Dhammapada Verse 251
Panca Upasaka Vatthu
Natthi ragasamo aggi
natthi dosasamo gaho
natthi mohasamam jalam
natthi tanhaisama nadi1.
Verse 251: There is no fire like passion, there is no grip like ill will,
there is no net like ignorance, there is no river like craving.
1. natthi tanhasama nadi: There is no river like craving. This is because
although a river can be full at times, craving can never be full, ie., satiated.
The Story of Five Lay-disciples
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (251) of
this book, with reference to five lay disciples.
On one occasion, five lay-disciples were present while the Buddha was
expounding the Dhamma at the Jetavana monastery. One of them was asleep while
sitting, the second one was drawing lines with his fingers on the ground, the
third was trying to shake a tree, the fourth was looking up at the sky. The
fifth was the only one who was respectfully and attentively listening to the
Buddha. Thera Ananda, who was near the Buddha fanning him saw the different
behaviour of the five disciples and said to the Buddha, "Venerable Sir!
While you were expounding the Dhamma like big drops of rain falling from the
sky, only one out of those five people were listening attentively." Then
Thera Ananda described the different behaviour of the other four to the Buddha
and asked why they were behaving thus.
The Buddha then explained to Thera Ananda, "Ananda, these people
could not get rid of their old habits. In their past existences, the first one
was a snake; as a snake usually coils itself up and goes to sleep, so also, this
man goes to sleep while listening to the Dhamma. The one who was scratching the
earth with his hand was an earthworm, the one who was shaking the tree was a
monkey, the one who was gazing up at the sky was an astronomer and the one who
was listening attentively to the Dhamma was a learned astrologer. In this
connection, Ananda, you must remember that one must be attentive to be able to
understand the Dhamma and that there are many people who cannot follow what was
Thera Ananda then asked the Buddha, "Venerable Sir! What are the things
that prevent people from being able to take in the Dhamma?" And the Buddha
replied, "Ananda, passion (raga), ill will (dosa) and ignorance (moha)
are the three things that prevent people from taking in the Dhamma. Passion
burns one; there is no fire like passion. The world may burn up when seven suns
rise in the sky, but that happens very rarely. Passion burns always and without
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
|Verse 251: There is no fire like passion, there is no
grip like ill will, there is no net like ignorance, there is no river
At the end of the discourse the one who was listening attentively attained