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The Story of the Obstinate Bhikkhu

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While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses (311), (312) and (313) of this book, with reference to an obstinate bhikkhu.

Once, there was a bhikkhu who was feeling remorse for having unwittingly cut some grass. He confided about this to another bhikkhu. The latter was reckless and stubborn by nature, and he did not think much about committing small misdeeds. So he replied to the first bhikkhu, "Cutting grass is a very minor offence; if you just confide and confess to another bhikkhu you are automatically exonerated. There is nothing to worry about." So saying, he proceeded to uproot some grass with both hands to show that he thought very little of such trivial offences. When the Buddha was told about this, he reprimanded the reckless, stubborn bhikkhu.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 311: Just as kusa grass if badly held cuts that very hand, so also, the ill-led life of a bhikkhu drags that bhikkhu down to niraya.

Verse 312: An act perfunctorily performed, or a practice that is depraved, or a questionable conduct of a bhikkhu is not of much benefit.

Verse 313: If there is anything to be done, do it well; do it firmly and energetically; for the slack life of a bhikkhu scatters much dust (of moral defilements).

At the end of the discourse the reckless obstinate bhikkhu realized the importance of restraint in the life of a bhikkhu and strictly obeyed the Fundamental Precepts for the bhikkhus. Later, through practice of Insight Meditation, that bhikkhu attained arahatship.
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