Khuddaka Nikāya

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Canto I.
Psalms of Single Verses

Puṇṇa of the Mantānis

Translated from the Pali by Mrs. C.A.F. Rhys Davids.


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He was reborn in the days of our Exalted One, in an eminent brahmin clan, at the brahmin village of Donavatthu, not far from Kapilavatthu. He was sister's son of the Elder Kondañña,[1] and was named Puṇṇa. And after performing all the duties of his novitiate, he put forth every effort till he had accomplished the highest duties of a recluse. He thereupon went with his uncle to dwell near the Master, leaving the neighbourhood of Kapilavatthu. And thoroughly intent in practice, he not long after became an arahant.

Now Puṇṇa came to have a following of 500 clansmen who had also left the world. And because he himself had [9] acquired the ten bases of discourse,[2] he taught his followers therein till they, too, became experts and arahants. They thereupon desired him to take them to the Master. But he, judging it unfitting to go surrounded by them, bade them go on, and promised to follow them. They, being all fellow-countrymen of Him-of-the-Ten-Powers, walked the sixty yojanas to Rājagaha, and, in the great Vihāra of the Bamboo Grove,[3] found him and did obeisance to him. Now, when bhikkhus come to Buddhas, the Exalted Ones, it is customary for friendly greetings to be exchanged. Wherefore the Exalted One asked them: 'I hope, brethren, that you are well and have pleasantly rested: Whence come ye?' 'From your own country, lord,' they replied. Then he asked if there were a bhikkhu who knew the Ten Subjects, saying: ' Who, brethren, of such fellow-countrymen of mine is capable, himself a simple liver, to discourse on the simple life?' 'Puṇṇa, lord, the venerable son of the Mantanis.'

And when the Master went from Rājagaha to Sāvatthī, Puṇṇa went thither and, in the Fragrant Chamber,[4] was taught the Norm. And Sāriputta, desiring to meet him, went after him to Dark Wood, whither he had gone to meditate on the Master's words, and found him resting beneath a tree. And they discoursed of those words, and had joy of each other, Puṇṇa winning his heart by the parable of the posting by chariot.

Now the Master proclaimed Puṇṇa chief among the bhikkhus in preaching the Norm.[5] And he one day, reflecting near the Master on the emancipation he had won, [10] bethought him: 'Verily to me and many others, delivered from the round of sorrow, how great a help is communion with good men!' And with joy and enthusiasm he uttered this verse:

[4] Aye with the good consort, with them
Who know, who understand, who see the Good.[6]
Great is the Good and deep and hard to see,
Subtle and delicately fine, to which
The wise and brave do penetrate, e'en they
Who strenuous live and lofty vision gain.

Thus verily did the venerable Puṇṇa of the Mantānis utter his psalm. And the Brother explained that the psalm contained his affirmation of aññā.


[1] See Ps. CCXLVI. His full name distinguishes him from the Puṇṇa of LXX.

[2] The ten Kathāvatthus, according to the Abhidānappadīpikā, are Simple Living, Content, Detachment, Segregation, Endeavour, Morality, Concentration, Understanding, Emancipation, Knowledge with Insight.

[3] See Sisters, p. 81.

[4] The Buddha's own cell at the Jetavana. See Sisters, p. 11; JRAS, 19.

[5] Ang., i. 23. The interview with Sāriputta, after the bhikkhus' testimonial, is told in Majjhima ('Rathavinita Sutta'), i. 146 ff. further testifying to his teaching and influence occurs in Saṅy., ii. 156; iii. 105 f.

[6] Attha, the subject discussed with Sāriputta.


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