Buddha Tends a Sick Monk

Now at that time a certain monk was suffering from dysentery and lay where he had fallen in his own excrement. … Then the Lord said to Ānanda: “Go and fetch water so we can wash this monk.” So Ānanda brought water and the Lord poured it out while Ānanda washed the monk all over. Then taking the monk by the head and feet, the Lord and Ānanda together carried him and laid him on a bed. Later, the Lord called the monks together and asked them: “Why monks, did you not look after that sick monk?”

“Because he was of no use to us, Lord.”

“Monks, you have no mother or father to look after you. If you do not look after each other who will? He who would nurse me, let him nurse the sick.” -Vin i 268–Vin i 311

Tena kho pana samayena aññatarassa bhikkhuno kucchi­vikārā­bādho hoti. So sake muttakarīse palipanno seti … Atha kho bhagavā āyasmantaṁ ānandaṁ āmantesi—“gacchānanda, udakaṁ āhara, imaṁ bhikkhuṁ nahāpessāmā”ti. Bhagavā udakaṁ āsiñci. Āyasmā ānando paridhovi. Bhagavā sīsato aggahesi. Āyasmā ānando pādato uccāretvā mañcake nipātesuṁ. Atha kho bhagavā etasmiṁ nidāne etasmiṁ pakaraṇe bhikkhusaṁghaṁ sannipātāpetvā bhikkhū paṭipucchi – “Kissa taṁ bhikkhū na upaṭṭhentī”ti?

“Ahaṁ kho, bhante, bhikkhūnaṁ akārako; tena maṁ bhikkhū na upaṭṭhentī”ti.

“Natthi vo, bhikkhave, mātā, natthi pitā, ye vo upaṭṭhaheyyuṁ. Tumhe ce, bhikkhave, aññamaññaṁ na upaṭṭha­his­satha, atha ko carahi upaṭṭhahissati? Yo, bhikkhave, maṁ upaṭṭhaheyya so gilānaṁ upaṭṭhaheyya.”

တရံရောအခါ တပါးသောရဟန်းအား ဝမ်းသက်သောရောဂါ ဖြစ်၏။ ထိုရဟန်းသည် မိမိကျင်ကြီးကျင်ငယ်၌ လူးလှမ့်လျက်အိပ်ရ၏။ ထို့နောက် မြတ်စွာဘုရားသည် အသျှင်အာနန္ဒာကို “အာနန္ဒာ သွားချေ၊ ရေဆောင်ယူခဲ့လော့၊ ဤရဟန်းကို ရေချိုးကုန်အံ့” ဟု မိန့်တော်မူ၏။ “ကောင်းပါပြီ အသျှင်ဘုရား” ဟု ဆို၍ အသျှင် အာနန္ဒာသည် မြတ်စွာဘုရားအား ဝန်ခံ၍ ရေကိုဆောင်ယူလာ၏၊ မြတ်စွာဘုရားသည် ရေကိုသွန်းလောင်းတော်မူ၏၊ အသျှင်အာနန္ဒာသည် ဆေးကြောလေ၏၊ မြတ်စွာဘုရားသည် ဦးခေါင်းမှ ကိုင်ယူတော်မူ၏၊ အသျှင်အာနန္ဒာသည် ခြေထောက်မှ ချီမ၍ ညောင်စောင်း၌ အိပ်စေကုန်၏။ ထို့နောက် မြတ်စွားဘုရားသည် ဤအကြောင်းအရာကြောင့် ရဟန်းအပေါင်းကို စည်းဝေးစေပြီးလျှင် ရဟန်းတို့ကို “ရဟန်းတို့ အဘယ်ကြောင့် ထိုရဟန်းကို မလုပ်ကျွေးကုန်သနည်း” ဟု (မေးတော်မူ၏)။

“အသျှင်ဘုရား ဤရဟန်းသည် ရဟန်းတို့အား မလုပ်ကျွေးဘူးပါ၊ ထို့ကြောင့် ထိုရဟန်းကို ရဟန်းတို့သည် မလုပ်ကျွေးပါကုန်” ဟု (လျောက်ကုန်၏)။

