Ananda: The Guardian of the Dhamma by Hellmuth Hecker, Sister Khema

By Hellmuth Hecker, Sister Khema

82,000 Teachings from the Buddha i've got received;
2,000 extra from his disciples; Now, 84,000 are everyday to me.1
Who not anything has heard2 and not anything understood, He a long time in simple terms oxen-like:
His belly in basic terms grows and grows,
But his perception deepens not.
Who has a lot heard and learned,
But does despise him who's terrible in studying, Is like one blind who holds a lamp.
So needs to i believe of the sort of one.
Thou keep on with him who has heard much,
Then what's heard shall no longer decline.
This is the tap-root of the holy life;
Hence a Dhamma-guardian thou should’st be!
Knowing what comes first and final, realizing good the that means, too,
Skilful in grammar and in different items,3 The well-grasped that means he examines.
Keen in his sufferer application,
He strives to weigh the which means good. on the correct time he makes his attempt, And inwardly collects his mind.
— the Venerable Ánanda, Thag XVII.3 (vv. 1024-29)

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That was a matter for lay people, the Buddha replied; the monks should be concerned with striving for their own deliverance. Then Ánanda wanted to know how the lay people should carry out the funeral ceremony. The Buddha gave detailed 50 instructions about the cremation and the erection of a stúpa. There were four beings worthy of a stúpa: a perfect Buddha; an enlightened one who does not teach (pacceka-buddha); a disciple who is an arahant—fully 51 enlightened; and a universal monarch. He who worships there would also attain good results.

79). Another time Ánanda asked how one could live happily in the Order. The answer was: if one is virtuous oneself, but does not blame others for lack of virtue; if one watches oneself, but not others; if one does not worry about lack of fame; if one can obtain the four meditation absorptions without difficulty; and finally if one becomes a holy one, an 28 arahant. 106). Ánanda asked what were the purposes and blessings of virtue. The answer was: to be free of self-reproach, free of guilt feelings, with a clear conscience.

He understood that the five aggregates are impermanent, but he was afraid of Nibbána, thought it to be the destruction of the ego. So he came for advice to Ánanda. Ánanda consoled him: he would understand the teaching, he was already beginning to break through the hard shell. 15). Thereupon Channa exclaimed how wonderful it was to have such wise brothers as teachers. 90). 27 7. Ána nda’s Co nver satio ns w i th t he Budd ha If one considers as conversation also the silent, inner rapport with a Dhamma discourse, then the whole of the Páli Canon actually consists of Ánanda’s conversations with the Buddha.

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