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Khuddaka Nikaya

The Dhammapada Stories

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

Source: https://www.nibbana.com



Verse 1

I (1) The Story of Thera Cakkhupala

While residing at the Jetavana monastery in Savatthi, the Buddha uttered Verse (1) of this book, with reference to Cakkhupala, a blind thera.

On one occasion, Thera Cakkhupala came to pay homage to the Buddha at the Jetavana monastery. One night, while pacing up and down in meditation, the thera accidentally stepped on some insects. In the morning, some bhikkhus visiting the thera found the dead insects. They thought ill of the thera and reported the matter to the Buddha. The Buddha asked them whether they had seen the thera killing the insects. When they answered in the negative, the Buddha said, "Just as you had not seen him killing, so also he had not seen those living insects. Besides, as the thera had already attained arahatship he could have no intention of killing and so was quite innocent." On being asked why Cakkhupala was blind although he was an arahat, the Buddha told the following story:

Cakkhupala was a physician in one of his past existences. Once, he had deliberately made a woman patient blind. That woman had promised him to become his slave, together with her children, if her eyes were completely cured. Fearing that she and her children would have to become slaves, she lied to the physician. She told him that her eyes were getting worse when, in fact, they were perfectly cured. The physician knew she was deceiving him, so in revenge, he gave her another ointment, which made her totally blind. As a result of this evil deed the physician lost his eyesight many times in his later existences.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 1: All mental phenomena have mind as their forerunner; they have mind as their chief; they are mind-made. If one speaks or acts with an evil mind, 'dukkha' follows him just as the wheel follows the hoofprint of the ox that draws the cart.

At the end of the discourse, thirty thousand bhikkhus attained arahatship together with Analytical Insight (Patisambhida).

Verse 2

I (2) The Story of Matthakundali

While residing at the Jetavana monastery in Savatthi, the Buddha uttered Verse (2) of this book, with reference to Matthakundali, a young Brahmin Matthakundali was a young brahmin, whose father, Adinnapubbaka, was very stingy and never gave anything in charity. Even the gold ornaments for his only son were made by himself to save payment for workmanship. When his son fell ill, no physician was consulted, until it was too late. When he realized that his son was dying, he had the youth carried outside on to the verandah, so that people coming to his house would not see his possessions.

On that morning, the Buddha arising early from his deep meditation of compassion saw, in his Net of Knowledge, Matthakundali lying on the verandah. So when entering Savatthi for alms-food with his disciples, the Buddha stood near the door of the brahmin Adinnapubbaka. The Buddha sent forth a ray of light to attract the attention of the youth, who was facing the interior of the house. The youth saw the Buddha; and as he was very weak he could only profess his faith mentally. But that was enough. When he passed away with his heart in devotion to the Buddha he was reborn in the Tavatimsa celestial world.

From his celestial abode the young Matthakundali, seeing his father mourning over him at the cemetery, appeared to the old man in the likeness of his old self. He told his father about his rebirth in the Tavatimsa world and also urged him to approach and invite the Buddha to a meal. At the house of Adinnapubbaka the question of whether one could or could not be reborn in a celestial world simply by mentally professing profound faith in the Buddha, without giving in charity or observing the moral precepts, was brought up. So the Buddha willed that Matthakundali should appear in person; Matthakundali soon appeared fully decked with celestial ornaments and told them about his rebirth in the Tavatimsa world. Then only, the audience became convinced that the son of the brahmin Adinnapubbaka by simply devoting his mind to the Buddha had attained much glory.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 2: All mental phenomena have mind as their forerunner; they have mind as their chief; they are mind-made. If one speaks or acts with a pure mind, happiness (sukha) follows him like a shadow that never leaves him.

At the end of the discourse Matthakundali and his father Adinnapubbaka attained Sotapatti Magga and Sotapatti Phala. Adinnapubbaka also donated almost all his wealth to the cause of the Buddha's Teaching.

Verses 3 & 4

I (3) The Story of Thera Tissa

While residing at the Jetavana monastery in Savatthi, the Buddha uttered Verses (3) and (4) of this book, with reference to Thera Tissa.

Tissa, son of the Buddha's maternal aunt, was at one time staying with the Buddha. He had become a bhikkhu only in his old age, but he posed as a senior bhikkhu and was very pleased when visiting bhikkhus asked his permission to do some service for him. On the other hand, he failed to perform the duties expected of junior bhikkhus; besides, he often quarrelled with the younger bhikkhus. Should anyone rebuke him on account of his behaviour he would go complaining to the Buddha, weeping, very much dissatisfied and very upset. The others also followed him to the presence of the Buddha. The Buddha told them not to harbour thoughts of enmity, for enmity could only be appeased by not harbouring enmity.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 3:. "He abused me, he ill-treated me, he got the better of me, he stole my belongings;"... the enmity of those harbouring such thoughts cannot be appeased.

Verse 4: "He abused me, he ill-treated me, he got the better of me, he stole my belongings;" ... the enmity of those not harbouring such thoughts can be appeased.

At the end of the discourse, one hundred thousand bhikkhus attained Sotapatti Fruition.

Verse 5

1 (4) The Story of Kalayakkhini

While residing at the Jetavana monastery in Savatthi, the Buddha uttered Verse (5) of this book, with reference to a certain woman who was barren and her rival.

Once there lived a householder, whose wife was barren; later he took another wife. The feud started when the elder wife caused abortion of the other one, who eventually died in child birth. In later existences the two were reborn as a hen and a cat; a doe and a leopardess; and finally as the daughter of a nobleman in Savatthi and an ogress named Kali. The ogress (Kalayakkhini) was in hot pursuit of the lady with the baby, when the latter learned that the Buddha was nearby, giving a religious discourse at the Jetavana monastery. She fled to him and placed her son at his feet for protection. The ogress was stopped at the door by the guardian spirit of the monastery and was refused admission. She was later called in and both the lady and the ogress were reprimanded by the Buddha. The Buddha told them about their past feuds as rival wives of a common husband, as a cat and a hen, and as a doe and a leopardess. They were made to see that hatred could only cause more hatred, and that it could only cease through friendship, understanding and goodwill.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 5: Hatred is, indeed, never appeased by hatred in this world. It is appeased only by loving-kindness. This is an ancient law.

At the end of the discourse, the ogress was established in Sotapatti Fruition and the long-standing feud came to an end.

