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 Kapilavatthu in the family of a Sākiyan rāja, he was named Usabha. And when the Master visited his own folk,[1] Usabha saw his power and wisdom, believed in him, and entered the Order. From that time he fulfilled no religious duties, but passed all day in society and all night in sleep.

Now one day, muddled in mind and unheedingly dropping off to sleep, he dreamt that he shaved, put on a crimson cloak, and, sitting on an elephant, entered the town for alms. There, seeing the people gathered together, he dismounted full of shame. Thereupon he awoke thinking: 'Why, this was a dream! Muddled in head and thoughtless I saw myself in sleep.' And with anguish he established insight, and in due course won arahantship.

Thus having made the dream his goad, he celebrated it to confess aññā, saying:

[197] A cloak the hue of purple mango-buds
Draping about my shoulder, I bestrode
The back of elephant, and so to seek
Mine alms into the village street I rode.

[198] [146] Down from his back [in very shame] I slid -
[When lo! I woke and] anguish seized me then.
This arrogant self was then made meek and mild,
Purged were the poisons [that my mind defiled].[2]



[2] Another instance where the legend straightens out the tangle of the gāthā taken in isolation. What, e.g., had the elephant rider to do with 'to seek mine alms'? Dr. Neumann has been compelled to excise the phrase. As the anomaly of a dream, the little poem is quite clear. 'Then ... then' is a repetition copied from the text.


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