The Buddha, whose conquest (of moral defilements) is complete, in whom there cannot arise any further defilements in this world, that Buddha of infinite range of wisdom, who is trackless, - by what track will you lead him?
The Buddha, in whom there is no craving, which like a net would bring him back to any existence (in samsara), that Buddha of infinite range of wisdom, who is trackless, - by what track will you lead him?
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 179-180: Three Daughters of Mara
The Buddha first uttered Verses 179 and 180 while residing near the Bodhi tree, with reference to the three daughters of Mara. He repeated these verses to the brahmin Magandiya while journeying through the Kuru country. Magandiya the Brahmin and his wife lived in the kingdom of the Kurus with their daughter Magandiya who was exceedingly beautiful. She was so beautiful that her father rudely turned down all her suitors. One day, early in the morning, when the Buddha surveyed the world, he found that time was ripe for the brahmin Magandiya and his wife to attain Anagami Fruition. So, taking his bowl and the robes, the Buddha set out for the place where the brahmin usually went to offer fire sacrifice.
The brahmin, seeing the Buddha, promptly decided that the Buddha was the very person who was worthy of his daughter. He pleaded with the Buddha to wait there and hurriedly went off to fetch his wife and daughter. The Buddha left his footprint and went to another place, close at hand. When the brahmin and his family came, they found only the footprint. Seeing the footprint, the wife of the brahmin remarked that it was the footprint of one who was free from sensual desires. Then, the brahmin saw the Buddha and he offered his daughter in marriage to him.
The Buddha did not accept nor did he refuse the offer, but first, he related to the brahmin how the daughters of Mara tempted him soon after his attainment of Buddhahood. To the beautiful Tanha, Arati and Raga, the daughters of Mara, the Buddha had said, "It is no use tempting one who is free from craving, clinging and passion, for he cannot be lured by any temptation whatsoever."
Then, the Buddha continued, "Brahmin Magandiya, even when I saw those peerless daughters of Mara, I felt no sensual desire in me. After all, what is this body of your daughter? It is full of 32 impure things painted beautifully on the outside; I don't like to touch it even with my foot!" On hearing those words of the Buddha, both the brahmin and his wife attained Anagami Fruition. Later, they joined the Order and eventually both of them attained arahatship. In other words, Buddha who is free from defilements and cravings will not be lured by any temptation.
Verse 181 Buddhas are dear to all
Ye jhānapasutā dhīrā, nekkhammūpasame ratā Devā’pi tesaṃ pihayanti, sambuddhānaṃ satīmataṃ
The wise ones who are intent on meditation, who delight in the peace of renunciation, such mindful Fully Enlightened Buddhas even the gods hold dear.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 181: Buddha's Return from the Tavatimsa Deva WorldOn return from the Tavatimsa deva world, the Buddha uttered Verse 181 at Sankassanagara, in reply to Thera Sariputta's words of welcome.
On one occasion, while at Savatthi, the Buddha performed the Miracle of the Pairs in answer to the challenge of the ascetics of various sects. After this, the Buddha went to the Tavatimsa deva world; his mother who had been reborn in the Tusita deva world as a deva known as Santusita also came to the Tavatimsa deva world. There the Buddha expounded the Abhidhamma to the devas and the brahmas throughout the three months of the vassa. As a result, Santusita deva attained Sotapatti Fruition; so did numerous other devas and brahmas.
During that period Thera Sariputta spent the vassa at Sankassanagara, thirty yojanas away from Savatthi. During his stay there, as regularly instructed by the Buddha, he taught the Abhidhamma to the five hundred bhikkhus staying with him and covered the whole course by the end of the vassa.
Towards the end of the vassa, Thera Maha Moggalana went to the Tavatimsa deva world to see the Buddha. Then, he was told that the Buddha would return to the human world on the full moon day at the end of the vassa to the place where Thera Sariputta was spending the vassa.
As promised, the Buddha came with the six coloured rays shining forth from his body to the city-gate of Sankassanagara, on the night of the full moon day of the month of Assayuja when the moon was shining brightly. He was accompanied by a large following of devas on one side and a large following of brahmas on the other. A large gathering headed by Thera Sariputta welcomed the Buddha back to this world; and the whole town was lit up. Thera Sariputta was awed by the grandeur and glory of the whole scene of the Buddha's return. He respectfully approached the Buddha and said, "Venerable Sir! We have never seen or even heard of such magnificent and resplendent glory. Indeed, Venerable Sir, you are loved, respected and revered alike by devas, brahmas and men!" To him the Buddha said, "My son Sariputta, the Buddhas who are endowed with unique qualities are truly loved by men and devas alike."
