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Sattakamma Suttaṃ

(A.i.219)

Seven Volitional Actions

“I will teach you about the bad man, monks, and about one inferior to the bad man; about the good man, and about one superior to the good man. Listen and pay careful attention. I will speak.”

“Very good, venerable sir.”

“And what, monks, is the bad man? Herein, monks, one kills living beings, one takes what is not given, one engages in sexual misconduct, one tells lies, one uses divisive speech, one uses harsh, abusive speech, one engages in idle-chatterThis, monks, is called a bad man

“And what, monks, is one inferior to a bad man? Herein, monks, one kills living beings and encourages others to kill living beings, one takes what is not given and encourages others to take what is not given, one engages in sexual misconduct and encourages others to engage in sexual misconduct, one tells lies and encourages others to tell lies, one uses divisive speech and encourages others to use divisive speech, one uses harsh, abusive speech and encourages others to use harsh, abusive speech, one engages in idle-chatter and encourages others to engage in idle-chatter. This, monks, is called one inferior to a bad man.

“And what, monks, is a good man? Herein, monks, one abstains from killing living beings, one abstains from taking what is not given, one abstains from sexual misconduct, one abstains from telling lies, one abstains from using divisive speech, one abstains from using harsh, abusive speech, one abstains from idle-chatter. This, monks, is called a good man.

“And what, monks, is one superior to the good man? Herein, monks, one abstains from killing living beings and encourages others to abstain from killing living beings, one abstains from taking what is not given and encourages others to abstain from taking what is not given, one abstains from sexual misconduct and encourages others to abstain from sexual misconduct, one abstains from telling lies and encourages others to abstain from telling lies, one abstains from using divisive speech and encourages others to abstain from to abstain from divisive speech, one abstains from using harsh, abusive speech and encourages others to abstain from using harsh, abusive speech, one abstains from idle-chatter and encourages others to abstain from idle-chatter. This, monks, is called one superior to a good man.”

Notes

1. The fifth of the five precepts is not included in this discourse, but the fourth precept is expanded into four kinds of wrong speech. Since the Buddha was addressing the monks, it would be superfluous to even mention abstaining for intoxicants.

2. The Pāḷi term used is asappurisa, which I translate as “bad man.” Bhikkhu Bodhi and Ajahn Thanissaro both translate it as “bad person,” as it clearly applies to women too. In other places, the word “puggala,” which is not gender-specific, is used to refer to a person of either gender.