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A wise person should do good... (study guide)

A man buries a treasure in a deep pit, thinking: 'It will be useful in time of need, or if the king is displeased with me, or if I am robbed or fall into debt, or if food is scarce, or bad luck befalls me.'

But all this treasure may not profit the owner at all, for he may forget where he has hidden it, or goblins may steal it, or his enemies or even his kinsmen may take it when he is careless.

But by charity, goodness, restraint, and self-control man and woman alike can store up a well-hidden treasure -- a treasure which cannot be given to others and which robbers cannot steal. A wise person should do good -- that is the treasure which will not leave one.
— --adapted from the Khuddhaka Patha, translated by A. L. Basham

When I first came upon the above quote attributed to the American Zen Buddhist Jack Kornfield, I could understand it and state that the treasure is spiritual in nature.

Intrigued by this adapted quote from the Khuddhaka Patha, I decided to find the original, which turned out to be Chapter 8 Nidhi Kanda Sutta.

According to wikipedia, Khuddhaka Patha (Khuddaka Patha) is a collection f instructional sutras for novice monks known as a patha, which is in Pali, the liturgical language of Theravada Buddhism i.e. it is use in their sutras for their monks.

On finding the original, it was apparent that the text has all the necessary information for the Buddhist: the spiritual treasures and their result.

So here are the treasures of virtue which the Buddhist novice monk practices:

"giving, virtue, restraint, & self-control, with regard to a shrine, the Sangha, a fine individual, guests, mother, father, or elder sibling." &mdash: Khaddakapatha: 8 Nidhi Kanda / The Reserve Fund

Next comes the divine treasures which are gained by the Buddhist novice monk:

"Whatever devas aspire to, all that is gained by this. A fine complexion, fine voice, a body well-built, well-formed, lordship, a following: all that is gained by this. Earthly kingship, supremacy, the bliss of an emperor, kingship over devas in the heavens: all that is gained by this. The attainment of the human state, any delight in heaven, the attainment of Unbinding: all that is gained by this. Excellent friends, appropriate application, [1] mastery of clear knowing & release: [2] all that is gained by this. Acumen, [3] emancipations, [4] the perfection of disciplehood: all that is gained by this. Private Awakening, [5] Buddhahood: all that is gained by this." — ibid.

Additionally, the notes for the instructional sutra are very useful for understanding what is actually meant by the original word or phrase in a sutra. Often the original word or phrase was chosen to fit the accent in a metrical foot of verse.

appropriate application == proper practice of the Dhamma (Dharma)

mastery of clear knowing & release == Clear knowing = knowledge of previous lives, knowledge of the passing away and arising (rebirth) of beings, knowledge of the ending of the mental fermentations: sensual passion, becoming, views, ignorance. Release = release from the cycle of rebirth.

Acumen == acumen with regard to the Dhamma, to its meaning, to language, & to quick-wittedness. These four talents are found in some, but not all, arahants.

Emancipations == "Eight Emancipations" in Maha-Nidana Sutta (Sutra)

Private Awakening: Awakening as a Private Buddha, one who can gain Awakening without relying on the teachings of others, but who cannot formulate the Dhamma in the way a Full Buddha can.


Originally posted October 30, 2005 at 2321H
Edited: February 10, 2013 at 2150H

Kornfield quote from:

Khaddakapatha: 8 Nidhi Kanda Sutta / The Reserve Fund:


"Eight Emancipations" in Maha-Nidana Sutta (Sutra):


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