18-Mala Vagga

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Chapter 18


Impurities Or Taints
(Text and Translation by Ven. Nàrada)

 

1. Paõóupalàso’ va’ dàni’ si Þ
            yamapurisà’pi ca ta§ upaññhità 
Uyyogamukhe ca tiññhasi Þ
            pàtheyyam pi ca te na vijjati. 235.
2. So karohi dãpam attano Þ
            khippa§ vàyama paõóito bhava 
Niddhantamalo anaïgaõo Þ
            dibba§ ariyabhåmim ehisi. 236.
3. Upanãtavayo va’dàni’si Þ
            sampayàto’si yamassa santike 
Vàso’pi ca te natthi antarà Þ
            pàtheyyam pi ca te na vijjati. 237.
4. So karohi dãpam attano Þ
            khippa§ vàyama paõóito bhava 
Niddhantamalo anaïgaõo Þ
            na puna jàtijara§ upehisi. 238.

 

DEATH IS NEAR TO YOU

1. Like a withered leaf are you now. The messengers of death wait on you. On the threshold of decay you stand. Provision too there is none for you. 235.

STRIVE HARD

2. Make an island unto yourself. Strive quickly; become wise. Purged of stain and passionless, you shall enter the heavenly stage of the Ariyas. 1 236.

LIFE COMES TO AN END

3. Your life has come to an end now. To the presence of death you are setting out. No halting place is there for you by the way. Provision too there is none for you. 237.

BE PASSIONLESS

4. Make an island unto yourself. Strive without delay; become wise. Purged of stain and passionless, you will not come again to birth and old age. 238.

Story

    A father-in-law grew old without doing any good. His son-in-law invited the Buddha and the Sangha to the house and gave alms in his name. Thereupon the Buddha addressed these verses to the old man in admonition.


5. Anupubbena medhàvã Þ
thokathoka§ khaõe khaõe
Kammàro rajatass’ eva Þ
niddhame malam attano. 239.

 

PURIFY YOURSELF GRADUALLY

5. By degrees, little by little, from time to time, a wise person should remove his own impurities, as a smith removes (the dross) of silver. 239.

Story

    A devout person, realizing the inconveniences caused to monks while wearing robes in a grassy plot of land, started erecting a hall for the purpose. Having completed his good work little by little, invited the Buddha and the Sangha to an alms-giving and related the history of the gradual development of the hall. The Buddha praised him and preached on the gradual removal of one’s impurities.


 

6. Ayasà’ va mala§ samuññhita§ Þ
taduññhàya tam’eva khàdati
Eva§ atidhonacàrina§ Þ
sakakammàni nayanti duggati§. 240.

 

ONE’S EVIL RUINS ONESELF

6. As rust sprung from iron eats itself away when arisen, even so his own deeds lead the transgressor 2 to states of woe. 240.

Story

    A young monk stricken with indigestion died with a strong feeling of attachment to his new robe. Revealing his destiny, the Buddha discoursed on the baneful consequences of craving.


 

7. Asajjhàyamalà mantà Þ
anuññhànamalà gharà
Mala§ vaõõassa kosajja§ Þ
pamàdo rakkhato mala§. 241.

 

CAUSES OF STAIN

7. Non-recitation is the rust of incantations; 3 non-exertion is the rust of homes; 4 sloth is the taint of beauty; carelessness is the flaw of a watcher. 241.

Story

    A monk was jealous of the praise accorded to the two chief disciples for their exposition of the Dhamma. He claimed equal proficiency in preaching but when called upon to show his capability he failed to do so. Thereupon the Buddha uttered this verse.


 

8. Mal’ itthiyà duccarita§ Þ
macchera§ dadato mala§
Malà ve pàpakà dhammà Þ
asmi§ loke paramhi ca. 242.
9. Tato malà malatara§ Þ
avijjà parama§ mala§
Eta§ mala§ pahatvàna Þ
nimmalà hotha bhikkhavo. 243.

