Dhammapada Verse 37
ye cittam samyamissanti
Verse 37: The mind wanders far and moves about alone: it is non-material; it
lies in the cave (chamber) of the heart. Those who control their mind will be
free from the bonds of Mara.
1. ekacaram: walking alone, moves about alone, it means
conceiving one thought at a time, i.e., one thought arises only when another
2. guhasayam: lit., lying, or sleeping in a cave; mind
lies and arises continually in the cave (chamber) of the heart (hadayavatthu),
the seat of consciousness.
The Story of Thera Samgharakkhita
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (37) of
this book, with reference to the nephew of Thera Samgharakkhita.
Once, there lived in Savatthi, a senior bhikkhu by the name of
Samgharakkhita. When his sister gave birth to a son, she named the child after
the thera and he came to be known as Samgharakkhita Bhagineyya. The nephew
Samgharakkhita, in due course, was admitted into the Order. While the young
bhikkhu was staying in a village monastery he was offered two sets of robes, and
he intended to offer one to his uncle, the thera.
At the end of the vassa he went to his uncle to pay respect to him and
offered the robe to the thera. But, the uncle declined to accept the robe,
saying that he had enough. Although he repeated his request, the thera would not
accept. The young bhikkhu felt disheartened and thought that since his uncle was
so unwilling to share the requisites with him, it would be better for him to
leave the Order and live the life of a layman.
From that point, his mind wandered and a train of thoughts followed. He
thought that after leaving the Order he would sell the robe and buy a she-goat;
that she-goat would breed quickly and soon he would make enough money to enable
him to marry; his wife would give birth to a son. He would take his wife and
child in a small cart to visit his uncle at the monastery. On the way, he would
say that he would carry the child; she would tell him to drive the cart and not
to bother about the child. He would insist and grab the child from her; between
them the child would drop on the cart-track and the wheel would pass over the
child. He would get so furious with his wife that he would strike her with the
At that time he was fanning the thera with a palmyra fan and he
absentmindedly struck the head of the thera with the fan. The thera, knowing the
thoughts of the young bhikkhu, said, "You were unable to beat your wife;
why have you beaten an old bhikkhu?" Young Samgharakkhita was very much
surprised and embarrassed at the words of the old bhikkhu; he also became
extremely frightened. So he fled. Young bhikkhus and novices of the monastery
chased him and finally took him to the presence of the Buddha.
When told about the whole episode, the Buddha said that the mind has the
ability to think of an object even though it might be far away, and that one
should strive hard for liberation from the bondage of passion, ill will and
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
|Verse 37: The mind wanders far and moves about alone: it is
non-material; it lies in the cave (chamber) of the heart. Those who
control their mind will be free from the bonds of Mara.
At the end of the discourse the young bhikkhu attained Sotapatti Fruition.