PSALMS OF THE BRETHREN
Psalms of Twenty Verses
Translated from the Pali by Mrs. C.A.F. Rhys Davids.
Reborn in this Buddha-age as the sister's son of the Thera Sankicca, he left the world under his uncle's tuition, and while only a novice, won arahantship. And dwelling in the bliss of fruition, he wished for full ordination, and went home to ask his mother's leave. Now as he went, he fell in with highwaymen on the look-out for an offering to their deity, and they seized on him as a suitable sacrifice. He, thus assailed, stood undaunted and without blenching. Then the robber-chief was amazed, and commended him, saying:
 No misery of mind, O chief, is there
For him who hath no wants. All fear have I
Transcended, since the Fetters were destroyed.
 He who hath passed beyond, from grasping free,
Whose task is done, sane and immune, is glad,
Not sorry, when the term of lives is reached,
As one who from the slaughter-house escapes.
 Comes not to me the thought: ''Tis I have been,'
Nor comes the thought: 'What shall I next become?'
Thoughts, deeds and words are no persisting [soul],
Therefore what ground for lamentations here?
 This body irketh me; no seeker I
To live. This mortal frame will broken be,
And ne'er another from it be reborn.
 Your business with my body, come, that do
E'en as ye will; and not on that account
Will hatred or affection rise in me.
 The young men marvelled at his words, and thrilled
With awe, casting away their knives they said:
 My teacher is the Conqueror knowing all
And seeing all, the Master infinite
In pity, all the world's Physician, He.
 Now when the robbers heard the well-spoke utterance of the sage,
They laid aside their knives, their arms, and some forsook that trade,
And some besought that they might leave the world for holy life.
 Lit., 'for sacrifice.'
 Adhimutta was a young novice.
 Bhavanetti - i.e., taṇhā.
 Lit., diseases. Cf. Tennyson's Elaine:
'And sweet is death who puts an end to pain.'
 That 'life is not worth living,' which is Dr. Neumann's rendering, seems to me scarcely sound Buddhism. Life can yield arahantship - the thing supremely worth having, the crown of all previous upward effort. 'Rebecomings are unsatisfying'; 'nirassādā bhavā' is the literal rendering of the text. We need to leave our own 'saws' behind in getting at the Buddhist standpoint.
 Dhammataɱ uttamaɱ - i.e., 'the nature of the Norm; in, and because of, completed arahantship' (Commentary).
 Nā-issaraɱ - lit., that which has no lord or ruler; issāra is used for a personal creator.
 Lit., 'will pass away.' 'Soul' is supplied from the Commentary.
 Suddhaɱ, pure, unmixed - i.e., with attā; phenomenal process only: dhammamattappavatti (Commentary).
 Tapas: religious austerities or magic (Commentary).
 Lit., the rule of the Welcome (su-gata), a title often used for the Buddha. For Factors, Forces, and Powers, see Compendium, p. 180, called factors, powers, faculties, respectively. 'Reached the Goal' — lit., 'touched (attained) the state of Nibbāna, the unconditioned.' The Commentary adds that the youthful saint went imperturbably on his way, obtained his mother's consent to enter the Order, and was ordained by his uncle. On verse 722 Dhammapāla refers to his own Commentary on the Iti-vuttaka.