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Academic Sutta Name Notes PSA Plae Vagga Nikaya PTS Keywords

III:5 The fickle-minded monk (Citta Hatta)

A man from Savatthi, after looking for his lost ox in the forest, felt very hungry and went to a village monastery, where he was given some food to eat. While taking his food, it occurred to him that even though he worked hard every day, he could not get such good food and that it might be a good idea to become a monk.

So he asked the bhikkhus to admit him into the Order. At the monastery, he performed the duties of a bhikkhu and as there was plenty of food he soon gained weight. After some time, he got weary of going round for almsfood and returned to the life of a layman. A few days later, he felt that life at home was too strenuous and he went back to the monastery to be admitted as a bhikkhu for a second time. For a second time, he left the Order and returned to home-life. Again, he went back to the monastery for a third time and left it. This shuttling process went on for six times, and because he acted only according to his whims, he was known as Citta Hatta. While he was going back and forth between his home and the monastery, his wife became pregnant. He was actually not ready for renunciation but he joined the Order for his convenience. As a result he was not happy either as a monk or as a layman.

One day, during his last stay at home, he happened to enter the bedroom while his wife was asleep. She was fast asleep snoring loudly and saliva was trickling down her mouth. Seeing her with her mouth open, he realised the unpleasant nature of the body, and he reflected, 'I have been a bhikkhu for several times but I have not been able to remain in the robe because of my attraction for this woman.' Hence, taking the yellow robe with him he left his home for the monastery for the seventh time. As he went along he repeated the words 'impermanence' and 'unsatisfactoriness' and thus attained the first stage of Sainthood on the way to the monastery.

On arrival at the monastery, he requested the bhikkhus to admit him into the Order. They refused and said, 'We cannot admit you anymore. You have been shaving your head so often that your head is like a whetting stone.' Since he persisted with his request, the bhikkhus relented, and he was readmitted into the Order. Within a few days, Citta Hattha attained Arahanthood. Other bhikkhus, seeing him staying on for a long time in the monastery, were surprised and they asked him the reason. He replied, 'I went home when I still had attachment in me, but now the attachment has been cut off.' The bhikkhus reported the matter to the Buddha who replied,'Cittha Hattha's mind was not steadfast at that time and he did not understand the Dhamma. But now he is already an Arahant. He has discarded all his attachments.'*


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

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Last modified on: Sunday, 13 August 2000.