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Sutta reference for recollection of one's good deeds?

Ajahn Sudanto talked in one of his morning coffee discussions about a set of four practices: recollecting

  1. reasons one can be grateful,
  2. regrets one has,
  3. grudges one holds, and
  4. good deeds one has done.

I have not been able to find mention of these four practices in the suttas or anywhere else. Does anybody know what I am trying to describe, or does anybody have leads?

Thank you very much :pray:

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I listened to a beautiful sutta during part of the Vesak programs, that spoke explicitly about the recollection of good deeds one has done. I’ll try and track it down, but my ‘sutta’ brain isn’t very good at recollecting the names and numbers. It definitely exists though :smiley:

Added: I think it was about the Buddha describing all his past lives, and the many actions of kindness and merit that he had done. There was one action - where he gave his eyes to another so that they could see… a large collection of instances of kindness, and how the recollection of these was the greatest gift to oneself - Samadhi :pray:

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I remember Ajahn Sona talking about remembering your good deeds in one of his discussions at his monastery. I know Ajahn Sudanto and Ajahn Sona do joint retreats between their monasteries.

Ajahn Sona studied with Bhante Henepola Gunaratana. I wonder if it was in one of his books? Long shot - I did a search in the couple of e-books of Bhante Henepola Gunaratana I have and didn’t find anything. But it feels like something he might suggest.

Probably nothing. Just a thought. Good luck! :smiley:

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The monk is preparing your mind for meditation in the standard way. Note that in the four qualities listed by him, two are negative and two positive. In the Anapanasati (and Satipatthana) suttas the third section deals with observation of mind states [Step 9] and then correcting them [10 & 11] if they are found to be depressed or subject to sensuality (outwardly scattered). There are recollections (subsidiary themes) used as remedies found in MN 62 and AN 11.12, for example recollection of one’s own morality would cause joy to arise and so counteract depression, thereby bringing the mind to a state fit for meditation.

" [9] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in sensitive to the mind.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out sensitive to the mind.’ [10] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in satisfying [gladdening] the mind.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out satisfying the mind.’ [11] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in steadying the mind.’ He trains himself, ‘I will breathe out steadying the mind.’ [12] He trains himself, ‘I will breathe in releasing the mind.’ He trains himself, 'I will breathe out releasing the mind.’—-MN 118

4] "Furthermore, there is the case where you recollect your own virtues: '[They are] untorn, unbroken, unspotted, unsplattered, liberating, praised by the wise, untarnished, conducive to concentration.’—-AN 11.12

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This is a beautiful sutta which relates the kinds of rewards resulting from different types of giving. I know it doesn’t directly address your question - but it was too nice not to share :sunflower: :revolving_hearts:

I’ve had to cut and paste it from another source, as the numbering given of AN7.49 doesn’t correspond to the numbers at SC… But I’m sure those more knowledgeable will be able to provide the link to SC, and other translations.

Many motives, many fruits

“Sariputta, there is the case where a person gives a gift seeking his own profit, with a mind attached [to the reward], seeking to store up for himself [with the thought], ‘I’ll enjoy this after death.’ He gives his gift — food, drink, clothing, a vehicle; a garland, perfume, & ointment; bedding, shelter, & a lamp — to a brahman or a contemplative. What do you think, Sariputta? Might a person give such a gift as this?”

“Yes, lord.”

"Having given this gift seeking his own profit — with a mind attached [to the reward], seeking to store up for himself, [with the thought], ‘I’ll enjoy this after death’ — on the break-up of the body, after death, reappears in the company of the Four Great Kings. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, he is a returner, coming back to this world.

“Then there is the case of a person who gives a gift not seeking his own profit, not with a mind attached [to the reward], not seeking to store up for himself, nor [with the thought], ‘I’ll enjoy this after death.’ Instead, he gives a gift with the thought, ‘Giving is good.’ He gives his gift — food, drink, clothing, a vehicle; a garland, perfume, & ointment; bedding, shelter, & a lamp — to a brahman or a contemplative. What do you think, Sariputta? Might a person give such a gift as this?”

“Yes, lord.”

"Having given this gift with the thought, ‘Giving is good,’ on the break-up of the body, after death, reappears in the company of the Devas of the Thirty-three. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, he is a returner, coming back to this world.

"Or, instead of thinking, ‘Giving is good,’ he gives a gift with the thought, ‘This was given in the past, done in the past, by my father & grandfather. It would not be right for me to let this old family custom be discontinued’… on the break-up of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of the Devas of the Hours. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, he is a returner, coming back to this world.

"Or, instead… he gives a gift with the thought, ‘I am well-off. These are not well-off. It would not be right for me, being well-off, not to give a gift to those who are not well-off’… on the break-up of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of the Contented Devas. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, he is a returner, coming back to this world.

