Majjhima Nikaya


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Majjhima Nikāya
II. Majjhima-Paṇṇāsa
5. Brāhmaṇa Vagga

The Middle Length Sayings
II. The Middle Fifty Discourses
5. The Division on Brahmans

Sutta 96

Phasukārī or Esukārī Suttaɱ

Discourse with Esukārī

Translated from the Pali by I.B. Horner, M.A.
Associate of Newham College, Cambridge
First Published in 1954

Copyright The Pali Text Society
Commercial Rights Reserved
Creative Commons Licence
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[1][chlm][upal] THUS have I heard:

At one time the Lord was staying near Sāvatthī
in the Jeta Grove in Anāthapiṇḍika's monastery.

Then the brahman Esukārī approached the Lord;
having approached,
he exchanged greetings with the Lord,
and having conversed in a friendly and courteous way,
he sat down at a respectful distance.

As he was sitting down at a respectful distance,
Esukārī the brahman spoke thus to the Lord:

"Brahmans, good Gotama,
lay down four (types of) service:

they lay down service for a brahman,
they lay down service for a noble,
they lay down service for a merchant,
they lay down service for a worker.

As to this, good Gotama,
brahmans lay down service for a brahman,
saying:

'A brahman may serve a brahman,
or a noble may serve a brahman,
or a merchant may serve a brahman,
or a worker may serve a brahman.'

This is the service, good Gotama,
that brahmans lay down for a brahman.

As to this, good Gotama,
brahmans lay down service for a noble,
saying:|| ||

'A noble may serve a noble
or a merchant may serve a noble
or a worker may serve a noble.'

This is the service, good Gotama,
that brahmans lay down for a noble.

As to this, good Gotama,
brahmans lay down service for a merchant,
saying:

'A merchant may serve a merchant
or a worker may serve a merchant.'

This is the service, good Gotama,
that brahmans lay down for a merchant.

As to this, good Gotama,
brahmans lay down service for a worker,
saying:

'A worker may serve a worker.

For who else could serve a worker?'

This is the [367] service, good Gotama,
that brahmans lay down for a worker.

Brahmans, good Gotama,
lay down these four (types of) service.

What does the good Gotama say about this?"

"But, brahman, does everyone agree with the brahmans
when they lay down these four (types of) service?"

"No, good Gotama."

"Like a poor
needy
destitute man[1]
on whom they might force a morsel
(of meat although)
he did not want it,
saying:

'You must eat this meat, my good man,
and you must hand over a price for it as well' -

even so, brahman,
do the brahmans -
and moreover
without the assent of recluses and brahmans -
lay down these four (types of) service.

I, brahman, do not say
that everyone should serve.

But, brahman, I do not say
that everyone should not serve.

For if, brahman,
there is a servitor
who is worse for his service,
not better,
I do not say that he should serve.

But if, brahman, there is a servitor
who is better for his service,
not worse,
I say that he should serve.

 


 

And if, brahman, one should ask a noble,
saying:

'Is your servitor worse,
not better,
as a result of his service;
or is your servitor, better,
not worse,
as a result of his service?

And so which one should you be served by?'

- then the noble, brahman,
in replying rightly
would reply thus:

'The servitor who is worse,
not better,
as a result of serving me -
I should not be served by him.

But the servitor who is better,
not worse,
as a result of serving me -
I should be served by him.'

And if, brahman, one should ask a brahman,
saying:

'Is your servitor worse,
not better,
as a result of his service;
or is your servitor, better,
not worse,
as a result of his service?

And so which one should you be served by?'

- then the brahman, brahman,
in replying rightly
would reply thus:

'The servitor who is worse,
not better,
as a result of serving me -
I should not be served by him.

But the servitor who is better,
not worse,
as a result of serving me -
I should be served by him.'

And if, brahman, one should ask a merchant,
saying:

'Is your servitor worse,
not better,
as a result of his service;
or is your servitor, better,
not worse,
as a result of his service?

And so which one should you be served by?'

- then the merchant, brahman,
in replying rightly
would reply thus:

'The servitor who is worse,
not better,
as a result of serving me -
I should not be served by him.

But the servitor who is better,
not worse,
as a result of serving me -
I should be served by him.'

And if, brahman, one should ask a worker,
saying:

'Is your servitor worse,
not better,
as a result of his service;
or is your servitor, better,
not worse,
as a result of his service?

And so which one should you be served by?'

- then the worker, brahman,
in replying rightly
would reply thus:

'The servitor who is worse,
not better,
as a result of serving me -
I should not be served by him.

But the servitor who is better,
not worse,
as a result of serving me -
I should be served by him.'

