Home  |  Minor Stories Index

Verse 75: The Story of Samanera Tissa of the Forest Monastery

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (75) of this book, with
reference to Tissa, a samanera, who dwelt in a forest monastery.

Tissa was the son of a rich man from Savatthi. His father used to offer alms-food to the Chief
Disciple Thera Sariputta in their house and so Tissa even as a child had met the Chief Disciple on many
occasions. At the age of seven he became a novice (samanera) under the Chief Disciple Thera Sariputta.
While he was staying at the Jetavana monastery, many of his friends and relatives came to see him,
bringing presents and offerings. The samanera found these visits to be very tiresome; so after
taking a subject of meditation from the Buddha, he left for a forest monastery. Whenever a
villager offered him anything, Tissa would just say 'May you be happy, may you be liberated from
the ills of life,' ("Sukhita hotha, dukkha muccatha"), and would go on his own way. While he stayed
at the forest monastery, he ardently and diligently practised meditation, and at the end of three
months he attained Arahatship.

After the vassa, the Venerable Thera Sariputta accompanied by the Venerable Maha Moggallana and
other senior disciples paid a visit to Samanera Tissa, with the permission of the Buddha. All the
villagers came out to welcome the Venerable Thera Sariputta and his company of four thousand Bhikkhus.
They also requested the Venerable Thera Sariputta to favour them with a discourse, but the Chief
Disciple declined; instead, he directed his pupil Tissa to deliver a discourse to the villagers. The
villagers, however, said that their teacher Tissa could only say "May you be happy, may you be
liberated from the ills of life," and asked the Chief Disciple to assign another Bhikkhu in his place.
But the Venerable Thera Sariputta insisted that Tissa should deliver a discourse on the dhamma, and said
to Tissa, "Tissa, talk to them about the dhamma and show them how to gain happiness and how to
be liberated from the ills of life."

Thus, in obedience to his teacher, Samanera Tissa went up the platform to deliver his discourse. He
explained to the audience the meaning of the aggregates (khandhas), sense bases and sense
objects (ayatanas), elements of the perpetuation of the Teaching (Bodhipakkhiya Dhamma), the
Path leading to Arahatship and Nibbana, etc. Finally he concluded, "And thus, those who attain
Arahatship are liberated from all the ills of life and have Perfect Peace; all the rest will still
wander about in the round of rebirths (samsara)."

The Venerable Thera Sariputta praised Tissa for having expounded the dhamma so well. Dawn was
approaching, when he finished his exposition, and all the villagers were very much impressed. Some
of them were surprised that Samanera Tissa knew the dhamma so well, but they were also
dissatisfied with him because formerly he had talked so little about the dhamma to them; the
others were happy and contented to find the samanera to be so learned and felt that they were
very lucky to have him amongst them.

The Buddha, with his supernormal power, saw from the Jetavana monastery these two groups of
villagers and appeared before them. His intention in coming to the village was to clear up the
misunderstanding amongst the first group of villagers. The Buddha arrived while the villagers were
preparing alms-food for the Bhikkhus. So, they had the opportunity to offer alms-food to the
Buddha as well. After the meal, the Buddha addressed the villagers, "O lay disciples, all of you are
so lucky to have Samanera Tissa amongst you. It is on account of his presence here that I myself,
my Chief Disciples, senior disciples and many other Bhikkhus now pay you a visit." These words
made them realize how fortunate they were to have Samanera Tissa with them and they were
satisfied. The Buddha then delivered a discourse to the villagers and the Bhikkhus, and
consequently, many of them attained Sotapatti Fruition.

After the discourse, the Buddha returned to the Jetavana monastery. In the evening, the Bhikkhus
said in praise of Tissa to the Buddha, "Venerable Sir, Samanera Tissa had performed a very
difficult task; he was so well provided with gifts and offerings of all kinds here in Savatthi, yet he
gave up all these to go and live solitarily in a forest monastery." To them the Buddha replied,
"Bhikkhus, a Bhikkhu, whether in town or in village, should not live for the sake of gifts and
offerings, if a Bhikkhu renounces all good prospects or worldly gain and diligently practices the
dhamma in solitude, he is sure to attain Arahatship."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows;

Verse 75. Indeed, the path that leads to worldly gain is one and the Path that leads to Nibbana is
another. Fully comprehending this, the Bhikkhu, the disciple of the Buddha, should not take delight
in worldly gain and honour, but devote himself to solitude, detachment and the realization of
Nibbana.

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_75.story.htm