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or The Doctrine of Dependent Origination

Chapter 21 - Story Of Ugga

The anagami Ariyas do good presumably because of their desire for the bliss in material and immaterial spheres and arahatship. It is, of course, arahatship that can help remove sensual craving. The desire for arahatship as the motivation for doing good in the case of anagami yogi is evident in the story of Ugga.

Ugga was a householder in Vesali city. The Buddha spoke of the eight wonderful attributes possessed by Ugga. In response to the inquiry by a monk about the Lords reference to his attributes, Ugga said that he knew nothing about it but that he had eight distinctive qualities which were as follows.

l. When he saw the Buddha for the first time, he concluded decisively that Gotama was the real, all Enlightened Buddha.

2. He attained anagami insight into the Four Noble Truths when he heard the Buddhas discourse. He observed the five precepts that included abstinence from sexual intercourse.

3. He had four young wives. He told them about his sexual abstinence and permitted them to return to their parents homes or to marry the men of their own choice. At the request of his eldest wife, he willingly performed the wedding ceremony before giving her away to the man she loved.

4. He had resolved to spend all his wealth on giving alms to holy men of high moral character.

5. He approached the bhikkhus respectfully.

6. He heard the bhikkhus sermon respectfully. He preached if the bhikkhus did not give a sermon.

7. The devas came to him and said, "The doctrine of the Buddha is very good." He replied that the Dhamma was a good doctrine whether or not they said so about it. He did not feel conceited for his dialogue with the devas.

8. He found himself free from the first five attachments that lead to the lower, sensual worlds.

One day Ugga, the householder who possessed these eight qualities and had attained the anagami stage on the path, offered food and robes which he liked very much to the Buddha. The Lord commented on the nature of alms giving as follows:

"One who offers anything that pleases him or that he prizes highly gets something which he adores. One who offers to the Ariyan Noble who is of high moral character is doing an act of dana that it is hard for ordinary people to do and therefore he gets what he wants very much."

Some years later, Ugga died and passed on to the Suddhavasa brahma world. Before long he came and paid respect to the Buddha. He said that he had attained Arahatship that was indeed the object of his aspiration when he offered his much beloved food to the Lord in his previous existence. The Buddha again commented on the nature of kammic benefits of alms giving - how the giver got what he prized most if he offered his much prized object, how he attained a rare object if he offered rare things, how he attained to a much extolled stage if he offered much extolled objects.

The moral of this story is that one may even attain Arahatship, the summum bonum of the holy life as the kammic result of giving away ones much prized and precious objects. Uggas alms giving was motivated by the desire for Arahatship and it is this desire, or kamupadana that formed his driving force. Some people may object to making the term kamupadana synonymous with the desire for Arahatship and label it rather kusalachanda (wholesome desire) but then they will have to explain what kind of upadana it is that gives rise to good acts of Ariya such as dana, sila, etc.

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