Showing posts with label Dhammapada Atthakatha. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dhammapada Atthakatha. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dhammapada Commentary - Brahmana Vagga II

Dhammapada Commentary ( Dhammapada Atthakatha )

Edited by
Bhikkhu Pesala

Brahmana Vagga II

A Saint is Harmless
23. Nidhāya daṇḍaṃ bhūtesu, tasesu thāvaresu ca
Yo na hanti na ghāteti, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.405
23. Who has laid aside the cudgel in his dealings with beings,
Whether feeble or strong, who neither injures nor kills, I call a Saint.
The Elder and the Woman
Having obtained a meditation object from the Buddha, an elder attained
Arahantship while dwelling in a forest, and was on his way to see the Teacher to
tell him of the great benefit he had gained. A woman who had quarrelled with
her husband entered the same forest wishing to return to her parents’ home, and
for protection walked not far behind the elder. The husband, finding his wife
missing, entered the forest in search of her, and saw the woman following the
elder. The husband, suspecting the elder of taking his wife away, beat him
soundly in spite of the pleadings of his wife, who vouched for the elder’s
innocence. When the elder arrived, the monks noticed that his body was covered
with bruises and weals, and he told them what had happened. When they asked
him if he had been angry, he replied that no anger had arisen in his mind. The
monks reported this to the Buddha who uttered the above verse. On conclusion of
the verse, many attained Stream-winning.
A Saint is Friendly Among the Hostile
24. Aviruddhaṃ viruddhesu, attadaṇḍesu nibbutaṃ
Sādānesu anādānaṃ, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.406
24. Who is friendly among the hostile, who is peaceful among the violent,
Who is unattached among the attached — I call a Saint.
The Four Novices
A female lay supporter prepared food for four monks, and sent her husband
to the monastery with instructions to invite and bring with him four senior
elders. When he arrived he said, “Please assign me four Saints.” Four novices —
Saṃkicca, Paṇḍita, Sopaka, and Revata had attained Arahantship at the age of
seven were assigned to him. The Brahmin’s wife arranged four luxurious seats,
and stood waiting. When she saw the four novices she was furious, and scolded
her husband for bringing four boys young enough to be his grandsons. Preparing
some low seats, she told them to sit there, then sent her husband back to the

monastery to bring some Saints. He found the Elder Sāriputta, and ask him to
come to the house. When the Elder Sāriputta arrived, he asked, “Have these Saints
been offered food yet?” On being told that they had not, since he knew that food
had been prepared for four, he took his almsbowl and departed. When his wife
asked, he told her what the Elder Sāriputta had said. Then she told him to go
again to the monastery and bring another Saint. He brought the Elder
Moggallāna, who said the same, and departed taking his almsbowl.
By this time, the novices were famished, so when the woman sent her
husband to find another elderly Brahmin, the throne of Sakka began to manifest
signs of heat due to the merit of the novices. Investigating the reason, he took the
appearance of an elderly Brahmin, and sat in the finest seat of the Brahmins.
Seeing him, the Brahmin was delighted, and invited him to his house. When she
saw him, the Brahmin’s wife was delighted, and spread two seats as one for him
to sit down. However, Sakka paid homage to the four novices, and sat nearby
paying respects to them. The Brahmin’s wife was furious again, and scolded her
husband for bringing a senile Brahmin old enough to be his father. She told him
to throw the Brahmin out of their house, but try as he might, he was unable to.
Both of them tried together, but when they thought they had they got him out,
and come back inside, he was still sitting in the same place. They screamed in
horror, and when Sakka revealed his identity, the couple offered the food to their
five guests. When they had finished their meal, each of them departed in a
different direction, breaking through the roof and the floor. Thus that house
became known as the house with five openings.
When the novices returned to the monastery the monks asked them, “What
was it like?” Saying, “You shouldn’t ask,” the novices related what had happened.
When they had finished, the monks asked them if they were angry. When they
said that they did not get angry, the monks reported this to the Buddha who
confirmed by uttering the above verse.
A Saint Has Discarded All Passions
25. Yassa rāgo ca doso ca, māno makkho ca pātito
Sāsapor’iva āraggā, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.407
25. In whom lust, hatred, pride, detraction are fallen off like a mustard seed
from the point of a needle — I call a Saint.

The Elder Mahāpanthaka
The Elder Mahāpanthaka told his brother Cūḷapanthaka1 to leave the
monastery because he could not memorise a single verse even after four months.
The monks thought that the elder had done so in anger. The Buddha explained
that Arahants have no passions and that Mahāpanthaka had been motivated by
respect for the Dhamma.
A Saint Gives Offence to None
26. Akakkasaṃ viññāpaniṃ, giraṃ saccaṃ udīraye
Yāya n’ābhisaje kañci, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.408
26. Who utters gentle, instructive, true words,
Who by his speech gives offence to none — I call a Saint.
The Elder Pilindavaccha
The Elder Pilindavaccha was in the habit of addressing others as “Vasali” a
word used only in speaking to outcastes. The monks took objection to his form of
address and mentioned it to the Buddha. The Buddha explained that the elder had
not done so with evil intent, but only through force of habit. On that occasion he
uttered the above verse.
A Saint Does Not Steal
27. Yo’dha dīghaṃ va rassaṃ vā, aṇuṃ thūlaṃ subhāsubhaṃ
Loke adinnaṃ nādiyati, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.409
27. Who in this world takes nothing that is not given, be it long or short,
small or great, fair or foul — I call a Saint.
A Certain Elder
An elder, mistaking a cloth lying on the ground for one abandoned by the
owner, took it. The owner saw this and accused him of theft. The elder explained
that he had not taken it with thievish intent and returned it. He told the other
monks about the incident. The monks made fun of him. The Buddha explained
that Arahants do not steal anything from others.

When he received a suitable meditation object from the Buddha, Cūḷapanthaka gained
Arahantship with the supernormal powers.

A Saint Has No Desires
28. Āsā yassa na vijjanti, asmiṃ loke paramhi ca
Nirāsāsaṃ2 visaṃyuttaṃ,
tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.410
28. Who has no longings for this world or for the next,
Who is desireless and emancipated — I call a Saint.
The Elder Sāriputta
The Elder Sāriputta spent the Rains in a certain residence with many other
monks. When it was time for him to leave, the lay supporters had not yet brought
all of the robes and other requisites that they had promised. He advised the
resident monks to bring the robes for the young monks and novices, and to send
word if the requisites were not offered. Some monks thought that he still
harboured desires. The Buddha explained the attitude of the Elder Sāriputta, who
was only thinking, “Let the donors gain merit, and let the young monks and
novices obtain the requisites they have been promised.”
A Saint Has No Longings
29. Yassālayā na vijjanti, aññāya akathaṃkathī
Amatogadhaṃ anuppattaṃ, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.411
29. Who has no longings, who, through knowledge, is free from doubts,
Who has gained a firm footing in the deathless — I call a Saint.
The Elder Moggallāna
This story is similar to the preceding one. This time a similar accusation was
made against the Elder Moggallāna.
A Saint Has Transcended Good and Evil
30. Yo’dha puññañca pāpañca, ubho saṅgaṃ upaccagā
Asokaṃ virajaṃ suddhaṃ, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.412
30. He who has transcended both merit and evil, and the ties as well,
Who is sorrowless, stainless, and pure — I call a Saint.


The Merit of the Elder Revata
The story is told in the Commentary to verse 98, where the elder constructed
many dwellings using his psychic powers. When the monks were talking about
the great merit made by the elder, the Buddha explained that the elder was
beyond both merit and evil, having abandoned both.
A Saint is Pure
31. Candaṃ ’va vimalaṃ suddhaṃ, vippasannam anāvilaṃ
Nandībhavaparikkhīṇaṃ, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.413
31. Who is spotless as the moon, who is pure, serene, and unperturbed,
Who has destroyed craving for becoming — I call a Saint.
The Brahmin “Moon Disk”
In the time of the Buddha Kassapa a forester offered red sandalwood in the
form of a moon disk to the shrine of the Buddha Kassapa that was built when he
attained parinibbāna. Due to this meritorious deed, when he was reborn during
the time of the Buddha Gotama he possessed a radiance like the moon that shone
from his navel. The Brahmins travelled all around the country making money by
letting people touch “Moon Disk” for good luck, after paying a fee. When they
arrived at Sāvatthī they got into a debate with the Buddha’s disciples who were
not impressed by their claims. They took “Moon Disk” with them, and went to see
the Buddha. As soon as “Moon Disk” came into the presence of the Buddha his
radiance disappeared. He assumed that the Buddha knew a charm to cause its
disappearance, and asked to learn the charm. The Buddha promised to teach him
if he would enter the Saṅgha. He told his companions that he would learn the
charm, and then return. He became a monk, learnt the contemplation on the
thirty-two body parts, and attained Arahantship. When the Brahmins asked him if
he had learnt the charm yet, he dismissed them saying that he had attained the
status of one who would never return to the world. The monks reported this to
the Buddha who confirmed it and uttered the above verse.

A Saint Clings to Nothing
32. Yomaṃ1 palipathaṃ duggaṃ,
saṃsāraṃ moham accagā
Tiṇṇo pāragato jhāyī, anejo akathaṃkathī
Anupādāya nibbuto, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.414
32. Who has passed beyond this quagmire, this difficult path, the ocean of
saṃsāra and delusion, who has crossed and gone beyond, who is
meditative, free from craving and doubts, who, clinging to nothing, has
attained nibbāna — I call a Saint.
The Elder Sīvalī
This verse was uttered by the Buddha while he was residing at the
Kuṇḍadhāna forest in connection with the Arahant Sīvalī, who had to suffer for
seven years in his mother’s womb.
2 At one time, Suppavāsā, a daughter of the
Koliya clan, carried a child in her womb for seven years, and endured the pain of
labour for seven days by reflecting on how the Buddha had gone beyond all such
suffering, how he had taught the Dhamma to go beyond all such suffering, and
how the Saṅgha had gone beyond all such suffering by practising well. Finally,
she sent her husband to the Buddha to greet him in her name. The Buddha
blessed her saying, “May Suppavāsā the daughter of the Koliya clan be well and
happy, and may she give birth to a healthy son.” At that moment Suppavāsā gave
birth to Sīvalī. Suppavāsā invited the Buddha and the Saṅgha, and offered alms
for seven days. Sīvalī waited on the monks, straining water for them. After a
while he went forth and gained Arahantship. One day, the monks were discussing
the suffering that Sīvalī had gone through in the womb, and the Buddha came
there, uttering the above verse to say that Sīvalī had now gone beyond all such

Yo imaṃ
The reason for this is given in the Asātarūpa Jātaka (Jā 100). In a former life Sīvalī had
been the son of the King of Benares. The King of Kosala killed his father and carried off
his mother as his own wife. The prince escaped through a sewer and gathered a large
army. On the advice of his mother he laid siege to the city until, after seven years, the
people cut off the head of King Kosala and surrendered the city to him. Due to her part in
this his mother of that time was reborn as Suppavāsā and had to carry Sīvalī in the womb
for seven years, and had to endure painful labour for seven days.

