Khuddaka Nikaya


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PSALMS OF THE BRETHREN

Canto VI. Psalms of Six Verses


 

Canto VI.
Psalms of Six Verses

CCXIX
Sumana

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

Public Domain

[Pali] [than]

 

Reborn in this Buddha-age he took birth in the family of a certain lay-disciple who had become the lay-attendant of the venerable Thera Anuruddha.[1] Now that layman's children till then had died young. And the father said: 'If yet one more son is born to me, I will have him ordained by the Thera. After ten months a healthy boy was born to him, and accordingly, when the child was seven years old, he was ordained. And from the ripeness of his insight, it was not long before he acquired sixfold abhiÑÑā, waiting the while upon the Thera. Taking a jar to fetch him water, Sumana through iddhi-power came to the Anotatta Lake.[2] And a wicked serpent-king, coiled about the lake, reared its great hood aloft and would not suffer him to get water. Then Sumana took the shape of a garuda-bird[3] and [221] overcame the serpent, and flew back with the water to the Thera. And the Master, seated in Jeta Grove, saw him as he went, and called Sariputta to see, praising him in the four verses below.

Now Sumana, in testifying to aññā, added those verses to his own as follows:

[429] When newly made a brother seven years old,
By supernormal power I overcame
The wondrous potence of the serpent king,

[430] Whenas I water for my teacher's use
From the great lake of Anotatta fetched.
Me coming thus the Master saw and spake:

[431] See, Sariputta, how the little lad
Holding his jar of water comes along,
Rapt all his being, utterly intent.

[432] Noble his carriage on his gracious quest,
And well-matured in supernormal power,
This novice of our Anuruddha's band.

[433] By trainer of high breeding highly bred,
By the proficient made throughly expert,
By perfect competence made competent,
By Anuruddha taught and disciplined:

[434] He having won the highest peace and good
And realized the influctuate, even he -
This novice Sumana - [would hide his power]
And thus: Let no man know me! doth desire.[4]

 


[1] See CCLVI.

[2] One of seven mythical lakes in the Himalaya regions (Vinaya Texts, i. 124; Milinda, ii. 137).

[3] The 'roc'-bird of India.

[4] Sumana might well be the Sumana of CCI. if Anuruddha were the uncle, and it may be another case of a bifurcate legend. The name, however, is not unusual. This Sumana is possibly the venerable Thera 'from the West,' who, with three others and four from the East, presided at the Council of Vesālī a century after the Buddha's death (Vinaya Texts, iii. 407). There was anyway a tradition that, of these eight Theras two - Sumana and Vāsabhagāmi - were pupils of Anuruddha, and 'had seen the Tathagata' (Dīpavaŋa, iv. 48 ; v. 24).

 


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