Pali text, illustration and English translation of Dhammapada verse 406:
aviruddhaṃ viruddhesu attadaṇḍesu nibbutaṃ |
sādānesu anādānaṃ tam ahaṃ brūmi brāhmaṇaṃ || 406 ||
406. Among the hostile, friendly, among the violent, cool, detached amidst the passionate, that one I call a Brahmin True.
The Story of The Four Novices
This verse was spoken by the Buddha while He was in residence at Jetavana, with reference to four novices.
The story goes that the wife of a certain brāhmin prepared food for four specially designated monks, and said to the brāhmin her husband, “Go to the monastery, pick out four old brāhmins, and bring them here.” The brāhmin went to the monastery and brought four seven-year-old novices who had attained arahatship, Saṃkicca, Paṇḍita, Sopāka, and Revata. The brāhmin’s wife had expensive seats prepared and stood waiting. At sight of the novices, she was filled with rage, and sputtering as when salt is dropped on a brazier, she said to her husband, “You have gone to the monastery and brought back with you four youngsters not old enough to be your grandsons.” She refused to let them sit on the seats which she had prepared, but spreading some low seats for them, said to them, “Sit here!” Then she said to her husband, “Brāhman, go look out some old brāhmins and bring them here.” The brāhmin went to the monastery, and seeing Venerable Sāriputta, took him back home with him. When the Venerable reached the house and saw the novices, he asked, “Have these brāhmins received food?” “No, they have received no food.” Knowing that food had been prepared for just four persons, he said, “Bring me my bowl,” and taking his bowl, departed. Said the brāhmin’s wife, “It must be that he did not wish to eat; go quickly, look out another brāhmin and bring him here.” The brāhmin went back to the monastery and brought Venerable Mahā Moggallāna back home with him.
When Venerable Moggallāna the Great saw the novices, he said the same thing as had Venerable Sāriputta, and taking his bowl, departed. Then said the brāhmin’s wife to her husband, “These Venerables do not wish to eat; go to the brāhmin’s pale and bring back with you a single old brāhmin.” Sakka, disguising himself as an old brāhmin worn out by old age, went to the brāhmin’s pale and sat down in the most conspicuous seat of the brāhmins. When the brāhmin saw him, he thought to himself, “Now my wife will be delighted,” and saying, “Come, let us go home,” he took him and went back home with him. When the brāhmin’s wife saw him, her heart was filled with delight. She took the rugs and mats which were spread over two seats, spread them over one, and said to him, “Noble Sir, sit here.” When Sakka entered the house, he saluted the four novices with the five rests, and finding a place for himself at the edge of the seats where the novices were sitting, sat down cross-legged on the ground. When the brāhmin’s wife saw him, she said to the brāhmin, “To be sure you have brought a brāhmin, you have brought back with you one old enough to be your father. He is going about saluting novices young enough to be his grandsons. What use have we for him? Put him out!”
The brāhmin seized him first by the shoulder, then by the arm, finally by the waist, and tried his best to drag him out, but he refused to stir from where he sat. Then the brāhmin’s wife said to her husband, “Come, brāhmin, you take hold of one arm and I will take hold of the other.” So the brāhmin and his wife both took hold of his two arms, belabored him about the back, and dragged him through the door out of the house. Nevertheless, Sakka remained sitting in the same place in which he had sat before, waving his hands back and forth. When the brāhmin and his wife returned and saw him sitting in the very same place in which he had sat before, they screamed screams of terror and let him go.
At that moment, Sakka made known his identity. Then the brāhmin and his wife gave food to their guests. When those five persons had received food, they departed. One of the novices broke through the circular peak of the house, the second broke through the front part of the roof, the third broke through the back part of the roof, the fourth plunged into the earth, while Sakka departed from the house by another route. Thus did those five persons depart from the house by five different routes. From that time on, so it is said, that house was known as the house with the five openings. When the novices returned to the monastery, the monks asked them, “What was it like?” “Pray don’t ask us,” replied the novices. “But were you not angry with them for what they did?” “No, we were not angry.” When the monks heard their reply, they reported the matter to the Buddha, saying, “Venerable, when these monks say, ‘We were not angry,’ they say what is not true, they utter falsehood.” Said the Buddha, “Monks, they that have rid themselves of the evil passions oppose not them by whom they are opposed.”
Explanatory Translation (Verse 406)
viruddhesu aviruddhaṃ attadaṇḍesu nibbutaṃ
sādānesu anādānaṃ taṃ ahaṃ brāhmaṇaṃ brūmi
viruddhesu: among those who are hostile; aviruddhaṃ [aviruddha]: not hostile; attadaṇḍesu: among those bearing arms; nibbutaṃ [nibbuta]: peaceful; sādānesu: among the selfish; anādānaṃ [anādāna]: selfless; taṃ: him;ahaṃ: I; brāhmaṇaṃ brūmi: call a brāhmaṇa