Continuing our story, we shall now return to Mahākassapa. Where did he go after he had come to the crossroads? As mentioned above, when the two ascetics separated, the earth shook by the force of their act of renunciation. The Buddha perceived this trembling of the earth and knew that it meant an outstanding disciple was on the way to him. Without informing any of the monks, he set out on the road alone, walking the distance of five miles to meet his future pupil—an act of compassion which later was often praised.


On the road between Rājagaha and Nālandā, the Master sat down under a banyan tree by the Bahuputtaka Shrine, waiting for his future disciple to arrive. He did not sit there like an ordinary ascetic but displayed all the sublime glory of a Buddha. He emitted rays of light for eighty meters all around, so that the entire thicket became a single mass of light, and he manifested all his thirty-two marks of a great man.


When Kassapa reached the spot and saw the Buddha sitting there in the full splendour of an Enlightened One, he thought, ‘

‘This must be my master for whose sake I have gone forth!’


He approached the Buddha, fell at his feet, and exclaimed:


“The Blessed One, Lord, is my teacher, and I am his disciple! The Blessed One, Lord, is my teacher, and I am his disciple!”


The Enlightened One said:


 “Kassapa, if anyone who does not know and see were to say to a disciple endowed with such sincerity as yourself, ‘I know, I see,’ his head would split. But, Kassapa, knowing, I say ‘I know’; seeing, I say ‘I see.’’


He then gave Kassapa the following three exhortations as his first formal introduction to the Dhamma:

You should train yourself thus, Kassapa:


“A keen sense of shame and fear of wrongdoing (hiri-ottappa) shall be present in me towards seniors, novices, and those of middle status in the Order.’’


“Whatever teaching I hear that is conducive to something wholesome, I shall listen with an attentive ear, examining it, reflecting on it, absorbing it with all my heart.’’


“Mindfulness of the body linked with gladness shall not be neglected by me!”


Thus should you train yourself.


According to the commentary, this triple exhortation constituted Kassapa’s going forth (pabbajjā) and higher ordination (upasampadā) together. Then both Master and disciple walked toward Rājagaha. On the way, the Buddha wanted to rest and went off the road to the root of a tree. Mahākassapa then folded his double-robe in four and requested the Master to sit on it


As this will be for my benefit for a long time.


The Buddha sat down on Kassapa’s robe and said:


 Soft is your robe of patched cloth, Kassapa.


Hearing this, Kassapa replied:


“May the Blessed One, O Lord, accept this robe of patched cloth out of compassion for me!”


“But, Kassapa, can you wear these hempen, worn-out rag robes of mine?”


Full of joy, Kassapa said:


“Certainly, Lord, I can wear the Blessed One’s rough and worn-out rag robes.”


This exchange of robes bestowed a great distinction on the Venerable Mahākassapa, an honour not shared by any other disciple. The commentary explains that the Buddha’s intention in exchanging robes with Kassapa was to motivate him to observe the dhutaṅga, the austere practices, from the time of his very admission into the Bhikkhu Sangha.


Although, after his Enlightenment, the Buddha condemned extreme self-mortification as a blind alley which is ‘painful, ignoble, and unbeneficial,’ he by no means rejected those ascetic practices that harmonized with the framework of the Middle Way. The true Middle Way is not a comfortable highway built out of easy compromises, but a lonely, steep ascent, which requires the renunciation of craving and the ability to endure hardship and discomfort. Hence the Buddha encouraged those monks who were truly keen on extricating from their hearts the subtlest roots of craving to adopt the dhutaṅga—special vows of austerity conducive to simplicity, contentment, renunciation, and energy—and he often applauded those monks who observed these vows.


The ancient suttas repeatedly commend several austere practices: using only the triple set of robes (and refusing to use additional robes); wearing only rag robes (and refusing robes offered by householders); subsisting only on food collected on alms round (and refusing invitations to meals); living only in the forest (and refusing to live in town monasteries)…… In the commentaries the list of austere practices is expanded to thirteen, which are explained in detail in such works on the meditative life as the Visuddhimagga.


The robe that the Buddha offered Kassapa was made from a shroud that he had picked up in a cremation ground, and in asking Kassapa whether he could wear that robe he was implicitly asking whether he would be able to make the full commitment to the austere practices that the use of such a robe would entail. When Kassapa affirmed that he could wear the robe, he was saying,

“Yes, Lord, I can fulfil the ascetic practices you wish me to undertake.”

