Khuddaka Nikaya


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PSALMS OF THE BRETHREN

Canto II. Psalms of Two Verses


 

Canto II.
Psalms of Two Verses

CLVII
Soṇa-Poṭiriyaputta

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

Public Domain

[idx][Pali][than]

 

Reborn in this Buddha-age at Kapilavatthu, as the son of the zemindar[1] Poṭiriya, he was named Soṇa. Come of age, he became chief captain of the forces of Bhaddiya, a Sākiyan rāja. Now Bhaddiya having left the world, as will be described below, Soṇa thought: 'If even the rāja has left the world, what have I to do with domestic life?' [144] So be took orders, but remained sluggish, not given to meditative exercise. On him the Exalted One, dwelling in the Mango Grove at Anupiya, sent forth his glory, and arousing him to mindfulness uttered admonitory verses:

[193] Nay, not for this that thou mayest slumber long,
Cometh the night in starry garlands wreathed.
For vigil by the wise this night is here.

Hearing him, Soṇa was exceedingly agitated, and keeping his shortcomings before the mind, adopted the open-air practice, exercising himself for insight. And he uttered this verse:

[194] If in the fight my warrior-elephant
Advanced, 'twere better, fallen from his back,[2]
Dead on the field [and trampled I should lie],
Than beaten live a captive to the foe.

So saying, he stirred up insight and won arahantship, and thereupon repeated the Master's words and his own as his confession of aññā.

 


[1] On the position of a bhojaka holding land in fief, see Dialogues, i. 108, n. 1; on Bhaddiya, see CCLIV. Anupiyiā, in the Mallas' territory, lay east of Kapilavatthu. On the vision, cf. several of the first Sisters' psalms.

[2] The Commentary confirms the reading avapatitaɱ (vide Neumann). The figure is a very natural one for an Indian soldier, and its application is easy. Metaphors from warfare are less frequent in Buddhist than in Christian literature, and the few contained in this work almost exhaust them. 'Trampled' (by the elephant is a Commentarial gloss.

 


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