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Khuddaka Nikaya

The Dhammapada Stories

Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A.,
Burma Pitaka Association (1986)

Source: http://www.nibbana.com

Chapter V: The Fool (Balavagga)


Verse 60

V (1) The Story of a Certain Person

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (60) of this book, with reference to a certain young man and King Pasenadi of Kosala.

One day King Pasenadi, while going out in the city, happened to see a beautiful young woman standing at the window of her house and he instantly fell in love with her. So the king tried to find ways and means of getting her. Finding that she was a married woman, he sent for her husband and made him serve at the palace. Later, the husband was sent on an impossible errand by the king. The young man was to go to a place, a yojana (twelve miles) away from Savatthi, bring back some Kumuda lotus flowers and some red earth called 'arunavati' from the land of the dragons (nagas) and arrive back at Savatthi the same evening, in time for the king's bath. The king's intention was to kill the husband if he failed to arrive back in time, and to take the wife for himself.

Hurriedly taking a food packet from his wife, the young man set out on his errand. On the way, he shared his food with a traveller. He also threw some rice into the water and said loudly, "O guardian spirits and dragons inhabiting this river! King Pasenadi has commanded me to get some Kumuda lotus flowers and arunavati red earth for him. I have today shared my food with a traveller; I have also fed the fish in the river; I now share with you the benefits of the good deeds I have done today. Please get the Kumuda lotus and arunavati red earth for me." The king of the dragons, hearing him, took the appearance of an old man and brought the lotus and the red earth.

On that evening, King Pasenadi, fearing that the young husband might arrive back in time, had the city-gates closed early. The young man, finding the city-gates closed, placed the red earth on the city-wall and stuck the flowers on the earth. Then he declared loudly,

"O citizens! Be my witnesses! I have today accomplished my errand in time as instructed by the king. King Pasenadi, without any justification, plans to kill me." After that, the young man left for the Jetavana monastery to take shelter and find solace in the peaceful atmosphere of the monastery.

Meanwhile, King Pasenadi, obsessed with sexual desire, could not sleep, and kept thinking out how he would get rid of the husband in the morning and take his wife. At about midnight, he heard some eerie sounds; actually, these were the doleful voices of four persons suffering in Lohakumbhi Niraya . Hearing those weird voices, the king was terrified. Early in the morning, he went to the Buddha, as advised by Queen Mallika. When the Buddha was told about the four voices the king heard in the night, he explained to the king that those were the voices of four beings, who were the sons of rich men during the time of Kassapa Buddha, and that now they were suffering in Lohakumbhi Niraya because they had committed sexual misconduct with other people's wives. Then, the king came to realize the depravity of the deed and the severity of the punishment. So, he decided then and there that he would no longer covet another man's wife. "After all, it was on account of my intense desire for another man's wife that I was tormented and could not sleep the whole of last night," he reflected. Then King Pasenadi said to the Buddha, "Venerable Sir, now I know how long the night is for one who cannot sleep." The young man who was close at hand also said, "Venerable Sir, because I had travelled the full distance of a yojana yesterday, I, too, know how long the journey of a yojana is to one who is weary."

Combing their two statements, the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 60: Long is the night to one who is wakeful; long is (the journey of) one yojana to the traveller who is tired; long is samsara (round of rebirths) to the fool, who is ignorant of the true Dhamma (the Teaching of the Buddha).

At the end of tho discourse, the young man attained Sotapatti Fruition.

Verse 61

V (2) The Story of a Resident Pupil of Thera Mahakassapa

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (61) of this book, with reference to a resident pupil of Thera Mahakassapa.

When Thera Mahakassapa was residing near Rajagaha, he had two young bhikkhus staying with him. One of them was respectful, obedient and dutiful to the thera, but the other one was not. When the old thera chided the latter for his slackness in his duties, he was very much offended. On one occasion, he went to the house of a lay-disciple of the thera, and lied to them that the thera was ill. Thus, he got some choice food from them for the thera; but he ate the food on the way. When admonished by the thera for this he was extremely angry. The next day, when the thera was out on his alms-round, the young foolish bhikkhu stayed behind, broke the pots and pans and set fire to the monastery.

When a bhikkhu from Rajagaha told the Buddha about this, the Buddha said that it would have been much better for Thera Mahakassapa to live alone than to live with a foolish companion.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 61: If a person seeking a companion cannot find one who is better than or equal to him, let him resolutely go on alone; there can be no companionship with a fool.

