Translated by Bhikkhu Sujato
The Buddha teaches the laywoman Visākhā four qualities through which a woman succeeds in this life, and four through which she succeeds in the next.
At one time the Buddha was staying near Sāvatthī in the Eastern Monastery, the stilt longhouse of Migāra’s mother. Then Visākhā, Migāra’s mother, went up to the Buddha, bowed, and sat down to one side. The Buddha said to her:
“Visākhā, a female who has four qualities is practicing to win in this life, and she succeeds at it. What four? It’s when a female is well-organized at work, manages the domestic help, acts lovingly toward her husband, and protects his earnings.
And how is a female well-organized at work? It’s when she’s skilled and tireless in doing domestic duties for her husband, such as knitting and sewing. She understands how to go about things in order to complete and organize the work. That’s how a female is well-organized at work.
And how does a female manage the domestic help? It’s when she knows what work her husband’s domestic bondservants, employees, and workers have completed, and what they’ve left incomplete. She knows who is sick, and who is fit or unwell. She distributes to each a fair portion of various foods. That’s how a female manages the domestic help.
And how does a female act lovingly toward her husband? It’s when a female would not transgress in any way that her husband would not consider loveable, even for the sake of her own life. That’s how a female acts lovingly toward her husband.
And how does a female protect his earnings? It’s when she ensures that any income her husband earns is guarded and protected, whether money, grain, silver, or gold. She doesn’t overspend, steal, waste, or lose it. That’s how a female protects his earnings. A female who has these four qualities is practicing to win in this life, and she succeeds at it.
A female who has four qualities is practicing to win in the next life, and she succeeds at it. What four? It’s when a female is accomplished in faith, ethics, generosity, and wisdom.
And how is a female accomplished in faith? It’s when a female has faith in the Realized One’s awakening: ‘That Blessed One is perfected, a fully awakened Buddha, accomplished in knowledge and conduct, holy, knower of the world, supreme guide for those who wish to train, teacher of gods and humans, awakened, blessed.’ That’s how a female is accomplished in faith.
And how is a female accomplished in ethics? It’s when a female doesn’t kill living creatures, steal, commit sexual misconduct, lie, or consume alcoholic drinks that cause negligence. That’s how a female is accomplished in ethics.
And how is a female accomplished in generosity? It’s when she lives at home rid of the stain of stinginess, freely generous, open-handed, loving to let go, committed to charity, loving to give and to share. That’s how a female is accomplished in generosity.
And how is a female accomplished in wisdom? It’s when a female is wise. She has the wisdom of arising and passing away which is noble, penetrative, and leads to the complete ending of suffering. That’s how a female is accomplished in wisdom.
A female who has these four qualities is practicing to win in the next life, and she succeeds at it.
- She’s organized at work,
and manages the domestic help.
She’s loveable to her husband,
and preserves his wealth.
Faithful, accomplished in ethics,
kind, rid of stinginess,
she always purifies the path
to well-being in lives to come.
And so, a lady in whom
these eight qualities are found
is known as virtuous,
firm in principle, and truthful.
Accomplished in sixteen aspects,
complete with the eight factors,
a virtuous laywoman such as she
is reborn in the realm of the Loveable Gods.”