kusala: - good, skillful, beneficial (in long terms) actions (by thought, words, physical deeds) in the sphere of puñña-kiriya-vatthu (base of merits).
by late Ven. Nyanalokita Thera:
➥ kusala: 'kammically wholesome' or 'profitable', salutary, morally good, (skillful) Connotations of the term, according to Commentary (Aṭṭhasālinī), are: of good health, blameless, productive of favourable kamma-result, skillful. It should be noted that Commentary excludes the meaning 'skillful', when the term is applied to states of consciousness.
It is defined in MN 9 as the 10 wholesome courses of action (see kammapatha). In psychological terms, 'kammically wholesome' are all those kammical volitions (kamma-cetanā) and the consciousness and mental factors associated therewith, which are accompanied by 2 or 3 wholesome roots (see mūla), i.e. by greedlessness (alobha) and hatelessness (adosa), and in some cases also by non-delusion (amoha: wisdom, understanding). Such states of consciousness are regarded as 'kammically wholesome' as they are causes of favourable kamma results and contain the seeds of a happy destiny or rebirth. From this explanation, two facts should be noted: (1) it is volition that makes a state of consciousness, or an act, 'good' or 'bad'; (2) the moral criterion in Buddhism is the presence or absence of the 3 wholesome or moral roots (see mūla).
The above explanations refer to mundane (see lokiya) wholesome consciousness. Supermundane wholesome (lokuttara-kusala) states, i.e. the four paths of sanctity (see ariyapuggala), have as results only the corresponding four fruitions; they do not constitute kamma, nor do they lead to rebirth, and this applies also to the good actions of an Arahat (Table I, 73-80) and his meditative states (Table I, 81-89), which are all kammically inoperative (functional; see kiriya).
Kusala belongs to a threefold division of all consciousness, as found in the Abhidhamma (Dhammasaṅgaṇi), into wholesome (kusala), unwholesome (akusala) and kammically neutral (avyākata), which is the first of the triads (tika) in the Abhidhamma schedule (mātikā); see F. Guide, pp. 4ff., 12ff; Visuddhi Magga XIV, 83ff.
by the Pali Text Society:
by Ven. Thanissaro Maha Thera:
by Ven. Varado Maha Thera:
Rendering akusala and kusala
Rendering akusala and kusala as spiritually unwholesome or wholesome is justified by their association with defilement and purity, with uninsightfulness and insightfulness, as seen in the following passages:
1) He has been struck down by unvirtuous, spiritually unwholesome factors that are defiling, and which lead to renewed states of individual existence, suffering, unpleasant karmic consequences, and future birth, old age, and death.
avadhiṁsu naṁ pāpakā akusalā dhammā saṅkilesikā ponobhavikā sadarā dukkhavipākā āyatiṁ jātijarāmaraṇiyā. (MN iii 116)
2) Even so did I see the danger, degradation, and defilement in spiritually unwholesome factors, and in spiritually wholesome factors and in the practice of unsensuousness, I saw the advantage and associated purity.
Evameva kho ahaṁ bhikkhave addasaṁ akusalānaṁ dhammānaṁ ādīnavaṁ okāraṁ saṅkilesaṁ kusalānaṁ dhammānaṁ nekkhamme ānisaṁsaṁ vodānapakkhaṁ. . (MN i 115)
3) There are these three kinds of spiritually unwholesome thoughts that produce spiritual blindness, uninsightfulness, ignorance [of things according to reality], and are destructive of penetrative discernment, vexatious, and not conducive to the Untroubled. Which three?
Tayo'me bhikkhave akusalavitakkā andhakaraṇā acakkhukaraṇā aññāṇakaraṇā paññānirodhikā vighātapakkhikā anibbānasaṁvattanikā. Katame tayo? . (Iti 82)
• There are these three kinds of spiritually wholesome thoughts that produce insightful vision, knowledge [of things according to reality], lead to the development of discernment, are undistressing, and are conducive to the Untroubled. Which three?
