Saṃyutta Nikāya 16

Connected Discourses with Kassapa

5. Old

Thus have I heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Rajagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrel Sanctuary. Then the Venerable Mahakassapa approached the Blessed One, paid homage to him, and sat down to one side. The Blessed One then said to him: “You are old now, Kassapa, and those worn-out hempen rag-robes must be burdensome for you. Therefore you should wear robes offered by householders, Kassapa, accept meals given on invitation, and dwell close to me.”

“For a long time, venerable sir, I have been a forest dweller and have spoken in praise of forest dwelling; I have been an almsfood eater and have spoken in praise of eating almsfood; I have been a rag-robe wearer and have spoken in praise of wearing rag-robes; I have been a triple-robe user and have spoken in praise of using the triple robe; I have been of few wishes and have spoken in praise of fewness of wishes; I have been content and have spoken in praise of contentment; I have been secluded and have spoken in praise of solitude; I have been aloof from society and have spoken in praise of aloofness from society; I have been energetic and have spoken in praise of arousing energy.” “Considering what benefit, Kassapa, have you long been a forest dweller … and spoken in praise of arousing energy?”

“Considering two benefits, venerable sir. For myself I see a pleasant dwelling in this very life, and I have compassion for later generations, thinking, ‘May those of later generations follow my example!’ For when they hear, ‘The enlightened disciples of the Buddha were for a long time forest dwellers and spoke in praise of forest dwelling … were energetic and spoke in praise of arousing energy,’ then they will practise accordingly, and that will lead to their welfare and happiness for a long time. Considering these two benefits, venerable sir, I have long been a forest dweller … and have spoken in praise of arousing energy.”

“Good, good, Kassapa! You are practising for the welfare and happiness of the multitude, out of compassion for the world, for the good, welfare, and happiness of devas and humans. Therefore, Kassapa, wear worn-out hempen rag-robes, walk for alms, and dwell in the forest.”