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

[Pali] [norm]


Reborn in this Buddha-age in a Kosalan elephant-trainers' family, he was named Vijitasena. His maternal uncles, Sena and Upasena,[1] had both entered the Order and become arahants, when Vijitasena, after learning the craft of his folk, saw the twin-miracle[2] of the Master, believed, and being naturally of a religious disposition, entered the Order under his uncles. Training by their instructions he rose into the avenue of insight, but his mind remaining discursive through various external objects, he admonished it:

[355] I will restrain thee, heart, as elephants
Are by the towngate's sallyport[3] kept back.
I'll not abet thee in thy naughty ways,
Thou net of wishes, thou of body born.

[356] Not thine 'twill be, thus checked, to go at large.
As elephant that wins not through the gate,
Struggle thy best, thou witch,[4] again, again;
Thou shalt not roam, who art to sin so fain.

[357] Even as one who firmly wields the hook
Doth turn th' unbroken, untamed elephant
Against its will, so will I turn thee back.

[201] [358] As the good driver, in horsebreaking skilled,
Doth tame the mettle of the thoroughbred,
So will I bring thee too beneath control.
By virtue of the fivefold spiritual force.

[359] Yea, by right heedfulness I'll bind thee fast,
Myself restrained, so will I master thee.
Curbed in the harness of right energy,
Thou shalt not, O my heart, go far from me.[5]

Thus restraining his thoughts did the Thera expand insight and win arahantship.


[1] Not the brother of Sāriputta (CCXXXVIII.). Neither uncle is met with elsewhere.

[2] See XXXI.

[3] = Khuddaka-dvāraṅ, or low, little door (Commentary).

[4] = Citta-Kālakaṇṇī. I take pasahaṇ as pasahanto, 'using force. The Br. Cy. reads pasanga, paraphrasing by saraṇa-saṅpassāsavasena. Cf. the S. MS. in Dr. Oldenberg's note, p. 40.

[5] This is the second of the three poems conceived in this vein - namely, of a better self attempting to control the mutinies of older unregenerate impulses. Cf. LXXVII. and CCLXII.


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