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Academic Sutta Name Notes PSA Plae Vagga Nikaya PTS Keywords

V:7 The leper's confidence In the Triple Gem (Suppabuddha)

Suppabuddha the leper realised the Dhamma while listening attentively to a discourse given by the Buddha. When the crowd had dispersed, he followed the Buddha to the monastery. Sakka, king of the devas, wishing to test the leper's confidence in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha, appeared to him and said, 'You are only a poor man, living on what you get by begging, with no one to fall back on. I can give you immense wealth if you deny the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha and say that you have no use for them.' Suppabuddha replied, 'I am certainly not a poor man, with no one to rely on. I am a rich man; I possess the seven attributes which noble ones possess: I have confidence (saddha), morality (sila), sense of shame to do evil (hiri), sense of fear to do evil (ottappa), learning (suta), generosity (caga) and knowledge (panna).'

Then, Sakka went to the Buddha and related the conversation between himself and Suppabuddha. The Buddha explained to Sakka that it would not be easy even for a hundred or a thousand Sakkas to influence Suppabuddha and keep him away from the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha. Soon after this, Suppabuddha arrived at the monastery and reported the same story to the Buddha. On his way back from the Jetavana monastery, Suppabuddha died due to an accident influenced by an evil spirit who had been a courtesan in a previous existence. The courtesan had been killed by Suppabuddha and she had vowed to take revenge on him.

When the news of Suppabuddha's death reached the Jetavana monastery, the bhikkhus asked the Buddha where he had been reborn. The Buddha told them that Suppabuddha had been reborn in Tavatimsa deva realm. The Buddha also explained that he was born a leper because in one of his previous existences, he had spat upon a holy man, but after realising the Dhamma, his mental defilements had been cleared away.

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

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Last modified on: Sunday, 13 August 2000.