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Verse 79: The Story of Thera Mahakappina

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (79) of this book, with
reference to Thera Mahakappina.

Mahakappina was king of Kukkutavati. He had a queen named Anoja; he also had one thousand
ministers to help him rule the country. One day, the king accompanied by those one thousand
ministers, was out in the park. There, they met some merchants from Savatthi. On learning
about the Buddha, the Dhamma, and the Sangha from these merchants, the king and his
ministers immediately set out for Savatthi.

On that day, when the Buddha surveyed the world with his supernormal power, he saw in his
vision, Mahakappina and his ministers coming towards Savatthi. He also knew that they were
due for Arahatship. The Buddha went to a place one hundred and twenty yojanas away from
Savatthi to meet them. There, he waited for them under a banyan tree on the bank of the river
Candabhaga. King Mahakappina and his ministers came to the place where the Buddha was
waiting for them. When they saw the Buddha, with six-coloured rays radiating from his body,
they approached the Buddha and paid homage to him. The Buddha then delivered a discourse to
them. After listening to the discourse the king and all his ministers attained Sotapatti
Fruition, and they asked the Buddha to permit them to join the Order. The Buddha, reflecting
on their past and finding that they had made offerings of yellow robes in a past existence,
said to them, "Ehi Bhikkhu", and they all became Bhikkhus with robes.

Meanwhile, Queen Anoja, learning about the king's departure for Savatthi, sent for the wives
of the one thousand ministers, and together with them followed the king's trail. They too came
to the place where the Buddha was and seeing the Buddha with a halo of six colours, paid
homage to him. All this time, the Buddha by exercising his supernormal power had made the king
and his ministers invisible so that their wives did not see them. 'The queen therefore enquired
where the king and his ministers were. The Buddha told the queen and her party to wait for a
while and that the king would soon come with his ministers. The Buddha then delivered another
discourse; at the end of this discourse the king and his ministers attained Arahatship; the
queen and the wives of the ministers attained Sotapatti Fruition. At that instant, the queen
and her party saw the newly admitted Bhikkhus and recognized them as their former husbands.

The ladies also asked permission from the Buddha to enter the Order of Bhikkhunis; so they
were directed to go ahead to Savatthi. There they entered the Order and very soon they also
attained Arahatship. The Buddha then returned to the Jetavana monastery accompanied by
one thousand Bhikkhus.

At the Jetavana monastery, Thera Mahakappina while resting during the night or during the
day would often say, "Oh, what happiness!" (Aho Sukham). The Bhikkhus, hearing him saying
this so many times a day told the Buddha about it. To them the Buddha replied, "My son Kappina
having had the taste of the Dhamma, lives happily with a serene mind; he is saying these words
of exultation repeatedly with reference to Nibbana."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 79. He who drinks in the Dhamma lives happily with a serene mind; the wise man always
takes delight in the Dhamma (Bodhipakkhiya Dhamma) expounded by the Noble Ones (Ariyas).

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


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