Sutta Nipāta

Vasala Sutta

1.7. Who is the Outcaste?

Thus have I heard:

At one time the Radiant One was dwelling at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s Park. Then in the morning the Radiant One dressed and, taking bowl and robes, entered Sāvatthī for almsfood. At that time the sacrificial fire was burning in the house of the brahmin Aggika-Bhāradvāja and the offering was held aloft. Then the Radiant One walking in almsround, house by house within Sāvatthī, came to the house of brahmin Aggika-Bhāradvāja. The brahmin saw the Radiant One coming from a distance and called out this to him: “Stop there, mere shaveling, stop there, vile ascetic, stop there, foul outcaste!” When this was said, the Radiant One said to the brahmin: “Do you know, brahmin, what an outcaste is or what things make a person ‘outcaste’?”

“I do not know good Gotama what an outcaste is or what things make one an outcaste. It would be good for me if the venerable Gotama were to teach me Dharma, so that I might know an outcaste and what things make an outcaste.”

“Then listen, brahmin, pay attention and I shall tell you.”

“Yes, venerable sir”, replied the brahmin.

Buddha
An angry person, rancorous,
with evils of hypocrisy,
deceitful and of fallen views,
as “outcaste” such a one is known.

Whether once or twice-born then
if one should living beings harm,
compassion for them—none at all,
as “outcaste” such a one is known.

Who kills in towns and villages,
destruction brings, and then behaves
oppressively—well-known for that,
as “outcaste” such a one is known.

Whoso in forest or in town
steals whatever is not given,
from others to whom it’s valuable,
as “outcaste” such a one is known.

Whoever does a debt contract
but urged to repay, then retorts,
“No debt have I to you indeed”,
as “outcaste” such a one is known.

Who, for a trifle that’s desired
from traveller along the road,
kills, that trifle to possess,
as “outcaste” such a one is known.

Whoso for self or others’ wealth,
or else for benefit of wealth
when questioned on this, falsehood speaks,
as “outcaste” such a one is known.

Whoso is “seen” with others’ wives,
of relatives and friends, those
consenting mutually or forced,
as “outcaste” such a one is known.

Whoso towards their mum or dad
whose youth is gone and age attained,
though prosperous, supports them not,
as “outcaste” such a one is known.

Whoever strikes, or utters hate
against mother, father, brother too,
sister or a mother-in law,
as “outcaste” such a one is known.

Who, asked for good advice responds
by giving bad advice, and then
giving advice with a hidden agenda,
as “outcaste” such a one is known.

Whoever evil karma makes
wishing others may not know,
and then conceals these actions bad,
as “outcaste” such a one is known.

Who, gone to another’s house,
enjoys fine hospitality,
then honours not the other back,
as “outcaste” such a one is known.

Whoever, brahmin, samaṇa,
or even indigents who beg,
deceives with false and lying speech,
as “outcaste” such a one is known.

Whoso when mealtime has arrived
abuses brahmins, samaṇas
and then gives not a thing to them,
as “outcaste” such a one is known.

As blanketed, delusion-wrapped,
who predicts untruthful things
desiring even trifling gain,
as “outcaste” such a one is known.

Whoever does exalt themselves
while looking down on others, though
inferior, caused by self-conceit,
as “outcaste” such a one is known.

Provocative and selfish too,
of evil wishes, miserly,
cunning, shameless, no remorse,
as “outcaste” such a one is known.

Whoso the Buddha does revile,
insulting his disciples too
whether left home or laity,
as “outcaste” such a one is known.

Who, though not an Arahant,
yet pretends to be—is Thief—
in this world with Brahmin gods,
the lowest outcaste of them all,
These indeed are “outcaste” called
as I’ve declared to you.

One’s not an outcaste caused by “birth”,
not by “birth” a brahmin is;
caused by karma one’s outcaste,
a brahmin is by karma caused.

Know this is true according to
the example following here:
An outcaste boy well-known to you
as Mātaṅga of the Sopakas.

Mātaṅga gained the highest fame,
so hard a thing for him to gain;
then warriors, brahmins, others too,
many came to serve him.

Upon the way to deva-worlds,
set forth along the spotless path
and cleansed of sense-desired,
attained to Brahma’s world, they say;
unhindered he by “birth” at all
he won to Brahma-worlds.

Though born in Veda-chanting clan,
brahmins with mantras as their kin,
frequently indeed they’re seen
while making evil karmas,

Even in this world they’re blamed,
the next for them’s a painful bourn;
birth hinders not a painful bourn,
nor from being blamed.

One’s not an outcaste caused by “birth”,
not by “birth” a brahmin is;
caused by karma one’s outcaste,
a brahmin is by karma caused.

When this was said, the brahmin Aggika-bhāradvāja exclaimed to the Radiant One: “Magnificent, Master Gotama! The Dharma has been clarified by the Master Gotama in many ways, as though he was righting what was overthrown, revealing what was hidden, showing the way to one who was lost, or holding a lamp in the dark so that those with eyes can see forms. I go for refuge to Master Gotama, to the Dharma and to the Saṅgha. May Master Gotama remember me as an upāsaka who from today has Gone for Refuge for life.”