Tipitaka ╗ Sutta Pitaka ╗ Khuddaka Nikaya ╗
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(Numbers refer to verses)
1-2: The fact that the word mano is
paired here with dhamma would seem to suggest that it is meant in its role as
"intellect," the sense medium that conveys knowledge of ideas or mental objects
(two possible meanings for the word dhamma). However, the illustrations in the
second sentence of each verse show that it is actually meant in its role as the mental
factor responsible for the quality of one's actions (as in mano-kamma), the factor
of will and intention, shaping not only mental events, but also physical reality (on this
point, see S.XXXV.145). Thus, following a Thai
tradition, I have rendered it here as "heart."
The images in these verses are carefully chosen. The cart, representing suffering, is a
burden on the ox pulling it, and the weight of its wheels obliterates the ox's track. The
shadow, representing happiness, is no weight on the body at all.
All Pali recensions of this verse give the reading, manomaya = made of the
heart, while all other recensions give the reading manojava = impelled by the
7-8: Focused on the foul: A meditative
exercise in focusing on the foul aspects of the body so as to help undercut lust and
attachment for the body (see M.119). A.III.16
gives a standard definition for restraint with the senses: "And how does a monk guard
the doors to his sense faculties? There is the case where a monk, on seeing a form with
the eye, does not grasp at any theme or particulars by which -- if he were to dwell
without restraint over the faculty of the eye -- evil, unskillful qualities such as greed
or distress might assail him. He practices with restraint. He guards the faculty of the
eye. He achieves restraint with regard to the faculty of the eye. (Similarly with the ear,
nose, tongue, body & intellect.) This is how a monk guards the doors to his sense
11-12: Wrong resolves = mental resolves
for sensuality, ill will, or harmfulness. Right resolves = mental resolves for freedom
from sensuality, for freedom from ill will, and for harmlessness.
17-18: "Destination" in these
two verses and throughout the text means one's destination after death.
21: The Deathless = Unbinding (nibbana/nirvana),
which gives release from the cycle of death and rebirth.
22: "The range of the noble ones":
Any of the four stages of Awakening, as well as the total Unbinding to which they lead.
The four stages are: (1) stream-entry, at which one abandons the first three mental
fetters tying one to the round of rebirth: self-identity views, uncertainty, and grasping
at precepts and practices; (2) once-returning, at which passion, aversion, and delusion
are further weakened; (3) non-returning, at which sensual passion and irritation are
abandoned; and (4) arahantship, at which the final five fetters are abandoned: passion for
form, passion for formless phenomena, conceit, restlessness, and ignorance. For other
references to the "range of the noble ones," see 92-93
37: "Lying in a cave": According to
the Dhp Commentary (hereafter referred to as DhpA), "cave" here means the
physical heart, as well as the four great properties -- earth (solidity), water
(liquidity), fire (heat), and wind (motion) -- that make up the body. Sn.IV.2 also compares the body to a cave.
39: According to DhpA, "unsoddened
mind" means one into which the rain of passion doesn't penetrate (see 13 and 14); "unassaulted awareness"
means a mind not assaulted by anger. "Beyond merit & evil": The arahant is
beyond merit and evil in that he/she has none of the mental defilements -- passion,
aversion, or delusion -- that would lead to evil actions, and none of the attachments that
would cause his/her actions to bear kammic fruit of any sort, good or bad.
40: "Without settling there, without
laying claim": two meanings of the word anivesano.
illustrates this point with seven ways that a person harms him/herself when angry,
bringing on results that an enemy would wish: He/she becomes ugly, sleeps badly, mistakes
profit for loss and loss for profit, loses wealth, loses his/her reputation, loses
friends, and acts in such a way that -- after death -- he/she reappears in a bad rebirth.
44-45: "Dhamma-saying": This is
a translation for the term dhammapada. To ferret out the well-taught Dhamma-saying
means to select the appropriate maxim to apply to a particular situation, in the same way
that a flower-arranger chooses the right flower, from a heap of available flowers (see 53), to fit into a particular spot in the arrangement. "The
learner-on-the-path": A person who has attained any of the first three of the four
stages of Awakening (see note 22).
