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Academic Sutta Name Notes PSA Plae Vagga Nikaya PTS Keywords
DhA.

X:10 The monk and the ragged clothes (Pilotika)

Once, Venerable Ananda saw a shabbily dressed youth going round begging for food. Out of compassion Ananda advised that it would be better for him to join the Holy Order. After becoming a bhikkhu, the young man left his old clothes and begging plate at the foot of a tree. When he became a bhikkhu he was known as Pilotika. As a bhikkhu, he did not have to worry about food and clothing. Yet, sometimes he felt unhappy with his life as a bhikkhu and thought of going back to the life of a layman. Whenever he had this feeling, he would go back to that tree where he had left his old clothes and plate. There, at the foot of the tree, he would reprimand himself, 'Oh shameless one! Do you still want to put on these shabby clothes and go begging again with this old plate in your hand?' Thus, he would rebuke himself, and after calming down, he would return to the monastery.

After two or three days, when he felt like leaving the monastic life of a bhikkhu, he again went to the tree. After reprimanding himself, and reflecting on the wretchedness of his old life, he would return to the monastery. This was repeated many times. When questioned by other bhikkhus he told them he went to see his teacher*. Thus focussing his mind on his old clothes as the subject of meditation, he came to realise the true nature of the aggregates or component things. After becoming an Arahant, he stopped going to the tree. Other bhikkhus, noticing that Pilotika had stopped going to the tree asked him, 'Why don't you go to your teacher any more?' To them, he answered, 'When I had the need, I had to go to him; but there is no need for me to go to him now.' When the bhikkhus heard his reply, they asked the Buddha, 'Venerable Sir! Is it true that Pilotika has attained Arahanthood?' The Buddha explained, 'Bhikkhus! Though Pilotika had a relationship with his teacher previously, now he has no relationship whatsoever with his teacher. Pilotika has instructed himself to differentiate right and wrong causes and to discern the true nature of things. He has now become an Arahant, and so there is no further attachment between him and his teacher.'

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


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Last modified on: Sunday, 13 August 2000.