AN 8.21 Ugga’s Marvelous Qualities

Paṭhamaugga Sutta



The beloved Teacher was living in Vesāli

in the large forest,

at the hall residence with the steep roof. [1]


Then the Teacher addressed the monks saying:

“Monks, you should keep in mind the eight unusual and astounding qualities of the lay follower Ugga of Vesāli.[2]


This is what the Teacher said.

Having said this,

the Happy One stood up and left for his residence.




Then, having dressed in the morning,

A certain monk took his bowl and robes

and went to see the lay follower Ugga in Vesāli.

Once there, they sat down on a prepared seat.


Seeing the venerable monk coming,

Ugga went to greet them,

Paid loving respects

and sat down in front of them.


Then the monk asked:


“Ugga, the Teacher says that you are graced with

eight unusual and striking qualities.”


“What are those Ugga?”


“Bhante, I do not know exactly

which eight things were meant by the Teacher.


But I am aware of eight unusual and perhaps astounding things

which a person could say about me.


Listen and apply your mind carefully to what I will say.


“Very well Ugga.” The monks replied.

Ugga said this:


[1. Seeing the Buddha]



the moment I first laid eyes upon the Awakened One

from a distance,

Understanding [immediately] came to me

and my mind became clear and confident in him. [3]


This is the first unusual and striking thing

which one could say about me. [4]


[2. Dhamma Vision]


“Then Bhante, with a confident mind,

I offered him all of my attention, [5]

and he delivered a gradual discourse, that is: [6]


A talk on generosity,

a talk on performing harmless actions,

a talk on the blissful spheres of existence,


He made clear

the wretchedness,


and defilement

of [seeking happiness in] sensory indulgence,

and the advantage of giving it up. [7]


When he saw that my mind was





and bright;


He delivered the exalted teaching of the Buddhas that is: [8]


how it arises,

how it ceases

and the path. [9]


As a clean as cloth rid of dirt would accept dye perfectly, [10]

in the same way,

sitting there,

the stainless,

spotless vision of the Dhamma came to me:


[I realized:]

‘That which is of a nature to begin,

all of it is also of a nature to end.’ [11]


Then Bhante,

having seen the Dhamma,

attained the Dhamma,

experienced the Dhamma

thoroughly plunged and entered the Dhamma,

crushed uncertainty,

having gotten rid of skepticism,  

reached perfect confidence in the teacher’s teaching; [12]


Right then,

I went to the Buddha,

the Dhamma

and the Saṅgha as a refuge. [13]

And I undertook the five trainings in virtue [14]

            of the righteous life’s [15]


This is the second unusual and perhaps striking thing

which one could say about me. [16]


[3. Marrying his Wives to Others]


“Bhante, we then went to our four young wives. [17]

We approached them and said:

‘Sisters, [18] we have undertaken the five training virtues

of the spiritual celibate life. [19]

If you wish, you can enjoy wealth here,

use it to make merit

or go back to you own families and relatives. [20]

Or perhaps is there another man whom you desire

and wish to marry?’


Having said this Bhante, the eldest answered:

‘Here is the name of the one I desire, young saint,

will you arrange [the wedding]?


Having summoned that man,

I took my wife’s hand in my left hand

and her groom’s hand in my right hand

and poured ritual water over their hands and united them.


Similarly, while bestowing my younger wives to others,

my mind was free from jealousy and undisturbed.[21]


This is the third unusual and perhaps striking thing

which one could say about me.


[4. Sharing Wealth with the Virtuous]


“There is great wealth in my family Bhante.

And it is shared unreservedly

with the virtuous sages of beautiful conduct. [22]


This is the fourth unusual and perhaps striking thing

which one could say about me.


[5. Respect towards Monks]


When I attend on a monk Bhante,

I attend to him respectfully,

not disrespectfully. [23]


This is the fifth unusual and perhaps striking thing

which one could say about me.


[6. Teaching Dhamma]


If that venerable one teaches Dhamma,

I listen respectfully,

not disrespectfully.

And if the venerable one does not teach me Dhamma,

I myself teach it.[24]


This is the sixth unusual and perhaps striking thing

which one could say about me.


[7. Conversing with Devas]


Regularly, Bhante,

Devas come to me and announce:

‘The teaching of the Awakened One is well-explained.’ [25]


Then I tell those Devas:

‘Whether you come and say this to me or not,

I know for a fact that the teaching of the Awakened One

is well-proclaimed.’



I cannot recall my mind becoming elated by the fact that [26]

Devas come and converse with me. [27]


This is the seventh unusual and perhaps striking thing

which one could say about me.


[8. Five Worldly Fetters]


“Bhante, the Awakened One has taught five worldly fetters.

Of those five, I do not see any of them in me. [28]


This is the second unusual and perhaps striking thing

which one could say about me.


These are the eight unusual and perhaps striking things

which one could say about me.


This being said Bhante,

I do not know what eight unusual

and perhaps astounding qualities

the Awakened One declares about me.


Then the monk received alms

at the residence of the householder Ugga in vesāli. [29]



Then after his alms round,

he went to see the Teacher,

Paid loving respects,

sat beside and informed him of his conversation

with the householder Ugga in Vesāli.


“Very good monk. [30]


“Ugga has explained what should be explained.

These are the same eight unusual and astounding qualities

that I declare about him.



You should bear in mind

these eight unusual and astounding qualities.



[1] mahāvane kūṭāgārasālāyaṃ.

