a collection of
Buddhist Wisdom Verses

1. Sīlavaggo
Virtue

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Jā 406 Gandhārajātakaṁ
One should be Amenable to Admonition

Two Kings renounced the world and lived as ascetics. One day they fell into a quarrel about who should admonish the other.

1. No ce assa sakā buddhi, vinayo vā susikkhito,
Vane andhamahiṁso va careyya bahuko jano.

If he himself is not well-trained,
Intelligent and disciplined,
That person will wander around
Like a buffalo that is blind.

2. Yasmā ca panidhekacce ācāramhi susikkhitā,
Tasmā vinītavinayā caranti susamāhitā.

But since there are some who aspire
To be well-trained in good conduct,
Therefore, trained in the discipline,
They live with their minds well-composed.

DN 14 Mahāpadānasuttaṁ
True Cultivation

This verse is a well-known summary of the teaching, given by all the Buddhas. In some of the Dispensations it replaced the more detailed teaching found in the Rules of Discipline (Vinaya).

3. Sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṁ, kusalassa upasampadā,
Sacittapariyodapanaṁ – etaṁ Buddhāna' Sāsanaṁ.

Not doing anything wicked
Undertaking things that are good,
And then purifying the mind
Is the Teaching of the Buddhas.

Jā 84 Atthassadvārajātakaṁ
The Six Gateways to Benefit

A son asked his Father (the Bodhisatta) for advice on the spiritual life. The Father explained these six gateways leading to great benefit in life.

4. Ārogyam-icche, paramañ-ca lābhaṁ,
Sīlañ-ca vuddhānumataṁ sutañ-ca,
Dhammānuvattī ca alīnatā ca:
Atthassa dvārā pamukhā chaḷete.

Desire good health, the greatest gain,
Virtue, approval and learning,
Spirituality, striving –
These six things are beneficial.

AN 8.54 Dīghajāṇusuttaṁ
Eight things Leading to Prosperity

A householder asks the Buddha for advice on how to live well in his present state.

5. Uṭṭhātā kammadheyyesu, appamatto vidhānavā,
Samaṁ kappeti jīvikaṁ sambhataṁ anurakkhati,

Being active in doing good,
Being heedful and circumspect,
Equanimous in livelihood,
Being careful with his savings,

6. Saddho sīlena sampanno, vadaññū vītamaccharo,
Niccaṁ maggaṁ visodheti, sotthānaṁ samparāyikaṁ,

Endowed with faith and virtue,
Being bountiful, unselfish,
Always purifying the Path,
Sure of safety in his next life.

7. Iccete aṭṭhadhammā ca saddhassa gharam-esino,
Akkhātā Saccanāmena, ubhayattha sukhāvahā.

The faithful one, with these eight things,
Will gain happiness in both worlds –
So said the one whose name is Truth.

DN 31 Sigālasuttaṁ
Four Ways to spend one's Wealth

The Buddha gives instructions to the young man Sigāla on the four kinds of friends, and then tells him how to keep them.

8. Paṇḍito sīlasampanno jalam-aggīva bhāsati,
Bhoge saṁharamānassa, bhamarasseva iriyato
Bhogā sannicayaṁ yanti, vammiko vupacīyati.

The Wise One endowed with virtue
Will shine forth like a burning fire,
The one who works to gather wealth
Is like a bee gathering honey,
Or like ants piling up their hill.

9. Evaṁ bhoge samāhatvā, alam-atto kule gihī,
Catudhā vibhaje bhoge, sa ve mittāni ganthati:

Having gathered his wealth like this,
Enough for his family and home,
He can divide it in four ways,
Which will ensure he keeps his friends:

10. Ekena bhoge bhuñjeyya, dvīhi kammaṁ payojaye,
Catutthañ-ca nidhāpeyya, āpadāsu bhavissati.

With one part he enjoys his wealth,
With two he can manage his work,
The fourth part he should deposit
To use in times of misfortune.

AN 5.58 Licchavikumārakasuttaṁ
A Wise Man's Duties

The Buddha explains the five duties which, when fulfilled, lead to prosperity and not to decline.

11. Mātāpitukiccakaro, puttadārahito sadā,
Anto janassa atthāya, yo cassa upajīvino.

Waiting on Mother and Father,
Caring for his wife and children,
Looking after those in his house
And those who live in dependence.

12. Ubhinnaṁ yeva atthāya, vadaññū hoti sīlavā,
Ñātīnaṁ pubbapetānaṁ, diṭṭhadhamme ca jīvitaṁ.

Seeking the welfare of them all
The virtuous one is bountiful
Both to those who have departed
And to those who are still alive.

