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

The Book of the Kindred Sayings
I. Kindred Sayings with Verses
1. The Devas
5. The 'Slaughter' Suttas[1]

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

 


 

Sutta 71

What Must We Slay?

[71.1][than][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 must we slay?
What must we slay if we would happy live?
What must we slay, if we would weep no more?
What is't above all other things, whereof
The slaughter thou approvest, Gotama?

[The Exalted One :—]

Wrath must ye slay, if ye would happy live,
Wrath must ye slay, if ye would weep no more.
Of anger, deva, with its poisoned source
And fevered climax, murderously sweet,[2]
That is the slaughter by the Ariyans praised;
That must ye slay in sooth, to weep no more.

 


 

Sutta 72

The Chariot

[72.1][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 signal doth a chariot announce?
What is the sign that warneth of a fire?
What is the symbol of a people's realm?
What is a woman's emblem and her sign?[3]

[The Exalted One :—]

A banner doth the chariot announce;
Smoke is the sign that warneth of a fire;
A king's the symbol of a people's realm;
A husband is woman's emblem and sign.

 


 

Sutta 73

Riches[4]

[73.1][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 here is the best wealth a man can have?
What well performed brings happiness along?
What in good sooth is of all tastes most sweet?
How say they that our life can best be lived?

Faith here is the best wealth a man can have,[5]
Right deeds[6] well done bring happiness along.
Truth in good sooth[7] is of all tastes most sweet.
Life lived by wisdom,[8] it is said, is best.

 


 

Sutta 74

Rain

[74.1][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 of all things upspringing is the best?
And which is chief among the things that fall?
Which of the creatures that perambulate
Is chief, and which of those that predicate?

[Another deva :—]

Seed[9] of the things upspringing is the best,
And rain is chief among the things that fall.
Kine of the creatures that perambulate
Are chief; a son, of those that predicate.[10]

[The Exalted One:—]

Knowledge, of things upspringing is the best,
And ignorance is chief 'mong those that fall.
The Order 'mong perambulating things,
The Buddha 'mong the predicators's chief.[11]

 


 

Sutta 75

Frightened

[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: —

The Path hath been set forth in divers ways: —
Why here are many folk so sore afraid?
I ask thee, Gotama so amply wise:
How may a man so stand and so abide
As not to fear life in another world?

[The Exalted One :—]

Let him but rightly set both speech and mind,
And by the body work no evil things.
If in a house well stored with goods he dwell,
Let him have faith, be gentle, share his goods
With others, and be affable of speech.
In these four qualities if he persist,
He need not fear life in another world.

 


 

Sutta 76

Doth not decay

[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 doth decay and what doth not decay?
Which is the road that's said to lead astray?
What peril to good doctrines bars the way?
What is't that perisheth both night and day?
What is it that the celibate life doth stain?
And what is bathing where no waters be?[12]
To ask this of our lord we've hither come.
To know how he will answer fain are we?[13]

Material shape of mortals doth decay,
Their name, their family doth longer stay.[14]
Lust is the road that's said to lead astray.
Greed to sound doctrines bars th' imperilled way.
Life is't that perishes both night and day.
Woman doth stain life of celibacy: —
Steeped in that stain is all humanity.
Ascetic ways, the life of chastity:
These are as bathing where no waters be.

Six holes there are within the world whereon no mind can stay;
From all these six, by every means see that ye turn away: —
Sloth, slackness and inertia and want of self-control,
Drowsiness, too, and laziness: — the fifth, and the sixth hole.

 


 

Sutta 77

Lordship

[77.1][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 maketh lordship 'mong the sons of men?
And what is the commodity supreme?
What is the rust and tarnish on the blade?[15]
And who are they who make a hell on earth?
To whom conveying do men bar the way?
And whom, conveying, are they fain to see?
Who is it coming back again, again,
Doth fill the wise man with complacency?

Power of command[16] makes lordship among men.
Woman is the commodity supreme;[17]
Anger's the rust and tarnish on the blade,
Robbers are they who make a hell on earth.[18]
To them conveying do men bar the way,
The friar conveying[19] are they fain to see;
The friar coming back again, again,
Doth fill the wise man with complacency.

 


 

Sutta 78

Seeking

[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: —

What should a man seeking his good not give?
Of what should mortals no surrender make?
What should as something gentle be discharged?
And what as rough be not discharged at all?

Himself should none seeking his own good give.[20]
None of himself should a surrender make.[21]
Speech should as something gentle be discharged,
As bad and rough discharged it should not be.

 


 

Sutta 79

Provisions

[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 packeth up provisions for the way?
What is't that draweth riches to itself?
What drags a man around and to and fro?
What's a hard thing to give up in this life?
Whereto is bound the great majority,
Like to a bird imprisoned in a snare?

Faith packeth up provisions for the way.[22]
The power of luck draws riches to itself.
Desires[23] drag man around and to and fro.
Desires are hard to give up in this life.
Thereto is bound the great majority,
Like to a bird imprisoned in a snare.

