Digha Nikaya 31
Sigalovada Sutta: The Discourse to Sigala
Avoid evil ways
The Buddha first describes fourteen evil ways that should be avoided by a householder. The Buddha enumerates these evil ways to be avoided as:
- the four defilements of action:
- taking life (panatipato)
- stealing (adinnadanam)
- sexual misconduct (kamesu micchacaro)
- lying (musavado)
- the four causes of evil action:
- desire (chanda)
- hate (dosa)
- ignorance (moha)
- fear (bhaya)
- the six ways of squandering wealth:
- indulging in intoxicants
- wandering the streets at inappropriate times
- frequenting public spectacle
- compulsive gambling
- malevolent companionship
- habitual idleness
“And how, young householder, does a noble disciple cover the six quarters?
“The following should be looked upon as the six quarters. The parents should be looked upon as the East, teachers as the South, wife and children as the West, friends and associates as the North, servants and employees as the Nadir, ascetics and brahmans as the Zenith.
“In five ways, young householder, a child should minister to his parents as the East:
(i) Having supported me I shall support them,
(ii) I shall do their duties,
(iii) I shall keep the family tradition,
(iv) I shall make myself worthy of my inheritance,
(v) furthermore I shall offer alms in honor of my departed relatives.
“In five ways, young householder, the parents thus ministered to as the East by their children, show their compassion:
(i) they restrain them from evil,
(ii) they encourage them to do good,
(iii) they train them for a profession,
(iv) they arrange a suitable marriage,
(v) at the proper time they hand over their inheritance to them.
“In these five ways do children minister to their parents as the East and the parents show their compassion to their children. Thus is the East covered by them and made safe and secure.
“In five ways, young householder, a pupil should minister to a teacher as the South:
(i) by rising from the seat in salutation,
(ii) by attending on him,
(iii) by eagerness to learn,
(iv) by personal service,
(v) by respectful attention while receiving instructions.
“In five ways, young householder, do teachers thus ministered to as the South by their pupils, show their compassion:
(i) they train them in the best discipline,
(ii) they see that they grasp their lessons well,
(iii) they instruct them in the arts and sciences,
(iv) they introduce them to their friends and associates,
(v) they provide for their safety in every quarter.
“The teachers thus ministered to as the South by their pupils, show their compassion towards them in these five ways. Thus is the South covered by them and made safe and secure.
“In five ways, young householder, should a wife as the West be ministered to by a husband:
(i) by being courteous to her,
(ii) by not despising her,
(iii) by being faithful to her,
(iv) by handing over authority to her,
(v) by providing her with adornments.
“The wife thus ministered to as the West by her husband shows her compassion to her husband in five ways:
(i) she performs her duties well,
(ii) she is hospitable to relations and attendants
(iii) she is faithful,
(iv) she protects what he brings,
(v) she is skilled and industrious in discharging her duties.
“In these five ways does the wife show her compassion to her husband who ministers to her as the West. Thus is the West covered by him and made safe and secure.
“In five ways, young householder, should a clansman minister to his friends and associates as the North:
(i) by liberality,
(ii) by courteous speech,
(iii) by being helpful,
(iv) by being impartial,
(v) by sincerity.
“The friends and associates thus ministered to as the North by a clansman show compassion to him in five ways:
(i) they protect him when he is heedless,
(ii) they protect his property when he is heedless,
(iii) they become a refuge when he is in danger,
(iv) they do not forsake him in his troubles,
(v) they show consideration for his family.
“The friends and associates thus ministered to as the North by a clansman show their compassion towards him in these five ways. Thus is the North covered by him and made safe and secure.
“In five ways should a master minister to his servants and employees as the Nadir:
(i) by assigning them work according to their ability,
(ii) by supplying them with food and with wages,
(iii) by tending them in sickness,
(iv) by sharing with them any delicacies,
(v) by granting them leave at times.
“The servants and employees thus ministered to as the Nadir by their master show their compassion to him in five ways:
(i) they rise before him,
(ii) they go to sleep after him,
(iii) they take only what is given,
(iv) they perform their duties well,
(v) they uphold his good name and fame.
“The servants and employees thus ministered to as the Nadir show their compassion towards him in these five ways. Thus is the Nadir covered by him and made safe and secure.
“In five ways, young householder, should a householder minister to ascetics and brahmans as the Zenith:
(i) by lovable deeds,
(ii) by lovable words,
(iii) by lovable thoughts,
(iv) by keeping open house to them,
(v) by supplying their material needs.
“The ascetics and brahmans thus ministered to as the Zenith by a householder show their compassion towards him in six ways:
(i) they restrain him from evil,
(ii) they persuade him to do good,
(iii) they love him with a kind heart,
(iv) they make him hear what he has not heard,
(v) they clarify what he has already heard,
(vi) they point out the path to a heavenly state.
“In these six ways do ascetics and brahmans show their compassion towards a householder who ministers to them as the Zenith. Thus is the Zenith covered by him and made safe and secure.” Thus spoke the Exalted One. And when the Master had thus spoken, he spoke yet again:
The mother and father are the East,
The Teachers are the South,
Wife and Children are the West,
The friends and associates are the North.
Servants and employees are the Nadir,
The ascetics and brahmans are the Zenith;
Who is fit to lead the household life,
These six quarters he should salute.
Who is wise and virtuous,
Gentle and keen-witted,
Humble and amenable,
Such a one to honor may attain.
Who is energetic and not indolent,
In misfortune unshaken,
Flawless in manner and intelligent,
Such a one to honor may attain.
Who is hospitable, and friendly,
Liberal and unselfish,
A guide, an instructor, a leader,
Such a one to honor may attain.
Generosity, sweet speech,
Helpfulness to others,
Impartiality to all,
As the case demands.
These four winning ways make the world go round,
As the linchpin in a moving car.
If these in the world exist not,
Neither mother nor father will receive,
Respect and honor from their children.
Since these four winning ways
The wise appraise in every way,
To eminence they attain,
And praise they rightly gain.
When the Exalted One had spoken thus, Sigala, the young householder, said as follows:
“Excellent, Lord, excellent! It is as if, Lord, a man were to set upright that which was overturned, or were to reveal that which was hidden, or were to point out the way to one who had gone astray, or were to hold a lamp amidst the darkness, so that those who have eyes may see. Even so, has the doctrine been explained in various ways by the Exalted One.
“I take refuge, Lord, in the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha. May the Exalted One receive me as a lay follower; as one who has taken refuge from this very day to life’s end.”
Posted by Terence Seow