Tayo'me bhikkhave kusalavitakkā anandhakaraṇā cakkhukaraṇā ñāṇakaraṇā paññāvuddhikā avighatapakkhikā nibbānasaṁvattanikā katame tayo? . (Iti 82)
Essence of akusala: five hindrances
The essence of akusala is found in the five hindrances, because:
• If one were to say of anything ‘a spiritually unwholesome heap,’ it is about the five hindrances that one could rightly say this.
Akusalarāsī ti bhikkhave vadamāno pañcanīvaraṇe sammā vadamano vadeyya.
Each of the five hindrances is called:
• a spiritual obstruction, a spiritual hindrance, a spiritual defilement, a weakener of penetrative discernment.
āvaraṇā nīvaraṇā cetaso upakkilesā paññāya dubbalīkaraṇā. (SN v 95)
Essence of kusala: four bases of mindfulness
The essence of kusala is found in four bases of mindfulness, because:
• If one were to say of anything ‘a spiritually wholesome heap,’ it is about the [contemplation of the] four bases of mindfulness that one could rightly say this.
Kusalarāsī ti bhikkhave vadamāno cattāro satipaṭṭhāne sammā vadamāno vadeyya. (SN v 145-6)
The [contemplation of the] four bases of mindfulness is called:
• the one-destination path for the purification of beings
ekāyano ayaṁ bhikkhave maggo sattānaṁ visuddhiyā. (SN v 142)
Kusala and akusala: conduct of body, speech, and mind
• Sensuous thought, unbenevolent thought, malicious thought. These are called spiritually unwholesome thoughts.
kāmasaṅkappo vyāpādasaṅkappo vihiṁsāsaṅkappo ime vuccanti thapati akusalasaṅkappā.
• Unsensuous thought, thought of goodwill, compassionate thought. These are called spiritually wholesome thoughts
nekkhammasaṅkappo avyāpādasaṅkappo avihiṁsāsaṅkappo ime vuccanti thapati kusalasaṅkappā. (MN ii 28)
Kusala and akusala: mental states
Akusala is found in mental states:
• Greed is spiritually unwholesome
• Ill will is spiritually unwholesome
• Wrong view [of reality] is spiritually unwholesome
Kusala is found in their opposites.
• Non-greed is spiritually wholesome
• Goodwill is spiritually wholesome
• Right perception [of reality] is spiritually wholesome
People and objects: not kusala or akusala
Therefore people and objects (apart from mental objects) are not spiritually wholesome or unwholesome. Neither, in themselves, are religious teachings, which instead we call ‘wholesome’ and ‘unwholesome’:
• Kālāmas, if you yourselves should consider: “These teachings are wholesome… you should accept and abide by them.
Yadā tumhe kālāmā attanā'va jāneyyātha ime dhammā kusalā… atha tumhe kālāmā upasampajja vihareyyātha (AN i 190)
• Kālāmas, if you yourselves should consider: “These teachings are unwholesome… you should abandon them.
Yadā tumhe kālāmā attanāva jāneyyātha ime dhammā akusalā… atha tumhe kālāmā pajaheyyātha. (AN i 190)
But the practice of religious teachings is a different matter:
• Wrong view [of reality], wrong thought, wrong speech, wrong conduct, wrong means of livelihood, wrong endeavour, wrong mindfulness, wrong inward collectedness, wrong knowledge [of things according to reality], wrong liberation [from perceptually obscuring states]: this is called spiritually unwholesome.
Micchādiṭṭhi micchāsaṅkappo micchāvācā micchākammanto micchāājīvo micchāvāyāmo micchāsati micchāsamādhi micchāñāṇaṁ micchāvimutti idaṁ vuccati bhikkhave akusalaṁ. (AN v 241)
• Right perception [of reality], right thought, right speech, right conduct, right means of livelihood, right endeavour, right mindfulness, right inward collectedness, right knowledge [of things according to reality], right liberation [from perceptually obscuring states]: this is called spiritually wholesome.
