Itivuttaka: The Buddha’s Sayings

The Section of the Threes

76. Aspiring for Happiness

This was said by the Lord…

“Bhikkhus, aspiring for these three kinds of happiness, a wise person should guard virtuous conduct. What are the three?

Aspiring ‘May praise come to me,’ a wise person should guard virtuous conduct. Aspiring ‘May I become wealthy,’ a wise person should guard virtuous conduct. Aspiring ‘Upon the perishing of the body at death may I be reborn in a good bourn, in a heavenly world,’ a wise person should guard virtuous conduct. These are the three kinds of happiness aspiring for which a wise person should guard virtuous conduct.”

Aspiring for three kinds of happiness
The wise person should guard virtue:
Praise, the obtaining of property,
Rejoicing in heaven hereafter.

If one who does no evil
Associates with an evil-doer,
He is suspected of evil
And his disrepute grows.

Whatever person one befriends,
Whomever one associates with,
One becomes of like quality,
One becomes like one’s companion.

The follower and the followed,
One who contacts and one contacted,
Are like an arrow coated with poison
That contaminates its quiver.
Fearing contamination the wise person
Should not have evil friends.

A man who ties up putrid fish
With some blades of kusa-grass
Makes the kusa-grass smell putrid;
So it is with those who follow fools.

But a man who wraps tagara powder
In the broad leaf of a tree
Makes the leaf smell fragrant;
So it is with those who follow sages.

Therefore as with the leaf-container,
Understanding the outcome for oneself,
The unvirtuous should not be followed,
A wise person should follow the virtuous.
The unvirtuous lead one to hell,
The virtuous help one reach heaven.