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Issatta Sutta

Pasenadi questions the Buddha as to how gifts should be given and the Buddha’s answer is that they should be bestowed where the heart is pleased to give. The further question is asked as to whom, when given, does a gift bear much fruit. To the virtuous, irrespective of class, says the Buddha, and he instances the case of a youth skilled in war as opposed to one who is untrained and unskilled, no matter what his social status. The Buddha proceeds to describe the qualities which are possessed by the virtuous man (S.i.98 f).

The Commentary (SA.i.129 f) describes this interview as a public one, taking place before a large audience, among whom are teachers of rival schools, “scratching the ground with their feet.” Their fame had suffered owing to the popularity of the Buddha and they had represented him as exhorting the people to give only to himself and to his followers. Pasenadi here gives the Buddha opportunity to vindicate himself.

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