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Theragatha XII

(Selected suttas)


XII.2 -- Sunita the Outcaste

In a lowly family I was born,
poor, with next to no food.
My work was degrading:
I gathered the spoiled,
the withered flowers from shrines
    and threw them away.
People found me disgusting,
despised me, disparaged me.
Lowering my heart,
I showed reverence to many.

Then I saw the One Self-awakened,
arrayed with a squadron of monks,
the Great Hero, entering the city,
supreme, of the Magadhans.
Throwing down my carrying pole,
I approached him to do reverence.
He -- the supreme man -- stood still
    out of sympathy
    just
    for me.
After paying homage
to the feet of the teacher,
    I stood to one side
    & requested the Going Forth from him,
supreme among all living beings.
The compassionate Teacher,
sympathetic to all the world, said:
    "Come, monk."
That was my formal Acceptance.

Alone, I stayed in the wilds,
    untiring,
I followed the Teacher's words,
just as he, the Conqueror, had taught me.

In the first watch of the night,
    I recollected previous lives;
in the middle watch,
    purified the divine eye;
in the last,
    burst the mass of darkness.

Then, as night was ending
& the sun returning,
Indra & Brahma came to pay homage to me,
hands palm-to-palm at their hearts:
    "Homage to you, O thoroughbred of men,
    Homage to you, O man supreme,
    whose fermentations are ended.
    You, dear sir, are worthy of offerings."

Seeing me, arrayed with a squadron of devas,
the Teacher smiled & said:
    "Through austerity, celibacy,
    restraint, & self-control:
    That's how one is a brahmin.
    He is a brahmin supreme."

Source: ATI - For Free Distribution Only, as a Gift of Dhamma.

Dhamma Essay:
War and Peace by Ayya Khema


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