Khuddaka Nikāya - The Minor Texts

Sutta Nipata

Sutta Nipata 2: The Lesser Chapter

2:7 Brahmanical Traditions

2:7 Brahmanical Traditions

So I have heard:

At one time the Buddha was staying near Sāvatthī in Jeta’s Grove, Anāthapiṇḍika’s monastery. Then several old and well-to-do brahmins of Kosala—elderly and senior, who were advanced in years and had reached the final stage of life—went up to the Buddha, and exchanged greetings with him. When the greetings and polite conversation were over, they sat down to one side and said to the Buddha: “Master Gotama, are the ancient traditions of the brahmins seen these days among brahmins?”

“No, brahmins, they are not.”

“If you wouldn’t mind, Master Gotama, please teach us the ancient traditions of the brahmins.”

“Well then, brahmins, listen and pay close attention, I will speak.”

“Yes, sir,” they replied. The Buddha said this:

284 “The ancient hermits used to be
restrained and austere.
Having given up the five sensual titillations,
they lived for their own true good.

285 Brahmins used to own no cattle,
nor gold or grain.
Chanting was their wealth and grain,
which they guarded as a gift from god.

286 Food was prepared for them
and left beside their doors.
People believed that food prepared in faith
should be given to them.

287 With colorful clothes,
clothes and bedding,
prosperous nations and countries
honored those brahmins.

288 Brahmins used to be inviolable and
invincible, protected by principle.
No-one ever turned them away
from the doors of families.


289 For forty-eight years
they led the spiritual life.
The brahmins of old pursued
their quest for knowledge and conduct.

290 Brahmins never transgressed with another,
nor did they purchase a wife.
They lived together in love,
joining together by mutual consent.

291 Brahmins never approached their wives for sex
during the time outside
the fertile phase of the menstrual cycle
after menstruation.

292 They praised celibacy and morality,
integrity, gentleness, and austerity,
gentleness and harmlessness,
and also patience.

293 He who was supreme among them,
godlike, staunchly vigorous,
did not engage in sex
even in a dream.

294 Training in line with their duties,
many smart people here
praised celibacy and morality,
and also patience.

295 They begged for rice,
bedding, clothes, ghee, and oil.
Having collected them legitimately,
they arranged a sacrifice.

296 But they slew no cows
while serving at the sacrifice.
Like a mother, father, or brother,
or some other relative,
cows are our best friends,
the fonts of medicine.

297 They give food and health,
and beauty and happiness.
Knowing these benefits,
they slew no cows.

298 The brahmins were delicate and tall,
beautiful and glorious.
They were keen on all the duties
required by their own traditions.
So long as they continued in the world,
people flourished happily.

299 But perversion crept into them
little by little when they saw
the splendor of the king
and the ladies in all their finery.

300 Their chariots were harnessed with thoroughbreds,
well-made with bright canopies,
and their homes and houses were
neatly laid out in measured rows.

301 They were lavished with herds of cattle,
and furnished with bevies of lovely ladies.
This extravagant human wealth
was coveted by the brahmins.

302 They compiled hymns to that end,
approached King Okkāka and said,
‘You have plenty of wealth and grain.
Sacrifice! For you have much treasure.
Sacrifice! For you have much wealth.’

303 Persuaded by the brahmins,
the king, chief of charioteers, performed
horse sacrifice, human sacrifice,
the sacrifices of the ‘casting of the yoke-pin’, the ‘royal soma drinking’, and the ‘unbarred’.
When he had carried out these sacrifices,
he gave riches to the brahmins.

304 There were cattle, bedding, and clothes,
and ladies in all their finery;
chariots harnessed with thoroughbreds,
well-made with bright canopies;

305 and lovely homes, all
neatly laid out in measured rows.
Having furnished them with different grains,
he gave riches to the brahmins.

306 When they got hold of that wealth,
they arranged to store it up.
Falling under the sway of desire,
their craving grew and grew.
They compiled hymns to that end,
approached King Okkāka once more and said,

307 ‘Like water and earth,
gold, riches, and grain,
are cows for humankind,
as they are essential for creatures.
Sacrifice! For you have much treasure.
Sacrifice! For you have much wealth.’

308 Persuaded by the brahmins,
the king, chief of charioteers,
had many hundred thousand cows
slain at the sacrifice.

309 Neither with feet nor with horns
do cows harm anyone at all.
Cows meek as lambs,
supply buckets of milk.
But taking them by the horns,
the king slew them with a sword.

