This cute/fun story is one of my most favorites, I love this story pretty much.
Thera Pilindavaccha: Hard Habit To Break
[Translated from Thai Dhammapada,Thai Version by Dr.Tep Sastri]
Pilinda was a son of a wealthy brahmin, Vajja of Savatti. The Brahmin's ways of life often bored him, so he went away to seek fun adventures. One day he met with a super-hermit who taught him 'Julakhandhara Mantra'that gave him two kinds of power. The first power would enable him to travel through the air and, if he wished, he could just float or walk or sit or lie down in the air. By means of the second power he would be able to read another person's mind. But the super-hermit had warned him that this 'Julakhandhara Mantra' would stop working if there was a person nearby who knew 'Mahakhandhara Mantra'.
Pilinda roamed around, from town to town, to perform his magical shows, and people everywhere enjoyed them. The mantra had made Pilindha very rich and famous. One day he traveled to Rajjagira where, during that time, the Buddha and his super-monks were teaching the dhammas to the townspeople. You know what? Suddenly, the Pilinda's 'Julakhandhara mantra' stopped working! He quickly realized that there must have been a person in the neighborhood who knew the 'Mahakhandhara Mantra' that superceded his mantra. So he searched around until he found the Buddha, and so he begged the Buddha to teach him 'Mahakhandhara Mantra'. The Buddha agreed under one condition that Pilinda first had to be ordained as his bhikkhu. After he joined Buddha's Order, Pilinda obediently studied and followed everything that Buddha taught him to do. Due to his extraordinary wisdom and readiness, soon he attained the arahantship.
The Arahant Pilinda, however, had a very strange habit: he called people "Low-life". One morning, while he was walking for alms-food, he saw a merchant carrying a tray of medicinal herbs walking by. He kindly greeted him and asked: "Low-life, what's on your tray?" The merchant was so angry that he said sarcastically, "I got rat droppings on my tray". Like magic, all the medicinal herbs turned into rat droppings! The man was so panicked that he hastily went back to check all others medicinal herbs he had kept in a wagon near the town's gate. To his great surprise, they all had turned into rat droppings! Feeling desperated, he started to cry. A passing-by ubasaka overheard him, and so he asked the merchant why he was crying. The merchant then told him the story. The wise upasaka (householder) advised the merchant to take the tray to the monastery and wait for the thera to come back and when the Arahant Pilinda asked him what were on his tray, he must truthfully reply that they were herb-medicines. The merchant understood the householder's intention and he followed the upasaka's advice exactly; surprisingly, the rat droppings on the tray as well as those in his wagon all turned back into the original herb-medicines!
Because Thera Pilindavaccha had a very strange way of calling people: he would often say, "Come here, low life", or "Go there, low life" and such other things. Other bhikkhus reported about him to the Buddha. The Buddha sent for him, and spoke to him on the matter. Using his super power to recall infinite eras of the past (mahaabhi~n~naappattaana.m) the Buddha found that for the past five hundred existences, the thera had been born only in the families of the brahmins, who regarded themselves as being superior to other people. So the Buddha said to the bhikkhus, "Bhikkhus! Thera Pilindavaccha addresses others as 'low life' only by force of habit acquired in the course of his five hundred existences as a brahmin, and not out of malice. He has no intention of hurting others, for an arahat does not harm others."
*** Very often, so many devas and super-devas, who were Pilindha's friends, practicing meditations in the past lives, loved to come to listen to Bhikkhu Pilinda's dhammas teaching. His place was always so bright at nights
because of the devas' and the super-devas'celestial haloes. All the other bhikkhus were quite impressed with his unique popularity. The Buddha also praised Pilinda thera as the etadagga who was beloved by devas/super-devas of all levels.***
Love Buddha's dhamma,
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