Verse 235 - 238 Death is near to you Paṇḍupalāso ’va ’dāni ’si, yamapurisā’pi ca te upaṭṭhitā Uyyogamukhe ca tiṭṭhasi, pātheyyam pi ca te na vijjati.235 So karohi dīpam attano, khippaṃ vāyama paṇḍito bhava Niddhantamalo anaṅgaṇo, dibbaṃ ariyabhūmim upehisi. 236
Upanītavayo ca ’dāni ’si, sampayāto’si yamassa santike Vāso te natthi antarā, pātheyyam pi ca te na vijjati.237 So karohi dīpam attano, khpaṃ vāyama paṇḍito bhava Niddhantamalo anaṅgaṇo, na puna jātijaraṃ upehisi.238
235: You are now like a withered leaf; the messengers of death are near you; you are about to set out on a long journey; (yet), you have no provisions (for the journey). 236: Make a firm support for yourself; hasten to strive hard, and be wise. Having removed impurities and being free from moral defilements you shall enter the abodes of the Ariyas 237: Now you are of advanced age; you are going to the presence of the King of Death and you cannot stop on the way; (yet) you have no provisions (for the journey). 238: Make a firm support for yourself; hasten to strive hard, and be wise. Having removed impurities and being free from moral defilements you will no longer be subject to rebirth and decay. Story related to Dhammapada Verse 235-238 : Son of a Butcher
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses 235 to 238 with reference to the son of a butcher.
Once in Savatthi, there was a man who had been a butcher for fifty-five years. All this time, he slaughtered cattle and sold the meat and everyday he took meat curry with his rice. One day, he left some meat with his wife to cook it for the family, and then left for the riverside to have his bath. During his absence, a friend coaxed his wife to sell that particular piece of meat to him. As a result, there was no meat curry for the butcher on that day.
But as the butcher never took his meal without meat curry, he hurriedly went to the back of his house, where an ox was standing. He promptly cut off the tongue of the ox and baked it over a fire. When having his meal, the butcher had a bite of the tongue of the ox, but as he did so his own tongue was cut off and fell into his plate of rice. Thus the ox and the butcher were in the same plight, both of them having had their tongues cut off. The butcher was in great pain and agony, and he went about agitatedly on his knees, with blood dripping profusely from his mouth. Then the butcher died and was reborn in the Avici Niraya (Hell).
The butcher's wife was greatly disturbed and she was anxious for her son to get away to some other place, lest this evil should befall him too. So she sent her son to Taxila. At Taxila, he acquired the art of a goldsmith. Later, he married the daughter of his master and some children were born to them. When their sons came of age he returned to Savatthi.
The sons were endowed with faith in the Buddha and were religiously inclined. They were anxious about their father, who had grown old with no thought of religion or of his future existence. So one day, they invited the Buddha and the bhikkhus to their house for alms-food. After the meal they said to the Buddha, "Venerable Sir, we are making this offering to you today on behalf of our father. Kindly give a discourse specially for him." So the Buddha said, "My disciple! You are getting old; but you have not made any provisions of merit for your journey to the next existence; you should now find a support for yourself."
At the end of the discourse the father of the donors of alms-food (i.e., the son of the butcher) attained Anagami Fruition.
In other words, Make an island unto yourself. Strive quickly; become wise. Purged of stain and passionless,you shall enter the heavenly stage of the Ariyas.
Verse 239 Purify yourself gradually
Anupubbena medhāvī, thokathokaṃ khaṇe khaṇe Kammāro rajatass’eva, niddhame malam attano.
The wise man removes his defilements gradually, little by little, and from moment to moment, just as the silversmith removes the impurities of silver.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 239: Brahmin
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse 239 with reference to a brahmin. Once, a brahmin saw a group of bhikkhus re-arranging their robes as they were preparing to enter the city for alms-food. While he was looking, he found that the robes of some of the bhikkhus touched the ground and got wet because of dew on the grass. So he cleared that patch of ground.
The next day, he found that as the robes of the bhikkhus touched bare ground, the robes got dirty. So he covered that patch of ground with sand. Then again, he observed that the bhikkhus would sweat when the sun was shining and that they got wet when it was raining. So finally, he built a rest house for the bhikkhus at the place where they gathered before entering the city for alms-food. When the building was finished, he invited the Buddha and the bhikkhus for alms-food. The brahmin explained to the Buddha how he had performed this meritorious deed step by step. To him the Buddha replied "O Brahmin! The wise perform their acts of merit little by little, and gradually and constantly they remove the impurities of moral defilements."
As rust sprung from iron eats itself away when arisen, even so his own deeds lead the transgressor to states of woe.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 240: Thera Tissa
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse 240 with reference to Thera Tissa.
