Buddhist Wisdom Verses

3: Dhammavaggo
Dhamma

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Sn 1.10 Ālavakasuttaṁ
Four Things to Cultivate

The yakkha Ālavaka asked the Buddha various questions on the spiritual life, and this verse is part of the answer.

45. Yassete caturo dhammā saddhassa gharam-esino:
Saccaṁ dhammo dhiti cāgo, sa ve pecca na socati.

That faithful layman with four things:
Truth, wisdom, courage, charity,
Having passed away does not grieve.

Jā 537 Mahāsutasomajātakaṁ
Four Well-Said Verses

Some verses that were taught to the Bodhisatta by a brāhman who had heard them from the Buddha Kassapa. He is rewarded with a thousand coins for each of the verses.

46. Sakid-eva Sutasoma sabbhi hoti samāgamo,
Sā naṁ saṅgati pāleti, nāsabbhi bahusaṅgamo.

47. Sabbhi-r-eva samāsetha, sabbhi kubbetha santhavaṁ,
Sataṁ Saddhammam-aññāya – seyyo hoti, na pāpiyo.

You should meet with the virtuous,
Friend, not with the unvirtuous.
Sit down with virtuous people,
Be acquainted with those who are true,
With the good who know the Dhamma
But do not mix with the wicked.

48. Jīranti ve Rājarathā sucittā,
Atho sarīram-pi jaraṁ upeti,
Satañ-ca Dhammo na jaraṁ upeti,
Santo have sabbhi pavedayanti.

Beautiful Royal chariots decay,
So too our body will come to decay,
But the True Dhamma will never decay,
The good and virtuous proclaim it is so.

49. Nabhañ-ca dūre pathavī ca dūre,
Pāraṁ samuddassa tad-āhu dūre,
Tato have dūrataraṁ vadanti,
Satañ-ca Dhammaṁ asatañ-ca Rāja.

The sky is far, far away from the earth,
Crossing the ocean, that is far, they say,
But they say what is much further than that
Is the Dhamma of the good from the bad.

SN 1.3.20 Dutiya-aputtakasuttaṁ
Merits follow one to the Next World

A rich merchant dies after living like a pauper. The Buddha explains that in a previous life he had given alms to a Paccekabuddha, and so in this life he became rich; however, he regreted it later, so he couldn't enjoy it.

50. Dhaññaṁ dhanaṁ rajataṁ jātarūpaṁ,
Pariggahañ-cāpi yad-atthi kiñci,
Dāsā kammakarā pessā, ye cassa anujīvino.
Sabbaṁ n' ādāya gantabbaṁ, sabbaṁ nikkhippagāminaṁ.

Grain, corn, silver, gold, other possessions,
Slaves, servants, messengers and dependents.
He cannot take anything when he dies,
He goes leaving his possessions behind.

51. Yañ-ca karoti kāyena, vācāya udacetasā,
Tañ-hi tassa sakaṁ hoti, tañ-ca ādāya gacchati,
Tañ-cassa anugaṁ hoti, chāyā va anapāyinī.

But what he does by body, word and mind,
That's truly his own, he takes that along,
That follows him along, like a shadow.

52. Tasmā kareyya kalyāṇaṁ, nicayaṁ samparāyikaṁ,
Puññāni paralokasmiṁ patiṭṭhā honti pāṇinaṁ.

Therefore he should do whatever is good,
Gathering up merit for the next world,
In the next world merit supports beings.

Jā 537 Mahāsutasomajātakaṁ
The Priority of Truth

The Bodhisatta's teaching to the man-eating King, which eventually persuades him to give up his evil habit.

53. Dhanaṁ caje yo pana aṅgahetu,
Aṅgaṁ caje jīvitaṁ rakkhamāno;
Aṅgaṁ dhanaṁ jīvitañ-cāpi sabbaṁ,
Caje naro Dhammam-anussaranto.

He who would give up wealth for limbs,
Would give up his limbs for his life;
But a man who guards the Dhamma,
Will give up limbs, wealth, life and all.

Jā 510 Ayogharajātakaṁ
Truth and Untruth have Different Results

To protect their new-born son, the Bodhisatta, the King and Queen build an iron house and keep him in it. On coming of age, though, he realises he is not safe from old age and death and proclaims 24 verses which culimate in the following famous verses.

