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— UNABBREVIATED

Saŋyutta Nikāya
I. Sagātha Vagga
1. Devatā-saŋyutta
5. Jarā-Vaggo

The Book of the Kindred Sayings
I. Kindred Sayings with Verses
1. The Devas
5. The 'Decay' Suttas

Translated by Mrs. Rhys Davids
Assisted by Sūriyagoḍa Sumangala Thera
Public Domain

 


 

Sutta 51

Old Age

[51.1][bodh] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

The Exalted One was once staying near Sāvatthī, at Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

There a certain deva, when the night was far spent, shedding radiance with his effulgent beauty over the entire Jeta Grove, came into the presence of the Exalted One, and coming, saluted him, and stood at one side. So standing, he spoke this verse before him: —

Tell me what brings us luck[1] e'en till we're old?
What is't that's fortunately[2] based and stayed?
What is the precious jewel of mankind?
And what is hard for thieves to bear away?

Good morals bring us luck e'en till we're old,
A lucky base and stay hath confidence,
Wisdom's the precious jewel of mankind,
And merit's hard for thieves to bear away.[3]

 


 

Sutta 52

By Absence of Decay

[52.1][bodh] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

The Exalted One was once staying near Sāvatthī, at Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

There a certain deva, when the night was far spent, shedding radiance with his effulgent beauty over the entire Jeta Grove, came into the presence of the Exalted One, and coming, saluted him, and stood at one side. So standing, he spoke this verse before him: —

What by the absence of decay brings luck?
What base and stay's of happy augury?
What is the precious jewel of mankind?
And what is it that thieves should bear away?[4]

Good morals bring us luck that ne'er decays,
Faith well-established doth good fortune bring.
Wisdom's the precious jewel of mankind,
Merit it is that thieves should bear away.[4]

 


 

Sutta 53

Friends.[5]

[53.1][bodh] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

The Exalted One was once staying near Sāvatthī, at Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

There a certain deva, when the night was far spent, shedding radiance with his effulgent beauty over the entire Jeta Grove, came into the presence of the Exalted One, and coming, saluted him, and stood at one side. So standing, he spoke this verse before him: —

What is a good friend to the wayfarer?
What is the good friend dwelling in the home?
What is a good friend where has risen need?
What is a good friend in the life to come?

Escort's[6] a good friend to the wayfarer,
Mother's the good friend dwelling in the home,[7]
A comrade's help where there has risen need,
Is a good friend again and yet again,
And meritorious deeds wrought by one's self: —
That is a good friend in the life to come.

 


 

Sutta 54

Basis and support

[54.1][bodh] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

The Exalted One was once staying near Sāvatthī, at Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

There a certain deva, when the night was far spent, shedding radiance with his effulgent beauty over the entire Jeta Grove, came into the presence of the Exalted One, and coming, saluted him, and stood at one side. So standing, he spoke this verse before him: —

What is the basis and support of men?[8]
What here below is comradeship supreme?
What are the spirits who sustain the life
Of all such creatures as to earth are bound?

Children are mankind's basis and support,[9]
The wife is here below comrade supreme;[10]
The spirits of the rain[11] sustain the life
Of all such creatures as to earth are bound.

 


 

Sutta 55

That which gives birth (1)

[55.1][bodh] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

The Exalted One was once staying near Sāvatthī, at Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

There a certain deva, when the night was far spent, shedding radiance with his effulgent beauty over the entire Jeta Grove, came into the presence of the Exalted One, and coming, saluted him, and stood at one side. So standing, he spoke this verse before him: —

What is it that doth cause a man to be?
What is't of him that runneth to and fro?
What is it undergoes life's endless round?
What is it brings him fear and mighty dread?

Craving it is that causeth man to be;
His thought it is that runneth to and fro;
The 'person' undergoes life's endless round;
Suffering is his fear, his mighty dread.

 


 

Sutta 56

That which gives birth (2)

[56.1][bodh] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

The Exalted One was once staying near Sāvatthī, at Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

There a certain deva, when the night was far spent, shedding radiance with his effulgent beauty over the entire Jeta Grove, came into the presence of the Exalted One, and coming, saluted him, and stood at one side. So standing, he spoke this verse before him: —

What is it that doth cause a man to be?
What is't of him that runneth to and fro?
What is it undergoes life's endless round?
What is there whence to him comes no release?

Craving it is that causeth man to be;
His thought it is that runneth to and fro;
The 'person' undergoes life's endless round;
'Tis suffering, whence for him comes no release.