At the end of' the discourse, the bhikkhu from Rajagaha attained Sotapatti Fruition.

Verse 62

V (3) The Story of Ananda, the Rich Man

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (62) of this book, with reference to a miserly rich man, named Ananda.

There was once a very wealthy man named Ananda in Savatthi. Although he possessed eighty crores, he was very reluctant to give anything in charity. To his son, Mulasiri, he used to say, "Don't think the wealth we have now is very much. Do not give away anything from what you have, for you must make it grow. Otherwise your wealth will dwindle away." This rich man had five pots of gold buried in his house and he died without revealing their location to his son.

Ananda, the rich man, was reborn in a village of beggars, not far from Savatthi. From the time his mother was pregnant, the income of the beggars decreased; the villagers thought there must be a wicked and unlucky one amongst them. By dividing themselves up into groups and by the process of elimination, they came to the conclusion that the pregnant beggar woman must be the unfortunate one. Thus, she was driven out of the village. When her son was born, the son proved to be extremely ugly and repulsive. If she went out begging by herself, she would get as before, but if she went out with her son she would get nothing. So, when the boy could go out by himself, his mother placed a plate in his hand and left him. As he wandered about in Savatthi, he remembered his old house and his past existence. So he went into the house. When the sons of his son Mulasiri saw him, they were frightened by his ugly looks and began to cry. The servants then beat him and threw him out of the house.

The Buddha who was on his alms-round saw the incident and asked the Venerable Ananda to fetch Mulasiri. When Mulasiri came, the Buddha told him that the young beggar was his own father in his previous existence. But Mulasiri could not believe it. So, the Buddha directed the beggar boy to show where he had buried his five pots of gold. Then only, Mulasiri accepted the truth and from that time he became a devoted lay-disciple of the Buddha.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 62. "I have sons, I have wealth"; with this (feeling of attachment) the fool is afflicted. Indeed, he himself is not his own, how can sons and wealth be his?

Verse 63

V (4) The Story of Two Pick-pockets

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (63) of this book, with reference to two pick-pockets.

On one occasion, two pick-pockets joined a group of lay-disciples going to the Jetavana monastery, where the Buddha was giving a discourse. One of them listened attentively to the discourse and soon attained Sotapatti Fruition. However, the second thief did not attend to the discourse as he was bent on stealing only; and he managed to snatch a small sum of money from one of the lay-disciples. After the discourse they went back and cooked their meal at the house of the second thief, the one who managed to get some money. The wife of the second thief taunted the first thief, "You are so wise, you don't even have anything to cook at your house." Hearing this remark, the first thief thought to himself, "This one is so foolish that she thinks she is being very smart." Then, together with some relatives, he went to the Buddha and related the matter to him.

To the man, the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 63. The fool who knows that he is a fool can, for that reason, be a wise man; but the fool who thinks that he is wise is, indeed, called a fool.

At the end of the discourse, all the relatives of the man attained Sotapatti Fruition.

Verse 64

V (5) The Story of Thera Udayi

While residing at tho Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (64) of this book, with reference to Thera Udayi, a pretentious bhikkhu.

Thera Udayi would often go and sit on the platform from which learned theras delivered their discourses. On one occasion, some visiting bhikkhus, taking him for a very learned thera, put to him some questions on the five aggregates (khandhas). Thera Udayi could not answer, because he did not know anything of the dhamma. The visiting bhikkhus were greatly astonished to find that one staying in the same monastery with the Buddha knew so very little about the khandhas and the ayatanas (sense-bases and sense-objects).

To them, the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 64. A fool, even though he is associated with a wise man all his life, does not understand the Dhamma, just as a ladle does not know the taste of soup.

At the end of the discourse, all the visiting bhikkhus attained arahatship.

Verse 65

V (6) The Story of Thirty Bhikkhus from Paveyyaka

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (65)of this book, with reference to thirty bhikkhus from Paveyyaka.

Thirty youths from Paveyyaka were, on one occasion, enjoying themselves with a prostitute in a forest, when the prostitute stole some of their valuable ornaments and ran away. While searching for her in the forest, they met the Buddha on the way. As the Buddha delivered them a discourse the youths attained Sotapatti Fruition, and all of them joined the Order of the Buddha and followed him to the Jetavana monastery. While staying at the monastery, they strictly observed the austerity or purification practice (dhutanga). Later, when the Buddha delivered the Anamatagga Sutta (Discourse on Countless Existences), all those bhikkhus attained arahatship.

