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XXVI:23 The lady and four novices
Once, the wife of a brahmin sent her husband to the Jetavana monastery to invite four bhikkhus for almsfood at their house. She told him to specifically request for senior bhikkhus who were true brahmanas. But four Arahant samaneras, were sent along with him. When his wife saw the young samaneras she was very disappointed and blamed the brahmin for bringing such young samaneras. She was furious with her husband and she sent him back to the monastery to get senior bhikkhus. In the meantime she refused to give the young samaneras the higher seats and she did not offer them almsfood.
When the brahmin arrived at the monastery, he met the Venerable Sariputta and invited him to his house. When Sariputta arrived at the house, he saw the four samaneras and asked them if they had been offered almsfood yet. On learning that they had not been given almsfood yet and also that food had been prepared only for four persons, he returned to the monastery. So the brahmin had to go back again to the monastery. This time Venerable Moggallana came, but he also returned to the monastery when he came to know of the true situation.
By this time, the samaneras were feeling hungry and Sakka king of the devas, seeing the state of things, took the form of an old brahmin and came to the house. The brahmin and his wife paid respects to the old brahmin and offered him a seat of honour, but Sakka just sat on the ground and paid respects to the four samaneras. Then he revealed that he was Sakka. Seeing that Sakka himself was paying respects to the young samaneras, the brahmin couple offered almsfood to the samaneras and Sakka. After the meal, the samaneras and Sakka manifested their supernormal power. Sakka went back to his celestial abode, and the samaneras returned to the monastery.
When the incident was reported to the Buddha, he commented, 'Bhikkhus! Arahants bear no ill-will towards those who are hostile to them.'
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