AN 5.192 Doṇa – Four Brahma Vihara

mettā-sahagatena cetasā (with) friendly-kindness-endowed mind,
ekaṃ disaṃ pharitvā(in) one direction pervade,
viharati,abide [like this].
tathā dutiyaṃ,likewise (the) second [quarter],
tathā tatiyaṃ,likewise (the) third [quarter],
tathā catutthaṃ;likewise (the) fourth [quarter],
iti uddham-adhoThus above,-below,
tiriyaṃ sabbadhiacross, everywhere,
Sabbat-tatāyaAll-places,
sabbāvantaṃ lokaṃ(to the) entire world
mettā-sahagatena cetasā (with) friendly-kindness-endowed mind,
vipulena maha-g-gatenavast, exalted,
appamāṇena a-verenameasureless, without-hostility,
A-byāpajjena pharitvāwithout ill will, pervade.
viharati,abide [like this].
Karuṇā-sahagatena cetasā(with) compassion-endowed mind,
ekaṃ disaṃ pharitvā(in) one direction pervade,
viharati,abide [like this].
tathā dutiyaṃ,likewise (the) second [quarter],
tathā tatiyaṃ,likewise (the) third [quarter],
tathā catutthaṃ;likewise (the) fourth [quarter],
iti uddham-adhoThus above,-below,
tiriyaṃ sabbadhiacross, everywhere,
Sabbat-tatāyaAll-places,
sabbāvantaṃ lokaṃ(to the) entire world
Karuṇā-sahagatena cetasā (with) compassion-endowed mind,
vipulena maha-g-gatenavast, exalted,
appamāṇena a-verenameasureless, without-hostility,
A-byāpajjena pharitvāwithout ill will, pervade.
viharati,abide [like this].
muditā-sahagatena cetasā (with) altruistic-mirth-endowed mind,
ekaṃ disaṃ pharitvā(in) one direction pervade,
viharati,abide [like this].
tathā dutiyaṃ,likewise (the) second [quarter],
tathā tatiyaṃ,likewise (the) third [quarter],
tathā catutthaṃ;likewise (the) fourth [quarter],
iti uddham-adhoThus above,-below,
tiriyaṃ sabbadhiacross, everywhere,
Sabbat-tatāyaAll-places,
sabbāvantaṃ lokaṃ(to the) entire world
muditā-sahagatena cetasā (with) altruistic-mirth-endowed mind,
vipulena maha-g-gatenavast, exalted,
appamāṇena a-verenameasureless, without-hostility,
A-byāpajjena pharitvāwithout ill will, pervade.
viharati,abide [like this].
upekkhā-sahagatena cetasā (with) equanimous-observation-endowed mind,
ekaṃ disaṃ pharitvā(in) one direction pervade,
viharati,abide [like this].
tathā dutiyaṃ,likewise (the) second [quarter],
tathā tatiyaṃ,likewise (the) third [quarter],
tathā catutthaṃ;likewise (the) fourth [quarter],
iti uddham-adhoThus above,-below,
tiriyaṃ sabbadhiacross, everywhere,
Sabbat-tatāyaAll-places,
sabbāvantaṃ lokaṃ(to the) entire world
upekkhā-sahagatena cetasā (with) equanimous-observation-endowed mind,
vipulena maha-g-gatenavast, exalted,
appamāṇena a-verenameasureless, without-hostility,
A-byāpajjena pharitvāwithout ill will, pervade.
viharati,abide [like this].

he dwells pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with friendly kindness, likewise the second quarter, the third quarter, and the fourth quarter. Thus above, below, across, and everywhere, and to all as to himself, he dwells pervading the entire world with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, vast, exalted, measureless, without enmity, without ill will. He dwells pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with compassion … with a mind imbued with altruistic joy … with a mind imbued with equanimity, likewise the second quarter, the third quarter, and the fourth quarter. Thus above, below, across, and everywhere, and to all as to himself, he dwells pervading the entire world with a mind imbued with equanimity, vast, exalted, measureless, without enmity, without ill will.


