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Personalities of the Buddhist Suttas


[203] At the top, Beggars, of those of my Beggars who has mastered living in the solitude of the forest is Revato Khadiravaniyo (Revata, the Acacia-woodlander).

Revato Khadiravaniyo — Revata, the Acacia-woodlander

DPPN: He was the youngest brother of Sariputta, and a marriage was arranged for him by his mother who was miserable at seeing her children desert her one after another to join the Order, and wished to keep the youngest at home. He was only seven years old, and, on the wedding day, the relations of both bride and bridegroom showered blessings on the couple and said to the bride: 'May you live as long as your grandmother.' Revata asked to see the grandmother, and was shown a woman of one hundred and twenty, decrepit, and showing all the signs of advanced old age. Realizing that his wife would probably share the same fate, he left the bridal procession on some pretext on the way home, and ran away to a place where lived some monks. Sariputta, foreseeing this, had instructed the monks to ordain his brother without reference to his parents, and, when Revata revealed his identity, the monks at once admitted him into the Order.

When Sariputta heard this, he wished to visit his brother, but was persuaded by the Buddha to wait. Revata, after waiting a long time for the visit from Sariputta, obtained from his teachers a formula of meditation and himself set out to see the Buddha. On the way he stopped at a khadiravana (acacia forest) during the rainy season and there won arahantship.

From the Psalms:

Here are incorporated the verses he published during his life in the Order. This is the point of them: When he had won arahantship, he went from time to time with the great Theras, Sariputta and the rest, to visit the Master, and after staying for a while, returned to the Acadia Wood, dwelling in the bliss of fruition won and in the Sublime Moods. And thus he continued till he was an aged man. Going thus one day to visit the Buddha, he stayed not far from Savatthi in a forest. Now the police came round on the track of thieves. The thieves running by the Thera dropped their booty near him and ran. And the police, running up, arrested the Thera, dragged him before the king, and said: 'This, sire, is the thief!' The king [Pasenadi, King of Kosala, whose story can be traced throughout the suttas] had him released, and asked him: 'Has your reverence committed this robbery or not?' Then the Thera, who had never from his birth done anything of the sort, taught the Norm, by way of showing his incapacity for such an act, in these verses: [brackets are translator's]

Since I went forth from home to homeless life,
Ne'er have I harbored conscious wish or plan
Un-Ariyan or linked with enmity.
Ne'er mine the quest, all this long interval;--
'Let's smite our fellow-creatures, let us slay,
Let them be brought to pain and misery.'
Nay, love I do avow, made infinite,
Well trained, by orderly progression grown,
Even as by the Buddha it is taught.
With all am I a friend, comrade to all,
And to all creatures kind and merciful;
A heart of amity I cultivate,
And ever in good will is my delight.
A heart that cannot drift or fluctuate
I make my joy; the sentiments sublime
That evil men do shun I cultivate.
Whoso hath won to stage of ecstasy
Beyond attention's range of flitting sense,
He, follower of the Enlightened One Supreme,
To Ariyan silence straightway doth attain.
E'en as a mountain crag unshaken stands
Sure-based, a Brother with illusions gone
Like very mountain stands unwavering.
The man of blameless life, who ever seeks
For what is pure, doth deem some trifling fault,
That is no heavier than the tip of hair,
Weighty as [burden of the gravid] cloud.
E'en as a border city guarded well
Within, without, so guard ye well yourselves.
See that the Moment pass not vainly by
With thought of death I dally not, nor yet
Delight in living. I await the hour
Like any hireling who hath done his task.
With thought of death I dally not, nor yet
Delight in living. I await the hour
With mind discerning and with heedfulness.
The Master hath my fealty and love,
And all the Buddha's bidding hath been done.
Low have I laid the heavy load I bore,
Cause for rebirth is found in me no more.
The Good for which I bade the world farewell,
And left the home to lead the homeless life,
That highest Good have I accomplished,
And every bond and fetter is destroyed.
Work out your good with zeal and earnestness!
This is my [last] commandment unto you.
For lo! Now shall I wholly pass away,
To me comes absolute enfranchisement.

[NOTES: Notice that in the last paragraph the Thera's words are the same as the final words of the Buddha. The final note reads: "The Chronicle relates that he then and there passed away — lit., 'became extinct' — like a flame going out." A note in the DPPN states that he went out in flames.]