Khuddaka Nikaya


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PSALMS OF THE BRETHREN

Canto II. Psalms of Two Verses


 

Canto II.
Psalms of Two Verses

CXLIV
'Valliya'

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

Public Domain

[idx][Pali][than]

 

Reborn in this Buddha-age at Vesālī, in a brahmin's family, he was named Kaṇhamitta. Come of age, he saw the majesty of the Buddha when the latter came to Vesālī, [132] and believing, he took orders under Mahā-Kaccana. Dull of insight, and beginning to make effort, he was so long dependent upon the wisdom of his co-religionists that they called him Valliya (Creeperling), saying, 'Like ivy and such plants, that cannot grow leaning on nothing, so he cannot get on without leaning on someone who is wise.'[1]

And it came to pass that he went to hear Thera Veṇudatta preach, and becoming thereby heedful and intelligent and ripe in knowledge, he asked that proficient teacher, saying:

[167] All that by earnest work has to be done,
All that one fain to wake to truth must do.
All that shall be my work nor shall I fail.
O see my forward strides in energy!

[168] And do thou show me how and where to go -
The Path that's founded on Ambrosia -[2] So I in silent study pondering
Shall to the silence of the seers attain,
As glides great Gangā's river to the main.[3]

Then Veṇudatta gave him an exercise for study, and he, working at it, not long after won arahantship. Declaring aññā, he uttered those same verses.

 


[1] Apparently a different Thera from the Valliyas of LIII. and CXXIII., in whose case Valliya would seem to be no nickname. I have called valli (creeper) 'ivy,' because of its typically representing for us such a character. On Mahā-Kaccana, see CCXXIX. Veṇudatta is not met with elsewhere.

[2] Nibbāne paṭiṭṭhitattā (Commentary).

[3] The quarter verse ahaɱ monena monissaɱ has been perhaps unduly expanded, but it was to do justice to the association, for classic Indian literature, between the seer or sage (muni) and silence (cf. Chāndogya Upanishad, viii. 5, 2). The simile of the Ganges illustrates both silent progress and attainment. Nevertheless, the Commentary will have nothing to do with silence; for it, monena is 'by wisdom or insight,' and monissaɱ is 'I shall know or discern (Nibbāna).'

 


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