AN 5.192 Doṇa

Then the brahmin Doṇa approached the Blessed One and exchanged greetings with him. When he had concluded his greetings and cordial talk, he sat down to one side and said to the Blessed One: “I have heard, Master Gotama: ‘The ascetic Gotama does not pay homage to brahmins who are old, aged, burdened with years, advanced in life, come to the last stage; nor does he stand up for them or offer them a seat.’1183 This is indeed true, for Master Gotama does not pay homage to brahmins who are old, aged, burdened with years, advanced in life, come to the last stage; nor does he stand up for them or offer them a seat. This is not proper, Master Gotama.”
“Do you too claim to be a brahmin, Doṇa?”
“Master Gotama, if one could rightly say of anyone: ‘He is a brahmin well born on both his maternal and paternal sides, of pure descent, unassailable and impeccable with respect to birth as far back as the seventh paternal generation; he is a reciter and preserver of the hymns, a master of the three Vedas with their vocabularies, ritual, phonology, and etymology, and the histories as a fifth; skilled in philology and grammar, he is fully versed in natural philosophy and in the marks of a great man’—it is precisely of me that one might say this. For I, Master Gotama, am a brahmin well born on both his maternal and paternal sides, of pure descent, unassailable and impeccable with respect to birth as far back as the seventh paternal generation. I am a reciter and preserver of the hymns, a master of the three Vedas with their vocabularies, ritual, phonology, and etymology, and the histories as a fifth; skilled in philology and grammar, I am fully versed in natural philosophy and in the marks of a great man.”
“Doṇa, the ancient [224] seers among the brahmin—that is, Aṭṭhaka, Vāmaka, Vāmadeva, Vessāmitta, Yamataggi, Aṅgīrasa, Bhāradvāja, Vāseṭṭha, Kassapa, and Bhagu—were the creators of the hymns and the composers of the hymns, and it is their ancient hymns, formerly chanted, declared, and compiled, that the brahmins nowadays still chant and repeat, repeating what was spoken, reciting what was recited, and teaching what was taught. Those ancient seers described these five kinds of brahmins: the one similar to Brahmā, the one similar to a deva, the one who remains within the boundary, the one who has crossed the boundary, and the caṇḍāḷa of a brahmin as the fifth. Which of these are you, Doṇa?”
“We do not know these five kinds of brahmins, Master Gotama. All we know is [the word] ‘brahmins.’ Please, let Master Gotama teach me the Dhamma in such a way that I might know these five kinds of brahmins.”
“Then listen, brahmin, and attend closely. I will speak.”
“Yes, sir,” the brahmin Doṇa replied. The Blessed One said this:
(1) “And how, Doṇa, is a brahmin similar to Brahmā? Here, a brahmin is well born on both his maternal and paternal sides, of pure descent, unassailable and impeccable with respect to birth as far back as the seventh paternal generation. He lives the spiritual life of virginal celibacy1184 for forty-eight years, studying the hymns. He then seeks a teacher’s fee for his teacher solely in accordance with the Dhamma, not contrary to the Dhamma. And what, Doṇa, is the Dhamma in that case? [225] Not by agriculture, not by trade, not by raising cattle, not by archery, not by service to the king, not by a particular craft, but solely by wandering for alms without scorning the alms bowl. Having offered the teacher’s fee to his teacher, he shaves off his hair and beard, puts on ochre robes, and goes forth from the household life into homelessness.1185 When he has gone forth, he dwells pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, likewise the second quarter, the third quarter, and the fourth quarter. Thus above, below, across, and everywhere, and to all as to himself, he dwells pervading the entire world with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, vast, exalted, measureless, without enmity, without ill will. He dwells pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with compassion … with a mind imbued with altruistic joy … with a mind imbued with equanimity, likewise the second quarter, the third quarter, and the fourth quarter. Thus above, below, across, and everywhere, and to all as to himself, he dwells pervading the entire world with a mind imbued with equanimity, vast, exalted, measureless, without enmity, without ill will. Having developed these four divine abodes,1186 with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in a good destination, in the brahmā world. In this way a brahmin is similar to Brahmā.