ရဟန်းတို့ သင်တို့အား လုပ်ကျွေးမည့် အမိအဖတို့ မရှိကုန်၊ ရဟန်းတို့ သင်တို့သည် အချင်းချင်း မလုပ်ကျွေးခဲ့လျှင် အဘယ်သူသည် လုပ်ကျွေးလတ္တံ့နည်း။ ရဟန်းတို့ ငါဘုရားကို လုပ်ကျွေးသော ရဟန်းသည် နာဖျားသော ရဟန်းကို လုပ်ကျွေးရာ၏။

Vào lúc bấy giờ, có vị tỳ khưu nọ bị bệnh kiết lỵ. Vị ấy nằm dài ở đống phân và nước tiểu của chính mình, bị lem luốc … Khi ấy, đức Thế Tôn đã bảo đại đức Ānanda rằng:—“Này Ānanda, hãy đi và mang nước lại. Chúng ta sẽ tắm cho vị tỳ khưu này.”—“Bạch ngài, xin vâng.” Rồi đại đức Ānanda nghe theo đức Thế Tôn đã mang nước lại. Đức Thế Tôn đã xối nước. Đại đức Ānanda đã rửa ráy toàn bộ. Rồi đức Thế Tôn đã đỡ phần đầu, đại đức Ānanda ở phần chân, đã nâng lên và đặt ở trên giường. Sau đó, đức Thế Tôn nhân lý do ấy nhân sự kiện ấy đã triệu tập hội chúng tỳ khưu lại rồi hỏi các vị tỳ khưu rằng: “Vì sao các tỳ khưu không phục vụ vị ấy?”

“Bạch ngài, vị tỳ khưu ấy là người không có làm gì cho các tỳ khưu, do đó các tỳ khưu không phục vụ vị ấy.”

“Này các tỳ khưu, các ngươi không có mẹ, không có cha là những người có thể phục vụ các ngươi. Này các tỳ khưu, nếu các ngươi không phục vụ lẫn nhau thì giờ đây ai sẽ phục vụ đây? Này các tỳ khưu, vị nào có thể phục vụ ta, vị ấy có thể phục vụ người bệnh.

“Yo, bhikkhave, maṁ upaṭṭhaheyya so gilānaṁ upaṭṭhaheyya.”

Myanmar Buddhist Titles

On 12 March 2017, his 80th birthday, Sītagū Sayadaw U Ñāṇissara was awarded Myanmar’s highest Buddhist title, Abhidhajamahāraṭṭhaguru, for his tireless, selfless work in the promotion of Dhamma through education, health care, and disaster relief. Previously, Sayadaw also received the following titles: Mahādhammakathika Bahujanahitadhara,  Aggamahāsaddhammajotikadhaja, Aggamahāpaṇḍita, and Aggamahāganthavācakapaṇḍita. To date, five institutions of higher learning have also conferred honorary PhDs. For a brief bio, see this page (up to 2013).

With that, one may wonder what other religious title are awarded by the Myanmar government. Following is a list of said titles sorted according to the category in which they belong. 1

Download (PDF, 51KB)

Notes:

  1. After hours of pouring over Myanmar government websites and romanising the titles, I stumbled across this Wikipedia page with the work already done, and made minor spelling corrections. This table is based on that. Thanks to Venerable Ānandajoti for the English renderings.

Bees

Carpenter Bee 17 Aug 16“As a bee gathers honey from the flower
without injuring its color or fragrance,
even so the sage goes on his alms-round in the village.” – Dhp 49

“Yathāpi bhamaro pupphaṁ,
vaṇṇa­gandha­mahe­ṭhayaṁ;
Paleti rasamādāya,
evaṁ gāme munī care.”

