Khuddaka Nikaya

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Canto VI. Psalms of Six Verses


Canto VI.
Psalms of Six Verses


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

Public Domain



Reborn in this Buddha-age at Sāvatthī in the family of a landowner, and named Kulla, he was converted by faith, and waa ordained by the Master. But he was often seized by fits of lustful passion. The Master, knowing his tendencies, gave him the exercise on foul things, and bade him often meditate in the charnel-field. And when even this sufficed not, he himself went with him and bade him mark the process of putrefaction and dissolution. Then, as Kulla stood with heart disinfatuated, the Exalted One sent out a glory, producing in him such mindfulness that he discerned the lesson, attained first jhāna, and on that basis developing insight, won arahantship.

Reviewing his experience, he breathed forth these verses, first speaking of himself (then repeating the Master's words and finally adding his own):

[393] Kulla had gone to where the dead lie still
And there he saw a woman's body cast,
Untended in the field, the food of worms.[1]

[394] [212] Behold the foul compound, Kulla, diseased,
Impure,[2] dripping, exuding, pride of fools.'[3]

[395] Grasping the mirror of the holy Norm,
To win the vision by its lore revealed,
I saw reflected there, without, within,
The nature of this empty fleeting frame.

[396] As is this body, so that one was once,
And as that body, so will this one be.[4]
And as it is beneath, so is't above,
And as it is above, so is't beneath.

[397] As in the daytime, so is it at night,
And as't was once, so will't hereafter be,
And as't will be, so was it - in the past.

[398] Not music's fivefold wedded sounds[5] can yield
Such charm as comes o'er him who with a heart
Intent and calm rightly beholds the Norm!

These verses were the Thera's confession of aññā.


[1] Cf. CXCVIII.

[2] Cf. Sisters, xix.; Dhammapada Commy., iii., p. 118 f., on verse 150.

[3] Complacent in calling it 'I,' 'mine' (Commentary).

[4] Cf. Sutta-Nipāta, verse 202.

[5] Cf. p. 175, n. 1; and verse 1071.


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