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345 LESSONS 14 08 2011 brahmanavagga brahmans FREE ONLINE eNālandā Research and Practice UNIVERSITY and BUDDHIST GOOD NEWS letter to VOTE for BSP ELEPHANT to attain Ultimate Bliss-Through Free Buddhist Studies for Young Students- Lesson 10: Pure States of Mind and Loving-kindness
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345 LESSONS 14 08 2011 brahmanavagga
FREE ONLINE eNālandā Research and Practice UNIVERSITY and
BUDDHIST GOOD NEWS letter to VOTE for BSP ELEPHANT to attain Ultimate
Bliss-Through Free Buddhist Studies for Young Students- Lesson 10: Pure
States of Mind and Loving-kindness



PTS: Dhp

Brahmanavagga: Brahmans

translated from the Pali

Thanissaro Bhikkhu

© 1997–2011

Alternate translation: Buddharakkhita



Having striven, brahman,
cut the stream. Expel sensual passions. Knowing the ending of fabrications,
brahman, you know the Unmade.




26 (1) The Story of the
Brahmin who had Great Faith (Verse 383)

While residing at the Jetavana Monastery, the Buddha spoke this
verse with reference to a brahmin who showed extreme devotion to some monks.

The story goes that this brahmin once heard the Buddha preach
the Dhamma, and was so delighted that he thereafter gave food regularly to
sixteen monks at his house. When the monks came, he would take their bowls and
say, “May the Venerable arahats draw near! May the Venerable arahats sit
down!” No matter whom he addressed, he greeted all of the monks with the
title Arahats. Now those of the monks who had not yet attained the fruit of
conversion thought to themselves, “This layman does not know that we have
not attained arahatship.” The result was that all of the monks became
embarrassed and stopped going to his house.

This made the layman very sad and sorrowful. “Why pray do
the noble monks no longer come to my house?” thought he. So he went to the
monastery, saluted the Buddha, and told him what had happened, then the Buddha
addressed the monks and asked them, “Monks, what does this mean?” The
monks told him what had happened. Said the Buddha, “But, monks, do you not
like to have him greet you as arahats?” “No, Venerable, we do not like
it.” “Nevertheless, monks, this is only an expression of the joy
which men feel; and no fault can be found with an expression of joy. Now the
love of the brahmin for the arahats is boundless. Therefore, it is proper that
you too should sever the stream of craving and be satisfied with nothing less
than the attainment of arahatship.”

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 383)

brahmana parakkamma sotam chinda kame panuda
brahmana sankharanam khayam natva akatannu asi

brahmana: O’ brahmin; parakkamma: try hard; make all the
necessary effort; chinda: cut off; sotam: the stream; kame: sensual desires;
panuda: get rid of; sankharanam: of the conditioned things; khayam: erosion;
natva: having known; akataftftusi: become a knower of the uncreated

Exert all you can and cut off the stream of existence. Get rid
of passion. Get to know the erosion of the conditioned things. And, they become
a knower of the uncreated - Nibbana.


sotam chinda: cut the stream. Here, the stream is craving. One
who has cut the stream will become a stream-winner - sotapanna. A stream-winner
is no more a worldling (puthujjana), but an Ariya (noble). On attaining this
first stage of sainthood, he eradicates the following three fetters (samyojana)
that bind him to existence, namely:

(1) sakkaya-ditthi - literally, view when a group or compound
exists. Here kaya refers to the five aggregates of matter feeling, perception,
mental states, and consciousness, the view that there exists an unchanging
entity, a permanent soul, when there is a complex compound of psycho-physical
aggregates is termed sakkaya-ditthi. Dhammasangani enumerates twenty kinds of
such soul-theories. Sakkaya-ditthi is usually rendered as self-illusion, theory
of individuality, or illusion of individualism;

(2) vicikicca - doubts. They are doubts about (i) the Buddha,
(ii) the Dhamma, (iii) the Sangha, (iv) the disciplinary rules (sikkha), (v)
the past, (vi) the future, (vii) both the past and the future, and (viii)
dependent origination (paticca-samuppada);

(3) silabbataparamasa - adherence to (wrongful) rites and

The Dhammasangani explains it thus: It is the theory held by
ascetics and brahmins outside this doctrine that purification is obtained by
rules of moral conduct and rites.



When the brahman has
gone to the beyond of two things, then all his fetters go to their end — he who



When by the twofold Dhamma
a Brahmin’s gone beyond
all the bonds of One-who-Knows
have wholly disappeared.

Cultivate Concentration

26 (2) The Story of Thirty
Monks (Verse 384)

While residing at the Jetavana Monastery, the Buddha spoke this
verse with reference to thirty monks.

For one day thirty monks who resided in foreign parts came and
saluted the Buddha and sat down. Venerable Sariputta, knowing that they
possessed the faculties requisite for the attainment of arahatship, went to the
Buddha and, without sitting down, asked him the following question, ‘Venerable,
two states are frequently spoken of; now what are the two states?” The
Buddha replied, “By the two states, Sariputta, are meant tranquility and

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 384)

brahmano yada dvayesu dhammesu paragu hoti
atha janato assa sabbe samyoga attham gacchanti

Yada: when; dvayesu dhammesu: in the ‘two states’; paragu hoti:
has become an adept; atha: then; janato: (in him) who knows; assa: his; sabbe
samyoga: all fetters; attham gacchanti: disappear

When the brahmana - the seeker after truth - has understood the two
states of concentration and insight through and through, then in that person
who knows these, all the fetters wane, diminish and fade away.


dvayesu dhammesu: in the two states. The two states are
concentration (samatha) and insight (vipassana). These are the two systems of
mind-discipline needed to take the truth-seeker to the other stage. The first
of the two states is Samatha - concentration, tranquility, serenity.
Cittekaggata (one-pointedness of mind) and avikkhepa (undistracted-ness). It is
one of the mental factors in wholesome consciousness.

The next is vipassana - insight. Insight is the intuitive light
flashing forth and exposing the truth of the impermanency, the suffering and
the impersonal and unsubstantial nature of all corporeal and mental phenomena
of existence, it is insight-wisdom that is the decisive liberating factor in
Buddhism, though it has to be developed along with the two other trainings in
morality and concentration. The culmination of insight-practice leads directly
to the stage of holiness. samadhi or samatha: concentration. Lit.: the (mental)
state of being firmly fixed - is the fixing of the mind on a single object.
One-pointedness of mind (cittassa ekaggata) is called concentration.
Concentration, though often very weak, is one of the seven mental concomitants
inseparably associated with all consciousness. Right concentration
(samma-samadhi), as the last link of the eightfold path (magga), is defined as
the four meditative Absorptions (jhana). In a wider sense, comprising also much
weaker states of concentration, it is associated with all karmically wholesome
(kusala) consciousness. Wrong concentration (miccha-samadhi) is concentration
associated with all karmically unwholesome (akusala) consciousness. Wherever in
the texts this term is not differentiated by right or wrong, there right
concentration is meant.

In concentration one distinguishes three grades of intensity:

(1) preparatory concentration (parikamma-samadhi) existing at
the beginning of the mental exercise;

(2) neighbourhood concentration (upacara-samadhi), such as
concentration approaching but not yet attaining the first absorption (jhana)
which, in certain mental exercises is marked by the appearance of the so-called
counter-image (patibhaga-nimitta), and

(3) attainment concentration (appana-samadhi), such as that
concentration which is present during the absorptions.

Concentration connected with the four noble path-moments
(magga), and fruition-moments (phala), is called super-mundane (lokuttara),
having Nibbana as object. Any other concentration, even that of the sublime
absorptions, is merely mundane (lokiya).

The development of concentration (samadhi-bhavana) may procure a
four-fold blessing: (i) present happiness through the four absorptions; (ii)
Knowledge and Vision (nana-dassana) - here probably identical with the divine
eye (abhinna) - through perception vipassana: insight. Insight is the intuitive
light flashing forth and exposing the truth of the impermanency, the suffering
and the impersonal and unsubstantial nature of all corporeal and mental
phenomena of existence. It is insight-wisdom (vipassana-panna) that is the
decisive liberating factor in Buddhism, though it has to be developed along
with the two other trainings in morality and concentration. The culmination of
insight practice leads directly to the stages of holiness.

Insight is not the result of a mere intellectual understanding,
but is won through direct meditative observation of one’s own bodily and mental
processes. In the commentaries the sequence in developing insight-meditation is
given as follows:

(1) discernment of the corporeal (riipa);

(2) discernment of the mental (nama);

(3) contemplation of both (namarupa) such as their pairwise
occurrence in actual events, and their interdependence);

(4) both viewed as conditioned (application of the dependent
origination, (paticcasamuppada);

(5) application of the three characteristics (impermanency,
etc.) to mind-and-body-cum-conditions.

The stages of gradually growing insight are described in the
nine insight-knowledge (vipassana-nana), constituting the sixth states of
purification: beginning with the knowledge of rise and fall and ending with
adaptation to truth.

Eighteen chief kinds of insight-knowledge (or principal
insights; (maha-vipassana) are listed and described:

(i) contemplation of impermanence (aniccanupassana),
(ii) contemplation of suffering (dukkhanupassana),
(iii) contemplation of not-self (anattanupassana),
(iv) contemplation of aversion (nibbidanupassana),
(v) contemplation of detachment (viraganupassana),
(vi) contemplation of extinction (nirodhanupassana),
(vii) contemplation of abandoning (patinissagganupassana),
(viii) contemplation of waning (khayanup),
(ix) contemplation of vanishing (vayanup),
(x) contemplation of change (viparinamanup),
(xi) contemplation of the unconditioned (or signless) (animittanup),
(xii) contemplation of desirelessness (appanihitanup),
(xiii) contemplation of emptiness (sunnatanup),
(xiv) contemplation of insight into phenomena which is higher wisdom
(xv) knowledge and vision according to reality (yatha-bhuta-nanadassana),
(xvi) contemplation of misery (or danger) (adinavanupassana),
(xvii) reflecting contemplation (patisankhanup),
(xviii) contemplation of turning away (vivattanupassana).




One whose beyond
or not-beyond or beyond-&-not-beyond can’t be found;
unshackled, carefree: he’s what I call a brahman.



For whom is found no near or far,
for whom’s no near and far,
free of fear and fetter-free,
that one I call a Brahmin True.

The Unfettered Person is A Brahmana

26 (3) The Story of Mara
(Verse 385)

While residing at the Jetavana Monastery, the Buddha spoke this
verse with reference to Mara.

On one occasion, Mara came to the Buddha disguised as a man and
asked him, “Venerable! You often say the word par am; what is the meaning
of that word?” The Buddha, knowing that it was Mara who was asking that
question, chided him, ‘O’ wicked Mara! The words param and aparam have nothing
to do with you. Param, which means the other shore, can be reached only by the
arahats who are free from moral defilements.”

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 385)

yassa param aparam va paraparam na vijjati vitaddaram
visamyuttam tam aham brumi brahmanam

Yassa: for whom; param: the farther shore; aparam: the near
shore; paraparam: hither and thither shores; na vijjati: do not exist;
vitaddaram: blemishless; visamyuttam: free of all defilements; tam: that saint;
aham: I; brumi brahmanam: describe as a Brahmana

To him there is no further shore. To him there is no near shore
either. To him both these shores are nonexistent. He is free of anxiety and is
freed from bonds. That person I describe as a Brahmana.


param: sense fields. Sense fields are twelve, six of which are
personal sense-fields, the other six are external sense-fields. These are
described as ayatanas - spheres, which is a name for the four immaterial
absorptions. The twelve bases or sources on which depend the mental processes,
consist of five physical sense-organs and consciousness, being the six personal
(ajjhattika) bases; and six objects, the so-called external (bahira) bases:

eye, or visual organ; visible object,
ear, or auditory organ; sound, or audible object,
nose, or olfactory organ; odour, or olfactive object,
tongue, or gustatory organ; taste, or gustative object,
body, or tactile organ; body-impression, or tactile object,
mind-base, or consciousness; mind-object (manayatana) (dhammayatana),

By the visual organ (cakkhayatana) is meant the sensitive part
of the eye (cakkhu-pasada) built up of the four elements … responding to
sense-stimuli (sa-ppatigha). Similar is the explanation of the four remaining physical

The mind-base (manayatana) is a collective term for all
consciousness, whatever, and should therefore not be confounded with the
mind-element (mano-dhatu), which latter performs only the functions of
adverting (vajjana) to the sense-object, and of receiving (sampaticchana) the
sense-object. On the functions of the mind (vinnana-kicca):

The visible object (rupayatana) is described as that phenomenon
which is built up of the four physical elements and appears as colours. What is
seen by visual perception, let’s say eye-consciousness (cakkhu-vinnana), are
colours and differences of light, but not three dimensional bodily things.

Mind-object-base (dhammayatana) is identical with
mind-object-element (dhamma-dhatu and dhammarammana). It may be physical or
mental, past present or future, real or imaginary.

The five physical sense organs are also called faculties
(indriya), and of these faculties it is said: Each of the five faculties owns a
different sphere, and none of them partakes of the sphere of another one…;
they have mind as their support… are conditioned by vitality… but vitality
again is conditioned by heat… heat again by vitality, just as the light and
flame of a burning lamp are mutually conditioned.




Sitting silent,
dustless, absorbed in jhana, his task done, effluents gone, ultimate goal
attained: he’s what I call a brahman.



Seated stainless, concentrated,
who’s work is done, who’s free of taint,
having attained the highest aim,
that one I call a Brahmin True.

Who is Contemplative And Pure is A Brahmin

26 (4) The Story of a Certain
Brahmin (Verse 386)

While residing at the Jetavana Monastery, the Buddha spoke this
verse with reference to a brahmin.

The story goes that one day this brahmin thought to himself,
‘The Buddha calls his own disciples ‘Brahmans’, now I am by birth and lineage a
brahmin; therefore, he ought to apply this title to me also.” So, he
approached the Buddha and asked him about the matter. The Buddha replied,
“I do not call a man a brahmin merely because of his birth and lineage; I
call by this title only that man who has reached the supreme goal,

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 386)

jhayim virajam asinam katakiccam anasavam uttamattham
anuppattam tam aham brahmanam brumi

jhayim: meditating; virajam: free of blemishes; asinam: seated
in solitude; katakiccam: who has fulfilled his tasks; anasavam: free of taints;
uttamattham: the highest state (Nibbana); anuppattam: reached; tam: that
person; aham: I; brumi brahmanam: describe as a brahmana

He is given to concentrated contemplation. He is free of all
blemishes - the dust that defiles a being. He sits in solitude. All his
spiritual tasks and obligations are done. He has reached the highest goal. That
person I describe as a brahmana.


uttamattham anuppattam: who has attained the highest spiritual
states - arahantship: sainthood, noble one, noble person. There are four noble
individuals (ariya-puggala):

(1) The stream-winner (sotapanna);
(2) the once-returner (sakadagami);
(3) the non-returner (anagami); and
(4) the holy one (arahaf).

(1) Through the path of stream-winning (sotapatti-magga) one
becomes free from the first three fetters (samyojana) which bind beings to
existence in the sensuous sphere,

(i) sakkayaditthi - personality-belief;
(ii) vicikicca - skeptical doubt;
(iii) silabbata-paramasa - attachment to mere rules and rituals.

(2) Through the path of once-returning (sakadagami-magga) one
becomes nearly free from the fourth and fifth fetters,

(iv) kamacchanda - sensuous craving;
(v) vyapada - ill-will.

(3) Through the path of non-Returning (anagami-magga) one
becomes fully free from the abovementioned five lower fetters.

(4) Through the path of holiness (arahatta-magga) one further
becomes free from the five higher fetters,

(vi) ruparaga - craving for fine-material existence;
(vii) arupa-raga - craving for immaterial existence;
(viii) mana - conceit;
(ix) uddacca - restlessness;
(x) avijja - ignorance.

(1) Sotapanna - after the disappearance of the three fetters,
the monk who has won the stream (to Nibbana) and is no more subject to rebirth
in lower worlds, is firmly established, destined for full enlightenment.

(2) sakadagami - after the disappearance of the three fetters
and reduction of greed, hatred and delusion, he will return only once more; and
having once more returned to this world, he will put an end to suffering.

(3) anagami - after the disappearance of the five fetters he
appears in a higher world, and there he reaches Nibbana without ever returning from
the world (to the sensuous sphere).

(4) arahant - through the extinction of all cankers
(asavakkhaya) he reaches already in this very life the deliverance of mind, the
deliverance through wisdom, which is free from cankers, and which he himself
has understood and realized.




By day shines the sun;
by night, the moon; in armor, the warrior; in jhana, the brahman. But all day
& all night, every day & every night, the Awakened One shines in



The sun is bright by day,
the moon enlights the night,
armoured shines the warrior,
contemplative the Brahmin True.
But all the day and night-time too
resplendent does the Buddha shine.

The Buddha Shines Day And Night

26 (5) The Story of Venerable
Ananda (Verse 387)

While residing at the Jetavana Monastery, the Buddha spoke this
verse with reference to Venerable Ananda.

The story goes that on the Great Terminal Festival, Pasenadi
Kosala went to the monastery adorned with all the adornments, bearing perfumes,
garlands and the like in his hands. At that moment Venerable Kaludayi was
sitting in the outer circle of the congregation, having entered into a state of
trance. His body was pleasing to look upon, for it was of a golden hue. Now
just at that moment the moon rose and the sun set. Venerable Ananda looked at
the radiance of the sun as the sun set, and of the moon as the moon rose; then
he looked at the radiance of the body of the king and at the radiance of the
body of the Venerable and at the radiance of the body of the Tathagata. The
Buddha far outshone the radiance of all the others.

The Venerable saluted the Buddha and said, “Venerable, as
today I gazed upon the radiance of all these bodies, the radiance of your body
alone satisfied me; for your body far outshone the radiance of all these other
bodies.” Said the Buddha to the Venerable, ‘Ananda, the sun shines by day,
the moon by night, the king when he is adorned, the arahat when he has left
human associations behind and is absorbed in trance. But the Buddhas shine both
by night and by day, and shine with five-fold brightness.”

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 387)

adicco diva tapati candima rattim obhati khattiyo
sannaddho tapati brahmano jhayi tapati
atha sabbam ahorattim Buddho tejasa tapati

adicco: the sun; diva: during day; tapati: shines; candima: the
moon; rattim: at night; obhati: shines; khattiyo: the warrior; sannaddho:
dressed in his armour; tapati: gleams; brahmano: the brahmana; jhayi: in
meditation; tapati: shines; atha: but; sabbam: throughout; ahorattim: day and
night; Buddho: the Buddha; tejasa: in his glory; tapati: shines

The sun shines during daytime. The moon beams at night. The
warrior glows only when he has his armour on. The brahmana shines when he is
concentrated on contemplation. All these people have various times to shine.
But the Buddha glows all day and all night through his Enlightenment.


jhayi: meditating; as one meditates; as an individual practises
jhana (concentration). The absorption in jhana is a mental state beyond the
reach of the five-fold sense-activity. This state can be achieved only in
solitude and by unremitting perseverance in the practice of concentration.

Detached from sensual objects, detached from evil things, the
disciple enters into the first absorption, which is accompanied by
thought-conception and discursive thinking, is born of detachment, and filled
with rapture and happiness.

This is the first of the absorptions belonging to the
fine-material sphere (riipavacarajjhana). It is attained when, through the
strength of concentration, the five-fold sense-activity is temporarily
suspended, and the five hindrances are likewise eliminated.

The first absorption is free from five things, and five things
are present. When the disciple enters the first absorption, there have vanished
the five hindrances: lust, ill-will, torpor and sloth, restlessness and mental
worry, doubts; and there are present: thought-conception (vitakka),
discursive-thinking (vicara), rapture (piti), happiness (sukha), and
concentration (citt’ekaggata - samadhi).

These five mental factors present in the first absorption are
called factors (or constituents) of absorption (jhananga). Vitakka (initial
formation of an abstract thought) and vicara (discursive thinking, rumination)
are called verbal functions (vaca-sankhara) of the mind; hence they are
something secondary compared with consciousness. In visuddhi-magga, vitakka is
compared with the taking hold of a pot, and vicara with the wiping of it. In
the first absorption both of them are present only in a weak degree, and are
entirely absent in the following Absorptions.

And further, after the subsiding of thought-conception and
discursive thinking, and by the gaining of inner tranquillity and oneness of
mind, he enters into a state free from thought-conception and discursive
thinking, the second absorption, which is born of concentration (samadhi) and
filled with rapture (ptti) and happiness (sukha).

In the second absorption, there are three factors of absorption:
happiness and concentration.

