Khuddaka Nikaya

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Canto I. Psalms of Single Verses


Canto I.
Psalms of Single Verses


Translated from the Pali by Mrs. C.A.F. Rhys Davids.


Public Domain


He, with his elder brother Tapussa,[1] was born in the time of our Exalted One, in the city of Pokkharavatī, as the son of a caravan-driver. As they were conducting a caravan of carts in a pleasant glade, a muddy place checked their progress. Then a tree-fairy, one of their own kin, showed himself, and said: 'Sirs, the Exalted One hath just attained enlightenment, and for seven weeks abideth fasting in the bliss of emancipation, seated at the root of the King's [13] Stead tree.[2] Serve him with food; this will long make for your good and happiness.' They, with joyful eagerness, waited not to prepare food, but took rice-cakes and honey, and, leaving the high road, ministered to the Exalted One.

Now when the Exalted One had set rolling the wheel of the Norm at Benares,[3] he stayed in due course at Rajagaha. There Tapussa and Bhalliya waited on him and heard him teach. The former became a lay-follower, the latter left the world and mastered the six forms of abhiññā.[4]

One day when Mara[5] appeared to the Brother in fearsome terrifying shape, Bhalliya, manifesting how he had passed beyond all fear, uttered a psalm to Mara's discomfiture:

[7] Whoso hath chased away the Death-king and his host,
E'en as a mighty flood the causeway of frail reeds,
Victor is he, self-tamed. Fear cometh never more.
His is the Goal supreme, and utter steadfastness.

Thus verily did the venerable Bhalliya utter his psalm.[6]'


[1] In the Commentarial tradition, they were brothers in like circumstances, when Kassapa Buddha lived, and rendered like service then to Kassapa, entreating that they might repeat it in a future life.

[2] Cf. Sisters, p. 5. This story occurs in Vinaya Texts, iii. 81, and in the 'Nidāna-Kathā,' Bud. Birth Stories, p. 110, Bhalliya being there Bhalluka and Bhalluka. Ika and iya are interchangeable adjectival terminations.

[3] His first sermon, etc.

[4] Supernormal thought. Cf. p. 82, n. 1.

[5] Professor Windisch holds there may have been a collection of such Māra or Devil legends (Māra und Buddha, 134).

Obiter dictum. Passing remark.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

[6] Henceforth this obiter dictum ceases.


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