a collection of
Buddhist Wisdom Verses

25: Itthivaggo
Women

Jā 108 Bāhiyajātakaṁ
The Outsider

Good Training

A women eases herself modestly in public which greatly impresses the King, and he decides to make her his wife.

467. Sikkheyya sikkhitabbāni, santi sacchandino ChS, Thai: tacchandino; who have that will.01 janā.
She should train in the training, Lit: what is to be trained in; which sounds unidiomatic. 02 (even though) people are self-willed,

Bāhiyā hi suhannena, Rājānam-abhirādhayi.
The outsider, with her toileting, satisfied the Kings. I don't know why we have a plural here, a better reading would be: Rājassa abhirādhayi. 03

Jā 489 Surucijātakaṁ
Bodhisatta Splendid

The Gods visit the Virtuous

The Bodhisatta is a childless King and he asks his Queen to pray for a son. Sakka hears her prayer and goes to question her about her virtues. Hearing her answers he readily grants her request.

468. Itthiyo jīvalokasmiṁ yā honti ChS: hoti? Singular where a plural is needed. 04 samacārinī.
There are women living at peace in this world,

Medhāvini sīlavatī, sassudevā patibbatā.
Who are intelligent, virtuous, respecting their Mothers-in-Law, faithful to their husbands.

469. Tādisāya sumedhāya, sucikammāya nāriyā,
Such women, who are intelligent, and pure in their deeds,

Devā dassanam-āyanti mānusiyā amānusā.
Gods and divine beings Amānusa means literally: non-human beings, which doesn't sound so friendly in English and might put some off doing good deeds! 05 (like to) meet those women.

Jā 547 Vessantarajātakaṁ
Bodhisatta Vessantara

Wives and Husbands

The Bodhisatta is banished to the forest when the people decide he is over-generous with the wealth of the Kingdom. His wife goes along with him, and this is part of what she says.

470. Naggā nadī anudakā, naggaṁ BJT: naggā; but this is not in agreement. 06 raṭṭhaṁ Arājakaṁ,
Bereft are rivers without water, bereft a kingdom without a King,

Itthīpi vidhavā naggā, yassāpi dasabhātaro.
Bereft is a widowed woman, even though she has ten brothers.

471. Dhajo Rathassa paññāṇaṁ, dhūmo paññāṇam-aggino,
A flag is the sign of a State, and the sign of a fire is smoke,

Rājā Rathassa paññāṇaṁ, bhattā paññāṇam-itthiyā.
Kings are the sign of a Kingdom, a husband is the sign of a woman.

472. Yā daliddī daliddassa, aḍḍhā aḍḍhassa kittimā, ChS, Thai: kittimaṁ; but a nominative is required. 07
She who is famed for being poor with the poor, rich with the rich,

Taṁ ve devā pasaṁsanti, dukkaraṁ hi karoti sā.
The very gods themselves do praise, she does what is difficult to do.

473. Sāmikaṁ anubandhissaṁ, sadā kāsāyavāsinī,
I will follow after my husband, wearing always the dyed robe,

Pathavyāpi abhijjantyā vedhavyaṁ kaṭukitthiyā. BJT has a very different reading here: Pathavyāpi abhejjantyā nicche Vessantaraṁ vīnā, Vedhabbaṁ kaṭukaṁ loke gacchañ-ñeva Rathesabha; perhaps we could translate: The unbroken earth is not desirable without Vessantara, Widowhood is painful in the world, go ? , Best of Charioteers! 08
Ruling over the Earth as a widowed woman would be very painful.

474. Kathaṁ nu tāsaṁ hadayaṁ sukharā vata itthiyo,
How is the heart of those women so very hard,

Yā sāmike dukkhitamhi, sukham-icchanti attano?
Who, when their husbands are suffering, seek (only) their own happiness? I have replaced the original verse 474 by including what is here verse 473, as the original choice seems to me to carry a sentiment that is offensive. 09

475. Nikkhamante Mahārāje Sivīnaṁ Raṭṭhavaḍḍhane,
When the Great King, the Benefactor of the Sivis goes forth,

Tam-ahaṁ anubandhissaṁ, sabbakāmadado hi me.
I will follow him along, for he gives me all (true) love.

AN 5.33 Uggahasuttaṁ These four verses replace four others from Kuṇālajātakaṁ (Jā 536) which I judge to be offensive. 10
The Householder Uggaha

A Wife's Duties

The householder Uggaha invites the Buddha for a meal and asks him to give advice to his daughters who are going to their husbands' homes to live.

476. Yo naṁ bharati sabbadā, niccaṁ ātāpi ussuko,
He who supports her in every way, always arduously and energetically,

Sabbakāmaharaṁ posaṁ: bhattāraṁ nātimaññati.
That man who brings her all pleasure: she should not despise her husband.

477. Na cāpi sotthi bhattāraṁ icchācārena Text, Thai: issācārena; through jealousy. 11 rosaye.
Nor should the good woman Comm: sotthī ti su-itthī. 12 make her husband angry through her desires.