From that moment on Kassapa pledged himself to uphold a life of strict austerity, and even in old age he insisted on observing the same vows that he had undertaken in his youth. On a later occasion the Buddha declared Mahākassapa foremost among the bhikkhus who observed the austere practices, thereby bringing to fulfilment Kassapa’s original aspiration formed a hundred thousand aeons in the past.


It was only seven days after his ordination and the exchange of robes that Kassapa attained the goal he was striving for, arahantship, the mind’s final liberation from defilements. Recounting this episode to Ānanda at a much later time, he declared: For seven days, friend, I ate the alms-food of the country as a debtor, then on the eighth day the final knowledge of arahantship arose in me .


We have already seen that there was a deep inner relationship between the Venerable Mahākassapa and the Buddha. This relationship, according to our traditional sources, had its root in their past lives. According to the Jātaka stories, Kassapa was connected with the Bodhisatta in nineteen existences, frequently through a close family bond. No less than six times Kassapa had been the Bodhisatta’s father, twice his brother, and often his friend or teacher. As it was thus not their first meeting, we can understand why such an immediate and strong devotion and wholehearted dedication toward the Master arose in Kassapa’s heart at the first sight of him.


From Kassapa’s final life, many conversations are reported between the Buddha and this great disciple. It happened on three occasions that the Master spoke to him:


“Exhort the monks, Kassapa. Give them a discourse on the Dhamma, Kassapa. Either I, Kassapa, should exhort the monks, or you. Either I or you should give them a discourse on the Dhamma”.


These words imply a high recognition of Kassapa’s ability, because not every arahant has the capacity to expound the Teaching well and effectively.


The commentary raises here the question why it was Mahākassapa who was placed by the Buddha on such a high footing in this respect, and not Sāriputta or Mahāmoggallāna. The Buddha did so, says the commentary, because he knew that Sāriputta and Moggallāna would not survive him, but Kassapa would, and he wanted to bolster Kassapa’s stature before the other monks so they would consider him one whose advice is to be heeded.


On three occasions when the Buddha requested Kassapa to exhort the monks, he refused to comply. On the first of these occasions Kassapa said that it had now become difficult to speak to some of the monks: they were not amenable to advice, were untractable, and did not accept admonitions with respect. He had also heard that two monks had been boasting of their skill in preaching, saying:


“Come, let us see who will preach more profusely, more beautifully, and at greater length!”


When the Buddha was informed about this by Kassapa, he had these monks summoned and gave them a stern lecture, making them give up their childish conceit. Hence we can see that Kassapa’s negative report turned out to be of positive benefit to those monks. It was not done just for the sake of criticizing others.


On the second occasion, too, Kassapa did not wish to instruct the monks because they were not amenable to admonishment, lacked faith in the good, lacked a sense of shame and fear of wrongdoing, and were slack and devoid of wisdom. Kassapa compared such monks, in their state of decline, to the waning moon, which daily loses in beauty (confidence), in roundness (shame), in splendour (fear of wrongdoing), in height (energy), and in width (wisdom).


On still a third occasion the Buddha asked Kassapa to instruct the monks, and Kassapa again expressed his reluctance for the same reason as before. It seems that this time, too, the Buddha did not urge Kassapa to change his mind, but he himself spoke of the reasons for their conduct:


“Formerly, Kassapa, there were elders of the Order who were forest dwellers, living on alms-food, wearing rag robes, using only the set of three robes, having few wants and being contented, living secluded and aloof from society, energetic; and they praised and encouraged such a way of life. When such elders visited a monastery, they were gladly welcomed and honoured as being dedicated to the practice of the Dhamma. Then the younger monks would also strive to emulate them in their way of life, and this would be of great benefit to them for a long time.


But nowadays, Kassapa, those who are honoured when visiting a monastery are not monks of austere and earnest life, but those who are well known and popular and are amply provided with the requisites of a monk. These are welcomed and honoured, and the younger monks try to emulate them, which will bring them harm for a long time. Hence one will be right in saying that such monks are harmed and overpowered by what does harm to a monk’s life.”


On another occasion, Kassapa asked the Buddha:


“What is the reason that formerly there were fewer rules, but more monks were established in the knowledge of arahantship, while now there are more rules, but fewer monks are established in the knowledge of arahantship?”


