Dhamma Verses

17. The Chapter about Anger

One who has nothing has no suffering either

Ven. Anuruddha had a sister named Rohiṇī, but when he returned to his family she didn’t come and serve him as she had a skin disease; the elder advised her to build a residence for the monks and, after she did that, her skin eruption subsided; the Buddha explained the past misdeed which caused her illness, and then spoke this verse.

221. Kodhaṁ jahe, vippajaheyya mānaṁ,
saṁyojanaṁ sabbam-atikkameyya,
taṁ nāmarūpasmiṁ asajjamānaṁ,
akiñcanaṁ nānupatanti dukkhā.

One should abandon all anger,
one should abandon all conceit,
one should overcome every fetter,
without clinging to mind and form,
sufferings never do befall
the one having no possessions.

One should rein in anger

Against the pleas of a tree spirit a monk cut down a tree thereby injuring her child at the same time; the tree spirit at first thought to kill him, but restrained her anger and reported the matter to the Buddha instead, who spoke this verse and gave her a new tree to live in, and laid down a rule that monks should not injure trees and plants.

222. Yo ve uppatitaṁ kodhaṁ rathaṁ bhantaṁ va dhāraye,
tam-ahaṁ sārathiṁ brūmi rasmiggāho itaro jano.

Whoever should hold back anger
just like a swerving chariot,
that one is a charioteer,
other people just rein-holders.

Overcoming defilements with their opposites

Uttarā hired a courtesan to look after her husband’s needs, while she served the Buddha and his monks; the courtesan fell into a jealous rage and tried to burn Uttarā with boiling ghee, but the power of her loving-kindness prevented it from burning; the Buddha praised her actions with this verse.

223. Akkodhena jine kodhaṁ, asādhuṁ sādhunā jine,
jine kadariyaṁ dānena, saccenālikavādinaṁ.

Through kindness one should overcome anger,
through goodness overcome lack of goodness,
through gifts one should overcome stinginess,
through truth one should overcome lying speech.

The way to the gods

Ven. Moggallāna one day visited heaven and seeing celestial spirits in the mansions asked them how they got there; one replied she had spoken the truth, another had restrained her anger, and others had given but trifling gifts; the Buddha then spoke this verse in explanation.

224. Saccaṁ bhaṇe, na kujjheyya, dajjāppasmim-pi yācito,
etehi tīhi ṭhānehi gacche devāna’ santike.

One should speak out the truth,
one should not get angry,
when requested then give,
if only a little,
through these three conditions
one can go to the gods.

Sages go to Nibbāna

A brahmin and his wife at Sāketa always addressed the Buddha as their son; the monks asked the Buddha why and he explained that they were his parents in fifteen hundred previous existences; at the end of one Rains Retreat the couple attained Nibbāna together, and the Buddha spoke this verse.

225. Ahiṁsakā ye munayo, niccaṁ kāyena saṁvutā,
te yanti accutaṁ ṭhānaṁ, yattha gantvā na socare.

Those sages without violence,
constantly restrained in body,
go to the deathless Nibbāna,
having gone there they do not grieve.

The wakeful overcome the pollutants

Puṇṇā was a slave girl who was given work that lasted into the night at which time she saw the monks being guided to their quarters by Ven. Dabbamalla; when she met the Buddha the next day and offered him a cake he explained with this verse why the monks were awake.

226. Sadā jāgaramānānaṁ, ahorattānusikkhinaṁ,
Nibbānaṁ adhimuttānaṁ, atthaṁ gacchanti āsavā.

For those who are always wakeful,
who train both by day and by night,
who are intent on Nibbāna,
the pollutants are laid to rest.

Those who are blamed

The lay disciple Atula went with his entourage to see Ven. Revata, who did not speak, Ven. Sāriputta, who spoke at length, and Ven. Ānanda who spoke moderately; but he was upset with them all; finally he went to the Buddha who explained the matter thus.

227. Porāṇam-etaṁ, Atula, netaṁ ajjatanām-iva:
nindanti tuṇhim-āsīnaṁ, nindanti bahubhāṇinaṁ,
mitabhāṇim-pi nindanti, natthi loke anindito.

This is something of old, Atula,
this is not something of today:
they blame the one who sits silent,
they blame the one who talks a lot,
and one who talks moderately,
there is no one who is not blamed.

228. Na cāhu na ca bhavissati, na cetarahi vijjati
ekantaṁ nindito poso, ekantaṁ vā pasaṁsito.

There was not and there will not be,
and at present there is not found
someone totally blameworthy,
or one totally praiseworthy.

229. Yañ-ce viññū pasaṁsanti, anuvicca suve suve,
acchiddavuttiṁ medhāviṁ, paññāsīlasamāhitaṁ,

The one who, being examined
day by day, is praised by the wise,
faultless in conduct, sagacious,
attending to virtue and wisdom,

230. nekkhaṁ jambonadasseva, ko taṁ ninditum-arahati?
Devā pi naṁ pasaṁsanti, Brahmunā pi pasaṁsito.

one who is like a golden coin,
who is there worthy to blame him?
That one is praised by the gods, and
has been praised by the Brahmās too.

One should be restrained

The group of six monks, whose unrestrained behaviour was the occasion for the Buddha laying down many of the Vinaya rules, put on clogs and clattered around on a rock; the Buddha advised them with these verses.

231. Kāyappakopaṁ rakkheyya, kāyena saṁvuto siyā,
kāyaduccaritaṁ hitvā, kāyena sucaritaṁ care.

One should guard one’s bodily anger,
one should be restrained bodily,
abandoning wrong bodily conduct,
one should have good bodily conduct.

232. Vacīpakopaṁ rakkheyya, vācāya saṁvuto siyā,
vacīduccaritaṁ hitvā, vācāya sucaritaṁ care.

One should guard one’s verbal anger,
one should be restrained verbally,
abandoning wrong verbal conduct,
one should have good verbal conduct.

233. Manopakopaṁ rakkheyya, manasā saṁvuto siyā,
manoduccaritaṁ hitvā, manasā sucaritaṁ care.

One should guard one’s mental anger,
one should be restrained mentally,
abandoning wrong mental conduct,
one should have good mental conduct.

234. Kāyena saṁvutā dhīrā, atho vācāya saṁvutā,
manasā saṁvutā dhīrā, te ve suparisaṁvutā.

The wise are restrained bodily,
the wise are restrained verbally,
the wise are restrained mentally,
the wise are indeed well-restrained.

Kodhavaggo Sattarasamo
The Chapter about Anger, the Seventeenth