MN-02-05-07 Dhananjani Sutta

97  To Dhananjani*

*Dhananjani was a  Brahmin with a government position of District Revenue Officer. He was also engaged in agriculture and dairy farmer. When Venerable Sariputta went on alms round he was very much impressed with the great monk and offered him alms and developed a friendship with the great bhante. He was married to a very religious woman who was very instrumental in his pious life.

dhananjani

§ 1. THUS HAVE I HEARD.
On one occasion the Blessed One was living
at Rajagaha in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrels’ Sanctuary.

§ 2 . Now on that occasion the venerable Sariputta was wandering in the Southern Hills with a large Sangha of bhikkhus. Then a certain [185] bhikkhu who had spent the Rains at Rajagaha went to the venerable Sariputta in the Southern Hills and exchanged greetings with him. When this courteous and amiable talk was finished, he sat down at one side and the venerable Sariputta asked him:
“Is the Blessed One well and strong, friend?”
“The Blessed One is well and strong, friend.”
“Is the Sangha of bhikkhus well and strong, friend?”
“The Sangha of bhikkhus too is well and strong, friend.”
“Friend, there is a brahmin named Dhananjani living in Rajagaha at the Tandulapala Gate. Is that brahmin Dhananjani well and strong?”
“That brahmin Dhananjani too is well and strong, friend.”
“Is he diligent, friend?”
“How could he be diligent, friend? He plunders brahmin householders in the name of the king, and he plunders the king in the name of the brahmin householders. His wife, who had
faith and came from a clan with faith, has died and he has taken another wife, a woman without faith who comes from a clan without faith.”

“This is bad news that we hear, friend. It is bad news indeed to hear that the brahmin Dhananjani has become negligent. Perhaps sometime or other we might meet the brahmin Dhananjani and have some conversation with him.”

§ 3.   Then, having stayed in the Southern Hills as long as he chose, the venerable Sariputta set out to wander towards Rajagaha. Wandering by stages he eventually arrived at  Rajagaha, and there he lived in the Bamboo Grove, the Squirrels’ Sanctuary.

§ 4 . Then, when it was morning, the venerable Sariputta dressed, and taking his bowl and outer robe, went into Rajagaha for alms. [186] Now at that time the brahmin Dhananjani was having his cows milked in a cowshed outside the city. So when the venerable Sariputta had wandered for alms in Rajagaha and had returned from his almsround, after his meal he went to the brahmin Dhananjani. The brahmin Dhananjani saw the venerable Sariputta coming in the distance, and he went to him and said:
“Drink some of this fresh milk, Master Sariputta, until it is time for the meal.”
“Enough, brahmin, I have finished my meal for today. I shall be at the root of that tree for the day’s abiding. You may come there.”
“Yes, sir,” he replied.

 

§ 5 . And then, after he had eaten his morning meal, the brahmin Dhananjani went to the venerable Sariputta and exchanged greetings with him. When this courteous and amiable talk was finished, he sat down at one side and the venerable Sariputta asked him:
“Are you diligent, Dhananjani?”
“How can we be diligent, Master Sariputta, when we have to support our parents, our wife and children, and our slaves, servants, and workers; when we have to do our duty towards our friends and companions, towards our kinsmen and relatives, towards our guests, towards our departed ancestors, towards the deities, and towards the king; and when this body must also be refreshed and nourished?”

 

§ 6 . “What do you think, Dhananjani?
Suppose someone here were to behave contrary to the Dhamma, to behave unrighteously for the sake of his parents, and then because of such behaviour the wardens of hell were to drag him off to hell. Would he be able [to free himself by pleading thus]:

‘It was for the sake of my parents that I behaved contrary to the  Dhamma, that I behaved unrighteously, so let not the wardens of hell [drag me off] to hell’? [187]

Or would his parents be able [to free him by pleading thus]: ‘It was for our sake that he behaved contrary to the Dhamma, that he behaved unrighteously, so let not the wardens
of hell [drag him off] to hell’?”
“No, Master Sariputta. Even while he was crying out, the wardens of hell would fling him into hell.”

§ 7- § 15 . “What do you think, Dhananjani? Suppose someone here were to behave contrary to the Dhamma, to behave unrighteously
for the sake of his wife and children…
for the sake of his slaves, servants, and workers…
for the sake of his friends and companions…
for the sake of his kinsmen and relatives…
for the sake of his guests…[188]
for the sake of his departed ancestors…
for the sake of the deities…
for the sake of the king…
for the sake of refreshing and nourishing this body, and because of such behaviour the wardens of hell were to drag him off to hell.

