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Saŋyutta Nikāya
I. Sagātha Vagga
8. Vaŋgīsa-Thera-saŋyutta

The Book of the Kindred Sayings
I. Kindred Sayings with Verses
8. The Vaŋgisa Suttas

Sutta 1

Nikkhanta Suttaṃ

Gone From Home

Translated by Mrs. Rhys Davids
Assisted by Sūriyagoḍa Sumangala Thera
Copyright The Pali Text Society. Public Domain.

 


 

[1.1] THUS HAVE I HEARD: —

The venerable Vaŋgīsa[1] was once staying near Ālāvi[2] at the chief temple[3] of that place, together with his tutor, the venerable Nigrodha-Kappa.[4].

Now on that occasion the venerable Vaŋgīsa was a novice,
not long ordained,
who was left behind as custodian at the Vihāra.[5]

Then a number of women,
gaily adorned,
came into the pleasance to see the Vihāra.
And seeing those women,
disaffection[6] in consequence arose in the venerable Vaŋgīsa,
and lust harassed his heart.
And then he thought:

'Alas! the loss to me!
Alas! no gain to me!
Alas! how hard for me to gain!
Alas! no easy thing for me to gain!
in whom disaffection has arisen,
and lust harasses the heart.

How were it possible here and now
that another[7] should cause me to get rid of this disaffection
and produce loyal love?

What if I were now by myself
to get rid of my disaffection
and cause loyal love to arise?'

And the venerable Vaŋgīsa by himself
got rid of his disaffection
and caused loyal love to arise within him.

In that hour he uttered these verses: —

Alas![8] That now when I am gone from home
Into the homeless life, these wanton thoughts
Sprung from the Dark should flit about my mind!
Were high-born warriors, mighty archers, trained
In champion bow-craft, such as never flee,
A thousand, shooting arrows round about —
But women! ... well, far more than these may come,
Yet shall they never wreck my peace of mind.
Firmly established in the Norm[9] I stand.
For even in his presence have I heard
The Buddha of the sun's high lineage tell
About the Path that to Nibbāna goes,
And there the love of all my heart is given.[10]
Now that I always in such mood abide,
Dost think, vile one, thou canst draw nigh to me;
Then shall I act in such wise, Death, that thou
Wilt ne'er discover which the way I take.[11]

 


[1] On the curious legend concerning his profession and conversion, see Pss. of the Brethren, p. 395 f. B. gives it at the last of these Suttas.

[2] Is frequently mentioned in Pali literature. See JPTS., 1888, p. 11; cf. Dhp. Comy. iii, 170; 261 f.

[3] Or shrine: cetiya. Comy. Probably erected by a pre-Buddhistic cult. See below, X, § 12.

[4] See Pss. of the Brethren, p. 408 f.; Sn. ver. 342 f.

[5] It being his first year and he unskilled in the bowl-and-robe usages, the Theras left him to guard sunshades, sandals, and staves, while they went for alms. Comy.

[6] An-abhirati; 'loyal love' = abhirati, a strong form of rati. Cf. Māra's daughter so-called. IV, 3, § 5: 'Discontent.'

[7] I.e. in the absence of his 'spiritual pastors and masters,' as the Comy. remarks.

[8] I give the rendering (with three alterations) as in the Pss. of the Brethren, 1209-13, and refer the reader to the notes there. B.'s comments agree with those of the Dhammapāla (pointing to (a) a common source of materials, (b) dependence — see § 2, n. 2), and he, too, fails to make clear the syntax of sahassaŋ apalāyinaŋ, unless it be a genitive absolute. 'Thousand,' however, belongs to the bowmen and not to their arrows, and has been corrected accordingly. 'The best archer,' say he Commentators, 'can only shoot one arrow at a time; women by appealing to the senses shoot five any moment!'

[9] Not dhammesu, but dhamme su, or so. B. has Sāsanadhamme, 'rule, or Norm of the Teaching,' or 'Church,' as we should say.

[10] This is the 'loyal' love once more confessed and triumphant. Cf. the rato, abhirato of Pss of the Brethren, ver. 742, and Sisters, vers. 359, 450.

[11] Cf. Māra's baffled ignorance in IV, 3, § 3; cf. also above, IV, 2. § 9.


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