Sutta Nipāta

Māgha Sutta

3.5. To Māgha on Giving

Thus have I heard:

At one time the Radiant one dwelt at Rājagaha on the Vulture Peak Mountain. Then the young brahmin Māgha went to the Radiant One and exchanged greetings with him. When this courteous and amiable talk was finished, he sat down to one side and spoke thus to the Radiant One:

“Master Gotama, I am certainly a donor, one who is generous and glad to comply with others’ requests. From wealth sought rightly, obtained rightly, acquired in accordance with Dharma, I give to one, two, ten, twenty, a hundred or even more—so do I, Master Gotama giving and bestowing in this way accrue much merit?”

“Certainly young brahmin, giving and bestowing in this way you accrue much merit. If anyone is a donor, one who is generous and glad to comply with others’ requests from wealth sought rightly, obtained rightly, acquired in accordance with dharma and given to one, two, ten, twenty, a hundred or even to more, that one accrues much merit.”

Then the brahmin youth Māgha addressed these verses to the Radiant One:

Māgha
I ask the world-knower Gotama
who wanders homeless clad in kāsāya cloth:
One glad to comply with others’ requests,
a generous giver, one living at home,
a seeker of merit, desirer of merit,
who to other as sacrifice gives food and drink—
how would such offerings be purified by this?

Buddha
One glad to comply with others’ requests,
a generous giver, one living at home,
a seeker of merit, desirer of merit,
who to others as sacrifice gives food and drink
achieves his results through those worthy of gifts.

Māgha
One glad to comply with others’ requests,
a generous giver, one living at home,
a seeker of merit, desirer of merit,
who to others as sacrifice gives good and drink—
Sir, who are the gift-worthy,
please speak about that.

Buddha
Those truly who fare unattached in the world,
own nothing, perfected, they’re self-controlled,
to them would a brahmin, on merit intent,
sacrifice at the right time and oblations bestow.

Who all the fetters and bonds have cut off,
tamed are they, freed, with no troubles or hopes,
to them would a brahmin, on merit intent,
sacrifice at the right time and oblations bestow.

Who from all fetters are released,
tamed and freed, with no troubles or hopes,
to them would a brahmin, on merit intent,
sacrifice at the right time and oblations bestow.

Passion and hatred, delusion—let go,
exhausted the inflows, lived the God Life,
to them would a brahmin, on merit intent,
sacrifice at the right time and oblations bestow.

In who lurks neither deceit nor conceit,
greed-free, unselfish, trouble-free too,
to them would a brahmin, on merit intent,
sacrifice at the right time and oblations bestow.

Those free of greed, unselfish, without desire,
with inflows exhausted, the Good Life completed,
to them would a brahmin on merit intent,
sacrifice at the right time and oblations bestow.

They who to cravings have not succumbed,
the flood overcrossed they unselfishly fare,
to them would a brahmin on merit intent,
sacrifice at the right time and oblations bestow.

But those with no cravings at all in the world
for being this, being that, now or afterwards,
to them would a brahmin, on merit intent,
sacrifice at the right time and oblations bestow.

They who fare homeless, sense-pleasures let go,
themselves well-restrained, as shuttle flies straight,
to them would a brahmin, on merit intent,
sacrifice at the right time and oblations bestow.

Those passion-free, their faculties restrained,
as the Moon from the grip of Rāhu released,
to them would a brahmin, on merit intent,
sacrifice at the right time and oblations bestow.

Those who are calm, passion gone, anger-free,
who here have given up all places to go,
to them would a brahmin on merit intent,
sacrifice at the right time and oblations bestow.

Who’ve birth and death abandoned—nothing left
and all unsettling doubts have overcome,
to them would a brahmin, on merit intent,
sacrifice at the right time and oblations bestow.

With themselves as an island they fare in the world,
own nothing and everywhere utterly freed
to them would a brahmin, on merit intent,
sacrifice at the right time and oblations bestow.

Those who Know here as really it is—
“This is the last, no more being to come”—
to them would a brahmin, on merit intent,
sacrifice at the right time and oblations bestow.

The mindful in holy words learned, who in jhāna delight,
won to Awakening, the refuge of many,
to them would a brahmin, on merit intent,
sacrifice at the right time and oblations bestow.

Māgha
My question truly was not in vain
for the Radiant has spoken of gift-worthy ones.
This indeed you Know as it really is,
for certainly this Dharma’s Known to you.

One glad to comply with others’ requests,
a generous giver, one living at home,
a seeker of merit, desirer of merit,
who to others as sacrifice gives food and drink,
tell me, O Radiant, the success of such sacrifice.

Buddha
Do you sacrifice! But during this sacrificial act,
make your mind happy all of the time;
for the sacrificiant, this sacrifice is the base,
established in this one is rid of all faults.

One with passions gone would other faults restrain,
developing boundless mettā-mind, in this,
continuously diligent by day and by night,
suffusing all directions boundlessly.

Māgha
Who can be cleansed, released and Awakened?
With what does the self to the Brahma-world go?
O Sage, when asked reply to me—one who doesn’t know—
for the Radiant I’ve seen with my eyes as Brahmā today
and it’s true that you’re the same as Brahmā for us.
In the Brahma-world,
how does one arise, O Refulgent One?

Buddha
The sacrificiant who achieves triple success in sacrifice,
achieves their results through such gift-worthy ones;
so perfected in sacrifice
and complying with others’ requests,
that one arises, I say, within the Brahma-world.

When this was said the young brahmin Māgha said to the Radiant One: “Magnificent, Master Gotama! The Dharma has been clarified by Master Gotama in many ways, as though he was righting what was overthrown, revealing what was hidden, showing the way to one who was lost, or holding a lamp in the dark so that those with eyes can see forms. I go for Refuge to Master Gotama, to the Dharma and to the Saṅgha. May Master Gotama remember me as a layman who from today has Gone for Refuge for life.