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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 X: Punishment (Dandavagga)


Verse 129

X (1) The Story of a Group of Six Bhikkhus

While residing at the Javana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (129) of this book, with reference to a group of six bhikkhus (chabbaggi) who picked a quarrel with another group comprising seventeen bhikkhus.

Once seventeen bhikkhus were cleaning up a building in the Jetavana monastery-complex with the intention of occupying it, when another group comprising six bhikkhus arrived on the scene. The group of six said to the first group, "We are senior to you, so you had better give way to us; we will take this place." The group of seventeen did not give in, so the chabbaggis beat up the other group who cried out in pain. The Buddha learning about this reprimanded them and laid down the disciplinary rule forbidding bhikkhus to beat others.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 129. All are afraid of the stick, all fear death. Putting oneself in another's place, one should not beat or kill others.

Verse 130

X (2) The Story of a Group of Six Bhikkhus

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (130) of this book, with reference to a group of six bhikkhus.

After coming to blows the first time, the same two groups of bhikkhus quarrelled again over the same building. As the rule prohibiting beating others had already been laid down, the group of six threatened the other group with upraised hands. The group of seventeen, who were junior to the chabbaggis, cried out in fright. The Buddha hearing about this laid down the disciplinary rule forbidding the raising of hands in threat.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 130. All are afraid of the stick, all hold their lives dear. Putting oneself in another's place, one should not beat or kill others.

Verses 131 and 132

X (3) The Story of Many Youths

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses (131) and (132) of this book, with reference to a number of youths.

Once, the Buddha was out on an alms-round at Savatthi when he came across a number of youths beating a snake with sticks. When questioned, the youths answered that they were beating the snake because they were afraid that the snake might bite them. To them the Buddha said, "If you do not want to be harmed, you should also not harm others: if you harm others, you will not find happiness in your next existence."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 131. He who seeks his own happiness by oppressing others, who also desire to have happiness, will not find happiness in his next existence.

Verse 132. He who seeks his own happiness by not oppressing others, who also desire to have happiness, will find happiness in his next existence.

At the end of the discourse all the youths attained Sotapatti Fruition.

Verses 133 and 134

X (4) The Story of Thera Kondadhana

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses (133) and (134) of this book, with reference to Thera Kondadhana.

Since the day Kondadhana was admitted to the Order, the image of a female was always following him. This image was seen by others, but Kondadhana himself did not see it and so did not know about it.

When he was out on an alms-round, people would offer two spoonfuls to him, saying, "This is for you, Venerable Sir, and this is for your female companion." Seeing the bhikkhu going about with a woman, people went to King Pasenadi of Kosala and reported about the bhikkhu and the woman. They said to the king, "O king! Drive out the bhikkhu, who is lacking in moral virtues, from your kingdom." So the king went to the monastery where that bhikkhu was staying and surrounded it with his men.

Hearing noises and voices, the bhikkhus came out and stood at the door, and the image also was there not far from the bhikkhu. Knowing that the king had come, the bhikkhu went into the room to wait for him. When the king entered the room, the image was not there. The king asked the bhikkhu where the woman was and he replied that he saw no woman. The king wanted to make sure and he asked the bhikkhu to leave the room for a while. The bhikkhu left the room, but when the king looked out, again he saw the woman near the bhikkhu. But when the bhikkhu came back to the room the woman was nowhere to be found. The king concluded that the woman was not real and so the bhikkhu must be innocent. He therefore invited the bhikkhu to come to the palace every day for alms-food.

When other bhikkhus heard about this, they were puzzled and said to the bhikkhu, "O bhikkhu with no morals! Now that the king, instead of driving you out of his kingdom, has invited you for alms-food, you are doomed!" The bhikkhu on his part retorted, "Only you are the ones without morals; only you are doomed because you are the ones who go about with women!"

The bhikkhus then reported the matter to the Buddha. The Buddha sent for Kodadadhana and said to him, "My son, did you see any woman with the other bhikkhus that you have talked to them thus? You have not seen any woman with them as they have seen one with you. I see that you do not realize that you have been cursed on account of an evil deed done by you in a past existence. Now listen, I shall explain to you why you have an image of a woman following you about.

"You were a deva in your last existence. During that time, there were two bhikkhus who were very much attached to each other. But you tried to create trouble between the two, by assuming the appearance of a woman and following one of the bhikkhus. For that evil deed you are now being followed by the image of a woman So, my son, in future do not argue with other bhikkhus any more; keep silent like a gong with the rim broken off and you will realize Nibbana."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 133. Do not speak harshly to anyone; those who are thus spoken to will retort. Malicious talk is indeed the cause of trouble (dukkha) and retribution will come to you.

Verse 134. If you can keep yourself calm and quiet like a broken gong which is no longer resonant, you are sure to realize Nibbana, there will be no harshness in you.

Verse 135

X (5) The Story of Some Ladies Observing the Moral Precepts

While residing at the Pubbarama monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (135) of this book, with reference to five hundred ladies.

Once, five hundred ladies from Savatthi came to the Pubbarama monastery to keep the Uposatha Sila vows. The donor of the monastery, the well-renowned Visakha, asked different age groups of ladies why they had come to keep the sabbath. She got different answers from different age groups for they had come to the monastery for different reasons. The old ladies came to the monastery to keep the sabbath because they hoped to gain the riches and glories of the devas in their next existence; the middle-aged ladies had come to the monastery because they did not want to stay under the same roof with the mistresses of their respective husbands. The young married ladies had come because they wanted their first born to be a son, and the young unmarried ladies had come because they wanted to get married to good husbands.

Having had these answers, Visakha took all the ladies to the Buddha. When she told the Buddha about the various answers of the different age groups of ladies, the Buddha said, "Visakha! birth, ageing and death are always actively working in beings; because one is born, one is subject to ageing and decay, and finally to death. Yet, they do not wish to strive for liberation from the round of existences (samsara); they still wish to linger in samsara"

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 135. As with a stick the cowherd drives his cattle to the pasture, so also, Ageing and Death drive the life of beings.

Verse 136

X (6) The Story of the Boa Constrictor Peta

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (136) of this book, with reference to a boa constrictor peta [*].

Once, as Thera Maha Moggallana was coming down the Gijjhakuta hill with Thera Lakkhana he saw a boa constrictor peta and smiled, but he did not say anything. When they were back at the Jetavana monastery, Thera Maha Moggallana told Lakkhana, in the presence of the Buddha about the boa constrictor peta, with its long body burning in flames. The Buddha also said he himself had also seen that very peta soon after he had attained Buddhahood, but that he did not say anything about it because people might not believe him and thus they would be doing a great wrong to the Buddha. So out of compassion for these beings, the Buddha had kept silent. Then he continued, "Now that I have a witness in Moggallana, I will tell you about this boa constrictor peta. This peta was a thief during the time of Kassapa Buddha. As a thief and a cruel-hearted man, he had set fire to the house of a rich man seven times. And not satisfied with that, he also set fire to the perfumed hall donated by the same rich man to Kassapa Buddha, while Kassapa Buddha was out on an alms-round. As a result of those evil deeds he had suffered for a long time in niraya. Now, while serving out his term of suffering as a peta, he is being burnt with sparks of flames going up and down the length of his body. Bhikkhus, fools when doing evil deeds do not know them as being evil; but they cannot escape the evil consequences"

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 136. A fool while doing evil deeds does not know them as being evil; but that fool suffers for his evil deeds like one who is burnt by fire.

