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 Chapter XX - MAGGA VAGGA - The Way or The Path



Yoga ve jayati bhuri ayoga bhuri sankhayo
Etam dvedha patham natva bhavaya vibhavaya ca
Tath' attanam niveseyya yatha bhuri pavaddhati.

Verily, from meditation arises wisdom. Without meditation wisdom wanes.
Knowing this twofold path of gain and loss, let one so conduct oneself that wisdom may increase. [282]

XX: 07 Knowledge without realisation is useless (Pothila)

Pothila was a senior bhikkhu who knew the Dhamma well; and he taught the Dhamma to a large number of bhikkhus. Because of his knowledge he was also conceited. The Buddha knew his weakness and wanted him to mend his ways and put him on the right path. So whenever Pothila came to pay homage, he would address him as 'Useless Pothila'. When Pothila heard these remarks, he pondered over those words of the Buddha and came to realise that the Enlightened One had made those remarks because he had not made any serious effort to practise meditation and had not attained Sainthood or even any level of mental absorption (jhana), in spite of his vast knowledge of the Dhamma.

Thus, without telling anyone, he left for a monastery far away in Savatthi where there were many bhikkhus. First, he went to the most senior bhikkhu and humbly requested him to be his mentor; but the monk wishing to humble him, asked him to go to the next senior bhikkhu, who in turn sent him to the next. In this way, he was sent from one to the other until he came to a young arahant samanera. The young samanera accepted him as a pupil only after ascertaining that Pothila would obediently follow his instructions. As instructed by the samanera, Pothila kept his mind firmly fixed on the true nature of the body. He was very ardent and vigilant in his meditation.

The Buddha saw Pothila in his vision and through supernormal power sent forth his radiance end exhorted him to be steadfast and ardent in his quest for higher spiritual achievement. Soon after, Pothila attained Arahanthood.

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This webpage was updated 22nd March 2024