Sutta Nipāta

Sundarika-Bhāradvāja Sutta

3.4. To Sundarika-Bhāradvāja on Offerings

Thus have I heard:

At one time the Radiant One was dwelling among the Kosalans. At that time the brahmin Sundarika-Bhāradvāja performed on the bank of the Sundarika river the fire sacrifice and offered the fire-ritual. Having completed the sacrifice and ritual the brahmin rose from his seat and surveyed the four directions, thinking, “Who will partake of the remains of this sacrifice?” It happened then that the brahmin saw the Radiant One seated at the foot of a tree not far away, but with his head covered. Seeing him, the brahmin grasped the sacrificial remains in his left hand and a water-vessel in his right and approached the Radiant One who, hearing his approach, uncovered his head. Then the brahmin thought:

“This venerable one is shaven-headed, a mere shaveling” and desired to turn back. But it occurred to him: “Though shaven-headed there are some brahmins here like this. It would be good to inquire about his ‘birth’.” Then Sundarika-Bhāradvāja the brahmin approached the Radiant One and having done so, said this: “Of what ‘birth’ is the venerable one?” Then the Radiant One addressed these verses to the brahmin:

No brahmin am I, nor son of royalty,
nor of merchant stock, nor any other (caste),
for I know very well ordinary people’s line
so wisely, having nothing, I fare through the world.

My robe is my dwelling, I live in no house,
My head is shaven, I am fully quenched;
Not clinging to any students here,
It is not appropriate, brahmin, to ask me of my clan.

But brahmins, sir, of brahmins always ask
“Are you as well a brahmin, friend?”

If you say you brahmin are, but call me none,
then of you I ask the chant of Sāvitrī,
consisting of three lines
in four and twenty syllables.

On what do they rely, these seers,
born human, the nobles and brahmins, all of them,
that to the devas they sacrifices make
to bring about results here in this world?

One gone to the End, one who’s gone to Knowledge,
at the time of sacrifice receives that offering,
and that will be a blessing, I say.

Then for sure will be fruitful this my sacrifice,
because we have seen one such as yourself—
one gone to Knowledge, for if seeing not,
another would have eaten the sacrificial cake.

Well then, brahmin, you should ask,
since you have come to seek the meaning.
Perhaps you will find here a Wise One,
Peaceful, clear, unsoiled, desireless.

I do delight in an desire to sacrifice, O Gotama,
but I do not know how, instruct me please, sir,
and how a sacrifice succeeds, do tell me of that?

If that is so, O brahmin, lend your ears,
and in the Dharma I shall instruct you.
Ask not of “birth” but of behaviour enquire—
truly from sticks of wood the sacred fire is born,
so though of lowly line, a sage becomes a thoroughbred,
one both resolute, and restrained by self-respect,

tamed by Truth, endowed with self-restraint,
one gone to Knowledge’s end and the Good Life living:
a timely offering one should give to such—
a brahmin seeking merit to such a one should sacrifice.

Let go of sensuality, and homeless faring—those
with minds well-restrained and as a shuttle straight
a timely offering one should give to such—
a brahmin seeking merit to such a one should sacrifice.

Free from lustfulness, sense-faculties controlled,
as the moon freed from old Rāhu’s grasp:
a timely offering one should give to such—
a brahmin seeking merit to such a one should sacrifice.

They who wander the world completely unattached
ever-mindful of mine-making, always letting go:
a timely offering one should give to such—
a brahmin seeking merit to such a one should sacrifice.

Whoever fares victorious, let go of sensuality,
who is a Knower of the end of birth and death,
become quite Cool as a cool-water lake;
such Tathāgata’s worthy of sacrificial cake.

Who’s equal with equals, unequals far away,
a Tathāgata—of wisdom infinite,
one who is unsmeared either here or hereafter:
such Tathāgata’s worthy of sacrificial cake.

