a collection of
Buddhist Wisdom Verses

24: Cittavaggo

SN 1.1.62 Cittasuttaṁ
The Mind

The Authority of the Mind

Asked three questions by a god, this is how the Buddha responds.

448. Cittena nīyati loko, cittena parikassati,
The world is led on by the mind, by the mind it is swept away,

Cittassa ekadhammassa sabbe va vasam-anvagū.
They all follow the authority of that one thing: the mind.

Dhp 42 Nandagopālakavatthu
The Herdsman Nanda

The Dangers of a Badly-Directed Mind

A herdsman offers alms to the Buddha and his disciples for seven days, and soon afterwards is killed by a hunter. The commentary notes that no explanation was given as to why this was so as the monks did not ask.

449. Diso disaṁ yan-taṁ kayirā, verī vā pana verinaṁ,
That which an aggressor might do to an aggressor, or an enemy to an enemy,

Micchāpaṇihitaṁ cittaṁ pāpiyo naṁ tato kare.
A badly-directed mind might be worse than that for him.

Dhp 43 Soreyyattheravatthu
The Elder Soreyya

The Benefits of a Well-Directed Mind

A man develops lust for an Arahant and is instantly changed into a woman. Later he asks for forgiveness and he changes back into a man!

450. Na taṁ Mātā Pitā kayirā aññe vā pi ca ñātakā,
Mother and Father and other relatives might not do for him,

Sammāpaṇihitaṁ cittaṁ seyyaso naṁ tato kare.
As much as a well-directed mind can do for him. The reading and meaning are very awkward here, I believe we need to read Yaṁ taṁ instead of Na taṁ, as suggested by Norman. We would then get: Whatever Mother and Father and other relatives might do for him, (still) a well-directed mind will do (much) better for him.

Jā 185 Anabhiratijātakaṁ

An Unagitated Mind sees Clearly

A teacher’s mind is overcome by worldly affairs and he begins to forget his teaching. The Bodhisatta advises him thus.

451. Yathodake āvile appasanne,
Just as in agitated, disturbed water,

Na passatī sippisambukaṁ macchagumbaṁ,
One cannot see oyster shells or a school of fish,

Evaṁ āvile hi citte,
So in an agitated mind,

Na passatī attadatthaṁ paratthaṁ.
One cannot see one’s own welfare or another’s welfare.

452. Yathodake acche vippasanne,
Just as in clear, undisturbed water,

Yo passatī sippi ca macchagumbaṁ,
One can see (both) oysters and a swarm of fish,

Evaṁ anāvile hi citte,
So in an unagitated mind,

So passatī attadatthaṁ paratthaṁ.
One can see one’s own welfare and another’s welfare.

Ud 4.4 Juṇhasuttaṁ

The Unwavering Mind is Free from Pain

A passing yakkha hits Ven. Sāriputta on the head with a mighty blow, which he hardly feels, but afterwards the yakkha falls into hell.

453. Yassa selūpamaṁ cittaṁ, ṭhitaṁ nānupakampati,
For he whose mind is like a rock, steady, and not wavering,

Virattaṁ rajanīyesu, kopaneyye na kuppati,
Unexcited by what is exciting, not agitated by what is agitating,

Yassevaṁ bhāvitaṁ cittaṁ, kuto taṁ dukkham-essati.
For he whose mind is developed thus, how will suffering come upon him?

Jā 118 Vaṭṭakajātakaṁ
The Quail

The Fruit of Careful Thought

A quail (the Bodhisatta) is caught by a fowler but refuses to take food and no one will buy him. When examined by the fowler he manages to fly away.

454. Nācintayanto puriso visesam-adhigacchati,
The unthinking person does not attain (any) distinction, Comm: acintayanto attano dukkhā mokkhasaṅkhātaṁ visesaṁ nādhigacchati.

Cintitassa phalaṁ passa: muttosmi' vadhabandhanā. Text: Mārabandhanā; [I am free] from bondage and Death.
But look at the fruit of the one who thinks: I am free from bondage and death. The Comm. takes it as a dvanda compound: Maraṇato ca bandhanato ca muttosmi ahaṁ.

Jā 6 Devadhammajātakaṁ

True Godliness

A demon will only release people he has captured if they know what is true godliness. The Bodhisatta is captured, answers correctly and is released, as are his brothers, and the demon renounces his evil ways.

455. Hiri-ottappasampannā, sukkadhammasamāhitā,
Those endowed with a good conscience, who are endowed with purity, Comm: ?? kusalā dhammā sukkadhammā nāma; skilful things are known as pure things.

Santo Sappurisā loke devadhammā ti vuccare.
(Those) virtuous and Good People in the world are said to have godly nature. Comm: Tattha devā ti sammutidevā, upapattidevā, visuddhidevā ti tividhā ... imesaṁ devānaṁ dhammā ti devadhammā; Herein, there are three kinds of god; conventional gods [like Kings], those born as gods [in Heaven], and those gods of purity ... these (last) gods are what is meant by of godly nature.

Jā 423 Indriyajātakaṁ


An ascetic falls in love with a courtesan and is admonished by his brother. However the admonishment, although a true wisdom verse, hardly fits the case here.

456. Dakkhaṁ gahapatiṁ There is a variant reading found in many editions: dukkhaṁ gahapatiṁ sādhu, but I fail to make sense of this: good is the householder’s suffering? sādhu, saṁvibhajjañ-ca bhojanaṁ,
It is good to be an able householder, to share one’s food,

Ahāso atthalābhesu, atthavyāpatti avyatho.
To be modest about one’s gains, and not be miserable when they fail. Comm. applies sādhu to all four lines, as paṭhamaṁ sādhu, etc.

