Chapter III - CITTA VAGGA Mind

control his mind

BE DETACHED FROM YOUR BODY

Aciram vat' ayam kayo pathavim adhisessati
Chuddho apeta vinnano nirattham'va kalingaram.


Before long, alas! This body, deprived of consciousness, will lie on the earth, discarded like a useless log.1



III:7 The monk with a stinking body (Putigatta Tissa)

After taking a subject of meditation from the Buddha, Venerable Tissa started his meditation diligently. At that time, he was afflicted with a disease. Small boils appeared all over his body and these developed into big sores. When these sores bursts, his robes became sticky and stained with pus and blood, and his whole body began to stink. For this reason, he was known as Putiggatta Tissa: the monk with a stinking body.


The Buddha happened to see the sorrowful state of the monk, who had been abandoned by his fellow monks on account of his stinking body. At the same time, he also knew that Tissa would soon attain Arahanthood. So, the Buddha proceeded to the fire-shed, close to the place where the monk was staying. There, he personally boiled some water, went to the place where the monk was lying down, and took hold of the edge of the couch. It was then only that the other monks also gathered round him, and as instructed by the Buddha, they carried him out where he was washed and bathed. While he was being bathed his robes were washed and dried. After the bath, the monk became fresh in body and mind and soon developed one-pointedness of concentration. Standing at the head of the couch, the Buddha told him that this body when devoid of life would be as useless as a log and would be laid on the earth. At the conclusion of the sermon, Tissa attained Arahanthood. Soon after, he passed away into Parinibbana. The Buddha then directed some bhikkhus to cremate his body and enshrine his relics in a stupa.


On being questioned why Tissa had a stinking body, the Buddha revealed that Tissa, in one of his past existences was a cruel fowler. He used to trap and catch birds. After catching the birds he would break their leg-bones and wing-bones to prevent them from escaping. For those evil deeds, Tissa was born with a stinking body.


Then the Buddha said, 'Bhikkhus! You do not have your mother or father here who can tend to you. If you do not tend to one another, who will be there to tend to you? Remember that whoever tends a sick person tends to me as it were.

Notes:

1Kalingaram, a rotten log which cannot be used for any purpose.