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Buddhist Wisdom Verses
Jā 521 Tesakuṇajātakaṁ
The Power of Wisdom
A childless King adopts three birds as his children, which his courtiers scorn. To prove their worth he asks them for advice in ruling the Kingdom, and this is part of what his ‘son’ says. See 228-230 above for his ‘daughter's' advice.01
533. Balaṁ pañcavidhaṁ loke purisasmiṁ mahaggate,
(These) five-fold powers in the world (are found) in a truly great man,
Tattha bāhubalaṁ nāma carimaṁ vuccate balaṁ,
Herein, bodily power Literally, the power of arms; comm: kāyabalaṁ. 02 is certainly the least of (all) the powers,
534. Bhogabalañ-ca, dīghāvu, dutiyaṁ vuccate balaṁ,
The power of riches, friend, PED says dighāvu=dighāyu in the meaning of āyasmant for this reference. 03 called the second power,
Amaccabalañ-ca dīghāvu, tatiyaṁ vuccate balaṁ.
The power of a good councillor, friend, is said to be the third power,
535. Abhijaccabalaṁ ce va, taṁ catutthaṁ asaṁsayaṁ,
If he have the power of good birth, that is undoubtedly the fourth,
Yāni cetāni sabbāni adhigaṇhāti Paṇḍito.
But a Wise One far surpasses all and any of these.
536. Taṁ balānaṁ balaseṭṭhaṁ aggaṁ paññābalaṁ varaṁ;
Out of these powers, the power that is the noble power of wisdom is best;
Paññābalenupatthaddho, atthaṁ vindati Paṇḍito.
Supported by wisdom's power, the Wise One will find (true) welfare.
537. Paññā va sutaṁ vinicchinī,
Wisdom decides on what has been heard,
Wisdom, fame and renown will increase,
Paññāsahito naro idha
That person who is endowed with wisdom here
Api dukkhe sukhāni vindati.
Even in suffering finds happiness.
SN 1.3.1 Daharasuttaṁ
Four Deserving Respect
Questioned by King Pasenadi the Buddha claims to be Fully Awakened, but the King doubts it as he is still so young. The Buddha explains there are four things deserving respect whether young or not.
538. Bhujaṅgamaṁ pāvakañ-ca, Khattiyañ-ca yasassinaṁ,
A crooked snake, a (blazing) fire, a Noble of (great) fame,
Bhikkhuñ-ca sīlasampannaṁ: sammad-eva samācare.
A monk endowed with virtue: (towards these) one should behave properly. Comm: bhikkhuṁ nissāya tassa vasena pattabbaṁ asutasavanasutapariyodapanasaggamaggādhigamādi ānisaṁsaṁ; because of a monk one can hear what has not been heard before and attain the purification leading to the advantage of Heaven and the Paths and so on. 04
AN 5.34 Sīhasenāpatisuttaṁ
One Who Gives is Held Dear
The General Sīha pays a visit to the Buddha at Vesālī and asks him what is the visible result of giving, and the Buddha explains these four benefits.
539. Dadaṁ piyo hoti, bhajanti naṁ bahū,
One who gives is held dear, many (people) keep company with him,
Kittiñ-ca pappoti yaso hi vaḍḍhati,
He becomes well-known for his fame increases,
Amaṅkubhūto parisaṁ vigāhati,
Confidently he enters the assembly,
Visārado hoti naro amaccharī.
That man who is mature (in understanding) Comm: ñāṇasomanassappatto. 05 and unselfish.
540. Tasmā hi dānāni dadanti Paṇḍitā,
Therefore Wise people give (abundant) gifts,
Vineyya maccheramalaṁ, sukhesino,
Having removed the stain of selfishness, seeking happiness,
Te dīgharattaṁ Tidive patiṭṭhitā,
They are established for a long time in Heaven,
Devānaṁ sahavyagatā ramanti te.
They delight when gone to fellowship with the gods.
SN 1.1.32 Maccharisuttaṁ
Selfishness and Selflessness
Two verses by two different gods spoken before the Buddha on the subject of generosity. The Buddha commends them.
541. Yasseva bhīto na dadāti maccharī,
The selfish one is full of fear and because of that he does not give,
(but) from not giving it there is surely fear,
Jighacchā ca pipāsā ca, yassa bhāyati maccharī,
Hunger and thirst, of these the selfish one is fearful,
Tam-eva bālaṁ phusati asmiṁ loke paramhi ca.