[*] peta: an always hungry spirit or ghost.

Verses 137, 138, 139 and 140

X (7) The Story of Thera Maha Moggallana

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses (137), (138), (139) and (140) of this book, with reference to Thera Maha Moggallana.

Once, the Nigantha ascetics planned to kill Thera Maha Moggallana because they thought that by doing away with Thera Maha Moggallana the fame and fortune of the Buddha would also be diminished. So they hired some assassins to kill Thera Maha Moggallana who was staying at Kalasila near Rajagaha at that time. The assassins surrounded the monastery; but Thera Maha Moggallana, with his supernormal power, got away first through a key hole, and for the second time through the roof. Thus, they could not get hold of the Thera for two whole months. When the assassins again surrounded the monastery during the third month, Thera Maha Moggallana, recollecting that he had yet to pay for the evil deeds done by him during one of his past existences, did not exercise his supernormal power. So he was caught and the assassins beat him up until all his bones were utterly broken. After that, they left his body in a bush, thinking that he had passed away. But the Thera, through his jhanic power, revived himself and went to see the Buddha at the Jetavana monastery. When he informed the Buddha that he would soon realize parinibbana at Kalasila, near Rajagaha, the Buddha told him to go only after expounding the Dhamma to the congregation of bhikkhus, as that would be the last time they would see him. So, Thera Maha Moggallana expounded the Dhamma and left after paying obeisance seven times to the Buddha.

The news of the passing away of Thera Maha Moggallana at the hands of assassins spread like wild fire. King Ajatasattu ordered his men to investigate and get hold of the culprits. The assassins were caught and they were burnt to death. The bhikkhus felt very sorrowful over the death of Thera Maha Moggallana, and could not understand why such a personage like Thera Maha Moggallana should die at the hands of assassins. To them the Buddha said, "Bhikkhus! Considering that Moggallana had lived a noble life in this existence, he should not have met with such a death. But in one of his past existences, he had done a great wrong to his own parents, who were both blind. In the beginning, he was a very dutiful son, but after his marriage, his wife began to make trouble and she suggested that he should get rid of his parents. He took his blind parents in a cart into a forest, and there he killed them by beating them and making them believe that it was some thief who was beating them. For that evil deed he suffered in niraya for a long time; and in this existence, his last, he has died at the hands of assassins. Indeed, by doing wrong to those who should not be wronged, one is sure to suffer for it."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 137 He who does harm with weapons to those who are harmless and should not be harmed will soon come to any of these ten evil consequences:

Verses 138, 139 & 140. He will be subject to severe pain, or impoverishment, or injury to the body (i.e., loss of limbs), or serious illness (e.g., leprosy), or lunacy, or misfortunes following the wrath of the king, or wrongful and serious accusations, or loss of relatives, or destruction of wealth, or the burning down of his houses by fire or by lightning. After the dissolution of his body, the fool will be reborn in the plane of continuous suffering (niraya).

Verse 141

X (8) The Story or Bhikkhu Bahubhandika

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (141) of this book, with reference to Bahubhandika, a bhikkhu with many possessions.

Once there was a rich man in Savatthi. After the death of his wife, he decided to become a bhikkhu. But before he entered the Order, he built a monastery, which included a kitchen and a store room. He also brought his own furniture, utensils and a large stock of rice, oil, butter and other provisions. Whatever dishes he wanted was cooked for him by his servants. Thus, even as a bhikkhu he was living in comfort, and because he had so many things with him, he was known as 'Bahubhandika.' One day, other bhikkhus took him to the Buddha, and in his presence told the Buddha about the many things he had brought along with him to the monastery, and also how he was still leading the luxurious life of a rich man. So, the Buddha said to Bahubhandika, "My son, I have been teaching all of you to live an austere life; why have you brought so much property with you ?" When reprimanded even this much, that bhikkhu lost his temper and said angrily, "Indeed, Venerable Sir! I will now live as you wish me to." So saying, he cast off his upper robe.

Seeing him thus, the Buddha said to him, "My son, in your last existence you were an ogre; even as an ogre you had a sense of shame and a sense of fear to do evil. Now that you are a bhikkhu in my Teaching, why do you have to throw away the sense of shame, and the sense of fear to do evil?" When he heard those words, the bhikkhu realized his mistake; his sense of shame and fear to do evil returned, and he respectfully paid obeisance to the Buddha and asked that he should be pardoned. The Buddha then said to him, "Standing there without your upper robe is not proper; just discarding your robe etc., does not maker you an austere bhikkhu; a bhikkhu must also discard his doubt."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 141 Not going naked, nor having matted hair, nor smearing oneself with mud, nor fasting, nor sleeping on bare ground, nor covering oneself with dust, nor striving by squatting can purify a being, who has not yet overcome doubt.

At the end of the discourse many attained Sotapatti Fruition.

Verse 142

X (9) The Story of Santatithe Minister

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (142) of this book, with reference to Santati, the minister of King Pasenadi of Kosala.

On one occasion, Santati the minister returned after suppressing a rebellion on the border. King Pasenadi was so pleased with him that he honoured the minister with the gift of the riches and glory of a ruler together with a dancing girl to entertain him for seven days. For seven days, the king's minister enjoyed himself to his heart's content, getting intoxicated with drink and infatuated with the young dancer. On the seventh day, riding the ornamented royal elephant, he went down to the riverside for a bath. On the way, he met the Buddha going on an alms-round, and being drunk, he just bowed casually, as a sign of respect to the Buddha. The Buddha smiled, and Ananda asked the Buddha why he smiled. So, the Buddha said to Ananda, "Ananda, this minister will come to see me this very day and after I have given him a short discourse will become an arahat. Soon after becoming an arahat he will realize parinibbana."

Santati and his party spent the whole day at the riverside, bathing, eating, drinking and thus thoroughly enjoying themselves. In the evening the minister and his party went to the garden to have more drinks and to be entertained by the dancer. The dancer, on her part, tried her best to entertain the minister. For the whole week she was living on reduced diet to keep herself trim. While dancing, she suffered a severe stroke and collapsed, and at that instant she died with her eyes and mouth wide open. The minister was shocked and deeply distressed. In agony, he tried to think of a refuge and remembered the Buddha. He went to the Buddha, accompanied by his followers, and related to him about the grief and anguish he suffered on account of the sudden death of the dancer. He then said to the Buddha, "Venerable Sir! Please help me get over my sorrow; be my refuge, and let me have the peace of mind." To him the Buddha replied, "Rest assured my son, you have come to one, who could help you, One who could be a constant solace to you and who will be your refuge. The tears you have shed due to the death of this dancer throughout the round of rebirths is more than the waters of all the oceans."The Buddha then instructed the minister in verse. The meaning of the verse is as follows.

