Kalyāṇa

Renderings

kalyāṇa: virtuous

kalyāṇa: virtuousness

kalyāṇa: meritorious

kalyāṇa: good

kalyāṇa: excellent

Introduction

Kalyāṇa and kusala

Kalyāṇa is close in meaning to kusala, for example here:

• By him are many folk established in the noble practice, namely in practices that are virtuous and spiritually wholesome.
☸ bahu’ssa janatā ariye ñāye patiṭṭhāpitā yadidaṃ kalyāṇadhammatā kusaladhammatā (A.2.36).

Kalyāṇa: adjective of puñña

When kalyāṇa is used as the adjective of puñña we call it ‘meritorious.’ For example:

• One should do what is meritorious as a collection for a future life. Meritorious deeds are the support for living beings (when they arise) in the world hereafter.
Tasmā kareyya kalyāṇaṃ nicayaṃ samparāyikaṃ. Puññāni paralokasmiṃ patiṭṭhā honti pāṇinanti (S.1.93).

Kalyāṇa opposed to pāpa in the context of karmically consequential conduct

When kalyāṇa is opposed to pāpa in the context of karmically consequential conduct, we call the terms ‘meritorious’ and ‘demeritorious.’

• This Venerable is owner of his karmically consequential conduct, inheritor of it, born of it, intimately related to it, has it as his refuge. He is the inheritor of whatever karmically consequential conduct he undertakes whether meritorious or demeritorious.
Kammassako ayamāyasmā kammadāyādo kammayonī kammabandhū kammapaṭisaraṇo. Yaṃ kammaṃ karissati kalyāṇaṃ vā pāpakaṃ vā tassa dāyādo bhavissatī ti (A.3.185).

Kalyāṇa opposed to pāpa in the context of virtuousness

Outside the context of karmically consequential conduct we call kalyāṇa and pāpa ‘virtuous’ and ‘unvirtuous.’

• There is no hiding place for the doer of unvirtuous deeds
Natthi loke raho nāma pāpakammaṃ pakubbato.

… You yourself, man, know what is true or false.
Attā te purisa jānāti saccaṃ vā yadi vā musā.

… Indeed, sir, you disdain the virtuous aspect of yourself which witnesses (all that you do)
Kalyāṇaṃ vata bho sakkhi attānaṃ atimaññasi.

… You are (trying to) conceal from yourself unvirtuousness existing within yourself
Yo santaṃ attani pāpaṃ attānaṃ parigūhasi (A.1.149).

• And the Venerable MahāMoggallāna saw that person sitting in the midst of the assembly of bhikkhus―unvirtuous, of an unvirtuous moral nature, of foul and odious behaviour, secretive in conduct, no ascetic though pretending to be one, not celibate though pretending to be so, spiritually rotten, full of defilement, and morally decayed.
Addasā kho āyasmā mahāmoggallāno taṃ puggalaṃ dussīlaṃ pāpadhammaṃ asucisaṅkassarasamācāraṃ paṭicchannakammantaṃ assamaṇaṃ samaṇapaṭiññaṃ abrahmacāriṃ brahmacārīpaṭiññaṃ antopūtiṃ avassutaṃ kasambujātaṃ majjhe bhikkhusaṅghassa nisinnaṃ (Ud.52).

• Whatever there is in my family that is suitable for giving, all that I share unreservedly with those who are virtuous and of a virtuous moral nature
appaṭivibhattaṃ sīlavantehi kalyāṇadhammehī ti (S.5.396-7).

In relation to friendship: virtuous

In relation to friendship, kalyāṇa is linked to the influence people have over others, and can again be rendered ‘virtuous.’

• This is the entire religious life, Ānanda, namely, virtuous friendship, virtuous companionship, virtuous comradeship.
sakalameva hidaṃ ānanda brahmacariyaṃ yadidaṃ kalyāṇamittatā kalyāṇasahāyatā kalyāṇasampavaṅkatā

… When a bhikkhu has a virtuous friend, a virtuous companion, a virtuous comrade, it is to be expected that he will develop and cultivate the noble eightfold path.
kalyāṇamittassetaṃ ānanda bhikkhuno pāṭikaṅkhaṃ kalyāṇasahāyassa kalyāṇasampavaṅkassa ariyaṃ aṭṭhaṅgikaṃ maggaṃ bhāvessati ariyaṃ aṭṭhaṅgikaṃ maggaṃ bahulīkarissatī ti (S.1.88-9).

