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Personalities of the Buddhist Suttas


[AN I:195] At the top, Beggars, of those of my Beggars who Roar the Lion's Roar is Pindola-Bharadvajo [Bharadvaja the Scrap-hunter].

Pindola-Bharadvajo — Bharadvaja the Scrap-hunter

DPPN: The son of the chaplain of King Udena of Kosambī. He learnt the Vedas and became a successful teacher, but, finding his work distasteful, he went to Rajagaha. There he saw the gifts and favors bestowed on the Buddha's disciples and joined the Order. He was very greedy, and went about with a large bowl made of dried gourd, which he kept under his bed at night and which made a scraping sound when touched; but the Buddha refused to allow him a bag for it until it should be worn down by constant contact. Later he followed the Buddha's advice, conquered his intemperance in diet, and became an arahant. He then announced before the Buddha his readiness to answer the questions of any doubting monks, thus uttering his "lion's roar."

Pindola was in the habit to taking his siesta [this is not a period of sleep, but of meditation] in Udena's park at Kosambī. (He had been king in a former birth and had spent many days in that park.) One day Udena's women, who had come to the park with him, left him asleep and crowded round Pindola to hear him preach. Udena, noticing their absence, went in search of them, and, in his anger, ordered a nest of red ants to be put on Pindola's body. But Pindola vanished and returned to Savatthi ... Later, we find Udena consulting him at the same spot and following his advice regarding the control of the senses. In the Vinaya [Vin. ii. 110] we find the Buddha rebuking Pindola for performing a cheap miracle. The setthi [advisor to the king, minister of state, minister of finance] of Rajagaha had placed a sandal-wood bowl on a high pole and challenged any holy person to bring it down. Pindola heard of this and, at Moggallāna's suggestion rose in the air by magic power and brought it down. The Buddha blamed him for using his great gifts for an unworthy end. The bowl was given to the monks to be ground into sandal-paste.

From: The Psalms of the Early Buddhists: ... Now there came to him a former friend, a brahmin of a miserly nature. And the Thera persuaded him to make an offering, handing it over to the Order. And because the brahmin believed the Thera was greedy and self-seeking, the latter set himself to instruct him in the privileges of religious gifts, saying:

Not without rule and method must we live.
But food as such is never near my heart.
'By nutriment the body is sustained';
This do I know, and hence my quest for alms.
'A [treacherous] bog' it is:-- the wise know well:
These bows and gifts and treats from wealthy folk.
'Tis like steel splinter bedded in the flesh,
For foolish brethren hard to extricate.