Once there was a thera named Tissa in Savatthi. One day, he received a set of fine robes and was very pleased. He intended to wear those robes the next day. But that very night he died and because he was attached to the fine set of robes, he was reborn as a louse and lived within the folds of the robes. As there was no one to inherit his belongings, it was decided that this particular set of robes should be shared by other bhikkhus. When the bhikkhus were preparing to share out among themselves, the louse was very much agitated and cried out, "They are destroying my robes!" This cry was heard by the Buddha by means of his divine power of hearing. So he sent someone to stop the bhikkhus and instructed them to dispose of the robes only at the end of seven days. On the eighth day, the set of the robes which belonged to Thera Tissa was shared out by the bhikkhus.
Later, the Buddha was asked by the bhikkhus why he had told them to wait for seven days before sharing out the robes of Thera Tissa. To them the Buddha replied, "My sons, Tissa had his mind attached to this particular set of robes at the time of his death, and so he was reborn as a louse and stayed in the folds of the robes. When you all were preparing to share out the robes, Tissa the louse was very much in agony and was running about to and fro in the folds of the robes. If you had taken the robes at that time Tissa the louse would have felt very bitter against you and he would have to go to niraya (hell). But now, Tissa has been reborn in the Tusita deva world, and that is why I have allowed you to take the robes. Indeed, bhikkhus, attachment is very dangerous; as rust corrodes iron from which it is formed, so also, attachment destroys one and sends one to niraya. A bhikkhu should not indulge too much in the use of the four requisites or be very much attached to them."
In other words, the dangers of craving erodes one and brings much suffering.
Non-repetition is the decay of learning; neglect is the ruin of houses; laziness is the stain of beauty; heedlessness is the defect of a guard.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 241 : Laludayi
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse 241 with reference to Thera Laludayi.
In Savatthi, people coming back after hearing the discourses given by Thera Sariputta and Thera Maha Moggallana were always full of praise for the two Chief Disciples. On one occasion, Laludayi, hearing their praises, said to those people that they would be saying the same about him after listening to his discourses. So Laludayi was asked to deliver a discourse; he climbed on to the platform but he could not say anything. So he asked the audience to let another bhikkhu take the turn first and that he would take the next turn. In this way, he put off three times.
The audience lost patience with him and shouted, "You big fool! When we praised the two Chief Disciples you were vainly boasting that you could preach like them. Why don't you preach now ?" So Laludayi ran away and the crowd chased him. As he was frightened and was not looking where he was going, he fell into a latrine pit.
When the Buddha was told about this incident, he said, "Laludayi had learned very little of the Dhamma; he does not recite the religious texts regularly; he has not memorized anything. Whatever little he has learned gets rusty by not reciting."
Misconduct is the stain of a woman. Stinginess is the stain of one who gives. Stains are evil things both in this world and in the next.
A greater stain than these is ignorance (avijja), which is the supreme stain. Abandoning this stain, be stainless, O Monks!
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 242-243: A Man Whose Wife Committed Adultery While residing at the Veluvana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses 242 and 243 with reference to a man whose wife committed adultery. Once, the wife of a man committed adultery. He was so ashamed on account of his wife's misbehaviour that he dared not face anyone; he also kept away from the Buddha. After some time, he went to the Buddha and the Buddha asked him why he had been absent all that time and he explained everything. On learning the reason for his absence, the Buddha said, "My disciple, women are just like a river, or a road, or a liquor shop or a rest house, or a water-pot stand at the roadside; they associate with all sorts of people. Indeed, sexual misconduct is the cause of ruin for a woman."
Life is easy for one who is shameless and bold as a crow, who slanders others and is pretentious, aggressive and corrupt.
Life is hard for one with a sense of shame, who always seeks purity, who is free from attachment, who is modest and who sees clearly what is proper livelihood.
Story related to Verse 244-245: Culasari
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses 244 and 245 with reference to a bhikkhu named Culasari who practised medicine.
One day, Culasari came back after ministering to a patient. On his way he met Thera Sariputta and related to him how he went to treat a patient and had been given some delicious food for his services. He also begged Thera Sariputta to accept some of the food from him.
Thera Sariputta did not say anything to him but continued on his way. Thera Sariputta refused to accept food from that bhikkhu because that bhikkhu had transgressed the law prohibiting bhikkhus from practising medicine. Other bhikkhus reported about this to the Buddha and he said to them, "Bhikkhus! A bhikkhu who is shameless is coarse in thought, word and deed. He is arrogant like a crow, he would find a living by unlawful means and live in comfort. On the other hand, life for a bhikkhu who has a sense of shame is not easy."