When other bhikkhus commented that Paveyyaka bhikkhus were very quick in attaining arahatship, the Buddha replied to them in verse, as follows:

Verse 65. An intelligent man, even though he is associated with a wise man only for a moment, quickly understands the Dhamma, just as the tongue knows the taste of soup.

Verse 66

V (7) The Story of Suppabuddha, the Leper

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Versa (66) of this book, with reference to Suppabuddha, a leper.

Suppabuddha the leper, while sitting at the back of the crowd and listening attentively to the discourse given by the Buddha, attained Sotapatti Fruition. When the crowd had dispersed, he followed the Buddha to the monastery as he wished to tell the Buddha about his attainment of Sotapatti Fruition. Sakka, king of the devas, wishing to test the leper's faith in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Samgha, appeared to him and said, "You are only a poor man, living on what you get by begging, with no one to fall back on. I can give you immense wealth if you deny the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Samgha and say that you have no use for them." To this, Suppabuddha replied. "I am certainly not a poor man, with no one to rely on. I am a rich man; I possess the seven attributes which the ariyas possess; I have faith (saddha), morality (sila), sense of shame to do evil (hiri), sense of fear to do evil (ottappa), learning (sula), generosity (caga) and knowledge (panna).

Then, Sakka went to the Buddha ahead of Suppabuddha and related the conversation between himself and Suppabuddha. To him the Buddha replied that it would not be easy even for a hundred or a thousand Sakkas to coax Suppabuddha away from the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Samgha. Soon after this, Suppabuddha arrived at the monastery and reported to the Buddha about his attainment of Sotapatti Fruition. On his way back from the Jetavana monastery, Suppabuddha was gored to death by an infuriated cow, who, in fact, was an ogress assuming the form of a cow. This ogress was none other than the prostitute who was killed by Suppabuddha in one of his previous existences and who had vowed to have her revenge on him.

When the news of Suppabuddha's death reached the Jetavana monastery, the bhikkhus asked the Buddha where Suppabuddha was reborn and the Buddha replied to them that Suppabuddha was reborn in Tavatimsa deva realm. The Buddha also explained to them that Suppabuddha was born a leper because, in one of his previous existences, he had spat upon a paccekabuddha.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 66. With themselves as their own enemies, fools lacking in intelligence, move about doing evil deeds, which bear bitter fruits.

Verse 67

V (8) The Story of a Farmer

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (67) of this book, with reference to a farmer who handled poison.

One day, some thieves having stolen some valuables and cash from the house of a rich man came to a field. There, they divided the stolen property among themselves and dispersed; but a packet containing one thousand in cash, having dropped from one of the thieves, was left behind unnoticed.

Early in the morning on that day, the Buddha, on surveying the world with his supernormal power, perceived that a farmer, cultivating near that field, would attain Sotapatti Fruition on that very day. So, the Buddha went there, accompinied by the Venerable Ananda. The farmer on seeing the Buddha paid obeisance to him and continued to plough the field. The Buddha seeing the packet of money said to the Venerable Ananda, "Ananda, look at that very poisonous snake," and Ananda replied, "Venerable Sir, yes, it is, indeed, a very poisonous snake!" Then, both the Buddha and the Venerable Ananda continued their way.

The farmer, hearing them, went to find out if there really was a snake and found the packet of money. He took the picket and hid it in a place. The owners of the property coming after the thieves came to the field, and tracing the footprints of the farmer, found the packet of money. They beat the farmer and took him to the king, who ordered his men to kill the farmer. On being taken to the cemetery, where he was to be killed, the farmer kept on repeating, "Ananda, look at that very poisonous snake. Venerable Sir, I see the snake; it is, indeed, a very poisonous snake!" When the king's men heard the above dialogue between the Buddha and the Venerable Ananda being repeated all the way, they were puzzled and took him to the king. The king surmised that the farmer was calling upon the Buddha as a witness; he was therefore taken to the presence of the Buddha. After hearing from the Buddha everything that had happened in the morning, the king remarked, "If he had not been able to call upon the Buddha as a witness of his innocence, this man would have been killed." To him, the Buddha replied, "A wise man should not do anything that he would repent after doing it."

