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Verse 114: The Story of Theri Kisagotami

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (114) of this book, with
reference to Kisagotami.

Kisagotami was the daughter of a rich man from Savatthi; she was known as Kisagotami
because of her slim body. Kisagotami was married to a rich young man and a son was born to
them. The boy died when he was just a toddler and Kisagotami was stricken with grief.
Carrying the dead body of her son, she went about asking for medicine that would restore
her son to life from everyone she happened to meet. People began to think that she had gone
mad. But a wise man seeing her condition thought that he should be of some help to her. So, he
said to her, "The Buddha is the person you should approach, he has the medicine you want; go
to him." Thus, she went to the Buddha and asked him to give her the medicine that would
restore her dead son to life.

The Buddha told her to get some mustard seeds from a house where there had been no death.
Carrying her dead child in her bosom. Kisagotami went from house to house, with the request
for some mustard seeds. Everyone was willing to help her, but she could not find a single
house where death had not occurred. Then, she realized that hers was not the only family
that had faced death and that there were more people dead than living. As soon as she
realized this, her attitude towards her dead son changed; she was no longer attached to the
dead body of her son.

She left the corpse in the jungle and returned to the Buddha and reported that she could
find no house where death had not occurred. Then the Buddha said, "Gotami, you thought that
you were the only one who had lost a son. As you have now realized, death comes to all beings;
before their desires are satiated death takes them away." On hearing this, Kisagotami fully
realized the impermanence, unsatisfactoriness and insubstantiality of the clusters of clinging and
attained Sotapatti Fruition.

Soon afterwards, Kisagotami became a Bhikkhuni. One day, as she was lighting the lamps she
saw the flames flaring up and dying out, and suddenly she clearly perceived the arising and
the perishing of beings. The Buddha, through supernormal power, saw her from his monastery,
and sent forth his radiance and appeared to her in person. Kisagotami was told to continue
meditating on the impermanent nature of all beings and to strive hard to realize Nibbana.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 114. Better than a hundred years in the life of a person who does not perceive the
Deathless (Nibbana), is a day in the life of one who perceives the Deathless (Nibbana).

At the end of the discourse Theri Kisagotami attained Arahatship.

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


Saved: 24 December 2016  https://What-Buddha-Said.net/Canon/Sutta/KN/Dhammapada.Verse_114.story.htm