The Rod Or Punishment
(Text and Translation by Ven. Nàrada)
1. All tremble at the rod. All fear death. Comparing others with oneself, one should neither strike nor cause to strike. 1 129.
Owing to some provocation, a “band of six monks” assaulted a “band of sixteen monks”. The Buddha, hearing of the incident promulgated a rule with regard to violence and uttered this verse.
LIFE IS DEAR TO ALL
2. All tremble at the rod. Life is dear to all. Comparing others with oneself, one should neither strike nor cause to strike. 130.
A quarrel arose between a “band of six monks” and a “band of sixteen monks”. The latter made threatening gestures. The Buddha spoke on the evil of harming others.
3. Whoever, seeking his own happiness, harms with the rod other pleasure-loving beings experiences no happiness hereafter. 131.
4. Whoever, seeking his own happiness, harms not with the rod other pleasure-loving beings, experiences happiness hereafter. 132.
The Buddha seeing some children molesting a snake with sticks, advised them to desist.
5. M’àvoca pharusa§ ka¤ci Þ
vuttà pañivadeyyu ta§
Dukkhà hi sàrambhakathà Þ
pañidaõóà phuseyyu ta§. 133.
6. Sace neresi attàna§ Þ
ka§so upahato yathà
Esa patto’si nibbàna§ Þ
sàrambho te na vijjati. 134.
SPEAK NOT HARSHLY
5. Speak not harshly to anyone. Those thus addressed will retort. Painful, indeed, is vindictive speech. Blows in exchange may bruise you. 133.
6. If, like a cracked gong, you silence yourself, you have already attained Nibbàna: 2 no vindictiveness will be found in you. 134.
Some monks used abusive language towards another monk, and he retaliated. The Buddha heard about it and spoke on non-retaliation and on the advisability of retaining silence.
DECAY AND DEATH ARE UNIVERSAL
In the house of Visàkhà women of varying ages observed the Holy Day. When questioned as to the reason for their pious conduct they gave different replies. Hearing their views, the Buddha spoke on the fleeting nature of life.
THE EVIL-DOER IS CONSUMED BY THE EFFECT OF HIS OWN EVIL
8. So, when a fool does wrong deeds, he does not realize (their evil nature); by his own deeds the stupid man is tormented, like one burnt by fire. 136.
The Arahant Moggallàna saw a Peta in the form of a python. The Buddha related that it was due to his past evil action.
9. Yo daõóena adaõóesu Þ
Dasannam a¤¤atara§ ñhàna§ Þ
khippam eva nigacchati: 137.
10. Vedana§ pharusa§ jàni§ Þ
sarãrassa ca bhedana§
Garuka§ và’ pi àbàdha§ Þ
cittakkhepa§ va pàpuõe 138.
11. Ràjato và upassagga§ Þ
abbhakkhàna§ va dàruõa§
Parikkhaya§ va ¤àtina§ Þ
bhogàna§ va pabhaïgura§.139.
12. Atha v’assa agàràni Þ
aggi óahati pàvako.
Kàyassa bhedà duppa¤¤o Þ
niraya§ so’papajjati. 140.
HE WHO OFFENDS THE INNOCENT COMES TO GRIEF
9. He who with the rod harms the rodless and harmless, 6 soon will come to one of these states:- 137.
10-12. He will be subject to acute pain, 7 disaster, bodily injury, or even grievous sickness, or loss of mind, or oppression by the king, or heavy accusation, or loss of relatives, or destruction of wealth, 8 or ravaging fire that will burn his house. Upon the dissolution of the body such unwise man will be born in hell. 138-140.
Owing to a past heinous evil kamma the Arahant Moggallàna was clubbed to death by bandits. Later, they were captured by the King and burnt alive.
EXTERNAL PENANCES CANNOT PURIFY A PERSON
13. Not wandering naked, 9 nor matted locks, 10 nor filth, 11 nor fasting, 12 nor lying on the ground, 13 nor dust, 14 nor ashes, 15 nor striving squatting on the heels, 16 can purify a mortal who has not overcome doubts. 17
Seeing a monk with many robes, the Buddha admonished him. He got angry and, throwing away the outer garment, stood draped in the under garment. The Buddha then related a similar incident in the monk’s previous existence and mentioned the futility of austerities.
NOT BY EXTERNAL APPEARANCE DOES ONE BECOME HOLY
14. Though gaily decked, if he should live in peace, (with passions) subdued, (and senses) controlled, certain 18 (of the four Paths of Sainthood), perfectly pure, 19 laying aside the rod (in his relations) towards all living beings, 20 a Bràhmaõa 21 indeed is he, an ascetic 22 is he, a bhikkhu 23 is he. 24 142.
A minister saw his nautch girl fall dead while dancing. Overcome with grief, he went to the Buddha, who preached to him. Hearing the Dhamma he attained Arahantship and passed away, though adorned and dressed in state. The monks inquired whether it was proper to call him a samaõa. In reply the Buddha stated that holiness did not depend on external appearance.