Then the Buddha spike in verse as follows:

Verse 67. That deed is not well done, if one has to repent for having done it, and if, with a tearful face, one has to weep as a result of that deed.

At the end of the discourse, the farmer attained Sotapatti Fruition.

Verse 68

V (9) The Story of Sumana, the Florist

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (68) of this book, with reference to Sumana the florist.

A florist, named Sumana, had to supply King Bimbisara of Rajagaha with jasmin flowers every morning. One day, as he was going to the king's palace he saw the Buddha, with a halo of light-rays radiating from him, coming into town for alms-food accompanied by many bhikkhus. Seeing the Buddha in his resplendent glory, the florist Sumana felt a strong desire to offer his flowers to the Buddha. Then and there, he decided that even if the king were to drive him out of the country or to kill him, he would not offer the flowers to the king for that day. Thus, he threw up the flowers to the sides, to the back and over and above the head of the Buddha. The flowers remained hanging in the air; those over the head formed a canopy of flowers and those at the back and the sides formed walls of flowers. These flowers followed the Buddha in this position as he moved on, and stopped when the Buddha stopped. As the Buddha proceeded, surrounded by walls of flowers, and a canopy of flowers, with the six-coloured rays radiating from his body, followed by a large entourage, thousands of people inside and outside of Rajagaha came out of their houses to pay obeisance to the Buddha. As for Sumana, his entire body was suffused with delightful satisfaction (Piti).

The wife of the florist Sumana then went to the king and said that she had nothing to do with her husband failing to supply the king with flowers for that day. The king, being a Sotapanna himself, felt quite happy about the flowers. He came out to see the wonderful sight and paid obeisance to the Buddha. The king also took the opportunity to offer alms-food to the Buddha and his disciples. After the meal, the Buddha returned in the Jetavana monastery and the king followed him for some distance. On arrival back at the palace King Bimbisara sent for Sumana and offered him a reward of eight elephants, eight horses, eight male slaves, eight female slaves, eight maidens and eight thousand in cash.

At the Jetavana monastery, the Venerable Ananda asked the Buddha what benefits Sumana would gain by his good deed done on that day. The Buddha answered that Sumana, having given to the Buddha without any consideration for his life, would not be born in any of the four lower worlds (Apaya) for the next one hundred thousand worlds and that eventually he would become a paccekabuddha. After that, as the Buddha entered the Perfumed Hall (Gandhakuti) the flowers dropped off of their own accord.

That night, at the end of the usual discourse, the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 68. That deed is well done if one has not to repent for having done it, and if one is delightful and happy with the result of that deed.

Verse 69

V (10) The Story or Theri Uppalavanna

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (69) of this book, with reference to Theri Uppalavanna.

Once there was a young daughter of a rich man in Savatthi. Because she was so beautiful, with looks so tender and sweet, like a blue lotus flower, she was called "Uppalavanna", the blue lotus. The fame of her beauty spread far and wide and there were many suitors: princes, rich men and many others. But she decided that it would be better for her to become a bhikkhuni, a female member of the Buddhist Order. One day, after lighting a lamp, she kept her mind fixed on the flame and meditating on the fire kasina (object of concentration) she soon achieved Magga Insight and finally attained arahatship.

Some time later, she moved to the 'Dark Forest' (Andhavana) and lived in solitude. While Theri Uppalavanna was out on her alms-round, Nanda, the son of her uncle, came to her monastery and hid himself underneath her couch. Nanda had fallen in love with Uppalavanna before she became a bhikkhuni; his intention obviously was to take her by force. When Uppalavanna returned she saw Nanda and said, "You fool! Do no harm, do not molest." But he would not be stopped. After satisfying himself, he left her. As soon as he stepped on the ground, the earth opened wide and he was swallowed up.

Hearing about this, the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 69. As long as the evil deed does not bear fruit, the fool thinks it is sweet like honey; but when his evil deed does bear fruit, the fool suffers for it.

At the end of the discourse, many attained Sotapatti Fruition.

The Buddha next sent for King Pasenadi of Kosala and told him about the dangers that bhikkhunis living in forests had to face from irresponsible persons obsessed with sex. The king then promised to build monasteries for bhikkhunis only in towns or close to the towns.

