Chapter II - APPAMADA VAGGA - Heedfulness

Childish behaviour at a festival

HEEDLESSNESS SHOULD BE CONQUERED BY HEEDFULNESS

Pamadam appamadena yada nudati pandito
Panna pasadamaruyha asoko sokinim pajam
Pabbatattho' va bhummatthe dhiro bale avekkhati.


The wise one dispels negligence by means of mindfulness; he ascends the tower of wisdom and being free from sorrow looks at the sorrowing beings.
Just as one on the mountain top looks at those on the plain below, so also, the wise one (the Arahant) looks at the ignorant.



II:05 Kassapa wants to know the number of births and deaths

On one occasion, Venerable Maha Kassapa, while staying at Pipphali cave, used his power of supernatural vision to find out beings who were mindful and beings who were negligent, and also those who were about to die and those who were about to be reborn.


From his monastery, the Buddha saw through his Divine Vision what Kassapa was doing and wanted to advise him that he was wasting his time.* So, he sent forth his radiance and appeared before Kassapa and exhorted him thus: 'My son Kassapa, the knowledge of the cycle of births and deaths of living beings is incomprehensible. It is beyond your wisdom to understand. Only Enlightened Buddhas can understand and explain the cycle of births and deaths of living beings.'

Notes:

The sorrowless Arahants look compassionately with their Divine Eye upon the ignorant folk, who, being subject to repeated births, are not free from sorrow.


This story tells that one should not overreach oneself by trying to do things which do not bring benefit. Knowledge of the things Maha Kassapa was trying to discover would not help him to understand the true nature of existence. The Buddha constantly advised his disciples to clearly understand the nature of existence and to strive only to escape rebirth insamsara. All other pursuits are fruitless. Through heedfulness one attains Arahanthood. Such knowledge comes naturally to Buddhas who have supreme enlightenment.