Jā 545 Vidhurajātakaṁ
Bodhisatta Vidhura

A Follower of the Path

The Bodhisatta is captured by a yakkha who has been convinced to tear out his heart and give it to a nāga queen. He offers to teach the Dhamma of Good People before he dies. The nāga agrees and this is the exchange.

457. “Yātānuyāyī ca bhavāhi, māṇava,
“Young man, please follow good customs,

Allañ-ca BJT: Addañ-ca; [And avoid (burning)] the moist hand; same throughout. pāṇiṁ parivajjayassu.
And avoid (burning) Without this insertion the line does not give a good meaning, and doesn't fit in with the replies given below; Comm: allaṁ tintaṁ pāṇiṁ mā dahi mā jhāpehi; the clean fresh hand he should not burn, he should not roast. We could amend the line to read: Allañ-ca pāṇiṁ ?dahate na vajji; which would give the necessary meaning, but there is no manuscript authority for it. the clean hand.

Mā cassu mittesu kadāci dubbhi,
Do not be one who deceives your friends,

Mā ca vasaṁ asatīnaṁ nigacche.”
And do not fall under the influence of bad women.”

458. “Kathaṁ nu yātaṁ anuyāyi hoti?
“How do we follow good custom?

Allañ-ca pāṇiṁ dahate kathaṁ so?
And how is the clean hand burned?

Asatī ca kā, ko pana mittadubbho,
Who is a bad woman, and who a deceiver of friends?

Akkhāhi me pucchito etam-atthaṁ.”
Answer me when questioned as to the meaning.”

459. “Asanthutaṁ no pi ca diṭṭhapubbaṁ,
* “He who would invite to a seat

Yo āsanenāpi nimantayeyya,
Even a stranger unseen before,

Tasseva atthaṁ puriso kareyya,
That person who works for his (own) welfare,

Yātānuyāyī ti tam-āhu Paṇḍitā.
The Wise say he is one who follows good customs.

460. Yassekarattim-pi ghare vaseyya,
For the one who would spend a night in his house,

Yatthannapānaṁ puriso labhetha,
Let that person receive whatever food and drinks there are,

Na tassa pāpaṁ manasā pi cetaye,
You should not think with the mind (anything) wicked about him,

Adubbhapāṇiṁ BJT: Addañ-ca pāṇiṁ; [He who burns] a moist hand; ChS, Thai: Adubbhī pāṇiṁ; [He who burns] an honest hand. dahate mittadubbho.
He who burns an honest hand is a deceiver of friends. Comm: adubbhakaṁ attano bhuñjanahattham-eva dahanto hi mittadubbhī nāma hoti; (by) burning an honest man’s own hand while eating he is known as a deceiver of friends.

461. Puṇṇam-pi cemaṁ Text, BJT: cetaṁ; wrong gender. pathaviṁ dhanena,
* Let a man give the whole earth with (all) its wealth,

Dajjitthiyā puriso sammatāya,
To a woman he has agreed (to marry),

Laddhā khaṇaṁ atimaññeyya tam-pi,
Even when obtained she might despise him in a moment,

Tāsaṁ vasaṁ asatīnaṁ na gacche.
Let him not come under the influence of bad women.

462. Evaṁ kho yātaṁ anuyāyi hoti,
This is how we follow good customs,

Allañ-ca pāṇiṁ dahate punevaṁ,
And this is how the clean hand is burned,

Asatī ca sā, so pana mittadubbho.
(This) is a bad woman, and a deceiver of friends.

So Dhammiko hoti pahass’ adhammaṁ.”
He who lives by the Dhamma must give up what is not Dhamma.”

Jā 332 Rathalaṭṭhijātakaṁ
The Driving Stick

Those who are Not Good

A King judges a case without considering both sides and his councillor, the Bodhisatta, reproves him.

463. Alaso gihī kāmabhogī na sādhu,
A lazy sensual householder is not good,

Asaññato pabbajito na sādhu,
An unrestrained monk is (also) not good,

Rājā na sādhu anisammakārī,
An inconsiderate King is not good,

Yo paṇḍito kodhano taṁ na sādhu.
He who is wise but angry is not good.

Jā 431 Hāritajātakaṁ
Bodhisatta Hārita

The Four Great Powers

A sage who has great attainments is beguiled by the sight of a naked Queen and falls into wrong thereby losing his attainments. When questioned by the King he cannot lie, and admits he was overcome by defilements.

464. Cattārome, Mahārāja, loke atibalā bhusā,
There are these four very strong powers, Great King, in the world,

Rāgo doso mado moho, yattha paññā na gādhati.
Passion, hatred, pride, delusion, where wisdom finds no footing.

465. Medhāvinam-pi hiṁsanti Isiṁ Dhammaguṇe rataṁ
The intelligent Sage, who takes delight in the Dhamma’s virtue, is harmed

Vitakkā pāpakā, Rāja, subhā rāgūpasaṁhitā.
(By) wicked thoughts, O King, and by the passion for beauty.

Jā 107 Sālittakajātakaṁ
Stone Slinging

Craft brings Reward

A King hires a disabled man who is skilled in shooting pellets to fill up the belly of his talkative Family Priest, who thereby learns his lesson. The King gives him a village in each of the four directions.

466. Sādhu kho sippakaṁ nāma, api yādisa' kīdisaṁ,
Having a craft is good, for sure, of whatever kind is found,

Passa khañjappahārena – laddhā gāmā catuddisā.
See the disabled man who gave the blows The instrumental here seems to be used as a dative ? It would have been better to write: khañjappahārassa, with the same metre. – he received villages in the four directions!