Verse 6

I (5) The Story of Kosambi Bhikkhus

While residing at the Jetavana monastery in Savatthi, the Buddha uttered Verse (6) of this book, with reference to the bhikkhus of Kosambi.

The bhikkhus of Kosambi had formed into two groups. One group followed the master of Vinaya and the other followed the teacher of the Dhamma and they were often quarrelling among themselves. Even the Buddha could not stop them from quarrelling; so he left them and spent the vassa, residence period of the rains, all alone in Rakkhita Grove near Palileyyaka forest. There, the elephant Palileyya waited upon the Buddha.

The lay disciples of Kosambi, on learning the reason for the departure of the Buddha, refused to make offerings to the remaining bhikkhus. This made them realize their mistake and reconciliation took place among themselves. Still, the lay disciples would not treat them as respectfully as before, until they owned up their fault to the Buddha. But the Buddha was away and it was in the middle of the vassa; so the bhikkhus of Kosambi spent the vassa in misery and hardship.

At the end of the vassa, the Venerable Ananda and five hundred bhikkhus approached the Buddha and gave the message from Annathapindika and other lay disciples imploring him to return. In due course the Buddha returned to the Jetavana monastery in Savatthi. The bhikkhus followed him there, fell down at his feet, and owned up their fault. The Buddha rebuked them for disobeying him. He told them to remember that they must all die some day and therefore, they must stop their quarrels and must not act as if they would never die.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 6: People, other than the wise, do not realize, "We in this world must all die," (and not realizing it continue their quarrels). The wise realize it and thereby their quarrels cease.

At the end of the discourse, all the assembled bhikkhus were established in Sotapatti Fruition.

Verses 7 and 8

I (6) The Story of Thera Mahakala

While residing in the neighbourhood of the town of Setabya, the Buddha uttered Verses (7) and (8) of this book, with reference to Mahakala and his brother Culakala. Mahakala and Culakala were two merchant brothers from the town of Setabya. While travelling about with their merchandise on one occasion, they had a chance to listen to a religious discourse given by the Buddha. After hearing the discourse Mahakala asked the Buddha for admission to the Order of the bhikkhus. Culakala also joined the Order but with the intention of coming out of the Order and to bring out his brother along with him.

Mahakala was serious in his ascetic practice at the cemetery (Sosanika dhutinga) and diligently meditated on decay and impermanence. He finally gained Insight and attained arahatship.

Later, the Buddha and his disciples, including the brothers, happened to be staying in the forest of Simsapa, near Setabya. While staying there, the former wives of Culakala invited the Buddha and his disciples to their house. Culakala himself went ahead to prepare seating arrangements for the Buddha and his disciples. Once there, the former wives of Culakala made him change into lay clothes.

The next day, the wives of Mahakala invited the Buddha and his disciples to their house hoping to do the same with Mahakala as the wives of Culakala had done to Culakala. After the meal they requested the Buddha to let Mahakala remain to "express appreciation" (anumodana). So the Buddha and the other disciples left.

Arriving at the village gate the bhikkhus expressed their dissatisfaction and apprehension. They were dissatisfied because Mahakala was permitted to stay behind and they were afraid that, like Culakala, his brother, Mahakala, too, would be made to leave the Order by his former wives. To this, the Buddha replied that the two brothers were not alike. Culakala indulged in sensual pleasures and was lazy and weak; he was just like a weak tree. Mahakala, on the other hand, was diligent, steadfast and strong in his faith of the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Samgha; he was like a mountain of rock.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 7: He who keeps his mind on pleasant objects, who is uncontrolled in his senses, immoderate in his food, and is lazy and lacking in energy, will certainly be overwhelmed by Mara, just as stormy winds uproot a weak tree.

Verse 8: He who keeps his mind on the impurities (of the body), who is well-controlled in his senses and is full of faith and energy, will certainly be not overwhelmed by Mara, just as stormy winds cannot shake a mountain of rock.

Meanwhile, the former wives of Mahakala surrounded him and tried to remove his yellow robes. The thera, sensing their attitude, stood up and rising up into the air by his supernormal powers passed through the roof of the house into the sky. He landed at the feet of the Buddha at the very moment the master was coming to the end of his utterance of the above two stanzas. At the same time, all the bhikkhus assembled there were established in Sotapatti Fruition.

Verses 9 and 10

I (7) The story of Devadatta

While residing at the Jetavana monastery in Savatthi, the Buddha uttered Verses (9) and (10) of this book, with reference to Devadatta.

Once the two Chief Disciples, the Venerable Sariputta and the Venerable Maha Moggallana, went from Savatthi to Rajagaha. There, the people of Rajagaha invited them, with their one thousand followers, to a morning meal. On that occasion someone handed over a piece of cloth, worth one hundred thousand, to the organizers of the alms giving ceremony. He instructed them to dispose of it and use the proceeds for the ceremony should there be any shortage of funds, or if there were no such shortage, to offer it to anyone of the bhikkhus they thought fit. It so happened that there was no shortage of anything and the cloth was to be offered to one of the theras. Since the two Chief Disciples visited Rajagaha only occasionally, the cloth was offered to Devadatta, who was a permanent resident of Rajagaha.

Devadatta promptly made the cloth into robes and moved about pompously, wearing them. Then, a certain bhikkhu from Rajagaha came to Savatthi to pay homage to the Buddha, and told him about Devadatta and the robe, made out of cloth worth one hundred thousand. The Buddha them said that it was not the first time that Devadatta was wearing robes that he did not deserve. The Buddha then related the following story.

Devadatta was an elephant hunter in one of his previous existences. At that time, in a certain forest, there lived a large number of elephants. One day, the hunter noticed that these elephants knelt down to the paccekabuddhas* on seeing them. Having observed that, the hunter stole an upper part of a yellow robe and covered his body and hand with it. Then, holding a spear in his hand, he waited for the elephants on their usual route. The elephants came, and taking him for a paccekabuddha fell down on their knees to pay obeisance. They easily fell a prey to the hunter. Thus, one by one, he killed the last elephant in the row each day for many days.

The Bodhisatta (the Buddha-to-be) was then the leader of the herd. Noticing the dwindling number of his followers he decided to investigate and followed his herd at the end of the line. He was alert, and was therefore able to evade the spear. He caught hold of the hunter in his trunk and was about to dash him against the ground, when he saw the yellow robe. Seeing the yellow robe, he desisted and spared the life of the hunter.

