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(WE ARE ONE )
MAY YOU BE EVER HAPPY, WELL AND SECURE!
MAY YOU LIVE LONG!
MAY ALL BEINGS BE EVRER HAPPY, WELL AND SECURE!
MAY YOU ALWAYS HAVE CALM, QUIET, ALERT, ATTENTIVE AND
WITH A CLEAR UNDESRSATNDING THAT
NOTHING IS PERMANENT!
MERITS makes us HAPPY
MORALITY makes us HAPPIER
MEDITATION makes us
The Story of Kapila
By Venerable Acharya Buddharakkhita
The Buddha was staying at Anathapindika’s monastery in Jeta’s grove near
Savatthi. Now King Pasenadi, the
monarch of Mahakosala, approached the Buddha followed by a large number of
youthful fishermen carrying a small boat filled with water and a large fish in
it. The fish had a striking look. It was completely golden, but once it opened
its mouth, the entire Jetavana was absolutely filled with foul smell. Inside
the boatful of water it was opening its mouth every now and then letting off
After the king and the large group of fishermen bowed down before the lord and
seated on one side, the king said:
“Lord. these young fishermen approached me with this strangely beautiful fish,
which lets off disgusting smell. They probably approached me expecting a big
reward for such an extraordinary catch. I was struck by the beauty of the
fish yet it has such a foul smelling mouth. I wondered what kind of
kamma has resulted in such an uncommon creature found in Aciravati
river flowing along the palace ground. Since I am very curious, I have
come to the Lord along with these people and the fish in that tiny boat. Lord
what is the kammic background of this fish?”
The Buddha replied:
“Shall I make him speak for himself describing his kammic background?“
“Oh, it will be marvelous Lord!” said the king.
And the large number of people who had gathered on that open ground meant for
Dhamma-preaching of Jetavana, now became extremely curious expecting something
spectacular to happen.
The Buddha now asked the fish:
“Are you Kapila?”
“Yes Lord, I am Kapila”. said the fish.
“Now where are you born”
“In Avici Mahaniraya Lord (the hell world of Avici)!”
“Where is your elder brother Sagato?”
“He has attained Nibbana, Lord!”
Where is your mother Sadhini?”
“She is reborn in the Mahaniraya hell.”
“Where is your younger sister Tapana?”
“She is reborn in the Mahaniraya hell.”
“Now where will you go from here?”
“I will go back to my old Avici Mahaniraya, Lord!”
Then exhibiting utter despair he just jumped up and then fell back inside
the boat and died due to the impact, seeing this, the vast audience that had
been growing in number, suddenly felt a religious since of urgency, meaning
an emotional upsurge born of an insight into the predicaments of life as
revealed by this incident.
Now the Buddha relating the story of kapila, said:
“In the time of my predecessor, the Buddha Kassapa, this being was a monk,
Kapila by name. Together with his elder
brother Sagato he used to hear the Dhamma discourses of the Lord
Kassapa Buddha. Soon inspired by the Dhamma discourses both the
brothers became monks in the Holy Order of Lord Kassapa.
The narration continued as hereunder. It seems Sagato asked the teacher:
“Venerable Sir, how many Dhamma pursuits (dhoora, meaning the path of spiritual
development, are there for a monk?”
“There are two distinct paths”, said the teacher. One is the path of
meditation, both Samatha (generating tranquility) and Vipassana (generating
insight into reality), and the other is the path of study, practice and
realisation of Dhamma.
“I am now old enough to take to the path of meditation in seclusion”, and went
into forest retreat to ardently pursue the
path of meditation. He succeeded in becoming an Arahat. He was highly
regarded for his noble qualities by one and all. The Buddha Kassapa
himself commended for his accomplishment.
Now the younger brother Kapila thought:
“I am young enough still to take to the pursuit of study and practice, a
longer route for the realisation of Nibbana, while Vipassana Dhoora being the
short route to the attainment of Nibbana. So very sincerly and with great
enthusiasm, he pursued the path of mastering Tipitaka. After some years he
became very well known master of scripture and gathered around him a large
flock of monastic pupils.
with his growing following, his fame too spread as a great teacher. Now
he began to attract lay followers and therewith lots of gains and
prestige. All this gain, prestige, fame etc., brought in him
intellectual conceit and arrogance. He seriously began to think that he indeed
was a great authority of Tipitaka, containing the authentic teachings of the
This intellectual pride made him very controversial and he began to loose his popularity.
Often he challenged, even looked down upon, the erudite scholars and their
interpretation of the Dhamma. He became extremely opinionated and
interpreted the teaching according to own whims, openly contradicting the
authentic teachings. Then he established a brand of Buddhism of his own giving
it a pompous name, which was rejected by the Maha Sangha.
Carrying a huge burden of intellectual knowledge, without ever
practicing, much less realising, what he taught, at the end of his life time
all his gains vanished. then his pupils discarded him and dying a miserable
man, he was reborn in the Avici hell, the most frightening of all hell worlds.
There he spent an immensely long period, several great aeons that span between
the arising of the two Buddhas, Lord Kassapa and Lord Gotama.
