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Tipitaka >> Sutta Pitaka >> Anguttara Nikaya >> Dhamma, the Co-regent

AN 3:14 Dhamma, Co-Regent Translated from the Pali by Nyanaponika Thera and Bhikkhu Bodhi


The Blessed One said: “Monks, even a world ruler, a just and righteous king, does not govern his realm without a co-regent.”

When he had spoken, a certain monk addressed the Blessed One thus: “But who, Lord, is the co-regent of the world ruler, the just and righteous king?”

“It is the Dhamma, the law of righteousness, O monk,” replied the Blessed One.

“In this case, the world ruler, the just and righteous king, relying on the law of righteousness (Dhamma), honouring it, regarding it highly and respecting it, with the law of righteousness as his standard, banner and sovereign, provides lawful protection, shelter and safety for his own dependants. He provides lawful protection, shelter, and safety for the warrior-nobles attending on him; for his army, for the brahmins and householders, for the inhabitants of town and countryside, for ascetics and brahmins, for the beasts and birds.

“A world ruler, a just and righteous king, who thus provides lawful protection, shelter, and safety for all, is the one who rules by righteousness only. And that rule cannot be overthrown by any hostile creature in human form.

“Even so, O monk, the Tathagata, the Arahant, the Fully Enlightened One, the just and righteous King of the Dhamma, relying on the Dhamma, honouring the Dhamma, regarding it highly and respecting it, with the Dhamma as his standard, banner and sovereign, provides lawful protection, shelter and safety in regard to action by body, speech, and mind. (He teaches thus): ’Such bodily action should be undertaken and such should not be undertaken. Such verbal action should be undertaken and such should not be undertaken. Such mental action should be undertaken and such should not be undertaken.’

“The Tathagata, the Arahant, the Fully Enlightened One, the just and righteous King of the Dhamma, who thus provides lawful protection, shelter and safety in regard to action by body, speech, and mind, is the one who turns the incomparable Wheel of the Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma only. And that Wheel of the Dhamma cannot be turned back by any ascetic or brahmin, by any deva or Mara or Brahma or by anyone in the world.”

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