Preached at Nigrodhārāma in Kapilavatthu. The Buddha was staying in the cell erected by Kālakhemaka, and near by, in the cell erected by Ghatāya, Ananda, with many monks, was making robes. The Buddha knew from the number of pallets outside the cells of Kālakhemaka that many monks were in residence there. He therefore addressed Ananda, telling him of the joys of tranquility and solitude. A monk should dwell apart and concentrate his heart internally and thus develop the four jhānas. He then knows that, whatever his posture, he will be free from evil dispositions; his speech will be free from faults, his thoughts pure. A monk should always search his heart to discover if he has any traffic with pleasures of sense. A disciple should follow his master's footsteps, not in order to obtain interpretations of canonical law, but solely to hear words which conduce to passionless ness, illumination, Nibbāna (M.iii.109 18).
The sutta is also called Ganabheda, because it tends to break up crowds. Once, in the Vālikapitthi vihāra, Abhidhammika Abhaya recited this sutta with several others, and, understanding its import, dwelt apart and attained arahantship during the rains. MA.ii.907.