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The story of  Phra Rohana  and Phra Nagasena

Rohana was a monk who, after the death of Lord Buddha, had a revelation. He saw that the child Nagasena, the recently born son of a Brahmin, would play an important role in the spread of Buddhism in the future. This child possessed unusual intelligence and wisdom. Rohana began seeking alms at Nagasena'ร house following the child's birth and continued to go everyday, for seven years, despite Nagasena'ร family never having offered any alms.

When asked why he had done this, Rohana replied that he did not want or expect anything from the family, he merely wanted the child to become accustomed to seeing a monk. Rohana knew that the child's instincts possessed great curiosity. If the child were to see Rohana often enough, he might begin to ask questions, and that would open the opportunity for Rohana to show him the way of the Buddha's teachings. In the end, Rohana'ร patience paid off when Nagasena reached seven years of age. Nagasena had grown up to become a child more gifted and talkative than any others of his age. One day, while Rohana was seeking alms in front of Nagasena's house, the child came to him and asked:

"How come your hair and your beard do not look like any one else's? Why have you shaved off your hair and beard?"

Rohana was very happy that his perseverance paid off. He took great care in answering in full detail, Nagasena's question. Due to the child's unusual intelligence, he was satisfied with Rohana's reply.

"I wanted to leave these worries and suffering behind, which are..."
1. Worrying about choosing the clothes that would go with my look and my hairstyle.
2. Worrying about deciding what accessories to wear with my clothes.
3. Worrying about finding a good jeweler to design and make my jewelry.
4. Wasting time in cleaning those items.
5. Worrying about maintaining those items in good condition.
6. Worrying washing and cleaning my clothes
7. Worrying about finding flowers to decorate my hair.
8. Worrying about searching for fragrance to wear.
9. Worrying about finding scents for potpourri.
10. Worrying finding Nutgall.
11. Worrying about finding Tamarind.
12. Worrying about finding clay to mix with the Nutgall and Tamarind to make shampoo.
13. Worrying about finding a piece of wood to pin down my hair.
14. Wasting time in curling my hair.
15. Wasting time in combing and styling my hair.
16. Worrying about finding someone to dress my hair.

"If you too can leave all these worries behind, then you will be aware that there are more important things in life such as meditation. If you spend your time meditating diligently, you will be pure of mind, able to find true happiness, and accepting of life's suffering."

After listening to Rohana, Nagasena was impressed with what Rohana had to say and thus he desired to learn more about the Buddha's teachings. Nagasena then asked for permission from his parents to be ordained as a novice. After the permission was granted, he was ordained under the supervision of Rohana, continued to practice the teachings of the Buddha, and became an enlightened being in a very short period of time.

Having lived a life of purity from the age of seven, and faithfully studying and practicing the teachings of the Buddha, not only did Nagasena rid himself of worldly desire and become an enlightened one, he also became well versed in Buddhist knowledge and very adept at giving sermons.
Nagasena's sermons were so effective in preaching people that even King Milinda the great ruler during that time, upon hearing Nagasena, gave up his riches and was ordained to become a holy one himself.

King Milinda was lost in his belief that he was smarter than anyone else. He always asked people he came into contact with, such as novices from different faith, and even holy ones, questions about the Dhamma, often to the point of embarrasment, as he asked questions they were not able to answer. However, after meeting Nagasena, he was unable to corner him on any questions. The more he asked questions, the more he felt the wisdom of Nagasena, and in turn he sought to become Nagasena's disciple.

The news of King Milinda's encounter with Nagasena quickly spread throughout the land during that time. "The Questions of King Milinda," is a book that recorded some of the questions and answers that the two debated.

There are numerous stories of those who had enough faith to push them to be ordained since the time of the Buddha. In each and every story, there are many lessons that can be learned, One common theme in all these stories, is that you must strive and persevere to do your best, in order to be free from suffering in this life.

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