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Academic Sutta Name Notes PSA Plae Vagga Nikaya PTS Keywords

XXIII:7 An elephant waits upon the Buddha*

A trivial incident led to an unfortunate dispute amongst the bhikkhus in the city of Kosambi. The quarrelsome bhikkhus did not listen even to the advice of the Buddha. So he left them and spent the vassa all alone in the forest, where the elephant Parileyyaka waited on him. Owing to pressure brought on them by the devotees, the bhikkhus realising their mistakes requested Venerable Ananda to invite the Enlightened One to return to the monastery.

At the end of vassa, Ananda went into the forest, accompanied by five hundred bhikkhus. Leaving the bhikkhus at some distance, Ananda approached the Buddha alone. Then he told Ananda to send for the other bhikkhus. All of them came, paid obeisance to the Buddha and said, 'Venerable Sir! You must have had a hard time spending the vassa all alone in this forest.' To this, the Buddha replied, 'Bhikkhus, don't say so. The elephant Parileyyaka looked after me all this time. He was indeed a very good friend, a true friend. If one has such a good friend one should stick to him. But if one cannot find a good friend it is better to stay alone.'

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

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Last modified on: Sunday, 13 August 2000.