Illustrations

Illustration: virtuous

Unvirtuous friendship is an obstacle to virtuous practices.
pāpamittatā sīlānaṃ paripantho (A.5.136).

Virtuous friendship is a condition that nourishes virtuous practices.
kalyāṇamittatā sīlānaṃ āhāro (A.5.136).

Illustration: virtuous

King Ajātasattu of Magadha has unvirtuous friends, unvirtuous companions, unvirtuous comrades. King Pasenadi of Kosala has virtuous friends, virtuous companions, virtuous comrades.
Rājā bhikkhave māgadho ajātasattu vedehiputto pāpamitto pāpasahāyo pāpasampavaṅko. Rājā ca kho bhikkhave pasenadi kosalo kalyāṇamitto kalyāṇasahāyo kalyāṇasampavaṅko (S.1.83).

Illustration: virtuous

By relying upon me as a virtuous friend, Ānanda, beings subject to birth are freed from birth.
Mamaṃ hi ānanda kalyāṇamittaṃ āgamma jātidhammā sattā jātiyā parimuccanti (S.1.88).

Illustration: virtuous

And what is virtuous friendship?
Katamā ca vyagghapajja kalyāṇamittatā:

In whatever village or town the noble young man lives, he consorts with and converses with householders and their sons, old and young alike matured in virtue, and emulates their perfection in faith, virtue, generosity, and wisdom.
idha vyagghapajja kulaputto yasmiṃ gāme vā nigame vā paṭivasati tattha ye te honti gahapati vā gahapatiputto vā daharā vā vuddhasīlino vuddhā vā vuddhasīlā saddhāsampannā sīlasampannā cāgasampannā paññāsampannā tehi saddhiṃ santiṭṭhati sallapati sākacchaṃ samāpajjati.

Insofar as this happens, this is called virtuous friendship.
☸ Yathā rūpānaṃ saddhāsampannānaṃ saddhāsampadaṃ anusikkhati yathārūpānaṃ sīlasampannānaṃ sīlasampadaṃ anusikkhati yathārūpānaṃ cāgasampannānaṃ cāgasampadaṃ anusikkhati yathārūpānaṃ paññāsampannānaṃ paññāsampadaṃ anusikkhati ayaṃ vuccati vyagghapajja kalyāṇamittatā
(A.4.282).

Illustration: virtuous

By him are many folk established in the noble practice, namely in practices that are virtuous and spiritually wholesome.
☸ bahu’ssa janatā ariye ñāye patiṭṭhāpitā yadidaṃ kalyāṇadhammatā kusaladhammatā (A.2.36).

Illustration: virtuous

’Consent that I may go forth from the household life into the ascetic life.’ Then the parents of those boys consented, thinking, ‘All these boys have the same aspiration. They are bent on what is virtuous.’
Atha kho tesaṃ dārakānaṃ mātāpitaro sabbepi me dārakā samānacchandā kalyāṇadhippāyā ti anujāniṃsu (Vin.1.77-8).

Illustration: virtuous

Whatever there is in my family that is suitable for giving, all that I share unreservedly with those who are virtuous and of a virtuous moral nature
appaṭivibhattaṃ sīlavantehi kalyāṇadhammehī ti (S.5.396-7).

Illustration: virtuousness

What is virtuous?
Katamo ca bhikkhave kalyāṇo

In this regard, some person refrains from:

• killing
pāṇātipātā paṭivirato hoti

• stealing
adinnādānā paṭivirato hoti

• committing adultery
kāmesu micchācārā paṭivirato hoti

• lying
musāvādā paṭivirato hoti

• speaking maliciously, harshly or frivolous chatter
Pisuṇāvācā paṭivirato hoti. Pharusāvācā paṭivirato hoti. samphappalāpā paṭivirato hoti

• he is not greedy
anabhijjhālu hoti

• he is benevolent
avyāpannacitto hoti

• is of right perception (of reality)
sammādiṭṭhiko hoti (A.2.222).

