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Tipitaka >> Sutta Pitaka >> Anguttara Nikaya >> Repaying One's Parents

AN 2:4.2 Repaying One's Parents

Translated from the Pali by Nyanaponika Thera and Bhikkhu Bodhi


I declare, O monks, that there are two persons one can never repay. What two? One’s mother and father. Even if one should carry about one’s mother on one shoulder and one’s father on the other, and while doing so should live a hundred years, reach the age of a hundred years; and if one should attend to them by anointing them with salves, by massaging, bathing and rubbing their limbs, and they should even void their excrements there—even by that would one not do enough for one’s parents, one would not repay them. Even if one were to establish one’s parents as the supreme lords and rulers over this earth so rich in the seven treasures, one would not do enough for them, one would not repay them. What is the reason for this? Parents do much for their children: they bring them up, feed them, and guide them through this world.

But, O monks, one who encourages his unbelieving parents, settles and establishes them in faith; who encourages his immoral parents, settles and establishes them in virtue; who encourages his stingy parents, settles and establishes them in generosity; who encourages his ignorant parents, settles and establishes them in wisdom—such a one, O monks, does enough for his parents: he repays them and more than repays them for what they have done.

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