The hunter was rebuked for trying to kill under cover of the yellow robe and for commuting such an act of depravity. The hunter clearly did not deserve to put on the yellow robe.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 9: He who is not free from taints of moral defilements (kilesas) and yet dons the yellow robe, who lacks restraint in his senses and (speaks not the) truth is unworthy of the yellow robe.

Verse 10: He who has discarded all moral defilements (kilesas), who is established in moral precepts, is endowed with restraint and (speaks the) truth is, indeed, worthy of the yellow robe.

At the end of the discourse, many bhikkhus were established in Sotapatti Fruition.

* paccekabuddha: One who, like the Buddha, is Self-Enlightened in the Four Noble Truths and has uprooted all the moral defilements (kilesas). However, he cannot teach others. Paccekabuddhas appear during the absence of the Buddha Sasana (Teaching).

Verses 11 and 12

I (8) The Story of Thera Sariputta

While residing at Veluvana, the Bamboo Grove monastery in Rajagaha, the Buddha uttered Verses (11) and (12) of this book, with reference to Sanjaya, a former teacher of the Chief Disciples, the Venerable Sariputta and the Venerable Moggallana (formerly Upatissa and Kolita).

Upatissa and Kolita were two youths from Upatissa and Kolita, two villages near Rajagaha. While looking at a show they realized the insubstantiality of things and they decided to search for the way to liberation. First, they approached Sanjaya. the wandering ascetic at Rajagaha, but they were not satisfied with his teachings. So they went all over Jarnbudipa and came back to their native place, after searching for, but not finding the true dhamma. At this point they came to an understanding that one who found the true dhamma should inform the other.

One day, Upatissa came across Thera Assaji and learned from him the substance of the dhamma. The thera uttered the verse beginning with "Ye dhamma hetuppabhava", meaning, "those phenomena which proceed from a cause". Listening to the verse, Upatissa became established in the Sotapatti Magga and Phala. Then, as promised, he went to his friend Kolita, explained to him that he, Upatissa, had attained the state of Deathlessness and repeated the verse to his friend. Kolita also become established in Sotapatti Fruition at the end of the verse. They both remembered their former teacher and so went to Sanjaya and said to him, "We have found one who could point out the Path to Deathlesseness; the Buddha has appeared in the world; the Dhamma has appeared; the Sangha has appeared... Come, let us go to the Teacher." They had hoped that their former teacher would go along with them to the Buddha and by listening to the discourses he, too, would come to realize Magga and Phala. But Sanjaya refused.

So Upatissa and Kolita, with two hundred and fifty followers, went to the Buddha, at Veluvana. There, they were initiated and admitted into the Order as bhikkhus. Upatissa as son of Rupasari became known as Thera Sariputta; Kolita as son of Moggali became known as Thera Maha Moggallana. On the seventh day after the initiation Maha Moggallana attained Arahatship. Thera Sariputta achieved the same a fortnight after initiation. On that day, the Buddha made them his two Chief Disciples (Agga-Savaka).

The two Chief Disciples then related to the Buddha how they went to the Giragga festival, the meeting with Thera Assaji and their attainment of Sotapatti Fruition. They also told the Buddha about their former teacher Sanjaya, who refused to accompany them. Sanjaya had said, "Having bean a teacher to so many pupils, for me to become his pupil would be like a jar turning into a drinking cup. Besides, only few people are wise and the majority are foolish; let the wise go to the wise Gotama, the foolish would still come to me. Go your way, my pupils."

Thus, as the Buddha pointed out, Sanjaya's false pride was preventing him from seeing truth as truth; he was seeing untruth as truth and would never arrive at the real truth.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows.

Verse 11: They take untruth for truth; they take truth for untruth; such persons can never arrive at the truth, for they hold wrong views.

Verse 12: They take truth for truth; they take untruth for untruth; such persons arrive at the truth, for they hold right views.

At the end of the discourse, many people came to be established in Sotapatti Fruition.

Verses 13 and 14

I (9) The Story of Thera Nanda

While residing at the Jetavana monastery in Savatthi, the Buddha uttered Verses (13) and (14) of this book, with reference to Thera Nanda, a cousin of the Buddha.

Once the Buddha was residing at the Veluvana monastery in Rajagaha when his father King Suddhodana repeatedly sent messengers to the Buddha requesting him to visit the city of Kapilavatthu. Accordingly, the Buddha made the journey in the company of twenty thousand arahats. On arrival at Kapilavatthu he related the Vessantara Jataka to the assembly of his relatives. On the second day, he entered the city, where by reciting the verse beginning with "Uttitthe Nappamajjeyya..." (i.e., One should arise and should not be unmindful...) he caused his father to be established in Sotapatti Fruition. On arrival at the palace, the Buddha recited another verse beginning with "Dhammam care sucaritam..." (i. e., One should practise the Dhamma...) and established the king in Sakadagami Fruition.* After the meal he narrated the Candakinnari Jataka, with reference to the virtues of Rahula's mother.

On the third day, there was the marriage ceremony of Prince Nanda, a cousin of the Buddha. The Buddha went there for alms and handed over the alms bowl to Prince Nanda. The Buddha then departed without taking back the bowl. So the prince, holding the bowl, had to follow the Buddha. The bride, Princess Janapadakalyani, seeing the prince following the Buddha rushed forth and cried out to the prince to come back soon. At the monastery, the prince was admitted into the Order as a bhikkhu.

Later, the Buddha moved into the monastery built by Anathapindika, at Jeta Park in Savatthi. While residing there Nanda was discontented and half-hearted and found little pleasure in the life of a bhikkhu. He wanted to return to the life of a householder because he kept on remembering the words of Princess Janapadakalyani, imploring him to return soon.

Knowing this, the Buddha, by supernormal power, showed Nanda, the beautiful female devas of the Tavatimsa world who were far prettier than Princess Janapadakalyani. He promised to get them for Nanda, if the latter strove hard in the practice of the Dhamma. Other bhikkhus ridiculed Nanda by saying that he was like a hireling who practised the Dhamma for the sake of beautiful women, etc. Nanda felt very much tormented and ashamed. So, in seclusion, he tried very hard in the practice of the Dhamma and eventually attained arahatship. As an arahat his mind was totally released from all attachments, and the Buddha was also released from his promise to Nanda. All this had been foreseen by the Buddha right from the very beginning.

