Bhikkhu or Brahmana



Bhikkhu or Brahmana :



What Buddha said… : Even though he may be well dressed, if he is calm, free from defilements with his senses controlled, established in the holy way, perfectly pure, and has laid aside enmity toward all beings, he is indeed a holy man, a renunciant, a monk.

ONCE THERE WAS A REBELLION against the king which one of his officers sucessfully suppressed. The king was immensely pleased and rewarded him handsomely with costly gifts and a dancing girl to keep him entertained and happy. For several days he was allowed to relax and enjoy himself, which he did with good food and wine, and the dancing girl was so beautiful and danced so gracefully that he eventually fell madly in love with her.

One morning as he was on his way to the river to take a bath, he ran into the Buddha and his disciples going on their almsround and bowed casually as a sign of respect.

The Buddha smiled and said to Ananda, “That officer will come to see me later today, and after I have preached to him, he will attain full enlightenment and then die. That officer will today realize Parinibbana."

The officer, however, had no idea what was in store for him that day. He continued entertaining his friends on the banks of the river, enjoying himself immensely. He was dizzy with delight as his lissom dancer ceaselessly swirled and twirled for their pleasure and amusement. That evening, however, the dancer collapsed from excessive exhaustion and died.

The officer felt so grieved that he went to the Buddha for some comfort and relief, his eyes still wet and swollen from all his weeping. The Buddha told him that the tears he was shedding due to his loss was nothing compared to the amount he had already shed throughout his previous lifetimes. “Isn’t it time to stop?" the Buddha asked him. “Desire is the root of your sorrow. Why not get rid of that and have no more sorrow?" At the end of the Buddha’s discourse, the officer attained arahatship. Soon after that, as the Buddha had predicted, he died.

The bhikkhus were curious to know whether the officer was a bhikkhu or a brahmana since he attained Parinibbana in the clothes of a layman. The Buddha said that he could be called both because it was not by external appearances that one became holy, but by whether one’s mind was pure and free from greed, hatred, and delusion.

What Buddha said… : Even though he may be well dressed, if he is calm, free from defilements with his senses controlled, established in the holy way, perfectly pure, and has laid aside enmity toward all beings, he is indeed a holy man, a renunciant, a monk.


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