Buddhist Wisdom Verses

25: Itthivaggo
Women

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Jā 108 Bāhiyajātakaṁ
Good Training

A women eases herself modestly in public which greatly impresses the King, and he decides to make her his wife.

467. Sikkheyya sikkhitabbāni, santi sacchandino janā.
Bāhiyā hi suhannena, Rājānam-abhirādhayi.

She should train herself, even though
People can be very wilful,
The stranger's modesty during
Her toilet satisfied the King.

Jā 489 Surucijātakaṁ
The Gods visit the Virtuous

The Bodhisatta is a childless King and he asks his Queen to pray for a son. Sakka hears her prayer and goes to question her about her virtues. Hearing her answers he readily grants her request.

468. Itthiyo jīvalokasmiṁ yā honti samacārinī.
Medhāvini sīlavatī, sassudevā patibbatā.

There are women living at peace,
Who are intelligent, virtuous,
Respecting their Mothers-in-Law,
Truly faithful to their husbands.

469. Tādisāya sumedhāya, sucikammāya nāriyā,
Devā dassanam-āyanti mānusiyā amānusā.

Gods and other divine beings
Like to meet and help those women
Who are wise, intelligent,
And pure in all the deeds they do.

Jā 547 Vessantarajātakaṁ
Wives and Husbands

The Bodhisatta is banished to the forest when the people decide he is over-generous with the wealth of the Kingdom. His wife goes along with him, and this is part of what she says.

470. Naggā nadī anudakā, naggaṁ raṭṭhaṁ Arājakaṁ,
Itthīpi vidhavā naggā, yassāpi dasabhātaro.

Stripped are rivers without water,
And a kingdom without a King,
Bereft is a widowed woman,
Even though she has ten brothers.

471. Dhajo Rathassa paññāṇaṁ, dhūmo paññāṇam-aggino,
Rājā Rathassa paññāṇaṁ, bhattā paññāṇam-itthiyā.

Flags are a sign of a Kingdom,
And the sign of a fire is smoke,
Kings are the sign of a Kingdom,
Husbands are the sign of women.

472. Yā daliddī daliddassa, aḍḍhā aḍḍhassa kittimā,
Taṁ ve devā pasaṁsanti, dukkaraṁ hi karoti sā.

She who is famed for being poor
With the poor, and rich with the rich,
The very gods themselves do praise,
She does that which is difficult.

473. Sāmikaṁ anubandhissaṁ, sadā kāsāyavāsinī,
Pathavyāpi abhijjantyā vedhavyaṁ kaṭukitthiyā.

I follow after my husband,
I will wear the robe that is dyed,
Ruling the Earth as a widow
Would be very painful indeed.

474. Kathaṁ nu tāsaṁ hadayaṁ sukharā vata itthiyo,
Yā sāmike dukkhitamhi, sukham-icchanti attano?

How is the heart of those women
So very hard and unyielding,
Who, when their husbands are suffering,
Seek only their own happiness?

475. Nikkhamante Mahārāje Sivīnaṁ Raṭṭhavaḍḍhane,
Tam-ahaṁ anubandhissaṁ, sabbakāmadado hi me.

When the Great King of the Sivis,
The Benefactor, does go forth,
I will follow along with him,
For he gives all the love I need.

AN 5.33 Uggahasuttaṁ
A Wife's Duties

The householder Uggaha invites the Buddha for a meal and asks him to give advice to his daughters who are going to their husbands' homes to live.

476. Yo naṁ bharati sabbadā, niccaṁ ātāpi ussuko,
Sabbakāmaharaṁ posaṁ: bhattāraṁ nātimaññati.

She should not despise her husband
Who supports her in every way,
Always being energetic,
That man who brings her all pleasure.

477. Na cāpi sotthi bhattāraṁ icchācārena rosaye.
Bhattū ca garuno sabbe paṭipūjeti Paṇḍitā.

Nor should the good woman make her
Husband angry through her desires.
The Wise Lady worships all those
Whom her husband holds in respect.

478. Uṭṭhāyikā analasā, saṅgahītaparijjanā,
Bhattū manāpaṁ carati, sambhataṁ anurakkhati.

Exerting herself, not lazy,
Treating his attendants kindly,
She is pleasing to her husband,
And carefully protects his stores.

