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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 XIII: The World (Lokavagga)


Verse 167

XIII (I) The Story of a Young Bhikkhu

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (167) of this book, with reference to a young bhikkhu.

Once, a young bhikkhu accompanied an older bhikkhu to the house of Visakha. After taking rice gruel, the elder bhikkhu left for another place, leaving the young bhikkhu behind at the house of Visakha. The granddaughter of Visakha was filtering some water for the young bhikkhu, and when she saw her own reflection in the big water pot she smiled. Seeing her thus smiling, the young bhikkhu looked at her and he also smiled. When she saw the young bhikkhu looking at her and smiling at her, she lost her temper, and cried out angrily, "You, a shaven head! Why are you smiling at me ?" The young bhikkhu reported, "You are a shaven head yourself; your mother and your father are also shaven heads!" Thus, they quarrelled, and the young girl went weeping to her grandmother. Visakha came and said to the young bhikkhu, "Please do not get angry with my grand daughter. But, a bhikkhu does have his hair shaved, his finger nails and toe nails cut, and putting on a robe which is made up of cut pieces, he goes on alms-round with a bowl which is rimless. What this young girl said was, in a way, quite right, is it not?" The young bhikkhu replied. "It is true but why should she abuse me on that account ?" At this point, the elder bhikkhu returned; but both Visakha and the old bhikkhu failed to appease the young bhikkhu and the young girl.

Soon after this, the Buddha arrived and learned about the quarrel. The Buddha knew that time was ripe for the young bhikkhu to attain Sotapatti Fruition. Then, in order to make the young bhikkhu more responsive to his words, he seemingly sided with him and said to Visakha, "Visakha, what reason is there for your grand daughter to address my son as a shaven head just because he has his head shaven? After all, he had his head shaven to enter my Order, didn't he?"

Hearing these words, the young bhikkhu went down on his knees, paid obeisance to the Buddha, and said, "Venerable Sir! You alone understans me; neither my teacher nor the great donor of the monastery understands me." The Buddha knew that the bhikkhu was then in a receptive mood and so he said, "To smile with sensual desire is ignoble; it is not right and proper to have ignoble thoughts."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 167: Do not follow ignoble ways, do not live in negligence, do not embrace wrong views, do not be the one to prolong samsara (lit., the world).

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

Verses 168 and 169

XIII (2) The Story of King Suddhodana

While residing at the Nigrodharama monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses (168) and (169) of this book, with reference to King Suddhodana, father of Gotama Buddha.

When the Buddha revisited Kapilavatthu for the first time he stayed at the Nigrodharama monastery. There, he expounded the Dhamma to his relatives. King Suddhodana thought that Gotama Buddha, who was his own son, would go to no other place, but would surely come to his palace for alms-food the next day; but he did not specifically invite the Buddha to come for alms-food. However, the next day, he prepared alms-food for twenty thousand bhikkhus. On that morning the Buddha went on his alms-round with a retinue of bhikkhus, as was the custom of all the Buddhas.

Yasodhara, wife of Prince Siddhattha before he renounced the world, saw the Buddha going on an alms-round, from the palace window. She informed her father-in-law, King Suddhodana, and the King went in great haste to the Buddha. The king told the Buddha that for a member of the royal Khattiya family, to go round begging for food from door to door was a disgrace. Whereupon the Buddha replied that it was the custom of all the Buddhas to go round for alms-food from house to house, and therefore it was right and proper for him to keep up the tradition.

Verse 168: Do not neglect the duty of going on alms-round; observe proper practice (in going on alms-round). One who observes proper practice lives happily both in this world and in the next.

Verse 169: Observe proper practice (in going on alms-round); do not observe improper practice. One who observes proper practice lives happily both in this world and in the next.

At the end of the discourse the father of Gotama Buddha attained Sotapatti Fruition.

Verse 170

XIII (3) The Story of Five Hundred Bhikkhus

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (170) of this book, with reference to five hundred bhikkhus.

On one occasion, five hundred bhikkhus, after taking a subject of meditation from the Buddha, went into the forest to practise meditation. But they made very little progress; so they returned to the Buddha to ask for a more suitable subject of meditation. On their way to the Buddha, seeing a mirage they meditated on it. As soon as they entered the compound of the monastery, a storm broke out; as big drops of rain fell, bubbles were formed on the ground and soon disappeared. Seeing those bubbles, the bhikkhus reflected "This body of ours is perishable like the bubbles", and perceived the impermanent nature of the aggregates (khandhas).

The Buddha saw them from his perfumed chamber and sent forth the radiance and appeared in their vision.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 170: If a man looks at the world (i.e., the five khandhas) in the same way as one looks at a bubble or a mirage, the King of Death will not find him.

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

Verse 171

XIII (4) The Story of Prince Abhaya  

While residing at the Veluvana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (71) of this book, with reference to Prince Abhaya (Abhayarajakumara).

On one occasion, Prince Abhaya triumphantly returned after suppressing a rebellion at the frontier. King Bimbisara was so pleased with him that for seven days, Abhaya was given the glory and honour of a ruler, together with a dancing girl to entertain him. On the last day, while the dancer was entertaining the prince and his company in the garden, she had a severe stroke; she collapsed and died on the spot. The prince was shocked and very much distressed. Sorrowfully, he went to the Buddha to find solace. To him the Buddha said, "O prince, the tears you have shed all through the round of rebirths cannot be measured. This world of aggregates (i.e., khandhas) is the place where fools flounder."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 171: Come, look at this world (i.e., the five khandhas), which is like an ornamented royal carriage. Fools flounder in this world of the khandhas, but the wise are not attached to it.

