Aṅguttara Nikāya

The Book of the Fives

41. Utilization

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. Then the householder Anāthapiṇḍika approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, and sat down to one side. The Blessed One then said to him:

“Householder, there are these five utilizations of wealth. What five?

(1) “Here, householder, with wealth acquired by energetic striving, amassed by the strength of his arms, earned by the sweat of his brow, righteous wealth righteously gained, the noble disciple makes himself happy and pleased and properly maintains himself in happiness; he makes his parents happy and pleased and properly maintains them in happiness; he makes his wife and children, his slaves, workers, and servants happy and pleased and properly maintains them in happiness. This is the first utilization of wealth.

(2) “Again, with wealth acquired by energetic striving … righteously gained, the noble disciple makes his friends and companions happy and pleased and properly maintains them in happiness. This is the second utilization of wealth. (3) “Again, with wealth acquired by energetic striving … righteously gained, the noble disciple makes provisions with his wealth against the losses that might arise because of fire or floods, kings or bandits or unloved heirs; he makes himself secure against them. This is the third utilization of wealth.

(4) “Again, with wealth acquired by energetic striving … righteously gained, the noble disciple makes the five oblations: to relatives, guests, ancestors, the king, and the deities. This is the fourth utilization of wealth.

(5) “Again, with wealth acquired by energetic striving … … righteously gained, the noble disciple establishes an uplifting offering of alms—an offering that is heavenly, resulting in happiness, conducive to heaven—to those ascetics and brahmins who refrain from intoxication and heedlessness, who are settled in patience and mildness, who tame themselves, calm themselves, and train themselves for nibbāna. This is the fifth utilization of wealth.

“These, householder, are the five utilizations of wealth. Householder, if a noble disciple’s wealth is exhausted when he has utilized it in these five ways, he thinks: ‘I have utilized wealth in these five ways and my wealth is exhausted.’ Thus he has no regret. But if a noble disciple’s wealth increases when he has utilized it in these five ways, he thinks: ‘I have utilized wealth in these five ways and my wealth has increased.’ Thus, either way, he has no regret.”

“I’ve enjoyed wealth,
supported my dependents,
and overcome adversities.
I have given an uplifting offering,
and performed the five oblations.

I have served the virtuous monks,
the self-controlled celibate ones.
“I have achieved whatever purpose
a wise person, dwelling at home,
might have in desiring wealth;
what I have done brings me no regret.”

Recollecting this, a mortal
remains firm in the noble Dhamma.
They praise him here in this life,
and after death he rejoices in heaven.