Aṅguttara Nikāya

The Book of the Fives

43. Wished for

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 things that are wished for, desired, agreeable, and rarely gained in the world. What five? Long life, householder, is wished for, desired, agreeable, and rarely gained in the world. Beauty … Happiness … Fame … The heavens are wished for, desired, agreeable, and rarely gained in the world. These are the five things that are wished for, desired, agreeable, and rarely gained in the world.

“These five things, householder, that are wished for, desired, agreeable, and rarely gained in the world, I say, are not obtained by means of prayers or aspirations. If these five things that are wished for, desired, agreeable, and rarely gained in the world could be obtained by means of prayers or aspirations, who here would be lacking in anything?

(1) “Householder, the noble disciple who desires long life ought not to pray for long life or delight in it or passively yearn for it. A noble disciple who desires long life should practice the way conducive to long life. For when he practices the way conducive to long life, it leads to obtaining long life, and he gains long life either celestial or human.

(2) “Householder, the noble disciple who desires beauty … (3) … who desires happiness … (4) … who desires fame ought not to pray for fame or delight in it or passively yearn for it. A noble disciple who desires fame should practice the way conducive to fame. For when he practices the way conducive to fame, it leads to obtaining fame, and he gains fame either celestial or human.

(5) “Householder, the noble disciple who desires the heavens ought not to pray for the heavens or delight in them or passively yearn for them. A noble disciple who desires the heavens should practice the way conducive to heaven. For when he practices the way conducive to heaven, it leads to obtaining the heavens, and he gains the heavens.”

For one desiring long life, beauty, fame,
acclaim, heaven, high families,
and lofty delights
following in succession,
the wise praise heedfulness
in doing deeds of merit.

Being heedful, the wise person
secures both kinds of good:
the good in this life,
and the good of the future life.
By attaining the good, the steadfast one
is called one of wisdom.