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Theragatha

Theragāthā 20.1
The Verses of Arahant Mahā Moggallāna (1151-1219)

The Arahant Maha Moggallāna was one of the two chief disciples and was best monk with psychic powers.

1151. We live in the thick forest surviving on alms food. We are content with whatever comes into our alms bowls, and we have inwardly perfectly still minds. We tear apart the army of Māra.

1152. We live in the thick forest surviving on alms food. We are content with whatever comes into our alms bowls, and we knock down the army of Māra as a king elephant knocks down a bamboo hut.

1153. Sitting at the foot of a tree, we always meditate. We are content with whatever comes into our alms bowls, and we have inwardly perfectly still minds. We tear apart the army of Māra.

1154. Sitting at the foot of a tree, we always meditate. We are content with whatever comes into our alms bowls, and we knock down the army of Māra as a king elephant knocks down a bamboo hut.

1155. Hey lady! You have a body like a hut made of a skeleton, sewn together with flesh and tendons, smelly, filled with filth. You think greedy thoughts of others’ bodies. Shame on you!

1156. Hey lady! You are like a bag of filth, with a body covered up with skin, with lumps on your chest. You are like an ugly ghost! There are nine openings in your body flowing with filth all the time.

1157. Filth flows from nine openings in your body. Your body makes an evil smell. Your body is the biggest obstacle for one who is on the path to Nibbāna. A monk desiring this pure goal should definitely avoid that pit of filth.

1158. If any person knows, as I know about this body filled with filth, he would avoid women as one avoids a sewer on a rainy day.

1159. [Lady:] Great recluse, what you just said is extremely true, you are a great hero. But some men attach to my body like an old bull sinks in mud.

1160. [Arahant Moggollana:] If one would think of painting the sky yellow or any other colour, that will only tire him out.

1161. My mind is also like that sky. It is inwardly perfectly still. You foolish lady, don’t try to attack me and meet with trouble, just as a moth perishes in presence of a huge flame.

1162. 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.

1163. 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.

1164. 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.

1165. 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.

1166. 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.

1167. 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.

1168. 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.

1169. The earth shook when the great Arahant Sāriputta, possessed of many noble qualities, attained final extinguishing at passing away. Then there was terror and hair-raising excitement.

1170. Truly, conditioned things are impermanent. They are subject to arising and passing away. Having arisen, they cease. Tranquilization of this causality is happiness.

1171. One should see these Five Aggregates of Clinging as something that belongs to someone else, not oneself. Such wise people can understand this very subtle Dhamma as skilled archers split a hair with an arrow.

1172. One should see these conditioned things as something belonging to someone else, not oneself. Such wise people can understand this very subtle Dhamma as skilled archers split a hair using another hair.

1173. Just as someone tries to find help immediately after being hit by a sword and as someone immediately tries to put out a fire on his head, with strong mindfulness a monk should immediately try to abandoned sensual desire.

1174. Just as someone tries to find help immediately after being hit by a sword and as someone immediately tries to put out a fire on their head, with strong mindfulness a monk should immediately try to abandon desire for existence.

1175. Living with a well-developed mind, bearing his final body, my Great Teacher, the Buddha, instructed me to do that task. Following that instruction, I shook the Palace of Migāra’s mother (Monastery) with my big toe.

1176. Liberating from defilements and achieving Nibbāna cannot be done with a slack effort or little effort.

1177. But this young monk is a supreme man. Having defeated the army of Māra, he bears his final body.

1178. Flashes of lightening fall upon the flat land between the mountains Vebhāra and Paṇḍava. There, in a mountain cave, that monk meditates. He is a son of the incomparable Buddha, the one with an unshaken mind.

1179. He is calm and well restrained. He lives in faraway forests. He is a sage. He is the heir of the Great Buddha. He is even worshiped by Brahma.

1180. Brāhmin, pay homage to the heir of the Buddha, the Arahant Kassapa who is calm, well restrained, and a sage who lives in faraway forests.

1181–82. Even if one is born as a Brāhmin among humans one hundred times in the clan of Brāhmins and studies Veda scriptures, if one worships such a Brāhmin who is well versed in the three Vedas and has reached the climax of his studying, that worshiping is not worth even a sixteenth part of the homage paid to the Arahant Kassapa.

1183. Every morning that monk attains the Eight Liberations forwards and backwards. After that he goes on his alms round.

1184. Brāhmin, don’t trouble such a monk. Do not destroy yourself. Have confidence in the enlightened sage, the one with an unshaken mind. Quickly join your palms and pay homage. May your head not split open!

1185. He who is caught up with the journey in saṁsāra does not see the true Dhamma; he follows a crooked road, a wrong way.

1186. If a monk is infatuated with gain and honour and obsessed with conditioned things, he is like a worm smeared with excrement. He is going on a meaningless, empty journey.

1187. But see that Arahant Sāriputta coming. How pleasant he looks. He has developed both serene and insight meditations to their culmination and has become liberated from both ends called serenity and insight. He is inwardly perfectly still.

1188. See that Arahant Sāriputta coming. He doesn’t have the darts of defilements and he has destroyed all fetters. He has attained the Triple Knowledge and defeated the army of Māra. Therefore he became the unsurpassed field of merit for humans, worthy of gifts.

