Buddhist Wisdom Verses

14: Nindavaggo
Blame

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AN 8.5 Paṭhamalokadhammasuttaṁ
The Eight Worldly Things

The Buddha explains the eight worldly conditions to the monks and summarises them with a verse.

254. Lābho alābho ayaso yaso ca,
Nindā pasaṁsā ca sukhañ-ca dukkhaṁ:
Ete aniccā manujesu dhammā,
Asassatā vipariṇāmadhammā.

Gain and loss, fame and infamy,
Blame, praise, happiness, suffering:
These are impermanent, passing,
Having a changeable nature.

Dhp 227-8 Atula-upāsakavatthu
Blameworthy

The lay-disciple Atula goes to see Revata, who speaks not, Sāriputta, who speaks at length, and Ānanda who speaks moderately; but he is upset with them all. Finally he goes to the Buddha who explains it thus.

255. Porāṇam-etaṁ, Atula, netaṁ ajjatanām-iva:
Nindanti tuṇhim-āsīnaṁ, nindanti bahubhāṇinaṁ,
Mitabhāṇim-pi nindanti, natthi loke anindito.

This is ancient wisdom, my friend,
This is not something that is new:
They blame the one who is silent,
The one who talks a lot, and the
One who talks in moderation,
There is no one who is not blamed.

256. Na cāhu na ca bhavissati, na cetarahi vijjati
Ekantaṁ nindito poso, ekantaṁ vā pasaṁsito.

There was not and there will not be,
And at present there is not found
Someone totally blameworthy,
Or one totally praiseworthy.

Dhp 81 Lakuṇṭakabhaddiyattheravatthu
Unperturbed

The Elder Lakuṇṭaka Bhaddiya was a dwarf who attained arahantship. Novices and others used to tease him, but he remained unmoved. The Buddha explained why.

257. Selo yathā ekaghano vātena na samīrati,
Evaṁ nindāpasaṁsāsu na samiñjanti Paṇḍitā.

Just as solid rock is
Not shaken by the wind,
So the Wise are unmoved
By either blame or praise.

Ud 3.3 Yasojasuttaṁ
Unshaken by Pleasure and Pain

The monk Yasoja and 500 other monks who are visiting the Buddha are very noisy so he sends them away. They put forth extra effort during the Rains retreat and become Arahats, after which the Buddha sends for them again.

258. Yassa jito kāmakaṇṭako,
Akkoso ca vadho ca bandhanañ-ca,
Pabbato va so ṭhito anejo,
Sukhadukkhesu na vedhatī sa bhikkhu.

He who overcomes sense desire,
Scolding, slaying, and other bonds,
He who stands still like a mountain,
Is unshaken by pleasure or pain.

AN 5.48 Alabbhanīyaṭhānasuttaṁ
The Wise do not Tremble

The Buddha explains there are five things that cannot be obtained: for those having the nature of ageing, sickness, dying, wasting and destruction that there should be none of these things is impossible. The Noble disciple knows this and does not grieve.

259. Na socanāya paridevanāya,
Atthodha laddhā api appako pi.
Socantam-enaṁ dukhitaṁ viditvā,
Paccatthikā attamanā bhavanti.

In grief and lamentation there is no
Profit and not even a little gain.
Through seeing your grieving and suffering
Your opponents are surely uplifted.

260. Yato ca kho Paṇḍito āpadāsu,
Na vedhatī atthavinicchayaññū,
Paccatthikāssa dukhitā bhavanti,
Disvā mukhaṁ avikāraṁ purāṇaṁ.

But whenever the Wise One trembles not,
Showing good sense regarding misfortune,
His opponents will become afflicted,
Seeing that his appearance is unchanged.

261. Jappena mantena subhāsitena,
Anuppadānena paveṇiyā vā,
Yathā yathā yattha labhetha atthaṁ,
Tathā tathā tattha parakkameyya.

Through praise or charms or speaking well,
Through giving or through tradition,
Whatever things he finds are good,
Is where he should make his effort.