Other bhikkhus, having known that Nanda was not happy in the life of a bhikkhu, again asked him how he was faring. When he answered that he had no more attachments to the life of a householder, they thought Nanda was not speaking the truth. So they informed the Buddha about the matter, at the same time expressing their doubts. The Buddha then explained to them that, previously, the nature of Nanda was like that of an ill-roofed house, but now, it had grown to be like a well-roofed one.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 13: Just as rain penetrates a badly-roofed house, so also, passion (raga) penetrates a mind not cultivated in Tranquillity and Insight Development (Samatha and Vipassana).

Verse 14: Just as rain cannot penetrate a well-roofed house, so also, passion (raga) cannot penetrate a mind well-cultivated in Tranquillity and Insight Development (Samatha and Vipassana).

* Sakadagami Fruition: Sakadagami Phala, 'fruit or 'fruition'. This immediately follows Sakadagami Magga which is the second Magga or the second stage of Enlightenment attained by one who has practised Insight Meditation.

Verses 15

I (10) The Story of Cundasukarika

While residing at the Veluvana monastery in Rajagaha, the Buddha uttered Verse (15) of this book, with reference to Cunda, the pork-butcher.

Once, in a village not far away from the Veluvana monastery, there lived a very cruel and hard-hearted pork-butcher, by the name of Cunda. Cunda was a pork-butcher for over fifty-five years; all this time he had not done a single meritorious deed. Before he died, he was in such great pain and agony that he was grunting and squealing and kept on moving about on his hands and knees like a pig for seven whole days. In fact, even before he died, he was suffering as if he were in Niraya.* On the seventh day, the pork-butcher died and was reborn in Avici Niraya. Thus, the evil-doer must always suffer for the evil deeds done by him; he suffers in this world as well as in the next.

In this connection, the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 15: Here he grieves, hereafter he grieves; the evil-doer grieves in both existences. He grieves and he suffers anguish when he sees the depravity of his own deeds.

* Niraya or Naraka: a place of continuous torment sometimes compared with hell; but it is different from hell because suffering in Niraya is not everlasting like suffering in hell. Avici Niraya is the most fearful of all Nirayas.

Verse 16

I (11) The Story of Dhammika Upasaka

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

Once there lived in Savatthi, a lay disciple by the name of Dhammika, who was virtuous and very fond of giving in charity. He generously offered food and other requisites to the bhikkhus regularly and also on special occasions. He was, in fact, the leader of five hundred virtuous lay disciples of the Buddha who lived in Savatthi. Dhammika had seven sons and seven daughters and all of them, like their father, were virtuous and devoted to charity. When Dhammika was very ill and was on his death-bed he made a request to the Samgha to come to him and recite the sacred texts by his bedside. While the bhikkhus were reciting the Maha satipatthana Sutta, six decorated chariots from six celestial worlds arrived to invite him to their respective worlds. Dhammika told them to wait for a while for fear of interrupting the recitation of the Sutta. The bhikkhus, thinking that they were being asked to stop, stopped and left the place.

A little while later, Dhammika told his children about the six decorated chariots waiting for him. Then and there he decided to choose the chariot from the Tusita world and asked one of his children to throw a garland on to it. Then he passed away and was reborn in the Tusita world. Thus, the virtuous man rejoices in this world as well as in the next.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 16: Here he rejoices, hereafter he rejoices; one who performed meritorious deeds rejoices in both existences. He rejoices and greatly rejoices when he sees the purity of his own deeds.

Verse 17

I (12) The Story of Devadatta

While residing at the Jetavana monastery in Savatthi, the Buddha uttered Verse (17) of this book, with reference to Devadatta.

Devadatta was at one time residing with the Buddha in Kosambi. While staying there he realized that the Buddha was receiving much respect and honour as well as offerings. He envied the Buddha and aspired to head the Order of the bhikkhus. One day, while the Buddha was preaching at the Veluvana monastery in Rajagaha, he approached the Buddha and on the ground that the Buddha was getting old, he suggested that the Order be entrusted to his care. The Buddha rejected his offer and rebuked him, saying that he was a swallower of other people's spittle. The Buddha next asked the Samgha to carry out an act of proclamation (Pakasaniya kamma*) regarding Devadatta.

Devadatta felt aggrieved and vowed vengeance against the Buddha. Three times, he attempted to kill the Buddha: first, by employing some archers; secondly, by climbing up the Gijjhakuta hill and rolling down a big piece of rock on to the Buddha; and thirdly, by causing the elephant Nalagiri to attack the Buddha. The hired assassins returned after being established in Sotapatti Fruition, without harming the Buddha. The big piece of rock rolled down by Devadatta hurt the big toe of the Buddha just a little, and when the Nalagiri elephant rushed at the Buddha, it was made docile by the Buddha. Thus Devadatta failed to kill the Buddha, and he tried another tactic. He tried to break up the Order of the bhikkhus by taking away some newly admitted bhikkhus with him to Gayasisa; however, most of them were brought back by Thera Sariputta and Thera Maha Moggallana.

Later, Devadatta fell ill. He had been ill for nine months when he asked his pupils to take him to the Buddha, and subsequently made the trip to the Jetavana monastery. Hearing that Devadatta was coming, the Buddha told his disciples that Devadatta would never get the opportunity to see him.

When Devadatta and his party reached the pond in the Jetavana monastery compound the carriers put down the couch on the bank of the pond and went to take a bath. Devadatta also rose from his couch and placed both his feet on the ground. Immediately, his feet sank into the earth and he was gradually swallowed up, Devadatta did not have the opportunity to see the Buddha because of the wicked deeds he had done to the Buddha. After his death, he was reborn in Avici Niraya, a place of intense and continuous torment.

* Pakasaniya kamma: An act of Proclamation carried out by the Order of the Samgha regarding a member declaring that as his conduct was of' one kind before and is of another kind now, henceforth all his physical and verbal actions are only his and have nothing to do with the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Samgha.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 17: Here he is tormented, hereafter he is tormented; the evil-doer is tormented in both existences. He is tormented, and he laments: "Evil have I done." He is even more tormented when he is reborn in one of the lower worlds (Apaya).

Verse 18

I (13) The Story of Sumanadevi

While residing at the Jetavana monastery in Savatthi, the Buddha uttered Verse (18) of this book, with reference to Sumanadevi, the youngest daughter of Anathapindika.