Verse 172.

XIII (5) The Story of Thera Sammajjana  

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (172) of this book, with reference to Thera Sammajjana.

Thera Sammajjana spent most of his time sweeping the precincts of the monastery. At that time, Thera Revata was also staying at the monastery; unlike Sammajjana, Thera Revata spent most of his time in meditation or deep mental absorption. Seeing Thera Revata's behaviour, Thera Sammajjana thought the other thera was just idling away his time. Thus, one day Sammajjana went to Thera Revata and said to him, "You are being very lazy, living on the food offered out of faith and generosity; don't you think you should sometimes sweep the floors or the compound or some other place?" To him, Thera Revata replied, "Friend, a bhikkhu should not spend all his times sweeping. He should sweep early in the morning, then go out on the alms-round. After the meal, contemplating his body he should try to perceive the true nature of the aggregates, or else, recite the texts until nightfall. Then he can do the sweeping again if he so wishes." Thera Sammajjana strictly followed the advice given by Thera Revata and soon attained arahatship.

Other bhikkhus noticed some rubbish piling up in the compound and they asked Sammajjana why he was not sweeping as much as he used to, and he replied, "When I was not mindful, I was all the time sweeping; but now I am no longer unmindful." When the bhikkhus heard his reply they were sceptical; so they went to the Buddha and said, "Venerable Sir! Thera Sammajjana falsely claims himself to be an arahat; he is telling lies." To them the Buddha said, "Sammajjana has indeed attained arahatship; he is telling the truth."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 172: He, who has been formerly unmindful, but is mindful later on, lights up the world with the light of Magga Insight a; does the moon freed from clouds.

Verse 173

XIII (6) The Story of Thera Angulimala

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (173) of this book, with reference to Thera Angulimala.

Angulimala was the son of the Head Priest in the court of King Pasenadi of Kosala. His original name was Ahimsaka. When he was of age, he was sent to Taxila, a renowned university town. Ahimsaka was intelligent and was also obedient to his teacher. So he was liked by the teacher and his wife; as a result, other pupils were jealous of him. So they went to the teacher and falsely reported that Ahimsaka was having an affair with the teacher's wife. At first, the teacher did not believe them, but after being told a number of times he believed them; and so he vowed to have revenge on the boy. To kill the boy would reflect badly on him; so he thought of a plan which was worse than murder. He told Ahimsaka to kill one thousand men or women and in return he promised to give the boy priceless knowledge. The boy wanted to have this knowledge, but was very reluctant to take life. However, he agreed to do as he was told.

Thus, he kept on killing people, and not to lose count, he threaded a finger each of everyone he killed and wore them like a garland round his neck. In this way, he was known as Angulimala, and became the terror of the countryside. The king himself heard about the exploits of Angulimala, and he made preparations to capture him. When Mantani, the mother of Angulimala, heard about the king's intention, out of love for her son, she went into the forest in a desperate bid to save her son. By this time, the chain round the neck of Angulimala had nine hundred and ninety-nine fingers in it, just one finger short of one thousand.

Early in the morning on that day, the Buddha saw Angulimala in his vision, and reflected that if he did not intervene, Angulimala who was on the look out for the last person to make up the one thousand would see his mother and might kill her. In that case, Angulimala would have to suffer in niraya endlessly. So out of compassion, the Buddha left for the forest where Angulimala was.

Angulimala, after many sleepless days and nights, was very tired and near exhaustion. At the same time, he was very anxious to kill the last person to make up his full quota of one thousand and so complete his task. He made up his mind to kill the first person he met. Suddenly, as he looked out he saw the Buddha and ran after him with his knife raised. But the Buddha could not be reached while he himself was completely exhausted. Then, looking at the Buddha, he cried out, "O bhikkhu, stop! stop !" and the Buddha replied, "I have stopped, only you have not stopped." Angulimala did not get the significance of the words of the Buddha, so he asked, "O Bhikkhu! Why do you say that you have stopped and I have not stopped?"

The Buddha then said to him, "I say that I have stopped, because I have given up killing all beings, I have given up ill-treating all beings, and because I have established myself in universal love, patience, and knowledge through reflection. But, you have not given up killing or ill-treating others and you are not yet established in universal love and patience. Hence, you are the one who has not stopped." On hearing these words from the mouth of the Buddha, Angulimala reflected, "These are the words of a wise man. This bhikkhu is so very wise and so very brave ; he must be the ruler of the bhikkhus. Indeed, he must be the Buddha himself! He must have come here specially to make me see the light." So thinking, he threw away his weapon and asked the Buddha to admit him to the Order of the bhikkhus. Then and there, the Buddha made him a bhikkhu.

Angulimala's mother looked for her son everywhere in the forest shouting out his name, but failing to find him she returned home. When the king and his men came to capture Angulimala, they found him at the monastery of the Buddha. Finding that Angulimala had given up his evil ways and had become a bhikkhu, the king and his men went home. During his stay at the monastery, Angulimala ardently and diligently practised meditation, and within a short time he attained arahatship .

