5- Bàla Vagga

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Chapter 5


Fools
(Text and Translation by Ven. Nàrada)

 

1. Dãghà jàgarato ratti Þ
dãgha§ santassa yojana§
Dãgho bàlàna§ sa§sàro Þ
addhamma§ avijànata§. 60.

 

LONG IS SAýSâRA TO THOSE WHO KNOW NOT THE DHAMMA

1. Long is the night to the wakeful; long is the league to the weary; long is sa§sàra 1 to the foolish who know not the Sublime Truth. 60.

Story

    King Pasenadi once came to the Buddha and said that he felt that a particular night was too long. Another person remarked that on the previous day he felt that the league was too long. The Buddha summed up by adding that Sa§sàra is long to those who are ignorant of the Dhamma.


2. Cara¤ ce nàdhigaccheyya Þ
seyya§ sadisam attano
Ekacariya§ daëha§ kayirà Þ
natthi bàle sahàyatà. 61.

 

AVOID COMPANIONSHIP WITH THE FOOLISH

2. If, as the disciple fares along, he meets no companion who is better or equal, let him firmly pursue his solitary career. There is no fellowship 2 with the foolish. 3 61.

Story

    A teacher reproached his pupil for some misdemeanour. The displeased pupil set fire to the teacher’s hut and fled. The Buddha, hearing of the incident, commended a solitary career in preference to companionship with the foolish.


3. Puttà m’atthi dhanam m’atthi Þ
iti bàlo viha¤¤ati
Attà hi attano natthi Þ
kuto puttà kuto dhana§. 62.

 

ONE IS NOT ONE’S OWN

3. “Sons have I; wealth have I”: Thus is the fool worried. Verily, he himself is not his own. Whence sons? Whence wealth? 62.

Story

    A wealthy but miserly person was reborn as a hideous-looking beggar. One day it so happened that he entered the house where he had dwelt in his previous life but he was bundled out and was thrown into a rubbish-heap. The Buddha, who was passing that way, noticed him and told the man’s son that the beggar was none other than his own dead father.

4. Yo bàlo ma¤¤ati bàlya§ Þ
paõóito và’pi tena so
Bàlo ca paõóitamànã Þ
sa ve bàlo’ti vuccati. 63.

 

WISE IS HE WHO ACKNOWLEDGES HIS FOOLISHNESS

4. The fool who knows that he is a fool is for that very reason a wise man; the fool who thinks that he is wise is called a fool indeed. 63.

Story

    Two persons went to hear the Dhamma. One attained the first stage of Sainthood, the other stole some money. On returning home the latter taunted the former as a fool not to have availed himself of the opportunity to steal something as he had done. When the matter was reported to the Buddha He explained the difference between a fool and a wise man.


5. Yàvajãvam’pi ce bàlo Þ
paõóita§ payirupàsati
Na so dhamma§ vijànàti Þ
dabbi såparasa§ yathà. 64.

 

A FOOL CANNOT APPRECIATE THE VALUE OF THE DHAMMA

5. Though a fool, through all his life, associates with a wise man, he no more understands the Dhamma than a spoon (tastes) the flavour of soup. 64.

Story

    Mistaking the Venerable Udàyi who used to sit in the seat of Dhamma, for a skilled exponent of the Dhamma, the monks questioned him about the teaching. Discovering his ignorance, they reported the matter to the Buddha, who then explained the attitude of a fool towards the Dhamma.


6. Muhuttam api ce vi¤¤u Þ
paõóita§ payirupàsati
Khippa§ dhamma§ vijànàti Þ
jivhà såparasa§ yathà. 65.

 

THE WISE CAN APPRECIATE THE VALUE OF THE DHAMMA

6. Though an intelligent person, associates with a wise man for only a moment, he quickly understands the Dhamma as the tongue (tastes) the flavour of soup. 65.

Story

    Thirty youths listened to the Dhamma and instantly attained Arahantship. The Buddha commented on their quick realization owing to their high intelligence.


7. Caranti bàlà dummedhà Þ
amitten’ eva attanà
Karontà pàpaka§ kamma§ Þ
ya§ hoti kañukapphala§. 66.

 

BITTER IS THE FRUIT OF EVIL

7. Fools of little wit move about with the very self as their own foe, doing evil deeds the fruit of which is bitter. 66.

Story

    One day a leper heard the Dhamma and became a Sotàpanna (Stream-winner). Unfortunately as he was returning a heifer attacked and killed him. The Buddha explained that he became a leper because in a past life he had spat at a Private Buddha and was killed because he had killed a courtezan.


8. Na ta§ kamma§ kata§ sàdhu Þ
ya§ katvà anutappati
Yassa assumukho roda§ Þ
vipàka§ pañisevati. 67.

 

NOT WELL DONE IS THAT DEED WHICH CAUSES REPENTANCE

8. That deed is not well done when, after having done it, one repents, and when weeping, with tearful face, one reaps the fruit thereof. 67.

Story

    A farmer was accused of theft for keeping in his possession some stolen property. Owing to his peculiar behaviour he was produced before the Buddha, who then explained the actual circumstances of the case. When the poor man was released because of his innocence the Buddha stated the consequences of evil deeds.


9. Ta¤ ca kamma§ kata§ sàdhu Þ
ya§ katvà nànutappati
Yassa patãto sumano Þ
vipàka§ pañisevati. 68.

 

WELL DONE IS THAT DEED WHICH CAUSES NO REPENTANCE

9. That deed is well done when, after having done it, one repents not, and when, with joy and pleasure, one reaps the fruit thereof. 68.

Story

    A gardener, risking his life, offered to the Buddha some jasmine flowers which were meant for the king. Contrary to his expectations, the king was pleased with his meritorious act and rewarded him suitably. The Buddha thereupon commented on the effects of good deeds.


10. Madhå và 4 ma¤¤ati bàlo Þ
yàva pàpa§ na paccati
Yadà ca paccatã pàpa§ Þ
atha bàlo dukkha§ nigacchati. 69.

 

EVIL-DOERS COME TO GRIEF

10. As sweet as honey is an evil deed, so thinks the fool so long as it ripens not; but when it ripens, then he comes to grief. 69.

Story

    A former suitor of a nun ravished her while she was dwelling alone in a forest. On hearing of the incident, the Buddha commented on the sufferings that accrue to evil-doers.


11. Màse màse kusaggena Þ
bàlo bhu¤jetha bhojana§
Na so saïkhàtadhammàna§ Þ
kala§ agghati soëasi§. 70.

 

REALIZATION IS FAR SUPERIOR TO MERE FASTING

11. Month after month a fool may eat only as much food as can be picked up on the tip of a kusa grass blade; 5 but he is not worth a sixteenth part of them who have comprehended the Truth. 6 70.

Story

    An ascetic, as the result of a past evil action, used to live on excreta. One day, with the tip of a blade of grass, he placed on the tip of his tongue a little butter and honey. The Buddha visited him and made him attain Arahantship.


12. Na hi pàpa§ kata§ kamma§ Þ
sajju khãra§’va muccati
ôahanta§ bàlam anveti Þ
bhasmacchanno’va pàvako. 71.

 

EVIL TAKES EFFECT AT THE OPPORTUNE MOMENT

12. Verily, an evil deed committed does not immediately bear fruit, just as milk curdles not at once; smouldering, it follows the fool like fire covered with ashes. 71.

Story

    An indignant farmer set fire to the hut of a Private Buddha and was born as a Peta resembling a snake. The Buddha related why he was born in such a state and commented on the effects of evil deeds.


13. Yàvadeva anatthàya Þ
¤atta§ bàlassa jàyati
Hanti bàlassa sukka§sa§ Þ
muddham assa vipàtaya§. 72.

 

KNOWLEDGE AND FAME TEND TO THE RUIN OF FOOLS

13. To his ruin, indeed, the fool gains knowledge and fame; they destroy his bright lot and cleave his head. 7 72.

Story

    A vicious pupil learnt the art of shooting and misused his skill by shooting a stone at a Private Buddha and killing him instantaneously. In consequence of this evil deed he was born as a sledge-hammer Peta. Referring to his past skill, the Buddha remarked that the knowledge of the vicious tends to their own ruin.


14. Asata§ bhàvanam iccheyya Þ
purekkhàra¤ ca bhikkhusu
âvàsesu ca issariya§ Þ
påjà parakulesu ca. 73.

15. Mam eva kata§ ma¤¤antå Þ
gihã pabbajità ubho
Mam ev’ativasà assu Þ
kiccàkiccesu kismici
Iti bàlassa saïkappo Þ
icchà màno ca vaóóhati. 74.

 

THE IGNORANT SEEK UNDUE FAME

14. The fool will desire undue reputation, precedence among monks, authority in the monasteries, honour among other families. 73.

15. Let both laymen and monks think, “by myself was this done; in every work, great or small, let them refer to me”. Such is the ambition of the fool; his desires and pride increase. 74.

Story

    A resident monk, jealous of the honour paid to the visiting Chief Disciple by his supporters, insulted him and reported the matter to the Buddha. The Teacher advised the monk to seek his pardon and told him not to be egoistic and ambitious, thinking in terms of “me” and “mine”.


16. A¤¤à hi làbhåpanisà Þ
a¤¤à nibbànagàminã
Evam eta§ abhi¤¤àya Þ
bhikkhu Buddhassa sàvako
Sakkàra§ nàbhinandeyya Þ
vivekam anubråhaye. 75.

 

THE PATH TO GAIN IS ONE AND TO NIBBâNA IS ANOTHER

16. Surely the path that leads to worldly gain is one, and the path that leads to Nibbàna is another; understanding this, the bhikkhu, the disciple of the Buddha, should not rejoice in worldly favours, but cultivate detachment. 8 75.

Story

    A novice who hailed from a respected family was showered with gifts, but he spurned them and lived a life of poverty in a forest and attained Arahantship. The bhikkhus spoke in praise of his exemplary conduct. The Buddha, hearing their talk, described the two different paths that lead to gain and Nibbàna.


End Notes

1 Lit., wandering again and again. It is the ocean of life or existence. Sa§sàra is defined as the unbroken flow of the stream of aggregates, elements, and sense-faculties. Sa§sàra is also explained as the “continued flow of the stream of being from life to life, from existence to existence”.

2 Sahàyatà, According to the Commentary this term connotes higher morality, insight, Paths and Fruits of Sainthood. No such virtues are found in the foolish.

3 Out of compassion, to work for their betterment one may associate with the foolish but not be contaminated by them.

4 Madhu và – in most texts

5 Literally month after month, with a kusa grass blade, a fool may eat his food.

6 Saïkhatadhammàna§, “who have well weighed the Law”, Max Muller and Burlingame. “Who well have taken things into account”, Mrs. Rhys Davids. “Who have studied the Dhamma noble”, Woodward. The commentarial explanation is: “The Ariyas who have realized the four Noble Truths”.

The prolonged, so-called meritorious fasting of alien ascetics who have not destroyed the passions, is not worth the sixteenth part of a solitary day’s fasting of an Ariya who has realized the four noble Truths.

7 That is, his wisdom.

8 Viveka, separation or detachment, is threefold, namely: bodily separation from the crowd (kàyaviveka), mental separation from passions (cittaviveka), and complete separation from all conditioned things which is Nibbàna (upadhiviveka).End Notes

 

Chapter 5

Bàla Vagga
Fools
(Text and Translation by Ven. Nàrada)

 

1. Dãghà jàgarato ratti Þ
dãgha§ santassa yojana§
Dãgho bàlàna§ sa§sàro Þ
addhamma§ avijànata§. 60.

 

LONG IS SAýSâRA TO THOSE WHO KNOW NOT THE DHAMMA

1. Long is the night to the wakeful; long is the league to the weary; long is sa§sàra 1 to the foolish who know not the Sublime Truth. 60.

Story

    King Pasenadi once came to the Buddha and said that he felt that a particular night was too long. Another person remarked that on the previous day he felt that the league was too long. The Buddha summed up by adding that Sa§sàra is long to those who are ignorant of the Dhamma.

 

2. Cara¤ ce nàdhigaccheyya Þ
seyya§ sadisam attano
Ekacariya§ daëha§ kayirà Þ
natthi bàle sahàyatà. 61.

 

AVOID COMPANIONSHIP WITH THE FOOLISH

2. If, as the disciple fares along, he meets no companion who is better or equal, let him firmly pursue his solitary career. There is no fellowship 2 with the foolish. 3 61.

Story

    A teacher reproached his pupil for some misdemeanour. The displeased pupil set fire to the teacher’s hut and fled. The Buddha, hearing of the incident, commended a solitary career in preference to companionship with the foolish.

 

3. Puttà m’atthi dhanam m’atthi Þ
iti bàlo viha¤¤ati
Attà hi attano natthi Þ
kuto puttà kuto dhana§. 62.

 

ONE IS NOT ONE’S OWN

3. “Sons have I; wealth have I”: Thus is the fool worried. Verily, he himself is not his own. Whence sons? Whence wealth? 62.

Story

    A wealthy but miserly person was reborn as a hideous-looking beggar. One day it so happened that he entered the house where he had dwelt in his previous life but he was bundled out and was thrown into a rubbish-heap. The Buddha, who was passing that way, noticed him and told the man’s son that the beggar was none other than his own dead father.

 

4. Yo bàlo ma¤¤ati bàlya§ Þ
paõóito và’pi tena so
Bàlo ca paõóitamànã Þ
sa ve bàlo’ti vuccati. 63.

 

WISE IS HE WHO ACKNOWLEDGES HIS FOOLISHNESS

4. The fool who knows that he is a fool is for that very reason a wise man; the fool who thinks that he is wise is called a fool indeed. 63.

