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The Conditions Of Welfare

When the Blessed One was residing on the mount called Vulture's
Peak, near Rajagaha, Ajatasattu the king of Magadha, who reigned
in the place of Bimbisara, planned an attack on the Vajjis, and
he said to Vassakara, his prime minister: "I will root out the
Vajjis, mighty though they be. I will destroy the Vajjis; I will
bring them to utter ruin! Come now, O Brahman, and go to the
Blessed One; inquire in my name for his health, and tell him my
purpose. Bear carefully in mind what the Blessed One may say, and
repeat it to me, for the Buddhas speak nothing untrue."

When Vassakara, the prime minister, had greeted the Blessed One
and delivered his message, the venerable Ananda stood behind the
Blessed One and fanned him, and the Blessed One said to him:
"Hast thou heard, Ananda, that the Vajjis hold full and frequent
public assemblies?"

"Lord, so I have heard," replied he.

"So long, Ananda," said the Blessed One, "as the Vajjis hold
these full and frequent public assemblies, they may be expected
not to decline, but to prosper. So long as they meet together in
concord, so long as they honor their elders, so long as they
respect womanhood, so long as they remain religious, performing
all proper rites, so long as they extend the rightful protection,
defence and support to the holy ones, the Vajjis may be expected
not to decline, but to prosper."

Then the Blessed One addressed Vassakara and said: "When I
stayed, O Brahman, at Vesali, I taught the Vajjis these
conditions of welfare, that so long as they should remain well
instructed, so long as they will continue in the right path, so
long as they live up to the precepts of righteousness, we could
expect them not to decline, but to prosper."

As soon as the king's messenger had gone, the Blessed One had the
brethren, that were in the neighborhood of Rajagaha, assembled in
the service-hall, and addressed them, saying:

"I will teach you, O bhikkhus, the conditions of the welfare of a
community. Listen well, and I will speak.

"So lone, O bhikkhus, as the brethren hold full and frequent
assemblies, meeting in concord, rising in concord, and attending
in concord to the affairs of the Sangha; so long as they, O
bhikkhus, do not abrogate that which experience has proved to be
good, and introduce nothing except such things as have been
carefully tested; so long as their elders practise justice; so
long as the brethren esteem, revere, and support their elders,
and hearken unto their words; so long as the brethren are not
under the influence of craving, but delight in the blessings of
religion, so that good and holy men shall come to them and dwell
among them in quiet; so long as the brethren shall not be
addicted to sloth and idleness; so long as the brethren shall
exercise themselves in the sevenfold higher wisdom of mental
activity, search after truth, energy, joy, modesty, self-control,
earnest contemplation, and equanimity of mind,--so long the
Sangha may be expected not to decline, but to prosper.

"Therefore, O bhikkhus, be full of faith, modest in heart, afraid
of sin, anxious to learn, strong in energy, active in mind, and
full of wisdom."

Next: Sariputta's Faith

Previous: The Patient Elephant

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