Sankha’s Story or, Paccekabuddhas Teach Awakening

Sankha's Story

I have just published a short story which is extracted from the Dhammapada Commentary to verse 290. The commentarial story tells how Vesālī, the capital of the Vajjian country, at one point suffered from famine, ghosts and disease. After trying other teachers who were unable to solve the crisis, they decided to request the Buddha to help. The Buddha, who was residing at Rājagaha, knowing that by reciting the Ratanasuttaṁ all problems will be resolved, agreed.

Bimbisāra, the King of Magadhā, on the southern side of the Ganges, and the Licchavī princes of the Vajjīs on the northern side, clear the road for him and establish a great festival, which Sakka, the King of the Gods, also joins.

The Buddha instructs his faithful disciple Ānanda in the discourse, and he recites it while walking round the city. Not only are the inhabitants saved, but thousands attain Path and Fruit. After these successes the monks gather and talk about the parade from Rājagaha to Vesālī, and the Buddha explains how such a magnificent festival came about as a result of a previous deed he had performed, and relates a previous life-story.

The main interest in the story is that it shows Paccekabuddhas teaching, and even to the point where their pupil attains Awakening, which goes against the oft-heard statement that Paccekabuddhas do not teach. The situation, however, is that they do not set up a Dispensation (Sāsana), which is something very different.

The story is retold in the Khuddhapāṭha Commentary, with much elaboration and some variations; and also compare Mahāvastu 1. pp. 267-270 where the setting is the same, but a somewhat different story is told: there the pupil becomes a Buddha, and his (unnamed) Father erects parasols over him, the outcome of which is glory in many future lives, and eventually he becomes the Buddha having the parasols raised up to Heaven at Vaiśālī.

There are two version and five formats (htm, pdf, epub, mobi and mp3). The Text and Translation gives the Pāḷi and the English line-by-line; while the English version has only the translation. There is also a reading of the latter.



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