In Savatthi, at the house of Anathapindika and the house of Visakha, two thousand bhikkhus were served with food daily. At the house of Visakha, the offering of alms-food was supervised by her granddaughter. At the house of Anathapindika, the supervision was done, first by the eldest daughter, next by the second daughter and finally by Sumanadevi, the youngest daughter. The two elder sisters attained Sotapatti Fruition by listening to the Dhamma, while serving food to the bhikkhus. Sumanadevi did even better and she attained Sakadagami Fruition.

Later, Sumanadevi fell ill and on her death-bed she asked for her father. Her father came, and she addressed her father as "younger brother" (Kanittha bhatika) and passed away soon after. Her form of address kept her father wondering and made him uneasy and depressed, thinking that his daughter was delirious and not in her right senses at the time of her death. So, he approached the Buddha and reported to him about his daughter, Sumanadevi. Then the Buddha told the noble rich man that his daughter was in her right senses and fully self-possessed at the time of her passing away. The Buddha also explained that Sumanadevi had addressed her father as "younger brother" because her attainment of Magga and Phala was higher than that of her father's. She was a Sakadagam whereas her father was only a Sotapanna. Anathapindika was also told that Sumanadevi was reborn in the Tusita deva world.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows;

Verse 18: Here he is happy, hereafter he is happy; one who performs meritorious deeds is happy in both existences. Happily he exclaims: I have done meritorious deeds." He is happier still when he is reborn in a higher world (suggati).

Verses 19 and 20

I (14) The Story of Two Friends

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses (19) and (20) of this book, with reference to two bhikkhus who were friends.

Once there were two friends of noble family, two bhikkhus from Savatthi. One of then learned the Tipitaka and was very proficient in reciting and preaching the sacred texts. He taught five hundred bhikkhus and became the instructor of eighteen groups of bhikkhus. The other bhikkhu striving diligently and ardently in the course of Insight Meditation attained arahatship together with Analytical Insight.

On one occasion, when the second bhikkhu came to pay homage to the Buddha, at the Jetavana monastery, the two bhikkhus met, The master of the Tipitaka did not realize that the other had already become an arahat. He looked down on the other, thinking that this old bhikkhu knew very little of the sacred texts, not even one out of the five Nikayas or one out of the three Pitakas. So he thought of putting questions to the other, and thus embarass him. The Buddha knew about his unkind intention and he also knew that as a result of giving trouble to such a noble disciple of his, the learned bhikkhu would be reborn in a lower world.

So, out of compassion, the Buddha visited the two bhikkhus to prevent the scholar from questioning the other bhikkhu. The Buddha himself did the questioning. He put questions on jhanas and maggas to the master of the Tipitaka; but he could not answer them because he had not practised what he had taught. The other bhikkhu, having practised the Dhamma and having attained arahatship, could answer all the questions. The Buddha praised the one who practised the Dhamma (i.e., a vipassaka), but not a single word of praise was spoken for the learned scholar(i.e., a ganthika).

The resident disciples could not understand why the Buddha had words of praise for the old bhikkhu and not for their learned teacher. So, the Buddha explained the matter to them. The scholar who knows a great deal but does not practise in accordance with the Dhamma is like a cowherd, who looks after the cows for wages, while the one who practises in accordance with the Dhamrna is like the owner who enjoys the five kinds of produce of the cows.* Thus, the scholar enjoys only the services rendered to him by his pupils but not the benefits of Magga-phala. The other bhikkhu, though he knows little and recites only a little of the sacred texts, having clearly comprehended the essence of the Dhamma and having practised diligently and strenuously, is an 'anudhammacari'**, who has eradicated passion, ill will and ignorance. His mind being totally freed from moral delilements and from all attachments to this world as well as to the next, he truly shares the benefits of Magga-phala.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 19: Though he recites much the Sacred Texts (Tipitaka), but is negligent and does not practise according to the Dhamma, like a cowherd who counts the cattle of others, he has no share in the benefits of the life of a bhikkhu (i.e., Magga-phala).

Verse 20: Though he recites only a little of the Sacred Texts (Tipitaka), but practises according to the Dhamma, eradicating passion, ill will and ignorance, clearly comprehending the Dhamma, with his mind freed from moral defilements and no longer clinging to this world or to the next, he shares the benefits of the life of a bhikkhu (i.e., Magga-phala).

* Milk, cream, butter, butter-milk and ghee

** Anudhammacari: one who practises in conformity with the Dhamma.

End of Chapter One: The Pairs.



Verses 21, 22 and 23

II. (1) The Story of Samavati

While residing at the Ghosita monastery near Kasambi, the Buddha uttered Verses (21), (22) and (23) of this book, with reference to Samavati, one of the chief queens of Udena, king of Kosambi.

Samavati had five hundred maids-of-honour staying with her at the palace; she also had a maid servant called Khujjuttara. The maid had to buy flowers for Samavati from the florist Sumana everyday. On one occasion, Khujjuttara had the opportunity to listen to a religious discourse delivered by the Buddha at the home of Sumana and she attained Sotapatti Fruition. She repeated the discourse of the Buddha to Samavati and the five hundred maids-of-honour, and they also attained Sotapatti Fruition. From that day, Khujjuttara did not have to do any menial work, but took the place of mother and teacher to Samavati. She listened to the discourses of the Buddha and repeated them to Samavati and her maids. In course of time, Khujjuttara mastered the Tipitaka.

Samavati and her maids wished very much to see the Buddha and pay obeisance to him; but they were afraid the king might be displeased with them. So, making holes in the walls of their palace, they looked through them and paid obeisance to the Buddha everyday as he was going to the houses of the three rich men, namely, Ghosaka, Kukkuta and Pavariya.

At that time, King Udena had also another chief queen by the name of Magandiya. She was the daughter of Magandiya, a brahmin. The brahmin seeing the Buddha one day thought the Buddha was the only person who was worthy of his very beautiful daughter. So, he hurriedly went off to fetch his wife and daughter and offered to give his daughter in marriage to the Buddha. Turning down his offer, the Buddha said, "Even after seeing Tanha, Arati and Raga, the daughters of Mara, I felt no desire in me for sensual pleasures; after all, what is this which is full of urine and filth and which I don't like to touch even with my foot."

On hearing those words of the Buddha, both the brahmin and his wife attained Anagami Magga and Phala. They entrusted their daughter to the care of her uncle and themselves joined the Order. Eventually, they attained arahatship. The Buddha knew from the beginning that the brahmin and his wife were destined to attain Anagami Fruition that very day, hence his reply to the brahmin in the above manner. However, the daughter Magandiya became very bitter and sore and she vowed to take revenge if and when an opportunity arose.

