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Academic Sutta Name Notes PSA Plae Vagga Nikaya PTS Keywords

III:3 A wise man should guard his thoughts

Once, there lived in Savatthi the son of a banker. This young man asked the bhikkhu who used to come to his house for alms what he should do to be liberated from the ills of life. The bhikkhu instructed him to divide his property into three parts; one part to do business with, one part to support the family and one part to give in charity. He did as he was told and again asked what should be done next. So he was further instructed: firstly, to take refuge in the Triple Gem (Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha) and to observe the five precepts; secondly, to observe the ten precepts; and thirdly, to renounce the world and enter the Holy Order. The young man complied with all these instructions and became a bhikkhu.

As a bhikkhu, he was taught the Abhidhamma (Buddhist psychology) by one teacher and the Vinaya (rules of conduct) by another. Being taught in this way, he felt that there was too much to be learnt, that the disciplinary rules were too strict and too many, so much so that there was not enough freedom in the way of life of a bhikkhu. He thought that it might be better to return to the lay life. As a result of doubt and discontentment, he became unhappy and neglected his duties. He also became thin and weak. When the Buddha came to know about this, he admonished the young bhikkhu, 'If you can only control your mind, you will have nothing more to control; so guard your mind.'

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

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Last modified on: Sunday, 13 August 2000.