Verse 70

V (11) The Story of Thera Jambuka

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (70) of this book, with reference to Thera Jambuka.

Jambuka was the son of a rich man in Savatthi. Due to his past evil deeds he was born with very peculiar habits. As a child, he wanted to sleep on the floor with no proper bed, and to take his own excreta for food instead of rice. When he grew older, his parents sent him to the Ajivakas, the naked ascetics. When those ascetics found out about his peculiar food habits they drove him away. At nights he ate human excreta and in the day time stood still on one leg and kept his mouth open. He used to say that he kept his mouth open because he only lived on air and that he stood on one leg because it would otherwise be too heavy for the earth to bear him. "I never sit down, I never go to sleep," he boasted and on account of this, he was known as Jambuka, a 'jackal'.

Many people believed him and some would come to him with offerings of choice food. Then Jambuka would refuse and say, "I do not take any food except air." When pressed, he would take just a little of the food with the tip of a blade of grass and say, "Now go, this little will give you enough merit." In this way, Jambuka lived for fifty-five years, naked and taking only excreta.

One day, the Buddha saw in his vision that Jambuka was due to attain arahatship within a short time. So, in the evening, the Buddha went to where Jambuka was staying and asked for some place to spend the night. Jambuka pointed out to him a mountain-cave not far from the stone slab on which he himself was staying. During the first, second and third watches of the night, the Catumaharajika devas, Sakka and Mahabrahma came to pay homage to the Buddha in turn. On all the three occasions, the forest was lit up and Jambuka saw the light three times. In the morning, he walked over to the Buddha and enquired about the lights.

When told about the devas, Sakka and Mahabrahma coming to pay homage to the Buddha, Jambuka was very much impressed, and said to the Buddha, "You must, indeed, be a wonderfully great person for the devas, Sakka and Mahabrahma to come and pay homage to you. As for me, even though I have I practised austerely for fifty-five years, living only on air and standing only on one leg, none of the devas, nor Sakka, nor Mahabrahma has ever came to me" To him, the Buddha replied, "O Jambuka! You have been deceiving other people, but you cannot deceive me. I know that for fifty-five years you have been eating excreta and sleeping on the ground."

Furthermore, the Buddha explained to him how in one of his past existences during the time of Kassapa Buddha, Jambuka had prevented a thera from going with him to the house of a lay-disciple where alms-food was being offered and how he had also thrown away the food that was sent along with him for that thera. It was for those evil deeds that Jambuka had to be eating excreta and sleeping on the ground. Hearing that account, Jambuka was horrified and terror-strickeen, and repented for having done evil and for having deceived other people. He went down on his knees and the Buddha gave him a piece of cloth to put on. The Buddha then proceeded to deliver a discourse; at the end of the discourse Jambuka attained arahatship and joined the Buddhist Order on the spot.

Soon after this, Jambuka's pupils from Anga and Magadha arrived and they were surprised to see their teacher with the Buddha. Theta Jambuka then explained to his pupils that he had joined the Buddhist Order and that he was now only a disciple of the Buddha. To them, the Buddha said that although their teacher had lived austerely by taking food very sparingly, it was not worth even one-sixteenth part of his present practice and achievement.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 70. Even though, month after month, the fool (living in austerity) takes his food sparingly with the tip of a grass blade, he is not worth even one-sixteenth part of those who have comprehended the Truth (i.e., the ariyas).

Verse 71

V (12) The Story of Ahipeta*

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (71) of this book, with reference to a peta-ghost.

The Chief Disciple Maha Moggallana was on one occasion going on an alms-round with Thera Lakkhana in Rajagaha. On seeing something, he smiled but said nothing. When they were back at the monastery, Thera Maha Moggallana told Thera Lakkhana that he smiled because he saw a peta-ghost with the head of a human being and the body of a snake. The Buddha then said that he himself had seen that very peta-ghost on the day he attained Buddhahood. The Buddha also explained that, a very long time ago, there was a paccekabuddha, who was respected by many. People going to his monastery had to traverse a field. The owner of the field, fearing that his field would be damaged by too many people going to and from the monastery, set fire to it. Consequently, the paccekabuddha had to move to some other place. The disciples of the paccekabuddha, being very angry with the land-owner, beat him and killed him. On his death he was reborn in Avici Niraya. In his present existence, he was serving out the remaining term of the evil consequences (kamma) as a peta-ghost.

