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Sn 1.5
PTS: Sn 83-90
Cunda Sutta: To Cunda
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu

[Cunda the smith:]

"I ask the sage of abundant discernment, awakened, lord of the Dhamma, free of craving, supreme among two-legged beings, best of charioteers: "How many contemplatives are there in the world? Please tell me."

[The Buddha:]

"Four contemplatives, Cunda. There isn't a fifth. Being asked face-to-face, I'll explain: the Victor of the path, the teacher of the path, one who lives by the path, & one who corrupts the path."


"Whom do the Awakened call the Victor of the path [&] one who is an unequalled teacher of the path? Tell me the one who lives by the path, and explain to me one who corrupts the path."

[The Buddha:]

"He's crossed over perplexity, his arrow removed, delighting in Unbinding, free of greed, the leader of the world with its devas: one like this the Awakened call the Victor of the path. He here knows the foremost as foremost, who right here shows & analyzes the Dhamma, that sage, a cutter-of-doubt unperturbed: he's called the second of monks, the teacher of the path. Mindful, restrained, he lives by the well-taught Dhamma-principles, path, associating with principles without blame: he's called the third of monks, one who lives by the path. Creating a counterfeit of those with good practices, self-asserting, a corrupter of families,[1] intrusive, deceitful, unrestrained, chaff, going around in disguise: he's one who corrupts the path. Any householder, having ferreted these out — a discerning disciple of those who are noble — knowing they aren't all the same, seeing this, his conviction's not harmed. For how could the corrupt with the un- corrupt, the impure with the pure, be put on a par?"


A corrupter of families is a monk who ingratiates himself into a family's affections by performing services for them that are inappropriate for a monk to do, thus diverting their faith away from those who live by the Dhamma and Vinaya. For more on this term, see The Buddhist Monastic Code, Sanghadisesa 13.
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