 


 

I, brahman, do not speak of 'better'
because of birth in a high-class family.[2]

But, brahman, I do not speak of 'worse'
because of birth in a high-class family.

I, brahman, do not speak of 'better'
because of splendour of complexion.[3]

But, brahman, I do not speak of 'worse'
because of splendour of complexion.

I, brahman, do not speak of 'better'
because of splendour of possessions,[4]

But I, brahman, do not speak of 'worse'
because of splendour of possessions.

For, as to this, brahman,
someone from a high-class [368] family
makes onslaught on creatures,
takes what has not been given,
wrongly enjoys pleasures of the senses,
is a liar,
of slanderous speech,
of harsh speech,
a gossip,
covetous,
malevolent in mind,
of wrong view.

Therefore I do not speak of 'better'
because of birth in a high-class family.

But, as to this, brahman,
someone from a high-class family
may refrain from onslaught on creatures,
from taking what has not been given,
from wrongly enjoying pleasures of the senses,
from lying,
from slanderous speech,
from harsh speech,
from gossiping,
and be not covetous,
not malevolent in mind,
of right view.

Therefore I do speak of 'worse'
because of birth in a high-class family.

For, as to this, brahman,
someone with splendour of complexion
makes onslaught on creatures,
takes what has not been given,
wrongly enjoys pleasures of the senses,
is a liar,
of slanderous speech,
of harsh speech,
a gossip,
covetous,
malevolent in mind,
of wrong view.

Therefore I do not speak of 'better'
because of splendour of complexion.

But, as to this, brahman,
someone with splendour of complexion
may refrain from onslaught on creatures,
from taking what has not been given,
from wrongly enjoying pleasures of the senses,
from lying,
from slanderous speech,
from harsh speech,
from gossiping,
and be not covetous,
not malevolent in mind,
of right view.

Therefore I do speak of 'worse'
because of splendour of complexion.

For, as to this, brahman,
someone with splendour of possessions
makes onslaught on creatures,
takes what has not been given,
wrongly enjoys pleasures of the senses,
is a liar,
of slanderous speech,
of harsh speech,
a gossip,
covetous,
malevolent in mind,
of wrong view.

Therefore I do not speak of 'better'
because of splendour of possessions.

But, as to this, brahman,
someone with splendour of possessions
may refrain from onslaught on creatures,
from taking what has not been given,
from wrongly enjoying pleasures of the senses,
from lying,
from slanderous speech,
from harsh speech,
from gossiping,
and be not covetous,
not malevolent in mind,
of right view.

Therefore I do speak of 'worse'
because of splendour of possessions.

I, brahman, do not say that everyone should serve.

But, brahman, I do not say that everyone should not serve.

That servitor, brahman,
in whom as a result of his service
faith grows,
moral habit grows,
learning grows,
renunciation grows,
wisdom grows,[5]
I say of him that he should serve."

 


 

When this had been said, Esukārī the brahman
spoke thus to the Lord:

"Brahmans, good Gotama,
lay down four (types of) treasure:[6]
they lay down a brahman's wealth,[7]
they lay down a noble's wealth,
they lay down a merchant's wealth,
they lay down a worker's wealth.

In regard to this, good Gotama,
brahmans lay down that a brahman's wealth
is walking for alms.[8]

But, on despising the wealth
of walking for alms,
a brahman is one
who does not meet his obligations
and is like a guardian
taking what has not been given.

This, good Gotama, is how brahmans
lay down a brahman's wealth.

In regard to this, good Gotama,
brahmans lay down that a noble's wealth
is the bow and quiver.

But, on despising the wealth of bow and quiver,
a noble is one
who does not meet his obligations
and is like a guardian
taking what has not been given.

This, good Gotama, is how brah- [369] mans
lay down a noble's wealth.

In regard to this, good Gotama,
brahmans lay down
that a merchant's[9] wealth
is agriculture and cow-keeping.[10]

But, on despising the wealth of agriculture and cow-keeping,
a merchant is one
who does not meet his obligations
and is like a guardian
taking what has not been given.

This, good Gotama, is how brahmans
lay down a merchant's wealth.

In regard to this, good Gotama,
brahmans lay down
that a worker's wealth is the sickle and pingo.

But, on despising the wealth of sickle and pingo,
a worker is one
who does not meet his obligations
and is like a guardian
taking what has not been given.

This, good Gotama, is how brahmans
lay down a worker's wealth.

Brahmans, good Gotama,
lay down these four (types of) treasure.

What does the good Gotama say about this?"

"But, brahman, does everyone agree with the brahmans
when they lay down these four (types of) treasure?"