Bhattū ca garuno sabbe paṭipūjeti Paṇḍitā.
The Wise Lady worships all those whom her husband holds in respect.

478. Uṭṭhāyikā analasā, saṅgahītaparijjanā,
Exerting herself, not lazy, treating his attendants PED says -parijjanā is a doubtful reading. But probably all we need see is a reduplication to fit the metre of the cadence, and take it as -parijanā, which gives a perfectly good meaning. 13 kindly,

Bhattū manāpaṁ carati, sambhataṁ anurakkhati.
She is pleasing to her husband, and (carefully) protects his stores.

479. Yā evaṁ vattatī nārī, bhattuchandavasānugā,
That woman who lives in this way, obedient to her husband's will,

Manāpā nāma te devā, yattha sā upapajjati.
Is surely pleasing to the gods, wheresoever she is reborn.

AN 7.63 Sattabhariyāsuttaṁ
Seven Wives

The Seven Types of Wife

The Buddha describes the seven types of wife that are found in the world, and what their destiny is.

480. Paduṭṭhacittā ahitānukampinī,
Corrupt in mind, without pity or compassion,

Aññesu rattā atimaññate patiṁ,
Passionate towards other (men) and despising her husband,

Dhanena kītassa, vadhāya ussukā,
Bought with wealth, bent on murder,

Yā evarūpā purisassa bhariyā:
The wife of a man who acts in this way:

Vadhakā ca bhariyā ti ca sā pavuccati.
A murderer and wife is what she is called.

481. Yaṁ itthiyā vindati sāmiko dhanaṁ,
That woman who enjoys her husband's wealth,

Sippaṁ vaṇijjañ-ca kasiṁ adiṭṭhahaṁ,
Gained by his craft, his trading or farming,

Appam-pi tasmā apahātum-icchati,
She who wants to steal from that even a little,

Yā evarūpā purisassa bhariyā,
The wife of a man who acts in this way:

Corī ca bhariyā ti ca sā pavuccati.
A thief and wife is what she is called.

482. Akammakāmā alasā mahagghasā, Text: mahagghayā; costly. 14
Not liking work, lazy, (but) eating much,

Pharusā ca caṇḍī, duruttavādinī,
Rough and violent, one who speaks badly,

Uṭṭhāyakānaṁ abhibhuyya vattati,
Who has power over her industrious (husband) Comm: bahuvacanavasena viriyuṭṭhānasampanno sāmiko; who through many words has power over the energetic and industrious husband. 15,

Yā evarūpā purisassa bhariyā,
The wife of a man who acts in this way:

Ayyā ca bhariyā ti ca sā pavuccati.
A mistress and wife is what she is called.

483. Yā sabbadā hoti hitānukampinī,
That one who in everyway has pity and compassion,

Mātā va puttaṁ anurakkhate patiṁ,
Who, like a Mother her child, protects her husband,

Tato dhanaṁ sambhatam-assa rakkhati,
Who then protects the wealth that has been stored up,

Yā evarūpā purisassa bhariyā,
The wife of a man who acts in this way:

Mātā ca bhariyā ti ca sā pavuccati.
A Mother and wife is what she is called.

484. Yathā pi jeṭṭhā bhaginī kaniṭṭhā,
As an elder sister (is respected) by a younger one,

Sagāravā hoti sakamhi sāmike,
She has respect for her lord and master,

Hirīmanā bhattuvasānuvattinī,
Conscientious, obedient to her husband,

Yā evarūpā purisassa bhari
The wife of a man who acts in this way:

Bhaginī ca bhariyā ti ca sā pavuccati.
A sister and wife is what she is called.

485. Yā cīdha disvāna patiṁ pamodati,
She who takes joy in seeing her husband here,

Sakhī sakhāraṁ va cirassam-āgataṁ,
Like a friend (seeing) friends who have come after a long time,

Koleyyakā sīlavatī patibbatā,
Well-bred, virtuous, a devoted wife,

Yā evarūpā purisassa bhariyā,
The wife of a man who acts in this way:

Sakhī ca bhariyā ti ca sā pavuccati.
A friend and a wife is what she is called.

486. Akkuddhasantā vadhadaṇḍatajjitā,
Unangered, not in fear of punishment,

Aduṭṭhacittā, Thai: Aduṭṭhacittā; With unopposed mind? 16 patino titikkhati,
With an uncorrupt mind, patient with her husband,

Akkodhanā bhattuvasānuvattinī,
Without anger, obedient to her husband,

Yā evarūpā purisassa bhariyā,
The wife of a man who acts in this way:

Dāsī ca bhariyā ti ca sā pavuccati.
A handmaid and wife is what she is called.

487. Yā cīdha bhariyā vadhakā ti vuccati,
Now she who is called a wife and murderer here,

Corī ca ayyā ti ca yā pavuccati,
And the one called a thief and a mistress,

Dussīlarūpā pharusā anādarā,
Unvirtuous, rough, disrespectful,

Kāyassa bhedā Nirayaṁ vajanti tā.
At the break up of the body will go to the Nether Regions.

