Khuddaka Nikaya

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SHE, too, having made her resolve under former Buddhas, and heaping up good of age-enduring efficacy in this or that rebirth, entered the Order when Sikhi was Buddha. And one day, while yet a novice, she was walking in procession with Bhikkhunīs, doing homage at a shrine, when an Arahant Therī in front of her hastily spat in the court of the shrine. Coming after her, but not having noticed the Therī's action, she said in reproof: 'What prostitute has been spitting in this place?'

As a Bhikkhunī, observing the Precepts, she felt repugnance for rebirth by parentage, and set her mind intently on spontaneous re-generation. So in her last birth she came into being spontaneously at Vesalī, in the King's gardens, at the foot of a mango-tree. The gardener found her, and brought her to the city. She was known as the Mango-guardian's girl. And such was her beauty, grace, and charm that many young Princes strove with each other to possess her, till, in order to end their strife, and because the power of karma impelled them, they agreed to appoint her courtezan. Later on, out of faith in the Master, she built a Vihāra[1] in her own gardens, and handed it over to him and the Order. And when she had heard her own son, the Elder Vimala-Kondañña, preach the Norm, she worked [121] for insight, and studying the law of impermanence as illustrated in her own ageing body, she uttered the following verses:

[252] Glossy and black as the down of the bee my curls once clustered.
They with the waste of the years are liker to hempen or bark cloth.
Such and not otherwise runneth the rune, the word of the Soothsayer.[2]

[253] Fragrant as casket of perfumes, as full of sweet blossoms the hair of me.
All with the waste of the years now rank as the odour of hare's fur.
Such and not otherwise runneth the rune, the word of the Soothsayer.

[254] Dense as a grove well planted, and comely with comb, pin, and parting.
All with the waste of the years dishevelled the fair plaits and fallen.
Such and not otherwise runneth the rune, the word of the Soothsayer.

[255] Glittered the swarthy plaits in head-dresses jewelled and golden.
All with the waste of the years broken, and shorn are the tresses.
Such and not otherwise runneth the rune, the word of the Soothsayer.

[256] Wrought as by sculptor's craft the brows of me shone, finely pencilled.
[122] They with the waste of the years are seamèd with wrinkles, o'erhanging.
Such and not otherwise runneth the rune, the word of the Soothsayer.

[257] Flashing and brilliant as jewels, dark-blue and long-lidded the eyes of me.
They with the waste of the years spoilt utterly, radiant no longer.
Such and not otherwise runneth the rune, the word of the Soothsayer.

[258] Dainty and smooth the curve of the nostrils e'en as in children.
Now with the waste of the years searèd[3] the nose is and shrivelled.
Such and not otherwise runneth the rune, the word of the Soothsayer.

[259] Lovely the lines of my ears as the delicate work of the goldsmith.[4]
They with the waste of the years are seamèd with wrinkles and pendent.
Such and not otherwise runneth the rune, the word of the Soothsayer.

[260] Gleamed as I smiled my teeth like the opening buds of the plantain.
They with the waste of the years are broken and yellow as barley.
So and not otherwise runneth the rune, the word of the Soothsayer.

[123] [261] Sweet was my voice as the bell of the cuckoo[5] through woodlands flitting.
Now with the waste of the years broken the music and halting.
So and not otherwise runneth the rune, the word of the Soothsayer.

[262] Softly glistened of yore as mother-of-pearl the throat of me.
Now with the waste of the years all wilted its beauty and twisted.
So and not otherwise runneth the rune, the word of the Soothsayer.

[263] Beauteous the arms of me once shone like twin pillars cylindrical.
They with the waste of the years hang feeble as withering branches.[6]
So and not otherwise runneth the rune, the word of the Soothsayer.

[264] Beauteous of yore were my soft hands with rings and gewgaws resplendent.
They with the waste of the years like roots are knotted and scabrous.[7]
So and not otherwise runneth the rune, the word of the Soothsayer.

[265] Full and lovely in contour rose of yore the small breasts of me.
[124] They with the waste of the years droop shrunken as skins without water.
So and not otherwise runneth the rune, the word of the Soothsayer.

[266] Shone of yore this body as shield of gold well-polishèd.
Now with the waste of the years all covered with network of wrinkles.
So and not otherwise runneth the rune, the word of the Soothsayer.

[267] Like to the coils of a snake[8] the full beauty of yore of the thighs of me.
They with the waste of the years are even as stems of the bamboo.
So and not otherwise runneth the rune, the word of the Soothsayer.

[268] Beauteous to see were my ankles of yore, bedecked with gold bangles.
They with the waste of the years are shrunken as faggots of sesamum.
So and not otherwise runneth the rune, the word of the Soothsayer.

[269] Soft and lovely of yore as though filled out with down were the feet of me.
They with the waste of the years are cracked open and wizened with wrinkles.
So and not otherwise runneth the rune, the word of the Soothsayer.

