Dhamma Video Conference Talk and Q & A with Ajahn Anan – February 16th, 2018

L uang Por Anan: There is another story of one of the Buddha’s disciples, Phra Bakkula Thera, who was foremost of all the monks in having the least sicknesses. Phra Bakkula Thera was chosen by the Buddha, as the foremost monk having the least sicknesses. This arose from 2 causes. He had more parami than the other monks in this aspect, because he had made the determination, 1 infinite period and 100,000 world cycles ago. This was in the era of the Buddha Anumodassi. In this life, Phra Bakkula was born as a Brahmin. He had much knowledge and studies, and he later renounced the wordly life to be a spiritual seeker or yogi. Through his mental practice he attained to all the psychic abilities and enjoyed the happiness of Samadhi and Jhana.

When the Bodhisattva Anumodassai, was enlightened and became the Buddha, and was travelling with his retinue of monks, the yogi heard that the Buddha had arisen in the world, so went to go find the Buddha. He took refuge in the Buddha but hadn’t yet ordained, possibly due to not seeing clearly into the Dhamma yet. He would come at times to see and listen to the Buddha’s sermon. On one occasion, the Buddha fell sick with trapped wind in his stomach. When the yogi went to see the Buddha, he found out the Buddha was very sick. He asked what sickness? When he heard the Buddha say it was due to wind in his stomach, he thought that this is his chance to make great merit. So he went to the mountain to collect herbs and made it into a medicine, then offered it to the Buddha’s attendant to give to the Buddha. When the Buddha took the medicine the sickness got better and he was healed. Then the yogi made the determination that by the power of this merit of healing the Buddha, may I never have any sickness of body, even the falling off of my hair – in future lives. This was the determination he had made. After passing away from this life, he was born in either the Brahma, deva, or human realms for the period of 1 infinite period.

After this period, he was born in the era of the Buddha Padumuttara as a child of a wealthy family in the city of Savatthi. He went to listen to the Buddha’s sermon and after it witnessed the Buddha bestow on a monk as the foremost of all monks with the least sicknesses. He thought to himself that he wished to make the same determination. And so he invited the Buddha and his retinue of monks for meal offerings for 7 days. He made the determination and continued doing good deeds for the rest of that life. After passing away he was reborn in Brahma, deva or human realms.

In the era of the Buddha Vipassi, he was born into a family of a Brahmin, and like in the previous life in the Buddha Anumodassi, he left to become a yogi. He attained to psychic powers and mental absorptions. At the time, the Buddha Vipassi had a retinue of 6.8 million monks. The yogi went to city of Padumavatti and found out from the King, who was the Buddha’s father, that the Buddha had arose in the world. So he went to go listen to the Buddha’s sermon and took refuge but hadn’t ordained. He would come to the Buddha from time to time. On one occasion, the Buddha and the monks were sick with headaches caused by the poisonous flowers that were blown in at this season from the Himapan Forest. The yogi saw the monks holding their heads, and asked what were they sick from? The monks said it was from the poisonous flowers. So the yogi thought it was his chance to make merit. He collected herbs to make the medicine, and the monks took the medicine and they recovered instantly. After passing away, the yogi was born in the brahma, deva, and human realms for 91 world cycles.

Then in the era of Kassapa Buddha, he was born in Varanasi, and was living the lay life with a family. One day he saw his house was deteriorated and in need of repairs. So he had to travel far away to get materials to repair the house. He travelled with some carpenters and on the way back he saw one monastery that was old and ruined because of lack of maintenance. He thought he would put off his repairs to his house. He gave the carpenters the materials that were to repair his house, and used them to repair the monastery first. They fixed the monastery buildings – the Uposotha Hall, the dwellings for monks and sick monks, the toilets, the walking meditation paths. They got drinking water and medicines so the monks who lived there would have everything they needed.

