Khuddaka Nikaya

[Site Map]  [Home]  [Sutta Indexes]  [Glossology]  [Site Sub-Sections]

The Pali is transliterated as IAST Unicode (āīūṃṅñṭḍṇḷ). Alternatives:
[ ASCII (aiumnntdnl) | Mobile (āīūŋńñţđņļ) | Velthuis (aaiiuu.m'n~n.t.d.n.l) ]




Canto XVI. Psalms of Twenty Verses


Canto XVI.
Psalms of Twenty Verses


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

Public Domain



Reborn in this Buddha-age at Kapilavatthu, in the house of Amitodana the Sākiyan, he was named Anuruddha.[1] Thus his elder brother was Mahānānama the Sākiyan, the son of the Master's paternal uncle. And he was reared most delicately and luxuriously, in a different house for each of the seasons, [326] and was surrounded with dancers and mimes, enjoying a divinely good fortune. And when he was summoned with the Sākiyan rajas to form a guard for the Master, he went to him in the Mango Wood at Anupiyā, took orders, and within the period of the rains, acquired celestial vision. Again, receiving an exercise under the tuition of the General of the Norm, he went into the East Bamboo Wood, and studying, mastered seven of the thoughts of a great man, but could not learn the eighth. The Master, discerning this, taught it to him, teaching him the great course of the lineage of the Ariyans.[2] Remembering this lesson, Anuruddha developed insight and realized arahantship, accompanied by supernormal and analytic powers.[3] Him the Master ranked foremost among those who had attained the celestial eye.[4] And he, dwelling in the bliss of emancipation, reviewed one day his achievement. And thrilled with joy, he breathed forth this psalm:

[892] Forsaking mother, father, all his kin,
Sister and brother, quitting joys of sense,
Sits Anuruddha rapt in reverie.

[893] By dance and song attended, by the sound
Of cymbals in the morn awaked: - not so
Were pure religion to be reached, too fain
Was I in Māra's precincts to abide.

[894] And now that ail those things are left behind,
Fain with full heart to keep the Buddha's Rule,
Yea, passing over all the mighty Flood,
Sits Anuruddha rapt in reverie.

[895] [327] Sights, sounds and tastes, odours and things to touch,
That please and charm,[5] leaving all these behind,
Sits Anuruddha rapt in reverie.

[896] From quest of alms he cometh back alone,
An unencumbered[6] silent sage; from heap
Of rubbish to renew what garb he hath
Doth Anuruddha seek, sane and immune.

[897] He seeketh, taketh, washeth, dyeth, wears
The shabby gear,[7] this sage deliberate: -
For such is Anuruddha, sane, immune.

[898] He who is big with wants and discontent,
Is puffed up[8] and cleaveth to his kind,
Displayeth qualities corrupt and vile.

[899] And is he mindful, having few desires,
Contentedly serene and ne'er upset,
Delighting in seclusion, blithe of heart,

[900] Aye strenuous: - his qualities are good
And such as to enlightenment belong,
And he, sane and immune, - saith the Great Seer.

[901] He knew my heart's intent, the Master, he
Whose peer the world hath not, he came to me
By mystic power with body wrought of mind.[9]

[902] [328] To me, when further truths I wished to learn,
The Wake, the Buddha [that last truth] revealed;
He who in freedom from obsessions[10] joyed
That freedom from obsessions taught to me.

[903] And I who heard the blessed Norm abode
Fain only and alway to keep his Rule;
The Threefold Wisdom have I made my own,
And all the Buddha's ordinance is done.[11]

[904] Ne'er have I rested supine five and fifty years,[12]
'Tis five and twenty years since sloth was overcome.

[905] No heaving breath left as He lay;
The mind in Jhana's steadfast stay,
With thought from every craving free,
Fixed on the Peace incessantly:
So passed the Man Who Saw away.

[906] With mind unshaken, as they came,
He suffered pangs of death in peace;
Stole o'er His heart the last release:
Nibbāna of the unfed flame.[13]

[907] The last things these that now we see of Him, -
Touch and the other senses of the Sage -
No other conscious states[14] shall come to be,
When one that's wholly Wake doth pass away.

Now, a spirit,[15] who in a former birth had been his attendant, seeing the Thera old and feeble, came, out of [329] her former love for him, and bade him aspire to rebirth among the gods. But he made answer:

[908] Sojourn amid the company of gods
Never again, seducer,[16] comes for me.
Destroyed is all renewal of rebirth.
Now is there no more coming back to be.

Then the other bhikkhus, not seeing the goddess, were wondering to whom the Thera was speaking. To show his mystic power to them he said this verse:

[909] He who e'en in a moment by a thousand ways can take
Purview of all the world, he is for Brahma's heaven fit.[17]
But here's a brother versed in power of magic who doth see
What time [both men and gods], thou goddess, die and come to be.

He now unfolds his former Karma: -

[910] Lo! I was Annabhara long ago,[18]
A poor man working for my daily bread,
Then I to Upariṭṭha, the recluse
Of holy fame, made humble offering.

[911] [330] Then was I born within the Sakiyan clan,
As Anuruddha known; by dance and song
Attended, and by clang of cymbals waked.[19]

[912] But I beheld the Buddha, the Awake,
The Master, for whom no whence cometh fear.
In him my heart believed and was at rest,
And from the home I sought the homeless life.

[913] I know my former lives, and where and how
I lived in years gone by; among the gods
Thirty and Three I stood of Sakka's rank.