"No, good Gotama."

"Like a poor
needy
destitute man
on whom they might force a morsel
(of meat although)
he did not want it,
saying:

'You must eat this meat, my good man,
and you must hand over a price for it as well' -

even so, brahman,
do the brahmans -
and moreover
without the assent of recluses and brahmans -
lay down these four (types of) treasure.

 


 

Now I, brahman, lay down
that a man's wealth is dhamma,
ariyan,
supermundane.

On recollecting his ancient family lineage
on his maternal and paternal sides,[10]
wherever it is
that there is the production of an individuality,[11]
it is reckoned in accordance with that.

So, if there is the production of an individuality
in a noble family,
it is reckoned as a noble.

If there is the production of an individuality
in a brahman family,
it is reckoned as a brahman.

If there is the production of an individuality
in a merchant family,
it is reckoned as a merchant.

If there is the production of an individuality
in a worker family,
it is reckoned as a worker.

As a fire, brahman,
no matter on account of what condition it burns,
is reckoned precisely as that:

if the fire burns
because of dry sticks
it is reckoned as a dry stick fire;
if the fire burns because of chips
it is reckoned as a fire of chips;
if the fire burns
because of grass
it is reckoned as a grass fire;
if the fire burns
because of cowdung
it is reckoned as a cowdung fire
-even so, brahman,
do I lay down that a man's wealth is dhamma,
ariyan,
supermundane.

On recollecting his ancient family lineage
on his maternal and paternal sides,
wherever it is that there is the production of an individuality,
it is reckoned in accordance with that.

So, if there is the production of an individuality
in a noble family,
[370]it is reckoned precisely as a noble.

If there is the production of an individuality
in a brahman family,
it is reckoned precisely as a brahman.

If there is the production of an individuality
in a merchant family,
it is reckoned precisely as a merchant.

If there is the production of an individuality
in a worker family,
it is reckoned precisely as a worker.

 


 

But if, brahman,
one who has gone forth from home
into homelessness
from a noble family,
owing to the dhamma and discipline
promulgated by the Tathāgata
refrains from onslaught on creatures,
from taking what has not been given,
from unchastity,
lying,
slanderous speech,
harsh speech,
gossiping,
is not covetous,
not malevolent in mind
and is of right view,
he is accomplishing the right path,
dhamma,
what is skilled.[12]

And if, brahman,
one who has gone forth from home
into homelessness
from a brahman family,
owing to the dhamma and discipline
promulgated by the Tathāgata
refrains from onslaught on creatures,
from taking what has not been given,
from unchastity,
lying,
slanderous speech,
harsh speech,
gossiping,
is not covetous,
not malevolent in mind
and is of right view,
he is accomplishing the right path,
dhamma,
what is skilled.

And if, brahman,
one who has gone forth from home
into homelessness
from a merchant family,
owing to the dhamma and discipline
promulgated by the Tathāgata
refrains from onslaught on creatures,
from taking what has not been given,
from unchastity,
lying,
slanderous speech,
harsh speech,
gossiping,
is not covetous,
not malevolent in mind
and is of right view,
he is accomplishing the right path,
dhamma,
what is skilled.

And if, brahman,
one who has gone forth from home
into homelessness
from a worker family,
owing to the dhamma and discipline
promulgated by the Tathāgata
refrains from onslaught on creatures,
from taking what has not been given,
from unchastity,
lying,
slanderous speech,
harsh speech,
gossiping,
is not covetous,
not malevolent in mind
and is of right view,
he is accomplishing the right path,
dhamma,
what is skilled.

 


 

What do you think about this, brahman?

On this supposition,
is it only a brahman
who is capable of developing a mind of friendliness
that is without enmity,
without malevolence?

And not a noble,
not a merchant,
not a worker?"[13]

"That is not so, good Gotama.

For on this supposition
a noble too
is capable of developing a mind of friendliness
that is without enmity,
without malevolence,
and so is a brahman, good Gotama,
and so is a merchant, good Gotama,
and so is a worker, good Gotama -
so, good Gotama,
on this supposition
all the four castes
are capable of developing a mind of friendliness
that is without enmity,
without malevolence."

"Even so, brahman, if
one who has gone forth from home
into homelessness
from a noble family,
owing to the dhamma and discipline
promulgated by the Tathāgata
refrains from onslaught on creatures,
from taking what has not been given,
from unchastity,
lying,
slanderous speech,
harsh speech,
gossiping,
is not covetous,
not malevolent in mind
and is of right view,
he is accomplishing the right path,
dhamma,
what is skilled.