A Saint Has Given Up Sense-desires
33. Yo’dha kāme pahamtvāna,
1 anāgāro paribbaje
Kāmabhavaparikkhīṇaṃ, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.415
33. Who in this world, giving up sense-desires, would renounce worldly life
and become a homeless one, he who has destroyed sense-desires and
becoming — I call a Saint.
The Elder Sundarasamudda
Sundarasamudda was a young man of a wealthy family of Sāvatthī. One day,
seeing all the people going to the Jetavana monastery bearing gifts, he decided to
accompany them. As he listened to the Buddha teach the Dhamma he wished to
go forth, and after the discourse sought permission. The Buddha told him to
obtain his parents’ permission, which he did. Having gone forth and taken the
higher ordination, he decided to leave Sāvatthī and stay at Rājagaha. One day,
when there was a festival, his parents saw the other young men enjoying
themselves, and started weeping, thinking of what their son had given up. A
prostitute, seeing them weep, asked what they would do for her if she enticed
him to leave the Saṅgha. They agreed to make her the mistress of the house, and
gave her some expenses. The prostitute went to Rājagaha, and bought a house in
the street where the elder walked for alms. She prepared choice food and offered
it to him daily. Then she prepared a seat on the veranda and invited him to eat
his meal right there. Next she bribed some boys with cakes, telling them to play
and kick up the dust while the elder was eating, and not to stop even when she
told them to. She arranged a seat inside the house, and invited the elder to eat
inside away from the dust. The following day, she told the boys to make a lot of
noise, and arranged for the elder to eat upstairs. In this way, she employed all
her cunning to seduce the elder, but he was so fond of her food that he didn’t
realise what she was up to. Finally, when she started taking her clothes off, he
realised his predicament, and was filled with religious emotion.
Meanwhile, back in Sāvatthī, the Buddha saw all this and smiled. Seeing him
smile, the Elder Ānanda asked him the reason. The Buddha told him that a battle
was going on between the elder and a prostitute in the city of Rājagaha. When
asked who would win, the Buddha said that the elder would win. Then the
Buddha projected an image of himself in front of the elder, uttering the above


verse. On the conclusion of the verse, the elder gained Arahantship together with
the psychic powers, and escaped through the roof of the house, descending at
Sāvatthī, where he paid homage to the Buddha.
When the monks were discussing these events, the Buddha told them that this
was not the first time that he had saved Sundarasamudda when he been enticed
by his craving for sweet tastes, in a former life too he had done the same. Then
he related the Vātamiga Jātaka (Jā 14).
A Saint Has Given Up Craving
34. Yo’dha taṇhaṃ pahantvāna,
1 anāgāro paribbaje
Taṇhābhavaparikkhīṇaṃ, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.416
34. Who in this world giving up craving, would renounce worldly life and
become a homeless one, Who has destroyed craving and becoming — I
call a Saint.
The Elder Jaṭila
Jaṭila was the illegitimate son of a millionaire’s daughter of Benares. Her
maid servant took the baby and floated it down the Ganges in a pot. Two women
saw the pot. One laid claim to the pot, while the other claimed the contents. The
latter woman was a disciple of the Elder Kaccāna. When the baby was bathed his
hair became matted, so he was named Jaṭila. As soon as he could walk, she offer
him to the elder for ordination. Looking into his future the elder gave him to a
disciple in Takkasila, and he grew up to be a fabulously wealthy man. Later, he
retired from the world and attained Arahantship. The Buddha uttered this verse
to show that the Elder Jaṭila no longer had any longing for his wealth or his wife.
The Elder Jotika
Jotika was reborn in Rājagaha. Due to his merit the whole city blazed with
light on the day of his birth, so he was given the name Jotika, and King Bimbisāra
offered a thousand gold pieces a day for the child. When he came of marriageable
age Sakka, the king of gods, built him a palace. This was due to his great merit
when he built a Perfumed Chamber for the Buddha Vipassī. When King Bimbisāra
visited the palace with the young prince Ajātasattu, the latter vowed to take it one
day. Bimbisāra appointed Jaṭila as the city treasurer. Jotika became a devout


disciple of the Buddha. Later, when Ajātasattu became king, he tried to enter
Jotika’s palace while Jotika was visiting the Buddha to listen to Dhamma. The
guardian deities drove Ajātasattu away, so he came to Jotika and accused him of
hypocrisy. Jotika showed his hands to the king, and challenged him to take the
rings from his fingers if he could. Though he tried with all his strength, Ajātasattu
was unable to remove them. Jotika then held out his hands and let the rings fall
onto a cloth. Jotika asked the king’s permission to go forth,
1 and Ajātasattu
readily agreed, hoping therefore to get hold of his wealth. As soon as Jotika went
forth, his palace disappeared, and his wife returned to Uttarakuru, the celestial
realm from whence she had come. When later asked by the monks whether he
missed his palace or his wife, the Elder Jotika replied that he did not, and the
Buddha uttered the same verse as above to show Jotika no longer had any longing
for his wealth or his wife.
A Saint Has Discarded All Bonds
35. Hitvā mānusakaṃ yogaṃ, dibbaṃ yogaṃ upaccagā
Sabbayogavisaṃyuttaṃ, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.417
35. Who, discarding human ties and transcending celestial ties, is completely
delivered from all ties — I call a Saint.
The Performer
A monk, who had once been a performer,
2 when questioned by the other
monks, said that he had no more longing for performing. Commenting on his
change of life and his attainment to Arahantship, the Buddha uttered this verse.
A Saint Has Given Up Likes and Dislikes
36. Hitvā ratiñca aratiñca, sītibhūtaṃ nirūpadhiṃ
Sabbalokābhibhuṃ vīraṃ, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.418
36. Who has given up likes and dislikes, who is cooled and without
defilements, who has conquered the world and is courageous — I call a

The Vinaya proscribes the ordination of those in the king’s service.
Naṭa is a generic term for various entertainers. It could mean a dancer, an actor, a
comedian, a clown, a mimic, etc. The noun derives from the verb ‘naccati,’ to dance.

The Performer
The story is similar to the preceding one, but the verse is slightly different.
A Saint is Not Attached
37. Cutiṃ yo vedi sattānaṃ, upapattiñca sabbaso
Asattaṃ sugataṃ buddhaṃ, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.419
38. Yassa gatiṃ na jānanti, devā gandhabbamānusā
Khīṇāsavaṃ arahantaṃ, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.420
37. Who in every way knows the death and rebirth of beings,
Who is non-attached, well-spoken, and enlightened — I call a Saint.
38. Whose destiny neither gods, gandhabbas, nor men know,
Who has destroyed all corruptions, and is far removed from passions —
I call a Saint.
The Elder Vaṅgīsa
A man named Vaṅgīsa was able to divine where a dead person had been
reborn by tapping on his or her skull. The Brahmins took him all around India
and made a good living from his skill. In due course they arrived at Sāvatthī, but
the disciples of the Buddha were not impressed by their claims, and they argued.
Knowing that the Brahmins and Vaṅgīsa were coming to see him, the Buddha had
five skulls arranged in a row and asked Vaṅgīsa to divine where the deceased had
been reborn. When Vaṅgīsa succeeded in divining the rebirth of each of the first
four — in hell, as an animal, a human, a deva — he praised him. However, the
fifth skull was that of an Arahant, and Vaṅgīsa was completely baffled. He asked
the Buddha to teach him the mantra with which he would be able to tell the
destiny of such persons. The Buddha replied that it could not be taught to one not
ordained. With the aim of learning the mantra Vaṅgīsa became a monk, and
learnt the meditation on the thirty-two body parts. When the Brahmins asked
him if he had learnt the mantra yet he told them, “I am learning it.” Before long
he attained Arahantship. When the Brahmins asked him if he had learnt the
mantra he replied, “I am not able to learn it.” Thinking that he was speaking
falsehood, the monks reported this to the Buddha, who confirmed that Vaṅgīsa
was skilled in the death and rebirth of living beings, and uttered the above verses.

A Saint Yearns For Nothing
39. Yassa pure ca pacchā ca, majjhe ca natthi kiñcanaṃ
Akiñcanaṃ anādānaṃ, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.421
39. Who has no clinging to aggregates past, present, or future,
Who is without clinging and grasping — I call a Saint.
The Elder Nun Dhammadinnā
This teaching was given while the Teacher was staying at the Bamboo grove
near Rājagaha. One day, Visākha, the husband of Dhammadinnā attained Non-
returning while listening to the Dhamma. When he returned home, he didn’t
smile as usual, and took his meal in silence. Thinking that he must be angry about
something, Dhammadinnā bided her time. After the meal, Visākha called her and
told her to take charge of all of his property. Not wishing to accept what he had
rejected, she asked permission to become a nun. He consented and conveyed her
to the nunnery with lavish offerings. She departed to the countryside, lived in
solitude, and soon attained Arahantship with the supernatural powers. Wishing to
benefit her relatives she then returned to Rājagaha.
Wondering why she had returned, but realising it was rude to ask her if she
was discontented with the holy life, Visākha approached her and asked her some
questions about each of the four paths, which she answered easily. Then she
referred Visākha to the Buddha if he had any further questions. Hearing the
answers given by Dhammadinnā related by Visākha, the Buddha praised her
answers, and uttered the above verse.
A Saint is Enlightened
40. Usabhaṃ pavaraṃ vīraṃ, mahesiṃ vijitāvinaṃ
Anejaṃ nhātakaṃ1 Buddhaṃ,
tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.422
40. The fearless, noble hero, the great sage, the conqueror, the desireless,
the cleansed, the enlightened — I call a Saint.
The Elder Aṅgulimāla
The story relating to this verse is told in the Commentary to verse 177. The
monks asked the Elder Aṅgulimāla if he was afraid when the rogue elephant


Dhanapāla held a parasol over his head during the incomparable almsgiving given
by Queen Mallikā and King Pasenadi. The elder said that he was unafraid. The
monks reported this to the Buddha thinking that Aṅgulimāla had spoken
falsehood. The Buddha uttered the above verse with respect to the fearlessness of
the Elder Aṅgulimāla.
A Saint Has Perfected Himself
41. Pubbenivāsaṃ yo vedī, saggāpāyañca passati
Atho jātikkhayaṃ patto, abhiñjāvosito muni
Sabbavositavosānaṃ, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.423
41. That sage who knows his former abodes, who sees the blissful and the
woeful states, who has reached the end of births, who, with superior
wisdom, has perfected himself, who has completed (the holy life), and
reached the end of all passions — I call a Saint.
The Brahmin Devahita
At one time the Buddha was suffering from a disease caused by the wind
1 He sent the Elder Upavāṇa2 to the Brahmin Devahita to fetch hot water.
The Brahmin was delighted that the Buddha chose him to ask, and sent him hot
water for a bath, and a jar of molasses. When the Buddha was cured of his
ailment, the Brahmin Devahita came to the Buddha and asked him to whom a gift
should be given to yield abundant fruit. In reply the Buddha uttered the above
verse. On the conclusion of the verse many gained Stream-winning and the
Brahmin became a committed disciple of the Buddha.

Vātaroga, a disease caused by wind. It could be what we called ‘wind’, that is some kind
of gastric disorder, but it could equally well be circulatory or rheumatic pain.
He was the Buddha’s attendant before the Elder Ānanda, so this occasion was during the
Buddha’s middle age. Upavāṇa was an Arahant with the supernormal powers.

