The Great Chronicle of Buddhas

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

This page describes The Buddha’s Preaching to a Brahmin of Wrong Views 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 story of Māra. 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 7 - The Buddha’s Preaching to a Brahmin of Wrong Views

Once, while residing at Jetavana in Sāvatthi, the Buddha preached a sermon beginning with ‘Taṇhāya jāyatī soko’, etc. in connection with a certain brahmin. The story in detail is as follows:

One day, a brahmin, a citizen of Sāvatthi, who held wrong views, was clearing a farm land near the river Aciravati. The Buddha came to know that he had performed, in the past, an act that would contribute to his attainment of the Path and Fruition. The brahmin saw the Buddha but as he was of wrong views, he did not show his respect to the Buddha, not even talked to Him but kept silent. The Buddha Himself first addressed the brahmin, saying: “O Brahmin what are you doing?” The brahmin replied: “O Gotama, I am clearing the farmland.” With only a few such words on the first day, the Buddha went away.

The next day, too, the Buddha went to the brahmin and asked him what he was doing. The brahmin replied that he was ploughing the field. After hearing this reply the Buddha went away.

Again, the next day and the following days, the Buddha asked the brahmin what he was doing and he replied that he was sowing seeds, planting seedlings, weeding or looking after the field. The Buddha heard the brahmin’s answers which were appropriate to his work and went away,

In this way, owing to the frequency of the Buddha’s visit, the brahmin began to like and adore the Buddha. Wanting to make the Buddha his friend he said: “O Gotama, you have been visiting me since the day I cleared my farmland. If the farm yields good and abundant crops, I will share them with you. I will not consume them without giving you. From today you have become my friend.”

Then one day the crop on the brahmin’s field became ripe and mature and he decided to have them reaped the next day. But, while he was making preparations for the harvesting, rain fell heavily at night and swept away all the crops. So the whole farmland was stark barren like a field with all its crops removed.

Since the very day of his first visit, the Buddha had foreseen that the crops would come to nothing. But, if he started visiting the brahmin only after the destruction of the crops, His sermon would fall on deaf ears. He had, therefore, been visiting the brahmin from the day when the latter cleared the field, in this way the Buddha hoped to gain the brahmin’s confidence and intimacy that would make him receptive to the sermon to be given on the day when the crops were ruined.

The brahmin went early to his field and seeing his farmland stark empty, he was overwhelmed with grief.

“The monk Gotama has been visiting me since I cleared my field. I have told him that I will give Him a share of the crops after harvesting, that I will not consume them all by myself without giving Him and that He has become my friend. Now my desire will remain unfulfilled.”

So thinking, he returned home, ate nothing and lay down on his bed.

Then the Buddha went to the brahmin’s house. When the brahmin heard of the Buddha’s coming, he told the people in his house to bring his friend inside and to give Him a seat. They did according to his instructions. The Buddha sat down and asked where the brahmin was. They answered that he was lying on his bed in the room. Thereupon, He told them to bring the brahmin. The brahmin came and sat at a suitable place. Then He asked the brahmin what was wrong with him.

The brahmin said: “O Gotama! you have been visiting me ever since I cleared my farmland, I have promised to share the crops with You when they come out well. But now my desire cannot be fulfilled and I am overwhelmed with anguish. I did not want even to eat my meal.”

Then the Exalted One asked: “O Brahmin! Do you know why there arises grief in you?” The brahmin said: “I do not know, Gotama. But do you know?” The Exalted One replied: “Yes, I do. Grief and fear arises from craving.”

Then the Buddha preached the following verse.

Taṇhāya jāyatī soko
taṇhāya jāyatī bhayaṃ.
Taṇhāya vippamuttassa
natthi soko kuto bhayaṃ

O Brahmin, grief arises from craving. From craving arises fear. There is not the least grief in a person who has become free from craving through arahatship. How can fear arise in him since he has repudiated it at the moment of attaining the anāgāmī-magga?

At the end of the sermon, the brahmin attained the Fruition of Sotāpatti-magga.

     ——Dhammapada Commentary——

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