Dhamma Verses

14. The Chapter about the Buddha

The Buddha cannot be led astray

For six years before the Awakening Māra pursued the Bodhisatta looking for an opening, but he found none; Māra was dejected, and his daughters finding out why, tried and failed to make the newly attained Buddha fall victim to lust; the Buddha rebuked them with these verses.

179. Yassa jitaṁ nāvajīyati, -
jitaṁ assa no yāti koci loke,
apadaṁ kena padena nessatha?

He whose victory cannot be undone,
whose victory no one here approaches,
the Buddha, whose range is surely endless,
by what path can you lead the pathless one?

180. Yassa jālinī visattikā,
taṇhā natthi kuhiñci netave,
apadaṁ kena padena nessatha?

For him there is no desire, attachment,
or craving that will lead him anywhere,
the Buddha, whose range is surely endless,
by what path can you lead the pathless one?

The wise are envied by the gods

After spending his seventh Rains Retreat in the Heaven of the Thirty-Three the Buddha descended on a staircase built by Sakka, lord of the gods, and Ven. Sāriputta praised the Buddha in his glory; the Buddha explained the matter by reciting this verse.

181. Ye jhānapasutā dhīrā, nekkhammūpasame ratā,
devā pi tesaṁ pihayanti, Sambuddhānaṁ satīmataṁ.

Those wise ones intent on meditation,
who love the peace of renunciation,
even the gods are envious of them,
the Sambuddhas, the ones who are mindful.

The rare things

A monk in the time of Buddha Kassapa died and was reborn as a nāga; eventually he heard that a new Buddha has arisen in the world, and went and asked why he cannot attain rebirth as a human even after so long a time; this was the Buddha’s reply.

182. Kiccho manussapaṭilābho, kicchaṁ maccāna’ jīvitaṁ,
kicchaṁ Saddhammasavanaṁ, kiccho Buddhānam-uppādo.

It is rare to be born human,
rare is the life of the mortals,
it is rare to hear True Dhamma,
rare the arising of Buddhas.

The advisory verses

Ven. Ānanda asked the Buddha to explain how the previous Buddhas had kept the fast-day; he explained that although they held them after different lengths of time, the verses they recited were always the same as the following.

183. Sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṁ, kusalassa upasampadā,
sacittapariyodapanaṁ - etaṁ Buddhāna’ sāsanaṁ.

Not doing anything wicked
undertaking of what is good,
purification of one’s mind
is the teaching of the Buddhas.

184. Khantī paramaṁ tapo titikkhā,
Nibbānaṁ paramaṁ vadanti Buddhā,
na hi pabbajito parūpaghātī,
samaṇo hoti paraṁ viheṭhayanto.

Patience is the supreme austerity,
Nibbāna is supreme say the Buddhas,
for one gone forth does not hurt another,
nor does an ascetic harass others.

185. Anupavādo anupaghāto, pātimokkhe ca saṁvaro,
mattaññutā ca bhattasmiṁ, pantañ-ca sayanāsanaṁ,
adhicitte ca āyogo - etaṁ Buddhāna’ sāsanaṁ.

Not finding fault and not hurting,
restraint by the regulations,
knowing the right measure of food,
living in a remote dwelling,
devotion to meditation
is the teaching of the Buddhas.

Money cannot bring satisfaction

One monk had gained an inheritance of one hundred coins from his Father and thought to return to the lay life; the Buddha pointed out that the money would not be enough to support himself, and related the Mandhātā Jātaka which shows that no matter how much a person has he will never be satisfied.

186.187. Na kahāpaṇavassena titti kāmesu vijjati,
“Appassādā dukhā kāmā,” iti viññāya paṇḍito,
api dibbesu kāmesu ratiṁ so nādhigacchati.
Taṇhakkhayarato hoti Sammāsambuddhasāvako.

Not through coins is satisfaction
found for sense desires, the wise one
knowing: “Pleasures have little joy,
much suffering,” does not delight
even in heavenly pleasures.
The disciple of the Buddha
delights in craving’s destruction.

The true and secure refuge

Aggidatta was a brahmin with many disciples, but he taught them to go for refuge to woods and mountains and the like; Ven. Moggallāna impressed him with his powers and declared the Buddha even greater than himself; the Buddha taught that those who take refuge in the Triple Gem find the one true refuge.

188. Bahuṁ ve saraṇaṁ yanti pabbatāni vanāni ca
ārāmarukkhacetyāni, manussā bhayatajjitā.

Many people shaken
by fear go for refuge
to woods, mountains, and to
tree shrines in pleasure parks.

189. Netaṁ kho saraṇaṁ khemaṁ, netaṁ saraṇam-uttamaṁ,
netaṁ saraṇam-āgamma sabbadukkhā pamuccati.

That is not a secure refuge,
that is not the refuge supreme,
that is not the refuge that will
liberate from all suffering.

190. Yo ca Buddhañ-ca Dhammañ-ca Saṅghañ-ca saraṇaṁ gato,
cattāri ariyasaccāni sammappaññāya passati:

Whoever has gone for refuge
to the Buddha, to the Dhamma
and to the Saṅgha, who sees with
right wisdom the four noble truths:

191. Dukkhaṁ dukkhasamuppādaṁ dukkhassa ca atikkamaṁ,
ariyañ-caṭṭhaṅgikaṁ maggaṁ dukkhūpasamagāminaṁ.

Suffering, arising, and the
overcoming of suffering,
the eightfold noble path leading
to the stilling of suffering.

192. Etaṁ kho saraṇaṁ khemaṁ, etaṁ saraṇam-uttamaṁ,
etaṁ saraṇam-āgamma sabbadukkhā pamuccati.

That is the one secure refuge,
that is the one refuge supreme,
that is the one refuge that will
liberate from all suffering.

The person of good breed

Ven. Ānanda reflected that the Buddha had taught them about the provenance of well-bred elephants and steeds, but not of well-bred people, so he asked about it, and the Buddha explained the matter with this verse.

193. Dullabho purisājañño, na so sabbattha jāyati,
yattha so jāyate dhīro, taṁ kulaṁ sukham-edhati.

A person of good breed is rare,
that one is not born everywhere,
wherever that wise one is born,
that family gains happiness.

Where the real good lies

The monks discussed what is the true good in the world, some said ruling, some said love, some said food; the Buddha explained that those things are within the realm of suffering, and then he pointed out what is truly good with this verse.

194. Sukho Buddhānam-uppādo, sukhā Saddhammadesanā,
sukhā Saṅghassa sāmaggī, samaggānaṁ tapo sukho.

The arising of the Buddhas is good,
the teaching of the True Dhamma is good,
the harmony of the Saṅgha is good,
and devotion to harmony is good.

Worshipping the worthy has boundless merit

While the Buddha and his disciples were on walking tour they came to the shrine of Kassapa, a previous Buddha; one brahmin came and paid homage to the shrine, but not to the Buddha or his disciples; the Buddha lauded the brahmin for his act of faith but said it is even better to worship those still living who are worthy of worship.

195.196. Pūjārahe pūjayato, Buddhe yadi va sāvake,
papañcasamatikkante, tiṇṇasokapariddave;
te tādise pūjayato, nibbute akutobhaye,
na sakkā puññaṁ saṅkhātuṁ, imettam-api kenaci.

For those who worship those worthy,
whether Buddhas or disciples,
with impediments overcome,
free of grief and lamentation;
for those who worship such as these,
the emancipated, fearless,
none can measure their vast merit,
saying: it is as much as this.

Buddhavaggo Cuddasamo
The Chapter about the Buddha, the Fourteenth