This course involves lessons which lead students through a stepwise, progressive enumeration of groups of Dhammas similar to that found in the Aṅguttara Nikāya. The Course is broken up into Eight Units with each unit providing enough material for a suggested two weeks of in-depth study. The course discussion forum hosted through Discord can be reached through the link to the right.

1.4 – Rare People (Pubbakārī and Kataññūkatavedī)



The Buddha talks about two types of people who are rare to find in the world, namely: (1) those who, like parents, are the first to do a kindness (pubbakārī) and (2) those who are grateful and appreciative of past kindnesses done to them (kataññūkatavedī). Though these virtues feature large in many traditional Buddhist countries as manifested in filiality and reciprocal gratitude, they are often neglected in countries where Buddhism is newly emerging. In this section, we will examine these two, hard to find qualities through examining primary discourses and related commentaries.

You may download the topic’s flashcard deck on Quizlet or Anki for further study.

Pre-test yourself

1) Definitions

  1. Pubbakārī
    1. one who is first to do a kindness (Thanissaro)
    2. “doing before,” i. e. looking after, obliging, doing a favour (Pali English Dictionary entry)
  2. Kataññūkatavedī
    1. one who is grateful for a kindness done and feels obligated to repay it (Thanissaro)
    2. Literally: “one who knows (aññū) what has been done (kata) and one cognizant (vedi) of what’s been done”
    3. kataññutā (Pali English Dictionary entry)
    4. kataveditā (Pali English Dictionary entry)

Review (Click text for answer)


2) Sutta Selections

  1. Pubbakārī
    1. AN 2.119 Hard to Find
    2. AN 2.32 Not Easy to Repay
    3. AN 4.63 “First Teachers”
  2. Kataññūkatavedī
    1. Sn 2.4 The Highest Blessings
    2. AN 2.31 Gratitude

Review (Click text for answer)

3) Ancient Commentary

  1. Pubbakārī
    1. AN-a 2.120
  2. Kataññūkatavedī
    1. KN-a 5 Maṅgalasuttavaṇṇanā
    2. AN-a 2.120

Review (Click text for answer)

4) Modern Commentary

  1. Pubbakārī
    1. Ajahn Sumedho “Gratitude to Parents”
    2. Ajahn Amaro “Who Will Feed the Mice”
  2. Kataññūkatavedī
    1. Compiled Talks “Gratitude”
    2. Ajahn Thanissaro “The Lessons of Gratitude”

Review (Click text for answer)


6) External Links

  1. Pubbakārī
    1. Wikipedia – Filial Piety in Buddhism
  2. Kataññūkatavedī/Gratitude (trigger warning: non-Buddhist content)
    1. Wikipedia – Gratitude
    2. Wikiversity – Gratitude