SN 35:133 The Brahmin Lady Verahaccāni

When people are thinking about coming to a teaching activity with monks, some are concerned about how to act. This sutta from the Samyutta Nikaya (Connected Discourses) explains the physical side of the proper way to listen to the Dhamma. One thing the sutta does not mention is that the Buddha gave an allowance to teach the Dhamma to someone who is ill, no matter what posture they are in. So if you need to sit on a chair during the talk, don’t worry! The compassionate Buddha anticipated your need!

At one time Venerable Udāyī was staying near Kāmaṇḍā in the brahmin Todeyya’s mango grove. Then a boy who was a student of the brahmin lady of the Verahaccāni clan went up to Udāyī and exchanged greetings with him. When the greetings and polite conversation were over, he sat down to one side. Udāyī educated, encouraged, fired up, and inspired that student with a Dhamma talk. Then that student went to the brahmin lady of the Verahaccāni clan and said to her: “Please, madam, you should know this. The ascetic Udāyī teaches Dhamma that’s good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end, meaningful and well-phrased. And he reveals a spiritual practice that’s entirely full and pure.”

“Then, student, invite him in my name for tomorrow’s meal.” “Yes, madam,” he replied. He went to Udāyī and said: “Sir, may Master Udāyī please accept an offering of tomorrow’s meal from my teacher’s wife, the brahmin lady of the Verahaccāni clan.” Udāyī consented in silence. Then when the night had passed, Udāyī dressed in the morning and, taking his bowl and robe, went to the brahmin lady’s home, and sat down on the seat spread out. Then the brahmin lady served and satisfied Udāyī with her own hands with a variety of delicious foods. When Udāyī had eaten and washed his hand and bowl, she put on a pair of shoes, sat on a high seat, covered her head, and said to him: “Ascetic, preach the Dhamma.” “There will be an occasion for that, sister,” he replied, then got up from his seat and left.

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AN 9:17 Families

Many people are concerned about how to act around monks. This sutta from the Anguttara Nikaya (Numerical Discourses) explains good behaviour on the part of lay disciples. We may not have monks visit our homes, but we can still apply the principles to our interactions with monastics.

“Mendicants, visiting a family with nine factors is not worthwhile, or if you’ve already arrived, sitting down is not worthwhile. What nine?

  1. They don’t politely rise.
  2. They don’t politely bow.
  3. They don’t politely offer a seat.
  4. They hide what they have.
  5. Even when they have much they give little.
  6. Even when they have refined things they give coarse things.
  7. They give carelessly, not carefully.
  8. They don’t sit nearby to listen to the teachings.
  9. When you’re speaking, they don’t listen well.

Visiting a family with these nine factors is not worthwhile, or if you’ve already arrived, sitting down is not worthwhile.

Visiting a family with nine factors is worthwhile, or if you’ve already arrived, sitting down is worthwhile. What nine?

  1. They politely rise.
  2. They politely bow.
  3. They politely offer a seat.
  4. They don’t hide what they have.
  5. When they have much they give much.
  6. When they have refined things they give refined things.
  7. They give carefully, not carelessly.
  8. They sit nearby to listen to the teachings.
  9. When you’re speaking, they listen well.

Visiting a family with these nine factors is worthwhile, or if you’ve already arrived, sitting down is worthwhile.”

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