And further, after the fading away of rapture, he dwells in
equanimity, mindful, with clear awareness; and he experiences in his own person
that feeling of which the noble ones say: Happy lives he who is equanimous and
mindful - thus he enters the third absorption.

In the third absorption there are two factors of absorption:
equanimous happiness (upekkha-sukha) and concentration (citt’ekaggata).

And further, after the giving up of pleasure and pain, and
through the disappearance of previous joy and grief, he enters into a state beyond
pleasure and pain, into the fourth absorption, which is purified by equanimity
and mindfulness.

In the fourth absorption there are two factors of absorption:
concentration and equanimity (upekkha).

In visuddhi-magga forty subjects of meditation (kammatthana) are
enumerated and treated in detail.




He’s called a brahman
for having banished his evil, a contemplative for living in consonance, one
gone forth for having forsaken his own impurities.



By barring-out badness a ‘brahmin’ one’s called
and one is a monk by conduct serene,
banishing blemishes out of oneself
therefore one’s known as ‘one who’s left home’.

He Who Had Discarded All Evil is Holy

26 (6) The Story of a Brahmin
Recluse (Verse 388)

While residing at the Jetavana Monastery, the Buddha spoke this
verse with reference to a brahmin ascetic.

The story is told of a certain brahmin, that he retired from the
world under a teacher other than the Buddha, and having so done, thought to
himself, ‘The Buddha calls his own disciples monks; I, too, am a monk, and he
ought to apply that title to me too.”

So he approached the Buddha and asked him about the matter. Said
the Buddha, Tt is not alone for the reason which you have given me that I call
a man a monk. But it is because the evil passions and the impurities have gone
forth from him that a man is called one who has gone forth, a monk.”

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 388)

bahitapapo iti brahmano vuccati samacariya samano
iti vuccati attano malam pabbajayati tasma pabbajito iti

bahitapapo iti: because he has got rid of evil; brahmano:
brahmana; vuccati: is called; samacariya: lives with serenity of senses; samano
iti vuccati: samana he is called; attano malam pabbajayati: he gets rid of his
defilements; tasma: because of that; pabbajito iti vuccati: he is called a;

One has got rid of sinful action is called a brahmana. One of
serene senses is called samana. A person is called pabbajita because he has
done away with all his faults.


brahmano, satnano pabbajito: a brahmin, a monk, a wandering
ascetic. These are all categories of priests in the religious landscape of the
Buddha’s day. They pursued a multitude of paths to moksha. Here the Buddha
explains who a real priest, monk or brahamin is. In His day, religious systems
were many and varied. Of the contemporary religious sects, one of the most
intriguing was the system created by Nighanthanathaputta.

The life-story of Nighanthanathaputta is very similar to that of
the Buddha. Although these two great Teachers were contemporaries, wandering
and preaching in the same region, nowhere is it recorded that they met each
other. Nighanthanathaputta preached in the Ardha Magadhi language while the
Buddha did so in Suddha Magadhi (pure Magadhi). In later times among the Jain
there was a division into two sects: (1) Svetambara Jaina (the white-clad sect)
and (2) DTghambara Jaina (the nude sect).

Nighanthanathaputta was not a believer in creation
(anishvaravadi). Never referring to the theory of Ishthapurthi (creator) as
given in the Vadas, he was a firm believer in kamma and its consequences.
Regarding this doctrine, there is recorded in the Samannaphala Sutta, in the
Buddhist canon, the Cetana Samvara, and similarly in the Upali Sutta there is
mentioned the Tridanda. As mentioned in these records, Nighanthanathaputta’s
doctrine is one of extreme non-violence. Tridanda is divided into three types:

(1) kayadanda (austere control and disciplining of the body);
(2) vagdanda (austere control and disciplining of speech); and
(3) manodanda (austere control and disciplining of thought).

According to this system the followers of Nighanthanathaputta.
have to be constantly following the path of self-mortification in the practice
of their religion. As in Buddhism with its concept of cetana (will or
volition). Jainism believed in kamma and its consequences. The people, to a
very great extent, accepted this teaching. The Buddha had to lay down the
Sikkhapada (Vinaya rules) because of the influence of Jainism.

More specifically, the Vinaya rules regarding the rainy season
were laid down by the Buddha owing to Jainism. From this it is evident that
during that period Jainism was highly esteemed socially. According to the Jaina
teaching even plants had a soul. Those who wear even a thread show an
attachment to worldly comforts. All animate and inanimate things possess a
soul. Hence, owing to this belief Jains cover their mouth with a piece of cloth
even when they go on a journey. The soul, according to Jainism, is of three

(1) nityasiddhatmaya (this is similar to the paramatma of the
(2) muktatmaya (this is similar to the Asava of the Buddhists);
(3) haddhatmaya (this is similar to the kamma of the Buddhists).

This haddhatmaya is said to pervade the cells of an individual’s
body as long as the soul is steeped in kamma. One cannot secure release from
samsara. It is only by self-mortification that one can rid oneself of kamma.
This teaching is not at all in accord with Buddhism, which explains kamma in a
very different way. According to the teachings of Jain there are one hundred
and fifty eight different kinds of kamma.




One should not strike a
brahman, nor should the brahman let loose with his anger. Shame on a brahman’s
killer. More shame on the brahman whose anger’s let loose.



One should not a Brahmin beat
nor for that would He react.
Shame! Who would a Brahmin beat,
more shame for any should they react.

Harm Not An Arahat & An Arahat Does Not Retaliate

26 (7) The Story of Venerable
Sariputta (Verses 389 & 390)

While residing at the Jetavana Monastery, the Buddha spoke these
verses with reference to Venerable Sariputta.

The story goes that once upon a time several men gathered
together at a certain place and rehearsed the noble qualities of the Venerable,
saying, “Oh, our noble master is endowed with patience to such a degree
that even when men abuse him and strike him, he never gets the least bit
angry!” Thereupon a certain brahmin who held false views asked, ‘Who is
this that never gets angry?” “Our Venerable.” “It must be
that nobody ever provoked him to anger.” “That is not the case,
brahmin.” “Well then, I will provoke him to anger.” ‘Provoke him
to anger if you can!” “Trust me!” said the brahmin; “I know
just what to do to him.”

Just then the Venerable entered the city for alms. When the
brahmin saw him, he stepped up behind him and struck him a tremendous blow with
his fist in the back. “What was that?” said the Venerable, and
without so much as turning around to took, continued on his way. The fire of
remorse sprang up within every part of the brahmin’s body. “Oh, how noble
are the qualities with which the Venerable is endowed!” exclaimed the
brahmin. And prostrating himself at the Ven-erable’s feet, he said, “Pardon
me, Venerable.” “What do you mean?” asked the Venerable. “I
wanted to try your patience and struck you.” “Very well, I pardon
you.” “If, Venerable, you are willing to pardon me, hereafter sit and
receive your food only in my house.” So saying, the brahmin took the
Venera-ble’s bowl, the Venerable yielding it willingly, and conducting him to
his house, served him with food.

The bystanders were filled with anger. “This fellow,”
said they, “struck with his staff our noble Venerable, who is free from
all offense; he must not be allowed to get away; we will kill him right here
and now.” And taking clods of earth and sticks and stones into their
hands, they stood waiting at the door of the brahmin’s house. As the Venerable
rose from his seat to go, he placed his bowl in the hand of the brahmin. When
the bystanders saw the brahmin going out with the Venerable, they said,
“Venerable, order this brahmin who has taken your bowl to turn back.”
“What do you mean, lay disciples?” “That brahmin struck you and
we are going to do for him after his deserts.” “What do you mean? Did
he strike you or me?” “You, Venerable.” “If he struck me,
he begged my pardon; go your way.” So saying, he dismissed the bystanders,
and permitting the brahmin to turn back, the Venerable went back again to the

The monks were highly offended. ‘What sort of thing is
this!” they exclaimed; “a brahmin struck the Venerable Sariputta a
blow, and the Venerable straightaway went back to the house of the very brahmin
who struck him and accepted food at his hands! From the moment he struck the
Venerable, for whom will he any longer have any respect?” He will go about
pounding everybody right and left.” At that moment the Buddha drew near.
“Monks,” said He, “what is the subject that engages your
attention now as you sit here all gathered together?” “This was the
subject we were discussing.” Said the Buddha, “Monks, no brahmin ever
strikes another brahmin; it must have been a householder-brahmin who struck a
monk-brahmin; for when a man attains the fruit of the third path, all anger is
utterly destroyed in him.”

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 389)

brahmanassa na pahareyya brahmano assa na muncetha
brahmanassa hantaram dhi yassa muncati tato dhi

brahmanassa: a brahmana; na pahareyya: do not attack; assa:
towards the one who attacks him; na muncetha: should not have hatred;
brahmanassa hantaram dhi: I condemn him who attacks a brahmin; yassa muncati:
he who gets angry; tato dhi: the more I condemn

No one should strike a brahmana - the pure saint. The brahmana
who has become the victim must refrain from attacking the attacker in return,
or show anger in return. Shame on him who attacks a brahmana) greater shame on
him who displays retaliatory anger.




Nothing’s better for the
brahman than when the mind is held back from what is endearing & not.
However his harmful-heartedness wears away, that’s how stress simply comes to



For brahmin no small benefit
when mind’s aloof from what is dear.
As much he turns away from harm
so much indeed does dukkha die.

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 390)

etam brahmanassa na kiftci seyyo yada manaso piyehi
(yo) nisedho yato himsamano nivattati tato tato dukkham

brahmanassa: of the brahmana; akiftci seyyo na: not at all a
small asset; yada: if, etam: this (non-retaliation); manaso: in the mind of him
who hates; piyehi: pleasant; nisedho: a thought free of ill-will occurs; yato
yato: for some reason; himsamano: the violent mind; nivattatv. ceases; tato
tato: in these instances; dukkham: pain; sammatimeva: surely subsides

To the brahmana, the act of not returning hate is not a minor
asset - it is a great asset, indeed. If in a mind usually taking delight in
hateful acts, there is a change for the better, it is not a minor victory. Each
time the violent mind ceases, suffering, too, subsides.


himsamano nivattati: intent to harm ceases. These stanzas are
primarily concerned with the need to be compassionate, even to those who adopt
an aggressive attitude to one. In the Buddhist system four noble virtues are
advocated to counter aggressive behaviour. These four virtues are described as
Brahma Vihara. This could be rendered as Sublime Attitudes. These four
attitudes are loving-kindness (metta), compassion (karuna), appreciative joy
(mudita) and equanimity (upekkha). All these four virtues curb aggressive,
unfriendly behaviour and on the positive side promote non-violence, affection,
kindness, compassion and sympathy. Of these four, loving-kindness (metta) is

The second virtue that sublimates man is compassion (karuna). It
is defined as that which makes the hearts of the good quiver when others are
subject to suffering, or that which dissipates the sufferings of others. Its
chief characteristic is the wish to remove the woes of others.

The hearts of compassionate persons are even softer than
flowers. They do not and cannot rest satisfied until they relieve the
sufferings of others. At times, they even go to the extent of sacrificing their
lives so as to alleviate the sufferings of others. The story of the Vyaghri
Jataka where the Bodhisatta sacrificed his life to save a starving tigress and
her cubs may be cited as an example.

It is compassion that compels one to serve others with
altruistic motives. A truly compassionate person lives not for himself but for
others. He seeks opportunities to serve others expecting nothing in return, not
even gratitude.

Many amidst us deserve our compassion. The poor and the needy,
the sick and the helpless, the lonely and the destitute, the ignorant and the
vicious, the impure and the undisciplined are some that demand the compassion
of kind-hearted, noble-minded men and women, to whatever religion or to
whatever race they belong.

Some countries are materially rich but spiritually poor, while
some others spiritually rich but materially poor. Both of these pathetic
conditions have to be taken into consideration by the materially rich and the
spiritually rich.

It is the paramount duty of the wealthy to come to the succor of
the poor, who unfortunately lack most of the necessities of life.

Surely those who have in abundance can give to the poor and the
needy their surplus without inconveniencing themselves.

Once, a young student removed the door curtain in his house and
gave it to a poor person telling his good mother that the door does not feel
the cold but the poor certainly do. Such a kind-hearted attitude in young men
and women is highly commendable.

It is gratifying to note that some wealthy countries have formed
themselves into various philanthropic bodies to help under-developed countries,
especially in Jambudipa, in every possible way.

Charitable organizations have also been established in all
countries by men, women and students to give every possible assistance to the
poor and the needy. Religious bodies also perform their respective duties in
this connection in their own humble way. Homes for the aged, orphanages and
other similar charitable institutions are needed in under-developed countries.

As the materially rich should have compassion on the materially
poor and try to elevate them, it is the duty of the spiritually rich, too, to
have compassion on the spiritually poor and sublimate them, though they may be
materially rich. Wealth alone cannot give genuine happiness. Peace of mind can
be gained not by material treasures but by spiritual treasures. Many in this
world are badly in need of substantial spiritual food, which is not easily
obtained, as the spiritually poor far exceed the materially poor numerically,
as they are found both amongst the rich and the poor.

There are causes for these two kinds of diseases. Compassionate
men and women must try to remove the causes if they wish to produce an effective
cure. Effective measures have been employed by various nations to prevent and
cure diseases not only of mankind but also of animals.

The Buddha set a noble example by attending on the sick Himself
and exhorting His disciples with the memorable words:

“He who ministers unto the sick ministers unto me.”

Some selfless doctors render free services towards the
alleviation of suffering. Some expend their whole time and energy in
ministering to the poor patients even at the risk of their lives. Hospitals and
free dispensaries have become a blessing to humanity but more are needed so
that the poor may benefit by them. In under-developed countries the poor suffer
through lack of medical facilities. The sick have to be carried for miles with
great inconvenience to the nearest hospital or dispensary for medical
treatment. Sometimes, they die on the way. Pregnant mothers suffer most.
Hospitals, dispensaries, maternity homes, etc., are essential needs in backward
village areas. The lowly and the destitute deserve the compassion of wealthy
men and women. Sometimes, servants and workers are not well paid, well fed or
well clothed and, more often than not, they are ill-treated. Justice is not
meted out to them. They are neglected and are powerless as there is nobody to
plead for them. Glaring cases of inhuman cruelty receive publicity in some
exceptional cases. Many such cases are not known. These unfortunate ones have
no other alternative but to suffer meekly even as the Earth suffers in silence.
The Buddha’s advocacy of compassion has tremendous validity in our own times.




Whoever does no wrong in
body, speech, heart, is restrained in these three ways: he’s what I call a



In whom is no wrong-doing
by body, speech or mind,
in these three ways restrained,
that one I call a Brahmin True.

The Well-Restrained is Truly A Brahmin

26 (8) The Story of Venerable
Nun MahapajapatI Gotami (Verse 391)

While residing at the Jetavana Monastery, the Buddha spoke this
verse with reference to Venerable Nun MahapajapatI Gotami.

For prior to the occasion of the public promulgation of the
Eight Cardinal Precepts, the Buddha proclaimed them privately, and MahapajapatI
Gotami accepted them by bowing her head, just as a person accustomed to the
wearing of ornaments accepts a garland of fragrant flowers by bowing her head.
So, likewise, did all the members of her retinue. No preceptor or teacher did
she have other than the Buddha himself. Thus did she receive admission to full
membership in the Sangha.

On a subsequent occasion the members of her retinue commented on
the manner in which this nun was admitted to full membership in the Sangha,
saying, “MahapajapatI Gotami has no teacher or preceptor; by herself alone
and with her own hand she received the yellow robes.” On hearing this, the
other nuns were dissatisfied and thenceforth refused to keep Fast-day or to
celebrate the terminal festival with her. And going to the Buddha, they
reported the matter to him. The Buddha listened to what they had to say and
then replied, “I myself conferred the eight cardinal precepts on
MahapajapatI Gotami. I alone am her teacher; I alone am her preceptor. They
that have renounced the sins of act and speech and thought, they that have rid
themselves of the evil passions, such persons should never entertain feelings
of dissatisfaction.”

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 391)

yassa kayena vacaya manasa dukkatam natthi tihi
thanehi samvutam tam aham brahmanam brumi

yassa: who; kayena: through the body; vacaya: through speech; manasa:
through the mind; dukkatam natthi: has done no sin; samvutam: guarded; tihi
thanehi: in these three areas; tamaham: that individual; brahmanam brumi: I
call a brahmana

If an individual is well guarded in body, in speech, and in
mind, and has done no wrong in these three areas, who is well restrained, I
call that kind of person a true brahmana - the noble saint.


Mahapajapati Gotami: The present stanza was occasioned by a
discussion that pivoted round Nun MahapajapatT Gotami. Mahapajapati Gotami was
the youngest sister of King Suppabuddha. Her elder sister was Queen Maha Maya.
Both were married to King Suddhodana. She had a daughter named Nanda and a son
named Nanda. Later, both of them entered the Sangha. When Maha Maya died she
adopted her sister’s son, Prince Siddhattha, entrusting her own son Nanda to
the charge of nurses. Her family name was Gotami, and she was named
Mahapajapati because soothsayers predicted that she would be the head of a
large following. When the Buddha visited the palace and preached the Dhammapala
Jataka to His father she attained the first stage of sainthood.

After the death of King Suddhodana, as both Princes Siddhartha
and Nanda had renounced the world, she also decided to enter the noble Sangha
and lead the Holy Life. When the Buddha visited Kapilavatthu to settle a
dispute between the Sakyas and Koliyas with regard to the irrigation of
channels from the river Rohini, and was residing at the Nigrodha park,
MahapajapatT GotamT approached the Buddha and, begging Him to grant permission
for women to enter the Sangha, pleaded thus: “It would be well, Lord, if
women should be allowed to renounce their homes and enter the homeless state
under the doctrine and discipline proclaimed by the Buddha.” Without stating
His reasons, the Buddha straightaway refused, saying: ‘Enough, O’ Gotami, let
it not please you that women should be allowed to do so.” For the second
and third time, MahapajapatI Gotami repeated her request, and the Buddha gave
the same reply. Later, the Buddha, having stayed at Kapilavatthu as long as He
liked, journeyed to Vesali, and arriving there in due course, resided at the
Mahavana in the Kutagara Hall.

Resolute Pajapati Gotami, without being discouraged by her
disappointment, got her hair cut off, donned yellow garments, and surrounded by
a great number of Sakya ladies, walked from Kapilavatthu to Vesali, a distance
of about 150 miles, experiencing many a hardship. With swollen feet, her body
covered with dust, she arrived at Vesali and stood outside the porch of the
Pinnacled Hall. Venerable Ananda found her weeping and, learning the cause of
her grief, approached the Buddha and said, ‘Behold, Lord, MahapajapatI Gotami
is standing outside the porch, with swollen feet, body covered with dust, and
sad. Please permit women to renounce home and enter the homeless state under
the doctrine and discipline proclaimed by the Buddha. It were well, Lord, if
women should be allowed to renounce their homes and enter the homeless
state.” “Enough, Ananda, let it not please you that women should be
allowed to do so!” was the Buddha’s reply. For the second and third time,
he interceded on their behalf, but the Buddha would not yield.

So Venerable Ananda made a different approach and respectfully
questioned the Buddha: “Are women, lord, capable of realizing the state of
a stream-winner (sotapanna), once-returner (sakadagami) never-returner
(anagami) and an arahat, when they have gone forth from home to the homeless
state under the doctrine and discipline proclaimed by the Buddha?” The
Buddha replied that they were capable of realizing saint-ship. Encouraged by
this favourable reply, Venerable Ananda appealed again, saying, “If then,
Venerable, they are capable of attaining saintship, since MahapajapatI Gotami
had been of great service to the Buddha, when as aunt and nurse she nourished
Him and gave Him milk, and on the death of His mother suckled the Buddha at her
own breast, it were well, Lord, that women should be given permission to
renounce the world and enter the homeless state under the doctrine and
discipline proclaimed by the Buddha.” “If, Ananda, MahapajapatI
Gotami accepts the eight chief rules, let that be reckoned to her as the form
of her ordination,” said the Buddha, finally yielding to the entreaties of
Venerable Ananda.




The person from whom you
would learn the Dhamma taught by the Rightly Self-Awakened One: you should
honor him with respect — as a brahman, the flame for a sacrifice.



From whom one knows the Dhamma
by Perfect Buddha taught
devoutly one should honour them
as brahmin sacred fire.

Honour To Whom Honour is Due

26 (9) The Story of Venerable
Sariputta (Verse 392)

While residing at the Jetavana Monastery, the Buddha spoke this
verse with reference to Venerable Sariputta.

This Venerable, we are told, first heard the Dhamma from the
lips of Venerable Assaji; and from the day when he attained the fruit of
conversion, in whatever quarter he heard that Venerable Assaji was residing, in
that direction he would extend his clasped hands in an attitude of reverent
supplication, in that direction he would turn his head when he lay down to
sleep. The monks said to each other, “Venerable Sariputta holds false
views; on this very day he is going about doing reverence to the cardinal
points.” and reported the matter to the Buddha.