13. Samaṇānaṁ brāhmaṇānaṁ, devatānañ-ca Paṇḍito
Vittisañjanano hoti, Dhammena gharam-āvasaṁ.

A layman who lives by Dhamma,
Is one who will generate joy
Both for monastics and for gods.

14. So karitvāna kalyāṇaṁ, pujjo hoti pasaṁsiyo,
Idheva naṁ pasaṁsanti, pecca Sagge pamodati.

Doing what is good and proper,
He will be praised right here and now,
And later rejoice in Heaven.

AN 4.61 Pattakammasuttaṁ
The Right Uses of Wealth

The Householder Anāthapiṇḍika receives instruction on the right ways to make use of the wealth that has been righteously obtained.

15. Bhuttā bhogā bhatā bhaccā, vitiṇṇā āpadāsu me,
Uddhaggā dakkhiṇā dinnā, atho pañcabalīkatā,
Upaṭṭhitā sīlavanto, saññatā brahmacārayo.

Wealth should be used for dependents,
And for overcoming misfortune,
For giving lofty donations,
And making the five offerings
To kin, guests and the departed
And also to Kings and the gods –
This has been recommended by
The virtuous who live spiritually.

16. Yad-atthaṁ bhogaṁ iccheyya Paṇḍito Gharam-āvasaṁ:
‘So me attho anuppatto kataṁ ananutāpiyaṁ.’

17. Etaṁ anussaraṁ macco, Ariyadhamme ṭhito naro,
Idheva naṁ pasaṁsanti, pecca Sagge pamodati.

The wise layman can wish for wealth,
Thinking: This will be for my good.
A mortal who remembers this,
A person who is truly Noble,
Will be praised right here and now,
And later rejoice in Heaven.

DN 31 Sigālasuttaṁ
The Wise attain Fame

These are the Buddha's words at the conclusion of the instruction given to the young man Sigāla.

18. Paṇḍito sīlasampanno, saṇho ca paṭibhānavā,
Nivātavutti atthaddho: tādiso labhate yasaṁ.

The Wise One endowed with virtue,
Who is gentle, of ready wit,
Who is humble and not haughty:
Such a one will rightly gain fame.

19. Uṭṭhānako analaso, āpadāsu na vedhati,
Acchinnavutti medhāvī: tādiso labhate yasaṁ.

Active in good deeds, not lazy,
Not scared when facing misfortune,
Without defects and intelligent:
Such a one will rightly gain fame.

20. Saṅgāhako mittakaro, vadaññū vītamaccharo,
Netā vinetā anunetā: tādiso labhate yasaṁ.

Kindly and a maker of friends,
Being bountiful, unselfish,
Guide, leader, conciliator:
Such a one will rightly gain fame.

21. Dānañ-ca peyyavajjañ-ca, atthacariyā ca yā idha,
Samānatā ca dhammesu, tattha tattha yathārahaṁ,
Ete kho saṅgahā loko rathassāṇī va yāyato.

Generous, and having good speech,
Living for everyone's benefit,
Equanimous towards all things,
He does that which is suitable,
These, like a chariot's linchpin:
Will make the world go round.

22. Ete ca saṅgahā nāssu, na Mātā puttakāraṇā
Labhetha mānaṁ pūjaṁ vā, Pitā vā puttakāraṇā.

Without these kindnesses, Mothers
Would not receive the duties due
Such as respect, love and honour,
Fathers would not receive them too.

23. Yasmā ca saṅgahe ete samavekkhanti Paṇḍitā.
Tasmā mahattaṁ papponti, pāsaṁsā ca bhavanti te.

The Wise should give thought to kindness,
That way they attain what is great,
And they will be held up for praise.

DN 31 Sigālasuttaṁ
Four Things not to be Done

The teaching to Sigāla on what increases and decreases fame and good fortune.

24. Chandā dosā bhayā mohā, yo Dhammaṁ ativattati,
Nihīyati tassa yaso, kāḷapakkhe va candimā.

He who trangresses the Dhamma:
Through desire, hate, fear, delusion,
His fame will surely diminish,
Like the moon in the dark fortnight.

25. Chandā dosā bhayā mohā, yo Dhammaṁ nātivattati,
Āpūrati tassa yaso, sukkapakkhe va candimā.

He who doesn't trangress the Dhamma:
Through desire, hate, fear, delusion,
His renown will surely increase,
Like the moon in the bright fortnight.