(2) “And how, Doṇa, is a brahmin similar to a deva? Here, a brahmin is well born on both his maternal and paternal sides, of pure descent, unassailable and impeccable with respect to birth as far back as the seventh paternal generation. He lives the spiritual life of virginal celibacy for forty-eight years, studying the hymns. He then seeks a teacher’s fee for his teacher solely in accordance with the Dhamma, not contrary to the Dhamma. And what, Doṇa, is the Dhamma in that case? Not by agriculture, not by trade, not by raising cattle, not by archery, not by service to the king, not by a particular craft, but solely by wandering for alms [226] without scorning the alms bowl. Having offered the teacher’s fee to his teacher, he seeks a wife solely in accordance with the Dhamma, not contrary to the Dhamma. And what, Doṇa, is the Dhamma in that case? Not by buying and selling, [he takes] only a brahmin woman given to him by the pouring of water. He couples only with a brahmin woman, not with a khattiya woman, a vessa woman, a sudda woman, or a caṇḍāla woman, nor with a woman from a family of hunters, bamboo workers, chariot makers, or flower scavengers. He does not couple with a pregnant woman, nor with a woman who is nursing, nor with a woman out of season.
“And why, Doṇa, doesn’t the brahmin couple with a pregnant woman? Because, if he were to couple with a pregnant woman, the little boy or girl would be born in excessive filth; therefore he does not couple with a pregnant woman. And why doesn’t he couple with a woman who is nursing? Because, if he were to couple with a woman who is nursing, the little boy or girl would drink back the foul substance;1187 therefore he does not couple with a woman who is nursing. Why doesn’t he couple with a woman out of season? Because his brahmin wife does not serve for sensual pleasure, amusement, and sensual delight, but only for procreation.1188 When he has engaged in sexual activity, he shaves off his hair and beard, puts on ochre robes, and goes forth from the household life into homelessness. When he has gone forth, secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unwholesome states … he enters and dwells in the first jhāna … [as in 5:14] … the fourth jhāna. Having developed these four jhānas, [227] with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in a good destination, in a heavenly world. In this way a brahmin is similar to a deva.
(3) “And how, Doṇa, is a brahmin one who remains within the boundary? Here, a brahmin is well born on both his maternal and paternal sides, of pure descent, unassailable and impeccable with respect to birth as far back as the seventh paternal generation. He lives the spiritual life of virginal celibacy for forty-eight years…. [all as above down to] … Because his brahmin wife does not serve for sensual pleasure, amusement, or sensual delight, but only for procreation. When he has engaged in sexual activity, out of attachment to his sons he remains settled on his property and does not go forth from the household life into homelessness. He stops at the boundary of the ancient brahmins but does not violate it. Since he stops at the boundary of the ancient brahmins but does not violate it, he is called a brahmin who remains within the boundary. It is in this way that a brahmin is one who remains within the boundary.
(4) “And how, Doṇa, is a brahmin one who has crossed the boundary? [228] Here, a brahmin is well born on both his maternal and paternal sides, of pure descent, unassailable and impeccable with respect to birth as far back as the seventh paternal generation. He lives the spiritual life of virginal celibacy for forty-eight years, studying the hymns. He then seeks a teacher’s fee for his teacher solely in accordance with the Dhamma, not contrary to the Dhamma. And what, Doṇa, is the Dhamma in that case? Not by agriculture, not by trade, not by raising cattle, not by archery, not by service to the king, not by a particular craft, but solely by wandering for alms without scorning the alms bowl. Having offered the teacher’s fee to his teacher, he seeks a wife both in accordance with the Dhamma and contrary to the Dhamma. [He takes a wife] by buying and selling as well as a brahmin woman given to him by the pouring of water. He couples with a brahmin woman, a khattiya woman, a vessa woman, a sudda woman, and a caṇḍāla woman, and a woman from a family of hunters, bamboo workers, chariot makers, or flower scavengers. He couples with a pregnant woman, a woman who is nursing, a woman in season, and a woman out of season. His brahmin wife serves for sensual pleasure, amusement, and sensual delight, as well as for procreation.1189 He does not stop at the boundary of the ancient brahmins but violates it. Since he does not stop at the boundary of the ancient brahmins but violates it, he is called a brahmin who has crossed the boundary. It is in this way that a brahmin is one who has crossed the boundary.