The Buddha replied:

“So it happens, Kassapa, when beings deteriorate and the true Dhamma vanishes: then there are more rules and fewer arahants. There will be, however, no vanishing of the true Dhamma until a sham Dhamma arises in the world. But when a sham Dhamma arises in the world, then the true Dhamma vanishes.

But, Kassapa, it is not a cataclysm of the four elements—earth, water, fire, and air—that makes the true Dhamma disappear. Nor is the reason for its disappearance similar to the overloading of a ship that causes it to sink. It is rather the presence of five detrimental attitudes that causes the obscuration and disappearance of the true Dhamma.

These are the five: it is the lack of respect and regard for the Buddha, the Dhamma, the Sangha, the training, and meditative concentration, on the part of monks and nuns, and male and female lay devotees.

But so long as there is respect and regard for those five things, the true Dhamma will remain free of obscuration and will not disappear.”


We should note that, according to this text, the male and female lay followers are also preservers of the Dhamma. From this we may conclude that even when the Dhamma has come to oblivion among the monks, it will still remain alive when honoured and practiced by the laity.


Other discourses relating to Mahākassapa deal chiefly with his austere way of life, which was highly praised and commended by the Buddha. But on one occasion late in his ministry the Buddha reminded Kassapa that as he had now grown old he must find his coarse, worn- out rag robes irksome to use. Therefore, the Buddha suggested, he should now wear robes offered by householders, accept invitations for alms offerings, and live near him. But Kassapa replied:


For a long time I have been a forest dweller, going on alms round and wearing rag robes; and such a life I have commended to others. I have had few wants, lived contented, secluded, applying strenuous energy; and that too I have commended to others.”


When the Buddha asked:


 “But for what reason do you live in this way?”


Kassapa replied:


 “For two reasons: for my own pleasant abiding here and now, and out of compassion for later generations of monks who, when they hear about such a life, might think to emulate it.”


Then the Buddha said:


“Well spoken, Kassapa, well spoken! You are living for the happiness of many, out of compassion for the world, for the benefit and welfare of gods and humans. You may then keep to your coarse rag robes, go out for alms, and live in the forest”


 “This our Kassapa,” said the Buddha, “is satisfied with whatever robes, alms-food, lodging, and medicine he obtains. For the sake of these he will not do anything that is unbefitting for a monk. If he does not obtain any of these requisites, he is not perturbed; and when he obtains them, he makes use of them without clinging or infatuation, not committing any fault, aware of (possible) dangers and

knowing them as an escape (from bodily affliction). By the example of Kassapa, or by one who equals him, I will exhort you, monks. Thus admonished, you should practice in the same way”.


The Buddha also mentioned that Mahākassapa was exemplary in his relation to the laity. When going among the families on his alms round or on invitation, he did not think wishfully, ‘May people give amply and give things of quality! May they give quickly and respectfully! He had no such thoughts, but remained detached like the moon that sheds its mild light from a distance:

When Kassapa goes among families, his mind is not attached, not caught up, not fettered. He rather thinks: ‘Let those who want gain acquire gain! Let those who want merit do merit!’ He is pleased and glad at the gains of others, just as he is pleased and glad at his own gains. Such a monk is fit to go among families.

When he preaches the doctrine, he will not do so for the sake of personal recognition and praise, but for letting them know the Teaching of the Exalted One, so that those who hear it may accept it and practice accordingly. He will preach because of the excellence of the Teaching and out of compassion and sympathy.


But the strongest recognition of Mahākassapa’s achievement, the highest praise given him by the Buddha, came when the Master said that Kassapa could attain at will, just as he himself could, the four fine- material and the four immaterial meditative absorptions, the cessation of perception and feeling, and could also attain the six supernormal knowledges (abhiññā), which include the supernormal powers and culminate in the attainment of Nibbāna.


Here his powerful meditative achievements, akin to those of the Buddha, appear as a characteristic trait of Mahākassapa’s mind. It was because of that deep meditative calm that he could adapt himself, unperturbed, to all external situations and live as one of few wants, materially and socially. In his verses preserved in the Theragāthā, Mahākassapa praises again and again the peace of the jhānas. He was one who went from abundance to abundance. In his lay life he had lived in the abundance of wealth and harmony. As a monk he dwelt in the abundance of jhānic experience, furthered by his former life in the Brahma-world. While in some of the texts he appears to be very severe, this should not lead us to believe that he was harsh by nature.


