The Fickle-Minded Monk



The Fickle-Minded Monk :



What Buddha said… : A fickle-minded man will never attain perfect wisdom, since he is ignorant of the Dhamma and his faith is not steadfast.

What Buddha said… : The mind of the vigilant man is fearless, It is free of lust and anger. It has abandoned both good and evil.

CITTA HATTA HAD BEEN LOOKING for one of his oxen gone astray in the woods for quite some time when he started to feel very hungry. He came upon a monastery and there he was given something to eat. While he was having his meal, he could not help but remark how the monks’ fare was better than what he himself could normally afford even after a hard day’s work. So, on a whim, he decided to leave his wife and home and become a monk.

Although he started off well by following the rules of the monastery, he slowly became bored with his new lifestyle and ended up not even wanting to go out on his daily alms round. Soon he was feeling restless and longed so much for his wife’s company again that he finally left the Order and returned home. But after a while, feeling that life at home was too hard, he returned to the monastery and became a bhikkhu again. Then feeling lonely once more, he disrobed and went home to be with his wife again. He shuttled back and forth like this between home and monastery six times.

The sixth time he returned to the householder’s life, his wife became pregnant and he was delighted. Then one night as she lay sleeping soundly, he went into their bedroom to admire her new condition and found her snoring loudly, saliva running down the side of her chin, and her clothes and hair in disarray. Seeing his wife lying like that with her mouth open and her stomach bloated, Citta Hattha could not help but think that she looked just like a corpse.

Suddenly he felt a disgust arise within himself that surprised him, but it was then that he realized the unpleasant and impermanent nature of the body. He stood there thinking, “I have already entered the Order six times and each time I have disrobed because of my lust for sensual pleasure. Now I have understood the true nature of the body and will not be fooled again." He decided to leave home and become a bhikkhu once and for all. On the way to the monastery he kept reflecting on impermanence and unsatisfactoriness and as a result attained the first stage of sainthood.

Back at the monastery, the bhikkhus were not at all eager to see Citta Hatta again, for the notoriety of his fickle-mindedness had become too well known among them. So when Citta Hatta requested to be admitted into the Order once more, they all refused to let him do so. “You have been shaving your head so often it is like a whetting stone," they chided. But Citta Hatta remained adamant and the bhikkhus finally relented.

Several months passed, and although Citta Hatta had still not disrobed, his fellow bhikkhus remained doubtful of his determination to lead the holy life. They started to tease him by asking him when he was going back to see his wife again. He would answer them by saying, “Previously, indeed, I used to return to the lay life because I still had attachments, but now I have none." The bhikkhus told the Buddha what Citta Hatta said and the Buddha replied, “His mind was not steadfast before and he did not understand the Dhamma but, now, he is already an arahat and has truly discarded all attachments. This time Citta Hatta will not be going home again."

What Buddha said… : A fickle-minded man will never attain perfect wisdom, since he is ignorant of the Dhamma and his faith is not steadfast.

What Buddha said… : The mind of the vigilant man is fearless, It is free of lust and anger. It has abandoned both good and evil.


The Fickle-Minded Monk


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