Khuddaka Nikaya

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Canto VIII. Psalms of Eight Verses





HER story has been told in that of Cālā her sister — how she followed in her great brother's steps, entered the Order, and became an Arahant. Dwelling in the bliss of fruition, she reflected one day on her attainment, and having done all that was to be done, exulted in her happiness thus:

[196] Lo! here a Sister, in the Precepts sure,
Well-guarded in the sixfold way of sense,[1]
Who hath attainèd to that Holy Path,
That ever-welling elixir of life.[2]


[197] Now think upon the Three-and-Thirty Gods,
And on the gods who rule in realm of Shades,
On those who reign in heaven of Bliss, and on
Those higher deities who live where lifevYet flows by way of sense and of desire:[3]
Think and thither aspire with longing heart,
Where in past ages thou hast lived before.

When the Therī heard, she said: 'Stop, Māra! the Kamaloka of which you talk is, even as is the whole of the world, burning and blazing with the fires of lust, hate, and ignorance. 'Tis not there the discerning mind can find any charm.' And showing Māra how her mind was turned away from the world and from desires of sense, she upbraided him thus:

[198] Ay, think upon[4] the Three-and-Thirty gods,
And on the gods who rule in realm of Shades;
On those who reign in heaven of Bliss, and on
Those higher deities who live where life
Yet flows by way of sense and of desire.

[199] Consider how time after time they go
From birth to death, and death to birth again,
Becoming this and then becoming that,
Ever beset by the recurring doom
Of hapless individuality,
Whence comes no merciful enfranchisement.

[200] On fire is all the world, is all in flames!
Ablaze is all the world, the heav'ns do quake![5]

[201] But that which quaketh not, that ever sure,
That priceless thing, unheeded by the world,
Even the Norm — that hath the Buddha taught
To me, therein my mind delighted dwells.

[202] And I who heard his blessed word abide
Fain only and alway to do his will.
The Threefold Wisdom have I gotten now,
And done the bidding of the Buddha blest.

[203] On every hand the love of sense is slain
And the thick gloom of ignorance is rent
In twain. Know this, O Evil One, avaunt!
Here, O Destroyer, shalt thou not prevail!


[1] Here indriya, as something to be restrained, not trained — i.e., developed — refers to the senses of external perception (plus sense-memory). See Ps. lix., 182 n.

[2] Cf. Ps. xxxiv. 55.

[3] The 'higher deities' are the two last in these five Deva worlds which, by the Buddhists, were included with hell, the Peta's or ghosts, animals, men, Asuras, and firmamental spirits, in the 'Kamāloka of sense-desire,' inferior in space to the Heavens of 'Form' and the 'Formless.' They were the Nimmānarati and Paranimmita-vāsavatti gods. In Ps. lxxiii. (Commentary) I attempt a translation of the last two titles of gods, but they are more translatable in prose than in verse.

[4] 'Think upon' is the translator's interpolation.

[5] Quoted from the Samyutta-Nikāya, i. 31, 133.

Next: Canto IX. Psalms of Nine Verses

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