1. The Story of Magha

    Comment

    Buddha and Sujata

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

    1. appamadena: through mindfulness; i.e., mindfulness in doing meritorious deeds. In the above story, Magha, the young man from Macala village, by cleaning and clearing land and making roads was reborn as Indra or Sakka, king of the devas. (The devas are celestial beings.)

    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.

    Dhammapada Verse 30
    Magha Vatthu

    Appamadena1 maghava
    devanam setthatam gato
    appamadam pasamanti
    pamado garahito sada.

    Source: Tipitaka

     

  2. The Story of the Two Companion Bhikkhus

    Comment

    monks

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

    1. sumedhaso: the wise one: the wise one advances steadily until he realizes Magga, Phala and Nibbana, leaving the negligent ones behind in the round of rebirths (samsara).

    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.

    Dhammapada Verse 29
    Dvesahayakabhikkhu Vatthu

    Appamatto pamattesu
    suttesu bahujagaro
    abalassa mva sighasso
    hitva yati sumedhaso.1

     

    Source: Tipitaka

     

  3. The Story of Thera Mahakassapa

    Comment
    Buddha and Maha Kassapa

    Buddha and Maha Kassapa

    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).

    1. dhiro: the wise one; in this context, the arahat.

    2. bile: the foolish; in this context, the worldings.

    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 pinnacle 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).

    Dhammapada Verse 28
    Mahakassapatthera Vatthu

    Pamadam appamadena
    yada nudati pandito
    pannapasadamaruyha
    asoko sokinim pajam
    pabbatatthova bhumatthe
    dhiro1 bale2 avekkhati.

    Source: Tipitaka

     

  4. The Story of Balanakkhatta Festival

    Comment

    buddha-vihara

    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).

    1. bala dummedhino jana: the foolish and the ignorant. The foolish mentioned in the story were the hooligans who were given up to wild revelry and disorder during the Balanakkhatta festival. They were not mindful of others or of the consequence for themselves in this world and the next.

    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).

    Dhammapada Verses 26 and 27
    Balanakkhattasanghuttha Vatthu

    Pamadamanuyu janti
    bala dummedhino jana1
    appamadaca medhavi
    dhanam setthamva rakkhati.

    Ma pamadamanuyu jetha
    ma kamaratisanthavam
    appamatto hi jhayanto
    pappoti vipulam sukham.

    Source: Tipitaka

     

  5. The Story of Samavati

    Comment

    Buddha meditating

    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!

    1. appamada: According to the Commentary, it embraces all the meanings of the words of the Buddha in the Tipitaka, and therefore appamada is to be interpreted as being ever mindful in doing meritorious deeds; to be in line with the Buddha’s Teaching in Mahasatipatthana Sutta, “appamado amatapadam”, in particular, is to be interpreted as “Cultivation of Insight Development Practice is the way to Nibbana.”

    2. amata: lit., no death, deathless; it does not mean eternal life or immortality. The Commentary says: “Amata means Nibbana. It is true that Nibbana is called “Amata” as there is no ageing (old age) and death because there is no birth.”

    3. pamado maccuno padam: lit., unmindfulness is the way to Death. According to the Commentary, one who is unmindful cannot be liberated from rebirth; when reborn, one must grow old and die; so unmindfulness is the cause of Death.

    4. appamatta na miyanti: Those who are mindful do not die. It does not mean that they do not grow old or die. According to the Commentary, the mindful develop mindful signs (i.e., cultivate Insight Development Practice); they soon realize Magga-Phala (i.e., Nibbana) and are no longer subject to rebirths. Therefore, whether they are, in fact, alive or dead, they are considered not to die.

    5. ye pamatta yatha mata: as if dead. According to the Commentary, those who are not mindful are like the dead; because they never think of giving in charity, or keeping the moral precepts, etc., and in the case of bhikkhus, because they do not fulfil their duties to their teachers and preceptors, nor do they cultivate Tranquillity and Insight Development Practice.

