In the book "Be An Island" by Ayya Khema, the following section can be found in a chapter discussing the benefits of solitude:

"... Once the Buddha went to a village where nobody had any faith in him. Nobody in the village paid any attention to him, and he received no alms food at all. He went to the outskirts and sat down on a bit of straw and meditated. Another ascetic, who saw that the Buddha had not received any food, commiserated with him: “You must be feeling very bad, not having anything to eat. I’m very sorry. You don’t even have a nice place to sleep, just straw.”

The Buddha replied, “Feeders on joy we are. Inner joy can feed us for many days ...”.

Unfortunately there are not any references to the story in the book.

Would anyone happen to know the sutta reference?

Thank you for your time.

1 Answer 1


SN 4.18 strikes me as similar to that story:

On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling among the Magadhans at the brahmin village of Pañcasala. Now on that occasion the gift-festival of the young people was being held at the brahmin village of Pañcasala. Then, in the morning, the Blessed One dressed and, taking bowl and robe, entered Pañcasala for alms. Now on that occasion Mara the Evil One had taken possession of the brahmin householders of Pañcasala, inciting in them the thought, “Don’t let the ascetic Gotama get alms.”

Then the Blessed One left Pañcasala with his bowl just as cleanly washed as it was when he entered it for alms. Then Mara the Evil One approached the Blessed One and said to him: “Maybe you got alms, ascetic?”

“Was it you, Evil One, who saw to it that I didn’t get alms?”

“Then, venerable sir, let the Blessed One enter Pañcasala a second time for alms. I will see to it that the Blessed One gets alms.”

The Blessed One:

“You have produced demerit, Mara, Having assailed the Tathagata. Do you really think, O Evil One, ‘My evil does not ripen’?

“Happily indeed we live, We who own nothing at all. We shall dwell feeding on rapture Like the devas of Streaming Radiance.”

Then Mara the Evil One … disappeared right there.

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