Dhammapada Commentary - Brahmana Vagga I

Dhammapada Commentary ( Dhammapada Atthakatha )

Edited by
Bhikkhu Pesala

26 — Brāhmana Vagga
The Saint1
A Saint Knows the Uncreated
1. Chinda sotaṃ parakkamma, kāme panuda Brāhmaṇa
Saṅkhārānaṃ khayaṃ ñatvā, akataññū’si Brāhmaṇa.383
1. Strive and cut off the stream. O Saint, discard sense-desires. Having
known the destruction of the conditioned, be a knower of the uncreated.
The Brahmin with Strong Faith
A Brahmin with strong faith offered alms in his house regularly to sixteen
monks. Whenever he spoke to them he addressed them as Arahants. The modest
monks resented this form of address and discontinued their visits to his house.
The Brahmin was disappointed and he went to the Buddha to ask why the monks
had ceased to come to his house for alms. The monks explained their reasons to
the Buddha. The Buddha said that the Brahmin used that form of address only out
of respect and that they should try to become Arahants by cutting off the stream
of craving.
Cultivate Concentration and Insight
2. Yadā dvayesu dhammesu, pāragū hoti brāhmaṇo
Atha’ssa sabbe saṃyogā, atthaṃ gacchanti jānato.384
2. When in two states a Saint goes to the Farther Shore,
then all the fetters of that “one who knows” pass away.
The Visiting Monks
Knowing that some monks visiting from far away were ready to realise
nibbāna, the Elder Sāriputta approached the Buddha, and questioned him about

A Brahmā is a deity who is endowed with boundless loving-kindness, compassion,
sympathetic-joy, and equanimity. The Brahmāvihāra Dhamma are the meditations on
those four sublime states. The Brahmācariya is the holy life of chastity. A Brāhmaṇa is
therefore a holy person or sage who lives an exemplary life — a … contd. on p.222

these two states, which the Buddha always used to commend. In reply the Buddha
uttered this verse.
A Saint is Fearless and Liberated
3. Yassa pāraṃ apāraṃ vā, pārāpāraṃ na vijjati
Vītaddaraṃ visaṃyuttaṃ, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.385
3. For whom there exists neither this shore nor the farther shore, nor both
this shore and the farther shore, who is fearless and liberated — I call a
Māra’s Question About the Farther Shore
Disguised as a man, Māra approached the Buddha and questioned him about
the farther shore. The Buddha, recognising him, dismissed him saying that he
had nothing to do with the farther shore and uttered the above verse.
Therein, “This shore,” means one’s own six senses; “The farther shore,”
means the six external sense objects. One who does not grasp at either with ideas
of “I” or “mine” is fearless and liberated from all defilements and is therefore
called a Saint.
On the conclusion of the discourse many attained Stream-winning.
A Saint is Meditative and Stainless
4. Jhāyiṃ virajam āsīnaṃ, katakiccaṃ anāsavaṃ
Uttamatthaṃ anuppattaṃ, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.386
4. Who is meditative, stainless and secluded, who has done his duty and is
free from corruptions, who has attained the highest goal — I call a Saint.
A Certain Brahmin
A Brahmin noted that the Buddha used to address his monks as “Brāhmaṇa”,
and he thought that he too was entitled to the same form of address as he was a
Brahmin by birth. He questioned the Buddha about the matter. The Buddha
replied that one did not become a Saint by birth but by attaining the highest goal.
On the conclusion of the above verse the Brahmin became a Stream-winner.

contd. from p.221 Saint. In spite of the connotations of this word, it is the most suitable
gender neutral term.

The Buddha Shines by Day and Night
5. Divā tapati ādicco, rattimābhāti
1 candimā
Sannaddho khattiyo tapati, jhāyī tapati brāhmaṇo
Atha sabbam ahorattiṃ, buddho tapati tejasā.387
5. The sun shines by day; the moon is radiant by night. Armoured shines
the warrior king. Meditating the Saint shines. But all day and night the
Buddha shines in glory.
The Elder Ānanda’s Praise of the Buddha
At the end of the Rains, just before the Invitation Ceremony, King Pasenadi
arrived at the Vihāra dressed in his finest garments and jewellery bearing gifts. At
that moment the sun was setting and the moon rising. The Elder Kāḷudāyī was
sitting in jhāna. Looking at the king in all his glory, the radiant golden body of
the Elder Kāḷudāyī, the setting sun, the rising moon, then at the Buddha, the
Elder Ānanda remarked that the Buddha was the most radiant of all. The Buddha
uttered the above verse, to acknowledge the Elder Ānanda’s observation. On the
conclusion of the discourse, many in the audience attained Stream-winning.
A Saint Has Discarded All Evil
6. Bāhitapāpo’ti brāhmaṇo, samacariyā samaṇo’ti vuccati
Pabbājay’attano malaṃ, tasmā “pabbajito”ti vuccati.388
6. Because he has discarded evil, he is called a Saint; because he lives in
peace, he is called a recluse; because he has given up stains, he is called
A Certain Wanderer’s Story
A certain wanderer approached the Buddha and requested him to address
him as one gone-forth (pabbajita). The Buddha uttered the above verse, saying
that he called someone “gone-forth” who had left behind passion and other
Do Not Harm A Saint
7. Na Brāhmaṇassa pahareyya, n’āssa muñcetha brāhmaṇo
Dhī Brāhmaṇassa hantāraṃ, tato dhī yassa muñcati.389

rattiṃ obhāti

7. One should not strike a Saint, nor should a Saint vent (his wrath) on one
who has struck him. Shame on him who strikes a Saint! More shame on
him who gives vent (to his wrath)!
A Saint Does Not Retaliate
8. Na Brāhmaṇass’etadakiñci seyyo,
yadā nisedho manaso piyehi
Yato yato hiṃsamano nivattatim
tato tato sammatimeva dukkhaṃ.390
8. To a Saint that (non-retaliation) is of no small advantage. When the
mind is weaned from things dear, whenever the intent to harm ceases,
then and then only doth sorrow subside.
A Brahmin Strikes the Elder Sāriputta
Some lay disciples of the Elder Sāriputta praised his great patience, saying
that he never got angry. A certain Brahmin who was a non-believer, hearing their
conversation, said that he would make the Elder angry. While the Elder was
walking for alms, the Brahmin struck the Elder Sāriputta a hard blow on the back
with his fist. The Elder did not get angry at all, but just said, “What was that?” and
continued on his way, without so much as looking round. At once, the Brahmin
felt remorseful at what he had done and, prostrating himself at the elder’s feet,
begged for forgiveness. The Elder pardoned him and accepted his offer to receive
almsfood in his house. Some bystanders, outraged at what the Brahmin had done,
took sticks and clods of earth, and went to the door of his house, determined to
kill him. The elder gave his almsbowl to the Brahmin and left his house with him
following behind, confronting the hostile crowd that had gathered there. They
asked the elder to take his bowl and tell the Brahmin to turn back, as they would
know what to do with him. The elder asked them if he had hit them or himself.
He said that he had pardoned the Brahmin, and told them to go away. When the
monks heard what had happened, they talked about it, and worried that anyone
who wished could now hit any monk with impunity. The Buddha asked about
their conversation, and praised the Elder Sāriputta for his outstanding patience.
Uttering the above verse, the Buddha extolled the attitude of a true Saint.

A Saint is Well-restrained
9. Yassa kāyena vācāya, manasā natthi dukkataṃ
Saṃvutaṃ tīhi ṭhānehi, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.391
9. Who does no evil through body, speech or mind,
who is restrained in these three respects — I call a Saint.
Mahā Pajāpati Gotamī’s Story
Some nuns would not observe the Uposatha or Invitation Ceremony with the
Elder Mahā Pajāpati Gotamī because they doubted whether she had been ordained
as a nun. The Buddha explained that when she accepted the eight serious rules,
that was her ordination, and he was her teacher and preceptor. Therefore, no
doubts should be entertained with regard to one like her who had destroyed all
defilements. On conclusion of the discourse many attained Stream-winning.
Honour the Worthy
10. Yamhā dhammaṃ vijāneyya,
Sakkaccaṃ taṃ namasseyya,
aggihuttaṃ ’va brāhmaṇo.392
10. If one should understand the doctrine preached by the Fully Enlightened
Buddha from another, one should revere that person devoutly, as a
Brahmin reveres the sacrificial fire.
The Elder Sāriputta’s Teacher
The Elder Sāriputta, first heard the Dhamma from the Elder Assaji, and from
that day, having attained Stream-winning, he used to worship with clasped hands,
before laying down to sleep with his head in whichever direction the Elder Assaji
was currently dwelling. Some monks misinterpreted his behaviour and reported
to the Buddha that the Elder Sāriputta had not given up his former wrong views,
and was paying reverence to the cardinal points. The Buddha defended his
actions, and explained the right attitude of a pupil towards his teacher. On the
conclusion of the discourse, many attained to Stream-winning.
A Saint is Truthful and Righteous
11. Na jaṭāhi na gottena, na jaccā hoti brāhmaṇo
Yamhi saccañca dhammo ca, so sucī so ca brāhmaṇo.393

11. Not by matted hair, nor by family, nor by birth does one become a Saint.
In whom are both truth and righteousness, is a pure-hearted Saint.
A Matted Hair Ascetic
A Brahmin who was a matted-hair ascetic approached the Buddha and asked
him to address him as “Brāhmaṇa” just as the monks were addressed. Thereupon
the Buddha uttered the above verse. On the conclusion of the discourse, many
attained Stream-winning.
Be Pure Within
12. Kiṃ te jaṭāhi dummedha, kiṃ te ajinasāṭiyā
Abbhantaraṃ te gahaṇaṃ, bāhiraṃ parimajjasi.394
12. What is the use of your matted hair, O witless man? What is the use of
your antelope skin garment? Within, you are full of passions; without,
you embellish yourself.
The Fraudulent Ascetic
An ascetic hung himself upside down from the branch of a tree near the city
gate of Vesālī, threatening that he would drop on his head and kill himself, which
would reduce the city of Vesālī to ashes, unless the people donated what he asked
for. When the monks left the city after their almsround he was still hanging
there. Some people gave him what he wanted, fearing that he might do some
harm to their city. Later in the day the monks saw the same ascetic again in the
vicinity of the monastery and asked him if he got what he wanted. When they
told the Blessed One about this, he said that not only in this life, but in a previous
life too, the ascetic had been fraudulent. Then the Buddha related the Godhā
Jātaka (Jā 138).
At one time the Bodhisatta took rebirth as a lizard who lived in an ant-hill.
Every day he paid respects to a virtuous ascetic who lived nearby. When the
ascetic moved on and another came to stay in his place, the Bodhisatta continued
his daily visits as before, thinking that he might also be virtuous. One day, the
ascetic received lizard meat for alms, and pleased at the sweet taste, asked what
kind of meat it was. On being told that it was lizard, he planned to kill the lizard
that visited him daily by hiding a stick under his robe, However, the lizard
became suspicious of his odd behaviour, and escaped.

A Saint Meditates Alone in the Forest
13. Paṃsukūladharaṃ jantuṃ, kisaṃ dhamanisanthataṃ
Ekaṃ vanasmiṃ jhāyantaṃ, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.395
13. Who wears dust-heap robes, who is lean, whose veins stand out,
who meditates alone in the forest — I call a Saint.
The Elder Nun Kisāgotamī
At one time Sakka, the king of the gods, visited the Buddha at the end of the
first watch of the night, accompanied by a large following of deities, to listen to
the Dhamma. The Elder nun Kisāgotamī, who was meditating alone in the forest,
wearing dust-heap robes, came through the air to visit the Buddha. Seeing Sakka,
she returned after paying homage to the Buddha. Sakka asked who she was. The
Buddha replied that she was his daughter Kisāgotamī, the foremost of those nuns
who wore rag robes. Then he uttered the above verse, on the conclusion of which
many deities attained Stream-winning.
A Saint is Unattached
14. Na c’āhaṃ Brāhmaṇaṃ brūmi, yonijaṃ mattisambhavaṃ
Bhovādi nāma so hoti, sa ce hoti sakiñcano
Akiñcanaṃ anādānaṃ, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.396
14. I do not call him a Saint merely because he is born of a (Brahmin) womb
or sprung from a (Brahmin) mother. He is merely a “Dear-addresser”, if
he has impediments. Who is free from impediments, free from clinging
— I call a Saint.
A Certain Brahmin
A Brahmin by birth wished the Buddha to address him as “Brāhmaṇa.” The
Buddha uttered the above verse in reply.
A Saint Has Destroyed All Fetters
15. Sabbasaṃyojanaṃ chetvā, yo ve na paritassati
Saṅgātigaṃ visaṃyuttaṃ, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.397
15. Who has cut off all fetters, who trembles not,
who has gone beyond ties, who is unbound — I call a Saint.

