Khuddaka Nikāya

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Canto VI.
Psalms of Six Verses


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

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Reborn in this Buddha-age, after the Exalted One had passed away, at Vesālī in a noble clan, and named Sabbakāma, he, when he was come of age, gave gifts and possessions to his kinsfolk, and following his religious inclination left the world, taking orders under the Treasurer of the Norm.[1] In course of his studies he came back to Vesālī with his instructor and visited his family. And his former wife, afflicted, lean, in sorry array and tears, greeted him and stood by. Seeing her thus, affection led by pity arose in him, and losing the deeper view in the present object, carnal feeling came over him. Then like a high-bred horse at the touch of the whip, anguish arose, and he departed to the charnel field to learn the lesson of Foul Things. Thereby jhāna supervening, he expanded insight and won arahantship. Now his father-in-law brought his daughter decked out once more in finery to the Vihāra, with a great retinue, seeking to make him secede, but the Thera declared to them how he had ejected all such desires as follows:

[453] This twaybased thing, impure, malodorous,
Full of foul matter, ebbing thus and thus,
Is cherished as the chief of all our care.[2]

[454] Ah hidden deer by craft, as fish by hook,
As ape by pitch, so is the world ensnared.

[455] Sights, sounds and tastes, odours and things to touch,
That please and charm, the fivefold way of sense:
All these are shown combined in woman's shape.

[456] [227] The worldlings, who with heart inflamed pursue
And woo her, swell the dreadful field of death[3]
And make accumulation of rebirth.

[457] But he who shuns it all, as with the foot
The serpent's head is shunned, he, vigilant,
Doth circumvent this poisoner of the world.[4]

[458] And I who evil saw in sense-desires
And in renunciation safety, lo!
Detached from all that worldly aims commend,
Of all th' intoxicants have made an end.[5]


[1] Ānanda. Sabbakāma is probably the Sabbakāma of Vin. Texts, iii. 404.

[2] = Sutta-Nipāta, i. 11, 13. My third line expands the word paṭihīrati (for ºhiriyati).

[3] Cf. Sisters, verse 502; Udāna, vi. 8; Vin. Texts, iii. 390.

[4] Craving (Cy.). Cf. verses 400, 401.

[5] Cf. verse 122.


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