48: According to DhpA, the End-maker is
death. According to another ancient commentary, the End-maker is Mara.
53: The last line of the Pali here can be
read in two ways, either "even so, many a skillful thing should be done by one born
& mortal" or "even so, many a skillful thing should be done with what's born
& mortal." The first reading takes the phrase jatena maccena, born &
mortal, as being analogous to the flower-arranger implicit in the image. The second takes
it as analogous to the heap of flowers explicitly mentioned. In this sense, "what's
born & is mortal" would stand for one's body, wealth, and talents.
54-56: Tagara = a shrub that, in powdered
form, is used as a perfume. A.III.79 explains the how the scent of a virtuous person goes
against the wind and wafts to the devas, by saying that those human and celestial beings
who know of the good character of a virtuous person will broadcast one's good name in all
57: "Right knowing": the knowledge
of full Awakening.
71: "Doesn't -- like ready milk -- come
out right away": All Pali recensions of this verse give the verb muccati --
"to come out" or "to be released" -- whereas DhpA agrees with the
Sanskrit recensions in reading the verb as if it were mucchati/murchati, "to
curdle." The former reading makes more sense, both in terms of the image of the poem
-- which contrasts coming out with staying hidden -- and with the plain fact
that fresh milk doesn't curdle right away. The Chinese translation of Dhp supports this
reading, as do two of three scholarly editions of the Patna Dhp.
79: "Drinking the Dhamma, refreshed by
the Dhamma": two meanings of the word, dhammapiti. "Clear ... calm":
two meanings of vipasannena.
83: "Stand apart": reading cajanti
with DhpA and many Asian editions.
86: The syntax of this verse yields the best
sense if we take param as meaning "across," and not as "the far
89: Factors of self-awakening = mindfulness,
analysis of qualities, persistence, rapture, serenity, concentration, and equanimity.
92-93: "Having understood food ....
independent of nutriment": The first question in the Novice's Questions (Khp 4) is "What is one?" The answer: "All
animals subsist on nutriment." The concept of food and nutriment here refers to the
most basic way of understanding the causal principle that plays such a central role in the
Buddha's teaching. As S.XII.64 points out,
"There are these four nutriments for the establishing of beings who have taken birth
or for the support of those in search of a place to be born. Which four? Physical
nutriment, gross or refined; contact as the second, consciousness the third, and
intellectual intention the fourth." The present verses make the point that the
arahant has so fully understood the process of physical and mental causality that he/she
is totally independent of it, and thus will never take birth again. Such a person cannot
be comprehended by any of the forms of understanding that operate within the causal realm.
94: "Such (tadin)": an
adjective used to describe one who has attained the goal of Buddhist practice, indicating
that the person's state is indefinable but not subject to change or influences of any
sort. "Right knowing": the knowledge of full Awakening.
95: Indra's pillar = a post set up at the
gate of a city. According to DhpA, there was an ancient custom of worshipping this post
with flowers and offerings, although those who wanted to show their disrespect for this
custom would urinate and defecate on the post. In either case, the post did not react.
97: This verse is a series of puns. The
negative meanings of the puns are on the left side of the slashes; the positive meanings,
on the right. The negative meanings are so extremely negative that they were probably
intended to shock their listeners. One scholar has suggested that the last word -- uttamaporiso,
the ultimate person -- should also be read as a pun, with the negative meaning, "the
extreme of audacity," but that would weaken the shock value of the verse.
100: According to DhpA, the word sahassam
in this and the following verses means "by the thousands" rather than "a
thousand." The same principle would also seem to hold for satam -- "by
the hundreds" rather than "a hundred" -- in 102.
108: "Doesn't come to a fourth":
DhpA: The merit produced by all sacrificial offerings given in the world in the course of
a year doesn't equal even one fourth of the merit made by paying homage once to one who
has gone the straight way to Unbinding.
121-122: "('It won't come to me')":
The Thai edition reads this line as na mattam agamissati = "[Thinking] it
won't amount to much."
126: Heaven and hell, in the Buddhist view
of the cosmos, are not eternal states. One may be reborn on one of the various levels of
heaven or hell as the result of one's kamma on the human plane, and then leave that level
when that particular store of kamma wears out.
