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Theragatha

Theragāthā 17.3
The Verses of Arahant Ānanda(1017-1055)

Famous as the one who took care of the Supreme Buddha and memorized the teachings.

1017. Some people have evil lives, breaking friendships using divisive speech, hating and envying others. A wise person doesn’t like to make such people his friends. Association with evil people is also evil.

1018. There are people with faith in the Buddha, virtuous, wise, and well versed in the Dhamma. A wise person likes to make such people his friends. Associating with such superior people is indeed fortunate.

1019. See the true nature of this body which is created by putting together tendons and bones. Foolish people delight in and appreciate this body. This body is subject to diseases and doesn’t have a permanent stability.

1020. Still, one should see the true nature of this body even though it is decorated with jewels and ornaments. This skeleton wrapped up in skin is made attractive by its clothes.

1021. The feet are painted with colours and the mouth produces fragrances having chewed mint. These things are enough to trick a fool but do nothing for one who seeks Nibbāna.

1022. The hair is braided stylishly, and the eyes are painted with makeup. These things are enough to trick a fool but do nothing for one who seeks Nibbāna.

1023. This filthy body is kept as a nicely decorated pot. This is enough to trick a fool but does nothing for one who seeks Nibbāna.

1024. The deer hunter set out the traps, but the deer did not get caught. While the deer trapper was crying, having eaten the bait, we left quickly.

1025. The hunter’s trap was smashed. The deer didn’t get caught. While the deer trapper was crying, having eaten the bait, we left quickly.

1026. Coming from the Gotama clan, with vast learning, this monk is a brilliant speaker of the Dhamma. He is the chief attendant of the Buddha. Having let down the burden of defilements, and having detached from all suffering, he lies down to sleep.

1027. That monk is free from taints, detached from all defilements and has overcome all ties, and he is indeed well quenched. Having crossed over the cycle of birth and death, he now bears his final body.

1028. In his heart he holds the teachings of the Buddha, the kinsman of the sun. This monk, Ānanda, from the clan of Gotama, is standing on the path leading to Nibbāna.

1029. I received eighty-two thousand Dhammas from the Buddha, and two thousand from the liberated monks. All together I memorized eighty-four thousand Dhammas.

1030. The person who is devoid of Dhamma knowledge grows like an ox. Only his flesh increases, not his wisdom.

1031. But on the other hand, if the person of great Dhamma knowledge tries to despise the one devoid of Dhamma knowledge using his own knowledge, it would seem to me as if a blind person were holding up a lamp.

1032. One should associate with a person of great Dhamma knowledge. Then one should not lose what one has heard already. That becomes a basis for this holy life. Therefore one should be an expert in the Dhamma.

1033. The one who knows to match the beginning and end of Dhamma phrases, understands its meaning well, and is skilled in analysing the meaning takes this Dhamma in the proper way. He also investigates the meaning with insight.

1034. When the Dhamma is applied to one’s life, the desire for practicing the Dhamma arises. Then one practices Dhamma with full effort. He exerts himself in meditation and achieves perfect stillness of mind.

1035. The wise disciple who has a great knowledge of Dhamma and is an expert in the Dhamma always desires to obtain more Dhamma knowledge. One should associate with such disciples of the Buddha.

1036. That monk has great Dhamma knowledge, is an expert in the Dhamma, and is the guardian of the Great Seer’s treasury. He is worthy of honour. He is like an eye for the whole world.

1037. The monk who lives in the Dhamma, delights in the Dhamma, recollects the Dhamma, and ponders the Dhamma does not fall away from the Dhamma.

1038. The person who cares about bodily happiness too much and is greedy for the body declines from the Dhamma when his body declines. If one desires the comfort of the body, how could he gain the comfort of the recluse’s life?

1039. My noble friend is Sāriputta Bhante. When I heard that Sāriputta Bhante attained final extinguishing at passing away, I became disoriented. The Dhamma was not clear to me. I felt like the whole world sank in darkness.

1040. After my noble friends and my Great Teacher attained final extinguishing at their passing away, I no longer have any better friends than mindfulness of the body.

1041. Those old friends have passed away. I don’t get along with the new friends. Therefore, I meditate all alone, like a bird gone to its nest to get away from the rain.

1042. Many people from various provinces are waiting to see me. Do not stop them from coming to me. May everyone who likes to listen to the Dhamma see me. Now is the time for that.

1043. Many people from various provinces came to see the Buddha. The Great Teacher allowed them to come to him. The one with eyes of Dhamma, the Buddha, did not stop them.

1044. For twenty-five years I lived as a trainee in this Dhamma. But still, even a thought of sensual pleasures didn’t arise in me at all during that period. See the excellence of this Supreme Dhamma!

1045. For twenty-five years, I lived as a trainee in this Dhamma. But still, even a thought of anger didn’t arise in me at all during that period. See the excellence of this Supreme Dhamma!

1046. For twenty-five years I served the Blessed One with bodily actions of loving kindness. I was always around him, just as his own shadow never left him.

1047. For twenty-five years I served the Blessed One with words of loving kindness. I was always around him, just as his own shadow never left him.

1048. For twenty-five years I served the Blessed One with thoughts of loving kindness. I was always around him, just as his own shadow never left him.

1049. While the Buddha was pacing up and down, I also paced up and down behind my Great Teacher. While the Buddha was preaching the Dhamma, knowledge arose in me.

1050. Still I am a trainee in this path. I still haven’t attained enlightenment. I still have more tasks to complete. But my Great Teacher, who was very sympathetic to me, is about to attain final extinguishing at his passing away.

1051. When the Supreme Buddha, who possessed all excellent qualities, attained final extinguishing at passing away, the whole world, with hair standing on end was shaken with terror.

1052. Venerable Ānanda was the guardian of the Great Seer, the Buddha’s treasury of Dhamma. He had a wide knowledge of Dhamma, like an eye for the whole world. He too attained final extinguishing at passing away.

1053. The guardian of the Great Seer, the Buddha’s treasury of Dhamma was Venerable Ānanda. He had a wide knowledge of Dhamma, like an eye for the whole world. He dispels the darkness of the world.

1054. Possessing various knowledges, mindfulness, and deep wisdom, Arahant Ānanda, a great seer, is holding Dhamma jewels like a mine of gems.

1055. The Buddha’s instruction has been respectfully followed by me. The Buddha’s path has been fully followed by me. I lowered the heavy load of defilements. I rooted out the fetters of existence.

These verses were said by Arahant Ānanda.

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Theragāthā 17.3: The Verses of Arahant Ānanda(1017-1055)

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