Dhammapada Verse 259
Na tavata dhammadharo
yavata bahu bhasati
yo ca appampi sutvana
dhammam kayena passati
sa ve dhammadharo hoti
yo dhammam nappamajjati.
Verse 259: He is not "one versed in the Dhamma (Dhammadhara)" just
because he talks much. He who hears only a little but comprehends the Dhamma,
and is not unmindful is, indeed, "one versed in the Dhamma".
The Story of Ekudana the Arahat
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (259) of
this book, with reference to a bhikkhu who was an arahat.
This bhikkhu lived in a grove near Savatthi. He was known as Ekudana, because
he knew only one stanza of exultation (Udana) by heart. But the thera fully
understood the meaning of the Dhamma as conveyed by the stanza. On each sabbath
day, he would exhort others to listen to the Dhamma, and he himself would recite
the one stanza he knew. Every time he had finished his recitation, the guardian
spirits (devas) of the forests praised him and applauded him resoundingly. On
one sabbath day, two learned theras, who were well-versed in the Tipitaka,
accompanied by five hundred bhikkhus came to his place. Ekudana asked the two
theras to preach the Dhamma. They enquired if there were many who wished to
listen to the Dhamma in this out of the way place. Ekudana answered in the
affirmative and also told them that even the guardian spirits of the forests
usually came, and that they usually praised and applauded at the end of
So, the two learned theras took turns to preach the Dhamma, but when their
discourses ended, there was no applause from the guardian spirits of the
forests. The two learned theras were puzzled; they even doubted the words of
Ekudana. But Ekudana insisted that the guardian spirits used to come and always
applauded at the end of each discourse. The two theras then pressed Ekudana to
do the preaching himself. Ekudana held the fan in front of him and recited the
usual stanza. At the end of the recitation, the guardian spirits applauded as
usual. The bhikkhus who had accompanied the two learned theras complained that
the devas inhabiting the forests were very partial.
They reported the matter to the Buddha on arrival at the Jetavana monastery.
To them the Buddha said. "Bhikkhus! I do not say that a bhikkhu who has
learnt much and talks much of the Dhamma is one who is versed in the Dhamma,
(Dhammadhara)." One who has learnt very little and knows only one stanza of
the Dhamma, but fully comprehends the Four Noble Truths, and is ever mindful is
the one who is truly versed in the Dhamma."
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
|Verse 259: He is not "one versed in the Dhamma
(Dhammadhara)" just because he talks much. He who hears only a
little but comprehends the Dhamma, and is not unmindful is, indeed,
"one versed in the Dhamma".