At the city of Sāvatthī…
One day, Bhikkhaka of the brahmin caste went up to the Buddha, and exchanged greetings with him.
When the greetings and polite conversation were over, he sat down to one side and said to the Buddha, “Master Gotama, both you and I are going on the alms round to collect food. What, then, is the difference between us?”
“A person doesn’t become a monk
just by begging for food from others.
As long as someone is engaged in doing evil things
he can’t be a monk.
“However, when a person lives the spiritual life
having shunned both merit and demerit,
he lives wisely in the world.
He is truly called a monk.”
When the Buddha said this, Bhikkhaka 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.”