When he occasionally rebuked others in stern words, he did so for pedagogical reasons, in order to help them. This we shall see especially when we deal with his relationship to Ānanda.


Our sources record two meetings of Mahākassapa with deities. They are related here because they illustrate his independence of spirit and his determination to keep to his austere way of living without accepting privileges even from beings of a higher order.


The first was with a young female deity named Lājā. She remembered that she had obtained her present celestial happiness because, in her previous human existence as a poor woman, she had offered parched rice to the Elder Mahākassapa with a believing heart, uttering the aspiration: ‘May I be a partaker of the truth you have seen!’ On her way home, while reflecting on her offering, she was bitten by a snake and died, and was immediately reborn in the heaven of the Thirty-three in the midst of great splendour.

This the deity remembered, and in her gratitude she now wanted to serve the great elder.


Descending to earth, she swept the elder’s cell and filled the water vessels. After she had done so for three days, the elder saw her radiant figure in his cell, and after questioning her, asked her to leave; he did not wish monks of the future to criticize him for accepting the services of a deity. His entreaties were of no avail; the deity rose into the air, filled with great sadness. The Buddha, aware of what had happened, appeared to the deity and consoled her by speaking of the worth of meritorious deeds and their great reward. But he also said that it had been Kassapa’s duty to practice restraint.


In the other story it is told that Mahākassapa, while living at the Pipphalī Cave, had entered a period of seven days’ uninterrupted meditation. At the end of that period, after emerging from his absorption, he went to Rājagaha on alms round. At that time five hundred female deities of Sakka’s retinue keenly desired to offer him alms. They approached the elder with the food they had prepared, asking him to bestow his favour upon them by accepting their offering. Kassapa, however, declined, for he wanted to bestow his favour on the poor so that they could earn merit. They entreated him several times, but finally left after he repeatedly refused to yield.


When Sakka, king of the gods, heard about their vain effort, he too experienced a keen desire to offer alms to the elder. To avoid being refused, he assumed the guise of an old weaver, and when Mahākassapa approached he offered rice to him. At the moment the rice was accepted it turned exceedingly fragrant. Then Mahākassapa knew that this old weaver was not a human being but Sakka, and he reproached the deva king thus:


“You have done a grievous wrong, Kosiya. By doing so, you have deprived poor people of the chance to acquire merit. Do not do such a thing again!”


“We too need merit, revered Kassapa!” Sakka replied. “We too are in need of merit! But have I acquired merit or not by giving alms to you through deception?”


“You have gained merit, friend.”


Now Sakka, while departing, gave voice to the following solemn utterance (udāna):


Oh, almsgiving! Highest almsgiving! Well bestowed on Kassapa!


One as dedicated to the meditative life as the Venerable Mahākassapa was cannot be expected to have been eager to accept and train many pupils; and, in fact, the canonical texts mention only a few pupils of his. One of Kassapa’s few recorded discourses addressed to the monks deals with the subject of overestimating one’s attainments:


“There may be a monk who declares he has attained to the highest knowledge, that of arahantship. Then the Master, or a disciple capable of knowing the minds of others, examines and questions him. When they question him, that monk becomes embarrassed and confused. The questioner now understands that the monk has made this declaration through overrating himself out of conceit. Then, considering the reason for it, he sees that this monk has acquired much knowledge of the Teaching and proficiency in it, which made him declare his overestimation of himself to be the truth. Penetrating the mind of that monk, he sees that he is still obstructed by the five hindrances and has stopped

halfway while there is still more to do” .


Apart from the few instances where Mahākassapa is speaking to unnamed monks or a group of monks, the texts record only his relationship to Sāriputta and Ānanda. According to the Jātakas, in former lives Sāriputta was twice the son of Kassapa and twice his brother; once too he was Kassapa’s grandson and his friend. In his verses, Kassapa tells that he once saw thousands of Brahmā gods descend from their heaven, pay homage to Sāriputta, and praise him.


Two conversations between Mahākassapa and Sāriputta have been recorded in the Kassapa Saṃyutta. On both occasions it was in the evening, after meditation, that Sāriputta went to see Mahākassapa.

In the first text Sāriputta asked:


“It has been said, friend Kassapa, that without ardour and without fear of wrongdoing, one is incapable of gaining enlightenment, incapable of attaining Nibbāna, incapable of attaining highest security, but that with ardour and with fear of wrongdoing, one is capable of such attainments. Now in how far is one incapable of such attainments and in how far is one capable of them?