"In the past there has been in you clinging (upadana) due to craving; get rid of it. In future, do not let such clinging occur in you. Do not also harbour any clinging in the present; by not having any clinging, craving and passion will be calmed in you and you will realize Nibbana."

After hearing the verse, the minister attained arahatship. Then, realizing that his life span was at an end, he said to the Buddha, "Venerable Sir! Let me now realize parinibbana, for my time has come." The Buddha consenting, Santati rose to a height of seven toddy-palms into the sky and there, while meditating on the element of fire (tejo kasina), he passed away realizing parinibbana. His body went up in flames, his blood and flesh burnt up and the bone relics (dhatu) fell through the sky and dropped on the clean piece of cloth which was spread by the bhikkhus as instructed by the Buddha.

At the congregation, the bhikkhus asked the Buddha, "Venerable Sir! The minister had realized parinibbana dressed in full regalia; is he a samana on a brahmana?" To them, the "Buddha replied Bhikkhus! My son can be called both a samana and a brahmana."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 142 Though he is gaily decked, if he is calm, free from moral defilements, and has his senses controlled, if he is established in Magga Insight, if he is pure and has laid aside enmity (lit., weapons) towards all beings, he indeed is a brahmana, a samana, and a bhikkhu.

Verses 143 and 144

X (10) The Story of Thera Pilotikatissa

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses (143) and (144) of this book, with reference to Thera Pilotikatissa.

Once, Thera Ananda saw a shabbily dressed youth going round begging for food; he felt pity for the youth and made him a samanera. The young samanera left his old clothes and his begging plate on the fork of a tree. When he became a bhikkhu he was known as Pilotikatissa. As a bhikkhu, he did not have to worry about food and clothing as he was in affluent circumstances. Yet, sometimes he did not feel happy in his life as a bhikkhu and thought of going back to the life of a lay man. Whenever he had this feeling, he would go back to that tree where he had left his old clothes and his plate. There, at the foot of the tree, he would put this question to himself, "Oh shameless one! Do you want to leave the place where you are fed well and dressed well? Do you still want to put on these shabby clothes and go begging again with this old plate in your hand?" Thus, he would rebuke himself, and after calming down, he would go back to the monastery.

After two or three days, again, he felt like leaving the monastic life of a bhikkhu, and again, he went to the tree where he kept his old clothes and his plate. After asking himself the same old question and having been reminded of the wretchedness of his old life, he returned to the monastery. This was repeated many times. When other bhikkhus asked him why he often went to the tree where he kept his old clothes and his plate, he told them that he went to see his teacher [*]. Thus keeping his mind on his old clothes as the subject of meditation, he came to realize the true nature of the aggregates of the khandhas (i. e., anicca, dukkha, anatta), and eventually he became an arahat. Then, he stopped going to the tree. Other bhikkhus noticing that Pilotikatissa had stopped going to the tree where he kept his old clothes and his plate asked him, "Why don't you go to your teacher any more?" To them, he answered, "When I had the need, I had to go to him; but there is no need for me to go to him now." When the bhikkhus heard his reply, they took him to see the Buddha. When they came to his presence they said, "Venerable Sir! This bhikkhu claims that he has attained arahatship; he must be telling lies." But the Buddha refuted them, and said, "Bhikkhus! Pilotikatissa is not telling lies, he speaks the truth. Though he had relationship with his teacher previously, now he has no relationship whatsoever with his teacher. Thera Pilotikatissa has instructed himself to differentiate right and wrong causes and to discern the true nature of things. He has now become an arahat, and so there is no further connection between him and his teacher."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 143. Rare in this world is the kind of person who out of a sense of shame restrains from doing evil and keeps himself awake like a good horse that gives no cause to be whipped.

Verse 144. Like a good horse stirred at a touch of the whip, be diligent and get alarmed by endless round of rebirths (i.e., samsara). By faith, morality, effort, concentration, discernment of the Dhamma, be endowed with knowledge and practice of morality, and with mindfulness, leave this immeasurable dukkha (of samsara) behind.

[*] teacher: here refers to Pilotika's old clothes and his begging plate: they are like a teacher to him because they imbued him with a deep sense of shame and put him on the right track.

Verse 145

X (11) The Story of Samanera* Sukha

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (145) of this book, with reference to a samanera named Sukha.

Sukha was made a samanera at the age of seven years by Thera Sariputta. On the eighth day after being made a samanera he followed Thera Sariputta on his alms-round. While doing the round they came across some farmers irrigating their fields, some fletchers straightening their arrows and some carpenters making things like cart-wheels, etc. Seeing these, he asked Thera Sariputta whether these inanimate things could be guided to where one wished or be made into things one wished to make, and the thera answered him in the affirmative. The young samanera then pondered that if that were so, there could be no reason why a person could not tame his mind and practise Tranquillity and Insight Meditation.

So, he asked permission from the thera to return to the monastery. There, he shut himself up in his room and practised meditation in solitude, Sakka and the devas also helped him in his practice by keeping the monastery very quiet. That same day, the eighth day after his becoming a samanera, Sukha attained arahatship. In connection with this, the Buddha said to the congregation of bhikkhus, "When a person earnestly practises the Dhamma, even Sakka and the devas give protection and help. I myself have kept Sariputta at the entrance so that Sukha should not be disturbed. The samanera, having seen the farmers irrigating their fields, the fletchers straightening their arrows and the carpenters making cart-wheels and other things, trains his mind and practises the Dhamma. Thus, he has now become an arahat."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 145. Farmers ** channel the water; fletchers straighten the arrows; carpenters work the timber; the wise tame themselves.

[*] This story is the same as that of Samanera Pandita (Verse 80)

[**] Farmers (lit., makers of irrigation canals)

End of Chapter Ten: Punishment


Chapter XI: Ageing (Jaravagga)


Verse 146

XI (1) The Story of the Companions of Visakha

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (146) of this book, with reference to companions of Visakha.

Five hundred men from Savatthi, wishing to make their wives to be generous, kind-hearted and virtuous like Visakha, sent them to Visakha to be her constant companions. During a bacchanalian festival which lasted for seven days, the wives of those men took all the drinks left by their husbands and got drunk in the absence of Visakha. For this misbehaviour they were beaten by their husbands. On another occasion, saying that they wished to listen to the Buddha's discourse, they asked Visakha to take them to the Buddha and secretly took small bottles of liquor hidden in their clothes.

On arrival at the monastery, they drank all the liquor they had brought and threw away the bottles. Visakha requested the Buddha to teach them the Dhamma. By that time, the women were getting intoxicated and felt like singing and dancing. Mara, taking this opportunity made them bold and shameless, and soon they were boisterously singing, dancing, clapping and jumping about in the monastery. The Buddha saw the hand of Mara in the shameless behaviour of these women and said to himself, "Mara must not be given the opportunity." So, the Buddha sent forth dark-blue rays from his body and the whole room was darkened; the women were frightened and began to get sober. Then, the Buddha vanished from his seat and stood on top of Mount Meru, and from there he sent forth white rays and the sky was lit up as if by a thousand moons. After thus manifesting his powers, the Buddha said to those five hundred women, "You ladies should not have come to my monastery in this unmindful state. Because you have been negligent Mara has had the opportunity to make you behave shamelessly, laughing and singing loudly, in my monastery. Now, strive to put out the fire of passion (raga) which is in you".

