While the Mangala Sutta deals with the way of life conducive to
progress and happiness, the Parabhava Sutta supplements it by pointing
out the causes of downfall. He who allows himself to become tarnished
by these blemishes of conduct blocks his own road to worldly, moral
and spiritual progress and lowers all that is truly noble and human in
man. But he who is heedful of these dangers keeps open the road to all
those thirty-eight blessings of which human nature is capable.
* * *
Thus have I heard. Once the Exalted One was dwelling at
Anathapindika's monastery, in the Jeta Grove, near Savatthi.
Now when the night was far spent a certain deity whose surpassing
splendour illuminated the entire Jeta Grove, came to the presence of
the Exalted One and, drawing near, respectfully saluted Him and stood
at one side. Standing thus, he addressed the Exalted One in verse:-
Having come here with our questions to the Exalted One, we ask
thee, O Gotama, about man's decline. Pray, tell us the cause of
Easily known is the progressive one, easily known he who declines.
He who loves Dhamma progresses; he who is averse to it, declines.
Thus much do we see: this is the first cause of one's downfall.
Pray, tell us the second cause.<1>
The wicked are dear to him, with the virtuous he finds no delight,
he prefers the creed of the wicked -- this is a cause of one's
Being fond of sleep, fond of company, indolent, lazy and
irritable -- this is the cause of one's downfall.
Though being well-to-do, not to support father and mother who are
old and past their youth -- this is a cause of one's downfall.
To deceive by falsehood a brahmin or ascetic or any other
mendicant -- this is a cause of one's downfall.
To have much wealth and ample gold and food, but to enjoy one's
luxuries alone -- this is a cause of one's downfall.
To be proud of birth, of wealth or clan, and to despise one's own
kinsmen -- this is a cause of one's downfall.
To be a rake, a drunkard, a gambler, and to squander all one
earns -- this is a cause of one's downfall.
Not to be contented with one's own wife, and to be seen with
harlots and the wives of others -- this is a cause of one's downfall.
Being past one's youth, to take a young wife and to be unable to
sleep for jealousy of her -- this is a cause of one's downfall.
To place in authority a woman given to drink and squandering, or a
man of a like behaviour -- this is a cause of one's downfall.
To be of noble birth, with vast ambition and of slender means, and
to crave for rulership -- this is a cause of one's downfall.
Knowing well these causes of downfall in the world, the noble sage
endowed with insight shares a happy realm.
Sutta-nipata, vv. 91-115
<1> These lines are repeated after each stanza, with the due
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