Sammādiṭṭhi sammāsaṅkappo sammāvācā sammākammanto sammāājīvo sammāvāyāmo sammāsati sammāsamādhi sammāñāṇaṁ sammāvimutti idaṁ vuccati bhikkhave kusalan ti. (AN v 241)
Three spiritually unwholesome ways of thought: sensuous thought, unbenevolent thought, and malicious thought.
Tayo akusalavitakkā: kāmavitakko vyāpādavitakko vihiṁsāvitakko.
Three spiritually wholesome ways of thought: unsensuous thought, benevolent thought, compassionate thought.
Tayo kusalavitakkā: nekkhammavitakko avyāpādavitakko avihiṁsāvitakko. (DN iii 215)
‘Having gone forth [into the ascetic life] in search of what is spiritually wholesome, seeking the supreme state of sublime peace, I approached Āḷāra Kālāma.’
So evaṁ pabbajito samāno kiṁkusalagavesī anuttaraṁ santivarapadaṁ pariyesamāno yena āḷāro kālāmo tenupasaṅkamiṁ. (MN i 163)
Bhikkhus, there are these four streams of merit, streams of what is spiritually wholesome, conditions that nourish happiness. What four?
puññābhisandā kusalābhisandā sukhassāhārā
In this regard, a noble disciple has unshakeable faith in the [perfection of the] Buddha’s [enlightenment]… in the [excellence of the] teaching… in the [excellent qualities of the] community of disciples… possesses the virtues dear to the Noble Ones
ariyasāvako buddhe… dhamme… saṅghe aveccappasādena samannāgato hoti… ariyakantehi sīlehi samannāgato hoti. (SN v 391)
Illustration: kusalaṁ, welfare
He asked after his comfort and welfare.
Sukhañca kusalaṁ pucchi. (Snp 981)
Illustration: kusalaṁ, good
[He would reflect:] “Since I received something, that is alright,” or “Since I received nothing, that is good.”
Alatthaṁ yadidaṁ sādhu nālatthaṁ kusalaṁ iti
Being the same in either event, he [would] return to that same tree.
Ubhayeneva so tādī rukkhaṁvupanivattati. (Snp 712)
An individual endowed with which ten qualities is one whom I describe as being perfect in what is spiritually wholesome, of the highest spiritual proficiency, an invincible ascetic who has attained the supreme attainment?
sampannakusalaṁ paramakusalaṁ uttamapattipattaṁ samaṇaṁ ayojjhaṁ
The one possessed of the right perception [of reality] of a finished disciple… the right liberation [from perceptually obscuring states] of a finished disciple.
asekhāya sammādiṭṭhiyā samannāgato hoti… asekhāya sammāvimuttiyā samannāgato hoti. (MN ii 29)
And what is spiritually wholesome (katamañcāvuso kusalaṁ)?
• refraining from killing is spiritually wholesome
pāṇātipātā veramaṇī kusalaṁ
• refraining from stealing is spiritually wholesome
adinnādānā veramaṇī kusalaṁ
• refraining from sexual misconduct is spiritually wholesome
kāmesumicchācārā veramaṇī kusalaṁ
• refraining from lying is spiritually wholesome
musāvādā veramaṇī kusalaṁ
• refraining from malicious speech is spiritually wholesome
pisuṇāya vācāya veramaṇī kusalaṁ
• refraining from harsh speech is spiritually wholesome
pharusāya vācāya veramaṇī kusalaṁ
• refraining from frivolous speech is spiritually wholesome
samphappalāpā veramaṇī kusalaṁ
• non-greed is spiritually wholesome
• goodwill is spiritually wholesome
• right perception [of reality] is spiritually wholesome
And what is the origin of what is spiritually wholesome
• Non-greed is an origin of what is spiritually wholesome.
• Non-hatred is an origin of what is spiritually wholesome.
• Discernment of reality is an origin of what is spiritually wholesome.
What is spiritually unwholesome?
Katamañca bhikkhave akusalaṁ
The tenfold path of wrong factors.
micchādiṭṭhi micchāsaṅkappo micchāvācā micchākammanto micchāājīvo micchāvāyāmo micchāsati micchāsamādhi micchāñāṇaṁ micchāvimutti.