The Buddha caused the elder to be summoned before him and asked
him, “Sariputta, is the report true that you are going about doing
reverence to the cardinal points?” “Venerable, you know me, and you
know of yourself whether or not I am going about doing reverence to the
cardinal points.” Then said the Buddha, “Monks, Sariputta is not
doing reverence to the cardinal points. The fact is that he first heard the
Dhamma from the lips of Venerable Assaji, and that from the day when he
attained the fruit of conversion, he has reverenced his own teacher. For a monk
should reverence the teacher through whom he has learned the Dhamma with the
same degree of reverence with which a brahmin reverences the sacred fire.”

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 392)

yamha sammasambuddha desitam dhammam vijaneyya
aggihuttam brahmano iva tam sakkaccam namasseyya

yamha: from someone; sammasambuddha desitam dhammam: Dhamma
preached by the Enlightened One; vijaneyya: is learnt; aggihuttam brahmano iva:
like the brahmin the sacrificial fire; sakkaccam: meticulously; duly;
namasseyya: (him) salutes

If a seeker after truth were to learn the Word of the Enlightened
One from a teacher, that pupil must pay the Teacher due respect, like a brahmin
paying homage assiduously and with respect to the sacrificial fire.


Venerable Assaji: This stanza was occasioned by Venerable
Sariputta’s adoration of Venerable Assaji, who was the last but by no means the
least, of the five monks who formed the vanguard of the noble Sangha.

His life followed closely the pattern of the other four monks.
These five were enamoured of the ideal just as their five counterparts showed
the way during the dispensation of Padumuttara Buddha. History or prehistory
was repeating itself. He had the unique distinction of being the first arahat
to show the way to Upatissa the brahmin afterwards to become the chief disciple
as Venerable Sariputta. He quoted the stanza which became the world famous in
the Buddhist world. The stanza afterwards became known as the Assaji stanza.

At first Assaji tried to put Upatissa off on the plea that he
was a novice. But Upatissa insisted on hearing the gist of the Dhamma whether
it was long or short. As has been engraved in thousands of Buddhist votive
shrines in India he said “Of all things that proceed from a cause, the
Buddha has told - And also how they cease to be this too, the Buddha did unfold.”
In other words the Second and third Truths in the first sermon of the Buddha
were revealed. It simply means that the Buddha not only showed how a being came
into existence but also how that existence could cease forever. If there is a
craving there must be a ceasing thereof. To Upatissa it was like opening a door
to a familiar room. Before the second line was quoted the truth flashed before
his vision and he entered the stream of saintship. Soon, Upatissa became the
chief disciple. His was a rare intellect only second to the Buddha’s.

It was said that actuated by the noble quality of gratitude ever
afterwards the chief disciple slept wherever possible with his head turned
towards the direction of the place where Venerable Assaji, his teacher, was
said to be sojourning. The deportment of Assaji while going on rounds for food
was so striking that it moved a great being like Upatissa to go closer to him.

He was of the five the last,
But to point the way the first.
To Upatissa the Lord’s chief,
Dhamma’s commander in chief




Not by matted hair, by
clan, or by birth, is one a brahman. Whoever has truth & rectitude: he is a
pure one, he, a brahman. What’s the use of your matted hair,
you dullard? What’s the use of your deerskin cloak? The tangle’s inside you.
You comb the outside.



By birth one is no brahmin,
by family austerity.
In whom are truth and Dhamma too
pure is he, a Brahmin’s he.

One Does Not Become A Brahmin Merely By Birth

26 (10) The Story of Jatila
the Brahmin (Verse 393)

While residing at the Jetavana Monastery, the Buddha spoke this
verse with reference to Jatila, a brahmin ascetic who wore matted hair.

The story goes that this brahmin said one day to himself,
“I am well born on my mother’s side and on my father’s side, for I was
reborn in the family of a brahmin. Now the monk Gotama calls his own disciples
brahmins. He ought to apply the same title to me too.” So the brahmin went
to the Buddha and asked him about the matter. Said the Buddha to the brahmin,
“Brahmin, I do not call a man a brahmin merely because he wears matted
locks, merely because of his birth and lineage. But he that has penetrated the
truth, him alone do I call a brahmin.”

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 393)

jatahi brahmano na hoti gottena brahmano na hoti jacca
brahmano na hoti yamhi saccaftca dhammo ca so suci
so ca brahmano

jatahi: because of the matted hair; brahmano na hoti: one does
not become a brahmana; gottena: by clan; brahmano na hoti: one does not become
a brahmana; jacca: because of birth; brahmano na hoti: one does not become a
brahmana; yamhi in a person; saccam: awareness of truth; dhammo ca: and
spiritual reality (exist); so suci: if he is pure; so ca brahmano: he is the
true brahmin

One does not become a brahmin by one’s matted hair. Nor does one
become a brahmin by one’s clan. Even one’s birth will not make a brahmin. If
one has realized the Truth, has acquired the knowledge of the Teaching, if he
is also pure, it is such a person that I describe as a brahmin.


na jacca hoti Brahmano: one does not become a brahmana merely by
birth. This statement represents the Buddha’s revolutionary philosophy which
disturbed the brahmin-dominated upper crust of Indian society. The brahmins of
the day considered themselves the chosen of Brahma, and that by birth they
deserved veneration by all others. Buddha dealt a blow to this entrenched

Society at that time was divided into four sections called
varnas. It is clear that the Teachings of this great teacher denounced this
varna or caste system. Indian society of that time especially benefitted from
the doctrines of the Buddha because it was the first time that the rigid system
of casteism was denounced. It would appear that the people of India, steeped in
ignorance, received great consolation from this new doctrine of the Buddha.
Owing to this important fact the great transcendental doctrine of the Buddha
began to spread throughout all India.

There is a great store of varied information contained in the
Buddhist literature of the Tripitaka concerning the complex society of
Jambudipa during the 6th Century B.C., when the Buddha lived and when many
philosophies were expounded. Founders of different religions and philosophies
preached diverse ways of salvation to be followed by human beings. The
intelligentsia engaged themselves in the search to discover which of these
proclaimed the truth.

The Buddhist system of thought provides an ethical realism in
which the nature of the traditional social structure could be critically
examined. Prior to the Buddha high spiritual pursuits were allowed only to
privileged groups. But the Buddha opened the path of Enlightenment to all who
had the potential to achieve spiritual liberation.

Since this was an assault on the entrenched system, many a
brahmin was provoked into entering into arguments with the Buddha about who a
real brahmin was. This verse arose from one such encounter.




Dimwit! What’s the coiled hair for?
For what your cloak of skins?
Within you are acquisitive,
you decorate without!

Be Pure Within

26 (11) The Story of the
Trickster Brahmin (Verse 394)

What is the use of your matted locks? This religious instruction
was given by the Buddha while he was in residence at Pagoda Hall, with
reference to a certain trickster Brahmin who imitated a bat.

This brahmin, so the story goes, used to climb a certain kakudha
tree that grew close to the gate of the city of Vesali, grasp a branch with his
two feet, and swing himself from the branch, head downwards. And hanging thus,
he would cry out, “Give me a hundred kapilas! Give me pennies! Give me a
slave-woman! If you don’t give me what I ask for, I will let myself drop from
this tree and kill myself and make this city as though it had never been a

As the Buddha, accompanied by the congregation of monks, entered
the city, the monks saw this Brahmin hanging from the tree, and when they
departed from the city, still they saw him hanging there, just as he hung when
they entered the city. The residents of the city thought to themselves,
“This fellow has been hanging thus from this tree ever since early
morning; should he fall, he is likely to make this city as though it had never
been a city.” And because of fear that their city might be destroyed, they
complied with all of his demands and gave him all that he asked for. “We
have given you all that you asked for,” said they. Thereupon he descended
from the tree and departed with the spoils.

The monks saw the trickster brahmin wandering about in the
neighborhood of the monastery, bellowing like a cow, and immediately recognized
him. “Brahmin,” they asked, “did you get what you asked
for?” “Yes,” replied the Brahmin, ‘I got what I asked for.”
The monks reported the incident to the Buddha within the monastery. Said the
Buddha, “Monks, this is not the first time this Brahmin has been a
trickster and a thief; he was a trickster and a thief in a previous state of
existence also. But while in his present state of existence he deceives the
simple-minded, in his previous state of existence he failed to confound the
wise.” Complying with a request of the monks, the Buddha related the
following story of the past about the false ascetic and the king of the lizards.

Once upon a time a certain ascetic lodged near a certain village
of farmers, and this ascetic was a hypocrite. Now there was a certain family
that used to look after his needs: by day, of the food, whether hard or soft,
they always gave a portion to the ascetic just as they did to their own
children; and in the evening they would set aside a portion of the food
prepared for their supper, and give it to him on the following day.

Now not far from his leaf-hut, in a certain anthill, dwelt the
king of the lizards, and it was the custom of the king of the lizards from time
to time to call upon the ascetic and pay his respects to him. But on that
particular day this ascetic said to himself, “I will kill that
lizard,” and concealing a stick in a fold of his garments, he lay down
quite near that ant-hill and pretended to be asleep. When the king of the
lizards came out of his ant-hill and approached the ascetic, observing the
peculiar attitude in which the ascetic lay, he said to himself, “I don’t
like the way my teacher acts today,” and turning around, wriggled off in
the opposite direction. The ascetic, noticing that the lizard had turned
around, threw the stick at him, intending to kill him, but the stick went wide
of the mark. The king of the lizards crawled into the ant-hill, and poking his
head out and looking around, said to the ascetic, “All this time I vainly
imagined you to be an ascetic, but when just now you threw your stick at me,
desiring to kill me, at that moment you ceased to be an ascetic. What is the
use of matted locks to a man like you, who utterly lacks wisdom? What is the
use of your skin, all furnished with claws? For there is a jungle within you;
it is only the exterior that you polish and cleanse.”

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 394)

dummedha te jatahi kim te ajinasatiya kim te
abbhantaram te gahanam bahiram parimajjasi

dummedha: O, unwise man; te: yours; jatahi: matted hair; kim: of
what use; te: your; ajinasatiya: the leopard skin; kim: of what use; te
abbhantaram: your inside; spirit; gahanam: is replete with blemishes; bahiram:
what is outside; parimajjasi: you decorate.

Of what use are your exterior sights of asceticism: your matted
hair; your leopard skin garment? Your outside you keep clean and bright, while
inside you are filled with defilements.




Wearing cast-off rags —
his body lean & lined with veins — absorbed in jhana, alone in the forest:
he’s what I call a brahman.



One enduring rag-robes, lean,
with body o’erspread by veins,
lone in the woods who meditates,
that one I call a Brahmin True.

Who Meditates Alone in The Forest is A Brahmana

26 (12) The Story of Kisa
Gotami, Wearer of Refuse-Rags (Verse 395)

This religious instruction was given by the Buddha while he was
in residence at Mount Vulture Peak, with reference to Kisa Gotami.

For at that time, at the end of the first watch, Sakka, attended
by a host of deities, drew near the Buddha, saluted him, sat down respectfully
on one side, and listened to him as he preached the Dhamma in his usual pleasing
manner. At that moment Kisa Gotami said to herself, “I will go to see the
Buddha,” and proceeded thither through the air. But when she saw Sakka,
she turned back. Sakka saw her salute the Buddha and turn back, and straightway
asked the Buddha, ‘Venerable, who is this that draws nigh to you, and then,
seeing you, turns back?” The Buddha replied, “Great king, this is my
daughter Kisa Gotami, foremost of the nuns who wear refuse-rags.”

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 395)

pamsukuladharam kisam dhamanisanthatam vanasmim
ekam jhayantam tam jantum aham brahmanam brumi

pamsukuladharam: one who wears robes made out of cast-off rags;
kisam: lean; dhamanisanthatam: with veins standing out; vanasmim: dwelling in
the forest; ekam: all alone; jhayantam: meditating; tam jantum: that person;
aham: I; brahmanam brumi: brahmin call

He wears robes made out of cast-off rags. He is so austere and
lean that veins stand out in his body. All alone, he meditates in the forest.
Such a seeker of truth, I describe as a brahmano.


pamsakuladharam: wearing robes made out of refuse rags -
castoffs. The vow to wear only robes made from picked-up rags (pamsakulikanga)
is one of the ascetic rules of purification. These rules are described as
dhutanga. Dhutanga - means of shaking off (the defilements), means of
purification, ascetic, or austere practices. These are strict observances
recommended by the Buddha to monks, as a help to cultivate contentedness,
renunciation, energy and the like. One or more of them may be observed for a
shorter or longer period of time.

The monk training himself in morality should take upon himself
the means of purification, in order to gain those virtues through which the
purity of morality will become accomplished, to wit: fewness of needs, contentedness,
austerity, detachment, energy, moderation, etc.

The thirteen dhutangas consist in the vows of:

(1) wearing patched-up robes;
(2) wearing only three robes;
(3) going for alms;
(4) not omitting any house whilst going for alms;
(5) eating at one sitting;
(6) eating only from the alms bowl;
(7) refusing all further food;
(8) living in the forest;
(9) living under the tree;
(10) living in the open air;
(11) living in the cemetery;
(12) being satisfied with whatever dwelling;
(13) sleeping in sitting position (and never lying down).

Vow number one is taken in the words: I reject robes offered to
me by householders, or: I take upon myself the vow of wearing only robes made
from picked-up rags. Some of the exercises may also be observed by the

Here it may be mentioned that each newly ordained monk,
immediately after being admitted to the Sangha, is advised to be satisfied with
whatever robes, alms food, dwelling and medicine he gets: “The life of the
monks depends on the collected alms as food… on the root of a tree as
dwelling… on robes made from patched-up rags.




I don’t call one a
brahman for being born of a mother or sprung from a womb. He’s called a
‘bho-sayer’ if he has anything at all. But someone with nothing, who clings to
no thing: he’s what I call a brahman.



I call him not a brahmin though
by womb-born mother’s lineage,
he’s just supercilious
if with sense of ownership,
owning nothing and unattached:
that one I call a Brahmin True.

The Non-Possessive and The Non-Attached Person is A Brahmana

26 (13) What is a Brahman?
(Verse 396)

The story goes that a certain Brahman one day said to himself,
The monk Gotama calls his own disciples ‘Brahmans.’ Now I was reborn in the
womb of a Brahman mother; therefore he ought to apply this title to me
too.” So he approached the Buddha and asked him about the matter. Said the
Buddha to the Brahman, “I do not call a man a Brahman merely because he
received a new existence in the womb of a Brahman mother. But he that is
without worldly possessions, he that grasps not after the things of this world,
him alone I call a Brahman.”

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 396)

yonijam mattisambhavam brahmanam aham na ca brumi
sa ce sakiftcano hoti so bhovadi noma hoti akincanam
anadanam tam aham brahmanam brumi

yonijam mattisambhavam: born in the womb of a brahamin mother;
brahmanam: a brahmin; aham na ca brumi: I will not call; sa ce sakincano: if he
possesses blemishes; so bhovadi nama hoti: he could be called a person who goes
about addressing people ‘Sir7; akincanam: if he is free of defilements;
anadanam: free of the grip of craving; tam: him; aham: I; brahmanam brumi:
describe as a brahmin

I would not call a person a brahmana merely because he is born
out of a brahmana mother’s womb. Nor would I call a person a brahmin merely
because he goes about addressing people as bho (sir). These people are all full
of defilements. I call a person a brahmin who is free of faults and is not
given to craving.


brahman: In terms of this stanza, the unnamed brahman, who met
the Buddha, claimed the title Brahman because he was yonijam mattisambhavam,
well-born from the womb of a brahmin mother. But the Buddha stated that he
would describe as a brahmin only a non-possessor of such defilements as lust,
and a person who is not given to grasping.

bhovadi: As a habit, the brahmins of the Buddha’s days were
adept in all the external rituals. They were polite and courteous and addressed
people as bho (sir). The Buddha stated that such polite and courteous behaviour
was not sufficient. To qualify for the title Brahmin they must be internally,
spiritually pure. Otherwise, they remained mere bho sayers.

brahmin Dona: Among the Brahmanas who figure prominently in
Buddhist literature is Dona.

A portion of the remains of the Buddha was claimed by each of
the following, namely, King Ajatassatu of Magadha, Licchavis of Vesali, Sakyas
of Kapilavatthu, Bulls of Allakappa, Koliyas of Ramagama, Mallas of Pava, and a
brahmin of Vethadipa. But the Mallas of Kus-inara maintained that the Buddha
passed away within their kingdom, and that they should give no part of the
remains to anybody. The brahmin Dona settled the dispute by stating that it was
not proper to quarrel over the remains of such a sacred personality who taught
the world forbearance, and he measured the remains into eight portions and gave
each claimant one measure of the remains. He asked for the empty measure and
erected a Stiipa over it. Moriyas of Pipphalivana, too, claimed a portion of
the remains, but as there was nothing left for them, they took away the embers
and built a mound over them, whereas the others who got the remains built
Stupas in their respective kingdoms embodying the sacred relics of the Buddha.




Having cut every fetter,
he doesn’t get ruffled. Beyond attachment, unshackled: he’s what I call a



Who fetters all has severed
does tremble not at all,
who’s gone beyond all bonds, unyoked,
that one I call a Brahmin True.

A Brahmana is He Who Has Destroyed All Fetters

26 (14) The Story of Uggasena
the Acrobat (Verse 397)

This story has been related in detail in the commentary on the
stanza beginning with the words, “Give up the things of the past, give up
the things of the future.”

For, at that time when the monks said to the Buddha, ‘Venerable,
Uggasena says, ‘I have no fear.’ without a doubt he says that which is not
true, utters falsehood,” the Buddha replied, “Monks, those who, like
my son, have severed the attachments, have no fear.”

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 397)

ye sabbasaftnojanam chetva ve na paritassati sangatigam
visamyuttam tam aham brahmanam brumi

ye: some one; sabbasaftnojanam: all the ten fetters; chetva:
having got rid of; ve: certainly; na paritassati: is free of trepidation;
fearless; sangatigam: has gone beyond all forms of clinging; visamyuttam: free
of blemishes; tam: him; aham: I; brahmanam: a brahmin; brumi: call

He has got rid of all fetters. In consequence, he is free of
trepidation and is fearless. He has travelled beyond all bonds. Disengaged from
bonds, he is no longer tied to the world. Such a person I describe as a


sabba sannojanam chetva: Having got rid of all the ten fetters
which are:

(1) personality-belief (sakkaya-ditthi);
(2) skeptical doubt (vicikkicha);
(3) clinging to mere rules and ritual (silabbata-paramasa);
(4) sensuous craving (kama-raga);
(5) ill-will (vyapada);
(6) craving for fine-material existence (rupa-raga);
(7) craving for immaterial existence (arupa-raga);
(8) conceit (manri);
(9) restlessness (uddhacca);
(10) ignorance (avijja).

The first five of these are called lower fetters’
(orambhagiya-samyojand), as they tie to the sensuous world. The latter five are
called ‘higher fetters’ (uddhambhagiya-sarnyojana), as they tie to the higher
worlds, i.e., the fine-material and immaterial world.

sangatigam: The four forms of grasping, namely, lust, wrong
view, clinging to precepts and rituals and holding a substantial first position

na paritassati: does not tremble; is not agitated. Agitation
comes to those who are still mired in the worldly. Those who have gone beyond
the worldly have not trepidation; they are fearless.




Having cut the strap
& thong, cord & bridle, having thrown off the bar, awakened: he’s what I
call a brahman.



When cutting strap and reins,
the rope and bridle too,
tipping the shaft, he’s Waked,
that one I call a Brahmin True.

A Brahmana is He Who Has No Hatred

26 (15) The Story of a Tug of
War (Verse 398)

This religious instruction was given by the Buddha while he was
in residence at Jetavana with reference to two brahmins.

The story goes that one of these two Brahmins had an ox named
Little Red, Culla Rohita, and the other had an ox named Big Red, Maha Rohita.
One day they fell to arguing about the comparative strength of their respective
oxen, saying, “My ox is the strong one! my ox is the strong one!”
When they were tired of arguing, they said, “What is the use of our
arguing about it? We can find out by driving the two oxen.” Accordingly
they went to the bank of the river Aciravati, loaded their cart with sand, and
yoked up their oxen. At that moment some monks came to the bank of the river
for the purpose of bathing. The Brahmins whipped up their oxen, but the cart
stirred not an inch. Suddenly the straps and the thongs broke. The Monks saw
the whole proceeding, and when they returned to the monastery, told the Buddha
all about it. Said the Buddha, “Monks, those are the external straps and
thongs, which whoso may cut. But a monk must cut the internal strap of anger
and the thong of Craving.” So saying, he pronounced the following Stanza.

