The Perfection of Renunciation - Conduct of Sona Nanda II

When the sage Nanda was dismissed by his brother

he took leave of the Bodhisatta and of his parents.

He developed the eight attainments and the five higher powers

and then he wanted to ask his brother forgiveness.”

  These are the thoughts of someone who has accumulated the perfections and knows what is proper and what not. We read further on about the sage Nanda’s thoughts:

“He thought, ‘If I wish to ask my brother forgiveness,

it should be in the most superior way.’

He was wondering how he should achieve this.

He thought that in order to ask his brother forgiveness,

he would bring Sakka, the King of the devas, from the heaven of the Thirty-three,

but he found this improper.

Since he and his brother were still in this world,

it was more suitable to bring the chief King Manoja

who resided in Brahmavaddhana

and who was more powerful than the other Kings.

He would tell King Manoja

that he wanted to ask his brother forgiveness.


When he had thought about this he went to the palace of King Manoja

and said, ‘I will get the sovereignty over all India and offer it to you,

but I would pray you to see my elder brother,

so that I will be forgiven by him.’

Finally, Nanda could ask his brother forgiveness and was forgiven by him.

The Bodhisatta let the sage Nanda look after their mother

whereas he looked after their father for as long as they lived.

The Bodhisatta taught Dhamma with the graceful poise of a Buddha to King Manoja:


‘Joy, careless ease, laughter and sport, are the sure heritage

Of him that studiously shall tend a mother in old age.

Joy, careless ease, laughter and sport, are the sure heritage

Of him that studiously shall tend a father in old age.

Gifts, loving speech, kind offices, together with the grace

Of calm neutrality of mind shown in due time and place

These virtues to the world are as a linch-pin to chariot wheel.

If these virtues are lacking,

parents do not receive respect and reverence from their children.’ ”

  Thus, if someone does not give assistance to his parents in this way, he has no reverence for his parents. We read further on:

“The parents should be revered,

and the wise approve of the man in whom these virtues may be found.

They say that the parents are like Brahma,

they own a high position and are worthy of respect.


Therefore, the wise give respect to them and honour them with service,

providing them with food, drink, clothing, beds,

by bathing and anointing them, and washing their feet,


Sages praise in this world people who look after their parents in this way,

and when they part from this world they will rejoice in heaven.”

  The other perfections should also be taken into consideration. The Bodhisatta was a person who did not pay attention at all to sense pleasures, he had the highest degree of respect for his parents, and he never tired of looking after them. Even though he had to take care of them, he still used every opportunity to dedicate himself to attaining jhana.
Another perfection we should develop in daily life is the perfection of energy, viriya. When the Bodhisatta searched for good fruits to offer to his parents, he needed to have endurance and energy. When we think of the ten perfections in our case, we should consider how our conduct is in the present life that has followed upon our lives of the past and that is conditioned by our accumulations in the past. One life was succeeded by a following life without interruption, and we were born into different lives as such or such person in such or such place. 


Topic 279