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 Chapter IV - PUPPHA VAGGA - Flowers

Concentrate on your body


Tesam sampanna silanam appamada viharinam
Sammadanna vimuttanam maro maggam na vindati.

Mara finds not the path of those who are virtuous, careful in living, and freed by right knowledge.

IV: 11 Godhika attains Sainthood while attempting suicide

On one occasion, when the Buddha was residing in Jetavana monastery at Savatthi, a certain bhikkhu after obtaining a subject of meditation from the Buddha went to the forest for the purpose of practicing meditation.

Although he strove diligently, he made little progress and was not happy with himself. So he thought, 'I will return to Jetavana monastery and request the Enlightened One to give me another subject of meditation better suited to my temperament.' With this thought in mind, he set out to return to Savatthi.

On the way he saw a mirage. Reflecting mindfully within himself, he realised that a mirage was after all only an illusion of a sheet of water; so also was his body an illusion and insubstantial by reason of birth and decay. Fixing his mind on the mirage, he continued with his meditation practice.

Later, he went for a bath near the bank of the river Aciravati. While resting under a tree close to the river, and seeing the froth breaking up, he realised further the impermanent nature of the body.

From the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha saw the bhikkhu, sent forth his radiance and exhorted him, 'Bhikkhu, you are on the right track. Keep it up. It is good that you have realised that the body is impermanent like froth and insubstantial like a mirage.'

At the conclusion of the exhortation, the bhikkhu attained Arahanthood.


*The moral question of whether suicide is justifiable or not does not arise here, because Godhika had eradicated craving and any mundane ethical problems are left behind on attaining Arahanthood.

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This webpage was updated 22nd March 2024