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The Story of Thera Cakkhupala (Verse 1)

While residing at the Jetavana monastery in Savatthi, the Buddha uttered Verse (1) of
this book, with reference to Cakkhupala, a blind thera.

On one occasion, Thera Cakkhupala came to pay homage to the Buddha at the Jetavana
monastery. One night, while pacing up and down in meditation, the thera accidentally
stepped on some insects. In the morning, some Bhikkhus visiting the thera found the dead
insects. They thought ill of the thera and reported the matter to the Buddha. The Buddha
asked them whether they had seen the thera killing the insects. When they answered in
the negative, the Buddha said, "Just as you had not seen him killing, so also he had not
seen those living insects. Besides, as the thera had already attained Arahatship he could
have no intention of killing and so was quite innocent." On being asked why Cakkhupala
was blind although he was an Arahat, the Buddha told the following story:

Cakkhupala was a physician in one of his past existences. Once, he had deliberately made
a woman patient blind. That woman had promised him to become his slave, together with
her children, if her eyes were completely cured. Fearing that she and her children would
have to become slaves, she lied to the physician. She told him that her eyes were getting
worse when, in fact, they were perfectly cured. The physician knew she was deceiving
him, so in revenge, he gave her another ointment, which made her totally blind. As a result
of this evil deed the physician lost his eyesight many times in his later existences.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows: Verse 1: All mental phenomena have mind as
their forerunner; they have mind as their chief; they are mind-made. If one speaks or acts
with an evil mind, 'dukkha' follows him just as the wheel follows the hoofprint of the ox
that draws the cart.

At the end of the discourse, thirty thousand Bhikkhus attained Arahatship together with
Analytical Insight (Patisambhida).

Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A.,
Burma Pitaka Association, Rangoon, Burma 1986.


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