In the Kasi Bharadvaja Sutta (Sn1.4 and SN7.11), the Buddha went to get alms from the brahman Kasi Bharadvaja, who hinted that monks like the Buddha, should also work hard by plowing and sowing, in order to earn their meals.

To this, the Buddha responded with details on how he plowed and sowed, and reaped the fruit which is deathless.

Kasi Bharadvaja then heaped up milk rice from a large bronze serving bowl, and offered it to the Buddha, who said:

What's been chanted over with verses shouldn't be eaten by me. That's not the nature, brahman, of one who's seen rightly. What's been chanted over with verses Awakened Ones reject. That being their nature, brahman, this is their way of life. Serve with other food & drink a fully-perfected great seer, his fermentations ended, his anxiety stilled, for that is the field for one looking for merit.

What does this mean? Is food chanted over with verses not good for consumption?

Does that apply to the chanting of all religions?

The next part of the sutta baffles me:

"Then to whom, Master Gotama, should I give this milk-rice?"

"Brahman, I don't see that person in this world — with its devas, Maras, & Brahmas, in this generation with its royalty & common people — by whom this milk-rice, having been eaten, would be rightly digested, aside from a Tathagata or a Tathagata's disciple. In that case, brahman, throw the milk-rice away in a place without vegetation, or dump it in water with no living beings."

So Kasi Bharadvaja dumped the milk-rice in water with no living beings. And the milk-rice, when dropped in the water, hissed & sizzled, seethed & steamed. Just as an iron ball heated all day, when tossed in the water, hisses & sizzles, seethes & steams, in the same way the milk-rice, when dropped in the water, hissed & sizzled, seethed & steamed.

Then Kasi Bharadvaja — in awe, his hair standing on end — went to the Blessed One

Why is it that this milk rice can be consumed only by a Tathagatha or a Tathagatha's disciple?

But then, in the earlier part, the Buddha said that the Awakened Ones would never eat it. Why is this the case?

Why did the milk rice hiss, sizzle, seeth and steam when dumped into the water?

Why was Kasi Bharadvaja in awe, on seeing that?

1 Answer 1


Initially food was not offered but only offered after the person was impressed by the teaching. Therefore this offering is like remuneration, i.e., what an actor might get for an act. The Buddha's intention in preaching is not for worldly gains, so in this case it is not suitable for the Buddha to accept it.

Also when there is a living Buddha, it is said what is offered to the Buddha is not suitable for consumption by other beings. The Buddha with his power of determination destroyed the food so that another being may not consume it as it would have been detrimental to the consumer.

Generally when you put milk rise into a stream it does not fizzle and destroy itself, so anyone seeing such phenomena would be in awe.

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