Then, one day, while he was on an alms-round, he came to a place where some people were quarrelling among themselves. As they were throwing stones at one another, some stray stones hit Thera Angulimala on the head and he was seriously injured. Yet, he managed to come back to the Buddha, and the Buddha said to him, "My son Angulimala! You have done away with evil. Have patience. You are paying in this existence for the deeds you have done. These deeds would have made you suffer for innumerable years in niraya." Soon afterwards, Angulimala passed away peacefully; he had realized parinibbana.

Other bhikkhus asked the Buddha where Angulimala was reborn, and when the Buddha replied "My son has realized parinibbana", they could hardly believe it. So they asked him whether it was possible that a man who had killed so many people could have realized parinibbana. To this question, the Buddha replied, "Bhikkhus! Angulimala had done much evil because he did not have good friends. But later, he found good friends and through their help and good advice he had been steadfast and mindful in his practice of the dhamma. Therefore, his evil deeds have been overwhelmed by good (i e., Arahatta Magga).

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows.

Verse 173: He who overwhelms with good the evil that he has done lights up this world (with the light of Magga Insight), as does the moon freed from clouds.

Verse 174

XIII (7) The Story of the Weaver-Girl

While residing at the monastery near Aggavala shrine in the country of Alavi, the Buddha uttered Verse (174) of this book, with reference to a young maiden, who was a weaver.

At the conclusion of an alms-giving ceremony in Alavi, the Buddha gave a discourse on the impermanence of the aggregates (khandhas). The main points the Buddha stressed on that day may be expressed as follows:

 "My life is impermanent; for me, death only is permanent. I must certainly die; my life ends in death. Life is not permanent; death is permanent."

The Buddha also exhorted the audience to be always mindful and to strive to perceive the true nature of the aggregate He also said,"As one who is armed with a stick or a spear is prepared to meet an enemy (e.g.. a poisonous snake), so also, one who is ever mindful of death will face death mindfully. He would then leave this world for a good destination (sugati)." Many people did not take the above exhortation seriously, but a young girl of sixteen who was a weaver clearly understood the message. After giving the discourse, the Buddha returned to the Jetavana monastery.

After a lapse of three years, when the Buddha surveyed the world, he saw the young weaver in his vision, and knew that time was ripe for the girl to attain Sotapatti Fruition. So the Buddha came to the country of Alavi to expound the dhamma for the second time. When the girl heard that the Buddha had come again with five hundred bhikkhus, she wanted to go and listen to the discourse which would be given by the Buddha. However, her father had also asked her to wind some thread spools which he needed urgently, so she promptly wound some spools and took them to her father. On the way to her father, she stopped for a moment at the outer fringe of the audience, who had come to listen to the Buddha.

Meanwhile, the Buddha knew that the young weaver would come to listen to his discourse; he also knew that the girl would die when she got to the weaving shed. Therefore, it was very important that she should listen to the Dhamma on her way to the weaving shed and not on her return. So, when the young weaver appeared on the fringe of the audience, the Buddha looked at her. When she saw him looking at her, she dropped her basket and respectfully approached the Buddha. Then, he put four questions to her and she answered all of them. The questions and answers are as given below.



(1). Where have you come from? (1). I do not know.
(2). Where are you going? (2). I do not know.
(3). Don't you know? (3). Yes, I do know.
(4). Do you know? (4). I do not know, Venerable Sir.

Hearing her answers, the audience thought that the young weaver was being very disrespectful. Then, the Buddha asked her to explain what she meant by her answers, and she explained.

"Venerable Sir! Since you know that I have come from my house, I interpreted that, by your first question, you meant to ask me from what past existence I have come here. Hence my answer, 'I do not know.' The second question means, to what future existence I would be going from here; hence my answer, 'I do not know.' The third question means whether I do not know that I would die one day; hence my answer, 'yes, I do know.' The last question means whether I know when I would die; hence my answer, 'I do not know.

The Buddha was satisfied with her explanation and he said to the audience, "Most of you might not understand clearly the meaning of the answers given by the young weaver. Those who are ignorant are in darkness, they are just like the blind."

The Buddha then spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 174: Blind are the people of this world: only a few in this world see clearly (with Insight). Just as only a few birds escape from the net, so also, only a few get to the world of the devas, (and Nibbana).

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

Then, she continued on her way to the weaving shed. When she got there, her father was asleep on the weaver's seat. As he woke up suddenly, he accidentally pulled the shuttle, and the point of the shuttle struck the girl at her breast. She died on the spot, and her father was broken-hearted. With eyes full of tears he went to the Buddha and asked the Buddha to admit him to the Order of the bhikkhus. So, he became a bhikkhu, and not long afterwards, attained arahatship.

Verse 175

XIII (8) The Story of Thirty Bhikkhus

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (175) of this book, with reference to thirty bhikkhus.

Once, thirty bhikkhus came to pay homage to the Buddha. When they came in, the Venerable Ananda, who was then attending on the Buddha, left the room and waited outside. After some time, Thera Ananda went in, but he did not find any of the bhikkhus. So, he asked the Buddha where all those bhikkhus had gone. The Buddha then replied, "Ananda, all those bhikkhus, after hearing my discourse, had attained arahatship, and with their supernormal powers, they let travelling through space."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 175: Swans travel in the sky; those with supernormal powers travel through space; the wise having conquered Mara together with his army, go out of this world (i.e. realize Nibbana).

