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Academic Sutta Name Notes PSA Plae Vagga Nikaya PTS Keywords

VI:9 One must work for his own liberation (Dhammika)

Dhammika lived in Savatthi with his wife. One day he told his pregnant wife that he wished to become a bhikkhu. His wife pleaded with him to wait until after the birth of their child. When the child was born, he again requested his wife to let him go, and this time she pleaded with him to wait until the child could walk. Then Dhammika thought to himself, 'It will be useless for me to ask my wife for her approval to join the Order; I shall work on my own for my liberation from suffering in Samsara.' Having decided this he left his house to become a bhikkhu. He took a subject of meditation from the Buddha and practised meditation ardently and soon became an Arahant.

Some years later, he visited his house in order to teach the Dhamma to his son and his wife. His son entered the Order and he too attained Arahanthood. The wife then thought, 'Now that both my husband and my son have left the house, I'd better leave too.' With this thought, she left the house and became a bhikkhuni; eventually she too attained Arahanthood.

At the congregation of the bhikkhus, the Buddha was told how Dhammika had become a bhikkhu and had attained Arahanthood, and how through him his son and wife had also attained Arahanthood. To them the Buddha said, 'Bhikkhus, a wise man does not wish for wealth and prosperity by doing evil, whether it is for his own sake or for the sake of others. He only works for his own liberation from the round of rebirths (Samsara) by comprehending the Dhamma and living according to the Dhamma. The liberation from the cycle of birth and death can be gained only through one's own efforts and not by depending on another person.'

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

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Last modified on: Sunday, 13 August 2000.