[125] [270] Such hath this body been. Now age-weary and weak and unsightly,
Home of manifold ills; old house whence the mortar is dropping.
So and not otherwise runneth the rune, the word of the Soothsayer.

And inasmuch as the Therī, by the visible signs of impermanence in her own person, discerned impermanence in all phenomena of the three planes, and bearing that in mind, brought into relief the signs of Ill and of No-soul, she, making clear her insight in her Path-progress, attained Arahantship.






She, too, having made her resolve under former Buddhas, and heaping up good of age-enduring efficacy in this and that rebirth, was born, ninety-one æons ago, in the time of Vipassi Buddha, in a clansman's family. One day she saw the Exalted One seeking alms in the city of Bandhumatī, and filling his bowl with sweet cakes, she worshipped low at his feet in joy and gladness. And when, after many rebirths in heaven and on earth in consequence thereof, she had accumulated the conditions requisite for emancipation, she was, in this Buddha-era, reborn at Vesalī, in the house of a very prosperous brahmin, and named Rohiṇī.[9] Come to years of discretion, she went, while the Master was staying at Vesalī, to the Vihāra, and heard the doctrine. She became a 'Stream-entrant,' and teaching her parents the doctrine, and they accepting it, she gained their leave to enter the Order. Studying for insight, she not [126] long after attained Arahantship, together with thorough grasp of the Norm in form and meaning.

And reflecting on a discussion she had had with her father while she had yet only entered the Stream, she uttered the substance of it as verses of exultation:

[271] '"See the recluses!" dost thou ever say.
"See the recluses!" waking me from sleep.
Praise of recluses ever on thy tongue.
Say, damsel, hast a mind recluse to be?

[272] Thou givest these recluses as they come,
Abundant food and drink. Come, Rohiṇī.[10]
I ask, why are recluses dear to thee?

[273] Not fain to work are they, the lazy crew.
They make their living off what others give.
Cadging are they, and greedy of tit-bits —
I ask, why are recluses dear to thee?'

[274] Full many a day, dear father, hast thou asked
Touching recluses. Now will I proclaim
Their virtues and their wisdom and their work.

[275] Full fain of work are they, no sluggard crew.
The noblest work they do, they drive out lust
And hate. Hence are recluses dear to me.

[276] The three fell roots of evil they eject,
Making all pure within, leaving no smirch,
No stain. Hence are recluses dear to me.

[277] Their work[10] in action's pure, pure is their work
In speech, and pure no less than these thir work
In thought. Hence are recluses dear to me.

[127] [278] Immaculate as seashell or as pearl,
Of lustrous characters compact, without,
Within.[11] Hence are recluses dear to me.

[279] Learn'd and proficient in the Norm; elect,
And living by the Norm that they expound
And teach. Hence are recluses dear to me.

[280] Learn'd and proficient in the Norm; elect,
And living by the Doctrine; self-possessed,
Intent. Hence are recluses dear to me.

[281] Far and remote they wander, self-possessed;
Wise in their words and meek, they know the end
Of Ill. Hence are recluses dear to me.

[282] And when along the village street they go,
At naught they turn to look; incurious
They walk. Hence are recluses dear to me.

[283] They lay not up a treasure for the flesh,
Nor storehouse-jar nor crate. The Perfected
Their Quest. Hence are recluses dear to me.

[284] They clutch no coin; no gold their hand doth take,
Nor silver. For their needs sufficient yields
The day.[12] Hence are recluses dear to me.

[285] From many a clan and many a countryside
They join the Order, mutually bound
In love. Hence are recluses dear to me.'

[1218] [286] 'Now truly for our weal, O Rohiṇī,
Wert thou a daughter born into this house!
Thy trust is in the Buddha and the Norm
And in the Order; keen thy piety.

[287] For well thou know'st this is the Field supreme
Where merit may be wrought. We too henceforth
Will minister ourselves to holy men.
For thereby shall accrue to our account
A record of oblations bounteous.'

[288] 'If Ill thou fearest, if thou like it not,
Go thou and seek the Buddha and the Norm,
And Order for thy refuge; learn of them
And keep the Precepts. So shalt thou find weal.'[13]

[289] 'Lo! to the Buddha, I for refuge go
And to the Norm and Order. I will learn
Of them to take upon myself and keep
The Precepts. So shall I indeed find weal.




[290] Once but a son of brahmins born was I.
To-day I stand brahmin in very deed.
The nobler Threefold Wisdom have I won,
Won the true Veda-lore, and graduate
Am I from better Sacrament returned,
Cleansed by the inward spiritual bath.'[14]

For the brahmin, established in the Refuges and the Precepts, when later on he became alarmed, renounced the world, and, developing insight, was established in Arahantship. Reflecting on his attainment, he exulted in that last verse.






