a collection of
Buddhist Wisdom Verses

13: Yācanavaggo
Begging

Jā 253 Maṇikaṇṭhajātakaṁ
Jewel Throat

The Result of too Much Begging

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
“For me (there will be) rich drink and food aplenty

Uppajjatiṁ assa maṇissa hetu.”
Arising by reason of your jewel.”

“Taṁ te na dassaṁ atiyācako 'si,
“I will not give to you, you beg too much,

Na cāpi te assamaṁ āgamissaṁ.
Nor will I come back to your hermitage.

238. Susū yathā sakkharadhotapāṇī,
Like a youth with a clean sword in his hand, Comm: dhota-asihattho.01

Tāsesi maṁ selaṁ yācamāno,
You scare me, begging for my stone,

Taṁ te na dassaṁ atiyācako 'si,
I will not give to you, you beg too much,

Na cāpi te assamaṁ āgamissaṁ.”
Nor will I come back to your hermitage.”

239. Na taṁ yāce yassa piyaṁ jigiṁse,
You should not beg from one whose love you want,

Desso hoti atiyācanāya.
For begging too much is disagreeable.

Nāgo maṇiṁ yācito brāhmaṇena,
The brāhmaṇa begged for the dragon's jewel,

Adassanaṁ yeva tad-ajjhagāmā.
He went from there and was never seen again.

Jā 323 Brahmadattajātakaṁ
King Brahmadatta

Begging brings Tears

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
Begging for two things, King Brahmadatta, he will find

Alābhaṁ dhanalābhaṁ vā, evaṁ dhammā hi yācanā.
Loss or gain of wealth, such is the nature of begging.

241. “Yācanaṁ rodanaṁ,” āhu Pañcālānaṁ Rathesabha,
“A begger weeps,” he said to (the King of) Pañcāla, Best of Charioteers,

“Yo yācanaṁ paccakkhāti,” tam-āhu “paṭirodanaṁ.
“He who refuses a begger,” thus he said, “weeps in return.

242. Mā-m-addasaṁsu rodantaṁ, Pañcālā, susamāgatā,
Let them not see (my) tears, Pañcāla, when they assemble (I thought),

Tuvaṁ vā paṭirodantaṁ, tasmā icchām' ahaṁ raho.”
Or you weeping in return, therefore I wish to hide away.”

Jā 403 Aṭṭhisenajātakaṁ
Bodhisatta Aṭṭhisena

Silent Begging

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, Text: vaṇibbakā; but an accusative is needed here. 02
“Those poor people whom I do not know, Aṭṭhisena,

Te maṁ saṅgamma yācanti; kasmā maṁ tvaṁ na yācasi.”
Gather round me and beg; why is it that you do not beg from me?”

244. “Yācako appiyo hoti, yācaṁ adadam-appiyo,
“A begger is not loved, one not giving to begging is not loved,

Tasmāhaṁ taṁ na yācāmi, mā me viddesanā ahu.”
Therefore I beg you not, do not have anger towards me.”

245. “Yo ve yācanajīvāno, kāle yācaṁ na yācati,
“He who lives by way of begging, and who begs not at begging time,

Parañ-ca puññā Thai: puññaṁ; singular. 03 dhaṁseti, attanā pi na jīvati.
Destroys the merits of another, and himself does not live (happily). Comm: attanā pi ca sukhaṁ na jīvati. 04

246. Yo ca yācanajīvāno, kāle yācaṁ hi yācati,
He who lives way of by begging, and who begs at begging time,

Parañ-ca puññaṁ labbheti, attanā pi ca jīvati.
Causes another to gain merit, and himself lives (happily).

247. Na ve dessanti BJT: dissanti; which doesn't give a good meaning; Thai: dussanti; [Those with wisdom are not] corrupt. 05 sappaññā, disvā yācakam-āgataṁ, BJT, ChS, Thai: āgate; plural form? 06
Those with wisdom are not angry after seeing a begger come,

Brahmacāri piyo me 'si varataṁ hai: varabhaññitam-icchasi; ask a noble boon? I don't understand the form bhaññita. 07 bhaññam-icchasi.”
My dear and spiritual friend speak and ask for a boon from me.”

248. “Na ve yācanti sappaññā, Dhīro veditum-arahati,
“Those who have wisdom do not beg, (this) the Wise One ought to know,

Uddissa Ariyā tiṭṭhanti, esā Ariyāna' yācanā.”
The Noble (simply) stand for (alms), Comm: Ariyā pana vācaṁ abhinditvā yenatthikā honti, taṁ uddissa kevalaṁ bhikkhācāravattena tiṭṭhanti; the Noble, not having spoken a word aboout their needs, stand (silently) for the whole of the alms distribution. 08 such is the Noble Ones' begging.”

Jā 478 Dūtajātakaṁ
The Messenger

Asking the Right Person at the Right Time

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,
If suffering has arisen for you, Benefactor Raṭṭhavaḍḍhana literally means: he who increases the wealth of the country; which is too long for a vocative in English! 09 of Kāsi,

Mā kho no tassa akkhāhi yo taṁ dukkhā na mocaye.
Do not tell it to the one who cannot free you from your suffering.

250. Yo tassa dukkhajātassa ekantam-api bhāgato Text: bhāgaso; ChS, Thai: ekaṅgam-api bhāgaso; from one part or portion. 10
* He who can free you from even a (small) portion of the suffering that occurs

Vippamoceyya Dhammena: kāmaṁ tassa pavedaye.
In accordance with the Dhamma: to him, if you wish, you should speak.

251. Yo attano dukkham-anānupuṭṭho,
He who, (though) not asked his suffering,

Pavedaye jantŭ akālarūpe,
Speaks to people at the wrong time,

Ānandino Thai: Anandino tassa bhavanti mittā; His friends will not take joy in that. 11 tassa bhavantyamittā, BJT: bhavant' amittā; ChS: bhavanti 'mittā; different ways of forming the sandhi. 12
Should know his foes take joy in that,

Hitesino tassa dukkhī bhavanti.
Those who wish him well will suffer.

252. Kālañ-ca ñatvāna tathāvidhassa,
After understanding the right time for such a one,

Medhāvinaṁ ekamanaṁ viditvā,
And knowing the intelligent one's mind,

Akkheyya tippāni parassa Dhīro,
The Wise One will relate his pains to another,

Saṇhaṁ giraṁ atthavatiṁ pamuñce.
With a gentle voice, spoken (looking for) a favour.

253. Sace ca jaññā avisayham-attano:
But knowing himself it's not possible (and):

“Nāyaṁ nīti mayha' ChS, Thai: Na te hi mayhaṁ; This surely will not [lead to my happiness]. 13 sukhāgamāya,”
“This practice will not lead to my happiness,”

Eko pi tippāni saheyya Dhīro,
The Wise One will bear up his pains,

Saccaṁ hirottappam-apekkhamāno.
Desiring truth and good conscience. I use good conscience here to include both hiri (lit: shame) and ottappa (lit: guilt), both here and elsewhere in this translation. 14