In whom does not dwell deceit or conceit,
who’s greed-free, unselfish, having no desire,
who anger has lost, exceeding Cool of self,
that Brahmin who’s removed impurity of grief:
such a Tathāgata’s worthy of sacrificial cake.

Whoever has removed the dwellings of the mind,
in whom there exists no clinging any more,
no grasping at anything here or hereafter:
such Tathāgata’s worthy of sacrificial cake.

With a mind composed and crossed the flood,
a Knower of Dharma by the highest vision,
cleansed of pollutions, bearer of a last body:
such Tathāgata’s worthy of sacrificial cake.

No pollutions for existence, neither harsh words,
not smouldering are they, to non-existence gone,
one gone to Knowledge, completely released:
such Tathāgata’s worthy of sacrificial cake.

One gone beyond ties, no ties still exist,
among conceited men, one of no conceit,
comprehending dukkha with its range and base:
such Tathāgata’s worthy of sacrificial cake.

A seer of solitude and not depending on desire,
escaped from the views by other people known,
in whom are no conditions found at all:
such Tathāgata’s worthy of sacrificial cake.

Who’s understood completely the dharmas high and low,
not smouldering are they, to non-existence gone,
by clinging’s exhaustion freed and so at peace:
such Tathāgata’s worthy of sacrificial cake.

Who’s a seer of exhaustion of birth and fetters all
and who has dispelled the sensual trail complete—
purified, faultless, untainted and flawless:
such Tathāgata’s worthy of sacrificial cake.

One not seeing self by means of self within,
firm and straightforward as well contemplative,
free from lust, harsh-heartedness and from all doubts:
such Tathāgata’s worthy of sacrificial cake.

In whom no conditions for delusion can be found,
a seer with wisdom among all the dharmas,
one who’s the bearer of the ultimate body,
attained to the blissful unexcelled Awakening
to this extent there s purity among the powerful:
such Tathāgata’s worthy of sacrificial cake.

In the past I sacrificed, now let my sacrifice be true,
for now I have met such a one of wisdom’s qualities;
you’re Brahmā manifest indeed, accept from me O Radiant,
may the Radiant One eat my sacrificial cake.

Chanting sacred verses for comestibles—
that’s not done by me,
for those who rightly see, brahmin,
it accords not with Dharma.
Chanting sacred verses thus
is rejected by the Buddhas,
such is the Dharma, brahmin,
such is their practice.

A Great Seer with Final Knowledge, conflicts stilled,
one who has exhausted taints, is wholly free—
make offerings of food and drink to such a one:
the certain field for one who merit seeks.

Good indeed, sir, that I should know of this.
But having gained your teachings (now I ask):
Who should eat the gift of such as I,
whom I’m seeking at this time of sacrifice?

Whose anger’s disappeared,
who has unclouded mind,
who’s free from lustfulness,
whose sloth is thrust aside,

guide for what’s beyond the bounds,
Knower of birth-and-death,
Sage with sagely virtues,
arrived at the sacrifice,

with super pride removed,
revere with lotussed hands,
honour with food and drink,
thus prosper rightful gifts.

The Buddha, sir, is worthy of sacrificial cake,
a field for merits,
recipient of all the world,
what’s given to you bears great fruit.

When this was said, the brahmin Sundarika-Bhāradvāja said to the Radiant One: “Magnificent, master Gotama! The Dharma has been clarified by 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 Bhikkhu-Saṅgha that I may receive the Leaving home from the venerable Gotama with ordination.” Then the brahmin Sundarika-Bhāradvāja received this.

Not long after his ordination the venerable, living in solitude, secluded, diligent and zealous by realizing from himself with Direct Knowledge here and now entered upon and abided in that supreme goal of the Good Life for the sake of which clansmen rightly leave home for homelessness. He Knew directly: birth is destroyed, the Good Life has been lived, what had to be done has been done, there is no more coming to any state of being. And the venerable Sundarika-Bhāradvāja became one of the arahants.