Bhāradvāja Sutta | Sn III-4


4. Sundarika Bhāradvāja Sutta (Pūralāsa Sutta)

Discourse on the Brahmin Sundarika Bhāradvāja

Thus have I heard:

On one occasion the Buddha was sojourning near the river Sundarika in province of Kosala.

It was then that Sundarika Bhāradvāja the brāhmin was making his sacrificial offerings to the fire. He attended to the sacrificial fire properly by sweeping the place clean, etc.

Having worshipped the fire and attended to the sacred place properly, he surveyed in all directions wondering, Who would be worthy to eat these remnants of the sacrificial food?

Then he noticed the Buddha at a distance sitting with the robes covering the head and downwards at the foot of a tree.

So he approached the Buddha with the remnants of the sacrificial food in his left-hand and the pewter jug in his right.

Hearing the Brahmin's footsteps, the Buddha removed the robe covering his head.

Sundarika Bhāradvāja then uttered, Fie! only a shaveling here, only a shaveling here. and turned away in disgust.

Then he thought,

Well, now, perhaps there are some Brahmins in the world who shave their heads. May be I should ask that one there of his caste.

So he approached the Buddha and asked, Which caste do you belong to?

Thereupon the Buddha made a discourse to Sundarika Bhāradvāja in the following stanzas:-

457. (O Brahmin,) I am not a Brahmin, nor a prince, nor a merchant nor any caste.

I have known by penetrative knowledge the whole race of worldlings. So, unhindered by any cares and guided by wisdom. Freely do I go about in the world. (1)

458. (O Brahmin,) Wearing a Bhikkhu 's robes and with a shaven head with no house of craving, and so having a stilled mind detached from all the world, I conduct myself yet you ask me the absurd question about my caste. (2)

459. Friend, (said Sundarika Bhāradvāja) even among Brahmins it is not unusual (considered wrong) to ask, Are you a Brahmin? (3)

460. If you claim that you are Brahmin then it would amount to saying that I am not a Brāhmaṇa. So now I will ask you Saviṭṭha (Veda) composed of 3 lines, in 24 words. (Try and answer what it means). (4)

461. For what reason do hermits, laymen, monarchs and Brahmins offer sacrifices to the Brahman and Devas? (5)

462. If the offerings are received by a Noble One who has passed the rebirth process and has demolished all defilements by means of the Path-Knowledge then the offering is said to be fully accomplished. (6)

463. (Said Sundarika Bhāradvāja:)

Now we have found such a worthy one here.

My offerings to you, (I am sure), will be dully prosperous.

Previously since we could not find a fitting personage to offer to, our sacrificial foods were taken by various other people. (7)

464. O Brahmin, that being so, if you want to find a fitting offeree who is tranquil fumeless, indifferent to suffering and wants, who is wise, to fulfil your sacrificial end, ask me, for it is possible you may find one just around here. (8)

465. Gotama, Sir, I am fond of giving.

Although I want to make offerings I do not know whom to offer. So kindly instruct me as to what kind of person deserves offerings, so that the offer gets full merits. (9)

O Brahmin, in that case, listen to me, I will teach you:

466. (Anyone desirous of merit by giving) Should not bother about the caste of the offeree, rather, he should concern himself with the moral conduct.

Fire has its origin in firewood. Even though an Arahant may come of low caste, he is steadfast; he abhors evil and avoids it. He can distinguish between right and wrong. (10)

467. If you want to gain merit by giving, then give your offerings at favourable times to the Noble One who has been tamed by the Noble Truths and has attained self-mastery,

who has exhausted all defilements by the 4-fold Ariyan Path, and who has thus accomplished the Arahant's way. (11)

468. For real merit in giving, you should give, at favourable times to the Noble One who has shunned all sensual pleasures who has left the house that craving built who hold right circumspection and is straight as a shuttle. (12)

469. For real merit in giving, you should give, at favourable times to the Noble One who has passed passions, who is tranquil, who controls his faculties perfectly and who is freed from defilements as a moon that has escaped an eclipse. (13)

470. For real merit in giving, you should give, at favourable times to the Noble One who has abandoned all lovable things, held dear under the urge of craving and false views;

who keeps a vigilant mind all times; and who has detached himself from the world in the most noble practice of the Āryas. (14)

471. Having overcome sensual pleasures the Buddha has known Nibbāna, the end of rebirth and death. With the coolness of water in a deep lake he remains cool after the extinction of the fires of defilements. The Buddha is worthy of (all) offerings. (15)

472. The Buddha is the equal only to similar Buddhas of penetrative Insight (Sammāsambuddha) unaided (such as Vipassī) and is far and away above all other persons (however wise they may be.)

