| Minor Stories Index
78: The Story of Thera Channa
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the
Buddha uttered Verse (78) of this
reference to Thera Channa.
Channa was the attendant who accompanied Prince Siddhattha, when he renounced the
and left the palace on horseback. When the prince attained Buddhahood, Channa
also became a
Bhikkhu. As a Bhikkhu, he was very arrogant and overbearing because of his close
to the Buddha. Channa used to say, "I came along with my Master, when he left the
the forest. At that time, I was the only companion of my Master and there was no
one else. But
Sariputta and Moggallana are saying, 'we are the Chief Disciples,' and are
about the place."
When the Buddha sent for him and admonished him for his behaviour, he kept
continued to abuse and taunt the two Chief Disciples. Thus the Buddha sent for
admonished him three times; still, he did not change. And again, the Buddha sent
and said, "Channa, these two noble Bhikkhus are good friends to you; you should
them and be on good terms with them."
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
Verse 78. One should not associate with bad friends, nor with the vile. One
should associate with
good friends, and with those who are noble.
In spite of repeated admonitions and advice given by the Buddha, Channa did as
he pleased and
continued to scold and abuse the Bhikkhus. The Buddha, knowing this, said that
not change during the Buddha's lifetime but after his demise (parinibbana)
surely change. On the eve of his parinibbana, the Buddha called Thera Ananda to
and instructed him to impose the Brahma-punishment (Brahmadanda) to Channa;
i.e., for the
Bhikkhus to simply ignore him and to have nothing to do with him.
After the parinibbana of the Buddha, Channa, learning about the punishment from
Ananda, felt a deep and bitter remorse for having done wrong and he fainted
Then, he owned up his guilt to the Bhikkhus and asked for pardon. From that
changed his ways and outlook. He also obeyed their instructions in his
meditation practice and
soon attained Arahatship.
Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A.,
Burma Pitaka Association, Rangoon, Burma 1986.
24 December 2016