    6. ariyanam gocare rata: lit., “finds delight in the domain of the ariyas.” According to the Commentary the domain of the ariyas consists of the Thirty-seven Factors of Enlightenment (Bodhipakkhiya) and the nine Transcendentals, viz., the four Maggas, the four Phalas, and Nibbana.

    7. jhiyino: those cultivating Tranquillity and Insight Development Practice.

    8. phusanti dhira nibbanam: the wise realize Nibbana. Lit., phusati means, to touch, to reach. According to the Commentary, the realization takes place, through contact or experience, which may be either through Insight (Magga-Nana) or through Fruition (Phala). In this context, contact by way of Fruition is meant.

    9. yogakkhemam: an attribute of Nibbana. Lit., it means free or secure from the four bonds which bind people to the round of rebirths. The four bonds or yoga are: sense pleasures (kama), existence (bhava), wrong belief (ditthi), and ignorance of the Four Noble Truths (avijja).

    While residing at the Ghosita monastery near Kosambi, 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. Continue reading

  6. Maha Kassapa: Father of the Sangha

    Comment

    Buddha preaching

    1. Kassapa’s Early Years

    Among those of the Buddha’s disciples who were closest to him, there were two friends, Sariputta and Maha Moggallana, who were the chief disciples of the Buddha, the exemplary pair of disciples. There were also two brothers, Ananda and Anuruddha, who were likewise eminent “Fathers of the Order.” In between these two pairs stands a great solitary figure, Pipphali Kassapa, who later was called Maha Kassapa, Kassapa the Great, to distinguish him from the others of the Kassapa clan, such as Kumara Kassapa and Uruvela Kassapa.

    After Sariputta and Maha Moggallana had passed away, predeceasing the Buddha, it was Maha Kassapa who was held in greatest respect and reverence in the Order. But even after the Buddha’s passing away, Maha Kassapa did not become the elected head of the Order of Monks, as it had been the Buddha’s express wish that there should not be a supreme authoritative head of the Sangha. Shortly before his passing away, the Buddha had said: “That which I have proclaimed and made known, Ananda, as the Teaching and the Discipline (Dhamma-Vinaya), that shall be your Master when I am gone” (D.16).

    Yet the natural authority emanating from Maha Kassapa made him particularly honored and venerated in the Sangha. There were many factors that contributed to his pre-eminent position after the death of the Master. He had been praised by the Buddha as being equal to him in many respects[1] and he shared with the Master seven of the thirty-two “Marks of a Great Man.” He had been the only monk with whom the Buddha had exchanged robes. Maha Kassapa possessed to the highest degree the ten “qualities that inspire confidence.”[2] He was also a model of a disciplined and austere life devoted to meditation. So it is no wonder that he was elected to preside over the First Council of the Sangha which had been summoned on his urgent advice. It may have been on account of all these features of his personality and his life that, much later in China and Japan, Maha Kassapa came to be regarded as the first patriarch of Ch’an or Zen Buddhism. Continue reading

  7. The Story of Culapanthaka

    Comment

    Buddha with monks

    The Teacher while in residence at the Bamboo grove gave this religious discourse beginning with “Utthanenappamadena” with reference to the Elder Culapanthaka.

    It is said that in Rajagaha, the daughter (of the family) of a rich banker, on coming of age was closely guarded by her parents on the upper story of a seven-storied palace. Because of her caprice due to her young age she developed an ardent longing for the opposite sex and she cohabited even with her own slave and fearing that other people might come to know of it, said “It is impossible for us to live here. If my parents come to know of this misdeed, they will cut me into pieces. Let us go and live somewhere else”. Taking with them their personal effects they left by the main gate thinking “We shall go and live in some place unknown to others” and took residence at a certain place. As a result of their living together she became conceived.

