Ja 200 The Story about Good Precepts

In the present one brahmin cannot decide between suitors for his four daughters and asks the Buddha’s advice. The Buddha tells of a similar occurrence in the past, and how, as Bodhisatta, he advised choosing the virtuous suitor as being the most suitable.

1. Sarīradabyaṁ vuḍḍhabyaṁ, sojaccaṁ sādhusīliyaṁ,
Brāhmaṇaṁ teva pucchāma: kannu tesaṁ vanimhase ti?

One is handsome, one is elder, one of good birth, one virtuous, we ask the brahmin about this: which one of these suitors is good? I am unsure about this translation, the word seems to be vani + amhase, with vani normally meaning a beggar, perhaps here a suitor, having a positive sense.

In this connection, one is beautiful and so on, he explains the virtue existing in these four. This is the intention in this place: my four daughters wish for men, of these one is handsome, one is found endowed with a truly handsome body, one of them is elder, elderly, aged, one of them is of good birth, well born, endowed with a good birth. One of them is virtuous, having beautiful virtue, being endowed with virtue.

We ask the brahmin about this, not knowing which amongst those named should be given, we ask the venerable brahmin.

Which one of these suitors is good? Of these four people which is good, which should we desire, he asks to which of these should we give the woman?

2. Attho atthi sarīrasmiṁ, vuḍḍhabyassa namo kare,
Attho atthi sujātasmiṁ, sīlaṁ asmāka’ ruccatī ti.

There is good in the body, we must pay respects to an elder, there is good in being well born, but in virtue is our delight.

In this connection, there is good in the body, a body endowed with beauty is also good, this is especially prosperous, I do not say it isn’t.

We must pay respect to an elder, I pay my respects to one who is an elder. The one who is elder receives reverence.

There is good in being well born, there is prosperity in the well born person, the one endowed with good birth is also desireable.

In virtue is our delight, but our delight is in virtue. The virtuous one, endowed with good manners, though devoid of beauty, is still commendable, praiseworthy.