DN2.3. The Question About the Fruits of the Ascetic Life

Sāmaññaphala Sutta ("The Fruits of the Ascetic Life")

Then King Ajātasattu rode on the elephant as far as the terrain allowed, then descended and approached the pavilion door on foot, where he asked Jīvaka, “But my dear Jīvaka, where is the Buddha?”

“That is the Buddha, great king, that is the Buddha! He’s sitting against the central column facing east, in front of the Saṅgha of mendicants.”

Then the king went up to the Buddha and stood to one side. He looked around the Saṅgha of monks, who were so very silent, like a still, clear lake, and was inspired to exclaim, “May my son, Prince Udāyibhadda, be blessed with such peace as the Saṅgha of mendicants now enjoys!”

“Has your mind gone to one you love, great king?”

“I love my son, sir, Prince Udāyibhadda. May he be blessed with such peace as the Saṅgha of mendicants now enjoys!”

Then the king bowed to the Buddha, raised his joined palms toward the Saṅgha, and sat down to one side. He said to the Buddha, “Sir, I’d like to ask you about a certain point, if you’d take the time to answer.”

“Ask what you wish, great king.”

“Sir, there are many different professional fields. These include elephant riders, cavalry, charioteers, archers, bannermen, adjutants, food servers, warrior-chiefs, princes, chargers, great warriors, heroes, leather-clad soldiers, and sons of bondservants. They also include bakers, barbers, bathroom attendants, cooks, garland-makers, dyers, weavers, basket-makers, potters, accountants, finger-talliers, or those following any similar professions. All these live off the fruits of their profession which are apparent in the present life. With that they bring happiness and joy to themselves, their parents, their children and partners, and their friends and colleagues. And they establish an uplifting religious donation for ascetics and brahmins that’s conducive to heaven, ripens in happiness, and leads to heaven. Sir, can you point out a fruit of the ascetic life that’s likewise apparent in the present life?”

“Great king, do you recall having asked this question of other ascetics and brahmins?”

“I do, sir.”

“If you wouldn’t mind, great king, tell me how they answered.”

“It’s no trouble when someone such as the Blessed One is sitting here.”

“Well, speak then, great king.”

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