 


 

Sutta 57

That which gives birth (3)

[57.1][bodh] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

The Exalted One was once staying near Sāvatthī, at Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

There a certain deva, when the night was far spent, shedding radiance with his effulgent beauty over the entire Jeta Grove, came into the presence of the Exalted One, and coming, saluted him, and stood at one side. So standing, he spoke this verse before him: —

What it is that doth cause a man to be?
What is't of him that runneth to and fro?
What is it undergoes life's endless round?
What is the prop and stay[12] [of his career]?

Craving it is that causeth man to be;
His thought it is that runneth to and fro;
The 'person' undergoes life's endless round;
Action's the prop and stay of his career.

 


 

Sutta 58

The Wrong Road

[58.1][bodh] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

The Exalted One was once staying near Sāvatthī, at Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

There a certain deva, when the night was far spent, shedding radiance with his effulgent beauty over the entire Jeta Grove, came into the presence of the Exalted One, and coming, saluted him, and stood at one side. So standing, he spoke this verse before him: —

Which is the road that's said to lead astray?
What is't that perishes both night and day?[13]
What is it that doth stain celibacy?[14]
And what is bathing where no waters be?

Lust is the road that's said to lead astray,
Life 'tis that perishes both night and day,[15]
'Tis woman that doth stain the higher life,[16]
Steeped in that stain is all humanity.
Ascetic ways, the life of chastity[14]:—
These are as bathing where no waters be.[17]

 


 

Sutta 59

The Companion

[59.1][bodh] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

The Exalted One was once staying near Sāvatthī, at Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

There a certain deva, when the night was far spent, shedding radiance with his effulgent beauty over the entire Jeta Grove, came into the presence of the Exalted One, and coming, saluted him, and stood at one side. So standing, he spoke this verse before him: —

What hath a man as second at his side?[18]
And what is it that issues him commands?
What is that which if it be greatly loved,
Will rid poor mortals of all misery?

Faith hath a man as second at his side,
Wisdom it is that issues him commands,
Nibbana, if they love it utterly,
Will rid poor mortals of all misery.

 


 

Sutta 60

The Bard

[60.1][bodh] THUS HAVE I HEARD:

The Exalted One was once staying near Sāvatthī, at Jeta Grove, in Anāthapiṇḍika's Park.

There a certain deva, when the night was far spent, shedding radiance with his effulgent beauty over the entire Jeta Grove, came into the presence of the Exalted One, and coming, saluted him, and stood at one side. So standing, he spoke this verse before him: —

What is the hidden source whence verses flow?
And what is it that issues from that source?[19]
What are the pegs whereon verses are hung?[20]
And what's the abode wherein the verses dwell?

Metre's the hidden source whence verses flow.
Letters it is that issue from that source.
'Tis names of things whereon verses are hung,
The bard is the abode wherein they dwell.

 


[1] 'Luck,' 'good fortune,' 'blessed' = *sddhu — so the Comy.

[2] Patiṭṭhita means base or support. B. cites Hattha[ka] the Āḷavakan and Citta the housefather as instances. A. i, 26; S. ii, 235; iv, 281 f.; 302 f.

[3] Cf. Khp. viii, 9. 'Merit means volition in meritorious acts, and that as an immaterial thing cannot be borne away.' Comy.

[4] The sense, let alone the preceding Sutta, suggest here a possible misreading in the text, and the reading: coreh'ahāriyaṃ for corehi hāriyaṃ. Comy, is silent.

[5] Mittaṃ, lit. a kind thing. Mittāni, neut. plur., occurs in D. iii, 188 (Singālovāda Sa).

[6] Sattho.

[7] 'In time of trouble though she be dirty, yet is she reckoned fragrant as sandalwood.' Comy.

[8] Vatthu, base, used here as meaning also support.

[9] 'They cherish in old age.' Comy.

[10] 'One to whom one may tell a secret that can be told to no one else.' Comy.

[11] Vuṭṭhi-bhūtā

[12] Cf. Pss. of the Brethren, 462 'having a staff to lean upon.' A figure for Karma's help to rebirth (nibbatti-avassayo).

[13] Kiṃ -su rattin-diva-kkhayo? may read as What is destruction of both night and day, or, as we take it, What is night-and-day-destruction? The night, says B., perishes by, or in the day (and vic versa).

[14] Brahmacariyaṃ.

[15] Vayo is more literally age — i.e. life in terms of time. But the word our idiom would use here is 'life.'

[16] 'Not an outer soilure that may be washed off, but one of rot (duṭṭho), that may not be cleansed.' Comy.

[17] The Comy. is silent here.

[18] See above, I, 4, § 6, and also 6, § 1, § 2.

[19] Letters make the pada (half-line), and the pada makes the gāthā, and the gāthā expresses the matter (atthaṃ). Comy.

[20] Expansion of the word sannissitā. 'Hung. e.g., on such notions as ocean, earth, etc.' Comy.,


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