Khuddaka Nikaya


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Sutta Nipata
1
Sutta 2. Dhaniya Sutta

[pali] [faus]

 

Dhaniya the Cattleman

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
For free distribution only.

 


 

Dhaniya the cattleman:[1]

"The rice is cooked,
my milking done.
I live with my people
along the banks of the Mahi;
my hut is roofed, my fire lit:
    so if you want, rain-god,
    go ahead and rain."

The Buddha:

"Free from anger,
my stubbornness gone,[2]
I live for one night
along the banks of the Mahi;
my hut's roof is open, my fire out:[3]
    so if you want, rain-god,
    go ahead and rain."

Dhaniya:

"No mosquitoes or gadflies
are to be found.
The cows range in the marshy meadow
where the grasses flourish.
They could stand the rain if it came:
    so if you want, rain-god,
    go ahead and rain."

The Buddha:

"A raft, well-made,
has been lashed together.[4]
Having crossed over,
gone to the far shore,
I've subdued the flood.
No need for a raft
is to be found:[5]
    so if you want, rain-god,
    go ahead and rain."

Dhaniya:

"My wife is compliant, not careless,
is charming, has lived with me long.
I hear no evil about her at all:
    so if you want, rain-god,
    go ahead and rain."

The Buddha:

"My mind is compliant, released,
has long been nurtured, well tamed.
No evil is to be found in me:
    so if you want, rain-god,
    go ahead and rain."

Dhaniya:

"I support myself on my earnings.
My sons live in harmony,
free from disease.
I hear no evil about them at all:
    so if you want, rain-god,
    go ahead and rain."

The Buddha:

"I'm in no one's employ,[6]
I wander the whole world
on the reward [of my Awakening].
No need for earnings
is to be found:
    so if you want, rain-god,
    go ahead and rain."

Dhaniya:

"There are cows, young bulls,
cows in calf, and breeding cows,
and a great bull, the leader of the herd:
    so if you want, rain-god,
    go ahead and rain."

The Buddha:

"There are no cows, no young bulls,
no cows in calf or breeding cows,
no great bull, the leader of the herd:[7]
    so if you want, rain-god,
    go ahead and rain."

Dhaniya:

"The stakes are dug-in, immovable.
The new muñja-grass halters, well-woven,
not even young bulls could break:
    so if you want, rain-god,
    go ahead and rain."

The Buddha:

"Having broken my bonds
like a great bull,
like a great elephant
tearing a rotting vine,
I never again
will lie in the womb:
    so if you want, rain-god,
    go ahead and rain."

The great cloud rained down
    straightaway,
filling the lowlands and high.
Hearing the rain-god pour down,
Dhaniya said:

"How great our gain
that we've gazed
on the Blessed One!
    We go to him,
the One with vision,
    for refuge.
May you be our teacher, Great Sage.
My wife and I are compliant.
Let's follow the holy life
under the One Well-gone.
Gone to the far shore
of aging and death,
let's put an end
to suffering and stress."

Mara:[8]

"Those with children
    delight
because of their children.
Those with cattle
    delight
because of their cows.
A person's delight
comes from acquisitions,
since a person with no acquisitions
    doesn't delight."

The Buddha:

"Those with children
    grieve
because of their children.
Those with cattle
    grieve
because of their cows.
A person's grief
comes from acquisitions,
since a person with no acquisitions
    doesn't grieve."

 


[1] Dhaniya Gopa: Literally, one whose wealth is in cattle. According to the Commentary, his herd consisted of 30,000 head of cattle.

[2] The first line in the Buddha's verse plays on words in the first line of Dhaniya's. "Free from anger" (akkodhano) plays on "rice is cooked" (pakkodano); and "stubbornness" (khilo) plays on "milk" (khiro).

[3] "Open" means having a mind not covered or concealed by craving, defilement, or ignorance. This image is also used in Ud V.5 and Sn IV.4. "My fire out" refers to the fires of passion, aversion, and delusion; birth, aging, and death; sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, and despair. See SN XXXV.28; Iti 93; and The Mind Like Fire Unbound.

[4] The raft stands for the noble eightfold path. See passages 113 and 114 in The Wings to Awakening.

[5] As this verse doesn't seem to be a direct response to the preceding one, the Commentary suggests that we are missing part of the conversation here. An alternative possibility is that the Buddha is engaging in word play -- the word "crossed over" (tinna) being a pun on Dhaniya's reference to grass (tina).

[6] According to the Commentary, the Buddha is not in anyone else's employ nor even in his own employ -- i.e., he is not in the employ of craving.

[7] The Buddha may be speaking literally here -- he has no cattle, so there is no way that a heavy rain could cause him harm -- but he may also be speaking metaphorically. See SN IV.19.

[8] According to the Commentary, Mara suddenly comes on the scene to try -- unsuccessfully -- to prevent Dhaniya and his wife from going forth. His verses here, together with the Buddha's response, are also found at SN IV.8.

 


 

References:

See also:
AN III.34;
AN VII.6;
AN VII.7;
Ud II.10

 


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