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PARAJIKA 4 The Story

Chủ nhật - 15/10/2017 13:12

At one time there was a famine in the country of Vajji and the many bhikkhus who were spending the Vassa there found alms food difficult to obtain. Of these bhikkhus, a group residing by the banks of the River Vaggumuda devised a scheme to entice the laity into offering alms food and other requisites to them. Whenever they met the laypeople they told them of each other’s attainments of ‘superior human states’ (uttarimanussa-dhamma), sometimes telling of a true attainment but often deliberately lying just to impress the laypeople. The plan worked. The faithful lay people thought that to give alms to such special bhikkhus would bring great merit and so they themselves did not eat, nor did their parents, wives, children and slaves eat, in order to have food to present to these bhikkhus.

At the end of the Vassa, as was the custom then, bhikkhus from many regions travelled to Vesali, to the Gabled Hall in the Great Woods to pay their respects to the Buddha. The bhikkhus from the River Vaggumuda entered the Gabled Hall looking well fed with clear skins and bright complexions. Whereas, all the other bhikkhus,from the same famine stricken region entered looking ‘lean, wretched and of yellow colour with their veins standing out all over their bodies’. The Buddha asked the fat bhikkhus about their Vassa and thereby came to know of their trickery.

The Buddha then rebuked these bhikkhus in the strongest of terms by saying that it would have been better for them had their stomachs been ripped open with a sharp butcher’s knife, or had they been made to swallow a red hot iron ball, because that would only have caused a terrible pain of short duration followed by death; but falsely claiming superior human states to laypeople in order to be given alms food would after death result in a rebirth into the abyss of the hell realms for a long and torturous time.

 The Buddha continued by describing the ‘Five Great Thieves’ – referring to those immoral and uncontrolled bhikkhus who obtain their alms food and other requisites by unscrupulous means, just as a robber obtains his livelihood – saying that the very worst of all the Great Thieves is the bhikkhu who claims a non existent superior human state for the sake of his stomach. Only after this lengthy remonstration did the Buddha finally lay down the training rule, the fourth parajika.

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