By Nhat Quan
Arya Vakkula translates into Chinese as Thien Dung. Thien Dung is beautiful in appearance, his appearance is exceptionally good, and his face makes people feel happy at first sight. Thanks to the merits of observing the precept of not killing, he obtained the five immortals:
- Not being burned to death by fire,
- Boiling water does not burn the body,
- Do not drown in water,
- Do not get bitten by fish,
- Don't get cut by a knife.
After growing up, in just 3 days, he attained Arahantship. He did not suffer retribution due to illness, did not die prematurely, he lived at the age of 160, so he was called the First Longevity.
The reason why he was like this was that in the past time of Vipasyin Buddha, at that time the forerunner of venerable Vakkula was staying in a temple, he saw rich people belonging to the aristocracy coming to the temple to make offerings to the Sangha. At that time, he was drunk, lying in bed, thinking:
- I am very poor, so what should I give? I have just obtained a Haritaki (the yellow Myrobalan tree and fruit, grown in East India, used for medicine) fruit that can be used for eye disease, headache, or urinary retention. If one of the Sangha is sick, I can give alms to cure the disease.
Thinking so, Arya Vakkula hit the Small bell, announcing that he wanted to give away the medicine. At that time a monk with a very bad headache came to ask for Haritaki fruit to cure his illness. The physician immediately brought Arya Vakkula's Haritaki fruit and gave it to the other monk. When the bhikkhu finished using it, he recovered from his illness, and that bhikkhu attained the fruit of the Pratyekabuddha. For this reason, during the ninety-one kalpas, Arya Vakkula, born in heaven or the human world, never got sick.
Legend has it that in this last life, before leaving home to follow the Buddha. When he was young, his stepmother tried to kill him many times without success:
The story is that he was born in a Brahmin house, his mother died early, and his father got married. At that time, when Arya Vakkual was a child, seeing his stepmother making cakes, he immediately demanded to eat. The stepmother had a bad temper and hated her husband's child, so she put Vakkula in the oven while frying bread, the fire was powerful, she also took a frying pan with the bottom and placed it on top. The father came home from work, and looked for his son everywhere, but couldn't find it. Finally, he found out that Vakkula was in the oven cooking and dragged him out. Although he was put in the furnace, the boy was unharmed.
Later, when his stepmother was cooking meat, Vakkula came to ask for food. The stepmother got angry and threw him in the pot. The water in the pot was boiling, but there was no way to break him. The father looked everywhere, but could not find him shouting:
- My son! Where are you?
Vakkula in the pot responded, the father hurriedly pulled his son out, but he was not injured at all. Finally, one day, when the stepmother went to the river, Vakkula grabbed her shirt and ran after her. The mother was so angry that she said:
- What kind of monster are you, but you can't burn it, but you won't die even if you cook it?
Then she threw him into the river. Before long, a large shark swam to swallow him in the stomach. A fisherman caught this fish and brought it to the market to sell. But because the price is too high, no one can buy it. In the afternoon, the fish was about to go bad when he met Vakkula's father at the market. Seeing fish, he thought:
- This fish has a lot of meat but it will go bad, probably not very expensive, I can buy it. Then he paid and brought the fish home.
When he got home, he used a sharp knife to cut open the fish's belly. Vakkula in the fish's belly cried out:
- Dad! Be careful! Don't hurt me!
The father was so happy, he cut open the fish's belly and hugged his son.
Vakkula grew up following the Buddha's ordination, within 3 days he attained Arahantship, full of merit, and lived to be one hundred and sixty years old without being sick, even having a headache or a fever. In addition to the blessings of a long life, and no illness, he is also a very contented person, with very little desire, preferring to live in peace and quiet. According to the Vakkula Sutra of Majjhima-Nikaya, Book 8 says:
- I have been in the Dharma, the Law, have studied the Way for 80 years, but have never had a disease, even if it is a headache in the span of a fingernail; never took medicine even a piece of haritaka fruit.
Thereby during a long period of study, Venerable Vakkula
- Never had lewd thoughts.
- Do not start with high culverts, conceit
- Never received the robes of a layperson,
- Never cut clothes,
- Never asked someone else to sew for him,
- Never used a needle to sew clothes, never used a needle to sew a bag, not even a thread.
  - Never received an invitation from a layperson,
- Never out-of-order begging for alms
- Never begged for alms in large houses to receive hard and soft foods that are plentiful, pure, and delicious;
- Never looked at a woman; never entered the bhikkhuni's area, never asked a question with the bhikkhuni, nor even talked in the middle of the road.
- Never raised Sa-di, never preached to white robes; until never told them only four verses.
- Never been sick, even if it was just a headache from the snap of a finger; never took any medicine, not even a haritaka fruit
- When sitting cross-legged, never leaned against a wall or against a tree.
According to Asokaraja Sutra, King Asoka, who was a believer in the Buddhadharma, practiced human rights, unified the world, and founded the Peacock Dynasty. One day, the king and Venerable Upagupta visited the stupas, giving alms. When he reached the stupa of Arya Vakkula, Venerable Upagupta told the king that this was the stupa of Arya Vakkula, the king should make an offering. Asoka then asked:
- What outstanding merit does this venerable one have to make such an offering?
Venerable Upagupta replied:
- This Venerable is the number one disease-free person among the Buddha's disciples, practicing quietly, with little desire for contentment.
Hearing this, the king took a coin as an offering from the tower. However, the coin just offered flew back to Ashoka's feet. Then the king said:
- This Arahant has the capacity of meritorious virtue to minimize desire, until he reaches Nirvana, but still does not receive a single coin.
