Collection of Numerical Discourses

5. Akkosavagga

10.47. To Mahāli

At one time the Holy One was staying at Vesālī in the Great Wood, in the Hall with the Peaked Roof. Then Mahāli the Licchavi went up to the Holy One, bowed, sat down on one side, and said to him:

“Venerable Sir, what is the cause, what is the reason for the doing of bad deeds, for the performing of bad deeds?”

“Mahāli, greed is a cause for doing bad deeds; hatred is a cause for doing bad deeds; delusion is a cause for doing bad deeds; focussing the mind in the wrong way is a cause for doing bad deeds; a wrongly directed mind is a cause for doing bad deeds. Mahāli, this is the cause and the reason for the doing of bad deeds, for the performing of bad deeds.”

“Venerable Sir, what is the cause, what is the reason for the doing of good deeds, for the performing of good deeds?”

“Mahāli, non-greed is a cause for doing good deeds; non-hatred is a cause for doing good deeds; non-delusion is a cause for doing good deeds; focussing the mind in the right way is a cause for doing good deeds; a rightly directed mind is a cause for doing good deeds. Mahāli, this is the cause and the reason for the doing of good deeds, for the performing of good deeds.

“Mahāli, if these ten principles were not found in the world, then neither unprincipled and inappropriate conduct, nor principled and appropriate conduct would be known. But since these ten principles are found in the world, then both unprincipled and inappropriate conduct, and principled and appropriate conduct are known.