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Verse 146: 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 misbehavior 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 place 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 dominate and entice 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 Fruition.

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


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