PSALMS OF THE BRETHREN
Canto XI. Psalm of Eleven Verses
Psalm of Eleven Verses
Translated from the Pali by Mrs. C.A.F. Rhys Davids.
Reborn in this Buddha-age at Saavatthii in a family of very eminent brahmins, his mother died just prior to his birth, so that he was discovered unburnt upon the funeral pyre. For the life of a being in his last birth cannot perish ere he attain arahantship, even if he fell down Mount Sineru. At seven years of age, when he heard of his mother dying at his birth, he was thrilled, and said, 'I will leave the world.' So they brought him to Saariputta. And he won arahantship even as his hair was being cut off. How he offered his life to brigands to save 8,000 bhikkhus is told in the Dhammapada Commentary.
Now a certain layman, desiring to wait upon him, asked him to dwell in the neighbourhood, saying:
 What is the gain for thee, dear lad, to dwell
During the rains within the distant woods,
Like Ujjuhaana, marshy, jungle-crowned?
Sweeter for thee Verambhaa, Cave of Winds,
Since they who meditate must dwell apart.
 Then the Thera, to show the charm of the forest and other things, replied:
 E'en as the wind of the monsoon blows up
And all around the cloud-wrack, in the rains,
[So in the forest lone, remote, arise]
The thoughts that with detachment harmonize,
And all my spirit whelm and overspread.
 I've dwelt in forests and in mountain caves,
In rocky gorges and in haunts remote,
And where the creatures of the wild do roam;
 With thought of death I dally not, nor yet
Delight in living. I await the hour,
Like any hireling who hath done his task.
 Vol. ii, pp. 240-252: the story of Sankicca the novice, and how he converted the highwaymen, explaining the circumstances of Dhammapada, verse 110. With his birth, cf. Dabba, V., p. 10, n. 4.
 Taata, speaking to the boy as if he were his father, says Dhammapaala. Kim, he adds, is for ko (attho).
 Ujjuhaana is said to have been either a hill covered with jungle and abounding in waters, or a bird that dwelt in thickets during the rains. Similarly, verambha is the monsoon wind, or a certain cave nearer the layman's home than the woods. I am of an open mind as to which was really meant.
 I.e., the carrion crow, at home in the charnel-field, feeding on the dead. Apa.n.daro, not-clear, not-bright, is paraphrased as kaa.lava.n.no.
 'The load of the Khandhaas' (Commentary) - i.e., he had removed the cause (ta.nhaa, see next line) of their future renewal. He now concludes his reply in terms of the question put to him, viz., of 'good,' or 'gain' (attha).