Not Food But Evil Actions That Matter
1. A Brahmin, by name Amagandha, was an ascetic who lived in the region of Himalayas with his pupils.
2. They ate neither fish nor flesh. Every year they came down from their hermitage in search of salt and acids. The inhabitants of the village received them with honour, and gave them hospitality for four months.
3. Then the Blessed Lord with his monks visited the same village. The people, on hearing the Lord preach his Dhamma, became his followers.
4. That year even Amagandha and his disciples as usual went to the villagers, but the villagers did not show the same enthusiasm.
5. Amagandha was disappointed to hear that the Lord did not forbid eating fish and flesh. Wishing to have the matter confirmed, he went to Jeta Vana at Shravasti, where the Blessed Lord was then staying, and said:
6. “Millet, cingula-beans and peas, edible leaves and roots, the fruit of any creeper; the righteous who eat these, obtained justly, do not tell lies for the sake of pleasures.
7. “Thou eatest whatever food is given by others, which is well prepared, nicely got up, pure, and excellent. He who enjoys such food made of rice, he eats ‘Amagandha’. You say that the charge of Amagandha, does not apply to me, while eating rice with well prepared bird’s flesh.
8. “I inquire the meaning of this from you, of what kind is your Amagandha?”
9. The Lord replied: “Taking life, beating, cutting, binding, stealing, lying, fraud, deceiving, worthless knowledge, adultery–this is Amagandha, and not the eating of flesh.
10. “In this world those individuals who are unrestrained in sensual pleasures, who are greedy for sweet things, who are associated with impure actions, who are of Nihilistic views, crooked, difficult to follow–this is Amagandha, and not the eating of flesh.
11. “In this world those who are rude, harsh, backbiting, treacherous, unkind, excessively egoistic, ungenerous, and do not give anything to anybody–this is Amagandha, and not the eating of flesh.
12. “Anger, pride, obstinacy, antagonism, deceit, envy, boasting, excessive egoism, association with the unrighteous–this is Amagandha, and not eating of flesh.
13. “Those who are of bad morals, refuse to pay their debt, slanderers, deceitful in their dealings, pretenders, those who in this world being the vilest of men, commit such wrongdoings–this is Amagandha, and not the eating of flesh.
14. “Those persons who, in this world, are uncontrolled towards living beings, who are bent on injuring others, having taken their belongings; immoral, cruel, harsh, disrespectful–this is Amagandha, and not the eating of flesh.
15. “Those who attack these living beings either because of greed or of hostility, and always bent upon (evil), they go to darkness after death and fall into hell headlong–this is Amagandha, and not the eating of flesh.
16. “Abstaining from fish or flesh, nakedness, shaving of the head, matted hair, covering with ashes, wearing rough deer skins, attending the sacrificial fire–nor all these various penances in the world (performed) for immortality, neither incantations, oblations, sacrifices nor seasonal observances, purifies a person who has not overcome his doubt.
17. “He who lives with his senses guarded and conquered, and is established in the Dhamma, delights in uprightness and gentleness, who has gone beyond attachments and has overcome all sorrows–that wise man does not cling to what is seen and heard.
18. “It is evil actions which constitute Amagandha, and not the eating of fish or flesh.”