The Just Or Righteous
(Text and Translation by Ven. Nàrada)
1. Na tena hoti dhammaññho Þ
yen’ attha§ sahasà naye
Yo ca attha§ anattha¤ ca Þ
ubho niccheyya paõóito 256.
2. Asàhasena dhammena Þ
samena nayatã pare
Dhammassa gutto medhàvã Þ
dhammaññho’ ti pavuccati. 257.
THE JUST SHOULD MAKE A PROPER INVESTIGATION
THE IMPARTIAL ARE CALLED THE TRUE JUSTICES
1. He is not thereby just because he hastily arbitrates cases. The wise man should investigate both right and wrong. 256.
2. The intelligent person who leads others not falsely but lawfully and impartially, who is a guardian of the law, is called one who abides by the law (dhammaññha). 257.
Some monks observed that certain judges accepted bribes and adjudged cases unjustly. Hearing this matter, the Buddha described the state of a true justice.
ONE IS NOT DEEMED WISE BECAUSE ONE IS GARRULOUS
3. One is not thereby a learned man merely because one speaks much. He who is secure, without hate, and fearless is called “learned”. 258.
A group of six monks went about calling themselves wise and thus creating disorder. The Buddha uttered this verse in explanation.
GARRULOUSNESS IS NOT A CHARACTERISTIC OF ONE WHO KNOWS THE DHAMMA
4. One is not versed in the Dhamma merely because one speaks too much. He who hears little and sees the Dhamma mentally, 1 and who does not neglect the Dhamma, is, indeed, versed in the Dhamma. 259.
A monk who knew only one verse was living in a forest. He used to recite it on the Holy days. The deities applauded him. Two other monks, who were versed in the Dhamma, came to the same forest and preached the Dhamma, but there was no applause from the deities. Displeased they went away and reported to the Buddha the attitude of the deities. The Buddha uttered this verse in explanation.
GREY HAIR ALONE MAKES NOT A THERA
HE IS A THERA WHO IS STAINLESS
5. He is not thereby an elder (thera 2) merely because his head is grey. Ripe is he in age. “Old-in-vain” is he called. 260.
Some monks were offended when the Buddha referred to a monk who appeared to be a young novice as a thera. The Buddha uttered this verse in explanation.
NOT BY HANDSOME APPEARANCE DOES ONE BECOME GOOD-NATURED
GOOD-NATURED IS HE WHO HAS GIVEN UP JEALOUSY ETC.
7. Not by mere eloquence, nor by handsome appearance, does a man become good-natured, should he be jealous, selfish, and deceitful. 262.
8. But in whom these are wholly cut off, uprooted and extinct, that wise man who is purged of hatred, is, indeed, called good-natured. 263.
Some young monks and novices demonstrated their respect towards their respective teachers. Some elderly monks who were eloquent preachers grew jealous of it. With a base motive they approached the Buddha and suggested that He advise those young monks not to rehearse the Dhamma without being corrected by them. The Buddha understanding their base intentions, uttered these verses.
A SHAVEN HEAD DOES NOT MAKE ONE A MONK
9. Not by a shaven head does an undisciplined man, 7 who utters lies, become a monk. How will one who is full of desire and greed be a monk? 264.
HE IS A MONK WHO HAS OVERCOME EVIL
10. He who wholly subdues evil deeds both small and great is called a monk because he has overcome all evil. 265.
A certain monk, when defeated in argument, would invite his opponent to meet in an appointed place at an appointed time to resume the discussion. He would then go to the appointed place before the appointed time and declare that the absence of the opponent meant acknowledgment of defeat. When this matter was reported to the Buddha He explained the attitude of a true monk.
11. Na tena bhikkhu hoti Þ
yàvatà bhikkhate pare
Vissa§ dhamma§ samàdàya Þ
bhikkhu hoti na tàvatà. 266.
12. Yo’ dha pu¤¤a¤ ca pàpa¤ ca Þ
Saïkhàya loke carati Þ
sa ce bhikkhå’ti vuccati. 267.
