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Academic Sutta Name Notes PSA Plae Vagga Nikaya PTS Keywords

XIII:5 The monk with a broom (Sammunjjani)

Venerable Sammunjjani spent most of his time sweeping the compound of the monastery. At that time, Venerable Revata was also staying at the monastery. Unlike Sammunjjani, he spent most of his time in meditation or deep mental absorption. Seeing Revata's behaviour, Sammunjjani thought he was just idling away his time. Thus, one day Sammunjjani told him, 'You are very lazy, living on the food offered by the devotees out of faith and generosity. Don't you think you should sometimes sweep the floors or the compound or some other place?' Revata replied, 'Friend, a bhikkhu should not spend all his time sweeping. He should sweep early in the morning, then go out on the almsround. After the meal, contemplating his body he should try to perceive the true nature of life, or else, recite the suttas until night fall. Then he can do the sweeping again if he so wishes.' Sammunjjani strictly followed the advice given by Revata and soon attained Arahanthood.

Other bhikkhus noticed that Sammunjjani was not sweeping as much as he used to. When questioned by the bhikkhus, Sammunjjani replied, 'When I was not mindful, I was sweeping all the time, but now I am no longer unmindful.' When the bhikkhus heard his reply they were sceptical. So, they went to the Buddha and said, 'Venerable Sir! Sammunjjani claims to be an Arahant.' The Buddha assured them that he had indeed attained Arahanthood.

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

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Last modified on: Sunday, 13 August 2000.