This Uposatha Day I proudly present the story of Culapanthaka Bhikkhu. He was an eminent arahant, declared chief (etadagga)among monks skilled in creating forms by mind-power(manomaya) and in mental "evolution" (cittavivatta).
Culapanthaka:The Super Mind-Power Bhikkhu
[Presented by Dr.Han Tun @ SariputtaDhamma/JTN/Mult]
He was the younger son of the daughter of a rich merchant of Raajagaha, who
developed intimacy with a slave and fled with him when her misconduct was discovered.
She wished to return to her parents for the birth of her first child, but her
husband always postponed the visit until, in the end, she started to go without
his knowledge. He followed her, but the child was born by the wayside, and
therefore they called him Panthaka. The same thing occurred at the birth of the
second child, and he also received the name of Panthaka. The younger son was
named Culapanthaka and his elder brother Mahapanthaka. When the boys grew up
they were taken to Rajagaha, where their grandparents took charge of them.
Mahapanthaka often accompanied his grandfather to hear the Buddha preach, and
he yearned to become a monk. He easily obtained permission and entered the Order,
in due course becoming an arahant.
With the consent of his grandparents, he ordained Culapanthaka, but the latter
proved to be a dullard, and in the course of four months was unable to learn a
single stanza. It is said that in the time of Kassapa Buddha Culapanthaka was a
clever monk, who once laughed to scorn a dull colleague who was trying to learn
a passage by heart.
When Mahapanthaka discovered his brother's dull-mind, he asked him to leave the
Order, but Culapanthaka so loved the Buddha's teaching that he did not wish to
return to the lay-life. One day Jivaka Komarabhacca, wishing to give alms to
the Buddha and the monks, asked Mahapanthaka, who was acting as steward, to
collect all the monks in the monastery. This he did, omitting only Culapanthaka
who, he said, had made no progress in the Doctrine. Greatly grieved,
Culapanthaka determined to leave the Order, but as he was going out the Buddha
met him, took him into the Gandhakuti and comforted him, giving him a clean
piece of cloth. "Sit with your face to the East," said the Buddha, "repeat the
words 'rajoha-ranam' and wipe your face with the cloth." As Culapanthaka
carried out these orders he noticed that the cloth became dirty, and as he
concentrated his mind on the impermanence of all things, the Buddha sent a ray
of light and exhorted him about the necessity of getting rid of the impurities of
lust and other evils. At the end of the admonition Culapanthaka attained arahantship
with the four patisambhida, which included knowledge of all the Pitakas.
Meanwhile, the Buddha and the monks were seated in Jivaka's mansion, but when the
meal was about to be served the Buddha ordered it to be stopped, saying that
there were other monks left in the monastery. A servant was sent to find them,
and Culapanthaka, aware of this, contrived that the whole grove appeared full
of monks engaged in various activities. When the messenger reported this, he was
told to discover which of the monks was Culapanthaka and to bring him. But all
the monks answered to this name, and the messenger was forced to return without
"Take by the hand the first who says that he is Culapanthaka," ordered the
Buddha; and when this was done the other figures vanished. At the conclusion of
the meal, Culapanthaka was asked to return thanks, and "like a young lion
roaring defiance" that he ranged over the whole of the Pitakas in his sermon.
Thenceforth his fame spread, and the Buddha, in order to prove how in previous
births also Culapanthaka had profited by advice received, related to the monks the
Culapanthaka was expert in rupajjhana and in samadhi, while his brother
(Mahapanthaka) was skilled in arupajjhana and in vipassana. When creating
forms, other monks could produce only two or three, while Culapanthaka could
bring into being as many as one thousand at the same time, no two being alike in
appearance or action.
Tradition has it that Culapanthaka was once a king and that while going in
procession round his city he wiped the sweat from his brow with a spotless
garment which he wore and noticed how the cloth was stained. His mind then
grasped the idea of impermanence, hence the ease with which he did so in his
Love Buddha's dhamma,