Why the Buddha Suffered

[10. Eating Barley]


Dasamapañhe, yavakhādanan-ti Verañjāyaṁ yavataṇḍulakhādanaṁ.
In the tenth enquiry, (called) eating barley, (we hear about) eating husked barley. Taṇḍula means husked rice normally, but in the story there is no mention of rice being served with the barley, so I take it it must mean husked barley.1

Atīte kira Bodhisatto aññatarasmiṁ kule nibbatto,
In the past, it seems, the Buddha-to-be was reborn in a certain family,

jātivasena ca andhabālabhāvena ca,
and because of his (high) birth and being blinded by foolishness,

Phussassa Bhagavato sāvake
having seen the disciples of the Gracious One Phussa

madhurannapāne sālibhojanādayo ca bhuñjamāne disvā,
enjoying sweet drinks and food and the finest rice and so on,

“Are muṇḍakasamaṇā yavaṁ khādatha,
he scolded them (saying): “Hey, you shaveling ascetics should eat barley,

mā sālibhojanaṁ bhuñjathā!” ti akkosi.
you shouldn't enjoy the finest rice!”


So tena akusalakammavipākena,
Through that unwholesome deed and its result,

anekavassasahassāni caturāpāye dukkham-anubhavitvā,
after undergoing suffering in the four lower realms for countless thousands of years,

imasmiṁ pacchimattabhāve, kamena Buddhattaṁ patvā,
in this his last state of existence, having by and by attained to Buddhahood,

lokasaṅgahaṁ karonto, gāmanigamarājadhānīsu caritvā,
having sympathy for the world, after walking in the villages, towns and royal cities,

ekasmiṁ samaye, Verañjabrāhmaṇagāmasamīpe,
at one time, in the vicinity of the brahminical village of Verañjā,

sākhāviṭapasampannaṁ Pucimandarukkhamūlaṁ pāpuṇi.
he arrived at the root of a Margosa tree endowed with spreading See Viṭapa in SED for this meaning, which goes unnoticed in PED.2 branches.

Verañjabrāhmaṇo Bhagavantaṁ upasaṅkamitvā,
A Verañjā brahmin, The whole story of the Buddha's residence in Verañjā, the famine that prevailed at that time and the conversations he had with the Verañjā brahmin is related at the very beginning of the Vinayapiṭaka. Suttavibhaṅga, 1 ff. The discussion with the brāhmin in which the Buddha counters his accusations, and eventually teaches him the Four Noble Truths, can be found there and also in the Verañjasutta of Aṅguttaranikāya: AN Bk. 8, Ch. 2, Su. 1.3 having approached the Gracious One,

anekapariyāyena Bhagavantaṁ jinituṁ asakkonto,
being unable to overcome the Gracious One in any way,

Sotāpanno hutvā,
after becoming a Stream-Enterer,

“Bhante, idheva Vassaṁ upagantuṁ vaṭṭatī” ti ārādhesi. ChS, Thai: ārocesi; addressed (him).4
invited him saying: “Venerable Sir, please undertake to spend the Rains Retreat here.”

Bhagavā tuṇhībhāvena adhivāsesi.
The Gracious One consented by remaining silent.

Atha punadivasato paṭṭhāya Māro Pāpimā
Then, beginning on the following day, the Wicked Māra

sakala-Verañjabrāhmaṇagāmavāsīnaṁ Mārāvaṭṭanaṁ akāsi.
posssessed the whole of those dwelling in the brahmin village of Verañjā.

Piṇḍāya paviṭṭhassa Bhagavato
And when the Gracious One entered (the village) for alms

Mārāvaṭṭanavasena SHB: Mārāvesavasena; because of Māra in disguise?5 eko pi kaṭacchubhikkhāmattaṁ dātā nāhosi.
because of being possessed by Māra they did not give even one spoon of almsfood.

Bhagavā tucchapatto va Bhikkhusaṅghaparivuto punāgañchi.
The Gracious One, surrounded by the Community of monks, returned with an empty bowl.

Tasmiṁ evaṁ āgate tattheva nivuṭṭhā assavāṇijā
A horse merchant arrived at the very place where they resided

taṁ divasaṁ dānaṁ datvā,
and after giving a gift (of almsfood) that day,

tato paṭṭhāya Bhagavantaṁ SHB: vassaṁ nivutthassa pañcasatabhikkhuparivārassa Bhagavato; (and inviting) the Gracious One surrounded by five-hundred monks to dwell for the Rains Retreat.6 pañcasatabhikkhuparivāraṁ nimantetvā,
and inviting the Gracious One surrounded by his five hundred monks thenceforth,

pañcannaṁ assasatānaṁ bhattato vibhāgaṁ katvā, SHB, PTS add: temāsaṁ posemā ti mantetvā; after pronouncing: we will support (you) for three months.7 yavaṁ koṭṭetvā,
and dividing a share from the five-hundred horses, and crushing the barley,

bhikkhūnaṁ pattesu pakkhipiṁsu. SHB: patte pakkhīpanti; present tense.8
he dropped it in the monks' bowls.

Sakalasdasasahassacakkavāḷadevatā sujātāya
All the well-born gods from the whole of the ten-thousand universes

pāyāsapacanadivase viya dibbojaṁ pakkhipiṁsu.
dropped in godly nutrients so that it was like freshly cooked milk-rice.

Bhagavā paribhuñji, evaṁ temāsaṁ yavaṁ paribhuñji.
The Gracious One partook (of the food), and so for three months he partook of barley.

Temāsaccayena, Mārāvaṭṭane vigate, Pavāraṇādivase,
At the end of three months, being no longer possessed by Māra, on the Invitation Day,

Verañjo brāhmaṇo saritvā mahāsaṁvegappatto,
the Verañjā brahmin, after remembering (his duties), becoming very anxious,

Buddhappamukhassa Bhikkhusaṅghassa mahādānaṁ datvā,
giving a great gift of almsfood to the Community of monks with the Buddha at its head,

vanditvā khamāpesi.
and worshipping, begged for forgiveness.

Tena vuttaṁ:
Therefore it is said:


Phussassāhaṁ pāvacane sāvake paribhāsayiṁ:
I blamed the teachings and disciples of (Buddha) Phussa (saying):

“Yavaṁ khādatha bhuñjatha, mā ca bhuñjatha sālayo”; [88]
“You should eat and enjoy barley, you should not enjoy this fine rice;”

Tena kammavipākena temāsaṁ khāditaṁ yavaṁ
Through that deed and its result for three months I ate (only) barley

Nimantito brāhmaṇena Verañjāyaṁ vasiṁ tadā. ti [89]
When invited by the brahmin to dwell (three months) in Verañjā.