She, too, having made her resolve under former Buddhas, and heaping up good of age-enduring efficacy in this and that rebirth, till she had accumulated the sources of good, and matured the conditions for emancipation, was, in this Buddha-age, reborn in the Vankahāra country, at a certain village of trappers, as the daughter of the chief trapper, and named Cāpā.[15] And at that time Upaka, an ascetic,[16] met the Master as he was going to Benares, there to set rolling from his Bo-tree throne[17] the Wheel of the Norm, and asked him: 'You seem, my friend, in perfect health! Clear and pure is your complexion. Wherefore have you, friend, left the world? or who may your teacher be? or whose doctrine do you believe in?' And he was thus answered:

'All have I overcome. All things I know,
'Mid all things undefiled. Renouncing all,
In death of Craving wholly free. My own
The Deeper View. Whom should I name to thee?
For me no teacher lives. I stand alone
On earth, in heaven rival to me there's none.

Now go I on seeking Benares town,
To start the Wheel, the gospel of the Norm,
To rouse and guide the nations blind and lost,
Striking Salvation's drum, Ambrosia's alarm.'

[130] The ascetic, discerning the omniscience and great mission of the Master, was comforted in mind, and replied: 'Friend, may these things be! Thou art worthy[18] to be a conqueror, world without end!' Then, taking a by-road, he came to the Vankahara country, and abode near the hamlet of the trappers, where the head trapper supplied his wants. One day the latter, setting off on a long hunt with sons and brothers, bade his daughter not neglect 'the Arahant'[19] in his absence. Now, she was of great beauty; and Upaka, seeking alms at her home, and captivated by her beauty, could not eat, but took his food home, and laid down fasting, vowing he would die should he not win Cāpā. After seven days the father returned, and, on inquiring for his 'Arahant,' heard he had not come again after the first day. The trapper sought him, and Upaka, moaning, and rolling over, confessed his plight. The trapper asked if he knew any craft, and he answered, 'No;' but offered to fetch their game and sell it. The trapper consented, and, giving him a coat, brought him to his own home, and gave him his daughter. In due time she had a son, whom they called Subhādda.[20] Cāpā, when the baby cried, sang to him: 'Upaka's boy, ascetic's boy, game-dealer's boy, don't cry, don't cry!' mocking her husband. And he said at length: 'Do not thou, Cāpā, fancy I have none to protect me.[21] I have a friend, even a conqueror eternal, and to him I will go.' She saw that he was vexed, and teased him again and again in the same way, till one day, in anger, he got ready to go. She said much, but vainly, to prevent him, and he [131] set out westward. And the Exalted One was then at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove, and announced this to the brethren: 'He who to-day shall come asking, "Where is the Conqueror eternal?" send him to me.' And Upaka arrived, and, standing in the midst of the Vihāra, asked: 'Where is the Conqueror eternal?' So they brought him, and when he saw the Exalted One, he said: 'Dost know me, Exalted One?' 'Yea, I know. But thou, where hast thou spent the time?' 'In the Vankahāra country, lord.' 'Upaka, thou art now an old man; canst thou bear the religious life?' 'I will enter thereon, lord.' The Master bade a certain Bhikkhu, 'Come, do thou, Bhikkhu, ordain him.' And he thereafter exercising and training himself, was soon established in the Fruition of the Path-of-No-Return, and thereupon died, being reborn in the Aviha heavens.[22] At the moment of that rebirth he attained Arahantship.

Seven have thus attained it, as it has been said.

But Cāpā, sick at heart over his departure, delivered her boy to his grandfather, and, following in the way Upaka had gone, renounced the world at Sāvatthī, and attained Arahantship. And uniting Upaka's verses with her own, she thus exulted:

(Her husband speaks.)

[291] 'Once staff in hand homeless I fared and free.
Now but a trapper am I, sunken fast
In baneful bog of earthly lusts, yet fain
To come out on the yonder side. My wife

[292] Plays with her child and mocks my former state,
Deeming her charm yet holdeth me in thrall.
But I will cut the knot and roam again.'



[293] 'O be not angry with me, hero mine!
O thou great prophet, be not wroth with me!
For how may he who giveth place to wrath
Attain to holy life and purity?'

[294] 'Nay, I'll go forth from Nala.[23] Who would live
At Nala now, where he who fain to lead
A life of righteousness sees holy men
Beguilèd by the beauty of a girl!'

[295] 'O turn again, my dark-eyed lover, come
And take thy fill of Cāpā's love for thee,
And I, thy slave, will meet thy every wish,
And all my kinsfolk shall thy servants be.'

[296] 'Nay, were a man desirous of thy love,
He well might glory didst thou promise him
A fourth of what thou temp'st me here withal!'

[297] 'O dark-eyed love, am I not fair to see,
As the liana swaying in the woods,
As the pomegranate-tree in fullest bloom
Growing on hill-top, or the trumpet-flower
Drooping o'er mouth of island cavern? See,

[298] With crimson sandal-wood perfumed, I'll wear
Finest Benares robe for thee — O why,
O how wilt thou go far away from me?'

