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Verse 25: The Story of Culapanthaka:

While residing at the Veluvana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (25) of this book, with
reference to Culapanthaka, a grandson of a banker of Rajagaha.

The banker had two grandsons, named Mahapanthaka and Culapanthaka. Mahapanthaka, being the
elder, used to accompany his grandfather to listen to religious discourses. Later, Mahapanthaka
joined the Buddhist religious Order and in course of time became an Arahat. Culapanthaka followed
his brother and became a Bhikkhu. But, because in a previous existence in the time of Kassapa
Buddha Culapanthaka had made fun of a Bhikkhu who was very dull, he was born a dullard in the
present existence. He could not even memorize one verse in four months. Mahapanthaka was very
disappointed with his younger brother and even told him that he was not worthy of the Order.

About that time, Jivaka came to the monastery to invite the Buddha and the resident Bhikkhus to
his house for a meal. Mahapanthaka, who was then in charge of assigning the Bhikkhus to meal
invitations, left out Culapanthaka from the list. When Culapanthaka learnt about this he felt very
much frustrated and decided that he would return to the life of a householder. Knowing his
intention, the Buddha took him along and made him sit in front of the Gandhakuti hall. He then gave
a clean piece of cloth to Culapanthaka and told him to sit there facing east and rub the piece of
cloth. At the same time he was to repeat the word "Rajoharanam", which means "taking on
impurity." The Buddha then went to the residence of Jivaka, accompanied by the Bhikkhus.

Meanwhile, Culapanthaka went on rubbing the piece of cloth, all the time muttering the word
"Rajoharanam". Very soon, the cloth became soiled. Seeing this change in the condition of the cloth,
Culapanthaka came to realize the impermanent nature of all conditioned things. From the house of
Jivaka, the Buddha through super normal power learnt about the progress of Culapanthaka. He
sent forth his radiance so that (to Culapanthaka) the Buddha appeared to be sitting in front of
him, saying:

"It is not the piece of cloth alone that is made dirty by the dust; within oneself also there exist the
dust of passion (raga), the dust of ill will (dosa), and the dust of ignorance (moha), i.e., the
ignorance of the Four Noble Truths. Only by removing these could one achieve one's goal and
attain Arahatship". Culapanthaka got the message and kept on meditating and in a short while
attained Arahatship, together with Analytical Insight. Thus, Culapanthaka ceased to be a dullard.

At the house of Jivaka, they were about to pour libation water as a mark of donation; but the
Buddha covered the bowl with his hand and asked if there were any Bhikkhus left at the
monastery. On being answered that there were none, the Buddha replied that there was one and
directed them to fetch Culapanthaka from the monastery. When the messenger from the house of
Jivaka arrived at the monastery he found not only one Bhikkhu, but a thousand identical Bhikkhus.
They all have been created by Culapanthaka, who by now possessed supernormal powers The
messenger was baffled and he turned back and reported the matter to Jivaka. The messenger was
sent to the monastery for the second time and was instructed to say that the Buddha summoned
the Bhikkhu by the name of Culapanthaka. But when he delivered the message, a thousand voices
responded, "I am Culapanthaka." Again baffled, he turned back for the second time. Then he was
sent to the monastery, for the third time. This time, he was instructed to get hold of the Bhikkhu
who first said that he was Culapanthaka. As soon as he got hold of that Bhikkhu all the rest
disappeared, and Culapanthaka accompanied the messenger to the house of Jivaka. After the meal,
as directed by the Buddha, Culapanthaka delivered a religious discourse confidently and bravely,
roaring like a young lion.

Later, when the subject of Culapanthaka cropped up among the Bhikkhus, the Buddha said that one
who was diligent and steadfast in his striving would certainly attain Arahatship.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 25: Through diligence, mindfulness, discipline (with regard to moral precepts), and control of
his senses, let the man of wisdom make (of himself) an island which no flood can overwhelm.

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


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