Later, her uncle presented Magandiya to King Udena and she became one of his chief queens. Magandiya came to learn about the arrival of the Buddha in Kosambi and about how Samavati and her maids paid obeisance to him through holes in the walls of their living quarters. So, she planned to take her revenge on the Buddha and to harm Samavati and her maids who were ardent devotees of the Buddha. Magandiya told the king that Samavati and her maids had made holes in the walls of their living quarters and that they had outside contacts and were disloyal to the king. King Udena saw the holes in the walls, but when the truth was told he did not get angry.

But Magandiya kept on trying to make the king believe Samavati was not loyal to him and was trying to kill him. On one occasion, knowing that the king would be visiting Samavati within the next few days and that he would be taking along his lute with him, Magandiya inserted a snake into the lute and closed the hole with a bunch of flowers. Magandiya followed King Udena to Samavati's quarters after trying to stop him on the pretext that she had some presentiment and felt worried about his safety. At Samavati's place Magandiya removed the bunch of flowers from the hole of the lute. The snake came out hissing and coiled itself on the bed. When the king saw the snake he believed Magandiya's words that Samavati was trying to kill him. The king was furious. He commanded Samavati to stand and all her ladies to line up behind her. Then he fitted his bow with an arrow dipped in poison and shot the arrow. But Samavati and her ladies bore no ill wills towards the king and through the power of goodwill (metta), the arrow turned back, although an arrow shot by the king usually went even through a rock. Then, the king realized the innocence of Samavati and he gave her permission to invite the Buddha and his disciples to the palace for alms-food and for delivering discourses.

Magandiya realizing that none of her plans had materialized, made a final, infallible plan. She sent a message to her uncle with full instructions to go to Samavati's place and burn down the building with all the women inside. As the house was burning, Samavati and her maids-of-honour, numbering five hundred, kept on meditating. Thus, some of them attained Sakadagami Fruition, and the rest attained Anagami Fruition.

As the news of the fire spread, the king rushed to the scene, but it was too late. He suspected that it was done at the instigation of Magandiya but he did not show that he was suspicious. Instead, he said, "While Samavati was alive I had been fearful and alert thinking I might be harmed by her; only now, my mind is at peace. Who could have done this? It must have been done only by someone who loves me very dearly." Hearing this, Magandiya promptly admitted that it was she who had instructed her uncle to do it. Whereupon. the king pretended to be very pleased with her and said that he would do her a great favour, and honour all her relatives. So, the relatives were sent for and they came gladly. On arrival at the palace, all of them, including Magandiya, were seized and burnt in the palace court yard, by the order of the king.

When the Buddha was told about these two incidents, he said that those who are mindful do not die; but those who are negligent are as good as dead even while living.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 21. Mindfulness is the way to the Deathless (Nibbana); unmindfulness is the way to Death. Those who are mindful do not die; those who are not mindful are as if already dead.

Verse 22. Fully comprehending this, the wise, who are mindful, rejoice in being mindful and find delight in the domain of the Noble Ones (Ariyas).

Verse 23. The wise, constantly cultivating Tranquillity and Insight Development Practice, being ever mindful and steadfastly striving, realize Nibbana: Nibbana, which is free from the bonds of yoga*; Nibbana, the Incomparable!

* The bonds of yoga are four in number, viz., sense-pleasures (kama), existence (bhava), wrong belief (ditthi) and ignorance of the Four Noble Truths (i.e., avijja).

Verse 24

11 (2) The Story of Kumbhaghosaka, the Banker

While residing at the Veluvana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (24) of this book, with reference to Kumbhaghosaka, the banker.

At one time, a plague epidemic broke out in the city of Rajagaha. In the house of the city banker, the servants died on account of this disease; the banker and his wife were also attacked by the same. When they were both down with the disease they told their young son Kumbhaghosaka to leave them and flee from the house and to return only after a long time. They also told him that at such and such a place they had buried a treasure worth forty crores. The son left the city and stayed in a forest for twelve years and then came back to the city.

By that time, he was quite a grown up youth and nobody in the city recognized him. He went to the place where the treasure was hidden and found it was quite intact. But he reasoned and realized that there was no one who could identify him and that if he were to unearth the buried treasure and make use of it people might think a young poor man had accidentally come upon buried treasure and they might report it to the king. In that case, his property would be confiscated and he himself might be manhandled or put in captivity. So he concluded it was not yet time to unearth the treasure and that meanwhile he must find work for his living. Dressed in old clothes Kumbhaghosaka looked for work. He was given the work of waking up and rousing the people to get up early in the morning and of going round announcing that it was time to prepare food, time to fetch carts and yoke the bullocks, etc.

One morning, King Bimbisara heard him. The king who was a keen judge of voices commented, "This is the voice of a man of great wealth." A maid, hearing the king's remark, sent someone to investigate. He reported that the youth was only a hireling of the labourers. In spite of this report the king repeated the same remark on two subsequent days. Again, enquiries were made but with the same result. The maid thought that this was very strange, so she asked the king to give her permission to go and personally investigate.

Disguised as rustics, the maid and her daughter set out to the place of the labourers. Saying that they were travellers, they asked for shelter and was given accommodation in the house of Kumbhaghosaka just for one night. However, they managed to prolong their stay there. During that period, twice the king proclaimed that a certain ceremony must be performed in the locality of the labourers, and that every household must make contributions. Kumbhaghosaka had no ready cash for such an occasion. So he was forced to get some coins (Kahapanas) from his treasure, As these coins were handed over to the maid, she substituted them with her money and sent the coins to the king. After some time, she sent a message to the king asking him to send some men and summon Kumbhaghosaka to the court. Kumbhaghosaka, very reluctantly, went along with the men. The maid and her daughter also went to the palace, ahead of them.

At the palace, the king told Kumbhaghosaka to speak out the truth and gave him assurance that he would not be harmed on this account. Kumbhaghosaka then admitted that those Kahapanas were his and also that he was the son of the city banker of Rajagaha, who died in the plague epidemic twelve years ago. He further revealed the place where the treasure was hidden. Subsequently, all the buried treasure was brought to the palace; the king made him a banker and gave his daughter in marriage to him.