ONE DOES NOT BECOME A BHIKKHU MERELY BY BEGGING
HE WHO IS HOLY IS CALLED A BHIKKHU
12. Herein he who has transcended both good and evil, whose conduct is sublime, who lives with understanding in this world, he, indeed, is called a bhikkhu. 267.
A brahmin retired from the world and was living the life of an ascetic in an alien order begging food. He saw the Buddha and requested Him to address him as bhikkhu as he also was begging food. The Buddha answered that one does not become a bhikkhu merely by begging food.
SILENCE ALONE DOES NOT MAKE A SAGE
BY SUPPRESSING EVIL ONE BECOMES A SAGE
13. Not by silence (alone) does he who is dull and ignorant become a sage; but that wise man who, as if holding a pair of scales, embraces the best 10 and shuns evil, is indeed a sage. 268.
After finishing a meal non-Buddhist ascetics used to offer merit to the donors, but the Buddha’s disciples used to depart in silence. People were offended by this seeming discourtesy. The Buddha thereupon enjoined the bhikkhus to offer merit. Then the ascetics were silent but found fault with the bhikkhus for discoursing at length. Thereupon the Buddha explained the attitude of a true sage.
BY HARMLESSNESS ONE BECOMES A NOBLE (ARIYA)
15. He is not therefore an Ariya (Noble) in that he harms living beings; through his harmlessness towards all living beings is he called an Ariya (Noble). 270.
A man named Ariya (Noble) was fishing. The Buddha told him that one did not become an Ariya by harming others.
A BHIKKHU SHOULD NOT BE CONTENTED UNTIL HE DESTROYS ALL PASSIONS
16-17. Not only by mere morality and austerities, 13 nor again by much learning, 14 nor even by developing mental concentration, nor by secluded lodging, (thinking) “I enjoy the bliss of renunciation not resorted to by the worldling” 15 (not with these) should you, O bhikkhu, rest content 16 without reaching the extinction of the corruptions. 17 271-272.
Some monks who had attained various spiritual heights did not strive to become Arahants, thinking that they could become Arahants at any time. The Buddha advised them not to be contented until they had reached their ultimate Goal (Arahantship).
1 Kàyena – that is, nàmakàyena, through the mental body, or, in other words, through self-realization.
2 Thera – a term applied to those bhikkhus who have counted at least ten years in the Order from the date of their higher ordination. Thera, literally, means one who is firm or stable.
3 Sacca§ – the four noble truths.
4 Dhammo – the nine supramundane states.
5 Sa¤¤amo – morality and sense-restraint.
6 By means of the four Paths.
7 He who does not practise higher morality (sãla) and austerities (dhutàïga).
8 Bhikkhu, literally, means “he who begs” but bhikkhus do not beg. They silently stand at the door for alms. They live on what is spontaneously given by the supporters. See note on v. 31.
9 Vissa§ dhamma§ = visama§ dhamma§, vissa§ gandha§ và kàyakammàdika§ dhamma§ (Commentary). Vissa§ has two meanings (1) whole or all, and (2) bad smell. The Commentary gives only the latter in this case.
“He is not a mendicant simply because he begs others (for alms). He who adopts the whole law is a mendicant, not he who adopts only a part”. Radhakrishnan.
The context makes the verse clear. The brahmin who had adopted the ascetic life claimed the right to be called a bhikkhu simply because he begged his food as is the custom of the disciples of the Buddha although he did not observe the other practices of a bhikkhu.
Vissa§ dhamma§ could therefore be interpreted as “the whole code of morality pertaining to the life of a bhikkhu”.
10 Such as morality, concentration, wisdom, etc.
11 That is, for having embraced the best and abandoned evil.
12 Internal and external Aggregates.
13 The four kinds of higher morality observed by bhikkhus and the thirteen kinds of higher ascetic practices (dhutàïga) (Commentary).
14 That is, the Tipitaka (Commentary).
15 Anàgàmi stage (Commentary).
16 Faith in existence (Commentary). “Have a care”, Mrs. Rhys Davids.
17 That is, Arahantship.