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 146. Why is there laughter? Why is there joy although (the world) is always burning? Shrouded in darkness why not seek the light?

At the end of the discourse those five hundred women attained Sotapatti Fruition.

Verse 147

XI (2) The story of Sirima

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (147) of this book, with reference to Sirima the courtesan.

Once, there lived in Rajagaha, a very beautiful courtesan by the name of Sirima. Every day Sirima offered alms-food to eight bhikkhus. One of these bhikkhus happened to mention to other bhikkhus how beautiful Sirima was and also that she offered very delicious food to the bhikkhus every day. On hearing this, a young bhikkhu fell in love with Sirima even without seeing her. The next day, the young bhikkhu went with the other bhikkhus to the house of Sirima. Sirima was not well on that day, but since she wanted to pay obeisance to the bhikkhus, she was carried to their presence. The young bhikkhu, seeing Sirima, thought to himself, "Even though she is sick, she is very beautiful !" And he felt a strong desire for her.

That very night, Sirima died. King Bimbisara went to the Buddha and reported to him that Sirima, the sister of Jivaka, had died. The Buddha told King Bimbisara to take the dead body to the cemetery and keep it there for three days without burying it, but to have it protected from crows and vultures. The king did as he was told. On the fourth day, the dead body of the beautiful Sirima was no longer beautiful or desirable; it got bloated and maggots came out from the nine orifices. On that day, the Buddha took his bhikkhus to the cemetery to observe the body of Sirima. The king also came with his men. The young bhikkhu, who was so desperately in love with Sirima, did not know that Sirima had died. When he learnt that the Buddha and the bhikkhus were going to see Sirima, he joined them. At the cemetery, the corpse of Sirima was surrounded by the bhikkhus headed by the Buddha, and also by the king and his men.

The Buddha then asked the king to get a town crier announce that Sirima would be available on payment of one thousand in cash per night. But no body would take her for one thousand, or for five hundred, or for two hundred and fifty, or even if she were to be given free of charge. Then the Buddha said to the audience, "Bhikkhus! Look at Sirima. When she was living, there were many who were willing to give one thousand to spend one night with her; but now none would take her even if given without any payment. The body of a person is subject to deterioration and decay."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 147. Look at this dressed up body, a mass of sores, supported (by bones), sickly, a subject of many thoughts (of sensual desire). Indeed, that body is neither permanent nor enduring.

At the end of the discourse, the young bhikkhu attained Sotapatti Fruition.

Verse 148

XI (3) The Story of Theri Uttara

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (148) of this book, with reference to Then Uttara.

Theri Uttara, who was one hundred and twenty years old, was one day returning from her alms-round when she met a bhikkhu and requested him to accept her offering of alms-food. The inconsiderate bhikkhu accepted all her alms-food; so she had to go without food for that day. The same thing happened on the next two days. Thus Then Uttara was without food for three successive days and she was feeling weak. On the fourth day, while she was on her alms-round, she met the Buddha on the road where it was narrow. Respectfully, she paid obeisance to the Buddha and stepped back, While doing so, she accidentally stepped on her own robe and fell on the ground, injuring her head. The Buddha went up to her and said, "Your body is getting very old and infirm, it is ready to crumble, it will soon perish."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows

Verse 148: This body is worn out-with age, it is the seat of sickness, it is subject to decay. This putrid body disintegrates; life, indeed, ends in death.

At the end of the discourse, Theri Uttara attained Sotapatti Fruition.

Verse 149

XI (4) The Story of Adhimanika Bhikkhus

White residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (149) of this book, with reference to some bhikkhus who over-estimated themselves.

Five hundred bhikkhus, after taking a subject of meditation from the Buddha, went into the woods. There, they practised meditation ardently and diligently and soon attained deep mental absorption (jhana) and they thought that they were free from sensual desires and, therefore, had attained arahatship. Actually, they were only over-estimating themselves. Then, they went to the Buddha, with the intention of informing the Buddha about what they thought was their attainment of arahatship.

When they arrived at the outer gate of the monastery, the Buddha said to the Venerable Ananda, "Those bhikkhus will not benefit much by coming to see me now; let them go to the cemetery first and come to see me only afterwards." The Venerable Ananda then delivered the message of the Buddha to those bhikkhus, and they reflected, "The Enlightened One knows everything; he must have some reason in making us go to the cemetery first." So they went to the cemetery.

There, when they saw the putrid corpses they could look at them as just skeletons, and bones, but when they saw some fresh dead bodies they realized, with horror, that they still had some sensual desires awakening in them. The Buddha saw them from his perfumed chamber and sent forth the radiance; then he appeared to them and said, "Bhikkhus! Seeing these bleached bones, is it proper for you to have any sensual desire in you?"

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 149: Like gourds thrown away in autumn are these dove-grey bones; what pleasure is there in seeing them?

At the end of the discourse, those five hundred bhikkhus attained arahatship.

Verse 150

XI (5) The Story of Theri Rupananda (Janapadakalyani)

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (150) of this book, with reference to Janapadakalyani.

Princess Janapadakalyani was the daughter of Gotami, the step-mother of Gotama the Buddha; because she was very beautiful she was also known as Rupananda. She was married to Nanda, a cousin of the Buddha. One day she pondered, "My elder brother who could have become a Universal Monarch has renounced the world to become a bhikkhu; he is now a Buddha. Rahula, the son of my elder brother, and my own husband Prince Nanda have also become bhikkhus. My mother Gotami has also become a bhikkhuni, and I am all alone here!" So saying, she went to the monastery of some bhikkhunis and became a bhikkhuni herself. Thus, she had become a bhikkhuni not out of faith but only in imitation of others and because she felt lonely.

Rupananda had heard from others that the Buddha often taught about the impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and insubstantiality of the khandhas. So she thought he would talk deprecatingly about her good looks if he should see her; and thus thinking, she kept away from the Buddha. But other bhikkhunis coming back from the monastery, kept talking in praise of the Buddha; so, one day, she decided to accompany other bhikkhunis to the monastery.

The Buddha saw her and reflected, "A thorn can only be taken out with a thorn; Rupananda being very attached to her body and being very proud of her beauty, I must take the pride and attachment out of her through beauty." So, with his supernormal power, he caused an image of a very beautiful lady of about sixteen years of age to be seated near him, fanning him. This young girl was visible only to Rupananda and the Buddha. When Rupananda saw the girl, she realized that compared to that girl, she herself was just like an old, ugly crow compared to a beautiful white swan. Rupananda had a good lock at the girl and she felt that she liked her very much. Then, she looked again and was surprised to find that the girl had grown to the age of about twenty. Again and again, she looked at the figure beside the Buddha and every time she noticed that the girl had grown older and older. Thus, the girl turned into a grown-up lady, then into a middle-aged lady, an old lady, a decrepit and a very old lady successively. Rupananda also noticed that with the arising of a new image, the old image disappeared, and she came to realize that there was a continuous process of change and decay in the body. With the coming of this realization, her attachment to the body diminished. Meanwhile, the figure near the Buddha had turned into an old, decrepit lady, who could no longer control her bodily functions, and was rolling in her own excreta. Finally, she died, her body got bloated, pus and maggots came out of the nine openings and crows and vultures were trying to snatch at the dead body.