    When she was in the advanced stage of pregnancy, she discussed with her husband thus, “My pregnancy has reached the advanced stage; confinement in a place devoid of friends and relations would just be courting trouble, let us go to the home of our parents”. Fearing that he would lose his life if he were to go there he procrastinated saying, “We will go to-day, we will go tomorrow.”

    She thought, “Due to the gravity of his own misdeed, this fool does not dare to go; in fact parents only wish for the good (of their children). Whether he goes or not, I shall go.” As she was leaving that house, she arranged the house in order and informing her next door neighbours of her departure to the home of her parents she set out on her journey.

    He returned home and not finding her, enquired of the neighbours and, learning that she had left for her parent’s house, followed her hastily and overtook her on the way. She gave birth to a child at that very place. He enquired of her “What is it my dear?” “Sir, it is a son”, replied she. “What should we do now?” “The purpose for which we are going to the house of our parents is accomplished on the way. What is the use of our going there? Let us turn back.” Both of them being of one accord, turned back. That child being born on the way, was named Panthaka.

    Before long she became conceived once again. The detailed account of what happened on the previous occasion should be repeated all over here. Because of the fact that that child was also born on the road the first born child was named Mahapanthaka and this other Culapanthaka. Taking both the boys they returned to their own home. While they were living there, the boy Mahapanthaka heard other children addressing their uncles and grand-parents, and asked his mother, “Mother, other boys speak of their uncles and grand-parents. Have we no relations, mother?” “Yes, son, you have no relatives here. In the city of Rajagaha, however, you have a grandfather who is a rich banker and we have many relations there.” “Why do not we go there, mother?” asked the son. She did not tell her son the reason why she did not go, but when her sons spoke about it repeatedly she said to her husband, “These boys are worrying me very much. My parents are not going to eat us (our flesh) when they see us. Come let us take the children to their grand-parents.” Continue reading

  8. The Story of Kumbhaghosaka, the Banker

    Comment

    Buddha - Ariyamagga 092715

    Verse 24: If a person is energetic, mindful, pure in his thought, word and deed, and if he does everything 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.

    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.

    Dhammapada Verse 24
    Kumbhaghosakasetthi Vatthu

    Utthanavato satimato
    sucikammassa nisammakarino
    sannatassa dhammajivino
    appamattassa yaso bhivaddhati.

    Source: Tipitaka

     

  9. Naturally, any bad person may possess some good quality

    Comment

    Buddha with monkey and elephants - Ariyamagga

    by Ven. K. Piyatissa Thera

    Naturally, any bad person may possess some good quality. Some men are evil in mind but speak in deceptive language or slyly perform their deeds in an unsuspecting manner. Some men are coarse only in their language but not in their mind or deeds. Some men are coarse and cruel in their deeds but neither in their speech nor in their mind. Some are soft and kind in mind, speech and deed as well.

    When we feel angry with any person, we should try to find out some good in him, either in his way of thinking, or in his way of speaking or in his way of acting. If we find some redeeming quality in him, we should ponder its value and ignore his bad qualities as natural weaknesses that are to be found in everyone. Whilst we think thus, our mind will soften and we may even feel kindly towards that person. If we develop this way of thinking we will be able to curb or eliminate our anger towards him.

    At times, this method may not be successful and we shall then have to try the third method. Basically, this entails reflecting thus:

    “He has done some wrong to me and in so doing has spoiled his mind. Then why should I spoil or impair my own mind because of his foolishness? Sometimes I ignore support or help offered by my relatives; sometimes their tears even shed because of my activities. Being a person of such type myself, why should I not therefore ignore that foolish man’s deed?
    “He has done that wrong, being subject to anger, should I too follow him, making my mind subject to anger? Is it not foolish to imitate him? He harboring his hatred destroys himself internally. Why should I, on his account, destroy my reputation?

    “All things are momentary. Both his mind and body are momentary too. The thoughts and the body with which the wrong was done to me are not now existing. What I call the same man now are the thoughts and physical parts which are different from the earlier ones that harmed me although belonging to the same psycho-physical process. Thus, one thought together with one mass of physical parts did me some wrong, and vanished there and then, giving place to succeeding thoughts and material parts to appear. So with which am I getting angry? WIth the vanished and disappeared thoughts and physical parts or with the thoughts and material parts which do not do any wrong now? Should I get angry with one thing which is innocent whereas another thing has done me wrong and vanished?

    “The so-called ‘I’ is not the same for two consecutive moments. At the moment the wrong was done there was another thought and another mass of molecules which were regarded as ‘I,’ whereas what are regarded as ‘I’ at the present moment are a different thought and collection of molecules, though belonging to the same process. Thus some other being did wrong to someone else and another gets angry with another. Is this not a ridiculous situation?”

    If we scrutinize the exact nature of our life and its happenings in this manner, our anger might subside or vanish there and then.
    There is another way, too, to eliminate upsurging anger. Suppose we think of someone who has done wrong to us. On such occasions we should remember that we suffer harm or loss as a result of our previous kamma. Even if others were angry with us, they could not harm us if there were no latent force of past unwholesome kamma committed by us which took advantage of this opportunity to arouse our adversary. So it is I who am responsible for this harm or loss and not anybody else. And at the same time, now while I am suffering the result of past kamma, if I, on account of this, should get angry and do any harm to him, by that do I accumulate much more unwholesome kamma which would bring me correspondingly unwholesome results.

    calm-lake

    If we recall to mind this law of kamma, our anger may subside immediately. We can consider such a situation in another way too. We as the followers of Buddha believe that our Bodhisatta passed through incalculable numbers of lives practicing virtues before he attained Buddhahood. The Buddha related the history of some of his past lives as illustrations to teach us how he practiced these virtues. The lives of the prince Dhammapala and the ascetic Khantivadi are most illustrative and draw our attention.

    At one time the Bodhisatta had been born as the son of a certain king named Mahapatapa. The child was named Culla Dhammapala. One day the Queen sat on a chair fondling her child and did not notice the King passing by. The King thought the Queen was so proud of her child as not to get up from her chair even when she saw that her lord the King passed that way. So he grew angry and immediately sent for the executioner. When he came the King ordered him to snatch the child from the Queen’s arms and cut his hands, feet and head off, which he did instantly. The child, our Bodhisatta, suffered all that with extreme patience and did not grow ill-tempered or relinquish his impartial love for his cruel father, lamenting mother and the executioner. So far had he matured in the practice of forbearance and loving-kindness at that time.

    At another time, our Bodhisatta was an ascetic well-known for his developed virtue of forbearance and consequently people named him Khantivadi, the preacher of forbearance. One day he visited Benares and took his lodgings at the royal pleasure grove. Meanwhile, the King passed that way with his harem and, seeing the ascetic seated under a tree, asked what virtue he was practicing, to which the ascetic replied that of forbearance. The King was a materialist who regarded the practice of virtue to be humbug. So, hearing the words of the ascetic, he sent for the executioner and ordered him to cut off his hands and feet and questioned the ascetic as to whether he could hold to forbearance at the severing of his limbs. The ascetic did not feel ill-tempered but even at that time he lay down extending his loving-kindness and holding his forbearance undiminished. He spoke to the King in reply to the effect that his forbearance and other virtues were not in his limbs but in his mind. The King, being unsuccessful in his attempts to disturb the ascetic’s feelings, grew angrier and kicked the stomach of the ascetic with his heel and went away. Meanwhile, the King’s minister came over and, seeing what had happened, bowed before the dying ascetic and begged him saying: “Venerable one, none of us agreed to this cruel act of the King and we are all sorrowing over what has been done to you by that devilish man. We ask you to curse the King but not us.” At this the ascetic said: “May that king who has caused my hands and feet to be cut off, as well as you, live long in happiness. Persons who practice virtues like me never get angry.” Saying this, he breathed his last. Continue reading

