Samyutta Nikaya
Brahmaṇa Saṁyutta

SN 7.18 Katthahāra Sutta
Collecting Firewood

Why did the Buddha like to live in the forest?

At one time, the Buddha was living in the province of Kosala in a certain forest.

One day, several youths, students of Bhāradvāja of the brahmin caste, went into that forest to collect firewood. They saw the Buddha sitting down cross-legged at the root of a certain sal tree, with his body straight. Seeing this, they went up to their teacher, Bhāradvāja and said to him, “Sir, in the nearby forest, the monk Gotama is sitting down cross-legged, with his body straight.”

Then Bhāradvāja, together with those students went to that forest where they saw the Buddha sitting down cross-legged, with his body straight.

He went up to the Buddha and asked him in verse:

“Monk, you have entered this deep empty forest
which is full of terrors.
You are very handsome.
You are sitting still, fearlessly and meditating.
Your sight is pleasing.

“In this forest, nobody sings songs or plays music.
Having entered into such a boring jungle,
you still meditate alone joyfully,
like a great sage. It is unbelievable!

“I suppose you wish to be reborn in the supreme heaven,
the Brahma world, in order to be united with the great Brahma.
I am really curious to know why you spend time in this boring forest
where there are no people and no entertainment.
Do you lead this hard life to be born in the Brahma world?”

The Buddha:

“In this diverse world, people always live with either desire or doubt.
These desires and doubts are rooted in not knowing the Noble Truths.
They grow supported by craving.
I have uprooted and overcome all of those desires and doubts.

“Bhāradvāja, I am desireless, unattached and disengaged
from any defiled thoughts.
I have a purified clear vision about everything.
I have attained the supreme enlightenment.
I am fully confident in the Dhamma
and therefore meditate alone in this deep forest.”

When the Buddha said this, Bhāradvāja said to the Buddha, “Excellent, Master Gotama! Excellent! Just as if someone turned upright, what was upside down, revealed what was hidden, pointed out the path to whoever was lost, or lit a lamp in the dark so people with good eyes could see what’s there, Master Gotama taught me the Dhamma, which is clear in many ways. I go for refuge to Master Gotama, to the Dhamma, and to the Saṅgha. From this day forth, may Master Gotama remember me as a lay follower who has gone for refuge to the Triple Gem for as long as I live.”

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Saṁyutta Nikāya 7.18 Katthahāra Sutta: Collecting Firewood

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