Aggañña Sutta ("The Origin of the World")

SO I HAVE HEARD. At one time the Buddha was staying near Sāvatthī in the Eastern Monastery, in the stilt longhouse of Migāra’s mother.

Now at that time Vāseṭṭha and Bhāradvāja were living on probation among the mendicants in hopes of being ordained. Then in the late afternoon, the Buddha came downstairs from the longhouse and was walking meditation in the open air, beneath the shade of the longhouse.

Vāseṭṭha saw him and said to Bhāradvāja, “Reverend Bhāradvāja, the Buddha is walking meditation in the open air, beneath the shade of the longhouse. Come, reverend, let’s go to the Buddha. Hopefully we’ll get to hear a Dhamma talk from him.”

“Yes, reverend,” replied Bhāradvāja.

So they went to the Buddha, bowed, and walked beside him.

Then the Buddha said to Vāseṭṭha, “Vāseṭṭha, you are both brahmins by birth and clan, and have gone forth from the lay life to homelessness from a brahmin family. I hope you don’t have to suffer abuse and insults from the brahmins.”

“Actually, sir, the brahmins do insult and abuse us with their typical insults to the fullest extent.”

“But how do the brahmins insult you?”

“Sir, the brahmins say: ‘Only brahmins are the highest caste; other castes are inferior. Only brahmins are the light caste; other castes are dark. Only brahmins are purified, not others. Only brahmins are Brahmā’s rightful sons, born of his mouth, born of Brahmā, created by Brahmā, heirs of Brahmā. You’ve both abandoned the best caste to join an inferior caste, namely these shavelings, fake ascetics, riffraff, black spawn from the feet of our Kinsman. This is not right, it’s not proper!’ That’s how the brahmins insult us.”

“Actually, Vāseṭṭha, the brahmins are forgetting their tradition when they say this to you. For brahmin women are seen menstruating, being pregnant, giving birth, and breast-feeding. Yet even though they’re born from a brahmin womb they say: ‘Only brahmins are the highest caste; other castes are inferior. Only brahmins are the light caste; other castes are dark. Only brahmins are purified, not others. Only brahmins are Brahmā’s rightful sons, born of his mouth, born of Brahmā, created by Brahmā, heirs of Brahmā.’ They misrepresent the brahmins, speak falsely, and make much bad karma.

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