The Fearlessness of Uggasena
The story of Uggasena is told in the commentary to verse 348. The Buddha
uttered this verse when the monks reported that the Elder Uggasena claimed that
he had no fear.
A Saint Has Broken the Straps
16. Chetvā naddhiṃ varattañca, sandānaṃ1 sahanukkamaṃ
Ukkhittapaḷighaṃ buddhaṃ, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.398
16. Who has broken the strap,
2 the thong,
3 the rope and the fetters,
4 who has
thrown off the cross-bar,
5 who is enlightened — I call a Saint.
The Ox Competition
Two farmers argued about whose ox was stronger. They tested them by
loading their carts with sand and urging the oxen to pull them. The carts would
not budge, but the thongs and straps broke. The monks saw this while they were
bathing in the river, and mentioned it to the Buddha. The Buddha advised the
monks to break the thongs and straps in their own minds.
A Saint is Patient
17. Akkosaṃ vadhabandhañca, aduṭṭho yo titikkhati
Khantibalaṃ balānīkaṃ, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.399
17. Who, without anger, endures reproach, flogging and punishments,
Whose power and potent army is patience — I call a Saint.
The Abusers
Dhanañjānī was a Stream-winner who used to utter words of praise to the
Buddha whenever she sneezed, coughed, or stumbled. One day she stumbled
while serving some Brahmins and as usual exclaimed “Namo Tassa Bhagavato
Arahato Sammāsambuddhassa.” Her husband was angry, and scolded her. Then
he went to the Buddha, and without so much as a polite greeting, stood at one
side, asking in verse:

latent tendency to the sixty-two wrong views;

“What having cut off does one dwell at ease?
Cutting off what does one sorrow no more?
What one thing do you recommend destroying, Gotama?"
The Buddha replied:
"Having cut off anger one dwells at ease.
Cutting of anger one sorrows no more.
The root of anger is poisonous, its tip is sweet.
The noble praise the destruction of anger,
When that is destroyed one sorrows no more."
Hearing his reply, which was marked by great patience, the irate husband
became a convert, entered the Saṅgha, and became an Arahant. His three
younger brothers came in turn and abused the Buddha for converting him. The
Buddha patiently endured their reproach and taught them the Dhamma. They
were also converted, when forth, and became Arahants. When the monks were
talking about the Buddha’s great patience in converting the four brothers, the
Buddha came there, asked them what they were talking about, and uttered the
above verse: “He who, without anger, endures reproach...”
A Saint is Not Wrathful
18. Akkodhanaṃ vatavantaṃ, sīlavantaṃ anussadaṃ1
Dantaṃ antimasārīraṃ, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.400
18. Who is not wrathful, but is dutiful, virtuous, free from craving,
Self-controlled and who bears his final body — I call a Saint.
The Elder Sāriputta’s Mother
The Elder Sāriputta went for alms in the village of Nālaka and came to the
door of his mother’s house. She provided him with a seat and offered almsfood,
but scolded him for renouncing great wealth to become a monk, living on the
left-overs of strangers. She served the other monks too, and scolded them for
making her son their own personal attendant. The Elder Sāriputta and the other
monks patiently tolerated all this abuse, and taking the food, returned to the
monastery. The Buddha asked Rāhula where he went for alms, and Rāhula said
that he went to the house of his preceptor’s mother. Then the Buddha asked what


she had said, and Rāhula replied that she had scolded his preceptor, but he had
said nothing at all in reply. When the monks heard about this they began to talk
about the elder’s remarkable patience. The Buddha inquired about their
conversation, and uttered the above verse in praise of Sāriputta.
A Saint Does Not Enjoy Sensual Pleasures
19. Vāripokkharapatt’eva, āragger’iva sāsapo
Yo na limpati kāmesu, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.401
19. Like water on a lotus leaf, like a mustard seed on a needle's point,
one who clings not to sensual pleasures, I call a Saint.
The Rape of Uppalavaṇṇa
The story of Uppalavaṇṇa is told in the Commentary to verse 69. When she
was raped by a former suitor the monks began wondering whether Arahants
enjoy sensual pleasures. The Buddha explained that the minds of Arahants do not
adhere to sensual pleasures and are not affected by them, as a lotus leaf is not
wetted by water, and water does not adhere to a lotus leaf.
A Saint Has Laid Aside the Burden
20. Yo dukkhassa pajānāti, idh’eva khayam attano
Pannabhāraṃ visaṃyuttaṃ, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.402
20. Who realises here in this world the destruction of his sorrow,
Who has laid the burden aside and is emancipated — I call a Saint.
The Emancipated Slave
Before the laying down of the rule proscribing the ordination of slaves, a
slave belonging to a Brahmin ran away and joined the Saṅgha. He soon attained
Arahantship. Seeing him when he walked for alms, his former owner held him by
the hem of his robe. The Buddha turned round and asked what the matter was.
The Brahmin said, “He is my slave.” The Buddha said that he had laid the burden
aside and was a Saint, uttering the above verse. The Brahmin gained Stream-
A Saint Has Reached the Goal
21. Gambhīrapaññaṃ medhāviṃ, maggāmaggassa kovidaṃ
Uttamatthaṃ anuppattaṃ, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.403

21. Whose knowledge is deep, who is wise, who is skilled in the right and
wrong way, who has reached the highest goal — I call a Saint.
The Elder Nun Khemā
At one time, during the night, Sakka the king of the gods, came to see the
Buddha with a large following to listen to the Dhamma. The Elder Khemā came
to pay her respects to the Buddha, but seeing Sakka King of the gods, she just
worshipped the Buddha and turned back. Sakka asked the Buddha who she was.
The Buddha answered that she was his daughter Khemā who was wise and skilled
in knowledge of the path and non path.
A Saint Has No Intimacy with Any
22. Asaṃsaṭṭhaṃ gahaṭṭhehi, anāgārehi c’ūbhayaṃ
Anokasāriṃ appicchaṃ, tam ahaṃ brūmi Brāhmaṇaṃ.404
22. Who is not intimate with householders nor the homeless,
Who wanders without an abode, without desires — I call a Saint.
The Cave Dwelling Elder
Having obtained a meditation object from the Teacher, a certain monk took
up residence in a cave. A goddess dwelt in the cave had to leave to make way for
him. When the elder stayed for the Rains, she reflected on his virtue, and not
seeing the slightest fault, she contrived some pretext to drive him away. The deity
possessed the son of the elder’s lay supporter, and told her to sprinkle her son’s
head with the water used to wash the elder’s feet. When the lady did this, her son
was cured. Back at the cave, the deity told the elder not to enter as he had defiled
his moral purity by practising medicine. The monk was not angry, but instead
reflected on his moral purity, concluded that it was spotless, and gained
Arahantship. Then he admonished the deity and told her to leave. Later, he
reported the whole incident to the other monks. When they asked if he was angry
with the deity, he replied that he was not. The monks reported this to the
Buddha, thinking that the elder was speaking falsehood. The Buddha uttered the
above verse, to confirm the elder’s attainment of Arahantship. On the conclusion
of the discourse many attained Stream-winning.

Dhammapada Commentary - Bhikkhu Vagga

Dhammapada Commentary ( Dhammapada Atthakatha )

Edited by
Bhikkhu Pesala

25 — Bhikkhu Vagga
The Monk
Guard the Senses
1. Cakkhunā saṃvaro sādhu, sādhu sotena saṃvaro
Ghāṇena saṃvaro sādhu, sādhu jivhāya saṃvaro.360
2. Kāyena saṃvaro sādhu, sādhu vācāya saṃvaro
Manasā saṃvaro sādhu, sādhu sabbattha saṃvaro
Sabbattha saṃvuto bhikkhu, sabbadukkhā pamuccati.361
1. Good is restraint in the eye; good is restraint in the ear;
good is restraint in the nose; good is restraint in the tongue.
2. Good is restraint in deed; good is restraint in speech; good is restraint in
mind; good is restraint in everything. The monk, restrained at all points,
is freed from sorrow.
Five Sense-guarding Monks
Five monks, each of whom guarded one of the sense doors asked the Buddha
which was the most difficult to restrain. The Buddha said that they were all
difficult to restrain, and that not only now, but in the past too they had not been
able to restrain their senses. At their request he related a story from the past to
show that they had come to destruction because their senses were not guarded,
and then he uttered the above verses, on the conclusion of which the five monks
attained Stream-winning.
A Monk is Fully Controlled
3. Hatthasaṃyato pādasaṃyato,
vācāyasaṃyato saṃyatuttamo
Ajjhattarato samāhito,
eko santusito tam āhu bhikkhuṃ.362
3. He who is controlled in hand, in foot, in speech, and in the highest (i.e.,
the head); he who delights in meditation, and is composed; he who is
alone, and is contented — him they call a monk.

The Stone-throwing Monk
After bathing in the Aciravatī River, two monks stood on the bank drying off
in the sun’s rays, talking. One monk killed a flying goose by hitting it in the eye
with a stone. Other monks, standing nearby, seeing this, took the monk to the
Buddha. The Buddha, admonished him, saying that in times gone by wise men
were scrupulous about the slightest fault. Having said this, he related the
Kurudhamma Jātaka (Jā 276).
Sweet is His Speech Who Controls His Mouth
4. Yo mukhasaṃyato bhikkhu, mantabhāṇī anuddhato
Atthaṃ dhammañca dīpeti, madhuraṃ tassa bhāsitaṃ.363
4. The monk who controls his mouth, who speaks wisely, who is not puffed
up, who explains the Dhamma’s meaning, sweet is his speech.
Kokālika’s Story
The Buddha uttered this verse with reference to Kokālika who reviled the two
chief disciples, accusing them of having evil wishes.
1 When the monks were
talking about Kokālika, the Buddha came and asked them what they were talking
about. On being told, he related the Kacchapa Jātaka to show that not only in this
life, but in a previous life too, Kokālika had come to destruction due to not
controlling his tongue. At that time he had been a turtle in a lake that was drying
up. Two geese offered to carry him to another lake by holding a stick between
their beaks while he held on tightly with his mouth. He agreed to this, but on the
way some youths looked up and remarked at the sight of a turtle flying through
the sky between two geese. The turtle immediately retorted in reply to their
remarks, fell to the ground in the courtyard of the king of Benares, and was
reborn in hell. The Bodhisatta took the opportunity to preach to the garrulous
king on the dangers of being too talkative, and the king heeded his advice.
Who Delights in the Dhamma Does Not Fall
5. Dhammārāmo dhammarato, dhammaṃ anuvicintayaṃ
Dhammaṃ anussaraṃ bhikkhu, saddhammā na parihāyati.364

Kokālika Sutta, S.i.140, Sn vv 662-683. In the Suttanipāta he is called Cūḷa Kokālika to
distinguish him from Devadatta’s pupil, also called Kokālika.
Having approached the Buddha, Kokālika paid homage, and said that the Elders Sāriputta
and Moggallāna had evil desires. The Buddha advised him not to say … contd. on p.209

