So often it seems like much of the Buddha’s teachings are geared toward monks.

But people from all types of backgrounds sought him out for teachings.

And it’s been said that his actual first two disciples were merchants.

Below you’ll find the Buddha sharing the four kinds of happiness (the four kinds of bliss) that a householder may enjoy with a wealthy lay-follower by the name of Anathapindika.

Some require wealth, but the best is free of charge.

The Four Kinds of Bliss

Then Anathapindika the householder went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side.

As he was sitting there the Blessed One said to him:

“There are these four kinds of bliss that can be attained in the proper season, on the proper occasions, by a householder partaking of sensuality.

Which four?

  • The bliss of having wealth.
  • The bliss of making use of wealth.
  • The bliss of debtlessness.
  • The bliss of blamelessness.

“And what is the bliss of having wealth?

There is the case where the person of a good family has wealth earned through their efforts & enterprise, amassed through the strength of their arm, and piled up through the sweat of their brow.

Righteous wealth righteously gained.

When they think, ‘I have wealth earned through my efforts & enterprise, amassed through the strength of my arm, and piled up through the sweat of my brow.

Righteous wealth righteously gained,’ they experience bliss, they experiences joy.

This is called the bliss of having wealth.

“And what is the bliss of making use of wealth?

There is the case where a person of a good family, using the wealth earned through their efforts & enterprise, amassed through the strength of their arm, and piled up through the sweat of their brow.

Righteous wealth righteously gained, partakes of their wealth and makes merit.

When they think, ‘Using the wealth earned through my efforts & enterprise, amassed through the strength of my arm, and piled up through the sweat of my brow, righteous wealth righteously gained, I partake of wealth and make merit,’ they experience bliss, they experience joy.

This is called the bliss of making use of wealth.

“And what is the bliss of debtlessness?

There is the case where a person of a good family owes no debt, great or small, to anyone at all. When they think, ‘I owe no debt, great or small, to anyone at all,’ they experiences bliss, they experiences joy.

This is called the bliss of debtlessness.

“And what is the bliss of blamelessness?

There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones is endowed with blameless bodily karma, blameless verbal karma, blameless mental karma.

When they think, ‘I am endowed with blameless bodily karma, blameless verbal karma, blameless mental karma,’ they experience bliss, they experience joy.

This is called the bliss of blamelessness.

“These are the four kinds of bliss that can be attained in the proper season, on the proper occasions, by a householder partaking of sensuality.”

Knowing the bliss of debtlessness,
& recollecting the bliss of having wealth,
enjoying the bliss of wealth,
the mortal then sees clearly with discernment.
Seeing clearly — the wise one —
They know both sides:
that these are not worth
one sixteenth-sixteenth
of the bliss of blamelessness.
-AN 4.62

Crazy Wisdom: Zen Stories to Inspire and Enlighten

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