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 398)

nandhim varattam sahanukkamam sandamam chetva
ukkhittapaligham buddham tam aham brahmanam brumi

nandhim: the strap of hatred; varattam: the thong of craving;
sahanukkamam sandamam: the major shackle along with its links; chetva: having
several; ukkhittapaligham: lifted the cross-bar; buddham: become aware of
reality; tam: that person; aham: I; brahmanam brumi: described as the brahmana

He has got rid of the strap of ill-will. He has freed himself
from the thong of craving. He has escaped the large shackle breaking all its
links. These are the false views that curb the people. He has taken off the
crossbar of ignorance. He has become aware of the four noble truths. That
person, I describe as a brahmana.


In this verse the seeker after truth is compared to a person who
tends an ox and a cart.

nandhim: strap in the cart analogy. In the quest for spiritual
liberation it is that which ties and binds a person.

varattam: thong in the analogy of the cart and ox. It is craving
in the spiritual quest as it entraps.

sandamam sahanukkamam: In the analogy of the cart and ox, these
expressions refer to cord together with the bridle. In the spiritual quest,
these represent the sixty-two wrong views.

Buddha’s attitude to what He hears: This verse, and many others,
came to be spoken with regard to events the Buddha was informed of. In the
Buddha’s method of communication He makes use of any event of incident that is
likely to profit the listeners.

One day, as the Buddha entered Savatthi for alms, He saw some
children catching fish and killing them in a dried up reservoir, not far from
the Jetavana Monastery. The Buddha went up to the children and asked,
“Children, do you fear suffering, and do you dislike suffering?”
“Yes, Venerable, we fear suffering, and we dislike suffering,” said
the children. The Buddha said, “If you fear and dislike suffering, do not
do any evil act, whether in the open or in secrecy. If you do an evil act now,
or in the future, you will have no escape from suffering, even if you try to
run away from it.”




He endures — unangered —
insult, assault, & imprisonment. His army is strength; his strength,
forbearance: he’s what I call a brahman.



Who angerless endures abuse,
beating and imprisonment,
with patience’s power, an armed might:
that one I call a Brahmin True.

A Brahmana is He Who is Patient

26 (16) The Story of the Patient
Subduing the Insolent (Verse 399)

This religious instruction was given by the Buddha while He was
in residence at Veluvana, with reference to Akkosa Bharadvaja.

For Akkosa Bharadvaja had a brother named Bharadvaja, and a wife
named Dhananjani, who had attained the fruit of conversion. Whenever she
sneezed or coughed or stumbled, she would breathe forth the solemn utterance,
‘Praise be to Him that is highly exalted, all-worthy supremely
enlightened!” One day, while distribution of food to Brah-mans was in
progress, she stumbled, and immediately breathed forth that solemn utterance as
usual with a loud voice.

The Brahman was greatly angered and said to himself, “No
matter where it may be, whenever this vile woman stumbles, she utters the
praise of this shaveling monkling in this fashion.” And he said to her,
“Now, vile woman, I will go and worst that Teacher of yours in an
argument.” His wife replied, “By all means go, Brahman; I have never
seen the man who could worst the Buddha in an argument. Nevertheless, go ask
the Buddha a question.” The Brahman went to the Buddha and, without even
saluting him, stood on one side and asked Him a question, pronouncing the
following Stanza,

What must one destroy to live at ease?
What must one destroy no more to sorrow?
Of what single condition do you recommend the destruction, Gotama?

In answer, the Buddha pronounced the following Stanza,

Let a man destroy anger, and he will live at ease;
let him destroy anger, and he will no more sorrow.
Poisonous is the root of anger, and sweet is the top, brahman.
Therefore the noble applaud the destruction of anger,
for when this is destroyed, there is no more sorrow.

The brahman believed in the Buddha, retired from the world, and
attained arahatship.

Now his younger brother, who was called Akkosa Bharadvaja, heard
the report, “Your brother has retired from the world,” and greatly
angered thereat, went and abused the Buddha with wicked, ugly words. But the
Buddha subdued him too by employing the illustration of the hard food given to
strangers, and he too believed in the Buddha, retired from the world, and
attained arahatship. Likewise Akkosa Bharad-vaja’s two younger brothers,
Sundari Bharadvaja and Bilangika Bharadvaja, abused the Buddha, but the Buddha
subdued them, and they too retired from the world and attained arahatship.

One day in the hall of truth the monks began the following
discussion: “How wonderful are the virtues of the Buddhas! Although these
four brothers abused the Buddha, the Buddha, without so much as saying a word,
became their refuge.” At that moment the Buddha drew near.
“Monks,” said He, “what is the subject that engages your
attention now as you sit here all gathered together?” “Such and
such,” replied the monks. Then said the Buddha, “Monks, because I
possess the power of patience, because I am without sin among the sinful,
therefore am I of a truth the refuge of the multitude.”

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 399)

yo akkosam vadhabandham ca aduttho titikkhati
khantibalam balanikam tam aham brahmanam brumi

yo: if some person; akkosam: abuse; vadhabandham ca: torture,
imprisonment; aduttho titikkhati: endures without losing one’s temper;
khantibalam: (who) has patience as his power; balanikam: and his army; tam:
him; aham: I; brahmanam: a brahmin; brumi: call

He is abused and insulted. He is tortured, imprisoned and bound
up. But he endures all these without being provoked or without losing his
temper. Such an individual who has patience as his power and his army I
describe as a true brahmano.




Free from anger, duties
observed, principled, with no overbearing pride, trained, a ‘last-body’: he’s
what I call a brahman.



Who’s angerless and dutiful,
of virtue full and free of lust,
who’s tamed, to final body come,
that one I call a Brahmin True.

A Brahmana is He Who is Not Wrathful

26 (17) The Story of
Sariputta being Reviled by His Mother (Verse 400)

At that time, so the story goes, the Venerable Sariputta,
accompanied by five hundred monks, while making his round for alms in the
village of Nalaka, came to the door of his mother’s house. His mother provided
him with a seat, and as she served him with food, abused him roundly, saying,
“Ho, eater of leavings! Failing to get leavings of sour rice-gruel, you
therefore go from house to house among strangers, licking off the back of a
ladle such sour rice-gruel as clings to it! And for this you renounced eighty
billion of wealth and became a monk! You have ruined me! Eat now!”
Likewise when she gave food to the monks, she said, “So you are the men
who have made my son your own page-boy! Eat now!” The Venerable took the
food and returned to the monastery

Venerable Rahula invited the Buddha to eat. Said the Buddha,
“Rahula, where did you go?” “To the village where my grandmother
lives, Venerable.” “And what did your grandmother say to your
preceptor?” “Venerable, my grandmother abused my preceptor
roundly.” “What did she say?” ‘This and that, Venerable.”
“And what reply did your preceptor make?” “He made no reply,

When the monks heard this, they began to talk about it in the
hall of truth. Said they, “Brethren, how wonderful are the qualities of
the Venerable Sariputta! Even when his mother abused him in this fashion, he
never got a bit angry.” The Buddha drew near and asked the monks,
“Monks, what is the subject that engages your attention now as you sit
here all gathered together?” “Such and such.” Then said the Buddha,
‘Monks, they that have rid themselves of the evil passions are free from

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 400)

akkodhanam vatavantam silavantam anussutam dantam
antimasanram tam aham brahmanam brumi

akkodhanam: free of anger; vatavantam: mindful of his duties and
observances; silavantam: disciplined in terms of virtuous behaviour; anussutam
with no craving flowing out; dantam: restrained; antimasanram: inhabiting the
final body; tam: him; aham: I; brahmanam: a brahmin; brumi: call

He is free of anger. He carefully performs his religious duties
and is mindful of the observances. He is disciplined in terms of virtuous
behaviour. He is restrained. This is the final body he will occupy as he has
ended his cycle of births. I call that person a brahmana.


The story of Sariputta: A name that inspires many in the
Buddhist World is Sariputta. Sariputta was the foremost of the two chief
disciples of the Blessed One. If Ananda, the constant attendant on the Buddha,
is called the Treasurer of the Dhamma, as he was well known for retentiveness
of memory, so Sariputta is known as the Commander-in-Chief of the Dhamma. In
teaching and for wisdom he was second only to the Buddha.

Often he was prevailed upon to preach whenever the Blessed One
required rest. Once, a brahmin gave him a severe blow to test his capacity for
patience. He was unmoved. Then the brahmin asked for forgiveness which was
readily given. Thereafter the brahmin wished him to partake the midday meal,
which offer was also readily accepted. Could such conduct be equalled save by
the Blessed One Himself? His attitude to a seven-year-old samanera is most
touching. It speaks volumes for his modesty. Once he was going about with a
corner of his under-garment trailing contrary to Vinaya rules. The samanera
pointed this out to him. He promptly thanked him in salutation and put the
matter right. He had a special regard for Rahula and his mother Rahulamata.
When the latter was suffering from flatulence, he was responsible for getting a
particular mango juice to serve as a medicine. When she was suffering from some
stomach ailment he obtained from king Pasenadi some rice mixed with ghee and
flavoured with red fish to serve as a cure.

When Anathapindika the treasurer lay dying, he visited him with
Ananda and preached to him the sermon called Anathapindiko-vada Sutta.

He was named after his mother, Sari the Brahamin lady. It was
written that the two Chief Disciples should predecease the Buddha. Following
custom Sariputta went to his mother’s residence at Nalaga-maka (Nalanda) after
paying obeisance to the Buddha. It was on this occasion he is said to have
remarked that his mortal eyes would never behold the august feet of his Master
again. Samsaric existence was over. At the sick bed, his brother Cunda
Samanuddesa attended on him.

It was on this last visit that the conversion of his diehard
Hindu mother took place when the four guardian deities of the deva realm Sakka
and Maha Brahma each in turn, flooding the place with increasing brilliance of
light, visited him on his sick bed.




Like water on a lotus
leaf, a mustard seed on the tip of an awl, he doesn’t adhere to sensual
pleasures: he’s what I call a brahman.



Like water on a lotus leaf,
or mustard seed on needle point,
whoso clings not to sensual things,
that one I call a Brahmin True.

He is A Brahmana Who Clings Not To Sensual Pleasures

26 (18) The Story of Nun
Uppalavanna (Verse 401)

This religious instruction was given by the Buddha while He was
in residence at Jetavana, with reference to the nun Uppalavanna. The story has
been related at length in the Commentary on the Stanza beginning with the
words, ‘As sweet as honey thinks a fool an evil deed.’ For it is there said:

Some time later, the throng in the hall of truth began the
following discussion: ‘To be sure those that have rid themselves of the
Depravities gratify their passions. Why should they not? For they are not
Kolapa-trees or ant-hills, but are living creatures with bodies of moist flesh.
Therefore they also like the pleasures of love.” At that moment the Buddha
drew near. “Monks,” He inquired, “what is the subject that
engages your attention now as you sit here all gathered together?”
“Such and such,” was the reply. Said the Buddha, “No, monks,
they that have rid themselves of the depravities neither like the pleasures of
love nor gratify their passions. For even as a drop of water which has fallen
upon a lotus-leaf does not cling thereto or remain thereon, but rolls over and
falls off, even as a grain of mustard-seed does not cling to the point of a
needle or remain thereon, but rolls over and falls off, precisely so two-fold
love clings not to the heart of one that has rid himself of the depravities or
remains there.” And joining the connection, He preached the Dhamma with a

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 401)

pokkharapatte vari iva aragge sasapo iva so
kamesu na limpati tam aham brahmanam brumi

pokkharapatte: on the lotus leaf; vari iva: like the water;
aragge: on the tip of a needle; sasapo iva: like a mustard seed; so: if someone;
katnesu: in sensual pleasures; na limpati: is not attached; torn: him; aham: I;
brahmanam brumi call a brahmana

The water does not get attached to the surface of the lotus
leaf. The mustard seed does not get attached to the point of a needle. In the same
way, the wise one’s mind does not get attached to sensual pleasures. Such a
non-attached person I describe as the true brahmana.


Story of Nun Uppalavanna: Uppalavanna was born in a wealthy
family and was named after the lotus flower - Uppala-Vanna.

When she came of age, proposals for marriage came from all
quarters and the harassed father did not wish to offend any suitor by a
refusal. To the father, ordination in the noble Sangha was the only solution.

The daughter, true to her destiny, agreed. Upon being ordained
she was kept in charge of the convocation room where the nuns assembled for the
confession of lapses. She had to tend the lamps. She observed that the light
was sustained by the wick and the oil.

Sometimes, the light goes out by going short of either or by a
gust of wind. So life was due to kammic force. This kept her thinking till she
became an arahat. She remembered her former lives.

It was while living alone in a forest, a young shepherd named
Nanda, a kinsman of hers, got infatuated with her and committed a sexual
offence as soon as she returned from a round of alms. Coming from the noon day
glare to the dark cave where her abode was, she could not see and hence, she
was taken by surprise despite her protests. He committed the dire deed and was
immediately born in the hell (niraya) when the earth yawned and swallowed the
foolish young man. He was, however, dead before the yawning of the earth.

It was after this incident the Blessed One prohibited the female
disciples of the noble Sangha from living in isolation in the forest.

Not long afterwards, the Buddha, addressing the monks, declared
Uppala Vanna Maha Theri was foremost for psychic power as Venerable Maha
Moggallana was among the Maha arahats.




He discerns right here,
for himself, on his own, his own ending of stress. Unshackled, his burden laid
down: he’s what I call a brahman.



Whoso in this world comes to know
cessation of all sorrow,
laid down the burden, freed from bonds,
that one I call a Brahmin True.

A Brahmana is He Who Has Laid The Burden Aside

26 (19) The Story of a Slave
who Laid Down His Burden (Verse 402)

The story goes that at a time previous to the promulgation of
the precept forbidding the admission of runaway slaves to the Sangha, a certain
slave of this Brahman ran away, was admitted to the Sangha, and attained
arahatship. The brahman searched everywhere, but failed to find his slave. One
day, as the former slave was entering the city with the Buddha, the brahman saw
him in the gateway, and took firm hold of his robe. The Buddha turned around
and asked, “What do you mean by this, brahman?” “This is my
slave, Sir Gotama.” “His burden has fallen from him, Brahman.”
When the Buddha said, “His burden has fallen from him,” the Brahman
understood at once that his meaning was, “He is an arahat.”
Therefore, he addressed the Buddha again, saying, “Is that so, Sir
Gotama?” “Yes, Brahman,” replied the Buddha, “his burden
has fallen from him.”

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 402)

yo idha eva attano dukkhassa khayam pajanati
pannabharam visamyuttam tam aham brahmanam brumi

yo: if some one; idha eva: in this life itself; attano: one’s;
dukkhassa khayam: the end of suffering; pajanati: knows fully; pannabharam:
unburdened; visamyuttam: (and is) freed from defilements; tam: that person;
aham: I; brahmanam: a true brahmana brumi: declare

He has become aware, in this world itself, the ending of
suffering. He is unburdened: he has put down the load. He has got disengaged
from the bonds that held him. I call that kind of person a true brahmana.


This verse refers to an instance of Buddha extending His
assistance to a run-away slave who later became an arahat. The Buddha had
provided support to several slaves both men and women, who, through his
Enlightened guidance, reached Nibbana. One of them is Punna. Punna was a
servant girl employed in the house of a millionaire of Rajagaha. One night
after pounding paddy, she got out into the yard, and saw several monks out at
night. Next morning, she prepared a rice cake, baked it, and took it with her
to eat on her way to the well.

That day the Buddha, on His round for alms, came to the same
road, and saw Punna with a pot in her hand. She offered the Buddha her rice
cake which the Buddha readily accepted. She was wondering whether the Buddha
would throw it away and take His meal in a palace or a millionaire’s house. But
the Buddha sat there itself by the roadside on a mat laid by the Venerable
Ananda, and partook of the rice cake for His breakfast.

The Buddha explained to her that the monks were awake at night
on their religious duties, and preached to her the doctrine. At the end of the
preaching, Punna realized the fruit of sotapatti.

Another servant who became an arahat through Buddha’s guidance
was Rajjumala, who was employed in a house in the village of Gaya, where she
was subject to constant harassing and humiliation by her mistress. The mistress
used to pull her by her hair and beat her. In order to escape such beating, she
shaved off her hair, but the mistress tied a rope round her head and pulled her
about. She came to be called Rajjumala (one who has a rope as a garland) as she
had a rope round her head.

Being fed up with this life under her mistress, Rajjumala left
the house as if she were going to bring water, but went to the forest and tried
to hang herself. However, the Buddha, who saw her potentiality to realize the
fruit of sotapatti, arrived at the spot, and preached to her. She realized the
fruit of sotapatti, and went home, where she related the story of her meeting
the Buddha.

The mistress, with her father-in-law, came and met the Buddha,
and conducted Him to their house, and offered alms. The Buddha preached to them
and said how Rajjumala in a previous birth used to ill-treat her present
mistress of the house. Rajjumala was freed and adopted as a daughter by the
father-in-law of her mistress. After her death, she was born in the Tavatimsa




Wise, profound in
discernment, astute as to what is the path & what’s not; his ultimate goal
attained: he’s what I call a brahman.


Uncontaminated by
householders & houseless ones alike; living with no home, with next to no
wants: he’s what I call a brahman.



Whose knowledge is deep, who’s wise,
who’s skilled in ways right and wrong,
having attained the highest aim,
that one I call a Brahmin True.

A Brahmana is He Who Has Reached His Ultimate Goal

26 (20) Khema the Wise (Verse

This religious instruction was given by the Buddha while He was
in residence on Mount Vulture Peak, with reference to the nun Khema.

For one day, immediately after the first watch, Sakka, king of
gods, came with his retinue of deities, sat down, and listened to the Buddha as
he discoursed in his usual pleasant manner on the Dhamma. At that moment the
nun Khema said to herself, I will go see the Buddha,” and drew near to the
presence of the Buddha. But when she saw Sakka, she saluted the Buddha, poised
in the air as she was, turned around, and departed. Sakka saw her and asked the
Buddha, ‘Who was that, Venerable, that drew near to your presence, and then,
poised in the air as she was, saluted you and turned around and departed?”
The Buddha replied, “That, great king, was my daughter Khima, possessed of
great wisdom, knowing well what is the path and what is not the path.”

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 403)

gambhirapannam medhavim maggamaggam kovidam
uttamattham anuppattam tam aham brahmanam brumi

gambhirapannam: of deep wisdom; medhavim: full of insight;
maggamaggam: discriminating the right and the wrong paths; kovidam: capable of,
uttamattham: highest state; anuppattam (who has) reached; tam: him; aham: I;
brahmanam: a brahmana; brumi: declare

He possesses profound wisdom. He is full of insight. He is
capable of discriminating the right path from the wrong path. He has reached
the highest state. I call that person a true brahmana.


The story of Khema: Khema was born in a princely family at
Sagala by the name of Khema. The colour of her complexion was that of gold. She
was beautiful. She married King Bimbisara of Kosala. She was reluctant,
however, to visit the Buddha, for fear that the Blessed One would moralise on
the fleeting nature of beauty.

Every time she visited the temple she dodged the Buddha. One day
the king got his men to take her willy-nilly to the Buddha. On her arrival, the
Buddha created a phantom of unsurpassing beauty to attend on Him. Khema was
struck by her beauty. While she was thus engaged she felt that beauty could
only beguile. The Buddha made the figure to go through youth middle age, old
age and thereafter to extreme old age devoid of everything worthwhile. Beauty
thus gave way to hideousness. It was a graphic picture. Khema understood the
meaning and felt what was in store for her. Anicca, dukkha and anatta: in other
words, transiency and sorrow - without any lasting entity called a soul.

To a mind thus prepared the Buddha preached. The seeds fell on
good ground. She entered the stream of sainthood (sotapanna). The Buddha
illustrated His sermon by bringing before her mind the lesson of the spider and
the web. As soon as a fly strikes a web, the spider by the motion thus
generated takes it as a signal and attacks and devours the fly. This goes on.
The spider becomes wedded to the web. So are human beings wedded to passion and
lust. Her mind saw all. She became an arahat. She asked permission from the
king for her ordination. The king, himself a budding saint, readily consented.
One day god Mara, in the guise of a young man, tempted Khema. The man met with
a rebuff. His discomfiture was complete. He took to flight. One night Khema
thought of visiting the Buddha. But the Buddha was with Sakka, king of the
deities. Rather than disturb the Buddha, Khema wheeled round in the air and

Sakka, on seeing the vision, was soon enlightened on the matter
by the Buddha. The Buddha, addressing the monks and the laity, declared Khema
was, among the female disciples, the most eminent in wisdom.



