Dhammapada Verses 268 and 269
Na monena muni hotimulharupo aviddasu
yo ca tulamva paggayha
varama1 daya pandito.
sa muni tena so muni
yo munati ubho loke2
"muni" tena pavuccati.
Verses 268 & 269: Not by silence does one become a muni, if one is
dull and ignorant. Like one holding a pair of scales, the wise one takes what is
good and rejects what is evil. For this reason he is a muni. He who
understands both internal and external aggregates is also, for that reason,
called a muni.
1. varam: the best, the good, the noble. In this context, it
means morality (sila), concentration (samadhi) and knowledge (panna), etc. (The
2. ubho loke: lit., both worlds, meaning internal and external
aggregates, or one's own aggregates as well as those of others.
The Story of the Followers of Non-Buddhist Doctrines
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses (268) and
(269) of this book, with reference to some non-Buddhist ascetics.
To those who offered them food or other things, those ascetics would say
words of blessing. They would say, "May you be free from danger, may you
prosper and get rich, may you live long," etc. At that time, the followers
of the Buddha did not say anything after receiving something from their
lay-disciples. This was because during the first twenty years after the Buddha's
attainment of Buddhahood they were instructed to remain silent on receiving
offerings. Since the followers of the Buddha were silent when ascetics of other
doctrines were saying things which were pleasing to their disciples, people
began to compare the two groups.
When the Buddha heard about this, he permitted the bhikkhus to say words of
blessing to their disciples after receiving offerings. As a result of that, more
and more people invited the followers of the Buddha for alms. Then, the ascetics
of other doctrines remarked with disdain: "We adhere to the practice of the
muni and keep silent, whereas the followers of Samana Gotama go about talking
exuberantly in the eating places." On hearing those disparaging remarks,
the Buddha said, "Bhikkhus! There are some who keep silent because they
are ignorant and timid, and some who keep silent because they do not want to
share their profound knowledge with others. Only one who has overcome evil is to
be called a muni."
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
|Verses 268 & 269: Not by silence does one become a
muni, if one is dull and ignorant. Like one holding a pair of
scales, the wise one takes what is good and rejects what is evil. For
this reason he is a muni. He who understands both internal and
external aggregates is also, for that reason, called a muni.