The Story of Two Friends (Verses 19
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the
Buddha uttered Verses (19) and
this book, with reference to two Bhikkhus who were friends.
Once there were two friends of noble family, two Bhikkhus from Savatthi.
One of them
learned the Tipitaka and was very proficient in reciting and preaching the
He taught five hundred Bhikkhus and became the instructor of eighteen groups of
The other Bhikkhu striving diligently and ardently in the course of
attained Arahatship together with Analytical
On one occasion, when the second Bhikkhu came to pay homage to the Buddha, at
Jetavana monastery, the two Bhikkhus met, The master of the Tipitaka did not
that the other had already become an Arahat. He looked down on the other,
this old Bhikkhu knew very little of the sacred texts, not even one out of the
or one out of the three Pitakas. So he thought of putting questions to the
other, and thus
embarrass him. The
Buddha knew about his unkind intention and he also knew that
result of giving trouble to such a noble disciple as this one, the
reborn in a lower world.
So, out of compassion, the
Buddha visited the two Bhikkhus to prevent the
questioning the other Bhikkhu. The
Buddha himself did the questioning. He put
on jhanas and maggas to the master of the Tipitaka; but he could not answer them
because he had not practisedm what he had taught. The other Bhikkhu, having
Dhamma and having attained Arahatship, could answer all the questions. The
praised the one who practised the Dhamma (i.e., a vipassaka), but not a single
praise was spoken for the learned scholar (i.e., a ganthika).
The resident disciples could not understand why the
Buddha had words of praise
old Bhikkhu and not for their learned teacher. So, the
Buddha explained the
them. The scholar who knows a great deal, but does not practice in accordance
Dhamma is like a cowherd, who looks after the cows for wages, while the one who
practices in accordance with the Dhamma is like the owner who enjoys the five
produce of the cows. Thus, the scholar enjoys only the services rendered to him
pupils, but not the benefits of Magga-phala. The other Bhikkhu, though he knows
recites only a little of the sacred texts, having clearly comprehended the
essence of the
Dhamma and having practised diligently and strenuously, is an 'anudhammacari',
has eradicated passion, ill will and ignorance. His mind being totally freed
defilements and from all attachments to this world as well as to the next, he
the benefits of Magga-phala.
Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
Verse 19: Though he recites much the Sacred Texts (Tipitaka), but is negligent
not practice according to the Dhamma, like a cowherd who counts the cattle of
has no share in the benefits of the life of a Bhikkhu (i.e., Magga-phala).
Verse 20: Though he recites only a little of the Sacred Texts (Tipitaka), but
according to the Dhamma, eradicating passion, ill will and ignorance, clearly
comprehending the Dhamma, with his mind freed from moral defilements and no
clinging to this world or to the next, he shares the benefits of the life of a
Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A.,
Burma Pitaka Association, Rangoon, Burma 1986.