His example of diligent study, the practice of giving, and results are always worth reminding people to enlighten people to study and cultivate blessings. In this regard, according to the Mahayana sutras, Hinayana Buddhism often teaches you. The wishes of all sentient beings are many, but in general, there are three great things:
- The first is wealth,
- Second is intelligence, wisdom,
The third is to be healthy and live a long life.
Indeed, in life, there is no one who does not want these three things. But you have to know, these three things are all blessings and good deeds. When you want fruit, you should cultivate it. Cause and effect must be proportional. The proverb often says:
- In Buddhism, when there is prayer, there is definitely an induction.
If you can't pray elsewhere, you can pray in the Buddha's house. Do you know why?
Because the Buddha knows cause and effect, how cause and effect are like that, Buddha understands. The Buddha taught that people of merit and wisdom must practice together, and must put the conditions of cultivation of merit and wisdom first. The Buddha often said:
Cultivating wisdom without cultivating merit is like an Arhat holding an empty bowl.
If you cultivate wisdom, you will attain Arahantship, but you will not practice meritorious virtues. When you go begging for food, you will not receive offerings from anyone, you will be hungry every day. On the contrary, if you only cultivate merit and virtue without cultivating wisdom, you may have full blessings, but it is not certain that you will be reborn in the human realm. So say:
- Cultivate virtue without cultivating wisdom, like a big elephant wearing a Keruva or a Necklace of pearls.
This sentence means that although you have great blessings and rewards, without wisdom, in the next life you may fall into the animal realm and be reborn as a great elephant. That big elephant had the good fortune and was raised by the king. The king wants to go out and ride that big elephant, the whole elephant's body is covered with a Necklace of pearls, jewels, and pearls that shine bright, blessed but not wise, so he has to become an animal!
Therefore, the Buddha taught that if you are blessed with wisdom and practice, your retribution will be both wise and blessed. If both things are not cultivated, then you are of course impoverished for eternity. You must trust the Buddha's word, which is more important than anything else.
Currently, there are many books and guides to discover how to get rich. But you read carefully and look at the author of the book or the teacher. They study and teach, all focusing on conditions without cause! Like business and trade management, all techniques for relationships, are based on statistics showing how many billionaires in the world, where do they start? Business how? How do you earn so much money? They study those things, want to learn, and want to imitate.
You see, experts and professors explain everything clearly, but they themselves are not rich, even their lives are quite difficult. There are people who have taught in universities all their lives, and if they teach well, they will be promoted to the rank of Professor. When he retired, he was invited to be a consultant by companies, but he was not rich! The reason why you understand the way to get rich like that, but don't develop wealth, is because what you learn, and teach is all predestined, but bạn don't teach creating any cause!
Like a farmer planting a crop. As for cultivation techniques, it can be said that they study very carefully, and analyze the soil, water composition, fertilizers, climate, sunlight, and air, with these they all research very carefully, but their disadvantage is no seed. As Experts, nothing can be grown without seeds! The seed that I mean is that your own must have wealth. There is no wealth in your body, no matter how good the technique or method is, it is impossible to be rich! In the real body, there is wealth, no matter what method, and no matter how wealth and resources are still pouring in.
That truth only the Buddha knew, the Buddha spoke very clearly. In your body there is money, in divination, this is called a treasure of wealth. The store of wealth that I speak of here comes from almsgiving! In the past, you practiced giving a lot, so your finances were rich and very large. No matter what job you do, you will get rich. In the past, regretting wealth, and refused to give alms, in this life the warehouses were empty, no matter how well you learn, you still can't make money. At most, you finish the course, graduate, and then join the company to help people make money, and work as an employee for them, but you are not the boss!
You must know, intelligently, the wisdom of giving the dharma. Health and long life by giving fearlessness. Venerable Vakkula lived a life of the highest order, you see, and know that he gave a lot of fearless alms in the past life after life. He is benevolent, has great mercy, great compassion, save suffering, rescues, sees all sentient beings suffering from accidents, he gladly helps out, thus, enjoying long life retribution.
In short, wealth or poverty, health or disease, and suffering, are not available at birth, but all must have a new cause to arise. Buddha-Avatamsaka Sutra teaches that:
- Having an evil mind, you look at the person who generates the Bodhi mind, so you have to suffer the retribution of blindness. Using bad words to slander those who have generated the Bodhi mind should suffer the retribution of being born without a tongue.
Liang Wu Ti Repents also says that:
- Born as a dumb person, it is because the previous life slandered others. Born as a short person, is due to the previous life's contempt for others. Born as ugly and unlucky people, it is because their previous life blocked the light of the Buddha's teachings. The painful boils of the body are caused by the beatings and tortures of other sentient beings in previous lives.
The Suddharma-Pundarika Sutra or The Lotus Sutra teaches that:
- People suffering from edema diseases, headaches, scabies, leprosy... are due to the previous life's destruction of this sutra, so they must bear such retribution.
Accordingly, you can know that each disease has a cause to create karma in a previous life, so:
- Dispensing medicine for treatment, that is to help people after the illness has arisen,
- Advise people not to create evil karma, that is to help people since the illness has not arisen.
- Using medicine to save people is the practice of giving and rejoicing.
- Teaching medicine to people, that is also practicing charity.
- Treatment for the poor does not calculate the cost of benefits, it is also the practice of generosity, joy, and equanimity.
- Advise others not to sell fake medicine, that is also the practice of giving and rejoicing.
Arya Vakkula's clear example is worth it for you to regularly encourage each other on the path of learning, through which is the method of practicing generosity, rejoicing, and diligence... Although there are many cultivation methods, the most important thing is to come from a compassionate heart.
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