Looking for Sutta about rubbing white handkerchief in hot sun

I was reading a book where they only described a story in the Sutta but did not cite the reference of the story. I’d like to read the original translation. Please help

The summary of the story was that, the Buddha helped a disciple who was struggling with remembering even 4 lines of teachings. His brother who was an arahat thought he was hopeless. And asked him to leave. After knowing this, the Buddha gave him a meditation where he would practice rubbing his hands on white handkerchief in the hot sun. When the handkerchief got dirty, and he started to remember his past lives, apparently he got enlightened from the instructions of the Buddha.

Your help is much appreciated!

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This is the story of Cūḷapanthaka. He tells it in his own Theragatha poem, and on another occasion the Buddha praises him.

The wider background story is not found in the Suttas, but somewhere in the commentaries. Ah, and there’s also his Apadana.

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The story of Culapanthaka and the cloth is in Jataka 4, part of the tripitaka but not strictly the suttas. A similar story (but involving a broom) is in EA20.12, the chinese agama collection.


And in the Dhammapada commentary too!



Very interesting and curious. I was listening to Bhikkhu Bodhi’s discourse on the Mahasakuludayi sutta (SuttaCentral) just this morning, where he brings up this story about Cūḷapanthaka mid-way through his lecture to illustrate a point.

Thank you for sharing the link to the Theragatha poem, it made me happy to read.

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