Sutta Nipāta

Āmagandha Sutta

2.2. Food and the True Meaning of “Stench”

Question
Wild millet, grains of grass and pulse,
young shoots and roots and jungle fruits—
Dharma-gained and by the Peaceful eaten,
they who speak no lies desiring sensual pleasures.

But who, eating food that’s well-prepared and cooked
of Sālī-rice, all other things to eat,
delicious, by others donated specially
that one, O Kassapa, is like a carrion-stench.

“No carrion-stench is mine”, you say like this,
that it does not apply to you, O Brahma-kin—
while eating sālī-rice, all other things
with flesh of fowls so very well prepared;
the meaning of this, O Kassapa, I ask:
Your food, what sort of carrion-stench it has?

Answer
Taking life, torture, mutilation too,
binding, stealing, telling lies, and fraud;
deceit, adultery, and studying crooked views:
this is carrion-stench, not the eating of meat.

Those people of desires and pleasures unrestrained,
greedy for tastes with impurity mixed in,
of nihilistic views, unstable, hard to train:
this is carrion-stench, not the eating of meat.

The rough, the cruel, backbiters and betrayers,
those void of compassion, extremely arrogant,
the miserly, to others never giving anything:
this is carrion-stench, not the eating of meat.

Who’s angry, obstinate, hostile and vain,
deceitful, envious, a boastful person too,
full of oneself, with the wicked intimate:
this is carrion-stench, not the eating of meat.

Those of evil ways, defaulters on debts,
imposters, slanderers, deceitful in their dealings,
vile men who commit evil deeds in this world:
this is carrion-stench, not the eating of meat.

Those people unrestrained for living beings here,
taking others’ property, on injury intent,
immoral, harsh and cruel, for others no respect:
this is carrion-stench, not the eating of meat.

Towards others greedy or hateful—they attack them,
ever on misdemeanours bent,
they go to darkness after death;
such beings as this fall headlong into Hell:
this is carrion-stench, not the eating of meat.

Not from fish and flesh tasting and not by nudity,
not by the plucking of head-hairs,
nor growing of matted locks,
not by the smearing of the ashes of the dead,
not wearing abrasive skins,
not following sacrificial fires,
or worldly austerities for gaining immortality,
nor mantras, nor offerings,
oblations, seasons’ services
can purify a mortal still overcome by doubt.

Who lives with sense-streams guarded, well-aware,
in the Dharma firm, enjoying gently rectitude,
beyond attachments gone, all dukkha left behind,
that wise one’s unsullied by the seen and the heard.

Narrator
Again, again the Radiant One this topic taught
to that knower of the Vedas, in those mantras expert,
thus clarified the Sage in verses sweetly-sounding.
Him of no carrion-stench, free who’s hard to trace.

Having listened to these verses well-spoken by the Buddha,
free of such stench, all dukkhas dispelling,
he of humble heart bowed at the Tathāgata’s feet
and there and then requested his own Leaving-home.