Pare ca na vijananti
mayamettha yamamase
ye ca tattha vijananti
tato sammanti medhaga.

Still others do not understand
that we must perish in this world,
those who understand this,
there quarrels are allayed.


Most of us are not prepared to face the reality of impermanence and death. It is because we forget this fact that our lives are transitory, that we quarrel with each other, as if we are going to live for ever. But, if we face the fact of death, our quarrels will come to an end. We will then realize the folly of fighting when we ourselves are doomed to die. Excited by emotions our thoughts being clouded, we cannot see the truth about life. When we see the truth, however, our thoughts become free of emotions.

The Story of Kosambi Bhikkhus

While residing at the Jetavana monastery in Savatthi, the Buddha uttered Verse (6) of this book, with reference to the bhikkhus of Kosambi.

The bhikkhus of Kosambi had formed into two groups. One group followed the master of Vinaya and the other followed the teacher of the Dhamma and they were often quarrelling among themselves. Even the Buddha could not stop them from quarrelling; so he left them and spent the vassa, residence period of the rains, all alone in Rakkhita Grove near Palileyyaka forest. There, the elephant Palileyya waited upon the Buddha.

The lay disciples of Kosambi, on learning the reason for the departure of the Buddha, refused to make offerings to the remaining bhikkhus. This made them realize their mistake and reconciliation took place among themselves. Still, the lay disciples would not treat them as respectfully as before, until they owned up their fault to the Buddha. But the Buddha was away and it was in the middle of the vassa; so the bhikkhus of Kosambi spent the vassa in misery and hardship.

At the end of the vassa, the Venerable Ananda and five hundred bhikkhus approached the Buddha and gave the message from Annathapindika and other lay disciples imploring him to return. In due course the Buddha returned to the Jetavana monastery in Savatthi. The bhikkhus followed him there, fell down at his feet, and owned up their fault. The Buddha rebuked them for disobeying him. He told them to remember that they must all die some day and therefore, they must stop their quarrels and must not act as if they would never die.

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:

Verse 6: People, other than the wise, do not realize, “We in this world must all die,” (and, not realizing it, continue their quarrels). The wise realize it and thereby their quarrels cease.

At the end of the discourse, all the assembled bhikkhus were established in Sotapatti Fruition.



Verses and Stories by Burma Pitaka Association (The Dhammapada)

Treasury of truth (Image Source)