The Essential Scripture...

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The Essential Scriptures of the Buddha and Patriarchs

Sūtra on the Five Types of Merit Enjoyed by the Sage

Thus have I heard. At one time, the Buddha was dwelling at Śrāvastī, in Jeta’s Grove in Anāthapiṇḍada’s Park. The Buddha addressed all the bhikṣus [monks]: “There are five types of merit that are enjoyed by a sage who preaches the dharma. What are those five types of merit? Upon that person’s rebirth, he will enjoy long life; this is the first type of merit. Upon that person’s rebirth, he will enjoy great prosperity, copious wealth, and abundant riches; this is the second type of merit. Upon that person’s rebirth, he will enjoy beauty and grace that is without compare; this is the third type of merit. Upon that person’s rebirth, he will enjoy fame, reputation, and wide renown; this is the fourth type of merit. Upon that person’s rebirth, he will enjoy intelligence and great knowledge; this is the fifth type of merit.

How is it that [lit. through what cause will] a sage who has preached the dharma will come to enjoy long life? In a previous lifetime when he preached the dharma, it was excellent in the beginning, excellent in the middle, and excellent in the end, and replete with meaning. Returning home, he passed away. Killers heard that dharma and immediately stopped what they were doing and no longer killed. For this reason, [the preacher] will enjoy long life [in a future lifetime].

“How is it that a sage who has preached the dharma will come to enjoy great prosperity, copious wealth, and abundant riches? In a previous lifetime when he preached the dharma, it was excellent in the beginning, excellent in the middle, and excellent in the end, and replete with meaning. Returning home, he passed away. Thieves heard that dharma and immediately stopped what they were doing and no longer stole; they were then able to engage in almsgiving. For this reason, he will enjoy great prosperity.

“How is it that a sage who has preached the dharma will come to enjoy beauty and grace that is without compare? In a previous lifetime when he preached the dharma, it was excellent in the beginning, excellent in the middle, and excellent in the end, and replete with meaning. Returning home, he passed away. He prompted those who heard that dharma to calm their spirits and be at peace; their faces were radiant and content and spontaneously glowing and smooth. For this reason, he will enjoy beauty and grace.

“How is it that a sage who has preached the dharma will come to enjoy fame, reputation, and wide renown? In a previous lifetime when he preached the dharma, it was excellent in the beginning, excellent in the middle, and excellent in the end, and replete with meaning. Returning home, he passed away. He prompted those who heard that dharma to venerate the Buddha, venerate the Dharma, and venerate the Bhikṣu-Saṃgha [community of monks]. For this reason, he will enjoy fame and renown.

“How is it that a sage who has preached the dharma will come to enjoy intelligence and great knowledge? In a previous lifetime when he preached the dharma, it was excellent in the beginning, excellent in the middle, and excellent in the end, and replete with meaning. Returning home, he passed away. He prompted those who heard that dharma to generate astute understanding and sublime wisdom. For this reason, he will enjoy intelligence and great knowledge.
“These are the five means through which those who have preached the sūtras accrue merit.”
Hearing this sūtra, all the bhikṣus rejoiced and prostrated in homage before the Buddha.