Having put aside
violence against beings fearful or firm, he neither kills nor gets others to
kill: he’s what I call a brahman.



Who blows to beings has renounced
to trembling ones, to bold,
who causes not to kill nor kills
that one I call a Brahmin True.

A Brahmana is He Who is Absolutely Harmless

26 (22) The Story of the Monk
and the Woman (Verse 405)

This verse was spoken by the Buddha while He was in residence at
Jetavana, with reference to a certain monk.

It appears that this monk, upon receiving a meditation topic
from the Buddha, retired to the forest, applied himself diligently to the
practice of meditation, and attained arahatship. Thereupon he said to himself,
“I will inform the Buddha of the great blessing which I have
received,” and set out from the forest. Now a woman living in a certain
village through which he passed, had just had a quarrel with her husband, and
as soon as her husband was out of the house, said to herself, “I will
return to the house of my family.” So saying, she set out on the road. As
she went along the road, she saw the Venerable. “I’ll keep not far from
this Venerable,” thought she, and followed close behind him. The Venerable
never looked at her at all.

When her husband returned home and saw his wife nowhere about
the house, he concluded to himself, “She must have gone to the village
where her family lives,” and followed after her. When he saw her, he
thought to himself, “It cannot be that this woman would enter this forest
all by herself; in whose company is she going? ” All of a sudden he saw
the Venerable. Thought he, “This monk must have taken her away with
him,” and went up to the monk and threatened him. Said the woman,
“This good monk never so much as looked at me or spoke to me; do not say
anything to him.” Her husband replied, to you mean to tell me that you
took yourself off in this fashion? I will treat him as you alone deserve to be
treated.” And in a burst of rage, out of hatred for the woman, he beat the
Venerable soundly, and having so done, took the woman with him and returned

The Venerable’s whole body was covered with weals. After his
return to the monastery the monks who rubbed his body noticed the weals and
asked him, “What does this mean?” He told them the whole story. Then
the monks asked him, “Brother, but when this fellow struck you thus, what
did you say? or did you get angry?” “No, brethren, I did not get
angry.” Thereupon the monks went to the Buddha and reported the matter to
Him, saying, “Venerable, when we asked this monk, ‘Did you get angry?’ he
replied, ‘No, brethren, I did not get angry’ He does not speak the truth, he
utters falsehood.” The Buddha listened to what they had to say and then
replied, “Monks, they that have rid themselves of the evil passions have
laid aside the rod; even for those that strike them, they cherish no

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 405)

yo tasesu thavaresu ca bhutesu dandam nidhaya
na hanti na ghateti tam ahatn brahmanam brumi

yo: if some one; tasesu: that become frightened; thavaresu: that
are stubborn and unfrightened; ca: or; bhutesu: beings; dandam: the rod;
nidhaya: having set aside; na hanti: does not hurt; na ghateti: or does not get
anyone else to hurt or to kill; tam: him; ahatn: I; brahmanam: a true brahmin;
brumi: I call

He has discarded the rod and set aside weapons. He hurts neither
the frightened, timid beings, nor stubborn, fearless beings. I call that person
a brahmana.


tasesu: Those who tremble in fear and those who are in trepidation
due to fright brought about by craving.

thavaresu: Those who are firm, stable and unshaken, since they
have given up craving.




Unopposing among
opposition, unbound among the armed, unclinging among those who cling: he’s
what I call a brahman.



Among the hostile, friendly,
among the violent, cool,
detached amidst the passionate,
that one I call a Brahmin True.

A Brahmana is He Who is Friendly Amongst The Hostile

26 (23) The Story of The Four
Novices (Verse 406)

This verse was spoken by the Buddha while He was in residence at
Jetavana, with reference to four novices.

The story goes that the wife of a certain brahmin prepared food
for four specially designated monks, and said to the brahmin her husband,
“Go to the monastery, pick out four old brahmins, and bring them
here.” The brahmin went to the monastery and brought four seven-year-old
novices who had attained arahatship, Samkicca, Pandita, Sopaka, and Revata. The
brahmin’s wife had expensive seats prepared and stood waiting. At sight of the
novices, she was filled with rage, and sputtering as when salt is dropped on a
brazier, she said to her husband, “You have gone to the monastery and
brought back with you four youngsters not old enough to be your grandsons.”
She refused to let them sit on the seats which she had prepared, but spreading
some low seats for them, said to them, “Sit here!” Then she said to
her husband, “Brahman, go look out some old brahmins and bring them
here.” The brahmin went to the monastery, and seeing Venerable Sariputta,
took him back home with him. When the Venerable reached the house and saw the
novices, he asked, “Have these brahmins received food?” “No,
they have received no food.” Knowing that food had been prepared for just
four persons, he said, “Bring me my bowl,” and taking his bowl,
departed. Said the brahmin’s wife, “It must be that he did not wish to
eat; go quickly, look out another brahmin and bring him here.”

The brahmin went back to the monastery and brought Venerable
Maha Moggallana back home with him. When Venerable Moggallana the Great saw the
novices, he said the same thing as had Venerable Sariputta, and taking his
bowl, departed. Then said the brahmin’s wife to her husband, ‘These Venera-bles
do not wish to eat; go to the brahmin’s pale and bring back with you a single
old brahmin.” Sakka, disguising himself as an old brahmin worn out by old
age, went to the brahmin’s pale and sat down in the most conspicuous seat of
the brahmins. When the brahmin saw him, he thought to himself, ‘Now my wife
will be delighted,” and saying, “Come, let us go home,” he took
him and went back home with him. When the brahmin’s wife saw him, her heart was
filled with delight. She took the rugs and mats which were spread over two
seats, spread them over one, and said to him, “Noble Sir, sit here.”
When Sakka entered the house, he saluted the four novices with the five rests,
and finding a place for himself at the edge of the seats where the novices were
sitting, sat down cross-legged on the ground. When the brahmin’s wife saw him,
she said to the brahmin, “To be sure you have brought a brahmin, you have
brought back with you one old enough to be your father. He is going about
saluting novices young enough to be his grandsons. What use have we for him? Put
him out!”

The brahmin seized him first by the shoulder, then by the arm,
finally by the waist, and tried his best to drag him out, but he refused to
stir from where he sat. Then the brahmin’s wife said to her husband,
“Come, brahmin, you take hold of one arm and I will take hold of the
other.” So the brahmin and his wife both took hold of his two arms,
belabored him about the back, and dragged him through the door out of the
house. Nevertheless, Sakka remained sitting in the same place in which he had
sat before, waving his hands back and forth. When the brahmin and his wife
returned and saw him sitting in the very same place in which he had sat before,
they screamed screams of terror and let him go.

At that moment, Sakka made known his identity. Then the brahmin
and his wife gave food to their guests. When those five persons had received
food, they departed. One of the novices broke through the circular peak of the
house, the second broke through the front part of the roof, the third broke
through the back part of the roof, the fourth plunged into the earth, while
Sakka departed from the house by another route. Thus did those five persons
depart from the house by five different routes. From that time on, so it is
said, that house was known as the house with the five openings. When the
novices returned to the monastery, the monks asked them, “What was it
like?” “Pray don’t ask us,” replied the novices. “But were
you not angry with them for what they did?” “No, we were not angry.”
When the monks heard their reply, they reported the matter to the Buddha,
saying, “Venerable, when these monks say, ‘We were not angry.’ they say
what is not true, they utter falsehood.” Said the Buddha, ‘Monks, they
that have rid themselves of the evil passions oppose not them by whom they are

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 406)

viruddhesu aviruddham attadandesu nibbutam
sadanesu anadanam tam aham brahmanam brumi

viruddhesu: among those who are hostile; aviruddham: not
hostile; attadandesu: among those bearing arms; nibbutam: peaceful; sadanesu:
among the selfish; anadanam: selfless; tam: him; aham: I; brahmanam brumi: call
a brahmana




His passion, aversion,
conceit, & contempt, have fallen away — like a mustard seed from the tip of
an awl: he’s what I call a brahman.



From whomever lust and hate,
conceit, contempt have dropped away,
as mustard seed from a needle point,
that one I call a Brahmin True.

A Brahmana Is He Who Has Discarded All Passions

26 (24) The Story of
Venerable Maha Panthaka (Verse 407)

This verse was spoken by the Buddha while He was in residence at
Veluvana Monastery, with reference to Venerable Maha Panthaka.

When Culla Panthaka was unable to learn by heart a single stanza
in three months, Maha Panthaka expelled him from the monastery and closed the
door, saying to him, “You lack the capacity to receive religious
instruction, and you have also fallen away from the enjoyments of the life of a
householder. Why should you continue to live here any longer? Depart hence.”
The monks began a discussion of the incident, saying, ‘Venerable Maha Panthaka
did this and that. Doubtless anger springs up sometimes even within those who
have rid themselves of the Depravities.” At that moment the Buddha drew
near and asked them, “Monks, what is the subject that engages your
attention now as you sit here all gathered together?” When the monks told
him the subject of their conversation, he said, “No, monks, those who have
rid themselves of the depravities have not the contaminations, lust, hatred,
and delusion. What my son did he did because he put the Dhamma, and the spirit
of the Dhamma, before all things else.”

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 407)

yassa rago ca doso ca mono makkho ca aragga
sasapor’iva patito tam aham brahmanam brumi

yassa: by some one; rago ca: lust; doso ca: ill-will; mano:
pride; makkho ca: (and) ingratitude; aragga: from the point of a needle; sasapo
iva: like a seed of mustard; patito: slipped; tam: him; aham: I; brahmanam
brumi: declare a brahmana

His mind just does not accept such evils as lust, ill-will,
pride and ingratitude. In this, his mind is like the point of a needle that
just does not grasp a mustard seed. An individual endowed with such a mind I
describe as a brahmana.


The story of the two brother monks: Maha Panthaka (Big Road) and
Culla Panthaka (Small Road). Cullapanthaka was associated with his elder
brother who is called Maha Panthaka. As both were born on the road they were
called Panthaka. Culla Panthaka was distinguished from all the maha arahats by
the power to form any number of corporeal figures by psychic power and also by
his ability to practice mystic meditation in the world of form.

They were the offspring of a daughter of a treasurer entering
into a clandestine marriage with a servant of her father’s household. This
explains the birth of the first child while the expectant mother was on the way
to meet her parents with her paramour. They both returned home as the child was
born on the road. This was repeated in the case of the second child too. The
elder child desired to enter the noble Sangha. He got the younger brother to
follow him. But the younger brother paid no heed to reciting. Venerable brother
though a maha arahat having to play the teacher to his younger brother nearly
ended badly. Culla Panthaka was asked to memorise a verse of four lines but he
was unable to do so for four months with the result the elder brother felt that
he was of no use to the dispensation. Culla Panthaka was asked to quit.

So crestfallen Culla Panthaka was sobbing in a corner of the
temple. His grief was all the more when his elder brother made preparations to
attend an almsgiving to many monks, with Buddha at the head, by Jivaka the
physician, on the following day - less one (meaning himself)

The Buddha came to his rescue. He gave him a piece of linen of
spotless white and asked him to stroke it facing the sun saying that nothing is
so clean that doesn’t turn impure. The words were Rajoharanam.

In due course, perspiration from the palm of his hand made the
cloth exceedingly dirty. The universality of change (anicca) which is the key
note of the doctrine of Buddhism was grasped. So Culla Panthaka became an

At the same time, the latent power was manifested. He got the
psychic power to create any number of corporeal figures which was soon put to a
practical test. The almsgiving came to pass. Buddha promptly put His hand over
the bowl, when food was offered. The reason was that Culla Panthaka, who was
left out, should participate. So an attendant was sent to the temple, that was
close by, to fetch him. He was amazed to see in the temple over a thousand
monks all looking alike. So it was duly reported to Jivaka who redirected him
to say that Culla Panthaka was expected. On the second visit the wonder grew. For
as soon as the name of Culla Panthaka was mentioned all the monks began saying
“I am Culla Panthaka”. In the meanwhile the alms-giving was held up
by the rapidly developing situation. So the attendant was asked by Jivaka as
directed by the Buddha to go again and this time to catch hold of the robe of
the first monk nearest to him saying that the Buddha wants Culla Panthaka. When
this was done, the temple appeared deserted except for the monk whose robe he
was holding. So the younger brother took his due place in the almsgiving. It is
to him that the Blessed One turned to tender merit by a short sermon called
punnanumodana in Pali. Afterwards a discussion ensued among the monks about the
feat of the Buddha.




He would say what’s
non-grating, instructive, true — abusing no one: he’s what I call a brahman.



Who utters speech instructive,
true and gentle too,
who gives offence to none,
that one I call a Brahmin True.

A Brahmana is He Who Gives Offence To None

26 (25) The Story of
Venerable Pilindavaccha (Verse 408)

This verse was recited by the Buddha while he was in residence
at Veluvana, with reference to Venerable Pilindavaccha.

It seems that this elder monk was in the habit of accosting both
laymen and monks with the epithet commonly applied only to outcasts.
“Come, vile fellow! Go, vile fellow.” he would say to everyone he
met. One day several monks complained about his conduct to the Buddha, saying,
“Venerable Pilindavaccha accosts the monks with an epithet applicable only
to outcasts.” The Buddha caused him to be summoned before him. “Is
the charge true, Vaccha,” said the Buddha, “that you accost the monks
with an epithet applicable only to outcasts?” “Yes, Venerable,”
replied Pilindavaccha, “the charge is true.”

The Buddha called before his mind the previous abodes of that
elder monk and said, “Monks, be not offended with the Venerable Vaccha.
Monks, it is not because Venerable Vaccha entertains feelings of hatred within
him, that he accosts his brother monks with an epithet applicable only to
outcasts. The fact is, the Venerable Vaccha has passed through five hundred
states of existence and in every one of these states of existence he was reborn
in the family of a brahmin. The use of this epithet has been habitual with him
for such a long time that he now applies it to everyone he meets simply from
the force of habit. He that has rid himself of the evil passions never makes
use of words that are harsh and cruel, never makes use of words that cut
hearers to the quick. It is solely from the force of habit that my son speaks

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 408)

yaya kind nUbhisaje akakkasam vinftapanim saccam
giram udiraye tam aham brahmanam brumi

yaya: if through even a word; kind: anyone; na abhisaje: does
not provoke; akakkasam: not harsh; vinftapanim: well-meaning; saccam giram:
truthful words; udiraye: if someone utters; tam: him; aham: I; brahmanam brumi:
describe as a brahmana

His speech is true. His words are well-meaning, constructive and
not harsh. By his words he will not give offence to anyone. Nor will his words
provoke people. Such a person I declare a true brahmana.


Story of Pilindavaccha: Pilindavaccha was born a brahmin at
Sravasti. Having listened to a sermon of the Buddha he was instantly converted.
He sought ordination.

He had a habit of addressing all and sundry both in the Sangha
and in the Laity by the term vasala signifying a person of low caste. He had
acquired this habit during five hundred lives when he was born a brahmin, for
brahmins regarded all others as below them. Pilindavaccha could not get rid of
this lapse by force of habit. It is said habit is second nature. In a person
who had got rid of all defilements, still the habit acquired during a long period
persisted. The Buddha was the sole exception. So when it became intolerable,
monks complained to the Buddha.

The Buddhas explained to the audience what had happened. The
Venerable Pilindavaccha had no trace of hatred or ill-will when using the word.
It was purely a habit. He had no venom. The Buddha proceeded to say Venerable
Maha arahat was free from all defilements. Such a person Buddha would call a

One day a seller of tippili or long pepper ran into serious
trouble. Knowing not who Venerable Pilindavaccha was, he was taking a wagon
load of tippili for sale, having a sample of specimen tippili in a basket. When
he met one morning the Maha arahat at the gate of Jetawanarama proceeding on a
journey, as usual, maha arahat addressed the seller as vasala and inquired what
the basket contained. The seller was dumb founded. He retorted by saying
excreta of mice. ‘Be it so”, said the Maha arahat and went on his way.
There was a striking similarity between long pepper and excreta of mice and the
seller to his horror discovered that the specimen and then the wagon in turn
consisted no longer of long pepper but excreta of mice.

The deities saw to it that the goods were turned into excreta of
mice, even though it caused distress to the trader. The trader’s stock had sunk
to zero. The poor man’s grief knew no bounds. In desperation he sought the
Thera to give vent to his anger for he felt convinced that he was the cause. He
met a well meaning person who questioned him. On hearing the story, he
explained to the trader that Venerable Pilindavaccha was a Maha arahat and the
remedy lay in his own hands. He was asked to meet the Maha Thera again in the
same way as in the fateful morning and when addressed, in the usual way, to be
careful to reply simply that they were tippili. Then the Venerable
Pilindavaccha would say, “Be it so”. Then you would discover the true
nature of your goods. The seller did so and was glad to retrieve his fortune,
for instantly the goods of the trader were in the original state by the same

Afterwards, the Buddha addressing the noble Sangha and the laity
declared that among his maha arahats Pilindavaccha was most pleasing to the




Here in the world he
takes nothing not-given — long, short, large, small, attractive, not: he’s what
I call a brahman.



Who in the world will never take
what is not given, long or short,
the great or small, the fair or foul,
that one I call a Brahmin True.

A Brahmana is He Who Steals Not

26 (26) The Story of the Monk
who was accused of Theft (Verse 409)

The story goes that a certain brahman of false views who lived
at Savatthi, for fear his outer cloth might catch the odour of his body, took
it off, laid it aside, and sat down facing his house. Now a certain monk who
was an arahat, on his way to the monastery after breakfast, saw that cloth, and
looking about and seeing no one, and therefore concluding that it had no owner,
adopted it as a refuse-rag, and took it with him. When the brahman saw him, he
went up to him and abused him, saying, “Shaveling, you are taking my
cloth.” “Is this your cloth, brahman?” “Yes, monk.”
“I saw no one about, and thinking it was a refuse-rag, took it with me;
here it is.” So saying, the Venerable gave the brahman back his cloth.
Then he went to the monastery and related the incident to the monks in detail.

When the monks heard his story, they made fun of him, saying,
“Brother, is the cloth you took long or short, coarse or fine?”
“Brethren,” replied the monk, “never mind whether the cloth is long
or short, coarse or fine; I have no attachment for it. I took it, supposing it
to be a refuse-rag.” When the monks heard his reply, they reported the
matter to Buddha, saying, “Venerable, this monk says what is not true and
utters falsehood.” The Buddha replied, “No, monks, what this monk
says is quite true; they that have rid themselves of the evil passions do not
take what belongs to other people.”

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 409)

idha loke yo digham va rassam va anum thulam
va subhasubham adinnam na adiyati tam aham
brahmanam brumi

idha loke: in this world; yo: if some one; digham va: either
long; rassam va: or short; anum: or minute; thulam va: or large; subhasubham:
good or bad; adinnam: something that was not given; na adiyati: does not take;
tam: him; aham: I; brahmanam brumi: describe a true brahmana

In this world if there is some person who does not take anything
that is not given, whether long or short, minute or large or good or bad, him I
declare a true brahmana.


brahmins: The Enlightened One and His disciples had extensive
encounters with brahmins of various types. The story that gives rise to the
present stanza is such an encounter. But, there are more profound philosophic
encounters between the Buddha and the brahmins.

Here is one such: Brahmanic orthodoxy intolerantly insisted on
believing and accepting their tradition and authority as the only truth without
question. Once a group of learned and well-known brahmins went to see the
Buddha and had a long discussion with him. One of the group, a brahmin youth of
sixteen years of age, named Kapathika, considered by them all to be an
exceptionally brilliant mind, put a question to the Buddha: “Venerable
Gotama, there are the ancient holy scriptures of the brahmins handed down along
the line by unbroken oral tradition of texts. With regard to them, brahmins
come to the absolute conclusion: This alone is Truth, and everything else is
false’. Now, what does the Buddha say about this?” The Buddha inquired:
‘Among brahmins is there any one single brahmin who claims that he personally
knows and sees that This alone is truth, and everything else is false.’?”

The young man was frank, and said, “No.”

‘Then, is there any one single teacher, or a teacher of teachers
of brahmins back to the seventh generation, or even any one of those original
authors of those scriptures, who claims that he knows and he sees: This alone
is truth, and everything else is false’?” “No.”

“Then, it is like a line of blind men, each holding on to
the preceding one; the first one does not see, the middle one also does not
see, the last one also does not see. Thus, it seems to me that the state of the
brahmins is like that of a line of blind men.”

Then the Buddha gave advice of extreme importance to the group
of brahmins: “It is not proper for a wise man who maintains (lit.
protects) truth to come to the conclusion: This alone is truth, and everything
else is false.”

