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Verses 51 and 52: The Story of Chattapani, a Lay Disciple

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses (51) and (52) of this
hook, with reference to the lay disciple Chattapani and the two queens of King Pasenadi of
Kosala.

A lay disciple named Chattapani who was an anagami* lived in Savatthi. On one occasion,
Chattapani was with the Buddha at the Jetavana monastery respectfully and attentively
listening to a religious discourse, when King Pasenadi also came to the Buddha. Chattapani did
not stand up because he thought that by standing up, it might mean that he was paying
respect to the king, but not paying due respect to the Buddha. The king took that as an insult
and was very much offended. The Buddha knew exactly how the king was feeling; so he spoke
in praise of Chattapani, who was well-versed in the Dhamma and had also attained the
Anagami Fruition. On hearing this, the king was impressed and favourably inclined towards
Chattapani.

When the king next met Chattapani he said, "You are so learned; could you please come to the
palace and give lessons of the Dhamma to my two queens?" Chattapani declined but he
suggested that the king should request the Buddha to assign a Bhikkhu for this purpose. So,
the king approached the Buddha in connection with this, and the Buddha directed the
Venerable Ananda to go regularly to the palace and teach the Dhamma to queen Mallika and
queen Vasabhakhattiya. After some time, the Buddha asked the Venerable Ananda about the
progress of the two queens. The Venerable Ananda answered that although Mallika was
learning the Dhamma seriously, Vasabhakhattiya was not paying proper attention. On hearing
this the Buddha said that the Dhamma could be of benefit only to those who learn it seriously
with due respect and proper attention and then practise diligently what was taught.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 51. Just as a beautiful flower, lacking in scent, cannot give the wearer the benefit of
its scent, so also, the well-preached words of the Buddha cannot benefit one who does not
practise the Dhamma.

Verse 52. Just as a flower, beautiful as well as fragrant, will give the wearer the benefit of
its scent, so also, the well-preached words of the Buddha will benefit one who practises the
Dhamma.

* Anagami; one who has attained the third Magga.

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


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