Ja 495 Dasabrāhmaṇajātaka See Fick, Sociale Gliederung, p. 140.
The Story about the Ten (Types of) Brahmins (Pak)

In the present the king of Kosala arranges to give the incomparable gift. The Buddha tells a story of a king of old who wanted to give to those worthy of gifts, and asked the wise Vidhura about it, who taught him how to recognise bad and good recipients.

The Bodhisatta = the wise (minister) Vidhura (Vidhurapaṇḍita),
Ānanda = the king (of Kuru) (rājā).

Present Source: DN-a 19 Mahāgovindasutta,
Quoted at: Ja 424 Āditta, Ja 495 Dasabrāhmaṇa, Ja 499 Sivi,
Past Compare: JA 413 Dhūmakāri, JA 545 Vidhura.

Keywords: Gifts, Virtue.

“The righteous king.” This story the Teacher told while dwelling in Jetavana, about a gift incomparable. This has been explained in the Sucirajātaka [Ja 424] [Another name for the Ādittajātaka. Cst reads: Ādittajātake. I include the story here, which comes from the commentary of the Mahāgovindasutta.] of the Eighth Book.

It seems at one time almsfood arose in due order for the Fortunate One in Rājagaha, Sāvatthi, Sāketa, Kosambī, Bārāṇasī, and therein, some said: “Having spent a hundred pieces, I will give a gift,” and having written it on a leaf, it was pinned to the door of the monastery. Others said: “I will give two hundred.” Others said: “I will give five hundred.” Others said: “I will give a thousand.” Others said: “I will give two thousand.” Others said: “I will give five, ten, twenty, fifty.” Others said: “I will give a hundred thousand.” Others said: “I will give two hundred thousand,” and having written it on a leaf, it was pinned to the door of the monastery. Receiving the opportunity while the Buddha was walking on a walk through the countryside, they said: “I will give a gift,” and after filling their carts, the countryfolk followed along.

They spoke like this, “At that time the people of the country after filling the carts with salt, oil, rice and sweetmeats, followed along close behind the Fortunate One, saying: ‘In due order wherever we can get an opportunity, there we will give them food,’ and everything is to be understood as in the story in the Khandhakas of the Vinaya. Just so was the unmatched gift achieved.

Having walked on a walk through the countryside, at that time it seems the Fortunate One arrived at Jetavana, and the king invited him and gave a gift. On the second day the city folk gave a gift. But their gift was greater than the king’s, and then next day his was greater than the city folks,’ thus after a number of days had passed the king thought: “These city folk day by day give exceedingly, if the lord of the earth, the king, is defeated by the gifts of the city folk, he will be blamed.” Then queen Mallikā told a skilful means to him.

Having made a pavilion with beautiful boards in the royal courtyard, and covered it with blue lotuses, having arranged five hundred seats, and placed five hundred elephants in front of the seats, each elephant held a white parasol over each of the monks. And two by two on the side of the seats, adorned with all decorations, young noblewomen ground up the four kinds of incense. At the conclusion she placed a measure of incense in the middle, while the other noblewoman rolled it with the hand holding the blue lotuses. Thus each monk was surrounded by noblewomen, and other women, adorned with all decorations, who, having taken a fan, were fanning them, and others, who having taken a water strainer, strained the water, and others who took away the fallen water.

For the Fortunate One there were four invaluable things: a foot stand, a stool, a bolster, and a jewelled parasol, these were the four invaluable things.

The gifts for the last to come in the Saṅgha were valued at a hundred thousand.

We learn that the king, while making this distribution of gifts, examined five hundred monks with the Teacher their chief, and gave to the most holy saints among them. Then they sat talking in the Dhamma Hall, and telling of his goodness thus, “Monk, the king, in giving the incomparable gift, gave it in a case of much merit.” The Teacher, entering, would know what they talked of sitting there: and they told him. Said he, “It is no wonder, monks, {4.361} that the king of Kosala, being the follower of such as I am, gives with discrimination. Wise men of old, before the Buddha had arisen, even they gave with discrimination.” With these words, he told them a story.

In the past, in the kingdom of Kuru and the city called Indapatta, was reigning a king Koravya, of the stock of Yuddhiṭṭhila. His adviser in things temporal and spiritual was a minister named Vidhura. The king, with his great almsgiving, set all Jambudīpa in a commotion; but amongst all those who received and enjoyed these gifts, not one there was who kept so much as the five precepts: all were wicked to a man, and the king’s giving brought him no satisfaction. The king thought: “Great is the fruit of discriminate giving,” and, being desirous to give unto the virtuous, he determined to take counsel with the wise Vidhura. When, therefore, Vidhura came to wait on him, the king bade him be seated, and put the question to him. [4.228]

Explaining this, the Teacher recited half the first verse. All the rest are question and answer of the king and Vidhura.

