Akkosa Sutra


I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Rajagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrels’ Sanctuary. Then the Brahmin Akkosaka (“Insulter”) Bharadvaja heard that a Brahmin of the Bharadvaja clan had gone forth from the home life into homelessness in the presence of the Blessed One. Angered and displeased, he went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, insulted and cursed him with rude, harsh words.

When this was said, the Blessed One said to him: “What do you think, Brahmin: Do friends and colleagues, relatives and kinsmen come to you as guests?”

“Yes, Master Gautama, sometimes friends and colleagues, relatives and kinsmen come to me as guests.”

“And what do you think: Do you serve them with staple and non-staple foods and delicacies?”

“Yes, sometimes I serve them with staple and non-staple foods and delicacies.”

“And if they don’t accept them, to whom do those foods belong?”

“If they don’t accept them, Master Gautama, those foods are all mine.”

“In the same way, Brahmin, that with which you have insulted me, who is not insulting; that with which you have taunted me, who is not taunting; that with which you have berated me, who is not berating: that I don’t accept from you. It’s all yours, Brahmin. It’s all yours.

“Whoever returns insult to one who is insulting, returns taunts to one who is taunting, returns a berating to one who is berating, is said to be eating together, sharing company, with that person. But I am neither eating together nor sharing your company, Brahmin. It’s all yours. It’s all yours.”

“The king together with his court know this of Master Gautama — ‘Gautama the contemplative is an arhat’ — and yet still Master Gautama gets angry.” [1]

[The Buddha:]

Whence is there anger
for one free from anger,
living in tune —
one released through right knowing,
and Such.

You make things worse
when you flare up
at someone who’s angry.
Whoever doesn’t flare up
at someone who’s angry
wins a battle
hard to win.

You live for the good of both
— your own, the other’s —
when, knowing the other’s provoked,
you mindfully grow calm.

When you work the cure of both
— your own, the other’s —
those who think you a fool
know nothing of Dhamma.

When this was said, the Brahmin Akkosaka Bharadvaja said to the Blessed One, “Magnificent, Master Gautama! Magnificent! Just as if he were to place upright what had been overturned, were to reveal what was hidden, were to show the way to one who was lost, or were to hold up a lamp in the dark so that those with eyes could see forms, in the same way Master Gautama has — through many lines of reasoning — made the Dhamma clear. I go to the Blessed One for refuge, to the Dhamma, and to the community of monks. Let me obtain the going forth in Master Gautama’s presence, let me obtain admission.”

Then the Brahmin Akkosaka Bharadvaja received the going forth and the admission in the Blessed One’s presence. And not long after his admission — dwelling alone, secluded, heedful, ardent, and resolute — he in no long time reached and remained in the supreme goal of the holy life, for which clansmen rightly go forth from home into homelessness, knowing and realizing it for himself in the here and now. He knew: “Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world.” And so Ven. Bharadvaja became another one of the Arhats.


1. Akkosaka thinks that the Buddha is cursing him — and thus angry — when actually the Buddha is simply stating a fact in line with the law of karma

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