Sariputta | Dhammapada | The Story of Thera Kondadhana Sariputta

The Story of Thera Kondadhana

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses (133) and (134) of this book, with reference to Thera Kondadhana.

Since the day Kondadhana was admitted to the Order, the image of a female was always following him. This image was seen by others, but Kondadhana himself did not see it and so did not know about it.

When he was out on an alms-round, people would offer two spoonfuls to him, saying, "This is for you, Venerable Sir, and this is for your female companion." Seeing the bhikkhu going about with a woman, people went to King Pasenadi of Kosala and reported about the bhikkhu and the woman. They said to the king, "O king! Drive out the bhikkhu, who is lacking in moral virtues, from your kingdom." So the king went to the monastery where that bhikkhu was staying and surrounded it with his men.

Hearing noises and voices, the bhikkhus came out and stood at the door, and the image also was there not far from the bhikkhu. Knowing that the king had come, the bhikkhu went into the room to wait for him. When the king entered the room, the image was not there. The king asked the bhikkhu where the woman was and he replied that he saw no woman. The king wanted to make sure and he asked the bhikkhu to leave the room for a while. The bhikkhu left the room, but when the king looked out, again he saw the woman near the bhikkhu. But when the bhikkhu came back to the room the woman was nowhere to be found. The king concluded that the woman was not real and so the bhikkhu must be innocent. He therefore invited the bhikkhu to come to the palace every day for alms-food.

When other bhikkhus heard about this, they were puzzled and said to the bhikkhu, "O bhikkhu with no morals! Now that the king, instead of driving you out of his kingdom, has invited you for alms-food, you are doomed!" The bhikkhu on his part retorted, "Only you are the ones without morals; only you are doomed because you are the ones who go about with women!"

The bhikkhus then reported the matter to the Buddha. The Buddha sent for Kodadadhana and said to him, "My son, did you see any woman with the other bhikkhus that you have talked to them thus? You have not seen any woman with them as they have seen one with you. I see that you do not realize that you have been cursed on account of an evil deed done by you in a past existence. Now listen, I shall explain to you why you have an image of a woman following you about.

"You were a deva in your last existence. During that time, there were two bhikkhus who were very much attached to each other. But you tried to create trouble between the two, by assuming the appearance of a woman and following one of the bhikkhus. For that evil deed you are now being followed by the image of a woman. So, my son, in future do not argue with other bhikkhus any more; keep silent like a gong with the rim broken off and you will realize Nibbana."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 133: Do not speak harshly to anyone; those who are thus spoken to will retort. Malicious talk is indeed the cause of trouble (dukkha) and retribution will come to you.

Verse 134: If you can keep yourself calm and quiet like a broken gong which is no longer resonant, you are sure to realize Nibbana, there will be no harshness in you.

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