 

TAINTS ARE EVIL THINGS IGNORANCE IS THE GREATEST TAINT

8. Misconduct is the taint of a woman. Stinginess is the taint of a donor. Taints, indeed, are all evil things both in this world and in the next. 242.

9. A worse taint than these is ignorance, the greatest taint. Abandoning this taint, be taintless, O Bhikkhus! 243.

Story

    A newly married young man was disappointed with his young wife who proved to be an adulteress. When the youth mentioned this matter to the Buddha He uttered these verses.


 

10. Sujãva§ ahirãkena Þ
kàkasårena dha§sinà
Pakkhandinà pagabbhena Þ
sa§kiliññhena jãvita§. 244.
11. Hirãmatà ca dujjãva§ Þ
nicca§ sucigavesinà
Alãnen’ àpagabbhena Þ
suddhàjãvena passatà. 245.

 

IT IS EASY TO LEAD A SHAMELESS LIFE IT IS HARD TO LEAD A MODEST LIFE

10. Easy is the life of a shameless one who is as impudent as a crow, back-biting, presumptuous, arrogant, and corrupt. 244.

11. Hard is the life of a modest one who ever seeks purity, is detached, humble, clean in life, and reflective. 245.

Story

    A young monk offered same choice food to another monk and promised to offer such food whenever be obtained it. The latter, however departed without even thanking him for the offer. Hearing the story, the Buddha commented on courtesy and rudeness.


 

12. Yo pàõam atipàteti Þ
musàvàda¤ ca bhàsati
Loke adinna§ àdiyati Þ
paradàra¤ ca gacchati 246.
13. Suràmerayapàna¤ ca Þ
yo naro anuyu¤jati
Idh’ evam eso lokasmi§ Þ
måla§ khaõati attano. 247.
14. Eva§ bho purisa jànàhi Þ
pàpadhammà asa¤¤atà.
Mà ta§ lobho adhammo ca Þ
cira§ dukkhàya randhayu§. 248.

 

HE WHO DOES NOT OBSERVE THE FIVE PRECEPTS RUINS HIMSELF
BE NOT AVARICIOUS AND DO NO WRONG

12-13. Whoso in this world destroys life, tells lies, takes what is not given, goes to others’ wives, and is addicted to intoxicating drinks, such a one digs up his own root in this world. 246-247.

14. Know thus O good man: “Not easy of restraint are evil things”. Let not greed and wickedness 5 drag you to protracted misery. 248.

Story

    Many followers each of whom was observing one of the five precepts spoke of the difficulty of practising their respective precepts. Hearing their story, the Buddha spoke of the difficulty of practising them all without stating a single one as of lesser importance.


 

15. Dadàti ve yathàsaddha§ Þ
yathàpasàdana§ jano
Tattha yo maïku bhavati Þ
paresa§ pànabhojane
Na so divà và ratti§ và Þ
samàdhi§ adhigacchati. 249.
16. Yassa c’eta§ samucchinna§ Þ
målaghacca§ samåhata§
Sa ve divà và ratti§ và Þ
samàdhi§ adhigacchati. 250.

 

THE ENVIOUS ARE NOT AT PEACE THE UNENVIOUS ARE AT PEACE

15. People give according to their faith and as they are pleased. Whoever therein is envious of others’ food and drink, gains no peace 6 either by day or by night. 249.

16. But he who has this (feeling) fully cut off, uprooted and destroyed, gains peace by day and by night. 250.

Story

    A novice, son of a gate-keeper, spoke disparagingly of all the devotees except his own kinsfolk as regards their generosity. Some inquisitive monks made investigations about his so-called relatives and discovered the truth. When they informed the Buddha about his mean behaviour the Buddha spoke on the mental attitude of the envious and the unenvious.


