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Cittahattha Thera

A monk who disrobed six times and ordained seven times. His story is told in the commentary to Dhammapada verses 38 and 39 (DhpA.i.305).

“He whose mind is not steadfast, he who knows not the true doctrine, he whose confidence wavers — the wisdom of such a one will never be perfect.” (Dhp v 38)

”He whose mind is not soaked (by lust) he who is not affected (by hatred), he who has transcended both good and evil — for such a vigilant one there is no fear.” (Dhp v39)

After searching in the forest for his lost ox, a farmer approached the monks hoping to get some food. The leftovers he received were so delicious he became a monk thinking it would be an easy life. He soon became fat and lazy. Thinking it was too arduous to walk for alms every day, he disrobed and resumed farming. He disrobed and re-entered the Saṅgha six times, so the monks named him “Cittahattha Thera — Mind-tossed Elder.” On returning from the field, seeing his pregnant wife snoring, he became disgusted with worldly life, and left the house for the seventh time. On the way to the monastery he contemplated impermanence and suffering, and gained the fruit of Stream-entry. He implored the monks to ordain him once more. They refused at first, saying that his head was like a whetstone. Finally they relented, and he soon attained Arahantship. When he stayed for a long time, the monks asked him why, and he told them that he was now free from attachment. The monks told this to the Buddha, who explained his state of mind before and after his realisation of nibbāna.

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