SHE, too, having made her resolve under former Buddhas, and heaping up good of age-enduring efficacy in this or that rebirth, entered the Order when Sikhi was Buddha. And one day, while yet a novice, she was walking in procession with Bhikkhunīs, doing homage at a shrine, when an Arahant Therī in front of her hastily spat in the court of the shrine. Coming after her, but not having noticed the Therī's action, she said in reproof: 'What prostitute has been spitting in this place?'
As a Bhikkhunī, observing the Precepts, she felt repugnance for rebirth by parentage, and set her mind intently on spontaneous re-generation. So in her last birth she came into being spontaneously at Vesālī, in the King's gardens, at the foot of a mango-tree. The gardener found her, and brought her to the city. She was known as the Mango-guardian's girl. And such was her beauty, grace, and charm that many young Princes strove with each other to possess her, till, in order to end their strife, and because the power of karma impelled them, they agreed to appoint her courtezan. Later on, out of faith in the Master, she built a Vihāra 337 in her own gardens, and handed it over to him and the Order. And when she had heard her own son, the Elder Vimala-Kondañña, preach the Norm, she worked for insight, and studying the law of impermanence as illustrated in her own ageing body, she uttered the following verses:
Glossy and black as the down of the bee my curls once clustered.
And inasmuch as the Therī, by the visible signs of impermanence in her own person, discerned impermanence in all phenomena of the three planes, and bearing that in mind, brought into relief the signs of Ill and of No-soul, she, making clear her insight in her Path-progress, attained Arahantship.
337 See Rhys Davids, Buddhist Suttas (S.B.E., xi.), pp. 30-33.
338 Used in its first intention, Truth-speaker. On this, and on the metre, see Introduction. The 'rune' is the Impermanence of everything. Cf. Ps lxiii.
339 Upakūlitā, not yet found elsewhere, may be from the root kūl, to burn.
340 It is interesting that the Commentary speaks of the goldsmith's work of past ages, as if conscious of living (himself) in a decadent period of such arts.
341 Kokilā, rendered by lexicons 'Indian cuckoo.' The name seems to point to somewhat similar bird-notes.
342 Lit., as the weak trumpet-flower (plant), the Commentary adding phalita, broken, or fruit-laden, and so heavily drooping.
343 Lit., more simply, 'like one little root after another.'
344 I here follow Dr. Neumann, and not the Commentator. The latter calls nāgabhoga an elephant's trunk; the Pitakas apply the term, it would seem, only as in the text. Cf. Majjhima Nikāya, i. 134.
She, too, having made her resolve under former Buddhas, and heaping up good of age-enduring efficacy in this and that rebirth, was born, ninety-one æons ago, in the time of Vipassi Buddha, in a clansman's family. One day she saw the Exalted One seeking alms in the city of Bandhumatī, and filling his bowl with sweet cakes, she worshipped low at his feet in joy and gladness. And when, after many rebirths in heaven and on earth in consequence thereof, she had accumulated the conditions requisite for emancipation, she was, in this Buddha-era, reborn at Vesālī, in the house of a very prosperous brahmin, and named Rohiṇī. 345 Come to years of discretion, she went, while the Master was staying at Vesālī, to the Vihāra, and heard the doctrine. She became a 'Stream-entrant,' and teaching her parents the doctrine, and they accepting it, she gained their leave to enter the Order. Studying for insight, she not long after attained Arahantship, together with thorough grasp of the Norm in form and meaning.
And reflecting on a discussion she had had with her father while she had yet only entered the Stream, she uttered the substance of it as verses of exultation:
'"See the recluses!" dost thou ever say.
'"See the recluses!" dost thou ever say.
For the brahmin, established in the Refuges and the Precepts, when later on he became alarmed, renounced the world, and, developing insight, was established in Arahantship. Reflecting on his attainment, he exulted in that last verse.
345 I.e., Latinized, Flavia. Childers instances a red cow so called, and a constellation.
346 Note her emphasis on work or action (kamma or karma) to meet her father's–the typically worldly man's–failure to discern the fact and value of any 'work' that had no worldly object.
