Khuddaka Nikaya

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Canto VI. Psalms of Six Verses


Canto VI.
Psalms of Six Verses

Mālunkyā's Son[1]

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

Public Domain



Reborn in this Buddha-age at Sāvatthī as the son of the King of Kosala's valuer,[2] his mother was named Mālunkyā, and he became known by her name. When he was come of age his naturally religious disposition prevailed, and he left the world as a Wandering ascetic. Then, on hearing the Master teach, he entered the Order, and in due course won sixfold abhiññā. Visiting his home out of compassion [213] for his kinsfolk, these entertained him with great display of hospitality, seeking to allure him back, and saying: 'With this wealth that belongs to you, you could support a family and do good works.'

But the Thera, unfolding his disposition, said:

[399] Is[3] there a man who careless, heedless dwells,
Craving in him will like a creeper grow.
He hurries hankering from birth to birth,[4]
In quest of fruit like ape in forest tree.

[400] Whom she doth overcome, - the shameful jade,
Craving, the poisoner of all mankind, -[5]
Grow for him griefs as rank as jungle-grass.

[401] But he who doth her down, - the shameful jade,
Hard to outwit, - from him griefs fall away
As from the lotus glides the drop of dew.

[402] This word to you, as many as are here[6]
Together come: May all success be yours!
Dig up the root of craving, as ye were
Bent on the quest of sweet usira root.
Let it not be with you that, ye the reed,
Māra the stream, he break you o'er and o'er!

[403] Bring ye the Buddha-Word to pass; let not
This moment of the ages pass you by!
That moment lost, men mourn in misery.[7]

[404] [214] As dust [mixed and defiled], is carelessness;
And dust-defilement comes through carelessness.
By earnestness and by the Lore ye hear,
Let each man from his heart draw out the spear.[8]


[1] A second poem of this Thera is given as CCLII. The Thera is met with in Saŋy., iv. 72 (a Sutta identical with the latter poem), and presumably in Ang., ii. 248, and Majjh., i., Suttas 63, 64.

[2] Agghāpanika. Cf. XX: agghāpanī; [but ?] Jāt., iṁ, No. 5.

[3] Dhammapada, pp. 334-337.

[4] Hurāhuraŋ, in the Commentary, seems to mean both 'hankeringly' and 'from birth to birth,' the latter with the former implied. See JPTS, 1909, p. 168.

[5] To connect visatti-ka with visaŋ may not be correct etymologically. Visatti may mean very powerful, or withdrawing power, but as an agency we should almost expect vesattikā. But both Buddhaghosa (Atthasālinī, p. 264) and Dhammapāla connect the word with poison. The latter, however, adds āsattatā. Cf. Dhammapada Commentary (Fausböll), p. 409.

[6] Cf. CLXXXII. Dhp. 337.

[7] Cf. p. 162, n. 3; S.-Nipāta, verse 333 = Dhammapada, verse 815.

[8] Sisters, verse 131. Commentary, hadayanissitaŋ.


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