This is called spiritually unwholesome
Idaṁ vuccati bhikkhave akusalaṁ.
What is spiritually wholesome?
katamañca bhikkhave kusalaṁ
The tenfold path of right factors.
sammādiṭṭhi sammāsaṅkappo sammāvācā sammākammanto sammāājīvo sammāvāyāmo sammāsati sammāsamādhi sammāñāṇaṁ sammāvimutti.
This is called spiritually wholesome
Idaṁ vuccati bhikkhave kusalan ti. (AN v 241)
Illustration: kusalā, wholesome
These teachings which are wholesome, noble, and which lead to deliverance [from suffering] and to enlightenment.
Ye te bhikkhave kusalā dhammā ariyā niyyānikā sambodhagāmino. (Snp 139)
Kālāmas, if you yourselves should consider: “These teachings are wholesome… you should accept and abide by them.
Yadā tumhe kālāmā attanā'va jāneyyātha ime dhammā kusalā… atha tumhe kālāmā upasampajja vihareyyātha (AN i 190)
Illustration: kusalā, good/excellent
I would not say anything about Mahānāma the Sakyan except what is excellent and good.
mahānāma sakkaṁ na kiñci vadāmi aññatra kalyāṇā aññatra kusalā ti. (SN v 374)
Kalyāṇā and kusalā are synonyms here. Both could be rendered ‘excellent’ or ‘good.’
Illustration: kusalā, the wise
One should not dispute. Spiritual purity is not attained thereby, say the wise.
na hi tena suddhiṁ kusalā vadanti. (Snp 830)
Illustration: akusalehi, unwholesome
A person whose spiritual qualities are wholly black and unwholesome
samannāgato hoti ekanta kāḷakehi akusalehi dhammehī. (AN iv 11-13)
Illustration: akusalehi, spiritually unwholesome
He is emancipated from unvirtuous, spiritually unwholesome factors that are defiling and which lead to renewed states of individual existence, suffering, unpleasant karmic consequences, and future birth, old age, and death.
Visaṁyutto pāpakehi akusalehi dhammehi saṅkilesikehi ponobhavikehi sadarehi dukkhavipākehi āyatiṁ jātijarāmaraṇikehi. (AN ii 12)
Secluded from sensuous pleasures and spiritually unwholesome factors, a bhikkhu enters and abides in first jhāna, which is accompanied by thinking and pondering, and rapture and physical pleasure born of seclusion [from sensuous pleasures and spiritually unwholesome factors].
Idhāvuso visākha bhikkhu vivicceva kāmehi vivicca akusalehi dhammehi savitakkaṁ savicāraṁ vivekajaṁ pītisukhaṁ paṭhamaṁ jhānaṁ upasampajja viharati. (MN i 303)
Illustration: akusalā, unwholesome
Kālāmas, if you yourselves should consider: “These teachings are unwholesome… you should abandon them.
Yadā tumhe kālāmā attanāva jāneyyātha ime dhammā akusalā… atha tumhe kālāmā pajaheyyātha. (AN i 190)
Illustration: akusalā, spiritually unwholesome
In seeing a visible object via the visual sense, do not grasp its aspects and features. Since by abiding with the faculty of sight unrestrained [from grasping, through mindfulness], greed, dejection, and unvirtuous, spiritually unwholesome factors would pursue you.
Cakkhunā rūpaṁ disvā mā nimittaggāhino ahuvattha mānuvyañjanaggāhino yatvādhikaraṇamenaṁ cakkhundriyaṁ asaṁvutaṁ viharantaṁ abhijjhādomanassā pāpakā akusalā dhammā anvāssaveyyuṁ. (SN iv 178)
When a bhikkhu is focusing on some meditation object that arouses unvirtuous, spiritually unwholesome thoughts connected with desire, hatred, and undiscernment of reality, then he should focus on some other meditation object connected with what is spiritually wholesome.
