Ja 203 The Story about the Vow (that Protects) the Constituent Parts
In the present one monk dies of a snake bite. The Buddha tells a story about sages of old who learned a protection charm, and were kept safe from the four families of snakes and other dangerous animals.
1. Virūpakkhehi me mettaṁ, mettaṁ Erāpathehi me,
Chabyāputtehi me mettaṁ, mettaṁ We should exclude mettaṁ m.c., it is only included for symmetry, and is not needed for meaning. Kaṇhāgotamakehi cā ti.
I am friendly with the Virūpakkhas, with the Erāpathas I am friendly, I am friendly with the Chabyāputtas, friendly with the Kaṇhāgotamakas.
In this connection, I am friendly with the Virūpakkhas, I am friendly with the Virūpakkha royal snake family.
Erāpathas and so on also has the same method. This Erāpatha royal snake family, Chabyāputta royal snake family, Kaṇhāgotamaka royal snake family are the royal snake families.
2. In Cst this and the following two verses are all counted as part of verse 1. Then the lines Appamāṇo Buddha... (which is not even a verse) and the following verse are counted as verse 2. Fausboll counts each of the verses (omitting Appamāṇo Buddha...) as separate verses. I number the first 4 verses, the others, although commented on, are actually in prose. Apādakehi me mettaṁ, mettaṁ dvipādakehi me,
Catuppadehi me mettaṁ, mettaṁ bahuppadehi me ti.
I’m friendly with those without feet, with those with two feet I’m friendly, I’m friendly with those with four feet, with those with many feet I’m friendly.
In this connection, having made a special case with the first lines, towards all serpents having no feet, and towards fish he shows his friendliness, towards the two-footed humans, and to three-footed creatures such as birds, and all four-footed creatures such as elephants, horses and so on, and with the many-footed: scorpions, centipedes, caterpillars, worms, and so on.
3. Mā maṁ apādako hiṁsi, mā maṁ hiṁsi dvipādako,
Mā maṁ catuppado hiṁsi, mā maṁ hiṁsi bahuppado ti.
May the one without feet not hurt me, may the one with two feet not hurt me, may the one with four feet not hurt me, may the one with many feet not hurt me.
In this connection, may the one without feet not hurt me, towards the one without feet and so on, may no one hurt me, harm me, thus entreating them, you must develop friendliness, this is the meaning.
4. Sabbe sattā, sabbe pāṇā, sabbe bhūtā ca kevalā,
Sabbe bhadrāni passantu, mā kañci pāpam-āgamā ti.
May all beings, all living creatures, all beings entirely, may all see prosperity, may nothing bad come to anyone.
In this connection, because of craving and views, clinging to, attaching to, sticking to, adhering to the five constituents in the round of existence, beings is said. There may be a play of the word satta here which (amongst other things) in Pāḷi can mean both being (Skt: sattva) and attached (Skt: sajjita). Because of breathing, through what is reckoned as continuing by breathing in and breathing out, living creatures is said.
Because of rebirth and the development of beings, beings is said. Thus the distinction of the words are to be understood. Without distinction all these many footed creatures are benefactors of all beings.
Entirely means in every way. This word is an encompassing word.
May all see prosperity, all of these beings may they see prosperity, auspiciousness, what is beneficial.
May nothing bad come to anyone, amongst these may not one being approach what is wicked, evil, suffering, may none arrive at, may none reach this, may all be free from hatred, free from oppression, happy, and free from suffering.
‘Appamāṇo Buddho! Appamāṇo Dhammo!
He said: ‘The Buddha is measureless! The Dhamma is measureless!
Appamāṇo Saṅgho ti!’ āha These words, and the ones that follow below, are not metrical, and are some of the only non-metrical words commented on in the padavaṇṇanā, presumably because they are taken as part of the paritta, or protection formula.
The Saṅgha is measureless!’
In this connection, absent any measureable defilements, and absent any measureable virtues, the Buddha-jewel is measureless.
The Dhamma means the nine kinds of supermundane states. The four paths, four fruits and Nibbāna.
It is not possible to make of measure of this, so it is measureless.
By being endowed with a measureless nature the Saṅgha is measureless.
‘Pamāṇavantāni sarīsapāni, ahivicchikasatapadī,
He said: ‘Measurable are creeping things, such as snakes, scorpions, centipedes,
uṇṇanābhi sarabūmūsikā ti’ āha.
spiders, lizards, and rats.’
In this connection, creeping things means what are called snakes or serpents. Slithering along they go, cursing with the head, so they are creeping things. This is an example of folk etymology that we sometimes come across in the commentaries. It is not really possible to make sense of it in translation. It suggests the word sarīsapa derives from sar- (recollection) + si- as in sira (head) + sapa- as in sapati, (curse).
Snakes and so on, this is a specific example of those of a similar form.
In this connection, spiders means arachnids. For him the web comes out like wool from the centre, therefore spiders is said. Another folk etymology.
Lizards means house lizards.
5. Katā me rakkhā, katā me parittā,
Sohaṁ namo Bhagavato,
Namo sattannaṁ Sammāsambuddhānan-ti.
I have made this protection, I have made this safeguard, may all these beings go away! I revere the Fortunate One, I revere the seven Perfect Sambuddhas.
In this connection, I have made this protection, by recollecting the virtues of the three jewels I have made this guard, this protection, for myself.
I have made this safeguard means I have made safeguards for myself.
May all these beings go away! May all these these beings having bad intentions go away, depart from here.
I revere the Fortunate One, thus having made this safeguard, I worship all the Fortunate Buddhas who attained Nibbāna in the past.
I revere the seven Perfect Sambuddhas, specifically, in the past, in sequence, I revere the seven Perfect Sambuddhas who attained Nibbāna.
last updated: August 2022