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Buddha Brothers



 Chapter XIV - BUDDHA VAGGA - The Buddha




Bahum ve saranam yanti pabbatani vanani ca
Arama rukkha cetyani manussa bhaya tajjita.

N'etam kho saranam khemam n'etam saranam uttamam
N'etam saranam agamma sabba dukkha pamuccati.


Yo ca buddhan ca dhamman ca sanghan ca saranam1 gato.
Cattari ariya saccani sammappannaya passati.

Dukkham dukkha samuppadam dukkhassa ca atikkamam
Ariyancatthangikam maggam dukkhupasama gaminam.

Etam kho saranam khemam etam saranam uttamam
Etam saranam agamma sabba dukkha pamuccati.

When threatened with danger, men go to many a refuge, — to hills, woods, groves, trees, and shrines. [188]

But such a refuge is not a safe refuge, not the best refuge. One is not liberated from all evil consequences of existence (dukkha) for having come to such a refuge. [189]

He who has gone for refuge to the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha, sees with right knowledge the four Noble Truths: Sorrow, the Cause of Sorrow, the Transcending of Sorrow and the Noble Eightfold Path which leads to the Cessation of Sorrow. This, indeed, is refuge, secure. This, indeed, is refuge supreme. By seeking such refuge one is released from all sorrow. [190-192]

XIV: 06 Seek refuge in the Triple Gem (Aggidatta)

Aggidatta was the head priest during the time of King Maha Kosala, father of King Pasenadi. After the death of King Maha Kosala, Aggidatta gave away his property and left home to become an ascetic. He lived with his followers in a place near the border of the three kingdoms of Anga, Magadha and Kuru, not far from the dwelling place of a powerful naga. To his followers and the people of these three kingdoms, Aggidatta used to exhort: 'Pay homage to forests, mountains, parks and gardens, and trees; by doing so, you will be liberated from all ills of life.'

One day, the Buddha saw Aggidatta and his followers in his vision and knew that the time was ripe for them to attain Arahanthood. So the Buddha sent Venerable Moggallana to expound the Dhamma to Aggidatta and his followers, and said that he himself would follow afterwards. Moggallana went there and inquired whether he could spend the night at their place. At first they refused, but finally they directed him to the dwelling place of the naga. The naga was very antagonistic to Moggallana, and there followed a duel between the naga and the Chief Disciple. However, in the end, the naga was subdued. He coiled himself and raised his head spreading it out like an umbrella over Moggallana, thus showing respect for him. Early in the morning, Aggidatta and his followers came to find out the fate of Moggallana. When they found that the naga had been tamed, and was meekly holding his head like an umbrella over him, they were very much astounded, and paid their respects.

Just then, the Buddha arrived and Moggallana got up from his seat and paid homage to him, proclaiming 'This is my Teacher, the supreme Buddha, and I am but a humble pupil of this great Teacher!' Hearing him, the ascetics who had been impressed by the power of Moggallana were awed by the greater power of the Teacher. The Buddha then admonished him: 'Aggidatta, people go to mountains, forests, gardens and parks, and trees for refuge when they are threatened with danger, but these things cannot offer them real protection. Only those who take refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha are liberated from worldly suffering.'

At the end of the discourse Aggidatta and all his followers attained Arahanthood. All of them were admitted to the Order of the bhikkhus. On that day, when the disciples of Aggidatta from Anga, Magadha and Kuru came to pay their respects to him, they saw their teacher and his followers dressed as bhikkhus and they were puzzled and wondered, 'Who is the more powerful? Our teacher or Gotama? Our teacher must be more powerful because Gotama has come to our teacher.' The Buddha knew what they were thinking. Aggidatta also felt that he must set their minds at rest. So, he paid homage to the Buddha and proclaimed, 'Venerable Sir! You are my Teacher, I am but a disciple of yours.' Thus, the audience came to realise the supremacy of the Buddha.


  1. One's best refuge is oneself. A Buddhist seeks refuge in the Buddha, the Dhamma and the Sangha as the Teacher, the Teaching and the Taught in order to gain his deliverance from the ills of life. The Buddha is the supreme teacher who shows the way to deliverance. The Dhamma is the unique way. The Sangha represents the Taught who have followed the way and have become living examples. One formally becomes a Buddhist by intelligently seeking refuge in this Triple Gem (Tisarana). A Buddhist does not seek refuge in the Buddha with the hope that he will be saved by a personal act of deliverance. The confidence of a Buddhist in the Buddha is like that of a sick person in a noted physician, or of a student in his teacher.


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This webpage was updated 1st July 2022