by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw | 1990 | 1,044,401 words
This page describes Bhikkhu Nanda’s Supplication to the Buddha contained within the book called the Great Chronicle of Buddhas (maha-buddha-vamsa), a large compilation of stories revolving around the Buddhas and Buddhist disciples. This page is part of the series known as the Six Princes achieved different Attainments. This great chronicle of Buddhas was compiled by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw who had a thorough understanding of the thousands and thousands of Buddhist teachings (suttas).
As stated above, because of reproaches and jeers heaped upon him by his associates, Bhikkhu Nanda developed a sense of religious urgency through shame and remorse: “Having entered the Dispensation with well-expounded Teaching and Disciplinary rules, Dhamma-vinaya, I have held the Buddha responsible for assuring me of getting the five hundred celestial maids; as such I have committed a grave misdeed.” Accordingly, he strove hard relentlessly until he attained arahatship. He then considered that it would be well to go to the Buddha and relieve Him from the responsibility of the assurance He had made.
He therefore approached the Buddha early the following morning and made the following address:
“Most Exalted elder brother, you have assured me of the hands of five hundred celestial maids with feet as tender-red as pigeons' feet. Most Exalted elder brother, I now absolve you from that responsibility.”
The Buddha said in reply:
“Dear younger brother, Nanda, I have already known, by judging the state of your mind analytically with my own, that you have attained arahatship. An arahat-Brahmā has also informed Me earlier of your attainment to the exalted state of an arahat. I have been absolved from that responsibility from the very instant your mind became free of āsavas.”
The Tathāgata was greatly pleased and made the following utterance of exultation:
Yassa nittinno pañko
sukhadukkhesu na vedhati sa bhikkhu
An ariya person has crossed the slough of wrong view, in other words, the slough of saṃsāra, by way of the bridge of the Ariya Path to the Shore of Nibbāna. The thorn of sensual passion that pierced (the heart of) all sentient beings has been crushed to dust with the cudgel of wisdom. Such an ariya person has traversed the Fourfold Path of Magga and reached Nibbāna, attaining the arahatship, the point of cessation of delusion (moha). That arahat-bhikkhu, who has thus destroyed the darkness of defilements, is no longer effected by joy or sorrow, he remains unshaken and indifferent to the worldly vicissitudes.
Soon afterwards, a number of bhikkhus asked Bhikkhu Nanda: “Friend Nanda, you have said in the past that you were not happy within the sāsana as a bhikkhu; what is the state of your mind these days?” Bhikkhu Nanda replied: “Friends, at present, I have no mind at all to revert to the life of a layman.”
On hearing these words of Nanda, bhikkhus rebuked him, saying,
“Bhikkhu Nanda is telling lies; he is talking about arahatta-phala. He had quite recently been saying that he was not happy in this sāsana and now he is saying that he has no mind at all to revert to the life of a layman.”
They then went to report the matter to the Buddha and He explained to them:
“Bhikkhus, in the immediate past, Nanda’s corporeality was just like a badly roofed house, but now, it is like a house which is properly roofed. True, this Bhikkhu Nanda strove for the highest level of attainment of a bhikkhu after he had seen the fair maids of the world of devas, with the result that he has now reached that highest level of attainment (the arahatship).”
The Buddha then went on giving a discourse by reciting the following two verses:
Bhikkhus, just as rain-water can penetrate and flood a badly roofed house, so the mind, which has not been trained through tranquillity and insight meditation, is liable to be inundated with defilements, that is, to be flooded with the rain waters of lust, malice, delusion, conceit, etc.
Bhikkhus, just as rain-water cannot penetrate and flood a properly roofed house, so the mind, which has been trained through tranquillity and insight meditation, cannot be inundated with defilements, that is, cannot be flooded with the rain waters of lust, malice, delusion and conceit, etc.
By the end of this discourse, a large number of bhikkhus attained the Fruition stage of sotāpatti-magga. Thus this discourse was of great benefit to many person.