  10. The Anger-eating Demon

    Comment

    Jendhamuni in the wood

    Retold from an ancient Buddhist Story by Nyanaponika Thera

    Once there lived a demon who had a peculiar diet: he fed on the anger of others. And as his feeding ground was the human world, there was no lack of food for him. He found it quite easy to provoke a family quarrel, or national and racial hatred. Even to stir up a war was not very difficult for him. And whenever he succeeded in causing a war, he could properly gorge himself without much further effort; because once a war starts, hate multiplies by its own momentum and affects even normally friendly people. So the demon’s food supply became so rich that he sometimes had to restrain himself from over-eating, being content with nibbling just a small piece of resentment found close-by.

    But as it often happens with successful people, he became rather overbearing and one day when feeling bored he thought: “Shouldn’t I try it with the gods?” On reflection he chose the Heaven of the Thirty-three Deities, ruled by Sakka, Lord of Gods. He knew that only a few of these gods had entirely eliminated the fetters of ill-will and aversion, though they were far above petty and selfish quarrels. So by magic power he transferred himself to that heavenly realm and was lucky enough to come at a time when Sakka the Divine King was absent. There was none in the large audience hall and without much ado the demon seated himself on Sakka’s empty throne, waiting quietly for things to happen, which he hoped would bring him a good feed. Soon some of the gods came to the hall and first they could hardly believe their own divine eyes when they saw that ugly demon sitting on the throne, squat and grinning. Having recovered from their shock, they started to shout and lament: “Oh you ugly demon, how can you dare to sit on the throne of our Lord? What utter cheekiness! What a crime! you should be thrown headlong into the hell and straight into a boiling cauldron! You should be quartered alive! Begone! Begone!”

    But while the gods were growing more and more angry, the demon was quite pleased because from moment to moment he grew in size, in strength and in power. The anger he absorbed into his system started to ooze from his body as a smoky red-glowing mist. This evil aura kept the gods at a distance and their radiance was dimmed.

    Suddenly a bright glow appeared at the other end of the hall and it grew into a dazzling light from which Sakka emerged, the King of Gods. He who had firmly entered the undeflectible Stream that leads Nibbana-wards, was unshaken by what he saw. The smoke-screen created by the gods’ anger parted when he slowly and politely approached the usurper of his throne. “Welcome, friend! Please remain seated. I can take another chair. May I offer you the drink of hospitality? Our Amrita is not bad this year. Or do you prefer a stronger brew, the vedic Soma?”

    While Sakka spoke these friendly words, the demon rapidly shrank to a diminutive size and finally disappeared, trailing behind a whiff of malodorous smoke which likewise soon dissolved.

    The gist of this story dates back to the discourses of the Buddha. But even now, over 2500 years later, our world looks as if large hordes of Anger-eating Demons were haunting it and were kept well nourished by millions slaving for them all over the earth. Fires of hate and wide-traveling waves of violence threaten to engulf mankind. Also the grass roots of society are poisoned by conflict and discord, manifesting in angry thoughts and words and in violent deeds. Is it not time to end this self-destructive slavery of man to his impulses of hate and aggression which only serve the demoniac forces? Our story tells how these demons of hate can be exorcised by the power of gentleness and love. If this power of love can be tested and proven, at grass-root level, in the widely spread net of personal relationships, society at large, the world at large, will not remain unaffected by it.

    — Based on Samyutta Nikaya, Sakka Samyutta, No. 22

    Link source

     

  11. The Story of Devadatta [reborn in Avici Niraya]

    Comment

    Devadatta

    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).

    1. duggatim/duggati: unhappy destinations, the four lower worlds (apaya). In the case of Devadatta, avici niraya, the lowest niraya, (placement of torment).

    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. Continue reading

  12. The Story of Two Friends

    Comment
     RFA/Chin Chetha

    RFA/Chin Chetha

    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).

