Khuddaka Nikaya


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PSALMS OF THE BRETHREN

Canto IX. Psalm of Nine Verses


 

Canto IX.
Psalm of Nine Verses

CCXXXII
Bhūta

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

Public Domain

[Index][Pali]

 

Reborn in this Buddha-age in a suburb of the city of Sāketa as the son of a wealthy councillor, he was the last and only surviving child, the others having been devoured by a hostile Yakkha. He was therefore well guarded, but the demon (bhūta) had meanwhile gone to wait on Vessavaṇa[1] and came back no more - On the child's naming day he was called Bhūta, for they said: 'May compassionate non-humans protect him!'[2] He by virtue of his merit having grown up without accident, reared with three residences as was Yasa,[3] went, when the Master came to Sāketa, with other laymen to the Vihāra and heard the Norm. Entering the Order, he went to dwell in a cave on the banks of the River Ajakaraṇī.[4] There he won arahantship. Thereafter, he visited his relatives out of kindness to them, staying himself in the Añjana Wood. When they besought him to stay, urging that this would result in mutual benefit, the Thera, declaring his love for and happiness in the monachistic life, spoke these lines before he left them:

[518] [246] When the wise man hath grasped, that age and death, yea, all
Whereto the undiscerning world-folk cling is Pain,
And Pain thus understanding, dwells with mind intent
And rapt in ecstasy of thought: - no higher bliss
Is given to men than this.

[519] When the fell poisoner[5] he hath banned who bringeth pain, -
Ay, even Craving, who doth sweep him towards the pain
Of being prisoned in the web of many things,
Obsessed,[6] - and he delivered dwells with mind intent
And rapt in ecstasy of thought: - no higher bliss
Is given to men than this.

[520] When by insight he sees the happy-omened Path,
Twice fourfold, ultimate, that purifies from all
That doth defile, and seeing, dwells with mind intent,
Rapt in an ecstasy of thought: - no higher bliss
Is given to men than this.

[521] When work of thought makes real and true the way of peace,
From sorrow free, untarnished and uncorrelate,[7]
Cleansing from all that doth defile, and severing
From every bond and fetter, and the brother sits
Rapt in an ecstasy of thought: - no higher bliss
Is given to men than this.

[522] When in the lowering sky thunders the storm-cloud's drum,
And all the pathways of the birds are thick with rain,
[247] The brother sits within the hollow of the hills,
Rapt in an ecstasy of thought: - no higher bliss
Is given to men than this.

[523] Or when by rivers on whose banks together crowd
Garlands of woodland blossoms bright with many a hue,
With heart serene the brother sits upon the strand,
Rapt in an ecstasy of thought: - no higher bliss
Is given to men than this.

[524] Or when at dead of night in lonely wood god rains,
And beasts of fang and tusk[8] ravin and cry aloud,
The brother sits within the hollow of the hills,
Rapt in an ecstasy of thought: - no greater bliss
Is given to men than this.

[525] When he hath checked the mind's discursive restlessness,[9]
And to the mountain's bosom hies and in some cave
Sits sheltered, free from fear and from impediment,
Rapt in an ecstasy of thought: - no greater bliss
Is given to men than this.

[526] When he in healthful ease abides, abolisher
Of stain and stumbling-stone and woe, open to peace[10]

[The portals of the mind], lust-free, immune from dart,[11]
Yea, all intoxicants become as nought, and thus
Rapt in an ecstasy of thought: - no greater bliss
Is given to men than this.

 


[1] Ruler of the northern quarter of the skies and of the Yakkhas [Dialogues, ii. 259, 805).

[2] Thus compelling the propitiation of such creatures by making them sponsors! Bhūta = spirit, sprite, creature.

[3] CXVII.

[4] Cf. Sappaka, CXCVI.

[5] On visattikā soe p. 218, n. 3.

[6] With this phrase papañcasanghāṭa(-dukkādhivāhaniɱ), cf. Majjh., i. 271, l. 1; 383, l. 29; Milinda, 890, l. 7. The Commentary's explanation is very lame, but it paraphrases papañcanti vitthārentīti.

[7] Asankhataɱ. Na kenaci paccayena sankhatan ti (Commentary).

[8] The Commentary instances lions and tigers - true of course only of remoter haunts. Cf. at least Sisters, p. 151 n.

[9] Vitakka, a word to indicate the application of attention to this and that, hindering concentrated thought.

[10] Lit., one who is unbolted. The bolt is ignorance hindering the entrance of Nibbāna, says the Commentary.

[11] By 'dart,' craving is always implied.

 


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