Translating Classical Buddhism to Modern English

The Numerical Discourses

Chapter 14: Five Precepts

6. No Wrong Sex

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, “I don’t see anything in this assembly like one thing that when cultivated and cultivated often brings the merits that are among humans, the merits up in Heaven, and attains the realization of Nirvāṇa. What is that one thing? It’s not engaging in wrong sex.”[1]

3. The Buddha told the monks, “If a person is chaste and not lustful, keeps themselves fragrant, and doesn’t have wrong notions, then they’ll receive the merits that are up in Heaven or among humans …

4. “Therefore, monks, don’t practice wrong sex or produce lustful thinking. Thus, monks, you should train yourselves.”

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


  1. It’s not engaging in wrong sex. C. 所謂不他婬,身體香潔,亦無邪想. In older alternate readings, the phrase “身體香潔,亦無邪想” appears in the next paragraph. Given that the other sūtras in this chapter lack such elaborations here, I’ve adopted the alternate reading. Uncorrected, the Taisho reads: “It’s not engaging in wrong sex, keeping oneself fragrant, and not having wrong notions.” [back]

Translator: Charles Patton

Last Revised: 31 July 2023