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Buddhist Wisdom Verses
Jā 322 Daddabhajātakaṁ
The Wise do not Panic
A hare hears the noise of a fruit falling and thinking it omens the end of the world he starts to run which panics all the other animals who also flee. The Bodhisatta finds out the cause and calms them down.
318. Beluvaṁ patitaṁ sutvā daddabhan-ti saso javi,
Having heard the thud of fallen vilva fruit the hare ran away (afraid),
Sasassa Text: Sakassa; his [cry].01 vacanaṁ sutvā santattā migavāhinī.
Having heard the cry of the hare (many) animals Comm: anekasahassasaṅkhā migasenā. 02 were alarmed. Comm: Santattā ti utrastā. 03
319. Appatvā padaviññāṇaṁ, paraghosānusārino,
Without having cognised the truth, they listened to another's voice,
Panādaparamā Thai: Pamāda-; [Those fools relied upon the great] heedlessness [of another]. 04 bālā te honti parapattiyā.
Those fools (surely) relied upon the great noise made by another.
320. Ye ca sīlena sampannā, paññāyūpasame ratā,
But those endowed with (strong) virtue, who take delight in wisdom's calm,
Ārakā viratā dhīrā, na honti parapattiyā.
The ones who are firm abstain from afar, they don't rely upon others.
Jā 204 Vīrakajātakaṁ
Keeping to one's own Habitat
A city crow named Saviṭṭhaka (Devadatta) has to leave his home and finds a water crow to serve. Thinking he can swim like his master he attempts to dive for fish, but dies in the attempt.
321. Udakathalacarassa pakkhino,
That bird at home in water and on land,
Who constantly enjoys fresh fish to eat:
Through imitating him Saviṭṭhaka
Sevāle paḷiguṇṭhito mato.
Died caught up in the lakeside weeds.
Jā 335 Jambukajātakaṁ
Knowing one's Strengths
A jackal (Devadatta) who lives on the food left over by a Lion decides to act like a lion himself and against all good advice attacks an elephant, only to be slaughtered on the spot.
322. Asīho sīhamānena, yo attānaṁ vikubbati,
He who, though not a lion, assumes for himself the pride of a lion,
Koṭṭhū va gajam-āsajja, seti bhūmyā anutthunaṁ.
Like the jackal, Comm: siṅgālo viya. 05 who after approaching an elephant, lies groaning on the floor.
323. Yasassino uttamapuggalassa,
The famous one, the supreme one,
The one of great strength in this arisen body and mind,
Asamekkhiyā thāmabalūpapattiṁ, Thai: kāma-; [(Has great) power and] sensuality? 06
(Has great) power and strength: (but) being hasty,
Sa seti nāgena hato va ChS, Thai: hatoyaṁ; we would appear to need a comparison word here. 07 jambuko.
He will be slaughtered by the powerful one, just like the jackal.
324. Yo cīdha kammaṁ kurute pamāya,
But having the measure of his deeds here,
Thāmabbalaṁ attani saṁviditvā,
Having understood his own power and strength,
Jappena mantena subhāsitena,
With good speech and advice well spoken,
Parikkhavā so vipulaṁ jināti.
Being discrete, he will greatly succeed. Comm: so vipulaṁ mahantaṁ atthaṁ jināti na parihāyati; he will be successful (in attaining) an extensive, great good, not is losing it; the latter is said to exclude the meaning of the homonym jināti, to lose. 08
Jā 345 Gajakumbhajātakaṁ
Acting at the Right Time and Speed
A King is very slothful so the Bodhisatta shows him a tortoise and explains its characteristics. The King understands the lesson and reforms his ways.
325. Yo dandhakāle tarati, taraṇīye ca dandhati,
He who is quick at a time for care, and is careful when he should be quick,
Sukkhapaṇṇaṁ va akkamma, atthaṁ bhañjati attano.
(Will) destroy his own welfare, like a dried-up leaf trodden under foot. This simile and the next are obscure to say the least. Comm: yathā vātātapasukkhaṁ tālapaṇṇaṁ balavā puriso akkamitvā bhañjeyya, tattheva cuṇṇavicuṇṇaṁ kareyya, evaṁ so attano atthaṁ vuddhiṁ bhañjati; just as a leaf dried-up by the sun and wind after being trodden on by a strong man will be destroyed, and so will be there are then crushed to powder, so he destroys his own welfare and growth. 09
326. Yo dandhakāle dandheti, taraṇīye ca tārayi,
He who is careful at a time for care, and is quick when he should be quick,
Sasīva rattiṁ vibhajaṁ, tassattho paripūrati.