Having seen all these, Rupananda pondered, "This young girl has grown old and decrepit and died in this very place under my own eyes. In the same way, my body will also grow old and wear out; it will be subject to disease and I will also die." Thus, she came to perceive the true nature of the khandhas. At this point, the Buddha talked about the impermanence, the unsatisfactoriness and the insubstantiality of the khandhas, and Rupananda attained Sotapatti Fruition.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 150: This body (lit., the city) is built up with bones which are covered with flesh and blood; within this dwell (lit., are deposited) decay and death, pride and detraction (of others' virtues and reputation).

At the end of the discourse, Rupananda attained arahatship.

Verse 151

XI (6) The Story of Queen Mallika

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (151) of this book, with reference to Mallika, queen of King Pasenadi of Kosala.

One day, Mallika went into the bathroom to wash her face, hands and feet. Her pet dog also came in; as she was bending to wash her feet, the dog tried to have sex with her, and the queen appeared to be amused and somewhat pleased. The king saw this strange incident through the window from his bedroom. When the queen came in, he said angrily to the queen, "Oh, you wicked woman! What were you doing with that dog in the bathroom? Do not deny what I saw with my own eyes." The queen replied that she was only washing her face, her hands and her feet, and so was doing nothing wrong. Then she continued, "But, that room is very strange. If anyone went into that room, to one looking from this window there would appear to be two. If you do not believe me, O King, please go into that room and I will look through this window."

So, the king went into the bathroom. When he came out, Mallika asked the king why he misbehaved with a she-goat in that room. The king denied it, but the queen insisted that she saw them with her own eyes. The king was puzzled, but being dim-witted, he accepted the queen's explanation, and concluded that the bath room was, indeed, very strange.

From that time, the queen was full of remorse for having lied to the king and for having brazenly accused him of misbehaving with a she-goat. Thus, even when she was approaching death, she forgot to think about the great unrivalled charities she had shared with her husband and only remembered that she had been unfair to him. As a result of this, when she died she was reborn in niraya. After her burial, the king intended to ask the Buddha where she was reborn. The Buddha wished to spare his feelings, and also did not want him to lose faith in the Dhamma. So he willed that this question should not he put to him, and King Pasenadi forgot to ask the Buddha.

However, after seven days in niraya, the queen was reborn in the Tusita deva world. On that day, the Buddha went to King Pasenadi's palace for alms-food; he indicated that he wished to rest in the coach-shed where the royal carriages were kept. After offering alms-food, the king asked the Buddha where queen Mallika was reborn and the Buddha replied, "Mallika has been reborn in the Tusita deva world." Hearing this the king was very pleased, and said, 'Where else could she have been reborn? She was always thinking of doing good deeds, always thinking what to offer to the Buddha on the next day. Venerable Sir! Now that she is gone, I, your humble disciple, hardly know what to do." To him the Buddha said, "Look at these carriages of your father and your grandfather; these are all worn down and lying useless; so also is your body, which is subject to death and decay. Only the Dhamma of the Virtuous is not subject to decay."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 151: The much ornamented royal carriages do wear out, the body also grows old, but the Dhamma of the Virtuous does not decay. Thus, indeed, say the Virtuous among themselves.

Verse 152

XI (7) The Story of Thera Laludayi

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (152) of this book, with reference to Laludayi, a thera with little intelligence.

Laludayi was a bhikkhu who was dim-witted and very absent-minded. He could never say things which were appropriate to the occasion, although he tried hard. Thus, on joyful and auspicious occasions he would talk about sorrow, and on sorrowful occasions he would talk about joy and gladness. Besides, he never realized that he had been saying things which were inappropriate to the occasion. When told about this, the Buddha said, "One like Laludayi who has little knowledge is just like an ox."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 152: This man of little learning grows old like an ox; only his flesh grows but not his wisdom.

Verses 153 and 154

XI (8) The Story Concerning the "Words of Exaltation of the Buddha"

These two verses are expressions of intense and sublime joy felt by the Buddha at the moment of attainment of Supreme Enlightenment (Bodhi nana or Sabbannuta nana). These verses were repeated at the Jetavana monastery at the request of the Venerable Ananda.

Prince Siddhattha, of the family of Gotama, son of King Suddhodana and Queen Maya of the kingdom of the Sakyans, renounced the world at the age of twenty-nine and became an ascetic in search of the Dhamma (Truth). For six years, he wandered about the valley of the Ganges, approaching famous religious leaders, studying their doctrines and methods. He lived austerely and submitted himself strictly to rigorous ascetic discipline; but he found all these traditional practices to be unsound. He was determined to find the Truth in his own way, and by avoiding the two extremes of excessive sensual indulgence and self-mortification [*], he found the Middle Pathwhich would lead to Perfect Peace, Nibbana. This Middle Path (Majjhimapatipada) is the Noble Path of Eight Constituents, viz., Right view, Right thought, Right speech, Right action, Right livelihood, Right effort, Right mindfulness and Right concentration.

Thus, one evening, seated under a Bo tree on the bank of the Neranjara river, Prince Siddhattha Gotama attained Supreme Enlightenment (Bodhi nana or Sabbannuta nana) at the age of thirty-five. During the first watch of the night, the prince attained the power of recollection of past existences (Pubbenivasanussati-nana) and during the second watch he attained the divine power of sight (Dibbacakkhu nana). Then, during the third watch of the night he contemplated the Doctrine of Dependent Origination (Paticcasamuppada) in the order of arising (anuloma) as well as in the order of cessation (patiloma). At the crack of dawn, Prince Siddhattha Gotama by his own intellect and insight fully and completely comprehended the Four Noble Truths. The Four Noble Truths are: The Noble Truth of Dukkha (Dukkha Ariya Sacca), the Noble Truth of the Cause of Dukkha (Dukkha Samudaya Ariya Sacca), the Noble Truth of the Cessation of Dukkha (Dukkha Nirodha Ariya Sacca), and The Noble Truth of the Path Leading to the Cessation of Dukkha (Dukkha Nirodha Gamini Patipada Ariya Sacca). There also appeared in him, in all their purity. The knowledge of the nature of each Noble Truth (Sacca nana), knowledge of the performance required for each Noble Truth (Kicca nana), and the knowledge of the completion of the performance required for each Noble Truth (Kata nana); and thus, he attained the Sabbannuta nana (also called Bodhi nana) of a Buddha. From that time, he was known as Gotama the Buddha.

In this connection, it should be noted that only when the Four Noble Truths, under their three aspects (therefore, the twelve modes), had become perfectly clear to him that the Buddha acknowledged in the world of Men, the world of Devas and that of Brahmas that he had attained the Supreme Enlightenment and therefore had become a Buddha.

At the moment of the attainment of Buddhahood, the Buddha uttered the following two verses:

Verse 153: I, who have been seeking the builder of this house (body), failing to attain Enlightenment (Bodhi nana or Sabbannuta nana) which would enable me to find him, have wandered through innumerable births in samsara. To be born again and again is, indeed, dukkha!

