Ja 287 The Story about the Reproach of Gains

In the present one monk speaks against the qualities one has to develop in order to get material gains. The Buddha remarks that this is not the first time he spoke like this, he did so also in a previous life.

1. Nānummatto nāpisuṇo nānaṭo nākutūhalo,
Mūḷhesu labhate lābhaṁ, esā te anusāsanī ti.

He who is mad, slanderous, an actor, who creates a commotion, gains are received amongst the fools, this is my instruction to you.

In this connection, he who is mad means he who is mad. Lit: not not mad; English does not like double negatives, but such forms are fairly frequently found in Pāḷi.

This is what is said: just as the one known as a madman, having seen women, men, girls and boys, plunders their clothes, decorations and so on, and having violently grabbed fish, meat, cakes and so on from here and there, eats it, so he who is in the state of a householder, having abandoned conscience and concern originating on the inside or outside, not reckoning what is wholesome and not wholesome, not fearing the danger of hell, overcome with greed, being mentally obsessed, heedless regarding sense pleasures, become burglars and so on doing violent deeds. One gone forth, having abandoned conscience and concern, not reckoning what is wholesome and not wholesome, not fearing the danger of hell, trampling on the training rules laid down by the Teacher, overcome with greed, being mentally obsessed, for the sake of a mere robe and so on, having given up his own monkhood, being heedless, he gives medical treatment or runs messages and so on, making his living for the sake of gifts of bamboo and so on, though this one is not mad, being like a madman, who is known as mad, to such a one gains quickly arise. So he who is not mad, abashed, principled, amongst people who are fools, not wise, does not receive gains, therefore for the sake of gains he should be like a madman.

Slanderous means he who is a slanderer here, “this is surely made with such and such,” he compares it to slander in the king’s family, without cutting off the fame of others, he grasps at his own. Kings say to him: “This one amongst us is affectionate,” they set up a high place for him, also ministers thinking about him: “He could cause a split in the king’s family,” through fear imagine it should be given, so at present gains arise to the slanderer. He who is not a slanderer does not receive gains amongst the fools, this is how the meaning should be understood.

An actor means he should be like an actor generating gains. Since an actor has abandoned conscience and concern, and acts by dancing, singing, playing, he collects wealth, so for the sake of wealth, having broken conscience and concern, like a friend who is addicted to women, men, girls and boys, he should wander round acting in various ways. So he who is not an actor does not receive gains amongst the fools.

Who creates a commotion, commotion is known as scattered talk. Therefore kings ask their ministers: “It seems that in such and such a place there is a dead man, a plundered house, another’s wife has been assaulted, who did this deed?” There he who, having risen up amongst the others who didn’t speak out, says: “Such and such a one,” this is known as a commotion. The king’s men, having investigated and prohibited those persons with his word: thinking: “Depending on this our market town will have no thieves,” give him a great deal of fame. Also other people think: “When questioned by the king’s men he might speak what is suitable or unsuitable,” give wealth to him through fear, and so gains arise to the one who creates a commotion. But he who does not create a commotion does not receive gains amongst the fools.

This is my instruction to you means this is our instruction to those nearby about gains.

2. Dhi-r-atthu taṁ yasalābhaṁ dhanalābhañ-ca brāhmaṇa,
Yā vutti vinipātena adhammacaraṇena vā.

Cursed be those gains of fame and those gains of wealth, O brahmin, whatever livelihood is gained through destruction or wrong living.

3. Api ce pattam-ādāya anagāro paribbaje,
Esā va jīvikā seyyo yā cādhammena esanā ti.

If taking up a bowl and without a home I would wander forth, that life is surely better than seeking out whatever is wrong.

In this connection, through destruction means through one’s own destruction.

Through … wrong living, through doing wrong, through doing what is unsuitable, destroying himself through killing, binding, blaming and so forth, doing wrong, whatever livelihood all of that fame, wealth and gains, be cursed, I find fault in it, I blame it, this is not the aim for me, this is the intention.

Taking up a bowl means having taken up a bowl for begging.

Without a home I would wander forth means without a house, having gone forth, I would live, a good person does not live having a wrong livelihood gained through bodily wrong action and so on.

What is the reason? That life is surely better than seeking out whatever is wrong, whatever seeking of a livelihood there is through wrongdoing, the living on alms amongst the families by those with bowl in hand is better than that, it is a hundred-fold, a thousand-fold more agreeable, this he shows.