Dhammapada Verse 109
cattaro dhamma vaddhanti
ayu vanno sukham balam.
Verse 109: For one who always respects and honours those who are older and
more virtuous, four benefits, viz., longevity, beauty, happiness and strength,
The Story of Ayuvaddhanakumara
While residing in a village monastery near Dighalanghika, the Buddha uttered
Verse (109) of this book, with reference to Ayuvaddhanakumara.
Once, there were two hermits who fixed together practising religious
austerities (tapacaranam) for forty eight years. Later, one of the two
left the hermit life and got married. After a son was born, the family visited
the old hermit and paid obeisance to him. To the parents the hermit said,
"May you live long," but he said nothing to the child. The parents
were puzzled and asked the hermit the reason for his silence. The hermit told
them that the child would live only seven more days and that he did not know how
to prevent his death, but Gotama Buddha might know how to do it.
So the parents took the child to the Buddha; when they paid obeisance to the
Buddha, he also said, "May you live long" to the parents only and not
to the child. The Buddha also predicted the impending death of the child. To
prevent his death, the parents were told to build a pavilion at the entrance to
the house, and put the child on a couch in the pavilion. Then some bhikkhus were
sent there to recite the parittas* for seven days. On the seventh day the
Buddha himself came to that pavilion; the devas from all over the universe also
came. At that time the ogre Avaruddhaka was at the entrance, waiting for a
chance to take the child away. But as more powerful devas arrived the ogre had
to step back and make room for them so that he had to stay at a place two
yojanas away from the child. That whole night, recitation of parittas continued,
thus protecting the child. The next day, the child was taken up from the couch
and made to pay obeisance to the Buddha. This time, the Buddha said, "May
you live long" to the child. When asked how long the child would live,
the Buddha replied that he would live up to one hundred and twenty years. So the
child was named Ayuvaddhana.
When the child grew up, he went about the country with a company of five
hundred fellow devotees. One day, they came to the Jetavana monastery, and the
bhikkhus, recognizing him, asked the Buddha, "For beings, is there any
means of gaining longevity?" To this question the Buddha answered, "By
respecting and honouring the elders and those who are wise and virtuous, one
would gain not only longevity, but also beauty, happiness and strength."
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
|Verse 109: For one who always respects and honours
those who are older and more virtuous, four benefits, viz., longevity,
beauty, happiness and strength, will increase.
At the end of the discourse, Ayuvaddhana and his five hundred companions
attained Sotapatti Fruition.
*Parittas: religious stanzas that are usually recited for
protection against harmful influences.