Dasadhamma Sutta - The Ten Dhammas for Buddhist Monks

Buddha, the Founder of Buddhism

by Thanissaro Bhikkhu and Piyadassi Thera

Dasadhamma Sutta deals with the ten commandments suggested by the Buddha to the monks. A monk needs to do constant introspection on the path to ensure that he adheres to the virtues of the Eightfold Path and attains the highest distinction. These rules enable the monks to accomplish the noble objective. We are presenting below two translations of the same sutta. Jayaram V


Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

"There are these ten things that a person gone-forth should reflect on often. Which ten?

"'I have become casteless': a person gone forth should often reflect on this.

"'My life is dependent on others'...

"'My behavior should be different [from that of householders]'...

"'Can I fault myself with regard to my virtue?'...

"'Can my knowledgeable fellows in the holy life, on close examination, fault me with regard to my virtue?'...

"'I will grow different, separate from all that is dear & appealing to me'...

"'I am the owner of my actions (kamma), heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir'...

"'What am I becoming as the days & nights fly past?'...

"'Do I delight in an empty dwelling?'...

"'Have I attained a superior human attainment, a truly noble distinction of knowledge & vision, such that — when my fellows in the holy life question me in the last days of my life — I won't feel abashed?': a person gone forth should often reflect on this.

Translated from the Pali by Piyadassi Thera

"These are the ten things that a person gone-forth should reflect on often."

Thus have I heard:

On one occasion the Blessed One was living near Savatthi at Jetavana at the monastery of Anathapindika.

Then the Blessed One addressed the monks, saying: "Monks." — "Venerable Sir," they said by way of reply. The Blessed One then spoke as follows:"These ten essentials1 must be reflected upon again and again by one who has gone forth (to live the holy life). What are these ten?

1. "'I am now changed into a different mode of life (from that of a layman).' This must be reflected upon again and again by one who has gone forth.

2. "'My life depends on others.' This must be reflected upon again and again by one who has gone forth.

3. "'I must now behave in a different manner.' This must be reflected upon again and again by one who has gone forth.

4. "'Does my mind upbraid me regarding the state of my virtue?'2 This must be reflected upon again and again by one who has gone forth.

5. "'Do my discerning fellow-monks having tested me, reproach me regarding the state of my virtue?' This must be reflected upon again and again by one who has gone forth.

6. "'There will be a parting (some day) from all those who are dear and loving to me. Death brings this separation to me.' This must be reflected upon again and again by one who has gone forth.

7. "'Of kamma3 I am constituted. Kamma is my inheritance; kamma is the matrix; kamma is my kinsman; kamma is my refuge. Whatever kamma I perform, be it good or bad, to that I shall be heir.' This must be reflected upon again and again by one who has gone forth.

8. "'How do I spend my nights and days?' This must be reflected upon again and again by one who has gone forth.

9. "'Do I take delight in solitude?' This must be reflected upon again and again by one who has gone forth.

10. "'Have I gained superhuman faculties? Have I gained that higher wisdom so that when I am questioned (on this point) by fellow-monks at the last moment (when death is approaching) I will have no occasion to be depressed and downcast?' This must be reflected upon again and again by one who has gone forth.

"These, monks, are the essentials that should be reflected again and again by one who has gone forth (to live the holy life)." So spoke the Blessed One. Those monks rejoiced at the words of the Blessed One.

Suggestions for Further Reading

Source: Copyright © 1999 Buddhist Publication Society. Access to Insight edition © 1994 For free distribution. This work may be republished, reformatted, reprinted, and redistributed in any medium. It is the author's wish, however, that any such republication and redistribution be made available to the public on a free and unrestricted basis and that translations and other derivative works be clearly marked as such

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