Gratitude to irritating people

Would someone mind reminding me of the ID of the sutta in which the Buddha tells us to be grateful to irritating people because they put us in touch with the defilements we need to work on?

Thanks. :pray:


Are you referring to Dhp 76?

  1. When the wise person sees your faults, he points them out and helps you to improve. It is as if he guides you to a hidden treasure. Associate with such a wise person. As a result, only good will come, not bad.

A very nice passage and thank you for it, but I’m afraid the person I’m thinking of isn’t wise, but difficult or objectionable in some way.


Are you perhaps thinking of AN5.161 & AN5.162 ? Or MN145 ?

It can be sooo irritating when one just can’t track down the sutta that one remembers, but simply can’t find…!. :wink:

One who wishes to be put in touch with their defilements could meditate in that way too… :rofl: :nerd_face: :+1: :+1:


I’m going to make a guess that this isn’t actually found in the suttas. It’s a popular trope in modern Dhamma talks. The most famous story told is from a Gurdjieff community where Gurdjieff called back a very difficult community member who had decided to leave so as to help the others see their own defilements. Another story is Atisha bringing his surly tea boy with him so he had someone to irritate him.

Oh, and the other is the (entirely modern, I think) simile of rocks in a rock tumbler wearing away rough edges.

In the suttas, difficult people are generally to be avoided for a number of reasons. I’m not denying that we can learn from our interactions with these people. Just that this is not something we get so much from the suttas.

Hope you don’t mind me adding this into the thread. Feel free to delete if you consider it off topic.

I’d say that the gratitude that Ven Punna has in this sutta is gratitude at first that people aren’t doing something even worse to him and finally the hypothetical gratitude that he never had to seek out a killer to separate him from his body. As he is talking about this, his mind is already quite pure.


I think you guessed right. Gurdjieff actually paid him to stay around as a “resident teaching” in the community. Memory jogged. :smiley:

Indeed it can: another teaching: :pray: MN145 is a near fit to the Gurdjieff story tho, so thank you.