Saturday, January 11, 2014

Abusing the Buddha (sutra)

Seth Auberon and Amber Larson, Wisdom Quarterly based on Acharya Buddharakkhita translation of the Discourse on "Abuse" or "Reviling" (Akkosa Sutra, SN 7.2)
Anger motivated by delusion, wrong view, greed, frustration, a terrible thing (PB)
Cartoon anger and cruelty. Like it or lump it! (

Afghan Gandhara Buddha Maitreya (Boonlieng/flickr)
Once the Blessed One was staying at Rajagaha [the "Royal Ringed City," capital of Magadha] in the Bamboo Grove near the Squirrels' Feeding Ground.

The Brahmin Akkosa-Bharadvaja [Akkosaka* of the clan of Bharadvaja Brahmins, whose nickname literally means "The Reviler" according to M. Walshe] heard this about his brother:
"The Brahmin Bharadvaja, it seems, has become a monk under the great ascetic Gotama (the Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama)."

Angry and peeved, he went to see the Blessed One. He approached, abused, and reviled him in foul and harsh words.

But reviled, the Blessed One spoke gently to the Brahmin Akkosa Bharadvaja: "Well, Brahmin, do friends, acquaintances, relatives, kinfolk, and guests visit you?"
"Yes, Gotama, sometimes they do."
"Well, Brahmin, do you not offer them, snacks, food, and drink?"
"Yes, Gotama, sometimes I do offer them snacks, food, and drink."
"But, Brahmin, what if they do not accept it? Whose is it?"
"If, Gotama, they do not accept it, I keep it. It is mine."
"Even so, Brahmin, you are abusing those who do not abuse, are angry with those who do not get angry, are quarreling with those who do not quarrel. As we do not accept it, Brahmin, all of this is yours. When, Brahmin, one abuses in return when abused, repays anger with anger, and quarrels back when quarreled with, this is called 'associating with each other in mutual exchange.' This kind of association and exchange we do not engage in. Therefore, Brahmin, you keep it. It is yours."
"The king and his people believe that the ascetic Gotama is an arhat [a fully enlightened person], and yet the good Gotama can get angry!"
The Buddha replied in verse:

"Where is anger for one freed from anger,
Who is subdued and lives perfectly equanimous,
Who truly knowing is wholly freed,
Supremely tranquil and equipoised?
"One who repays an angry person in kind
Is worse than the angry person;
Who does not repay anger in kind, 
That person alone wins the battle hard to win:
"One promotes the welfare of both, 
One's own as well as that of the other. 
Knowing that the other person is angry, 
One mindfully maintains one's peace
"And endures the anger of both,
One's own as well as that of the other,
Even if the people ignorant of true wisdom
Consider one a fool thereby."
When the Blessed One proclaimed this, the Brahmin Akkosa Bharadvaja responded:

Going forth (Nyanamoli Bhikkhu/Google Plus)
"Wonderful, O venerable Gotama! Herewith I go to the venerable Gotama (Buddha) for guidance, to the Teaching (Dharma) for guidance, and to the Noble Order (Arya Sangha) for guidance!

"Most venerable sir, may I have the privilege of receiving from the revered Gotama the initial and higher monastic ordinations?"
The Brahmin Akkosa Bharadvaja received from the Blessed One the initial and higher monastic ordinations. Then in no long time, Venerable Akkosa Bharadvaja -- living apart, secluded, diligent, zealous, and unrelenting -- reached that incomparable consummation of enlightenment for which those of noble families, having abandoned the household life, take to the life of wandering (the left-home life).

With direct knowledge he realized the ultimate, here and now, and lived having access to it. He saw with supernormal knowledge-and-vision: "Ceased is rebirth, lived is the higher life, completed is the spiritual task, and henceforth there is nothing higher to be achieved." Venerable Akkosa Bharadvaja, indeed, became one of the noble ones.

HOW TO abandon anger
Acharya Buddharakkhita (translator) BPS/ACI
Positive Response (Wisdom Quarterly)
The booklet Positive Response: How to Meet Evil With Good contains a collection of short sutras by the Buddha and a passage from the ancient Path of Purification, each preceded by a brief introduction by the translator. The unifying theme is called a "positive response" for dealing with provocative people and situations. The ancient texts set forth practical techniques taught by the Buddha for anyone to overcome anger, resentment, hatred, and other such defilements. Moreover, it shows how it is possible to cultivate elevating mental qualities like forbearance, goodwill, amity, and compassion. Anyone intent on spiritual development will find these practical instructions a great help to cleansing the mind/heart thereby unfolding its great hidden potentials. More

*Why was Akkosa angry?
Angry and abusive (
Akkosaka-Bhāradvāja was a Brahmin from Rājagaha (Rajgir). He was incensed that his eldest brother -- a member of the Bhāradvāja Brahmin clan and probably its head (KS.i.201, n. 4, see also Dhānañjānī -- had become a Buddhist monk after visiting the Buddha. He paid the Buddha a visit to abuse and insult him. But like his brother, he asked for ordination and later became an arhat (S.i.161f.; MA.i.808). "Akkosaka" was a nickname given to him by the Sangītikārā to distinguish him as the author of a lampoon of a large number of verses against the Buddha (SA.i.177). Asurindaka-Bhāradvāja was his younger brother (SA.i.178); he had two others, Sundarī-Bhāradvāja and Bilangika-Bhāradvāja, who also became disciples (lit. "hearers") who later also became arhats (DhA.iv.163).

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