Sunīta was a highly accomplished disciple of the Buddha. He was born in a family of untouchables whose job was of sweeping around the temple area.[1] According to Thanissaro Bhikkhu's translation of the Theragāthā account,[2] Sunīta laments:

"People found me disgusting,
despised me, disparaged me.
Lowering my heart,
I showed reverence to many."

Sunīta continues, describing his meeting with the Buddha and ordination:

The compassionate Teacher,
sympathetic to all the world, said:
"Come monk."
That was my formal Acceptance.

Sunīta practiced arduously and eventually became an Arhant. His status was acknowledged by the gods Brahmā and Śakra:

Then, as night was ending
& the sun returning,
Indra & Brahmā 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 effluents are ended.
You, dear sir,
are worthy of offerings."


  1. ^ "Life of Buddha: Sunita, the Scavenger (Part One)". Retrieved 2020-05-30.
  2. ^ Ṭhānissaro Bhikkhu. "Thag 12:2 Sunīta the Outcaste". Retrieved 2019-03-17.