488. Yā cīdha Mātā bhaginī sakhī ca,
* Now she who here is called a Mother, sister,

Dāsī ca bhariyā ti ca sā pavuccati,
Friend, or a handmaidenly wife,

Sīle ṭhitā ChS, Thai: ṭhitattā cirarattasaṁvutā; steady in mind, restrained for a long time. 17 nācirarattasaṁvutā,
Virtuous, steady, restrained for no short time,

Kāyassa bhedā Sugatiṁ vajanti tā.
At the break up of the body will go to Heaven.

AN 4.53 Paṭhamasaṁvāsasuttaṁ
Living Together

Four Types of Couples

The Buddha explains the four ways in which a husband and wife may live together.

489. Ubho ca honti dussīlā, kadariyā paribhāsakā,
Both are unvirtuous, being miserly, abusive,

Te honti jānipatayo chavā saṁvāsam-āgatā.
Dwelling together (in this way) the wife and husband are (both) wretched.

490. Sāmiko hoti dussīlo, kadariyo paribhāsako,
The husband is unvirtuous, being miserly, abusive,

Bhariyā sīlavatī hoti, vadaññū vītamaccharā,
The wife is virtuous, being bountiful, unselfish,

Sāpi devī saṁvasati, chavena patinā saha.
She is living like a goddess, along with her wretched husband.

491. Sāmiko sīlavā hoti, vadaññū vītamaccharo,
The husband is virtuous, being bountiful, unselfish,

Bhariyā hoti dussīlā, kadariyā paribhāsikā,
The wife though is unvirtuous, being miserly, abusive,

Sāpi chavā saṁvasati, devena patinā saha.
She lives like a wretched woman, along with her god-like husband.

492. Ubho saddhā vadaññū ca, saññatā Dhammajīvino,
Both are faithful, bountiful, restrained, living by Dhamma,

Te honti jānipatayo aññam-aññaṁ piyaṁvadā.
The wife and the husband have kind words for one another.

493. Atthāsaṁ pacurā honti, phāsakaṁ upajāyati,
They have abundant riches, and live together easily, Comm: aññam-aññaṁ phāsuvihāro jāyati; there is an easy life with each other. 18

Amittā dummanā honti ubhinnaṁ samasīlinaṁ.
Their foes are depressed with these (because) they have the same virtues.

494. Idha Dhammaṁ caritvāna, samasīlabbatā ubho,
Having lived by the Dhamma here, both having the same virtue and vows,

Nandino devalokasmiṁ modanti kāmakāmino.
They rejoice in the pleasures of the god-realms obtaining their desires. Comm: kāme kāmayamānā. 19

Jā 545 Vidhurajātakaṁ
Bodhisatta Vidhura

The Ideal Householder

A King is about to lose the Bodhisatta, his wise minister, before he goes he asks him about the life of a householder.

495. Na sādhāraṇadārassa, na bhuñje sādum-ekako,
He should not share (another's) wife, Comm: yo paresaṁ dāresu aparajjhati, so sādhāraṇadāro nāma, tādiso na assa bhaveyya; he who offends with another's wife, is known as wife-sharing, such is not to be done. 20 nor eat his sweets alone,

Na seve lokāyatikaṁ netaṁ paññāya vaddhanaṁ.
He should not practice sophistry that does not increase his wisdom.

496. Sīlavā vattasampanno, appamatto vicakkhaṇo,
Being virtuous, duteous, heedful, wise,

Nivātavutti atthaddho, surato sakhilo mudu.
Humble, unselfish, Comm: thaddhamacchariyavirahito. 21 devoted, kindly, and gentle.

497. Saṅgahetā ca mittānaṁ, saṁvibhāgī vidhānavā,
Being a maker of (good) friends, Comm: kalyāṇamittānaṁ saṅgahakaro. 22 being one who shares, considerate,

Tappeyya annapānena sadā samaṇabrāhmaṇe.
Being one who will always satisfy ascetics and brāhmaṇas with food and with drinks.

498. Dhammakāmo sutādhāro, bhaveyya paripucchako,
He may be a Dhamma-lover, a preserver of learning, one who is enquiring,

Sakkaccaṁ payirupāseyya sīlavante bahussute.
Who (often) attends with respect on the virtuous and learned.

499. Gharam-āvasamānassa gahaṭṭhassa sakaṁ gharaṁ,
For a householder living in a house, in his very own house,

Khemā vutti siyā evaṁ, evaṁ nu assa saṅgaho.
There will in this way be safety, he will in this way have good favour,

500. Avyāpajjhā siyā evaṁ, saccavādī ca māṇavo,
He will be free from oppression, that young man who speaks (only) truth,

Asmā lokā paraṁ lokaṁ, evaṁ pecca na socati.
After passing from this world to the next world, he is one who does not grieve.

Pañcamaṁ Satakaṁ
The Fifth Hundred