Verse 176

XIII (9) The Story of Cincamanavika

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (176) of this book, with reference to Cincamanavika.

As the Buddha went on teaching the Dhamma, more and more people came flocking to him, and the ascetics of other faiths found their following to be dwindling. So they made a plan that would harm the reputation of the Buddha. They called the very beautiful Cincamanavika, a devoted pupil of theirs, to them and said to her, "If you have our interests in your heart, please help us and put Samana Gotama to shame." Cincamanavika agreed to comply.

That same evening, she took some flowers and went in the direction of the Jetavana monastery. When people asked her where she was going, she replied, "What is the use of you knowing where I am going?" Then she would go to the place of other ascetics near the Jetavana monastery and would come back early in the morning to make it appear as if she had spent the night at the Jetavana monastery. When asked, she would reply, "I spent the night with Samana Gotama at the Perfumed Chamber of the Jetavana monastery." After three or four months had passed, she wrapped up her stomach with some cloth to make her look pregnant. Then, after eight or nine months, she wrapped up her stomach with a round piece of thin wooden plank; she also beat up her palms and feet to make them swollen, and pretended to be feeling tired and worn out. Thus, she assumed a perfect picture of a woman in an advanced stage of pregnancy. Then, in the evening, she went to the Jetavana monastery to confront the Buddha.

The Buddha was then expounding the Dhamma to a congregation of bhikkhus and laymen. Seeing him teaching on the platform, she accused the Buddha thus: "O you big Samana! You only preach to others. I am now pregnant by you, yet you do nothing for my confinement. You only know how to enjoy your self!" The Buddha stopped preaching for a while and said to her, "Sister, only you and I know whether you are speaking the truth or not," and Cincamanavika replied, "Yes, you are right, how can others know what only you and I know?"

At that instant, Sakka, king of the devas, became aware of the trouble being brewed at the Jetavana monastery, so he sent four of his devas in the form of young rats. The four rats got under the clothes of Cincamanavika and bit off the strings that fastened the wooden plank round her stomach. As the strings broke, the wooden plank dropped, cutting off the front part of her feet. Thus, the deception of Cincamanavika was uncovered, and many from the crowd cried out in anger, "Oh you wicked woman! A liar and a cheat! How dare you accuse our noble Teacher!" Some of them spat on her and drove her out. She ran as fast as she could, and when she had gone some distance the earth cracked and fissured and she was swallowed up.

The next day, while the bhikkhus were talking about Cincamanavika, the Buddha came to them and said. "Bhikkhu;, one who is not afraid to tell lies, and who does not care what happens in the future existence, will not hesitate to do any evil."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 145: For one who transgresses the Truth, and is given to lying, and who is unconcerned with the life hereafter, there is no evil that he dare not do.

Verse 177

XIII (10) The Story of the Unrivalled Alms-Giving

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (177) of this book, with reference to the unrivalled alms-giving of King Pasenadi of Kosala.

Once, the king offered alms to the Buddha and other bhikkhus on a grand scale. His subjects, in competition with him, organized another alms-giving ceremony on a grander scale than that of the king. Thus, the king and his subjects kept on competing in giving alms. Finally, Queen Mallika thought of a plan; to implement this plan, she asked the king to have a grand pavilion built. Next, she asked for five hundred white umbrellas and five hundred tame elephants; those five hundred elephants were to hold the five hundred white umbrellas over the five hundred bhikkhus. In the middle of the pavilion, they kept ten boats which were filled with perfumes and incense. There were also two hundred and fifty princesses, who kept fanning the five hundred bhikkhus. Since the subjects of the king had no princesses, nor white umbrellas, nor elephants, they could no longer compete with the king. When all preparations were made, alms-food was offered. After the meal, the king made an offering of all the things in the pavilion, which were worth fourteen crores.

At the time, two ministers of the king were present. Of those two, the minister named Junha was very pleased and praised the king for having offered alms so generously to the Buddha and his bhikkhus. He also reflected that such offerings could only be made by a king. He was very glad because the king would share the merit of his good deeds with all beings. In short, the minister Junha rejoiced with the king in his unrivalled charity. The minister Kala, on the other hand, thought that the king was only squandering, by giving away fourteen crores in a single day, and that the bhikkhus would just go back to the monastery and sleep.

After the meal, the Buddha looked over at the audience and knew how Kala the minister was feeling. Then, he thought that if he were to deliver a lengthy discourse of appreciation, Kala would get more dissatisfied, and in consequence would have to suffer more in his next existence. So, out of compassion for Kala, the Buddha delivered only a short discourse and returned to the Jetavana monastery. The king had expected a lengthy discourse of appreciation, and so he was very sad because the Buddha had been so brief. The king wondered if he had failed to do something which should have been done, and so he went to the monastery.

On seeing the king, the Buddha said, "Great King! You should rejoice that you have succeeded in making the offering of the unrivalled charity (asadisadana). Such an opportunity comes very rarely; it comes only once during the appearance of each Buddha. But your minister Kala had felt that it was a waste, and was not at all appreciative. So, if I had given a lengthy discourse, he would get more and more dissatisfied and uncomfortable, and in consequence, he would suffer much more in the present existence as well as in the next. That was why I preached so briefly".