1. “The righteous king Yudhiṭṭhila once asked Vidhura wise: This line occurs in iii. 401 (p. 202 of the translation).
‘Vidhura, seek me brahmins good, in whom much wisdom lies:

2. Men free from deeds of evil lust, that they may eat my food;
So I would give, my friend, that I may reap a crop of good.’ ”

3. “ ’Tis hard to find such holy men, such brahmins, wise and good,
Who keep them spotless from all lust, that they may eat your food.

4. Of brahmins, O most mighty king, ten several kinds are there:
Listen, while I distinguish them, and all these kinds declare.

5. Some carry sacks upon their backs, root-filled and fastened tight;
They gather healing herbs, they bathe, and magic spells recite.

6. These are physician-like, O king, and brahmins too they hight:
Such brahmins shall we seek for, now you know this kind aright?” {4.362}

Said king Koravya:

7. “These have no right to such a name, lost is their brahminhood,
Vidhura, find me other men who shall be wise and good,

8. Men free from deeds of evil lust, that they may eat my food;
So would I give, that I myself may reap a crop of good.”

9. “Some carry bells and go before, and as they go they ring,
A chariot they can drive with skill, and messages can bring:

10. These are like servants, mighty king, and brahmins too they hight:
Such brahmins shall we seek for, now you know this kind aright?”

Said king Koravya:

11. “These have no right to such a name, lost is their brahminhood,
Vidhura, find me other men who shall be wise and good,

12. Men free from deeds of evil lust, that they may eat my food;
So would I give, that I myself may reap a crop of good.”

13. “With waterpot and crooked staff some run to meet the king,
Through all the towns and villages, and as they follow, sing –
In wood or town we never budge, until a gift you bring!

14. Like tax-men these importunate, and brahmins too they hight:
Such brahmins shall we seek for, now you know this kind aright?”

Said king Koravya:

15. “These have no right to such a name, lost is their brahminhood,
Vidhura, find me other men who shall be wise and good,

16. Men free from deeds of evil lust, that they may eat my food;
So would I give, that I myself may reap a crop of good.”

17. “Some with long nails and hairy limbs, foul teeth, and matted hair,
Covered with dust and dirt-begrimed as beggar-men they fare:

18. Hewers of wood, O mighty king! And brahmins too they hight:
Such brahmins shall we seek for, now you know this kind aright?” [4.229] {4.363}

Said king Koravya:

19. “These have no right to such a name, lost is their brahminhood,
Vidhura, find me other men who shall be wise and good,

20. Men free from deeds of evil lust, that they may eat my food;
So would I give, that I myself may reap a crop of good.”

21. “Myrobalan and wood apple fruit, Jambu plum, mangoes ripe, The fruits and trees named are: Myrobalan (terminalia chebula), emblic Myrobalan (emblica officinalis), mango, rose-apple (Eugenia jambu), beleric Myrobalan, artocarpus lacucha, wood apple (aegle marmelos), rājāyatana wood (? Buchanania latifolia). Brahmins were forbidden to sell fruits or healing herbs, honey and ointment, not to say other things.
The labu-fruit and planks of wood, toothbrush and smoking-pipe,

22. Sugar-cane baskets, honey sweet, and ointment too, O king,
All these they make their traffic in, and many another thing.

23. These are like merchants, O great king, and brahmins too they hight:
Such brahmins shall we seek for, now you know this kind aright?”

Said king Koravya:

24. “These have no right to such a name, lost is their brahminhood,
Vidhura, find me other men who shall be wise and good,

25. Men free from deeds of evil lust, that they may eat my food;
So would I give, that I myself may reap a crop of good.”

26. “Some follow trade and husbandry, keep flocks of goats in fold,
They give and take in marriage, and their daughters sell for gold. i.e. arrange a marriage in which the man pays them a price.

27. Like Vessa and Ambaṭṭha A mixed caste, sprung from a brahmin father and a Vaiśya woman. these; and brahmins they too hight:
Such brahmins shall we seek for, now you know this kind aright?”

Said king Koravya:

28. “These have no right to such a name, lost is their brahminhood,
Vidhura, find me other men who shall be wise and good,

29. Men free from deeds of evil lust, that they may eat my food;
So would I give, that I myself may reap a crop of good.” {4.364}

30. “Some family priests fortunes tell, or geld and mark a beast for pay:
With proffered food the village folk invite them oft to stay.
There kine and bullocks, swine and goats are slaughtered many a day.

31. Like butchers base are these, O king, and brahmins too they hight:
Such brahmins shall we seek for, now you know this kind aright?”

Said king Koravya:

32. “These have no right to such a name, lost is their brahminhood,
Vidhura, find me other men who shall be wise and good,

33. Men free from deeds of evil lust, that they may eat my food;
So would I give, that I myself may reap a crop of good.”

