There are four kinds of persons in the world – Samyutta Nikaya

At Savatthi. Then King Pasenadi of Kosala approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, and sat down to one side. The Blessed One then said to him:

“Great king, there are these four kinds of persons found existing in the world. What four? The one heading from darkness to darkness, the one heading from darkness to light, the one heading from light to darkness, the one heading from light to light.

“And how, great king, is a person one heading from darkness to darkness? Here some person has been reborn in a low family — a family of candalas, bamboo workers, hunters, Cartwrights,or flower-scavengers — a poor family in which there is little food and drink and which subsists with difficulty, one where food and clothing are obtained with difficulty; and he is ugly,unsightly, deformed, chronically ill — purblind or cripple-hand-ed or lame or paralyzed.He is not one who gains food, drink,clothing, and vehicles; garlands, scents, and unguents; bedding,housing, and lighting. He engages in misconduct of body,speech, and mind. Having done so, with the breakup of the body,after death, he is reborn in the plane of misery, in a bad destination, in the nether world, in hell.

“Suppose, great king, a man would go from darkness to dark-ness, or from gloom to gloom, or from stain to stain: this person, I say, is exactly similar. It is in this way, great king, that a person is one heading from darkness to darkness.

“And how, great king, is a person one heading from darkness to light? Here some person has been reborn in a low family … one where food and clothing are obtained with difficulty; and he is ugly … or paralyzed. He is not one who gains food … and lighting. He engages in good conduct of body, speech, and mind. Having done so, with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in a good destination, in a heavenly world.

“Suppose, great king, a man would climb from the ground on to a palanquin, or from a palanquin on to horseback,or from horseback to an elephant mount, or from an elephant mount to a mansion: this person, I say, is exactly similar. It is in this way, great king, that a person is one heading from darkness to light.

“And how, great king, is a person one heading from light to darkness? Here some person has been reborn in a high family — an affluent Khattiya family, an affluent Brahmin family, or an affluent householder family — one which is rich, with great wealth and property, with abundant gold and silver, abundant treasures and commodities, abundant wealth and grain;and he is handsome, attractive, graceful, possessing supreme beauty of complexion. He is one who gains food, drink, clothing, and vehicles; garlands, scents, and unguents; bedding,housing, and lighting. He engages in misconduct of body,speech, and mind. Having done so, with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the plane of misery, in a bad destination, in the nether world, in hell.

“Suppose, great king, a man would descend from a mansion to an elephant mount, or from an elephant mount to horseback, or from horseback to a palanquin, or from a palanquin to the ground, or from the ground to underground darkness: this per-son, I say, is exactly similar. It is in this way, great king, that a person is one heading from light to darkness.

“And how, great king, is a person one heading from light to light? Here some person has been reborn in a high family …with abundant wealth and grain; and he is handsome, attractive, graceful, possessing supreme beauty of complexion. He is one who gains food and lighting. He engages in good conduct of body, speech, and mind. Having done so, with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in a good destination, in a heavenly world.

“Suppose, great king, a man would cross over from palanquin to palanquin, or from horseback to horseback, or from elephant mount to elephant mount, or from mansion to mansion: this person, I say, is exactly similar. It is in this way, great king, that a person is one heading from light to light.

“These, great king, are the four kinds of persons found exist-ing in the world.

“The person, O king, who is poor.

Lacking in faith, stingy.

Niggardly, with bad intentions.

Wrong in views, disrespectful,

Who abuses and reviles ascetics.

Brahmins, and other mendicants;

A nihilist, a scoffer, who hinders

Another giving food to beggars:

When such a person dies, O king.

He goes, lord of the people.

To the terrible hell.

Heading from darkness to darkness.

 

“The person, O king, who is poor.

Endowed with faith, generous.

One who gives, with best intentions,

A person with unscattered mind

Who rises up and venerates ascetics.

Brahmins, and other mendicants;

One who trains in righteous conduct.

Who hinders none giving food to beggars:

When such a person dies, O king,

He goes, lord of the people.

To the triple heaven.

Heading from darkness to light.

 

“The person, O king, who is rich.

Lacking in faith, stingy.

Niggardly, with bad intentions.

Wrong in views, disrespectful,

Who abuses and reviles ascetics.

Brahmins, and other mendicants;

A nihilist, a scoffer, who hinders

Another giving food to beggars:

When such a person dies, O king.

He goes, lord of the people.

To the terrible hell.

Heading from light to darkness.

 

“The person, O king, who is rich.

Endowed with faith, generous.

One who gives, with best intentions,

A person with unscattered mind

Who rises up and venerates ascetics.

Brahmins, and other mendicants;

One who trains in righteous conduct,

Who hinders none giving food to beggars:

When such a person dies, O king.

He goes, lord of the people.

To the triple heaven,

Heading from light to light.”

 

Translate from Pali to English by Bhikkhu Bodhi

Part 3 : Kosala

 

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