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The Abuser —Bhikkhu Sujato

Linked Discourses 7

1. The Perfected Ones

2. The Abuser

1.1At one time the Buddha was staying near Rājagaha, in the Bamboo Grove, the squirrels’ feeding ground.

1.2The brahmin Bharadvāja the Rude heard a rumor that 2.1a brahmin of the Bharadvāja clan had gone forth from the lay life to homelessness in the presence of the ascetic Gotama. Angry and displeased he went to the Buddha and abused and insulted him with rude, harsh words. When he had spoken, the Buddha said to him:

2.2“What do you think, brahmin? 2.3Do friends and colleagues, relatives and family members, and guests still come to visit you?”

2.4“Sometimes they do, Master Gotama.”

2.5“Do you then serve them with a variety of foods and savories?”

2.6“Sometimes I do.”

2.7“But if they don’t accept it, brahmin, who does it belong to?”

2.8“In that case it still belongs to me.”

2.9“In the same way, brahmin, when you abuse, harass, and attack us who do not abuse, harass, and attack, we don’t accept it. 2.10It still belongs to you, brahmin, 2.11it still belongs to you!

3.1Someone who, when abused, harassed, and attacked, abuses, harasses, and attacks in return is said to eat the food and have a reaction to it. 3.2But we neither eat your food nor do we have a reaction to it. 3.3It still belongs to you, brahmin, 3.4it still belongs to you!”

3.5“The king and his retinue believe that Master Gotama is 3.6a perfected one. 3.7And yet he still gets angry.”

4.1“For one free of anger, tamed, living in balance,
4.2freed by right knowledge,
4.3at peace, poised:
4.4where would anger come from?

5.1When you get angry at an angry person
5.2you just make things worse for yourself.
5.3When you don’t get angry at an angry person
5.4you win a battle hard to win.

6.1When you know that the other is angry,
6.2you act for the good of both
6.3yourself and the other
6.4if you’re mindful and stay calm.

7.1People unfamiliar with the teaching
7.2consider one who heals both
7.3oneself and the other
7.4to be a fool.”

8.1When he had spoken, Bhāradvāja the Rude said to the Buddha, 8.2“Excellent, Master Gotama! … 8.3I go for refuge to Master Gotama, to the teaching, and to the mendicant Saṅgha. 8.4Sir, may I receive the going forth, the ordination in the Buddha’s presence?”

9.1And the brahmin Bhāradvāja the Rude received the going forth, the ordination in the Buddha’s presence. 9.2Not long after his ordination, Venerable Bhāradvāja the Rude, living alone, withdrawn, diligent, keen, and resolute, soon realized the supreme end of the spiritual path in this very life. He lived having achieved with his own insight the goal for which gentlemen rightly go forth from the lay life to homelessness.

9.3He understood: “Rebirth is ended; the spiritual journey has been completed; what had to be done has been done; there is no return to any state of existence.” 9.4And Venerable Bhāradvāja became one of the perfected.