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PSALMS OF THE BRETHREN

Canto VI. Psalms of Six Verses


 

Canto VI.
Psalms of Six Verses

CCXII
Mahā-nāga

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

Public Domain

[Index][Pali]

 

Reborn in this Buddha-age at Sāketa as the son of a brahmin named Madhu-Vaseṭṭha, he was given the name of Mahā-nāga.[1] He saw the wonder wrought by Thera Gavampati,[2] while the Exalted One was staying in the Añjana Wood, and receiving faith, he entered the Order under the Thera, winning arahantship through his counsels.

Now while he abode in the bliss of emancipation, the Thera Mahā-nāga saw how the six bhikkhus[3] habitually failed to show respect to their co-religionists, and he admonished them in verses which became his confession of aññā:

[387] Who towards his fellows in the Rule
Showeth no reverence nor respect,
From the true Norm he wilts away,
Like fish where water runneth low.

[388] Who towards his fellows in the Rule
Showeth no reverence nor respect,
In the true Norm he doth not thrive,
Like rotten seed in furrow sown.

[389] Who towards, etc.
Far from Nibbana standeth he
Within the Norm-Lord's cult and school.

[390] Who towards his fellows in the Rule
Showeth due reverence and respect,
From the true Norm falls not away,
Like fish where many waters be.

[391] [211] Who towards his fellows in the Rule
Showeth due reverence and respect,
In the true Norm he thriveth well
As seed benign in furrow sown.

[392] Who towards his fellows in the Rule
Showeth due reverence and respect,
He to Nibbana's very near,
Within the Norm-Lord's cult and school.[4]

 


[1] Nothing else is known of this Brother. His namesake 'of the Black Creeper Pavilion' is a muoh later personage (Jāt., iv. 490; vi. 30 [text]; JRAS, 1901, p. 893). The name = great wondrous-being or spirit, applied equally to a serpent, an elephant, a thera, and to a class of fairies.

[2] See XXXVIII.

[3] A notorious group of intriguers, whose doings severely tested the organization of the Sangha. See Ps. V.; Vinaya Texts, i. 218 n.

[4] Who towards ... showeth (not) is, literally rendered: For whom with respect to his co-religionists reverence does (not) exist, or is not found, or seen (cf. Kathāvatthu Commentary on n'upalabbhati, p. 8; Dialogues, ii. 166, 'is [not] found'). The occasion of these verses as described by Dhammapāla above, let alone the religious consequences invoked, justify my differing hare from Dr. Neumann's rendering. For the similes, cf. CCVII. Cult and school = sāsana.

 


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