    1. suvimuttacitto: Mind freed from moral defilements; this has been achieved through perfect practice and clear comprehension of the Dhamma.

    2. sa bhagava samannassa hoti: lit., shares the benefits of the life of a samana (a bhikkhu). According to the Commentary, in this context, it means, “Shares the benefits of Magga-phala.”

    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 them 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). Continue reading

  13. The Story of Sumanadevi

    Comment

    Buddha

    (One who has done good deeds rejoices here and rejoices afterwards too; he rejoices in both places. Thinking “I have done good deeds” he rejoices, he rejoices all the more having gone to a happy existence.)

    The Master while residing at Jetavana delivered this religious discourse beginning with “Here (in this world) one who has done good deeds rejoices” in connection with Sumanadet Savatthi, two thousand monks used to take their meals daily in the house of Anathapindika and a similar number in the house of the eminent female-devotee Visakha. Whosoever wished to give alms in Savatthi, they used to do so after getting permission of these two. What was the reason for this? Even though a sum of a hundred thousand was spent in charity, the monks used to ask:

    “Has Anathapindika or Visakha come to our alms-hall?” If told, “They have not”, they used to express words of disapproval saying “What sort of a charity is this?” The fact was that both of them (Anathapindika and Visakha) knew exceedingly well what the congregation of monks liked, as also what ought to be done befitting the occasion. When they supervised, the monks could take food according to their liking, and so all those who wished to give alms used to take those two with them. As a result, they (Anathapindika and Visakha) could not get the opportunity to serve the monks in their own homes.

    Thereupon, pondering as to who could take her place and entertain the congregation of monks with food, and finding her son’s daughter, Visakha made her take the place. She started serving food to the congregation of monks in Visakha’s house. Anathapindika too made his eldest daughter, Mahasubhadda by name, officiate in his stead. While attending to the monks, she used to listen to the Dhamma. She became a Sotapanna and went to the house of her husband. Then he (Anathapindika) put Cullasubhadda in her place. She too acting likewise became a Sotapanna and went to her husband’s house. Then his youngest daughter Sumanadevi was assigned the place. She, however, attained the fruition of sakadagami. Though she was only a young maiden, she became afflicted with so severe a disease that she stopped taking her food and wishing to see her father sent for him.

    Anathapindika received the message while in an almshouse. At once he returned and asked her what the matter was. She said to him, ‘Brother, what is it?’ He said ‘Dear, are you talking in delirium?’ Replied she, ‘Brother, I am not delirious.’ He asked, ‘Dear, are you in fear?’ and she replied, ‘No, I am not, brother.’ Saying only these words she passed away. Though a Sotapanna, the banker was unable to bear the grief that arose in him for his daughter and after having had the funeral rites of his daughter performed, approached the Master weeping. Being asked: Householder, what makes you come sad and depressed, weeping with a tearful face?’, he replied ‘Lord, my daughter Sumanadevi has passed away.’ ‘But, why do you lament? Isn’t death common to all beings?’ ‘Lord, this I am aware of, but the fact that my daughter, who was so conscious of a sense of shame and fear of evil, was not able to maintain her self-possession at the time of her death and passed away talking in delirium, has made me very depressed.’ ‘But, noble banker, what was it that she said?’

    ‘When I addressed her as “Dear Sumana”, she said “What is it, dear brother? “*

    ‘Then when I asked her “Dear, are you talking in delirium ?”, she replied “I am not talking in delirium, brother”.

    ‘When I asked her “Are you in fear, dear?”, she replied “Brother, I am not”. Saying this much she passed away.’

