Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa
Introduction to 2.1.4: Paṭhama-asappurisasuttaṃ
(About an Unworthy Person)
Āsevanā ca bālānaṃ, paṇḍitānañca sevanā;
pūjā ca pūjanīyānaṃ, etaṃ maṅgalamuttamaṃ.
Not consorting with fools, to associate with the wise;
To honour those worthy of honour, these are the Highest Welfares.
These described highest blessings in the first gatha of the famous Mahāmaṅgalasuttaṃ
which the Buddha communicated in his reply to the devas once again depict the seriousness of having suitable friends to help to walk the path. Such kalyāṇamittā
- virtuous friends (see 3.1.8 Upaḍḍhasuttaṃ
) encourage, guide and support one in realising the Four Noble Truths by walking the Eightfold Noble Path. Therefore all the following rather repetitive suttas maintain the same content in ample variations and carry the same substance. They thus are also chosen to offer a possibility for the reader to recite this important messages by heart.
Already during the lifetime of the Buddha we find examples, where one or the other of the bondages of moha
overwhelmed some of his direct disciples and disharmony occurred. Whether it was Devadatta (see 1.3.9
) in his egodriven desire to lead the Saṅgha instead of the Buddha; the Bhikkhu Arittho, (see 3.5.7
), who did not want to come out of the bondage of passion and requested to allow monks to abide in sexual intercourse; the Bhikkhu Sati, who maintained his wrong view about the permanence of viññana
); or the notorious group of six, the chabbaggiyā bhikkhū
(see 3.7.8), who persistently worked on displaying their difference and presumed superiourity to their fellow companions, all were victim by one or the other of these inner stains and even left the Saṅgha.
The first tendencies of deterioration occurred already directly after the demise of the Buddha. Here the deluded and immature Bhikkhu by the name of Subaddha, who, while everyone else was in solace, expressed his comfort about Buddha’s passing away as he felt not to be bound any longer by all the rules and regulations the Buddha had endorsed. It is a kind of strange coincidence that it were these very first tendencies who enable us till today to take reference in the original Pāli words because they originated the famous introductionary formular: Evaṃ me sutaṃ!
It was the Venerable Ānanda who thus introduced the texts that were heard by him personally, during the First Dhamma Council on being questioned by the Venerable Mahā Kassapa about the time, the place and the content of the respective suttas of the Buddha. (see 2.1.5
Pāli lesson (with audio) 2.1.4
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