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Verse 32: The Story of Thera Nigamavasitissa:

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (32) of this book, with
reference to Thera Nigamavasitissa.

Nigamavasitissa was born and brought up in a small market town near Savatthi. After becoming a
Bhikkhu he lived a very simple life, with very few wants. For alms-food, he used to go to the village
where his relatives were staying and took whatever was offered to him. He kept away from big
occasions. Even when Anathapindika and King Pasenadi of Kosala made offerings on a grand scale,
the thera did not go.

Some Bhikkhus then started talking about the thera that he kept close to his relatives and that he
did not care to go even when people like Anathapindika and King Pasenadi were making offerings on
a grand scale, etc. When the Buddha was told about this, he sent for the thera and asked him. The
thera respectfully explained the Buddha that it was true he frequently went to his village, but it
was only to get alms-food, that when he had received enough food, he did not go any further, and
that he never cared whether the food was delicious or not. Whereupon, instead of blaming him, the
Buddha praised him for his conduct in the presence of the other Bhikkhus. He also told them that
to live contentedly with only a few wants is in conformity with the practice of the Buddha and the
Noble Ones (Ariyas), and that all Bhikkhus should, indeed, be like Thera Tissa from the small
market town. In this connection, he further related the story of the king of the parrots.

Once upon a time, the king of the parrots lived in a grove of fig trees on the banks of the Ganges
river, with a large number of his followers. When the fruits were eaten, all the parrots left the
grove, except the parrot king, who was well contented with whatever was left in the tree where he
dwelt, be it shoot or leaf or bark. Sakka, knowing this and wanting to test the virtue of the parrot
king, withered up the tree by his supernormal power. Then, assuming the form of geese, Sakka and
his queen, Sujata, came to where the parrot king was and asked him why he did not leave the old
withered tree as the others had done and why he did not go to other trees which were still bearing
fruits. The parrot king replied, "Because of a feeling of gratitude towards the tree I did not leave
and as long as I could get just enough food to sustain myself I shall not forsake it. It would be
ungrateful for me to desert this tree even though it be inanimate."

Much impressed by this reply, Sakka revealed himself. He took water from the Ganges and poured
it over the withered fig tree and instantly, it was rejuvenated; it stood with branches lush and
green, and fully decked with fruits. Thus, the wise even as animals are not greedy; they are
contented with whatever is available.

The parrot king in the story was the Buddha himself; Sakka was Anuruddha.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 32. A Bhikkhu who takes delight in mindfulness and sees danger in negligence will not fall
away,* he is, indeed, very close to Nibbana.

{* will not fall away: It means, will not fall away from Tranquillity and Insight Development
Practice and is assured of attaining Magga and Phalla. ( The Commentary )

At the end of the discourse Thera Tissa attained Arahatship.

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


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