Asked by the young brahmin to explain the idea of maintaining or
protecting truth, the Buddha said: “A man has a faith. If he says This is
my faith,’ so far he maintains truth. But by that he cannot proceed to the
absolute conclusion: This alone is truth, and everything else is false.’ In
other words, a man may believe what he likes, and he may say ‘I believe this’.
So far he respects truth. But because of his belief or faith, he should not say
that what he believes is alone the truth, and everything else is false.”



His longing for this
& for the next world can’t be found; free from longing, unshackled: he’s
what I call a brahman.



In whom there are no longings found
in this world or the next,
longingless and free from bonds,
that one I call a Brahmin True.

A Brahmana is He Who is Desireless

26 (27) The Story of
Sariputta being misunderstood (Verse 410)

The story goes that once upon a time Venerable Sariputta,
accompanied by his retinue of five hundred monks, went to a certain monastery
and entered upon residence for the season of the rains. When the people saw the
Venerable, they promised to provide him with all of the requisites for
residence. But even after the Venerable had celebrated the terminal festival,
not all of the requisites had as yet arrived. So when he set out to go to the
Buddha he said to the monks, “When the people bring the requisites for the
young monks and novices, pray take them and send them on; should they not bring
them, be good enough to send me word.” So saying, he went to the Buddha.

The monks immediately began to discuss the matter, saying,
“Judging by what Venerable Sariputta said today, Craving still persists
within him. For when he went back, he said to the monks with reference to the
requisites for residence given to his own fellow residents, Tray send them on;
otherwise be good enough to send me word.” Just then the Buddha drew near.
“Monks,” said he, “what is the subject that engages your
attention now as you sit here all gathered together?” ‘Such and
such,” was the reply. The Buddha said, “No, monks, my son has no
craving. But the following thought was present to his mind, ‘May there be no
loss of merit to the people, and no loss of holy gain to the young monks and
novices.’ This is the reason why he spoke as he did.”

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 410)

yassa asmim loke paramhi ca asa na vijjanti nirasayam
visamyuttam tam aham brahmanam brumi

yassa: if someone; asmim loke: in this world; paramhica: or in
the next; asa: cravings; na vijjanti: does not possess; nirasayam: that
cravingless; visam yuttam: disengaged from defilements; tam: person; aham: I;
brahmanam brumi: declare a brahmana

He has no yearnings either for this world or for the next. He is
free from yearning and greed. He is disengaged from defilements. Such a person
I declare a fine brahmana.


asa: It is this thirst (craving, tanha) which produces
re-existence and re-becoming (ponobhavika), and which is bound up with
passionate greed (nandiragasahagata), and which finds fresh delight now here
and now there (tatratatrabhinandini), such as (i) thirst for sense-pleasures
(kama-tanha), (ii) thirst for existence and becoming (bhava-tanha) and (iii)
thirst for non-existence (self-annihilation, vibhava-tanha).

It is this thirst, desire, greed, craving, manifesting itself in
various ways, that gives rise to all forms of suffering and the continuity of
beings. But it should not be taken as the first cause, for there is no first
cause possible as, according to Buddhism, everything is relative and
inter-dependent. Even this thirst, tanha, which is considered as the cause or
origin of dukkha, depends for its arising (samudaya) on something else, which
is sensation (vedana), and sensation arises depending on contact (phassa), and
so on and so forth, goes on the circle which is known as conditioned genesis
(paticca-samuppada), which we will discuss later.

So tanha, thirst, is not the first or the only cause of the
arising of dukkha. But it is the most palpable and immediate cause, the
principal thing and the all-pervading thing. Hence, in certain places of the
original Pali texts the definition of samudaya or the origin of dukkha includes
other defilements and impurities (Mesa, sasava dhamma), in addition to tanha,
thirst, which is always given the first place. Within the necessarily limited
space of our discussion, it will be sufficient if we remember that this thirst
has, as its centre, the false idea of self arising out of ignorance.

Here the term thirst includes not only desire for, and
attachment to, sense-pleasures, wealth and power, but also desire for, and
attachment to, ideas and ideals, views, opinions, theories, conceptions and
beliefs (dhamma-tanha). According to the Buddha’s analysis, all the troubles
and strife in the world, from little personal quarrels in families to great
wars between nations and countries, arise out of this selfish thirst. From this
point of view, all economic, political and social problems are rooted in this
selfish thirst. Great statesmen who try to settle international disputes and
talk of war and peace only in economic and political terms touch the
superficialities, and never go deep into the real root of the problem. As the
Buddha told Ratthapala: The world lacks and hankers, and is enslaved to thirst




His attachments, his
homes, can’t be found. Through knowing he is unperplexed, has come ashore in
the Deathless: he’s what I call a brahman.



In whom is no dependence found,
with Final Knowledge freed from doubt,
who’s plunged into the Deathless depths,
that one I call a Brahmin True.

In Whom There is No Clinging

26 (28) The Story of
Venerable Maha Moggallana (Verse 411)

This religious instruction was given by the Buddha while he was
in residence at Jetavana Monastery, with reference to Venerable Maha

This story is similar to the preceding, except that on this
occasion the Buddha, perceiving that Venerable Maha Moggallana was free from
craving, gave this verse.

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 411)

yassa alaya na vijjanti annaya akathamkathi amatogadham
anuppattam tam aham brahmanam brumi

yassa: if in someone; alaya: attachments; na vijjanti: are not
seen; annaya: due to right awareness; akathamkathi: if he has no doubts;
amatogadham: the flood of the Deathless - Nibbana; anuppattam: who has reached;
tam: him; aham: I; brahmanam brumi: describe a brahmana

He has no attachments - no attachments can be discovered in him.
He has no spiritual doubts due to his right awareness. He has entered the
deathless - Nibbana. I describe him as a true brahmana.


The story of Venerable Maha Moggallana: If Sariputta could be
regarded as the Chief Disciple on the right of Buddha, Moggallana was the Chief
Disciple on His left. They were born on the same day and were associated with
each other during many previous lives; so were they during the last life.

Venerable Maha Moggallana was foremost in the noble Sangha for
the performance of psychic feats.

Once, a king of cobras called Nandopananda, also noted for
psychic feats, was threatening all beings of the Himalayas that should happen
to pass that way.

The Buddha was besieged with offers from various members of the
noble Sangha to subdue the snake king. At last, Venerable Maha Moggallana’s
turn came and the Buddha readily assented. He knew the monk was equal to the
task. The result was a Himalayan encounter when the naga king, having been
worsted in the combat, sued for peace. The Buddha was present throughout and
cautioned Moggallana. The epic feat was succinctly commemorated in the seventh verse
of the Jayamangala Gatha which is recited at almost every Buddhist occasion.

Whether in shaking the marble palace of Sakka the heavenly
ruler, by his great toe or visiting hell, he was equally at ease. These visits
enabled him to collect all sorts of information. He could graphically narrate
to dwellers of this Earth the fate of their erstwhile friends or relatives;
how, by evil kamma, some get an ignominious re-birth in hell and others, by
good kamma, an auspicious re-birth in one of the six heavens. These
ministrations brought great kudos to the Dispensation, much to the chagrin of
other sects. His life is an example and a grim warning. Even a chief disciple,
capable of such heroic feats, was not immune from the residue of evil kamma,
though sown in the very remote past.

In the last life of Moggallana, he could not escape the
relentless force of kamma. For, with an arahat’s parinirvana, good or bad
effects of kamma come to an end. He was trapped twice by robbers but he made
good his escape. But on the third occasion, he saw, with his divine eye, the
futility of escape. He was mercilessly beaten so much so that his body could be
put even in a sack. But death must await his destiny. It is written that a
chief disciple must not only predecease the Buddha but must also repair to the
Buddha before his death (parinibbana) and perform miraculous feats and utter
verses in farewell, and the Buddha had to enumerate his virtues in return. He
was no exception.




He has gone beyond
attachment here for both merit & evil — sorrowless, dustless, & pure:
he’s what I call a brahman.



Here who’s gone beyond both bonds
to goodness and to evil too,
is sorrowless, unsullied, pure,
that one I call a Brahmin True.

Above Both Good And Evil

26 (29) Renounce both Good
and Evil (Verse 412)

This religious instruction was given by the Buddha while He was
in residence at Pubbarama, with reference to Venerable Revata.

Again one day the monks began a discussion, saying, ‘Oh, how
great was the novice’s gain! Oh, how great was the novice’s merit! To think
that one man should build many habitations for many monks!” Just then the
Buddha came near. “Monks,” said He, “what is the subject that
engages your attention now as you sit here all gathered together?”
“Such and such,” was the reply. Then said the Buddha, “Monks, my
son has neither merit nor demerit: he has renounced both.”

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 412)

idha yo punnam papan ca ubho sangam upaccaga asokam
virajam suddham tam aham brahmanam brumi

idha: in this world; yo: if someone; punnam: merit; papam ca:
and the evil; ubho: the two; sangam: the clingings; upaccaga: has gone beyond;
asokam: he who is without sorrow; virajam: bereft of blemishes; suddham: pure;
tam: him; aham: I; brahmano brumi: describe as a brahmana

If any person in this world has travelled beyond both the good
and the bad, and the attachments, and if he is without sorrow, and is bereft of
blemishes, and is pure, him I describe as a true brahmana.


Story of Venerable Revata: He was so called because he took
nothing for granted. He saw everything under a question mark. Everywhere he
would see reason for doubt. He was also fond of going into trance (jhana) and
enjoying the bliss of emancipation (nirodhasamapatti) again and again. This was
a gift of transcending the mundane world for seven days at a stretch, possessed
by certain arahants. He had a yearning for this special privilege. He became an

Before he became an arahant, his mind was greatly perturbed as
to what was permissible to use or not to use. He was ranked among the most
eminent disciples. In a discussion with some of them, he had extolled
habitation in the abodes of solitude and the delights of meditation.

He was born to a wealthy family in this dispensation at
Sravasti. Not long afterwards the Buddha, addressing the monks and the laity,
declared that Kankha Revata was the foremost for his quick transition to trance
(jhana) in the noble Sangha.

To him are the why and wherefore, His food. Subjects all to
question. He seeks solitude before Seeking the bliss by meditation.




Spotless, pure, like the
moon — limpid & calm — his delights, his becomings, totally gone: he’s what
I call a brahman.



Who, like the moon, unblemished, pure,
is clear and limpid, and in whom
delight in being is consumed,
that one I call a Brahmin True.

Learning The Charm

26 (30) The story of
Venerable Moonlight (Verse 413)

This verse was spoken by the Buddha in reference to Venerable
Chandabha. A son was born in the household of a wealthy householder in

From the circle of his navel proceeded forth a light like that
of the moon’s disk, and therefore they gave him the name Moonlight, Candabha.

The brahmans thought to themselves, “If we take him with
us, we can make the whole world our prey” Accordingly they seated him in a
carriage and took him about with them. And to everyone they met they said,
“Whosoever shall stroke the body of this Brahman with his hand,
such-and-such power and glory shall he receive.” People would give a
hundred pieces of money, or a thousand pieces of money, and thus receive the
privilege of stroking the body of the Brahman with their hand. Travelling thus
from place to place, they finally came to Savatthi and took lodgings between
the city and the monastery.

Now at Savatthi five billion of noble disciples gave alms before
breakfast; and after breakfast, bearing in their hands perfumes, garlands,
garments, and medicaments, went to hear the Dhamma. When the Brahmans saw them,
they asked them, “Where are you going?” “To the Buddha to hear
the Dhamma.” “Come! What will you gain by going there? There is no
supernatural power like the supernatural power possessed by our Brahman
Moonlight: they that but stroke his body, receive such and such power and
glory; come have a look at him.”

“What does the supernatural power of your Brahman amount
to? It is our Teacher alone who possesses great supernatural power.” And
straightaway they fell to arguing, but each of the two parties was unsuccessful
in its efforts to convince the other. Finally, the Brahmans said, “Let us
go to the monastery and find out whether it is our Moonlight or your Teacher
that possesses the greater supernatural power.” And taking him with them,
they set out for the monastery.

The Buddha, even as Moonlight approached Him, caused the special
radiance to disappear. The result was that when Moonlight stood in the presence
of the Buddha, he resembled nothing so much as a crow in a basket of charcoal.
The brahmans took him to one side, and immediately the brightness reappeared,
bright as ever. Again they brought him into the presence of the Buddha, and
straightaway the brightness disappeared, just as it had the first time. When
Moonlight went for the third time into the presence of the Buddha and observed
that the brightness disappeared, he thought to himself, “Without a doubt
this man knows a charm by which he can make this brightness disappear.” So
he asked the Buddha, “Is it not a fact that you know a charm by which you
can make this brightness of mine disappear?” “Yes, I know such a
charm.” ‘Well then, impart it to me.” “It cannot be imparted to
one who has not retired from the world.”

Thereupon Moonlight said to his fellow brahmans, “As soon
as I learn this charm, I shall be the foremost man in all the Land of the
Rose-apple. You remain right here and I will retire from the world and in but a
few days learn this charm.” So he asked the Buddha to admit him to the
Sangha, retired from the world, and subsequently was admitted to full
membership in the Sangha. The Buddha taught him a formula of meditation which
consists of the thirty-two constituent parts of the body “What is
this?” asked Candabha. “This is something which you must repeat as a
preliminary to acquiring this charm,” replied the Buddha.

From time to time the brahmans came to him and asked, ‘Have you
learned the charm yet?” “Not yet, but I am learning it.” In but
a few days he attained arahatship. When the brahmans came and asked him again,
he made answer, “Depart ye! Now have I reached the state of one who will
never return.” The monks reported the matter to the Buddha, saying,
“Venerable, this brahman says what is not true, utters falsehood.”
Said the Buddha, “Monks, worldly joy has been extinguished for my son; he
speaks the truth.”

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 413)

candam iva vimalam suddham vippasannam anavilam
nandibhavaparikkhinam tam aham brahmanam brumi

candam iva: like the moon; vimalam: free of blemishes; suddham:
pure; vippassannam: exceptionally tranquil; anavilam: unagitated;
nandibhavaparikkhinam: who has given up the craving that takes delight in the
cycle of existence; tam: him; aham: I; brahmanam brumi: describe as the

He is like moon at the full - spotless and free of blemishes. He
is pure, calm, severe and exceptionally tranquil. He is unagitated. He has got
rid of the craving that takes delight in the cycle of existence. That person I
declare a true brahmana.




He has made his way past
this hard-going path — samsara, delusion — has crossed over, has gone beyond,
is free from want, from perplexity, absorbed in jhana, through no-clinging
Unbound: he’s what I call a brahman.



Who’s overpassed this difficult path,
delusion’s bond, the wandering-on,
who’s crossed beyond, contemplative,
uncraving with no questioning doubt,
no clinging’s fuel so cool become,
that one I call a Brahmin True.

The Tranquil Person

26 (31) Seven Years in the
Womb (Verse 414)

For once upon a time Suppavasa, a daughter of the Koliya clan,
carried a child in her womb for seven years. And for seven days, since the
child lay awry, she was stricken with distressing, acute, and bitter pains, and
said to herself, ‘Supremely enlightened, truly, is the Buddha who preaches a
religion for the putting away of suffering such as this. Walking in
righteousness, truly, is the order of disciples of that Buddha, which walks in
righteousness for the putting away of suffering such as this. Blessed, truly,
is Nibbana, where suffering such as this exists no more.” With these three
reflections did she endure that pain. And she sent her husband to the Buddha to
greet him in her name. When her husband greeted the Buddha and conveyed her
message, the Buddha said, “May Suppavasa, the young woman of the Koliya
clan, be healthy; in health and happiness may she bring forth a healthy

The moment the Buddha spoke these words, Suppavasa brought forth
a healthy son in health and happiness. Forthwith she invited the monks of the
Sangha presided over by the Buddha to be her guests, and for seven days gave
bountiful offerings. From the day of his birth her son took a water-pot
provided with a strainer and strained water for the congregation of monks.
After a time he retired from the world, became a monk, and attained arahatship.
One day the monks began a discussion in the hall of truth: “Only think,
brethren! So illustrious a monk as this, possessing the faculties requisite for
the attainment of arahatship, endured suffering all that time in the womb of
his mother! How great indeed was the suffering this monk passed through!”
The Buddha drew near and asked, “Monks, what is the subject that engages
your conversation now, as you sit here all gathered together?” When they
told him, he said, “Monks, it is even so. My son has obtained release from
all this suffering, and now, having realized Nibbana, abides in the bliss

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 414)

yo imam palipatham duggam samsaram moham accaga
tinno paragato jhayi anejo akathamkathi anupadaya
nibbuto tam aham brahmanam brumi

yo: if someone; imam: this; palipatham: the path of quagmire;
duggam: the difficult crossing; samsaram: the cycle of existence; moham:
ignorance; accaga: has crossed over; tinno: has reached the other shore;
paragato: gone fully over to the other side; jhayi: meditates; anejo: is bereft
of craving; akathamkathi: has resolved doubts; anupadaya: not given to
grasping; nibbuto: is cooled; calmed; tam: him; aham: I; brahmanam brumi:
declare a brahmana

He has crossed over the quagmire of passion. He has gone beyond
the difficult terrain of blemishes that is hard to traverse, and has crossed
the cycle of existence. He has fully and totally reached the other shore. He is
a meditator and is bereft of craving. His spiritual doubts are all resolved. He
is no longer given to grasping. He is cooled. Such a person I describe as a
true brahmana.


The story of arahat Sivali: This maha arahat gave most in the
past. He practiced the art of giving or dana parami to the utmost limit. He
became in due course the prince of receivers. Something notable in his career
happened when he was born long ago in the dispensation of Vipassi Buddha. It
was at this time the king and his people were vying with each other in the art
of giving. There was a festival of giving alms to the Buddha and the Sangha. It
was a matter of healthy and pleasant rivalry. When the turn of the people came,
they ran short of milk and honey. This food would pave the way for success in
the alms giving. They kept a man to watch at the city gates with sufficient
money. He came across a young man carrying what they needed. Buyer was anxious
to buy. But the seller was not so enthusiastic. The result was bargaining with
a vengeance. In the East bargaining is compared to barge-poling on the river.
Bidding rose from a gold coin. The seller, on learning of the almsgiving,
wanted to partake of the merit. On hearing that there was no impediment he
further inquired whether there was any one among them who could offer one
thousand gold coins. On hearing there wasn’t any, he said that the pot of curd
and honey were even worth two thousand coins and that if permitted he was
willing to give it free. The offer was accepted.

We are told that by the power of the Buddha, the curd and honey
were found sufficient. On this occasion it was his aspiration that one day he
would be the head of the recipients. Thereafter, he took his conception in the
womb of Suppavasa, a daughter of the king of Koliya. Many were the windfalls
that came to the lot of the family. The land became productive and the fields
returned a record harvest. Whatever was given the receiver was amply satisfied.
But both mother and son were not immune from demeritorious actions (akusala
kamma) of the past. Had it been a lesser child the result would have been
tragic. Faith (saddha) worked marvels. In the Buddha, people had a sure guide
and Kalyana Mitta. Suppavasa naturally thought that she was at death’s door.
For, at the end of the seventh year, she suffered terrible agony. She then
implored her husband to invite The Buddha and the noble Sangha for an
alms-giving. Upon being invited, the Blessed One saw that both mother and son
would be saved. He accordingly gave His blessing and at that moment the child
was born. Great was the rejoicing. The husband who left his gloomy home
returned amidst scenes of mirth and joy. Hence the name of Sivali was given to
the son. Seven days almsgiving to the Buddha and the noble Sangha followed.
Sivali was thus a precocious lad. After seven days - he was nearly seven years
old - at the parting of the first lock of hair, he entered the first stream of
saintship and at the parting of the last lock, he had become a full-fledged
arahat. It was well known in the noble Sangha that Venerable Sivali was
foremost among recipients.




Whoever, abandoning
sensual passions here, would go forth from home — his sensual passions,
becomings, totally gone: he’s what I call a brahman. Whoever,
abandoning craving here,
would go forth from home — his cravings,
becomings, totally gone: he’s what I call a brahman.



Who has abandoned lusting here
as homeless one renouncing all,
with lust and being quite consumed,
that one I call a Brahmin True.

