Khuddaka Nikāya

[Home]  [Sutta Indexes]  [Glossology]  [Site Sub-Sections]




Canto IV.
Psalms of Four Verses


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

Public Domain



Reborn in the time of our Exalted One at Sāvatthī in a clansman's family, he was called Nandaka. He entered the Order after hearing the Master teach the Norm, and developing insight won arahantship. Thereafter, while dwelling in the bliss of emancipation, he gave a lesson by the Master's order one feast-day to the bhikkhunīs, and caused 500 of them to attain arahantship. Wherefore the Exalted One ranked him foremost among the exhorters of the brethren and sisters.[1]

Now, one day, while seeking alms in Sāvatthī, a woman, to whom he had been married, saw him and laughed with [179] sinful heart. The Thera, seeing her action, taught her the Norm under the aspect of emphasizing repugnance at the body,thus:

[279] Fie on the fulsome thing malodorous!
A very tool of Mara, even this,
Thy body, whence exude those many streams,
In number nine, that never cease their flow.

[280] Build no conceits from former passages.
Try not to allure the Elect-who-Thus-have-Come![2]
The very heavens delight them not, how then
Should aught that's merely earthly ever please?[3]

[281] The fools who lack discretion, they whose mind
Is sullied, and their heart by dullness cloaked,
Such men in charms of body take delight,
For they are fast in bonds by Mara thrown.

[282] To them who are untouched by lust, or hate,
Or ignorance, these things no pleasures be.
Cut are the cords; they from all bonds are free.


[1] Ang. i. 25. The successful lesson is told in the Nandakovāda Sutta (Majjh., iii 270). The Aṅguttara Commentary leads up to that Sutta, but the occasion of these verses finds a fuller preface in the story it tells of Nanda, the Buddha's stepbrother (CXXXIX.). He, infatuated with a beautiful woman, is by the Master shown the nymphs in Sakka's heaven, and finds her plain as an ape in comparison.

[2] Tathāgate, made here by the Commentary to include all Buddha-savakas, or Ariya-savakas, who have 'come' with the conditions for saintship, or have attained the highest, are avabuddhā.

[3] I do not here follow Dr. Neumann's syntax. The woman's power to please humans was a source of danger. She was only incapable of moving Tathāgatas, or saints, who have won ineffable pleasures.


Copyright Statement