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Academic Sutta Name Notes PSA Plae Vagga Nikaya PTS Keywords

VI:3 The stubbornness of Venerable Channa

Channa was the attendant who had accompanied Prince Siddhattha when he renounced the world. When the prince attained Buddhahood, Channa also became a bhikkhu. Although he was a bhikkhu, he was very stubborn and arrogant because he was proud of his close connection with the Buddha. Channa used to say, 'I accompanied my Master when he left the palace for the forest. At that time, I was the only companion of my Master and there was no one else. But now, Sariputta and Moggallana (brahmins by birth) say they are the chief Disciples and they hold the authority to control us.'

When the Buddha admonished him for his behaviour, he kept silent but continued to abuse and taunt the two Chief Disciples. The Buddha admonished him several times to change his attitude: 'Channa, these two noble bhikkhus are good friends to you; you should associate with them and be on good terms with them.'

In spite of repeated advice given by the Buddha, Channa did as he pleased and continued to scold and abuse the two Chief Disciples. The Buddha said that Channa would not improve his ways immediately but would surely change after the parinibbana of the Master. On the eve of his passing away, the Buddha called Ananda to his bedside and instructed him to discipline Channa by imposing the 'Brahmadanda' on Channa, i.e. for the bhikkhus to simply ignore him and not to invite him for anything.

After the Parinibbana of the Buddha, Channa, learning about the restrictions imposed on him, felt a deep and bitter remorse for having done wrong. He admitted his mistake and apologised to the Sangha. From that moment, he changed his ways and also obeyed all their instructions in his meditation practice and soon attained Arahanthood.

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

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Last modified on: Sunday, 13 August 2000.