Afterwards, taking Kumbhaghosaka along with him, the king went to the Buddha at the Veluvana monastery and told him how the youth, though rich, was earning his living as a hireling of the labourers, and how he had appointed the youth a banker.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 24. If a person is energetic, mindful, pure in his thought, word and deed, and if he does every thing with care and consideration, restrains his senses, earns his living according to the Law (Dhamma) and is not unheedful, then, the fame and fortune of that mindful person steadily increase.

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

Verse 25

II (3) The Story of Culapanthaka

While residing at the Veluvana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (25) of this book, with reference to Culapanthaka, a grandson of a banker of Rajagaha.

The banker had two grandsons, named Mahapanthaka and Culapanthaka. Mahapanthaka, being the elder, used to accompany his grandfather to listen to religious discourses. Later, Mahapanthaka joined the Buddhist religious Order and in course of time became an arahat. Culapanthaka followed his brother and became a bhikkhu. But, because in a previous existence in the time of Kassapa Buddha Culapanthaka had made fun of a bhikkhu who was very dull, he was born a dullard in the present existence. He could not even memorize one verse in four months. Mahapanthaka was very disappointed with his younger brother and even told him that he was not worthy of the Order.

About that time, Jivaka came to the monastery to invite the Buddha and the resident bhikkhus to his house for a meal. Mahapanthaka, who was then in charge of assigning the bhikkhus to meal invitations, left out Culapanthaka from the list. When Culapanthaka learnt about this he felt very much frustrated and decided that he would return to the life of a householder. Knowing his intention, the Buddha took him along and made him sit in front of the Gandhakuti hall. He then gave a clean piece of cloth to Culapanthaka and told him to sit there facing east and rub the piece of cloth. At the same time he was to repeat the word "Rajoharanam", which means "taking on impurity." The Buddha then went to the residence of Jivaka, accompanied by the bhikkhus.

Meanwhile, Culapanthaka went on rubbing the piece of cloth, all the time muttering the word "Rajoharanam". Very soon, the cloth became soiled. Seeing this change in the condition of the cloth, Culapanthaka came to realize the impermanent nature of all conditioned things. From the house of Jivaka, the Buddha through super normal power learnt about the progress of Culapanthaka. He sent forth his radiance so that (to Culapanthaka) the Buddha appeared to be sitting in front of him, saying:

"It is not the piece of cloth alone that is made dirty by the dust; within oneself also there exist the dust of passion (raga), the dust of ill will (dosa), and the dust of ignorance (moha), i.e., the ignorance of the Four Noble Truths. Only by removing these could one achieve one's goal and attain arahatship". Culapanthaka got the message and kept on meditating and in a short while attained arahatship, together with Analytical Insight. Thus, Culapanthaka ceased to be a dullard.

At the house of Jivaka, they were about to pour libation water as a mark of donation; but the Buddha covered the bowl with his hand and asked if there were any bhikkhus left at the monastery. On being answered that there were none, the Buddha replied that there was one and directed them to fetch Culapanthaka from the monastery. When the messenger from the house of Jivaka arrived at the monastery he found not only one bhikkhu, but a thousand identical bhikkhus. They all have been created by Culapanthaka, who by now possessed supernormal powers The messenger was baffled and he turned back and reported the matter to Jivaka. The messenger was sent to the monastery for the second time and was instructed to say that the Buddha summoned the bhikkhu by the name of Culapanthaka. But when he delivered the message, a thousand voices responded, "I am Culapanthaka." Again baffled, he turned back for the second time. Then he was sent to the monastery, for the third time. This time, he was instructed to get hold of the bhikkhu who first said that he was Culapanthaka. As soon as he got hold of that bhikkhu all the rest disappeared, and Culapanthaka accompanied the messenger to the house of Jivaka. After the meal, as directed by the Buddha, Culapanthaka delivered a religious discourse confidently and bravely, roaring like a young lion.

Later, when the subject of Culapanthaka cropped up among the bhikkhus, the Buddha said that one who was diligent and steadfast in his striving would certainly attain arahatship.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 25: Through diligence, mindfulness, discipline (with regard to moral precepts), and control of his senses, let the man of wisdom make (of himself) an island which no flood can overwhelm.

Verses 26 and 27

11(4) The Story of Balanakkhatta Festival

White residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses (26) and (27) of this book, in connection with the Balanakkhatta festival.

At one time, the Balanakkhatta festival was being celebrated in Savatthi. During the festival, many foolish young men smearing themselves with ashes and cow-dung roamed about the city shouting and making themselves a nuisance to the public. They would also stop at the doors of others and leave only when given some money.

At that time there were a great many lay disciples of the Buddha, living in Savatthi. On account of these foolish young hooligans, they sent word to the Buddha, requesting him to keep to the monastery and not to enter the city for seven days. They sent alms-food to the monastery and they themselves kept to their own houses. On the eighth day, when the festival was over, the Buddha and his disciples were invited into the city for alms-food and other offerings. On being told about the vulgar and shameful behaviour of the foolish young men during the festival, the Buddha commented that it was in the nature of the foolish and the ignorant to behave shamelessly.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 26. The foolish and the ignorant give themselves over to negligence; whereas the wise treasure mindfulness as a precious jewel.

Verse 27. Therefore, one should not be negligent, nor be addicted to sensual pleasures; for he who is established in mindfulness, through cultivation of Tranquillity and Insight Development Practice, experiences supreme happiness (i.e., realizes Nibbana).

Verse 28

11 (5) The Story of Thera Mahakassapa

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (28) of this book, with reference to Thera Mahakassapa.

On one occasion, while Thera Mahakassapa was staying at Pipphali cave, he spent his time developing the mental image of light (aloka kasina) and trying to find out through Divine Vision, beings who were mindful and beings who were negligent, also those who were about to die and those who were about to be born.

From his monastery, the Buddha saw through his Divine Vision what Thera Mahakassapa was doing and wanted to warn him that he was wasting his time. So he sent forth his radiance and appeared seated before the thera and exhorted him thus: "My son Kassapa, the number of births and deaths of beings is innumerable and cannot be counted. It is not your concern to count them; it is the concern only of the Buddhas."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 28. The wise one dispels negligence by means of mindfulness; he ascends the tower of wisdom and being free from sorrow looks at the sorrowing beings. Just as one on the mountain top looks at those on the plain below, so also, the wise one (the arahat) looks at the foolish and the ignorant (worldlings).

Verse 29

11 (6) The Story of the Two Companion Bhikkhus

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha tittered Verse (29) of this book, with reference to two bhikkhus, who were friends.

