The Four Best

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According to the Dhammapada commentary King Pasenadi of Kosala had a habit of overeating, as a result of which he was fat. One morning after his usual heavy meal he decided to go and see the Buddha in Jetavana Monastery to listen to his Dhamma talk. While listening to the talk, the king nodded away. The Buddha saw this and advised him to eat in moderation and be a healthier person. The king was embarrassed and after this followed the Buddha’s advice. He slimmed down, became healthier and happier. He told the Buddha that he felt young again.

The Buddha then described the four foremost things (Dhammapada Verse 204):

Health is the highest gain
Contentment is the greatest wealth
Trustworthy ones are the best kinsmen
Nibbana is the highest bliss


Good health is a great treasure. Everyone wants to be healthy for it allows us the ability to live a happy life. For a meditator, it is one of the factors to meditate well. To be healthy, we must eat moderately, as King Pasenadi found out. Then only can our digestion be good, which is a key factor to good health.


One is content when one stops eating when one is full. In the same way, a man who already has a wife should be content with his wife and family and not indulge in extramarital affairs. If one keeps craving for more, one is unhappy unless one gets what one wants. Even then, it is only for a short while since there is no end to craving. Yet, if one knows contentment, one is happy already.

Trustworthy Ones

The best friends and relatives are those we can trust. If a person can trust his neighbours then he is able to leave his house in his neighbour’s care when he is away. Likewise in business, if we can operate on trust, then we need not waste time and money on drawing up contracts. If people can be trusted, then the world would be a happier and easier place to live in.


Nibbana is a state of non-greed, non-anger and non-delusion. A teacher of meditation once likened Nibbana to a state of deep and sound sleep. In such a state, one will choose to sleep on and will not want to wake up even for the greatest sensual enjoyment such as exciting food or music. It is the clinging to enjoyment of the senses that brings suffering

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