Khuddaka Nikāya

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Canto I.
Psalms of Single Verses


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


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Reborn in this Buddha-age at Sāvatthī of a brahmin family, he entered the Order, but from want of mental balance could not concentrate on a given idea.[1] Now one day going to the town for alms, he saw men conducting running water wherever they wished by digging channels. Within the town he marked out of the corner of his eye[2] how the fletcher fixed the arrow-shaft in his lathe, and leaving with full bowl he saw the chariot-makers planing axle and tire and hub. So entering the Vihāra he dined; then during siesta he pondered on these three modes of taming things, making them his goad, and applying them to his own need of self-mastery. So striving he not long after won arahantship. And connecting those object-lessons with his own heart's taming, he confessed aññā in this verse:

[19] The conduit-makers lead the stream,
Fletchers coerce the arrow-shaft,
The joiners mould the wooden plank;
The self — 'tis that the pious tame.[3]


[1] Visesaɱ nibbattetuɱ. Cf. Childers, s.v. Viseso.

[2] See Vin. Texts, i. 59: 'With downcast eye.' Practically directed on to the ground about a plough's length in front of him (Commentary).

[3] This verse recurs in CCLV., and occurs twice in the Dhammapada, being assigned, in the Commentary on that work, to one Paṇḍita-sāmanera at verse 80, and to Sukha-sāmanera at verse 145. Both are of Sāvatthī also, and both are described as making object-lessons of human skill over matter in the crafts alluded to. But in the former instance the story is much expanded.


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