143: Some translators have proposed that
the verb apabodheti, here translated as "awakens" should be changed to appam
bodheti, "to think little of." This, however, goes against the sense of the
verse and of a recurrent image in the Canon, that the better-bred the horse, the more
sensitive it is even to the idea of the whip, to say nothing of the whip itself. See, for
The question raised in this verse is answered in SN.I.18:
Those restrained by conscience
are rare --
those who go through life
Having reached the end
of suffering & stress,
they go through what is uneven
go through what is out-of-tune
152: Muscles: This is a translation of the
Pali mansani, which is usually rendered in this verse as "flesh."
However, as the Pali word is in the plural form, "muscles" seems more accurate
-- and to the point.
153-154: DhpA: These verses were the
Buddha's first utterance after his full Awakening. For some reason, they are not reported
in any of the other canonical accounts of the events following on the Awakening.
DhpA: "House" = selfhood; house-builder = craving. "House" may also
refer to the nine abodes of beings -- the seven stations of consciousness and two spheres
(see Khp 4 and D.15).
The word anibbisam in 153 can be read either as the
negative gerund of nibbisati ("earning, gaining a reward") or as the
negative gerund of nivisati, altered to fit the meter, meaning "coming to a
rest, settled, situated." Both readings make sense in the context of the verse, so
the word is probably intended to have a double meaning: without reward, without rest.
157: "The three watches of the
night": this is the literal meaning of the verse, but DhpA shows that the image of
staying up to nurse someone in the night is meant to stand for being wakeful and attentive
throughout the three stages of life: youth, middle age, and old age. The point here is
that it is never too early or too late to wake up and begin nurturing the good qualities
of mind that will lead to one's true benefit. On this point, see A.III.51 & 52, in which the Buddha counsels two old brahmins,
nearing the end of their life span, to begin practicing generosity along with restraint in
thought, word, and deed.
162: DhpA completes the image of the poem
by saying that one's vice bring about one's own downfall, just as a maluva creeper
ultimately brings about the downfall of the tree it overspreads. See note
164: A bamboo plant bears fruit only once,
and then dies soon after.
165: "No one purifies another. No
other purifies one." These are the two meanings of the one phrase, na˝˝o a˝˝am
166: A.IV.95 lists four types of people in
descending order: those devoted to their own true welfare as well as that of others, those
devoted to their own true welfare but not that of others, those devoted to the true
welfare of others but not their own, and those devoted neither to their own true welfare
nor that of others. S.XLVII.19 makes the point
that if one is truly devoted to one's own welfare, others automatically benefit, in the
same way that an acrobat maintaining his/her own balance helps his/her partner stay
balanced as well.
170: The Sutta Nipata (V.15) reports a conversation between the Buddha and
the brahmin Mogharaja with a point similar to that of this verse:
In what way does one view the world
so as not to be seen
by Death's king?
View the world, Mogharaja,
as void --
to have removed any view
This way one is above & beyond death.
This is the way one views the world
so as not to be seen
by Death's king.
176: This verse is also found at Iti.25, where the context makes clear the meaning of
ekam dhammam, or "this one thing": the principle of truthfulness.
178: The fruit of Stream Entry is the
first of the four stages of Awakening (see note 22). A person who has
attained Stream Entry -- entry into the stream that flows inevitably to Unbinding -- is
destined to attain full Awakening within at most seven lifetimes, never falling below the
human state in the interim.
183-185: These verses are a summary of
a talk called the Ovada Patimokkha, which the Buddha is said to have delivered to an
assembly of 1,250 arahants in the first year after his Awakening. Verse 183 is traditionally viewed as expressing the heart of the Buddha's
191: The noble eightfold path: right view,
right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right
mindfulness, right concentration.
195-196: Complications = papa˝ca.
Alternative translations of this term would be proliferation, elaboration, exaggeration.
The term is used both in philosophical contexts -- in connection with troubles and
disputes -- and in artistic contexts, in connection with excessive detail and elaboration.