1189. About ten thousand gods have gathered here. They are very glorious, and possessed of psychic powers. They all have come from the world of the brahma Purohita. With joined palms they are standing worshiping Arahant Mogallāna respectfully.

1190. Homage to you, thoroughbred of men! Homage to you, best of men! You are freed from taints. Great sage, truly you are worthy of the gifts of the world.

1191. Humans and gods respect that monk. He was born in this world of ageing and death. Finally, he was liberated from that world. Now he lives unsoiled by any formations, like a white lotus flower grown in the mud that has bloomed and stands tall.

1192. In an instant, that monk can know the thousand-fold world system. He is equal to Mahā Brahma, possessing supernormal powers. He possesses the knowledge of seeing the passing away and rebirth of beings. He also sees the gods at the appropriate time.

1193. Whatever monk has crossed over saṁsāra by wisdom, virtue and calmness, he is equal to Arahant Sāriputta. Arahant Sāriputta is indeed excellent in those three factors.

1194. In an instant, I can clone myself a hundred thousand times. I can use my psychic power as I wish. I have mastered my psychic powers.

1195. That monk is in the path of the Greatest Sage who attained perfection of one-pointedness of mind and perfection of true knowledge, and is liberated from craving. That wise monk from the Mogallāna clan, with a still mind, ripped out the defilements as a king elephant rips out a thin entangled vine from a tree.

1196. 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.

1197. I became a monk with the wish to achieve one goal. That, I have achieved. I have cut all fetters.

1198. Hey Māra! There was a Māra called Dussi. That Māra troubled Kakusaṇḍha Supreme Buddha and his chief disciple Vidhura. As a result, having being born in hell, this is how that Māra suffered there.

1199. Having troubled Kakusaṇḍha Buddha and the great disciple Vidhura, this is how that Dussi Māra suffered immensely falling into hell. That hell being is always struck with hundreds of iron spikes, all causing separate pain.

1200. The monk who knew that result of kamma is now a disciple of the Gotama Budhha. Hey Māra! Having troubled such a monk, are you going to fall into trouble?

1201. In the middle of the great ocean there are astonishing, heavenly mansions lasting for an eon. They are like shining gems. In those mansions, brilliant deities dance, radiant, of various colours.

1202. The monk who knows that is now a disciple of the Buddha. Hey Māra! Having troubled such a monk, are you going to fall into trouble?

1203. The Buddha instructed me to do a task. Following that instruction, I shook the Palace of Migāra’s mother (Monastery) with my big toe while other monks were watching.

1204. The monk who knows that is now a disciple of the Buddha. Hey Māra! Having troubled such a monk, are you going to fall into trouble?

1205. Using psychic powers, with his big toe, he shook the Vejayanta Palace of the God Sakka and made the gods tremble. I am the monk who did that task.

1206. The monk who knows that is now a disciple of the Buddha. Hey Māra! Having troubled such a monk, are you going to fall into trouble?

1207. That monk asked the God Sakka in the Vejayanta Palace thus: “Sir, do you know the way to be liberated from craving?” God Sakka answered explaining the Dhamma as he learned it. I am the monk who asked the question.

1208. The monk who knows that is now a disciple of the Buddha. Hey Māra! Having troubled such a monk, are you going to fall into trouble?

1209. There is a heavenly assembly called Sudhammā. The Great Brahma was present there. That monk asked the Great Brahma thus: “Sir, formerly you had a wrong view. Do you still have that wrong view? Look at the bright light of the Supreme Buddha who travels through the Brahma World surrounded by great disciples.” I am the monk who asked that question.

1210. Then the Great Brahma answered that monk thus: “Venerable Bhante, I no longer have that wrong view which I had formerly.

1211. How could I say today that I am permanent or eternal? I see the bright light of the Supreme Buddha who travels through the Brahma World surrounded by great disciples.”

1212. The monk who knows that is now a disciple of the Supreme Buddha. Hey Māra! Having troubled such a monk, are you going to fall into trouble?

1213. Using psychic powers, the peak of the great mountain Meru was touched by a monk, and in India, the country called Pubba Videha, that land where people sleep on the ground, was touched by that monk. I am that monk.

1214. The monk who knows that is now a disciple of the Buddha. Hey Māra! Having troubled such a monk, are you going to fall into trouble?

1215. Truly, the fire does not think, “I shall burn this fool,” but the fool is burnt having touched the burning fire himself.

1216. Hey Māra! In the same way you also try to trouble an enlightened monk. Like a fool who will burn his body having touched the burning fire himself, are you also going to get burnt?

1217. Hey Māra! In the past, Dussi Māra accumulated much demerit having troubled the Buddha. Do you think that your demerit will not haunt you?

1218. Hey Māra! Because of your evil deeds, you have heaped up demerit, resulting in pain for a long time. Hey Māra! Therefore, don’t wish to commit evil having opposed the Supreme Buddha and monks!

1219. In this way, Arahant Moggallāna threatened Māra in the Bhesakala forest. Then Māra was disappointed and disappeared on the spot.

These verses were said by Arahant Mahā Moggallāna.

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Theragāthā 20.1: The Verses of Arahant Mahā Moggallāna (1151-1219)

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