Khuddaka Nikaya


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PSALMS OF THE BRETHREN

Canto I. Psalms of Single Verses


 

Canto I.
Psalms of Single Verses

LXIII
Pakkha (The Cripple)

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

Public Domain

[Pali]

 

Beborn in this Buddha-age among the Sākiyans, in the township of Devadaha, in the family of a Sākiyan rāja, he was named Young[1] Saŋmoda. But inasmuch as, when a boy, he suffered from rheumatism,[2] and at times walked like a cripple, he grew to be called Pakkha (= cripple), and retained the name after his recovery. He was present when the Exalted One visited his kinsfolk,[3] won faith in him, entered the Order, and dwelt in the forest. Going one day to the village for alms, he sat down beneath a tree. Then a kite, seizing some flesh, flew up into the sky. Him many kites attacked, making him drop the meat. Another kite grabbed the fallen flesh, and was plundered by another. And the bhikkhu thought: 'Just like that meat are worldly desires, common to all, full of pain and woe.' And reflecting hereon, and how they were impermanent and so on, he carried out his mission, sat down for his afternoon rest, and expanding insight won arahantship. Thereupon making the base of his emotion his goad, he confessed aññā in this verse:

[63] They fly at what is fall'n, and as it lies,
Swooping in greed they come again, again. ...
But what 'twas meet to do, that have I done,
And what is verily delectable,
Therein was my delight: thus happily
Has happiness been sought after and won.[4]

 


[1] Kumāra, which means simply 'youth,' is a distinctive title of a young noble, as māṇava is of a young brahmin. We have no suitable word. Cf. the Greek kouros.

[2] Vātarogo, lit., 'wind-illness.' On the synonym vātabādho, see Milinda, i. 191, and below, CLIII.

[3] See Bud. Birth Stories, p. 121 ff.

[4] I.e., says the Commentary: 'Bv the happiness of the attainment of fruition has Nibbana, which is beyond happiness (or is exceeding great happiness, accanta-sukhaṃ, been won, and by that happiness of insight, which has become a happy mode of procedure, has the bliss of Fruition, of Nibbāna, been reached.' The latter interpretation, as Dr. Neumann has pointed out - winning happiness by happiness - is, in the Majjhima Nikāya (i. 93 f.), contrasted with the Jain point of view: 'Nay, friend Gotama, happiness is not to be got at by happiness, but by suffering' - the ascetic standpoint. Cf. CLXXI.

 


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