Kasibharadwāja Sutta | Sn I-4


4. Kasibharadwāja Sutta

Discourse on the Cultivation

Thus have I heard.

On a certain occasion the Buddha was sojourning in a brāhmin village called Ekanāḷa in the township of Dakkhiṇāgiri in Māgadha State.

At that time Kasibharadwāja, the farmer, readied 500 of his yokes for the ploughing.

That morning the Buddha robed Himself and carrying alms-bowl and outer robe, headed for the Brahmin farmer.

It was meal time. The Buddha stood at a place where the servants of Kasibharadwāja were taking their meal.

Kasibharadwāja saw the Buddha standing with His alms-bowl and knew the purpose. So he said:

Hey Bhikkhu, I till my field; I sow it with grain and then I eat what I harvest. Why won't you do like me?

Brahmin, so do I, so do I. - replied the Buddha.

Why then, where is the yokes, where the plough, where the ploughshare, where the goading-stick, and where are the draught oxen?

We don't see any here.

Yet, Bhikkhu Gotama said he does till field, he sows, and he eats what he harvests. How come?

So said Kasibharadwāja.

He then addresses the Buddha in the following stanzas:

76. You admitted that you are a cultivator. We do not see any cultivating work of yours. Would you explain to us how you do your cultivation?

77. (And the Buddha explained:)

My confidence in the Dhamma is my seed.
My mastery over my faculties is the rain.
My Knowledge is my yoke and plough.
My fear of evil-doing is my plough-shaft.

My concentrated mind is the binder-belting that secures the shaft to the yoke.

My mental vigilance is the plough-share and (2).

78. In as much as you protect your fields so do I protect my body (bodily actions), my mouth (verbal actions) my livelihood (propriety for mere sustenance), my stomach.

I weed out idle talk in favour of truthful talk. My abiding in Nibbāna is my deliverance. (3)

79. My vigour is my draught oxen. It carries me steadfastly toward the end of the 4 attachments. And Nibbāna means freedom from woes. (4)

80. Brahmin, this is how I carry out my cultivation. By this mode of cultivation I have reaped the harvest of Nibbāna. Having done this cultivation, one is free from all woes. (5)

Thereupon Kasibharadwāja ordered milk-rice to be filled into a precious gold vessel and offered it to the Buddha, saying,

Venerable Gotama, please partake of this milk-rice. You are indeed a cultivator, for you have cultivated well and have harvested Nibbāna.

81. Nay, Brahmin, it does not behave me to take food earned by reciting a verse. Such food is never considered proper for the Buddhas who are predisposed towards perfection in conduct.

The Buddhas refuse the food earned by reciting a verse. Whatever is right livelihood is the livelihood of the Buddhas. (6)

82. Brahmin, offer any other food or beverage than this milk-rice to an Arahant who has subdued remorse, who is endowed with all kinds of superb attributes, and who has rooted out all evil from his mind.

Such offering is in fact the fertile field to cultivate for one who desires merit. (Thus said the Buddha). (7)

If so, Venerable Gotama, whom should I offer this milk-rice?(asked the Brahmin).

Brahmin, in all the celestial worlds of the Brahmas, the Devas including Māra himself and the human world of all the recluses, monks and Brahmins and monarchs

except the Buddha and the Buddha's disciples I do not see anyone who could eat this milk-rice and digest it well.

That being so, Brahmin, you may throw it into the ground where no green grass grows or into the water where no living organism lives,(replied the Buddha).

There upon Kasibharadwāja threw the milk-rice into the river where no living organism was present.

And lo! the food made a splashing sound and smoke arose in the water; then it grew into a hissing sound and the place was enveloped with smoke.

It was just like a piece of iron, heated in fire the whole day, being thrown into the water.

On seeing this, Kasibharadwāja was alarmed and so greatly astonished that the hair in his body bristled.

Straight to the Buddha he hurried and touching the Buddha's feet with his head, spoke thus:

Venerable Gotama,

Excellent, excellent it was! Your noble teaching was splendid!

It is as though something turned upside down were turned up, as though something concealed were revealed,

as though a man who lost his bearings were shown the way, as though a light were lit up so that anyone with eyesight could see what lies there to see.

Venerable Gotama, you teach in many ways to make the Truth explicit.

Venerable Gotama, I take refuge in your worshipful self as the most precious One, in your Teaching as the most precious One, and your Order of bhikkhus as the most precious One.

Kasibharadwāja was initiated into the Order and then admitted as a Bhikkhu by the Buddha.

Then he went into seclusion at a quiet retreat and with great zeal and mental alertness trained his mind onto Nibbāna.

Soon after, he realized the supreme Knowledge by insight, which is the goal of all Bhikkhus who renounce the lay life and enter the Order.

With his own super knowledge he realized the ultimate Truth, Nibbāna in this very existence.

Then he knew that he had stopped the process of rebirth, that he had come to the end of the Noble Path, that he had done what was to be done, and that for the purpose of the Path, he needed no further effort.

The Venerable Bhāradvāja had become another Arahant in the Noble Line of Arahants.

End of the Fourth Kasibharadwāja Sutta