Khuddaka Nikaya


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PSALMS OF THE BRETHREN

Canto I. Psalms of Single Verses


 

Canto I.
Psalms of Single Verses
Part IV

XXXI
Gahvaratīriya

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

[idx][pali]

Public Domain

 

He was reborn in this Buddha-age at Sāvatthī, in a brahmin's family, and named Aggidatta.[1] When grown [36] up he saw the Exalted One work the twin-miracle,[2] and, being convinced, he entered the Order. Taking a subject for meditation, he went to the Ratīra forest, and became known as Gahva-Ratīriya. Growing in insight, he in a short time attained arahantship. Thereupon he went to worship the Exalted One at Sāvatthī. His kinsfolk, hearing of his coming, bestowed liberal gifts upon him. And when he wished to go back to the forest, they said: 'Sir, the forest is full of peril through the gadflies and mosquitoes. Stay here!' But the Thera, devoted to detachment, replied, 'Life in the forest suits me,' and confessing aññā he uttered this verse:

[31] In the great forest, in the mighty woods,
Touched though I be by gadfly and by gnat,
I yet would roam, like warrior-elephant,
In van of battle, mindful, vigilant.[3]

 


[1] I.e., Fire-given. Even if Ratīriya mean Ratīra woodlander (see next page), it is not evident how to interpret Gahva. The name and the Thera are not met with elsewhere. The Brother's disposition and his simile occur in a Sutta comparing five qualities common to excellence in elephants and in bhikkhus (Ang., iii. 161 ff.).

[2] The power of emitting fire and water from any two opposed parts of the body respectively and simultaneously, also of conjuring up a figure moving differently from himself (Paṭisambhidā, i. 125). This the Buddha (in post canonical works) is recorded to have done at Sāvatthī (Milinda, ii. 247; Sumangala-Vil., i. 57; Dham. Comy., iii. 213 ff.).

[3] Recurs CLXXVIII., verse 244.

 


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