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Verse 37: The Story of Thera Sangharakkhita.

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (37) of this book, with
reference to the nephew of Thera Sangharakkhita..

Once, there lived in Savatthi, a senior Bhikkhu by the name of Sangharakkhita.. When his sister
gave birth to a son, she named the child after the thera and he came to be known as
Sangharakkhita. Bhagineyya. The nephew Sangharakkhita., in due course, was admitted into the
Order. While the young Bhikkhu was staying in a village monastery he was offered two sets of
robes, and he intended to offer one to his uncle, the thera.

At the end of the vassa he went to his uncle to pay respect to him and offered the robe to the
thera. But, the uncle declined to accept the robe, saying that he had enough. Although he repeated
his request, the thera would not accept. The young Bhikkhu felt disheartened and thought that
since his uncle was so unwilling to share the requisites with him, it would be better for him to leave
the Order and live the life of a layman.

From that point, his mind wandered and a train of thoughts followed. He thought that after leaving
the Order he would sell the robe and buy a she-goat; that she-goat would breed quickly and soon
he would make enough money to enable him to marry; his wife would give birth to a son. He would
take his wife and child in a small cart to visit his uncle at the monastery. On the way, he would say
that he would carry the child; she would tell him to drive the cart and not to bother about the
child. He would insist and grab the child from her; between them the child would drop on the cart-
track and the wheel would pass over the child. He would get so furious with his wife that he would
strike her with the goading-stick.

At that time he was fanning the thera with a palmyra fan and he absentmindedly struck the head
of the thera with the fan. The thera, knowing the thoughts of the young Bhikkhu, said, "You were
unable to beat your wife; why have you beaten an old Bhikkhu ?" Young Sangharakkhita. was very
much surprised and embarrassed at the words of the old Bhikkhu; he also became extremely
frightened. So he fled. Young Bhikkhus and novices of the monastery chased him and finally took
him to the presence of the Buddha.

When told about the whole episode, the Buddha said that the mind has the ability to think of an
object even though it might be far away, and that one should strive hard for liberation from the
bondage of passion, ill will and ignorance.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 37. The mind wanders far and moves about alone: it is non-material; it lies in the cave
(chamber) of the heart. Those who control their mind will be free from the bonds of Mara

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.

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