347 Unspotted by greed, hate, or dulness; full of the A-sekha's qualities–virtue; contemplation, concentration, insight (Commentary).
348 This phrase is amplified in Sanyutta Nikāya, i. 5: 'They mourn not over the past, nor hanker after the future. They maintain themselves by the present.' Cf. the same attitude prescribed in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt. vi. 25-34).
349 I.e., she referred him to the true source of the 'weal' he imputed to her. The rest is borrowed from Ps. lxv.
350 Cf. Psalm lxv.
She, too, having made her resolve under former Buddhas, and heaping up good of age-enduring efficacy in this and that rebirth, till she had accumulated the sources of good, and matured the conditions for emancipation, was, in this Buddha-age, reborn in the Vankahāra country, at a certain village of trappers, as the daughter of the chief trapper, and named Cāpā. 351 And at that time Upaka, an ascetic, 352 met the Master as he was going to Benares, there to set rolling from his Bo-tree throne 353 the Wheel of the Norm, and asked him: 'You seem, my friend, in perfect health! Clear and pure is your complexion. Wherefore have you, friend, left the world? or who may your teacher be? or whose doctrine do you believe in?' And he was thus answered:
'All have I overcome. All things I know,
'Mid all things undefiled. Renouncing all,
In death of Craving wholly free. My own
The Deeper View. Whom should I name to thee?
For me no teacher lives. I stand alone
On earth, in heav'n rival to me there's none.
Now go I on seeking Benares town,
To start the Wheel, the gospel of the Norm,
To rouse and guide the nations blind and lost,
Striking Salvation's drum, Ambrosia's alarm.'
The ascetic, discerning the omniscience and great mission of the Master, was comforted in mind, and replied: 'Friend, may these things be! Thou art worthy 354 to be a conqueror, world without end!' Then, taking a by-road, he came to the Vankahāra country, and abode near the hamlet of the trappers, where the head trapper supplied his wants. One day the latter, setting off on a long hunt with sons and brothers, bade his daughter not neglect 'the Arahant' 355 in his absence. Now, she was of great beauty; and Upaka, seeking alms at her home, and captivated by her beauty, could not eat, but took his food home, and laid down fasting, vowing he would die should he not win Cāpā. After seven days the father returned, and, on inquiring for his 'Arahant,' heard he had not come again after the first day. The trapper sought him, and Upaka, moaning, and rolling over, confessed his plight. The trapper asked if he knew any craft, and he answered, 'No;' but offered to fetch their game and sell it. The trapper consented, and, giving him a coat, brought him to his own home, and gave him his daughter. In due time she had a son, whom they called Subhadda. 356 Cāpā, when the baby cried, sang to him: 'Upaka's boy, ascetic's boy, game-dealer's boy, don't cry, don't cry!' mocking her husband. And he said at length: 'Do not thou, Cāpā, fancy I have none to protect me. 357 I have a friend, even a conqueror eternal, and to him I will go.' She saw that he was vexed, and teased him again and again in the same way, till one day, in anger, he got ready to go. She said much, but vainly, to prevent him, and he set out westward. And the Exalted One was then at Sāvatthī in the Jeta Grove, and announced this to the brethren: 'He who to-day shall come asking, "Where is the Conqueror eternal?" send him to me.' And Upaka arrived, and, standing in the midst of the Vihāra, asked: 'Where is the Conqueror eternal?' So they brought him, and when he saw the Exalted One, he said: 'Dost know me, Exalted One?' 'Yea, I know. But thou, where hast thou spent the time?' 'In the Vankahāra country, lord.' 'Upaka, thou art now an old man; canst thou bear the religious life?' 'I will enter thereon, lord.' The Master bade a certain Bhikkhu, 'Come, do thou, Bhikkhu, ordain him.' And he thereafter exercising and training himself, was soon established in the Fruition of the Path-of-No-Return, and thereupon died, being reborn in the Aviha heavens. 358 At the moment of that rebirth he attained Arahantship.
Seven have thus attained it, as it has been said.