Freed From Temptation

26 (32) A Courtesan tempts a
Monk (Sundara Samudda) (Verse 415)

This verse was recited by the Buddha while He was in residence
at Jetavana Monastery, with reference to Venerable Ocean-of-Beauty,
Sundarasamudda. At Savatthi, we are told, in a great household possessing forty
billion of treasure, was reborn a certain youth of station named
Ocean-of-Beauty, Sundarasamudda Kumara. One day after breakfast, seeing a great
company of people with perfumes and garlands in their hands, going to Jetavana
to hear the Dhamma, he asked, “Where are you going?” “To listen
to the Buddha preach the Dhamma,” they replied. “I will go too,”
said he, and accompanying them, sat down in the outer circle of the
congregation. The Buddha’s discourse made him eager to retire from the world.
Therefore, as the congregation departed he asked the Buddha to admit him to the
Sangha. The Buddha said, “The Buddhas admit no one to the Sangha who has
not first obtained permission of his mother and father.” Having obtained
their permission, he retired from the world and was admitted to the Sangha by
the Buddha. Subsequently, he made his full profession as a member of the
Sangha. Then he thought to himself. “What is the use of my living
here?” So departing from Jetavana, he went to Rajagaha and spent his time
going his alms-rounds.

Now one day there was a festival at Savatthi, and on that day
Ocean-of-Beauty’s mother and father saw their son’s friends diverting
themselves amid great splendor and magnificence. Thereupon they began to weep
and lament, saying, This is past our son’s getting now,” At that moment a certain
courtesan came to the house, and seeing his mother as she sat weeping, asked
her, “Mother, why do you weep?” I keep thinking of my son; that is
why I weep.” “But, mother, where is he?” “Among the monks,
retired from the world.” “Would it not be proper to make him return
to the world?” “Yes, indeed; but he doesn’t wish to do that. He has
left Savatthi and gone to Rajagaha.” “Suppose I were to succeed in
making him return to the world; what would you do for me?” “We would
make you the mistress of all the wealth of this household.” “Very
well, give me my expenses.”

Taking the amount of her expenses, she surrounded herself with a
large retinue and went to Rajagaha. Taking note of the street in which the
Venerable was accustomed to make his alms-round, she obtained a house in this
street and took up her abode therein. And early in the morning she prepared
choice food, and when the Venerable entered the street for alms, she gave him
alms. After a few days had passed, she said to him, “Venerable, sit down
here and eat your meal.” So saying, she offered to take his bowl, and the
Venerable yielded his bowl willingly. Then she served him with choice food, and
having so done, said to him, “Venerable, right here is the most delightful
spot to which you could come on your round for alms.” For a few days she
enticed him to sit on the veranda, and there provided him with choice food.
That woman employed the devices of a woman, all the graces of a woman.

The monk thought, “Alas, I have committed a grievous sin! I
did not consider what I was doing.” And he was deeply moved. At that
moment the Buddha, although seated within the Jetavana, forty-five leagues
distant, saw the whole affair and smiled. Venerable Ananda asked him.
“Venerable, what is the cause, what is the occasion of your smiling?”
“Ananda, in the city of Rajagaha, on the topmost floor of a seven-storied
palace, there is a battle going on between the monk Ocean-of-Beauty and a
harlot.” “Who is going to win, Venerable, and who is going to lose?”
The Buddha replied, “Ananda, Ocean-of-Beauty is going to win, and the
harlot is going to lose.” Having thus proclaimed that the monk would win
the victory the Buddha, remaining seated where he was, sent forth a luminous
image of himself and said, “Monk, renounce both lusts and free yourself
from desire.” At the end of the lesson the monk attained arahatship, rose
into the air by magical power, passing through the circular peak of the house;
and returning once more to Savatthi, praised the body of the Buddha and saluted
the Buddha. The monks discussed the incident in the Hall of Truth, saying,
“Brethren, all because of tastes perceptible by the tongue the Venerable
Ocean-of-Beauty was well nigh lost, but the Buddha became his salvation.”
The Buddha, bearing their words, said, “Monks, this is not the first time
I have become the salvation of this monk, bound by the bonds of the craving of
taste; the same thing happened in a previous state of existence also.”

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 415)

idha yo kame pahatvana anagaro paribbaje kama-bhava
parikkhlnam tam aham brahmanam brumi

idha: in this world: yo: if some person; kame: sensual
indulgences; pahatvana: has given up; anagaro: (takes to) homeless; paribbaje:
the ascetic life; (the life of the wandering ascetic); kamabhava parikkhlnam:
has got rid of the desire to continue the cycle of existence; tam: him; aham:
I; brumi brahmano: declare a brahmana




Who has abandoned lusting here
as homeless one renouncing all,
with lust and being quite consumed,
that one I call a Brahmin True.

The Miracle Rings

26 (34) Ajatasattu attacks
Jotika’s Palace (Verse 416)

This verse was recited by the Buddha while He was in residence
at Veluvana, with reference to the Venerable Jotika.

For after Ajatasattu Kumara had conspired with Deva-datta and
killed his father, Bimbisara, and become established in the kingdom, he said to
himself, “I will now take Jotika, the great palace of the treasurer.”
and arming himself for battle, he sallied forth. But seeing his own reflection
and that of his retinue in the jeweled walls, he concluded, ‘The householder
has armed himself for battle and has come forth with his host.” Therefore
he did not dare approach the palace.

Now it happened that on that day the treasurer had taken upon
himself the obligations of Fast-day, and early in the morning, immediately
after breakfast, had gone to the monastery and sat listening as the Buddha
preached the Dhamma. When, therefore, the Yakkha Yamakoli, who stood guard over
the first gate, saw Ajatasattu Kumara, he called out, “Where are you
going?” And straightaway, putting Ajatasattu Kumara and his retinue to
rout, he pursued them in all directions. The king sought refuge in the very
same monastery as that to which the treasurer had gone. When the treasurer saw
the king, he rose from his seat and said, “Your majesty, what is the
matter?” Said the king, “Householder, how comes it that after giving
orders to your men to fight with me, you are sitting here pretending to be
listening to the Dhamma?”

The treasurer said, “But, your majesty, did you set out
with the idea of taking my house?” “Yes, for that very purpose did I
set out.” “Your majesty, a thousand kings could not take my house
from me against my will.” Upon this Ajata-sattu became angry and said,
“But, do you intend to become king?” “No,” replied the
treasurer, “I do not intend to become king. But neither kings nor robbers
could take from me against my will the tiniest thread.” “Then may I
take the house with your consent?” “Well, your majesty, I have here
on my ten fingers twenty rings. I will not give them to you. Take them if you

The king crouched on the ground and leaped into the air, rising
to a height of eighteen cubits; then, standing, he leaped into the air again,
rising to a height of eighty cubits. But in spite of the great strength he
possessed, twist this way and that as he might, he was unable to pull a single
ring from the treasurer’s fingers. Then said the treasurer to the king, ‘Spread
out your mantle, your majesty.” As soon as the king had spread out his
mantle, the treasurer straightened his fingers, and immediately all twenty
rings slipped off.

Then the treasurer said to him, “Thus, your majesty, it is
impossible for you to take my belongings against my will.” But agitated by
the king’s action, he said to him, “Your majesty, permit me to retire from
the world and become a monk.” The king thought to himself, “If this
treasurer retires from the world and becomes a monk, it will be an easy matter
for me to get possession of his palace.” So he said in a word,
“Become a monk.” Thereupon the treasurer Jotika retired from the
world, became a monk under the Buddha, and in no long time attained arahatship.
Thereafter he was known as Venerable Jotika. The moment he attained arahatship,
all of his wealth and earthly glory vanished, and the divinities took back once
more to Uttarakuru his wife Satulakayi.

One day the monks said to Jotika, “Brother Jotika, have you
any longing for your palace or your wife?” “No, brethren,”
replied Jotika. Thereupon the monks said to the Buddha, ‘Venerable, this monk
utters what is not true, and is guilty of falsehood.” Said the Buddha,
“Monks, it is quite true that my son has no longing for any of these
things.” And expounding the Dhamma, He pronounced this Stanza.

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 416)

idha yo tanham pahatvana anagaro paribbaje tanha-bhava
parikkhinam tam aham brahmanam brumi

idha: in this world; yo: if someone; tanham: craving; pahatvana:
has given up; anagaro: (taken to) homeless; paribbaje: life of a wondering
ascetic; tanhabhava parikkhinam: has got rid of the craving to continue the
cycle of existence; tam: him; aham: I; brumi brahmanam: declare a brahmana

In this world, he has taken to the life of a wandering ascetic.
He has got rid of the craving to continue the cycle of existence. I describe
that person as a true brahmana.




Having left behind the
human bond, having made his way past the divine, from all bonds unshackled:
he’s what I call a brahman.



Abandoned all the human bonds
and gone beyond the bonds of gods,
unbound one is from every bond,
that one I call a Brahmin True.

Beyond All Bonds

26 (35) The Story of the Monk
who was once a Mime (Verse 417)

It is said that a certain mime, giving performances from place
to place, heard the Buddha preach the Dhamma, whereupon he retired from the
world, became a monk, and attained ara-hatship. One day, as he was entering the
village for alms, in company with the congregation of monks presided over by
the Buddha, the monks saw a certain mime going through his performance.
Thereupon they asked the monk who was once a mime, “Brother, yonder mime
is going through the same kind of performance you used to go through; have you
no longing for this sort of life?” “No, brethren,” replied the monk.
The monks said to the Buddha, “Venerable, this monk utters what is not
true, is guilty of falsehood.” When the Buddha heard them say this, He
replied, “Monks, my son has passed beyond all bonds.”

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 417)

manusakam yogam hitva dibbam yogam upaccaga sabbha
yoga visam yuttam tam aham brahmanam brumi

manusakam yogam: human bonds; hitva: having given up; dibbam
yogam: divine; heavenly-bonds; upaccaga: has crossed over; sabba yoga visam
yuttam: disengaged from all bonds; tam: him; aham: I; brahmanam brumi: declare
a brahmana

He has given up the bonds that bind him to humanity. He has gone
beyond the bonds of attachment to life in heaven as well. This way, he is
disengaged from all bonds. I declare such a person to be a brahmana.


The present verse arises out of the story of a mime. This person
achieved the highest fruits of spiritual pursuit, through unfailing effort.
This spiritual effort is referred to on padhana: effort. The four right efforts
(samma-ppadhana), forming the sixth stage of the eight-fold path (samma-vayama)
are: (1) the effort to Avoid (samvara-padhana), (2) to overcome (pahana), (3)
to develop (bhavana), (4) to maintain (anurakkhana): (i) the effort to avoid
unwholesome (akusala) states, such as evil thoughts etc., (ii) to overcome
unwholesome states, (iii) to develop wholesome (kusala) states, such as the
seven elements of enlightenment (bojjhanga), (iv) to maintain the wholesome

The monk rouses his will to avoid the arising of evil,
unwholesome things not yet arisen… to overcome them… to develop wholesome
things not yet arisen… to maintain them, and not to let them disappear, but
to bring them to growth, to maturity and to the full perfection of development.
And he makes effort, stirs up his energy, exerts his mind and strives.

(1) What now, O’ monks, is the effort is avoid? Perceiving a
form, or a sound, or an odour, or a taste, or a bodily or mental impression,
the monk neither adheres to the whole, nor to its parts. And he strives to ward
off that through which evil and unwholesome things might arise, such as greed
and sorrow, if he remained with unguarded senses; and he watches over his
senses, restrains his senses. This is called the effort to avoid.

(2) What now is the effort to overcome? The monk does not retain
any thought of sensual lust, or any other evil, unwholesome stages that may
have arisen; he abandons them, dispels them, destroys them, causes them to
disappear. This is called the effort to overcome.

(3) What now is the effort to develop? The monk develops the
factors to enlightenment, bent on solitude, on detachment, on extinction, and
ending in deliverance, namely, mindfulness (sati) investigation of the Dhamma
(Dhammavicaya), concentration (samadhi) effort (viriya), joy (piti), repose
(passaddhi), equanimity (upekkha). This is called the effort to develop.

(4) What now is the effort to maintain? The monk keeps firmly in
his mind a favourable object of concentration, such as the mental image of a
skeleton, a corpse infested by worms, a corpse blue-black in colour, a
festering corpse, a riddled corpse, a corpse swollen up. This is called the
effort to maintain.”



Having left behind
delight & displeasure, cooled, with no acquisitions — a hero who has
conquered all the world, every world: he’s what I call a brahman.



Abandoned boredom and delight,
become quite cool and assetless,
a hero, All-worlds-Conqueror,
that one I call a Brahmin True.

Person Whose Mind is Cool

26 (36) The Story of the Monk
who was once a Mime (Verse 418)

This religious instruction was given by the Buddha while He was
in residence at Veluvana with reference to a certain monk who was once a mime.

The story is the same as the foregoing, except that on this
occasion the Buddha said, “Monks, my son has put aside both pleasure and

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 418)

ratim ca aratim ca hitva sitibhutam nirupadhim
sabbalokabhibhum viram tam aham brahmanam brumi

ratim ca: both lust; aratim ca: and lustlessness; hitva: given
up; sitibhutam: he has become tranquil, calm and cool; nirupadhim: totally free
of defilements; sabbalokabhibhum: who has conquered the whole world; viram:
full of effort; tam: him; aham: I; brahmanam brumi: declare a brahmana

He has given up lust. He has also given up his disgust for the
practice of meditation. This way, he is both lustful and lust-less. He has
achieved total tranquility.

He is devoid of the blemishes that soil the hand. He has
conquered the whole world and is full of effort. I call that person a brahmana.


nirupadhi: free of upadhi. Upadhi means: substratum of
existence. In the commentaries there are enumerated four kinds: The five groups
(khandha), sensuous desire (kama), mental defilements (Mesa), kamma. In the
Sutta, it occurs frequently and with reference to Nibbana, in the phrase
“the abandoning of all substrata” (sabb’upadhi-patinissaggo). The
detachment from upadhi subtraction of existence brings about vivekava which
means detachment, seclusion, is according to Niddesa, of three kinds:

(1) bodily detachment (kaya-viveka), i.e. abiding in solitude
free from alluring sensuous objects;
(2) mental detachment (citta-viveka), such as the inner detachment from
sensuous things;
(3) detachment from the substrata of existence (upadhi-viveka).

viram: hero. Here, this word is used in the spiritual sense to
denote a person who possesses spiritual virility. This virility is referred to
as viriya: energy, literally virility, manliness or heroism (from vira man,
hero; is one of the five spiritual faculties and powers (bald), one of the
seven factors of enlightenment (bojjhango) and identical with right effort of
the eight-fold path (magga). Viriya is also one of the bala. Bala is power.
Among various groups of powers the following five are most frequently met with,
in the texts:

(1) faith (saddha),
(2) energy (viriya),
(3) mindfulness (sati),
(4) concentration (samadhi),
(5) wisdom (panna).

Their particular aspect, distinguishing them from the
corresponding five spiritual faculties (indriya) is that they are unshakable by
their opposites:

(1) the power of faith is unshakable by faithlessness
(2) energy, by laziness,
(3) mindfulness, by forgetfulness,
(4) concentration, by distractedness,
(5) wisdom, by ignorance.

They represent, therefore, the aspect of firmness of the
spiritual faculties.

The Power (1) becomes manifest in the four qualities of the
streamwinner (sotapannassa angani), (2) in the four right efforts (padhana),
(3) in the four foundations of mindfulness (satipattana), (4) in the four absorptions
(jhana), and (5) in the full comprehension of the four noble truths (sacca).




Who knows how clutching creatures die
to reappear in many a mode,
unclutching then, sublime, Awake,
that one I call a Brahmin True.

Diviner of Rebirth & Destroy Unknown

26 (37) The Story of the
Skull-Tapper (Verses 419 & 420)

It seems that there lived at Rajagaha a brahman named Vangisa,
who could tell in which of the states of existence men were reborn at death. He
would rap on their skulls and say, ‘This is the skull of a man who has been
reborn in hell; this man has been reborn as an animal; this man has been reborn
as a ghost; this is the skull of a man who has been reborn in the world of

The brahmans thought to themselves, “We can use this man to
prey upon the world.” So clothing him in two red robes, they took him
about the country with them, saying to everyone they met, “This brahman
Vangisa can tell by rapping on the skulls of dead men in which of the states of
existence they have been reborn; ask him to tell you in which of the states of
existence your own kinsmen have been reborn.” People would give him ten
pieces of money or twenty or a hundred according to their several means, and
would ask him in which of the states of existence their kinsmen had been

After travelling from place to place, they finally reached
Savatthi and took up their abode near the Jetavana. After breakfast they saw
throngs of people going with perfumes, garlands, and the like in their hands to
hear the Dhamma. “Where are you going?” they asked. “To the
monastery to hear the Dhamma,” was the reply. ‘What will you gain by going
there?” asked the brahmans; “there is nobody like our fellow brahman
Vangisa. He can tell by rapping on the skulls of dead men in which of the
states of existence they have been reborn. Just ask him in which of the states
of existence your own kinsmen have been reborn.” “What does Vangisa
know!” replied the disciples, “there is no one like our Teacher, who
is the Buddha.” But the brahmans retorted, “There is no one like
Vangisa,” and the dispute waxed hot. Finally the disciples said,
“Come now, let us go find out which of the two knows the more, your
Vangisa or our Teacher.” So taking the brahmans with them, they went to
the Monastery.

The Buddha, knowing that they were on their way, procured and
placed in a row five skulls, one each of men who had been reborn in the four
states of existence: hell, the animal world, the world of men, and the world of
the deities; and one skull belonging to a man who had attained arahatship. When
they arrived, He asked Vangisa, “Are you the man of whom it is said that
by rapping on the skulls of dead men you can tell in which of the states of
existence they have been reborn?” “Yes,” said Vangisa.
“Then whose is this skull?” Vangisa rapped on the skull and said,
“This is the skull of a man who has been reborn in Hell.” “Good!
good!” exclaimed the Buddha, applauding him. Then the Buddha asked him
about the next three skulls, and Vangisa answered without making a mistake. The
Buddha applauded him for each answer he gave and finally showed him the fifth
skull. “Whose skull is this?” he asked. Vangisa rapped on the fifth
skull as he had on the others, but confessed that he did not know in which of
the states of existence the man had been reborn.

Then said the Buddha, “Vangisa, don’t you know?”
“No,” replied Vangisa, “I don’t know.” “I know,”
the Buddha said. Thereupon, Vangisa asked him, “Teach me this charm.”
“I cannot teach it to one who is not a monk.” Thought the brahman to
himself, “If I only knew this charm, I should be the foremost man in all
Jambudipa.” Accordingly, he dismissed his fellow brahmans, saying,
“Remain right here for a few days; I intend to become a monk.” And he
became a monk in the name of the Buddha, was admitted a full member of the
Sangha, and was thereafter known as Venerable Vangisa.

They gave him as his meditation topic the thirty-two constituent
parts of the body and said to him, “Repeat the preliminary words of the
formula.” He followed their instructions and repeated the preliminary
words of the formula. From time to time, the brahmans would ask him, “Have
you learned the formula?” and the Venerable would answer, “Just wait
a little! I am learning it.” In but a few days he attained arahatship.
When the brahmans asked him again, he replied, ‘Brethren, I am now unable to
learn it.” When the monks heard his reply, they said to the Buddha,
“Venerable, this monk utters what is not true and is guilty of
falsehood.” The Buddha replied, “Monks, say not so. Monks, my son now
knows all about the passing away and rebirth of beings.”

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 419)

yo sattanam cutim ca upapattim ca sabbaso vedi asattam
sugatam buddham tam aham brahmanam brumi

yo: if someone; sattanam: of beings; cutim: the decay; upapattim
ca: the birth too; sabbaso: in every way; vedi: knows; asattam: non-attached to
any form of birth or death; sugatam: of disciplined ways; buddham: possessing
knowledge; tam: him; aham: I; brahmanam brumi: declare a true brahmana

He knows the death and birth of beings in every way. He is not
attached either to birth or death. He has arrived at the proper destination. He
possesses the knowledge of the essences. This person I describe as a brahmana.




He knows in every way
beings’ passing away, and their re- arising; unattached, awakened, well-gone:
he’s what I call a brahman.


He whose course they
don’t know — devas, gandhabbas, & human beings — his effluents ended, an
arahant: he’s what I call a brahman.



Whose destination is unknown
to humans, spirits or to gods,
pollutions stayed, an Arahant,
that one I call a Brahmin True.

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 420)

yassa gatim deva gandhabba manusa na jananti
khinasavam arahantam tam aham brahmanam brumi

yassa: of some; gatim: the state of rebirth; the path; deva:
neither gods; gandhabba manusa: nor spirits nor humans; na jananti: do not
know; khinasavam: totally blemishless; arahantam: have attained the higher
spiritual state; tam: him; aham: I; brahmanam brumi: declare a brahmana

Their path, neither gods, nor spirits, nor humans can fathom.
Their taints are totally eradicated. They have attained the higher spiritual
state. This person I declare a brahmana.


