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Buddhist Wisdom Verses
Sn 1.10 Ālavakasuttaṁ
The Yakkha Ālavaka
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:
That faithful householder who has these four things:
Saccaṁ dhammo dhiti cāgo, sa ve pecca na socati.
Truth, wisdom, Ettha sussūsapaññānāmena vutto dhammo; herein what is known as the wisdom of wanting to learn is what is called Dhamma.01 courage, charity, after passing 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,
Let there be a meeting with virtuous people at once, Sutasoma,
Sā naṁ saṅgati pāleti, nāsabbhi bahusaṅgamo.
Protect and associate with them, not coming together with the unvirtuous.
47. Sabbhi-r-eva samāsetha, sabbhi kubbetha santhavaṁ,
Sit down together with the virtuous, be acquainted with the virtuous,
Sataṁ Saddhammam-aññāya – seyyo hoti, na pāpiyo.
With the good who know the True Dhamma – that is best, not with the wicked.
48. Jīranti ve Rājarathā sucittā,
Beautiful Royal chariots decay,
Atho sarīram-pi jaraṁ upeti,
So too our body will come to decay,
Satañ-ca Dhammo na jaraṁ upeti,
But the Dhamma of the good will not come to decay,
Santo have sabbhi pavedayanti.
The good and virtuous proclaim it is so.
49. Nabhañ-ca dūre pathavī ca dūre,
The sky is far, far away (from) the earth,
Pāraṁ samuddassa tad-āhu dūre,
The crossing of the ocean, that is far, they say,
Tato have dūrataraṁ vadanti,
But they say that even further than that,
Satañ-ca Dhammaṁ Text, ChS, Thai: Dhammo; it seems to me though that an accusative is needed. 02 asatañ-ca Rāja.
King, is the Dhamma of the good from (the Dhamma of) 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,
Grain, corn, silver and gold,
Pariggahañ-cāpi yad-atthi kiñci,
And whatever other possessions there are,
Dāsā kammakarā pessā, ye cassa anujīvino.
Slaves, servants, messengers, and those who live in dependence.
Sabbaṁ n' ādāya gantabbaṁ, sabbaṁ nikkhippagāminaṁ.
(Dying) he must go without taking anything, he goes after abandoning everything.
51. Yañ-ca karoti kāyena, vācāya udacetasā,
But what he does by body, word and mind,
Tañ-hi tassa sakaṁ hoti, tañ-ca ādāya gacchati,
That is truly his own, taking that along he goes,
Tañ-cassa anugaṁ hoti, chāyā va anapāyinī.
He is followed along by that, like a shadow follows one.
52. Tasmā kareyya kalyāṇaṁ, nicayaṁ samparāyikaṁ,
Therefore he should do what is good, accumulating for the next world,
Puññāni paralokasmiṁ patiṭṭhā honti pāṇinaṁ.
In the next world merits are the support of living 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, ChS, Thai: Caje dhanaṁ aṅgavarassa hetu; For the sake of an excellent limb, he would give up wealth? 03
He who, for the sake of a limb, would give up wealth,
Aṅgaṁ caje jīvitaṁ rakkhamāno;
Would give up a limb for saving his life;
Aṅgaṁ dhanaṁ jīvitañ-cāpi sabbaṁ,
* But a man remembering the Dhamma,
Caje naro Dhammam-anussaranto.
Should (be prepared to) give up limb, wealth, life and all.
Jā 510 Ayogharajātakaṁ This verse also appears in Mahādhammapālajātakaṁ (Jā 447), and as the first of Dhammikatthera's verses in the Theragāthā, where the following verse occurs also. 04
Iron House Bodhisatta
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,
The Dhamma protects the one who lives by the Dhamma,
Dhammo suciṇṇo sukham-āvahāti,
The Dhamma well-practised brings happiness, Comm: chasu kāmasaggesu sukhaṁ āvahati; brings the happiness of the six Heavenly sense realms. 05
Esānisaṁso Dhamme suciṇṇe,
This is the advantage of the Dhamma well-practised,
Na duggatiṁ gacchati Dhammacārī.
He who lives by the Dhamma does not go to a bad destination.
55. Na hi Dhammo adhammo ca ubho samavipākino,
Therefore the Dhamma and false Dhamma do not have the same result,
Adhammo Nirayaṁ neti, Dhammo pāpeti Suggatiṁ.
False Dhamma leads to the Nether Regions, the Dhamma causes one to attain a Happy State.
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,
Deeds, knowledge and (other) things, The comm. makes these three equivalent to the threefold training: Tattha kamman-ti Maggacetanā; vijjā ti Maggapaññā; dhammo ti samādhipakkhikā dhammā; herein, deeds means being intent on the Path; knowledge means wisdom regarding the Path; and (other) things means those things on the side of concentration. 06 and virtue are the life supreme,
Etena maccā sujjhanti, na gottena dhanena vā.
By these mortals are purified, 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,
Through rightly aspiring with voice and mind,
Kāyena pāpāni akubbamāno,
(And) doing nothing wicked with the body,
One living in a household, with abundant food and drinks,
Saddho mudū saṁvibhāgī vadaññū,
(Should be) faithful, gentle, generous, bountiful,
Saṅgāhako sakhilo saṇhavāco -
Kind in heart, kind-spoken, of polished speech -
Etthaṭṭhito paralokaṁ na bhāye.
One who lives like this need not fear the world to come.
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:
He who, monkey-King, like you, has these four things:
Saccaṁ dhammo dhiti cāgo, diṭṭhaṁ so ativattati.
Truth, wisdom, courage, charity, will overcome his foe. Comm: Diṭṭhan-ti paccāmittaṁ; diṭṭha here being equal to Sanskrit dviṣṭa, not in PED. Cf. this verse with 45 above. 07
Jā 58 Tayodhammajātakaṁ
The Three Things
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:
He who, monkey-King, like you, has these three things:
Dakkhiyaṁ sūriyaṁ paññā, The Comm. explains dakkhiyaṁ by dakkhabhāvo, and sūriyaṁ by sūrabhāvo; and says: paññā ti paññāpadaṭṭhānāya upāyapaññāyetaṁ nāmaṁ; this is a name for wisdom as proximate cause, wisdom in means. 08 diṭṭhaṁ so ativattati.
Dexterity, heroism, wisdom, will overcome his foe.
Jā 92 Mahāsārajātakaṁ
The Rich Man
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;
In battle Comm: saṅgāme sampahāre; in war, in battle. 09 they wish for a hero; in advice for calmness (of speech);
Piyañ-ca annapānamhi, atthe jāte ca Paṇḍitaṁ.
In food and drink for a friend; when need arises (they wish) for a Wise One.
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,
He who lives without hurting living beings,
Parūpavādā na karoti Text, BJT, ChS: karonti; plural form, where a singular is needed. 10 pāpaṁ,
(Fears) others' blame Comm: parassa upavādabhayena. 11 and does nothing wicked,
Bhīruṁ pasaṁsanti, na tattha sūraṁ,
They praise the cautious one, not the adventurer in this,
Bhayā hi santo na karonti pāpaṁ.
Through fear (of blame) the good do nothing wicked.
Dhp 193 Ānandattherapañhavatthu
The Elder Ānanda's Question
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,
A Well-Bred Man is rare, he is not born anywhere, The comm. explains that the well-bred man is a Buddha, and that they are born only in the Middle Lands. 12
Yattha so jāyate Dhīro, taṁ kulaṁ sukham-edhati.
Wherever the Wise One is born, that family gains happiness.
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last updated: February 2011