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Siṅgāla Sutta

v.l. Siṅgālovāda Sutta.– Siṅgālaka (Sigāla), a young householder of Rājagaha, was in the habit of rising early, bathing, and, with wet hair and garments, worshipping the several quarters of the earth and sky. The Buddha saw him once and asked him the reason for this. Siṅgālaka’s reply was that his dead father had asked him to do so. The Buddha then taught him that, in his religion, too, there war, worship of the six quarters, but that these quarters were different. Urged by Siṅgālaka, to explain, the Buddha taught him the six vices in conduct, the four motives for such evil action, the six channels for dissipating wealth, and the different kinds of friends. He then taught him the six quarters to be honoured by performing the duties owing to them parents are the east, teachers the south, wife and children the west, friends and companions the north, servants and workpeople the nadir, religious teachers and brahmins the zenith. Details are then given of the duties owing to these and of their counter duties.

The sutta is an exposition of the whole domestic and social duty of a layman, according to the Buddhist point of view, and, as such, it is famous under the name of Gihivinaya (householder’s discipline) (D.iii.180‑93).

Siṅgālaka became the Buddha’s follower. According to the Apadāna (Ap.ii.604), it was this Siṅgālaka’s mother who was known as Siṅgālakamātā (q.v.)

1. Siṅgāla Sutta.– An old jackal, afflicted by mange, finds no pleasure in lonely places, or in the woods, or in the open air. Wherever he goes he falls into misfortune and disaster. Even so is a monk whose heart is possessed by gains, favours, or flattery. S.ii.230.

2. Siṅgāla Sutta.– Some old jackals, afflicted with mange, can go wherever they like. There are some Sākyan monks who cannot get even so much release. S.ii.271.

The Commentary (SA.ii.169) says that the sutta was taught in reference to Devadatta.

3. Dutiya Siṅgāla Sutta.– Some Sākyan monks have not as much gratitude as a jackal. S.ii.272.

The Commentary adds (SA.ii.170) that the sutta was taught in reference to Devadatta, and the story was about a jackal who was released by a peasant from a snake who had coiled round it. The snake attacked the peasant, and the jackal brought the peasant his axe in its mouth, enabling the man to kill the snake.

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