34. “Some brahmins, armed with sword and shield, with battle-axe in hand,
Ready to guide a caravan before the merchants stand.

35. Like herdmen these, or bandits bold, yet brahmins too they hight:
Such brahmins shall we seek for, now you know this kind aright?” [4.230]

Said king Koravya:

36. “These have no right to such a name, lost is their brahminhood,
Vidhura, find me other men who shall be wise and good,

37. Men free from deeds of evil lust, that they may eat my food;
So would I give, that I myself may reap a crop of good.”

38. “Some build them huts and lay them traps in any woodland place,
Catch fish and tortoises, the hare, wild-cat and lizard chase.

39. Hunters are these, O mighty king, and brahmins they too hight:
Such brahmins shall we seek for, now you know this kind aright?”

Said king Koravya:

40. “These have no right to such a name, lost is their brahminhood,
Vidhura, find me other men who shall be wise and good, {4.365}

41. Men free from deeds of evil lust, that they may eat my food
So would I give, that I myself may reap a crop of good.”

42. “Others for love of gold lie down beneath the royal bed,
At soma-sacrifice: the kings bathing above their head. After a soma offering, the custom was for a king to bathe on a gorgeous couch. A brahmin lay beneath, and the holy water, washing off the king’s defilements, washed them on to the brahmin, who received the bed and all its ornaments as recompense for playing scapegoat. Fick, Sociale Gliederung, p. 143, note, quoting Oldenberg, Religion des Veda, pp. 407ff.

43. These are like barbers? O great king, but brahmins too they hight:
Such brahmins shall we seek for, now you know this kind aright?”

Said king Koravya:

44. “These have no right to such a name, lost is their brahminhood,
Vidhura, find me other men who shall be wise and good,

45. Men free from deeds of evil lust, that they may eat my food;
So would I give, that I myself may reap a crop of good.” {4.367}

Thus having described those who are brahmins in name only, he went on to describe the brahmins in the highest sense in the following two verses:

46. “But there are brahmins, too, my lord, men very wise and good,
Free from the deeds of evil lust, to eat your offered food.

47. One only meal of rice they eat: strong drink they never touch:
And now you know this kind aright, say shall we look for such?”

When the king heard his words, he asked, “Where, friend Vidhura, where dwell these brahmins, worthy of the best things?” “In the further Himālayas, O king, in a cave of Mount Nanda.” “Then, wise sir, bring me those brahmins here, by your power.” Then in great joy the king recited this verse:

48. “Vidhura, bring those brahmins here, so holy and so wise,
Invite them, O Vidhura, here, let no delay arise!” [4.231]

The Great Being agreed to do as he was requested, adding this, “Now, O king! Send the drum beating about the city, to proclaim that the city must be gloriously adorned, and all the people of it must give alms, and undertake the Uposatha precepts, and pledge themselves to virtue; and you with all your court must take the Uposatha precepts upon you.”

Himself at early dawn, having taken his meal, and taken the Uposatha precepts, at eventide he sent for a basket of the colour of jasmine, and together with the monarch made a salutation with the full prostration, Lit. prostration of “the five rests,” so as to touch the ground with forehead both elbows, waist, knees, and feet. {4.368} and he called to memory the virtues of the Paccekabuddhas, uttering these words, “Let the five hundred Paccekabuddhas who dwell in the northern Himālayas, in the cave of Mount Nanda, tomorrow partake of our food!” he cast eight handfuls of flowers into the air. At once these flowers fell upon the five hundred Paccekabuddhas, in the place where they dwelt. They pondered, and understood the fact, and accepted the invitation, saying: “Venerable sirs, we are invited by the wise Vidhura, and no mean creature is he: he has the seed of a Buddha within him, and in this very cycle a Buddha he will be. Let us show him favour.”

The Great Being understood that they would comply, by token that the flowers did not return. Then he said: “O great king! Tomorrow the Paccekabuddhas will come; do them honour and worship.” Next day the king did them great honour, preparing precious seats for them upon a great dais. The Paccekabuddhas, in Lake Anotatta, having waited for the time when their bodily needs were seen to, travelled through the air and descended in the royal courtyard. The king and the Bodhisatta, faith in their hearts, received the bowls from their hands, and caused them to come up on the terrace, seated them, gave them the gift-water Water poured into the right-hand in ratifying some promise made or gift bestowed. into their hands, and served them with food hard and soft most delightful.

After the meal, he invited them for the next day, and so on for seven days following, presenting them with many gifts, and on the seventh day he gave them all the requisites. Then they gave him thanks, and passing through the air returned to the same place, and the requisites also went with them.

The Teacher, after finishing this discourse, said: “No wonder, monks, that the king of Kosala being my follower, has given me the gift incomparable, for wise men of old when as yet there was no Buddha, did the same.” Then he identified the Jātaka, “At that time Ānanda was the king, and the wise Vidhura was I myself.”