And if, brahman,
one who has gone forth from home
into homelessness
from a brahman family,
owing to the dhamma and discipline
promulgated by the Tathāgata
refrains from onslaught on creatures,
from taking what has not been given,
from unchastity,
lying,
slanderous speech,
harsh speech,
gossiping,
is not covetous,
not malevolent in mind
and is of right view,
he is accomplishing the right path,
dhamma,
what is skilled.

And if, brahman,
one who has gone forth from home
into homelessness
from a merchant family,
owing to the dhamma and discipline
promulgated by the Tathāgata
refrains from onslaught on creatures,
from taking what has not been given,
from unchastity,
lying,
slanderous speech,
harsh speech,
gossiping,
is not covetous,
not malevolent in mind
and is of right view,
he is accomplishing the right path,
dhamma,
what is skilled.

And if, brahman,
one who has gone forth from home
into homelessness
from a worker family,
owing to the dhamma and discipline
promulgated by the Tathāgata
refrains from onslaught on creatures,
from taking what has not been given,
from unchastity,
lying,
slanderous speech,
harsh speech,
gossiping,
is not covetous,
not malevolent in mind
and is of right view,
he is accomplishing the right path,
dhamma,
what is skilled.

 


 

What do you think about this, brahman?

Is it only a brahman
who, taking a back-scratcher and bath-powder[14]
and going to a river,
is capable of cleansing himself of dust and mud?

And not a noble,
not a merchant,
not a worker?"

"That is not so, good Gotama.

A noble too, good Gotama, [371] taking a back-scratcher and bath-powder
and going to a river,
is capable of cleansing himself of dust and mud.

And so is a brahman, good Gotama,
and so is a merchant, good Gotama,
and so is a worker, good Gotama -
so, good Gotama,
all the four castes,
taking a back-scratcher and bath-powder
and going to a river,
are capable of cleansing themselves of dust and mud."

"Even so, brahman, if
one who has gone forth from home
into homelessness
from a noble family,
owing to the dhamma and discipline
promulgated by the Tathāgata
refrains from onslaught on creatures,
from taking what has not been given,
from unchastity,
lying,
slanderous speech,
harsh speech,
gossiping,
is not covetous,
not malevolent in mind
and is of right view,
he is accomplishing the right path,
dhamma,
what is skilled.

And if, brahman,
one who has gone forth from home
into homelessness
from a brahman family,
owing to the dhamma and discipline
promulgated by the Tathāgata
refrains from onslaught on creatures,
from taking what has not been given,
from unchastity,
lying,
slanderous speech,
harsh speech,
gossiping,
is not covetous,
not malevolent in mind
and is of right view,
he is accomplishing the right path,
dhamma,
what is skilled.

And if, brahman,
one who has gone forth from home
into homelessness
from a merchant family,
owing to the dhamma and discipline
promulgated by the Tathāgata
refrains from onslaught on creatures,
from taking what has not been given,
from unchastity,
lying,
slanderous speech,
harsh speech,
gossiping,
is not covetous,
not malevolent in mind
and is of right view,
he is accomplishing the right path,
dhamma,
what is skilled.

And if, brahman,
one who has gone forth from home
into homelessness
from a worker family,
owing to the dhamma and discipline
promulgated by the Tathāgata
refrains from onslaught on creatures,
from taking what has not been given,
from unchastity,
lying,
slanderous speech,
harsh speech,
gossiping,
is not covetous,
not malevolent in mind
and is of right view,
he is accomplishing the right path,
dhamma,
what is skilled.

 


 

What do you think about this, brahman?

If[15] a noble anointed king
were to assemble a hundred men of varying origins
saying to them:

'Let the good sirs come;
and let those who are of noble,
priestly
and royal families,
bringing an upper piece of fire-stick
of teak
or sāl
or of a sweet-scented tree
or of sandal
or lotus,
light a fire
and get it to give out heat.

But let the good sirs come;
and let those who are from a despised family,
a trapper family,
a bamboo-plaiter family,
a cartwright family,
a scavenger family,
bringing an upper piece of fire-stick
from a dog's trough
or a pig's trough
or from a trough for dyeing
or dry sticks from castor-oil shrub,
light a fire
and get it to give out heat.'

What do you think about this, brahman?

Is the fire that is lit
and the heat that is got by someone -
no matter whether he be from a noble,
priestly
or royal family,
and no matter whether he bring an upper piece of fire-stick
of teak
or sāl
or of a sweet-scented tree
or of sandal
or lotus -
is it a fire
that has flame
and hue
and brightness
and, being this fire,
is it able to serve the purposes of a fire?