M.18 states: "Dependent on eye & forms, eye-consciousness arises. The meeting of
the three is contact. With contact as a requisite condition, there is feeling. What one
feels, one apperceives (labels in the mind). What one apperceives, one thinks about. What
one thinks about, one complicates. Based on what a person complicates, the perceptions
& categories of complication assail him/her with regard to past, present, & future
forms cognizable via the eye. [Similarly with the other senses.] .... Now, with regard to
the cause whereby the perceptions & categories of complication assail a person: if
there is nothing there to relish, welcome, or remain fastened to, then that is the end of
the underlying tendencies to passion, to irritation, to views, to uncertainty, to conceit,
to passion for becoming, & to ignorance. That is the end of taking up rods &
bladed weapons, of arguments, quarrels, disputes, accusations, divisive tale-bearing,
& false speech. That is where these evil, unskillful things cease without
209: This verse plays with the various
meanings of yoga (task, striving, application, meditation) and a related term, anuyu˝jati
(keeping after something, taking someone to task). In place of the Pali reading attanuyoginam,
"those who kept after themselves," the Patna Dhp reads atthanuyoginam, "those
who kept after/remained devoted to the goal."
218: "The up-flowing stream":
DhpA: the attainment of non-returning, the third of the four stages of Awakening (see note 22).
231-233: Bodily misconduct = killing,
stealing, engaging in illicit sex. Verbal misconduct = lies, divisive speech, harsh
speech, idle chatter. Mental misconduct = covetousness, ill will, wrong views.
235: Yama = the god of the underworld.
Yama's minions or underlings were believed to appear to a person just prior to the moment
236: Impurities, blemishes = passion,
aversion, delusion, and their various permutations, including envy, miserliness,
hypocrisy, and boastfulness.
240: "One who lives slovenly":
As DhpA makes clear, this refers to one who uses the requisites of food, clothing,
shelter, and medicine without the wisdom that comes with reflecting on their proper use.
The Pali term here is atidhonacarin, a compound built around the word dhona,
which means clean or pure. The ati- in the compound could mean "overly,"
thus yielding, "one overly scrupulous in his behavior," but it can also mean
"transgressing," thus, "transgressing against what is clean" =
"slovenly." The latter reading fits better with the image of rust as a
deficiency in the iron resulting from carelessness.
254-255: "No outside
contemplative": No true contemplative, defined as a person who has attained any of
the four stages of Awakening, exists outside of the practice of the Buddha's teachings
(see note 22). In D.16, the Buddha is quoted as teaching his final
student: "In any doctrine & discipline where the noble eightfold path is not
found, no contemplative of the first...second...third...fourth order [stream-winner,
once-returner, non-returner, or arahant] is found. But in any doctrine & discipline
where the noble eightfold path is found, contemplatives of the
first...second...third...fourth order are found. The noble eightfold path is found
in this doctrine & discipline, and right here there are contemplatives of the
first...second...third...fourth order. Other teachings are empty of knowledgeable
contemplatives. And if the monks dwell rightly, this world will not be empty of
arahants." (On the noble eightfold path, see note 191.)
On "complication," see note 195-196.
256-257: The sense of the verse,
confirmed by DhpA, suggests that the Pali word dhammattho means "judge."
This, in fact, is the theme tying together the verses in this chapter. The duty of a judge
is to correctly determine attha, a word that denotes both "meaning" and
"judgment," these two senses of the word being connected by the fact that the
judge must interpret the meanings of words used in rules and principles to see how they
correctly apply to the particulars of a case so that he can pass a correct verdict. The
remaining verses in this chapter give examples of interpreting attha in an
259: "Sees Dhamma through his
body": The more common expression in the Pali Canon is to touch Dhamma through or
with the body (phusati or phassati, he touches, rather than passati,
he sees). The Sanskrit recensions and the Patna Dhp all support the reading, "he
would touch," but all Pali recensions are unanimous in the reading, "he
sees." Some scholars regard this latter reading as a corruption of the verse; I
personally find it a more striking image than the common expression.
