The Scholar Monk and The Arahat



The Scholar Monk and The Arahat :



What Buddha said… : Though a person recites much of the sacred texts, but is negligent and does not practise according to the Dhamma, he cannot share the blessings of the holy life, just as a cowherd, counting other people’s cows, cannot taste the milk that comes from them.

What Buddha said… : Though a person recites only a little of the sacred texts, but practises according to the Dhamma and becomes truly wise, thus forsaking lust, hatred, and delusion, and no longer clinging to anything of this or any other world, he indeed shares the benefits of the holy life.

ONCE THERE WERE TWO MEN who entered the monkhood at the same time but who followed different aspirations. One studied the sacred doctrines until he attained such a proficiency in them that quite a number of admiring students gathered around him to hear him teach. The other practised very hard and eventually became an arahat with great spiritual insights.

One day, the two bhikkhus happened to meet each other for they had gone to see the Buddha at the same time. The proud master of the sacred texts, however, had no idea that the monk he just met was already one of high spiritual attainments. Treating him with disdain, as he did most monks, the scholar wanted to embarrass the arahat in front of everyone by asking him questions from the texts which he was sure the arahat would not be able to answer. What the scholar did not know, however, was that whoever brought harm in any form upon an arahat would end up being reborn in a lower world.

To prevent that from happening, the Buddha decided to choose and ask the questions himself. He put questions concerning the higher states of meditation to the scholar monk who, of course, could not answer them because he had not practised what he had recited and preached. On the other hand, the second bhikkhu had no problem with the questions, answering them humbly but yet with evident authority. When the questioning session was over, the Buddha praised the arahat generously, but made no mention of the learned scholar.

The other bhikkhus wondered why the Buddha praised the arahat and not the illustrous teacher. The Buddha explained to them that although the first bhikkhu was well versed in and knowledgeable of the sacred scriptures, he did not live in accordance with the Dhamma. The Buddha compared him to a cowherd who tended somebody else’s cows only to earn money and so did not get to drink any of the cows’ milk, while the one who practised the Dhamma was like the owner who enjoyed not only his cows’ milk but all the dairy products that could be made from it as well.

Similarly, the scholar monk only enjoyed whatever services his pupils afforded him but not the benefits of sainthood. On the other hand, though the arahat could barely recite anything from the sacred scriptures, through his diligent practise he had come to understand the essence of the Dhamma and so no longer harbored any greed, hatred, or delusion in his mind. He thus truly reaped the benefits of sainthood.

What Buddha said… : Though a person recites much of the sacred texts, but is negligent and does not practise according to the Dhamma, he cannot share the blessings of the holy life, just as a cowherd, counting other people’s cows, cannot taste the milk that comes from them.

What Buddha said… : Though a person recites only a little of the sacred texts, but practises according to the Dhamma and becomes truly wise, thus forsaking lust, hatred, and delusion, and no longer clinging to anything of this or any other world, he indeed shares the benefits of the holy life.


The Scholar Monk and The Arahat


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