Thag 12.2
Sunita the Outcaste
translated from the Pali by
Thanissaro Bhikkhu

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In 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 just 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, untiring, 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 & Brahma 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 fermentations 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."