A Discourse on Paticcasamuppada

by Venerable Mahasi Sayadaw | 62,614 words

The Paticcasamuppada refers to “The Doctrine of Dependent Origination”. This is the English translation done by U Aye Maung Published by U Min Swe Buddhasasana Nuggaha Organization Rangoon, Burma....

Chapter 8 - The Story Of Korakhattiya

In the time of the Buddha there was a man named Korakhattiya who lived like a dog. One day the Buddha passed by him, accompanied by a Licchavi bhikkhu, Sunakkhatta by name.

Sunakkhatta saw the ascetic moving on all fours and eating the food on the ground without the help of his hands. The ascetics way of life gave the monk the impression of a holy man, nay, an Arahat who had few desires. In point of fact, the ascetics mode of life was a kind of silabbatupadana that would lead him to one of the four lower worlds. It was abhorrent to those who had high ideals and aspirations. It had appeal for Sunakkhatta only because of his low tastes and desires. The Licchavi monk was exceptional in this respect. There were then not as now many people who preferred false views and false practices that did not accord with the Buddhas teaching. This was probably a hangover from wrong attachments in their previous lives.

The Buddha divined Sunakkhattas thoughts and said, “So you regard that ascetic as an Arahat! I wonder why you do not feel ashamed of being called the disciple of the Buddha.” The monk then accused the Lord of envying the ascetics Arahatship. This is of course the kind of retort that is to be expected from an ignorant man when someone speaks the truth about his false teacher. The Buddha explained that his object was to remove the monks illusions that would do him no good. Then he went on to predict that after seven days the ascetic would die of indigestion and land in the lowest Asura world; that his body would be dumped in a certain cemetery; that if the monk went there and asked about his present abode, the dead body would reveal it.

The Buddha made this prophecy in order to restore Sunakkhattas faith in him. Through the practice of samatha Sunakkhatta had attained jhana and divine eye. With his divine eye he had seen the gods and goddesses and as he wished to hear their voices he asked the Buddha about the way to the attainment of divine ear. But the Lord declined to fulfil his desire because his bad kamma stood in the way and he would blame the Lord for the non attainment of divine ear. Nevertheless, he lost his faith in the Lord because he thought that it was envy that motivated the Lord to refuse his request. So the Buddha predicted the ascetics fate to impress Sunakkhatta and salvage his faith.

Sunakkhatta informed the ascetic of the Lords prediction and warned him against overeating. The ascetic fasted for six days but on the seventh day he could not resist the temptation any longer. He wolfed down the food provided by a lay follower and died of indigestion that very night.

His fellow ascetics dragged his dead body to dump it in any place other than the cemetery specified in the Buddhas prediction. They got to a cemetery but found it to be the very place they wished to avoid for it had the kind of grass predicted by the Buddha. They tried to drag the body away but the creeper rope snapped and all their efforts to remove it were in vain. So they had to abandon the corpse there.

Sunakkhatta heard the news but still he hoped to prove the falsity of the latter part of the Lords prediction. He went to the cemetery and rapping the dead man asked about his abode. The corpse arose and after saying that he was in Kalakamjika asura abode fell back on the ground. Kalakamjika is the lowest asura abode. Asura is a kind of peta with a monstrous body and a mouth which is so small that it cannot drink and eat well.

According to the commentary, it was the Buddhas psychic power that made the dead body possessed by the asura peta. Given the ability of some sorcerers to raise the dead, there is no need to have any doubt about the resurrection of the dead ascetic through the psychic power (iddhi) of the Buddha.

Sunakkhatta came back crestfallen and had to admit that the Lords prophecy had come wholly true. Even so, he did not have complete faith in the Buddha. Later on he left the holy order and disparaged the Lord.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: