What Should Women Train Themselves ?

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AN 5.33. Uggaha

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Bhaddiya in the Jātiyā Grove. Then Uggaha, Meṇḍaka’s grandson, approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, sat down to one side, and said to the Blessed One:

“Bhante, let the Blessed One together with three other monks consent to accept tomorrow’s meal from me.”

The Blessed One consented by silence. Then Uggaha, having understood that the Blessed One had consented, rose from his seat, paid homage to the Blessed One, circumambulated him keeping the right side toward him, and departed.

Then, when the night had passed, in the morning the Blessed One dressed, took his bowl and robe, and went to Uggaha’s residence, where he sat down on the appointed seat. Then, with his own hands, Uggaha, Meṇḍaka’s grandson, served and satisfied the Blessed One with various kinds of delicious food.

When the Blessed One had finished eating and had put away his bowl, Uggaha sat down to one side and said to the Blessed One: “Bhante, these girls of mine will be going to their husbands’ families. Let the Blessed One exhort them and instruct them in a way that will lead to their welfare and happiness for a long time.”

The Blessed One then said to those girls:

(1) “So then, girls, you should train yourselves thus: ‘To whichever husband our parents give us—doing so out of a desire for our good, seeking our welfare, taking compassion on us, acting out of compassion for us—we will rise before him and retire after him, undertaking whatever needs to be done, agreeable in our conduct and pleasing in our speech.’ Thus should you train yourselves.

(2) “And you should train yourselves thus: ‘We will honor, respect, esteem, and venerate those whom our husband respects—his mother and father, ascetics and brahmins—and when they arrive we will offer them a seat and water.’ Thus should you train yourselves.

(3) “And you should train yourselves thus: ‘We will be skillful and diligent in attending to our husband’s domestic chores, whether knitting or weaving; we will possess sound judgment about them in order to carry out and arrange them properly.’ Thus should you train yourselves.

(4) “And you should train yourselves thus: ‘We will find out what our husband’s domestic helpers—whether slaves, messengers, or workers—have done and left undone; we will find out the condition of those who are ill; and we will distribute to each an appropriate portion of food.’ Thus should you train yourselves.

(5) “And you should train yourselves thus: ‘We will guard and protect whatever income our husband brings home—whether money or grain, silver or gold—and we will not be spendthrifts, thieves, wastrels, or squanderers of his earnings.’ Thus should you train yourselves.

“When, girls, a woman possesses these five qualities, with the breakup of the body, after death, she is reborn in companionship with the agreeable-bodied devas.”

She does not despise her husband,
the man who constantly supports her,
who ardently and eagerly
always brings her whatever she wants.

Nor does a good woman scold her husband
with speech caused by jealousy;
the wise woman shows veneration
to all those whom her husband reveres.

She rises early, works diligently,
manages the domestic help;
she treats her husband in agreeable ways
and safeguards the wealth he earns.

The woman who fulfills her duties thus,
following her husband’s will and wishes,
is reborn among the devas
called “the agreeable ones.”

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