Khuddaka Nikaya

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Canto IV. Psalms of Four Verses


Canto IV.
Psalms of Four Verses


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

Public Domain



Reborn in this Buddha-age in a family of Kosalan brahmins, and named Dhammika, he won faith at the presentation of the Jeta Grove, and entered the Order. Becoming a resident at a village Vihāra, he grew impatient and irritable over the duties of incoming bhikkhus,[1] so that the latter abandoned the Vihāra,. Thus he became sole master of the Vihāra,. And a layman reported this to the Exalted One. The Master sent for Dhammika, and asked him to explain. Thereupon he said: 'Not only now are you impatient; you were so formerly also'; and at the bhikkhus' request he gave a 'tree-talk' on the Norm, with admonition over and above, as follows:

[303] Well doth the Norm protect him in sooth who follows the Norm.
Happiness bringeth along in its train the Norm well practised.
This shall be his reward by whom the Norm is well practised:
Never goeth to misery he who doth follow the Norm.

[304] For not of like result are right and wrong:
Wrong leads to baleful, right, to happy doom.

[305] Wherefore let will be applied to [master] the things that we know.
So let him hail with delight so welcome a blessing as this.[2]
[186] Firm in the Welcome One's Norm the disciples fare onward,
Valiantly following Him, their sovereign Refuge.

[306] Plucked out the root of all this cancerous lump,[3] The net of craving wholly torn away,
The round of life renewed hath ceased,
And naught of clinging doth remain,
E'en as the moon on fifteenth day
Sails in clear sky without a stain.

When the Master had taught three of the verses, Dhammika, bearing them in mind, developed insight even as he sat, and won arahantship. And to show the transformation in himself to the Master, he declared aññā by the last verse.


[1] For an account of the many sources of petty annoyance arising herefrom, see Vinaya Texts, iii. 272 ff.

[2] I.e., according to the Commentary, the privilege of a Buddha's admonition. The double reversion to the śloka (11. 5, 6; 11, 12) in this gāthā, which is in irregular Tri.sṭubh metre, is indicated above by corresponding changes. The four gāthās, indeed, bear so little on Dhammika's offence, and vary sQ in metre, that they suggest a patched compilation.

[3] The 'lump' ¡b the five khandhas (body and mind), the 'root' is ignorance (Commentary),


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