“When, friend Sāriputta, a monk thinks: ‘If bad and unwholesome states that have so far not arisen in me were to arise, this would bring me harm,’ and if then he does not arouse ardour and fear of wrongdoing, then he is lacking ardour and fear of wrongdoing. When he thinks: ‘If bad and unwholesome states that have now arisen in me are not abandoned, this would bring me harm,’ or: ‘If unarisen wholesome states were not to arise, this would bring me harm,’ or: ‘If arisen wholesome states were to vanish, this would bring me harm’-if on these occasions, too, a monk does not arouse ardour and fear of wrongdoing, then he is lacking these qualities, and lacking them, he is incapable of attaining enlightenment, incapable of attaining Nibbāna, incapable of attaining the highest security. But if a monk (on those four occasions for right effort) arouses ardour and fear of wrongdoing, he is capable of attaining enlightenment, capable of attaining Nibbāna, capable of attaining the highest security.”


On another occasion Sāriputta asked Mahākassapa whether the Tathāgata, the Perfect One, exists after death, or does not exist, or (in some sense) both exists and does not exist, or neither exists nor does not exist. In each case Mahākassapa replied:


“This was not declared by the Blessed One. And why not? Because it is of no benefit and does not belong to the fundamentals of the holy life, because it does not lead to disenchantment, nor to dispassion, cessation, inner peace, direct knowledge, enlightenment, and Nibbāna.”


“But what, friend, did the Blessed One declare?”


“This is suffering—so, friend, has the Blessed One declared. This is the origin of suffering… the cessation of suffering… the way to the cessation of suffering—so, friend, has the Blessed One declared. And why? Because it conduces to benefit and belongs to the fundamentals of the holy life, because it leads to turning away (from worldliness), to dispassion, cessation, inner peace, direct knowledge, enlightenment, and Nibbāna.”


We have no explanation why Sāriputta posed these questions, which for an arahant should have been fully clear. It is, however, not impossible that this conversation took place immediately after Kassapa’s ordination and before his attainment of arahantship, and that Sāriputta wanted to test his understanding; or perhaps the questions were asked for the sake of other monks who may have been present.

The Mahāgosiṅga Sutta records a group discussion led by the Venerable Sāriputta in which Mahākassapa along with several other eminent disciples once participated.


 At the time these elders were residing in the Gosiṅga forest along with the Buddha, and on a clear moonlit night they approached Sāriputta for a discussion on the Dhamma. Sāriputta declared:


Delightful is this Gosiga sāla-tree forest, it is a clear moonlit night, the sāla-trees are in full bloom, and it seems as if celestial scents are being wafted around.


Then he asked each distinguished elder in the group—Ānanda, Revata, Anuruddha, Mahākassapa, and Mahāmoggallāna—what kind of monk could lend more lustre to that forest. Mahākassapa, like the others, replied according to his own temperament:

“Here, friend Sāriputta, a monk is himself a forest dweller and he speaks in praise of forest dwelling; he is himself an alms-food collector and he speaks in praise of collecting alms-food; he is himself a rag-robe wearer and he speaks in praise of wearing rag robes; he is himself a triple-robe wearer and he speaks in praise of wearing the triple robe;

he himself has few wishes, is content, secluded, and aloof from society, and he speaks in praise of each of these qualities; he himself has attained to virtue, to concentration, to wisdom, to liberation, and to knowledge and vision of liberation, and he speaks in praise of each of these attainments. This is the kind of monk who could lend more lustre to this Gosiṅga sāla-tree forest.”


According to tradition, Mahākassapa also had close connections in former lives with the Venerable Ānanda. Ānanda had twice been his brother, once his son, once even the murderer of his son, and in this life he was his pupil. The Kassapa Saṃyutta likewise has two conversations between them. They concern practical questions, while those with Sāriputta referred to points of doctrine.


On the first occasion Ānanda asked Kassapa to accompany him to the nuns’ quarters. Kassapa, however, refused and asked Ānanda to go alone. But Ānanda seemed to be intent on getting Kassapa to give a Dhamma talk to the nuns, and he repeated his request twice. Kassapa finally consented and went along. The result, however, turned out to be quite different from what Ānanda had expected.


After the discourse one of the nuns, Thullatissā by name, raised her voice to make a rather offensive remark:

How could Master Kassapa presume to speak on the Dhamma in the presence of Master Ānanda, the learned sage? This is as if a needle peddler wanted to sell a needle to the needle maker.

