Khuddaka Nikaya


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PSALMS OF THE BRETHREN

Canto XVI. Psalms of Twenty Verses


 

Canto XVI.
Psalms of Twenty Verses

CCLII
Mālunkyā's Son

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

Public Domain

[Pali]

 

The story of this venerable one is given in Canto VI. (CCXIV.), wherein the Thera, established in arahantship, uttered a psalm by way of teaching his kinsfolk about the Path. But in this poem the Thera, non yet an arahant, had asked the Master for doctrine in brief, and he received this response: 'What think you, Mālunkyā's son, things which you have never seen, heard, smelt, tasted, touched, or perceived, of which you have no present impression, nor of which you wish you might have sensations and perception: - do you feel desire, or longing, or fondness for them?' 'No, lord.' 'Here, then, Mālunkyā's son, when you do get any sensation or perception of things, you will have just the sensations or perceptions only. And inasmuch as this is so, and you will get no [greed, ill-will, or illusion] thereby, or therein, either here or elsewhere, or hereafter, this, even this, is the end of pain.[1]

[308] And Mālunkyā's son, showing how well he had learnt that doctrine so summarized, expressed it in these verses:

[794] Sight of fair shape bewildering lucid thought,[2]
If one but heed the image sweet and dear,
The heart inflamed in feeling doth o'erflow,

[795] And clinging stayeth. Thus in him do grow
Divers emotions rooted in the sight,
Greed and aversion,[3] and the heart of him
Doth suffer grievously. Of him we say,
Thus heaping store of pain and suffering:
      Far from Nibbana!

[796] Sound,[4] bewildering lucid thought,
If one but heed the image sweet and dear,
The heart inflamed in feeling doth o'erflow,

[797] And clinging stayeth. Thus in him do grow
Divers emotions rooted in the sight,
Greed and aversion, and the heart of him
Doth suffer grievously. Of him we say,
Thus heaping store of pain and suffering:
      Far from Nibbana!

[798] Smell bewildering lucid thought,
If one but heed the image sweet and dear,
The heart inflamed in feeling doth o'erflow,

[799] And clinging stayeth. Thus in him do grow
Divers emotions rooted in the sight,
Greed and aversion, and the heart of him
Doth suffer grievously. Of him we say,
Thus heaping store of pain and suffering:
      Far from Nibbana!

[800] Taste bewildering lucid thought,
If one but heed the image sweet and dear,
The heart inflamed in feeling doth o'erflow,

[801] And clinging stayeth. Thus in him do grow
Divers emotions rooted in the sight,
Greed and aversion, and the heart of him
Doth suffer grievously. Of him we say,
Thus heaping store of pain and suffering:
      Far from Nibbana!

[802] Touch, bewildering lucid thought,
If one but heed the image sweet and dear,
The heart inflamed in feeling doth o'erflow,

[803] And clinging stayeth. Thus in him do grow
Divers emotions rooted in the sight,
Greed and aversion, and the heart of him
Doth suffer grievously. Of him we say,
Thus heaping store of pain and suffering:
      Far from Nibbana!

[804] Object, idea,[5] bewildering lucid thought,
If one but heed the image sweet and dear,
The heart inflamed in feeling doth o'erflow,
And clinging stayeth. Thus in him do grow

[805] [309] Divers emotions rooted in idea,
Greed and aversion; and the heart of him
Doth suffer grievously. Of him we say, -
Thus heaping store of pain and suffering: -
      Far from Nibbana!

[806] He who for things he sees no passion breeds,
But mindful, clear of head, can suffer sense,
With uninflamed heart, nor staying clings;

[807] And as he sees, so normally he feels;[6]
For him no heaping up, but minishing:
Thus doth he heedfully pursue his way.
Of him, building no store of ill, we say: -
      Near is Nibbana!

[808] He who for things he hears no passion breeds,
But mindful, clear of head, can suffer sense,
With uninflamed heart, nor staying clings;

[809] And as he hears, so normally he feels;
For him no heaping up, but minishing:
Thus doth he heedfully pursue his way.
Of him, building no store of ill, we say: -
      Near is Nibbana!

[810] He who for things he smells no passion breeds,
But mindful, clear of head, can suffer sense,
With uninflamed heart, nor staying clings;

[811] And as he smells, so normally he feels;
For him no heaping up, but minishing:
Thus doth he heedfully pursue his way.
Of him, building no store of ill, we say: -
      Near is Nibbana!

[812] He who for things he tastes no passion breeds,
But mindful, clear of head, can suffer sense,
With uninflamed heart, nor staying clings;

[813] And as he tastes, so normally he feels;
For him no heaping up, but minishing:
Thus doth he heedfully pursue his way.
Of him, building no store of ill, we say: -
      Near is Nibbana!

[814] He who for things things touched no passion breeds,
But mindful, clear of head, can suffer sense,
With uninflamed heart, nor staying clings;

[815] And as he is touched, so normally he feels;
For him no heaping up, but minishing:
Thus doth he heedfully pursue his way.
Of him, building no store of ill, we say: -
      Near is Nibbana!

[816] He who for things things felt[ed1] no passion breeds,
But mindful, clear of head, can suffer sense,
With uninflamed heart, nor staying clings;

[817] And as he doth perceive, so normally he feels;
For him no heaping up, but minishing:
Thus doth he heedfully pursue his way.
Of him, building no store of ill, we say: -
      Near is Nibbana![7]

Then the Thera rose, saluted the Master and departed, not long after bo developing insight that he won arahantship.

 


[1] That is, you can use sense and intellect without craving being engendered. I have inserted the bracketed words from Buddhaghosa's Commentary on this passage in his Sāratthapakāsinī. Cf. the Thera's emphasis on taṇhā in his former poem. The Commentary follows almost verbatim the Sutta Sangayha in the 'Saḷātyatana-Saŋyutta' (Saŋy. Nik., iv. 72), where the poem also occurB.

[2] See verse 98 and n. 'Lucid thought' is better for sati than 'self-control,' to which sati conduces.

[3] Vihesā, aroused, says the Commentary, when the object is the reverse of agreeable. More probably the enmity born of greed. Cf. Dialogues, ii. 55.

[4] Each sense is given a separate stanza. [Ed. here included]

[5] Dhammaŋ ñatvā - i.e., the aspect of cognition as an act of mind, supplementing, or, it may be, independent of, sense-impressions.

[6] The rest of consciousness follows its gocara, or normal procedure (Commentary).

[7] As before, each sense is assigned a complete stanza. [Ed. here complete] The Buddha, according to the Saŋyutta Nikāya, accords warm praise to Mālunkyā's son's rendering.

 


[ed1] This is apparently what Mrs. Rhys Davids intends to be the object of the mind-sense.

 


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