But is the fire that is lit
and the heat that is got by someone -
no matter whether he be from a despised family,
a trapper family,
a bamboo-plaiter family,
a cartwright family,
a scavenger family,
and no matter whether he bring an upper piece of fire-stick
from a dog's trough
or a pig's trough
or from a trough for dyeing
or dry sticks from a castor-oil shrub -
is it a fire
that has neither flame
nor hue
nor brightness
and, being this fire,
is it unable to serve the purposes of a fire?"

"That is not so, good Gotama.

Whoever from a noble,
priestly
or royal family,
bringing an upper piece of fire-stick
of teak
or sāl
or of a sweet-scented tree
or of sandal
or lotus,
lights a fire
and gets it to give out heat -
this fire has flame
and hue
and brightness
and is able to serve the purposes of a fire.

And too,
whoever from a despised family,
a trapper family,
a bamboo-plaiter family,
a cartwright family,
a scavenger family,
bringing an upper piece of fire-stick
from a dog's trough
or a pig's trough
or a trough for dyeing
or dry sticks from a castor-oil shrub,
lights a fire
and gets it to give out heat -
this fire too
has flame
and hue
and brightness
and is able to serve the purposes of a fire.

So, good Gotama,
all these fires
have flame
and hue
and brightness
and are able to serve the purposes of a fire."

"Even so, brahman, if
one who has gone forth from home
into homelessness
from a noble family,
owing to the dhamma and discipline
promulgated by the Tathāgata
refrains from onslaught on creatures,
from taking what has not been given,
from unchastity,
lying,
slanderous speech,
harsh speech,
gossiping,
is not covetous,
not malevolent in mind
and is of right view,
he is accomplishing the right path,
dhamma,
what is skilled.

And if, brahman,
one who has gone forth from home
into homelessness
from a brahman family,
owing to the dhamma and discipline
promulgated by the Tathāgata
refrains from onslaught on creatures,
from taking what has not been given,
from unchastity,
lying,
slanderous speech,
harsh speech,
gossiping,
is not covetous,
not malevolent in mind
and is of right view,
he is accomplishing the right path,
dhamma,
what is skilled.

And if, brahman,
one who has gone forth from home
into homelessness
from a merchant family,
owing to the dhamma and discipline
promulgated by the Tathāgata
refrains from onslaught on creatures,
from taking what has not been given,
from unchastity,
lying,
slanderous speech,
harsh speech,
gossiping,
is not covetous,
not malevolent in mind
and is of right view,
he is accomplishing the right path,
dhamma,
what is skilled.

And if, brahman,
one who has gone forth from home
into homelessness
from a worker family,
owing to the dhamma and discipline
promulgated by the Tathāgata
refrains from onslaught on creatures,
from taking what has not been given,
from unchastity,
lying,
slanderous speech,
harsh speech,
gossiping,
is not covetous,
not malevolent in mind
and is of right view,
he is accomplishing the right path,
dhamma,
what is skilled.

When this had been said
the brahman Esukārī spoke thus to the Lord:

"It is excellent, good Gotama,
excellent, good Gotama.

It is as if, good Gotama,
one might set upright what had been upset,
or might disclose what was covered,
or point out the way
to one who had gone astray,
or might bring an oil-lamp into the darkness
so that those with vision might see material shapes -
even so is dhamma made clear
in many a figure by the good Gotama.

I am going to the revered Gotama for refuge,
and to dhamma
and to the Order of monks.

May the revered Gotama accept me
as a lay-follower,
one gone for refuge from today forth
for as long as life lasts."

Discourse with Esukārī:
The Sixth

 


[1] As at A. iii. 384. See also M, i. 450.

[2] MA. iii. 428, noble and brahman.

[3] MA. iii. 428, even a merchant has a splendid complexion.

[4] MA. iii. 428, even a worker, indeed even a member of a despised class, may have splendid possessions.

[5] At A. iii. 80 = S. iv, 250 these five ways of growing constitute ariyan growth.

[6] dhana.

[7] sandhana, assets, resources, belongings.

[8] Even if a brahman is very rich he should walk for alms as did at one time the rich brahmans of old, MA. iii. 428.

[9] vessa, which I have translated throughout by "merchant" could only be a merchant-trader if he first provided himself with something to sell, mainly grains and the products of the cow.

[10] Cf. D. i. 93.

[11] attabhāvassa abhinibbatti, two very complex words.

[12] Cf. M. i. 502 (above, p. 182), M. ii. 197 (below, p. 386).

[13] Cf. M. ii. 151 (above, p. 343).

[14] Cf. M. ii. 151.

[15] As at M. ii. 151-152.

 


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