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8: The Book of the Eights

V. Sabbath — AN 8.43: With Visākhā on the Sabbath

1At one time the Buddha was staying near Sāvatthī in the Eastern Monastery, the stilt longhouse of Migāra’s mother. Then Visākhā, Migāra’s mother, went up to the Buddha, bowed, and sat down to one side. The Buddha said to her:

“Visākhā, the observance of the sabbath with its eight factors is very fruitful and beneficial and splendid and bountiful. And how should it be observed? It’s when a noble disciple reflects: ‘As long as they live, the perfected ones give up killing living creatures, renouncing the rod and the sword. They are scrupulous and kind, and live full of compassion for all living beings. I, too, for this day and night will give up killing living creatures, renouncing the rod and the sword. I’ll be scrupulous and kind, and live full of compassion for all living beings. I will observe the sabbath by doing as the perfected ones do in this respect.’ This is its first factor. …

2‘As long as they live, the perfected ones give up high and luxurious beds. They sleep in a low place, either a small bed or a straw mat. I, too, for this day and night will give up high and luxurious beds. I’ll sleep in a low place, either a small bed or a straw mat. I will observe the sabbath by doing as the perfected ones do in this respect.’ This is its eighth factor. The observance of the sabbath with its eight factors in this way is very fruitful and beneficial and splendid and bountiful.

3How much so? Suppose you were to rule as sovereign lord over these sixteen great countries — Aṅga, Magadha, Kāsī, Kosala, Vajjī, Malla, Ceti, Vaṅga, Kuru, Pañcāla, Maccha, Sūrusena, Assaka, Avanti, Gandhāra, and Kamboja — full of the seven kinds of precious things. This wouldn’t be worth a sixteenth part of the sabbath with its eight factors. Why is that? Because human kingship is a poor thing compared to the happiness of the gods.

4Fifty years in the human realm is one day and night for the Gods of the Four Great Kings. Thirty such days make up a month. Twelve such months make up a year. The life span of the Gods of the Four Great Kings is five hundred of these divine years. It’s possible that a woman or man who has observed the eight-factored sabbath will — when their body breaks up, after death — be reborn in the company of the Gods of the Four Great Kings. This is what I was referring to when I said: ‘Human kingship is a poor thing compared to the happiness of the gods.’

5A hundred years in the human realm is one day and night for the Gods of the Thirty-Three. Thirty such days make up a month. Twelve such months make up a year. The life span of the Gods of the Thirty-Three is a thousand of these divine years. It’s possible that a woman or man who has observed the eight-factored sabbath will — when their body breaks up, after death — be reborn in the company of the Gods of the Thirty-Three. This is what I was referring to when I said: ‘Human kingship is a poor thing compared to the happiness of the gods.’

6Two hundred years in the human realm …

Four hundred years in the human realm …

Eight hundred years in the human realm …

Sixteen hundred years in the human realm is one day and night for the Gods Who Control the Creations of Others. Thirty such days make up a month. Twelve such months make up a year. The life span of the Gods Who Control the Creations of Others is sixteen thousand of these divine years. It’s possible that a woman or man who has observed the eight-factored sabbath will — when their body breaks up, after death — be reborn in the company of the Gods Who Control the Creations of Others. This is what I was referring to when I said: ‘Human kingship is a poor thing compared to the happiness of the gods.’


7You shouldn’t kill living creatures, or steal,
or lie, or drink alcohol.
Be celibate, refraining from sex,
and don’t eat at night, the wrong time.

8Not wearing garlands or applying perfumes,
you should sleep on a low bed, or a mat on the ground.
This is the eight-factored sabbath, they say,
explained by the Buddha, who has gone to suffering’s end.

9The moon and sun are both fair to see,
radiating as far as they revolve.
Those shining ones in the sky light up the quarters,
dispelling the darkness as they traverse the heavens.

