Buddhist Legends

An English translation of this complete translation of the Dhammapada Commentary, which relates many events from the life of the Buddha and his disciples (with an embedded reading of part of the text).

Translated from the original Pāli text of the Dhammapada Commentary by
Eugene Watson Burlingame
Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences; sometime Harrison Fellow for Research, University of Pennsylvania, and Johnston Scholar in Sanskrit, Johns Hopkins University; Lecturer on Pāli (1917-1918) in Yale University

Part 1–3: Translation of Books 1 to 26
Volumes 28 and 29 and 30

Originally copyright, 1921
Harvard University Press (Cambridge, Mass.)
Now Public Domain

first scanned and ocr-ed by the Internet Archive with a grant from Microsoft Corporation

originally proof-read by

Ven. Khemaratana

finally proof-read and prepared for digital publication by
Anandajoti Bhikkhu
(August, 2015)


Volume 1

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Volume 2

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Volume 3

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Html Table of Contents

Editor’s Note


Html Table of Contents

Chapter I

I. 1. “If Thine Eye Offend Thee, Pluck It Out”

I. 2. Why Cry for the Moon?
(Maṭṭhakuṇḍali, Adinnapubbaka)

I. 3. Tissa the Fat
(Tissa, Devala and Nārada)

I. 4. “Not Hatred for Hatred”
(A barren woman)

I. 5. The Quarrelsome Monks of Kosambi

I. 6. Kāḷa Junior and Kāḷa Senior
(Culla Kāḷa, Mahā Kāḷa, Majjhima Kāḷa )

I. 7. Devadatta Wears an Unbecoming Robe
(Devadatta, Sāriputta)

I. 8. The Chief Disciples
(Bodhisatta and Buddha, Sāriputta (Sarada), Mahāmoggallāna (Sirivaḍḍha), Sañjaya,
Añña Koṇḍañña, Yasa, Bhaddavaggiya, Kassapa brothers)

