On one occasion the Buddha was staying at the monastery of Anathapindika in Jeta’s Grove. One day while He was going for alms-round, He arrived at the house of a Brahmin named Aggika Bharadvaja.
At that moment the Brahmin was preparing for fire oblation, and when he saw the Buddha coming to his house he shouted angrily in harsh words thus: “Stop there, wretched mendicant, stop there, wretched mendicant!”
The Buddha stopped and said gently to the Brahmin: “Do you know, O! Brahmin, who a wretch is and causes that make one a wretch?”
The Brahmin answered that he didn’t know them and requested the Buddha to explain them to him. Therefore, the Buddha delivered the Vasala Sutta which explains the meaning of a wretch and causes of becoming a wretch.
(1) One, who is hot-tempered, grudging, ungrateful, holding a wrong view, and deceitful in order to hide his fault, is a wretch.
(2) One, who has no pity for living-beings and kill them oneself or makes other kill them, is a wretch.
(3) One, who besieges and destroys villages and towns is a wretch.
(4) One, who does not pay back the loan owed to others, is a wretch.
(5) One, who steals others’ properties, is a wretch.
(6) One, who kills and robs others, is a wretch.
(7) One, who bears false witness, is a wretch.
(8) One, who commits sexual misconduct with others’ spouses, is a wretch.
(9) One, who does not support and attend to one’s parents, is a wretch.
(10) One, who tortures one’s parents, brothers, sisters and relatives bodily and verbally, is a wretch.
(11) One, who when asked a reasonable and beneficial question, gives a detrimental answer or a crooked answer deliberately hiding the true facts, is a wretch.
(12) One, who keeps in secret the evil deeds committed by oneself, is a wretch.
(13) One, who enjoys the generous treatment offered by others in warm welcome but fails to return the same treatment to others when they visit one’s house, is a wretch.
(14) One, who gives many lame excuses and refuses to donate to donees after inviting them for donation, is a wretch.
(15) One, who speaks harshly without donating anything when bhikkhus come for alms-food, is a wretch.
(16) One, who tricks others with false speech in order to gain something from them, is a wretch.
(17) One, who praises oneself and despises others, is a wretch.
(18) One, who provokes others to quarrel, who neither donates anything by oneself nor appreciates others’ donation, who is mean, pretentious, and has no shame and fear to do evil, is a wretch.
(19) One, who abuses the Buddha, His disciples and other noble sages, is a wretch.
(20) One, who claims himself to be an Arahat although one is not an Arahat, is the meanest wretch.