Pandita attained after eating red fish
# Pandita
One of the four novices invited by the brahmin whose house came later to be known as the Pañcachiddageha (DhA.iv.176ff). In the time of Kassapa Buddha he was known as Mahaduggata. In his last birth his mother was the daughter of a rich merchant of Savatthi. During her pregnancy, she had a longing to give to five hundred monks, headed by Sariputta, the choicest portions of red fish, to don yellow robes, to sit in the outer circle of the monks’ seats, and to partake of the food left over by the monks. This longing was satisfied, and seven times she held similar festivities. When the child was born he was called Pandita because, from the day of his conception, various people of the household who had been stupid or deaf or dumb recovered their abilities. When seven years old, he was filled with the desire to become a monk, and was ordained by Sariputta, a constant visitor to the house. For seven days his parents held a festival in honour of his ordination. On the eighth day he went, with Sariputta, into the village for alms; on the way, certain things which he saw - a ditch, arrow makers, carpenters - made him wish to strive for arahantship. Thereupon, with the leave of Sariputta, he returned to the monastery requesting the Elder to bring him some red fish on his return from the alms round. In the monastery, Sakka stilled all noises and held back the sun and the moon, lest Pandita should be disturbed. The Buddha, seeing this, detained Sariputta back on his way to the monastery, and engaged him in conversation until Pandita should have succeeded in his effort. After a while, Pandita became an arahant and the whole world rejoiced.


Here is a longer version… but still a portion of the real thing:

How do I find this? I go to the Buddhist Legends page and the search in the provided embedded google search box… “pandita fish” and google easily finds it within this book.

As the novice proceeded with his preceptor he saw a ditch by the roadside. “What is that, Reverend Sir?” he asked. “That is called a ditch, novice.” “What do they use it for?” “They use it to lead the water this way and that, for irrigating their grain fields.” “But, Reverend Sir, has the water reason or bile?” “It has not, brother.” “Reverend Sir, can they lead anything like this, which lacks reason, to whatever place they desire?” “Yes, brother.” The novice thought to himself, “If they can lead even such a thing as this, which lacks reason, to whatever place they wish, why cannot also they that have reason bring their own reason under control of their own will and strive for the attainment of Arahatship?”

Proceeding farther, he saw arrow-makers heating reeds and sticks over the fire and straightening them by sighting with them out of the corner of their eye. “What are these men, Reverend Sir?” he asked. “They are arrow-makers, brother.” “What are they doing?” “They are heating reeds and sticks over the fire and straightening them.” “Have these reeds the power of reason, Reverend Sir?” “They are without the power of reason, {2.142} brother.” The novice thought to himself, “If they can take these reeds, which are without the power of reason, and straighten them by heating them over the fire, why cannot also creatures who have reason bring their own reason under control and strive for the attainment of Arahatship?”

Proceeding yet farther, he saw carpenters fashioning spokes, rims, naves, and other parts of wheels. “Reverend Sir, what are these men?” he asked. “These men are carpenters, brother.” “What are they doing?” “Out of pieces of wood they make wheels and other parts of carts and other vehicles, brother.” “But do these objects possess reason, Reverend Sir?” “No, brother, they are without the power of reason.” Then this thought occurred to the novice, “If they can take these senseless logs of wood and make wheels and so forth out of them, why cannot also creatures who have the power of reason bring their own reason under control and strive for the attainment of Arahatship?”

Having seen all these things, the novice said to the Elder, “Reverend Sir, if you will be so good as to take your bowl and robe, I should like to turn back.” The Elder, not allowing himself to think, “This [29.187] young novice who has but just been received into the Order addresses me as if I were a lesser Buddha,” said, “Bring them, novice,” and took his own bowl and robe. The novice paid obeisance to the Elder and turned back, saying, “Reverend Sir, when you bring me food, be kind enough to bring me only the choicest portions of redfish.” “Where shall we get them, brother?” “Reverend Sir, if you cannot obtain them through your own merit, you will succeed in obtaining them through my merit.”

The Elder thought to himself, “Should this young novice sleep out of doors some danger may befall him.” {2.143} Therefore he gave him a key and said to him, “Open the door of the cell where I reside, go in, and remain there.” The novice did so. Sitting down, he strove to gain a knowledge of his own body and to master the thought of his own personality. Through the power of his virtue Sakka’s seat showed signs of heat. Sakka considered within himself, “What can be the cause of this?” and came to the following conclusion, “The novice Paṇḍita has given his preceptor his bowl and robe and turned back, saying, ‘I will strive for the attainment of Arahatship;’ therefore I also ought to go there.”

So Sakka addressed the Four Great Kings, saying, “Drive away the birds that make their homes in the monastery park and guard the approaches from all quarters.” And he said to the moon-deity, “Hold back the disk of the moon;” and to the sun-deity, “Hold back the disk of the sun.” Having so said, he went in person to the place where hung the rope for opening and closing the door and stood on guard. There was not so much as the sound of a withered leaf in the monastery. The novice’s mind was tranquil, and in the course of his meal he mastered the thought of his own personality and obtained the Three Fruits.