Comment:

This occurs in the context of four statements:

1) What is unvirtuous?
Katamo ca bhikkhave pāpo? Idha bhikkhave ekacco pāṇātipātī hoti… Micchādiṭṭhiko hoti.

2) What is worse than unvirtuousness?
☸ Katamo ca bhikkhave pāpena pāpataro? Idha bhikkhave ekacco attanā ca pāṇātipātī hoti. Parañca pāṇātipāte samādapeti… Attanā ca micchādiṭṭhiko hoti parañca micchādiṭṭhiyā samādapeti.

3) What is virtuous?
☸ Katamo ca bhikkhave kalyāṇo?

4) What is better than virtuousness?
Katamo ca bhikkhave kalyāṇena kalyāṇataro? Idha bhikkhave ekacco attanā ca pāṇātipātā paṭivirato hoti parañca pāṇātipātā veramaṇiyā samādapeti… Attanā ca sammādiṭṭhiko hoti parañca sammādiṭṭhiyā samādapeti. 

Illustration: meritorious

It is this (absolute) Selfhood of mine that speaks and experiences here and there the karmic consequences of meritorious and demeritorious deeds; and this (absolute) Selfhood of mine is everlasting, enduring, eternal, of an unchangeable nature, and will endure like unto eternity itself.
☸ yo me ayaṃ attā vado vedeyyo tatra tatra kalyāṇapāpakānaṃ kammānaṃ vipākaṃ paṭisaṃvedeti. So kho pana me ayaṃ attā nicco dhuvo sassato avipariṇāmadhammo sassatisamaṃ tatheva ṭhassatī ti
(M.1.8).

Illustration: meritorious

Therefore one should do what is meritorious as a collection for a future life. Meritorious deeds are the support for living beings (when they arise) in the world hereafter.
Tasmā kareyya kalyāṇaṃ nicayaṃ samparāyikaṃ puññāni paralokasmiṃ patiṭṭhā honti pāṇinanti (S.1.93).

Illustration: good

‘These ascetic disciples of the Sakyans’ Son do not even know the calculation of the half months, so how could they know anything else that is good?’
pakkhagaṇanamattampi me samaṇā sakyaputtiyā na jānanti. Kimpanime aññaṃ kicci kālyāṇaṃ jānissantī ti (Vin.1.117).

Illustration: good

In the future there will be bhikkhus who desire good almsfood. They will give up going on almsround;.
piṇḍapāte kalyāṇakāmā. Te piṇḍapāte kalyāṇakāmā samānā riñcissanti piṇḍapātikattaṃ

In the future there will be bhikkhus who desire good abodes. They will give up dwelling at the root of a tree, and secluded abodes in forests and quiet groves;
senāsane kalyāṇakāmā. Te senāsane kalyāṇakāmā samānā riñcissanti rukkhamūlikattaṃ. Riñcissanti araññe vanapatthāni pantāni senāsanāni (A.3.109).

Illustration: good

Those of an inferior disposition come together and unite with those of an inferior disposition; those of a good disposition come together and unite with those of a good disposition.
hīnādhimuttikā sattā hīnādhimuttikehi saddhiṃ saṃsandanti samenti. Kalyāṇādhimuttikā kalyāṇādhimuttikehi saddhiṃ saṃsandanti samenti (S.2.154).

Illustration: good

He gives with the thought, ‘I will get a good reputation’
kalyāṇo kittisaddo abbhuggacchatī ti dānaṃ deti (D.3.258).

Illustration: good

A bhikkhu with golden skin is good to look at
Kalyāṇadassano bhikkhu kañcanasannibhattaco (Sn.v.551).

Illustration: good

He is not a good speaker with a good delivery.
no ca kalyāṇavāco hoti kalyāṇavākkaraṇo (A.4.298).

