| Minor Stories Index
83: The Story of Five Hundred Bhikkhus
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the
Buddha uttered Verse (83) of this
reference to five hundred Bhikkhus.
At the request of a brahmin from Veranja, the Buddha was, on one occasion,
Veranja with five hundred Bhikkhus. While they were at Veranja, the brahmin
failed to look
after them. The people of Veranja, who were then facing a famine, could offer
very little to
the Bhikkhus, when they went on their rounds for alms-food. In spite of all these
Bhikkhus were not disheartened; they were quite contented with the small amount
shrivelled grain, which the horse-traders offered them daily. At the end of the
informing the brahmin from Veranja, the Buddha returned to the Jetavana
accompanied by the five hundred Bhikkhus. The people of Savatthi welcomed them
choice food of all kinds.
A group of people living with the Bhikkhus, eating whatever was left over by the
greedily like true gluttons and went to sleep after their meals. On waking up,
shouting, singing and dancing, thus making themselves a thorough nuisance. When
came in the evening to the congregation of Bhikkhus, they reported to him about
of those unruly persons, and said, "These people living on the leftovers, were
quite decent and
well-behaved, when all of us were facing hardship and famine in Veranja.
enough good food, they are going about shouting, singing and dancing, and thus
themselves a thorough nuisance. The Bhikkhus, however, behave themselves here
just as they
were in Veranja".
To them the Buddha replied, "It is in the nature of the foolish to be full of
sorrow and feel
depressed when things go wrong, and to be full of gladness and feel elated when
things go well.
The wise, however, can withstand the ups and downs of life."
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
Verse 83. Indeed, the virtuous give up all (i.e., attachment to the five
khandhas, etc.); the virtuous
(lit., the tranquil) does not walk with sensual desire; when faced with joy or
sorrow, the wise do not
show elation or depression.
Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A.,
Burma Pitaka Association, Rangoon, Burma 1986.
24 December 2016