[2] “aṭṭhahi, bhikkhave, acchariyehi abbhutehi dhammehi samannāgataṃ uggaṃ gahapatiṃ vesālikaṃ dhārethā”ti.

[3] “yadāhaṃ, bhante, bhagavantaṃ paṭhamaṃ dūratova addasaṃ;

saha dassaneneva me, bhante, bhagavato cittaṃ pasīdi.

[4] Ayaṃ kho me paṭhamo acchariyo abbhuto dhammo saṃvijjati. (1)

[5] So kho ahaṃ, bhante, pasannacitto bhagavantaṃ payirupāsiṃ.  

[6] Tassa me bhagavā anupubbiṃ kathaṃ kathesi, seyyathidaṃ—

[7] dānakathaṃ sīlakathaṃ saggakathaṃ; kāmānaṃ ādīnavaṃ okāraṃ saṅkilesaṃ, nekkhamme ānisaṃsaṃ pakāsesi.

[8] Yadā maṃ bhagavā aññāsi kallacittaṃ muducittaṃ vinīvaraṇacittaṃ udaggacittaṃ pasannacittaṃ, atha yā buddhānaṃ sāmukkaṃsikā dhammadesanā taṃ pakāsesi—

[9] dukkhaṃ, samudayaṃ, nirodhaṃ, maggaṃ.

[10] Seyyathāpi nāma suddhaṃ vatthaṃ apagatakāḷakaṃ sammadeva rajanaṃ paṭiggaṇheyya; evamevaṃ kho me tasmiṃyeva āsane virajaṃ vītamalaṃ dhammacakkhuṃ udapādi:

[11] ‘yaṃ kiñci samudayadhammaṃ sabbaṃ taṃ nirodhadhamman’ti.

[12] So kho ahaṃ, bhante, diṭṭhadhammo pattadhammo viditadhammo pariyogāḷhadhammo tiṇṇavicikiccho vigatakathaṅkatho vesārajjappatto aparappaccayo satthusāsane

[13] tattheva buddhañca dhammañca saṅghañca saraṇaṃ agamāsiṃ,

[14] brahmacariyapañcamāni ca sikkhāpadāni samādiyiṃ.

[15] Interestingly, ‘brahmacariya’ the spiritual life or holy life is one in meaning with celibate life.

[16] This is also called ‘buddhānaṃ sāmukkaṃsikā dhammadesanā’, the exalted teaching of the Buddhas or sometimes called This is a very important passage which is most often recounted in the vinaya but also very few places in the suttas. There are high chances that this sequence was Asoka’s famous recommendation, inscribed on the Bhabru rock edict, for sutta study of seven particular suttas including this sequence, which he called the ‘vinaya-samukasa.’ This is the most classic sequence illustrating how Dhamma vision would arise in lay practitioners after having seen and listened to a progressive talk from the Buddha, uplifting their minds first and then, explaining the four Understandings of the Ariyas. It is no wonder that Asoka also recommended to remember this sequence and to ponder on it frequently, as the very first recommendation! I can only agree. Further reference made by Bhante Ṭhāṇissaro Bhikkhu and Bhante Sujato: “That the True Dhamma Might Last a Long Time: Readings Selected by King Asoka”, selected and translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu. Access to Insight (BCBS Edition), 30 November 2013, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/thanissaro/asoka.html. AND “The exalted extract of the Vinaya” by Bhante Sujato at https://sujato.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/the-exalted-extract-of-the-vinaya/

[17] Tassa mayhaṃ, bhante, catasso komāriyo pajāpatiyo ahesuṃ.

[18] An anāgamī (One who does not come back) has no desire for any of the senses or their objects, this includes other bodies, of the same or of the opposite gender. This is why he calls his wives ‘sisters’ now. There is no more physical attraction invading his mind. Relationships become like any brother and sister relations.

[19] mayā kho, bhaginiyo, brahmacariyapañcamāni sikkhāpadāni samādinnāni.

[20] Yā icchati sā idheva bhoge ca bhuñjatu puññāni ca karotu, sakāni vā ñātikulāni gacchatu. Hoti vā pana purisādhippāyo, kassa vo dammī’ti?

[21] Komāriṃ … dāraṃ pariccajanto nābhijānāmi cittassa aññathattaṃ.  

[22] Saṃvijjanti kho pana me, bhante, kule bhogā. Te ca kho appaṭivibhattā sīlavantehi kalyāṇadhammehi.

[23] Yaṃ kho panāhaṃ, bhante, bhikkhuṃ payirupāsāmi; sakkaccaṃyeva payirupāsāmi, no asakkaccaṃ.

[24] No ce me so āyasmā dhammaṃ deseti, ahamassa dhammaṃ desemi.

[25] Anacchariyaṃ kho pana maṃ, bhante, devatā upasaṅkamitvā ārocenti: ‘svākkhāto, gahapati, bhagavatā dhammo’ti.

[26] Na kho panāhaṃ, bhante, abhijānāmi tatonidānaṃ cittassa unnatiṃ:

[27] ‘maṃ vā devatā upasaṅkamanti, ahaṃ vā devatāhi saddhiṃ sallapāmī’ti.

[28] Yānimāni, bhante, bhagavatā desitāni pañcorambhāgiyāni saṃyojanāni, nāhaṃ tesaṃ kiñci attani appahīnaṃ samanupassāmi.

[29] Atha kho so bhikkhu uggassa gahapatino vesālikassa nivesane piṇḍapātaṃ gahetvā uṭṭhāyāsanā pakkāmi.

[30] “Sādhu sādhu, bhikkhu.


This is a gift of Dhamma

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