At the end of the discourse the five hundred bhikkhus who were the pupils of Thera Sariputta attained arahatship and a great many from the congregation attained Sotapatti Fruition. In other words, Buddhas are dear to men and devas.
Rare is birth as a human being. Hard is the life of mortals. Hard is the hearing of the Sublime Truth. Rare is the appearance of the Buddhas.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 182 : Erakapatta the Naga KingWhile residing near Baranasi the Buddha uttered Verse 182 with reference to Erakapatta, a king of nagas (dragons). Once there was a naga king by the name of Erakapatta. In one of his past existences during the time of Kassapa Buddha he had been a bhikkhu for a long time. Through worry (kukkucca) over a minor offence he had committed during that time, he was reborn as a naga. As a naga, he waited for the appearance of a Buddha. Erakapatta had a very beautiful daughter, and he made use of her as a means of finding the Buddha. He made it known that whoever could answer her questions could claim her for a wife. Twice every month, Erakapatta made her dance in the open and sing out her questions. Many suitors came to answer her questions hoping to claim her, but no one could give the correct answer. One day, the Buddha saw a youth named Uttara in his vision. He also knew that the youth would attain Sotapatti Fruition in connection with the questions put by the daughter of Erakapatta the naga. By then the youth was already on his way to see Erakapatta's daughter. The Buddha stopped him and taught him how to answer the questions. While he was being taught, Uttara attained Sotapatti Fruition. Now that Uttara had attained Sotapatti Fruition, he had no desire for the naga princess. However, Uttara still went to answer the questions for the benefit of numerous other beings. The first four questions were: 1. Who is a ruler? 2. Is one who is overwhelmed by the mist of moral defilements to be called a ruler? 3. What ruler is free from moral defilements? 4. What sort of person is to be called a fool? The answers to the above questions were: 1. He who controls the six senses is a ruler. 2. One who is overwhelmed by the mist of moral defilements is not to be called a ruler; he who is free from craving is called a ruler. 3. The ruler who is free from craving is free from moral defilements. 4. A person who hankers after sensual pleasures is called a fool. Having had the correct answers to the above, the naga princess sang out questions regarding the floods (oghas) of sensual desire, of renewed existence, of false doctrine and of ignorance, and how they could be overcome. Uttara answered these questions as taught by the Buddha. When Erakapatta heard these answers he knew that a Buddha had appeared in this world. So he asked Uttara to take him to the Buddha. On seeing the Buddha, Erakapatta related to the Buddha how he had been a bhikkhu during the time of Kassapa Buddha, how he had accidentally caused a grass blade to be broken off while travelling in a boat, and how he had worried over that little offence for having failed to do the act of exoneration as prescribed, and finally how he was reborn as a naga. After hearing him, the Buddha told him how difficult it was to be born in the human world, and to be born during the appearance of the Buddhas or during the time of their Teaching. In other words, the four rare opportunities are to be reborn as human beings, life of mortal, hearing of the dhamma and the appearance of Buddha.
Khantī paramaṃ tapo titikkhā, nibbānaṃ paramaṃ vadanti buddhā. Na pabbajito parūpaghātī, samaṇo hoti paraṃ viheṭhayanto.184
Anūpavādo anūpaghāto, pātimokkhe ca saṃvaro Mattaññutā ca bhattasmiṃ, pantañca sayanāsanaṃ Adhicitte ca āyogo, etaṃ buddhāna sāsanaṃ 185
Not to do any evil, to cultivate good, to purify one’s mind, this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
The best moral practice is patience and forbearance. Nibbāna is supreme, say the Buddhas. A bhikkhu does not harm others; one who harms others is not a bhikkhu.
Not insulting, not harming, restraint according to the Pāṭimokkha, moderation in food, secluded abode, intent on higher thoughts — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 183-185: Question Raised by Thera Ananda
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses 183, 184 and 185 with reference to the question raised by Thera Ananda regarding Fundamental Instructions to bhikkhus by the preceding Buddhas. On one occasion, Thera Ananda asked the Buddha whether the Fundamental Instructions to bhikkhus given by the preceding Buddhas were the same as those of the Buddha himself. To him the Buddha replied that the instructions given by all the Buddhas are as given in the above verses.