(Will) fulfil his own welfare, like the hare who divides the night. Comm: yathā cando juṇhapakkhaṁ rattiṁ jotayamāno kāḷapakkharattito rattiṁ vibhajanto divase divase paripūrati, evaṁ tassa purisassa attho paripūrati; like the moon shining on the nights during the bright fortnight divides the nights from the dark fortnight and day by day becomes full, so that person's welfare is fulfilled. 10
Jā 183 Vālodakajātakaṁ
Horses that have been in battle are given fine wine but remain sober; while the strained leftovers are fed to the donkeys – who all become drunk on it.
327. Vālodakaṁ apparasaṁ nihīnaṁ,
* Having drunk this despicable watery drink, a poor liquor,
Pitvā mado jāyati gadrabhānaṁ.
The donkeys became intoxicated.
Imañ-ca pitvāna rasaṁ paṇītaṁ
Whereas after drinking this fine liquor
Mado na sañjāyati sindhavānaṁ.
The thoroughbred horses were not intoxicated.
328. Appaṁ pivitvāna nihīnajacco
Having drunk (something) poor the low man
So majjatī tena Janinda puṭṭho.
Fed on that becomes drunk, O Leader of Men.
Dhorayhasīlo Text, ChS, Thai: Dhorayhasīliī; but that would mean one who has the character of bearing. 11 ca, kulamhi jāto,
But the virtuous one, born in a good family,
Na majjatī aggarasaṁ pivitvā.
After drinking (even) the best liquor does not get drunk.
Jā 291 Bhadraghaṭajātakaṁ Called Surāghaṭajātaka; the liquor jar in ChS. 12
The Auspicious Pot
Protecting Good Fortune
A worthless fellow is given a jar that will provide him with all he needs, but being dissolute he uses it to get drunk, breaks it and is reduced to poverty once again.
329. Sabbakāmadadaṁ kumbhaṁ, kuṭaṁ laddhāna' dhuttako,
A scoundrel once received a water-pot, a jar which would give everything he wished for,
Yāva so anupāleti, tāva so sukham-edhati.
For as long as he looked after it, he was successful in his pursuit of happiness.
330. Yadā matto ca ditto ca pamādā kumbham-abbhidā,
But when drunk, arrogant and heedless he broke that water-pot,
Tadā naggo ca pottho ca, pacchā bālo vihaññati.
Then naked and miserable, that foolish one afterwards suffered hardship.
331. Evam-eva yo dhanaṁ laddhā, amattā ChS, Thai: pamatto; [but partakes of it] heedlessly. 13 paribhuñjati,
Just so, the one who receives wealth, but uses it without measure,
Pacchā tappati dummedho, kuṭaṁ bhinno va dhuttako.
That fool suffers (greatly) later, like the scoundrel who broke the jar.
Jā 48 Vedabbhajātakaṁ
The Brāhman Vedabbha
A brāhman called Vedabbha is captured by thieves and brings down a shower of jewels to pay his ransom, but he is killed, and the thieves fight over the treasure until they also are all killed.
332. Anupāyena yo atthaṁ icchati so vihaññati,
He who by the wrong means wishes for his welfare suffers hardship,
Cetā haniṁsu Vedabbhaṁ, sabbe te vyasanam-ajjhagū.
The (thieves from) Cetā killed Vedabbha, and they all came to destruction.
Jā 39 Nandajātakaṁ
The Servant Nanda
Arrogance is a Give-Away
A servant knows where his late Master's treasure was hidden, but when he takes the Son to the place he becomes arrogant because of his knowledge, abuses him and refuses to reveal it. The Bodhisatta explains.
333. Maññe sovaṇṇayo rāsi, soṇṇamālā ca Nandako
* I think the heap of gold, the (Father's) store of gold (is) Comm: pitusantakā suvaṇṇamālā. 14
Yattha dāso āmajāto ṭhito thullāni gajjati!