[133] [299] 'Ay! so the fowler seeketh to decoy
His bird. Parade thy charms e'en as thou wilt,
Ne'er shalt thou bind me to thee as of yore.'

[300] 'And this child-blossom, O my husband, see
Thy gift to me- — now surely thou wilt not
Forsake her who hath borne a child to thee?'

[301] 'Wise men forsake their children, wealth and kin,
Great heroes ever go forth from the world,
As elephants sever their bonds in twain.'

[302] 'Then this thy child straightway with stick or axe
I'll batter on the ground — to save thyself
From mourning for thy son thou wilt not go!'

[303] 'And if thou throw the child to jackals, wolves,
Or dogs, child-maker without ruth, e'en so
'Twill not avail to turn me back again!'

[304] 'Why, then, go if thou must, and fare thee well.
But tell me to what village wilt thou go,
What town or burg or city is thy goal?'

[305] 'In the past days we went in fellowship,
Deeming our shallow practice genuine.
Pilgrims we wandered — hamlet, city, town,
And capital — we tramped to each in turn'

[306] 'But the Exalted Buddha now doth preach,
Along the banks of the Nerañjara,[24]
[134] The Norm whereby all may be saved from ill.
To him I go; he now my guide shall be.'

[307] 'Yea, go, and take my homage unto him
Who is the supreme Sovran of the World,
And making salutation by the right,[25]
Do thou from us to him make offering.'

[308] 'Now meet and right is this, e'en as thou say'st,
That I in doing homage, speak for thee
To him, the Supreme Sovran of the World.
And making salutation by the right,
I'll render offering for thee and me.'

[309] So Kala went to the Nerañjara,
And saw the very Buddha on the bank,
Teaching the Way Ambrosial: of Ill,

[310] And of how Ill doth rise, and how Ill may
Be overpast, and of the way thereto,
Even the Ariyan, the Eightfold Path.

[311] Low at his feet the husband homage paid,
Saluted by the right and Cāpā's vows
Presented; then the world again renounced
For homeless life; the Threefold Wisdom won,
And brought to pass the bidding of the Lord.


Excavations at Jeta-vana, now Saheth
'But the Exalted Buddha now doth preach
Along the banks of the Neraṅjara.






She too, having made her resolve under former Buddhas, and heaping up good of age-enduring efficacy in this and that rebirth, was reborn thirty-one æons ago, when Ves- [135] sabhu was Buddha, in a clansman's family. One day she ministered to the Master with alms, and worshipped him, and he perceived her believing heart, and thanked her. After celestial and other happy rebirths, her knowledge having come to maturity, she was, in this Buddha-age, reborn at Benares as the daughter of Sujāta, a brahmin. Because of her perfect form they called her Sundarī (Beauty). When she grew up, her younger brother died. Her father, overmastered by grief, and going to and fro, met the Therī Vāsiṭṭhī[26] When she asked him what afflicted him, he answered as in the first two verses. Wishing to allay his grief, she spoke the next two verses, and told him of her own griefless state. The brahmin asked her: 'How, lady, did you become free from grief (a-sokā)?' The Therī told him of the Three Jewels, the Refuges. 'Where,' he asked, 'is the Master?' 'He is now at Mithilā.' So the brahmin drove in his carriage to Mithilā. and sought audience of the Master. To him the Master taught the Norm; and he believed, and entered the Order, attaining Arahantship on the third day, after strenuous effort in establishing insight.

But the charioteer drove his chariot back to Benares, and told the brahminee what had taken place. When Sundarī heard of it, she asked her mother, saying: 'Mother, I too would leave the world.' The mother said: 'All the wealth in this house belongs to you. You are the heiress of this family. Take up your heritage and enjoy it. Go not forth.' But Sundarī said: 'Wealth is no use to me. Mother, I would leave the world;' and, bringing the mother to consent, she abandoned her great possessions like so much spittle, and entered the Order (at Benares). And studying and striving because of the promise in her and the maturity of her knowledge, she attained Arahantship, with thorough grasp of the Norm in form and meaning.

Dwelling thereafter in the ease of fruition and the bliss [136] of Nibbāna, she thought: 'I will utter a Lion's Roar[27] before the Master.' And asking permission of her teacher, she left Benares, accompanied by a great following of Bhikkhunīs, and in due course came to Sāvatthī, did obeisance to the Master, and stood on one side. Welcomed by him, she declared her añña by extolling her relation to him as the 'daughter of his mouth,' and so on. Thereupon all her kinsfolk, beginning with her mother, and their attendants, renounced the world. She, reflecting on her attainment, and using her father's utterances in her own Psalm, exulted as follows:


[312] Dame of the brahmins, thou too in the past —
Thou knowest — 'twas thy little babes[28] Death robbed
And preyed upon; and thou all night, all day
Madest thy bitter wail. Vāsiṭṭhī, say!

