Verse 423. The Giver And Receiver Of Alms

Who so does know of former lives
and sees the states of bliss and woe
and then who’s reached the end of births,
a sage supreme with wisdom keen,
complete in all accomplishments,
that one I call a Brahmin True.

Explanation: He knows his former existences. He has the capacity to see heaven and hell – states of ecstasy and states of woe. He has ended the cycle of existences. He has his higher awareness. He has reached the state of a sage. He has achieved the final perfection. Him I describe as a brahmana.

It is the Giver that makes the Gift (Verse 423)

This verse was spoken by the Buddha while He was in residence at Jetavana, with reference to a question asked by Brahman Devahita.

For once upon a time the Buddha suffered from disorder of the humors and sent Venerable Upavana to Brahman Devangika for hot water. The venerable went to the brahman, told him the Buddha was suffering from disorder of the humors, and asked him for hot water. When the brahman heard the Buddha’s request, his heart was filled with joy. “How fortunate for me” he exclaimed, “that the Buddha should send to me for hot water!” The brahman gave the venerable hot water and a jar of molasses, ordering one of his men to carry the hot water on a pingo. The venerable caused the Buddha to bathe himself in hot water and then, mixing the molasses with hot water, gave it to the Buddha to drink. The Buddha’s ailment immediately abated.

The brahman thought to himself, “To whom should one give alms to obtain a great reward? I will ask the Buddha.” So he went to the Buddha and asked him about the matter, giving this stanza:

To whom shall one give alms?

To whom must alms be given to get a great reward?

How, for the giver, does the reward become a great one?

Said the Buddha to the brahman, ‘The alms of such a brahman as this, yield abundant fruit’ And proclaiming his conception of the true brahman, He gave the stanza.


Treasury of Truth: Illustrated Dhammapada – 423 Verses

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