“ပျားပိတုန်းသည် ပန်းပွင့်ကိုလည်းကောင်း၊ အဆင်းအနံ့ကိုလည်းကောင်း မပျက်စီးစေဘဲ
ပန်းဝတ်ရည်ကိုသာ စုပ်ယူပျံသွားသကဲ့သို့ ရွာ၌ ရဟန်းသည် ပန်းတည်းဟူသော သဒ္ဓါတရားနှင့် အဆင်းအနံ့ဟူသော စည်းစိမ်ဥစ္စာကို မပျက်စီးစေဘဲ ကျင့်ရာ၏။”

“Như ong đến với hoa,
Không hại sắc và hương,
Che chở hoa, lấy nhụy.
Bậc Thánh đi vào làng.”

智者進入村落時,
就像蜜蜂入花叢,
只知採蜜,
不傷害花卉和色香(註)。

Carpenter Bee ©Ashin Sopāka 2016

Burmese Names

MahabhoteAfter speaking with some other non-Burmese monastics, I learned that we were all asked at the time of our ordinations if we wanted to choose a Pāḷi name, or if we wanted our preceptor to give us one. Only one said he chose his own name, but for the rest of us, it was given by our preceptors. The names are not given willy-nilly; there is a process and a meaning behind the process.

The first question asked is “On what day of the week were you born?” That’s a toughie for most, but for the Burmese it’s something they know off the top of their heads. In Burmese astrology, one’s astrological sign is determined by the day of the week on which one was born. Once that is known, the first auspicious letter for the name is selected (see the chart below), then, an aspirational Pāḷi name is given.

Days Letters Animal
Monday (တနလင်္ာ) k (က), hk (ခ), g (ဂ), g (ဃ), ng (င) Tiger
Tuesday (အင်္ဂါ) s (စ), hs (ဆ), z (ဇ), z (ဈ), ñ (ည , ဉ) Lion
Wednesday morning (ဗုဒ်ဓဟူး) l (လ), w (ဝ) Elephant w/tusks
Wednesday afternoon (ရာဟု) y (ယ), y / r (ရ) Elephant w/o tusks
Thursday (ကြာသာပတေး) p (ပ), hp (ဖ), b (ဗ), b (ဘ), m (မ) Rat
Friday (သောကြာ) th (သ), h (ဟ) Guinea Pig
Saturday (စနေ) t (တ), ht (ထ), d (ဒ), d (ဓ), n (န) Dragon
Sunday (တနင်္ဂနွ) vowel (အ, ဣ, ဩ) Garuda

In fact, this is an ancient practice in Burmese culture for the naming of children as well, except, of course, parents don’t choose Pāḷi names. So should you non-monastics decide to date a Burmese, you don’t need to ask “What is your sign?”, you can determine if from their first name!

With monastics, though, it’s a bit trickier because of the unique Burmese pronunciation of some Pāḷi letters (not that you should be trying to determine their signs for the sake of dating compatibility!). The following table shows a few examples:

Pāḷi
s
c
j
v

Burmese
th (သ)
s (စ)
z (ဇ)
w (ဝ)

So, for example, the first Shwekyin Sayadaw U Jāgara, Mingun Sayadaw U Vicittasārābhivaṁsa, and even humble ole me, U Sopāka, in Burmese writing and pronuciation, are U Zāgara (ဥုးဇာဂရ),  U Wisittathārābiwangtha (ဥုးဝိစိတ္တသာရာဘိဝံသ), and U Thawpaka (ဥုးသောပါက), born on Tuesday, Wednesday morning, and Friday, respectively. The “U” is a title for monks, and uncles, but that’s for another time.

Buddha and SopākaAs mentioned earlier, the names have meaning and are meant, in a sense, to be aspirational. Zāgara means “waking, watchful, careful, vigilant” 1, while mine, on the one hand, is to perhaps remind me of the boy Sopāka, who after hearing the Dhamma, attained sotāpanna at the tender age of seven. On the other hand, it means “a man of a very low caste, an outcast Sn 137,” and in another spelling variation, Sapāka, a “dog-cooker”! Not sure what to make of that.