With the advent of our present Lord Gotama, he had a short reprieve from
his unmitigated suffering of Avici, and he was reborn as the fish Kapila in
caught by youthful fishermen and was taken to the king who in turn took the
fishermen and the fish to the Buddha.
past life account of the fish Kapila, i.e., from the monk Kapila to the
fish Kapila, was so moving that all those who were present, became
emotionally overwhelmed. they clearly understood the predicament of
worldly existence. All of them struck by samvega, thought:
“Here is a learned monk, after having mastered Tipitaka, had completely gone
astray by his own accomplishment.”
They saw through the predicament of life, how everything in life can be misused
and thereby bring misery rather than happiness. Insight into the inherent
predicament of human life brought about a religious sense of urgency(samvega),
sooner one outgrows the worldly bondages the better it is. For
everything in life, whether good or bad, can put one in bondage and
block one’s progress on the spiritual path, leading to deliverance from
critical path of intense emotional upsurge among the listeners, the
Buddha now broke into an inspiring utterance by way of four verses,
intended to rouse everyone to put forth unrelenting effort and reach
the goal of spiritual life.
These four verses are found in Dhammapada as well as in Kapila Sutta in
Sutta Nipata. They are as follows:
One given to heedless living,
His craving grows like a creeper;
Even as a forest monkey seeks fruits,
He leaps from life to life,
tasting the fruit of his kamma. -Dhp_334
Whoever is overcome by this
Wretched and sticky craving,
His sorrows grow
Like grass after the rains. - Dhp_335
But whoever overcomes
This wretched craving,
So difficult to overcome,
Sorrows fall away from him
Like water from a lotus leaf. -Dhp_336
Good luck to all assembled here!
So I say to you:
Dig up the root of craving,
Like one searches for fragrant birana grass root.
Let not Mara repeatedly crush you.
As the flood crushes reeds.
the end of the discourse the five hundred youthful fishermen were so
profoundly moved that they fell at the feet of the Buddha, right there,
and sought to be ordained as monks into the Holy Order established by
Lord. The Buddha bestowed on them both the lower and higher ordinations
with the special ordination procedure, known as “Ehi Bhikkhu”! As soon
as the Buddha uttered the formula “come monks, lead the holy life, make
an end of suffering”, all of them forthwith were transformed into
radiant young bhikkus endowed with all the eight monastic requisites.
This change itself was so moving that the vast crowd in one voice
shouted: “Wonderful, indeed, O Lord! Marvelous indeed O Lord!! Sadhu!
young monks received instruction in meditation. They put forth great
effort, assiduously practicing Dhamma in a secluded retreat. And all of
them entered the stream leading to Nibbana. They became Ariyas,
sanctified saints and later on all of them became Arahats, Perfect
Ones, Awakened disciples of the Supremely Awaken Buddha!
moral of the story of Kapila is indeed spiritual edifying. The first
point is the futility of mere learning without practice of Dhamma.
Because intellectual knowledge does not assure equalisation of the five
spiritual faculties. Mere knowing is not enough. What one knows must be
converted into a component of life itself. When intellectual knowledge
is combined with humility and rational faith in the supremacy of good
over evil, then this knowledge turns into wisdom. And it is through
wisdom alone that one can gain liberation from the bondage of worldly
five spiritual faculties are wisdom-based-faith (Saddha), energetic
self-effort (Viriya), relentless mindfulness (Sati), single-minded
concentration (Samadhi), insight into reality or intuitive insight
(Panna). All these faculties have their own specific qualities. They
are distinct. But when they are mutually and appropriately synthesised,
i.e., harmoniously combined, then they become powerful spiritual forces
(bala), that transform the consciousness from the mundane to the
consciousness, which is subject to greed, hatred and delusion, after
its transformation, is no longer subject to these negative factors,
which constitute the root cause of involvement in samsara. When Saddha,
faith , is combined with intuitive wisdom, then this combination can
work wonders. It can destroy all forms of blind faith, mental fixations
and bigotry on one hand, and dry intellectualism, doubt and cynicism on
the other. The monk Kapila had enough of learning but he had no faith
in the spiritual efficacy of what he learnt and taught. The result was
he became arrogant, intellectually dishonest and that was the end of
Likewise, vigorous effort when combined with calmness of mind or
single-mindedness, brings about equally dramatic result. The tension due to
overactive involvement and the fragile qualities of mind due to excessive use
of energy can be immediately reduced, if not done away with, by inducing
tranquility and stillness of mind born of meditative concentration. Mental
calmness while fully engaged in a given task is the hallmark of efficiency and
skill. When this combination is cultivated and practiced well, life can change
from a state of immaturity, inexperience and lethargy into a state of matured,
experienced, energetic and purposeful existence.
The fifth sense of mindfulness is the moderator regulating all bodily,
verbal and mental actions into a moral and spiritual activity that transforms
life. Unless a person trains the mind to be attentive, alert and awake all
time, through the cultivation of mindfulness, one can never achieve real fulfillment,
in any branch of knowledge and discipline.