Dhammapada Verse 308
Vaggumudatiriya Bhikkhu Vatthu
Seyyo ayogulo bhutto
yance bhunjeyya dussilo
Verse 308: It is better for one to eat a red-hot lump of iron burning like a
flame than to eat alms-food offered by the people, if one is without morality
(sila) and unrestrained in thought, word and deed.
The Bhikkhus Who Lived on the Bank of the Vaggumuda River
While residing at the Mahavana forest near Vesali, the Buddha uttered Verse
(308) of this book, with reference to the bhikkhus who spent the vassa on the
bank of the Vaggumuda River.
At that time, there was a famine in the country of the Vajjis. So, to enable
them to have enough food, those bhikkhus made it appear to the people that they
had attained Magga and Phala although they had not done so. The people from the
village, believing them and respecting them, offered much food to them leaving
very little for themselves.
At the end of the vasa, as was customary, bhikkhus from all parts of the
country came to pay homage to the Buddha. The bhikkhus from the bank of the
river Vaggumuda also came. They looked hale and hearty while the other bhikkhus
looked pale and worn out. The Buddha talked to all the bhikkhus and enquired how
they fared during the vassa. To the bhikkhus from Vaggumuda River the Buddha
specifically asked whether they had any difficulty in getting alms-food on
account of the famine. They answered that they had no difficulty at all in
The Buddha knew how those bhikkhus had managed to get enough alms-food. But
he wanted to teach them on this point, so he asked, "How did you manage
so well in getting alms-food throughout the vassa ?" Then the bhikkhus
told him how they discussed among themselves and decided that they should
address one another in such a way that the villagers would think that they had
really attained jhana, Magga and Phala. Then the Buddha asked them whether they
had really attained jhana, Magga and Phala. When they answered in the negative,
the Buddha reprimanded them.
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
|Verse 308: It is better for one to eat a red-hot lump
of iron burning like a flame than to eat alms-food offered by the
people, if one is without morality (sila) and unrestrained in thought,
word and deed.