(5) “And how, Doṇa, is a brahmin a caṇḍāla of a brahmin? Here, a brahmin is well born on both his maternal and paternal sides, of pure descent, unassailable and impeccable with respect to birth as far back as the seventh paternal generation. He [229] lives the spiritual life of virginal celibacy for forty-eight years, studying the hymns. He then seeks a teacher’s fee for his teacher both in accordance with the Dhamma and contrary to the Dhamma—by agriculture, by trade, by raising cattle, by archery, by service to the king, by a particular craft, and not only1190 by wandering for alms without scorning the alms bowl. Having offered the teacher’s fee to his teacher, he seeks a wife both in accordance with the Dhamma and contrary to the Dhamma. [He takes a wife] by buying and selling as well as a brahmin woman given to him by the pouring of water. He couples with a brahmin woman, a khattiya woman, a vessa woman, a sudda woman, and a caṇḍāla woman, and a woman from a family of hunters, bamboo workers, chariot makers, or flower scavengers. He couples with a pregnant woman, a woman who is nursing, a woman in season, and a woman out of season. His brahmin wife serves for sensual pleasure, amusement, and sensual delight, as well as for procreation. He earns his living by all kinds of work. Brahmins say to him: ‘Why, sir, while claiming to be a brahmin, do you earn your living by all kinds of work?’ He answers them: ‘Just as fire burns pure things and impure things yet is not thereby defiled, so too, sirs, if a brahmin earns his living by all kinds of work, he is not thereby defiled.’ Since he earns his living by all kinds of work, this brahmin is called a caṇḍāla of a brahmin. It is in this way that a brahmin is a caṇḍāla of a brahmin.
“Doṇa, the ancient seers among the brahmin—that is, Aṭṭhaka, Vāmaka, Vāmadeva, Vessāmitta, Yamataggi, Aṅgīrasa, Bhāradvāja, [230] Vāseṭṭha, Kassapa, and Bhagu—were the creators of the hymns and the composers of the hymns, and it is their ancient hymns, formerly chanted, declared, and compiled, that the brahmins nowadays still chant and repeat, repeating what was spoken, reciting what was recited, and teaching what was taught. Those ancient seers described these five kinds of brahmins: the one similar to Brahmā, the one similar to a deva, the one who remains within the boundary, the one who has crossed the boundary, and the caṇḍāḷa of a brahmin as the fifth. Which of these are you, Doṇa?”
“Such being the case, Master Gotama, we do not even measure up to the caṇḍāla of a brahmin. Excellent, Master Gotama! Excellent, Master Gotama! Master Gotama has made the Dhamma clear in many ways, as though he were turning upright what had been overthrown, revealing what was hidden, showing the way to one who was lost, or holding up a lamp in the darkness so those with good eyesight can see forms. I now go for refuge to Master Gotama, to the Dhamma, and to the Saṅgha of bhikkhus. Let Master Gotama consider me a lay follower who from today has gone for refuge for life.”

Published by Vimutta Fellowship Toronto

The Vimutta community is a group of Theravādan supporters in Canada, who share a focus on the practices based on the Buddha's teachings on the path toward liberation. The Pāli term“Vimutta” literally means “liberated, freed” from the cycle of death and rebirth (samsāra). If you share the vision and are interested and want to contribute, please feel free to contact us.