Daily life
The Family
By Bhikku Bodhi - Wisdom Publications 2005
01/01/2022 20:52 (GMT+7)
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Then the Blessed One spoke thus: “If, householders, both wife and husband wish to be in one another’s sight so long as this life lasts and in the future life as well, they should have the same faith, the same moral discipline, the same generosity, the same wisdom; then they will be in one another’s sight so long as this life lasts and in the future life as well.”


(1) Parents and Children


 (a) Respect for Parents

 

“Monks, those families dwell with Brahmā where at home the parents are respected by their children. Those families dwell with the ancient teachers where at home the parents are respected by their children. Those families dwell with the ancient deities where at home the parents are respected by the children. Those families dwell with the holy ones where at home the parents are respected by their children. 

“’Brahmā,’ monks, is a term for father and mother. ‘The ancient teachers’ is a term for father and mother. ‘The ancient deities’ is a term for father and mother. ‘The holy ones’ is a term for father and mother. And why? Parents are

Này các Tỷ-kheo, of great help to their children; they bring them up, feed them, and show them the world.” 


(b) Repaying One’s Parents  


“Monks, I declare that there are two persons one can never repay. What two? One’s mother and father.

“Even if one should carry about one’s mother on one shoulder and one’s father on the other, and while doing so should live a hundred years, reach the age of a hundred years; and if one should attend to them by anointing them with balms, by massaging, bathing, and rubbing their limbs, and they should even void their excrements there—even by that would one not do enough for one’s parents, nor would one repay them. Even if one were to establish one’s parents as the supreme lords and rulers over this earth so rich in the seven treasures, one would not do enough for them, nor would one repay them. For what reason? Parents are of great help to their children; they bring them up, feed them, and show them the world.

“But, monks, one who encourages his unbelieving parents, settles and establishes them in faith; who encourages his immoral parents, settles and establishes them in moral discipline; who encourages his stingy parents, settles and establishes them in generosity; who encourages his ignorant parents, settles and establishes them in wisdom—such a one, monks, does enough for his parents: he repays them and more than repays them for what they have done.” 


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 (2) Husbands and Wives

 

(a) Different Kinds of Marriages

 

On one occasion the Blessed One was traveling along the highway between Madhurā and Verañjā, and a number of householders and their wives were traveling along the same road. Then the Blessed One left the road and sat down on a seat at the foot of a tree. The householders and their wives saw the Blessed One sitting there and approached him. Having paid homage to him, they sat down to one side, and the Blessed One then said to them: 

“Householders, there are these four kinds of marriages. What four? A wretch lives together with a wretch; a wretch lives together with a goddess; a god lives together with a wretch; a god lives together with a goddess.

“And how does a wretch live together with a wretch? Here, householders, the husband is one who destroys life, takes what is not given, engages in sexual misconduct, speaks falsely, and indulges in wines, liquor, and intoxicants, the basis for negligence; he is immoral, of bad character; he dwells at home with a heart obsessed by the stain of stinginess; he abuses and reviles ascetics and brahmins. And his wife is exactly the same in all respects. It is in such a way that a wretch lives together with a wretch. 

“And how does a wretch live together with a goddess? Here, householders, the husband is one who destroys life … who abuses and reviles ascetics and brahmins. But his wife is one who abstains from the destruction of life … from wines, liquor, and intoxicants; she is virtuous, of good character; she dwells at home with a heart free from the stain of stinginess; she does not abuse or revile ascetics and brahmins. It is in such a way that a wretch lives together with a goddess.

 “And how does a god live together with a wretch? Here, householders, the husband is one who abstains from the destruction of life … who does not abuse or revile ascetics and brahmins. But his wife is one who destroys life … who abuses and reviles ascetics and brahmins. It is in such a way that a god lives together with a wretch.

 “And how does a god live together with a goddess? Here, householders, the husband is one who abstains from the destruction of life … from wines, liquor, and intoxicants; he is virtuous, of good character; he dwells at home with a heart free from the stain of stinginess; he does not abuse or revile ascetics and brahmins. And his wife is exactly the same in all respects. It is in such a way that a god lives together with a goddess.

“These, householders, are the four kinds of marriages.” 