"Or, instead… he gives a gift with the thought, ‘Just as there were the great sacrifices of the sages of the past — Atthaka, Vamaka, Vamadeva, Vessamitta, Yamataggi, Angirasa, Bharadvaja, Vasettha, Kassapa, & Bhagu — in the same way will this be my distribution of gifts’… on the break-up of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of the devas who delight in creation. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, he is a returner, coming back to this world.

"Or, instead… he gives a gift with the thought, ‘When this gift of mine is given, it makes the mind serene. Gratification & joy arise’… on the break-up of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of the devas who have power over the creations of others. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, he is a returner, coming back to this world.

“Or, instead of thinking, ‘When this gift of mine is given, it makes the mind serene. Gratification & joy arise,’ he gives a gift with the thought, ‘This is an ornament for the mind, a support for the mind.’ He gives his gift — food, drink, clothing, a vehicle; a garland, perfume, & ointment; bedding, shelter, & a lamp — to a brahman or a contemplative. What do you think, Sariputta? Might a person give such a gift as this?”

“Yes, lord.”

"Having given this, not seeking his own profit, not with a mind attached [to the reward], not seeking to store up for himself, nor [with the thought], ‘I’ll enjoy this after death,’

" — nor with the thought, ‘Giving is good,’

" — nor with the thought, ‘This was given in the past, done in the past, by my father & grandfather. It would not be right for me to let this old family custom be discontinued,’

" — nor with the thought, ‘I am well-off. These are not well-off. It would not be right for me, being well-off, not to give a gift to those who are not well-off,’ nor with the thought, ‘Just as there were the great sacrifices of the sages of the past — Atthaka, Vamaka, Vamadeva, Vessamitta, Yamataggi, Angirasa, Bharadvaja, Vasettha, Kassapa, & Bhagu — in the same way this will be my distribution of gifts,’

" — nor with the thought, ‘When this gift of mine is given, it makes the mind serene. Gratification & joy arise,’

" — but with the thought, ‘This is an ornament for the mind, a support for the mind’ — on the break-up of the body, after death, he reappears in the company of Brahma’s Retinue. Then, having exhausted that action, that power, that status, that sovereignty, he is a non-returner. He does not come back to this world.

“This, Sariputta, is the cause, this is the reason, why a person gives a gift of a certain sort and it does not bear great fruit or great benefit, whereas another person gives a gift of the same sort and it bears great fruit and great benefit.”

AN 7.49

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Here’s the SC version by Bhante Sujato. There’s just a difference in counting the suttas across AN editions I guess.

It’s a beautiful Sutta, I love that all giving leads to good results but that the highest form of giving is just to give because ‘This is an adornment and requisite for the mind’ .

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I’m not aware of a sutta that contains all four practices, but perhaps AN 3.70 and 42.13 might be helpful at least with respect to good deeds. One thing I really like about AN 3.70, the Sabbath sutta, is it seems to be describing meditation practices for lay people based on certain reflections, including reflecting on our good deeds/morality:

“A corrupt mind is cleaned by applying effort. And how is a corrupt mind cleaned by applying effort? It’s when a noble disciple recollects their own ethical conduct, which is unbroken, impeccable, spotless, and unmarred, liberating, praised by sensible people, not mistaken, and leading to immersion. As they recollect their ethical conduct, their mind becomes clear, joy arises, and mental corruptions are given up. It’s just like cleaning a dirty mirror by applying effort.”

AN 3.70 seems to suggest taking recollection of our good deeds/morality further into metta:

And what is immersion based on understanding of principle? It’s when a noble disciple has given up killing living creatures, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, divisive speech, harsh speech, talking nonsense, covetousness, ill will, and wrong view.

Then that noble disciple is rid of desire, rid of ill will, unconfused, aware, and mindful. They meditate spreading a heart full of love to one direction, and to the second, and to the third, and to the fourth. In the same way above, below, across, everywhere, all around, they spread a heart full of love to the whole world—abundant, expansive, limitless, free of enmity and ill will.

with metta,

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@nanavippayutta Here is a dhamma talk of 15 mins duration by Ajahn Brahmali, given 2 days ago, that speaks directly about recollection of generosity and how it works in relation the the Buddhist Path

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There is also this talk on Silanussati by Ven Akaliko :slight_smile:

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Apologies for the sound recording quality :point_up: its pretty bad actually! But a good chance to practice silānussati which is not taught so much, and I also talk about the relationship of Sila with avipattissaro (non-regret), which the OP also mentioned. Again sorry bout the poor sound quality, hopefully the quality of the talk itself is not too bad :grimacing::grimacing::grimacing:

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Hi

If I’m not mistaking he probably called it recollection (I didn’t listen to dharma talk) but actually there the 4 things conduce to householder well being. Which I didn’t find on suttacentral. Found in Insight. Well I’m assuming it’s connected to the 4 you mentioned. Somewhere else these might have been called recollection for Householders Also.

