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Academic Sutta Name Notes PSA Plae Vagga Nikaya PTS Keywords

V:15 A novice monk who won all hearts (Tissa)

Tissa was the son of a well-known man from Savatthi. His father used to offer almsfood to Venerable Sariputta in his house and so even as a child, Tissa had met Sariputta on many occasions. At the age of seven he become a novice monk under Sariputta. While he was staying at the Jetavana monastery, many of his friends and relatives came to see him, bringing presents and offerings. The novice found these visits to be very tiresome; so after taking a subject of meditation from the Buddha, he left for a forest monastery. Whenever a villager offered him anything, Tissa would just say, 'May you be happy, may you be liberated from the ills of life,' and would go on his own way. While he stayed at the forest monastery, he ardently and diligently practised meditation, and at the end of three months he attained Sainthood.

After the vassa retreat, Sariputta, accompanied by Moggallana and other senior disciples paid a visit to Tissa. The villagers requested Sariputta to deliver a discourse, but he declined. Instead, he directed his pupil Tissa to deliver it. The villagers, however, said that Tissa could only say, 'May you be happy, may you be liberated from the ills of life,' and asked Sariputta to assign another bhikkhu in his place. But Sariputta insisted that Tissa should deliver the discourse. Thus, in obedience to his teacher, Tissa went up the platform and delivered his discourse.

Dawn was approaching when he finished his exposition, and Sariputta applauded Tissa for having expounded the Dhamma so well. The villagers, too, were very much impressed. They were surprised that Tissa knew the Dhamma so well and considered themselves lucky to have Tissa amongst them. Some, on the other hand were disappointed with him for not having preached the Dhamma to them in the past.

The Buddha, with his supernatural power, saw these two groups of villagers from the Jetavana monastery and appeared before them so that he could clear up the misunderstanding amongst the villagers. The Buddha arrived while the villagers were preparing almsfood for the bhikkhus. So they had the opportunity to offer almsfood to the Buddha as well. After the meal, the Buddha addressed the villagers, 'O devotees, all of you are so lucky to have Tissa amongst you. It is on account of his presence here that I myself, my Chief Disciples, senior disciples and many other bhikkhus now pay you a visit.' These words made them realise how fortunate they were to have Tissa with them and they did not waste time thinking about what had happened in the past.

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

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Last modified on: Sunday, 13 August 2000.