[313] How comes it that to-day thou, who hast lost
So many — was it seven? — all thy sons,
No more dost mourn and weep so bitterly?


[314] Nay, brahmin, many hundreds of our babes,
And of our kinsfolk many hundred more,
Have we in all the ages past and gone
[137] Seen preyed upon by Death, both you and I.

[315] But I have learnt how from both Birth and Death
A way there is t' escape. Wherefore no more
I mourn, nor weep, nor make my bitter wail.


[316] Wondrous in sooth, Vāsiṭṭhī, are the words
Thou speakest! Whose the doctrine thou hast learnt?
Whence thine authority for speech like this?


[317] 'Tis He, the Very Wake, the Buddha, He
Who late, hard by the town of Mithilā,
Did teach the Norm, brahmin, whereby
All that hath life may put off every ill.

[318] When I, O brahmin, when I heard the Arahant
Reveal the Doctrine of the Non-Substrate,[29]
Forthwith the Gospel sank into my heart,
And all my mother-grief fell off from me.


[319] Then I too straight will go to Mithilā,
If haply the Exalted Buddha may
Me, even me, release from every ill.

[320] The brahmin went; he saw the Awaken'd One,
Th' Emancipated, Him in whom
No base is found for rebirth, and from Him,
The Seer, Him who hath passed beyond all ill,

[138] [321] He heard the Norm: the Truth of Ill, and how
Ill comes, and how Ill may be overpassed,
E'en by the Ariyan, the Eightfold Path,
That leadeth to the abating of all Ill.[30]

[322] Forthwith the Gospel sank into his heart.
He left the world, he chose the homeless life.
On the third night of contemplation rapt,
Sujāta touched and won the Threefold Lore.[31]

[323] 'Come, charioteer, now drive this chariot home!
Wish thy good mistress health, the brahminee,
And say: "'The brahmin hath renounced the world.
On the third night of contemplation rapt
Sujāta touched and won the Threefold Lore."'

[324] And so the driver took the car and purse
Of money home, and wished his mistress health,
And said: 'The brahmin hath renounced the world.
On the third night of contemplation rapt
Sujāta touched and won the Threefold Lore.'

Sundarī's Mother.

[325] For this that thou hast heard, O Charioteer,
And tellest: that the brahmin hath attained
The Threefold Lore, no half-gift give I thee.[32]
Take thou the chariot, take the horses both,
And take a thousand pieces for thy pains.

[326] 'Let them remain thine own, O brahminee,
Horses and chariot and the thousand coins,
[139] For I, too, have a mind to leave the world,
Near him of chiefest wisdom to abide.'

[327] 'But thou, my Sundarī, now that thy father hath gone forth,[33]
Leaving his home, renouncing all his great estate —
Cattle and horses, elephants, jewels and rings —
Dost thou at least come to thine own! Thou art the heir
Of this thy family. Do thou enjoy thy wealth.'

[328] 'Cattle and horses, elephants, jewels and rings —
Ay, all that goes to make this fair and broad estate
Hath he put far from him, my father dear,
And left the world, afflicted for his son.
I, too, afflicted at my brother's death,
I have a mind like him to leave the world.'

[329] 'May this, then, thine intention, Sundarī,
Thy heart's desire, be crownèd with success!
The food from hand to mouth,[34] glean'd here and there,
The patchwork robe — these things accomplishèd
Will purify in other after-world
Whate'er has poisoned life for thee in this.'[35]



[330] I've trained me, Lady, in the threefold course.[36]
Clear shines for me the Eye Celestial.
I know the how and when I came to be
Down the long past, and where it was I lived.

[331] To thee I owe it, O thou noble friend,
Thou loveliest of the Therī Sisterhood,
That I the Threefold Lore have gotten now,
And that the Buddha's will hath been obeyed.

[332] Give to me, Lady, thy consent, for I
Would go to Sāvatthī , so that I may
Utter my 'lion's roar,' — my 'Hail, all hail!' —
In presence of the Buddha, Lord and Chief.[37]




[333] See, Sundarī, the Master fair in hue,
His countenance as fine gold, clear and bright,
Him who is All-enlightened, Buddha, Best,
Tamer of untamed, never tasting fear.

[334] And see, O Master, Sundarī, who comes
To tell thee of Emancipation won,
And of the right no more to he reborn.
Who hath herself from passion freed
Unyoked from bondage, loosened from the world.
[141] Accomplished now is her appointed work,
And all that drugged her heart is purged away.[38]

[335] Lo! from Benares I am come to thee —
I, Sundarī, thy pupil, at thy feet,
O mighty Hero, see me worship here.

[336] Thou art Buddha! thou art Master! and thine,
Thy daughter am I, issue of thy mouth,
Thou Very Brahmin![39] even of thy word.
Accomplished now is my appointed task,
And all that drugged my heart is purged away.