Idha bhikkhave bhikkhunā yaṁ nimittaṁ āgamma yaṁ nimittaṁ manasikaroto uppajjanti pāpakā akusalā vitakkā chandūpasaṁhitāpi dosūpasaṁhitāpi mohūpasaṁhitāpi tena bhikkhave bhikkhunā tamhā nimittā aññaṁ nimittaṁ manasikātabbaṁ kusalūpasaṁhitaṁ. (MN i 119)
Illustration: kusalo, well behaved
Whoever in this world amongst those living the religious life has attained the [supreme] attainment, who is well behaved always, who understands the teaching, who is attached to nothing, who is liberated [from perceptually obscuring states], and in whom there are no states of repugnance, he is one of good conduct.
Yo idha caraṇesu pattipatto kusalo sabbadā ājānāti dhammaṁ
Sabbattha na sajjati vimutto paṭighā yassa na santi caraṇavā so. (Snp 536)
Illustration: kusalo, proficient
In a moment I can fashion the bodily forms of 100,000 people. I am proficient in supernormal transformations. I am master of psychic power.
Ahaṁ vikubbanāsu kusalo vasībhūtomhi iddhiyā. (Tha 1194)
A meditator (jhāyī) can be:
• proficient in attaining inward collectedness but improficient in maintaining inward collectedness
samādhismiṁ samāpattikusalo hoti na samādhismiṁ ṭhitikusalo.
• proficient in maintaining inward collectedness but improficient in emerging from inward collectedness
samādhismiṁ ṭhitikusalo hoti na samādhismiṁ vuṭṭhānakusalo. (SN iii 264-269)
Someone declares his arahantship. The Perfect One or his disciple who is a meditator, proficient in attaining inward collectedness, proficient in reading others’ minds, proficient in reading the habits of others’ minds, closely examines, questions and talks with him.
tathāgato vā tathāgatasāvako vā jhāyī samāpattikusalo paracittakusalo paracittapariyāyakusalo samanuyuñjati samanugāhati samanubhāsati. (AN v 155)
Illustration: kusalo, knowledgeable
On what grounds, bhante, can a bhikkhu be called knowledgeable about elements of existence?
Kittāvatā pana bhante dhātukusalo bhikkhu ti alaṁ vacanāyā ti.
There are these eighteen elements of sensation, Ānanda:
Aṭṭhārasa kho imā ānanda dhātuyo:
The phenomenon of sight… phenomenon of the mental field of sensation.
cakkhudhātu… manoviññāṇadhātu ti
Through knowing and seeing these eighteen elements of sensation [according to reality], Ānanda, a bhikkhu can be called knowledgeable about elements of existence.
Imā kho ānanda aṭṭhārasa dhātuyo yato jānāti passati ettāvatā pi kho ānanda dhātukusalo bhikkhū ti alaṁ vacanāyā ti. (MN iii 62)
‘The man ignorant of the path’ represents the common man.
puriso amaggakusalo ti kho tissa puthujjanassetaṁ adhivacanaṁ
‘The man knowledgeable about the path’ represents the Perfect One, the Arahant, the Perfectly Enlightened One.
Puriso maggakusalo ti kho tissa tathāgatassetaṁ adhivacanaṁ arahato sammāsambuddhassa. (SN iii 108-9)
Illustration: kusalo, pandit
Maintaining their own dogmatic views, contentious, different [so-called] pandits say: “Whoever knows this knows Perfect Truth. Whoever rejects it is not spiritually perfected.”
Sakaṁ sakaṁ diṭṭhiṁ paribbasānā vigayha nānā kusalā vadanti
Yo evaṁ jānāti sa vedi dhammaṁ idaṁ paṭikkosamakevalī so. (Snp 978)
Illustration: kusalo, expert
Bhante, I am well known as a charioteer, and an expert in the parts of a chariot. All the parts of a chariot are well known to me.
