Khuddaka Nikaya


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PSALMS OF THE BRETHREN

Canto VI. Psalms of Six Verses


 

Canto VI.
Psalms of Six Verses

CCXX
Nhātaka-muni
[1]

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

Public Domain

[Pali]

 

Reborn in this Buddha-age at Rājagaha in a brahmin clan, and well educated in Vedic lore, he became known by the mark and order of a graduate as Nhātaka, the bath-graduate. Becoming an ascetic, he dwelt in a forest glade three leagues from Rājagaha, living on wild rice and worshipping fire.

Now the Master, seeing the conditions of arahantship shining within his heart like a lamp in a jar, came to his hermitage. He, filled with pleasure thereat, placed before him food prepared in his own way. The Exalted One ate it; and so three days went by. On the fourth day the Exalted One said: 'You who are of such extreme delicacy, how can you support life on this food ?' And thus commenting on saintly content, he taught him the Norm. And the ascetic thereupon from Stream-winner became arahant. The Exalted One confirmed him therein and went. But he, continuing to dwell there, fell ill of cramp. The Master went, and with kindness asked after his health:

[435] Thou who foredone with cramping pains
Dwell'st in the jungle, in the woods,
Thy range confined, in hardship dire,
Tell me, bhikkhu, how wilt thou live?

Then the Thera:

[436] With bliss and rapture's flooding wave
This mortal frame is all suffused.
Though hard and rough what I endure,
Yet will I in the jungle dwell.[2]

[437] Wisdom's seven branches practising,
The Powers five, the Forces too,[3]
Rapt to ethereal heights of thought,
So will I in the jungle dwell.

[438] From all corrupting thoughts set free,
With heart all pure and undefiled,
Often to contemplation given,
So will I in the jungle dwell.

[439] And all the intoxicants that once,
Within, without, beset my life,
Hewn and cast out are one and all,
Never to rise for me again.

[440] The factors five are understood,[4]
Persisting yet with severed root.
The end of sorrow now is won,
And all rebirth for me is done.

 


[1] There is a close connexion between the brahmin graduate's and our knight's sacramental bath. A Nhātaka might not unfairly be called a 'C.B.,' Companion of the Bath.

[2] Cf. Vakkali, CCV.

[3] Cf. Compendium, pp. 180, f, d, e.

[4] = CXX.

 


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