Aṅguttara Nikāya

The Book of the Eights

24. Hatthaka (2)

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Āḷavī at the Aggāḷava Shrine. Then Hatthaka of Āḷavī, accompanied by five hundred lay followers, approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, and sat down to one side. The Blessed One then said to him:

“Your retinue is large, Hatthaka. How do you sustain this large retinue?”

“I do so, Bhante, by the four means of sustaining a favorable relationship taught by the Blessed One. When I know: ‘This one is to be sustained by a gift,’ I sustain him by a gift. When I know: ‘This one is to be sustained by endearing speech,’ I sustain him by endearing speech. When I know: ‘This one is to be sustained by beneficent conduct,’ I sustain him by beneficent conduct. When I know: ‘This one is to be sustained by impartiality,’ I sustain him by impartiality. There is wealth in my family, Bhante. They don’t think they should listen to me as if I were poor.”

“Good, good, Hatthaka! This is the method by which you can sustain a large retinue. For all those in the past who sustained a large retinue did so by these same four means of sustaining a favorable relationship. All those in the future who will sustain a large retinue will do so by these same four means of sustaining a favorable relationship. And all those at present who sustain a large retinue do so by these same four means of sustaining a favorable relationship.”

Then, after the Blessed One had instructed, encouraged, inspired, and gladdened Hatthaka of Āḷavī with a Dhamma talk, Hatthaka rose from his seat, paid homage to the Blessed One, circumambulated him keeping the right side toward him, and departed.

Then, not long after Hatthaka of Āḷavī had left, the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus: “Bhikkhus, you should remember Hatthaka of Āḷavī as one who possesses eight astounding and amazing qualities. What eight? (1) He is endowed with faith. (2) He is virtuous, and (3) has a sense of moral shame and (4) moral dread. (5) He is learned, (6) generous, and (7) wise. (8) He has few desires. You should remember Hatthaka of Āḷavī as one who possesses these eight astounding and amazing qualities.”