Verse 75. Path To Liberation

One is the way to worldly gain,
another to Nibbana goes.
Clearly comprehending this
the bhikkhu, Buddha’s follower
should wallow not in proffered gifts,
surrendering instead to solitude.

Explanation: There is one way to worldly and material progress and profit. But the way to Nibbana is quite different than that. The monk, who is the Buddha’s disciple, should be clearly aware of this difference. He must not take delight in the worldly gifts with which he is being enticed. He must on the other hand seek solitude.

The Story of Novice Monk Tissa of the Forest Monastery (Verse 75)

While residing at the Jetavana Monastery, the Buddha spoke this verse, with reference to Tissa, a novice monk, who dwelt in a forest monastery.

Tissa was the son of a rich man from Savatthi. His father used to offer alms-food to the chief disciple Sariputta in their house and so Tissa even as a child had met the chief disciple on many occasions. At the age of seven he became a novice under the chief disciple Sariputta. While he was staying at the Jetavana Monastery, many of his friends and relatives came to see him, bringing presents and offerings. The novice monk found these visits to be very tiresome; so after taking a subject of meditation from the Buddha, he left for a forest monastery. Whenever a villager offered him anything, Tissa would just say ‘May you be happy, may you be liberated from the ills of life’ (“Sukhita hotha, dukkha muccatha”), and would go on his own way. While he stayed at the forest monastery, he ardently and diligently practiced meditation, and at the end of three months he attained arahatship.

After the vassa (the rainy season), the Venerable Sariputta, accompanied by the Venerable Maha Moggallana and other senior disciples, paid a visit to novice monk Tissa, with the permission of the Buddha. All the villagers came out to welcome the Venerable Sariputta and his company of many monks. They also requested the Venerable Sariputta to favour them with a discourse, but the chief disciple declined; instead, he directed his pupil Tissa to deliver a discourse to the villagers. The villagers, however, said that their teacher Tissa could only say “May you be happy, may you be liberated from the ills of life” and asked the chief disciple to assign another monk in his place. But the Venerable Sariputta insisted that Tissa should deliver a discourse on the Dhamma, and said to Tissa, “Tissa, talk to them about the Dhamma and show them how to gain happiness and how to be liberated from the ills of life.”

Thus, in obedience to his teacher, Novice Monk Tissa went up the platform to deliver his discourse. He explained to the audience the meaning of the aggregates (khandhas), sense bases and sense objects {ayatanas), elements of the perpetuation of the Teaching (Bodhipakkhiya), the path leading to arahatship and Nibbana, etc. Finally he concluded, “And thus, those who attain arahatship are liberated from all the ills of life and have perfect peace; all the rest will still wander about in the round of rebirths.

The Venerable Sariputta praised Tissa for having expounded the Dhamma so well. Dawn was approaching when he finished his exposition, and all the villagers were very much impressed. Some of them were surprised that novice monk Tissa knew the Dhamma so well, but formerly he had talked so little about the Dhamma to them; the others were happy and contented to find the novice monk to be so learned and felt that they were very lucky to have him amongst them.


Treasury of Truth: Illustrated Dhammapada – 423 Verses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *