a collection of
Buddhist Wisdom Verses

27: Ovādavaggo

Jā 537 Mahāsutasomajātakaṁ
Bodhisatta Sutasoma

Friendship with the Wise

More of the conversation with the man-eating King by which the Bodhisatta persuades him to give up his evil inclination.

512. Yasmā hi Dhammaṁ puriso vijaññā
Because a person living by Dhamma can understand

Ye cassa kaṅkhaṁ vinayanti santo,
That good people (can) dispel their doubt,

Taṁ hissa dīpañ-ca parāyaṇañ-ca,
That will be his refuge and support,

Na tena mittiṁ jirayetha Pañño.
The friendship of a Wise One does not decay.

Jā 474 Ambajātakaṁ

Truth knows no Caste

A young brahmin learns a charm for producing mangoes out of season from an outcaste, the Bodhisatta, who warns him not to deny him or his charm would disappear. Nevertheless, ashamed, he does deny him, loses his charm and dies forlorn.

513. Eraṇḍā Pucimandā vā, atha vā Pāḷibhaddakā,
Castor or Margosa and then also the Palasa tree, The Castor tree is ugly, the Margosa bitter, and the Palasa is beautiful.

Madhuṁ madhutthiko vinde, so hi tassa dumuttamo.
(Wherever) he who seeks honey finds honey, for him that tree is supreme.

514. Khattiyā brāhmaṇā vessā, suddā caṇḍālapukkusā,
Noble, brāhmaṇa, merchant, farmer, outcaste and the garbage man,

Yasmā Dhammaṁ BJT: Dhammā; plural form? vijāneyya, so hi tassa naruttamo.
From whomever he can learn the Dhamma, for him that man is supreme.

Dhp 76 Rādhattheravatthu
The Elder Rādha

Welcoming Correction

A poor brahmin ordains with Ven. Sāriputta and proves to be amenable to correction. In no long time he attains Awakening.

515. Nidhīnaṁ va pavattāraṁ, yaṁ passe vajjadassinaṁ,
He should see one who points out faults like one who shows Comm: ācikkhitāraṁ. hidden treasure,

Niggayhavādiṁ medhāviṁ tādisaṁ paṇḍitaṁ bhaje,
He should keep company with such an intelligent and wise one who censures (him),

Tādisaṁ bhajamānassa seyyo hoti na pāpiyo.
Keeping company with such it is better (for him) not worse.

Dhp 77 Assajipunabbasukavatthu
The Monks who follow Assaji and Punabbasuka

The Good like Those who Advise

Some monks are behaving badly, the Buddha sends the two Chief Disciples to reprove them; some amend their ways and some leave the Community.

516. Ovadeyyānusāseyya, asabbhā ca nivāraye,
He should give advice and instruct, he should prevent that which is wrong,

Sataṁ hi so piyo hoti, asataṁ hoti appiyo.
He is liked by good people, (although) disliked by bad people.

Jā 43 Veḷukajātakaṁ

Following Good Advice

A student, against the advice of his teacher, the Bodhisatta, keeps a viper named Bamboo as a pet. One day the snake gets angry and kills him.

517. Yo atthakāmassa hitānukampino,
* He who does not follow the teaching, when advised,

Ovajjamāno na karoti sāsanaṁ,
Of those who, having compassion, desire his welfare,

Evaṁ so nihato seti, Veḷukassa yathā Pitā.
Are in this way destroyed, just like Bamboo’s Father.

Jā 196 Valāhassajātakaṁ
The Cloud-Horse

Heeding Good Advice

Some merchants are shipwrecked and seduced by demonesses (rakkhasī). The Bodhisatta is a cloud-horse and offers to carry them away. Half agree and are taken to safety, half stay behind and are devoured.

518. Ye na kāhanti ovādaṁ narā Buddhena desitaṁ,
Those people who do not follow the advice given by the Buddha,

Vyasanaṁ te gamissanti, rakkhasīhīva vāṇijā.
Will go to destruction, like the merchants and the demonesses.

519. Ye ca kāhanti ovādaṁ narā Buddhena desitaṁ,
Those people who do follow the advice given by the Buddha,

Sotthiṁ pāraṁ gamissanti, valāheneva vāṇijā.
Will cross over unto safety, like the merchants and the cloud-horse.

Jā 376 Avāriyajātakaṁ Text: Ācāriya-; Teacher.
The Ferryman Avāriya

Giving Advice Carefully

An ascetic gives advice on controlling one’s anger to a King and the King rewards him royally; he gives the same advice to a boatman and gets thumped in the mouth!

520. Yā yeva anusāsaniyā, Rājā gāmavaraṁ adā,
For the advice given, a King gave the boon of a village,

Tā yeva anusāsaniyā, nāviko paharī mukhaṁ.
For the (same) advice, the boatman hit (him) on the mouth.

Dhp 158 Upanandasakyaputtattheravatthu
The Elder Upananda, Son of the Sakyans

Practicing before Teaching

A monk is very good at preaching, but is greedy and doesn't follow his own advice. The Buddha reproves him.

