Pali text, illustration and English translation of Dhammapada verse 241:
asajjhāyamalā mantā anuṭṭhānamalā gharā |
malaṃ vaṇṇassa kosajjaṃ pamādo rakkhato malaṃ || 241 ||
241. For oral tradition, non-recitation, in household life, non-exertion, the fair of form when slovenly, a sentry’s sloth: all blemishes.
The Story of Kāludāyi
While residing at the Jetavana Monastery, the Buddha spoke this verse with reference to Venerable Kāludāyi. At Sāvatthi, we are told, a multitude of noble disciples gave alms before breakfast, and after breakfast, taking ghee, oil, honey, molasses, garments, and other requisites, went to the monastery and listened to the Dhamma. When they departed, after listening to the Dhamma, they praised the virtues of Venerables Sāriputta and Moggallāna. The Venerable Udāyi overheard their talk and said to them, “It is because you have heard only these Venerables preach the Dhamma that you talk as you do; I wonder what you would say if you were to hear me preach the Dhamma.” Those who heard his remark thought to themselves, “This must be some preacher of the Dhamma; we ought without fail to hear this Venerable also preach the Dhamma.” So one day they made the following request of the Venerable, “Venerable, today is the day when we are wont to go and listen to the Dhamma. After we have presented alms to the congregation of monks, be good enough, Venerable, to preach the Dhamma to us by day.” The Venerable accepted the invitation.
When it was time for them to listen to the Dhamma, they went to the Venerable and said, “Venerable, preach the Dhamma to us.” So Venerable Udāyi sat down in the seat, took a painted fan in his hand, waved it back and forth, but not knowing a single word of the Dhamma, said, “I will intone the Sacred Word; let some one else preach the Dhamma.” So saying, he descended from the seat. The disciples caused someone else to preach the Dhamma, and again assisted him to mount the seat to intone the Sacred Word. But again the second time, the Venerable, who knew no more about intoning than he did about preaching, said, “I will recite the Sacred Word at night; let some one else intone the Sacred Word now.” The disciples therefore caused another to intone the Sacred Word and at night brought the Venerable in again. But at night also he knew as little how to intone, and said, “I will recite at dawn; let some one else recite at night.” So saying, he descended from the seat. The disciples caused another to recite the sacred word at night and at dawn brought the Venerable in again. But once more he failed.
Thereupon the multitude took up clods of earth, sticks, and other missiles, and threatened him, saying, “Simpleton, while we were talking about the virtues of Venerables Sāriputta and Moggallāna, you said this and that. Why don’t you say something now?” The Venerable took to flight, and the multitude ran after him. As he ran, he fell into a certain cesspool. The multitude talked over the incidents of the day, saying, “As Kāludāyi listened to our praise of the virtues of Venerables Sāriputta and Moggallāna, he became jealous, declared himself to be a preacher of the Dhamma, and when people rendered him honour and said to him, ‘We would hear the Dhamma,’ he sat down in the Seat of the Dhamma four times, although he knew not a single word suitable to recite. Then, when we said to him, ‘Yet you presented yourself as an equal to our noble Venerables Sāriputta and Moggallāna,’ and took up clods of earth, sticks, and other missiles, and threatened him, he ran away and fell into a cesspool.”
The Buddha drew near and asked them, “Monks, what are you talking about now, as you sit here all gathered together?” When they told him, he said, “Monks, this is not the first time he has wallowed in a cesspool; he did the same thing in a previous state of existence also.” After relating this Jātaka in detail, the Buddha said, “At that time the lion was the Venerable Sāriputta and the boar was Kāludāyi.” Having finished the lesson, the Buddha said, “Monks, Udāyi had learned only the merest fragment of the Dhamma, but he never repeated the Texts. No matter how much or how little one may learn of the Sacred Word, not to repeat it is a grievous fault.”
Explanatory Translation (Verse 241)
mantā asajjhāyamalā gharā anuṭṭhānamalā
vaṇṇassa kosajjaṃ malaṃ rakkhato pamādo malaṃ
mantā: chants and formulas; asajjhāyamalā: have the nonpractice as their rust; gharā: houses; anuṭṭhānamalā: have the lethargy of inmates as their rust; vaṇṇassa: the complexion; kosajjaṃ malaṃ [mala]: non caring is the rust; rakkhato [rakkhata]: for one who guards; pamādo [pamāda]: heedlessness; malaṃ [mala]: is the rust
For formulas that have to be memorized, non-repetition is the rust. For houses the neglect of the inmates is the rust. For complexion non-caring is the rust. For a guard heedlessness is the rust.
Commentary and exegetical material (Verse 241)
pamādo: heedlessness. The Buddha always advocated a life of heedfulness, Even the Buddha’s last words reflect this concern for heedfulness. In his final admonition, the Buddha said, “Behold, O’ monks, now I speak to you. Transient are all conditioned things. Strive on with diligence. The passing away of the Buddha will take place before long. At the end of three months from now the Buddha will pass away.”