Khuddaka Nikāya

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Canto VIII.
Psalms of Eight Verses

Panthaka Major

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

Public Domain



When our Master had gone to Rājagaha, rolling the excellent wheel of righteousness, Panthaka, the elder son[1] [243] of a rich councillor's daughter and one of her father's servants, used to go with his grandfather to hear the Master, and so won faith with insight. Entering the Order, he became highly versed in the Buddha-Word, and in the four abstract jhānas, in due time becoming arahant. Dwelling in the bliss of jhāna and of fruition, he was reviewing one day his achievement, and in great joy thereat burst into a 'lion's roar' thus:

[510] When first I saw the blessed Master, Him
For whom no fear can anywhence arise,
A wave of deep emotion filled my soul
At sight of Him, the peerless man of men.

[511] Had a man erst on hands and knees besought
Favour of Fortune's goddess hither come,
And won the grace of Master such as this,
Still might he fail to win [the thing he sought].[2]

[512] I for my part [all hindrance] cast away -
[The hope of] wife and children, coin and corn,[3]
And let my hair and beard be shorn, and forth
Into the homeless life I went from home.

[513] The life and training practising, all faculties
Well held in hand, in loyalty to Him,
Buddha supreme, master of self I lived.

[514] Then longing rose within my heart, I yearned
[To consummate]: 'Now will I no more sit,
Not even for a moment, while the dart
Of craving sticketh and is not outdrawn.

[515] Of me thus aye abiding, O! behold[4]
And mark the onward stride of energy:
[244] The Threefold Wisdom have I made my own,
And all the Buddha bids us do is done.

[516] I know the where and when of former lives,
And clearly shines the eye celestial.
Ar'hant am I, worthy men's offerings.
Released and without basis for rebirth.

[517] For as the darkness melted into light,
And the day broke with rising of the sun,
From craving, stanched and dry, had come release,
And on my couch cross-legged I sat in peace.


[1] The untimely birth of the boys when their mother had set out to return to her kinsfolk, their being named 'Roadling' the Greater and the Less, and their going to live with her kinsfolk, is briefly sketched here, but is told more fully in Jāt., i. 14 ff., and Aṅguttara Commentary on i. 26.

[2] 'Unlucky ... fail at the ninth moment' (? eleventh hour), says the Commentary, which sees, moreover, in siriɱ an allusion not to the goddess of luck (Buddhist India, p. 217), but to the sirisayana or cathedra of a teacher.

[3] Living as a minor with his grandparents, he had as yet none of these, remarks the Commentary.

[4] For this and following lines, cf. verses 167, 224, 296, 332, 477.


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