15. Hirãnisedho puriso Þ
koci lokasmi§ vijjati
Yo ninda§ apabodhati Þ
asso bhadro kasàm iva. 143.
16. Asso yathà bhadro kasàniviññho Þ
âtàpino sa§vegino bhavàtha.
Saddhàya sãlena ca viriyena ca Þ
samàdhinà dhammavinicchayena ca
Sampannavijjàcaraõà patissatà Þ
pahassatha dukkham ida§ anappaka§. 144.
THE MODEST ARE RARE IN THIS WORLD
15. (Rarely) is found in this world anyone who, restrained by modesty, avoids reproach, as a thorough-bred horse (avoids) the whip. 25 143.
BE VIRTUOUS AND GET RID OF SUFFERING
16. Like a thorough-bred horse touched by the whip, even so be strenuous and zealous. By confidence, by virtue, by effort, by concentration, by investigation of the Truth, by being endowed with knowledge and conduct, 26 and by being mindful, get rid of this great suffering. 144.
A poor youth, whose only possessions were his ragged garment and a potsherd, hung them on the branch of a tree and became a monk. Several times he disrobed and re-entered the Order. Finally he thought of the helpless state he would be in if he were to disrobe again. He meditated and attained Arahantship. Concerning his discontent and subsequent striving, the Buddha uttered these verses.
THE GOOD CONTROL THEMSELVES
17. Irrigators lead the waters. Fletchers bend the shafts. Carpenters bend the wood. The virtuous control themselves. 27 145.
A boy belonging to a respectful family entered the Order. While going on his alms round he noticed irrigators and carpenters controlling inanimate things. This induced him to think of the latent power of man. He meditated strenuously and attained Arahantship. Hearing of his realization, the Buddha commented on self-control.
1 Na haneyya na ghàtaye = na pahareyya na paharàpeyya (Commentary).
2 One who follows this exemplary practice, even though not yet having attained Nibbàna, is regarded as having attained Nibbàna.
3 Here the herdsman resembles decay and death.
4 The cattle resemble life.
5 The pasture ground resembles death.
6 Namely: the Arahats who are weaponless and innocent.
7 That might cause death.
8 Loss in business transactions, loss of wealth etc.
9 Gymnosophism is still practised in India. External dirtiness is regarded by some as a mark of saintliness. The Buddha denounces strict asceticism confined to such externals. The members of His celibate Order follow the middle path, avoiding the extremes of self-mortification and self-indulgence. Simplicity, humility, and poverty should be the chief characteristics of bhikkhus as much as cleanliness.
10 Unwashed matted hair is regarded by the foolish as a mark of holiness.
11 The non-cleansing of teeth, smearing the body with mud, etc.
12 Fasting alone does not tend to purification. The bhikkhus too fast daily between midday and the following dawn.
13 Sleeping on the ground. Bhikkhus only avoid luxurious and high couches.
14 Through not bathing.
15 Rubbing the body with ashes is still practised by some ascetics.
16 Continually sitting and wandering in that posture.
17 With regard to the Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha, etc.
18 Niyata. The four Paths are: Sotàpatti (Stream-Winner), Sakadàgàmi (Once-Returner), Anàgàmi (Never-Returner) and Arahatta (Worthy).
19 Mrs. Rhys Davids: “Walking in God”, a very misleading phrase, totally foreign to Buddhism. The commentarial explanation is seññhacariya – highest conduct.
20 Absolutely harmless towards all.
21 Because he has cast aside impurities.
22 Samaõa, because he has cleansed himself of all impurities.
23 Bhikkhu, because he has destroyed passions.
24 A gaily decked minister, stricken with grief, listened to the Buddha, seated on an elephant. On hearing the discourse, he realized Arahantship. Simultaneous with his realization his death occurred. The Buddha then advised his followers to pay him the respect due to an Arahant. When the bhikkhus questioned him how the minister could have attained Arahantship in such elegant dress the Buddha uttered this verse to show that purity comes from within and not from without. In striking contrast to the former this verse clearly indicates the Buddhist view of a holy person. It is not the apparel that counts but internal purity.
25 A self-respecting bhikkhu or layman, when obsessed with evil thoughts, tries to eradicate them there and then. This verse indicates that such persons are rare.
26 Vijjàcaraõa. Eight kinds of Knowledge and fifteen kinds of Conduct.
The eight kinds of Knowledge are: (1) Psychic Powers (iddhividha), (2) Divine Ear (dibba-sota), (3) Penetration of the minds of others (ceto-pariya-¤àõa), (4) Divine Eye (dibba-cakkhu), (5) Remembrance of former births (pubbe-nivàsanussati), (6) Extinction of corruptions (àsavakkhaya), (7) Insight (vipassanà) and (8) Creation of mental images (manomayiddhi).
The fifteen kinds of Conduct are:- Moral restraint, sense-restraint, moderation in eating, wakefulness, faith, moral shame, moral dread, great learning, energy, mindfulness, wisdom and the four Jhànas.