5. That monk who dwells in the Dhamma, who delights in the Dhamma,
who meditates on the Dhamma, who well remembers the Dhamma, does
not fall away from the sublime Dhamma.
The Elder Dhammārāma
The Elder Dhammārāma, hearing that the Buddha would attain parinibbāna
in four months’ time, refrained from associating with other monks and instead
meditated with the aim of attaining Arahantship. Thinking that he had no
affection for the Teacher, the monks reported his behaviour to the Buddha. When
the elder explained his reasons, the Buddha praised him, saying that those who
had affection for him should be like Dhammārāma, and honour him by practising
sincerely in accordance with the Dhamma. He uttered the above verse and the
Elder Dhammārāma attained Arahantship on conclusion of the verse.
Be Contented
6. Salābhaṃ nātimaññeyya, n’āññesaṃ pihayaṃ care
Aññesaṃ pihayaṃ bhikkhu, samādhiṃ n’ādhigacchati.365
7. Appalābho’pi ce bhikkhu, salābhaṃ n’ātimaññati
Taṃ ve devā pasaṃsanti, suddhājīviṃ atanditaṃ.366
6. Let him not despise what he has received, nor should he live envying
others. The monk who envies others does not attain concentration.

contd. from p.208 so, as they were well-behaved monks. Kokālika repeated his accusation
three times, then paid respects and left. Soon afterwards, boils erupted all over his body,
steadily growing to the size of quinces, when they burst. He died from this disease and
was reborn in the Lotus Hell. Brahmā Sahampati approached the Buddha during the night
and reported that Kokālika had died and had been reborn in the Lotus Hell, due to having
hardened his heart against the Elders Sāriputta and Moggallāna.
The following day, the Buddha told the monks about this, and a certain monk asked,
“How long is the lifespan in the Lotus Hell?” The Buddha replied that was not easy to
measure in terms of so many years, so many thousands of years, or hundreds of
thousands of years. The monk asked if it was possible to explain by a simile. The Buddha
replied that if there was a wagon-load of sesame seed, and if a man took away a single
seed every hundred years, that wagon-load of sesame would be used up before the life-
span of the Abudda hell. Twenty times that is the lifespan in the Nirabbuda hell … the
Ababa hell … Aṭaṭa hell … Ahaha hell … Kumuda hell … Sogandhika hell … Uppala hell
… Puṇḍarika hell, twenty times that is the lifespan in the Paduma (Lotus) hell.

7. Though he receives little, if a monk does not despise his gains, even the
gods praise such a one who is pure in livelihood and is not slothful.
The Monk Who Kept Bad Company
A certain monk, while on his almsround, met a friend who was a follower of
Devadatta. His friend told him that they received lavish offerings, and invited
him to stay at the monastery built for Devadatta by King Ajātasattu. He spent a
few days enjoying his friend’s hospitality. When he returned to the Veḷuvana
monastery the other monks reported the matter to the Buddha. The Buddha
called the monk and asked him about his behaviour. The monk replied that
though he had stayed there, he had not adopted Devadatta’s heretical views. The
Buddha admonished him that though he had not accepted heretical views, others
would think that he had, so he should not behave in that way. He should be
content with whatever alms he received. The Buddha added that this was not the
first time that monk had kept bad company, and related the Mahiḷāmukha
1 The Buddha uttered the above verses, and many attained Stream-
A Monk Has No Attachment
8. Sabbaso nāmarūpasmiṃ, yassa natthi mamāyitaṃ
Asatā ca na socati, sa ve “bhikkhū”ti vuccati.367
8. He who has no thought of “l” and “mine” whatever towards mind and
body, who does not grieve for what is not his, he is called a monk.
The Brahmin Who Gave the First Fruits
A Brahmin was in the habit of donating before he made use of anything
himself — at the time of harvesting, threshing, storing, cooking, and serving.
One day, he was sitting down for his meal with his back to the door, when the
Buddha arrived for alms. The Brahmin’s wife, not wishing to cook again, tried to
conceal the Buddha’s arrival from her husband. Going to the door she whispered
to the Buddha that there was nothing to give. The Buddha shook his head and
remained standing there. The woman laughed loudly, and the Brahmin looked

Jā.26. In a former life that monk was an elephant with a gentle face, but when robbers
slept in the stable, he became wild and killed his keepers. The Bodhisatta, who was the
king’s minister, investigated, and finding out the reason, arranged for good men to stay
in the stable for some time, until the elephant resumed his former gentle behaviour.

round to see what the reason was. Seeing the Buddha, he scolded his wife, and
donated the remainder of the food from his plate to the Buddha, apologising for
having consumed half already. The Buddha graciously accepted his offering,
saying that even the last spoonful would be suitable. The Brahmin was pleased,
and asked “Venerable sir, you call your disciples ‘monks’ — what is the meaning
of ‘monk’?” The Buddha uttered the above verse by way of explanation, and the
Brahmin and his wife attained the fruit of Non-returning.
A Monk Radiates Loving-Kindness
9. Mettāvihārī yo bhikkhu, pasanno Buddhasāsane
Adhigacche padaṃ santaṃ, saṅkhārūpasamaṃ sukhaṃ.368
10. Siñca bhikkhu imaṃ nāvaṃ, sittā te lahum essati
Chetvā rāgaṃ ca dosañca, tato nibbānam ehisi.369
11. Pañca chinde pañca jahe, pañca c’uttari bhāvaye
Pañca saṅgātigo bhikkhu, “oghatiṇṇo”ti vuccati.370
12. Jhāya bhikkhu mā1 pāmado,
mā te kāmaguṇe ramessu2 cittaṃ
Mā lohaguḷaṃ gilī pamatto,
mā kandi “dukkham idan”ti ḍayhamāno.371
13. Natthi jhānaṃ apaññassa, paññā natthi ajhāyato
Yamhi jhānañca paññā ca, sa ve nibbānasantike.372
14. Suññāgāraṃ paviṭṭhassa, santacittassa bhikkhuno
Amānusī rati hoti, sammā dhammaṃ vipassato.373
15. Yato yato sammasati, khandhānaṃ udayabbayaṃ
3 pīti pāmojjaṃ, amataṃ taṃ vijānataṃ.374
16. Tatrāyam ādi bhavati, idha paññassa bhikkhuno
Indriyagutti santuṭṭhī, pātimokkhe ca saṃvaro.375

mā ca

17. Mitte bhajassu kalyāṇe, suddh’ājīve atandite
Paṭisanthāravuty’assa, ācārakusalo siyā
Tato pāmojjabahulo, dukkhass’antaṃ karissati.376
9. The monk who abides in loving-kindness, who is pleased with the
Buddha’s teaching, attains to that state of peace and happiness, the
stilling of conditioned things.
10. Empty this boat, O monk! Emptied by you it will move swiftly.
Cutting off lust and hatred, to nibbāna you will thereby go.
11. Five cut off, five give up, five further cultivate. The monk who has gone
beyond the five bonds is called a “Flood-Crosser.”
12. Meditate, O monk! Be not heedless.
Do not let your mind whirl on sensual pleasures.
Do not be careless and swallow a ball of lead.
As you burn cry not “This is sorrow.”
13. There is no concentration in one who lacks wisdom, nor is there wisdom
in him who lacks concentration. In whom are both concentration and
wisdom, he is in the presence of nibbāna.
14. The monk who has retired to a lonely abode, who has calmed his mind,
who perceives the doctrine clearly, experiences a joy transcending that of
15. Whenever he reflects on the rise and fall of the aggregates, he
experiences joy and bliss. To “those who know” that is deathless.
16. This is the beginning for a wise monk: sense-control, contentment,
restraint in the monastic discipline.
17. Association with good and energetic friends, of pure livelihood, and
constant. Let him be cordial in his ways and refined in conduct.
Filled thereby with joy, he will make an end of ill.

The Nine Hundred Thieves
In the district of Avantī, Soṇa1 was the son of Kālī, a devout disciple of the
Elder Kaccāna. Although from a very wealthy family, he wished to go forth under
the elder. The elder turned down his request two times, saying that the monk’s
life was hard. On the third time of asking the elder relented and gave Soṇa the
Going Forth. In that border region it was difficult to find monks, so it was three
years before the elder could assemble the ten monks required for the higher
ordination. Wishing to see the Buddha, Soṇa sought permission to visit the
teacher at Sāvatthī. The elder agreed, and travelled by stages to the Jetavana
monastery. When Soṇa arrived, the Buddha greeted him warmly and arranged a
place for him to stay in the Perfumed Chamber. Having spent much of the night
meditating on the veranda, Soṇa finally went to rest in the place arranged for
him. In the morning, the Buddha asked him to recite what he had learnt, and
Soṇa recited the Book of the Eights from the Gradual Sayings. The Buddha
congratulated him on his eloquent recital, saying, “Sādhu” three times, and the
deities also applauded. At the same time, 1,200 miles2 away, Kālī heard the
deities applauding, and when the deity in her house told her the reason. Kālī’s
body was suffused with the five kinds of joy.
The Buddha asked Soṇa if he needed anything. Soṇa took this opportunity to
convey the request from his teacher to permit the higher ordination in the border
regions with only five monks, at least one of whom was learned in the Vinaya,
and the Buddha granted this request. After staying a few more days with the
Teacher, Soṇa took his leave and returned to his preceptor.
On his return, Soṇa went for alms with his preceptor to his mother’s house,
and Kālī invited Soṇa to give a public discourse. She arranged for the construction
of a pavilion in the monastery, and when all was ready, she went there with her
entire household, bar only one maid servant who was left at the mansion, which
was protected by seven walls and savage guard dogs.
While Soṇa was preaching the Dhamma to his mother and many others, a
band of nine hundred robbers managed to gain entry to Kālī’s mansion by

He was the son of Kālī. She became a Stream-winner on the night that the Buddha
taught the Dhammacakka and Hemavata Suttas, while listening to the conversation
between the deities Hemavata and Sātāgira. At that time, Kālī was pregnant, and Soṇa
was her unborn son.
A hundred and twenty yojanas (about ten miles).

digging a tunnel. Their ring-leader sent one thief to observe the woman, with
instructions to kill her if she should return before they had finished. The maid
servant came and informed Kālī that the thieves were taking the copper coins, but
she sent her away saying, “Let the thieves take what they want,” telling her not to
disturb her while she was listening to the Dhamma. A second time she came to
inform her that they were taking the silver coins, and a third time that they were
taking the gold coins, but Kālī sent her away telling her not to disturb her again.
Hearing from his spies what had happened, the ring-leader was impressed by
Kālī’s devotion to the Dhamma. He ordered the robbers to replace all of the
stolen property, fearing that they would surely be struck by lightning for robbing
such a virtuous woman. They all went to the pavilion and listened to the
remainder of the Dhamma talk. They asked for forgiveness from Kālī, and asked
her aid to obtain the Going Forth from her son. Thus they all became monks, and
each having been given a suitable meditation object, went to practise meditation.
When they were engaged in meditation, the Buddha projected an image of
himself before them and uttered the above verses having considered the
temperament of each. On the conclusion of the verses they all attained
Arahantship with analytical knowledge.
Cast Off Lust and Hatred
18. Vassikā viya pupphāni, maddavāni pamuñcati
Evaṃ rāgañca dosañca, vippamuñcetha bhikkhavo.377
18. As the jasmine creeper sheds its withered flowers,
even so, monks, you should totally cast off lust and hatred.
The Jasmine Flowers
Five hundred monks, having taken a meditation object from the Buddha,
were practising meditation. One day, observing the falling of some withered
jasmine flowers, they were stimulated to practise meditation strenuously. The
Buddha projected an image of himself before them and uttered the above verse,
on the conclusion of which they all attained Arahantship.
A Monk is Peaceful
19. Santakāyo santavāco, santavā susamāhito
Vantalokāmiso bhikkhu, “upasanto”ti vuccati.378

