Chapter XIII - LOKA VAGGA - The World

SPIRITUAL ADVANCEMENT IS BETTER THAN WORLDLY SOVEREIGNTY

SPIRITUAL ADVANCEMENT IS BETTER THAN WORLDLY SOVEREIGNTY

Pathavya eka rajjena saggassa gamanena va
Sabba lokadhi paccena sotapattipahalam varam.
[178]


Better than absolute sovereigntyover the earth, better than going to heaven,
better than even lordship over all the worlds is the Fruit of aStream-Winner.[117]



XIII:11 The story of Kala, son of Anatha Pindika

Kala, son of Anatha Pindika, always kept away whenever the Buddha and his monks came to their house. Anatha Pindika was afraid that if his son kept on behaving in this way, his future would be very uncertain. So, he enticed his son with the promise of money. He promised to give him one hundred pieces of gold if he would go to the monastery and observe the precepts for one day. So, the youth went to the monastery and returned home early the next day without listening to any religious discourse. His father offered him good food, but instead of taking it, he first demanded the money.


The next day, the father said, 'My son, if you can recite a stanza of the Buddha's teaching, I will give you one thousand pieces of gold on your return.' So Kala went to the monastery again. The Buddha delivered a sermon but at the same time he willed that he would not be able to memorize anything. He knew that Kala was only interested in the money and was not sincere to learn the Dhamma. Thus, the youth had to repeat a single stanza many times. As he did this, he came to perceive the full meaning of the Dhamma, and attained the first stage of Sainthood.


Early on the next morning, he followed the Buddha and the bhikkhus to his own house. But on that day, he was silently hoping, 'I wish my father would not give me the money in the presence of the Buddha. I do not wish the Buddha to know that I observed the precepts just for the sake of money.' After offering almsfood to the Buddha and the bhikkhus, Anatha Pindika brought one thousand pieces of gold, and asked Kala to take it, but surprisingly he refused. Then, Anatha Pindika told the Buddha, 'Venerable Sir! My son has changed his mind; he now behaves in a very noble manner.' Then he related to the Buddha how he had enticed him with money to go to the monastery to learn the Dhamma. The Buddha replied, 'Anatha Pindika, your son has realised the Dhamma which is much better than the riches of the Universal Monarch or that of the devas or that of the brahmas.'

Notes:

  1. Internal purification is far superior to fleeting worldly possessions or transitory heavenly bliss.
  2. Sotapatti. HereSotameans the stream that leads to Nibbana. It is the noble Eightfold Path. 'A' means for the first time.'Patti'means attainment,Sotapattimeans the attainment of the stream for the first time. It is the realization of Nibbana for the first time. This is the first stage of Sainthood. The Stream-Winners are not born in woeful states.