Sutta(s) instructing to emulate noble persons

I’m not sure how to word this, but I’m looking for a sutta or suttas teaching to act in such a way as to emulate as if one were a noble person (sotapanna, sakadagami, anagami, arahant) in order to develop right thought, speech and action.

Thank you.


AN3.70:19.2 ff:
‘As long as they live, the perfected ones give up killing living creatures, renouncing the rod and the sword. They are scrupulous and kind, and live full of compassion for all living beings.
I, too, for this day and night will give up killing living creatures, renouncing the rod and the sword. I’ll be scrupulous and kind, and live full of compassion for all living beings.
I will observe the sabbath by doing as the perfected ones do in this respect.

Searching for “as long as they live” gives you more instances. I am adding the term to the examples so it will be highlighted in the future.


Thank you, Sabbamitta! I searched as you suggested and found a few gems. Here’s one from the Dhammapada that I forgot about until I saw it:


For me, the key sutta for this is MN8. MN8 is quite remarkable because the Buddha starts out by telling Cunda to not get ahead of himself:

MN8:4.1: It’s possible that a certain mendicant, quite secluded from sensual pleasures, secluded from unskillful qualities, might enter and remain in the first absorption, which has the rapture and bliss born of seclusion, while placing the mind and keeping it connected.
MN8:4.2: They might think
MN8:4.3: they’re practicing self-effacement.
MN8:4.4: But in the training of the Noble One these are not called ‘self-effacement’;
MN8:4.5: they’re called ‘blissful meditations in the present life’.

And then the Buddha quite firmly points to ethics:

MN8:12.1: Now, Cunda, you should work on self-effacement in each of the following ways.
MN8:12.2: ‘Others will be cruel, but here we will not be cruel.’
MN8:12.3: ‘Others will kill living creatures, but here we will not kill living creatures.’
MN8:12.4: ‘Others will steal, but here we will not steal.’
MN8:12.5: ‘Others will be unchaste, but here we will not be unchaste.’
MN8:12.6: ‘Others will lie, but here we will not lie.’

MN8 re-oriented my entire life. I had spent decades getting ahead of myself, tripping over my own feet in a rush down the spiritual path, wasting a lot of time on wrong view, etc. After reading MN8, I went back to the beginning and started over with the right view. Ethics are absolutely crucial and ethics are absolutely not obvious. Study them carefully. Buddhist ethics are quite subtle–they go far beyond the Golden Rule. The Golden Rule will not get us fully down the Noble Eightfold Path. Study Buddhist ethics carefully.

And with the right view, right immersion eventually becomes possible:

MN8:17.3: Here are these roots of trees, and here are these empty huts. Practice absorption, Cunda! Don’t be negligent! Don’t regret it later! This is my instruction.”


Thank you very much for sharing this. :pray: I think especially in Western Buddhism, there’s this strange emphasis on making “progress” in one’s meditation practice, but the fundamental foundational work of developing sīla and really understanding virtuous conduct often gets glossed over. MN8 is a wonderful reminder of where the Path actually begins, I am definitely going to be spending some time contemplating it.


There are instructions for gradual but thorough training/ practice in MN 107.

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