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The Story of Five Hundred Bhikkhus

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While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (377) of this book, with reference to five hundred bhikkhus.

Five hundred bhikkhus from Savatthi, after taking a subject of meditation from the Buddha, set out for the forest to practise meditation. There, they noticed that the jasmine flowers which bloomed in the early morning dropped off from the plants onto the ground in the evening. Then the bhikkhus resolved that they would strive hard to free themselves from all moral defilements even before the flowers were shed from the plants. The Buddha, through his supernormal power, saw them from his Perfumed Chamber. He therefore sent forth his radiance to them and made them feel his presence. To them the Buddha said, "Bhikkhus! As the withered flower is shed from the plant, so also, should a bhikkhu strive to free himself from the round of rebirths."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 377: O bhikkhus! As the jasmin (vassika) plant sheds its withered flowers, so also, should you shed passion and ill will.

At the end of the discourse the five hundred bhikkhus attained arahatship.
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