This story is concerned with Cutupapata-nana which is the
knowledge of the vanishing and reappearing of beings. This knowledge is
identical with the divine eye - abhinna. The expression abhinna is applied to
the six higher powers, or supernormal knowledge, which consist of five mundane
(lokiya) powers attainable through the utmost perfection in mental
concentration (samadhi), and one supermundane (lokuttara) power attainable
through penetrating insight (vipassana), like the extinction of all cankers
(asavakkhaya), in other words, realization of arahatship. They are: (1) magical
powers (iddhi-vidha), (2) divine ear (dibba-sota), (3) penetration of the mind
of others (ceto-pariya-nana), (4) divine eye (dibba-cakkhu), (5) remembrance of
former existences (pubbe-nivasanussati), and (6) extinction of cankers

Now, O’ monks, the monk enjoys the various magical powers
(iddhi-vidha), such as being one he becomes manifold, and having become
manifold he again becomes one. Without being obstructed he passes through walls
and mountains, just as if through the air. In the earth he dives and rises up
again, just as if in the water. He walks on water without sinking, just as if
on the earth. Cross-legged he floats through the air, just as a winged bird.
With his hand he touches the sun and moon, these so mighty ones, so powerful
ones. Even up to the brahma world has he mastery over his body.

With the divine ear (dibba-sota) he hears sounds both heavenly
and human, far and near.

He knows the minds of other beings (parassa ceto-pariya-nana),
of other persons, by penetrating them with his own mind. He knows the greedy
mind as greedy and the not-greedy one as not greedy; knows the hating mind as
hating and the not-hating one as not hating; knows the deluded mind as deluded
and the not-deluded one as not deluded; knows the shrunken mind and the
distracted one, the developed mind and the undeveloped one… the surpassable
mind and the unsurpassable one… the concentrated mind and the uncon-centrated
one… the freed mind and the unfreed one.”

With the divine eye (dibba-cakku-yatha-kammupaga-nana or
cutupapata-nand), the pure one, sees beings vanishing and reappearing, low and
noble ones, beautiful and ugly ones, sees how beings are reappearing according
to their deeds (Sanskrit kama): There beings followed evil ways in bodily
actions, words and thoughts, insulted the sages, held evil views, and according
to their evil views they acted. At the dissolution of their body, after death,
they have appeared in lower worlds, in painful states of existence, in the
world of suffering, in hell. Those other beings, however, are endowed with good
actions… have appeared in a happy state of existence, in a heavenly world

He remembers manifold former existences (pubbe-nivasanussati),
such as one birth, or a hundred thousand births; remembers many formations and
dissolutions of worlds. There I was, such name I had… and vanishing from
there I entered somewhere else into existence … and vanishing from there I
again reappeared here.’ Thus he remembers, always together with the marks and
peculiarities, many a former existence.”

Through the extinction of all cankers (asavakkhaya) even in this
very life he enters into the possession of deliverance of mind, deliverance
through wisdom, after having himself understood and realized it.”




He who has nothing — in
front, behind, in between — the one with nothing who clings to no thing: he’s
what I call a brahman.



That one who’s free of everything
that’s past, that’s present, yet to be,
who nothing owns, who’s unattached,
that one I call a Brahmin True.

He Yearns For Nothing

26 (38) The Story of a
Husband and Wife (Verse 421)

For one day, while she was living in the world, her husband
Visakha, a lay disciple, heard the Buddha preach the Dhamma and attained the
fruit of the third path. Thereupon he thought to himself, “I must now turn
over all of my property to Dhammadinna.” Now it had previously been his
custom on returning home, in case he saw Dhammadinna looking out of the window,
to smile pleasantly at her. But on this particular day, although she was
standing at the window, he passed by without so much as looking at her.
“What can this mean?” thought she. “Never mind, when it is
mealtime, I shall find out.” So when meal-time came, she offered him the
usual portion of boiled rice. Now on previous days it had been his custom to
say, “Come, let us eat together.” But on this particular day he ate
in silence, uttering not a word. “He must be angry about something,”
thought Dhammadinna. After the meal Visakha settled himself in a comfortable
place, and summoning Dhammadinna to his side, said to her, “Dhammadinna,
all the wealth that is in this house is yours. Take it!” Thought
Dhammadinna, “Persons who are angry do not offer their property and say,
Take it! What can this mean?” After a time, however, she said to her
husband, “But, husband, what about you?” “From this day forth, I
shall engage no more in worldly affairs.” “Who will accept the saliva
you have rejected? In that case permit me also to become a nun.”
“Very well, dear wife,” replied Visakha, giving her the desired
permission. And with rich offerings he escorted her to the nuns’ convent and
had her admitted to the Sangha.

After she had made her full profession she was known as the nun
Dhammadinna. Dhammadinna yearned for the life of solitude and so accompanied
the nuns to the country Residing there, in no long time she attained arahatship
together with the supernatural faculties. Thereupon she thought to herself,
“Now, by reason of me, my kinsfolk will perform works of merit.”
Accordingly she returned once more to Rajagaha. When the lay disciple Visakha
heard that she had returned, he thought to himself, ‘What can be her reason for
returning?” And going to the nuns’ convent and seeing the nun, his former
wife, he saluted her and seated himself respectfully on one side. Thought he,
“It would be highly improper for me to say to her, ‘noble sister, pray are
you discontented?’ I will therefore ask her this question.” So he asked
her a question about the path of conversion, and she immediately answered it
correctly. Continuing this line of questioning, the lay disciple asked about
the remaining paths also. He did not stop, however, at this point, but
continuing his questions, asked her about arahatship. ‘Wonderful, brother
Visakha!” exclaimed Dhammadinna. “But if you desire to know about
arahatship, you should approach the Buddha and ask him this question.”
Visakha saluted the nun his former wife, and rising from his seat and going to
the Buddha, told the Buddha about their talk and conversation. Said the Buddha,
“What my daughter Dhammadinna said was well said. In answering this
question I also should answer it as follows.” Then he gave the stanza.

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 421)

Yassa pure ca paccha ca majjhe ca kincanam natthi
akincanam anadanam tam aham brahmanam brumi

yassa: for whom; pure ca: of the past; pacchaca: of the future;
majjheca: of the present; kincanam natthi: there are no blemishes; akincanam:
free of all defilements; anadanam: with no tendency to grasp; tam: him; ahatn:
I; brahmanam brumi: declare a brahmana

For him, nothing, no blemish remains from the past, present or
the future. He has no defilements. He has no clinging or grasping. That person,
I describe as a brahmana.


The story of Nun Dhammadinna: During this dispensation, she
figured as the wife of Visaka the treasurer at Rajagaha. Visaka was a friend of
Bim-bisara, the king devoted to the Buddha. One day Visaka visited the Buddha
in the company of King Bimbisara. He listened to a sermon and became a budding
saint (sotapanna). On his return, he was a different individual. Strange did he
appear to his wife. She inquired for the reasons. Then he confessed that his
mind had undergone a transformation to something “rich and strange”
Dhammadinna promptly asked for permission to go to Buddha. Visaka could not but
consent. She was sent in a golden palanquin. She was ordained as a nun. She
felt that if she were to be unsuccessful in the life of BhikkhunI then her
purpose of joining the noble Sangha was in vain. She repaired to a solitary
place and strove with might and main to obtain the fruit of arahatship. Her
past resolution with good kamma had the desired effect. She became an arahat.
As such she visited the home town of Rajagaha so that she could be of service
to her fellow creatures who knew her. The erstwhile husband did not understand.
He thought that her mission was a failure and that she was returning empty
handed. The husband plied her with questions and she deftly answered them.
Finally he asked her about Nibbana. Here he was out of his depth. He was not so
advanced. He was at sea with her answers. So she referred him to the Buddha who
not only concurred but also extolled Dhammadinna for her learning the lesser
Vedalla Sutta in the Majjhima Nikaya. Not long afterwards the Buddha,
addressing the monks and laity, declared that Venerable Dhammadinna was
undoubtedly the foremost in expounding the Dhamma among the female disciples of
the noble Sangha.




A splendid bull,
conqueror, hero, great seer — free from want, awakened, washed: he’s what I
call a brahman.



One noble, most excellent, heroic too,
great sage and one who conquers all,
who’s faultless, washed, one Awake,
that one I call a Brahmin True.

He Who is Rid of Defilements

26 (39) The Story of
Angulimala the Fearless (Verse 422)

This religious instruction was given by the Buddha while He was
in residence at Jetavana, with reference to Venerable Angulimala. This story is
related in the commentary on the stanza beginning ‘The niggardly go not to the
world of the deities.” For it is there said: The monks asked Angulimala,
“Brother Angulimala, were you not afraid when you saw the rogue elephant
standing before you holding a parasol?” “No, brethren, I was not
afraid.” The monks said to the Buddha, “Venerable, Angulimala utters
falsehood.” The Buddha replied, “Monks, my son Angulimala has no
fear. For monks like my son are of all the noble ones who have rid themselves
of the depravities the noblest, and have no fear.”

Explanatory Translation
(Verse 422)

usabham pavaram viram mahesim vijitavinam anejam
nahatakam buddham tam aham brahmanam brumi

usabham: a bull - a leader; pavaram: noble; viram: full of
effort; mahesim: a great sage; vijitavinam: who has fully conquered; anejam: devoid
of craving; nahatakam: who has washed away evil; buddham: knowing the
essentials; tam: him; aham: I; brahmanam brumi: declare a brahmana

He is a bull in his power to forge ahead. He is a great sage as
he has realized the essentials. He has conquered death. He is devoid of all
blemishes. He has washed away all evil. He has awakened to the essentials. That
person, I describe as a brahmana.


The story of Angulimala: This was a man of extremes. He is of a
unique record. A bandit who has made good. His career offers a contrast. He was
born to a counsellor, called Bhaggawa, to the king of Kosala. According to
custom the child was sent to the university of Taxila where he had a
distinguished career. His name was converted to Ahimsaka (harming none) partly
because he hailed from a family whose shield was untarnished by crime, and
partly because of the child’s character. He excelled in study and in sports.
Soon, he incurred the jealousy and hostility of his colleagues who plotted
against him. But he was very strong due to his ministrations in a former birth
to a Pacceka Buddha.

His enemies could not prevail against him. He was a favourite of
the vice chancellor of the university. Soon, he incurred hostility due to the
whispering campaigns of his enemies. They spoke of his illicit love to his
wife. But he, too, being a clever and learned man, bided his time to compass
his death. When the leave-taking took place, he asked for the usual tribute due
from a student to a teacher in the shape of an extraordinary request. He asked
for one thousand right thumbs of human-beings. Ahimsaka was taken aback and
promptly refused so sanguinary a request. But the end was adamant. In the event
of refusal a curse would be on him.

Again and again he pleaded in vain for another tribute. There
was no escape from the rigid ancient custom as the tribute was in lieu of past
tuition fees. So Ahimsaka demurred - consented in order to preserve the
learning, for a refusal would act as a blight. Having armed himself, he
repaired to the forest called Jalita in the Kosala kingdom. He killed all and
sundry who ventured into his domain. But the thumbs could not be preserved.
Either the wild animals ate them, or they became rotten. He therefore got a
garland made and was wearing it. Hence he was called Anguli Mala’ He had 999
thumbs and was anxious to secure one more to close this bloody chapter. His
teacher thought Anguli Mala would never survive the campaign. He would
assuredly be slain in the process, or taken captive by the king. It was a
fateful morning.

The king, on receiving complaints from the people was setting
out to capture the bandit, dead or alive. His mother Mantani was anxious about
the fate of her son. She implored her husband to warn the son of the impending
danger. But he would have none of it. So the mother’s love urged her to plunge
into the forest, alone crying out that the son must pay heed to the family
tradition by giving up killing and that the king’s army was on the march to
capture him. It was very likely that the bandit might not spare his own mother,
for he was desperate.

The all-compassionate Buddha saw his impending doom. He knew
that he was destined to be an arahat in this very life. He saw the
possibilities of redemption. So He planted Himself, despite warnings from the
passers by, between the robber and his mother. Here the robber saw that the
perfect thumb of the Buddha would be a fitting finale to the series of bloody
thumbs. So Anguli Mala hurried towards the Buddha as was his custom with his
sword up lifted. The Buddha was going at a measured pace, but with all his
speed Anguli Mala was not able to catch up the Buddha. This was willed by the
Buddha. It was a psychic feat of the Buddha.

Anguli Mala had come to the end of his tether by running so fast
and so long. In utter desperation, with beads of perspiration coursing from his
body he shouted out to the Buddha to stop - Tittha Samana. But the Buddha said
that he had stopped. He, too, must also stop. The word ’stop’ galvanised him.
To a potential arahat it has a wealth of meaning. It was closely related to
satnsara - this ceaseless round of births and deaths. He asked the meaning of
the word which he had temporarily lost sight of. When he was running the Buddha
must have moved, so thought Anguli Mala. Could it be that the Buddha was guilty
of a falsehood.

So Anguli Mala requested the Buddha to unfold the meaning of
stopping. This was the opening the Buddha sought and the Buddha preached with
precision and unerring skill. Anguli Mala flung the garland and weapons aside.
He begged for ordination. At the end of the sermon he became an arahat by the
application of ‘ehi bhikkhu’ formula of the Buddha. With Anguli Mala the arahat
the Buddha went back to the temple.

It was the custom of the king to visit the Buddha on the eve of
a hazardous campaign. The Buddha inquired the cause of the armed expedition.
The king explained. The Buddha told the king that Anguli Mala was in the

Hearing the very name mentioned the king was trembling. So
fearsome was the report of Angulimala. The Buddha hastened to explain that
Anguli Mala in the temple was a far different being from the bloody bandit he
was; Anguli Mala would not now even harm an ant.

Though an arahat, the name stuck. One day on his rounds,
Venerable Anguli Mala heard the birth pangs of an expectant mother in labour.
Other Maha arahats must have heard the cries. But none of them was moved to the
extent of Venerable Anguli Mala. He approached the Buddha and confessed his
concern at such suffering and begged the Buddha to allay the anguish.

The Buddha asked him to meditate upon the power of truth -
inasmuch as Anguli Mala was entirely devoid since birth of cruelty, so by
virtue of that truth, the suffering may be assuaged. Such was the blessing he
was asked to give.





He knows his former
lives. He sees heavens & states of woe, has attained the ending of birth,
is a sage who has mastered full-knowing, his mastery totally mastered: he’s
what I call a brahman.



Whoso does know of former lives
and sees the states of bliss and woe
and then who’s reached the end of births,
a sage supreme with wisdom keen,
complete in all accomplishments,
that one I call a Brahmin True.

The Giver and Receiver of Alms

26 (40) It is the
Giver that makes the Gift (Verse 423)

This verse was spoken by the Buddha while He
was in residence at Jetavana, with reference to a question asked by Brahman

For once upon a time the Buddha suffered from
disorder of the humors and sent Venerable Upavana to Brahman Devangika for hot
water. The venerable went to the brahman, told him the Buddha was suffering
from disorder of the humors, and asked him for hot water. When the brahman
heard the Buddha’s request, his heart was filled with joy. ‘How fortunate for
me.” he exclaimed, “that the Buddha should send to me for hot
water!” The brahman gave the venerable hot water and a jar of molasses,
ordering one of his men to carry the hot water on a pingo. The venerable caused
the Buddha to bathe himself in hot water and then, mixing the molasses with hot
water, gave it to the Buddha to drink. The Buddha’s ailment immediately abated.

The brahman thought to himself, “To whom
should one give alms to obtain a great reward? I will ask the Buddha.” So
he went to the Buddha and asked him about the matter, giving this stanza:

To whom shall one give alms?
To whom must alms be given to get a great reward?
How, for the giver, does the reward become a great one?

Said the Buddha to the brahman, “The alms
of such a brahman as this, yield abundant fruit.” And proclaiming his
conception of the true brahman, He gave the stanza.

Translation (Verse 423)

yo pubbenivasam vedT saggapayam ca passati,
atho jatikkhayam patto abhiftna vosito muni
sabbavositavosanam tam aham brahmanam brumi

yo mum: if some sage; pubbenivasam: former
births; vedi: knows; saggapayam ca: heaven and hell; passati: perceives; atho:
besides; jatikkhayam: to the ends of existence; patto: has reached; abinna:
seeing with supreme wisdom; vosito: accomplished all; muni: a sage;
sabbavositavosanam: who has completed the life of the truth seeker, by
attaining the highest; tam: that perfect person; aham: I; brahmanam brumi:
declare a brahmana

He knows his former existences. He has the
capacity to see heaven and hell - states of ecstasy and states of woe. He has
ended the cycle of existences. He has his higher awareness. He has reached the
state of a sage. He has achieved the final perfection. Him, I describe as a


The story of Venerable Upavana: According to
the story that gives rise to this stanza, the Buddha sent Venerable Upavana to
Brahmin Devangika. This is the story of Venerable Upavana:

The story of his past life occurred after the
passing away of Padumuttara Buddha. The occasion was the enshrining of the
relics. A mighty dagoba was being built by beings - human and divine. He was a
poor man who had a shawl as a part of his dress. He got this shawl thoroughly
cleaned. He honoured the relics by planting the same as a banner on a long
bamboo, by the side of the dagoba.

An evil spirit chief called Abhisammathaka had
the shawl secretly planted on the top of the dagoba. When he saw what had
happened, his joy knew no bounds. By reason of this merit, he never failed to
have a following, wherever he was born. He was always a leader. He was born
many times as Sakka, king of deities, or as a powerful king (chakravarthiraja).
Thereafter, he was born in this dispensation, in a brahmin’s family. He was
named Upavana.

He, too, became well-versed in Vedic lore. He
was an attendant of the Buddha before Venerable Ananda took up the task. Upon
the Buddha falling ill, Upavana went to a lay supporter, or dayaka, and
extolled the virtue of the Buddha. He procured from him warm water and suitable
medicine and rendered medical aid to cure the Buddha. Thereafter, he applied
himself to the monk’s life so incessantly that in no time he became an arahat.

There was a notable incident in connection
with the passing away of the Blessed One. While he was standing by the couch,
fanning, the Buddha requested him to leave. All present were struck by the
remark. The elder Ananda, who was as usual the spokesman, inquired as to the
reason. The Buddha told Ananda how hundreds and thousands of the invisible
world, powerful devas and evil spirits, were hunting for every inch, and often
pin-points, of available space to have a last look at the Buddha. It is no
secret that, unlike in the case of worldings who were transparent to the gaze
of devas and all, arahats were not. Therefore, Venerable Upavana had to allow
them a way to see.

He was one of the eighty arahats of the noble

About the Author

Venerable Weragoda Sarada Maha Thero, the
author of Treasury of Truth (Illustrated Dhammapada) was born in Sri Lanka in
1941. He was ordained a Buddhist monk in 1953, when he was just 12 years old.

He graduated from the Vidyodaya University of
Ceylon (now Sri Jayawardenepura University, Sri Lanka) in 1964. Proficient in
Pali, Sanskrit, Sinhala and Buddhism, he was the Principal of Indurupathvila
University College from 1965 to 1967 and also of Suddharmarama University
College from 1967 to 1969.

Starting his mission of service to
International Buddhism and to the spread of the Buddha-word worldwide, Ven.
Sarada Maha Thero left Sri Lanka for Penang, Malaysia in 1969. There, he was
Principal of the Mahindarama Sunday Pali School until 1979.

In 1979, he came over to Singapore and founded
The Singapore Buddhist Meditation Centre. Currently too he is the Chief
Resident Monk of the Centre. One of the Founders of American Sri Lanka Buddhist
Association, Ven. Sarada Thero is still the Director of that Association.

Ven. Sarada Maha Thero is the
Founder-President of Japan-Sri Lanka Buddhist Centre. He is currently the
General-Secretary of that Association. He is the Chief Incumbent Monk of the
Jayan-thi Viharaya, Weragoda, Sri Lanka.

The most outstanding service Ven. Sarada Maha
Thero renders to the Teaching of the Buddha is the publication of books on
Buddhism. About a million copies of Buddhist works published by him, have been
distributed free, worldwide. To date, he has published 68 books, of which six
have been authored by him. These titles are: Why Fear Death?, The Buddha Word,
Meditation on Loving Kindness, Buddhist Way of Meditation, Buddhism for
Beginners and Life of the Buddha in Pictures. The last title has proved the
most popular of his books so far. His magnum opus is the monumental Treasury of
Truth, a translation of Dhammapada adorned with 423 especially commissioned
paintings illustrating each of the 423 verses in Dhammapada.

Special Copyright Notice

All parts of this book may be reproduced
without written permission. This book is not to be sold; and is only for free

First edition November 1993, 10,000 copies.

This sacred gift comes with the compliments of
The Corporate Body of The Buddha Educational Foundation.

Expanded Index

Illustrated Dhammapada
Ven. Weragoda Sarada Maha Thero

-Illustrations by Mr. P. Wickramanayaka-

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