Discourse on outcasts ‘Vasala Sutta’ - The story of Aggika Bharadvaja

30 April 2018 12:00 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Devram Vehera near Shravasthi. At that time a fire had been lit in the house of Brahmin Bharadvaja and a burnt offering was being prepared. The Blessed one came close to the place of offering. The Brahmin who got angry when he saw the Blessed one abused Him in the language of outcasts and threatened Him to stay where He was and not to come closer. 


The Blessed One spoke to the Brahmin and enquired from him whether he was aware who an outcast was and the circumstances under which one becomes an outcast.  


It occurred to Brahmin Aggika Bharadvaja that The Blessed One knew something more than what he himself knew and that he should realize the conditions which make one an outcast.   


He said “May I please request the Venerable Gautama to preach Dhamma to enable me to know who an outcast is and the conditions which make one an outcast?”  
The Blessed One then addressed the Brahmin,“Listen then Brahmin attentively, I shall tell you”   


“Yes venerable sir” Brahmin Aggika Bharadvaja said and expressed his willingness to listen to the Blessed One and the Blessed One explained to the Brahmin the conditions which make one an outcast.  


“ If a person gets angry very often, cherishes hatred, does not like to speak well of others (reluctant to appreciate the worth of others), behaves in a way which is not moral and acceptable and who is deceitful, identify such a person as an outcast.  


“If a person in this world kills a living being , once born or twice born and who has no sympathy on living beings identify such a person as an outcast. If a person besieges and destroys villages and hamlets and becomes a notorious criminal identify such a person as an outcast. Whether in the village or in the forest if a person steals the belongings of others, takes whatever is not given by the owners, identify such a person as an outcast”.   


“If a person gets indebted to some other party and absconds or escapes saying “I am not indebted to that party” identify such a person as an outcast. If a person being covetous kills a person walking on the road and robs him identify such a person as an outcast. If a person gives false evidence as a witness for his own sake or for the sake of others or for the sake of wealth identify such a person as an outcast. If a person associates with the spouses of relatives or friends by force or with mutual consent identify such a person as an outcast. If a person who is wealthy enough does not look after his parents identify such a person as an outcast. If a person assaults his mother, father, brothers, sisters or in- laws identify such a person as an outcast.”    “If when questioned about some matter a person says deceitfully something harmful or detrimental to others and talks in an evasive manner identify such a person as an outcast. If a person who has committed an evil act takes action to keep that act a secret and thereby commits further sins identify such a person as an outcast. If a person who goes to someone else’s house and enjoys food and luxuries does not entertain the others when they visit his place identify such a person as an outcast. If a person deceives Brahmins, ascetics or any other mendicant by uttering lies excessively identify such a person as an outcast. If a person does not offer meals to a Brahmin or ascetic who appears during meal time but accuses and angers him by using harsh words identify such a person as an outcast.”   

By birth is not one an outcast, by birth is not one a Brahmin, by deed is one an outcast by deed is one a Brahmin


“If a person shrouded with ignorance speaks harsh or false words with a view to gain something identify such a person as an outcast. If a person due to excessive pride and prejudice exalts himself and belittles others identify such a person as an outcast. If a person angers others, is avaricious cherishes base desires, selfish, deceitful and has no ear or shame for sins identify such a person as an outcast. If a person reviles the Enlightened One, a disciple of the Buddha, a recluse or a house holder identify such a person as an outcast. If a person who is not an Arahant pretends to be an Arahant he is a thief in the Universe with gods and Brahmas identify such a person as an outcast”.  


By birth is not one an outcast, by birth is not one a Brahmin, by deed is one an outcast by deed is one a Brahmin. An example can be cited to show that one is not an outcast by birth. Sopaka who was the son of an outcast came to be known as Maganda, he who was born to an outcast family gained the highest fame and many kshastriyas (warriors) and Brahmas came to attend to him.   


Sopaka who was ordained gave up passions and mounted the celestial chariot – the noble Eight fold path and reached the Brahma realm.  


His birth in a so called outcast family but it did not stand on his way to the Brahma realm. There are Brahmas born in the families of preceptors, kinsmen of (Veda) hymns who often command sins.  


They who are despised in the previous birth are born again in an evil state of existence. High birth cannot prevent them from the evil state or being despised. By birth is not one an outcast, by birth is not one a Brahmin. By deed or karma one becomes a Brahmin or an outcast.  


When Buddha said thus Brahmin Aggika Bharadvaja exclaimed,“O! Gautama, your teaching is superb”!  

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