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Nāga Sutta

1. Nāga Sutta.– See Hatthirāja Sutta (S.i.103 f)

2. Nāga Sutta.– A certain novice was in the habit of spending too much time in clansmen’s houses. When warned against this, he answered that he could not understand how he was to blame as he saw many senior monks acting in the same way. He was reported to the Buddha who related the story of an elephant who dwelt by a great lake. He plunged into the lake, pulled up lotus-stalks, cleaned them, and then by eating them, gained strength and beauty. However, when the baby elephants tried to follow his example, they could not clean the stalks, and eating them with mud and dirt, grew sick, some of them even dying. (S.ii.268 f)

3. Nāga Sutta.– Snakes that dwell in the Himavā, when grown and strong, find their way into the sea, where they grow even greater. Even so do monks grow, who develop the Noble Eightfold Path. (S.v.47)

4. Nāga Sutta.– An elephant, to be fit for the royal stalls, should have four qualities: he should be a good listener (sotā), a good slayer (hantā), full of patience (khantā), and a good goer (gantā). A monk should have the four corresponding qualities to be fit to receive the respects and gifts of the world (A.ii.116 f)

5. Nāga Sutta.– The Buddha goes to the bathing place near the Migārāmatupāsāda with Ānanda, bathes there, and while drying his limbs, sees Pasenadi’s elephant, Seta, coming out of the bathing place, attended by great ceremony. People, seeing him, express their wonder and admiration of the noble animal. Udāyī (Kāludāyī, according to the Commentary, AA.ii.669) who is nearby, asks the Buddha if it is only the elephant whom people praise for its bulk or do they praise other bulky things as well? They do, says the Buddha, praise all huge things — horses, bulls, snakes, trees, and men — calling them Nāgā, but really, the best Nāga is the one who commits no enormity in word or thought (āguṃ, na karoti, taṃ nāgo). Thereupon, Udāyī breaks forth into verse, praising the Buddha’s teaching, comparing the Buddha to an elephant, each limb representing a different virtue (A.iii.345 ff).

This sutta is called the Nāgopama Sutta (ThagA.ii.7).

6. Nāga Sutta.– Sometimes it happens that a forest-dwelling elephant gets bored with the company of his fellows, his cows, and the young elephants, who get in his way and interfere with his freedom. Thereupon, he breaks away from them and retires into solitude. So should the monk, wearied of the haunts of men, resort to loneliness and there rid himself of the corruptions (āsava). (A.iv.435 ff).

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