Make your own free website on

Academic Sutta Name Notes PSA Plae Vagga Nikaya PTS Keywords

VIII:11 Attaining Sainthood while attempting suicide* (Sappadasa)

Once a bhikkhu by the name of Sappadasa was not feeling happy with his religious way of life since he could not gain Sainthood and at the same time, he thought it would be improper and humiliating for him to return to the life of a householder. So he decided it would be better to die. He put his hand into a pot where there was a poisonous snake but the snake did not bite him. This was because the good deeds he had done in his past lives protected him. On another occasion, he took a razor to cut his throat; but as he placed the razor on his throat he reflected on the purity of his moral practices throughout his life as a bhikkhu and his whole body was suffused with delightful satisfaction (piti) and bliss (sukha). Then detaching himself from bliss, he directed his mind to the development of Insight Knowledge and soon attained Arahanthood.

On arrival at the monastery, other bhikkhus asked him where he had been. He told them he had tried to take his life and they asked him why he did not done so. He answered, 'I intended to cut my throat with this knife, but I have now cut off all moral defilements with the knife of Insight Knowledge.' The bhikkhus then reported to the Buddha, 'Venerable Sir, Sappadasa claims that he has attained Arahanthood while trying to kill himself. Is it possible to attain Arahanthood at such a critical moment?' The Buddha replied, 'Yes, it is possible; for one who is zealous and strenuous in the practice of Tranquility and Insight Development. Arahanthood can be gained in an instant. As the bhikkhu walks in meditation, he can attain Arahanthood even before his raised foot touches the ground.'

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

Previous Page | Contents | Next Page
Last modified on: Sunday, 13 August 2000.