The Buddha has infinite knowledge. He is not smeared with any defilement pertaining to this existence to any other existence. Hence, the Buddha is worthy of (all) offerings. (16)

473. There is no place in the Buddha for any deceit or vanity:

Being free from greed, covetousness (through a false clinging to self) and any form of desire and having removed anger, his mind is absorbed in the calmness of Nibbāna.

As the One who has expelled evil entirely he has washed himself of the dirt of distress. The Buddha, therefore, is worthy of (all) offerings. (17)

474. The usual dwelling of craving and false views the Buddha has renounced. There's nothing whatever that he deems his possession and he clings not to either the present existence no to any other existence in the future. The Buddha, there- fore, is worthy of (all) offerings. (18)

475. Firmly established in the Noble Path the Buddha has crossed the (4 great) floods (of evil passions); by Supreme Wisdom He has penetrated the Dhamma; exhausted of evil taints (āsavas), He bears His last existence. The Buddha is worthy of (all) offerings. (19)

476. All passion for existence, all harsh words the Buddha has stamped out, leaving not a trace; having perfect knowledge of the (4 Ārya) Vedas, he has won release from (the snare of) all existence and realized Nibbāna.

The Buddha, therefore, is worthy of (all) offerings. (20)

477. No attachments bind the Buddha, for He has rid of all passions.

Amid the vain world, He remains without vanity knowing clearly the ills of rebirth that are the produce of the soil of volitions the Buddha is worthy of (all) offerings. (21)

478. Independent of any desire the Buddha's orientation always remains towards the peaceful seclusion.

He has transcend all teachings, which merely muddle in mistaken views. Devoid of a trace of inclination for future existence the Buddha is worthy of (all) offerings. (22)

479. Distinguishing the wholesome from the unwholesome the Buddha has done away with both: No streak of any volition is left now.

Stilled of any human passions, free from clinging, His mind is liberated in the blissful abidance (Nibbāna). The Buddha is worthy of (all) offerings. (23)

480. The Buddha has seen the fruition of Path that loosens all bonds and realized Nibbāna, the end of rebirth.

He has completely abandoned Desire's way and so is perfectly pure, flawless, clean and untainted by defilements. The Buddha is worthy of (all) offerings. (24)

481. The Buddha does not see a self in the five aggregates that make up his body with all passions stilled, He is upright.

Being free from craving he is not afflicted by any defilement and is free from scepticism. The Buddha is worthy of (all) offerings. (25)

482. He has none of the defilements, the offspring of delusion; He views everything with the penetration of his Omniscience; He bears his last burden of the body, a mere compound of the 5 aggregates.

He has attained Arahantship, the sublimest and safest of things (Dhammas). Capable of such purifying powers, the Buddha is worthy of (all) offerings. (26)

483. I have now found an Arahant, the Worthy One to make my offerings. To this knower of the Path I will make offerings and make it fruitful.

O Buddha, You are the Brahmāṇa that I have the good fortune to meet in person. May You please accept this my offering (of milk rice)? May You partake of this sacred meal? (27)

484. Nay, Brahmin, it does not behave me to take food earned by reciting a verse. Such food, according to the Buddhas, perfect of conduct, is improper as alms.

The Buddhas refuse the food earned by reciting a verse. For whatever is right livelihood, that alone is the livelihood of the Buddhas. (28)

485. Brahmin, offer any food or beverage other than this milk-rice. That is endowed with perfection, attained to virtue and a fertile field for fruitful cultivation of merit. (29)

Pray, Buddha, You must then know who deserve to partake of my offerings and whom I should make my offerings on sacrificial occasions. May I be kindly instructed accordingly? (30)

He who is not clamorous against others has no agitation in his mind. Such a person escapes from the snare of sensuality his mind, moreover, is not sluggish. (31)

488-9. Having reached the ultimate in one's own training, he has been able to remove all defilements.

He is wise about the nature of rebirth and death, if such a worthy Muni, with well-acquired knowledge as becomes a Bhikkhu, happens to be around at the sacrificial time,

raise to him both your hands in worship in all gladness; Give your offerings of food and beverages. By so doing, your offering will be most accomplished. (32-3)

(O Buddha), the knower-of-the-Four-Noble-Truths, You are worthy of (all) offerings.

Supreme as You are, you remain the most fertile soil on which to sow our merits. You deserve honour from all the worlds. Making offerings to You is highly beneficial (34)

Sundarika Bhāradvāja, the Brahmin then spoke to the Bhagavān 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.

Sundarika Bhāradvāja, the Brāhmin was initiated into the Order and had become another Arahant in the Noble Line of Arahants.

End of the Fourth Sundarika Bhāradvāja Sutta