Khuddaka Nikaya

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Chapter VII — The Sevens


Sundara Samudda and the Courtesan

Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

For free distribution only.



Ornamented, finely clothed
    garlanded, adorned,
her feet stained red with lac,
    she wore slippers:
        a courtesan.

Stepping out of her slippers --
    her hands raised before me,
    palm-to-palm over her heart --
she softly, tenderly,
    in measured words
    spoke to me first:
"You are young, recluse.
    Heed my message:
Partake of human sensuality.
    I will give you luxury.
Truly I vow to you,
    I will tend to you as to a fire.
When we are old,
    both leaning on canes,
then we will both become contemplatives,
    winning the benefits of both worlds."

And seeing her before me --
    a courtesan, ornamented, finely clothed,
    hands palm-to-palm over her heart --
        like a snare of death laid out,
apt attention arose in me,
    the drawbacks appeared,
        disenchantment stood
        at an even keel:

With that, my heart was released.
See the Dhamma's true rightness!
The three knowledges
have been attained;
the Buddha's bidding,


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