Itivuttaka: The Buddha’s Sayings

The Section of the Twos

42. The Bright Protectors

This was said by the Lord…

“Bhikkhus, these two bright principles protect the world. What are the two? Shame and fear of wrongdoing. If, bhikkhus, these two bright principles did not protect the world, there would not be discerned respect for mother or maternal aunt or maternal uncle’s wife or a teacher’s wife or the wives of other honoured persons, and the world would have fallen into promiscuity, as with goats, sheep, chickens, pigs, dogs, and jackals. But as these two bright principles protect the world, there is discerned respect for mother … and the wives of other honoured persons.”

Those in whom shame and fear of wrong
Are not consistently found
Have deviated from the bright root
And are led back to birth and death.

But those in whom shame and fear of wrong
Are consistently ever present,
Peaceful, mature in the holy life,
They put an end to renewal of being.