Khuddaka Nikāya

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Canto III.
Psalms of three Verses

Mātanga's Son

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

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Reborn in this Buddha-age in Kosala as the son of Mātanga a landowner, he came to be called after his father. He grew up idle in habits, and when his people rebuked him, he made acquaintance with the bhikkhus, noting how happily the Sākiya-son recluses lived. But when he heard the Master teach the Norm, he believed and took orders. Seeing the power of iddhi wielded by bhikkhus, he aspired to the same. And practising exercises, he won sixfold abhiññā.

Thereupon he scourged slothfulness, extolling his own rush of energy in these verses:

[231] Too cold! too hot! too late! such is the cry.
And so, past men who shake off work [that waits
Their hand], the fateful moments fly.[1]

[232] But he who reckons cold and heat as less
Than straws, doing his duties as a man,
He no defaulter proves to happiness.

[163] [233] Dabba- and kusa-grass and pricking stems,
And all that hurts in brush and underwood.
Forth from my breast I'll push and thrust away,
And go where I the growth may cultivate
Of heart's detachment, lone and separate.[2]


[1] 'Fateful' is interpolated to give weight to the urgency with which, in the earnest bhikkhu's life, conjuncture of opportunity is associated with this present life, especially in a 'Buddha-age.' So the Commentary here, and cf. Sisters, p. 12, n. 4. These two verses occur in Dīgha iii., 'Sigalovada Suttanta,' but 'moments' is superseded by atthā, 'advantages' or 'good' - a rare use of the plural form.

[2] = XXVII.; cf. XXIII. The energy defies in the one case physical delicacy, in the other effeminacy.


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