Then the Buddha added, "Great King! Fools do not rejoice in the charities given by others and go to the lower worlds. The wise rejoice in other people's charities. and through appreciation, they share in the merit gained by others and go to the abode of the devas".

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 146: Indeed, misers do not go to the abode of the devas; fools do not praise charity; but the wise rejoice in charity and so gain happiness in the life hereafter.

Verse 178

XIII (11) The Story of Kala, son of Anathapindika

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (178) of this book, with reference to Kala, son of Anathapindika, the well renowned rich man of Savatthi.

Kala, son of Anathapindika, always kept away whenever the Buddha and his company of bhikkhus came to their house. Anathapindika was afraid that if his son kept on behaving in this way, he would be reborn in one of the lower worlds (apayas). So, he enticed his son with the promise of money. He promised to give one hundred if the youth consented to go to the monastery and keep sabbath for one day. So, the youth went to the monastery and returned home early the next day, without listening to any religious discourses. His father offered him rice gruel, but instead of taking his food, he first demanded to have the money.

The next day, the father said to his son, "My son, if you learn a stanza of the Text from the Buddha I will give you one thousand on your return." So, Kala went to the monastery again, and told the Buddha that he wanted to learn something. The Buddha gave him a short stanza to learn by heart; at the same time he willed that the youth would not be able to memorize it. Thus, the youth had to repeat a single stanza many times, but because he had to repeat it so many times, in the end, he came to perceive the full meaning of the Dhamma and attained Sotapatti Fruition.

Early on the next morning, he followed the Buddha and the bhikkhus to his own house. But on that day, he was silently wishing, " I wish my father would not give me the one thousand in the presence of the Buddha. I do not wish the Buddha to know that I kept the sabbath just for the sake of money." His father offered rice gruel to the Buddha and the bhikkhus, and also to him. Then, his father brought one thousand, and told Kala to take the money but surprisingly he refused. His father pressed him to take it, but he still refused. Then, Anathapindika said to the Buddha, "Venerable Sir, my son is quite changed; he now behaves in a very pleasant manner." Then he related to the Buddha how he had enticed the youth with money to go to the monastery and keep sabbath and to learn some religious texts. To him the Buddha replied, "Anathapindika! Today, your son has attained Sotapatti Fruition, which is much better than the riches of the Universal Monarch or that of the devas or that of the brahmas."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 147: Far better than sovereignty over the earth, or far better than going to the abodes of the devas, or far better than ruling supreme over the entire universe, is (the attainment of) Sotapatti Fruition.

End of Chapter 13: The World


Chapter XIV :The Buddha (Buddhavagga)


Verses 179 and 180

XlV (1) The Story of the Three Daughters of Mara

The Buddha first uttered Verses (179) and (180) of this book while residing near the Bodhi tree, with reference to the three daughters of Mara. He repeated these verses to the brahmin Magandiya while journeying through the Kuru country.

Magandiya the Brahmin and his wife lived in the kingdom of the Kurus with their daughter Magandiya who was exceedingly beautiful. She was so beautiful that her father rudely turned down all her suitors. One day, early in the morning, when the Buddha surveyed the world, he found that time was ripe for the brahmin Magandiya and his wife to attain Anagami Fruition. So, taking his bowl and the robes, the Buddha set out for the place where the brahmin usually went to offer fire sacrifice.

The brahmin, seeing the Buddha, promptly decided that the Buddha was the very person who was worthy of his daughter. He pleaded with the Buddha to wait there and hurriedly went off to fetch his wife and daughter. The Buddha left his footprint and went to another place, close at hand. When the brahmin and his family came, they found only the footprint. Seeing the footprint, the wife of the brahmin remarked that it was the footprint of one who was free from sensual desires. Then, the brahmin saw the Buddha and he offered his daughter in marriage to him.

The Buddha did not accept nor did he refuse the offer, but first, he related to the brahmin how the daughters of Mara tempted him soon after his attainment of Buddhahood. To the beautiful Tanha, Arati and Raga, the daughters of Mara, the Buddha had said, "It is no use tempting one who is free from craving, clinging and passion, for he cannot be lured by any temptation whatsoever."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 179: The Buddha, whose conquest (of moral defilements) is complete, in whom there cannot arise any further defilements in this world, that Buddha of infinite range of wisdom, who is trackless, by what track will you lead him'?

Verse 180: The Buddha, in whom there is no craving, which like a net would bring him back to any existence (in samsara), that Buddha of infinite range of wisdom, who is trackless, by what track will you lead him?

Then, the Buddha continued, "Brahmin Magandiya, even when I saw those peerless daughters of Mara, I felt no sensual desire in me. After all, what is this body of your daughter? It is full of urine and filth; I don't like to touch it even with my foot!" On hearing those words of the Buddha, both the brahmin and his wife attained Anagami Fruition. Later, they joined the Order and eventually both of them attained arahatship.

Verse 181

XIV (2) The Story of the Buddha's Return from the Tavatimsa Deva World

On return from the Tavatimsa deva world, the Buddha uttered Verse (181) of this book at Sankassanagara, in reply to Thera Sariputta's words of welcome.