310 At that the gods and the ancestors,
with Indra, the titans and monsters,
roared out: ‘This is a crime against nature!’
as the sword fell on the cows.

311 There used to be three kinds of illness:
greed, starvation, and old age.
But due to the slaughter of cows,
this grew to be ninety-eight.

312 This unnatural violence
has been passed down as an ancient custom.
Killing innocent creatures,
the sacrificers forsake righteousness.

313 And that is how this mean old practice
was criticized by sensible people.
Wherever they see such a thing,
folk criticize the sacrificer.

314 With righteousness gone,
merchants and workers were split,
as were many aristocrats,
and wives looked down on their husbands.

315 Aristocrats and Brahmā’s kinsmen
and others protected by their clan,
neglecting the lessons of ancestry,
fell under the sway of sensual pleasures.”

When he had spoken, those well-to-do brahmins said to the Buddha: “Excellent, Master Gotama! Excellent! … From this day forth, may Master Gotama remember us as lay followers who have gone for refuge for life.”


Evaṁ me sutaṁ:

Ekaṁ samayaṁ bhagavā sāvatthiyaṁ viharati jetavane anāthapiṇḍikassa ārāme. Atha kho sambahulā kosalakā brāhmaṇamahāsālā jiṇṇā vuḍḍhā mahallakā addhagatā vayoanuppattā yena bhagavā tenupasaṅkamiṁsu; upasaṅkamitvā bhagavatā saddhiṁ sammodiṁsu. Sammodanīyaṁ kathaṁ sāraṇīyaṁ vītisāretvā ekamantaṁ nisīdiṁsu. Ekamantaṁ nisinnā kho te brāhmaṇamahāsālā bhagavantaṁ etadavocuṁ:  "sandissanti nu kho, bho gotama, etarahi brāhmaṇā porāṇānaṁ brāhmaṇānaṁ brāhmaṇadhamme"ti?

"Na kho, brāhmaṇā, sandissanti etarahi brāhmaṇā porāṇānaṁ brāhmaṇānaṁ brāhmaṇadhamme"ti.

"Sādhu no bhavaṁ gotamo porāṇānaṁ brāhmaṇānaṁ brāhmaṇadhammaṁ bhāsatu, sace bhoto gotamassa agarū"ti.

"Tena hi, brāhmaṇā, suṇātha, sādhukaṁ manasi karotha, bhāsissāmī"ti.

"Evaṁ, bho"ti kho te brāhmaṇamahāsālā bhagavato paccassosuṁ. Bhagavā etadavoca: 

284"Isayo pubbakā āsuṁ,
saññatattā tapassino;
Pañca kāmaguṇe hitvā,

285 Na pasū brāhmaṇānāsuṁ,
na hiraññaṁ na dhāniyaṁ;
brahmaṁ nidhimapālayuṁ.

286 Yaṁ nesaṁ pakataṁ āsi,
dvārabhattaṁ upaṭṭhitaṁ;
dātave tadamaññisuṁ.

287 Nānārattehi vatthehi,
sayanehāvasathehi ca;
Phītā janapadā raṭṭhā,
te namassiṁsu brāhmaṇe.

288 Avajjhā brāhmaṇā āsuṁ,
ajeyyā dhammarakkhitā;
Na ne koci nivāresi,
kuladvāresu sabbaso.


289Aṭṭhacattālīsaṁ vassāni,
Brahmacariyaṁ cariṁsu te;
Acaruṁ brāhmaṇā pure.

290 Na brāhmaṇā aññamagamuṁ,
napi bhariyaṁ kiṇiṁsu te;
Sampiyeneva saṁvāsaṁ,
saṅgantvā samarocayuṁ.

291 Aññatra tamhā samayā,
utuveramaṇiṁ pati;
Antarā methunaṁ dhammaṁ,
nāssu gacchanti brāhmaṇā.

292 Brahmacariyañca sīlañca,
ajjavaṁ maddavaṁ tapaṁ;
Soraccaṁ avihiṁsañca,
khantiñcāpi avaṇṇayuṁ.

293 Yo nesaṁ paramo āsi,
Brahmā daḷhaparakkamo;
Sa vāpi methunaṁ dhammaṁ,
Supinantepi nāgamā.

294 Tassa vattamanusikkhantā,
Idheke viññujātikā;
Brahmacariyañca sīlañca,
Khantiñcāpi avaṇṇayuṁ.

295 Taṇḍulaṁ sayanaṁ vatthaṁ,
Sappitelañca yāciya;
Dhammena samodhānetvā,
Tato yaññamakappayuṁ.

296 Upaṭṭhitasmiṁ yaññasmiṁ,
Nāssu gāvo haniṁsu te;
Yathā mātā pitā bhātā,
Aññe vāpi ca ñātakā;
Gāvo no paramā mittā,
Yāsu jāyanti osadhā.