Two bhikkhus, after obtaining a subject of meditation from the Buddha, went to a monastery in the forest. One of them, being negligent, spent his time warming himself by the fire and talking to young novices throughout the first watch of the night, and generally idling away his time. The other faithfully performed the duties of a bhikkhu. He walked in meditation during the first watch, rested during the second watch and again meditated during the last watch of the night. Thus, being diligent and ever mindful, the second bhikkhu attained arahatship within a short time.

At the end of the rainy season (vassa) both of them went to pay obeisance to the Buddha, and the Buddha asked them how they had spent their time during the vassa. To this, the lazy and negligent bhikkhu answered that the other bhikkhu had been idling away his time, just lying down and sleeping. The Buddha then asked, "But, what about you?" His reply was that he generally sat warming himself by the fire during the first watch of the night and then sat up without sleeping. But the Buddha knew quite well how the two bhikkhus had spent their time, so he said to the idle one: "Though you are lazy and negligent you claim to be diligent and ever mindful; but you have made the other bhikkhu appear to be lazy and negligent though he is diligent and ever mindful. You are like a weak and slow horse compared to my son who is like a strong, fleet-footed horse."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 29: Mindful amongst the negligent, highly vigilant amongst the drowsy, the man of wisdom advances like a race-horse, leaving the jade behind.

Verse 30

II (7) The Story of Magha

While residing at the Kutagara monastery near Vesali, the Buddha uttered Verse (30) of this book, with reference to Sakka, king of the devas.

On one occasion, a Licchavi prince, named Mahali, came to listen to a religious discourse given by the Buddha. The discourse given was Sakkapanha Suttanta. The Buddha spoke of Sakka vividly in glowing terms; so, Mahali thought that the Buddha must have personally met Sakka. To make sure, he asked the Buddha, and the Buddha replied, "Mahali, I do know Sakka; I also know what has made him a Sakka." He then told Mahali that Sakka, king of the devas, was in a previous existence a young man by the name of Magha, in the village of Macala. The youth Magha and his thirty-two companions went about building roads and rest houses. Magha took upon himself also to observe seven obligations. These seven obligations are that throughout his life, (1) he would support his parents; (2) he would respect the elders ; (3) he would be gentle of speech; (4) he would avoid back-biting; (5) he would not be avaricious, but would be generous; (6) he would speak the truth; and (7) he would restrain himself from losing his temper.

It was because of his good deeds and right conduct in that existence that Magha was reborn as Sakka, king of the devas.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 30: Through mindfulness (in doing meritorious deeds) Magha became king of the devas. Mindfulness is always praised, but negligence is always blamed.

At the end of the discourse Mahali attained Sotapatti Fruition.

Verse 31

II (8) The Story of a Certain Bhikkhu

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (31) of this book, with reference to a certain bhikkhu.

A certain bhikkhu, after obtaining a subject of meditation from the Buddha, went to the forest to meditate. Although he tried hard he made very little progress in his meditation practice. As a result, he became very depressed and frustrated. So, with the thought of getting further specific instructions from the Buddha, he set out for the Jetavana monastery. On his way, he came across a big blazing fire. He ran up to the top of a mountain and observed the fire from there. As the fire spread, it suddenly occurred to him that just as the fire burnt up everything, so also Magga Insight will burn up all fetters of life, big and small.

Meanwhile, from the Gandhakuti hall in the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha was aware of what the bhikkhu was thinking. So, he transmitted his radiance and appeared to the bhikkhu and spoke to him. "My son," he said, "you are on the right line of thought; keep it up. All beings must burn up all fetters of life with Magga Insight."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows.

Verse 31: A bhikkhu who takes delight in mindfulness and sees danger in negligence, advances like fire, burning up all fetters, great and small.

At the end of the discourse that bhikkhu attained arahatship then and there.

Verse 32

11 (9) The Story of Thera Nigamavasitissa

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (32) of this book, with reference to Thera Nigamavasitissa.

Nigamavasitissa was born and brought up in a small market town near Savatthi. After becoming a bhikkhu he lived a very simple life, with very few wants. For alms-food, he used to go to the village where his relatives were staying and took whatever was offered to him. He kept away from big occasions. Even when Anathapindika and King Pasenadi of Kosala made offerings on a grand scale, the thera did not go.

Some bhikkhus then started talking about the thera that he kept close to his relatives and that he did not care to go even when people like Anathapindika and King Pasenadi were making offerings on a grand scale, etc. When the Buddha was told about this, he sent for the thera and asked him. The thera respectfully explained the Buddha that it was true he frequently went to his village, but it was only to get alms-food, that when he had received enough food, he did not go any further, and that he never cared whether the food was delicious or not. Whereupon, instead of blaming him, the Buddha praised him for his conduct in the presence of the other bhikkhus. He also told them that to live contentedly with only a few wants is in conformity with the practice of the Buddha and the Noble Ones (Ariyas), and that all bhikkhus should, indeed, be like Thera Tissa from the small market town. In this connection, he further related the story of the king of the parrots.

Once upon a time, the king of the parrots lived in a grove of fig trees on the banks of the Ganges river, with a large number of his followers. When the fruits were eaten, all the parrots left the grove, except the parrot king, who was well contented with whatever was left in the tree where he dwelt, be it shoot or leaf or bark. Sakka, knowing this and wanting to test the virtue of the parrot king, withered up the tree by his supernormal power. Then, assuming the form of geese, Sakka and his queen, Sujata, came to where the parrot king was and asked him why he did not leave the old withered tree as the others had done and why he did not go to other trees which were still bearing fruits. The parrot king replied, "Because of a feeling of gratitude towards the tree I did not leave and as long as I could get just enough food to sustain myself I shall not forsake it. It would be ungrateful for me to desert this tree even though it be inanimate."

Much impressed by this reply, Sakka revealed himself. He took water from the Ganges and poured it over the withered fig tree and instantly, it was rejuvenated; it stood with branches lush and green, and fully decked with fruits. Thus, the wise even as animals are not greedy; they are contented with whatever is available.

The parrot king in the story was the Buddha himself; Sakka was Anuruddha.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 32: A bhikkhu who takes delight in mindfulness and sees danger in negligence will not fall away,* he is, indeed, very close to Nibbana.

* will not fall away: It means, will not fall away from Tranquillity and Insight Development Practice and is assured of attaining Magga and Phalla. ( The Commentary )

At the end of the discourse Thera Tissa attained arahatship.

End of Chapter Two: Mindfulness



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