Entry in the Path, control it before death?

In the case of ignorant, ordinary worldlings who lack virtue, with the breaking up of the body at death they go to a bad realm of existence, being reborn in hell. But you, householder, do not lack virtue; rather, you are strong in virtue. And by [recalling your] strong virtue, house- holder, you may be able to extinguish your pain and give rise to hap- piness. By [recalling your] strong virtue, householder, you may attain the fruit of once-returning or [even] the fruit of non-returning, as you have already attained stream-entry.

As I understand it it’s saying you can probably use that mental power in meditation to reach further in the Path. But it’s also not sure. This was from the Chinese Agama and was said by Sariputta. From 28. The Discourse on Teaching the Ill [Anāthapiṇḍika] in THE MADHYAMA ĀGAMA

This translation is actually not very precise.

First, it’s not just “virtue” but “bad precepts” that’s the subject of this passage.

Second, the translator is inserting “recalling your” into all of those passages, hence the brackets. It’s not in the original Chinese.

I’m also not sure why the translator renders “good” as “strong” in this passage, and s/he skips over the intensifier in front of happiness, which to me means it’s referring to Nirvana.

[0459a17] 「長者莫怖!長者莫怖!所以者何?若愚癡凡夫因惡戒故,身壞命終,趣至惡處,生地獄中。長者無有惡戒,唯有善戒,長者因善戒故,或滅苦痛,生極快樂,因善戒故,或得斯陀含果,或阿那含果,長者本已得須陀洹。

“Don’t be afraid, householder! Don’t be afraid, householder! What’s the reason for that? If a foolish and ordinary man goes to a bad place and is born in hell, it’s on account of bad precepts. Householder, you have no bad precepts but only good precepts. Householder, on account of good precepts, you might cease pain and suffering and give rise to the greatest happiness. On account of good precepts, the fruit of a once-returner or a non-returner might be attained for a householder who’s attained stream-entry in the past.”

That’s more literal.


Hello Cd
Fyr :

If a ignorant worldling because of
egregious precepts ,

After the breakup of the body ,

Heading to the dreadful destination,

Is born in the hell realm .

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Colorful! As a poet I would approve, but as a translator I will stick to translating 惡 consistently. I used render it as evil, but decided that was a bit strong in many passages.


Thanks for the correct translation. Makes more sense now.

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