(Text and Translation by Ven. Nàrada)
GIVE UP BASE DESIRES
A young novice was offended at being called a shaveling. Nobody was able to pacify him. The Buddha adopted a conciliatory attitude and won his heart. On that occasion the Buddha uttered this verse.
2. Uttiññhe nappamajjeyya Þ
dhamma§ sucarita§ care
Dhammacàrã sukha§ seti Þ
asmi§ loke paramhi ca. 168.
3. Dhamma§ care sucarita§ Þ
na na§ duccarita§ care
Dhammacàrã sukha§ seti Þ
asmi§ loke paramhi ca. 169.
THE RIGHTEOUS ARE HAPPY BE RIGHTEOUS
2. Be not heedless in standing 3 (at people’s doors for alms). Observe (this) practice scrupulously. He who observes this practice lives happily both in this world and in the next. 168.
3. Scrupulously observe (this) practice. Do not observe it unscrupulously. He who observes this practice lives happily both in this world and in the next. 169.
On the day after His arrival in His birthplace Kapilavatthu immediately after His Enlightenment, the Buddha went in quest of alms in the city. King Suddhodana, His father, hearing that his son was begging alms in the city, indignantly ran up to Him and said that He was disgracing him by begging alms in the streets where He formerly used to travel in golden palanquins. Thereupon the Buddha remarked that it was the custom of His predecessors to go seeking alms from door to door, and He uttered these verses.
LIKE A BUBBLE IS THIS WORLD
4. Just as one would look upon a bubble, just as one would look upon a mirage 4 – if a person thus looks upon the world, the King of Death sees him not. 170.
Reflecting on a mirage and on bubbles of water, many monks attained Arahantship. Concerning their attainment, the Buddha uttered this verse.
THE WISE ARE NOT ATTACHED TO THE WORLD
5. Come, behold this world 5 which is like unto an ornamented royal chariot, wherein fools flounder, but for the wise there is no attachment. 171.
A prince was grieved to hear of the death of a nautch girl who used to delight him by dancing and singing. He went to the Buddha seeking consolation. The Buddha comforted him and uttered this verse.
THE HEEDFUL ILLUMINE THE WORLD
6. Whoever was heedless before and afterwards is not; such a one illumines this world like the moon freed from clouds. 172.
A monk was constantly sweeping the rooms of the monastery. As advised by an Arahant he meditated and eventually attained Arahantship. Concerning his change of attitude, the Buddha uttered this verse.
EVIL CAN BE ERASED BY GOOD
Angulimàla a notorious murderer, was converted by the Buddha. Later, he not only became a very compassionate monk but also attained Arahantship and passed away into Nibbàna. The monks wished to know how such a murderer could have become an Arahant. In reply the Buddha uttered this verse.
FEW ARE THE CLEAR-SIGHTED
8. Blind is this world. Few are those who clearly see. As birds escape from a net few go to a blissful state. 8 174.
The devout daughter of a weaver came to hear the Buddha and answered four enigmatic questions put to her by the Buddha which the audience could not understand. The Buddha explained the matter and uttered this verse.
THE WISE SEEK AN ESCAPE FROM THIS WORLD
Some monks came to see the Buddha and, hearing the Dhamma attained Arahantship with psychic powers. Later, they departed flying through the air. The Venerable Ananda, who had seen them coming, noticed their absence and inquired of the Buddha where they had gone. Just at that moment some swans flew through the air. Then the Buddha remarked that Arahants, who possess psychic powers, go through the air like swans.
THERE IS NO EVIL THAT A LIAR CANNOT COMMIT
10. There is no evil that cannot be done by the liar, 12 who has transgressed the one law (of truthfulness) and who is indifferent to a world beyond. 176.
A vicious woman feigned pregnancy and in the Hall of Truth publicly accused the Buddha as having being responsible for her condition. People discovered the truth. Concerning her false accusation, the Buddha uttered this verse.
THE STINGY ARE NOT HAPPY
11. Verily misers go not to the celestial realms. Fools do not indeed praise liberality. The wise man rejoices in giving and thereby become happy thereafter. 177.
A King spent a large sum of money in giving alms to the Buddha and the Order. One minister was displeased about it and another was full of joy. Taking into consideration their contrary attitudes, the Buddha addressed this verse to the King.
SPIRITUAL ADVANCEMENT IS BETTER THAN WORLDLY SOVEREIGNTY
Anàthapiõóika the millionaire, induced his son to hear the Dhamma from the Buddha, offering him a thousand pieces of money. Tempted by the reward, he saw the Buddha, heard the dhamma and became a Stream-Winner. Thereupon the Buddha commented on the superiority of spiritual advancement over all worldly possessions.
1 That is, sensual pleasures.
2 By being subject to repeated births and deaths.
3 This translation is according to the Commentary but owing to the ambiguity of the first word it may be translated, “be alert, be not heedless”, etc.
4 This psycho-physical organism is to be regarded as being as empty as a bubble and as illusive as a mirage. The wise man who could so regard it would end the ills of life.
5 This body, composed of the five Aggregates.
6 By the Path of Arahantship.
7 One has to reap the effects of one’s Kamma. But one is not bound to reap the effects of all actions one has done in the course of Sa§sàra. If one were, an escape from birth and death would be impossible. At times it is possible to obliterate one’s evil kamma by performing powerful good kamma.
8 Sagga – blissful states, not eternal heavens.
9 Iddhi. By mental development it is possible to fly through the air, walk on water, dive into the earth, etc. Such kinds of powers are psychic and supernormal, but not miraculous.
10 That is, the Arahants attain Parinibbàna without coming into birth again.
11 The host of Màra, the Evil One, is described as comprising ten kinds of passions (kilesa). They are: 1. material pleasures (kàma), 2. aversion for the Holy Life (arati), 3. hunger and thirst (khuppipàsà), 4. craving (taõhà), 5. sloth and torpor (thãna-middha), 6. fear (bhaya), 7. doubt (vicikicchà), 8. detraction and obstinacy (makkha-thambha), 9. gain (làbha), praise (siloka) honour (sakkàra) and ill-gotten fame (yasa), 10. Extolling of oneself and contempt for others (attukka§sana-paravambhana).
12 An untruthful person, devoid of self-respect, who has no belief in an after life and who has no fear for the attendant consequences of evil, is liable to commit any evil. Such a person does not see earthly bliss or heavenly bliss or Nibbànic bliss (Commentary).
13 Internal purification is far superior to fleeting worldly possessions of transitory heavenly bliss.
14 Sotàpatti. Here Sota means the stream that leads to Nibbàna. It is the noble Eightfold Path. “â” means for the first time. “Patti” means attainment. Sotàpatti means the attainment of the stream for the first time. It is the realization of Nibbàna for the first time. This is the first stage of Sainthood. The Stream-Winners are not born in woeful states, but the worldly great are not exempt from them.