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Udana » Context of this sutta
- Udana V.3
- Kutthi Sutta
- The Leper
- For free distribution only, as a gift of Dhamma
I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying in Rajagaha
at the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrels' Sanctuary. Now at that time in Rajagaha there was a
leper named Suppabuddha, a poor, miserable wretch of a person.
And at that time the Blessed One was sitting surrounded by a large assembly, teaching the
Dhamma. Suppabuddha the leper saw the large gathering of people from afar and thought to
himself, "Without a doubt, someone must be distributing staple or non-staple food
over there. Why don't I go over to that large group of people, and maybe I'll get some
staple or non-staple food." So he went over to the large group of people. Then he saw
the Blessed One sitting surrounded by a large assembly, teaching the Dhamma. On seeing
this, he realized, "There's no one distributing staple or non-staple food over here.
That's Gotama the contemplative, sitting surrounded by a large assembly, teaching the
Dhamma. Why don't I listen to the Dhamma?" So he sat down to one side right there,
[thinking,] "I, too, will listen to the Dhamma."
Then the Blessed One, having encompassed the awareness of the entire assembly with his
awareness, asked himself, "Now who here is capable of understanding the Dhamma?"
He saw Suppabuddha the leper sitting in the assembly, and on seeing him the thought
occurred to him, "This person here is capable of understanding the Dhamma." So,
aiming at Suppabuddha the leper, he gave a step-by-step talk, i.e.,
a talk on generosity, on virtue, on heaven; he declared the drawbacks, degradation, &
corruption of sensual passions, and the rewards of renunciation. Then when he saw that
Suppabuddha the leper's mind was ready, malleable, free from hindrances, elated, &
bright, he then gave the Dhamma-talk peculiar to Awakened Ones, i.e., stress, origination,
cessation, & path. And just as a clean cloth, free of stains,
would properly absorb a dye, in the same way, as Suppabuddha the leper was sitting in that
very seat, the dustless, stainless Dhamma eye arose within him, "Whatever is subject
to origination is all subject to cessation."
Having seen the Dhamma, reached the Dhamma, known the Dhamma, having plunged entirely
into the Dhamma, having crossed over & beyond doubt, having had no more perplexity,
having gained fearlessness & independence from others with regard to the Teacher's
message, he rose up from his seat and went to the Blessed One. On arrival, having bowed
down to the Blessed One, he sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the
Blessed One: "Magnificent, venerable sir! Magnificent! Just as
if he were to place upright what had been overturned, were to reveal what was hidden, were
to show the way to one who was lost, or were to hold up a lamp in the dark so that those
with eyes could see forms, in the same way the Blessed One has -- through many lines of
reasoning -- made the Dhamma clear. I go to the Blessed One for refuge, to the Dhamma, and
to the Community of monks. May the Blessed One remember me as a lay follower who has gone
to him for refuge, from this day forward, for life."
Then Suppabuddha the leper, having been instructed, urged, roused, & encouraged by
the Blessed One's Dhamma talk, delighting & approving of the Blessed One's words, got
up from his seat, bowed down to the Blessed One, circumambulated him -- keeping him to his
right -- and left. Not long after his departure he was attacked & killed
by a cow with a young calf.
Then a large number of monks approached the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed
down to him, sat to one side. As they were sitting there, they said to the Blessed One,
"Lord, the leper named Suppabuddha, whom the Blessed One instructed, urged, roused,
& encouraged with a Dhamma talk, has died. What is his destination? What is his future
"Monks, Suppabuddha the leper was wise. He practiced the
Dhamma in accordance with the Dhamma and did not pester me with issues related to the
Dhamma. With the destruction of the first three fetters, he is a stream-winner, not
subject to states of deprivation, headed for self-awakening for sure."
When this was said, one of the monks said to the Blessed One, "Lord, what was the
cause, what was the reason, why Suppabuddha the leper was such a poor, miserable wretch of
"Once, monks, in this very Rajagaha, Suppabuddha the leper was the son of a rich
money-lender. While being escorted to a pleasure park, he saw Tagarasikhi
the Private Buddha going for alms in the city. On seeing him, he thought, 'Who is this
leper prowling about?' Spitting and disrespectfully turning his left side to Tagarasikhi
the Private Buddha, he left. As a result of that deed he boiled in hell for many years,
many hundreds of years, many thousands of years, many hundreds of thousands of years. And
then as a result of that deed he became a poor, miserable wretch of a person in this very
Rajagaha. But on encountering the Dhamma & Discipline made known by the Tathagata, he
acquired conviction, virtue, learning, relinquishment, & discernment. Having acquired
conviction, virtue, learning, relinquishment, & discernment on encountering the Dhamma
& Discipline made known by the Tathagata, now -- on the break-up of the body, after
death -- he has reappeared in a good destination, the heavenly world, in company with the
devas of the heaven of the Thirty-three. There he outshines the other devas both in beauty
& in glory."
Then, on realizing the significance of that, the Blessed One on that occasion
A person with good eyes,
a treacherous, uneven place,
would try hard to avoid it.
A wise person, in the world of life,