[337] 'Welcome to thee, thou gracious maiden! thence
For thee 'twas but a little way to come.[40]
For so they come who, victors over self,
Are fain to worship at the Master's feet,
Who also have themselves from passion freed,
Unyoked from bondage, loosened from the world,
Who have accomplished their appointed task,
And all that drugged their hearts have purged away.'




(The Goldsmith's Daughter)


She, too, having made her resolve under former Buddhas, and heaping up good of age-enduring efficacy, so that she had progressively planted the root of good and accumulated the conditions of emancipation, was, in this Buddha-era, reborn at Rājagaha as the daughter of a certain goldsmith. From the beauty of her person she was called Subhā. Come to years of discretion, she went one day, while the Master was at Rājagaha, and belief in him had come to her, and did obeisance, seating herself on one side. The Master, seeing the maturity of her moral faculties, and in accordance with her wish, taught her the Norm enshrined in the Four Truths. She was thereby established in the fruition of Stream-entry, which is in countless ways adorned. Later she realized the disadvantages of domestic life, and entered the Order under the Great Pajāpatī the Gotamid, devoting herself to the higher Paths. From time to time her relations invited her to return to the world, urging its charms. To them thus come one day, she set forth the danger in house-life and in the world, preaching the Norm in the twenty-four verses below, and dismissed them cured of their desire. She then strove for insight, purifying her faculties, till at length she won Arahantship. As Arahant she spoke thus:

[338] A maiden I, all clad in white, once heard

[339] The Norm, and hearkened eager, earnestly,
So in me rose discernment of the Truths.
Thereat all worldly pleasures irked me sore,
For I could see the perils that beset
This reborn compound, 'personality,'
And to renounce it was my sole desire.

[143] [340] So I forsook my world — my kinsfolk all,
My slaves, my hirelings, and my villages,
And the rich fields and meadows spread around,
Things fair and making for the joy of life —
All these I left, and sought the Sisterhood,
Turning myback upon no mean estate.

[341] Amiss were't now that I, who in full faith
Renounced that world, who well discerned the Truth,
Who, laying down what gold and silver bring,
Cherish no worldly wishes whatsoe'er,
Should, all undoing, come to you again!

[342] Silver and gold avail not to awake,[41]
Or soothe. Unmeet for consecrated lives,[42]
They are not Ariyan — not noble — wealth.

[343] Whereby greed is aroused and wantonness,
Infatuation and all fleshly lusts,
Whence cometh fear for loss and many a care:
Here is no ground for lasting steadfastness.

[344] Here men, heedless and maddened with desires,
Corrupt in mind, by one another let
And hindered, strive in gneral enmity.

[345] Death, bonds, and torture, ruin, grief; and woe
Await the slaves of sense, and dreadful doom.

[346] Why herewithal, my kinsmen — nay, my foes —
Why yoke me in your minds with sense-desires?
[144] Know me as one who saw, and therefore fled,
The perils rising from the life of sense.

[347] Not gold nor money can avail to purge
The poison of the deadly āsavas.
Ruthless and murderous are sense-desires;
Foemen of cruel spear and prison-bonds.

[348] Why herewithal, my kinsmen — nay, my foes
Why yoke me in your minds with sense-desires?
Know me as her who fled the life of sense,
Shorn of her hair, wrapt in her yellow robe.

[349] The food from hand to mouth,[43] glean'd here and there,
he patchwork robe — these things are meet for me,
The base and groundwork of the homeless life.[44]

[350] Great sages 381 spue forth all desires of sense,
Whether they be in heaven or on earth;
At peace they dwell, for they freeholders are,
For they have won unfluctuating bliss.

[351] Ne'er let me follow after worldly lusts,
Wherein no refuge is; for they are foes,
And murderers, and cruel blazing fires.[45]

[352] Oh! but an incubus is here, the haunt
Of dread and fear of death, a thorny brake,
A greedy maw it is, a path impassable,
Mouth of a pit wherein we lose our wits,

[353] A horrid shape of doom impending — such
Are worldly lusts; uplifted heads of snakes.
[145] Therein they that be fools find their delight —
The blinded, general, average, sensual man.

[354] For all the many souls, who thus befooled
Err ignorant in the marsh of worldly lusts,
Heed not that which can limit birth and death.

[355] Because of worldly lusts mankind is drawn
By woeful way to many a direful doom —
Where ev'ry step doth work its penalty.[46]

[356] Breeders of enmity are worldly lusts,
Engendering remorse and vicious taints.
Flesh baits, to bind us to the world and death.

[357] Leading to madness, to hysteria,
To ferment of the mind, are worldly lusts,
Fell traps by Māra laid to ruin men.

[358] Endless the direful fruit of worldly lusts,
Surcharged with poison, sowing many ills,
Scanty and brief its sweetness, stirring strife,
And withering the brightness of our days.

