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Verses 85 and 86: The Story of the Dhamma Listeners

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses (85) and (86) of this
book, with reference to a congregation of people who had come to listen to a religious
discourse in Savatthi.

On one occasion, a group of people from Savatthi made special offerings to the Bhikkhus
collectively and they arranged for some Bhikkhus to deliver discourses throughout the night, in
their locality. Many in the audience could not sit up the whole night and they returned to their
homes early; some sat through the night, but most of the time they were drowsy and half-asleep.
There were only a few who listened attentively to the discourses.

At dawn, when the Bhikkhus told the Buddha about what happened the previous night, he
replied, "Most people are attached to this world; only a very few reach the other shore
(Nibbana)."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 85. Few among men reach the other shore (Nibbana); all the others only run up and down on
this shore.

Verse 86. But those who practice according to the well-expounded Dhamma will reach the other
shore (Nibbana), having passed the realm of Death (i.e., samsara), very difficult as it is to cross.

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


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