Guide to Tipitaka


A³guttara Nikæya

(4) Catukka Nipæta Pæ¹i

(a) These four persons are found in the world: he who goes with the stream; he who goes against the stream; he who stands firm; he who has crossed over to the other shore and stands on dry land.

The person who indulges in sense desires and commits wrong deeds is one who goes with the stream. He who does not indulge in sense desires or commit wrong deeds, but lives the pure, chaste life, struggling painfully and with difficulty to do so is one who goes against the stream. He who stands firm is the person who, having destroyed the five lower fetters, is reborn spontaneously in Brahma realm, whence he realizes Nibbæna without ever returning to the sensuous sphere. The one who has gone to the other shore standing on dry land is the person who has destroyed all the mental intoxicants, and who has realized, in this very life, by himself, the liberation of the mind and liberation by knowledge. (para 5)

(b) There are four right efforts: (i) The energetic effort to prevent evil, unwholesome states of mind from arising; (ii) the energetic effort to get rid of evil, unwholesome states of mind that heave already arisen; (iii) the energetic effort to arouse good, wholesome states of mind that have not yet arisen; (iv) the energetic effort to develop and bring to perfection the good and wholesome states of mind already arisen. (para 13)

(c) As a Tathægata speaks, so he acts; as he acts, so he speaks. Therefore he is called a Tathægata. (para 23)

(d) There are four highest kinds of faith: The Tathægata, the holiest and fully enlightened, is the highest among all living beings. Among all conditioned things, the Noble Path of Eight Constituents is the highest. Among all conditioned and unconditioned things, Nibbæna is the highest. Amongst all groups of men, the Order of the Tathægata, the Saµgha made up of the four pairs of noble men, the eight Ariyas, is the highest.

For those who have faith in the highest, namely, the Buddha, the Path, the Nibbæna and the Ariyas the highest resultant effects (result of action) will be theirs. (para 34)

(e) There are four ways of dealing with questions: (i) Some should be given direct answers, (ii) others should be answered by way of analysing them, (iii) some questions should be answered by counter-questions, (iv) lastly, some questions should simply be put aside. (para 42)

(f) There are four distortions (vipallæsas) in perception, thought and view. To hold that there is permanence in the impermanence; to hold that there is happiness in suffering; to hold that there is atta where there is no atta; to hold that there is pleasantness (subha) in that which is foul. (para 49)

(g) When Nakulapitæ and Nakulamætæ express their wish to the Buddha to be in one another’s sight as long as the present life lasts and in the future life as well, the Buddha advises them to try to have the same faith, the same virtue, the same generosity and the same wisdom; then they will have their wish fulfilled. (paras 55-56)

(h) He who gives food gives four things to those who receive it. He gives them long life, beauty, happiness and strength. The donor himself will be endowed with long life, beauty, happiness and strength wherever he is born in the human or the deva world. (para 57)

(i) There are four subjects not fit for speculative thought (Acinteyyæni). They are: the specific qualities of a Buddha (Buddhavisayo); a person’s jhæna attainment; the results of Kamma; and the nature of the world (loka cintæ). These imponderables are not to be pondered upon; which, if pondered upon, would lead one to mental distress and insanity. (para 77)

(j) There are four things concerning which no one whether sama¼a, bræhma¼a, deva, Mæra or anyone else in the world can give a guarantee:

(i) That what is liable to decay should not decay;
(ii) that what is liable to illness should not fall ill;
(iii) that what is liable to die should not die; and
(iv) that no resultant effects should come forth
from those evil deeds done previously. (para 182)

(k) There are four ways by which a person’s character may be judged:

His virtue can be known by a wise and intelligent person paying close attention after living together with him for a very long time. His integrity can be known by a wise and intelligent person by having dealings with him, paying close attention over a long period of time. His fortitude can be known by a wise and intelligent person by observing him with close attention in times of misfortune. His wisdom can be judged by a wise and intelligent person when conversing with him on various subjects over a long period of time. (para 192)

(l) There are four things conducive to the growth of wisdom: associating with a good person; hearing the good Dhamma; maintaining a right attitude of mind and leading a life in accordance with the Dhamma. (para 248)