479. Yā evaṁ vattatī nārī, bhattuchandavasānugā,
Manāpā nāma te devā, yattha sā upapajjati.

That woman who lives in this way,
Obedient to her husband,
Is surely pleasing to the gods,
Wheresoever she is reborn.

AN 7.63 Sattabhariyāsuttaṁ
The Seven Types of Wife

The Buddha describes the seven types of wife that are found in the world, and what their destiny is.

480. Paduṭṭhacittā ahitānukampinī,
Aññesu rattā atimaññate patiṁ,
Dhanena kītassa, vadhāya ussukā,
Yā evarūpā purisassa bhariyā:
Vadhakā ca bhariyā ti ca sā pavuccati.

Corrupt, without pity or compassion,
Passionate and despising her husband,
Bought with wealth, bent on murder,
The wife of a man who acts in this way:
A murdering wife is what she is called.

481. Yaṁ itthiyā vindati sāmiko dhanaṁ,
Sippaṁ vaṇijjañ-ca kasiṁ adiṭṭhahaṁ,
Appam-pi tasmā apahātum-icchati,
Yā evarūpā purisassa bhariyā,
Corī ca bhariyā ti ca sā pavuccati.

That woman who enjoys her husband's wealth,
Gained by his craft, his trading or farming,
She who wants to steal even a little,
The wife of a man who acts in this way:
A pillaging wife is what she is called.

482. Akammakāmā alasā mahagghasā,
Pharusā ca caṇḍī, duruttavādinī,
Uṭṭhāyakānaṁ abhibhuyya vattati,
Yā evarūpā purisassa bhariyā,
Ayyā ca bhariyā ti ca sā pavuccati.

Not liking work, lazy, but eating much,
Rough and violent, one who speaks badly,
Who has great power over her husband,
The wife of a man who acts in this way:
A mistress and wife is what she is called.

483. Yā sabbadā hoti hitānukampinī,
Mātā va puttaṁ anurakkhate patiṁ,
Tato dhanaṁ sambhatam-assa rakkhati,
Yā evarūpā purisassa bhariyā,
Mātā ca bhariyā ti ca sā pavuccati.

That one who has pity and compassion,
Who, like a Mother, protects her husband,
Who protects the wealth that has been stored up,
The wife of a man who acts in this way:
A Motherly wife is what she is called.

484. Yathā pi jeṭṭhā bhaginī kaniṭṭhā,
Sagāravā hoti sakamhi sāmike,
Hirīmanā bhattuvasānuvattinī,
Yā evarūpā purisassa bhariyā
Bhaginī ca bhariyā ti ca sā pavuccati.

As an elder sister is respected,
She has respect for her lord and master,
Careful, obedient to her husband,
The wife of a man who acts in this way:
A sisterly wife is what she is called.

485. Yā cīdha disvāna patiṁ pamodati,
Sakhī sakhāraṁ va cirassam-āgataṁ,
Koleyyakā sīlavatī patibbatā,
Yā evarūpā purisassa bhariyā,
Sakhī ca bhariyā ti ca sā pavuccati.

She who takes joy in seeing her husband,
Like friends seeing friends after a long time,
Well-bred, virtuous, a devoted wife,
The wife of a man who acts in this way:
A friend and a wife is what she is called.

486. Akkuddhasantā vadhadaṇḍatajjitā,
Aduṭṭhacittā, patino titikkhati,
Akkodhanā bhattuvasānuvattinī,
Yā evarūpā purisassa bhariyā,
Dāsī ca bhariyā ti ca sā pavuccati.

Unangered, not in fear of punishment,
Having an uncorrupt mind, and patient,
Having no anger towards her husband,
The wife of a man who acts in this way:
A handmaid and wife is what she is called.

487. Yā cīdha bhariyā vadhakā ti vuccati,
Corī ca ayyā ti ca yā pavuccati,
Dussīlarūpā pharusā anādarā,
Kāyassa bhedā Nirayaṁ vajanti tā.

Now she who is called a murdering wife,
And the one called a thief and a mistress,
Unvirtuous, rough and disrespectful,
At death will go to the Nether Regions.