Verse 186-187 Insatiate are sensual pleasures Na kahāpaṇavassena, titti kāmesu vijjati Appassādā dukhā kāmā, iti viññāya paṇḍito.186
Api dibbesu kāmesu, ratiṃ so n’ ādhigacchati. Taṇhakkhayarato hoti, sammāsambuddhasāvako 187
Not by a shower of coins can sensual desires be satiated; sensual desires give little pleasure and are fraught with sufferings. Knowing this, the wise man, who is the disciple of the Buddha, does not find delight even in the pleasures of the devas, but rejoices in the cessation of craving (i.e Nibbana).
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 186-187: Dissatisfied Young Bhikkhu
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses 186 of this book, with reference to a young bhikkhu who was unhappy with his life as a bhikkhu.
Once, there was a young bhikkhu at the Jetavana monastery. One day his teacher sent him to another monastery to study. While he was away, his father became seriously ill and died without seeing him. But his father left for him one hundred gold coins with his brother, the boy's uncle. On his return, his uncle told him about his father's death and about the one hundred gold coins left to him.
At first, he said that he had no need of the money. Later, he thought that it might be better to return to lay-life, and as a result, he got dissatisfied with the life of a bhikkhu. Gradually, he began to lose interest in his life and was also losing weight. When other bhikkhus knew about this, they took him to the Buddha.
The Buddha asked him whether it was true that he was feeling unhappy with his life as a bhikkhu and whether he had any capital to start the life of a layman. He answered that it was true and that be had one hundred gold coins to start his life with. Then the Buddha explained to him that he would need to get food, clothing, household utensils, two oxen, ploughs, pickaxes, knives, etc., so that his one hundred in cash would hardly meet the expenses.
The Buddha then told him that for human beings there could never be enough, not even for Universal Monarchs who could call for a shower of coins or gems or any amount of wealth and treasures at any moment. Further, the Buddha related the story of Mandatu, the Universal Monarch, who enjoyed the glory of the devas both in the Catumaharajika and Tavatimsa realms for a long time. After spending a long time in Tavatimsa, one day, Mandatu wished that he were the sole ruler of Tavatimsa, instead of sharing it with Sakka. But this time, his wish could not be fulfilled and instantly he became old and decrepit; he returned to the human world and died soon after.
At the end of the discourse the young bhikkhu attained Sotapatti Fruition. In other words, wealth and being a deva cannot satisfy the cravings for sensual pleasures. Sensual pleasures lead to sufferings. Only the cessation of sufferings-Nibbana is the ultimate bliss.
Verse 188-192 Seek refuge in the triple gem
Bahuṃ ve saraṇaṃ yanti, pabbatāni vanāni ca Ārāmarukkhacetyāni, manussā bhayatajjitā.188
Yo ca buddhañca dhammañca, saṅghañca saraṇaṃ gato Cattāri ariyasaccāni, sammappaññāya passati.190 Dukkhaṃ dukkhasamuppādaṃ, dukkhassa ca atikkamaṃ Ariyaṃ caṭṭhaṅgikaṃ maggaṃ, dukkhūpasamagāminaṃ.191
Etaṃ kho saraṇaṃ khemaṃ, etaṃ saraṇam uttamaṃ Etaṃ saraṇam āgamma, sabbadukkhā pamuccati. 192 Many people, out of fear, flee for refuge to (sacred) hills, woods, groves, trees, and shrines.
In reality this is not the best and not a safe refuge. Fleeing to such a refuge one is not released from all suffering.
He who has gone for refuge to the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Saṅgha, sees with right knowledge the four Noble Truths — Suffering, the Cause of Suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the Noble Eightfold Path which leads to the Cessation of Suffering. This is a secure refuge. This is the supreme refuge. By seeking such a refuge one is released from all suffering.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 188-192 : AggidattaWhile residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses 188-192 with reference to Aggidatta, a brahmin.
Aggidatta was the head priest during the time of King Mahakosala, father of King Pasenadi. After the death of King Mahakosala, Aggidatta gave away his property in charity, and after that he left his home and became a non-Buddhist ascetic. He lived with his ten thousand followers in a place near the border of the three kingdoms of Anga, Magadha and Kuru, not far from a mound of sand where a powerful naga was staying.
To his followers and the people of these three kingdoms, Aggidatta used to exhort: "Pay homage to forests, mountains, parks and gardens, and trees; by doing so, you will be liberated from all ills of life."
