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Verse 118: The Story of Lajadevadhita

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (118) of this book,
with reference to Laja, a female deva.

At one time Thera Mahakassapa stayed in the Pipphali cave and remained in sustained
absorption in Concentration (samapatti) for seven days. Soon after he had arisen from
samapatti, wishing to give someone a chance of offering something to a thera just arisen
from samapatti, he looked out and found a young maid frying corn in a field-hut. So he stood
at her door for alms-food and she put all the pop corn into the bowl for the thera. As she
turned back after offering pop corn to the thera, she was bitten by a poisonous snake and
died. She was reborn in Tavatimsa deva world and was known as Laja (pop corn) devadhita.

Laja realized that she was reborn in Tavatimsa, because she had offered pop corn to Thera
Mahakassapa and felt very grateful to him. Then she concluded that she should keep on
doing some services to the thera in order to make her good fortune more enduring. So, every
morning she went to the monastery of the thera, swept the premises, filled up water pots,
and did other services. At first, the thera thought that young samaneras had done those
services; but one day, he found out that a female deva had been performing those services.
So he told her not to come to the monastery any more, as people might start talking if she
kept on coming to the monastery. Lajadevadhita was very upset; she pleaded with the thera
and cried, "Please do not destroy my riches, my wealth." The Buddha heard her cries and sent
forth the radiance from his chamber and said to the female deva, "devadhita, it is the duty
of my son Kassapa to stop your coming to the monastery; to do good deeds is the duty of one
who is anxious to gain merit."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 118. If a man does what is good, he should do it again and again; he should take delight in
it; the accumulation of merit leads to happiness.

At the end of the discourse, Lajadevadhita attained Sotapatti Fruition.

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


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