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(b) How to Be United in Future Lives

 

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling among the Bhagga people, near Suṃsumāragiri, in the Deer Park of the Bhesakalā Grove. One morning the Blessed One dressed, took his upper robe and bowl, and went to the dwelling of the householder Nakulapitā.3 Having arrived there, he sat down on the seat prepared for him. Then the householder Nakulapitā and the housewife Nakulamātā approached the Blessed One and, after paying homage to him, sat down to one side. So seated, the householder Nakulapitā said to the Blessed One:

 “Venerable sir, ever since the young housewife Nakulamātā was brought home to me when I too was still young, I am not aware of having wronged her even in my thoughts, still less in my deeds. Our wish is to be in one another’s sight so long as this life lasts and in the future life as well.”

Then Nakulamātā the housewife addressed the Blessed One thus: “Venerable sir, ever since I was taken to the home of my young husband Nakulapitā, while being a young girl myself, I am not aware of having wronged him even in my thoughts, still less in my deeds. Our wish is to be in one another’s sight so long as this life lasts and in the future life as well. 

 Then the Blessed One spoke thus: “If, householders, both wife and husband wish to be in one another’s sight so long as this life lasts and in the future life as well, they should have the same faith, the same moral discipline, the same generosity, the same wisdom; then they will be in one another’s sight so long as this life lasts and in the future life as well.” 

When both are faithful and generous, Self-restrained, of righteous living, They come together as husband and wife Full of love for each other.

Many blessings come their way, They dwell together in happiness, Their enemies are left dejected, When both are equal in virtue. 

Having lived by Dhamma in this world, The same in virtue and observance, They rejoice after death in the deva-world, Enjoying abundant happiness.

 

(c) Seven Kinds of Wives

 

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. In the morning the Blessed One dressed, took his bowl and robe, and went to Anāthapiṇḍika’s house, where he sat down in a seat prepared for him. On that occasion people in the house were making an uproar and a racket. The householder

Anāthapiṇḍika approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, and sat down to one side.4 The Blessed One then said to him: “Why are people in your house making this uproar and racket, householder? One would think they were fishermen making a haul of fish.”

 “That, venerable sir, is our daughter-in-law Sujātā. She is rich and has been brought here from a rich family. She does not obey her father-in-law and mother-in-law, nor her husband. She does not even honor, respect, esteem, and venerate the Blessed One.”

Then the Blessed One called the daughter-in-law Sujātā, saying, “Come, Sujātā.”

 “Yes, venerable sir,” she replied, and she went to the Blessed One, paid homage to him, and sat down to one side. The Blessed One then said to her: “There are these seven kinds of wives, Sujātā. What seven? One like a slayer, one like a thief, one like a tyrant, one like a mother, one like a sister, one like a friend, and one like a handmaid. These are the seven kinds of wives. Now which of these seven are you?” 

“I do not understand in detail the meaning of the Blessed One’s brief statement. It would be good, venerable sir, if the Blessed One would teach me the Dhamma in such a way that I might understand the meaning in detail.”

“Then listen, Sujātā, and attend carefully. I will speak.”

  “Yes, venerable sir,” Sujātā replied. The Blessed One said this:

 “With hateful mind, cold and heartless, Lusting for others, despising her husband; Who seeks to kill the one who bought her— Such a wife is called a slayer.

“When her husband acquires wealth By his craft or trade or farm work, She tries to filch a little for herself— Such a wife is called a thief.

 “The slothful glutton, bent on idling, Harsh, fierce, rough in speech, A woman who bullies her own supporter— Such a wife is called a tyrant.

 “One who is always helpful and kind, Who guards her husband as a mother her son, Who carefully protects the wealth he earns— Such a wife is called a mother.

 “She who holds her husband in high regard As younger sister holds the elder born, Who humbly submits to her husband’s will— Such a wife is called a sister.

 “One who rejoices at her husband’s sight As one friend might welcome another, Well raised, virtuous, devoted— Such a wife is called a friend.

“One without anger, afraid of punishment, 

Who bears with her husband free of hate, Who humbly submits to her husband’s will— Such a wife is called a handmaid.5

 “The types of wives here called a slayer, A thief, and the wife like a tyrant, These kinds of wives, with the body’s breakup, Will be reborn deep in hell.

 “But wives like mother, sister, friend, And the wife called a handmaid, Steady in virtue, long restrained, With the body’s breakup go to heaven.

 “These, Sujātā, are the seven kinds of wives. Now which of these are you?”

 “Beginning today, venerable sir, you should consider me a wife who is like a handmaid.”

Excerpt from: (AN 4:63; II 70),  (AN 4:53; II 57–59),(AN 2: iv, 2; I 61–62)

 In The Buddha’s Words An Anthology of Discourses from the Pāli Canon

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