Born as a wealthy Brahmin, from the time he left home, he developed an ascetic mind, vowing to live a holy life, with minimal desire and contentment.
Once the Blessed One was staying at Rajagaha, at Veluvana. Then the venerable Maha Kassapa (Great Kassapa) went to the Blessed One and sat down to one side. The Blessed One said to Maha Kassapa:
You, Kassapa, are old, like old rags that deserve to be thrown away. So, Kassapa, wear the robes offered by the householders, eat the food offered, and stay close to Me.
World-Honored One, I am a person who has lived in the forest for a long time, begging for alms, wearing algal robes, living a low-educational life, not socializing and often diligent. Hey Kassapa, you see no benefit that has been around for a long time. Living in the forest, begging for alms, wearing algal robes, living with a lack of sex and contentment, not socializing, and often diligent?
I see there are two benefits, I am at peace myself and out of compassion I hope that sentient beings will follow… if they can practice like this for a long time, they will live peacefully and happily. Good luck, Kassapa . He practices like this for the benefit of sentient beings, out of compassion for the world, for the welfare of gods and humans. So, Kassapa, bring coarse linen that should be thrown away. Live begging and live in the forest.
(DTKVN, Tuong Yuong II, chapter 5, section Returning to old age, VNCPHVN Publishing, 1993, p.348).
Why should Buddhists be less lustful?
When the World-Honored One and Mahakashyapa were old, both of them were not as healthy as before. And many times the Blessed One invited the Venerable Kassapa to the monastery, where a stable life is more suitable for an old age than in the forest, but the Elder Kassapa all refused.
Born as a wealthy Brahmin, from the time he left home, he developed an ascetic mind, vowing to live a holy life, with minimal desire and contentment. Until his old age, the Elder still chose the life of beggars, wore ragged robes, and lived wandering in lonely forests until the end of his life.
What helped Venerable Kassapa to practice the perfect holy life? He himself achieved peace and the goal of the holy life was the most vivid and convincing Dharma talk for sentient beings to learn and follow. He deserves to be honored as the first saint in the holy life from inner liberation to everyday life.
Although the practice and teaching environment of the monks today is different from the past, the Venerable Kassapa’s bright example of moral conduct is still the most important thing for us to study. Material abundance and comfort are necessary for us to practice Buddha’s work, but it is the virtues and wisdom that are the true materials to form the personality of the true monastic children.