Story

    Two persons went to hear the Dhamma. One attained the first stage of Sainthood, the other stole some money. On returning home the latter taunted the former as a fool not to have availed himself of the opportunity to steal something as he had done. When the matter was reported to the Buddha He explained the difference between a fool and a wise man.

 

5. Yàvajãvam’pi ce bàlo Þ
paõóita§ payirupàsati
Na so dhamma§ vijànàti Þ
dabbi såparasa§ yathà. 64.

 

A FOOL CANNOT APPRECIATE THE VALUE OF THE DHAMMA

5. Though a fool, through all his life, associates with a wise man, he no more understands the Dhamma than a spoon (tastes) the flavour of soup. 64.

Story

    Mistaking the Venerable Udàyi who used to sit in the seat of Dhamma, for a skilled exponent of the Dhamma, the monks questioned him about the teaching. Discovering his ignorance, they reported the matter to the Buddha, who then explained the attitude of a fool towards the Dhamma.

 

6. Muhuttam api ce vi¤¤u Þ
paõóita§ payirupàsati
Khippa§ dhamma§ vijànàti Þ
jivhà såparasa§ yathà. 65.

 

THE WISE CAN APPRECIATE THE VALUE OF THE DHAMMA

6. Though an intelligent person, associates with a wise man for only a moment, he quickly understands the Dhamma as the tongue (tastes) the flavour of soup. 65.

Story

    Thirty youths listened to the Dhamma and instantly attained Arahantship. The Buddha commented on their quick realization owing to their high intelligence.

 

7. Caranti bàlà dummedhà Þ
amitten’ eva attanà
Karontà pàpaka§ kamma§ Þ
ya§ hoti kañukapphala§. 66.

 

BITTER IS THE FRUIT OF EVIL

7. Fools of little wit move about with the very self as their own foe, doing evil deeds the fruit of which is bitter. 66.

Story

    One day a leper heard the Dhamma and became a Sotàpanna (Stream-winner). Unfortunately as he was returning a heifer attacked and killed him. The Buddha explained that he became a leper because in a past life he had spat at a Private Buddha and was killed because he had killed a courtezan.

 

8. Na ta§ kamma§ kata§ sàdhu Þ
ya§ katvà anutappati
Yassa assumukho roda§ Þ
vipàka§ pañisevati. 67.

 

NOT WELL DONE IS THAT DEED WHICH CAUSES REPENTANCE

8. That deed is not well done when, after having done it, one repents, and when weeping, with tearful face, one reaps the fruit thereof. 67.

Story

    A farmer was accused of theft for keeping in his possession some stolen property. Owing to his peculiar behaviour he was produced before the Buddha, who then explained the actual circumstances of the case. When the poor man was released because of his innocence the Buddha stated the consequences of evil deeds.

 

9. Ta¤ ca kamma§ kata§ sàdhu Þ
ya§ katvà nànutappati
Yassa patãto sumano Þ
vipàka§ pañisevati. 68.

 

WELL DONE IS THAT DEED WHICH CAUSES NO REPENTANCE

9. That deed is well done when, after having done it, one repents not, and when, with joy and pleasure, one reaps the fruit thereof. 68.

Story

    A gardener, risking his life, offered to the Buddha some jasmine flowers which were meant for the king. Contrary to his expectations, the king was pleased with his meritorious act and rewarded him suitably. The Buddha thereupon commented on the effects of good deeds.

 

10. Madhå và 4 ma¤¤ati bàlo Þ
yàva pàpa§ na paccati
Yadà ca paccatã pàpa§ Þ
atha bàlo dukkha§ nigacchati. 69.

 

EVIL-DOERS COME TO GRIEF

10. As sweet as honey is an evil deed, so thinks the fool so long as it ripens not; but when it ripens, then he comes to grief. 69.

Story

    A former suitor of a nun ravished her while she was dwelling alone in a forest. On hearing of the incident, the Buddha commented on the sufferings that accrue to evil-doers.

 

11. Màse màse kusaggena Þ
bàlo bhu¤jetha bhojana§
Na so saïkhàtadhammàna§ Þ
kala§ agghati soëasi§. 70.

 

REALIZATION IS FAR SUPERIOR TO MERE FASTING

11. Month after month a fool may eat only as much food as can be picked up on the tip of a kusa grass blade; 5 but he is not worth a sixteenth part of them who have comprehended the Truth. 6 70.

