Buddhist Wisdom Verses

12: Vissāsavaggo

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Faith at First Sight

Jā 68 Sāketajātakaṁ

A couple who were the Bodhisatta’s parents in many previous lives greet him as a son in this life, to the confusion of the monks. The Buddha explains their past relationship.

219. Yasmiṁ mano nivisati, cittaṁ cāpi pasīdati,
Adiṭṭhapubbake pose, kāmaṁ tasmim-pi vissase.

In that one in whom he has trust,
In whom his heart has devotion,
Although he is unknown before,
He should willingly place his trust.

The Danger of Being too Trusting

Jā 93 Vissāsabhojanajātakaṁ

A lion so scares the cows pasturing nearby that they don’t give milk. The herdsman covers with poison a hare-deer the lion is fond of, the lion licks her fondly and dies.

220. Na vissase avissatthe, vissatthe pi na vissase,
Vissāsā bhayam-anveti sīhaṁ va migamātukā.

Do not trust the untrustworthy,
Be wary even of the trustworthy,
There is danger following trust
Like the lion and the hare-deer.

Do not Trust the Untrustworthy

Jā 448 Kukkuṭajātakaṁ

A hawk preys on chickens until only the Bodhisatta is left. He tries to lure him out with kind words, but the Bodhisatta resists, not placing his trust in a natural enemy.

221. Nāsmase katapāpamhi, nāsmase alikavādine,
Nāsmas’ attatthapaññamhi, atisante pi nāsmase.

Do not trust one who is wicked,
Do not trust one who speaks falsely,
Do not trust one who is selfish,
Or he who makes a show of peace.

222. Bhavanti heke purisā gopipāsikajātikā,
Ghasanti maññe mittāni, vācāya na ca kammunā.

Some of the people are as though
Descended from thirsty cattle,
They satisfy their friends, I think,
With words, but not with their actions.

223. Sukkhañjalī paggahītā, vācāya paḷiguṇṭhitā,
Manussapheggū nāsīde, yasmiṁ natthi kataññutā.

Offering empty hands in homage,
Concealing actions by their words,
They are vile, not to be approached,
In whom there is no gratitude.

224. Na hi aññaññacittānaṁ itthīnaṁ purisāna’ vā
Nānā ca katvā saṁsaggaṁ tādisam-pi ca nāsmase.

Do not have trust or have contact
With these sorts of women or men
Whose minds are fickle, unsteady,
And are always ready to change.

225. Anariyakammaṁ okkantaṁ, athetaṁ sabbaghātinaṁ,
Nisitaṁ va paṭicchannaṁ, tādisam-pi ca nāsmase.

Do not trust the unreliable
Who fall into ignoble deeds,
They would murder all and sundry,
Their swords are sheathed and covered.

226. Mittarūpenidhekacce sākhallena acetasā,
Vividhehi upāyehi, tādisam-pi ca nāsmase.

Do not place your trust in such as
Only appear to be your friends,
Having smooth words and various means,
They have no intention to act.

227. Āmisaṁ vā dhanaṁ vā pi yattha passati tādiso,
Dubbhiṁ karoti dummedho tañ-ca hantvāna, gacchati.

Where such a one sees gain or wealth,
After treacherously slaughtering
The foolish one, he will depart.

The Trustworthy one

Jā 521 Tesakuṇajātakaṁ

A childless King adopts three birds as his children, which his courtiers scorn. To prove their worth he asks them for advice in ruling the Kingdom, and this is part of what his ‘daughter’ says.

228. Yo ca taṁ Tāta rakkheyya, dhanaṁ yañ-ceva te siyā,
Sūto va rathaṁ saṅgaṇhe, so te kiccāni kāraye.

He who will guard you well, Father,
And will also guard all your wealth,
Like a charioteer his chariot,
He will see to all his duties.

229. Susaṅgahitantajano sayaṁ vittaṁ avekkhiya,
Nidhiñ-ca iṇadānañ-ca na kare parapattiyā.

He will see to guarding one’s wealth
He will treat the people kindly,
Regarding your treasure and debts
He will not depend on others.

230. Sayaṁ āyaṁ vayaṁ jaññā, sayaṁ jaññā katākataṁ,
Niggaṇhe niggahārahaṁ, paggaṇhe paggahārahaṁ.

Your profit and loss he should know,
And what you have done and not done,
He should punish those who deserve it,
And support those who are worthy.

Keeping a Secret

Jā 508 Pañcapaṇḍitajātakaṁ

The Bodhisatta counsels the King not to reveal his secrets to anyone, but others hostile to him say that revealing to a wife, a friend, a brother, a son, or a mother is acceptable. Later the Bodhisatta reveals the secrets that they have told to such, showing their unreliablity. Then he repeats his wise advice.

231. Guyhassa hi guyham-eva sādhu,
Na hi guyhassa pasattham-āvikammaṁ,
Anipphādāya saheyya Dhīro,
Nipphannatho yathāsukhaṁ bhaṇeyya.

The hiding of secrets is good indeed,
The revealing of secrets is wicked,
The Wise is patient while it is undone,
When done he can speak whatever he likes.

232. Na guyham-atthaṁ vivareyya, rakkheyya naṁ yathā nidhiṁ,
Na hi pātukato sādhu guyho attho pajānatā.

One should not reveal a secret,
One should guard it like buried treasure,
Therefore those who know a secret
Surely do not make it manifest.

233. Thiyā guyhaṁ na saṁseyya amittassa ca Paṇḍito,
Yo cāmisena saṁhīro, hadayattheno ca yo naro.

The Wise should not tell a secret
To a woman, or to a foe,
To one who is overcome by gain,
Or to one whose heart is stolen.

234. Guyham-attham-asambuddhaṁ sambodhayati yo naro,
Mantabhedabhayā tassa dāsabhūto titikkhati.

That one who makes known a secret,
Something which was unknown before,
Fearing a broken confidence,
Will have to endure slavery.

235. Yāvanto purisassatthaṁ guyhaṁ jānanti mantinaṁ,
Tāvanto tassa ubbegā, tasmā guyhaṁ na vissaje.

As far as one knows a secret
And a confidential matter,
That far does he have fear, therefore
A secret should not be revealed.

236. Vivicca bhāseyya divā rahassaṁ,
Rattiṁ giraṁ nātivelaṁ pamuñce,
Upassutīkā hi suṇanti mantaṁ,
Tasmā manto khippam-upeti bhedaṁ.

In the day, one should speak in seclusion,
At night for a long time one should not speak,
Eavesdroppers listen for confidences,
Therefore a confidence is quickly broken.