54. Dhammo have rakkhati Dhammacāriṁ,
Dhammo suciṇṇo sukham-āvahāti,
Esānisaṁso Dhamme suciṇṇe,
Na duggatiṁ gacchati Dhammacārī.

The Dhamma protects one living by it,
The Dhamma well-practised brings happiness,
This is the advantage of the Dhamma:
It does not lead to bad destinations.

55. Na hi Dhammo adhammo ca ubho samavipākino,
Adhammo Nirayaṁ neti, Dhammo pāpeti Suggatiṁ.

Therefore the True Dhamma and false Dhamma
Will surely never have the same result:
False Dhamma leads to the Nether Regions,
The True Dhamma will lead you to Heaven.

SN 1.1.48 Jetavanasuttaṁ
The Purification of Mortals

Anāthapiṇḍika is reborn as a god in Heaven. Later he comes to see the Buddha and utters these words.

56. Kammaṁ vijjā ca dhammo ca, sīlaṁ jīvitam-uttamaṁ,
Etena maccā sujjhanti, na gottena dhanena vā.

Deeds and knowledge, concentration
And virtue are the life supreme,
By these mortals are purified,
But not by their clan or their wealth.

Jā 458 Udayajātakaṁ
The Path to Heaven

The Bodhisatta, reborn as the Lord of the Gods Sakka, explains the path to Heaven to his former wife.

57. Vācaṁ manañ-ca paṇidhāya sammā,
Kāyena pāpāni akubbamāno,
Bahunnapānaṁ gharam-āvasanto,
Saddho mudū saṁvibhāgī vadaññū,
Saṅgāhako sakhilo saṇhavāco –
Etthaṭṭhito paralokaṁ na bhāye.

Through rightly aspiring with voice and mind,
And doing nothing wicked with the body,
A layman, with abundant food and drinks,
Should be faithful, generous, bountiful,
Being kind in his heart, and kind in speech –
One who lives like this need not fear dying.

Jā 57 Vānarindajātakaṁ
Four Things leading to Success

A monkey-King outwits a crocodile who tries to eat him, and the crocodile acknowledges his escape with the following verse.

58. Yassete caturo dhammā, Vānarinda, yathā tava:
Saccaṁ dhammo dhiti cāgo, diṭṭhaṁ so ativattati.

He who, monkey-King, has four things:
Truth, wisdom, courage, charity,
Will surely overcome his foes.

Jā 58 Tayodhammajātakaṁ
Three Things leading to Success

The Bodhisatta escapes from a man-eating ogre (rakkhasa) and the latter acknowledges his escape with the following verse.

59. Yassete ca tayo dhammā, Vānarinda yathā tava:
Dakkhiyaṁ sūriyaṁ paññā, diṭṭhaṁ so ativattati.

He who, monkey-King, has three things:
Dexterity, heroism, wisdom,
Will surely overcome his foes.

Jā 92 Mahāsārajātakaṁ
Wise Discrimination

The Bodhisatta uncovers a female monkey as the real thief of the King's jewels, and the King praised him with the following verse.

60. Ukkaṭṭhe sūram-icchanti; mantīsu akutūhalaṁ;
Piyañ-ca annapānamhi, atthe jāte ca Paṇḍitaṁ.

In battle they wish for a hero;
In advice for calmness of speech;
In food and drink for one friendly;
When there is need they wish for the Wise.

SN 1.1.33 Sādhusuttaṁ
The Gift of Fearlessness

The gods come to see the Buddha and praise various kinds of giving, including the gift of fearlessness.

61. Yo pāṇabhūtāni aheṭhayaṁ caraṁ,
Parūpavādā na karoti pāpaṁ,
Bhīruṁ pasaṁsanti, na tattha sūraṁ,
Bhayā hi santo na karonti pāpaṁ.

Living without hurting living beings,
Fearing blame and doing nothing wicked,
They praise the cautious, not the incautious,
Through conscience the good do nothing wicked.

Dhp 193 Ānandattherapañhavatthu
The Provenance of the Buddhas

The Buddha taught this verse in answer to a question by Venerable Ānanda.

62. Dullabho Purisājañño, na so sabbattha jāyati,
Yattha so jāyate Dhīro, taṁ kulaṁ sukham-edhati.

A Buddha is rare in the world,
He is not born just anywhere,
Wherever the Wise One is born,
That family gains happiness.