Dhammapada Verse 304
Dure santo pakasenti
asantettha na dissanti
rattim khitta yatha sara.
Verse 304: Like the Himalayas, the good are visible even from afar; like
arrows shot in the night, the wicked are not seen even though they may be near.
The Story of Culasubhadda
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (304) of
this book, with reference to Culasubhadda the daughter of Anathapindika.
Anathapindika and Ugga, the rich man from Ugga, studied under the same
teacher when they were both young. Ugga had a son while Anathapindika had a
daughter. When their children came of age, Ugga asked for the consent of
Anathapindika to the marriage of their two children. So the marriage took place,
and Culasubhaddi, the daughter of Anathapindika, had to stay in the house of her
parents-in-law. Ugga and his family were followers of non-Buddhist ascetics.
Sometimes, they would invite those non-Buddhist ascetics to their house. On such
occasions, her parents-in-law would ask Culasubhadda to pay respect to those
naked ascetics, but she always refused to comply. Instead, she told her
mother-in-law about the Buddha and his unique qualities.
The mother-in-law of Culasubhadda was very anxious to see the Buddha when she
was told about him by her daughter-in-law. She even agreed to let Culasubhaddha
invite the Buddha for alms-food to their house. So, Culasubhadda prepared food
and collected other offerings for the Buddha and his disciples. She then went up
to the upper part of the house and looking towards the Jetavana monastery, she
made offerings of flowers and incense and contemplate the unique qualities and
virtues of the Buddha. She then spoke out her wish, "Venerable Sir! May it
please you to come with your disciples, to our house tomorrow. I, your devoted
lay-disciple, most respectfully invite you. May this invitation of mine be made
known to you by this symbol and gesture." Then she took eight fistfuls of
jasmin and threw them up into the sky. The flowers floated through the air all
the way to the Jetavana monastery and lay hanging from the ceiling of the
congregation hall where the Buddha was expounding the Dhamma.
At the end of the discourse, Anathapindika, the father of Culasubhadda,
approached the Buddha to invite him to have alms-food in his house the following
day. But the Buddha replied that he had already accepted Culasubhadda's
invitation for the next day.
Anathapindika was puzzled at the reply of the Buddha and said,"But,
Venerable Sir! Culasubhadda does not live here in Savatthi; she lives in Ugga at
a distance of one hundred and twenty yojanas from here." To him the Buddha
said, "True, householder, but the good are clearly visible as if they
are in one's very presence even though they may be living at a distance".
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
|Verse 304: Like the Himalayas, the good are visible
even from afar; like arrows shot in the night, the wicked are not seen
even though they may be near.
The next day, the Buddha came to the house of Ugga, the father-in-law of
Culasubhadda. The Buddha was accompanied by five hundred bhikkhus on this trip;
they all came through the air in decorated floats created by the order of Sakka,
king of the devas. Seeing the Buddha in his splendour and glory, the
parents-in-law of Culasubhadda were very much impressed and they paid homage to
the Buddha. Then, for the next seven days, Ugga, and his family gave alms-food
and made other offerings to the Buddha and his disciples.