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Kasī Bhāradvāja

A brahmin of the Bhāradvāja clan, living at Ekanāḷā, in Dakkhiṇāgiri. The Buddha visited him in the eleventh year after the Enlightenment (Thomas, op.cit., p.117). The brahmin was so called on account of his profession of agriculture. On the day of his festive sowing (maṅgalavappa), the Buddha visited him alone (having seen his potential (upanissaya) for Arahantship), and stood near the place where food was being distributed to a very large number of people engaged in the festival. The brahmin, seeing the Buddha begging for alms, suggests that the Buddha should work for his living — plough and sow just as he does. (The Sūtrālaṅkāra says the brahmin threw water on the Buddha in order to drive him away; Sylvain Levy, JA.1908, xii.99).

The Buddha answers that he, too, is a farmer, and explains his meaning to the bewildered brahmin, who, greatly pleased, offers him a large bowl filled with milk-rice. The Buddha refuses the gift on the basis that Buddhas never accept wages for their discourses. At the Buddha’s own suggestion the food is cast into the river because no one is capable of digesting food once offered to a Tathāgata. (The food had become too rich because the gods had added ambrosia (ojā) to it; see also Mil.231). When the rice touches the water it crackles and smokes and the brahmin, greatly marvelling, falls at the Buddha’s feet and professes himself henceforth the Buddha’s follower. Soon after, he enters the Order, and in due course becomes an Arahant. Sn.12 ff; SnA.131 ff; the Saṃyuttanikāya does not mention his Arahantship (S.i.171 ff), though the Commentary does so (SA.i.188 ff).

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