[914] Seven times a king of men I held my sway,
Lord of the earth from end to end foursquare,
A conqueror, of Jambudīpa chief,[20]
Using no force or arms I ruled by right.[21]

[915] Thence seven, and other seven spans of life,
E'en fourteen former births I recognize,
E'en then when in the world of gods reborn.

[916] In fivefold concentrated ecstasy,[22]
My heart goes up in peace and unity.
Serene composure have I made my own;
My vision as a god's is clarified.

[917] I know the destinies of other lives: -
Whence beings come and whither they do go;
Life here below, or other-where of life -
Steadfast and rapt, in fivefold Jhāna sunk.

[918] The Master hath my fealty and love,[23]
And all the Buddha's ordinance is done.
[331] Low have I laid the heavy load I bore,
Cause for rebirth is found in me no more.

[919] In Veluva,[24] in Vajjian land 'twill be
That life shall reach its final term for me;
And I 'neath bamboo-thicket's shade that day,
Sane and immune, shall wholly pass away.


[1] Both text and legend give one of his names in a previous birth, in Kassapa Buddha's time (verse 910). The Br. manuscript misspells the father's name (correctly given in the Anguttara Nikāya Commentary) as Amittodhana. See further, Vinaya Texts, iii. 224 ff. On the dancers, etc. (nāṭakā), see ibid., iii. 225, n. 1.

[2] The eight thoughts (Ang. Nik., iv. 228 ff. where the dialogue is given) are that the Dhamma is for one who - (1) has few wants; (2) is contented, serene, (8) much alone, (4) strenuous, (5) introspectively mindful, (6) concentrated, and (7) wise; (8) delights in freedom from obsessions.

The course of the lineage of the Ariyans (ariyavaŋsapaṭipadā) in Ang. Nik., ii. 26, is simply contentment with three of the bhikkhu's 'four conditions,' or necessaries - raiment, food, and shelter-and with exercise or study, and selective or pruning culture (bhavanā, pahāna)).

[3] A unique variation: abhiññāpaṭiiambhidāparivāraɱ arahattaɱ.

[4] Ang. Nik., i. 23. Cf. above, p. 32, n. 2; Dialogues, i. 91.

[5] Cf. verse 455.

[6] Lit., unseconded, unmated (cf. v. 54, 541). The Commentary paraphrases this by nittanho, without craving. Cf. Bud. Psy., p. 278; Sutta Nipiita, v. 740; and Saɱy. Nik., i. 25, where faith is the 'mate.' As Anuruddha, in the Majjhima Nikāya, is the type of an affectionate, loyal comrade bhikkhu (Suttaa 82, 128), he could not well be typical of the monachist, like Ekavihariya (CCXXXIV.). See also verse 155.

[7] The first Dhutanga. Cf. CCLIV, verse 844.

[8] Uddhato, often, as here, made synonymous with want of balance, as in our 'swelled head.'

[9] Verses 901-903 are in Ang. Nik., iv. 235, ending the lesson referred to. 'As if made of mind ... let this body be as this mind: thus by process of will-fixing iddhi' (Commentary). Cf. Compendium, p. 61, adhiṭṭhāniddhi. The Anguttara Cy. (i. 23), quotes verses 901-903.

[10] Papañca, a word here interpreted as simply 'the (ten) kilesas, lust,' etc. Cf. p. 343, n. 4, and Bud.Psy., p. 327 f.

[11] Cf. verse 561 and Sisters, verses 187, 194, 202.

[12] Cf. verse 856.

[13] Verses elsewhere ascribed to Anuruddha at the Buddha's passing away (Dialogues, ii. 176; Avadana, 100). On the two versions (in Dialogues, line 4, is: ... yaŋ kālam akarī munī, 'the seer died'), cf. Oldenberg's discussion, 'Studien zur Geschichte des buddhistischen Kanon,' Nachrichṭen der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, 1912. p. 168 f.

[14] Dhammā.

[15] Devatā.

[16] Addressed, according to the Commentary, to the goddess. In Saɱy. Nik., i. 200, where the goddess's verses are given, Jālinī (seducer, ensnarer) is said to be her name. Cf., however, below, ver. (1181).

[17] The Commentary reads sa Brahmakappo as saha-Brṅ, as in the frequent term sa-Brahmako, etc. But this seems more strained than the interpretation above, in which, with a more literal rendering, I follow Dr. Neumann. The Commentary does not explain devatā in the vocative, but else wise the verse does not parse correctly. Sa bhikkhu I take as eso bhikkhu. See verse 1181, n. 1.

[18] This episode is the latest recorded in the prose legend of his lives before 'our Buddha's' time. The name Annabhāra, 'food-bearer,' (cf. Ang. iii. 122) is doubtless framed to suit the legend or vice versa. Annabhāra works for a Councillor Sumana of Benares, who, on hearing of how the former abstained from a meal to feed a Silent Buddha, rewarded him and set him up in trade.

[19] Pabodhano.

[20] See verse 822.

[21] Seven among gods, seven among men (Commentary). The so-called 'celestial eye,' or sight is dealt with in verses 916, 917.

[22] Samādhi - i.e., of Fourth Jhāna - based on his power of abhiññā (Commentary). The 'fivefold' quality, according to the Commentary, is not the Four Stages, with the First divided (see Bud. Psy., p. 52), but a somewhat similar list of suffusion of - (1) zest; (2) pleasure; (8) ceto, ? will or intellect; (4) light; (5) a representative image. The fivefold Jhāna (917) is not so characterized. I have not as yet met with this classification elsewhere.

[23] = verse 891, etc.

[24] According to the Commentary this was Hatthigāma, near Vesālī.


Copyright Statement   Webmaster's Page