I. 9. Nanda the Elder
(Nanda (Kappaṭa), Janapada-Kaḷyānī)

I. 10. Cunda the Pork-Butcher

I. 11. The Righteous Lay Brother

I. 12. Devadatta’s Career
(Bhaddiya, Anuruddha, Ānanda, Bhagu, Kimbila, Devadatta)

I. 13. Lady Sumanā
(Visākhā, Anāthapiṇḍika and his daughters, Mahā Subhaddā, Culla Subhaddā, Sumanā)

I. 14. Two Brethren
(One who attained, one who only studied)


Chapter II

II. 1. Story-Cycle Of King Udena Or Udayana

II. 2. The Voice Of A Rich Man

II. 3. Little Wayman

II. 4. Simpletons’ Holiday

II. 5. Kassapa The Great

II. 6. Two Brethren

II. 7. How Magha Became Sakka

II. 8. A Monk Attains Arahatship

II. 9. Tissa of the Market-Town


Chapter III

III. 1. Elder Meghiya

III. 2. The Mind-Reader

III. 3. A Discontented Monk

III. 4. Nephew Saṅgharakkhita

III. 5. Elder Thought-Controlled

III. 6. Monks and Tree-Spirits

III. 7. Cruelty a Cause of Boils

III. 8. Nanda the Herdsman

III. 9. Mother of Two and Father of Two


Chapter IV

IV. 1. The Soil of the Heart

IV. 2. A Monk Attains Arahatship

IV. 3. Viḍūḍabha Wreaks Vengeance on the Sākiyas

IV. 4. Husband-Honorer

IV. 5. Niggardly Kosiya

IV. 6. Pāṭhika the Naked Ascetic

IV. 7. The King and the King of Kings

IV. 8. Marriage of Visākhā

IV. 9. Elder Ānanda’s Question

IV. 10. Sakka Gives Alms to Kassapa the Great

IV. 11. Godhika Attains Nibbāna

IV. 12. Sirigutta And Garahadinna


Chapter V

V. 1. The King and the Poor Man with a Beautiful Wife

V. 2. The Rebellious Pupil

V. 3. A Jonah in the House

V. 4. The Pickpocket

V. 5. The Wise Fool

V. 6. From Vice to Virtue

V. 7. A Leper is Tempted to Deny his Faith

V. 8. A Farmer is Unjustly Accused of Theft

V. 9. Sumana the Gardener

V. 10. Rape of Uppalavaṇṇā

V. 11. Jambuka The Naked Ascetic

V. 12. The Snake-Ghost and the Crow-Ghost

V. 13. The Sledge-Hammer Ghost

V. 14. Citta and Sudhamma

V. 15. A Seven-Year-Old Novice Wins All Hearts


Chapter VI

VI. 1. A Poor Man wins Spiritual Treasure

VI. 2. The Insolent Monks

VI. 3. Channa, Elder

VI. 4. Kappina the Great, Elder

VI. 5. Paṇḍita The Novice

VI. 6. Unshaken as a Rock

VI. 7. After the Storm, Calm

VI. 8. A Pack of Vagabonds

VI. 9. Husband and Wife

VI. 10. “Few There Be That Find It”

VI. 11. Abandon the Dark State


Chapter VII

VII. 1. The Tathāgata Suffers Not

VII. 2. Free from Attachment

VII. 3. A Monk stores Food

VII. 4. The Monk and the Goddess

VII. 5. Sakka honors a Monk

VII. 6. A Fancied Slight

VII. 7. The Loss of an Eye

VII. 8. Not by the Faith of Another

VII. 9. Elder Revata of the Acacia Forest

VII. 10. A Courtezan Tempts a Monk


Chapter VIII

VIII. 1. A Public Executioner

VIII. 2. Conversion of Bāhiya Dārucīriya

VIII. 3. The Maiden who Married a Thief

VIII. 4. Gain and Loss

VIII. 5. Sāriputta’s Uncle

VIII. 6. Sāriputta’s Nephew

VIII. 7. Sāriputta’s Friend

VIII. 8. The Lad whose Years Increased

VIII. 9. Saṁkicca the Novice

VIII. 10. The Monk and the Thieves

VIII. 11. On the Razor’s Edge

VIII. 12. Paṭācārā is Bereft of all her Family

VIII. 13. Kisā Gotamī Seeks Mustard Seed to Cure her Dead Child

VIII. 14. The Widow Bahuputtikā and her Ungrateful Children


Chapter IX

IX. 1. The Brahman with a Single Robe

IX. 2. A Discontented Monk

IX. 3. Goddess and Monk

IX. 4. Anāthapiṇḍika and the Goddess

IX. 5. The Monk who failed to keep his Requisites in Orders

IX. 6. Treasurer Catfoot

IX. 7. Merchant Great-Wealth

IX. 8. The Enchanted Hunters

IX. 9. The Hunter who was devoured by his own Dogs

IX. 10. The Jeweler, the Monk, and the Heron

IX. 11. Three Parties of Monks

IX. 12. Suppabuddha Insults the Teacher


Chapter IX

X. 1. The Band of Six

X. 2. The Band of Six

X. 3. A Company of Boys

X. 4. The Monk and the Phantom

X. 5. Visākhā and her Companions keep Fast-Day

X. 6. The Boa-Constrictor Ghost

X. 7. Death of Moggallāna the Great

X. 8. The Monk of many Possessions

X. 9. Santati the King’s Ministers

X. 10. The Monk and the Ragged Garment

X. 11. Sukha the Novice


Chapter XI

XI. 1. Visākhā’s Companions Intoxicate Themselves

XI. 2. The Teacher Cures A Monk of Love

XI. 3. The Aged Nun

XI. 4. A Company of Over-Confident Monks

XI. 5. The Nun and the Phantom

XI. 6. Queen Mallikā and her Dog

XI. 7. The Monk who always said the Wrong Thing

XI. 8. Elder Ānanda’s Stanzas

XI. 9. Great-Wealth, the Treasurer’s Son


Chapter XII

XII. 1. Prince Bodhi and the Magic Bird

XII. 2. The Greedy Monk

XII. 3. “Be Ye Doers of the Word”

