Dhamma Verses

6. The Chapter about the Wise

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One should stay with one who reproves you wisely

The monks did not want to ordain a poor brahmin, Rādha, but the Buddha, seeing his potential, allowed it; Ven. Sāriputta gave him guidance which he followed to the letter and soon became an Arahat; the Buddha then spoke this verse about being amenable to admonition.

76. Nidhīnaṁ va pavattāraṁ yaṁ passe vajjadassinaṁ,
niggayhavādiṁ medhāviṁ tādisaṁ paṇḍitaṁ bhaje;
tādisaṁ bhajamānassa seyyo hoti na pāpiyo.

One should see one who shows your faults
just like one who points out treasure,
one should keep company with such
a sagacious, learned person;
keeping company with such is
surely better for you, not worse.

One should give advice

The Buddha asked the Chief Disciples to advise and instruct some of their wayward disciples; some accepted the advice, some returned to lay life, and others were later expelled; the Buddha spoke this verse by way of instruction.

77. Ovadeyyānusāseyya, asabbhā ca nivāraye,
sataṁ hi so piyo hoti, asataṁ hoti appiyo.

One should both advise and instruct,
and forbid whatever is vile,
for it is dear to the good,
but it is not dear to the bad.

Who to keep company with

Ven. Channa was always abusing the Chief Disciples; when the Buddha found out he admonished him with this verse, but still he refused to refrain; at the Buddha’s bidding he was isolated by the monks, and he later repented and became an Arahat.

78. Na bhaje pāpake mitte, na bhaje purisādhame,
bhajetha mitte kalyāṇe, bhajetha purisuttame.

One should not keep company with those wicked friends,
one should not keep company with the ignoble,
you should keep company with spiritual friends,
you should keep company with those superior.

The wise delight in the Dhamma

Ven. Mahākappina, who was formerly a King, was given to exclaiming his delight, and the monks feared he was recalling the joys he had when King; the Buddha explained the true reason for his exclamations was delight in the Dhamma, and spoke this verse about him.

79. Dhammapīti sukhaṁ seti, vippasannena cetasā,
Ariyappavedite Dhamme sadā ramati paṇḍito.

The one who drinks Dhamma lives well,
with a clear mind, the wise one will
always delight in the Dhamma
that is made known by the Noble.

The wise straighten themselves out

The novice Paṇḍita saw that irrigators, fletchers and carpenters mastered the objects they worked with, and realised that if they can master unconscious things, he could master his mind; by striving he did just that and became an Arahat; the Buddha then spoke this verse about him.

80. Udakaṁ hi nayanti nettikā,
usukārā namayanti tejanaṁ,
dāruṁ namayanti tacchakā,
attānaṁ damayanti paṇḍitā.

Course-makers lead water,
fletchers straighten arrows,
carpenters straighten wood,
the wise master themselves.

The wise are unperturbed

The elder Lakuṇṭaka Bhaddiya was a dwarf who became an Arahat; because of his condition the novices and others used to tease him, but he remained unmoved and the Buddha explained why this was so with this verse.

81. Selo yathā ekaghano vātena na samīrati,
evaṁ nindāpasaṁsāsu na samiñjanti paṇḍitā.

Just as solid rock is
not shaken by the wind,
so the wise are not moved
by either blame or praise.

The wise are clear and confident

Kānā resented and reviled the monks for taking cakes she wanted to offer to her husband; but the Buddha showed they had only taken what was offered, and she gained faith and attained stream-entry; the Buddha explained she had also been offended in a past life, and then spoke this verse.

82. Yathā pi rahado gambhīro vippasanno anāvilo,
evaṁ Dhammāni sutvāna vippasīdanti paṇḍitā.

Like a lake that is deep and clear,
like a lake that is unruffled,
just so the wise are confident
after listening to Dhamma.

The wise are untouched by contacts

During a famine the Buddha and his monks lived frugally and without complaint; later rogues who lived off the leavings of the monks roamed around making a nuisance of themselves; the Buddha praised those who live restrained and spoke this verse.

83. Sabbattha ve sappurisā cajanti,
na kāmakāmā lapayanti santo;
sukhena phuṭṭhā atha vā dukhena,
noccāvacaṁ paṇḍitā dassayanti.

True people surely everywhere renounce,
the good do not talk about sense-pleasures;
when touched by pleasure or by suffering,
the wise are not elated or depressed.

One should not desire success through corruption

The householder Dhammika wanted to ordain, but his wife persuaded him for some time to delay it; eventually he ordained anyway, became an Arahat, and went back to teach his wife and son, who themselves ordained and became Arahats; the Buddha taught this verse with Ven. Dhammika in mind.

84. Na attahetu na parassa hetu,
na puttam-icche na dhanaṁ na raṭṭhaṁ –
na iccheyya adhammena samiddhim-attano;
sa sīlavā paññavā dhammiko siyā.

Not for one’s own sake and not for another’s sake,
not desiring a child, riches, or a kingdom –
he should not desire his success through corruption;
he should be both virtuous and wise and righteous.

Those who act on the Dhamma will go beyond

Some people in Sāvatthī went to listen to Dhamma, but were overcome by lust, hatred or drowsiness, and none of them gained from it; the Buddha explained that this is quite common amongst people with this verse.

85.86. Appakā te manussesu ye janā pāragāmino,
athāyaṁ itarā pajā tīram-evānudhāvati,
ye ca kho sammad-akkhāte Dhamme dhammānuvattino,
te janā pāram-essanti, maccudheyyaṁ suduttaraṁ.

Amongst humans few people go beyond,
the rest of the people run down the bank,
but those who live righteously, conforming
with this well-taught Dhamma, they go beyond
the realm of death, that which is hard to cross.

Developing renunciation and Awakening

Fifty monks who passed the Rains Retreat in Kosala visited the Buddha in Sāvatthi after the Retreat and this is the inspiring teaching the Buddha gave them on that occasion.

87. Kaṇhaṁ dhammaṁ vippahāya, sukkaṁ bhāvetha paṇḍito,
okā anokaṁ āgamma; viveke yattha dūramaṁ,

Having abandoned the dark state,
the wise should develop the bright,
having gone forth to homelessness
from home, living in solitude,
where it is hard to find delight.

88. Tatrābhiratim-iccheyya, hitvā kāme akiñcano,
pariyodapeyya attānaṁ cittaklesehi paṇḍito.

One should take delight in that place,
having given up sense pleasures,
and having no possessions,
the wise one should then purify
the self of defilements of mind.

89. Yesaṁ sambodhi-aṅgesu sammā cittaṁ subhāvitaṁ,
ādānapaṭinissagge anupādāya ye ratā,
khīṇāsavā jutimanto, te loke parinibbutā.

For those who have well developed
the factors of awakening,
having given up grasping, those who
delight in being unattached,
pollutant-free and shining forth,
are emancipated here.

Paṇḍitavaggo Chaṭṭho
The Chapter about the Wise, the Sixth