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The Buddha said to Ananda, his long-serving attendant, “Every training rule, every spiritual practice, every life spent in spiritual attainment, are all of them beneficial?”
Ananda replied, “This question cannot be answered with a simple yes or no.”
“In that case,” said the Buddha, “give a more full answer.”
“If when one follows the holy life with it’s rules and practices, follows it as though it were the most the most important thing, if you become less skillful and more foolish, then the holy life is not beneficial. But if you become more skillful and less foolish, then the holy life is beneficial.
The Buddha agree wholeheartedly with what Ananda said.
Pleased that he had answered the Buddha well, Ananda bowed and left.
The Buddha then said to the other monks, “Although Ananda is not yet enlightened, it would be hard to find a monk with a better understanding of the dhamma.”
– Sīlabbata Sutta AN 3.79 (A i 225)