521. Attānam-eva paṭhamaṁ patirūpe nivesaye,
First he should establish himself in what is suitable,

Athaññam-anusāseyya, na kilisseyya Paṇḍito.
Then he should advise another, the Wise One should not have defilements.

Jā 37 Tittirajātakaṁ
The Partridge

Paying Homage to Elders

An elephant, a monkey and a partridge find out who is the elder amongst them and pay him due homage.

522. Ye vuddham-apacāyanti narā Dhammassa kovidā,
Those people who are skilled in the Dhamma pay homage to an elder,

Diṭṭhe va dhamme pāsaṁsā, samparāye Thai: samparāyo; but a locative is required by the sense. ca Suggati.
Praised in this very life, in the next world (they go to) a Happy State.

Jā 334 Rājovādajātakaṁ
Advice to a King

People follow their Leaders

A King rules justly and travels incognito through his Kingdom to find out if anyone blames him. He meets the Bodhisatta, an ascetic, who explains that when the King rules justly everyone follows suit.

523. Gavaṁ ce taramānānaṁ jimhaṁ gacchati puṅgavo,
If a bull while crossing (a stream) Comm: nadiṁ otarantānaṁ. goes on a crooked course,

Sabbā gāvī jimhaṁ yanti, BJT, ChS: Sabbā tā jimhaṁ gacchanti; all of them will go crooked. nette jimhaṁ gate sati.
All the cows (also) go crooked, being led by one who goes crookedly.

524. Evam-eva manussesu, yo hoti seṭṭhasammato,
* Even so with men, if (the King) who is agreed upon as best,

So ce adhammaṁ carati, pageva itarā pajā,
Lives contrary to the Dhamma, much more so will other people,

Sabbaṁ raṭṭhaṁ dukhaṁ seti, Rājā ce hoti adhammiko.
The whole of the country suffers, if the King does not have Dhamma.

525. Gavaṁ ce taramānānaṁ ujuṁ gacchati puṅgavo,
If a bull while crossing (a stream) goes on a straight course,

Sabbā gāvī ujuṁ yanti, nette ujuṁ gate sati.
All the other cows (also) go straight, being led by one who goes straight.

526. Evam-eva manussesu, yo hoti seṭṭhasammato,
* Just so with men, if (the King) who is agreed upon as the best,

So ce pi Dhammaṁ carati, pageva itarā pajā,
Lives (in accordance) with Dhamma, much more so will other people,

Sabbaṁ raṭṭhaṁ sukhaṁ seti, Rājā ce hoti Dhammiko.
The whole country is happy, if the King is in accordance with Dhamma.

Jā 472 Mahāpadumajātakaṁ
The Bodhisatta called Great Lotus

Enquiring before Punishment

The King goes to quell a disturbance at the borders leaving the Bodhisatta to rule in his absence. The Queen, his step-mother, tries and fails to seduce him. When the King returns she makes false allegations and the Bodhisatta is taken out for execution.

527. Na diṭṭhā BJT, Thai: Nādiṭṭhā? ChS: Nādaṭṭhā; both readings would reverse the meaning. parato dosaṁ aṇuṁthūlāni sabbaso,
When not seeing another’s fault in anything, (whether) they are small or are great,

Issaro na ChS, Thai omit: na; reversing the meaning in an inappropriate way: seeing another’s fault in everything, (whether) small or great, the Lord should give out punishment, without investigating for himself. paṇaye daṇḍaṁ, sāmaṁ appaṭivekkhiya.
The Lord should not give out punishment, without investigating for himself.

528. Yo ca appaṭivekkhitvā, daṇḍaṁ kubbati Khattiyo,
That Noble who punishes (others), without having investigated,

Sakaṇṭakaṁ so gilati jaccandho va samakkhikaṁ.
Is like a blind man who swallows thorns and flies alike.

529. Adaṇḍiyaṁ daṇḍayati, daṇḍiyañ-ca adaṇḍiyaṁ,
He who punishes those who are harmless, and doesn't punish the guilty,

Andho va visamaṁ maggaṁ, na jānāti samāsamaṁ.
Like a blind man on uneven path, does not know the just and unjust. Lit: even and uneven.

530. Yo ca etāni ṭhānāni aṇuṁthūlāni sabbaso,
* He who sees well the reasons in things, (whether) small or great,

Sudiṭṭhaṁ cānusāseyya, sa ve vohārikuttamo. BJT, ChS, Thai: vohāritum-arahati; it would mean: [he is surely] worthy to judge.
Should give advice, he is surely the judge supreme.

531. Nekantamudunā sakkā, ekantatikhiṇena vā,
While not (being) totally soft or totally harsh, but able,

Attaṁ mahante ṭhapetuṁ, tasmā ubhayam-ācare.
Having set aside his own greatness, he can then practice both.

532. Paribhūto mudu hoti, atitikkho ca veravā,
(Always) soft he will be despised, (always) harsh he makes enemies,

Etañ-ca ubhayaṁ ñatvā, anumajjhaṁ samācare.
But having come to know both of these, he should practice the middle way.