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an08/an08.054.nara.html

I recommend the book Householder’s book of discipline by Ven Archarya Buddharakkhita

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The one mentioned above is here.

[4] "Furthermore, there is the case where you recollect your own virtues: ‘[They are] untorn, unbroken, unspotted, unsplattered, liberating, praised by the wise, untarnished, conducive to concentration.’ At any time when a disciple of the noble ones is recollecting virtue, his mind is not overcome with passion, not overcome with aversion, not overcome with delusion. His mind heads straight, based on virtue. And when the mind is headed straight, the disciple of the noble ones gains a sense of the goal, gains a sense of the Dhamma, gains joy connected with the Dhamma. In one who is joyful, rapture arises. In one who is rapturous, the body grows calm. One whose body is calmed experiences ease. In one at ease, the mind becomes concentrated.

"Of one who does this, Mahanama, it is said: ‘Among those who are out of tune, the disciple of the noble ones dwells in tune; among those who are malicious, he dwells without malice; having attained the stream of Dhamma, he develops the recollection of virtue.’

[5] "Furthermore, there is the case where you recollect your own generosity: ‘It is a gain, a great gain for me, that — among people overcome with the stain of possessiveness — I live at home, my awareness cleansed of the stain of possessiveness, freely generous, openhanded, delighting in being magnanimous, responsive to requests, delighting in the distribution of alms.’ At any time when a disciple of the noble ones is recollecting generosity, his mind is not overcome with passion, not overcome with aversion, not overcome with delusion. His mind heads straight, based on generosity. And when the mind is headed straight, the disciple of the noble ones gains a sense of the goal, gains a sense of the Dhamma, gains joy connected with the Dhamma. In one who is joyful, rapture arises. In one who is rapturous, the body grows calm. One whose body is calmed experiences ease. In one at ease, the mind becomes concentrated.

"Of one who does this, Mahanama, it is said: ‘Among those who are out of tune, the disciple of the noble ones dwells in tune; among those who are malicious, he dwells without malice; having attained the stream of Dhamma, he develops the recollection of generosity.’

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an11/an11.012.than.html

But I think there is a sutta exactly like you saying I can’t remember now

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It’s is true. That the monk is preparing. But it was recommended by Buddha in a sutta exactly to have a peaceful mind before meditation. As I remember. Which sutta now? :face_with_monocle:

I found it

This definitely what you looking for. I’m 100%

I did remember there is a sutta like you mentioned. It’s about wealth we gain as householders and being free from debts.

This sutta mention

These four kinds of happiness can be earned by a layperson who enjoys sensual pleasures, depending on time and occasion.

Since these actions and recollection of being debtless brings bliss it benefits us as layperson to recollect them before meditation so the bliss can calm the body and lead to better meditation etc

Cheers

:pray:t4::pray:t4::pray:t4:

@nanavippayutta

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It’s an ordered approach for laypeople to study suttas adressed on their level:

“Indeed, my various kinds of virtue are “untorn, unrent, unblotched, unmottled, liberating, praised by the wise, not adhered to, and conducive to concentration” (A III 286). And a layman should recollect them in the form of laymen’s virtue while one gone forth into homelessness should recollect them in the form of the virtue of those gone forth.”—-Vism. VII, 101

Application:

Practitioners should strive to investigate and observe the connection between sila and improvement of mental seclusion from conventional reality, that is what concentration (samadhi) means- being mentally secluded. For example :

"And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with sensuality arose in me. I discerned that ‘Thinking imbued with sensuality has arisen in me; and that leads to my own affliction or to the affliction of others or to the affliction of both. It obstructs discernment, promotes vexation, & does not lead to Unbinding.’
[…]
“And as I remained thus heedful, ardent, & resolute, thinking imbued with renunciation arose in me. I discerned that 'Thinking imbued with renunciation has arisen in me; and that leads neither to my own affliction, nor to the affliction of others, nor to the affliction of both. It fosters discernment, promotes lack of vexation, & leads to Unbinding.”—MN 19

This sutta is suitable for beginners as it applies to the stage prior to enlightenment. It is from the beginnings in MN 19 the Buddha later formulated the four noble truths and the noble eightfold path, and right resolve can be clearly seen in the first part of the sutta. The resolves of renunciation, non-ill-will and non-cruelty constitute the motivation for the sila group formulated later, so in this sutta is seen how sila formed the experiential basis of the development of the path.

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