The Life of the Victorious Buddha

[1: Durekathā]
[The Story of the Far Distant Past]

[The Story of Sumedha]


kappasatasahassassa catunnañ-cāpi matthake
asaṅkheyyānam-āvāsaṁ sabbadā puññakāminaṁ [8]

Catunnaṁ asaṅkheyyānaṁ ca api kappa-sata-sahassassa matthake sabbadā puñña-kāminaṁ āvāsaṁ,

At a time of four immeasurables, and a hundred thousand aeons ago (there was a city where) Brought forward from v. 10.01 those who desired merit everyday resided,


nānāratanasampannaṁ nānājanasamākulaṁ
vicittāpaṇasaṅkiṇṇaṁ toraṇagghikabhūsitaṁ [9]

nānā-ratana-sampannaṁ nānā-jana-samākulaṁ vicitta-āpaṇa-saṅkiṇṇaṁ toraṇa-agghika-bhūsitaṁ,

(it was) endowed with various jewels, crowded with various people, full of beautiful shops, adorned with decorated towers,


yuttaṁ dasahi saddehi devindapurasannibhaṁ
puraṁ amarasaṅkhātaṁ ahosi ruciraṁ varaṁ [10]

dasahi saddehi yuttaṁ Deva-Inda-pura-sannibhaṁ, ruciraṁ varaṁ Amara-saṅkhātaṁ puraṁ ahosi.

having the ten sounds, Jā Nid: The sounds of elephants, horses, chariots, drums, tabours, lutes, song, cymbols, conch-shell, and the cry of enjoy, drink, eat!.02 like unto the city of (Sakka) the Lord of the Devas - it was a brilliant, excellent city named Amara. Also known as Amaravatī; it is said that many gods (amara, lit.: immortals) had taken up residence there, hence the name of the city.03


tahiṁ brāhmanvaye jāto sabbalokābhipūjito
mahādayo mahāpañño abhirūpo manoramo [11]

Tahiṁ brāhma-anvaye jāto, sabba-loka-abhipūjito, mahā-dayo mahā-pañño abhirūpo mano-ramo,

One of the best lineage Born of the lineage of Brahmā, a Brāhmaṇa.04 was born in that place, who was greatly honoured by the whole world, one of great compassion, great wisdom, handsome, delightful,


sumedho nāma nāmena vedasāgarapāragū
kumārosi garūnaṁ so avasāne jinaṅkuro [12]

kumāro āsi Sumedho nāma nāmena, Veda-sāgara-pāragū. So Jina-Aṅkuro, garūnaṁ avasāne,

a youth called Sumedha The name means One of Great Intelligence.05 by name, who had crossed the ocean of the Vedas. Who had learned the Vedas.06 That Budding Victor, Another way of saying Bodhisatta, One who is (on the way to) Awakening.07 after the death of his parents, Garu usually means a teacher, but is used also for anyone held in great respect, like one's parents.08


rāsivaḍḍhakamaccena dassitaṁ amitaṁ dhanaṁ
anekasatagabbhesu nicitaṁ taṁ udikkhiya [13]

amitaṁ dhanaṁ rāsi-vaḍḍhaka-amaccena dassitaṁ, taṁ nicitaṁ aneka-sata-gabbhesu udikkhiya,

having been shown the immeasurable wealth by the councillor who managed the estate, and after surveying that mass in the countless hundreds of storerooms,


dhanasannicayaṁ katvā aho mayhaṁ pitādayo
gatā māsakam-ekam-pi nevādāya divaṁ iti [14]

dhana-sannicayaṁ katvā, “Aho! Mayhaṁ pitu-ādayo ekaṁ pi māsakaṁ na-eva-ādāya gatā divaṁ!” iti

and piling up the wealth (said): “Alas! My father and the rest have gone to the gods and have not taken even one cent Māsaka, a coin of the least value in ancient India.09 with them!”


saṁvegam-upayāto va cintesī ti guṇākaro
dhanasāraṁ imaṁ gayha gantuṁ yuttan-ti me pana [15]

Guṇa-Ākaro saṁvegaṁ upayāto va, iti cintesi: “Me pana imaṁ dhana-sāraṁ gayha, gantuṁ yuttaṁ” ti.

That Mine of Virtue became really anxious Saṁvega, a particularly difficult word to translate, as there seems to be no equivalent in English, it means a kind of stirring anxiety, that makes one undertake spiritual practice.10, and thought thus: “Although I have received this valuable wealth, I am bound to go.” Bound to die.11


rahogato nisīditvā sundare nijamandire
dehe dose udikkhanto ovadanto pi attano [16]

Sundare nija-mandire raho-gato nisīditvā, dehe dose udikkhanto, attano ovadanto pi:

Having sat down in seclusion in his own beautiful house, while surveying the faults in the body, and advising himself (he thought thus):


bhedanaṁ tanuno dukkhaṁ dukkho tassodayo pi ca
jātidhammo jarādhammo vyādhidhammo ahaṁ iti [17]

“Tanuno bhedanaṁ dukkhaṁ, tassa-udayo pi ca dukkho - ahaṁ jāti-dhammo jarā-dhammo vyādhi-dhammo.” iti

“Painful is the break-up of the body, painful also is its arising again - I am subject to death, subject to old age, subject to sickness.”


evam-ādīhi dehasmiṁ disvā dose anekadhā
pure bheriñ-carāpetvā ārocetvāna rājino [18]

Evaṁ dehasmiṁ ādīhi dose anekadhā disvā, rājino ārocetvāna, pure bheriṁ carāpetvā,

Having thus seen the countless faults in the body and so on, after informing the king, and having the drums beaten in the city,


bherinādasugandhena yācakālisamāgate
dānakiñjakkha-oghena sattāhaṁ pīṇayī tato [19]

bheri-nāda-su-gandhena yācaka-ali samāgate, tato dāna-kiñjakkha-oghena satta-ahaṁ pīṇayī.

for seven days thereafter he satisfied the beggars who gathered at the sound of the drum with a flood of gifts, just as bees gather and are satisfied with the sweet scent of a multitude of blossoms. The similie is constructed in a very complex way here, with the first part of the compounds referring to the beggars, and the second part to the bees. Ogha means both a multitude and a flood, see SED.12