Chapter XXVI - BRAHMANA VAGGA - The Brahmana

A BRAHMANA IS HE WHO IS PURE

A BRAHMANA IS HE WHO HAS TRANSCENDED GOOD AND EVIL

Candam' va vimalam suddham vippasannam anavilam
Nandi bhava parikkhinam tam aham brumi bhahmanam.
[413]


He who is spotless as the moon, who is pure, serene, and unperturbed,who has destroyed craving for becoming, - him I call a brahmana. [413]



XXVI:30 The youth with a shining body (Candabha)

Venerable Candabha, in a previous existence, had made offerings of sandalwood to a stupa where the relics of Kassapa Buddha were enshrined. For this good deed, he was reborn in a brahmin family in Savatthi, with distinguishing mark, viz., a circle of light radiating from his navel. As this circle of light resembled the moon, he came to be known as Candabha. Some brahmins, taking advantage of his unusual feature, took him to the city to exhibit him and only those who paid money were allowed to touch him. On one occasion, they came to a place near the Jetavana monastery. To the devotees going to the Jetavana monastery, they said, 'What is the use of you going to the Buddha and listening to his Dhamma. There is no one who is as powerful as Candabha. One who touches him will get rich; why don't you come and see?' The devotees replied, 'Only our Teacher is powerful. He is unrivalled and matchless.'


Then the brahmins took Candabha to the Jetavana monastery to compete with the Buddha. But when he was in the presence of the Buddha, the ring of light went out by itself. When he was taken out of sight of the Buddha, the ring of light returned automatically; it again disappeared when taken back to the presence of the Buddha. Candabha then thought to himself, 'Without a doubt the Buddha knows the skill by which he can make this light disappear.' So he urged the Buddha to teach him the skill. However, the Buddha advised him to enter the Holy Order first before he would teach him the skill.


Candabha then told his brahmin friends to wait for him while he entered the Holy Order to learn the skill. As a monk, he was instructed to contemplate on the body, i.e., to reflect on the repulsiveness and impurity of the thirty-two parts of the body. Within a few days, Candabha attained Arahanthood. When those brahmins came and enquired whether he had acquired the skill, Candabha replied, 'You people had better go back now. As for me, I am not interested to go away from this place.' When other bhikkhus reported what Candabha had said, the Buddha, replied, 'Candabha speaks the truth; he has eradicated all his mental impurities.

Notes:

  1. Undisturbed by defilements.

*On another occasion the Buddha remarked that those who perform miracles to gain followers are like tradespeople who employ dancing girls to sell their wares.