10All of the wealth that’s found in this realm —
pearls, gems, fine beryl too,
horn-gold or mountain gold,
or natural gold dug up by marmots —

11they’re not worth a sixteenth part
of the sabbath with its eight factors,
as all the constellations of stars can’t equal the light of the moon.

12So an ethical woman or man,
who has observed the eight-factored sabbath,
having made merit whose outcome is happiness,
blameless, they go to a heavenly place.”

1Ekaṁ samayaṁ bhagavā sāvatthiyaṁ viharati pubbārāme migāramātupāsāde. Atha kho visākhā migāramātā yena bhagavā tenupasankami; upasankamitvā bhagavantaṁ abhivādetvā ekamantaṁ nisīdi. Ekamantaṁ nisinnaṁ kho visākhaṁ migāramātaraṁ bhagavā etadavoca: 

"Aṭṭhangasamannāgato kho, visākhe, uposatho upavuttho mahapphalo hoti mahānisaṁso mahājutiko mahāvipphāro. Kathaṁ upavuttho ca, visākhe, aṭṭhangasamannāgato uposatho mahapphalo hoti mahānisaṁso mahājutiko mahāvipphāro? Idha, visākhe, ariyasāvako iti paṭisañcikkhati:  ‘yāvajīvaṁ arahanto pāṇātipātaṁ pahāya pāṇātipātā paṭiviratā nihitadaṇḍā nihitasatthā lajjī dayāpannā, sabbapāṇabhūtahitānukampino viharanti. Ahampajja imañca rattiṁ imañca divasaṁ pāṇātipātaṁ pahāya pāṇātipātā paṭivirato nihitadaṇḍo nihitasattho lajjī dayāpanno, sabbapāṇabhūtahitānukampī viharāmi. Imināpangena arahataṁ anukaromi, uposatho ca me upavuttho bhavissatī’ti. Iminā paṭhamena angena samannāgato hoti … pe … .

2‘Yāvajīvaṁ arahanto uccāsayanamahāsayanaṁ pahāya uccāsayanamahāsayanā paṭiviratā nīcaseyyaṁ kappenti – mañcake vā tiṇasanthārake vā. Ahampajja imañca rattiṁ imañca divasaṁ uccāsayanamahāsayanaṁ pahāya uccāsayanamahāsayanā paṭivirato nīcaseyyaṁ kappemi – mañcake vā tiṇasanthārake vā. Imināpangena arahataṁ anukaromi, uposatho ca me upavuttho bhavissatī’ti. Iminā aṭṭhamena angena samannāgato hoti. Evaṁ upavuttho kho, visākhe, aṭṭhangasamannāgato uposatho mahapphalo hoti mahānisaṁso mahājutiko mahāvipphāro.

3Kīvamahapphalo hoti, kīvamahānisaṁso, kīvamahājutiko, kīvamahāvipphāro? Seyyathāpi, visākhe, yo imesaṁ soḷasannaṁ mahājanapadānaṁ pahūta­rattaratanānaṁ issariyādhipaccaṁ rajjaṁ kāreyya, seyyathidaṁ – angānaṁ magadhānaṁ kāsīnaṁ kosalānaṁ vajjīnaṁ mallānaṁ cetīnaṁ vangānaṁ kurūnaṁ pañcālānaṁ macchānaṁ sūrasenānaṁ assakānaṁ avantīnaṁ gandhārānaṁ kambojānaṁ, aṭṭhangasamannāgatassa uposathassa etaṁ kalaṁ nāgghati soḷasiṁ. Taṁ kissa hetu? Kapaṇaṁ, visākhe, mānusakaṁ rajjaṁ dibbaṁ sukhaṁ upanidhāya.