The Elder thought, “The novice is seated in the monastery, and I can obtain food in such and such a house to assist him in his preparation.” So he went to the house of a certain supporter, whose love and respect for him he well knew. Now the members of this household had obtained some redfish that very day and were seated, watching for the Elder to come. When they saw him coming, {2.144} they said to him, “Reverend Sir, those who came here have done you a good turn.” And they invited him in, gave him broth and hard food, and presented him with alms consisting of the choicest portions of redfish. The Elder allowed the purpose of his visit to be known, whereupon the members of the household said to him, “Eat your meal, Reverend [29.188] Sir, and you shall also receive food to take with you.” So when the Elder had finished his meal, they filled his bowl with food consisting of the choicest portions of redfish and gave it to him. The Elder, thinking to himself, “The novice must be hungry,” hastened back to the monastery with all speed.

Very early on the morning of that day the Teacher ate his breakfast and went to the monastery. And he considered within himself, “The novice Paṇḍita has given his preceptor his bowl and robe and turned back, saying, ‘I will strive for the attainment of Arahatship. Will he reach the goal of his religious life?” Perceiving that he had attained the Three Fruits, he considered, “Is he or is he not predestined to attain Arahatship?” Perceiving that he was, he considered, “Will he or will he not be able to attain Arahatship even before he has finished his breakfast?” And straightway he perceived that he would. Then the following thought occurred to him, “Sāriputta is hastening to the monastery with food for the novice and may perhaps interfere with his meditations. I will therefore sit down in the battlemented chamber on guard. When Sāriputta arrives, I will ask him four questions. While these questions are being answered, the novice will attain Arahatship, together with the Supernatural Faculties.”

So he went and took his stand in the battlemented chamber, and when the Elder arrived, the Teacher asked him four questions, each of which the Elder answered correctly. These were the questions and answers. {2.145} The Teacher asked Sāriputta, “Sāriputta, what have you brought?” “Food, Reverend Sir.” “What does food produce, Sāriputta?” “Sensation, Reverend Sir.” “What does sensation produce, Sāriputta?” “Material form, Reverend Sir.” “What does material form produce, Sāriputta?” “Contact, Reverend Sir.”

This is the meaning of these questions: When a hungry man eats food, the food banishes his hunger and brings a pleasurable sensation. As a result of the pleasurable sensation which comes to a man who is satisfied by the eating of food, his body takes on a beautiful color; and for this reason it is said that sensation produces material form. Now the man who is satisfied by the material form which is the product of the food he has eaten, that man is filled with joy and delight; and with the thought in his mind, “Now I have attained happiness,” whether he lies down or sits down obtains pleasurable contact.

While these four questions were being answered, the novice attained Arahatship, together with the Supernatural Faculties. Then the Teacher said to the Elder, “Go, Sāriputta, give the food to your [29.189] novice.” The Elder went and knocked at the door. The novice came out, took the bowl from the Elder’s hands, set it aside, and began to fan the Elder with a palm-leaf fan. The Elder said to him, “Novice, eat your breakfast.” “But you, Reverend Sir?” “I have eaten my breakfast; you eat yours.” Thus did a child seven years old, already a monk, on the eighth day, like a freshly blossomed water-lily, reflecting upon the subjects of self-examination, {2.146} sit down and eat his breakfast.

When he had washed his bowl and put it away, the moon-deity released the moon and the sun-deity the sun; the Four Great Kings abandoned their watch over the four quarters; Sakka the king of the gods gave up his post at the rope of the door; and the sun vanished from mid-heaven and disappeared.

The monks were annoyed and said, “Unwonted darkness has come on; the sun has disappeared from mid-heaven, and the novice has only just eaten his breakfast; what does this mean?” The Teacher, aware of what they were saying, came and asked, “Monks, what are you saying?” They told him. He replied, “Yes, monks, while this novice, fruitful in good works, was striving for the attainment of Arahatship, the moon-deity held back the disk of the moon and the sun-deity the disk of the sun; the Four Great Kings stood on guard over the four quarters in the monastery park; Sakka king of the gods kept watch over the rope of the door, and I myself, although a Buddha, was unable to remain in an attitude of repose, but went to the battlemented chamber and stood guard over my son. Wise men who observe ditch-diggers leading the water, arrow-makers straightening their arrows, and carpenters fashioning wood meditate on these things, obtain the mastery over themselves, and attain Arahatship.” {2.147} And joining the connection, he instructed them in the Law by pronouncing the following Stanza,

80. Ditch-diggers lead the water, arrow-makers straighten their shafts,
Carpenters straighten the wood; wise men control themselves.

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