265: This verse plays with a number of
nouns and verbs related to the adjective sama, which means "even,"
"equal," "on pitch," or "in tune." Throughout ancient
cultures, the terminology of music was used to describe the moral quality of people and
acts. Discordant intervals or poorly-tuned musical instruments were metaphors for evil;
harmonious intervals and well-tuned instruments, for good. Thus in Pali, samana, or
contemplative, also means a person who is in tune with the principles of rightness and
truth inherent in nature. Here and in 388, I've attempted to
give a hint of these implications by associating the word "contemplative" with
268-269: This verse contains the
Buddhist refutation of the idea that "those who know don't speak, those who speak
don't know." For another refutation of the same idea, see D.12. In Vedic times, a
sage (muni) was a person who took a vow of silence (mona) and was supposed
to gain special knowledge as a result. The Buddhists adopted the term muni, but
redefined it to show how true knowledge was attained and how it expressed itself in the
sage's actions. For a fuller portrait of the ideal Buddhist sage, see Sn.I.12 and A.III.123.
271-272: This verse has what seems to
be a rare construction, in which na + instrumental nouns + a verb in the aorist
tense gives the force of a prohibitive ("Don't, on account of x, do y").
"The renunciate ease that run-of-the-mill people don't know," according to DhpA,
is the state of non-returning, the third of the four stages of Awakening (see note 22). Because non-returners are still attached to subtle states of
becoming on the level of form and formlessness, DhpA drives home the message that even
non-returners should not be complacent by paraphrasing a passage from A.I (203 in the Thai
edition; at the end of Chapter XIX in the PTS edition) that reads, "Just as even a
small amount of excrement is foul-smelling, in the same way I do not praise even a small
amount of becoming, not even as much as a fingersnap."
273: The four truths: stress, its cause,
its cessation, and the path to its cessation (which is identical to the eightfold path).
See note 191.
275: "I have taught you this
path": reading akkhato vo maya maggo with the Thai edition, a reading
supported by the Patna Dhp. On the extraction of arrows as a metaphor for the practice see
M.63 and M.105.
277: For a discussion of this verse, see
the articles, "The Not-self
Strategy" and "No-self
285: Although the first word in this
verse, ucchinda, literally means "crush," "destroy,"
"annihilate," I have found no previous English translation that renders it
accordingly. Most translate it as "cut out" or "uproot," which weakens
the image. On the role played by self-allure in leading the heart to become fixated on
others, see A.VII.48.
288: Ender = death.
293: Mindfulness immersed in the body =
the practice of focusing on the body at all times simply as a phenomenon in and of itself,
as a way of developing meditative absorption (jhana) and removing any sense of
attraction to, distress over, or identification with the body. M.119 lists the following practices as instances of
mindfulness immersed in the body: mindfulness of breathing, awareness of the four postures
of the body (standing, sitting, walking, lying down), alertness to all the actions of the
body, analysis of the body into its 32 parts, analysis of it into its four properties
(earth, water, fire, wind), and contemplation of the body's inevitable decomposition after
294: This verse and the one following it
use terms with ambiguous meanings to shock the listener. According to DhpA, mother =
craving; father = conceit; two warrior kings = views of eternalism (that one has an
identity remaining constant through all time) and of annihilationism (that one's
consciousness is totally annihilated at death); kingdom = the twelve sense spheres (the
senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, feeling, and ideation, together with their
respective objects); dependency = passions for the sense spheres.
295: DhpA: two learned kings = views of
eternalism and annihilationism; a tiger = the path where the tiger goes for food, i.e.,
the hindrance of uncertainty, or else all five hindrances (sensual desire, ill will,
torpor & lethargy, restlessness & anxiety, and uncertainty). However, in Sanskrit
literature, "tiger" is a term for a powerful and eminent man; if that is what is
meant here, the term may stand for anger.
299: See note 293.
301: "Developing the mind" in
terms of the 37 Wings to Awakening: the four frames of reference (ardent, mindful
alertness to body, feelings, mind states, and mental qualities in and of themselves), the
four right exertions (to abandon and avoid evil, unskillful mental qualities, and to
foster and strengthen skillful mental qualities), the four bases of power (concentration
based on desire, persistence, intentness, and discrimination), the five strengths and five
faculties (conviction, persistence, mindfulness, concentration, and discernment), the
seven factors of self-awakening (see note 89), and the noble eightfold
path (see note 191). For a full treatment of this topic, see The Wings to Awakening (Dhamma Dana Publications, 1996).
