Ja 235 The Story about (the Wanderer) Vacchanakha
In the present a supporter of Ven. Ānanda’s tries to tempt him back to the lay life by offering him half his wealth. Ven. Ānanda refuses though, as the household life is full of suffering. The Buddha tells a story of similar events which unfolded in a previous life when the Bodhisatta was an ascetic called Vacchanakha.
1. Sukhā gharā, Vacchanakha, sahiraññā sabhojanā,
Yattha, bhutvā pivitvā ca, sayeyyātha anussuko ti.
Vacchanakha, households are pleasant, having gold and having food, where, after eating and drinking, you can lie down free from desire.
In this connection, having gold means being endowed with the seven gems. Gold (suvaṇṇa), silver (rajata), pearl (muttā), gem (maṇi), lapis lazuli (veḷuriya), diamonds (vajira), coral (pavāla). Cf. Ja 219 Garahitajātaka, where 10 treasures are mentioned.
Having food means having a lot of staple and non-staple foods.
Where, after eating and drinking, in those houses where there is gold and food, after eating the various and most tasty foods, and drinking the various drinks.
You can lie down free from desire, on the top of a decorated and auspicious bed, being free from desire, you can lie down, those houses are known as extremely pleasant.
2. Gharā nānīhamānassa, gharā nābhaṇato ’musā,
Gharā nādinnadaṇḍassa paresaṁ anikubbato,
Evaṁ (chiddaṁ) durabhisambhavaṁ, ko gharaṁ paṭipajjatī ti?
No houses for the one who does not exert himself, no houses without speaking lies, no houses for the one with a stick, who does not defraud others, so being faulty and hard to endure, who would practice in a house?
In this connection, no houses for the one who does not exert himself, all the time, because of farming, herding and so on, there are no houses normally for one who does not exert himself, who lacks effort, does not find good support for life in the home, this is the meaning.
No houses without speaking lies, for the purpose of gaining fields, lands, unwrought and wrought gold and so on, there are no houses normally for one speaking the truth. Lit: not speaking what is not false.
No houses for the one with a stick, who does not defraud others, for the one with a stick means for the one who takes up a stick, there are no houses for one who discards the stick and does not defraud others. The one who takes a stick to others, such as servants and workers, in that very place must apply a suitable sentence for a crime, by means of executing, binding, amputating, beating and so on, home life is settled for him, this is the meaning.
So being faulty and hard to endure, who would practice at home? So now, while not making these endeavours and so on, and through each loss there is the making of a fault, what should be always done is hard to endure, hard to accomplish, or, by always doing what is hard to endure the house life is hard to fulfil, thinking: “Becoming unagitated, I will live at home,” who would practice like this?
last updated: August 2022