On one occasion, while at Savatthi, the Buddha performed the Miracle of the Pairs in answer to the challenge of the ascetics of various sects. After this, the Buddha went to the Tavatimsa deva world; his mother who had been reborn in the Tusita deva world as a deva known as Santusita also came to the Tavatimsa deva world. There the Buddha expounded the Abhidhamma to the devas and the brahmas throughout the three months of the vassa. As a result, Santusita deva attained Sotapatti Fruition; so did numerous other devas and brahmas.

During that period Thera Sariputta spent the vassa at Sankassanagara, thirty yojanas away from Savatthi. During his stay there, as regularly instructed by the Buddha, he taught the Abhidhamma to the five hundred bhikkhus staying with him and covered the whole course by the end of the vassa.

Towards the end of the vassa, Thera Maha Moggalana went to the Tavatimsa deva world to see the Buddha. Then, he was told that the Buddha would return to the human world on the full moon day at the end of the vassa to the place where Thera Sariputta was spending the vassa.

As promised, the Buddha came with the six coloured rays shining forth from his body to the city-gate of Sankassanagara, on the night of the full moon day of the month of Assayuja when the moon was shining brightly. He was accompanied by a large following of devas on one side and a large following of brahmas on the other. A large gathering headed by Thera Sariputta welcomed the Buddha back to this world; and the whole town was lit up. Thera Sariputta was awed by the grandeur and glory of the whole scene of the Buddha's return. He respectfully approached the Buddha and said, "Venerable Sir! We have never seen or even heard of such magnificent and resplendent glory. Indeed, Venerable Sir, you are loved, respected and revered alike by devas, brahmas and men!" To him the Buddha said, "My son Sariputta, the Buddhas who are endowed with unique qualities are truly loved by men and devas alike."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 181: The wise who practise jhana concentration and Insight Meditation take delight in the peace of liberation from sensual pleasures and moral defilements. Such wise and mindful ones, who truly comprehend the Four Noble Truths (i.e., Arahats and Buddhas) are held dear also by the devas.

At the end of the discourse the five hundred bhikkhus who were the pupils of Thera Sariputta attained arahatship and a great many from the congregation attained Sotapatti Fruition.

Verse 182

XIV (3) The Story of Erakapatta the Naga King

While residing near Baranasi the Buddha uttered Verse (182) of this book, with reference to Erakapatta, a king of nagas (dragons).

Once there was a naga king by the name of Erakapatta. In one of his past existences during the time of Kassapa Buddha he had been a bhikkhu for a long time. Through worry (kukkucca) over a minor offence he had committed during that time, he was reborn as a naga. As a naga, he waited for the appearance of a Buddha. Erakapatta had a very beautiful daughter, and he made use of her as a means of finding the Buddha. He made it known that whoever could answer her questions could claim her for a wife. Twice every month, Erakapatta made her dance in the open and sing out her questions. Many suitors came to answer her questions hoping to claim her, but no one could give the correct answer.

One day, the Buddha saw a youth named Uttara in his vision. He also knew that the youth would attain Sotapatti Fruition in connection with the questions put by the daughter of Erakapatta the naga. By then the youth was already on his way to see Erakapatta's daughter. The Buddha stopped him and taught him how to answer the questions. While he was being taught, Uttara attained Sotapatti Fruition. Now that Uttara had attained Sotapatti Fruition, he had no desire for the naga princess. However, Uttara still went to answer the questions for the benefit of numerous other beings.

The first four questions were:

  1. Who is a ruler?
  2. Is one who is overwhelmed by the mist of moral defilements to be called a ruler?
  3. What ruler is free from moral defilements?
  4. What sort of person is to be called a fool?

The answers to the above questions were:

  1. He who controls the six senses is a ruler.
  2. One who is overwhelmed by the mist of moral defilements is not to be called a ruler; he who is free from craving is called a ruler.
  3. The ruler who is free from craving is free from moral defilements.
  4. A person who hankers after sensual pleasures is called a fool.

Having had the correct answers to the above, the naga princess sang out questions regarding the floods (oghas) of sensual desire, of renewed existence, of false doctrine and of ignorance, and how they could be overcome. Uttara answered these questions as taught by the Buddha.

When Erakapatta heard these answers he knew that a Buddha had appeared in this world. So he asked Uttara to take him to the Buddha. On seeing the Buddha, Erakapatta related to the Buddha how he had been a bhikkhu during the time of Kassapa Buddha, how he had accidentally caused a grass blade to be broken off while travelling in a boat, and how he had worried over that little offence for having failed to do the act of exoneration as prescribed, and finally how he was reborn as a naga. After hearing him, the Buddha told him how difficult it was to be born in the human world, and to be born during the appearance of the Buddhas or during the time of their Teaching.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 182: Hard to gain is birth as man; hard is the life of mortals; hard to get is the opportunity of hearing the Ariya Dhamma (Teaching of the Buddhas); hard it is for a Buddha to appear.

The above discourse benefited numerous beings. Erakapatta being an animal could not attain Sotapatti Fruition then and there.

Verses 183, 184 and 185

XIV (4) The Story of the Question Raised by Thera Ananda

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses (183), (184) and (185) of this book, with reference to the question raised by Thera Ananda regarding Fundamental Instructions to bhikkhus by the preceding Buddhas.

On one occasion, Thera Ananda asked the Buddha whether the Fundamental Instructions to bhikkhus given by the preceding Buddhas were the same as those of the Buddha himself. To him the Buddha replied that the instructions given by all the Buddhas are as given in the following verses:

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 183: Not to do evil, to cultivate merit, to purify one's mind - this is the Teaching of the Buddhas.

