a collection of
Buddhist Wisdom Verses

21: Kāmavaggo

Jā 136 Suvaṇṇahaṁsajātakaṁ
The Golden Goose

The Result of Greed

A golden goose goes occasionally and gives his former family one of his golden feathers and they grow rich. But greed overcomes his former wife and she plucks him. The feathers though, when stolen, are gold no more, and they sink back into poverty.

401. Yaṁ laddhaṁ tena tuṭṭhabbaṁ, atilobho hi pāpako,
You should be content with what is received, only the wicked have great greed,

Haṁsarājaṁ gahetvāna, suvaṇṇā parihāyatha. Thai: parihāyati; he let loose [the gold].
Having grabbed ahold of the King of Geese, you must loose the gold.

Jā 228 Kāmanītajātakaṁ
Led by Desire

Wisdom is the only Cure for Greed

A King receives Sakka (the Bodhisatta) disguised as a young brahmin, who promises to help him conquer three cities. But the King is so mean he doesn't even offer him lodging. In the morning the brahmin is nowhere to be found and the King falls sick thinking of his loss. Sakka preaches to him as the only way to cure his illness of greed.

402. Kaṇhāhi daṭṭhassa Flora & Fauna: Kaṇhasappa, sometimes Kālasappa, meaning black snake both terms are more descriptions than actual names and refer to the king cobra ophiophagus hannah. karonti heke,
Some there are who can cure Comm: osadhehi ca tikicchaṁ karonti; can cure with medicine and treatment. the cobra’s bite,

Amanussavaddhassa karonti Paṇḍitā.
And the Wise can cure possession by non-human-beings.

Na kāmanītassa karoti koci,
But no one can cure one led by desire,

Okkantasukkassa hi kā tikicchā?
What treatment can there be for one fallen from purity?

Dhp 216 Aññatarabrāhmaṇavatthu
A Certain brahmin

Craving brings on Grief and Fear

A brahmin farmer wishing for his fields to prosper decides to make the Buddha his partner. Just before the crop is brought in floods wash it all away.

403. Taṇhāya jāyatī soko, taṇhāya jāyatī bhayaṁ,
Grief is born from craving, from craving fear is born,

Taṇhāya vippamuttassa natthi soko, kuto bhayaṁ?
For the one who is free from craving there is no grief, how then fear?

Jā 467 Kāmajātakaṁ

Desires are never Satisfied

A brahmin farmer wishing for his fields to prosper decides to make the Buddha his partner. Just before the crop is brought in floods wash it all away.

404. Kāmaṁ kāmayamānassa tassa ce taṁ samijjhati
If the one with desire succeeds in obtaining his desire

Addhā pītimano hoti, laddhā macco yad-icchati. This verse is the same as the first verse of Kāmasutta in Suttanipāta (4.1). As the text refers to eight verses and there are now nine, it was quite possibly added later owing to the coincidence of the first line with the following verse.
He certainly is joyful, having obtained what a mortal longs for.

405. Kāmaṁ kāmayamānassa tassa ce taṁ samijjhati,
If the one desiring succeeds in obtaining his desire,

Tato naṁ aparaṁ kāme, ghamme ChS: dhamme? [just as thirst is found] is things? or in the Dhamma? taṇhaṁ va vindati.
Then he has further desires, just as there is thirst in the hot season. The simile is not very clear here, presumably it means that in the hot season no matter how many times one’s thirst is quenched it rises up again.

406. Gavaṁ va siṅgino siṅgaṁ vaḍḍhamānassa vaḍḍhati,
As the horns of a horned bull develop while growing,

Evaṁ mandassa posassa bālassa avijānato
Even so for the foolish, dull person without understanding

Bhiyyo taṇhā pipāsā ca vaḍḍhamānassa vaḍḍhati.
His thirst and craving develop while growing.

407. Pathavyā sāliyavakaṁ, gavassaṁ dāsaporisaṁ,
* Even having been given all the rice, barley, cows and slaves on Earth,

Datvā pi nālam-ekassa, iti vidvā, Thai: viddhā; struck like this, [wander in peace]? samaṁ care.
It is not enough for that one, having understood this, live in peace.

408. Rājā pasayha pathaviṁ vijitvā
A King, having forcibly conquered the whole

Sasāgarantaṁ mahim-āvasanto,
Inhabited earth, up to the ocean’s edge,

Oraṁ samuddassa atittarūpo,
Being unsatisfied will cross over the ocean,

Pāraṁ samuddassa pi patthaye 'tha. Thai: patthaye va; Like one [who wishes for what is on the other side of the ocean].
For he will then wish for what is on the other side of the ocean.

