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The Story of Thera Dhammarama

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While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (364) of this book, with reference to Thera Dhammarama.

When it was made known to the disciples that the Buddha would realize Parinibbana in four months' time, most of the puthujjana bhikkhus (i.e., those who had not attained any of the Maggas) felt extremely depressed and were at a loss and did not know what to do. They just stayed close to the Buddha, hardly ever leaving his presence. However, there was a bhikkhu by the name of Dhammarama who kept to himself and did not go near the Buddha. His intention was to strive most ardently to attain arahatship before the passing away of the Buddha. So he strove hard in Insight Meditation Practice. Other bhikkhus, not understanding his attitude and his noble ambition, misunderstood his behaviour.

Those bhikkhus took Dhammarama to the Buddha and said to the Enlightened One, "Venerable Sir! This bhikkhu does not seem to have any affection or regard or reverence for you; he has been staying by himself while all the time other bhikkhus are staying close to Your Venerable presence." When other bhikkhus had said everything they wanted to say, Dhammarama respectfully explained to the Buddha why he had not come to see the Buddha and also reported that he had been striving his utmost in Insight Meditation Practice.

The Buddha was satisfied and was very pleased with the explanation and conduct of Dhammarama and he said, "My son, Dhammarama, you have done very well. A bhikkhu who loves and respects me should act like you. Those who made offerings of flowers, scents and incense to me are not really paying me homage. Only those who practise the Dhamma are the ones who truly pay homage to me."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 364: The bhikkhu who abides in the Dhamma, who delights in the Dhamma, who meditates on the Dhamma, and is ever mindful of the Dhamma, does not fall away from the Dhamma of the virtuous.

At the end of the discourse Thera Dhammarama attained arahatship.
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