Where the slave-born servant Nandaka stands and loudly roars!
SN 1.3.19 Paṭhama-aputtakasuttaṁ
The Reward of Using Wealth Wisely
A rich merchant dies after living like a pauper. The Buddha explains that when a man of low character obtains wealth he is unable to enjoy it.
334. Amanussaṭṭhāne udakaṁ va sītaṁ
Just as cool water in a place devoid of people
Tad-apeyyamānaṁ parisosameti, No help from the commentary here, but this must = parisoseti, perhaps with the extra syllable m.c. The word doesn't occur anywhere else. 15
Evaporates without being drunk,
Evaṁ dhanaṁ kāpuriso labhitvā
So having obtained wealth the despicable man
Nevattanā bhuñjati no dadāti.
Won't use it himself, nor gives (to others).
335. Dhīro ca viññū adhigamma bhoge,
But the Wise, learned one, having obtained riches,
Yo bhuñjatī kiccakaro ca hoti,
Both enjoys (his wealth), and does his duties,
So ñātisaṅghaṁ nisabho bharitvā,
The best of men, after supporting his band of relatives,
Anindito Saggam-upeti ṭhānaṁ.
Blameless, goes to a Heavenly state.
Jā 390 Mayhakajātakaṁ
The bird named Mine
Wealth that goes to Waste
Out of greed a man kills his brother's son. The brother who is the Bodhisatta exhorts him with these words.
336. Sakuṇo Mayhako nāma, girisānudarīcaro,
(There is) a bird named Mine, living in a mountain-cave,
Pakkaṁ pipphalim-āruyha, Mayhaṁ mayhan!-ti kandati.
Having landed on a fig-tree, he cries out loud: (This is) mine, mine!
337. Tassevaṁ vilapantassa dijasaṅghā samāgatā,
A flock of birds assembled round him while he was lamenting,
Bhutvāna pipphaliṁ yanti, vilapatveva so dijo.
And while that bird was lamenting, after eating the figs, they went away.
338. Evam-eva idhekacco, saṅgharitvā bahuṁ dhanaṁ,
So it is for some people here, having collected a great deal of wealth,
Nevattano na ñātīnaṁ yathodhiṁ The text is obscure here, and what the second part of the compound is in yathodhiṁ I cannot see. Comm: yo yo koṭṭhāso dātabbo, taṁ taṁ na deti. 16 paṭipajjati.
Neither on himself nor his relatives is he intent in any way.
339. Na so acchādanaṁ bhattaṁ na mālaṁ na vilepanaṁ
Neither clothing, food, garlands or ointments
Anubhoti In the text the negative sense is carried over from the previous line. 17 sakiṁ kiñci, na saṅgaṇhāti ñātake.
Does he enjoy himself, nor does he treat his relatives.
340. Tassevaṁ vilapantassa, Mayhaṁ mayhan!-ti rakkhato,
(This is) mine, mine! he continues, Lit: he observes. 18 while he is still lamenting,
Rājāno atha vā corā, dāyādā ye ca appiyā,
Either kings, thieves, heirs or those who are disliked,
Dhanam-ādāya gacchanti, vilapatveva so naro.
Having taken his wealth go away, while that man laments.
341. Dhīro bhoge adhigamma, saṅgaṇhāti ca ñātake,
The Wise One, having gathered riches, treats his relatives,
Tena so kittiṁ pappoti, pecca Sagge pamodati.
By that he attains renown, and after death rejoices in Heaven.
AN 7.5 Saṅkhittadhanasuttaṁ
Treasures in Brief
Seven True Treasures
A short discourse listing the seven true treasures.
342. Saddhādhanaṁ sīladhanaṁ, hiri-ottappiyaṁ dhanaṁ,
The treasure of faith, the treasure of virtue, the treasure of good conscience,
Sutadhanañ-ca cāgo ca paññā: 'me sattamaṁ dhanaṁ.
The treasure of learning, also of giving and wisdom: these are the seven (real) treasures.
343. Yassa ete dhanā atthi, itthiyā purisassa vā,
Whoever has these (real) treasures, whether female or male,
Adaḷiddo ti taṁ āhu, amoghaṁ tassa jīvitaṁ.
Is not poor they say, their life is (surely) not futile.
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last updated: February 2011