What is Welcome to the householder Buddhist — the Ittha Sutta. Long life, beauty, happiness are “not obtained by reason of prayers or wishes”

Then Anathapindika the householder went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there the Blessed One said to him: “These five things, householder, are welcome, agreeable, pleasant, and hard to obtain in the world. Which five?

“Long life is welcome, agreeable, pleasant, and hard to obtain in the world.

“Beauty is welcome, agreeable, pleasant, and hard to obtain in the world.

“Happiness is welcome, agreeable, pleasant, and hard to obtain in the world.

“Status is welcome, agreeable, pleasant, and hard to obtain in the world.

“Rebirth in heaven is welcome, agreeable, pleasant, and hard to obtain in the world.

“Now, I tell you, these five things are not to be obtained by reason of prayers or wishes. If they were to be obtained by reason of prayers or wishes, who here would lack them? It’s not fitting for the disciple of the noble ones who desires long life to pray for it or to delight in doing so. Instead, the disciple of the noble ones who desires long life should follow the path of practice leading to long life. In so doing, he will attain long life, either human or divine.

 

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Buddha teaching
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Buddha teaching.

 

“It’s not fitting for the disciple of the noble ones who desires beauty to pray for it or to delight in doing so. Instead, the disciple of the noble ones who desires beauty should follow the path of practice leading to beauty. In so doing, he will attain beauty, either human or divine.

“It’s not fitting for the disciple of the noble ones who desires happiness to pray for it or to delight in doing so. Instead, the disciple of the noble ones who desires happiness should follow the path of practice leading to happiness. In so doing, he will attain happiness, either human or divine.

“It’s not fitting for the disciple of the noble ones who desires status to pray for it or to delight in doing so. Instead, the disciple of the noble ones who desires status should follow the path of practice leading to status. In so doing, he will attain status, either human or divine.

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Buddha gives precious teachings to the Bhikkus.

“It’s not fitting for the disciple of the noble ones who desires rebirth in heaven to pray for it or to delight in doing so. Instead, the disciple of the noble ones who desires rebirth in heaven should follow the path of practice leading to rebirth in heaven. In so doing, he will attain rebirth in heaven.”

Long life, beauty, status, honor, heaven, high birth: to those who delight in aspiring for these things in great measure, continuously, the wise praise heedfulness in making merit.

The wise person, heedful, acquires a two-fold welfare: welfare in this life and welfare in the next. By breaking through to his welfare he’s called prudent, wise.

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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Lee Kane

Author | Buddha Weekly

Lee Kane is the editor of Buddha Weekly, since 2007. His main focuses as a writer are mindfulness techniques, meditation, Dharma and Sutra commentaries, Buddhist practices, international perspectives and traditions, Vajrayana, Mahayana, Zen. He also covers various events.
Lee also contributes as a writer to various other online magazines and blogs.

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