically Mahāyāna teaching found in the discourse.
[10] Greatly rejoicing in hindering the establishment of Bodhicitta.

This is the deed that leads to being undistinguished.

8. Distinguished

What is the deed that leads to being distinguished?

It is said:

[1] Lack of jealousy.
[2] Lack of selfishness.
[3] Being satisfied with the gains of others.
[4] Being satisfied by hearing of the glory, praise, clamor and fame of others.
[5] Being uplifted by the praise spoken of others.
[6] Having stūpas and temples made for the Fortunate One.
[7] Hindering unwholesome roots, and low things that are outside the Dharma.
[8] Encouraging the wholesome roots The three wholesome roots: non-greed, non-hatred and non-delusion. of the distinguished.
[9] Establishing Bodhicitta.
[10] Establishing Bodhicitta and the wholesome roots of all the distinguished.

8a

As was said by the Fortunate One at Vārāṇasī, in the Past and Future discourse: Lévi identifies this as MA 66. Ven. Anālayo translates it in The Madhyama Āgama (Middle-Length Discourses) Volume I, under the title The Discourse on Origins, see pg. 438 ff. The discourse is also mentioned at 32a below. “Having excited the Bodhisattva Ajita, he tamed Ajita’s mind with great spiritual anxiety, such that he went out from home life to the Sangha.”

Therefore he said:

“Maitreya, who lives in the Tuṣita heavenly realm,
who receives the worship of the gods,
can quickly attain the ten powers of the Illustrious Buddhas,
and be, like the moon in the world, worshipped forever.”

This is the deed that leads to being distinguished.

9. Low Family

What is the deed that leads to rebirth in a low family?

It is said:

[1] Stubbornness.
[2] Great conceit.
[3] Not acknowledging mother and father.
[4] Not being devoted to ascetics.
[5] Not being devoted to brahmins.
[6] Not respecting the elders of the family.
[7] Not attending to mother and father.
[8] Not attending to virtuous noble ones.
[9] Not attending to teachers and preceptors and other advisors.
[10] Contempt of people of low family.

This is the deed that leads to rebirth in a low family.

10. High Family

What is the deed that leads to rebirth in a high family?

It is said:

[1] Lack of stubbornness.
[2] Lack of great conceit.
[3] Acknowledging mother and father.
[4] Being devoted to ascetics.
[5] Being devoted to brahmins.
[6] Respecting the elders of the family.
[7] Attending to mother and father.
[8] Attending to virtuous noble ones.
[9] Attending to teachers and preceptors and other advisors.
[10] Not having contempt of people of low family.

10a

As was said by the Fortunate One in the discourse: “Monastics, whenever those who have gone forth approach, having wholesome virtues, spiritual living, beautiful ways, there are five advantages that are to be expected in that family. What five?

Here, monastics, when the virtuous have approached and the minds of that family are faithful, that leads to heaven, monastics, that family at that time are practicing the path to heaven. cf. AN 5.199, Kula-sutta: At whatever time, monastics, having seen virtuous renunciants approach the family, people’s minds grow faithful, at that time, monastics, that family is practicing the path that leads to heaven.

Again, monastics, when the virtuous have approached and they worship and stand up to meet them, that leads to rebirth in a high family, monastics, at that time they are practicing the path to a high family. cf. AN 5.199, Kula-sutta: At whatever time, monastics, having seen virtuous renunciants approach the family, people rise, worship and give a seat, monastics, that family is practicing the path that leads to (rebirth in) a high family.

In this way the whole discourse can be utilised.

This is the deed that leads to rebirth in a high family.

11. Little Wealth

What is the deed that leads to having little wealth?

It is said:

[1] Taking what is not given.
[2] Encouraging taking what is not given.
[3] Speaking in praise of fraud.
[4] Greatly rejoicing in fraud.
[5] Cutting off the means of subsistence for mother and father.
[6] Similarly, cutting off the means of subsistence of others who are sick, foolish, old or feeble.
[7] Being dissatisfied with the gains of others.
[8] Making obstacles to the gains of others.
[9] Greatly rejoicing in famine. This section deviates from the norm so far by having only nine causes instead of ten. In fact this happens many times throughout the discourse, and it may be that the reciters thought of ‘ten’ as being an approximate or round number, rather than an exact one.

This is the deed that leads to having little wealth.

12. Great Wealth

Herein, what is the deed that leads to having great wealth?