Verse 154: Oh house-builder! You are seen, you shall build no house (for me) again. All your rafters are broken, your roof-tree is destroyed. My mind has reached the unconditioned (i.e., Nibbana); the end of craving (Arahatta Phala) has been attained.

[*] Kamasukhallikanuyoga and Attakiamathanuyoga.

Verses 155 and 156

XI (9) The Story of the Son of Mahadhana

While residing at the Migadaya wood, the Buddha uttered Verses (155) and (156) of this book, with reference to the son of Mahadhana, a rich man from Baranasi.

The son of Mahadhana did not study while he was young; when he came of age he married the daughter of a rich man, who, like him, also had no education. When the parents on both sides died, they inherited eighty crores from each side and so were very rich. But both of them were ignorant and knew only how to spend money and not how to keep it or to make it grow. They just ate and drank and had a good time, squandering their money. When they had spent all, they sold their fields and gardens and finally their house. Thus, they became very poor and helpless; and because they did not know how to earn a living they had to go begging. One day, the Buddha saw the rich man's son leaning against a wall of the monastery, taking the leftovers given him by the samaneras; seeing him, the Buddha smiled.

The Venerable Ananda asked the Buddha why he smiled, and the Buddha replied, "Ananda, look at this son of a very rich man; he had lived a useless life, an aimless life of pleasure. If he had learnt to look after his riches in the first stage of his life he would have been a top-ranking rich man; or if he had become a bhikkhu, he could have been an arahat, and his wife could have been an anagami. If he had learnt to lock after his riches in the second stage of his life he would have been a second rank rich man, or if he had become a bhikkhu he could have been an anagami, and his wife could have been a sakadagami. If he had learnt to look after his riches in the third stage of his life he would have been a third rank rich man, or if he had become a bhikkhu he could have been a sakadagami, and his wife could have been a sotapanna. However, because he had done nothing in all the three stages of his life he had lost all his worldly riches, he had also lost all opportunities of attaining any of the Maggas and Phalas."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 155: They, who in youth have neither led the life of Purity nor have acquired wealth, waste away in dejection like decrepit herons on a drying pond deplete of fish.

Verse 156: They, who in youth have neither led the Life of Purity nor have acquired wealth, lie helplessly like arrows that have lost momentum, moaning and sighing after the past.

End of Chapter Eleven: Ageing.


Chapter XII: Self (Attavagga)


Verse 157

XII (I) The Story of Bodhirajakumara

While residing at the Bhesakala wood, the Buddha uttered Verse (157) of this book, with reference to Prince Bodhi (Bodhirajakumara).

Once, Prince Bodhi built a magnificent palace for himself. When the palace was finished he invited the Buddha for alms-food. For this special occasion, he had the building decorated and perfumed with four kinds of scents and incense. Also, a long length of cloth was spread on the floor, starting from the threshold to the interior of the room. Then, because he had no children, the prince made a solemn asseveration that if he were to have any children the Buddha should step on the cloth. When the Buddha came, Prince Bodhi respectfully requested the Buddha three times to enter the room. But the Buddha, instead of moving, only looked at Ananda. Ananda understood him and so asked Prince Bodhi to remove the cloth from the door-step. Then only, the Buddha entered the palace. The prince then offered delicious and choice food to the Buddha. After the meal, the prince asked the Buddha why he did not step on the cloth. The Buddha in turn asked the prince whether he had not spread the cloth making a solemn asseveration that if he were to be blessed with a child, the Buddha would step on it; and the prince replied in the affirmative. To him, the Buddha said that he and his wife were not going to have any children because of their past evil deeds. The Buddha then related their past story.

In one of their past existences, the prince and his wife were the sole survivors of a shipwreck. They were stranded on a deserted island, and there they lived by eating birds' eggs, fledglings and birds, without any feeling of remorse at any time. For that evil deed, they would not be blessed with any children. If they had felt even a slight remorse for their deed at any stage of their lives, they could have a child or two in this existence. Then turning to the prince, the Buddha said, "One who loves himself should guard himself in all stages of life, or at least, during one stage in his life."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 157: If one knows that one is dear to oneself, one should protect oneself well. During any of the three watches (of life) the wise man should be on guard (against evil).

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

Verse 158

XII (2) The Story of Thera Upananda Sakyaputta

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (158) of this book, with reference to Upananda, a thera of the Sakyan Clan.

Upananda was a very eloquent preacher. He used to preach to others not to be greedy and to have only a few wants and would talk eloquently on the merits of contentment and frugality (appicchata) and austere practices (dhutangas). However, he did not practise what he taught and took for himself all the robes and other requisites that were given up by others.

On one occasion, Upananda went to a village monastery just before the vassa. Some young bhikkhus, being impressed by his eloquence, asked him to spend the vassa in their monastery. He asked them how many robes each bhikkhu usually received as donation for the vassa in their monastery and they told him that they usually received one robe each. So he did not stop there, but he left his slippers in that monastery. At the next monastery, he learned that the bhikkhus usually received two robes each for the vassa; there he left his staff. At the next monastery, the bhikkhus received three robes each as donation for the vassa; there he left his water bottle. Finally, at the monastery where each bhikkhu received four robes, he decided to spend the vassa.

At the end of the vassa, he claimed his share of robes from the other monasteries where he had left his personal effects. Then he collected all his things in a cart and came back to his old monastery. On his way, he met two young bhikkhus who were having a dispute over the share of two robes and a valuable velvet blanket which they had between them. Since they could not come to an amicable settlement, they asked Upananda to arbitrate. Upananda gave one robe each to them and took the valuable velvet blanket for having acted as an arbitrator.

The two young bhikkhus were not satisfied with the decision but they could do nothing about it. With a feeling of dissatisfaction and dejection, they went to the Buddha and reported the matter. To then the Buddha said, "One who teaches others should first teach himself and act as he has taught."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 158: One should first establish oneself in what is proper; then only one should teach others. A wise man should not incur reproach.

At the end of the discourse the two young bhikkhus attained Sotapatti Fruition.

Verse 159

XII (3) The Story of Thera Padhanikatissa

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (159) of this book, with reference to Thera Padhanikatissa.

Thera Padhanikatissa, after taking a subject of meditation from the Buddha, left for the forest with five hundred other bhikkhus. There, he told the bhikkhus to be ever mindful and diligent in their meditation practice. After thus exhorting others he himself would lie down and go to sleep. The young bhikkhus did as they were told. They practised meditation during the first watch of the night and when they were about to go to bed, Padhanikatissa would get up and tell them to go back to their practice. When they returned after meditation practice during the second and third watches also he would say the same thing to them.

As he was always acting in this way, the young bhikkhus never had peace of mind, and so they could not concentrate on meditation practice or even on recitation of the texts. One day, they decided to investigate if their teacher was truly zealous and vigilant as he posed himself to be. When they found out that their teacher Padhanikatissa only exhorted others but was himself sleeping most of the time, they remarked, "We are ruined, our teacher knows only how to scold us, but he himself is just wasting time, doing nothing." By this time, as the bhikkhus were not getting enough rest, they were tired and worn out. As a result, none of the bhikkhu made any progress in their meditation practice.