303: DhpA: Wealth = both material wealth
and the seven forms of noble wealth (ariya-dhana): conviction, virtue, conscience,
concern (for the results of evil actions), erudition, generosity, discernment.
324: DhpA: Dhanapalaka was a noble
elephant captured for the king of Kasi. Although given palatial quarters with the finest
food, he showed no interest, but thought only of the sorrow his mother felt, alone in the
elephant wood, separated from her son.
329-330: DhpA: The bull elephant named
Matanga, reflecting on the inconveniences of living in a herd crowded with she-elephants
and young elephants -- he was pushed around as he went into the river, had to drink
muddied water, had to eat leaves that others had already nibbled, etc. -- decided that he
would find more pleasure in living alone. His story parallels that of the elephant the
Buddha met in the Parileyyaka Forest (Mv.X.4.6-7).
337: This verse provides a Buddhist twist
to the typical benedictions found in works of kavya. Instead of expressing a wish that the
listeners meet with wealth, fame, status, or other worldly forms of good fortune, this
verse describes the highest good fortune, which can be accomplished only through one's own
skillful kamma: the uprooting of craving and the resulting state of total freedom from the
round of death and rebirth. A similar twist on the theme of good fortune is found in the
Mangala Sutta (Khp.5, Sn.II.4), which teaches that the best protective
charm is to develop skillful kamma, ultimately developing the mind to the point where it
is untouched by the vagaries of the world.
339: 36 streams = three forms of desire
for each of the internal and external sense spheres (see note 294) --
3 x 2 x 6 = 36. According to one sub-commentary, the three forms of desire are desires
focused on the present, past, and future. According to another, they are craving for
sensuality, craving for becoming, and craving for no-becoming.
340: "Every which way": Reading sabbadhi
with the Thai and Burmese editions. The creeper, according to DhpA, is craving, which
sends thoughts out to wrap around its objects, while it itself stays rooted in the mind.
341: This verse contains an implied
simile: the terms "loosened & oiled," here applied to joys, were commonly
used to describe smooth bowel movements.
343: For the various meanings that attano
-- "for himself" -- can have in this verse, see note 402.
346: "Elastic": The usual
translation of the word sithilam -- "slack" -- does not fit in this
verse, but all the Pali recensions are unanimous on this reading, so I have chosen a near
synonym that does. The Patna Dhp renders this term as "subtle," whereas the
Tibetan commentary to the Udanavarga explains the line as a whole as meaning "hard
for the slack to untie." Both alternatives make sense, but may be attempts to
"correct" a term that could well have originally meant "elastic," a
meaning that got lost with the passage of time.
348: DhpA: In front = the aggregates of
the past; behind = the aggregates of the future; in between = the aggregates of the
present. See also note 385.
350: "A focus on the foul": A
meditative exercise in focusing on the foul parts of the body so as to help undercut lust
and attachment for the body.
352: "Astute in expression, knowing
the combination of sounds -- which comes first & which after": Some arahants, in
addition to their ability to overcome all of their defilements, are also endowed with four
forms of acumen (patisambhida), one of which is acumen with regard to expression (nirutti-patisambhida),
i.e., a total mastery of linguistic expression. This talent in particular must have been
of interest to the anthologist(s) who put together the Dhp.
"Last-body": Because an arahant will not be reborn, this present body is
353: According to M.26 and Mv.I.6.7, one
of the first people the Buddha met after his Awakening was an ascetic who commented on the
clarity of his faculties and asked who his teacher was. This verse was part of the
354: This verse contains several terms
related to aesthetics. Both dhamma (justice) and dana (gift/generosity) are
sub-types of the heroic rasa, or taste. (See the Introduction.) The third sub-type
of the heroic -- yuddha (warfare) -- is suggested by the verb "conquer,"
which occurs four times in the Pali. Rati (delight/love) is the emotion (bhava)
that corresponds to the sensitive rasa. In effect, the verse is saying that the
highest forms of rasa and emotion are those related to Dhamma; the highest
expression of the heroic Dhamma rasa is in the ending of craving.
360-361: See note 7-8.