It is said:

[1] Ceasing from taking what is not given.
[2] Hindering others from taking of what is not given.
[3] Approving of the cessation of others from taking what is not given.
[4] Giving the means of subsistence for mother and father.
[5] Giving the means of subsistence to virtuous noble ones.
[6] Similarly, giving the means of subsistence to others who are sick, foolish, old or feeble.
[7] Being satisfied with the gains of others.
[8] Being dissatisfied with the losses of others.
[9] Approving of the gains of others.
[10] Greatly rejoicing in abundance.

12a

That discourse Meaning the one previously quoted from, AN 5.199. See section 10 above. can again be utilised: “Again, monastics, when the virtuous have approached they give gifts and they make merit, that leads to great wealth in the next rebirth, monastics, that family at that time are practicing the path to great wealth.” cf. AN 5.199, Kula-sutta: At whatever time, monastics, having seen virtuous renunciants approach the family, people share to the best of their ability, monastics, that family is practicing the path that leads to great wealth.

This is the deed that leads to having great wealth.

13. Little Wisdom

Herein, what is the deed that leads to having little wisdom?

It is said:

[1] Not questioning others here, be they the learned, ascetics or brahmins, saying: ‘What is Dharma, why does Dharma make for prosperity?’
[2] Associating with those of little wisdom.
[3] Avoiding those who are wise.
[4] One expounds what is not True Dharma.
[5] One reviles true Dharma.
[6] One cuts off those who are skilled reciters of the true Dharma.
[7] One does not congratulate those who are intent on being reciters of the true Dharma.
[8] One congratulates those who are reciters of what is not true Dharma.
[9] One praises wrong view.
[10] One reviles right view.
[11] Similarly, one cuts off the means of subsistence of the reciters and the writers of books.

13a All three examples are about drinking liquor, but at present none of the deeds mentioned include it. I feel there must have been a loss of this deed sometime during the transmission of the text.

It is said in the discourse: cf. AN 8.40 Duccarita-vipāka-sutta again: The drinking of liquor and wines, monastics, when practiced, developed, made much of, leads to hell, leads to the animal realm, to the realm of petas. The lightest result for the drinking of liquor and wines is that it leads to madness as a human being. “It leads to madness … he does, he passes away confused, and becomes one with little wisdom.”

13b

As it is said in the Nandika discourse: This discourse seems to have been the main authority of questions of alcohol, and was known to Vaśubandha and Nāgārjuna, and is apparently preserved in Tibetan. “There are thirty-five dangers that are connected with liquor, wines, or intoxicants which cause heedlessness: He becomes disrepectful of the Buddha, and he becomes disrepectful of the Dharma and the Sangha.”

13c

Also utlilise the discourse to the Śākyans: cf. SN 55.24, Paṭhama-saraṇāni-sakka-sutta. “When the Fortunate One came to Kapilavastu one who had the fault of drinking liquor did not approach the Fortunate One. Four elders were sent by the Fortunate One to lead him, but he passed away. The Śākyans asked: “Fortunate One, what is his destination?”

The Fortunate One said: “Śākyans, you should understand the meaning of my words, and apply this discourse: ‘Just as the monk named Cūḍā Panthaka His story is remembered in the Pāḷi tradition in the Dhammapada commentary (Commentary to Dhp 25) but the reason for his dullness given there is different. while living at Rājagha was given a verse to learn, but at the end of the Rains Retreat he still was not able to grasp it.’ ”

The monastics, wondering, asked: “Fortunate One, what is the deed the result of which is little wisdom?”

The Fortunate One said: “At the time of the passing away of the Fully Awakened Kaśyapa, he was a forest monastic who at that time knew the Three Baskets of the teachings. But because of the monastics not making offerings to the Buddha, eventually the word of the Buddha disappeared. Those monastics went to him and explained the word of our Buddha has disappeared, saying: ‘You must teach it to us.’ Because of the fault of selfishness he did not teach. Thus the Dispensation disappeared. This was the deed the result of which was little wisdom.”

This is the deed that leads to having little wisdom.

14. Great Wisdom

Herein, what is the deed that leads to having great wisdom?

It is said:

[1] Questioning those here who are wise.
[2] Associating with ascetics and brahmins.
[3] Avoiding those of little wisdom.
[4] One expounds the true Dharma.
[5] One reviles what is not true Dharma.
[6] One praises those who are skilled reciters of the Dharma.
[7] One congratulates what is spoken beneficially.
[8] One avoids what is spoken that is unbeneficial.
[9] One praises right view.
[10] One reviles wrong view.
[11] One gives gifts of ink, Masi is soot or charcoal which was used to make ink. books and pens.
[12] Not drinking alcohol.

14a

As it is said in the Nandika discourse, explaining the thirty-five faults of alcohol connected with the unwholesome side. Mentioned above 13b.

This is the deed that leads to having great wisdom.