Dhammapada Verse 178
saggassa gamanena va
Verse 178: Far better than sovereignty over the earth, or far better than
going to the abodes of the devas, or far better than ruling supreme over the
entire universe, is (the attainment of) Sotapatti Fruition.
The Story of Kala, son of Anathapindika
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (178) of
this book, with reference to Kala, son of Anathapindika, the well renowned rich
man of Savatthi.
Kala, son of Anathapindika, always kept away whenever the Buddha and his
company of bhikkhus came to their house. Anathapindika was afraid that if his
son kept on behaving in this way, he would be reborn in one of the lower worlds
(apayas). So, he enticed his son with the promise of money. He promised to give
one hundred if the youth consented to go to the monastery and keep sabbath for
one day. So, the youth went to the monastery and returned home early the next
day, without listening to any religious discourses. His father offered him rice
gruel, but instead of taking his food, he first demanded to have the money.
The next day, the father said to his son, "My son, if you learn a stanza
of the Text from the Buddha I will give you one thousand on your return."
So, Kala went to the monastery again, and told the Buddha that he wanted to
learn something. The Buddha gave him a short stanza to learn by heart; at the
same time he willed that the youth would not be able to memorize it. Thus, the
youth had to repeat a single stanza many times, but because he had to repeat it
so many times, in the end, he came to perceive the full meaning of the Dhamma
and attained Sotapatti Fruition.
Early on the next morning, he followed the Buddha and the bhikkhus to his own
house. But on that day, he was silently wishing, "I wish my father would
not give me the one thousand in the presence of the Buddha. I do not wish the
Buddha to know that I kept the sabbath just for the sake of money." His
father offered rice gruel to the Buddha and the bhikkhus, and also to him. Then,
his father brought one thousand, and told Kala to take the money but
surprisingly he refused. His father pressed him to take it, but he still
refused. Then, Anathapindika said to the Buddha, "Venerable Sir, my son is
quite changed; he now behaves in a very pleasant manner." Then he related
to the Buddha how he had enticed the youth with money to go to the monastery and
keep sabbath and to learn some religious texts. To him the Buddha replied, "Anathapindika!
Today, your son has attained Sotapatti Fruition, which is much better than the
riches of the Universal Monarch or that of the devas or that of the
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
|Verse 178: Far better than sovereignty over the earth,
or far better than going to the abodes of the devas, or far better
than ruling supreme over the entire universe, is (the attainment of)
End of Chapter Thirteen: The World (Lokavagga)