19. The monk who is calm in body, calm in speech, calm in mind, who is
well-composed, who has renounced worldly things, is truly called a
“peaceful one.”
The Serene Monk
A monk was very calm and quiet and his composure attracted the attention of
the other monks. The Buddha, hearing of his exemplary behaviour, advised the
monks to emulate him and uttered this verse.
Self-guarded One Lives Happily
20. Attanā coday’attānaṃ, paṭimaṃsetha1 attanā
So attagutto satimā, sukhaṃ bhikkhu vihāhisi.379
21. Attā hi attano nātho, [ko hi nātho paro siyā],
attā hi attano gati, tasmā saṃyamamattānaṃ,
assaṃ bhadraṃ ’va vāṇijo.380
20. By self do you censure yourself. By self do you examine yourself.
Self-guarded and mindful, O monk, you will live happily.
21. Oneself is one’s own protector. What other protector could there be?
Oneself is one’s own refuge. Therefore, control yourself as a merchant
controls a noble steed.
The Loin-cloth Elder
A monk saw a poor ploughman who had for his only possessions a loin cloth
and a plough. He asked him why he didn’t become a monk. The man agreed and,
leaving his meagre possessions hanging on a tree, he became a monk. He soon
became discontented and thought of disrobing. Then he went to the tree and
admonished himself. The other monks, seeing him go back and forth every few
days asked where he was going. He replied that he was going to see his teacher.
After some time he gained Arahantship so no longer went to the tree. The monks
asked him why he no longer went to see his teacher. He replied that since he had
severed his connection with the world he no longer need to see his teacher. The

paṭimāse attam
not in some books

monks reported this to the Buddha, who confirmed that he had attained
Arahantship, and uttered the above verses.
Strive with Joy and Faith
22. Pāmojjabahulo bhikkhu,
pasanno buddhasāsane
Adhigacche padaṃ santaṃ,
saṅkhārūpasamaṃ sukhaṃ.381
22. Full of joy and contentment in the Buddha’s teaching,
the monk will attain peace, the bliss of stilling conditioned things.
The Elder Vakkali’s Story
A youth, obsessed by the physical form of the Buddha, went forth in order to
be able to look at him constantly. For some time the Buddha said nothing, but
when he realised that Vakkali’s insight had matured, the Buddha admonished him
not to keep gazing at him, saying, “He who sees the Dhamma sees me.” When it
was time to enter the Rains at Sāvatthī, the Buddha departed, telling the Elder
Vakkali to return to Rājagaha. Unable to bear being separated from the Buddha
for three months, Vakkali intended to commit suicide by jumping off Vultures’
Peak. The Buddha projected his image before him, and uttered the above verse.
Vakkali overcame his grief and felt happy. Then the Buddha spoke again:
Come Vakkali! I will lift you up, as one pulls an elephant from the mud.
Come Vakkali! I will release you, as Rāhu releases the eclipsed sun.
Come Vakkali! I will release you, as Rāhu releases the eclipsed moon.
Though not seeing any path by which he could go to the Buddha, Vakkali
sprang into the air from the mountain top1 and attained Arahantship with the
supernatural powers. Descending in front of the Buddha and paying homage,
Vakkali stood in front of him.

Don’t try this at home! Vakkali had the necessary perfections to attain the supernatural
powers and Arahantship. He was later singled out and praised by the Buddha as the monk
with the strongest faculty of confidence in the Buddha.

A Devout Monk Illumines the World
23. Yo have daharo bhikkhu,
yuñjati Buddhasāsane
So’maṃ lokaṃ pabhāseti,
abbhā mutto’va candimā.382
23. The monk who, while still young, devotes himself to the Buddha’s
Teaching, illumines this world like the moon freed from a cloud.
Sumana Sāmaṇera’s Story
During the time of the Buddha Padumuttara, a certain man, having seen the
the Teacher praise a monk as supreme among those possessing the divine eye,
offered lavish alms to the Buddha and the Saṅgha for seven days. Having done
that he made an earnest wish that he too would be the supreme of those with the
divine eye in the time of a future Buddha. The Buddha Padumuttara predicted this
would come to pass in the time of Buddha Gotama. When the Buddha
Padumuttara attained parinibbāna, the youth set up a circle of lights surrounding
the cetiya built the honour his remains.
Having been reborn in celestial realms for a long time, he was in due course
reborn as a poor worker call Annabhāra (food-carrier) who worked for a
generous millionaire named Sumana. One day, Annabhāra came into the divine
eye of a Solitary Buddha named Upariṭṭha who, wishing to bestow a blessing on
Annabhāra, took his almsbowl and went to stand in front of him. Annabhāra
asked him to wait, and going quickly to his house brought the food that his wife
had prepared for himself. Offering that as alms to the Solitary Buddha he made
an earnest wish never again to hear the word “natthi” — “there isn’t any.” The
deities applauded his offering and the deity who dwelt in the parasol of the
wealthy donor Sumana also applauded. Hearing this applause for the first time,
Sumana wondered what the reason was. The deity told him that the applause was
not for him but for the alms offered by Annabhāra, one of his workers. Sumana
asked Annabhāra to share half of his merit for a thousand gold pieces. Annabhāra
went to ask the advice of the Solitary Buddha who told him that by sharing the
merit it would be doubled, as a torch-light shared with a hundred other
households would only increase the amount of light available to all. Annabhāra
accepted the offer of Sumana, who told him to build a house for himself with the
money he had received and to take whatever else he needed from his stores. Thus
did Annabhāra become a friend of the wealthy donor Sumana.

In due course, Annabhāra was reborn as a cousin of Siddhattha Gotama in the
family of Amitodana1 the Sakyan at Kapilavatthu, and was named Anuruddha.
While playing with his friends he repeatedly sent word to his mother to send
cakes until at last she decided it was time that he learnt a lesson, so sent back an
empty bowl with the message “there isn’t any cake.” Due to the vow made in his
previous life, the deities filled the bowl with celestial cakes. When Anuruddha
returned he asked his mother if she really loved him as she had never before sent
such delicious cakes. From then on, whenever Anuruddha asked for cakes, his
mother sent an empty bowl and the deities filled it with celestial cakes.
When Anuruddha came of age, his elder brother Mahānāma suggested that
one of them should go forth as a monk as no one from their family had yet gone
forth. Anuruddha thought he would not be able to endure the hard life of a
monk, so his brother explained to him the duties of farming. Since Anuruddha
had been spoiled so much, he didn’t even know where food came from. While his
friend Kimila thought it came from the granary, and his friend Bhaddiya thought
it came from the cooking pot, Anuruddha thought it came from a golden bowl, as
he had never even seen food prepared. Thus, when Mahānāma had explained all
the duties of farming, Anuruddha decided that he should go forth and let his
brother Mahānāma remain to look after the family’s land. Thus Anuruddha,
Kimila, and Bhaddiya, the three royal princes and good friends from childhood,
went forth together in the dispensation of the Buddha Gotama.
2 In due course,
Anuruddha gained Arahantship with the threefold knowledges. He remembered
his previous life when he had given alms to the Solitary Buddha Upariṭṭha. He
wondered what had happened to his friend of that time, the wealthy donor
Sumana. Reflecting on that he realised that Sumana had been reborn in the
market town of Muṇḍa in the Viñjha forest as Cūḷa Sumana, the younger son of a
lay disciple named Mahā Muṇḍa. Since the Rainy season was near, Anuruddha
travelled there through the air using his supernormal powers and alighted at the
gate of the town. Seeing the Elder Anuruddha putting on his robe, the lay disciple
sent his elder son to fetch the elder’ almsbowl and himself prepared a seat for
him. Throughout the three months of the Rains, the lay disciple waited devotedly
upon the elder, and when the time came for the Pāvāraṇa festival, he offered
sugar lumps, oil, husked rice, etc. The elder refused, and when asked why, said
that he had no novice to attend him. When the lay disciple offered Mahā Sumana

The brother of Suddhodana, the father of Siddhattha.
At the same time as Ānanda, Bhagu, Devadatta, and their barber Upāli

as his novice, the elder again refused saying he had no need for Mahā Sumana.
Then the lay disciple asked the elder to admit Cūḷa Sumana to the Saṅgha, and the
elder consented. While Sumana’s head was being shaved he attained Arahantship.
Having stayed there a further fortnight, the elder took leave and departed with
the novice, returning to his forest hut in the Himalayas.
One day when the elder was troubled by indigestion, the novice fetched
water from the Anotatta lake. When the elder and the novice visited the Buddha,
some of the monks treated the novice like a child. Wishing to show the boy’s
powers, the Buddha told the Elder Ānanda to ask the novices to fetch some water
from the Anotatta lake to fill a water jar. Only Sumana was able to do this.
Praising Sumana for his supernormal powers, the Buddha uttered the above verse.

Dhammapada Commentary - Tanha Vagga

Dhammapada Commentary ( Dhammapada Atthakatha )

Edited by
Bhikkhu Pesala

24 — Tanhā Vagga
Craving Grows in the Heedless
1. Manujassa pamattacārino,
taṇhā vaḍḍhati māluvā viya
So plavatī
1 hurāhuraṃ,
phalam icchaṃ ’va vanasmi vānaro.334
2. Yaṃ esā sahatī jammī, taṇhā loke visattikā
Sokā tassa pavaḍḍhanti, abhivaṭṭhaṃ ’va bīraṇaṃ.335
3. Yo c’etaṃ sahatī jammiṃ, taṇhaṃ loke duraccayaṃ
Sokā tamhā papatanti, udabindu’va pokkharā.336
4. Taṃ vo vadāmi bhaddaṃ vo, yāvant’ettha samāgatā
Taṇhāya mūlaṃ khanatha, usīrattho’va bīraṇaṃ
Mā vo naḷaṃ ’va soto’va, māro bhañji punappunaṃ.337
1. The craving of one who lives heedlessly grows like a creeper.
He jumps from life to life like a monkey seeking fruits in the forest.
2. Whomsoever craving overcomes in this world,
his sorrows flourish like well-watered bīraṇa grass.
3. Whoever overcomes this unruly craving in this world,
his sorrows fall away like water-drops from a lotus-leaf.
4. I say this to you: Good luck to all who have assembled here! Dig up the
root of craving like one in quest of bīraṇa’s sweet root. Do not let Māra
crush you again and again as a flood (crushes) a reed.
Kapila the Fish
After the parinibbāna of the Buddha Kassapa, two brothers went forth. The
elder brother, named Sāgata, took upon himself the burden of meditation, while
the younger brother, named Kapila, thought he could meditate when he was


older, so took upon himself the burden of study. The Elder Sāgata lived with his
preceptor for five years, then having taken a meditation subject, lived in the
forest and gained Arahantship. The Elder Kapila gained a large following and
many material gains due to his learning, and, becoming proud, began to
disparage others. The well-behaved monks reported his behaviour to his brother,
who admonished him three times, but Kapila wouldn’t listen and became wicked.
One day, taking a fan, he began reciting the Pāṭimokkha in the usual way asking
if any of the monks had any offence to confess.
1 Thinking, “What is the use of
answering this fellow, the monks said nothing.” Observing their silence, Kapila
said, “What difference does it make if I recite the Pāṭimokkha or not?” So saying,
he arose from his seat. Thus did he retard the dispensation of the Buddha
Kassapa. After his death he was reborn in Avīci hell where he stayed until the
time of the Buddha Gotama when he was reborn in the River Aciravatī as a
golden fish. His mother and sister, having abused well behaved monks, were also
reborn in Avīci hell.
Also during the time of the Buddha Kassapa, five hundred bandits fled into
the forest to escape their pursuers. Seeing a forest monk they begged him for
protection. The elder administered the five precepts to them, and admonished
them to guard the precepts even at the cost of their own lives. They agreed. When
the householders caught them, they executed the bandits, who were reborn as
devas. During the time of the Buddha Gotama they were reborn at the same time
in a fishing village by the Aciravatī river, and grew up together.
One day the fish was caught by the fishermen, and due to his remarkable
golden colour the fishermen put it in a boat and took it to the king. The king
thought, “The Buddha will know the reason for this, and had the fish taken to the
teacher.” As soon as the fish opened its mouth, the bad smell of his breath
pervaded the monastery. The Buddha questioned the fish and made him answer.
“Are you Kapila?” “Yes venerable sir.” “Where have you come from?” “From Avīci
hell, venerable sir.” “Where has your elder brother Sāgata gone?” “He attained
parinibbāna, Venerable sir.” “Where are you mother and sister?” “In the great
hell, venerable sir.” “Where are you going now?” “To Avīci hell, venerable sir.”
Then the fish knocked its head against the side of the boat and died. Most in the