    Thereupon the Master told him, Noble banker, your daughter was not talking in delirium.’ When asked why she spoke like that, the Master replied, ‘It is because of your lower spiritual position; indeed your daughter held a higher position than you did in the attainment of the path (magga) and fruition (phala); you are only a Sotapanna but your daughter was a sakadagami, it was because of her higher position in the attainment of path and fruition that she spoke to you in that way’. The banker asked, ‘Is that so Lord ?’, and the Master affirmed saying ‘It is so’. When asked ‘Where is she reborn at present?’ the Master said, ‘In the Tusita heaven, O householder’. Then the banker made this remark, ‘Lord, having rejoiced here in this world in the midst of kinsmen, now again, after passing away, my daughter has been reborn in a place of joy.’ Thereupon the Master told him, ‘Yes banker, the diligent, whether they are householders or samanas, surely rejoice in this world as well as in the next’, and uttered this stanza.

    Idha nandati, pecca nandati,
    katapunno ubhayattha nandati.
    “punnam me katan” ti nandati
    bhiyyo nandatisuggatim gato. Continue reading

  14. The Story of Devadatta

    Comment

    Devadatta attacking Buddha

    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.

    1. kasavam or kasavam vattham: the yellow or reddish yellow robe donned by members of the Buddhist Religious Order. There is a play on words in the above stanzas; ‘anikkasavo’, meaning, not free from faults of moral defilements and therefore, stained; and kasavam, the yellow robe, dyed sombre in some astringent juice and is therefore stained.

    2. vantakasav’assa: lit., has vomited all moral defilements; it means, has discarded all moral defilements through the four Path Knowledge (Magga nana).

    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 then 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 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).

    Dhammapada Verses 9 and 10
    Devadatta Vatthu

    Anikkasavo kasavam1
    yo vattham paridahissati
    apeto damasaccena
    na so kasavamarahati.

    Yo ca vantakasav’assa2
    silesu susamahito
    upeto damasaccena
    sa ve kasavamarahati.

    Source: Tipitaka

     

  15. The Story of Dhammika Upasaka

    Comment

    Buddha meditating - Ariyamagga

    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.

    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.

    Dhammapada Verse 16
    Dhammika-upasaka Vatthu

    Idha modati pecca modati
    katapunno ubhayattha modati
    so modati so pamodati
    disva kammavisuddhimattano.

    Source: Tipitaka

     

  16. Dhaniya the Cattleman

    Comment

    Budha and monks

    Sutta Nipata I.2 | Dhaniya Sutta

    Dhaniya the cattleman:[1]

    “The rice is cooked,
    my milking done.
    I live with my people
    along the banks of the Mahi;
    my hut is roofed, my fire lit:
    so if you want, rain-god,
    go ahead & rain.”

    The Buddha:“Free from anger,
    my stubbornness gone,[2]
    I live for one night
    along the banks of the Mahi;
    my hut’s roof is open, my fire out:[3]
    so if you want, rain-god,
    go ahead & rain.”

    Dhaniya:

    “No mosquitoes or gadflies
    are to be found.
    The cows range in the marshy meadow
    where the grasses flourish.
    They could stand the rain if it came:
    so if you want, rain-god,
    go ahead & rain.”

    The Buddha:“A raft, well-made,
    has been lashed together.[4]
    Having crossed over,
    gone to the far shore,
    I’ve subdued the flood.
    No need for a raft
    is to be found:[5]
    so if you want, rain-god,
    go ahead & rain.”

    Dhaniya:

    “My wife is compliant, not careless,
    is charming, has lived with me long.
    I hear no evil about her at all:
    so if you want, rain-god,
    go ahead & rain.”

    The Buddha:“My mind is compliant, released,
    has long been nurtured, well tamed.
    No evil is to be found in me:
    so if you want, rain-god,
    go ahead & rain.”

    Continue reading

  17. The Story of Cundasukarika

    Comment

    Cundasukarika

    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.

    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.

    Dhammapada Verse 15
    Cundasukarika Vatthu

    Idha socati pecca socati
    papakari ubhayattha socati
    so socati so vihannati
    disva kammakilitthamattano.

    Source: Tipitaka

  18. The Story of Thera Nanda

    Comment
    Buddha and Nanda Thera

    Buddha and Nanda Thera

    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).