At the end of the vassa, they returned to the Jetavana monastery and reported the matter to the Buddha. To them the Buddha said, "Bhikkhus! One who wants to teach others should first teach himself and conduct himself properly."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 159: One should act as one teaches others; only with oneself thoroughly tamed should one tame others. To tame oneself is, indeed, difficult.

At the end of the discourse those five hundred bhikkhus attained arahatship.

Verse 160

XII (4) The Story of the Mother of Kumarakassapa

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (160) of this book, with reference to the mother of Kumarakassapa.

Once, a young married woman asked permission from her husband to become a bhikkhuni. Through ignorance, she went to join some bhikkhunis who were the pupils of Devadatta. This young woman was pregnant before she became a bhikkhuni, but she was not aware of the fact at that time. But in due course, the pregnancy became obvious and the other bhikkhunis took her to their teacher Devadatta. Devadatta ordered her to go back to the household life. She then said to the other bhikkhunis, "I have not intended to become a bhikkhuni under your teacher Devadatta; I have come here by mistake. Please take me to the Jetavana monastery, take me to the Buddha." Thus she came to the Buddha. The Buddha knew that she was pregnant before she became a bhikkhuni and was therefore innocent; but he was not going to handle the case. The Buddha sent for King Pasenadi of Kosala, Anathapindika, the famous rich man, and Visakha, the famous donor of the Pubbarama monastery, and many other persons. He then told Thera Upali to settle the case in public.

Visakha took the young girl behind a curtain; she examined her and reported to Thera Upali that the girl was already pregnant when she became a bhikkhuni. Thera Upali then declared to the audience that the girl was quite innocent and therefore had not soiled her morality (sila). In due course, a son was born to her. The boy was adopted by King Pasenadi and was named Kumarakassapa. When the boy was seven years old, on learning that his mother was a bhikkhuni, he also became a samanera under the tutelage of the Buddha. When he came of age he was admitted to the Order; as a bhikkhu, he took a subject of meditation from the Buddha and went to the forest. There, he practised meditation ardently and diligently and within a short time attained arahatship. However, he continued to live in the forest for twelve more years.

Thus his mother had not seen him for twelve years and she longed to see her son very much. One day, seeing him, the mother bhikkhuni ran after her son weeping and calling out his name. Seeing his mother, Kumarakassapa thought that if he were to speak pleasantly to his mother she would still be attached to him and her future would be ruined. So for the sake of her future (realization of Nibbana) he was deliberately stern and spoke harshly to her: "How is it, that you, a member of the Order, could not even cut off this affection for a son?" The mother thought that her son was very cruel to her, and she asked him what he meant. Kumarakassapa repeated what he had said before. On hearing his answer, the mother of Kumarakassapa reflected: "O yes, for twelve years I have shed tears for this son of mine. Yet, he has spoken harshly to me. What is the use of my affection for him ?" Then, the futility of her attachment to her son dawned upon her, and then and there, she decided to cut off her attachment to her son. By cutting off her attachment entirely, the mother of Kumarakassapa attained arahatship on the same day.

One day, at the congregation of bhikkhus, some bhikkhus said to the Buddha, "Venerable Sir! If the mother of Kumarakassapa had listened to Devadatta, she as well as her son would not have become arahats. Surely, Devadatta had tried to do them a great wrong; but you, Venerable Sir, are a refuge to them!" To them the Buddha said, "Bhikkhus! In trying to reach the deva world, or in trying to attain arahatship, you cannot depend on others, you must work hard on your own."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 160: One indeed is ones own refuge; how can others be a refuge to one? With oneself thoroughly tamed, one can attain a refuge (i.e., Arahatta Phala), which is so difficult to attain.

Verse 161

XII (5) The Story of Mahakala Upasaka

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (16l) of this book, with reference to Mahakala, a lay disciple.

On a certain sabbath day, Mahakala, a lay disciple, went to the Jetavana monastery. On that day, he kept the sabbath by observing the eight moral precepts (Uposatha sila) and listened to the discourses on the Dhamma throughout the night. It so happened that on that same night, some thieves broke into a house; and the owners on waking up went after the thieves. The thieves ran away in all directions. Some ran in the direction of the monastery. It was then nearing dawn, and Mahakala was washing his face at the pond close to the monastery. The thieves dropped their stolen property in from of Mahakala and ran on. When the owners arrived, they saw Mahakala with the stolen property. Taking him for one of the thieves they shouted at him, threatened him and beat him hard. Mahakala died on the spot. Early in the morning, when some young bhikkhus and samaneras from the monastery came to the pond to fetch water, they saw the dead body and recognize it.

On their return to the monastery, they reported what they had seen and said to the Buddha, "Venerable Sir! The lay disciple who was at this monastery listening to the religious discourses all through the night has met with a death which he does not deserve." To them the Buddha replied, "Bhikkhus! If you judge from the good deeds he has done in this existence, he has indeed met with a death he does not deserve. But the fact is that he has only paid for the evil he had done in a past existence. In one of his previous existences, when he was a courtier in the palace of the king, he fell in love with another man's wife and had beaten her husband to death. Thus, evil deeds surely get one into trouble; they even lead one to the four apayas."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 161: The evil done by oneself, arising in oneself, and caused by oneself, destroys the foolish one, just as a diamond grinds the rock from which it is formed.

Verse 162

XII (6) The Story of Devadatta

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (162) of this book, with reference to Devadatta.

One day, some bhikkhus were talking amongst themselves when the Buddha came in and asked the subject of their talk. They answered that they were talking about Devadatta and then continued as follows:

"Venerable Sir! Devadatta is, indeed, a man without morality; he is also very avaricious. He has tried to gain fame and fortune by getting the confidence of Ajatasattu by unfair means. He has also tried to convince Ajatasattu that by getting rid of his father, he (Ajatasattu) would immediately become a powerful king. Having been thus misled by Devadatta, Ajatasattu killed his father, the noble king, Bimbisara. Devadatta has even attempted three times to kill you, our most Venerable Teacher. Devadatta is, indeed, very wicked and incorrigible !"

After listening to the bhikkhus, the Buddha told them that Devadatta has tried to kill him not only now but also in his previous existences. The Buddha then narrated the story of a deer-stalker.

"Once, while King Brahmadatta was reigning in Baranasi, the future Buddha was born as a deer, and Devadatta was then a deer-stalker. One day, the deer-stalker saw the footprints of a deer under a tree. So, he put up a bamboo platform in the tree and waited with the spear ready for the deer. The deer came but he came very cautiously. The deer-stalker saw him hesitating, and threw some fruits of the tree to coax him. Bat that put the deer on guard; he looked more carefully and saw the deer-stalker in the tree. He pretended not to see the deer stalker and turned away slowly. From some distance, he addressed the tree thus:

'O tree! You always drop your fruits vertically, but today you have broken the law of nature and have dropped your fruits slantingly. Since you have violated the nature law of trees, I am now leaving you for another tree.'

