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The Story of Samanera Sumana

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While residing at the Pubbarama monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (382) of this book, with reference to Samanera Sumana.

Samanera Sumana was a pupil of Thera Anuruddha. Although he was only seven years old he was an arahat, endowed with supernormal powers. Once, when his teacher Anuruddha was ill at a monastery in a forest of the Himalayas, he fetched water from the Anotatta lake which was five hundred yojanas away from the monastery. The journey was made not by land but by air through his supernormal power. Later, Thera Anuruddha took Samanera Sumana to the Buddha, who was then sojourning at Pubbarama, the monastery donated by Visakha.

There, other young bhikkhus and samaneras teased him by patting his head, or pulling his ears, nose and arms, and jokingly asked him if he was not feeling bored. The Buddha saw them and thought that he would make those young bhikkhus see the rare qualities of young Samanera Sumana. So it was made known by the Buddha that he wanted some samanera to get a jar of water from the Anotatta lake. The Venerable Ananda searched among the bhikkhus and samaneras of the Pubbarama monastery, but there was none who was able to undertake the job. Finally, the Venerable Ananda asked Samanera Sumana who readily agreed to fetch water from the Anotatta lake. He took a big golden jar front the monastery and soon brought the water from the Anotatta lake for the Buddha. As before, he went to the Anotatta lake and came back by air through his supernormal power.

At the congregation of the bhikkhus in the evening, the bhikkhus told the Buddha about the wonderful trip made by Samanera Sumana. To them the Buddha said, "Bhikkhus, one who practises the Dhamma vigilantly and zealously is capable of attaining supernormal powers, even though he is young."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 382: A bhikkhu who, though young, devotes himself to the Teaching of the Buddha lights up the world, as does the moon freed from a cloud.
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