Dhammapada Verse 29
abalassa mva sighasso
hitva yati sumedhaso.1
Verse 29: Mindful amongst the negligent, highly vigilant amongst the drowsy,
the man of wisdom advances like a race-horse, leaving the jade behind.
1. sumedhaso: the wise one: the wise one advances steadily until he
realizes Magga, Phala and Nibbana, leaving the negligent ones behind in the
round of rebirths (samsara).
The Story of the Two Companion Bhikkhus
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha tittered Verse (29) of
this book, with reference to two bhikkhus, who were friends.
Two bhikkhus, after obtaining a subject of meditation from the Buddha, went
to a monastery in the forest. One of them, being negligent, spent his time
warming himself by the fire and talking to young novices throughout the first
watch of the night, and generally idling away his time. The other faithfully
performed the duties of a bhikkhu. He walked in meditation during the first
watch, rested during the second watch and again meditated during the last watch
of the night. Thus, being diligent and ever mindful, the second bhikkhu attained
arahatship within a short time.
At the end of the rainy season (vassa) both of them went to pay
obeisance to the Buddha, and the Buddha asked them how they had spent their time
during the vassa. To this, the lazy and negligent bhikkhu answered that the
other bhikkhu had been idling away his time, just lying down and sleeping. The
Buddha then asked, "But, what about you?" His reply was that he
generally sat warming himself by the fire during the first watch of the night
and then sat up without sleeping. But the Buddha knew quite well how the two
bhikkhus had spent their time, so he said to the idle one: "Though you
are lazy and negligent you claim to be diligent and ever mindful; but you have
made the other bhikkhu appear to be lazy and negligent though he is diligent and
ever mindful. You are like a weak and slow horse compared to my son who is like
a strong, fleet-footed horse."
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
|Verse 29: Mindful amongst the negligent, highly vigilant amongst the
drowsy, the man of wisdom advances like a race-horse, leaving the jade