Would he be able [to free himself by pleading thus]:
‘It was for the sake of refreshing and nourishing this body that I behaved contrary to the Dhamma, that I behaved unrighteously, so let not the wardens of hell [drag me off] to hell’? Or would others be able [to free him by pleading thus]: ‘It was for the sake of refreshing and nourishing this body that he behaved contrary to the Dhamma, that he behaved unrighteously, so let not the wardens of hell [drag him off] to hell’?”
“No, Master Sariputta. Even while he was crying out, the wardens of hell would fling him into hell.”

§ 16 .. “What do you think, Dhananjani? Who is the better, one who for the sake of his parents behaves contrary to the Dhamma, behaves unrighteously, or one who for the sake of his parents behaves according to the Dhamma, behaves righteously?”

“Master Sariputta, the one who for the sake of his parents behaves contrary to the Dhamma, behaves unrighteously, is not the better; the one who for the sake of his parents behaves according to the Dhamma, behaves righteously, is the better.”

“Dhananjani, there are other kinds of work, profitable and in accordance with the Dhamma, by means of which one can support one’s parents and at the same time both avoid doing evil and practice merit.

§ 17 – § 25

.. “What do you think, Dhananjani? Who is the better, one who for the sake of his wife and children…[189]…
for the sake of his slaves, servants, and workers…
for the sake of his friends and companions…[190]…
for the sake of his kinsmen and relatives…
for the sake of his guests…
for the sake of his departed ancestors…
for the sake of the deities…[191]…
for the sake of the king…
for the sake of refreshing and nourishing this body behaves contrary to the Dhamma,  behaves unrighteously, or one who for the sake of refreshing and nourishing this body behaves according to the Dhamma, behaves righteously?”

“Master Sariputta, the one who for the sake of refreshing and nourishing this body behaves contrary to the Dhamma, behaves unrighteously, is not the better; the one who for the sake of refreshing and nourishing this body behaves according to the Dhamma, behaves righteously, is the better.”
“Dhananjani, there are other kinds of work, profitable and in accordance with the Dhamma, by means of which one can refresh and nourish this body and at the same time both avoid doing evil and practice merit.”

§ 26 .. Then the brahmin Dhananjani, having delighted and rejoiced in the venerable Sariputta’s words, rose from his seat and departed.

§ 27 . On a later occasion the brahmin Dhananjani became afflicted, suffering, and gravely ill. Then he told a man: “Come, good man, [192] go to the Blessed One, pay homage in my name with your head at his feet, and say: ‘Venerable sir, the brahmin Dhananjani is afflicted, suffering, and gravely ill; he pays homage with his head at the Blessed One’s feet.’ Then go to the venerable Sariputta, pay homage in my name with your head at his feet, and say: ‘Venerable sir, the brahmin Dhananjani is afflicted, suffering, and gravely ill; he pays homage with his head at the venerable Sariputta’s feet.’ Then say thus: ‘It would be good, venerable sir, if the venerable Sariputta would come to the house of the brahmin Dhananjani, out of compassion.'”
“Yes, venerable sir,” the man replied, and he went to the Blessed One, and after paying homage to the Blessed One, he sat down at one side and delivered his message. Then he went to the venerable Sariputta and after paying homage to the venerable Sariputta, he delivered his message, saying:
“It would be good, venerable sir, if the venerable Sariputta would come to the residence of the brahmin Dhananjani, out of compassion.”
The venerable Sariputta consented in silence.

§ 28 . Then the venerable Sariputta dressed, and taking his bowl and outer robe, he went to the residence of the brahmin Dhananjani, sat down on a seat made ready, and said to the brahmin Dhananjani:

“I hope you are getting well, brahmin, I hope you are comfortable. I hope your painful feelings are subsiding and not increasing, and that their subsiding, not their increase, is apparent.”

§ 29 . “Master Sariputta, I am not getting well, I am not comfortable. My painful feelings are increasing, not subsiding; their increase and not their subsiding is apparent. Just as if [193] a strong man were splitting my head open with a sharp sword, so too, violent winds cut through my head. I am not getting well…Just as if a strong man were tightening a tough leather strap around my head as a headband, so too, there are violent pains in my head. I am not getting well…Just as if a skilled butcher or his apprentice were to carve up an ox’s belly with a sharp butcher’s knife, so too, violent winds are carving up my belly. I am not getting well.. .Just as if two strong men were to seize a weaker man by both arms and roast him over a pit of hot coals, so too, there is a violent burning in my body. I am not getting well, I am not comfortable. My painful feelings are increasing, not subsiding; their increase and not their subsiding is apparent.”

