Dhammapada Verses 58 and 59
padumam tattha jayetha
Verses 58 - 59: As a sweet-smelling and beautiful lotus flower may grow upon
a heap of rubbish thrown on the highway, so also, out of the rubbish heap of
beings may appear a disciple of the Buddha, who with his wisdom shines forth far
above the blind (ignorant) worldlings.
1. sankarabhutesu: rubbish heap of beings.
2. andhabhute puthujjane: blind worldlings. The worldlings are like
the blind because they are lacking in knowledge.
The Story of Garahadinna
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses (58) and
(59) of this book, with reference to a rich man named Garahadinna and the
miracle of the lotus flowers.
There were two friends named Sirigutta and Garahadinna in Savatthi. Sirigutta
was a follower of the Buddha and Garahadinna was a follower of the Niganthas,
the ascetics who were hostile to the Buddhists. At the instance of the
Niganthas, Garahadinna often said to Sirigutta, "What benefit do you get by
following the Buddha? Come, be a follower of my teachers." Having been told
thus many times, Sirigutta said to Garahadinna, "Tell me, what do your
teachers know?" To this, Garahadinna replied that his teachers knew
everything; with their great power they knew the past, the present and the
future and also the thoughts of others. So, Sirigutta invited the Niganthas to
his house for alms-food.
Sirigutta wanted to find out the truth about the Niganthas, whether they
really possessed the power of knowing other people's thoughts, etc. So he made a
long, deep trench and filled it up with excreta and filth. Seats were then
placed precariously over the trench; and big empty pots were brought in and
covered up with cloth and banana leaves to make them appear as if they were full
of rice and curries. When the Niganthas arrived, they were requested to enter
one by one, to stand near their respective seats, and to sit down
simultaneously. As all of them sat down, the flimsy strings broke and the
Niganthas fell into the filthy trench. Then Sirigutta taunted them, "Why
don't you know the past, the present and the future? Why don't you know the
thoughts of others?" All the Niganthas then fled in terror.
Garahadinna naturally was furious with Sirigutta and refused to talk to him
for two weeks. Then, he decided that he would have his revenge on Sirigutta. He
pretended that he was no longer angry, and one day asked Sirigutta to invite, on
his behalf, the Buddha and his five hundred disciples to partake of alms-food.
So Sirigutta went to the Buddha and invited him to the house of Garahadinna. At
the same time, he told the Buddha about what he had done to the Niganthas, the
teachers of Garahadinna. He also expressed his fear that this invitation might
be a reprisal and so the invitation should be accepted only after due
The Buddha, with his supernormal power, knew that this would be the occasion
for the two friends to attain Sotapatti Fruition, and therefore accepted the
invitation. Garahadinna made a trench, filled it with live coals and covered it
with mats. He also kept some empty pots covered with cloth and banana leaves to
make them appear as if filled with rice and curries. The next day, the Buddha
came followed by five hundred bhikkhus in single file. When the Buddha stepped
on the mat over the trench, the mat and live coals miraculously disappeared, and
five hundred lotus flowers, each as large as a cart wheel, sprang up for the
Buddha and his disciples to sit upon.
Seeing this miracle, Garahadinna was very much alarmed and he said rather
incoherently to Sirigutta, "Help me, dear friend. Out of my desire for
revenge, I have truly done a great wrong. My bad designs have had no effect at
all on your Teacher. The pots in my kitchen are all empty. Please help me."
Sirigutta then told Garahadinna to go and look at the pots. When Garahadinna
found all the pots filled with food he was astounded and at the same time very
much relieved and very happy. So the food was offered to the Buddha and his
disciples. After the meal, the Buddha expressed his appreciation (anumodana) of
the meritorious act and then said, "Ignorant worldlings, lacking in
knowledge, do not know the unique qualities of the Buddha, the Dhamma and the
Samgha and so they are like the blind; but the wise, having knowledge, are like
people with sight."
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
|Verses 58 - 59: As a sweet-smelling and beautiful lotus flower may
grow upon a heap of rubbish thrown on the highway, so also, out of the
rubbish heap of beings may appear a disciple of the Buddha, who with
his wisdom shines forth far above the blind (ignorant) worldlings.
At the end of the discourse, both Garahadinna and Sirigutta attained
End of Chapter Four: Flowers (Pupphavagga)