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Academic Sutta Name Notes PSA Plae Vagga Nikaya PTS Keywords

IV:11 Godhika attains Sainthood while attempting suicide*

On one occasion Venerable Godhika was diligently practising Tranquility and Insight meditation, at the side of Isigili mountain in Magadha. When he had achieved one-pointedness of mind (jhana) he became very ill and it impaired effectiveness of his practice. In spite of his sickness, he kept striving diligently, but every time he made any progress he was overcome by sickness. He was thus afflicted six times. Finally, he decided to strive for Arahanthood even if he were to die in the process. So, without relaxing, he practised diligently. In the end he decided to take his own life. Choosing physical pain as the object of meditation, he cut his own throat with a knife. Concentrating on the pain, he achieved one-pointedness of mind and attained Arahanthood before his passing away. Although it is extremely difficult to maintain concentration in the face of pain, he showed his determination.

When Mara learned that Godhika had died, he tried to find out where he was reborn but failed to find him. So, assuming the likeness of a young man, Mara approached the Buddha and enquired where Godhika was. The Buddha replied, 'It will be of no benefit to you to learn of the destination of Godhika; for having been freed of mental defilements he became an Arahant and ended rebirth. One like you, Mara, for all your power will not be able to find out where Arahants go after death.'

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

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Last modified on: Sunday, 13 August 2000.