But Cāpā, sick at heart over his departure, delivered her boy to his grandfather, and, following in the way Upaka had gone, renounced the world at Sāvatthī, and attained Arahantship. And uniting Upaka's verses with her own, she thus exulted:
'Once staff in hand homeless I fared and free.
'O be not angry with me, hero mine!
351 Pronounce Chāpā. The name of her native district has, so far, not been met with elsewhere.
352 An Ājīvaka (-ika), described in Dialogues of the Buddha, i. 221.
353 I.e., when he left the Bo-tree as Buddha and went to preach his first sermon at Isipatana by Benares. The meeting is told in Majjhima Nikāya, i. 170, 171, and Vinaya Texts, i. 90.
354 In the Majjhima Nikāya there is another śloka before the last above, in which the Buddha says, 'I am worthy,' etc., thus:'I am the Arahant [i.e., worthy] of the world, I am
The Guide supreme, the one Truly Awake.
Cool and serene I in Nibbana dwell (nibbuto).'
355 The 'holy man,' as our tradition might say. He was no Arahant in the Buddhist sense.
357 His humility was due, apart from his natural disposition, to his having no status among a group of independent huntsmen.
358 This ranked among the five 'topmost' heavens of the 'world of form,' or Brahma-world. See Buddh. Psy., p. 334; Dīgha N., ii. 52.
359 The Commentator explains this intrusion of Nāla, a village 'in Magadha, near the Bo-tree' (of Gayā) (see Ps. lix.), by saying it was Upaka's native place, and that the pair had gone to live there. As he was the trappers' middleman, and therefore in frequent communication with them, this would locate the Vankahāra country in the forests or jungles immediately to the south of Magadha, Gayā being in South Magadha.
360 This river flows from the watershed south of the Ganges past Gayā, and the Buddha was coming from it when Upaka first met him. But the Buddha, in the Commentary, is said to have awaited Upaka at Sāvatthī to the north-west. Upaka sets out 'westward' to find him. The geography here forms a pretty crux. Whatever may be decided by archæologists in the near future as to the site of Sāvatthī, that site was north-westward of Gayā.
361 Keeping the right side toward the object of adoration in walking around him.
'But the Exalted Buddha now doth preach
Along the banks of the Neraŋjarā.
To face p. 134.
She too, having made her resolve under former Buddhas, and heaping up good of age-enduring efficacy in this and that rebirth, was reborn thirty-one æons ago, when Vessabhu was Buddha, in a clansman's family. One day she ministered to the Master with alms, and worshipped him, and he perceived her believing heart, and thanked her. After celestial and other happy rebirths, her knowledge having come to maturity, she was, in this Buddha-age, reborn at Benares as the daughter of Sujāta, a brahmin. Because of her perfect form they called her Sundarī (Beauty). When she grew up, her younger brother died. Her father, overmastered by grief, and going to and fro, met the Therī Vāsiṭṭhī 362 When she asked him what afflicted him, he answered as in the first two verses. Wishing to allay his grief, she spoke the next two verses, and told him of her own griefless state. The brahmin asked her: 'How, lady, did you become free from grief (a-sokā)?' The Therī told him of the Three Jewels, the Refuges. 'Where,' he asked, 'is the Master?' 'He is now at Mithilā.' So the brahmin drove in his carriage to Mithilā and sought audience of the Master. To him the Master taught the Norm; and he believed, and entered the Order, attaining Arahantship on the third day, after strenuous effort in establishing insight.
But the charioteer drove his chariot back to Benares, and told the brahminee what had taken place. When Sundarī heard of it, she asked her mother, saying: 'Mother, I too would leave the world.' The mother said: 'All the wealth in this house belongs to you. You are the heiress of this family. Take up your heritage and enjoy it. Go not forth.' But Sundarī said: 'Wealth is no use to me. Mother, I would leave the world;' and, bringing the mother to consent, she abandoned her great possessions like so much spittle, and entered the Order (at Benares). And studying and striving because of the promise in her and the maturity of her knowledge, she attained Arahantship, with thorough grasp of the Norm in form and meaning.
