Khuddaka Nikāya

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Canto V.
Psalms of Five Verses


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

Public Domain



Reborn in this Buddha-age at the city of Bharukaccha in a commoner's clan, and named Vaḍḍha, he grew up in due course.[1] Now his mother, distressed at the continuity of rebirth and death, entrusted her son to her kinsfolk, and entered the Order among the bhikkhunīs. She thereafter won arahantship. Her son, too, entered the Order under Thera Veḷudanta, and learning the Buddha-Word, became learned and eloquent in preaching. And one day, feeling the responsibility of office, he thought: 'I will go alone and see my mother, nor put on my cloak.' So he went to the [195] bhikkhunīs' quarters. His mother, seeing him, rebuked him: 'Why are you come here alone and without your cloak?' And he, convicted in doing that which was unfit, returned to his Vihāra, and seated in the day-room, there attained arahantship, testifying to aññā under the aspect of ascribing his achievement to his mother's admonition:

[335] 0 well in sooth my mother used the goad!
I marked her word, and by my parent taught,
I stirred up effort, put forth all my strength,
And won the goal, th' enlightenment supreme.

[336] Ar'hant am I, meet for men's offerings.[2]
Thrice wise, th' ambrosial vision I behold;
Conquered is Namuci and all his host,[3]
And now I dwell henceforth sane and immune.

[337] Yea, the intoxicants that once were there,
Within, without me,[4] are extracted clean;
Nought doth remain nor may they re-appear.

[338] Lo! wise and ripe in grace the Sister[5] was,
Who spake this word of pregnant good to me:
For thee now even as for me, [my son,]
No jungle of the mind doth bar the way.

[339] A final barrier is made to Ill.
Last mortal frame is this, to which belongs
The way world without end of birth and death,
Nor ever cometh more rebirth [for thee].


[1] Anupubbena vaḍḍhati. This (here) unusual turn of phrase refers doubtless to his name, which means 'growth,' 'increase.' The mother's story is given in the Sisters, lxii. ff. She speaks also for him, but except for the 'spur' — literally, 'goad' — motive and the 'jungle,' she places a different psalm in his mouth, a by-proof of the difference in authorship (see Introduction). The wearing undergarments as outer — i.e., leaving the cīvara behind — is commented on in Vinaya discipline (Vinaya, iv. 281). Presumably the Thera herein put his sonship before his office.

[2] = verses 296, 516.

[3] Namūcī a name for Māra

[4] I.e., bahiddhavatthukā, 'having external bases or causes' — e.g., objects of sense, misguided teachers, heavens, etc.

[5] Bhaginā, lit., sister.


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