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 this Buddha-age in a very poor family, he inclined, as in a previous birth, to feeding on excremeut, and left the world to be a naked ascetic. Practising many austerities, and eating beans one by one on the point of a straw, he was fifty-five years old when the Exalted One, seeing the conditions of arahantship shining within his heart like a lamp in a jar, himself went to him, and teach- [180] ing him the Norm, converted him. Then said he: 'Come, bhikkhu!' thereby ordaining him.[1] And Jambuka thereupon conjuring up insight, the Master established him in arahantship. This is in outline, but a full account is given in the Commentary on the Dhammapada verse:

Bean after bean by point of straw. ...[2]

At the hour of his passing away he showed that, though once wrongly living, he, by leaning on the Buddha Supreme, had gotten where a disciple ought to get, thus:

[283] For five and fifty years covered with dust
And dirt, eating a dinner once a month,[3]
And pulling out my hair from head and face,

[284] On one leg would I stand, I used no couch,
Dry dung I ate, nor would accept when bid.

[285] So wrought I actions leading to much woe
And ruin, swept along by mighty flood,
Till I a refuge in the Buddha found: -

[286] O see how to that Refuge I am come!
O see the seemly order of the Norm!
The Threefold Wisdom have I made my own,
And all the Buddha bids me do is done.


[1] See p. 106, n. 2.

[2] Verse 70 (Commentary, ii. 52-63). The literary reference is of interest, but it does not enable us to say that the Dhammapada Commentary referred to is positively that which we now have in Pali. Jambuka is referred to in Milinda, ii. 249.

[3] The extreme interval given in the list of austerities occurring more than once in Dīgha-Nikāya is twice a month - e.g., Dialogues, i. 229.


Copyright Statement