Khuddaka Nikāya

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Canto I.
Psalms of Single Verses


(A Novice attending Brother Vanavaccha.)

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

Public Domain



In this Buddha - era he was born as the son of Vanavaccha's sister. When his mother heard that her eldest brother Vanavaccha had left the world, had graduated in the Order, and was dwelling in the forest, she said to her son: 'Dear Sīvaka, you should leave the world under the Elder, and wait on him; the Elder is getting old now.' He, at this sole bidding of his mother, and because of his previous aspirations, did so and, ministering to his uncle, dwelt in the forest. One day, when he had gone to the outskirts of the village on some [19] errand, he fell very ill. And when medicine did not cure him and he came not, the Elder, wondering at the reason, went and found him ill. Administering remedies and tending him the Elder, when dawn was nigh, said: 'Sīvaka, since the time when I left the world, I have not sojourned in the village. Let us go hence into the forest.' Sivaka answered: 'Sir, even if my body stay now by the village, my heart is in the forest, wherefore though I lie here yet shall I go thither.' Then the Elder took hold of his arm and led him to the forest exhorting him. He, made steadfast by that admonition, won arahantship.

Thereafter he uttered his psalm, combining his master's words and his own, expressing both his love of seclusion and his achievement, his obedience to his master and the winning of aññā:

[14] The teacher spake me thus: 'Sīvaka, hence
Let's go!'[1] Here in the town my body dwells;
My thoughts are to the forest gone. So thus,
Prostrated though I be, yet do I go.
No bond is there for those who understand.


[1] The text gacchāimi, 'I go,' is in the Commentary gacchāma, 'let us go.' The latter accords with the story, and with Vanavaccha's active care for his pupil, and the latter's devotion. The Commentary compares the youth's swift response to that of a spirited horse touched by the whip. A spirited horse is called bhadro, which = also auspicious, or lucky (Sīvaka. Cf. Siva).


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