Dwelling thereafter in the ease of fruition and the bliss of Nibbana, she thought: 'I will utter a Lion's Roar 363 before the Master.' And asking permission of her teacher, she left Benares, accompanied by a great following of Bhikkhunīs, and in due course came to Sāvatthī, did obeisance to the Master, and stood on one side. Welcomed by him, she declared her AÑÑĀ by extolling her relation to him as the 'daughter of his mouth,' and so on. Thereupon all her kinsfolk, beginning with her mother, and their attendants, renounced the world. She, reflecting on her attainment, and using her father's utterances in her own Psalm, exulted as follows:
Dame of the brahmins, thou too in the past–
Nay, brahmin, many hundreds of our babes,
Wondrous in sooth, Vāsiṭṭhī, are the words
'Tis He, the Very Wake, the Buddha, He
Then I too straight will go to Mithilā,
For this that thou hast heard, O Charioteer,
I've trained me, Lady, in the threefold course. 372
See, Sundarī, the Master fair in hue,
His countenance as fine gold, clear and bright,
Him who is All-enlightened, Buddha, Best,
Tamer of untamed, never tasting fear. (333)
And see, O Master, Sundarī, who comes
To tell thee of Emancipation won,
And of the right no more to he reborn.
Who hath herself from passion freed
Unyoked from bondage, loosened from the world.
Accomplished now is her appointed work,
And all that drugged her heart is purged away. 374 (334)
Lo! from Benares I am come to thee–
I, Sundarī, thy pupil, at thy feet,
O mighty Hero, see me worship here. (335)
Thou art Buddha! thou art Master! and thine,
Thy daughter am I, issue of thy mouth,
Thou Very Brahmin! 375 even of thy word.
Accomplished now is my appointed task,
And all that drugged my heart is purged away. (336)
'Welcome to thee, thou gracious maiden! thence
For thee 'twas but a little way to come. 376
For so they come who, victors over self,
Are fain to worship at the Master's feet,
Who also have themselves from passion freed,
Unyoked from bondage, loosened from the world,
Who have accomplished their appointed task,
And all that drugged their hearts have purged away.' (337)
362 See Ps. li.
363 An idiomatic phrase for a pæan or congratulatory or proclamatory speech. Cf. the two discourses so named, Majjhima N., i., pp. 63. ſſ.
364 Vāsiṭṭhī, it will be remembered, is in her legend represented as losing but one child. The Commentary, undaunted by this discrepancy, explains it by the grief-distracted state of the father. Her name is that of a brahmin gens–the Vāseṭṭhas–yet she is not called a brahmin in her own legend. On the other hand, her individual point of view regarding the Dhamma is very consistently reproduced. Dr. Neumann, ignoring the Commentary as elsewhere, sees in Vāseṭṭhī, or Vāsiṭṭhī, the family name of Sundarī, introducing a very baffling complication into the dramatic simplicity of the Psalm quá ballad.
365 Nirupadhi–i.e., of how to live so as to undo the conditions or bases for rebirth. The following line reads literally: 'I, being one who had understood the Gospel, dispelled my child-grief then and there.'
366 Ps. lix. 186.
367 See Ps. xxii. n.
368 Lit., I give thee a full bowl.
369 For this and one half the next verse (327, 328) the Pali verses become redundant. Two are irregular in metre, one has an additional half śloka. No gloss, apparently, has crept into the text. Conceivably the redundancy may be intentionally used to express the abundance of her heritage–that papañca to which the higher life, as a simplification, selection, elimination, stood in sharp contrast.
370 See verse 349 n. Lit., food left over, scraps.
371 Tradition places this speech in the mother's mouth. Dr. Neumann's guess ascribes it to the Bhikkhunī who receives Sundarī into the Order. But the whole tone of it, especially the last sentiment–paraloke anāsavā–is that of the laity's point of view. The mere routine to sustain life becomes a tapas to win future compensations. No word is said of the real object of the religious life–the training of the mind and emotions. And salvation here and now—diṭṭhadhamme anāsavā—was the goal of those entering the Order. Cf. Ps. lxx. 349, ſſ for the Sister's point of view. In this Psalm I follow the Commentary, which does not interrupt the little drama with its expositions, but gives them separately.
