To know the TRUTH or Myth … attend Sutta Studies Class or Sutta Reading Club

When myth is truth …

In one of the lessons on the life of Buddha taught by Cakkapala during the “Buddhism in Daily Life” class, he related (See the other link – “Buddhism in Daily Life – a New Course”), the incident where Prince Siddhartha retrieved a wounded swan shot down by Devadatta’s arrow  . Both claimed ownership to the swan and the dispute was brought before a council of wise men. The wise men ‘s decision was: “The swan belonged to the one who saved its life not to the one who tried to kill it.” This episode is said to be found in the Mahayana sutra but not in the Pali cannon.

Another lesson taught was the Buddha’s three visits to Sri Lanka is a myth, it was not mentioned in the Buddhist scriptures.

Legend has it the Buddha stopped at Kelaniya and mediated
in a dispute between two yakkha chiefs and out of gratitude they gave him
a beautiful gold and jewel-studded throne. A stupa was built at Kelaniya and
it is popularly believed to enshrine the Buddha’s throne.


Paradoxically, both episodes are found in many Buddhist literatures and text books. They also form part of an examination syllabus set by The Colombo Young Men’s Buddhist  Association, Sri Lanka on Theravada Buddhism and classes are conducted in several local centres and temples other than Mangala Vihara Buddhist Temple.

 … and the truth is  a myth

The spectacular birth of the Bodhisatta Prince Siddhartha is also recounted in may Buddhist literatures and text books. Many thought this event is a myth for a new-born child to walk seven steps.

Taking seven strides at birth ….

However, in the Buddhist scripture, Mahapadana Suttanta, it says:

“It is the rule, brethren, that, when a Bodhisat has come to birth, he stands firm on both feet with his face to the north, takes seven strides, the while a white canopy is held over him, and, looking around on every side, he utters as with the voice of a bull:- ‘Chief am I in the word, Eldest am I in the world, Foremost am I in the world! This is my last birth! There is no coming to be!’ That, in such a case, is the rule.” (Digha Nikaya, Suttana 14, The Sublime Story, T. W. Rhys Davids, PTS edition).

On Vesak Day, many and mainly, Mahayana temples and centres enacted the ritual of bathing the infant Bodhisatta.

Mainly Mahayana tradition – ritual of “Bathing the Buddha” on Vesak Day

It is the rule when the Bodhisatta issues from his mother’s womb, two streams of water appear from the sky, one cold, the other warm, with which they ritually was the Bodhisatta and his mother. That is the rule.” (Digha Nikaya, Sutta 14: Mahapadana Sutta: The Great Discourse on the Lineage. Maurice Walshe, [Wisdom Publications]).

What is the truth then?

May I ask “What is truth and what is not the truth?”

Venerable Weragoda Sarada Maha Thero aptly says: “If anything is written about the Buddha, that is devoid of truth, it just cannot be Buddhism.  It just could not be the Word of the Buddha.  The greatest duty of the Buddhist is to follow the Buddha who is the Hero of Truth, and establish one’s self in Truth always. His duty is to honour Truth. Where there is no truth there is no Buddhism – not even a Buddhistic trace.” (The Greatest Man who ever lived, The supreme Buddha,[ SBMC]).


Where can I learn the truth?

Being a lay devotee of the Theravada tradition I need to discern the truth from the myth and I would encourage fellow readers to join me to enrol in any of these courses, if not all, to learn the TRUTH discovered by the Buddha with right view, right understanding for right practice.

All courses are free of charge.

Buddhism in Daily Life

Date: Every Monday

Time: 7:30pm to 9:30pm

Venue: 2nd Floor, Chew Quee Neo Hall

Teachers: Bhante Cakkapala, Bhante Raja, Brother Raymond Yow

Contact person: Brother Raymond Yow (

Sutta Studies Class

Teacher: Bhante Cakkapala
Date: 14th August 2013
Time: 7:45pm to 9:30pm.
Venue: Subhadda Room (3rd Floor, 1st Room)
Day: Wednesday on 2nd and 4th week of the month

Contact person: Brother Alex Lim (  

Sutta Reading Club

Dates: August 17th, 24th, 31st

September 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th

October 5th, 12th and 19th

Time: 4:00pm to 6:00pm

Teacher: Bhante Raja

Day: Saturday

Venue: Subhadda Room (3rd Floor, 1st Room)

Contact person: Brother Chin Kee Thou (

Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!

Contributor: Chin Kee Thou

English Dhamma Class &

Associate Member, MVDF

















  1. Do not believe in anything (simply) because you have heard it.
    Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations.
    Do not believe in anything because it is spoken and rumoured by many.
    Do not believe in anything (simply) because it is found written in your religious books.
    Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders.
    But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and
    Is conducive to the good and benefit of the one and all then accept it and live up to it.
    (Anguttara Nikaya, Vol 1, 188 – 193 PTS edition).

  2. Perhaps, the YMBA examinations board should consider reviewing the syllabus in view of the two episodes, and others if any, that are not consistent with the Pali canon and contradictions to right practice.

    Latest update from Sutta Studies Class:
    The Sutta Studies Class will commence on August 14th 2013
    and henceforth on every Wednesday except on New Moon and Full Moon Day.
    All other details remain unchanged.

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