Ahaṁ hi bhante rathiko saññato kusalo rathassa aṅgapaccaṅgānaṁ sabbāni me rathassa aṅgapaccaṅgāni suviditāni. (MN i 395-6)
Illustration: kusalena, proficient
With [the assistance of] the enlightened kinsman of the Sun clan, who is proficient in methods of teaching, having applied myself properly [to the eightfold path] I removed my mind from states of individual existence
Yoniso paṭipajjitvā bhave cittaṁ udabbahinti. (Tha 158)
Illustration: akusala, improficient
Then that poor tailor, having kneaded mud and made bricks, erected wattle and daub walls. But because he was improficient, the piling was crooked and the wall fell down.
Atha kho so daḷiddo tunnavāyo sāmaṁ cikkhallaṁ madditvā iṭṭhakāyo cinitvā kuḍḍaṁ uṭṭhāpesi. Tena akusalakena citā vaṅkā bhitti paripati. (Vin.2.159)
Illustration: akusala, spiritually unwholesome
How is a bhikkhu an ascetic?
Kathañca bhikkhave bhikkhu samaṇo hoti?
He has quieted down unvirtuous, spiritually unwholesome factors that are defiling, and which lead to renewed states of individual existence, suffering, unpleasant karmic consequences, and future birth, old age, and death.
Samitāssa honti pāpakā akusalā dhammā saṅkilesikā ponobhavikā sadarā dukkhavipākā āyatiṁ jātijarāmaraṇīyā. (MN i 280)
There are these three kinds of spiritually unwholesome thinking (akusalavitakkā). Which three?
• thinking concerned with not wanting to be despised;
• thinking concerned with gains, honour, and renown
• thinking concerned with feeling sorry for others
Illustration: akusalo, unknowledgeable
A cowherd cannot help his herd to prosper if he does not know about bodily form, and is unknowledgeable about physical characteristics
na rūpaññū hoti na lakkhaṇa kusalo hoti. (AN v 359)
Illustration: akusale, badly behaved
Bhante, a transgression overcame us, in that, foolishly, stupidly, and badly behaved, we suspended a pure bhikkhu, not an offender, without cause, without reason.
accayo no bhante accagamā yathā bāle yathā mūḷhe yathā akusale ye mayaṁ suddhaṁ bhikkhuṁ anāpattikaṁ avatthusmiṁ akāraṇe ukkhipimha. (Vin.1.315)
Illustration: akusalaṁ, badly behaved
‘A transgression overcame me, bhante, in that, foolishly, stupidly, and badly behaved, I deprived my father of life―a righteous man, a righteous king―for the sake of sovereign rulership.’
Accayo maṁ bhante accagamā yathābālaṁ yathāmūḷhaṁ yathā akusalaṁ yo’haṁ pītaraṁ dhammikaṁ dhammarājānaṁ issariyassa kāraṇā jīvitā voropesiṁ. (DN i 85)
Conduct produced from, born of, due to, originated by greed, hatred, and undiscernment of reality is spiritually unwholesome and blameworthy.
yaṁ bhikkhave lobhapakataṁ… dosapakataṁ… mohapakataṁ kammaṁ mohajaṁ mohanidānaṁ mohasamudayaṁ taṁ kammaṁ akusalaṁ taṁ kammaṁ sāvajjaṁ
It has unpleasant karmic consequences and leads to the [further] origination of karmically consequential conduct. It does not lead to the ending of karmically consequential conduct.
taṁ kammaṁ dukkhavipākaṁ taṁ kammaṁ kammasamudayāya saṁvattati. Na taṁ kammaṁ kammanirodhāya saṁvattati.
Conduct produced from, born of, due to, originated by non-greed, non-hatred, and discernment of reality is spiritually wholesome and blameless.
yaṁ bhikkhave alobho… adoso… amohapakataṁ kammaṁ amohajaṁ amohanidānaṁ amohasamudayaṁ. Taṁ kammaṁ kusalaṁ taṁ kammaṁ anavajjaṁ
It has pleasant karmic consequences and leads to the ending of karmically consequential conduct. It does not lead to the origination of karmically consequential conduct.
taṁ kammaṁ sukhavipākaṁ taṁ kammaṁ kammanirodhāya. Na taṁ kammaṁ kammasamudayāya saṁvattati. (AN i 263)
Illustration: kusalesu, spiritually wholesome
Also, bhante, the Blessed One’s teaching concerning spiritually wholesome factors is unsurpassed.
