The Great Chronicle of Buddhas

by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw | 1990 | 1,044,401 words

This page describes Account of The Lay Devotee Brahmin Pancagga Dayaka contained within the book called the Great Chronicle of Buddhas (maha-buddha-vamsa), a large compilation of stories revolving around the Buddhas and Buddhist disciples. This page is part of the series known as the Buddha’s Eighth Vassa at the Town of Susumaragira. This great chronicle of Buddhas was compiled by Ven. Mingun Sayadaw who had a thorough understanding of the thousands and thousands of Buddhist teachings (suttas).

Part 3 - An Account of The Lay Devotee Brahmin Pancagga Dayaka

After observing the eighth vassa and emancipating sentient beings, who were worthy of emancipation, by teaching Bodhi Raja Kumar Sutta and other discourses in the Bhesakala forest sanctuary, near the town of Susumaragira, the Buddha left for Savatthi to take up residence in the Jetavana Monastery.

There was a brahmin lay devotee by the name of Pancagga Dayaka. He was so named because of his habit of offering five kinds of stuff that came first and foremost in the process of production: (1) first ears of grains from his fields; (2) the first harvested grain; (3) the grain stored first in a granary (4) the cooked meal from the first pot (5) the first stuff laid on the breakfast table. (Pañca - five earliest products or stuff, and dāyakā—donor, hence Pañcagga-dāyakā).

The following is an illustration:—

i) He used to offer the first ears of corns, barley or oats from his fields to the Buddha and His Sangha in the form of gruel prepared with milk, in the belief that offering the first products will yield early benefits. This is the offering made of the first crop from the field.

ii) When the grain was mature and ripened, he had the grains put in a heap after threshing and winnowing and prepared them into meals and offered them first to the Buddha and His Sangha. This is the offering made of the grains from the first heap of the harvest.

iii) After storing the harvested crops in many granaries, when the first granary was opened, he had some grains from the first lot taken out and prepared them as meals for offering to the Buddha and His Sangha. This is the offering made of the grains from the first granary.

iv) The cooked food collected from each and every cooking pot was first offered to the bhikkhus. Until such an offering had been made to the Sangha, no one was permitted to partake of the food from the pots. This is the first offering made from the cooking pots.

v) He never take his breakfast before collecting certain amount for offering to the Buddha and His Sangha in the morning, and in the afternoon he collected certain amount from his dining table for offering to beggars, in whose absence, the collected food stuff was given to dogs. This is the offering made before he ever took his meals.

Thus he came to be known as Pañcagga-dāyakā, one who made offerings on five kinds of first occasions.

One early morning, the Buddha looked into the world by means of asayanusaya-ñāṇa and indriya-propriya-ñāṇa and perceived the previous supporting conditions of pañcaggadāyakā and his wife to be established in the sotāpatti-magga, and so He had Himself tidied up and remained in His own chamber, on that particular morning.

(All the bhikkhus in the monastery used to assemble at the Chamber of the Buddha at the time of going for alms-round every morning. They always went for receiving alms in the town with the Buddha leading. But the Buddha used to remain in the Chamber behind closed doors whenever He wanted to go all alone. On such occasions, bhikkhus went on alms-round all by themselves after circumambulating the Scented Chamber with tacit understanding that the Buddha would not go with them for reason known to Himself.)

On that day the Buddha remained in His Chamber, behind closed doors, at the time of going for receiving food. He came out only when it was time for pañcagga-dāyakā to have his meal.

He entered the city of Savatthi all by Himself, and the citizens knew that someone would be blessed by Him that day. They did not come out as usual to invite Him for alms-offering.

The Buddha went along the route from door to door, and stopped at the door of Pañcagga-dāyakā at the time when the Brahmin was holding a bowl of food to be eaten and his wife was in a state of preparedness to fan her husband while enjoying the food. His wife was the first person to notice the Buddha standing in front of their house. She tried to keep the Buddha out of sight of her husband by keeping the fan in between the Buddha and her husband. She knew that if her husband saw the Buddha, he would offer all the food in his bowl to the Buddha, thereby requiring her to make fresh preparation of food for her husband. At the same time, she was assailed with confusion and irreverence. The Buddha knew all about it and directed the rays from His body towards the couple. When the husband saw the golden coloured rays, he asked her: “What’s all this?” and he looked around and eventually saw the Buddha standing at the door of the house. Whereupon, the wife dropped the fan and hastened to the Buddha and paid homage and worshipped Him, in accordance with the time honoured traditional way.

The Buddha uttered a stanza in praise of her while she was in the act of standing up, as warranted by the favourable circumstance:

Sabbaso Nāmarūpasamiṃ
Yassa naṭṭhi mamāyitam
asatā ca na socati
sa ve bhikkhūti vuccati

One who has cut off clinging to mental and corporeal elements (nāmarūpa)without holding the erroneous views of ‘I’ or ‘my own’ and ‘he’ or ‘she’ is free from sorrow and lamentation. Because of cessation of nāma and rūpa, he has penetrated the dark mass of defilements and deserves to be regarded as a holy, noble bhikkhu.

The wife of the Brahmin was established in the Fruition stage of sotāpanna at the conclusion of this discourse.

The Buddha was invited by the Brahmin into his house and offered a seat. He then offered Him his share of the food, pouring water as a token of dedicating food to the Blessed One, saying: “Most Exalted Buddha, you are the most Homage-worthy personage in the world with devas and humans. May you receive my offer of food by the alms bowl.” The Blessed One fulfilled his request by receiving the food offered in His bowl and partaking it.

The Blessed One then uttered the following stanza after His meal, noting that the time was appropriate.

Yadaggato majihato sesato vā
piṇḍaṃ labhetha paradathepajīvī
nalam thuluṃ no be nipaccvādi
taṃ vāpi mira muni vedayantu

A bhikkhu lives on food enthusiastically offered by donors, either from the first portion or the middle portion or the last portion of the pot, as a normal means of livelihood. A bhikkhu gratefully does accept the food regardless of which part of the pot that morsel of food comes from. He is not over pleased to receive the first portion of food nor is he disturbed by being offered the leftovers. He has abandoned the likes and dislike. Such a person, who is regarded only by wise people as one who has eradicated the āsavas, is indifferent to the world and worldly incidents.

Pañcagga-dāyakā attained the Fruition stage of sotāpatti at the conclusion of the discourse.

(These are excerpts from Sutta Nipata Commentary, exposition on Muni Sutta, which is not in agreement with exposition in Dhammapada Commentary).

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