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VIII:9 The miracle of a young novice monk (Samkicca)
One day, thirty bhikkhus each took a subject of meditation from the Buddha and left for a large village, a long distance away from Savatthi. At that time, a group of robbers were staying in a thick jungle, and they wanted to make an offering of human flesh and blood to the guardian spirits of the forest. So they came to the village monastery and demanded that one of the bhikkhus be given up to them for sacrifice to the spirits. From the eldest to the youngest, each one of the bhikkhus volunteered to go. Among the bhikkhus was a young samanera (novice monk) by the name of Samkicca, who was sent with them by Venerable Sariputta. Although he was very young, as a result of great perseverance in his past lives, had already attained Arahanthood. Samkicca revealed that Sariputta, his teacher, knowing of this danger in advance, had purposely sent him to accompany the bhikkhus, and that he should be the one to go with the robbers. The bhikkhus were very reluctant but because they had confidence in the wisdom of Sariputta they agreed to let him go.
When the preparations for the sacrifice were completed, the leader of the robbers lifted his sword and struck hard at the young samanera who was then in deep jhana concentration. Instead of cutting the flesh the sword curled up. He got another sword and struck again. This time, it bent upwards right up to the hilt without harming Samkicca. Seeing this strange happening, the leader of the robbers dropped his sword, knelt at the feet of the samanera and asked his pardon. All the other robbers were amazed and terror-stricken; they also admitted their mistake and asked permission from Samkicca to follow his religious way of life. He complied with their request.
Samkicca then returned to the village monastery accompanied by the new bhikkhus. The other bhikkhus felt very much relieved and happy on seeing him. Then Samkicca and the bhikkhus went to pay respects to Sariputta, their teacher, at the Jetavana monastery.
After seeing Sariputta they went to pay homage to the Buddha. The Buddha admonished them, 'Bhikkhus if you rob or steal and commit all sorts of evil deeds, your lives would be meaningless, even if you were to live a hundred years. Living a virtuous life even for a single day is much better than a hundred years of a life of depravity.'
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