 

17. Natthi ràgasamo aggi Þ
natthi dosasamo gaho
Natthi mohasama§ jàla§ Þ
natthi taõhàsamà nadi. 251.

 

THERE IS NO RIVER LIKE CRAVING

17. There is no fire like lust, no grip like hate, no net like delusion, no river like craving. 251.

Story

    Once the Buddha was preaching the Dhamma to six persons. Five were inattentive, and only one was attentive. The Buddha attributed their inattentiveness to their past tendencies. When the Venerable Ananda inquired the reason the Buddha replied that it was due to their respective lust, hatred, ignorance, and craving.


 

18. Sudassa§ vajjam a¤¤esa§ Þ
attano pana duddasa§
Paresa§ hi so vajjàni Þ
opuõàti yathà bhusa§
Attano pana chàdeti Þ
kali§’ va kitavà sañho. 252.

 

EASY TO SEE ARE OTHERS’ FAULTS

18. Easily seen are others’ faults, hard indeed to see are one’s own. Like chaff one winnows others’ faults, but one’s own (faults) one hides, as a crafty fowler conceals himself 7 by camouflage. 8252.

Story

    A wealthy person who desired to see the Buddha was dissuaded from meeting Him by the other ascetics, speaking in dispraise of Him. Hearing of it, the Buddha remarked that some find in others faults that do not exist, but fail to see their own faults.


 

19. Paravajjànupassissa Þ
nicca§ ujjhànasa¤¤ino
âsavà tassa vaóóhanti Þ
àrà so àsavakkhayà. 253.

 

DEFILEMENTS MULTIPLY IN THOSE WHO SEEK OTHERS’ FAULTS

19. He who sees others’ faults, and is ever irritable – the corruptions of such a one grow. He is far from the destruction of corruptions. 9 253.

Story

    The Buddha uttered this verse concerning a monk who was always seeking others’ faults.


 

20. âkàse pada§ natthi Þ
samaõo natthi bàhire
Papa¤cƒbhiratà pajà Þ
nippapa¤cà tathàgatà. 254.
21. âkàse pada§ natthi Þ
samaõo natthi bàhire
Saïkhàrà sassatà natthi Þ
natthi buddhàna§ i¤jita§. 255.

 

OUTSIDE THERE ARE NO SAINTS WHO HAVE REALISED NIBBâNA
THERE ARE NO AGGREGATES WHICH ARE ETERNAL

20. In the sky there is no track. Outside 10 there is no Saint. 11 Mankind delights in obstacles. 12 The Tathàgatas 13 are free from obstacles. 254.

21. In the sky there is no track. Outside there is no Saint. There are no conditioned things 14 that are eternal. There is no instability 15 in the Buddhas. 255.

Story

    As the Buddha was about to pass away Subhadda, a wandering ascetic approached the Buddha and wished to know about ascetics and teachers who belonged to other orders. In reply the Buddha uttered these verses.


End Notes

1 Namely: the Pure Abodes (Suddhàvàsa).

2 Atidhonacàri = the bhikkhu who lives without reflecting on the necessaries of life. While using the four requisites, namely: robes, food, drink, and lodging, a bhikkhu is expected to reflect on their special usefulness and loathsomeness. If he does not, he transgresses a minor rule by not using them properly. Dhona means the four necessaries.

3 Mantà mean religious doctrines, arts and sciences. Non-recitation of the scriptures and non-practice of the arts tend to make one forget them.

4 Ghara is interpreted as householders.

5 Adhammo is here used in the sense of hatred. The root causes of evil are greed and hatred.

6 Samàdhi, mundane or supramundane concentration.

7 Kaliü = attabhàva = body.

8 Kitavà = kitavàya = by means of sham branches etc.

9 Namely: the Fruit of Arahantship. See note on v. 226.

10 Outside the Dispensation (sàsana) of the Buddha.

11 Here samaõa refers to Saints who have realised the four Paths and four Fruits. They are the Ariya Saints who have attained Nibbàna.

12 Impediments such as craving, pride, etc.

13 An epithet of the Buddha. Literally, it means “who thus hath come”.

14 Saïkhàra means the five aggregates conditioned by causes.

15 There is no single impediment such as craving, pride, and so on, by means of which the Buddhas regard the conditioned things as eternal.

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