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Samyutta Nikaya
Brahmaṇa Saṁyutta

7.2 Akkosaka Sutta
Akkosaka

Should you accept the gift of angry words?

This is as I heard. At one time, the Buddha was living in the city of Rājagaha, in the Bamboo Garden, in the squirrels’ feeding ground.

Akkosaka Bhāradvāja of the brahmin caste heard a rumour that a man from his clan had become a monk under the Buddha. Akkosaka was not happy about this. He got angry and went to the Buddha. He was yelling and insulting the Buddha with rude, harsh words. When he finished, the Buddha asked him:

“What do you think, Akkosaka? Do your friends, relatives, and guests sometimes come to visit you?”

“Sometimes they do, Master Gotama.”

“Do you then serve them with a variety of food and drinks?”

“Sometimes I do.”

“But if they don’t accept it, who do those food and drinks belong to?”

“In that case Master Gotama, they still belong to me.”

“In the same way, Akkosaka, when you abuse, harass, and attack me, who does not abuse, harass, and attack, I don’t accept your insults. They still belong to you, Akkosaka, they still belong to you!

“Akkosaka, if someone in return abuses when he is abused, if someone in return harasses when he is harassed, if someone in return attacks when he is attacked, it is said that he eats the food together with the other, he eats sharing with the other. But I neither eat food together with you nor do I share with you. Those insults still belong to you, Akkosaka, they still belong to you!”

Akkosaka:

“The king and the people believe that Master Gotama is a liberated one. And yet, you still get angry.”

The Buddha:

“For one who is peaceful, well tamed, living righteously,
freed from suffering by right knowledge, and unwavering:
Where would anger come from?

“When you get angry at an angry person
you just make things worse for yourself.
When you don’t get angry at an angry person,
you win a battle hard to win.

“When you know that the other person is angry,
if you’re patient, mindful and calm,
then you act for the good of both,
for yourself and the other person.

“People unfamiliar with the Buddha’s teaching consider that,
the person who acts for the good of both oneself and the other, to be a fool.”

When the Buddha taught this Dhamma, Akkosaka 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. Bhante, may I become a monk under you?”

And he became a monk under the Buddha. Not long after his ordination, Bhante Akkosaka, living alone, withdrawn, diligent, passionate, and firm, soon realized the supreme goal of the spiritual path in this very life. He achieved with his own wisdom the goal for which a son would leave the lay life to become a monk.

He realized: “Rebirth has ended. The spiritual journey has been completed. What had to be done to end suffering has been done. There will be no rebirth.” Therefore, Bhante Akkosaka became one of the enlightened monks.

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Saṁyutta Nikāya 7.2 Akkosaka Sutta: Akkosaka

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