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Tipitaka >> Sutta Pitaka >> Anguttara Nikaya >> Threefold Pride

AN 3:38 Threefold Pride

Translated from the Pali by Nyanaponika Thera and Bhikkhu Bodhi


I was delicately brought up, O monks; highly delicate, exceedingly delicate was my upbringing. At my father’s house lotus ponds were made: in one of them blue lotuses bloomed, in another white lotuses, and in a third red lotuses, just for my enjoyment. I used only sandal unguent from Benares and my head dress, my jacket, my undergarment, and my tunic were made of Benares muslin. By day and by night a white canopy was held over me, lest cold and heat, dust, chaff or dew should trouble me. I had three palaces: one for the summer, one for the winter and one for the rainy season. In the palace for the rainy season, during the four months of the rains, I was waited upon by female musicians only, and I did not come down from the palace during these months. While in other people’s homes servants and slaves receive a meal of broken rice together with sour gruel, in my father’s house they were given choice rice and meat.

Amidst such splendour and an entirely carefree life, O monks, this thought came to me: “An uninstructed worldling, though sure to become old himself and unable to escape ageing, feels repelled, humiliated and disgusted when seeing an old and decrepit person, being forgetful of his own situation. Now I too am sure to become old and cannot escape ageing. If, when seeing an old and decrepit person, I were to feel repelled, humiliated or disgusted, that would not be proper for one like myself.” When I reflected thus, monks, all my pride in youthfulness vanished.

Again I reflected: “An uninstructed worldling, though sure to become ill himself and unable to escape illness, feels repelled, humiliated or disgusted when seeing a sick person, being forgetful of his own situation. Now I too am sure to become ill and cannot escape illness. If, when seeing a sick person, I were to feel repelled, humiliated or disgusted, that would not be proper for one like myself.”

When I thus reflected, monks, all my pride in health vanished.

Again I reflected: “An uninstructed worldling is sure to die himself and cannot escape death; yet when seeing a dead person, he feels repelled, humiliated or disgusted, being forgetful of his own situation. Now I too am sure to die and cannot escape death. If, when seeing a dead person, I were to feel repelled, humiliated or disgusted, that would not be proper for one like myself.” When I thus reflected, monks, all my pride in life vanished.

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