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Thana Sutta

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Title: Thana Sutta: Courses of Action

Summary: When faced with a choice, how does one decide which course of action to follow? The Buddha here offers some helpful advice.

AN 4.115

PTS: A ii 118

Thana Sutta: Courses of Action

translated from the Pali by

Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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“Monks, there are these four courses of action. Which four? There is the course of action that is unpleasant to do and that, when done, leads to what is unprofitable. There is the course of action that is unpleasant to do but that, when done, leads to what is profitable. There is the course of action that is pleasant to do but that, when done, leads to what is unprofitable. There is the course of action that is pleasant to do and that, when done, leads to what is profitable.

“Now as for the course of action that is unpleasant to do and that, when done, leads to what is unprofitable, one considers it as not worth doing for both reasons: because the course of action is unpleasant to do, one considers it as not worth doing; and because the course of action, when done, leads to what is unprofitable, one considers it as not worth doing. Thus one considers it as not worth doing for both reasons.

“As for the course of action that is unpleasant to do but that, when done, leads to what is profitable, it is in light of this course of action that one may be known — in terms of manly stamina, manly persistence, manly effort — as a fool or a wise person. For a fool doesn't reflect, 'Even though this course of action is unpleasant to do, still when it is done it leads to what is profitable.' So he doesn't do it, and thus the non-doing of that course of action leads to what is unprofitable for him. But a wise person reflects, 'Even though this course of action is unpleasant to do, still when it is done it leads to what is profitable.' So he does it, and thus the doing of that course of action leads to what is profitable for him.

“As for the course of action that is pleasant to do but that, when done, leads to what is unprofitable, it is in light of this course of action that one may be known — in terms of manly stamina, manly persistence, manly effort — as a fool or a wise person. For a fool doesn't reflect, 'Even though this course of action is pleasant to do, still when it is done it leads to what is unprofitable.' So he does it, and thus the doing of that course of action leads to what is unprofitable for him. But a wise person reflects, 'Even though this course of action is pleasant to do, still when it is done it leads to what is unprofitable.' So he doesn't do it, and thus the non-doing of that course of action leads to what is profitable for him.

“As for the course of action that is pleasant to do and that, when done, leads to what is profitable, one considers it as worth doing for both reasons: because the course of action is pleasant to do, one considers it as worth doing; and because the course of action, when done, leads to what is profitable, one considers it as worth doing. Thus one considers it as worth doing for both reasons.

“These are the four courses of action.”

en/tipitaka/sut/an/an04/an04.115.than.txt · Last modified: 2019/05/11 04:34 by Johann