409. Yāva anussaraṁ kāme manasā, titti nājjhagā,
As long as he remembers his mind’s desires, he will not feel satisfaction,

Tato nivattā paṭikamma disvā,
Therefore, having seen the cure he stops (desire),

Te ve tittā ye paññāya tittā.
Only they are satisfied who are satisfied with wisdom.

410. Paññāya tittinaṁ seṭṭhaṁ, na so kāmehi tappati,
Best is the satisfaction of wisdom, not the suffering of desires,

Paññāya tittaṁ purisaṁ, taṇhā na kurute vasaṁ.
The person satisfied by wisdom, comes not under the influence of craving.

411. Apacinetheva kāmāni appicchassa, alolupo,
For the one with few wants, not being covetous, does away with desires,

Samuddamatto puriso, na so kāmehi tappati.
That person is like the ocean, he does not suffer through desires.

412. Rathakāro va cammassa parikantaṁ upāhanaṁ,
Just as the cobbler cuts the skin (so it fits) the shoe,

Yaṁ yaṁ cajati kāmānaṁ taṁ taṁ sampajjate sukhaṁ.
With the giving up of desires (true) happiness can be attained.

Sabbañ-ce sukham-iccheyya, sabbe kāme pariccaje.
If he wishes for complete happiness, he should give up desire completely.

Jā 14 Vātamigajātakaṁ
The Wind Deer

The Snare of Taste

A gardener named Sañjaya entices a deer into the palace through lining his grass with honey.

413. Na kiratthi rasehi pāpiyo,
There is nothing worse Comm: pāpiyo ti pāpataro; worse means more wicked. than tastes,

Āvāsehi va santhavehi vā.
Amongst (those dwelling in) homes or friends.

Vātamigaṁ gehanissitaṁ,
The wind-deer from his (jungle) home, Comm: gahanaṭṭhānanissitaṁ.

Vasam-ānesi rasehi Sañjayo.
Was brought under Sañjaya’s control by taste.

Jā 346 Kesavajātakaṁ
The Teacher Kesava

Confidence is the Taste Supreme

A teacher falls ill while being looked after by the King of Bāraṇāsī and none of his doctors can cure him. He goes to the Himālayas where he is cared for by his beloved pupil, the Bodhisatta, and gets better with his loving care.

414. Sāduṁ vā yadi vāsāduṁ, Thai: sādhuṁ vā yadi vāsādhuṁ; Whether it is good or not good. appaṁ vā yadi vā bahuṁ,
Whether of good taste or bad taste, whether there is little or much,

Vissattho yattha bhuñjeyya, vissāsaparamā rasā.
Wherever the faithful one can eat, (he finds) faith is the taste supreme.

SN 1.3.13 Doṇapākasuttaṁ
A Measure of Food

Knowing the Measure

King Pasenadi eats too much and is always uncomfortable; the Buddha speaks this verse, which the King has an attendant remember and repeat to him when he eats.

415. Manujassa sadā satīmato,
For the person who is always mindful,

Mattaṁ jānatŏ laddhabhojane,
Knowing the measure in regard to food he’s received,

Tanukassa bhavanti vedanā,
His unpleasant feelings become fewer, Lit: become thin; but it is used here for tanukata, reduced.

Saṇikaṁ jīrati, āyupālayaṁ.
Slowly he ages, protecting his life.

SN 1.1.10 Araññasuttaṁ
The Wilds

Neither Grieving nor Yearning

A short dialogue between a god, who speaks first, and the Buddha in Jeta’s Wood.

416. “Araññe viharantānaṁ, santānaṁ brahmacārinaṁ,
“Those who are living in the wilds, who are peaceful and live spiritually,

Ekabhattaṁ Counting the first vowel as light to allow for resolution. bhuñjamānānaṁ, kena vaṇṇo pasīdatī?” ti
Eating only one meal (a day), why are their complexions so clear?”

417. “Atītaṁ nānusocanti, nappajappanti 'nāgataṁ,
“They do not continually grieve over the past, nor do they yearn for the future,

Paccuppannena yāpenti, tena vaṇṇo pasīdati.
They maintain themselves in the present, therefore their complexions are clear.

418. Anāgatappajappāya, atītassānusocanā,
It is through yearning for the future, and continually grieving over the past,

Etena bālā sussanti, naḷo va harito luto.” ti
That fools dry up, like a green reed that has been mowed down.”