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Tipitaka » Sutta Pitaka » Khuddaka Nikaya » Dhammapada » Verse 379,380


Dhammapada Verses 379 and 380 - Nangalakulatthera Vatthu[]


Daw Mya Tin Version[]

Attana codayattanam

patimamsetha attana

so attagutto satima

sukham bhikkhu vihahisi.

Atta hi attano natho

(ko hi natho paro siya)(1)

atta hi attano gati

tasma samyamamattanam

assam bhadramva vanijo.


Verse 379: O bhikkhu, by yourself exhort yourself, and examine yourself; thus guarding yourself and being mindful, you will live in peace.


Verse 380: One indeed is one's own refuge, (how could anyone else be one's refuge?)1 One indeed is one's own heaven; therefore, look after yourself as a horse dealer looks after a thoroughbred.


1. Not found in some foreign versions.



The Story of Thera Nangalakula

While residing at the Jetavana monastery, the Buddha uttered Verses (379) and (380) of this book, with reference to Thera Nangala.

Nangala was a poor field labourer in the service of a farmer. One day, a bhikkhu, seeing him ploughing a field in his old clothes, asked him if he would like to become a bhikkhu. When he replied in the affirmative, the bhikkhu took him along to the monastery and made him a bhikkhu. After the admission to the Order, as instructed by his teacher, he left his plough and his old clothes in a tree not far away from the monastery. Because the poor man had left his plough to join the Order, he was known as Thera Nangala (nangala = plough). Due to better living conditions at the monastery, Thera Nangala became healthier and soon put on weight. However, after some time, he grew tired of the life of a bhikkhu and often felt like returning to home-life. Whenever this feeling arose in him, he would go to the tree near the monastery, the tree where he had left his plough and his old clothes. There he would reproach himself saying, "O you shameless man! Do you still want to put on these old rags and return to the hard, lowly life of a hired labourer ?" After this, his dissatisfaction with the life of a bhikkhu would disappear and he would go back to the monastery. Thus, he went to the tree at an interval of every three or four days, to remind himself of the wretchedness of his old life.

When other bhikkhus asked him about his frequent visits to the tree, he replied, "I have to go to my teacher." In course of time, he attained arahatship and he stopped going to the tree. Other bhikkhus, noticing this, asked him teasingly, "Why don't you go to your teacher now?" To those bhikkhus, he replied, "I used to go to my teacher because I had need of him; but now, I have no need to go to him." The bhikkhus understood what he meant by his answer and they went to the Buddha and reported, "Venerable Sir! Thera Nangala claims to have attained arahatship. It cannot be true; he must be boasting, he must be telling lies." To them the Buddha said, "Bhikkhus! Do not say so; for Nangala is not telling lies. My son Nangala, by reproaching himself and correcting himself, has indeed attained arahatship."

Then the Buddha spoke in verse as follows:


Verse 379: O bhikkhu, by yourself exhort yourself, and examine yourself; thus guarding yourself and being mindful, you will live in peace.


Verse 380: One indeed is one's own refuge, (how could anyone else be one's refuge?) One indeed is one's own heaven; therefore, look after yourself as a horse dealer looks after a thoroughbred.


Ven. Weragoda Sarada Maha Thero Version[]

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Illustration[]

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