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 Sāvatthī as the son of an eminent brahmin, he was named Valliya. While adolescent and in the power of the senses, he formed virtuous friendships, whereby he came to the Exalted One, found faith and entered the Order, soon thereafter establishing insight and winning arahantship. Reflecting on the past with its worldly objects and desires, and on how, by the Ariyan Path, he now had turned from all that, he thus declared aññā:

[125] Within the little five-doored hut an ape[2]
Doth prowl, and round and round from door to door
He hies, rattling with blows again, again.

[126] Halt, ape! run thou not forth! for thee
'Tis not herein as it was wont to be.
Reason doth hold thee captive. Never more
Shalt roam far hence [in freedom as of yore].


[1] Cf., LIII., and CXLIV.

[2] Chitta (consciousness), is, in the Saɱyutta Nikāya (ii.9), pictured as the restless, varying leaps of a tree-monkey. The Commentary applies this simile to the present one of the ape under control. The ape is found in Tibetan drawings of the stages of (past, present, and future) life as the symbol of viññāṇa, the synonym for consciousness, or sense-cognition (see JRAS, 1894, p. 367 ff. Apparently the Tibetan lamas had forgotten the tradition, or gave an explanation which they knew would interest their medical interlocutor, Major Waddell, or the latter evolved a Western interpretation out of their imperfectly understood descriptions). Cf. verse 1111 in Ps. CCLXII.


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