Khuddaka Nikāya

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Canto II.
Psalms of Two 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 an eminent brahmin and named Uttara, he graduated in brahmin lore, and became renowned for his breeding, beauty, wisdom and virtue. Vassakāra, a leading minister of Magadha, seeing his attainments, was desirous of marrying him to his daughter. But he with heart set on release declined, and he attended the teaching of the General of the Norm.[1] Winning faith, he entered the Order and fulfilled his novitiate, waiting upon Sāriputta.

Now the Thera fell ill, and Uttara set out in the morning to seek a physician. On his round he set down his bowl on the banks of a lake and went to the water to wash out his mouth. Then a certain thief, pursued by the police, escaped from the town by the chief gate, and running by, dropped his stolen jewels into the novice's bowl, and fled. Then, as the latter came back to his bowl, the king's men passed in pursuit, and seeing the bowl, said: 'This is the thief! He has done the burglary!' And binding his arms behind, they brought him before Vassakāra, the brahmin, and punished him.

Then the Exalted One, contemplating the ripeness of his insight, went thither, and placing a gentle hand, like dropping of crimson gold, on Uttara's head, spake thus: 'Uttara, this is the fruit of previous action. Come here to pass, it [110] is to be accepted by thee through the power of reflection,' and so taught him the Norm according to his need. Uttara, thus ambrosially anointed by the touch of the Master's hand, was transported with joy and rapture, and through the ripeness of his insight and the charm of his Master's teaching, so cast off all impurity that he attained sixfold abhiññā. Rising clear of the stake,[2] he stood in the air, performing a miracle out of compassion for others. To the amazement of all, his wound was healed. When asked by the bhikkhus, 'Brother, how were you able, suffering such pain, to apply insight?' he said, 'Since I clearly saw, Brothers, the evil of rebirths and the nature of the conditioned, it was not the lesser evil of present pain that could hinder me from increasing insight, and achieving attainment':[3]

[121] There is no life that lasteth evermore,
Nor permanence in things from causes come.
They are reborn, the factors of our life,
Thereafter they dissolve and die away.

[122] Since this the evil claiming all my thought,
Sooth am I one who doth not seek to be.
Detached from all that worldly aims commend,
Of th' intoxicants have I now made an end.[4]


[1] Sāriputta, chief of the disciples till his death.

[2] Sūlato uṭṭhahitvā. He was presumably bound or impaled, or otherwise suffering punishment.

[3] Viseso.

[4] I.e., 'I have won nibbāna and arahantship.' Commentary. = verse 458.


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