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Buddhist Wisdom Verses
The Result of too Much Begging
Jā 253 Maṇikaṇṭhajātakaṁ
A dragon falls in love with a hermit and embraces him to his distress. To frighten him away the hermit begs for the dragon’s jewel three times.
237. “Mamannapānaṁ vipulaṁ uḷāraṁ
Uppajjatiṁ assa maṇissa hetu.”
“I will have rich drink and food aplenty
Arising by reason of your jewel.”
“Taṁ te na dassaṁ atiyācako ’si,
Na cāpi te assamaṁ āgamissaṁ.
238. Susū yathā sakkharadhotapāṇī,
Tāsesi maṁ selaṁ yācamāno,
Taṁ te na dassaṁ atiyācako ’si,
Na cāpi te assamaṁ āgamissaṁ.”
“I will not give to you, you beg too much,
Nor will I come back to your hermitage.
Like a youth with a clean sword in his hand,
You scare me, by begging for my jewel,
I will not give to you, you beg too much,
Nor will I come back to your hermitage.”
239. Na taṁ yāce yassa piyaṁ jigiṁse,
Desso hoti atiyācanāya.
Nāgo maṇiṁ yācito brāhmaṇena,
Adassanaṁ yeva tad-ajjhagāmā.
You should not beg from one whose love you want,
Begging too much is disagreeable.
The brāhman begged for the dragon’s jewel,
He went from there and was never seen again.
Begging brings Tears
Jā 323 Brahmadattajātakaṁ
A hermit is invited by a King to stay in his park. For twelve years he desires a pair of shoes and a leaf umbrella but is too ashamed to ask. Eventually he asks, receives, and goes on his way.
240. Dvayaṁ yācanako, Rāja Brahmadatta, nigacchati
Alābhaṁ dhanalābhaṁ vā, evaṁ dhammā hi yācanā.
Begging for two things, O King,
He will find loss or gain of wealth,
Such is the nature of begging.
241. “Yācanaṁ rodanaṁ,” āhu Pañcālānaṁ Rathesabha,
“Yo yācanaṁ paccakkhāti,” tam-āhu “paṭirodanaṁ.
242. Mā-m-addasaṁsu rodantaṁ, Pañcālā, susamāgatā,
Tuvaṁ vā paṭirodantaṁ, tasmā icchām’ ahaṁ raho.”
“Beggers weep,” he said to the King,
“When refused he also weeps.
Let them not see my tears, I thought,
Or you weep – thus I hide away.”
Jā 403 Aṭṭhisenajātakaṁ
The King, pleased with a sage, the Bodhisatta, offers him anything from his Kingdom down, but the sage remains silent. The following dialogue ensues.
243. “Ye me ahaṁ na jānāmi, Aṭṭhisena, vaṇibbake,
Te maṁ saṅgamma yācanti; kasmā maṁ tvaṁ na yācasi.”
“Those poor people I do not know,
Aṭṭhisena, gather and beg,
Why is it that you do not beg?”
244. “Yācako appiyo hoti, yācaṁ adadam-appiyo,
Tasmāhaṁ taṁ na yācāmi, mā me viddesanā ahu.”
“A begger is not loved, one not
Giving to begging is not loved,
Thus I beg not – be not angry.”
245. “Yo ve yācanajīvāno, kāle yācaṁ na yācati,
Parañ-ca puññā dhaṁseti, attanā pi na jīvati.
“He who lives by way of begging,
And who begs not at begging time,
Destroys the merits of others,
And himself does not live happily.
246. Yo ca yācanajīvāno, kāle yācaṁ hi yācati,
Parañ-ca puññaṁ labbheti, attanā pi ca jīvati.
He who lives by way of begging,
And who then begs at begging time,
Causes others to gain merit,
And himself will live happily.
247. Na ve dessanti sappaññā, disvā yācakam-āgataṁ,
Brahmacāri piyo me ’si varataṁ bhaññam-icchasi.”
Those with wisdom are not angry
After seeing a begger come,
My dear and spiritual friend
Speak and ask for a boon from me.”
248. “Na ve yācanti sappaññā, Dhīro veditum-arahati,
Uddissa Ariyā tiṭṭhanti, esā Ariyāna’ yācanā.”
“Those who have wisdom do not beg,
This the Wise One must surely know,
The Noble simply stand for alms,
Such is the Noble Ones’ begging.”
Asking the Right Person at the Right Time
Jā 478 Dūtajātakaṁ
A student desiring to repay his teacher disregards others and waits until the King comes and asks him what he needs, as only the King has the power to solve his problem.
249. Sace te dukkhaṁ uppajje, Kāsīnaṁ Raṭṭhavaḍḍhana,
Mā kho no tassa akkhāhi yo taṁ dukkhā na mocaye.
If suffering has arisen,
Benefactor of Kāsi,
Do not tell it to the one who
Cannot free you from your suffering.
250. Yo tassa dukkhajātassa ekantam-api bhāgato
Vippamoceyya Dhammena: kāmaṁ tassa pavedaye.
He who can free you from even
A small portion of the suffering,
In accordance with the Dhamma:
To him, if you wish, you should speak.
251. Yo attano dukkham-anānupuṭṭho,
Pavedaye jantŭ akālarūpe,
Ānandino tassa bhavantyamittā,
Hitesino tassa dukkhī bhavanti.
He who, though not asked his suffering,
Speaks to people at the wrong time,
Should know his foes take joy in that,
Those who wish him well will suffer.
252. Kālañ-ca ñatvāna tathāvidhassa,
Medhāvinaṁ ekamanaṁ viditvā,
Akkheyya tippāni parassa Dhīro,
Saṇhaṁ giraṁ atthavatiṁ pamuñce.
After understanding the right time,
Knowing his benefactor’s mind,
The Wise One will relate his pains,
Gently looking for a favour.
253. Sace ca jaññā avisayham-attano:
“Nāyaṁ nīti mayha’ sukhāgamāya,”
Eko pi tippāni saheyya Dhīro,
But knowing it’s not possible, and
It will not lead to happiness,
The Wise One will bear up his pains,
Desiring truth and good conscience.
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last updated: September 2016