In conclusion, the Buddha said, "An evil deed does not bear fruit immediately, but it invariably follows the evil doer. There is no escape from the consequences of an evil deed."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 71. An evil deed does not immediately bear fruit, just as the newly-drawn milk does not curdle at once; but it follows the fool burning him like live coal covered with ashes.

* Ahipeta=Ahi + peta; ahi=snake + peta=peta-ghost, an ever-hungry spirit or ghost. In this instance a ghost with the head of a human being and the body of a snake.

Verse 72

V (13) The Story of Satthikutapeta

While residing at the Veluvana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (72) of this book with reference to a peta-ghost named Satthikutapeta.

The Chief Disciple Maha Moggallana saw this enormous peta-ghost while going on an alms-round with Thera Lakkhana. In this connection, the Buddha explained that Satthikutapeta, in one of his previous existences, was very skilful in throwing stones at things. One day, he asked permissions from his teacher to try out his skill. His teacher told him not to hit a cow, or a human being as he would have to pay compensation to the owner or to the relative, but to find a target which was ownerless or guardianless.

On seeing the paccekabuddha, the idiots lacking in intelligence, thought the paccekabuddha, having no relative or guardian, would be an ideal target. So he threw a stone at the paccekabuddha who was on an alms-round. The stone entered from one ear and came out of the other. The paccekabuddha expired when he reached the monastery. The stone-thrower was killed by the disciples of the paccekabuddha and he was reborn in Avici Niraya. Afterwards, he was reborn as a peta-ghost and had since been serving the remaining term of the evil consequences (kamma) of his evil deed. As a peta-ghost his enormous head was being continuously hit with red-hot hammers.

In conclusion, the Buddha said, "To a fool, his skill or knowledge is of no use; it can only harm him."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 72. The skill of a fool can only harm him; it destroys his merit and his wisdom (lit., it severs his head).

Verses 73 and 74

V (14) The Story of Citta the Householder

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses (73) and (74) of this book, with reference to Thera Sudhamma and Citta the householder.

Citta, a householder, once met Thera Mahanama, one of the group of the first five bhikkhus (Pancavaggis), going on an alms-round, and invited the thera to his house. There, he offered alms-food to the thera and after listening to the discourse given by him, Citta attained Sotapatti Fruition. Later, Citta built a monastery in his mango grove. There, he looked to the needs of all bhikkhus who came to the monastery and Bhikkhu Sudhamma was installed as the resident bhikkhu.

One day, the two Chief Disciples of the Buddha, the Venerable Sariputta and the Venerable Mahaa Moggallana, came to the monastery and after listening to the discourse given by the Venerable Sariputta, Citta attained Anagami Fruition. Then, he invited the two Chief Disciples to his house for alms-food the next day. He also invited Thera Sudhamma, but Thera Sudhamma refused in anger and said, "You invite me only after the other two." Citta repeated his invitation, but it was turned down. Nevertheless, Thera Sudhamma went to the house of Citta early on the following day. But when invited to enter the house, Thera Sudhamma refused and said that he would not sit down as he was going on his alms-round. But when he saw the things that were to be offered to the two Chief Disciples, he envied them so much that he could not restrain his anger. He abused Citta and said, "I don't want to stay in your monastery any longer," and left the house in anger.

From there, he went to the Buddha and reported everything that had happened. To him, the Buddha said, "You have insulted a lay-disciple who is endowed with faith and generously. You'd better go back to him and own up your mistake." Sudhamma did as he was told by the Buddha, but Citta would not be appeased; so he returned to the Buddha for the second time. The Buddha, knowing that the pride of Sudhamma had dwindled by this time, said, "My son, a good bhikkhu should have no attachment; a good bhikkhu should not be conceited and say 'This is my monastery, this is my place, these are my lay-disciples,' etc., for in one with such thoughts, covetousness and pride will increase."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 73. The foolish bhikkhu desires praise for qualities he does not have, precedence among bhikkhus, authority in the monasteries, and veneration from those unrelated to him.

Verse 74. "Let both laymen and bhikkhus think that things are done because of me; let them obey me in all matters, great and small." Such being the thoughts of the fool, his greed and his pride grow.

At the end of the discourse, Sudhamma went to the house of Citta, and this time they got reconciled; and within a few days, Sudhamma attained arahatship.

