Why the Buddha Suffered

[3. Slander]


Tatiyapañhe, abbhakkhānan-ti abhi akkhānaṁ akkosanaṁ.
In the third enquiry, (called) slander, (we hear about) great lies and abuse.

Atīte kira Bodhisatto apākaṭajātiyaṁ,
In the past, it seems, the Buddha-to-be, in a little known life, We could also translate as: in an (otherwise) unknown life; probably mentioned as such because this life-story is not recorded in the Jātakas or elsewhere.1

uppanno Munāḷi nāma dhutto hutvā, dujjanasaṁsaggabalena
after being reborn and becoming a scoundrel called Munāḷi, through the power of association with bad people

Surabhiṁ nāma Paccekabuddhaṁ: “Dussīlo pāpadhammo ayaṁ bhikkhū” ti akkosi.
abused the Independent Buddha called Surabhi, (saying): “This monk is unvirtuous and wicked.”


So tena akusalena vacīkammena,
Through that unwholesome verbal deed,

bahūni vassasahassāni Niraye paccitvā, SHB, PTS: pacitvā; active form, as though he was boiling something, rather than being boiled.2
after boiling in the Niraya hell for many thousands of years,

imasmiṁ pacchimattabhāve, dasapāramitāsaṁsiddhibalena,
in this his last state, by the power of being successful in the ten perfections,

Buddho jāto, lābhaggayasaggappatto ahosi.
he became the Buddha, and attained the highest gains and fame.

Puna titthiyā ussāhajātā:
Again the sectarians became insolent (saying):

“Kathaṁ nu kho samaṇassa Gotamassa ayasaṁ uppādessāmā?” ti
“Now what will bring this ascetic Gotama to infamy?”

dukkhī dummanā nisīdiṁsu.
and they sat there pained and depressed.


Tadā Sundarī nāmekā, paribbājikā te upasaṅkamitvā vanditvā ṭhitā,
Then a certain wanderer called Sundarī, after approaching and worshipping them stood there,

tuṇhībhūte kiñci avadante disvā,
and seeing them silent and not speaking anything,

“Kiṁ mayhaṁ doso” ti pucchi.
questioned (them, saying): “What is my fault?”

“Samaṇena Gotamena SHB, PTS: Samaṇo Gotamo; the ascetic Gotama (harasses us).3 amhe viheṭhiyamāne
“We are being harassed by that ascetic Gotama

tvaṁ appossukkā viharissasi, idaṁ tava doso.” ti
and you are making no effort, that is your fault.”

“Evam-ahaṁ tattha kiṁ karissāmī?” ti
“What should I do in this matter?”

“Tvaṁ samaṇassa Gotamassa avaṇṇaṁ uppādetuṁ sakkhissasī?” ti
“Will you be able to bring the ascetic Gotama into disrepute?”

“Sakkhissāmi, ayyā” ti vatvā,
Having said: “I am able, noble ones”,

tato paṭṭhāya vuttanayena diṭṭhadiṭṭhānaṁ
and because of that it is recorded that she was frequently seen (in the vicinity)

“Samaṇena Gotamena ekagandhakuṭiyaṁ sayitvā nikkhantā” ti vatvā,
and abused and censured (the Buddha) by saying: “After sleeping alone with the ascetic Gotama

akkosati paribhāsati.
in the Fragrant Cottage I am leaving.”

Titthiyā pi: “Passatha, bho, samaṇassa Gotamassa kamman!”-ti
And also the sectarians (saying): “Look, dear friends, at the ascetic Gotama's deed!”

akkosanti paribhāsanti.
abused and censured (him).

And so this was said:


Munāḷi nāmahaṁ dhutto pubbe aññāya jātiyā,
In a previous life I was a scoundrel known as Munāḷi,

Paccekabuddhaṁ Surabhiṁ abbhācikkhiṁ adūsakaṁ; [67]
I slandered the innocent Independent Buddha Surabhi;

Tena kammavipākena Niraye saṁsariṁ ciraṁ,
Through that deed and through its result I long transmigrated through Hell,

Bahū vassasahassāni, dukkhaṁ vedesi' vedanaṁ. [68]
For many thousands of years I experienced unpleasant feelings.

Tena kammāvasesena, idha pacchimake bhave,
Through the remainder of that deed, here in my last existence,

Abbhakkhānaṁ mayā laddhaṁ, Sundarikāya kāraṇā. ti [69]
I received (much) slander myself, at the hands of Sundarikā. See Udāna 4-8 for the Canonical story. We might translate Sundarikā as Little Sundarī, taking -ikā as diminutive, but it is fairly common in verse texts to add the affix to names to meet the requirements of the metre, with no change in meaning or identification intended.4