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Verses 44 and 45: The Story of Five Hundred Bhikkhus

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses (44) and (45) of this
book, with reference to five hundred Bhikkhus.

Five hundred Bhikkhus, after accompanying the Buddha to a village, returned to the Jetavana
monastery. In the evening, while the Bhikkhus were talking about the trip, especially the
condition of the land, whether it was level or hilly, or whether the soil was clayey or sandy,
red or black, etc., the Buddha came to them. Knowing the subject of their talk, he said to
them, "Bhikkhus, the earth you are talking about is external to the body; it is better, indeed,
to examine your own body and make preparations (for meditation practice)."

The Buddha then spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 44. Who shall examine this earth (i.e., this body)' the world of Yama (i.e., the four
Apayas) and the world of man together with the world of devas? Who shall examine the well-
taught Path of Virtue (Dhammapada) as an expert florist picks and chooses flowers?

Verse 45. The Ariya Sekha* shall examine this earth (i.e., the body), the world of Yama (i.e.,
the four Apayas) and the world of man together with the world of devas. The Ariya Sekha
shall examine the well-taught Path of Virtue (Dhammapada) as an expert florist picks and
chooses flowers.

At the end of the discourse those five hundred Bhikkhus attained Arahatship.

* Sekha/Ariya Sekha: one who practices the Dhamma and has entered the Path, but has not
yet become an Arahat. Sekha = A noble learner. Asekha = A noble learned.

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


Saved: 24 December 2016   https://What-Buddha-Said.net/Canon/Sutta/KN/Dhammapada.Verse_44_45.story.htm