4Yāni, visākhe, mānusakāni paññāsa vassāni, cātumahārājikānaṁ devānaṁ eso eko rattindivo. Tāya rattiyā tiṁsarattiyo māso. Tena māsena dvādasamāsiyo saṁvaccharo. Tena saṁvaccharena dibbāni pañca vassasatāni cātumahārājikānaṁ devānaṁ āyuppamāṇaṁ. Ṭhānaṁ kho panetaṁ, visākhe, vijjati yaṁ idhekacco itthī vā puriso vā aṭṭhangasamannāgataṁ uposathaṁ upavasitvā kāyassa bhedā paraṁ maraṇā cātumahārājikānaṁ devānaṁ sahabyataṁ upapajjeyya. Idaṁ kho panetaṁ, visākhe, sandhāya bhāsitaṁ:  ‘kapaṇaṁ mānusakaṁ rajjaṁ dibbaṁ sukhaṁ upanidhāya’.

5Yaṁ, visākhe, mānusakaṁ vassasataṁ, tāvatiṁsānaṁ devānaṁ eso eko rattindivo. Tāya rattiyā tiṁsarattiyo māso. Tena māsena dvādasamāsiyo saṁvaccharo. Tena saṁvaccharena vassasahassaṁ tāvatiṁsānaṁ devānaṁ āyuppamāṇaṁ. Ṭhānaṁ kho panetaṁ, visākhe, vijjati yaṁ idhekacco itthī vā puriso vā aṭṭhangasamannāgataṁ uposathaṁ upavasitvā kāyassa bhedā paraṁ maraṇā tāvatiṁsānaṁ devānaṁ sahabyataṁ upapajjeyya. Idaṁ kho panetaṁ, visākhe, sandhāya bhāsitaṁ:  ‘kapaṇaṁ mānusakaṁ rajjaṁ dibbaṁ sukhaṁ upanidhāya’.

6Yāni, visākhe, mānusakāni dve vassasatāni … pe … cattāri vassasatāni … pe … aṭṭha vassasatāni … pe … soḷasa vassasatāni paranimmita­vasavattīnaṁ devānaṁ eso eko rattindivo. Tāya rattiyā tiṁsarattiyo māso. Tena māsena dvādasamāsiyo saṁvaccharo. Tena saṁvaccharena dibbāni soḷasa vassasahassāni paranimmita­vasavattīnaṁ devānaṁ āyuppamāṇaṁ. Ṭhānaṁ kho panetaṁ, visākhe, vijjati yaṁ idhekacco itthī vā puriso vā aṭṭhangasamannāgataṁ uposathaṁ upavasitvā kāyassa bhedā paraṁ maraṇā paranimmita­vasavattīnaṁ devānaṁ sahabyataṁ upapajjeyya. Idaṁ kho panetaṁ, visākhe, sandhāya bhāsitaṁ:  ‘kapaṇaṁ mānusakaṁ rajjaṁ dibbaṁ sukhaṁ upanidhāyā’ti.


7Pāṇaṁ na haññe na cadinnamādiye,
Musā na bhāse na ca majjapo siyā;
Abrahmacariyā virameyya methunā,
Rattiṁ na bhuñjeyya vikālabhojanaṁ.

8Mālaṁ na dhāre na ca gandhamācare,
Mañce chamāyaṁ va sayetha santhate;
Etañhi aṭṭhangikamāhuposathaṁ,
Buddhena dukkhantagunā pakāsitaṁ.

9Cando ca suriyo ca ubho sudassanā,
Obhāsayaṁ anupariyanti yāvatā;
Tamonudā te pana antalikkhagā,
Nabhe pabhāsanti disāvirocanā.

10Etasmiṁ yaṁ vijjati antare dhanaṁ,
Muttā maṇi veḷuriyañca bhaddakaṁ;
Singīsuvaṇṇaṁ atha vāpi kañcanaṁ,
Yaṁ jātarūpaṁ haṭakanti vuccati.

11Aṭṭhangupetassa uposathassa,
Kalampi te nānubhavanti soḷasiṁ;
Candappabhā tāragaṇā ca sabbe.

12Tasmā hi nārī ca naro ca sīlavā,
Aṭṭhangupetaṁ upavassuposathaṁ;
Puññāni katvāna sukhudrayāni,
Aninditā saggamupenti ṭhānan"ti.

Tatiyaṁ.