363: "Counsel": In the context
of Indian literary theory, this is the meaning of the word manta, which can also
mean "chant." The literary context seems to be the proper one here.
ease": the true ease and freedom experienced when all five aggregates are stilled.
369: DhpA: The boat = one's own personhood
(the body-mind complex); the water that needs to be bailed out = wrong thoughts (imbued
with passion, aversion, or delusion).
370: DhpA: Cut through five = the five
lower fetters that tie the mind to the round of rebirth (self-identity views, uncertainty,
grasping at precepts & practices, sensual passion, irritation); let go of five = the
five higher fetters (passion for form, passion for formless phenomena, conceit,
restlessness, & ignorance); develop five = the five faculties (conviction,
persistence, mindfulness, concentration, & discernment); five attachments = passion,
aversion, delusion, conceit, views.
381: See note 368.
383: This verse, addressed to a member of
the brahmin caste, is one of the few in Dhp where the word brahmin is used in its
ordinary sense, as indicating caste membership, and not in its special Buddhist sense as
indicating an arahant.
384: DhpA: two things = tranquillity
meditation and insight meditation.
385: DhpA: This verse refers to a person
who has no sense of "I" or "mine," either for the senses
("not-beyond") or their objects ("beyond"). The passage may also refer
to the sense of total limitlessness that makes the experience of Unbinding totally
ineffable, as reflected in the following conversation (Sn.V.6):
He who has reached the end:
Does he not exist,
or is he for eternity free from dis-ease?
Please, sage, declare this to me
as this phenomenon has been known by you.
One who has reached the end has no criterion
by which anyone would say that --
it doesn't exist for him.
When all phenomena are done away with,
all means of speaking are done away with as well.
388: Stains = the impurities listed in note 236. On "consonance," see note 265.
389: The word "anger" here is
added from DhpA, which interprets the "letting loose" as the act of retaliating
with anger against one's assailant. Some translators read "brahmin" as the
subject not only of the second line, but also the first: "A brahmin should/would not
strike a brahmin." However, this reading is unlikely, for a brahmin (in this context,
an arahant) would not strike anyone at all. If a brahmin retaliates with anger to being
struck, that is a sign that he is not a true brahmin: thus more shame on him for having
assumed a status that was not truly his. On the topic of how to react to violent attack,
see M.21 and M.145.
390: "What's endearing &
not": In the phrase manaso piyehi, piyehi can be read straight as it is, as
"endearing," or as an elided form of apiyehi, "not endearing."
The former reading is more straightforward, but given the reference to
"harmful-heartedness" in the next line, the latter reading serves to tie the
stanza together. It is also consistent with the fact that DhpA takes this verse to be a
continuation of 389. Given the way in which kavya cultivated a
taste for ambiguities and multiple interpretations, both readings may have been intended.
392: "Brahmin" here is used in
its ordinary sense, as indicating caste membership, and not in its special Buddhist sense
as indicating an arahant.
393: "He is a pure one": reading
so suci with the Thai edition, a reading supported by the Chinese translation of
394: In India of the Buddha's day, matted
hair, etc., were regarded as visible signs of spiritual status.
396: "Bho-sayer" -- Brahmins
addressed others as "bho" as a way of indicating their (the brahmins')
superior caste. "If he has anything" (reading sa ce with the Burmese
edition) = if he/she lays claim to anything as his/her own.
398: DhpA: strap = hatred; thong =
craving; cord = 62 forms of wrong view (listed in the Brahmajala Suttanta, D.1); bridle =
latent tendencies (sensuality, becoming, anger, conceit, views, uncertainty, ignorance).
400: "With no overbearing
pride": reading anussadam with the Thai and Burmese editions.
"Last-body": see note 352.
402: "For himself, on his own, his
own ending of stress": Three different ways that the one word attano
functions in this verse.
411: According to DhpA,
"attachments/homes (alaya)" = cravings. "Knowing": the
knowledge of full Awakening.
412: See note 39.
421: See note 348.
423: The forms of mastery listed in this
verse correspond to the three knowledges that comprised the Buddha's Awakening: knowledge
of previous lives, knowledge of how beings pass away and are reborn in the various levels
of being, and knowledge of the ending of the effluents that maintain the process of birth.