XII. 4. “And Hate not his Father and Mother”

XII. 5. Killing of Mahā Kāla

XII. 6. Devadatta seeks to slay the Tathāgata

XII. 7. Devadatta seeks to cause a Schism in the Order

XII. 8. The Jealous Monk

XII. 9. Courtezans save a Layman’s Life

XII. 10. By Righteousness Men honor the Buddha


Chapter XIII

XIII. 1. A Young Girl Jests with a Young Monk

XIII. 2. The Buddha visits Kapila

XIII. 3. Five Hundred Monks attain Insight

XIII. 4. Prince Abhaya loses his Nautch-Girl

XIII. 5. The Monk with a Broom

XIII. 6. Conversion of the Robber Finger-Garland

XIII. 7. The Weaver’s Daughters

XIII. 8. Thirty Monks

XIII. 9. Ciñcā falsely accuses the Buddha

XIII. 10. Gifts beyond Compare

XIII. 11. Virtue Bought and Paid For


Chapter XIV

XIV. 1. The Buddha has naught to do with Women

XIV. 2. The Twin Miracle

XIV. 3. The King of the Dragons and his Daughters

XIV. 4. How did the Seven Buddhas keep Fast-Day?

XIV. 5. The Buddha cures a Monk of Discontent

XIV. 6. The Monk and the Dragon

XIV. 7. Whence come Men of Noble Birth?

XIV. 8. What is the Pleasantest Thing in the World?

XIV. 9. Honor to whom Honor is Due


Chapter XV

XV. 1. A Quarrel among Brethren

XV. 2. Māra possesses Villagers

XV. 3. Defeat of the King of Kosala

XV. 4. “Look not on a Woman to lust after Her”

XV. 5. The Buddha feeds the Hungry

XV. 6. On Moderation in Eating

XV. 7. By Righteousness Men honor the Buddha

XV. 8. Sakka Ministers to the Buddha


Chapter XVI

XVI. 1. Mother and Father and Son

XVI. 2. The Buddha comforts the Afflicted

XVI. 3. The Buddha comforts the Afflicted

XVI. 4. The Licchavi Princes and the Courtezan

XVI. 5. The Golden Maiden

XVI. 6. Set not your Heart on Worldly Possessions

XVI. 7. Kassapa wins a Basket of Cakes

XVI. 8. The Elder who had attained the Fruit of the Third Path

XVI. 9. Nandiya attains Heavenly Glory


Chapter XVII

XVII. 1. How Anger marred a Maiden’s Looks

XVII. 2. The Tree-Spirit and the Monk

XVII. 3. The Poor Man and his Daughters

XVII. 4. Do Trifling acts of Merit lead to Heaven?

XVII. 5. A Brahman greets the Buddha as his Son

XVII. 6. It is the Giver that makes the Gift

XVII. 7. Nothing, too much, and too little

XVII. 8. The Band of Six


Chapter XVIII

XVIII. 1. The Cow-Killer and his Son

XVIII. 2. Little by Little

XVIII. 3. The Louse that would have his Own

XVIII. 4. Pride goeth before a Fall

XVIII. 5. The Wickedness of Women

XVIII. 6. Courtesy and Rudeness

XVIII. 7. All of the Precepts are Hard to Keep

XVIII. 8. The Fault-Finding Novice

XVIII. 9. The Inattentive Laymen

XVIII. 10. Treasurer Ram

XVIII. 11. The Fault-Finding Monk

XVIII. 12. Is there a Path through the Air?


Chapter XIX

XIX. 1. The Unjust Judges

XIX. 2. The Band of Six

XIX. 3. Not therefore is a Man praised for his much Speaking

XIX. 4. Can a Young Monk be an “Elder”?

XIX. 5. What is an accomplished Gentleman?

XIX. 6. It is not Tonsure that makes the Monk

XIX. 7. What is it that makes the Monk?

XIX. 8. It is not Silence that makes the Sage

XIX. 9. Noble is as Noble does

XIX. 10. Be not puffed up


Chapter XX

XX. 1. The Eightfold Path is the best of Paths

XX. 2. Impermanence

XX. 3. Suffering

XX. 4. Unreality

XX. 5. Do not postpone until To-morrow

XX. 6. The Pig-Ghost

XX. 7. Poṭhila the Empty-Head

XX. 8. The Old Monks and the Old Woman

XX. 9. “The Grass withereth, the Flower fadeth”

XX. 10. Thou shalt surely Die

XX. 11. The Bereaved Mother and the pinch of Mustard-Seed

XX. 12. The Woman who was bereft of all her Family


Chapter XXI

XXI. 1. The Ascent of the Ganges

XXI. 2. “Not Hatred for Hatred”

XXI. 3. The Monks who were given to Vanities

XXI. 4. The Monk who had Killed his Mother and Father

XXI. 5. The Youth and the Demons

XXI. 6. The Vajjian Prince who became a Monk

XXI. 7. Citta the Faithful Layman

XXI. 8. Cullā Subhaddā the Virtuous

XXI. 9. The Solitary Monk


Chapter XXII

XXII. 1. Murder of Sundarī

XXII. 2. The Skeleton-Ghost

XXII. 3. Magic for Meat

XXII. 4. The Man whom Women Loved

XXII. 5. The Presumptuous Monk

XXII. 6. The Jealous Woman

XXII. 7. Fortify yourself like a City

XXII. 8. Degrees of Nakedness

XXII. 9. Children visit the Buddha


Chapter XXIII

XXIII. 1. The Sectaries insult the Buddha

XXIII. 2. The Monk who had been an Elephant-Trainer

XXIII. 3. The Old Brahman and his Sons

XXIII. 4. On Moderation in Eating

XXIII. 5. The Novice and the Ogress

XXIII. 6. An Elephant sticks fast in the Mud

