1:4  To Kasi Bhāradvāja

This sutta is nearly identical with SN 7:11—“nearly,” because the incident reported here of Kasi’s throwing away the milk-rice, and its sizzling in the water, is not included in that version.

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying among the Magadhans in Dakkhiṇāgiri near the brahman village of Ekanāḷā. Now at that time approximately 500 of the brahman Kasi [Plowing] Bhāradvāja’s plows were yoked at the sowing time. Then, in the early morning, after adjusting his lower robe and carrying his bowl & outer robe, the Blessed One went to where Kasi Bhāradvāja was working. Now at that time Kasi Bhāradvāja’s food-distribution was underway. So the Blessed One went to Kasi Bhāradvāja’s food-distribution and, on arrival, stood to one side. Kasi Bhāradvāja saw the Blessed One standing for alms, and on seeing him, said to him, “I, contemplative, plow & sow. Having plowed & sown, I eat. You, too, contemplative, should plow & sow. Having plowed & sown, you (will) eat.”

“I, too, brahman, plow & sow. Having plowed & sown, I eat.”

“But, contemplative, we don’t see the Master Gotama’s yoke or plow, plowshare, goad, or oxen, and yet the Master Gotama says this: ‘I, too, brahman, plow & sow. Having plowed & sown, I eat.’”

Then Kasi Bhāradvāja addressed the Blessed One with a verse:

You claim to be a plowman,

but we don’t see your plowing.

Being asked, tell us about your plowing

so that we may know your plowing.

The Buddha:

Conviction’s     my seed,

austerity     my rain,

discernment     my yoke & plow,

shame     my pole,

mind     my yoke-tie,

mindfulness     my plowshare & goad.

Guarded in body,

guarded in speech,

restrained in terms of belly & food,

I make truth a weeding-hook,

and composure my unyoking.

Persistence, my beast of burden,

bearing me toward rest from the yoke,

takes me, without turning back,

to where, having gone,

one doesn’t grieve.

That’s how my plowing is plowed.

It has

as its fruit

the deathless.

Having plowed this plowing,

one is unyoked

from all suffering

& stress.

Then Kasi Bhāradvāja, having heaped up milk-rice in a large bronze serving bowl, offered it to the Blessed One, [saying,] “May Master Gotama eat [this] milk-rice. The master is a plowman, for the Master Gotama plows the plowing that has as its fruit the deathless.”

The Buddha:

What’s been chanted over with verses

shouldn’t be eaten by me.

That’s not the nature, brahman,

of one who’s seen rightly.

What’s been chanted over with verses

Awakened Ones reject.

That being their Dhamma, brahman,

this is their way of life.

Serve with other food & drink

a fully-perfected great seer,

his effluents     ended,

his anxiety     stilled,

for that is the field

for one looking for merit.

“Then to whom, Master Gotama, should I give this milk-rice?”

“Brahman, I don’t see that person in this world—with its devas, Māras, & Brahmās, in this generation with its royalty & commonfolk—by whom this milk-rice, having been eaten, would be rightly digested, aside from a Tathāgata or a Tathāgata’s disciple. In that case, brahman, throw the milk-rice away in a place without vegetation, or dump it in water with no living beings.”

So Kasi Bhāradvāja dumped the milk-rice in water with no living beings. And the milk-rice, when dropped in the water, hissed & sizzled, seethed & steamed. Just as an iron ball heated all day, when tossed in the water, hisses & sizzles, seethes & steams, in the same way the milk-rice, when dropped in the water, hissed & sizzled, seethed & steamed.

Then Kasi Bhāradvāja—in awe, his hair standing on end—went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, throwing himself down with his head at the Blessed One’s feet, said to him, “Magnificent, Master Gotama! Magnificent! Just as if he were to place upright what was overturned, to reveal what was hidden, to show the way to one who was lost, or to carry a lamp into the dark so that those with eyes could see forms, in the same way has Master Gotama—through many lines of reasoning—made the Dhamma clear. I go to Master Gotama for refuge, to the Dhamma, & to the Saṅgha of monks. May Master Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone for refuge from this day forward, for life. Let me obtain the Going-forth in Master Gotama’s presence, let me obtain Acceptance (into the Bhikkhu Saṅgha).”

Then the brahman Kasi Bhāradvāja obtained the Going-forth in the Blessed One’s presence, he obtained Acceptance. And not long after his Acceptance—dwelling alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, & resolute—he in no long time reached & remained in the supreme goal of the holy life, for which clansmen rightly go forth from home into homelessness, knowing & realizing it for himself in the here-&-now. He knew: “Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world.” And so Ven. Bhāradvāja became another one of the arahants.

vv. 76–82

See also: DN 16; SN 7:14; SN 7:17; AN 4:113; Thig 13:2