WARREN: BUDDHISM IN TRANSLATIONS

432

 

 


 

 

Ī 96. The Young Stone-Thrower

Translated from the Dhammapada, and from Buddhaghosa's commentary on stanza 362

360.

"The guarding of the eye is good:
And good the guarding of the ear.
The guarding of the nose is good:
And good the guarding of the tongue.

361.

"The guarding of the body's good:
And good the guarding of the voice.
The guarding of the mind is good:
And good is guarding everywhere.
The priest that guarded is in all,
From every misery frees himself.

362.

"Restrained of hand, restrained of foot,
Restrained of voice, restrained in all,
Reflective, calm, content alone,
'T is he that is a priest in truth.

363.

"That priest who keeps his tongue controlled,
Who Scripture quotes, is not puffed up,
Who all things good and right explains, --
How sweet to listen to his voice!"

"Restrained of hand." This doctrinal instruction was given by The Teacher while dwelling at Jetavana monastery; and it was concerning a priest who killed a goose. The account runs as follows:

Two friends, inhabitants of Sāvatthi, entered the Order, and having received ordination as priests, generally went about together. One day they had been bathing in the Aciravatī River, and as they were afterwards basking in the sun, they fell into friendly conversation. At that instant two wild geese came flying through the sky. Thereupon the younger of the two priests said,

"I can take a potsherd and hit this gosling in the eye."

[433] "No, you can't," said the other.

"I can do even better; I can hit the eye on the other side."

"That you surely cannot do."

"Just wait and see!" And so saying, he took a triangular piece of pottery, and threw it at the goose's hinder parts.

The goose, when it heard the whiz of the potsherd, turned its head to look. Then the priest, snatching up a round fragment, hit the eye belonging to the further side, so that the potsherd came out at the eye belonging to this side. The goose screamed, and rolling over fell down at their feet. Then came up other priests, who happened to be at hand, and had seen what had happened.

"Brother," said they, "you, who have retired from the world under the dispensation of a Buddha, have done something very unseemly in taking life." And they took the priest with them, and showed him to The Tathāgata.

"Is it true," asked The Teacher, "what they say, that you have taken life?"

"Reverend Sir, it is true."

"Priest, . . . it was a very serious sin for you to take life after you had retired from the world under the dispensation of such a Buddha as I. A priest should always keep his hands, his feet, and his voice under restraint." So saying, he pronounced this stanza:

"Restrained of hand, restrained of foot,
Restrained of voice, restrained in all,
Reflective, calm, content alone,
'T is he that is a priest in truth."

The Story of the Goose-killing Priest.

 


[ Contents ]
[ Back ]
[ Next: "And Hate Not His Father and Mother." ]