Looking for a sutta about a bhikkhu who was an anagami but was negligent in furthering his efforts

I heard from a monk that the Buddha advised a bhikkhu about being diligent. The story is about a bhikkhu who was an anagami but was negligent in furthering his efforts. When the Buddha asked him as to why he was negligent the bhikkhu told the Buddha that he would continue his goal at the bhrahma realm. Then the Buddha says to him “feces are smelly whether it is little or a lot, so practice now for the complete eradication of defilements”.
Does anyone know what discourse this is?
With Metta


I find only one sutta in the canon that has this simile, but it’s not associated with a story:

AN1.329:1.1: “Just as even a tiny bit of urine, or spit, or pus, or blood still stinks,
AN1.329:1.2: so too I don’t approve of even a tiny bit of continued existence, not even as long as a finger snap.”


The sutta is AN 1.328, although it doesn’t contain a narrative with a non-returner. Here it is in its entirety:

“Bhikkhus, just as even a trifling amount of feces is foul smelling, so too I do not praise even a trifling amount of existence, even for a mere finger snap.”


Ah indeed, there are two consecutive ones! :smiley:


Thanks to both of you. I may have taken the Monk who said it out of context.
With Metta

1 Like

Just checked AN 1.328 and I see that this quote is also used in the Milindapanha: :slight_smile:

"For it has been said, O king, by the Blessed One: “Just, O Bhikkhus, as a very small quantity of excrement is of evil smell, so do I find no beauty in the very smallest degree of future life, not even in such for the time of the snapping of the fingers.”


The complacent non-returner episode is from the Dhammapada Commentary’s background story to Dhp 271-2. But the foul-smelling faeces part is from the word explanations for these verses which Burlingame hasn’t included in his translation.

Be Not Puffed Up


Here is a text version:

The book Treasury of Truth has more of the commentary translated. Sorry this link is not pretty. If it doesn’t work, you want to search for a pdf version, not the very brief web version on BuddhaNet.


There are two Dhammapada translations by John Ross Carter and Mahinda Palihawadana. The widely available one, published in the Oxford World Classics series, contains only the verses. But their original 1987 version (published by OUP and now very hard to get hold of) also included a full translation of the commentarial word glosses.