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 as the son of a wealthy brahmin, in the Pādiyattha country, he was named Jotidāsa.[1] When come of age he saw Kassapa the Great one day going his round for alms, and entertained him in his house, and heard him discourse. On the hill near the village he himself had a great vihāra built for the Thera, and supplied him with the four requisites. Moved thereafter by the Thera's teaching he left the world, and not long after won the sixfold abhiññā. After ten years, during which he learnt [120] the three Piṭakas, with special proficiency in the Vinaya-Piṭaka,[2] and waited on the fraternity, he set out with many bhikkhus to salute the Exalted One at Sāvatthī. On the way he entered a theologian's park, and seeing a brahmin practising the fivefold austerity,[3] he asked: 'Why, brahmin, do you not burn otherwise in a different heat?' The brahmin annoyed, answered: 'Master shaveling, what other heat is there?' The Thera replied:

Anger, and envy, and all cruel deeds,
And pride, and arrogance, and wanton strife,
Craving, and ignorance, and lust of life:
These burn away and let thy body be![4]

and therewith taught him the Norm. And all those theologians besought him for ordination.

On leaving Sāvatthī he went to his former home, and admonished his relatives in these verses:

[143] They who in divers ways by deeds of force
And violence,[5] rude and rough-mannered folk,
Do work their fellow-creatures injury,
Thereby they too themselves are overthrown,[6]
For never is th' effect of action lost.

[144] The deed a man doth, be it good or ill,
To all his doing is he verily the heir.


[1] Mahā-Kassapa lived near Rājagaha (CCLXI), but neither Jotidāsa nor Pādiyattha-janapada have been met with in other works.

[2] Cf. Puṇṇā, who learnt them in a former birth (Sisters, p. 116; again above, LXV.). We may concede thus much to the plausibility of the Commentator's statement-that a threefold body of doctrine would be taking shape during the founder's long ministry.

[3] I.e., surrounded by four fires, with the sun beating on him above.

[4] I have not traced these lines.

[5] On the word veghamissena, etc. (cf. Dialogues, ii. 107, n. 3), the Commentary has: 'Tugging the head, etc., by rein, strap, etc.; blows given by hand, foot, etc.'

[6] Kīranti. Dr. Neumann has säen, sow, as if scattering seed. The Commentary ignores any such metaphor, and has: as they have made suffering for others, so by others are they made to suffer - tath'eva aññehi kiriyanti dukkhaɱ pāpīyanti. Cf. abhikīranti in verse 598.


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