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Verse 41: The Story of Tissa, the Thera with a Stinking Body!

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (41) of this book, with
reference to Thera Tissa.

After taking a subject of meditation from the Buddha, Thera Tissa was diligently practicing
meditation when he was afflicted with a disease. Small boils appeared all over his body and these
developed into big sores. When these sores burst, his upper and lower robes became sticky and
stained with pus and blood, and his whole body was stinking. For this reason, he was known as
Putigatta-Tissa, Tissa the thera with stinking body.

As the Buddha surveyed the universe with the light of his own intellect, the thera appeared in his
vision. He saw the sorrowful state of the thera, who had been abandoned by his resident pupils on
account of his stinking body. At the same time, he also knew that Tissa would soon attain
Arahatship. So, the Buddha proceeded to the fire-shed, close to the place where the thera was
staying. There, he boiled some water, and then going, to where the thera was lying down, took hold
of the edge of the couch. It was then only that the resident pupils gathered round the thera, and
as instructed by the Buddha, they carried the thera to the fire-shed, where he was washed and
bathed. While he was being bathed, his upper and lower robes were washed and dried. After the
bath, the thera became fresh in body and mind and soon developed one-pointedness of
concentration. Standing at the head of the couch, the Buddha said to him that this body when
devoid of life would be as useless as a log and would be laid on the earth.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 41. Before long, alas, this body, deprived of consciousness, will lie on the earth, discarded
like a useless log.

At the end of the discourse Thera Tissa attained Arahatship together with Analytical Insight, and
soon after passed away.


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


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