One day, the Buddha saw Aggidatta and his followers in his vision and realized that the time was ripe for them to attain arahatship. So the Buddha sent Thera Maha Moggalana to Aggidatta and his followers and told him that he himself would follow afterwards. Thera Maha Moggalana went to the place of Aggidatta and his followers and asked them to give him shelter for one night. They first turned down his request, but finally they agreed to let him stop at the mound of sand, the home of the naga.
The naga was very antagonistic to Thera Maha Moggalana, and there followed a duel between the naga and the thera; on both sides, there was a display of power by emitting smoke and flames. However, in the end, the naga was subdued. He coiled himself round the mound of sand, and raised his head spreading it out like an umbrella over Thera Maha Moggalana, thus showing respect for him.
Early in the morning, Aggidatta and the other ascetics came to the mound of sand to find out whether Thera Maha Moggalana was still alive; they had expected to see him dead. When they found the naga tamed, and meekly holding his head like an umbrella over Thera Maha Moggalana, they were very much astounded.
Just then, the Buddha arrived and Thera Maha Moggallana got up from his seat on the mound and paid obeisance to the Buddha. Thera Maha Moggalana then proclaimed to the audience of ascetics, "This is my Teacher, the supreme Buddha, and I am but a humble pupil of this great Teacher!" Hearing him, the ascetics who had been very much impressed even by the power of Thera Maha Moggalana were awed by the greater power of the Buddha.
The Buddha then asked Aggidatta what he taught his followers and the residents of the neighborhood. Aggidatta replied that he had taught them to pay homage to mountains, forests, parks and gardens, and trees, and that by doing so, they would be liberated from all ills of life.
The Buddha's reply to Aggidatta was, "Aggidatta, people go to mountains, forests, gardens and parks, and trees for refuge when they are threatened with danger, but these things cannot offer them any protection. Only those who take refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Samgha are liberated from the round of rebirths (samsara)". In other words, taking refuge in the triple gem is the best refuge. Understanding and practicing the noble eightfold path will lead one to end suffering.
Verse 193 The Noble is rare
Dullabho purisājañño, na so sabbattha jāyati Yattha so jāyati dhīro, taṃ kulaṃ sukhamedhati
It is hard to find the noblest of men; he is not born everywhere nor in every clan. To whatever clan such a wise man is born, that clan prospers.
Question Raised by Thera Ananda
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse 193 with reference to the question raised by Thera Ananda.
One day, Thera Ananda pondered thus: "Our Teacher has told us that thoroughbreds of elephants are born only among Chaddanta and Uposatha breeds, that thoroughbreds of horses are born only among the Sindh breed, that thoroughbreds of cattle are born only among the Usabha breed. Thus, he had talked to us only about the thoroughbreds of elephants, horses, and cattle, but not of the noblest of men (purisajanno)."
After reflecting thus, Thera Ananda went to the Buddha, and put to him the question of the noblest of men. To him the Buddha replied, "Ananda, the noblest of men is not born everywhere, he is born only among Khattiyamahasala and Brahmanamahasala, the wealthy clans of Khattiya and Brahmana." In other words, rare indeed is Buddha's arising.
Verse 194 Four factors of happiness Sukho buddhānamuppādo, sukhā saddhammadesanā Sukhā saṅghassa sāmaggi, samaggānaṃ tapo sukho
Happy is the birth of Buddhas. Happy is the teaching of the sublime Dhamma.
Happy is the unity of the Saṅgha. Happy is the discipline of the united ones.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 194 : Many Bhikkhus While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse 194 with reference to many bhikkhus.
Once, five hundred bhikkhus were discussing the question "What constitutes happiness?" These bhikkhus realized that happiness meant different things to different people. Thus, they said, "To some people to have the riches and glory like that of a king's is happiness, to some people sensual pleasure is happiness, but to others to have good rice cooked with meat is happiness." While they were talking, the Buddha came in.
After learning the subject of their talk, the Buddha said, "Bhikkhus, all the pleasures you have mentioned do not get you out of the round of rebirths. In this world, these constitute happiness: the arising of a Buddha, the opportunity to hear the Teaching of the Sublime Truth, and the harmony amongst the bhikkhus."
In other words, the best happiness was the arising of a Buddha, learning the Dhamma, the unity of the Saṅgha, and the discipline of those living in harmony.