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Verse 97: The Story of Thera Sariputta

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (97) of this book, with
reference to Thera Sariputta.

Thirty Bhikkhus from a village had arrived at the Jetavana monastery to pay homage to the
Buddha. The Buddha knew that the time was ripe for those Bhikkhus to attain Arahatship. So,
he sent for Sariputta, and in the presence of those Bhikkhus, he asked, "My son Sariputta, do
you accept the fact that by meditating on the senses, one can realize Nibbana ?" Sariputta
answered, "Venerable Sir, in the matter of the realization of Nibbana by meditating on the
senses, it is not that I accept it because I have faith in you; it is only those who have not
personally realized it, that accept the fact from others." Sariputta's answer was not properly
understood by the Bhikkhus; they thought, "Sariputta has not given up wrong views yet; even
now, he has no faith in the Buddha."

Then the Buddha explained to them the true meaning of Sariputta's answer. "Bhikkhus,
Sariputta's answer is simply this; he accepts the fact that Nibbana is realized by means of
meditation on the senses, but his acceptance is due to his own personal realization and not
merely because, I have said it, or somebody else has said it. Sariputta has faith in me; he also
has faith in the consequences of good and bad deeds."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 97. He who is not yearning, who has realized the Unconditioned (Nibbana), who has cut
off the links to the round of rebirths, who has destroyed all consequences of good and bad
deeds, who has discarded all craving, is indeed the Noblest of all men (i.e., an Arahat).

At the end of the discourse, all those Bhikkhus attained Arahatship.

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

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