Anawrahta meets Shin Arahan



Anawrahtta knelt in supplication before him and asked: “Venerable sir, men practise various froms of worship, some give ritual feasts to the nats, some make offerings to the dragon, some pray to the Buddisattas. Which form of worship is the best?”

Shin Arahan answered: “Do not go by hearsay, nor by what is handed down by others, nor by what is stated on the authority of your traditional teachings. Do not go by reasoning, nor by inferring, or by argument as to method nor from reflection on and approval of an opinion, nor out of respect, thinking a recluse must be deferred to. But lay brother, when you know for yourself; these teachings are not good; they are blameworthy; they were condemned by the wise; these teachings, when followed out and put to practice, conduce to loss and suffering, then reject them.”

As had happened before, Shin Arahan went on his way after saying what he had to say, and Anawrahta was left pondering over the words. There was nothing for him to do but ride back to the palace. On the way, he thought:”The reverend thera told me not to go by thinking a recluse must be deferred to ....does it mean that I am not to accept even what he said? The Buddhism I know teaches dependence on prayers and ritual offerings and I am not satisfied: but the Buddhism the thera teaches leaves everything to my judgement, it means whatever there is to be discovered, I shall have to find out for myself.”

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