488. Yā cīdha Mātā bhaginī sakhī ca,
Dāsī ca bhariyā ti ca sā pavuccati,
Sīle ṭhitā nācirarattasaṁvutā,
Kāyassa bhedā Sugatiṁ vajanti tā.

Now she who is called a Mother, sister,
A friendly, or a handmaidenly wife,
Virtuous, steady, restrained in actions,
At death will go to the Celestial Realms.

AN 4.53 Paṭhamasaṁvāsasuttaṁ
Four Types of Couples

The Buddha explains the four ways in which a husband and wife may live together.

489. Ubho ca honti dussīlā, kadariyā paribhāsakā,
Te honti jānipatayo chavā saṁvāsam-āgatā.

Both of them are unvirtuous,
Being miserly, abusive,
Dwelling together in this way
Wife and husband are both wretched.

490. Sāmiko hoti dussīlo, kadariyo paribhāsako,
Bhariyā sīlavatī hoti, vadaññū vītamaccharā,
Sāpi devī saṁvasati, chavena patinā saha.

The husband is unvirtuous,
Being miserly, abusive,
The wife is virtuous and true,
Being bountiful, unselfish,
She is living like a goddess,
Along with her wretched husband.

491. Sāmiko sīlavā hoti, vadaññū vītamaccharo,
Bhariyā hoti dussīlā, kadariyā paribhāsikā,
Sāpi chavā saṁvasati, devena patinā saha.

The husband is virtuous,
Being bountiful, unselfish,
The wife though is unvirtuous,
Being miserly, abusive,
She lives like a wretched woman,
Along with her god-like husband.

492. Ubho saddhā vadaññū ca, saññatā Dhammajīvino,
Te honti jānipatayo aññam-aññaṁ piyaṁvadā.

Both are faithful and bountiful,
Restrained and living by Dhamma,
Together the wife and husband
Have kind words for one another.

493. Atthāsaṁ pacurā honti, phāsakaṁ upajāyati,
Amittā dummanā honti ubhinnaṁ samasīlinaṁ.

They will have abundant riches,
And live together easily,
Their foes are depressed with these two,
Because they have the same virtues.

494. Idha Dhammaṁ caritvāna, samasīlabbatā ubho,
Nandino devalokasmiṁ modanti kāmakāmino.

Having both lived by the Dhamma,
Having the same virtue and vows,
They rejoice in pleasures obtained
In the realms of divine beings.

Jā 545 Vidhurajātakaṁ
The Ideal Householder

A King is about to lose the Bodhisatta, his wise minister, before he goes he asks him about the life of a householder.

495. Na sādhāraṇadārassa, na bhuñje sādum-ekako,
Na seve lokāyatikaṁ netaṁ paññāya vaddhanaṁ.

He should not share another's wife,
Nor eat his food and sweets alone,
He should not practice sophistry
That does not increase his wisdom.

496. Sīlavā vattasampanno, appamatto vicakkhaṇo,
Nivātavutti atthaddho, surato sakhilo mudu.

Being virtuous, duteous,
Heedful, wise, humble, unselfish,
Devoted, kindly, and gentle.

497. Saṅgahetā ca mittānaṁ, saṁvibhāgī vidhānavā,
Tappeyya annapānena sadā samaṇabrāhmaṇe.

Being a maker of good friends,
Sharing, being considerate,
Being one who will satisfy
Monks and priests with food and with drinks.

498. Dhammakāmo sutādhāro, bhaveyya paripucchako,
Sakkaccaṁ payirupāseyya sīlavante bahussute.

He may be a Dhamma-lover,
And a preserver of learning,
Who often attends with respect
On the virtuous and learned.

499. Gharam-āvasamānassa gahaṭṭhassa sakaṁ gharaṁ,
Khemā vutti siyā evaṁ, evaṁ nu assa saṅgaho.

For a layman living at home,
Dwelling in his very own house,
There will in this way be safety,
Like this he will have good fortune,

500. Avyāpajjhā siyā evaṁ, saccavādī ca māṇavo,
Asmā lokā paraṁ lokaṁ, evaṁ pecca na socati.

He will be free from oppression,
That young man who speaks only truth,
Passing from this world to the next,
He will be one who does not grieve.

The Fifth Hundred