What is the source of the Four Dhamma Summaries?

From which sutta does it come from?

  1. The world is swept away. It does not endure.

  2. The world offers no shelter. There is no one in charge.

  3. The world has nothing of its own. One has to pass on, leaving everything behind.

  4. The world is insufficient, insatiable (atitto), a slave to craving.

1 Answer 1


From MN 82 Raṭṭhapāla Sutta:

‘All beings are swept away toward old age and death. Therefore, the world is unstable.’ This is the first theme.

‘Life is insecure and everything is out of one’s control.’ This is the second theme.

‘We own nothing—we must leave it all behind and pass on.’ This is the third theme.

‘Something is lacking in everybody’s life, no one is fully satisfied, beings are slaves of craving.’ This is the fourth theme.

One interesting thing to note, the same exact plotline is followed in the story of another monk name Sudinna, a merchant's son. The only difference is the ending; it doesn't end with the four points in question. Instead the monk is persuaded to procreate with his ex-wife which results in admonishment from Buddha and company.

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