Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa

2.1.14 Yo ca vassasataṃ jīve - And One Who Lives a Hundred Years


Bāhitvā1 pāpake dhamme, ye caranti sadā satā;
Khīṇasaṃyojanā buddhā, te ve lokasmi brāhmaṇā’ti.2

Having warded off all evil states, upholding awareness all the time;
Having destroyed the fetters, these Awakened Ones are the Brahmins in this world.


Pushing on the emphasis of the previous lesson this penultimate lesson of Chapter Two presents verses selected from the Dhammapada stressing the effort of making best use of one’s short life while the rare opportunity of embracing the Dhamma is still available.3

The Introductions to Chapter Two have tried to present an appreciative summary of how saddhamma4 has been maintained till today through enduring efforts of so many saintly people. It seems possible that the Dhamma could indeed be maintained, and will remain available, for up 5,000 years.5

In this way Bhante Nāgasena could resolve King Milinda’s dilemma with a simile. King Milinda asserted a contradiction in the different statements about the duration of the Sāsana being five-hundred versus five-thousand years.6

Idha pana, mahārāja, mahati mahā-aggikkhandhe jalamāne aparāparaṃ sukkhatiṇakaṭṭhagoma7 yāni upasaṃhareyyuṃ,8 api nu kho so, mahārāja, aggikkhandho nibbāyeyyā’ti?

If, great King, there was a great fire and someone was to supply it constantly with dry grass, wood or cow dung, what do you think, great King, would that mass of fire expire?

Na hi, bhante, bhiyyo bhiyyo so aggikkhandho jaleyya, bhiyyo bhiyyo pabhāseyyā’ti.

No, Bhante, that mass of fire would burn more and more, it would radiate forth even more.

Evameva kho, mahārāja, dasasahassiyā lokadhātuyā jinasāsanavarampi9 ācārasīlaguṇavattapaṭipattiyā10 jalati pabhāsati. Yadi pana, mahārāja, taduttariṃ buddhaputtā pañcahi padhāniyaṅgehi11 samannāgatā satatamappamattā padaheyyuṃ, tīsu sikkhāsu12 chandajātā sikkheyyuṃ, cārittañca sīlaṃ samattaṃ paripūreyyuṃ, evamidaṃ jinasāsanavaraṃ bhiyyo bhiyyo ciraṃ dīghamaddhānaṃ tiṭṭheyya, asuñño loko arahantehi assāti imamatthaṃ bhagavatā sandhāya bhāsitaṃ ‘ime ca, subhadda, bhikkhū sammā vihareyyuṃ, asuñño lokoarahantehi assā’ti.

In the same way radiates the excellent Sāsana of the conqueror through the ten-thousand world systems, great King, if there is proper conduct, fulfilment of sīla, development of qualities and the practice of paṭipatti. If, great King, the sons of the Buddha are established and constantly striving in the five factors of endeavour,13 applying with full zeal the three trainings and fulfilling perfectly the moral precepts in performing and avoiding,14 then this excellent sāsana of the conqueror will survive a very long and even longer time and the world will not be bereft of Arahants.

This is the reason why the Bhagava has said: ‘As long as, Subaddha, the Bhikkhus live perfectly, as long the world will not be bereft of Arahants’.

1. bāhitvā: bāheti: (pp.) ward off, remove.

2. Brāhmaṇasuttaṃ, Bodhivaggo, Udānapāḷi, Khuddakanikāye.

3. See 2.1.13 Arakasuttaṃ - Make the Best Use of This Short Life.

4. The term saddhamma is explained in the commentary, the Sahassavaggavaṇṇanā:

Tattha dhammamuttamanti navavidhaṃ lokuttaradhammaṃ. So hi uttamo dhammo nāma. Yo hi taṃ na passati, tassa vassasatampi jīvanato taṃ dhammaṃ passantassa paṭivijjhantassa ekāhampi ekakkhaṇampi jīvitaṃ seyyoti. – Thus the true Dhamma is understood as the nine supra-mundane dhammas. Because this is called: highest Dhamma. Even one day, one moment of someone who sees and penetrates this law is better than the life of someone who lives for hundred years but does not see this law.

The nine supra-mundane dhammas are the four stages of the path, the four fruits and the experience of nibbāna with all of them.

5. The final lesson will go into more detail of this prophesy and conclude this chapter 2.1.15 Phussattheragāthā - 2500 Years Are Over! The Clock of Vipassana Has Struck! Make Use of This Rare Opportunity!’

6. See 2.1.1 Kesamuttisuttaṃ, part one – Don't Believe In Tradition, in Hearsay, in Teachers but Your Own Experience, Understanding What Is Unwholesome.

7. sukkhatiṇakaṭṭhagoma: sukkha + tiṇa + kaṭṭha + goma — dry + grass + wood + cow dung.

8. upasaṃharati: to bring together, supply, provide.

9. jinasāsanavarampi: jina + sāsana + varam + pi — conqueror + sāsana + excellent, true + and.

10. ācārasīlaguṇavattapaṭipattiyā: ācāra + sīla + guṇa + vatta + paṭipattiyā — conduct + sīla + quality + observance + practice.

11. padhāniyaṅga: saddho, appābādho, asaṭho, araddaviriyo, paññavā: these five factors of endeavour are faith, good health, honesty, tireless effort and wisdom. See also the Introduction to 1.4.3 Dhajaggasuttaṃ - Verses for Protection.

12. tīsu sikkhāsu: the three trainings: sīla, samādhi, paññā.

13. See 3.7.1 Vibhaṅgasuttaṃ - 7 – What is Right Effort? and 3.7.3 Saṃvarasuttaṃ - Avoiding Unwholesome and Maintaining the Wholesome.

14. See 3.5.2 Cārittaṃ Vārittaṃ Sikkhāpada - The Training of Performing and Avoiding.

Last modified: Friday, 24 November 2023, 11:46 AM