[359] For me who thus have chosen, ne'er will I
Into the world's disasters come again,
For in Nibbāna is my joy alway.

[360] So, fighting a [good] fight with worldly lusts,
I wait in hope for the Cool Blessedness,
Abiding earnest in endeavour, till
Nought doth survive that fetters me to them.

[146] [361] THIS is my Way, the Way that leads past grief,
Past all that doth defile, the haven sure,
Even the Ariyan Eightfold Path, called Straight.[47]
There do I follow where the Saints[48] have crossed.




[362] See now this Subhā, standing on the Norm,
Child of a craftsman in the art of gold!
Behold! she hath attained to utter calm;
Museth in rapture 'neath the spreading boughs.

[363] To-day, the eighth it is since she went forth
In faith, and radiant in the Gospel's light.
By Uppalavaṇṇā[49] instructed, lo!
Thrice wise is she and conqueror over death.

[364] Freed woman she, discharged is all her debt,
A Bhikkhunī, trained in the higher sense.
All sundered are the Bonds, her task is done,
And the great Drugs that poisoned her are purged.




[365] To her came Sakka, and his band of gods
In all their glory, worshipping Subhā,
Child of a craftsman in the art of gold,
But lord of all things that have life and breath.[50]

[147] When, on the eighth day after her ordination, she won Arahantship, attaining fruition, seated beneath a tree, the Exalted One uttered these three verses (362-364) in her praises, pointing her out to the Brethren. And the last verse was added by them who recited (the canon at the Council), to celebrate Sakka's adoration.


[1] See Rhys Davids, Buddhist Suttas (S.B.E., xi.), pp. 30-33.

[2] Used in its first intention, Truth-speaker. On this, and on the metre, see Introduction. The 'rune' is the Impermanence of everything. Cf. Ps. lxiii.

[3] Upakūlitā, not yet found elsewhere, may be from the root kūl, to burn.

[4] It is interesting that the Commentary speaks of the goldsmith's work of past ages, as if conscious of living (himself) in a decadent period of such arts.

[5] Kokilā, rendered by lexicons 'Indian cuckoo.' The name seems to point to somewhat similar bird-notes.

[6] Lit., as the weak trumpet-flower (plant), the Commentary adding phalita, broken, or fruit-laden, and so heavily drooping.

[7] Lit., more simply, 'like one little root after another.'

[8] I here follow Dr. Neumann, and not the Commentator. The latter calls nāgabhoga an elephant's trunk; the Pitakas apply the term, it would seem, only as in the text. Cf. Majjhima Nikāya, i. 134.

[9] I.e., Latinized, Flavia. Childers instances a red cow so called, and a constellation.

[10] Note her emphasis on work or action (kamma or karma) to meet her father's — the typically worldly man's — failure to discern the fact and value of any 'work' that had no orldly object.

[11] Unspotted by greed, hate, or dullness; full of the A-sekha's qualities — virtue; contemplation, concentration, insight (Commentary).

Matt. VI. 25-34: "Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
(For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

p.p. explains it all — p.p.

[12] This phrase is amplified in Sanyutta Nikāya, i. 5: 'They mourn not over the past, nor hanker after the future. They maintain themselves by the present.' Cf. the same attitude prescribed in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. vi. 25-34).

[13] I.e., she referred him to the true source of the 'weal' he imputed to her. The rest is borrowed from Ps. lxv.

[14] Cf. Psalm lxv.

[15] Pronounce Chāpā. The name of her native district has, so far, not been met with elsewhere.

[16] An Ājīvaka (-ika), described in Dialogues of the Buddha, i. 221.

[17] I.e., when he left the Bo-tree as Buddha and went to preach his first sermon at Isipatana by Benares. The meeting is told in Majjhima Nikaya, i. 170, 171, and Vinaya Texts, i. 90.

[18] In the Majjhima Nikaya there is another √loka before the last above, in which the Buddha says, 'I am worthy,' etc., thus:

'I am the Arahant [i.e., worthy] of the world, I am
The Guide supreme, the one Truly Awake.
Cool and serene I in Nibbāna dwell (nibbuto).'

[19] The 'holy man,' as our tradition might say. He was no Arahant in the Buddhist sense.

[20] Fortunatus.

[21] His humility was due, apart from his natural disposition, to his having no status among a group of independent huntsmen.

[22] This ranked among the five 'topmost' heavens of the 'world of form,' or Brahma-world. See Buddh. Psy., p. 334; Digha N., i. 52.

[23] The Commentator explains this intrusion of Nāla, a village 'in Magadha, near the Bo-tree' (of Gayā) (see Ps. lix.), by saying it was Upaka's native place, and that the pair had gone to live there. As he was the trappers' middleman, and therefore in frequent communication with them, this would locate the Vankahāra country in the forests or jungles immediately to the south of Magadha, Gayā being in South Magadha.