 


 

Sutta 80

Radiance

[80.1][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 giveth radiance to all the world?
Who in this world's the watcher, fostering?[24]
Who in their work is mate to sons of men?[25]
The movements of that mate — what is their line?
What nourishes both slack and vigorous,
Like as a mother nourisheth her child?
What are the spirits who sustain the life
Of all such creatures as to earth are bound?[26]

Wisdom gives radiance to all the world.
Mindfulness is the watcher fostering.
Oxen in work are mates to sons of men.
The furrow[27] of their movements is the line.
The rain doth feed both slack and vigorous,
Like as a mother nourisheth her child.
The spirits of the rain sustain the life
Of all such creatures as to earth are bound.

 


 

Sutta 81

Undefiled[28]

[81.1][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: —

Who in this world below is undefiled?
Whose is the way of life that's never wrecked?[29]
Who is it understand earthly desires?
Who is a freed man now and evermore?
Who, in his ways established, doth receive
Homage from mother, father, brother too?
Whom, though he be of lowly birth,
Do noble warriors reverently salute?

Recluses in this world are undefiled;
Recluses' way of life is never wrecked;
Recluses understand earthly desires;
And theirs is freedom now and evermore.
In virtue stablished the recluse receives
Homage from mother, father, brother too,v Him, though he be of lowly birth,
Do noble warriors reverently salute.

 


[1] The Comy. reads Jhatvā, not Chetvā, as do the Sinh. MSS. and Feer. In his MS. of the Comy, he found Ghatvā. I have retained *Jhatvā (having destroyed), as agreeing better with vadhaṃ (slaughter) in the context of the first gāthā, whence the Vagga derives its name. Spiritual 'cutting' (chetvā) is prescribed for taṇhā and doubt, but never, I believe, for anger.

[2] The original is severely simple. The line expands the compound 'honey-sweet climax.' Pleasure arises, writes B., in capping one angry rejoinder by another, in hitting back. The gāthā is repeated thrice in this volume: II, 1, Ī 3; vi, 1, Ī 1; xi, 3, Ī 1.

[3] Signal, sign, emblem: paññāmy; Comy. 'paññāyati etena. The banner in battle reveals the royal chariot. And 'even though she be an emperor's daughter, once married a woman is known as so-and-so's wife.' There are, however, several cases where she is called so-and-so's mother (see below, III, 2, Ī 1; Psalms E. B. passim), or famed under her own name though married — e.g. Visākhā

[4] Recurs below, X, Ī 12, with one variant — suciṇṇ-aṃ, for -o.

[5] 'By faith' (trust, confidence; see above, I, 4, Ī 6) 'a man wins wealth, social success, the lower and higher heavens, and finally Amata-mahā-nibbāna.' Comy.

[6] Dhammo: 'the tenfold path of good conduct' named in S. ii, 168 (XIV, 27).

[7] B. has in mind, under saccaṃ have!, the form of adjuration by a statement of fact (sacca-kiriyaṃ karoti) and its magical results, He cites turning back rivers in spate, checking conflagrations, etc. Cf. Jāt. i, 214 passim.

[8] B. draws a distinction between the wisdom of the layman and of the religieux.

[9] Corn being the best among the 'seven kinds.' Comy.

[10] The stilted terms are chosen to match the similar and unusual Pali verbs. A son (or child) is best of talkers 'because he does not talk harmfully about his parents.'

[11] The Comy. explains this second reply by supposing a second devata, near the Presence, to rebuke her or his fellow for asking such questions and to have given the first reply. Whereupon the former rebukes this impertinent breaking in, and again puts the questions to the Exalted One, who then gives his reply.

[12] See, except for lines 1st and 3rd, above I, 6, Ī 8.

[13] See above, I, 5, Ī 9.

[14] B. is careful to illustrate by such immortal names, etc., as those of the Buddhas.

[15] Cf. Theragāthā, ver. 1095: cf. 1094. B. also refers to 'the blade of insight.'

[16] Vaso.

[17] 'Because she is of indispensable utility, or because through her Bodhisats and world-rulers take birth.' Comy.

[18] Abbuda; see below, VII, 1, ĪĪ 9, 10.

[19] 'Namely, food-tickets. To give these confers merit on the lay donor.' Comy.

[20] That is, as a slave. Comy.

[21] That is, 'to lions, tigers, and the like.' Neither injunction applies to a Bodhisat. Comy. The Jātakas represent the Bodhisat as disregarding both.

[22] Cf. Dhp. Comy. iii, 355 (ver. 235). On 'faith' see above, I, 4, Ī 6.

[23] Or 'wishes.' Cf. above, I, 7, Ī 9.

[24] 'Like the brahmin who fosters' [the sacred fire]. Comy.

[25] Sajīvānaṃ.

[26] See above, 6, Ī 4.

[27] Read sīt 'assa.

[28] Araṇā.

[29] That is, the Ariyan Path that they have chosen. Comy.


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