Jinacaritaṁ
The Life of the Victorious Buddha

Namo Tassa Bhagavato Arahato Sammāsambuddhassa
Reverence to Him, the Gracious One, the Worthy One, the Perfect Sambuddha

[Ratanattayavandanā] The titles are placed in brackets as they are not in the original. They have been included here to outline the structure of the story. The main divisions are based on the Jātakanidānakathā (Jā Nid).1
[Homage to the Three Treasures]

uttamaṁ uttamaṅgena namassitvā mahesino
nibbānamadhudaṁ pādapaṅkajaṁ sajjanālinaṁ [1]

Mahesino uttamaṁ pāda-paṅkajaṁ sajjana-alinaṁ Nibbāna-madhudaṁ uttama-aṅgena namassitvā,

Having worshipped the Great Seer's supreme lotus feet with my head, which gives the sweetness of Emancipation to good men like honey gives sweetness to bees, It is very difficult to translate the opening verses, which play on similies which are not obvious once put into English. 02

 

mahāmohatamaṁ loke dhaṁsentaṁ dhammabhākaraṁ
pātubhūtaṁ mahātejaṁ dhammarājodayācale [2]

Dhamma-Rāja-udaya-acale Dhamma-bhākaraṁ, mahā-tejaṁ pātu-bhūtaṁ mahā-moha-tamaṁ dhaṁsentaṁ,

and the sun-like Dhamma, which arose from the immoveable King of Dhamma, and by the appearance of its great splendour dispels the great darkness of ignorance in the world,

 

jantucittasare jātaṁ pasādakumudaṁ sadā
bodhentaṁ saṅghacandañ-ca sīlorukiraṇujjalaṁ [3]

sīla-uru-kiraṇa-ujjalaṁ Saṅgha-candaṁ ca, sadā jantu-citta-sare jātaṁ pasāda-kumudaṁ bodhentaṁ,

and the moon-like Saṅgha, with its widespread, refulgent, and glorious virtue, which, just as a lotus (is always) born in water, always awakens faith in the minds of the people,

 

tahiṁ tahiṁ suvitthiṇṇaṁ jinassa caritaṁ hitaṁ
pavakkhāmi samāsena sadānussaraṇatthiko [4]

tahiṁ tahiṁ su-vitthiṇṇaṁ Jinassa caritaṁ hitaṁ sadā-anussaraṇa-atthiko samāsena pavakkhāmi.

I will tell in short the life of the Victorious (Buddha), The Buddha is also called a Jina in the original texts, see for instance DN 21: Buddhaṁ namassāma Jinaṁ Janindaṁ.
It is this phrase (Jinassa caritaṁ) in compound (Jina-caritaṁ) that lends its name to the book, see also verse 459, where the same phrase occurs.
03
which is of truly widespread benefit both near and far, Lit: in that place and in that place.04 the value of which I always remember.

 

paṇītaṁ taṁ sarantānaṁ dullabham-pi sivaṁ padaṁ
adullabhaṁ bhave bhogapaṭilābhamhi kā kathā? [5]

Taṁ sarantānaṁ paṇītaṁ dullabhaṁ sivaṁ padaṁ pi adullabhaṁ bhave, kā bhoga-paṭilābhaṁ hi kathā?

To those who remember it, the excellent, rare, and safe state i.e. Nibbāna.05 becomes not so rare, so why speak about the acquisition of wealth? i.e. Why speak about things of less value?06

 

tasmā taṁ bhaññamānaṁ me cittavuttapadakkamaṁ
sundaraṁ madhuraṁ suddhaṁ sotusotarasāyanaṁ [6]

sotahatthapuṭā sammā gahetvāna nirantaraṁ
ajarāmaram-icchantā sādhavo paribhuñjatha [7]

Tasmā me bhaññamānaṁ, taṁ citta-vutta-padakkamaṁ, sundaraṁ madhuraṁ suddhaṁ sotu-sota-rasa-āyanaṁ, sammā sota-hattha-puṭā gahetvāna, nirantaraṁ ajara-amaraṁ icchantā, sādhavo paribhuñjatha.

Therefore, those who truly have put the hollow of their hands to their ear, i.e. those who ‘give ear’ as we say in English.07 who constantly wish for that which is free from old-age and death, those good people should enjoy my recital, which is made in lovely verses and orderly lines, beautiful, sweet, pure, bringing pleasure to the ears of those who listen.