[24] This river flows from the watershed south of the Ganges past Gayā, and the Buddha was coming from it when Upaka first met him. But the Buddha, in the Commentary, is said to have awaited Upaka at Sāvatthī to the north-west. Upaka sets out 'westward' to find him. The geography here forms a pretty crux. Whatever may be decided by archaeologists in the near future as to the site of Sāvatthī, that site was north-westward of Gayā.

[25] Keeping the right side toward the object of adoration in walking around him.

[26] See Ps. li.

[27] An idiomatic phrase for a paean or congratulatory or proclamatory speech. Cf. the two discourses so named, Majjhima N., i., pp. 63. ff.

[28] Vāsiṭṭhī, it will be remembered, is in her legend represented as losing but one child. The Commentary, undaunted by this discrepancy, explains it by the grief-distracted state of the father. Her name is that of a brahmin gens — the Vāseṭṭhas — yet she is not called a brahmin in her own legend. On the other hand, her individual point of view regarding the Dhamma is very consistently reproduced. Dr. Neumann, ignoring the Commentary as elsewhere, sees in Vāseṭṭhi, or Vāsiṭṭhī, the family name of Sundarī, introducing a very baffling complication into the dramatic simplicity of the Psalm qu´ ballad.

[29] Nirupadhii.e. of how to live so as to undo the conditions or bases for rebirth. The following line reads literally: 'I, being one who had understood the Gospel, dispelled my child-grief then and there.'

[30] Ps. lix. 186.

[31] See Ps. xxiI. n.

[32] Lit., I give thee a full bowl.

[33] For this and one half the next verse (327, 328) the Pali verses become redundant. Two are irregular in metre, one has an additional half √loka. No gloss, apparently, has crept into the text. Conceivably the redundancy may be intentionally used to express the abundance of her heritage — that papaña to which the higher life, as a simplification, selection, elimination, stood in sharp contrast.

[34] See verse 349 n. Lit., food left over, scraps.

[35] Tradition places this speech in the mother's mouth. Dr. Neumann's guess ascribes it to the Bhikkhunī who receives Sundarī into the Order. But the whole tone of it, especially the last sentiment — paraloke anāsavā — is that of the laity's point of view. The mere routine to sustain life becomes a tapas to win future compensations.
No word is said of the real object of the religious life — the training of the mind and emotions. And salvation here and now — diṭṭhadhamme anāsavā — was the goal of those entering the Order. Cf. Ps. lxx. 349, ff. for the Sister's point of view. In this Psalm I follow the Commentary, which does not interrupt the little drama with its expositions, but gives them separately.

[36] Cf. Ps. xlv. 104.

[37] So Sundarī went with Bhikkhunīs to Sāvatthī, and, entering the Vihāra, saw the Master sitting on the Seat of Doctrine. And, thrilled with a glory of joy and gladness, she said a verse, as if to herself.

[38] It is clear from this affirmation — viz., that she was Anāsavā — that Sundarī was Arahant. Curiously, hers is the sole case where the attainment is not explicitly recorded. She is only said o be tevijjā. To be Anāsavā was the sixth and last stage in vijjā or pañña or abhiñña.
Thus she spoke, declaring her añña, by way of expressing her joy. Then the Master, to relieve her nervousness, asked her: 'But whence comest thou? and wherefore? and who is this Sundarī?' Then she made answer: 'Lo! from Benares. ...'

[39] Brahmana! Cf. Dhammapada, ch. xxvi; Dialogues of the Buddha, i, 138-140; Neumann, op. cit. 347, n 2.

[40] She had travelled approximately rather under 300 miles for this pilgrimage. But she was near the end of her infinitely long life.

[41] Na bodhāya na santiyā: not for enlightenment, lit., being awake, or peace. George Eliot has lines in sympathy with Subhā:

'Nay, falter not — 'tis an assured good
To seek the noblest — 'tis your only good,
Now you have seen it; for that higher vision
Poisons al meaner choice for evermore.'

[42] Literally, for samaṇa's or recluses (religieux).

[43] Lit., left over, given as alms. Cf. Jātaka, iv. 380.

[44] Cf. Ps. lxix. 329 n. 381 I read with the Commentary mahesihi. Cf. the te on next line and 361.

[45] These are similes occurring in discourses ascribed to the Buddha — e.g., Ang. Nik., iv. 128; Saṅy. Nik., v. 112-114; iv. 189, 198; Udāna, 24; Majjh. Nik., i. 130, etc.

[46] Lit., Bringer-along of its (the way's) own affliction.

[47] 'Ujuko nāma so maggo.'
'"Straight" is the name that Way is called.' (Saṅy. Nik., i. 33.)

[48] Mahesino, as in 350.

[49] See Ps. lxiv.

[50] Bhūtapati; issaro, lord or god of beings in the three planes of sense, says the Commentary; presumably gods, men, and animals. Note that she is not called Queen or Goddess, but pati (masculine).

Next: Canto XIV. Psalm of About Thirty Verses

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