Verse 246-248: By Immorality the Fool Ruins Himself Yo pāṇam atipāteti, musāvādañca bhāsati Loke adinnaṃ ādiyati, paradārañca gacchati.246 Surāmerayapānañca, yo naro anuyuñjati Idh’evam eso lokasmiṃ, mūlaṃ khaṇati attano.247 Evaṃ bho purisa jānāhi, pāpadhammā asaññatā. Mā taṃ lobho adhammo ca, ciraṃ dukkhāya randhayuṃ.248
He who destroys life, tells lies, takes what is not given him, commits adultery and takes intoxicating drinks, digs up his own roots even in this very life.
Know this, O man! Not restraining oneself is evil; do not let greed and ill will subject you to prolonged suffering.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 246-248: Five Lay-Disciples
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses 246, 247 and 248 with reference to five lay-disciples.
On one occasion five lay-disciples were keeping sabbath at the Jetavana monastery. Most of them were observing only one or two of the five moral precepts (sila). Each one of them observing a particular precept claimed that the precept observed by him was the most difficult and there were a lot of arguments. In the end, they came to the Buddha with this problem.
To them the Buddha said, "You should not consider any individual precept as being easy or unimportant. Each and every one of the precepts must be strictly observed. Do not think lightly of any of the precepts; none of them is easy to observe."
Verse 249-250 The envious are not at peace
Dadāti ve yathāsaddhaṃ, yathāpasādanaṃ jano Tattha yo maṅku bhavati, paresaṃ pānabhojane Na so divā vā rattiṃ vā, samādhiṃ adhigacchati.249 Yassa c’etaṃ samucchinnaṃ, mūlaghaccaṃ samūhataṃ Sa ve divā vā rattiṃ vā, samādhiṃ adhigacchati.250
People give (alms) according to their faith and at their good pleasure. One who is discontented about the food and drink of others does not attain concentration (samadhi), be it by day or by night.
One in whom this (kind of attitude) is destroyed at its roots and abolished, he attains concentration (samadhi), be it by day or by night.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 249-250: The Story of Tissa While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses 249 and 250 with reference to Tissa, a young bhikkhu. Tissa, a young bhikkhu, had a very bad habit of disparaging other people's charities and good deeds. He even criticized the charities given by such renowned donors like Anathapindika and Visakha. Besides, he boasted that his relatives were very rich and were like a well where anyone could come for water. Hearing him boast thus, other bhikkhus were very sceptical; so they decided to find out the truth. Some young bhikkhus went to the village from where he came and made enquiries. They found out that Tissa's relatives were all poor and that all this time Tissa had only been making a vain boast. When the Buddha was told about this, he said, "Bhikkhus, a bhikkhu who is displeased with others receiving gifts and offerings can never attain Magga and Phala."
There is no fire like lust, no bond like hate, no net like delusion, no torrent like craving.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 251: Five Lay-disciples
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse 251 with reference to five lay disciples.
On one occasion, five lay-disciples were present while the Buddha was expounding the Dhamma at the Jetavana monastery. One of them was asleep while sitting, the second one was drawing lines with his fingers on the ground, the third was trying to shake a tree, the fourth was looking up at the sky. The fifth was the only one who was respectfully and attentively listening to the Buddha.
Thera Ananda, who was near the Buddha fanning him, saw the different behaviour of the five disciples and said to the Buddha, "Venerable Sir! While you were expounding the Dhamma like big drops of rain falling from the sky, only one out of those five people were listening attentively." Then Thera Ananda described the different behaviour of the other four to the Buddha and asked why they were behaving thus.
The Buddha then explained to Thera Ananda, "Ananda, these people could not get rid of their old habits. In their past existences, the first one was a snake; as a snake usually coils itself up and goes to sleep, so also, this man goes to sleep while listening to the Dhamma. The one who was scratching the earth with his hand was an earthworm, the one who was shaking the tree was a monkey, the one who was gazing up at the sky was an astronomer and the one who was listening attentively to the Dhamma was a learned astrologer. In this connection, Ananda, you must remember that one must be attentive to be able to understand the Dhamma and that there are many people who cannot follow what is being said." Thera Ananda then asked the Buddha, "Venerable Sir! What are the things that prevent people from being able to take in the Dhamma?" And the Buddha replied, "Ananda, passion (raga), ill will (dosa) and ignorance (moha) are the three things that prevent people from taking in the Dhamma. Passion burns one; there is no fire like passion. The world may burn up when seven suns rise in the sky, but that happens very rarely. Passion burns always and without any break."
Verse 252 : Easy to see are the faults of others Sudassaṃ vajjam aññesaṃ, attano pana duddasaṃ Paresaṃ hi so vajjāni, opunāti yathā bhusaṃ Attano pana chādeti, kaliṃ ’va kitavā saṭho.
The faults of others are easily seen; one’s own faults are seen with difficulty. One winnows the faults of others like chaff, but one covers up one’s own as a dishonest gambler (covers up) a losing throw (of the dice).
