PSALMS OF THE BRETHREN
Canto XVI. Psalms of Twenty Verses
Psalms of Twenty Verses
Translated from the Pali by Mrs. C.A.F. Rhys Davids.
He was reborn in this Buddha-age, before the Master's birth, at Sāvatthī, in a brahmin family, and named Telakāni. Matured as to antecedents, he wearied of worldly desires, and left the world as a wandering recluse. Seeking for emancipation of spirit, he toured about, thinking: 'Who is he in the world who has got beyond?' and asking questions of recluses and brahmins without receiving satisfaction. Meanwhile our Exalted One had arisen, and was rolling the Norm-Wheel, working the good of the world. Him one day Telakāni heard, and found faith, was ordained, and not long after won arahantship.
Sitting one day with bhikkhus, and remembering his own toiling and winning, he declared it all to them thus:
 I dragged my chains along, nor found release
From this [unending source of] grief and dole.
Is there no man on earth who can unloose
My bonds, and make me know Enlightenment?
 What brahmin, what recluse can tell me how
To break them off? Whose Norm can I accept,
Able to bear away old age and death?
 Behold this load! coil of perplexity
And doubt, the mortal force of it
Wearing the temper, stiffening the mind,
And lacerating with a vast desire,
 Can any one, without or knife or wound,
Leaving the members of me all unscathed,
Draw out this shaft that's stuck within my heart?
 'Twas even so for me who sought in fear,
On this side for the distant shore, when He,
The Master, followed by his saintly throng,
 I climbed up to the terrace where the mind
Alert and vigilant applies itself,
Thence I could contemplate the sons of men
Delighting in that sense of 'I' and 'mine,'
Wherein I once was wont to nurse conceits.
 The knotted bonds long buried in my life,
Fixed up about me for so many years,
The Buddha loosed and cast them off from me,
And every poison canker purged away.
 So the Commentary, vimuttidhammaɱ, vimokkhadhammo.
 'In this world among those who are acknowledged as religious teachers, who now has gone up to Nibbāna beyond Saŋsāra (i.e., consecutive livings and dyings)? Who is established in Nibbāna, in the path of emancipation?' (Commentary).
 Paramattha, the supreme good, or meaning.
 See Saɱy. Nik., i. 220, Ī 4.
 According to the Commentary, the 'twice fifteen' refers to the twenty forms (6 x 4) of sakkāyadiṭṭhi, or soul-speculation (Dh. S., Ī 1003 = Bud. Psy., p, 259), and the ten forms of micchādiṭṭhi (Vibhanga, p 392).
 I read with the Commentary bāḷhaɱ and tiṭṭhati.
 The word anudiṭṭhīnaɱ is paraphrased by anudiṭṭhīnaɱ ... sassatadiṭṭhi ādīnaɱ.
 The Commentary reads sankappa-paratejitaɱ ... micchāvitakkena parajane ... ussāhitaɱ. The other reading, sankappasara-tejitaɱ, seems more intelligible and less forced in construction. There is an approximate precedent in sarasankappā (Majjh. Nik., i. 458; Saɱy. Nik., iv. 76). Lit., the 'not putting off' is 'quickened.'
 Stress is laid in the Commentary on the wound being self-inflicted, much in the style of Christ's words: '... those things which ... come forth from the heart; ... they defile the man' (Matt. xv. 18).
 Māmakarɱ = mama santakaɱ attabhāvaɱ.
 'Doubts,' as 'the dart,' are here said to typify the entire group of kilesas (lit., torments, cankers; cf. Bud. Psy., 327, n.). The probe, nānārajja, is paraphrased by esanī-salākā. Ahiŋsaɱ = abādhento.
 The Commentary reads pāṇiñ ca.
 Sārambha (cf. verse 752) is explained by karakuttariya-lakkhaṇo.
 The Commentary interprets vāhā vahanti as 'a rush of great waters bearing me to the doom-ocean.' Cf. Jāt., v. 888 f.; Dhp., ver. 339 f.
 These are standard similes for 'craving' (taṇhā). Cf. verse 1094.
 Karotha is 'make ye,' but one meets with this inflexion in the singular sense, such as the context demands.
 Lit., 'made of the pith of the Norm.'
 Sakkāya, paraphrased as ahaɱ mamāti.
 Titthaɱ uttamaɱ - lit., best or supreme shore - paraphrased by 'the landing-place of the ambrosial great-beyond, called Nibbāna.'
 Taṇhā. See p. 292, n. 1. Pabhāvitaɱ = samuṭṭhitaɱ (Commentary).