And then finally in our Buddha’s era, he was born into a wealthy family in the city of Kosambi. The family gained much wealth and good fortune after the baby was born, so the mother thought the son had much merit. That he would have no sickness, long life, and any position he was in would lead to much prosperity to the family. The traditional belief of that time, was that if the child bathed in the Yamuna river, they would be free of sickness. So the mother sent the child to go swimming with a nanny. There happened to be a very large fish who thought the baby was food. The nanny was frightened and ran away, and the fish swallowed the baby whole. But as is common of one who is born in the last life destined for arahantship, no harm could come to them before they attain enlightenment. So the baby was not in danger. It was as if he was entering the bedroom and falling asleep. Because the large fish had swallowed such a large meal, it became very hot and was soon caught in a fisherman’s net. The fish did not die, but only died once it was released from the net. The fishermen would usually cut it up and split it between themselves to sell, but by the power of the baby, they decided to sell it whole.

And then they tried to sell it for 1000 gold coins but no-one would buy. In Varanasi, there was one rich but childless family with 80 crores of wealth. One of the fisherman took the fish and knocked on that family’s door. The wife answered and asked how much? He was planning to ask for 1000 gold coins, but could only ask for 1 gold coin. So, she bought it for 1 gold coin. Usually the wife didn’t like to make fish – but this time – she cut it herself – and they would usually cut the fish in the stomach – but she cut it from the back – and a golden skinned baby child came out. She was so happy she had got a son from the fish’s stomach, and brought it to show the husband. They announced the good news to the whole city. They sought an audience with the King and told him they had got a child from the fish’s stomach. The King decided that the baby must have merit if it survived in the fish’s stomach, so he told that family to look after the child as their own.

Then the news spread to Kosambi to the original mother. They thought it may be theirs – so they travelled to Varanasi. They met the family from Varanasi and asked how they got the child. They told the story and the original mother said that she had carried the baby in her womb for 10 months so she was the rightful mother. Then she lost her baby when the fish swallowed the baby. The Varanasi millionaire said that she had given birth to the child through the fish’s belly. So, she was also a mother. They could not agree so went to the court to be decided by the king. The King decided that they were both rightfully mothers, as one carried the baby in her womb, and the other had bought the fish from the fisherman who gave birth to the child as well. The King eventually decided that the child should have 2 families.

Bakkula would live in the lay life for 80 years, and led to great wealth and prosperity for both his families. And when he was 80, he ordained as a monk, becoming enlightened and living for another 80 years, until gaining nibbana. He had very little sicknesses, not even the smallest headache.

By all the power of this goodness – from Phra Sivali, the foremost in gains, and from Phra Bakkula, foremost in having the least sickness, and from Phra Anuruddha, who determined – whatever he didn’t have, may it not to come to him, – by the power of these three great disciples of the Buddha combined – and by the power of all your own goodness – on the occasion of the Chinese New Year – may you have good fortune and wealth, may you have just good things coming into your life , may you have good health and many hundreds year of life, may whatever you have success in whatever you desire, may what you don’t desire not come to you, may you have everything – wisdom, ability, wealth and long life, all days and years onwards.

This year we celebrate Chinese New Year on the 16th of February. On this occasion it is customary to give blessings. This year, on behalf of myself and the Sangha, I give my blessings to all of you.

May you succeed in your aspirations this year.
May you have happiness, good fortune and luck and prosperity throughout the year.
May you have happiness in the New Year
May you be rich and prosperous.
May money flow and come to you, may wealth flow into your house.
Everyday may you have wealth and prosperity.
May your riches overflow, may you gain much profit in your business and may your wealth and money grow more and more.
In this year may you have much wealth.
May money and riches flow to you.
May you have plenty to eat and consume, every year.
May you have great profits and wealth.
May you succeed in your aspirations.
My you prosper and grow more and more.
May you have auspiciousness in finances and in spiritual growth.
May your business and work be prosperous
May you all have good health of body and live many hundreds of years.
May you be physically strong and safe throughout the year and have a long life.
May you succeed in all your aspirations of the world or of the mind.
May life be smooth and free of difficulties in all aspects. May you be blessed and have success in your aspirations.
May you have good luck and fortune this year and into the future.
May everything go smoothly and have no obstacles.
May you just have happiness and fulfilment in life.
May you all have the devas, and protective beings look after you. And help you in terms of health, business and work, giving you good fortune and luck. May you succeed and be imbued with mindfulness and wisdom, intelligence and be clever in leading your life. And may this flow to your families and relatives, and may you have prosperity forever onwards.