Verse 82. The Wise Are Happy

Even as a fathomless lake,
a lake so calm and clear,
so dhammas having heard
serene the wise become.

Explanation: The exceedingly deep oceans are tranquil, calm and are not agitated. In the same way whose wise ones who listen to the word of the Buddha acquire deep awareness and are extremely calm and tranquil.

The Story of Kanamata (Verse 82)

While residing at the Jetavana Monastery, the Buddha spoke this verse, with reference to the mother of Kana (Kanamata). Kanamata was a devoted lay disciple of the Buddha. Her daughter Kana was married to a man from another village. As Kana had been on a visit to her mother for some time, her husband sent a message for her to come home. Her mother told her to wait for one more day as she wanted her to take some sweetmeats for her husband. The next day, Kanamata made some sweet-meats, but when four monks stood at her door for alms she offered some to them. The four monks told other monks about the sweetmeats from Kanamata’s house and they also came to stand at her door. Kanamata, as a devotee of the Buddha and his disciples, offered her sweetmeats to the monks as they came in, one after another. The result was that in the end there was none left for Kana and she did not go home on that day. The same thing happened on the next two days; her mother made some sweetmeats, the monks stood at her door, she offered her sweetmeats to the monks, there was nothing left for her daughter to take home, and her daughter did not go home. On the third day, for the third time, her husband sent her a message, which was also an ultimatum stating that if she failed to come home the next day, he would take another wife. But on the next day also, Kana was unable to go home because her mother offered all her sweetmeats to the monks. Kana’s husband then took another wife and Kana became very bitter towards the monks. She used to abuse all monks so much so that the monks kept away from the house of Kanamata.

The Buddha heard about Kana and went to the house of Kanamata; there she offered him some rice gruel. After the meal, the Buddha sent for Kana and asked her, “Did my monks take what was given them or what was not given them?” Kana answered that the monks had taken only what was given them, and then added, “They were not in the wrong; only I was in the wrong.” Thus, she owned up her fault and she also paid homage to the Buddha. The Buddha then gave a discourse. At the end of the discourse, Kana attained sotapatti fruition.

On the way back to the monastery, the Buddha met King Pasmadi of Kosala. On being told about Kana and her bitter attitude towards the monks, King Pasenadi asked the Buddha whether he had been able to teach her the dhamma and make her see the truth (dhamma). The Buddha replied, “Yes, I have taught her the dhamma, and I have also made her rich in her next existence.” Then the king promised the Buddha that he would make Kana rich even in this existence. The king then sent his men with a palanquin to fetch Kana. When she arrived, the king announced to his ministers, “Whoever can keep my daughter Kana in comfort may take her.” One of the ministers volunteered to adopt Kana as his daughter, gave her all his wealth, and said to her, “You may give in charity as much as you like.” Every day, Kana made offerings to the monks at the four city-gates. When told about Kana giving generously in charity, the Buddha said, “Monks, the mind of Kana which was muddled was made clear and calm by my words.”


Treasury of Truth: Illustrated Dhammapada – 423 Verses

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