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Verse 69: The Story or Theri Uppalavanna

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (69) of this book, with
reference to Theri Uppalavanna.

Once there was a young daughter of a rich man in Savatthi. Because she was so beautiful, with
looks so tender and sweet, like a blue lotus flower, she was called " Uppalavanna", the blue lotus.
The fame of her beauty spread far and wide and there were many suitors: princes, rich men and
many others. But she decided that it would be better for her to become a Bhikkhuni, a female
member of the Buddhist Order. One day, after lighting a lamp, she kept her mind fixed on the
flame and meditating on the fire kasina (object of concentration) she soon achieved Magga Insight
and finally attained Arahatship.

Some time later, she moved to the 'Dark Forest' (Andhavana) and lived in solitude. While Theri
Uppalavanna was out on her alms-round, Nanda, the son of her uncle, came to her monastery and
hid himself underneath her couch. Nanda had fallen in love with Uppalavanna before she became a
Bhikkhuni; his intention obviously was to take her by force. When Uppalavanna returned she saw
Nanda and said, "You fool! Do no harm, do not molest." But he would not be stopped. After
satisfying himself, he left her. As soon as he stepped on the ground, the earth opened wide and he
was swallowed up.

Hearing about this, the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 69. As long as the evil deed does not bear fruit, the fool thinks it is sweet like honey; but
when his evil deed does bear fruit, the fool suffers for it.

At the end of the discourse, many attained Sotapatti Fruition.

The Buddha next sent for King Pasenadi of Kosala and told him about the dangers that Bhikkhunis
living in forests had to face from irresponsible persons obsessed with sex. The king then promised
to build monasteries for Bhikkhunis only in towns or close to the towns.

The story is continued at verse 401:

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_69.story.htm