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Akkoso Sutta: Abuse

Akkoso Sutta

Summary: What is your best response when someone is angry with you? Hint: if you offer some food to a guest, but the guest declines the offer, to whom does the food belong.

SN 7.2 PTS: S i 161 CDB i 255

Akkoso Sutta: Abuse

translated from the Pali by

Maurice O'Connell Walshe

Alternate translations: Buddharakkhita | Thanissaro

The Pali title of this sutta is based on the PTS (Feer) edition.

… Now Akkosaka(1) of the Bhaaradvaaja Brahmans heard [of this.](2) Angry and displeased, he went to see the Blessed One, overwhelming him with abuse and reproaches. At these words the Blessed One said: “What do you think, brahman? Do you receive visits from friends and colleagues, blood-relations and others?”

“Yes, good Gotama, sometimes such people come.”

“What do you think? Do you serve them with solid food, soft food and savories?”

“Yes, good Gotama, sometimes.”

“But supposing, brahman, they do not accept what you offer, whose is it?”

“If they do not accept, good Gotama, then it belongs to us.”

“So it is here, brahman. The abuse, the scolding, the reviling you hurl at us who do not abuse or scold or revile, we do not accept from you. It all belongs to you, brahman, it all belongs to you! If a man replies to abuse with abuse, to scolding with scolding, to reviling with reviling, brahman, that is like you joining your guests for dinner. But we are not joining you for dinner. It is all yours, brahman, it is all yours!”

“The king and his court believe that Gotama the recluse is an Arahant. And yet the good Gotama can get angry!”(3)

[The Blessed One said in verse:]

How could anger rise in him who's free, Wrathless, all his passions tamed, at peace, Freed by highest insight, by himself, So abiding, perfectly serene? If a man's abused and answers back, Of the two he shows himself the worse. He who does not answer back in kind, Celebrates a double victory. From his action both sides benefit, He himself and his reviler too: Understanding that man's angry mood, He can help him clear it and find peace.(4) He's the healer of them both, because He and the other benefit thereby. People think a man like that's a fool, For they cannot understand the Truth.

[Akkosaka responds exactly as in SN 7.1]

And another Venerable Bhaaradvaaja became an Arahant.

Notes

1.

Really a nickname: “The Reviler.”

2.

[Transcriber's note: Elided text refers to an incident in which a clansman of Akkosaka becomes a monk under the Buddha. See SN 7.1.]

3.

A perfect example of projection on Akkosaka's part!

4.

Upasammati, “he (the other) becomes calm,” i.e., as a result of the first ones understanding. Here, as elsewhere, we see the Buddha's profound understanding of psychological processes. Cf. Dhp 4.


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en/tipitaka/sut/sn/sn07/sn07.002.wlsh.txt · Last modified: 2022/03/24 13:47 by Johann