Dhammapada Verse 399
aduttho yo titikkhati
tamaham brumi brahmanam.
Verse 399: Him I call a brahmana, who, without
anger endures abuse, beating and being bound, and to whom the strength of
patience is like the strength of an army.
The Story of the Abusive Brahmin Brothers
While residing at the Veluvana
monastery, the Buddha uttered Verse (399) of this book, with reference to the
abusive Bharadvaja brothers.
Once there was a brahmin, whose
wife was in the habit of blurting out a string of words whenever she sneezed or
when something or someone touched her unawares. One day, the brahmin invited
some of his friends to a meal and suddenly she blurted out some words. Since she
was a Sotapanna, the words "Namo tassa bhagavato arahato
sammsambhuddassa" automatically came out of her mouth. These words of
veneration to the Buddha were very much disliked by her husband, the brahmin.
So, in anger, he went to the Buddha hoping to put some challenging questions to
the Buddha. His first question was, "What do we have to kill to be able to
live happily and peacefully?" and his second question was, "Killing of
what dhamma do you approve of?" To these questions, the Buddha replied,
" O brahmin, to be able to live happily and peacefully, one will have to
kill ill will (dosa). Killing one's ill will is liked and praised by the Buddhas
and the arahats." After hearing the Buddha, the brahmin was so
impressed and satisfied with the answer that he asked to be permitted to enter
the Order. Accordingly, he entered the Order and later became an arahat.
This brahmin had a brother who
was very notorious for his abusive words and was known as Akkosaka Bharadvaja,
the abusive Bharadvaja. When Akkosaka Bharadvaja heard that his brother had
joined the Order of the bhikkhus, he was furious. He went straight away to the
monastery and abused the Buddha. The Buddha in his turn asked, "O
brahmin, let us suppose you offered some food to some guests and they left the
house without taking the food. Since the guests did not accept your food, to
whom would that food belong?" To this question the brahmin answered
that the food would be his. On receiving that answer, the Buddha said, "In
the same way, O brahmin, since I do not accept your abuse, the abuse would only
go back to you." Akkosaka Bharadvaja instantly realized the sagacity of
those words and he felt a great respect for the Buddha. He also entered the
Order and in due course became an arahat.
After Akkosaka Bharadvaja had
entered the Order, his two younger brothers also came to see the Buddha with the
same intention of abusing the Buddha. They too were made to see the light by the
Buddha and they also, in their turn, entered the Order. Eventually, both of them
One evening, at the congregation
of the bhikkhus, the bhikkhus said to the Buddha, "O how wonderful and how
great are the virtues of the Buddha! The four brahmin brothers came here to
abuse the Buddha; instead of arguing with them, he made them see the light, and
as a result, the Buddha has become a refuge to them." To them, the Buddha
replied, "Bhikkhus! Because I am patient and forbearing, and do no wrong
to those who do me wrong, I have become a refuge to many."
Then the Buddha spoke in verse as
|Verse 399: Him I call
a brahmana, who, without anger endures abuse, beating and being bound,
and to whom the strength of patience is like the strength of an army.