Khuddaka Nikaya


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PSALMS OF THE BRETHREN

Canto I. Psalms of Single Verses


 

Canto I.
Psalms of Single Verses

LX
Sīvali

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

Public Domain

[Pali]

 

He was reborn in this Buddha-age as the son of Suppavāsā, the king's daughter.[1] When his mother was not able to bring forth and lay seven days in great suffering, she said to her husband: 'Before I die I will give a gift.' And she sent him to the Master, saying: 'Go tell of my state to the Master, and invite him; and what he says, mark well and come and tell it me.' He did her bidding, and the Master said: 'May Suppavasa, daughter of the Koliyas, be happy. May she, happy and healthy, give birth to a healthy child.' The rāja heard, saluted the Exalted One and set out for the village. Even before he came, Suppavāsā was delivered of a son. The persons [61] who had surrounded her with tearful faces went forth delighted to tell the rāja. He saw them coming and thought: 'That which He of the Ten Powers told me has been fulfilled.' And he went to the princess and told her what the Master had pronounced. Then she bade him show hospitality to the Buddha and the Order for seven days. And saying, 'The child is born, bringing gladness of heart to all our kin,' they named him Sīvali (Auspicious).

By the seventh day from his birth he was able to do anything. Sāriputta, General of the Norm, conversed with him on that day,[2] and said: 'Does it not behove one who has overcome such suffering as you have done to leave the world?' 'Sir,' babbled the infant, 'I would leave the world.' Suppavāsā saw them talking, and asked the Thera what he had said. 'We spoke of the long suffering he has overcome. With your leave I will ordain him.' She replied: 'It is well, sir; ordain him.' And Sāriputta, ordaining him, said: 'Sīvali, you want no other exhortation than the cause of the long suffering you have overcome. Think on that.' 'Sir,' replied the child, 'yours was the burden of ordaining me; but I will find out what I am capable of doing.' At the moment when the first lock of his hair was cut off, he was established in the fruition of the First Path, when the second was cut, in that of the Second Path, and so for the third and fourth. ...[3]

Other teachers say that after Sāriputta had ordained him, he went the same day, and taking up his abode in a secluded hut, meditated on his woefully delayed birth, and so, his knowledge attaining maturity, descended into the avenue of insight, casting out all the intoxicants (of the mind)[4] and thus attaining arahantship. Thereupon ex- [62] periencing the bliss of emancipation, he in emotional rapture uttered this psalm:

[60] Now have they prospered, all my highest aims,
To compass which I sought this still retreat.
The holy lore and liberty, my quest,
All lurking vain conceits I cast away.

 


[1] King of Koliya. The story is told in the introduction to the 100th Jataka (i. 242), in Udāna (II. 8), and in Dhp. Com. on verse 414 (cf. Ang., ii. 62). The mother, in the legend, was unable for seven years and seven days to bring forth har child.

[2] The verse in the Dhammapada (414) is here quoted, and the episode narrated in the Commentary (PTS edition, vol. iii.).

[3] Here follows the episode dealt with by the Commentary on Ang., i. 24. where Sīvali's eminence as recipient of offerings is stated.

[4] See p. 52, n. 4.

 


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