Verse 184: The best moral practice is patience and forbearance; "Nibbana is Supreme", said the Buddhas. A bhikkhu does not harm others; one who harms others is not a bhikkhu.

Verse 185: Not to revile, not to do any harm, to practise restraint according to the Fundamental Instructions for the bhikkhus, to be moderate in taking food, to dwell in a secluded place, to devote oneself to higher concentration - this is the Teaching of the Buddhas.

Verses 186 and 187

XIV (5) The Story of a Dissatisfied Young Bhikkhu

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses (186) and (187) of this book, with reference to a young bhikkhu who was unhappy with his life as a bhikkhu.

Once, there was a young bhikkhu at the Jetavana monastery. One day his teacher sent him to another monastery to study. While he was away, his father became seriously ill and died without seeing him. But his father left for him one hundred kahapanas with his brother, the boy's uncle. On his return, his uncle told him about his father's death and about the one hundred kahapanas left to him. At first, he said that he had no need of the money. Later, he thought that it might be better to return to lay-life, and as a result, he got dissatisfied with the life of a bhikkhu. Gradually, he began to lose interest in his life and was also losing weight. When other bhikkhus knew about this, they took him to the Buddha.

The Buddha asked him whether it was true that he was feeling unhappy with his life as a bhikkhu and whether he had any capital to start the life of a layman. He answered that it was true and that be had one hundred kahapanas to start his life with. Then the Buddha explained to him that he would need to get food, clothing, household utensils, two oxen, ploughs, pickaxes, knives, etc., so that his one hundred in cash would hardly meet the expenses. The Buddha then told him that for human beings there could never be enough, not even for Universal Monarchs who could call for a shower of coins or gems or any amount of wealth and treasures at any moment. Further, the Buddha related the story of Mandatu, the Universal Monarch, who enjoyed the glory of the devas both in the Catumaharajika and Tavatimsa realms for a long time. After spending a long time in Tavatimsa, one day, Mandatu wished that he were the sole ruler of Tavatimsa, instead of sharing it with Sakka. But this time, his wish could not be fulfilled and instantly he became old and decrepit; he returned to the human world and died soon after.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verses 186 & 187: Not by a shower of coins can sensual desires be satiated; sensual desires give little pleasure and are fraught with evil consequences (dukkha). Knowing this, the wise man, who is the disciple of the Buddha, does not find delight even in the pleasures of the devas, but rejoices in the cessation of craving (i.e. Nibbana).

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

Verses 188 to 192

XIV (6) The Story of Aggidatta

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses (188) to (192) of this book, with reference to Aggidatta, a brahmin.

Aggidatta was the head priest during the time of King Mahakosala, father of King Pasenadi. After the death of King Mahakosala, Aggidatta gave away his property in charity, and after that he left his home and became a non-Buddhist ascetic. He lived with his ten thousand followers in a place near the border of the three kingdoms of Anga, Magadha and Kuru, not far from a mound of sand where a powerful naga was staying. To his followers and the people of these three kingdoms, Aggidatta used to exhort: "Pay homage to forests, mountains, parks and gardens, and trees; by doing so, you will be liberated from all ills of life."

One day, the Buddha saw Aggidatta and his followers in his vision and realized that the time was ripe for them to attain arahatship. So the Buddha sent Thera Maha Moggalana to Aggidatta and his followers and told him that he himself would follow afterwards. Thera Maha Moggalana went to the place of Aggidatta and his followers and asked them to give him shelter for one night. They first turned down his request, but finally they agreed to let him stop at the mound of sand, the home of the naga. The naga was very antagonistic to Thera Maha Moggalana, and there followed a duel between the naga and the thera; on both sides, there was a display of power by emitting smoke and flames. However, in the end, the naga was subdued. He coiled himself round the mound of sand, and raised his head spreading it out like an umbrella over Thera Maha Moggalana, thus showing respect for him. Early in the morning, Aggidatta and the other ascetics came to the mound of sand to find out whether Thera Maha Moggalana was still alive; they had expected to see him dead. When they found the naga tamed, and meekly holding his head like an umbrella over Thera Maha Moggalana, they were very much astounded.

Just then, he Buddha arrived and Thera Maha Moggalana got up from his seat on the mound and paid obeisance to the Buddha. Thera Maha Moggalana then proclaimed to the audience of ascetics, "This is my Teacher, the supreme Buddha, and I am but a humble pupil of this great Teacher!" Hearing him, the ascetics who had been very much impressed even by the power of Thera Maha Moggalana were awed by the greater power of the Buddha. The Buddha then asked Aggidatta what he taught his followers and the residents of the neighbourhood. Aggidatta replied that he had taught them to pay homage to mountains, forests, parks and gardens, and trees, and that by doing so, they would be liberated from all ills of life. The Buddha's reply to Aggidatta was, "Aggidatta, people go to mountains, forests, gardens and parks, and trees for refuge when they are threatened with danger, but these things cannot offer them any protection. Only those who take refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Samgha are liberated from the round of rebirths (samsara)".

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 188: When threatened with danger, men go to many a refuge, - to mountains and forests, to parks and gardens, and to sacred trees.

Verse 189: But such a refuge is not a safe refuge, not the best refuge. One is not liberated from all evil consequences of existence (dukkha) for having come to such a refuge.