Obviously this nun preferred the gentle preaching of Ānanda to Kassapa’s stern and sometimes critical approach, which may have touched on her own weaknesses.


When Kassapa heard the nun’s remarks, he asked Ānanda:


 How is it, friend Ānanda, am I the needle peddler and you the needle maker, or am I the needle maker and you the needle peddler?


Ānanda replied: Be indulgent, venerable sir. She is a foolish woman.


“Beware, friend Ānanda, or else the Sangha may further investigate you. How is it, friend Ānanda, was it you whom the Exalted One extolled in the presence of the Sangha, saying: ‘I, O monks, can attain at will the four fine-material and immaterial meditative absorptions, the cessation of

perception and feeling, the six supernormal knowledges; and Ānanda, too, can so attain’?”


“No, venerable sir.”


“Or did he say: ‘Kassapa, too, can so attain’?”


From the above account we see that the Venerable Mahākassapa did not think that Ānanda’s conciliatory reply was adequate or did full justice to the situation. Thullatissā’s remarks showed her personal attachment to Ānanda, who had always been a favourite with women, and who had also given his strong support to the founding of the Bhikkhunī Sangha. This emotional relation of Thullatissā’s to Ānanda could not be put aside just by Ānanda’s general remark. Hence Kassapa responded in a way which, at first glance, appears rather harsh: “Beware, friend Ānanda, or else the Sangha may further investigate you.” With these words he wanted to warn Ānanda to avoid becoming too involved in ministering to the nuns, since they might become too fond of him and cause others to entertain doubts about him.


Kassapa’s reply has therefore to be seen as the earnest advice of a taint-free arahant to one who had not yet reached that state. When, immediately after, Kassapa stressed that it was his own meditative attainments that the Buddha had extolled, and not Ānanda’s, this may be taken as pointing to the far different spiritual status of the two elders; and it may have served as a spur to Ānanda to strive for those attainments. The nun Thullatissā, however, left the Order.


Another conversation between the Venerable Mahākassapa and Ānanda arose on the following occasion. Once the Venerable Ānanda went on a walking tour in the Southern Hills together with a large company of monks. This was at a time when thirty mostly young monks, pupils of Ānanda, had given up the robe and had returned to the lay life. After Ānanda had ended his tour, he came to Rājagaha and went to see the Venerable Mahākassapa. When he had saluted him and was seated, Kassapa said this:


“What are the reasons, friend Ānanda, for the sake of which the Blessed One had said that no more than three monks should take their alms meal among families?


“There are three reasons, venerable sir: it is for restraining ill- behaved persons, for the well-being of good monks, and out of consideration for the lay families.”


“Then, friend Ānanda, why do you go on tour with those young new monks whose senses are unrestrained, who are not moderate in eating, not devoted to wakefulness? It seems you behave like one trampling the corn; it seems you destroy the faith of the families. Your following is breaking up, your new starters are falling away. This youngster truly does not know his own measure!”


 Grey hairs are now on my head, venerable sir, and still we cannot escape being called ‘youngster’ by the Venerable Mahākassapa.


But the Venerable Mahākassapa repeated the very same words he had spoken.


This could have ended the matter, as Ānanda did not deny that the reproach was justified. He objected only to the hurtful way in which Mahākassapa had expressed his censure. In response to the admonition, Ānanda would have tried to keep his pupils under stricter discipline.


But, again, this matter was complicated by a nun, Thullanandā, who along with Thullatissā was one of the black sheep of the Bhikkhunī Sangha. She had heard that Ānanda had been called a ‘youngster’ by the Venerable Mahākassapa, and full of indignation, she voiced her protest, saying that Kassapa had no right to criticize a wise monk like Ānanda, as Kassapa had formerly been an ascetic of another sect. In that way, Thullanandā diverted the matter of monastic discipline into personal detraction—personal detraction bordering on calumny; for, as our earlier account has shown, Kassapa had originally gone forth as an independent ascetic, not as a follower of another school. Thullanandā soon left the Order, just as the other wayward nun, Thullatissā, had done.


When the Venerable Mahākassapa heard Thullanandā’s utterance, he said to Ānanda:


Rash and thoughtless are the words spoken by Thullanandā the nun. Since I left the home life, I have had no other teacher than the Blessed One, the Arahant, the Fully Enlightened One.

To be Continued……..