Itivuttaka: The Buddha’s Sayings

The Section of the Ones

22. Meritorious Deeds

This was said by the Lord…

“Bhikkhus, do not fear meritorious deeds. This is an expression denoting happiness, what is desirable, wished for, dear and agreeable, that is, ‘meritorious deeds.’ For I know full well, bhikkhus, that for a long time I experienced desirable, wished for, dear and agreeable results from often performing meritorious deeds.

“Having cultivated for seven years a mind of loving-kindness, for seven aeons of contraction and expansion I did not return to this world. Whenever the aeon contracted I reached the plane of Streaming Radiance, and when the aeon expanded I arose in an empty Brahma-mansion. And there I was a Brahmā, the Great Brahmā, the Unvanquished Victor, the All-seeing, the All-powerful. Thirty-six times I was Sakka, the ruler of the devas. And many hundreds of times I was a Wheel-turning Monarch, righteous, a king of righteousness, conqueror of the four quarters of the earth, maintaining stability in the land, in possession of the seven jewels. What need is there to speak of mere local kingship?

“It occurred to me, bhikkhus, to wonder: ‘Of what kind of deed of mine is this the fruit? Of what deed’s ripening is it that I am now of such great accomplishment and power?’ And then it occurred to me: ‘It is the fruit of three kinds of deeds of mine, the ripening of three kinds of deeds that I am now of such great accomplishment and power: deeds of giving, of self-mastery, and of refraining.’”

One should train in deeds of merit
That yield long-lasting happiness:
Generosity, a balanced life,
Developing a loving mind.

By cultivating these three things,
Deeds yielding happiness,
The wise person is reborn in bliss
In an untroubled happy world.