Buddhist Wisdom Verses

10: Sevanavaggo 1
Association 1

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Discrimination in whom to Follow

Jā 435 Haḷiddirāgajātakaṁ

A Father and Son are living as ascetics in the Himālayas when a woman tries to lure the Son away to the city. When he finds out the Father admonishes him with these verses, and he maintains his state.

185. Yo te vissasate, Tāta, vissāsañ-ca khameyya te,
Sussūsī ca titikkhī ca, taṁ bhajehi ito gato.

One whom you find is trustworthy,
Who will also accept your trust,
Who will listen and is patient,
Go with him when he goes from here.

186. Yassa kāyena vācāya, manasā natthi dukkataṁ,
Urasīva patiṭṭhāya, taṁ bhajehi ito gato.

One who by body, word or mind
Does nothing wrong, you should support,
As you would friend upon your breast,
Go with him when he goes from here.

187. Yo ca Dhammena carati, caranto pi na maññati,
Visuddhakāriṁ sappaññaṁ, taṁ bhajehi ito gato.

The one who lives by the Dhamma,
Not just saying he lives that way,
One who is purified, and wise,
Go with him when he goes from here.

188. Haliddirāgaṁ kapicittaṁ, purisaṁ rāgavirāginaṁ,
Tādisaṁ Tāta mā sevi, nimmanussam-pi ce siyā.

But do not mix with one who is
Unstable like turmeric dye,
He who has a monkey-like mind,
Passionate and dispassionate,
Treat him like you would a demon.

189. Āsīvisaṁ va kupitaṁ, mīḷhalittaṁ mahāpathaṁ,
Ārakā parivajjehi, yānīva visamaṁ pathaṁ.

Like one angry, like snake’s poison,
Like a great highway smeared with muck,
You should keep far away from him,
Like an unstable vehicle.

190. Anatthā, Tāta, vaḍḍhanti, bālaṁ accupasevato,
Māssu bālena saṅgañchi, amitteneva sabbadā.

A fool when mixed with too often,
Increases the unbeneficial,
Do not have meetings with a fool,
He is in everyway a foe.

191. Taṁ tāhaṁ, Tāta, yācāmi, karassu vacanaṁ mama:
Māssu bālena saṅgañchi, dukkho bālehi saṅgamo.

Therefore I beg you from my heart
Please do accept this word of mine:
Do not have fools for companions,
Suffering comes from mixing with fools.

Choosing Friends Carefully

Jā 161 Indasamānagottajātakaṁ

An arrogant ascetic from the Indasamāna clan kept an elephant as a pet. His teacher, the Bodhisatta, warned him of the danger, but he would not listen. One day the elephant trampled him to death.

192. Na santhavaṁ kāpurisena kayirā,
Ariyo anariyena pajānam-atthaṁ.
Cirānuvuttho pi karoti pāpaṁ,
Gajo yathā Indasamānagottaṁ.

Do not be intimate with a low man,
You should know the worth of the ignoble.
Eventually he does what is wicked,
Like the elephant to the ascetic.

193. Yaṁ tveva jaññā: Sadiso maman-ti,
Sīlena paññāya sutena cāpi,
Teneva mettiṁ kayirātha saddhiṁ,
Sukhāvaho Sappurisena saṅgamo.

But knowing: He is the same as myself,
Having virtue and wisdom and learning,
With him one should certainly be friendly,
Mixing with Good People brings happiness.

Intimacy with the Wicked and the Righteous

Jā 162 Santhavajātakaṁ

A brahmin ascetic feeds his sacred fire with ghee and milk-rice and it flares up and burns down his hut. Later he saw a black deer who was intimate with his traditional enemies the lion, the tiger and the panther and he spoke these verses.

194. Na santhavasmā paramatthi pāpiyo
Yo santhavo kāpurisena hoti.
Santappito sappinā pāyasena
Kicchākataṁ paṇṇakuṭiṁ adaḍḍhahi.

Nothing is worse than the intimacy
Of a friend of a contemptible person.
The fire that burned with ghee and with milk-rice
Burned down my leaf-hut, made with much trouble.

195. Na santhavasmā paramatthi seyyo
Yo santhavo Sappurisena hoti,
Sīhassă vyagghassa ca dīpino ca
Sāmā mukhaṁ lehati santhavena.

Nothing is better than the intimacy
Of a friend of a Good and True Person.
The black deer licks the faces of the lion,
Tiger and leopard with loving-kindness.

Consorting with the Wicked

Jā 141 Godhajātakaṁ

An iguana makes friends with a chameleon, who he is wont to embrace. The chameleon, fearing for his life, calls in a hunter and destroys the iguana family.

196. Na pāpajanasaṁsevī accantaṁ sukham-edhati,
Godhā kulaṁ kakaṇṭā va kaliṁ pāpeti attānaṁ.

Going around with the wicked
Will not bring endless happiness,
They are like the chameleon
Who defeated the iguanas.


Iti 76 Sukhapatthanāsuttaṁ

The Buddha explains the three kinds of happiness people should wish for, and warns against bad reputation.

197. Akaronto pi ce pāpaṁ karontam-upasevati,
Saṅkiyo hoti pāpasmiṁ, avaṇṇo cassa rūhati.

If one not doing what is wrong
Associates with one who is,
He will be suspected of wrong,
And others will start to blame him.

Appearance is not All

SN 1.3.11 Sattajaṭilasuttaṁ

King Pasenadi interrupts his interview with the Buddha to pay respect to various kinds of ascetics who are passing nearby. The Buddha cautions that outward appearance is not trustworthy, and the King admits that these are his spies.

198. Na vaṇṇarūpena naro sujāno,
Na vissase ittaradassanena,
Susaññatānañ-hi viyañjanena
Asaññatā lokam-imaṁ caranti.

Not by outward form is a person known,
Not by seeing briefly can there be trust,
For under pretence of being restrained
The unrestrained ones will live in this world.

199. Patirūpako mattikā kuṇḍalo va,
Lohaḍḍhamāso va suvaṇṇachanno,
Caranti eke parivārachannā,
Anto asuddhā, bahi sobhamānā.

Like a clay earring resembling one gold,
Like a copper coin covered in bright gold,
Some wander around with a retinue,
Inside impure, but seeming to be pure.

Deceitful Appearances

Jā 384 Dhammadhajajātakaṁ

A crow pretends to be a holy ascetic who lives on air alone, but secretly eats the eggs and young of other birds when left alone. Eventually he is caught and put to death.

200. Vācāya sakhilŏ manoviduggo,
Channo kūpăsayo va kaṇhasappo,
Dhammadhajo gāmanigamesu sādhu,
Dujjāno purisena bālisena.

Kindly in speech, his mind hidden away,
Like a black snake dwelling in a dark hole,
Virtuous and righteous in the village,
The foolish find him hard to recognise.

The Second Hundred