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 Chapter XXV - BHIKKHU VAGGA - The Bhikkhu or The Mendicant



Sabbaso nama rupasmim yassa natthi mamayitam
Asata ca na socati sa ve bhikkhu ti vuccati.

He who has no thought of 'I' and 'mine' whatever towards mind and body, he who grieves not for that which he has not, he is, indeed, called a bhikkhu. [367]

XXV: 06 All almsfood is the same

Once, there was a brahmin in Savatthi, who was very generous and always offered almsfood to the Buddha and his bhikkhus.

One day, the Buddha saw the brahmin and his wife in his vision and knew the couple would be able to attain Anagami. Accordingly, the Buddha set out for their house and stood at the door. The brahmin who was then having his meal did not see him. His wife saw him but she was afraid that her husband on seeing the Buddha, would offer all his food to the Enlightened One. Then she would have to cook again. With this thought in her mind, she stood in front of her husband so that he would not be able to see the Buddha. Then she quietly stepped backwards and slowly came to where the Buddha was standing and whispered, 'Venerable Sir! We do not have any almsfood for you today.' The Buddha just shook his head. Seeing his gesture, the brahmin's wife could not control herself and she burst out laughing.

At that instant, the brahmin turned round and saw the Buddha. At once he knew what his wife had done, and cried out, 'Wife, I am ruined. When our Venerable Teacher stood at the door you should have informed me. By failing to do so you have embarrassed me greatly.'Then, taking up his plate of rice, he approached the Buddha and apologetically requested, 'Venerable Sir! Please accept this rice which I have partly consumed. I am very sorry indeed that I have to offer you partly consumed food.' To him the Buddha replied, 'O brahmin! Any almsfood is suitable for me, whether it has been eaten or not.' The brahmin was very happy because his offering of food was accepted by the Buddha and he next asked by what standard a bhikkhu was judged and how a bhikkhu was defined. The Buddha knew that both the brahmin and his wife had already learned something about mind and body (nama-rupa), so he answered, 'O brahmin! One who is not attached to mind and body is called a bhikkhu.' At the conclusion of the discourse, both the brahmin and his wife attained the third stage of Sainthood.

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This webpage was updated 22nd March 2024