    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.

    Dhammapada Verses 13 and 14
    Nandatthera Vatthu

    Yatha agaram ducchannam
    vutthi samativijjhati
    evam abhavitam cittam
    rago samativijjhati.

    Yatha agaram suchannam
    vutthi na samativijjhati
    evam subhavitam cittam
    rago na samativijjhati.

    Source: Tipitaka

     

     

  19. The Story of Thera Sariputta

    Comment

    Sariputta

    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.

    1. asare: lit., essenceless; according to the Commentary, wrong view, i.e., untruth.

    2. sare: lit., essence; according to the Commentary, right view, i.e. , truth.

    3. siram: Truth  According to the Commentary, essence of the Dhamma. The essence of the Dhamma comprises sila (moral precepts or morality), samadhi (concentration), panna (knowledge), vimutti (liberation), vimutti-nanadasasana (Knowledge of and Insight into liberation), haramattha (ultimate truth) and Nibbana.

    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 Jambudipa 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 been 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.

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

    Dhammapada Verses 11 and 12
    Sariputtatthera Vatthu

    Asare1saramatino
    sare2casaradassino
    te saram3 nadhigacchanti
    micchasankappagocara.

    Saranca sarato natva
    asaranca adhigacchanti
    te saram adhigacchanti
    sammasankappagocara.

    Source: Tipitaka

  20. The Story of Thera Mahakala

    Comment

    Buddha meditating - Ariyamagga

    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,3 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.

    1. Maro/Mara: in this context kilesamara, the defilements hindering the realization of Nibbana.

    2. saddham/saddha: According to the Commentary,
    (a) unwavering (unshakable) faith in the Buddha, the Dhamma (the Doctrine) and the Samgha (the Buddhist Religious Order) and
    (b) faith or belief in kamma (action) and its results.

    3. Refer to 1.

    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.

    Dhammapada Verses 7 and 8
    Mahakalatthera Vatthu

    Subhanupassim viharantam
    indriyesu asamvutam
    bhojanamhi camattannum
    kusitam hinaviriyam
    tam ve pasahati Maro1
    vato rukkhamva dubbalam.

    Asubhanupassim viharantam
    indriyesu susamvutam
    bhojanamhi ca mattannum
    saddham2 araddhaviriyam
    tam ve nappasahati Maro
    vato selamva pabbatam.

    Source: Tipitaka

     

Khmer Tipitaka 1 – 110

Khmer Tipitaka 1 – 110

The Tipitaka or Pali canon, is the collection of primary Pali language texts which form the doctrinal foundation of Theravada Buddhism. The three divisions of the Tipitaka are: Vinaya Pitaka, Sutta Pitaka, Abhidhamma Pitaka. ព្រះត្រៃបិដក ប្រែថា កញ្រ្ចែង ឬ ល្អី​ ៣ សម្រាប់ដាក់ផ្ទុកពាក្យពេចន៍នៃព្រះសម្មាសម្ពុទ្ធ

Listen to Khmer literature and Dhamma talk by His Holiness Jotannano Chuon Nath, Supreme Patriarch of Cambodia Buddhism.

Jendhamuni

As a solid rock is not shaken by the wind, so the wise are not shaken by blame and praise. As a deep lake is clear and calm, so the wise become tranquil after they listened to the truth... Good people walk on regardless of what happens to them. Good people do not babble on about their desires. Whether touched by happiness or by sorrow, the wise never appear elated or depressed… ~The Dhammapada

Should anyone wish to ridicule me and make me an object of jest and scorn why should I possibly care if I have dedicated myself to others?

Let them do as they wish with me so long as it does not harm them. May no one who encounters me ever have an insignificant contact.

Regardless whether those whom I meet respond towards me with anger or faith, may the mere fact of our meeting contribute to the fulfilment of their wishes.

May the slander, harm and all forms of abuse that anyone should direct towards me act as a cause of their enlightenment.

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