Khuddaka Nikāya

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Canto II.
Psalms of Two Verses


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

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Reborn in this Buddha-age at Rājagaha in a brahmin's family, he was named Sivaka. And when he had acquired a complete education, he followed his inclination to leave the world. Coming as a Wanderer to hear the Master teach the Norm, he received faith, entered the Order, and eventually won arahantship. He then thus confessed aññā:

[183] Transient the little houses [of our life],
Built here, built there, again, ever again.
Hunting the house-builder [thus far I come];
Birth is but woe again, ever again.

[184] [140] Thou'rt found, house-maker thou, thou'rt seen at last!
Never again shalt fashion house [for me]:
Broken are all thy walls, shattered thy roofs.
Stayed is the further rise of consciousness;
Blown 'twill be even here to nothingness.[1]


[1] Legend has assigned these famous verses as the Buddha's first logion, after his attainment of Buddhahood (Bud. Birth Stories, p. 103 f.; Sum. V., i. 16); but they do not occur in the canonical descriptions of that event (cf. the slightly different Gāthās, Dhp., 153, 154; SBE, x. 42, n.). Dhammapāla is briefer than usual, apparently ignorant of the tradition given in Buddhaghosa. He makes no allusion to it. The house-builder, he points out, is craving, taṇhā vaḍḍhaki. Cf. Dhp. Comy, iii. 127.


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