According to the Dhammapada and its commentary, in the final existence human beings who attain to the final stage of sainthood (Arahattamagga and Phala) by the helped of a simple subject of meditation nature of the things as they really are. They can comprehend the three characteristics of all existing things, impermanence, suffering, and non-self. (Anicca, Dukkha, and Anatta), eradicating the cause of suffering, which is craving. There were many Bhikkhus, nuns, and laymen who faced the various subjects of meditation on the spot. Some of them are as follows,
A certain monk obtained a subject of meditation from the supreme Buddha and went to the forest for the purpose of practicing meditation. But he could not produce the slightest sign of progression in the Jhaana exercise. He decided to return to his preceptor. On his way to the supreme Buddha, he saw a mirage. He thought to himself. "Even as this mirage. seen in the hot season appears substantial to these that are far off but vanishes on nearer approach, so also in this existence in substantial by reason of birth and decay." Thus he exercised himself in meditation the mirage. After bathing in the river, he seated himself in the shade of a tree on the bank near a water-fall. He- saw the great bubbles of foam rising and bursting. He thought to himself, "Just so is this existence also produce and just sees it burst And this he took for his subject of meditation. Later, the supreme Buddha pronounced the following stanza:
Phenupama.m kaayamima.m viditvaa
Chetvaana maarassa papupphakaani
Adassana.m maccuraajassa gacche
The meaning of the stanza is as follows:
He who knows that this body is like foam, he who clearly comprehends that it is of the nature of a mirage, he should destroy the flower-shafts of sensual passions and pass beyond the sight of the king of death.
At the conclusion of the stanza the monk attained Arahatship. (Dhammapada Puspha Vagga).
A goldsmith's son became a monk under Venerable Saariputta Maha Thera. The preceptor gave him a subject of meditation to meditate on the impurity of the body. He meditated on impurity of the body for a long time., but could not develop even a slight trace (Jhaana), Later, Venerable Sariputta accompanied him to the supreme Buddha. The supreme Buddha surveyed his previous states of existence and perceived that in five hundred successive states of existence this monk had been reborn in the family of that same goldsmith. The supreme Buddha understood that meditation on the impurity of body was entirely unsuitable for him and created a lotus of gold and gave him to meditate on it. Repeating the words "Blood-Red, Blood-Red ("Lohitakan" Lohitakan"). When he was meditating on the gold lotus flower, the supreme Buddha caused it to wither. The young monk thought, "If things which have no attachment for the world thus decay and die, how will much more living beings who are attached to the world, decay and die." Thus he came to realize the characteristics of all things, namely, impermanence, suffering and non-self (Anicca, Dukkha and Anatta). and attained to Arahathship. ~,Vagga 9)
Arahat Maha Panthaka Thera expelled his brother monk from the temple because he could not recite a stanza by heart. The supreme Buddha appeared before him and gave him clean cloth to meditate upon, repeating the words "removal of impurity" (Rajoharanam). When he was rubbing the cloth facing the East it became soiled from the sweat of his brow.
The supreme Buddha appeared before him in a vision and said "Impurity is Just, hatred, delusion, remove this." Cullaphanthaka attained Arahatship immediately. (Appamada Vagga 3)
The story goes that five hundred monks obtained a subject of meditation from the supreme Buddha, retired to the forest, and applied themselves to meditation. while these monks were engaged in meditation, they saw the jasmine flowers dropping from their stems. They took it as subject of meditation and thought to themselves,: "So also will we obtain release from greed, hatred, and delusion," At last, they attained Arahatship. (Bhikkhu Vagga 8).
Kisa 'Gotami became a nun. Ono day she observed' the flickering of a lamp and reflected on the impermanence of life. The supreme Buddha cause his image to appear before her and uttered a stanza that led to attainment. (Sahassa Vagga 13)
A certain woman. died from being afflicted by disease. Her kinsfolk and friends
brought her body and handed it over to the keeper of the charnel-ground to bum. He thought the corpse was suitable for a subject of meditation and wished to show it to Venerable Mahaa Kaala. The Maha Thera came and surveyed the body. When it was burning, the colour of the body was like that of a mottled cow. The feet stuck out and hung down. The hands were curled back. The forehead was without skin. The Maha Thera contemplated on decay and death and attained Arahatship together with the supernatural. faculties. (Yamaka Vagga 6)
A certain monk went to the forest to meditate but he failed in the practice of meditation. He decided to meet the supreme Buddha to obtain a suitable subject of meditation.
He set out to return to the supreme Buddha. On the way he saw a forest-fire. He climbed a bare mountain and watched the fire, concentrating his mind on the following thought: "Even as this fire advances, consuming all obstacles both great and small, so also ought 1 to advance, consuming all obstacles both great and small by the fire of Knowledge of the Noble Path." He immediately attained Arahatship. (Appamada Vagga 8)
Patacara was the daughter of a wealthy merchant of Savatthi. She, eloped with her own page. They lodged in a certain village. After facing five great deaths of her two sons, her husband, and parents, she became mad. After bearing the Stanza delivered by the supreme Buddha she obtained the fruit of Sotapanna. Later on, she became a nun.
One day she was bathing her feet with water. As she poured out the water, she spilled some on the ground. The water ran a little way and disappeared. The second time it went a little further. The third time a little further still. So she took this very incident for a subject of meditation, and fixing accurately in her mind the three occurrences, she meditated thus:
"Even as the water I spilled the first time ran a little way and disappeared, so also living beings here in the world are dying in youth. Even as the water I spilled the second time ran a little further, so also living beings here in the world are dying -in the prime of life. Even as the water spilled the third time ran a little further yet, so also living beings here in the world are dying in old age."
The supreme Buddha sent forth an apparition of himself and standing as it were face to face with her, spoke thus, 'It is better to live a single moment, of a single day, see the rising and bursting of the life, than to live a hundred years and not see."
At the conclusion of the discourse Patacara attained Arahatship together with the supernatural faculties. (Sahassa Vagga12)