XXIII. 7. An Elephant waits upon the Buddha

XXIII. 8. Māra tempts the Buddha


Chapter XXIV

XXIV. 1. Redfish

XXIV. 2. The Young Sow

XXIV. 3. The Renegade Monk

XXIV. 4. The Prison-House

XXIV. 5. Beauty is but Skin-Deep

XXIV. 6. The Youth who married a Female Acrobat

XXIV. 7. Young Archer the Wise

XXIV. 8. Māra seeks in vain to frighten Rāhula

XXIV. 9. The Skeptical Ascetic

XXIV. 10. The Summum Bonum

XXIV. 11. Treasurer Childless

XXIV. 12. The Greater and the Lesser Gift


Chapter XXV

XXV. 1. Guard the Doors of the Senses

XXV. 2. The Goose-Killing Monk

XXV. 3. The Monk who failed to hold his Tongue

XXV. 4. By Righteousness Men honor the Buddha

XXV. 5. The Traitor Monk

XXV. 6. The Brahman who gave the Gifts of First-Fruits

XXV. 7. The Conversion of a Pack of Thieves

XXV. 8. “The Grass withereth, the Flower fadeth”

XXV. 9. The Monk whose Mother was a Lioness

XXV. 10. The Monk and the Ragged Garment

XXV. 11. “Whosoever beholds the Law, he beholds Me”

XXV. 12. The Novice and the Dragon


Chapter XXVI

XXVI. 1. Brahman Great-Joy

XXVI. 2. What are the “Two States”?

XXVI. 3. What is the “Far Shore”?

XXVI. 4. What is a Brahman?

XXVI. 5. The Buddhas shine both Day and Night

XXVI. 6. What is a Monk?

XXVI. 7. The Patient subdues the Violent

XXVI. 8. Mahā Pajāpatī Gotamī receives the Precepts

XXVI. 9. Reverence to whom Reverence is due

XXVI. 10. What is a Brahman?

XXVI. 11. The Trickster Brahman

XXVI. 12. Kisā Gotamī, Wearer of Refuse-Rags

XXVI. 13. What is a Brahman?

XXVI. 14. Uggasena the Acrobat

XXVI. 15. A Tug of War

XXVI. 16. The Patient subdues the Insolent

XXVI. 17. Sāriputta is reviled by his Mother

XXVI. 18. Are not the Arahats creatures of Flesh and Blood?

XXVI. 19. A Slave lays down his Burden

XXVI. 20. Khemā the Wise

XXVI. 21. The Monk and the Goddess

XXVI. 22. The Monk and the Woman

XXVI. 23. The Four Novices

XXVI. 24. Did Big Wayman yield to Anger?

XXVI. 25. The Force of Habit

XXVI. 26. The Monk who was accused of Theft

XXVI. 27. Sāriputta is Misunderstood

XXVI. 28. Moggallāna is Misunderstood

XXVI. 29. Renounce both Good and Evil

XXVI. 30. Elder Moonlight

XXVI. 31. Seven Years in the Womb

XXVI. 32. A Courtezan tempts the Monk Ocean-of-Beauty

XXVI. 33. Jotika and Jaṭila

XXVI. 34. Ajātasattu attacks Jotika’s Palace

XXVI. 35. The Monk who was once a Mime

XXVI. 36. The Monk who was once a Mime

XXVI. 37. The Skull-Tapper

XXVI. 38. Husband and Wife

XXVI. 39. Aṅgulimāla the Fearless

XXVI. 40. It is the Giver that makes the Gift


Editor’s Note

In preparing this work for digital publication I have made a few minor changes which I will outline here. I have occasionally added notes to the translation, when I thought something needed explaining or a reference was occasional missed by the translator. To distinguish them from Burlingame’s own notes they are prefaced as ‘Ed. note:’.

The original publication quoted only the first few words of the verse(s) that the story is attached to; it is the same in the original Pāḷi text which is being translated. Here, though, as I think it helps to know the verse(s) in advance, I have in most cases included a full quotation of the verse(s) at the top of the story, except when the story is so short it hardly makes a difference.

The pagination of the translation is included in square brackets, so that for instance [28.145] means Vol. 28 of the Harvard Oriental Series, pg. 145. The pagination of the text of the Pāḷi Text Society is included in curly brackets. It was released in 4 volumes, so that {2.138} means Vol. 2, pg. 138. For aesthetic reasons I have normally placed the pagination after the title, and before the text, though the page of course begins with the title.

There are html, pdf, epub, mobi The Introduction is missing from the epub and mobi files because of the difficulty in reproducing the tables well in those formats. ()01 () and flipbook versions of this text, but unlike my normal practice I have not yet recorded all the audio. I am making some recordings of the stories at present, and will update when I can.

To make the work a manageable size I have divided the eBooks into three volumes, following the original publication scheme.

In September, 2015, I have added in the very useful Introduction by the learned Burlingame, which greatly helps, particularly for those interested in comparative studies.

Anandajoti Bhikkhu
September, 2015.