Verse 75

V (15)The Story of Samanera Tissa of the Forest Monastery

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (75) of this book, with reference to Tissa, a samanera, who dwelt in a forest monastery.

Tissa was the son of a rich man from Savatthi. His father used to offer alms-food to the Chief Disciple Sariputta in their house and so Tissa even as a child had met the Chief Disciple on many occasions. At the age of seven he became a novice (samanera) under the Chief Disciple Sariputta. While he was staying at the Jetavana monastery, many of his friends and relatives came to see him, bringing presents and offerings. The samanera found these visits to be very tiresome; so after taking a subject of meditation from the Buddha, he left for a forest monastery. Whenever a villager offered him anything, Tissa would just say 'May you be happy, may you be liberated from the ills of life,' ("Sukhita hotha, dukkha muccatha"), and would go on his own way. While he stayed at the forest monastery, he ardently and diligently practised meditation, and at the end of three months he attained arahatship.

After the vassa, the Venerable Sariputta accompanied by the Venerable Maha Moggallana and other senior disciples paid a visit to Samanera Tissa, with the permission of the Buddha. All the villagers came out to welcome the Venerable Sariputta and his company of four thousand bhikkhus. They also requested the Venerable Sariputta to favour them with a discourse, but the Chief Disciple declined; instead, he directed his pupil Tissa to deliver a discourse to the villagers. The villagers, however, said that their teacher Tissa could only say "May you be happy, may you be liberated from the ills of life," and asked the Chief Disciple to assign another bhikkhu in his place. But the Venerable Sariputta insisted that Tissa should deliver a discourse on the dhamma, and said to Tissa, "Tissa, talk to them about the dhamma and show them how to gain happiness and how to be liberated from the ills of life."

Thus, in obedience to his teacher, Samanera Tissa went up the platform to deliver his discourse. He explained to the audience the meaning of the aggregates (khandhas), sense bases and sense objects (ayatanas), elements of the perpetuation of the Teaching (Bodhipakkhiya Dhamma), the Path leading to arahatship and Nibbana, etc. Finally he concluded, "And thus, those who attain arahatship are liberated from all the ills of life and have Perfect Peace; all the rest will still wander about in the round of rebirths (samsara)."

The Venerable Sariputta praised Tissa for having expounded the dhamma so well. Dawn was approaching when he finished his exposition, and all the villagers were very much impressed. Some of them were surprised that Samanera Tissa knew the dhamma so well, but they were also dissatisfied with him because formerly he had talked so little about the dhamma to them; the others were happy and contented to find the samanera to be so learned and felt that they were very lucky to have him amongst them.

The Buddha, with his supernormal power, saw from the Jetavana monastery these two groups of villagers and appeared before them. His intention in coming to the village was to clear up the misunderstanding amongst the first group of villagers. The Buddha arrived while the villagers were preparing alms-food for the bhikkhus. So, they had the opportunity to offer alms-food to the Buddha as well. After the meal, the Buddha addressed the villagers, "O lay disciples, all of you are so lucky to have Samanera Tissa amongst you. It is on account of his presence here that I myself, my Chief Disciples, senior disciples and many other bhikkhus now pay you a visit." These words made them realize how fortunate they were to have Samanera Tissa with them and they were satisfied. The Buddha then delivered a discourse to the villagers and the bhikkhus, and consequently, many of them attained Sotapatti Fruition.

After the discourse, the Buddha returned to the Jetavana monastery. In the evening, the bhikkhus said in praise of Tissa to the Buddha, "Venerable Sir, Samanera Tissa had performed a very difficult task; he was so well provided with gifts and offerings of all kinds here in Savatthi, yet he gave up all these to go and live austerely in a forest monastery." To them the Buddha replied, "Bhikkhus, a hhikkhu, whether in town or in village, should not live for the sake of gifts and offerings, if a bhikkhu renounces all good prospects or worldly gain and diligently practises the dhamma in solitude, he is sure to attain arahatship."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows;

Verse 75. Indeed, the path that leads to worldly gain is one and the Path that leads to Nibbana is another. Fully comprehending this, the bhikkhu, the disciple of the Buddha, should not take delight in worldly gain and honour, but devote himself to solitude, detachment and the realization of Nibbana.

End of Chapter Five: The Fool.



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updated: 18-03-2002