372 Cf. Ps. xlv. 104.
373 So Sundarī went with Bhikkhunīs to Sāvatthī, and, entering the Vihāra, saw the Master sitting on the Seat of Doctrine. And, thrilled with a glory of joy and gladness, she said a verse, as if to herself.
374 It is clear from this affirmation–viz., that she was Anāsavā– that Sundarī was Arahant. Curiously, hers is the sole case where the attainment is not explicitly recorded. She is only said to be tevijjā. To be Anāsavā was the sixth and last stage in vijjā or paññā or abhiññā.
Thus she spoke, declaring her AÑÑĀ, by way of expressing her joy. Then the Master, to relieve her nervousness, asked her: 'But whence comest thou? and wherefore? and who is this Sundarī?' Then she made answer: 'Lo! from Benares. . . .'
375 Brahmana! Cf. Dhammapada, ch. xxvi; Dialogues of the Buddha, i, 138-140; Neumann, op. cit. 347, n 2.
376 She had travelled approximately rather under 300 miles for this pilgrimage. But she was near the end of her infinitely long life.
She, too, having made her resolve under former Buddhas, and heaping up good of age-enduring efficacy, so that she had progressively planted the root of good and accumulated the conditions of emancipation, was, in this Buddha-era, reborn at Rājagaha as the daughter of a certain goldsmith. From the beauty of her person she was called Subhā. Come to years of discretion, she went one day, while the Master was at Rājagaha, and belief in him had come to her, and did obeisance, seating herself on one side. The Master, seeing the maturity of her moral faculties, and in accordance with her wish, taught her the Norm enshrined in the Four Truths. She was thereby established in the fruition of Stream-entry, which is in countless ways adorned. Later she realized the disadvantages of domestic life, and entered the Order under the Great Pajāpatī the Gotamid, devoting herself to the higher Paths. From time to time her relations invited her to return to the world, urging its charms. To them thus come one day, she set forth the danger in house-life and in the world, preaching the Norm in the twenty-four verses below, and dismissed them cured of their desire. She then strove for insight, purifying her faculties, till at length she won Arahantship. As Arahant she spoke thus:
A maiden I, all clad in white, once heard (338)
* * * * *
See now this Subhā, standing on the Norm,
To her came Sakka, and his band of gods
In all their glory, worshipping Subhā,
Child of a craftsman in the art of gold,
But lord of all things that have life and breath. 387 (365)
When, on the eighth day after her ordination, she won Arahantship, attaining fruition, seated beneath a tree, the Exalted One uttered these three verses (362-364) in her praises, pointing her out to the Brethren. And the last verse was added by them who recited (the canon at the Council), to celebrate Sakka's adoration.
377 Na bodhāya na santiyā: not for enlightenment, lit., being awake, or peace. George Eliot has lines in sympathy with Subhā:'Nay, falter not–'tis an assured good
To seek the noblest–'tis your only good,
Now you have seen it; for that higher vision
Poisons all meaner choice for evermore.'
378 Literally, for samaṇa's or recluses (religieux).
379 Lit., left over, given as alms. Cf. Jātaka, iv. 380.
380 Cf. Ps. lxix. 329 n.
381 I read with the Commentary mahesihi. Cf. the te on next line and 361.
382 These are similes occurring in discourses ascribed to the Buddha –e.g., Ang. Nik., iv. 128; Saŋy. Nik., v. 112-114; iv. 189, 198; Udāna, 24; Majjh. Nik., i. 130, etc.
383 Lit., Bringer-along of its (the way's) own affliction.
384 'Ujuko nāma so maggo.'
'Straight' is the name that Way is called. (Saŋy. Nik., i. 33.)
385 Mahesino, as in 350.
386 See Ps. lxiv.
387 Bhūtapati; issaro, lord or god of beings in the three planes of sense, says the Commentary; presumably gods, men, and animals. Note that she is not called Queen or Goddess, but pati (masculine).