| Minor Stories Index
Verse 147: The story of
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (147) of this
reference to Sirima the courtesan.
Once, there lived in Rajagaha, a very beautiful courtesan by the name of Sirima.
Sirima offered alms-food to eight Bhikkhus. One of these Bhikkhus happened to
other Bhikkhus how beautiful Sirima was and also that she offered very delicious
food to the
Bhikkhus every day. On hearing this, a young Bhikkhu fell in love with Sirima
seeing her. The next day, the young Bhikkhu went with the other Bhikkhus to the
Sirima. Sirima was not well on that day, but since she wanted to pay obeisance
Bhikkhus, she was carried to their presence. The young Bhikkhu, seeing Sirima,
himself, "Even though she is sick, she is very beautiful !" And he felt a strong
desire for her.
That very night, Sirima died. King Bimbisara went to the Buddha and reported to
Sirima, the sister of Jivaka, had died. The Buddha told King Bimbisara to take
the dead body
to the cemetery and keep it there for three days without burying it, but to have
from crows and vultures. The king did as he was told. On the fourth day, the
dead body of
the beautiful Sirima was no longer beautiful or desirable; it got bloated and
out from the nine orifices. On that day, the Buddha took his Bhikkhus to the
observe the body of Sirima. The king also came with his men. The young Bhikkhu,
who was so
desperately in love with Sirima, did not know that Sirima had died. When he
learnt that the
Buddha and the Bhikkhus were going to see Sirima, he joined them. At the
corpse of Sirima was surrounded by the Bhikkhus headed by the Buddha, and also
by the king
and his men.
The Buddha then asked the king to get a
drummer announce that Sirima would be
on payment of one thousand in cash per night. But no body would take her for one
or for five hundred, or for two hundred and fifty, or even if she were to be
given free of
charge. Then the Buddha said to the audience, "Bhikkhus! Look at Sirima. When
she was living,
there were many who were willing to give one thousand to spend one night with
her; but now
none would take her even if given without any payment. The body of a person is
sure decay and degradation"
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
Verse 147: Look at this dressed up body, a mass of sores,
a frame of bones,
sickly, a subject
of many thoughts (of sensual desire). Indeed, that body is neither permanent nor
At the end of the discourse, the young Bhikkhu attained Sotapatti Fruition.
Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A.,
Burma Pitaka Association, Rangoon, Burma 1986.
24 December 2016