Before entering the Uposatha hall for the recitation of the Pāṭimokkha, the monks
confess any offences that they might have to one another in groups of two or three. Thus
when the reciter asks, “If any monk has any offence, let him confess it” they always
remain silent. The Elder Kapila was apparently blissfully unaware of … contd. on p.195

audience became alarmed and horrified. The Buddha then taught the Kapila
Sutta1 for the benefit of the audience. The five hundred fishermen, being stirred
with religious emotion, requested the going forth from the Teacher.
Craving is the Root of Suffering
5. Yathā’pi mūle anupaddave daḷhe,
chinno’pi rukkho punareva rūhati
Evam pi taṇhānusaye anūhate,
nibbattatī dukkham idaṃ punappunaṃ.338
6. Yassa chattiṃsatī sotā, manāpassavanā bhusā
Māhā2 vahanti duddiṭṭhiṃ, saṅkappā rāganissitā.339
7. Savanti sabbadhī sotā, latā uppajja3 tiṭṭhati
Tañca disvā lataṃ jātaṃ, mūlaṃ paññāya chindatha.340
8. Saritāni sinehitāni ca, somanassāni bhavanti jantuno
Te sātasitā sukhesino, te ve jātijarūpagā narā.341
9. Tasiṇāya purakkhatā pajā,
parisappanti saso’va bandhito4
dukkham upenti punappunaṃ cirāya.342
10. Tasiṇāya purakkhatā pajā,
parisappanti saso’va bandhito1
Tasmā tasiṇaṃ vinodaye,
ākaṅkhanta5 virāgam attano.343

contd. from p.194 this tradition as he had never bothered to train himself properly in the
Vinaya discipline, thus when he asked the question he thought that the monks would
confess their offences to him. Since they remained silent, he assumed that they were
shameless, though they were just diffident to say anything to Kapila who had proved
himself impossible to admonish.
Dhammācariya Sutta, Sn. vv.274-283.
bhikkhu ākaṅkhī

5. Just as a tree with roots unharmed and firm, though hewn down, sprouts
again, even so while latent craving is not rooted out, this sorrow springs
up again and again.
6. If in anyone the thirty-six streams (of craving) that rush towards
pleasurable thoughts are strong, such a deluded person, torrential
thoughts of lust carry off.
7. The streams (craving) flow everywhere. The creeper (craving) sprouts
and stands. Seeing the creeper that has sprung up, with wisdom cut off
8. In beings there arise pleasures that rush (towards sense-objects) and
(such beings) are steeped in craving. Bent on happiness, they seek
happiness. truly, such men come to birth and decay.
9. Folk enwrapt in craving are terrified like a captive hare. Held fast by
fetters and bonds, for long they come to sorrow again and again.
10. Folk, enwrapt in craving, are terrified like a captive hare.
Therefore a monk who desires dispassion should discard craving.
The Sow
One day, while was entering Rājagaha for alms, the Buddha smiled when he
saw a certain sow. Seeing him smile, the Elder Ānanda asked him the reason, and
the Buddha related the sow’s past life.
During the time of Buddha Kakusandha she was a hen who used to listen to
the sound of a monk reciting a formula for insight meditation. When she died,
she was reborn as a princess named Ubbharī in the royal household. One day,
Ubbharī saw a heap of maggots and gained the first jhāna. When she died, she
was reborn as a Brahma. Passing away from that existence and wandering
through saṃsāra, she has now been reborn as this sow. Then the Buddha uttered
the above verses on the dangers of craving for the benefit of the monks who were
listening to this conversation.

Returning to Lay Life is Foolish
11. Yo nibbanatho vanādhimutto,
vanamutto vanam eva dhāvati
Taṃ puggalam etha passatha,
mutto bandhanam eva dhāvati.344
11. Whoever with no desire (for the household) finds pleasure in the forest
(of asceticism) and though freed from desire (for the household), (yet)
runs back to that very home. Come, behold that man! Freed, he runs
back into that very bondage.
The Back-sliding Monk
A certain young man entered the Saṅgha under the guidance of the Elder
Mahākassapa and gained the fourth jhāna. Seeing the gold and other rare objects
in the household of his maternal uncle he developed a strong attachment for
them and disrobed. However, because he was too lazy to do any work, he was
thrown out of the house, and fell into the company of thieves. One day he was
caught and with his hands bound was being led off for execution, and being
lashed with whips at every cross-roads. While walking for alms, the Elder
Mahākassapa recognised him, and urged him to meditate as he had done before.
When the executioners were making ready to kill him, they marvelled that he was
completely unafraid. The king was informed, who ordered his release and went
to see the Teacher. The Buddha manifested an image of himself before the man,
and uttered the above verse, on hearing which the man attained Stream-winning.
He then rose into the air, went to where the Teacher was sitting with the king,
paid homage, and attained Arahantship in the midst of the assembly.
Attachment is Stronger Than Chains
12. Na taṃ daḷhaṃ bandhanam āhu dhīrā,
yadāyasaṃ dārujapabbajañca1
Sārattarattā maṇikuṇḍalesu,
puttesu dāresu ca yā apekhā.345

dārujaṃ babbajañca

13. Etaṃ daḷhaṃ bandhanam āhu dhīrā,
ohārinaṃ sithilaṃ duppamuñcaṃ
Etam pi chetvāna paribbajanti,
anapekkhino kāmasukhaṃ pahāya.346
12. That which is made of iron, wood or hemp, is not a strong bond, say the
wise; the longing for jewels, ornaments, children, and wives is a far
greater attachment.
13. That bond is strong, say the wise. It hurls down, is supple, and is hard to
loosen. This too the wise cut off, and leave the world, with no longing,
renouncing sensual pleasures.
The Prison
While walking for alms, some monks from the countryside noticed criminals
bound by chains while passing a prison. They asked the Buddha whether there
were other bonds stronger than those they had seen. The Buddha replied that the
bonds of craving for wealth, crops, wives, and children, was much stronger.
Nevertheless, wise men of former times, having broken these bonds, went forth
into the Himalayas. Then he related a story of the past when Brahmadatta was the
king of Benares. Then a young man whose father had died, worked for hire to
support his mother. Contrary to his wishes, she brought him a wife, and passed
away after some time. He then told his wife to support herself by working for
hire as he wished to go forth as a monk. She told him that she was pregnant, and
asked him to wait until the baby had been born. When the baby was born she
asked him to wait until it was weaned from the breast. Meanwhile she became
pregnant again. Thinking that he would never escape if he did as his wife wished,
he decided to leave secretly. He went to the Himalayas and became a recluse,
developing the jhānas and the superhuman faculties, rejoicing in having escaped
from the bondage of household life. Having related this story of the past, the
Buddha uttered the above verses.
The Lustful Are Caught in Their Own Web
14. Ye rāgarattānupatanti sotaṃ,
sayaṃ kataṃ makkaṭako’va jālaṃ
Etam pi chetvāna vajanti dhīrā,
anapekkhino sabbadukkhaṃ pahāya.347

14. Those who are infatuated with lust fall back into the stream as (does) a
spider into the web spun by itself. This too the wise cut off and wander,
with no longing, released from all sorrow.
The Elder Sister Khemā
Khemā was the chief queen of King Bimbisāra. As a result of an earnest wish
she had made at the feet of Buddha Padumuttara, she was extremely beautiful.
She avoided the Teacher’s presence as she feared that he would speak in dispraise
of beauty. Knowing of her vanity, the king had songs composed praising the
beauty of the Bamboo Grove. Hearing these songs, Khemā developed a longing to
go and see for herself the beauty of the Bamboo Grove (Veḷuvana), and decided to
go there. Knowing that she had come, the Buddha created a phantom of a
beautiful young woman, who sat fanning him. Khemā was fascinated by the
young woman, who seem far more beautiful than herself, and decided that the
Teacher’s dislike of physical beauty had been misrepresented. As Khemā sat
enthralled by the young woman, the Buddha made the phantom age rapidly as he
was teaching the Dhamma. After a while, the phantom became middle-aged, then
old, then she collapsed and died, and became a heap of bones. As Khemā watched
this happen, she gained insight. Knowing this, the Buddha said:
“Khemā, look at this diseased heap of filth, oozing and trickling, longed
for by fools.”
On hearing this verse, Khemā attained Stream-winning. Admonishing her
further on the difficulty of crossing the stream of craving, the Buddha uttered the
above verse: “Those who are infatuated with lust ...” on the conclusion of which
she attained Arahantship. The Buddha advised the king that should either enter
the Saṅgha or attain parinibbāna, and the king asked for her to be admitted to
the community of nuns. Thus Khemā Therī became one of the leading nuns.
Let Go!
15. Muñca pure muñca pacchato,
majjhe muñca bhavassa pāragū
Sabbattha vimuttamānaso,
na puna jātijaraṃ upehisi.348
15. Let go of the past. Let go of the future. Let go of the present. Crossing to
the farther shore of existence, with mind released from everything, do
not again undergo birth and decay.

