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— UNABBREVIATED

Saŋyutta Nikāya
I. Sagātha Vagga
7. Brāhmana Saŋyutta

The Book of the Kindred Sayings
I. Kindred Sayings with Verses
7. The Brāhmana Suttas

Translated by Mrs. Rhys Davids
Assisted by Sūriyagoḍa Sumangala Thera
Public Domain

 


I: Arahants


 

Sutta 1

The Dhanañjāni Brahminee

 


 

[1.1] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

The Exalted One was once staying near Rājagaha, in the Bamboo Grove, at the Squirrels' Feeding-ground [Vihara].

Now at that time a Dhanañjāni brahminee,[1] the wife of a certain brahmin of the Bhāradvāja family, was a fervent believer in the Buddha, the Norm, and the Order.

And she, while serving the Bhāradvāja with his dinner,[2] came before him and gave vent to the triple inspired utterance:

Glory to that Exalted One Arahant Buddha Supreme!

Glory to the Norm!

Glory to the Order![3]

And when she had so said the Bhāradvāja brahmin exclaimed:

'There now! at any and every opportunity must the wretch be speaking the praises of that shaveling friar!

Now, wretch, will I give that teacher of thine a piece of my mind!'

'0 brahmin, I know of no one throughout the world of gods,
Māras or Brahmās,
recluses or brahmins,
no one human or divine,
who could so admonish that Exalted One,
Arahant,
Buddha Supreme.

Nevertheless, go thou, brahmin, and then thou wilt know.'

Then the Bhāradvāja, vexed and displeased, went to find the Exalted One;
and coming into his presence,
exchanged with him greetings and compliments,
friendly and courteous,
and sat down at one side.

So seated, he addressed the Exalted One in a verse[4]: —

What must we slay if we would happy live?
What must we slay if we could weep no more?
What is 't above all other things, whereof
The slaughter thou approvest, Gotama?

[The Exalted One:—]

Wrath must ye slay, if ye would happy live,
Wrath must ye slay, if ye would weep no more.
Of anger, brahmin, with its poisoned source
And fevered climax, murderously sweet,
That is the slaughter by the Ariyans praised;
That must ye slay in sooth, to weep no more.

When the Exalted One had thus spoken, the Bhāradvāja brahmin said to him:

'Most excellent, lord, most excellent!

Just as if a man were to set up that which had been thrown down,
or were to reveal that which was hidden away,
or were to point out the right road to him who had gone astray,
or were to bring a lamp into the darkness so that those who had eyes could see external objects
— even so, lord, has the lord Gotama shown me his doctrine in various ways.

I even I, lord, betake myself to the Exalted One as my refuge,
to the Norm
and to the Order.[5]

I would leave the world under [the Rule of] Gotama;
I would take orders.'

So the Bhāradvāja brahmin left the world under the Exalted One, and was ordained.

And not long after his ordination the venerable Bhāradvāja,
remaining alone and separate,
earnest,
ardent and strenuous,
attained [ere long] to that supreme goal of the higher life,
for the sake of which the clansmen rightly go forth from home into the homeless;
yea, that supreme goal did he by himself,
even in this present life,
come to understand and realize.

He came to understand that rebirth was destroyed,
that the holy life was being lived,
that his task was done,
that for life as we conceive it there was no hereafter.[6] And that Bhāradvāja became one of the Arahants.

 


[1] Many (MSS.), says B., read Dhānañjāni. According to our Comy., the Dhanañjāni brahmins were one of the most aristocratic families (ukkaṭṭhagottā), claiming to have sprung not from the mouth, but from the splitting open of the head, of Brahmā. One of them, a farmer, also of Rājagaha, holds with Sāriputta the dialogue entitled 'Dhanañjāni-sutta,' M. ii, 184 f. The heroine of our Sutta is presumably she who, in the Apadāna (Therīg. Comy., 130, 273; Pss. of the Sisters, p. 177) is said to have been, with her friends, Khemā and Sumedhā, a pious benefactress in Koṇāgamana-Buddha's days.

[2] B. gives a Jātaka-like legend of how she frequently broke out in this way, her husband closing his ears. On the eve of his giving a great banquet to many fellow-brahmins, he begged her to do what she liked so only she did not offend his guests by her udāna. She could make no such undertaking. He threatened to slice her like a plantain with his dagger. She declared herself ready to suffer, so she retained freedom of speech, and proceeded to pour forth 500 verses on her theme, so that he surrendered unconditionally. While serving the guests the dominant impulse arises. Bowl and golden spoon are laid down, and in the midst she turns saluting towards the Bamboo Grove and utters the Doxology. The scandalized guests hurry away, spitting out the food defiled by the presence of a heretic, and the husband scolds her amid the ruins of his feast.

[3] These two lines are indicated only by . . . pe . . .

[4] Verses occurring above, I, 8, Ī 1; II, 1, Ī 3, and below, XII, 3, Ī 1. His idea, writes B., was to catch the Master on the horns of a dilemma. If he confessed approval of some kind of destruction, why was he 'in' religion? If of none, then he would leave lust, hate, and ignorance undestroyed — why again was he, with such views, in religion?

[5] Cf. thus far III, 1, Ī 1.

[6] Cf. VI, 1, Ī 3.


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