Ekottarikāgama 21.4

Faith in Three Things

Thus have I heard. At one time the Buddha was staying in Śrāvastī, at Jetṛ’s Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍada’s Park. Then the Exalted One said to the monks:

“If there are persons towards whom you cultivate friendliness in your hearts, who think they can really trust in you and who listen to you respectfully, viz. father and mother, brothers, sisters, other family members, relatives, friends or intimates, you should establish them in three bases on which they should take their stand unwavering. Which are the three?

“They should be encouraged unwaveringly to take delight in the Tathāgata thus: He is the Tathāgata who has realised absolute truth, Fully and Completely Enlightened One, perfect in knowledge and conduct, the Blessed One, Knower of the Universe, the Incomparable One, the Teaching Guide to show sentient beings the Way, the Teacher of Gods and Men, the Buddha, the Exalted One.

“Again, they should be encouraged to direct their attention to the Teaching thus: the Tathāgata’s Dharma is well-proclaimed, inviting, in the highest degree making for exquisiteness, yielding immediate results and thus to be understood by the wise.

“Similarly, they should be encouraged to contemplate and honour this Order of Disciples, the Tathāgata’s Śrāvakasaṃgha, thus: Among them prevails absolute concord, they walk in the right path, are endowed with all virtues and have achieved perfection in moral training, concentration and wisdom, in ultimate freedom and insight-knowledge of this freedom, that is to say the Order of Disciples, the four pairs of noble persons and the eight kinds of āryas. This is the Tathāgata’s Śrāvakasaṃgha, worthy of respect and worthy of veneration, this is the world’s incomparable field of merit.

“Whoever, monks, trains in these three bases will achieve great results. Thus monks, you should train.”

After listening to the Buddha’s words, the monks were pleased and respectfully applied themselves to practice.