Uggasena’s Story
A troupe of five hundred circus performers came to Rājagaha every six
months and drew big crowds, earning much wealth. The people piled up stacks of
beds in order to watch. A young man named Uggasena, who was the son of a
millionaire, fell in love with a certain female acrobat. He told his parents he
would die unless he could marry her, and refused to eat in spite of being urged
repeatedly to take a wife more suited to his family’s wealth. Unable to dissuade
their son, they sent a messenger to seek the girl’s hand in marriage. Her father
refused, saying that if their son wanted to marry her, he would have to join their
troupe and travel with them. Uggasena joined the troupe to marry the acrobat’s
daughter, and wandered from place to place, looking after the carts, and so forth.
In due course, his wife became pregnant and gave birth. As she played with her
son, she called him “Son of a cart-driver,” “Son of a firewood gatherer,” “Son of a
water-carrier,” “Son of a know-nothing.” Hearing her talk like this, Uggasena
decided to learn the art of tumbling. He went to her father and asked him to
teach him. After a year, he mastered the art, and prepared to display his skill to
the crowd for the first time at Rājagaha. An announcement was made to the
crowd that Uggasena, the son of the millionaire, would perform, and he climbed
to the top of a bamboo pole sixty cubits high. Poised on top of the pole, he called
for the crowd’s attention, ready to perform somersaults. At that very moment,
the Buddha entered the city for alms, and everyone paid attention to him.
Uggasena performed seven somersaults, landing safely back on top of the pole
each time, but there was no applause as no one was watching. Utterly deflated, he
just stood there thinking that his performance had been a complete failure.
Knowing his thoughts, the Buddha sent the Elder Moggallāna to ask Uggasena to
perform his feat again. Thinking, “The Teacher wishes to see my performance,”
Uggasena turned fourteen somersaults, and stood on top of the pole. The Buddha
spoke to him, “Uggasena, a wise man should give up attachment to the past,
future, and present to gain release from birth, old age, disease, and death.” Then
the Buddha uttered the above verse, and on its conclusion, Uggasena gained
Arahantship together with analytical knowledge (paṭisambhidā ñāṇa), even while
stood on top of the bamboo pole. Uggasena descended from the pole, approached
the Buddha, paid homage, and requested the Going Forth. The Buddha ordained
him with the words, “Come, monk.”
Later, the monks asked him, “Were you not afraid as you descended from the
pole?” Uggasena replied that he had no fear, and the Buddha confirmed it,
uttering this verse (Dhp v 397):

“He who has cut off all fetters, who trembles not,
Who has gone beyond ties, who is unbound — I call a Saint.”
On another occasion the monks were talking about Uggasena, wondering
how the son of a millionaire could become a wandering circus performer, and
how could such a person be endowed with the perfections for Arahantship.
Having inquired about the subject of their conversation, the Buddha related a
story of the past.
When the golden cetiya of the Buddha Kassapa was being constructed, a
husband and wife, having taken abundant food, set out to work as labourers. On
the way they saw an elder walking for alms. The wife urged her husband to fetch
his almsbowl, and they offered him alms, both making an earnest wish to attain
the knowledge that he had gained. The elder, being an Arahant endowed with
psychic powers, looked into their futures and smiled. Seeing him smile, the wife
said that he must have been an actor, and her husband agreed. Thus due to these
words, the pair became actors, but due to their earnest wish they also attained
Arahantship. Uggasena’s wife also retired from the world and gained
Arahantship, according to her wish in her previous life.
Craving Grows in the Passionate
16. Vitakkapamathitassa jantuno,
tibbarāgassa subhānupassino
Bhiyyo taṇhā pavaḍḍhati,
esa kho daḷhaṃ karoti bandhanaṃ.349
17. Vitakkūpasame ca yo rato,
asubhaṃ bhāvayate sadā sato
Esa kho byantikāhiti,
esa checchati mārabandhanaṃ.350
16. For the person who is perturbed by (evil) thoughts, who is exceedingly
lustful, who contemplates pleasant things, craving increases more and
more. Surely, he makes the bond (of Māra) stronger.
17. He who delights in subduing (evil) thoughts, who meditates on “the
loathesomeness” (of the body) who is ever mindful — he will make an
end (of craving). He will sever Māra’s bond.

Young Archer the Wise
A young monk in need of drinking water went to a certain house. As soon as
the young woman in the house saw the monk, she fell in love with him. She asked
him to come again whenever he needed water. Later, she offered him rice gruel,
and later provided him with a seat and offered boiled rice. Seating herself near
him, she started talking about how lonely she was, as no visitors came to that
house. Thinking about her, the young monk became discontented, and was taken
to his preceptor and to the Buddha. He admitted the cause of his discontent. The
Buddha then related an incident from the young monk’s previous life to show
how he had been betrayed by her before.
At that time he had been known as Young Archer the Wise. Having acquired
the skills of archery and sword-fighting in Takkasila, his teacher was so pleased
with his ability that he gave his own daughter to him in marriage. On the return
journey to Benares they were waylaid by bandits, but Young Archer killed fifty of
them with arrows. Having run out of arrows, he asked his wife for his sword, but
when she saw the bandit chief she fell in love with him at once, and put the
sword in the bandit’s hand. The bandit slew Young Archer, took the woman with
him and went his way. Realising that such a woman would kill him too, just as
she had killed her husband, he abandoned her by a river, taking her jewels and
crossing over to continue his journey alone. In order to teach the woman a
lesson, Sakka appeared before her in the form of a jackal with some meat in his
mouth. As a fish leaped out of the water, the jackal dropped the meat to catch the
fish, but missed, and a bird flew away with the meat. When the woman laughed
at this, the Jackal (Sakka) admonished her that she was even more foolish, as she
had lost both her husband and her lover, but could not see her own fault. She
understood and vowed to be faithful in future. Sakka scolded her again, saying
that one who stole a clay pot would also steal a copper one, and that she would do
evil again. When the Teacher had finished relating this Cūḷadhanuggaha Jātaka
(Jā. 374) he told the monk that at that time he had been Sakka, the young monk
had been Young Archer the Wise, and the young woman had been his unfaithful
wife who had deprived him of life. On the conclusion of the above verse, the
young monk attained Stream-winning.
Who Has Reached the Goal is Fearless
18. Niṭṭhaṅgato asantāsī, vītataṇho anaṅgaṇo
Acchindi bhavasallāni, antimo’yaṃ samussayo.351

19. Vītataṇho anādāno, niruttipadakovido
Akkharānaṃ sannipātaṃ, jaññā pubbaparāni ca
Sa ve “antimasārīro, mahāpañño mahāpuriso”ti vuccati.352
18. Who has reached the goal is fearless. Void of craving, he is passionless,
having cut off the barbs of life. This is his final body.
19. Who is without craving and grasping, who is skilled in etymology and
terms, who knows the grouping of letters and their sequence — he is
called the bearer of the final body, one of profound wisdom, a great
Māra Tries to Frighten Rāhula
One day, several elders arrived during the night, and woke up the novice
Rāhula. Not seeing any other place to sleep, Rāhula went to lie down in front of
the Buddha’s Perfumed Chamber. Māra Vasavatti, hoping to annoy the Buddha by
frightening his son, took the form of a bull-elephant, encircled the head of
Rāhula with his trunk, and trumpeted loudly. Sitting in the Perfumed Chamber,
the Buddha told Māra that even a thousand like himself would not be able to
frighten his son who was fearless, free from craving, courageous, and wise. So
saying, he uttered the above verses.
The Omniscient One Has No Teacher
20. Sabbābhibhū sabbavidū’ham asmi,
sabbesu dhammesu anūpāḷitto
Sabbañjaho taṇhakkhaye vimutto,
sayaṃ abhiññāya kam uddiseyyaṃ.353
20. All have I overcome, all do I know. From all am I detached. All have I
renounced. Wholly absorbed am I in “the destruction of craving.” Having
comprehended all by myself, whom shall I call my teacher?
The Naked Ascetic Upaka
Shortly after his Enlightenment, while on his way to the deer park to teach
the Dhamma to the group of five ascetics, he met Upaka, a naked ascetic.
1 Pleased
with the Buddha’s serene appearance, Upaka asked who were his preceptor and

Ājīvaka: the followers of Makkhali Gosāla. They went about naked, abstained from fish
and flesh, followed strict rules about accepting food, and were esteemed due to this.

teacher. The Buddha replied that he had no preceptor or teacher, and uttered the
above verse. Neither approving nor disapproving, Upaka departed, shaking his
head and wagging his tongue.
The Gift of Truth Excels All Gifts
21. Sabbadānaṃ dhammadānaṃ jināti,
sabbaṃ rasaṃ dhammaraso jināti
Sabbaṃ ratiṃ dhammaratī jināti,
taṇhakkhayo sabbadukkhaṃ jināti.354
21. The gift of Truth excels all (other) gifts. The flavour of Truth excels all
(other) flavours. The pleasure in Truth excels all (other) pleasures. He
who has destroyed craving overcomes all sorrow.
Sakka’s Questions
The deities assembled and debated these four questions: “Which is the best
gift? Which is the best taste? Which is the greatest bliss? Why is the destruction of
craving said to be the best of all? Unable to obtain an answer, they took their
questions to Sakka, the king of Tāvatiṃsa, and Sakka decided that this was a
question that only the Buddha could answer. Sakka went to the Jeta grove with a
large retinue of deities and put the questions to the Buddha, who replied with the
above verse. Sakka then requested that, since the gift of Dhamma was the best of
gifts, that the merit of teaching the Dhamma should be shared with the deities
whenever the monks taught. The Buddha told the monks to share the merits of
teaching the Dhamma to all beings from that day on.
Riches Ruin the Fool
22. Hananti bhogā dummedhaṃ, no ve pāragavesino
Bhogataṇhāya dummedho, hanti aññe’va attanā.355
22. Riches ruin the foolish, but not those in quest of the beyond (nibbāna).
Through craving for riches the ignorant man ruins himself as (if he were
ruining) others.

Upaka later met the Buddha again, gained the fruit of non-returning, and was reborn in
the Pure Abode of Avihā, where he immediately attained Arahantship.

The Childless Millionaire
A childless millionaire died leaving all his wealth. King Pasenadi ordered all
of his wealth to be removed to the royal treasury. There was so much wealth, that
this process took seven days. Then the king went to see the Buddha. He related
what had happened and remarked that although the Buddha dwelt close by, the
treasurer had not given any alms. The Buddha related the previous life of the
millionaire. At one time he was a millionaire. When a Solitary Buddha named
Tagarasikhiṃ came to his house for alms, he told his wife to give him something,
and got up and left. His wife, seizing this rare opportunity, took his almsbowl
and filled it with delicious food. On coming back, the man asked the
Tagarasikhiṃ if he had been given anything, so he lifted the lid of his bowl.
Seeing and smelling the delicious food given by his wife, the householder thought
that it would have been better to give that food to his servants, as they would
work hard, but this monk would just go and have a good sleep after eating. In
that life, the householder had a nephew who would frequently point out his
father’s property when walking with his uncle. Not wishing for his nephew to
inherit his brother’s property, he took the boy and murdered him in a wood.
Having suffered in hell for many hundreds of thousands of years for this evil
deed, he was reborn in Sāvatthī as a multi-millionaire due to the fruition of his
offering of choice alms to Tagarasikhiṃ. However, because he regretted giving it,
he was unable to enjoy any benefit of this wealth, and lived on only sour rice
gruel. Due to killing his nephew in his previous existence, he remained childless,
and his property was confiscated by the king. After death, he was again reborn in
the Roruva hell.
Blemishes of Mankind
23. Tiṇadosāni khettāni, rāgadosā ayaṃ pajā
Tasmā hi vītarāgesu, dinnaṃ hoti mahapphalaṃ.356
24. Tiṇadosāni khettāni, dosadosā ayaṃ pajā
Tasmā hi vītadosesu, dinnaṃ hoti mahapphalaṃ.357
25. Tiṇadosāni khettāni, mohadosā ayaṃ pajā
Tasmā hi vītamohesu, dinnaṃ hoti mahapphalaṃ.358
26. Tiṇadosāni khettāni, icchādosā ayaṃ pajā
Tasmā hi vigaticchesu, dinnaṃ hoti mahapphalaṃ.359

23. Weeds are the bane of fields, lust is the bane of mankind.
Hence what is given to those free from lust yields abundant fruit.
24. Weeds are the bane of fields, hatred is the bane of mankind.
Hence what is given to those free from hatred yields abundant fruit.
25. Weeds are the bane of fields, delusion is the bane of mankind.
Hence what is given to those free from delusion yields abundant fruit.
26. Weeds are the bane of fields, craving is the bane of mankind.
Hence what is given to those free from craving yields abundant fruit.
Aṅkura’s Story
When Indaka gave a spoonful of his own food to the Elder Anuruddha as
alms, the fruit of his merit was greater than that of Aṅkura who for thousands of
years offered abundant alms. When the Buddha taught the Abhidhamma in
Tāvatiṃsa, the god Indaka sat by his right side, while the god Aṅkura had to sit
far away. Explaining the importance of giving alms with wise discrimination, by
giving to the virtuous, the Buddha uttered the above verses.