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Saɱyutta Nikāya
I. Sagātha Vagga
7. Brāhmana Saɱyutta

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 8

Aggika Suttaɱ

The Fire-man[1]




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

Now on that occasion
a preparation of rice with ghee had been concocted
for the Bhāradvaja brahmin [known as] the Fire-man,
for he thought:

"I will offer the fire-sacrifice,
I will tend the fire-oblation."[2]

Then the Exalted One
having dressed early,
and taken bowl and robe,
went and entered Rājagaha for alms.

And, going for alms from place to place,[3]
he drew near to the dwelling of the Fire-man Bhāradvaja,
and approaching
stood at one side.

Now the brahmin beheld him coming for alms,
and seeing him,
addressed the Exalted One in a verse: —

"Proficient in the Vedas Three, a man
Pure born and learned,[4] and acquainted well
With all the lore and ritual [of our class]: —
His let it be to enjoy this goodly rice!"

[208] [The Exalted One: —]

"Nay,[5] though he jabber multitudes of runes,
Thus is no brahmin made regenerate,
Garbage-defiled within, cloaked by deceits.

Whose vision many former lives hath pierced,
Who sees the heavens above, the depths below,[6]
His is 't to win the doing down of birth: —
Master of supernormal lore,[7] a Seer.
In these Three Vedas if a brahmin be
One whom we call 'learned in the Triple Lore,'
Of him shouldst thou declare: — 'acquainted well
With all the lore and ritual [of ourselves]—
'His let it be to enjoy this goodly rice.'"

[The brahmin:—]

"May it please the worshipful Master Gotama to eat!
His worship is a brahmin."[8]

[The Exalted One: —]

"Not[9] mine to enjoy [presents] for chanting verses.
Not normal this, brahmin, for minds discerning.
Buddhas reject wages for chanting verses.
True to the Norm, this is their mode of conduct.[10]
[209] On other grounds minister thou, 0 brahmin,
With food and drink to a great Seer made perfect,[11]
To one from whom purged are the mental Poisons,
In whom is calm, peace from all fret and worry.
Yea, here's the field, if for reward[12] thou lookest."

When he had thus spoken, Fireman, the Bharadvaja, said:

"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.

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,
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.

And the venerable Bhāradvāja became one of the Arahants.


[1] So called, because of his fostering a fire oblation, by the Recensionists. Comy.

[2] Cf. Pss. of the Sisters, ver. 143; Brethren, vers. 219, 341; p 222; and below, § 9.

[3] Sapadānaɱ: cf. Pss. of the Brethren, p. 262, n. 5.

[4] 'In many kinds of books (gandhe).' Comy. Cf. D. iii, 94.

[5] See § 7.

[6] = Sn. 647; Dhp. 423.

[7] Abhiññāvosito. The Buddha is elsewhere recorded as recasting the meaning of the brahmin term te-vijjo: 'one-who-has-the-Three Vedas. Cf. above, VI, 1, § 5, n. 4.

[8] The brahmin apparently misunderstands the object of the foregoing verses, and offers him, as one of his class, a fee in kind in return for the chanted mantra.

[9] These verses occur again in § 9, and in 2, § 1, and also in Sn. vers. 81, 82 (trans. 80, 81); 480, 481. The first is quoted in Milinda (trans.) ii, 31. 'You would not,' runs the exegesis, 'while I stood so long waiting give me one spoonful, and now you would pay me as if I were a verse-reciting brahmin, when all the Buddha-virtue is manifest to you.'

[10] Lit. the Dhamma being there or existing, this is the way of living. B. paraphrases: dhammaɱ apekkhitvā, dhamme patiṭṭhāya jīvilaɱ kappentānaɱ esā vutti: 'of those who maintain life with an eye to the Norm, established on the Norm, this is the conduct.'

[11] Kevalinaɱ; corresponds to 'absolute,' and is less used by Buddhism than by Jainism and Sānkhyā.

[12] Lit. merit.

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