Dhammapada Verse 146
Visakhaya Sahayikanam Vatthu
Ko nu haso kimanando
niccam pajjalite1 sati
padipam3 na gavesatha.
Verse 146: Why is there laughter? Why is there joy although (the world) is
always burning? Shrouded in darkness why not seek the light?
1. pajjalite: burning, in this context, it means burning with
fires of passion, etc. (The Commentary)
2. andhakarena: darkness, in this context, ignorance of the Four
Noble Truths. (The Commentary)
3. padipam: light, in this context, wisdom. (The Commentary)
The Story of the Companions of Visakha
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (146) of
this book, with reference to companions of Visakha.
Five hundred men from Savatthi, wishing to make their wives to be generous,
kind-hearted and virtuous like Visakha, sent them to Visakha to be her constant
companions. During a bacchanalian festival which lasted for seven days, the
wives of those men took all the drinks left by their husbands and got drunk in
the absence of Visakha. For this misbehaviour they were beaten by their
husbands. On another occasion, saying that they wished to listen to the Buddha's
discourse, they asked Visakha to take them to the Buddha and secretly took small
bottles of liquor hidden in their clothes.
On arrival at the monastery, they drank all the liquor they had brought and
threw away the bottles. Visakha requested the Buddha to teach them the Dhamma.
By that time, the women were getting intoxicated and felt like singing and
dancing. Mara, taking this opportunity made them bold and shameless, and soon
they were boisterously singing, dancing, clapping and jumping about in the
monastery. The Buddha saw the hand of Mara in the shameless behaviour of these
women and said to himself, "Mara must not be given the
opportunity." So, the Buddha sent forth dark-blue rays from his body
and the whole room was darkened; the women were frightened and began to get
sober. Then, the Buddha vanished from his seat and stood on top of Mount Meru,
and from there he sent forth white rays and the sky was lit up as if by a
thousand moons. After thus manifesting his powers, the Buddha said to those five
hundred women, "You ladies should not have come to my monastery in this
unmindful state. Because you have been negligent Mara has had the opportunity to
make you behave shamelessly, laughing and singing loudly, in my monastery. Now,
strive to put out the fire of passion (raga) which is in you".
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
|Verse 146: Why is there laughter? Why is there joy
although (the world) is always burning? Shrouded in darkness why not
seek the light?
At the end of the discourse those five hundred women attained Sotapatti