The Perfection of Truthfulness - Thus have I heard I

We read in the “Illustrator of Ultimate Meaning” (Paramatthajotika), Commentary to the Minor Collection (Khuddakapatha), of the Khuddakanikaya, in the Commentary to the “Good Omen Discourse” (Mangala Sutta) about the first Council. We read that the venerable Maha-Kassapa, the venerable Upali, the venerable Ånanda and the other arahats, five hundred bhikkhus in all, met for the first rehearsal of the Dhamma Vinaya, near the door of the Sattapanni Cave, on the slopes of the Vebhara Rock, in Rajagaha. We read that when certain deities saw the venerable Ånanda sitting in the seat for (anouncing) the True Dhamma, surrounded by the group of those who had attained mastery (in it), they had the following thought:

“ ‘This venerable one, the Videhan Seer,

is the Blessed One’s natural heir as a shoot of the Sakyan clan,

and he was five times signalized in the Foremost-in-this (Discourse)

and possesses the Four Wonderful and Marvellous Ideas

that make him dear and precious to the four kinds of assembly;

so surely, after inheriting the kingdom of the Blessed One’s True Dhamma,

he has become an Enlightened One.’


Knowing with his mind the thoughts in those deities’ minds,

he did not connive at such misattribution to him of nonexistent special qualities.

Consequently, in order to show his own discipleship,

he said: ‘Evam me suttam. Ekam samayam bhagava

Savatthiyam viharati Jetavane Anathapindikassa arame...’

which means: Thus have I heard.

On one occasion the Blessed One was living at Savatthí in Jeta’s Wood,

Anathapindika’s Park...”

  These words were spoken by the venerable Ånanda, more than two thousand and five hundred years ago. If we today just hear the words, “Thus have I heard”, we are impressed by the thoughts of the venerable Ånanda who on the occasion of the first rehearsal made it clear that he was only a disciple. That is why he said, “Thus have I heard”. He did not speak his own words, because he was not the Exalted One. He was only a disciple and had heard these words from the Exalted One. When Buddhists hear the words, “Thus have I heard”, even after more than two thousand and five hundred years have passed, enthusiasm and joy can arise because they have an opportunity to hear these words again. Thus, they can consider the Buddha’s teachings when he was dwelling in the Jeta Grove or at other places.

Topic 283