a collection of
Buddhist Wisdom Verses

18: Vasanavaggo

Jā 103 Verījātakaṁ

Live not with Enemies

The Bodhisatta escapes some robbers and reflects on this back at home.

344. Yattha verī nivisati, na vase tattha Paṇḍito,
Wherever enemies reside, there the Wise One does not dwell,

Ekarattaṁ dvirattaṁ vā dukkhaṁ vasati verisu.
He who (even) for one night or two nights dwells amongst enemies has suffering.

Jā 379 Nerujātakaṁ
Mount Neru

Wise Discrimination

Two golden geese fly to Mount Neru and find to their surprise that even crows glowed golden in its shadow, and determine not to live in such an undiscriminating place.

345. Amānanā yattha siyā santānaṁ vā vimānanā,
In that place where good people will find respect, disrespect,

Hīnasammānanā vā pi, na tattha vasatiṁ I take the accusative reading, but a locative: vasate is to be expected here. vase.
Or little respect (indiscriminately), you should not dwell in that dwelling place.

346. Yatthālaso ca dakkho ca, sūro bhīru ca pūjiyā,
Where the lazy and clever, heroes and cowards are worshipped,

Na tattha santo vasanti, avisesakare nare. BJT, Thai: nage; [The good do not dwell] on a mountain [where distinctions are not made].
There the good do not dwell, (because) every person is (treated) alike.

Jā 178 Kacchapajātakaṁ
The Turtle

Non-Attachment to Home

A turtle stays behind in the mud when a drought threatens and is killed by someone digging there. As he dies he utters these words.

347. Janittaṁ me bhavittaṁ me, iti paṅke avassayiṁ,
Here is the place of my birth and where I grew up, I lived on this mud,

Taṁ maṁ paṅko ajjhabhavi, yathā dubbalakaṁ tathā.
And on this mud I will now die, Comm: adhi-abhavi vināsaṁ pāpesi. just like one who is weak.

348. Taṁ taṁ vadāmi, Bhaggava, suṇohi vacanaṁ mama:
This, just this, I say, Bhaggava, He is addressing the Bodhisatta by his brahminical clan name. listen to my word:

Gāme vā yadi vāraññe, sukhaṁ yatrādhigacchati,
Whether in the village or wilds, wherever he finds happiness,

349. Taṁ janittaṁ bhavittañ-ca purisassa pajānato
(Although) knowing his place of birth and growth, a person

Yamhi jīve tamhi gacche, na niketahato siyā.
Should live wherever he can go, having destroyed (attachment to his) home. Comm: nikete ālayaṁ katvā.

Jā 304 Daddarajātakaṁ
The Partridge

Having Forbearance when Unknown

Two nāgas are exiled from their rich home and have to live on a dunghill where they are abused. The elder speaks these cautionary words.

350. Sakā raṭṭhā pabbājito, Text, BJT: pabbajito; having gone forth; as though on their own account; however, they were sent forth. aññaṁ janapadaṁ gato,
Having been sent forth from his own kingdom, and entered another country,

Mahantaṁ koṭṭhaṁ kayirātha duruttānaṁ nidhetave.
He should make a great storeroom (in his heart) for the abuse he will endure. Comm: videsaṁ gato antohadaye paṇḍito poso duruttānaṁ nidhānatthāya mahantaṁ koṭṭhaṁ kayirātha; having gone abroad a wise man must make a large storeroom in his heart for the abuse he will endure.

351. Yattha posaṁ na jānanti, jātiyā vinayena vā,
In that place where they know not a man, either by his birth or his discipline,

Na tattha mānaṁ kayirātha, vasam-aññātake jane.
He should not be proud there, while dwelling unknown amongst people.

352. Videsavāsaṁ vasato, jātavedasamena pi,
While dwelling in a foreign land, (he should dwell) like a light, Literally, like a fire. The commentary is no help here, I take it that it means he should live an exemplary life.

Khamitabbaṁ sapaññena, api dāsassa tajjitaṁ.
Having wisdom he ought to be patient, having a servant’s care.

Jā 168 Sakuṇagghijātakaṁ

The Strength of Being on Home Grounds

A quail fools a hawk into attacking him on his home ground and dodges aside at the last moment leaving the hawk to plunge to his death.

353. Seno balasā patamāno lāpaṁ gocaraṭhāyinaṁ,
A hawk diving with force on a quail in its home,

Sahasā ajjhappatto va, maraṇaṁ tenupāgami.
Approached with violence, and came to death because of that.

354. Sohaṁ nayena sampanno, pettike gocare rato,
Having (devised a clever) plan, I delight in my parents’ grounds,

Apetasattu modāmi, sampassaṁ attham-attano.
(Now) rid of my foe I rejoice, considering my own welfare.

Jā 32 Naccajātakaṁ


The King of the Golden Mallards holds a festival so his daughter can pick a spouse. She likes the peacock best --– until he exposes himself while dancing in joy.

355. Rudaṁ manuññaṁ rucirā BJT: ruciyā; but an adjective is needed. ca piṭṭhi,
A pleasing voice, a brilliant back,

Veḷuriyavaṇṇūpanibhā ca gīvā.
And a neck like lapis lazuli in colour.

Vyāmamattāni ca pekhuṇāni:
Tail-feathers a fathom in length:

Naccena te dhītaraṁ no dadāmi.
(But) because of your dance, I do not give you my daughter.

Jā 59 Bherivādajātakaṁ

Excess leads to Loss

A drummer earns money at a festival, but his son through too much drumming attracts thieves who beat and rob them.

356. Dhame dhame nātidhame, atidhantaṁ hi pāpakaṁ,
Play, play, but don't play too much, for (only) the bad one plays in excess,

Dhantena hi sataṁ laddhaṁ, atidhantena nāsitaṁ.
Through playing a hundred was gained, and through excess playing was lost.

Jā 116 Dubbacajātakaṁ

Knowing Proper Limits

An acrobat knows the four-javelin dance, but when he is drunk one day, despite being warned by his pupil, he tries to extend it to five, and is impaled.

357. Atikaram-akar' Ācariya, mayham-petaṁ na ruccati,
Too much you did, Teacher, such as was against my liking,

Catutthe laṅghayitvāna, pañca-m-āyasi āvuto.
Having jumped over four (javelins), on the iron of the fifth you were impaled.