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Duties of the Buddhist Housewives

Translated by Research Assistant U Hla Soe

( First published in The Light Of Dhamma, Vol. III,1983 )

At one time the Exalted One was staying at the Jatiyi Wood in Bhaddiya. At that time, Uggaha, a grandson of the millionaire, Mendaka, approached the Exalted One, sat down at one side after paying homage to Him and then addressed the Exalted One

"Venerable Sir, we'd like to offer a meal for four including the Exalted One at my house tomorrow. Let the Exalted One accept it."

The Exalted One accepted the invitation by remaining silent. Then Uggaha, Mendaka's grandson, knowing that the Exalted One had accepted, rose from his seat, paid his veneration to Him and departed.

The night passed by. The Exalted One, robing Himself in the morning, took his bowl, went to Uggaha's house and sat on the seat specially prepared for Him.

At that time, Uggaha, until the Exalted One refused to take any more, himself offered the Lord the most delicious meal. After having finished the meal, Uggaha sitting down at one side, supplicated to the Exalted One:--

"Venerable Sir, these young maidens of mine will shortly go to their husbands' houses; let the Exalted One admonish them.

Such admonition will be conducive to their progress and prosperity for a long time." Then the Exalted One advised the young maidens how to train themselves by observing five-fold disciplines:--

1. Wherefore in this matter, maidens, you should train yourselves in this manner:

"To whatever husband we shall be given, out of compassion by our parents who are our well-wishers, who desire to promote our welfare and who are compassionate to us, we shall

2. Then, maidens, you should train yourselves in honouring those to whom honour is due in such a manner :--"We will revere, esteem, venerate and honour all whom our husband revere, whether mother, father, Samana or Brahmana and when they come we will offer them a seat and water."

3. Then maidens, you should train yourselves in practising handicrafts in this manner: "we will be skilful and active at our husbands' domestic works, in wool or in cotton, We shall find ways and means to make ourselves efficient in our duties and in supervising others."

4. Then, maidens, you should train yourselves to perform household management as follows "Whoever may be inmates of our husbands' household as servants, messengers or workers, we will know the amount of work each has done and amount of work each has left undone; we will know the strength and weakness of the sick among them; we shall provide them with food in accordance with what they deserve".

5. Then, maidens, you should train yourselves in the case of thrift and economy as such :--"property like gold, silver, corn, money etc. that our husbands bring to us, we will keep securely and guard properly; we will not waste them by way of robbing, stealing and drinking intoxicants."

Verily, maidens! A housewife who is possessed of these five qualities, on the dissolution of her body after death, will be reborn among the Manapakayika Devas who have the magnificent bodies.

A husband always supports his wife by making great efforts to earn a living and affectionately maintains her with care. A good wife should not show disrespect towards such a husband who provides her with whatever she needs.

A good wife shall not arouse her husband's anger by jealousy; and a wise housewife should revere all for whom her husband has deep respect.

A housewife should be active and diligent; and she should also have attendants who are well looked after. She should behave herself in such a way as to please her husband and properly look after the property which has been earned by him.

A housewife who lives in this manner and complies with her husband's wishes will be reborn in the Nimmanarati Deva World where the magnificent Devas dwell.

Well then. These are the auspicious words of our Lord Buddha in terms of "the duties of our Buddhist house wives" as mentioned in the Uggaha Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya text.