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Just as rust is formed from iron,
and corrodes the iron from which it is formed,
so also, his own deeds lead the transgressor
to a lower plane of existence.

– Dhammapada Verse 240 (The Buddha)

Born in a respectable family, Venerable Tissa once received a coarse cloth, which he passed to his sister at first. Feeling that is was unsuitable for him, she took it apart and reweaved it. When he asked for it again, to make it into a robe, his sister returned the refined cloth, explaining what she did to improve it, so that he would accept it. When the robe was ready, Tissa liked it very much, as he folded and laid it on a rack, planning to wear it the next day.

However, during that night, due to severe indigestion, he died. As he was so attached to the robe, with it as his last thought, he was reborn as a louse crawling about its folds. After his funeral, some monks decided to divide the robe among themselves. As heard by the Buddha with his supernormal hearing and comprehension, the louse, while scrambling to and fro, screamed in angry protest, claiming that they were stealing and destroying his property.

The Buddha thus instructed all to put the robe aside for seven days, after which the louse was reborn in Tusita heaven due to remnant positive karma and dying ‘content’. Thereafter, he explained that the louse would had held a strong grudge against the monks as his last thought if they took the robe earlier, leading to his rebirth in hell. Thereupon, he uttered the verse above, to caution on the danger of unchecked attachment, even to requisites, which can obstruct spiritual purification and even lead to lower rebirths. Below are 3 more important lessons to learn from this incident.

[1] As attachment is possible even to simple objects, despite good intentions, laity should not give luxurious offerings to monastics, lest they ‘spoil’ them materially and spiritually. [2] Death can come swiftly without warning, which is why the Dharma should be diligently practised, with more attention on matters spiritual than material, as death-proximate karma will link one to a corresponding plane of existence. Without the Buddha’s skilful means, Tissa would have had a worse rebirth. [3] Attachment can be so strong that it insensibly overflows to the next life. In fact, this is why most are reborn!

Since a Buddha, such as Amituofo
is the purest subject for mindfulness,
final mindfulness of Amituofo
leads to the purest birth in his Pure Land.

Stonepeace | Books

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One Response to “How A Monk Became A Bug”

  1. This story is so funny and zenny.

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