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Academic Sutta Name Notes PSA Plae Vagga Nikaya PTS Keywords

XX:9 Meditation on a lotus flower

Once, a young son of a goldsmith was admitted into the Holy Order by Venerable Sariputta. After receiving 'Impurity of the Body' as the subject of meditation from Sariputta, he left for the forest to practise meditation there. He did not make any progress. So he returned twice to Sariputta for further instructions. Still he made no progress. So Sariputta took the bhikkhu to see the Enlightened One.

The Buddha knew that he was the son of a goldsmith; he had been born in the family of goldsmiths during several past existences. Therefore the Buddha changed the subject of meditation for the bhikkhu. Instead of loathsomeness, he was directed to meditate on pleasantness. With his supernormal power, the Buddha created a beautiful lotus flower and told him to stick it in a mound of sand just outside the monastery.

The bhikkhu, concentrating on the big beautiful, fragrant lotus flower was able to get rid of the hindrances. He was filled with delightful satisfaction (piti) and gradually he progressed until he reached as far as the fourth level of mental absorption (jhana).

The Buddha saw him from his room and with his supernormal power made the flower wither instantly. Seeing the flower wither and change its colour, the bhikkhu perceived the impermanent nature of the flower and all other conditioned things. That led to the realisation of the impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and the insubstantiality of all conditioned things. At that instant, the Buddha sent forth his radiance and exhorted the bhikkhu to get rid of craving (tanha). Reflecting mindfully on the exhortation he attained Arahanthood.

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

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Last modified on: Sunday, 13 August 2000.