Verses 190 & 191: One, who takes refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Samgha, sees with Magga Insight the Four Noble Truths, viz., Dukkha, the Cause of Dukkha, the Cessation of Dukkha, and the Noble Path of Eight Constituents which leads to the Cessation of Dukkha.

Verses 192: This, indeed, is the safe refuge; this is the best refuge. Having come to this refuge, one is liberated from all dukkha.

At the end of the discourse Aggidatta and all his followers attained arahatship. All of them entered the Order of the bhikkhus. On that day, when the disciples of Aggidatta from Anga, Magadha and Kuru came to pay respect to him, they saw their teacher and his followers garbed as bhikkhus and they were puzzled and wondered, "Who is the more powerful? Our teacher or Samana Gotama? Our teacher must be more powerful because Samana Gotama has come to our teacher." The Buddha knew what they were thinking; Aggidatta also felt that he must set their minds at rest. So, he paid obeisance to the Buddha in the presence of his disciples, and said, "Venerable Sir! You are my teacher, I am but a disciple of yours." Thus, the audience came to realize the supremacy of the Buddha.

Verse 193

XIV (7) The Story of the Question Raised by Thera Ananda

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (193) of this book, with reference to the question raised by Thera Ananda.

One day, Thera Ananda pondered thus: "Our Teacher has told us that thoroughbreds of elephants are born only among Chaddanta and Uposatha breeds, that thoroughbreds of horses are born only among the Sindh breed, that thoroughbreds of cattle are born only among the Usabha breed. Thus, he had talked to us only about the thoroughbreds of elephants, horses, and cattle, but not of the noblest of men (purisajanno)."

After reflecting thus, Thera Ananda went to the Buddha, and put to him the question of the noblest of men. To him the Buddha replied, "Ananda, the noblest of men is not born everywhere, he is born only among Khattiyamahasala and Brahmanamahasala, the wealthy clans of Khattiya and Brahmana."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 193: It is hard to find the noblest of men; he is not born everywhere nor in every clan. To whatever clan such a wise man is born, that clan prospers.

Verse 194

XIV (8) The Story of Many Bhikkhus

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (194) of this book, with reference to many bhikkhus.

Once, five hundred bhikkhus were discussing the question "What constitutes happiness?" These bhikkhus realized that happiness meant different things to different people. Thus, they said, "To some people to have the riches and glory like that of a king's is happiness, to some people sensual pleasure is happiness, but to others to have good rice cooked with meat is happiness." While they were talking, the Buddha came in. After learning the subject of their talk, the Buddha said, "Bhikkhus, all the pleasures you have mentioned do not get you out of the round of rebirths. In this world, these constitute happiness: the arising of a Buddha, the opportunity to hear the Teaching of the Sublime Truth, and the harmony amongst the bhikkhus,"

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 194: Happy is the arising of a Buddha; happy is the exposition of the Ariya Dhamma; happy is the harmony amongst the Samgha; happy is the practice of those in harmony.

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

Verses 195 and 196

XIV (9) The Story of the Golden Stupa of Kassapa Buddha

While travelling from Savatthi to Baranasi, the Buddha uttered Verses (195) and (196) of this book, with reference to a brahmin and the golden stupa of Kassapa Buddha.

On one occasion, while the Buddha and his followers were on a journey to Baranasi they came to a field where there was a spirit-shrine. Not far from the shrine, a brahmin was ploughing the field; seeing the brahmin the Buddha sent for him. When he arrived, the brahmin made obeisance to the shrine but not to the Buddha. To him the Buddha said, "Brahmin, by paying respect to the shrine you are doing a meritorious deed."That made the brahmin happy. After thus putting him in a favourable frame of mind, the Buddha, by his supernormal power, brought forth the golden stupa of Kassapa Buddha and let it remain visible in the sky. The Buddha then explained to the brahmin and the other bhikkhus that there were four classes of persons worthy of a stupa. They are: the Buddhas (Tathagatas) who are homage-worthy and perfectly self-enlightened, the Paccekabuddhas, the Ariya disciples, and the Universal Monarchs. He also told them about the three types of stupas erected in honour of these four classes of persons. The stupas where corporeal relics are enshrined are known as Sariradhatu cetiya; the stupas and figures made in the likeness of the above four personages are known as Uddissa cetiya; and the stupas where personal effects like robes, bowls, etc. of those revered personages are enshrined are known as Paribhoga cetiya. The Bodhi tree is also included in the Paribhoga cetiya. The Buddha then stressed the importance of paying homage to those who are worthy of veneration.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 195: He pays homage to those who are worthy of veneration, whether they are the Buddhas or their disciples who have overcome obstacles (to Insight Development) and have rid themselves of sorrow and lamentation.

Verse 196: The merit gained by such a person who pays homage to those who have been freed from moral defilements and have nothing to fear, cannot be measured by anyone, as this much or that much.

At the end of the discourse the brahmin attained Sotapatti Fruition. The stupa of Kassapa Buddha remained visible for seven more days, and people kept on coming to the stupa to pay homage and obeisance. At the end of seven days, as willed by the Buddha, the stupa disappeared, and in the place of the shrine erected to the spirits, there appeared miraculously, a big stone stupa.

End of Chapter Fourteen: The Buddha.



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updated: 18-03-2002