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The squadron of liberators – Theragatha 12.2

The monk Sunita said, I was born in a low caste, an outcaste. I was born poor, with next to no food. My work was degrading, I gathered whatever was spoiled. I gathered the withered flowers from the shrines and threw them away. People found me disgusting, despised me, disparaged me. I prostrated myself to show reverence to everyone, and even came to lower my heart.

But then one day, I saw the Buddha Gotama, arrayed with a squadron of monks, the great victorious hero, entering the city of the Magadhans. I threw down my carrying pole and hurried to show him my reverence. I prostrated myself to him. And he – the good man that he was – stood still out of sympathy – just for me!

Since he stood still for me, I rose, and stood before him. He then said, “come, monk!” And I then walked with my teacher.

Later, alone, I meditated in the wild forest, untiring, following his instructions just as he taught me. And then I conquered, just as he, the Conqueror, had once conquered! Like him, it was in the first watch of the night that I remembered all my previous existences, in the middle watch, I was purified. And as the last watch ended, I burst through the mass of darkness like the sun!

And as I rose with the sun and went to visit my teacher, Indra and Brahma – whose wilted flowers I had once thrown away – came and knelt before me, praising me for my victory. And since I stood still for them, they stood before me, and then walked with me! Arrayed with a squadron of devas, I returned to my teacher, who, seeing me victorious, smiled when he saw me.

My teacher taught me it is not by birth that one is a high caste, a supreme man, a Brahman, praised by Indra and Brahma.

Through self-control and righteousness one becomes a better man.