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Academic Sutta Name Notes PSA Plae Vagga Nikaya PTS Keywords

I:6 The fate of Mahakala and Culakala who became monks

Mahakala and Culakala were two merchant brothers. While travelling about selling their merchandise they had the opportunity to listen to a discourse given by the Buddha. After hearing the discourse Mahakala became a bhikkhu by conviction while Culakala also became a bhikkhu but without any faith.

Mahakala was serious in his meditation and diligently meditated on decay and impermanence of the body at the cemetery. He finally gained Insight and attained Arahanthood. Culakala was not interested in spiritual development and was constantly thinking of sensual pleasures.

Later, the Buddha and his disciples, including the two brothers, happened to be staying in the forest of Simsapa. 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. The former wives of Culakala managed to persuade him to return to a householder's life.

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

Arriving at the village gate the bhikkhus expressed their apprehension that Mahakala would be persuaded by his former wives to leave the Order as had happened to Culakala. To this, the Buddha replied that the two brothers were different. Culakala indulged in sensual pleasures and was weak minded. Mahakala, on the other hand, being free of sensual pleasures, was diligent, steadfast and strong in his faith in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha. The Buddha said the weak succumb to temptation but not the strong.

55/170 Dhammapada & Commentary Khuddhaka J.i.106ff. despair

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Last modified on: Sunday, 13 August 2000.