Story

    An ascetic, as the result of a past evil action, used to live on excreta. One day, with the tip of a blade of grass, he placed on the tip of his tongue a little butter and honey. The Buddha visited him and made him attain Arahantship.

 

12. Na hi pàpa§ kata§ kamma§ Þ
sajju khãra§’va muccati
ôahanta§ bàlam anveti Þ
bhasmacchanno’va pàvako. 71.

 

EVIL TAKES EFFECT AT THE OPPORTUNE MOMENT

12. Verily, an evil deed committed does not immediately bear fruit, just as milk curdles not at once; smouldering, it follows the fool like fire covered with ashes. 71.

Story

    An indignant farmer set fire to the hut of a Private Buddha and was born as a Peta resembling a snake. The Buddha related why he was born in such a state and commented on the effects of evil deeds.

 

13. Yàvadeva anatthàya Þ
¤atta§ bàlassa jàyati
Hanti bàlassa sukka§sa§ Þ
muddham assa vipàtaya§. 72.

 

KNOWLEDGE AND FAME TEND TO THE RUIN OF FOOLS

13. To his ruin, indeed, the fool gains knowledge and fame; they destroy his bright lot and cleave his head. 7 72.

Story

    A vicious pupil learnt the art of shooting and misused his skill by shooting a stone at a Private Buddha and killing him instantaneously. In consequence of this evil deed he was born as a sledge-hammer Peta. Referring to his past skill, the Buddha remarked that the knowledge of the vicious tends to their own ruin.

 

14. Asata§ bhàvanam iccheyya Þ
purekkhàra¤ ca bhikkhusu
âvàsesu ca issariya§ Þ
påjà parakulesu ca. 73.
15. Mam eva kata§ ma¤¤antå Þ
gihã pabbajità ubho
Mam ev’ativasà assu Þ
kiccàkiccesu kismici
Iti bàlassa saïkappo Þ
icchà màno ca vaóóhati. 74.

 

THE IGNORANT SEEK UNDUE FAME

14. The fool will desire undue reputation, precedence among monks, authority in the monasteries, honour among other families. 73.

15. Let both laymen and monks think, “by myself was this done; in every work, great or small, let them refer to me”. Such is the ambition of the fool; his desires and pride increase. 74.

Story

    A resident monk, jealous of the honour paid to the visiting Chief Disciple by his supporters, insulted him and reported the matter to the Buddha. The Teacher advised the monk to seek his pardon and told him not to be egoistic and ambitious, thinking in terms of “me” and “mine”.

 

16. A¤¤à hi làbhåpanisà Þ
a¤¤à nibbànagàminã
Evam eta§ abhi¤¤àya Þ
bhikkhu Buddhassa sàvako
Sakkàra§ nàbhinandeyya Þ
vivekam anubråhaye. 75.

 

THE PATH TO GAIN IS ONE AND TO NIBBâNA IS ANOTHER

16. Surely the path that leads to worldly gain is one, and the path that leads to Nibbàna is another; understanding this, the bhikkhu, the disciple of the Buddha, should not rejoice in worldly favours, but cultivate detachment. 8 75.

Story

    A novice who hailed from a respected family was showered with gifts, but he spurned them and lived a life of poverty in a forest and attained Arahantship. The bhikkhus spoke in praise of his exemplary conduct. The Buddha, hearing their talk, described the two different paths that lead to gain and Nibbàna.

End Notes

1 Lit., wandering again and again. It is the ocean of life or existence. Sa§sàra is defined as the unbroken flow of the stream of aggregates, elements, and sense-faculties. Sa§sàra is also explained as the “continued flow of the stream of being from life to life, from existence to existence”.

2 Sahàyatà, According to the Commentary this term connotes higher morality, insight, Paths and Fruits of Sainthood. No such virtues are found in the foolish.

3 Out of compassion, to work for their betterment one may associate with the foolish but not be contaminated by them.

4 Madhu và – in most texts

5 Literally month after month, with a kusa grass blade, a fool may eat his food.

6 Saïkhatadhammàna§, “who have well weighed the Law”, Max Muller and Burlingame. “Who well have taken things into account”, Mrs. Rhys Davids. “Who have studied the Dhamma noble”, Woodward. The commentarial explanation is: “The Ariyas who have realized the four Noble Truths”.

The prolonged, so-called meritorious fasting of alien ascetics who have not destroyed the passions, is not worth the sixteenth part of a solitary day’s fasting of an Ariya who has realized the four noble Truths.

7 That is, his wisdom.

8 Viveka, separation or detachment, is threefold, namely: bodily separation from the crowd (kàyaviveka), mental separation from passions (cittaviveka), and complete separation from all conditioned things

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