Translating Classical Buddhism to Modern English

The Numerical Discourses

Chapter 12: The Single Entry Path

4. Watching over the Sick

1. Thus I have heard: One time, the Buddha was staying at Anāthapiṇḍada’s Park in Jeta’s Grove of Śrāvastī.

2. It was then that the Bhagavān addressed the monks, “If someone watches over the sick, then they’ve watched over me. Someone who looks after the sick has looked after me. Why is that? Right now, I myself am looking after the sick.

3. “Monks, I don’t see a single person among the gods and the world’s ascetics and priests who gives the supreme and unsurpassed gift. The generosity that person practices is such a gift. They obtain a great reward, great virtue, become well known, achieve the complete attainments, and attain the sweet-tasting Dharma dew. That person is the Tathāgata, Arhat, and Completely Awakened One. He knows the supreme and unsurpassed gift of gifts, and his practice of generosity is such of gift. He obtains great rewards and great virtue …

4. “To create the conditions for this [gift] to arise, I now say, ‘Someone who watches over the sick has watched over me.’ It’s no different. You’ll obtain that great fortune after a long time.

5. “Thus, monks, you should train yourselves.”

6. When the monks heard what the Buddha taught, they rejoiced and approved.

Translator: Charles Patton

Last Revised: 29 June 2023