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Thera Potthila: The Greatest Wisdom Of All
[ Translated from the Pali by Daw Mya Tin, MA]
While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (282) of this book, with reference to Thera Potthila.
Potthila was a senior bhikkhu who knew the Pitaka well and was actually teaching the Dhamma to five hundred bhikkhus. Because he knew the Pitaka, he was also very conceited. The Buddha knew his weakness and wanted him to mend his ways and put him on the right path. So, whenever Potthila came to pay obeisance, the Buddha would address him as 'Useless Potthila'. When Potthila heard these remarks, he pondered over those words of the Buddha and came to realize that the Buddha had made those unkind remarks because he, Potthila, had not made any serious effort to practise meditation and had not achieved any of the Maggas or even any level of mental absorption (jhana).
Thus, without telling anyone Thera Potthila left for a monastery at a place twenty yojanas away from the Jetavana monastery. At that monastery there were thirty bhikkhus. First, he went to the most senior bhikkhu and humbly requested him to be his mentor; but the thera, wishing to humble him, asked him to go to the next senior bhikkhu, who in his turn sent him on to the next. In this way, he was sent from one to the other until he came to a seven year old arahat samanera. The young samanera accepted him as a pupil only after ascertaining that Potthila would obediently follow his instructions. As instructed by the samanera, Thera Potthila kept his mind firmly fixed on the true nature of the body; he was very ardent and vigilant in his meditation.
The Buddha saw Potthila in his vision and through supernormal power made Potthila feel his presence and encouraged him to be steadfast and ardent.
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:
Verse 282. Indeed, wisdom is born of meditation; without meditation wisdom is lost. Knowing this twofold path of gain and loss of wisdom, one should conduct oneself so that wisdom may increase.
At the end of the discourse Potthila attained arahatship.
Love Buddha's dhamma,
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