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Words of Wisdom

Embracing the Dharma: Excerpts from the Sutta Nipata, Part 2 of 2

2023-11-25
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On today’s show, we will learn what we can about the real meaning of an outcast or a person of low character, and how to move beyond such a status, as explained by the Blessed One, Shakyamuni Buddha (vegan).

CHAPTER 1 SECTION 7 [DISCOURSE ON OUTCASTS]

“So it was heard by me: At one time the Blessed One dwelt at Sâvatthî, in Getavana, in the park of Anâthapindika. Then the Blessed One having put on His raiment in the morning, and having taken His bowl and His robes, entered Sâvatthî for alms. Now at that time, in the house of the Brâmana Aggikabhâradvâga, the fire was blazing, the offering brought forth. Then the Blessed One going for alms from house to house in Sâvatthî went to the house of the Brâmana Aggikabhâradvâga. The Brâmana Aggikabhâradvâga saw the Blessed One coming at a distance, and seeing Him he said this: ‘Stay there, O Shaveling; (stay) there, O Samanaka (wretched ascetic); (stay) there, O Vasalaka (outcast)!’

This having been said, the Blessed One replied to the Brâmana Aggikabhâradvâga: ‘Do thou know, O Brâmana, an outcast, or the things that make an outcast?’ ‘No, O venerable Gautama, I do not know an outcast, or the things that make an outcast; let the venerable Gautama teach me this so well that I may know an outcast, or the things that make an outcast.’

‘Listen then, O Brâmana, attend carefully, I will tell (thee).’ ‘Even so, O venerable One,’ so the Brâmana Aggikabhâradvâga replied to the Blessed One.

Then the Blessed One said this: ‘The man who is angry and bears hatred, who is wicked and hypocritical, who has embraced wrong views, who is deceitful, let one know him as an outcast.’

‘Whosoever in this world harms living beings, whether once or twice born, and in whom there is no compassion for living beings, let one know him as an outcast.’

‘Whosoever destroys or lays siege to villages and towns, and is known as an enemy, let one know him as an outcast.’

‘Be it in the village or in the wood, whosoever appropriates by theft what is the property of others and what has not been given, let one know him as an outcast.’

‘Whosoever, having really contracted a debt, runs away when called upon (to pay), saying, “There is no debt (that I owe) thee,” let one know him as an outcast.’

‘Whosoever for love of a trifle having taken the life of a man going along the road, takes the trifle, let one know him as an outcast.’

‘The man who for his own sake or for that of others or for the sake of wealth speaks falsely when asked as a witness, let one know him as an outcast.’

‘Whosoever is seen with the wives of relatives or of friends either by force or with their consent, let one know him as an outcast.’

‘Whosoever being rich does not support mother or father when old and past their youth, let one know him as an outcast.’

‘Whosoever strikes or by words annoys mother or father, brother, sister, or mother-in-law, let one know him as an outcast.’

‘Whosoever, being asked about what is good, teaches what is bad and advises (another, while) concealing (something from him), let one know him as an outcast.’

‘Whosoever, having committed a bad deed, hopes (saying), “Let no one know me” (as having done it, who is) a dissembler, let one know him as an outcast.’

‘Whosoever, having gone to another’s house and partaken of his good food, does not in return honor him when he comes, let one know him as an outcast.’

‘Whosoever by falsehood deceives either a Brâhmana [a sage] or a Samana [an ascetic] or any other mendicant, let one know him as an outcast.’

‘Whosoever by words annoys either a Brâhmana [a sage] or a Samana [an ascetic] when meal-time has come and does not give (him anything), let one know him as an outcast.’

‘Whosoever enveloped in ignorance in this world predicts what is not (to take place), coveting a trifle, let one know him as an outcast.’

‘Whosoever exalts himself and despises others, being mean by his pride, let one know him as an outcast.’

‘Whosoever is a provoker and is avaricious, has sinful desires, is envious, wicked, shameless, and fearless of sinning, let one know him as an outcast.’

‘Whosoever reviles Buddha or His disciple, be he a wandering mendicant or a householder, let one know him as an outcast.’

‘Whosoever without being a saint pretends to be a saint, (and is) a thief in all the worlds including that of Brahman [ultimate spiritual realm], he is indeed the lowest outcast; (all) these who have been described by me to you are indeed called outcasts.’

‘Not by birth does one become an outcast, not by birth does one become a Brâmana [a sage]; by deeds one becomes an outcast, by deeds one becomes a Brâmana [a sage].’

This having been said, the Brâmana Aggikabhâradvâga answered the Blessed One as follows: ‘Excellent, O venerable Gautama! Excellent, O venerable Gautama! As one, O venerable Gautama, raises what has been overthrown, or reveals what has been hidden, or tells the way to him who has gone astray, or holds out an oil lamp in the dark that those who have eyes may see the objects, even so by the venerable Gautama in manifold ways the Dharma has been illustrated; I take refuge in the venerable Gautama and in the Dharma and in the Assembly of Bhikkhus [monks]. Let the venerable Gautama accept me as a devotee, me, who henceforth for all my life have taken refuge (in Him).’”
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