262. Sace pajāneyya: alabbhaneyyo
Mayā vā aññena vā esa attho.
Asocamāno adhivāsayeyya,
Kammaṁ daḷhaṁ kinti karomi dāni.

It is good to understand what cannot
Be obtained by oneself or another.
Without grieving he should endure, knowing:
I will now do whatever is required.

Jā 351 Maṇikuṇḍalajātakaṁ
Transient Wealth

The Bodhisatta is a King whose Capital is overrun by another King. He refuses to fight as it would involve maiming and killing. The conquering King wonders why he does not struggle, and the Bodhisatta speaks the following verses, after which the other departs.

263. Pubbeva maccaṁ vijahanti bhogā,
Macco vā te pubbataraṁ jahāti.
Asassatā bhogino, Kāmakāmi,
Tasmā na socām' ahaṁ sokakāle.

Soon mortals will be parted from their wealth,
Or perhaps they abandon it sooner.
I know that wealth will not last forever,
Therefore I grieve not at a grievious time.

264. Udeti āpūrati veti cando,
Atthaṁ tapetvāna paleti sūriyo.
Viditā mayā sattuka lokadhammā,
Tasmā na socām' ahaṁ sokakāle.

The moon becomes full, and then wanes again,
The sun after blazing will set again,
I know this is the nature of the world,
Therefore I grieve not at a grievious time.

Jā 461 Dasarathajātakaṁ
Understanding Nature one Grieves Not

The Bodhisatta, along with his brother and sister, is exiled in the Himālayas. While there he learns that his father the King has died, yet understanding the way of nature he does not grieve.

265. Yaṁ na sakkā naṁ pāletuṁ posena lapataṁ bahuṁ,
Sa kissa Viññū medhāvī attānam-upatāpaye?

When a person cannot preserve
Himself, even with great weeping,
Why should a Wise and sensible
Person torment himself with grief?

266. Daharā ca hi ye vuddhā, ye bālā ye ca Paṇḍitā.
Aḍḍhā ceva daḷiddā ca – sabbe maccuparāyaṇā.

For both the young and old,
The foolish and the Wise,
The wealthy and the poor –
Will have their end in death.

267. Phalānam-iva pakkānaṁ niccaṁ papatatā bhayaṁ,
Evaṁ jātāna' maccānaṁ niccaṁ maraṇato bhayaṁ.

Just as for mature fruit there is
Always the danger of falling,
So for those who are living there
Is always the danger of death.

268. Sāyam-eke na dissanti pāto diṭṭhā bahujjanā,
Pāto eke na dissanti sāyaṁ diṭṭhā bahujjanā.

Many people seen in the morning,
Are not seen in the evening time,
Many people seen in the evening,
Are not seen in the morning time.

269. Paridevayamāno ce, kiñcid-atthaṁ udabbahe
Sammūḷho hiṁsam-attānaṁ, kayirā cetaṁ Vicakkhaṇo.

If through lamentation the one
Who is besotted could remove
Suffering and hurt for himself,
The Wise One would lament as well.

270. Kiso vivaṇṇo bhavati hiṁsam-attānam-attano,
Na tena petā pālenti, niratthā paridevanā.

Though he has afflicted himself,
And has become quite lean and pale,
The dead cannot be helped by that,
No good comes from lamentation.

271. Yathā saraṇam-ādittaṁ vārinā parinibbaye,
Evam-pi dhīro sutavā medhāvī Paṇḍito naro
Khippam-uppatitaṁ sokaṁ, vāto tūlaṁ va dhaṁsaye.

Just as a burning house can be
Extinguished with water, just so
The learned and Wise person quickly
Extinguishes all of his griefs,
Like the wind dispersing cotton.

272. Eko va macco acceti, eko va jāyate kule,
Saṁyogaparamā tveva sambhogā sabbapāṇinaṁ.

Although all people are attached
To their family and their friends,
When they die, they are reborn with
Another family and friends.

273. Tasmā hi dhīrassa bahussutassa,
Sampassato lokam-imaṁ parañ-ca,
Aññāya Dhammaṁ hadayaṁ manañ-ca,
Sokā mahantā pi na tāpayanti.

Therefore the strong and learned one,
Seeing both this world and the next,
Who knows the Dhamma in his heart,
Will not be tormented by grief.