(But) that is just what the fool attains in this world and the next.
542. Appasmeke pavecchanti, bahuneke na dicchare,
Some bestow from a little, some do not wish to give (even) from a lot,
Appasmā dakkhiṇā dinnā, sahassena samaṁ mitā.
Having given an offering from a little, its measure is equal to a thousand.
MN 98 Vāseṭṭhasuttaṁ
The Student Vāseṭṭha
A Person is made by Deeds
Two brāhmans are discussing what really makes one a brāhman but they cannot settle the question so they go to see the Buddha, and this is part of what he said.
543. Na jaccā brāhmaṇo hoti, na jaccā hoti abrāhmaṇo. Thai only reads: Na jaccā vasalo hoti, na jaccā hoti brāhmaṇo; One is not an outcaste by birth, nor by birth is one a brāhmaṇa. 06
One is not a brāhmaṇa by birth, nor by birth is one not a brāhmaṇa,
Kammanā brāhmaṇo hoti, kammanā hoti abrāhmaṇo. Thai: Kammunā vasalo hoti, kammunā hoti brāhmaṇo; By deeds one is an outcaste, by deeds one is a brāhmaṇa. 07
By deeds one is a brāhmaṇa, by deeds one is not a brāhmaṇa.
544. Kassako kammanā hoti, sippiko hoti kammanā,
One is a farmer through his deeds, one is a craftsman through his deeds,
Vāṇijo kammanā hoti, pessiko hoti kammanā,
One is a trader through his deeds, and a messenger through his deeds,
545. Coro pi kammanā hoti, yodhājīvo pi kammanā,
A robber is (known) through his deeds, a mercenery through his deeds,
Yājako kammanā hoti, Rājāpi hoti kammanā.
A begger (is known) through his deeds, and a King also through his deeds.
546. Evam-etaṁ yathābhūtaṁ, kammaṁ passanti Paṇḍitā,
Seeing this as it really is, the Wise look at the deed,
(They are) those who see conditional origination, who are skilled in deeds and results.
547. Kammanā vattate loko, kammanā vattate pajā,
The world is kept turning by deeds, by deeds people are kept turning,
Kammanibandhanā sattā, rathassāṇīva yāyato.
Beings, bound by their deeds, roll on like a chariot (on its) linchpin.
SN 1.3.17 Appamādasuttaṁ
The Heedful are Happy in both Worlds
King Pasenadi asks the Buddha if there is one thing that is beneficial both for this world and the next.
548. Āyuṁ arogiyaṁ vaṇṇaṁ, Saggaṁ uccākulīnataṁ,
Long-life, health, beauty, Heaven, a high birth,
Ratiyo: patthayantena uḷārā aparāparā,
Delights: for one desiring these lofty things in succession,
549. Appamādaṁ pasaṁsanti puññakiriyāsu Paṇḍitā,
The Wise (always) praise heedfulness in doing meritorious deeds,
Appamatto ubho atthe adhigaṇhāti Paṇḍito:
The Wise person, who is heedful, (will soon) possess both of these goods:
550. Diṭṭhe dhamme ca yo attho, yo cattho samparāyiko,
That which is good in this very life, and that which is good in the next,
Atthābhisamayā dhīro Paṇḍito ti pavuccati.
The firm one is called a Wise person through the realisation of (both) goods.
Dhp 21 Sāmavatīvatthu
The Heedful attain the Deathless
King Udena's Queen Sāmavatī and 500 of her court die in a fire started by the Uncle of her rival Māgaṇḍiyā. The King tricks Māgaṇḍiyā and sends for her relatives and has them all slaughtered. The monks ask about their respective fates.
551. Appamādo amatapadaṁ, pamādo maccuno padaṁ,
Heedfulness is the deathless state, heedlessness the state of the dead,
Appamattā na mīyanti, ye pamattā yathā matā.
The heedful do not die, (but) those who are heedless are as if dead.
Uttarapaṇṇāsakaṁ There are in fact 51 verses above, “50” being used as a round term by the editor. 09
The Final Fifty
Buddhanīti Saṅgaho Niṭṭhito
A Collection of Buddhist Wisdom Verses is Finished
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last updated: August 2017