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Verse 149: The Story of the Adhimanika Bhikkhus

White residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (149) of this book, with
reference to some Bhikkhus, who over-estimated themselves.

Five hundred Bhikkhus, after taking a subject of meditation from the Buddha, went into the
woods. There, they practised meditation ardently and diligently and soon attained deep
mental absorption (jhana) and they thought that they were free from sensual desires and,
therefore, had attained Arahatship. Actually, they were only over-estimating themselves.
Then, they went to the Buddha, with the intention of informing the Buddha about, what they
thought was their attainment of Arahatship.

When they arrived at the outer gate of the monastery, the Buddha said to the Venerable
Ananda, "Those Bhikkhus will not benefit much by coming to see me now; let them go to the
cemetery first and come to see me only afterwards." The Venerable Ananda then delivered
the message of the Buddha to those Bhikkhus, and they reflected, "The Enlightened One
knows everything; he must have some reason in making us go to the cemetery first." So they
went to the cemetery.

There, when they saw the putrid corpses they could look at them as just skeletons, and
bones, but when they saw some fresh naked dead bodies, they realized, with horror, that they
still had some sensual desires awakening in them. The Buddha saw them from his perfumed
chamber and sent forth the radiance; then he appeared to them and said, "Bhikkhus! Seeing
these bleached bones, is it proper for you to have any sensual desire in you?"

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 149: Like weed thrown away in autumn are these dove-grey bones;
what pleasure is there in seeing them?

At the end of the discourse, those five hundred Bhikkhus attained Arahatship.

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


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