Itivuttaka: The Buddha’s Sayings

The Section of the Threes

90. Foremost Faith

This was said by the Lord…

“Bhikkhus, there are these three foremost kinds of faith. What are the three?

“Whatever beings there are, whether footless or two-footed or four-footed, with form or without form, percipient or non-percipient or neither-percipient-nor-non-percipient, of these the Tathāgata is reckoned foremost, the Arahant, the Fully Enlightened One. Those who have faith in the Buddha have faith in the foremost, and for those with faith in the foremost the result will be foremost.

“Whatever statesthere are, whether conditioned or unconditioned, of these detachment is reckoned foremost, that is, the subduing of vanity, the elimination of thirst, the removal of reliance, the termination of the round (of rebirths), the destruction of craving, detachment, cessation, Nibbāna. Those who have faith in the Dhamma of detachment have faith in the foremost, and for those with faith in the foremost the result will be foremost.

“Whatever communities or groups there are, bhikkhus, of these the Sangha of the Tathāgata’s disciples is reckoned foremost, that is, the four pairs of persons, the eight individuals. This Sangha of the Lord’s disciples is worthy of gifts, worthy of hospitality, worthy of offerings, worthy of reverential salutation, the unsur­passable field of merit for the world. Those who have faith in the Sangha have faith in the foremost, and for those with faith in the foremost the result will be foremost.

“These, bhikkhus, are the three foremost kinds of faith.”

This is foremost for those with faith,
For those who know the foremost Dhamma:
Having faith in the Buddha as foremost,
Worthy of offerings, unsurpassed;

Having faith in the Dhamma as foremost,
The peace of detachment, bliss;
Having faith in the Sangha as foremost,
A field of merit unsurpassed.

Distributing gifts among the foremost,
Foremost is the merit that accrues;
Foremost their life and beauty,
Fame, reputation, happiness, and strength.

The wise one who gives to the foremost,
Concentrated on the foremost Dhamma,
Whether he becomes a deva or a human,
Rejoices in his foremost attainment.