Aparaṁ pana bhante etadānuttariyaṁ yathā bhagavā dhammaṁ deseti kusalesu dhammesu.
That is, these spiritually wholesome factors: the [contemplation of the] four bases of mindfulness, the four modes of right inward striving, the four paths to psychic power, the five spiritual faculties, the five spiritual powers, the seven factors of enlightenment, the eightfold path.
Tatrime kusalā dhammā seyyathīdaṁ cattāro satipaṭṭhānā cattāro sammappadhānā cattāro iddhipādā pañcindriyāni pañca balāni satta bojjhaṅgā ariyo aṭṭhaṅgiko maggo. (DN iii 102)
He was resolute in applying himself to spiritually wholesome factors… By undertaking that karmically consequential conduct, heaping it up, lavishly and abundantly, with the demise of the body at death he was reborn in the realm of happiness, in the heavenly worlds.
daḷhasamādāno ahosi kusalesu dhammesu… so tassa kammassa katattā upacitattā ussannattā vipulantā kāyassa bhedā parammaraṇā sugatiṁ saggaṁ lokaṁ upapajjati. (DN iii 145-6)
If, friends, one could enter and abide amidst spiritually unwholesome factors and dwell happily in this very lifetime, without distress, vexation, and anguish, and if, with the break up of the body, after death, one could expect the realm of happiness, then the Blessed One would not praise the abandonment of spiritually unwholesome factors.
Akusale cāvuso dhamme upasampajja viharato diṭṭhe ceva dhamme sukho vihāro abhavissa avighāto anupāyāso apariḷāho kāyassa ca bhedā parammaraṇā sugati pāṭikaṅkhā nayidaṁ bhagavā akusalānaṁ dhammānaṁ pahānaṁ vaṇṇeyya.
But because one who enters and abides amidst spiritually unwholesome factors abides in misery in this very lifetime, with distress, vexation, and anguish, and because he can expect [rebirth in] the plane of misery with the demise of the body at death, the Blessed One praises the abandonment of spiritually unwholesome factors.
Yasmā ca kho āvuso. Akusale dhamme upasampajja viharato diṭṭheva dhamme dukkho vihāro savighāto saupāyāso sapariḷāho kāyassa ca bhedā parammaraṇā duggati pāṭikaṅkhā tasmā bhagavā akusalānaṁ dhammānaṁ pahānaṁ vaṇṇeti.
“If, friends, one who enters and abides amidst spiritually wholesome factors would abide in misery in this very lifetime, with distress, vexation, and anguish, and if, with the demise of the body at death, he could expect [rebirth in] the plane of misery, then the Blessed One would not praise the undertaking of spiritually wholesome factors.
Kusale cāvuso dhamme upasampajja viharato diṭṭhe ceva dhamme dukkho vihāro abhavissa savighāto saupāyāso sapariḷāho kāyassa ca bhedā parammaraṇā duggati pāṭikaṅkhā nayidaṁ bhagavā kusalānaṁ dhammānaṁ upasampadaṁ vaṇṇeyya
But because one who enters and abides amidst spiritually wholesome factors abides happily in this very lifetime, without distress, vexation, and anguish, and because he can expect the realm of happiness with the demise of the body at death, the Blessed One praises the undertaking of spiritually wholesome factors.”
Yasmā ca kho āvuso kusale dhamme upasampajja viharato diṭṭhe ceva dhamme sukho vihāro avighāto anupāyāso apariḷāho kāyassa ca bhedā parammaraṇā sugati pāṭikaṅkhā tasmā bhagavā kusalānaṁ dhammānaṁ upasampadaṁ vaṇṇetī ti. (SN iii 8-9)
It is by the undertaking of spiritually wholesome factors that this merit increases.
Kusalānaṁ bhikkhave dhammānaṁ samādānahetu evamidaṁ puññaṁ pavaḍḍhati. (DN iii 58)
Suttas and Dhammadesanā