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 Chapter XXII - NIRAYA VAGGA - Woeful state



Seyyo ayogulo bhutto tatto aggi sikhupamo
Yan ce bhunjeyya dussilo rattha pindam asannato.

It is better for one to eat a red-hot iron ball burning like a flame than to eat almsfood offered by the people, if one is without morality (sila) and unrestrained in thought, word and deed. [308]

XXII: 03 Bhikkhus pretending to have attained perfection

Once there was a famine in the country of the Vajji. So, in order to have enough food, certain bhikkhus made it appear to the people that they attained Purity although they had not done so. The people of the village believing them and respecting them, offered them much food, leaving very little for themselves.

At the end of the vassa, as was customary, bhikkhus from all parts of the country came to pay homage to the Buddha. The bhikkhus from Vajji also came. They looked hale and hearty while the other bhikkhus looked pale and worn out. The Buddha enquired how all the bhikkhus had fared during the vassa. The Buddha specially asked the bhikkhus from Vajji whether they had any difficulty in getting almsfood on account of the famine. They answered that they had no difficulty at all in getting almsfood.

The Buddha knew how those bhikkhus had managed to get enough food. But he wanted to enlighten them on this point, so he asked, 'How did you manage so well in getting food throughout the vassa?' Then the bhikkhus told him they had discussed among themselves and decided that they should address one another in such a way that the villagers would think that they had really attained Purity. Then the Buddha asked them whether they had actually attained Purity. When they answered in the negative, the Buddha advised them about the danger of accepting requisites from the devotees, if they are not worthy of them.

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This webpage was updated 31st July 2023