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 252: Mendaka the Rich Man
While residing near the town of Baddiya, the Buddha uttered Verse 252 with reference to the renowned rich man Mendaka and his family.
Once, during his tour of Anga and Uttara regions, the Buddha saw in his vision that time was ripe for Mendaka, his wife, his son, his daughter-in-law, his granddaughter and his servant, to attain Sotapatti Fruition. Seeing the prospect of these six people attaining Sotapatti Fruition, the Buddha went to the town of Baddiya.
Mendaka was an extremely rich man. It was said that he found a large number of life-size golden statues of goats in his backyard. For this reason, he was known as Mendaka (a goat) the rich man. Again, it was also said that during the time of Vipassi Buddha he had donated a monastery for Vipassi Buddha and a congregation hall complete with a platform for the preacher. On completion of these buildings he made offerings of alms-food to Vipassi Buddha and the bhikkhus for four months.
Then, in yet another of his past existences, when he was a rich man in Baranasi, there was a famine throughout the region. One day, they had cooked a meal just enough for the members of the family when a paccekabuddha stood at the door for alms-food. Then and there he offered all the food. But due to his great faith and generosity, the rice pot was later found to be miraculously filled up again; so also were his granaries. Mendaka and his family, hearing that the Buddha was coming to Baddiya, went to pay homage to him. After hearing the discourse given by the Buddha, Mendaka, his wife Candapaduma, his son Danancaya, his daughter-in-law Sumanadevi, his granddaughter Visakha and the servant Punna attained Sotapatti Fruition. Mendaka then told the Buddha how on his way, some ascetics had spoken ill of the Buddha and had tried to dissuade him from coming to see him. The Buddha then said, "My disciple, it is natural for people not to see one's own faults, and to exaggerate other people's faults and failings."
Verse 253: Defilements multiply in fault finders
Paravajjānupassissa, niccaṃ ujjhānasaññino Āsavā tassa vaḍḍhanti, ārā so āsavakkhayā
He who pays attention to the faults of others (and) is always irritable, his defilements (asavas) grow. He is far from the destruction of the defilements.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 253:Thera Ujjhanasanni
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse 253 with reference to Thera Ujjhanasanni. Thera Ujjhanasanni was always finding fault with and speaking ill of others. Other bhikkhus reported about him to the Buddha. The Buddha replied to them, "Bhikkhus, if someone finds fault with another so as to teach him in good way; it is not an act of evil and is therefore not to be blamed. But, if someone is always finding fault with others and speaking ill of them just out of spite and malice, he will not attain concentration and mental absorption (jhana). He will not be able to understand the Dhamma, and moral (intoxicants asavas) will increase in him."
Verse 254-255: No saints outside of the Buddhadhamma
Ākāse padaṃ natthi, samaṇo natthi bāhire Papañcābhiratā pajā, nippapañcā Tathāgatā.254 Ākāse padaṃ natthi, samaṇo natthi bāhire Saṅkhārā sassatā natthi, natthi buddhānaṃ iñjitaṃ.255 In the sky there is no track. Outside there is no recluse. Mankind delights in obstacles. The Tathāgatas are free from obstacles.
In the sky there is no track. Outside there is no recluse. There are no conditioned things that are eternal. There is no instability in the Buddhas.
Story related to Dhammapada Verse 254-255: Subhadda the Wandering Ascetic
Verses 254 and 255 were uttered by the Buddha in the Sal Grove of the Malla princes near Kusinara, just before the parinibbana (passing away) of the Buddha, in reply to the questions raised by Subhadda, the wandering ascetic (paribbajaka).
Subhadda the wandering ascetic was staying at Kusinara when he heard that the parinibbana of Gotama Buddha would take place in the last watch of that night. Subhadda had three questions which had been troubling him for a long time. He had already put these questions to other religious leaders, namely, Purana Kassapa, Makkhali Gosala, Ajita Kesakambala, Pakudha Kaccayana, Sancaya Belatthaputta and Nigantha Nataputta, but their answers did not satisfy him. He had not yet asked Gotama Buddha, and he felt that only the Buddha could answer his questions. So, he hurried off to the Sal Grove, but the Venerable Ananda did not allow him to see the Buddha, because the Buddha was by that time very weak.
The Buddha overheard their conversation and consented to see Subhadda. Subhadda asked three questions. They are: (1) Are there any tracks in the sky? (2) Are there any ariya bhikkhus (samanas) outside the Teaching of the Buddha? and (3) Is there any conditioned thing (sankhara) that is permanent? The Buddha's answer to all the above questions was negative.
At the end of the discourse Subhadda attained Anagami Fruition and as requested by him the Buddha admitted him to the Order of the bhikkhus. Subhadda was the last one to become a bhikkhu in the life time of the Buddha. Eventually, Subhadda attained arahatship.