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Dhammika Sutta

Dhammika Vagga.– The fifth chapter of the Chakka Nipāta of the Aṅguttaranikāya. A.iii.344 ff.

1. Dhammika Sutta.– Dhammika Thera is driven out by the lay disciples of seven settlements in succession, because he insulted and reviled visiting monks. He, thereupon, seeks the Buddha at Gijjhakūṭa and reports the matter to him. The Buddha relates to him a story of the past connected with the observance of Rukkha-dhamma (see Suppatiṭṭhita), and exhorts him to observe the Dhamma of a recluse. He also tells Dhammika of various teachers of the past whose disciples, by accepting their teaching, were born in happy states. A.iii.366 ff; the teachers are Sunetta, Mūgapakkha, Araṇemi, Kuddālaka, and Jotipāla. These names occur in the Jātaka stories; see for details. Perhaps the stories were pre-Buddhistic. Compare the list with that at A.iv.135, where the name of Araka is added.

2. Dhammika Sutta.– The fourteenth sutta of the Cūḷa Vagga of the Suttanipāta. The lay disciple Dhammika, with five hundred others, visits the Buddha at Jetavana, singing his praises and asking what should be the life of a monk and what that of a householder. The Buddha proceeds to lay down the course of conduct to be followed by a monk and the virtues to be cultivated by a layman (SN.vv.376‑404).

The Commentary adds (SNA.i.367 f) that these lay disciples were all Non-returners (anāgāmī) who, on the day in question, had taken the uposatha vows. During the middle watch the question of the difference between the life of a monk and that of a layman occurred to them and they sought the Buddha.

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