Illustration: good

A householder who offered good food gave the community of bhikkhus a continuous food supply of meals consisting of four ingredients.
kalyāṇabhattiko gahapati saṅghassa catukkabhattaṃ deti niccabhattaṃ (Vin.2.77).

Illustration: good

A layperson might establish a robe fund for a bhikkhu who is not a relative, thinking: ‘Having purchased robe material with this fund, I will clothe the bhikkhu so and so.’ If the bhikkhu, uninvited, approaches the layperson with a suggestion regarding the robe out of a desire for something good, saying:
kalyāṇakamyataṃ upādāya

‘It would be good indeed, your reverence, if you clothed me in this or that type of robe purchased with the robe fund,’ it is an offence of nissaggiya pācittiya.
sādhu vata maṃ āyasmā iminā cīvaracetāpantena evarūpaṃ vā evarūpaṃ vā cīvaraṃ cetāpetvā acchādehīti kalyāṇakamyataṃ upādāya nissaggiyaṃ pācittiyan ti

‘Desire for something good’ means wanting what is good quality, wanting what is expensive.
Kalyāṇakamyataṃ upādāyā ti sādhatthīko mahagghatthiko (Vin.3.216).

Illustration: virtuous; good

Nonetheless, one gains a good reputation for having virtuous friends, companions, and comrades.
Atha kho naṃ kalyāṇo kittisaddo abbhuggacchati: kalyāṇamitto purisapuggalo kalyāṇasahāyo kalyāṇasampavaṅko ti (A.1.126-7).

Illustration: good; excellent

He is wise, capable, intelligent, very learned, a brilliant speaker, of excellent intuitive insight, mature, and truly an arahant.
Paṇḍito vyatto medhāvī bahussuto cittakathī kalyāṇapaṭibhāno vuddho ceva arahā ca (A.3.58).

Illustration: excellent

Those teachings which are excellent in the beginning, the middle, and the end.
☸ ye te dhammā ādikalyāṇā majjhekalyāṇā pariyosānakalyāṇā (Vin.2.96).

Illustration: excellent

I would not say anything about Mahānāma the Sakyan except what is excellent and good.
mahānāma sakkaṃ na kiñci vadāmi aññatra kalyāṇā aññatra kusalā ti (S.5.374).

Illustration: excellent

A bhikkhu who is of excellent virtue, who has excellent practices, and excellent discernment is called one who is fully accomplished in this teaching and training system, one who has fulfilled (the religious life), the unexcelled person
Kalyāṇasīlo bhikkhave bhikkhu kalyāṇadhammo kalyāṇapañño imasmiṃ dhammavinaye kevalī vusitavā uttamapuriso ti vuccati.

In what way is a bhikkhu of excellent virtue? In this regard a bhikkhu is virtuous, abides restrained (in conduct) within the constraints of the rules of discipline. He is perfect in conduct and sphere of personal application, seeing danger in the slightest wrongdoing, he trains himself by undertaking the rules of the training.
Kathañca bhikkhave bhikkhū kalyāṇasīlo hoti? Idha bhikkhave bhikkhū sīlavā hoti pātimokkhasaṃvarasaṃvuto viharati ācāragocarasampanno aṇumattesu vajjesu bhayadassāvī samādāya sikkhati sikkhāpadesu.

In what way is a bhikkhu of excellent practices? In this regard a bhikkhu abides given to developing the seven groups of factors conducive to enlightenment.
Kalyāṇadhammo ca kathaṃ hoti? Idha bhikkhave bhikkhu sattannaṃ bodhipakkhiyānaṃ dhammānaṃ bhāvanānuyogamanuyutto viharati.

In what way is a bhikkhu of excellent discernment? In this regard a bhikkhu through the destruction of perceptually obscuring states, in this very lifetime enters upon and abides in the liberation (from attachment through inward calm) and the liberation (from uninsightfulness) through penetrative discernment, realising it for himself through transcendent insight.
Kalyāṇapañño ca kathaṃ hoti? idha bhikkhave bhikkhū āsavānaṃ khayā anāsavaṃ cetovimuttiṃ paññāvimuttiṃ diṭṭheva dhamme sayaṃ abhiññā sacchikatvā upasampajja viharati (It.97).