Thag 12:2  Sunīta the Outcaste

Into a lowly family I was born,

poor, with next to no food.

My work was degrading:

I gathered the spoiled,

the withered flowers from shrines

and threw them away.

People found me disgusting,

despised me, disparaged me.

Lowering my heart,

I showed reverence to many.

Then I saw the One Self-awakened,

arrayed with a squadron of monks,

the Great Hero, entering the city,

supreme, of the Magadhans.

Throwing down my carrying pole,

I approached him to do reverence.

He—the supreme man—stood still

out of sympathy


for me.

After paying homage

to the feet of the teacher,

I stood to one side

& requested the Going Forth from him,

supreme among all living beings.

The compassionate Teacher,

sympathetic to all the world, said:

“Come, monk.”

That was my formal Acceptance.

Alone, I stayed in the wilds,


I followed the Teacher’s words,

just as he, the Conqueror, had taught me.

In the first watch of the night,

I recollected previous lives;

in the middle watch,

purified the divine eye;

in the last,

burst the mass of darkness.

Then, as night was ending

& the sun returning,

Indra & Brahmā came to pay homage to me,

hands palm-to-palm at their hearts:

“Homage to you,

O thoroughbred of men,

Homage to you,

O man supreme,

whose effluents are ended.

You, dear sir,

are worthy of offerings.”

Seeing me,

arrayed with a squadron of devas,

the Teacher smiled & said:

“Through austerity, celibacy,

restraint, & self-control:

That’s how one is a brahman.

He is a brahman supreme.”

See also: SN 3:24; AN 3:58; Ud 5:3