"Seeing the deer turning away, the dear-stalker dropped his spear to the ground and said, 'Yes, you can now move on; for today, I have been wrong in my calculations.' The deer who was the Buddha-to-be replied, 'O hunter! You have truly miscalculated today, but your evil kamma will not take any mistake; it will certainly follow you.' Thus, Devadatta had attempted to kill me not only now but also in the past, yet he had never succeeded." 'Then the Buddha continued, 'Bhikkhus! Just as a creeper strangles the tree to which it clings, so also, those without morality, being overwhelmed by lust, are finally thrown into niraya."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 162: As the creeper (maluva) strangle the sal tree, so also, a really immoral person (overwhelmed by Craving) does to himself just what his enemy wishes him to do.

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

Verse 163

XII (7) The Story of Schism in the Order

While residing at the Veluvana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (163) of this book, with reference to Devadatta, who committed the offence of causing a schism in the Order of the bhikkhus.

On one occasion, while the Buddha was giving a discourse in the Veluvana monastery, Devadatta came to him and suggested that since the Buddha was getting old, the duties of the Order should be entrusted to him (Devadatta); but the Buddha rejected his proposal and also rebuked him and called him a "spittle swallow or" (Khelasika). From that time, Devadatta felt very bitter towards the Buddha. He even tried to kill the Buddha three times, but all his attempts failed. Later, Devadatta tried another tactic. This time, he came to the Buddha and proposed five rules of discipline for the bhikkhus to observe throughout their lives.

He proposed:

(i) that the bhikkhus should live in the forest;

(ii) that they should live only on food received on alms-rounds;

(iii) that they should wear robes made only from pieces of cloth collected from rubbish heaps;

(iv) that they should reside under trees; and

(v) that they should not take fish or meat.

The Buddha did not have any objections to these rules and made no objections to those who were willing to observe them, but for various valid considerations, he was not prepared to impose these rules of discipline on the bhikkhus in general.

Devadatta claimed that the rules proposed by him were much better than the existing rules of discipline, and some new bhikkhus agreed with him. One day, the Buddha asked Devadatta if it was true that he was trying to create a schism in the Order, and he admitted that it was so. The Buddha warned him that it was a very serious offence, but Devadatta paid no heed to his warning. After this, as he met Thera Ananda on his alms-round in Rajagaha, Devadatta said to Thera Ananda, "Ananda, from today I will observe the sabbath (Uposatha), and perform the duties of the Order separately, independent of the Buddha and his Order of bhikkhus." On his return from the alms-round, Thera Ananda reported to the Buddha what Devadatta had said.

On hearing this, the Buddha reflected, "Devadatta is committing a very serious offence; it will send him to Avici Niraya. For a virtuous person, it is easy to do good deeds and difficult to do evil; but for an evil one, it is easy to do evil and difficult to do good deeds. Indeed, in life it is easy to do something which is not beneficial, but it is very difficult to do something which is good and beneficial."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 163: It is easy to do things that are bad and unbeneficial to oneself, but it is, indeed, most difficult to do things that are beneficial and good.

Then, on the Uposatha day, Devadatta, followed by five hundred Vajjian bhikkhus, broke off from the Order, and went to Gayasisa. However, when the two Chief Disciples, Sariputta and Moggallana, went to see the bhikkhus who had followed Devadatta and talked to them they realized their mistakes and most of them returned with the two Chief Disciples to the Buddha.

Verse 164

XII (8) The Story of Thera Kala

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (164) of this book, with reference to Thera Kala.

Once in Savatthi, an elderly woman was looking after a Thera named Kala, like her own son. One day hearing from her neighbours about the virtues of the Buddha, she wished very much to go to the Jetavana monastery and listen to the discourses given by the Buddha. So she told Thera Kala about her wishes; but the thera advised her against it. Three times she spoke to him about her wishes but he always dissuaded her. But one day, in spite of his dissuasion, the lady decided to go. After asking her daughter to look to the needs of Thera Kala she left the house. When Thera Kala came on his usual round of alms-food, he learned that the lady of the house had left for the Jetavana monastery. Then he reflected, "It is quite possible that the lady of this house is losing her faith in me." So, he made haste and quickly followed her to the monastery. There, he found her listening to the discourse being given by the Buddha. He approached the Buddha respectfully, and said, "Venerable Sir! This woman is very dull; she will not be able to understand the sublime Dhamma; please teach her only about charity (dana) and morality (sila)."

The Buddha knew very well that Thera Kala was talking out of spite and with an ulterior motive. So he said to Thera Kala, "Bhikkhu! Because you are foolish and because of your wrong view, you scorn my Teaching. You yourself are your own ruin; in fact, you are only trying to destroy yourself."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 164: The foolish man who, on account of his wrong views, scorns the teaching of homage-worthy Noble Ones (Ariyas) who live according to the Dhamma is like the bamboo which bears fruit for its own destruction.

At the end of the discourse the elderly lady attained Sotapatti Fruition.

Verse 165

XII (9) The Story of Cukakala Upasaka

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (165) of this book, with reference to Culakala, a lay disciple.

Cukakala, a lay disciple, observed the Uposatha precepts on a certain sabbath day and spent the night at the Jetavana monastery, listening to religious discourses all through the night. Early in the morning, as he was washing his face at the pond near the monastery, some thieves dropped a bundle near him. The owners seeing him with the stolen property took him for a thief and beat him hard. Fortunately some slave girls who had come to fetch water testified that they knew him and that he was not the thief. So Culakala was let off.

When the Buddha was told about it, he said to Culakala, "You have been let off not only because the slave girls said that you were not the thief but also because you did not steal and was therefore innocent. Those who do evil go to niraya, but those who do good are reborn in the deva worlds or else realize Nibbana."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 165: By oneself indeed is evil done and by oneself is one defiled; by oneself is evil not done and by oneself is one purified. Purity and impurity depend entirely on oneself; no one can purify another.

At the end of the discourse Culakala the lay disciple attained Sotapatti Fruition.

Verse 166

XII (10) The Story of Thera Attadattha

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (166) of this book, with reference to Thera Attadattha.

When the Buddha declared that he would realize parinibbana in four months' time, many puthujjana bhikkhus [*] were apprehensive and did not know what to do; so they kept close to the Buddha. Attadattha, however, did not go to the Buddha and, having resolved to attain arahatship during the lifetime of the Buddha, was striving hard in the meditation practice. Other bhikkhus, not understanding him, took him to the Buddha and said, "Venerable Sir, this bhikkhu does not seem to love and revere you as we do; he only keeps to himself." The thera then explained to them that he was striving hard to attain arahatship before the Buddha realized parinibbana and that was the only reason why he had not come to the Buddha.

The Buddha then said to the bhikkhus, "Bhikkhus, those who love and revere me should act like Attadattha. You are not paying me homage by just offering flowers, perfumes and incense and by coming to see me; you pay me homage only by practising the Dhamma I have taught you, i. e., the Lokuttara Dhamma."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 166: For the sake of another's benefit, however great it may be, do not neglect one's own (moral) benefit. Clearly perceiving one's own benefit one should make every effort to attain it.

At the end of the discourse Thera Attadattha attained arahatship.

[*] Puthujjana bhikkhus: bhikkhus who have not yet attained any Magga.

End of Chapter Twelve: Self.



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updated: 18-03-2002