297 Annadā baladā cetā,
Vaṇṇadā sukhadā tathā;
Etamatthavasaṁ ñatvā,
Nāssu gāvo haniṁsu te.

298 Sukhumālā mahākāyā,
Vaṇṇavanto yasassino;
Brāhmaṇā sehi dhammehi,
Kiccākiccesu ussukā;
Yāva loke avattiṁsu,
Sukhamedhitthayaṁ pajā.

299 Tesaṁ āsi vipallāso,
Disvāna aṇuto aṇuṁ;
Rājino ca viyākāraṁ,
Nāriyo samalaṅkatā.

300 Rathe cājaññasaṁyutte,
Sukate cittasibbane;
Nivesane nivese ca,
Vibhatte bhāgaso mite.

301 Gomaṇḍalaparibyūḷhaṁ,
Uḷāraṁ mānusaṁ bhogaṁ,
Abhijjhāyiṁsu brāhmaṇā.

302 Te tattha mante ganthetvā,
Okkākaṁ tadupāgamuṁ;
Yajassu bahu te vittaṁ;
Yajassu bahu te dhanaṁ.

303 Tato ca rājā saññatto,
Brāhmaṇehi rathesabho;
Assamedhaṁ purisamedhaṁ,
Sammāpāsaṁ vājapeyyaṁ niraggaḷaṁ;
Ete yāge yajitvāna,
Brāhmaṇānamadā dhanaṁ.

304 Gāvo sayanañca vatthañca,
Nāriyo samalaṅkatā;
Rathe cājaññasaṁyutte,
Sukate cittasibbane.

305 Nivesanāni rammāni,
Suvibhattāni bhāgaso;
Nānādhaññassa pūretvā,
Brāhmaṇānamadā dhanaṁ.

306 Te ca tattha dhanaṁ laddhā,
Sannidhiṁ samarocayuṁ;
Tesaṁ icchāvatiṇṇānaṁ,
Bhiyyo taṇhā pavaḍḍhatha;
Te tattha mante ganthetvā,
Okkākaṁ puna mupāgamuṁ.

307 Yathā āpo ca pathavī ca,
Hiraññaṁ dhanadhāniyaṁ;
Evaṁ gāvo manussānaṁ,
Parikkhāro so hi pāṇinaṁ;
Yajassu bahu te vittaṁ,
Yajassu bahu te dhanaṁ.

308 Tato ca rājā saññatto,
Brāhmaṇehi rathesabho;
Nekā satasahassiyo,
Gāvo yaññe aghātayi.

309 Na pādā na visāṇena,
Nāssu hiṁsanti kenaci;
Gāvo eḷakasamānā,
Soratā kumbhadūhanā;
Tā visāṇe gahetvāna,
Rājā satthena ghātayi.

310 Tato devā pitaro ca,
Indo asurarakkhasā;
Adhammo iti pakkanduṁ,
Yaṁ satthaṁ nipatī gave.

311 Tayo rogā pure āsuṁ,
Icchā anasanaṁ jarā;
Pasūnañca samārambhā,

312 Eso adhammo daṇḍānaṁ,
Okkanto purāṇo ahu;
Adūsikāyo haññanti,
Dhammā dhaṁsanti yājakā.

313 Evameso aṇudhammo,
Porāṇo viññugarahito;
Yattha edisakaṁ passati,
Yājakaṁ garahatī jano.

314 Evaṁ dhamme viyāpanne,
Vibhinnā suddavessikā;
Puthū vibhinnā khattiyā,
Patiṁ bhariyāvamaññatha.

315 Khattiyā brahmabandhū ca,
Ye caññe gottarakkhitā;
Jātivādaṁ nirākatvā,
Kāmānaṁ vasamanvagun"ti.

Evaṁ vutte, te brāhmaṇamahāsālā bhagavantaṁ etadavocuṁ:  "Abhikkantaṁ, bho gotama … pe … upāsake no bhavaṁ gotamo dhāretu ajjatagge pāṇupete saraṇaṁ gate"ti.

Brāhmaṇadhammikasuttaṁ sattamaṁ.