Khuddaka Nikaya

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Chapter XII — The Twelves


Sunita the Outcaste

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

For free distribution only.



In a lowly family I was born,
poor, with next to no food.
My work was degrading:
I gathered the spoiled,
the withered flowers from shrines
   and threw them away.
People found me disgusting,
despised me, disparaged me.
Lowering my heart,
I showed reverence to many.

Then I saw the One Self-awakened,
arrayed with a squadron of monks,
the Great Hero, entering the city,
supreme, of the Magadhans.
Throwing down my carrying pole,
I approached him to do reverence.
He — the supreme man — stood still
   out of sympathy
   for me.
After paying homage
to the feet of the teacher,
   I stood to one side
   and requested the Going Forth from him,
supreme among all living beings.
The compassionate Teacher,
sympathetic to all the world, said:
   "Come, monk."
That was my formal Acceptance.

Alone, I stayed in the wilds,
I followed the Teacher's words,
just as he, the Conqueror, had taught me.

In the first watch of the night,
   I recollected previous lives;
in the middle watch,
   purified the divine eye;
in the last,
   burst the mass of darkness.

Then, as night was ending
and the sun returning,
Indra and Brahma came to pay homage to me,
hands palm-to-palm at their hearts:
   "Homage to you, O thoroughbred of men,
   Homage to you, O man supreme,
   whose effluents are ended.
   You, dear sir, are worthy of offerings."

Seeing me, arrayed with a squadron of devas,
the Teacher smiled and said:
   "Through austerity, celibacy,
   restraint, and self-control:
   That's how one is a brahman.
   He is a brahman supreme."


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