Khuddaka Nikaya


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Theragatha
Chapter XVIII — The Forties

261

Maha Kassapa

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

 


 

One shouldn't go about
surrounded, revered
by a company:
    one gets distracted;
    concentration
    is hard to gain.
Fellowship with many people
        is painful.
Seeing this,
    one shouldn't approve
    of a company.

A sage shouldn't visit families:
    one gets distracted;
    concentration
    is hard to gain.
He's eager and greedy for flavors,
    whoever misses the goal
    that brings bliss.

They know it's a bog --
    the reverence and veneration
    of families --
a subtle arrow, hard to extract.
Offerings are hard for a worthless man
    to let go.

 

§

 

Coming down from my dwelling place,
I entered the city for alms,
stood courteously next to a leper
eating his meal.

He, with his rotting hand,
tossed me a morsel of food,
and as the morsel was dropping,
a finger fell off
    right there.

Sitting next to a wall,
I ate that morsel of food,
and neither while eating it,
nor having eaten,
did I feel
any disgust.

Whoever has mastered
    left-over scraps for food,
    smelly urine for medicine,
    the foot of a tree for a dwelling,
    cast-off rags for robes:
He is a man
of the four directions.

 

§

 

Where some are exhausted
climbing the mountain,
there
the Awakened One's heir
    -- mindful, alert,
    buoyed by his psychic power --
Kassapa climbs.

Returning from his alms round,
climbing the peak,
Kassapa does jhana
with no sustenance/clinging,
    having abandoned terror
    and fear.

Returning from his alms round,
climbing the peak,
Kassapa does jhana
with no sustenance/clinging,
    unbound
    among those who burn.

Returning from his alms round,
climbing the peak,
Kassapa does jhana
with no sustenance/clinging,
    free of fermentation,
    his duty
    done.

Spread with garlands of vines,
places delighting the mind,
resounding with elephants,
appealing:
        those rocky crags
        refresh me.

The color of blue-dark clouds,
    glistening,
cooled with the waters
of clear-flowing streams
covered with ladybugs:
        those rocky crags
        refresh me.

Like the peaks of blue-dark clouds,
like excellent peaked-roof buildings,
resounding with tuskers,
appealing:
        those rocky crags
        refresh me.

Their lovely surfaces wet with rain,
mountains frequented
    by seers
and echoing
    with peacocks:
        those rocky crags
        refresh me.

This is enough for me --
    desiring to do jhana,
    resolute, mindful;
enough for me --
    desiring the goal,
    resolute,
    a monk;
enough for me --
    desiring comfort,
    resolute,
    in training;
enough for me --
    desiring my duty,
    resolute,
    Such.

Flax-flower blue,
    like the sky
covered over with clouds;
filled with flocks
of various birds:
        those rocky crags
        refresh me.

    Uncrowded
by householders,
    frequented
by herds of deer
filled with flocks
of various birds:
        those rocky crags
        refresh me.

With clear waters and
    massive boulders,
frequented by monkeys and
    deer,
covered with moss and
    water weeds:
        those rocky crags
        refresh me.

There is no such pleasure for me
in the music of a five-piece band
as there is when my mind
    is at one,
seeing the Dhamma
        aright.

 

§

 

One shouldn't do lots of work,
should avoid people,
shouldn't busy oneself.
He's eager and greedy for flavors,
    whoever misses the goal
    that brings bliss.

One shouldn't do lots of work,
should avoid
what doesn't lead to the goal.
The body gets wearied,
fatigued.
Aching, one finds
no tranquillity.

 

§

 

Simply by flapping the mouth
one doesn't see
even oneself.
One goes around stiff-
    necked,
thinking, 'I'm better
    than they.'

Not better,
he thinks himself better,
    the fool:
the wise don't praise him,
the stiff-necked man.

But whoever isn't stirred
by the modes of
    'I'm better,
    not better.
    I'm worse.
    I'm like that';
one who's discerning,
who acts as he says,
well-centered
in virtues,
committed to
tranquillity of awareness, he
is the one
    the wise
        would praise.

One with no respect
for his fellows in the holy life,
is as far
        from the true Dhamma
as the earth
        is from the sky.

But those whose conscience
and fear of evil
are always rightly established: they
have flourished in the holy life.
    For them
there's no further becoming.

A monk conceited and vain,
even though clad
in a robe of cast-off rags,
like a monkey in a lion's skin,
    doesn't shine because of it.

But a monk not conceited
    or vain,
    masterful,
    his faculties restrained, shines
because of his robe of cast-off rags,
    like a lion
    in the cleft of a mountain.

 

§

 

These many devas,
powerful, prestigious
    -- 10,000 devas --
all of Brahma's retinue,
stand with their hands over their hearts,
paying homage to Sariputta,
the Dhamma-general,
    enlightened,
    centered,
    great master of jhana,
        [saying:]

'Homage to you, O thoroughbred man.
Homage to you, O superlative man --
of whom we have no direct knowledge
even of that
in dependence on which
    you do jhana.

'How very amazing:
the awakened ones'
very own deep range --
of which we have no direct knowledge,
though we have come
as hair-splitting archers.'

Seeing Sariputta,
a man worthy of worship,
worshipped by deva retinues,
Kappina
smiled.

 

§

 

As far as this Buddha-field extends
    -- except for the great sage himself --
I'm the one
outstanding
in ascetic qualities.
There's no one else
like me.

The Teacher has been served by me;
the Awakened One's bidding,

            done;
the heavy load,         laid down;
the guide to becoming,     uprooted.

Neither to robe,
nor dwelling,
nor food
does he cling:
    Gotama,
    like a lotus unspotted
    by water, inclining
    to renunciation,     detached
    from the three planes of becoming.

He,
the great sage,
has the frames of reference
    as his neck,
conviction
    as hands,
discernment
    as head.
The great master of jhana
he goes about
    always unbound.

 


 

References:

AN IV.259.

 


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