§ 30 .. “What do you think, Dhananjani? Which is better – hell or the animal realm?” –
“The animal realm, Master Sariputta.” –
“Which is better – the animal realm or the realm of ghosts?” –
“The realm of ghosts, Master Sariputta.” –
“Which is better – the realm of ghosts or the realm of human beings?” –
“Human beings, Master Sariputta.” [194]
“Which is better – human beings or the gods of the heaven of the Four Great Kings?” –
“The gods of the heaven of the Four Great Kings, Master Sariputta.” –
“Which is better – the gods of the heaven of the Four Great Kings or the gods of the heaven of the Thirty-three?” –
“The gods of the heaven of the Thirty-three, Master Sariputta.” –
“Which is better – the gods of the heaven of the Thirty-three or the Yama gods?” –
“The Yama gods, Master Sariputta.” –
“Which is better – the Yama gods or the gods of the Tusita heaven?” –
“The gods of the Tusita heaven, Master Sariputta.” –
“Which is better – the gods of the Tusita heaven or the gods who delight in creating?” –
“The gods who delight in creating, Master Sariputta.” –
“Which is better – the gods who delight in creating or the gods who wield power over others’ creations?” –
“The gods who wield power over others’ creations, Master Sariputta.

§ 31.. “What do you think, Dhananjani?
Which is better – the gods who wield power over others’ creations or the Brahma world?”
– “Master Sariputta said ‘the Brahma-world.’ Master Sariputta said ‘the Brahma-world.'”
Then the venerable Sariputta thought:
“These brahmins are devoted to the Brahma-world. Suppose I show the brahmin Dhananjani the path to the company of Brahma?” [And he said:]
“Dhananjani, I shall show you the path to the company of Brahma. Listen and attend closely to what I shall say.” –
“Yes, sir,” he replied. [195]

The venerable Sariputta said this:

§ 32 . “What is the path to the company of Brahma?
Here, Dhananjani, a bhikkhu abides pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; so above, below, around, and everywhere, and to all as to himself, he abides pervading the all encompassing
world with a mind imbued with loving-kindness, abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without hostility and without ill will. This is the path to the company of Brahma.

§ 33 – § 35... “Again, Dhananjani, a bhikkhu abides pervading one quarter with a mind imbued with compassion…with a mind imbued with appreciative joy...with a mind imbued with equanimity, likewise the second, likewise the third, likewise the fourth; so above, below, around, and everywhere, and to all as to himself, he abides pervading the all-encompassing world with a mind imbued with equanimity, abundant, exalted, immeasurable, without, hostility and without ill will. This too is the path to the company of Brahma.”

§ 36 .. “Then, Master Sariputta, pay homage in my name with your head at the Blessed One’s feet, and say:
‘Venerable sir, the brahmin Dhananjani is afflicted, suffering, and gravely ill; he pays homage with his head at the Blessed One’s feet.'”
Then the venerable Sariputta, having established the brahmin Dhananjani in the inferior Brahma-world, rose from his seat and departed while there was still more to be done.898
Sati uttarakaraniye. Ven. Sariputta had left without giving him a teaching that would have enabled him to arrive at the supramundane path and become fixed in destination for enlightenment. Compared to this even rebirth in the Brahma-world is described as “inferior” (hina).

Soon after the venerable Sariputta had left, the brahmin Dhananjani died and reappeared in the Brahma-world.

§ 37 . Then the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus thus:
“Bhikkhus, Sariputta, having established the brahmin Dhananjani in the inferior Brahma-world, rose from his seat and departed while there was still more to be done.”

§ 38 . Then the venerable Sariputta went to the Blessed One, and after paying homage to him, he sat down at one side and said:
“Venerable sir, the brahmin Dhananjani is afflicted, suffering, and gravely ill; he pays homage with his head at the Blessed One’s feet.”
“Sariputta, having established the brahmin Dhananjani [196] in the inferior Brahma-world, why did you rise from your seat and leave while there was still more to be done?”

“Venerable sir, I thought thus: ‘These brahmins are devoted to the Brahma-world. Suppose I show the brahmin Dhananjani the path to the company of Brahma.'”
“Sariputta, the brahmin Dhananjani has died and has reappeared in the Brahma-world.”899
[This remark has the force of a gentle reproach. The Buddha must have seen that Dhanantjani had the potential to attain the supramundane path, since elsewhere
(e.g., MN 99.24-27) he himself teaches only the way to theBrahma-world when that potential is lacking in his listener.]

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