Khuddaka Nikāya

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Canto I.
Psalms of Single Verses


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


Public Domain


Reborn in this Buddha-age at Rājagaha, as the son of a leading citizen, he lived in youthful wantonness. One day he saw the king's officers arresting an adulterer, and grow- [50] ing agitated, he listened to the Master teaching, and left the world. As a bhikkhu, but still susceptible to fleshly lusts, he made himself a well-garnished chamber,[1] well furnished as to food and drink, seat and couch; and so he ever dwelt. For this reason he was known as Ramaṇīya-vihārin (Pleasant-lodge Brother). But his previous indulgence making the recluse's life too hard for him, he felt unworthy to accept the offerings of the faithful and said: 'I will roam.' On his way he sat down beneath a tree. And as carts were passing by on the road, one ox being weary stumbled at a rough place and fell. The carter loosened its yoke, gave it hay and water and so allayed its fatigue; then he harnessed it again and they went on. And the Thera thought: 'Even as this ox having stumbled has arisen and draws his own load, so doth it behove me, who once have stumbled in the forest of vice, to arise and carry out the duty of a recluse.' And thoughtfully turning back, he told what he had done and seen to Thera Upāli,[2] was by him absolved from his fault, and helped back into right ways. And not long after he attained arahantship. Thereafter enjoying the bliss of freedom, he set forth his lapse and return in this verse:

[45] E'en though he trip and fall, the mettled brute
Of noble breed will steadfast stand once more.
So look on me as one who having learned
Of Him, the All-Enlightened One, have gained
True insight, am become of noble breed,
And of the Very Buddha very child.[3]


[1] Or well polished, susamaṭṭhaɱ.

[2] See Ps. CLXXX. As the greatest expert in Vinaya, or the discipline of the Order, Upāli (if it be this Upāli who is meant) was eminently qualified to judge respecting his lapse, and to counsel him.

[3] As this verse stands in the PTS version, it is incomplete. The Commentary leads us to suppose that it should be completed, as is the case, in verse 174, q.v.


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