Dhamma Verses

19: The Chapter about one who stands by Dhamma

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The one who judges by Dhamma

After their almsround the monks noticed that judges were accepting bribes, and depriving people of their property; they reported this to the Buddha who spoke this verse advising on who is a real judge.

256. Na tena hoti Dhammaṭṭho yenatthaṁ sahasā naye,
yo ca atthaṁ anatthañ-ca ubho niccheyya paṇḍito.

One who would hastily settle a case
is thereby not one who stands by Dhamma,
the wise one should discriminate the two:
what is the case and what is not the case.

257. Asāhasena dhammena samena nayatī pare,
Dhammassa gutto medhāvī, Dhammaṭṭho ti pavuccati.

The one who settles for other people
without haste, justly and impartially,
the sagacious one, protecting Dhamma,
is said to be one who stands by Dhamma.

The truly wise person

The group of six monks, who were notorious for their bad behaviour, went round the monasteries creating havoc and boasting about themselves in the refectories; when this matter was reported to the Buddha he gave the teaching in this verse.

258. Na tena paṇḍito hoti yāvatā bahu bhāsati;
khemī averī abhayo, paṇḍito ti pavuccati.

One is not a wise person
merely because of speaking much;
being safe, hatred-free, fearless,
one is then called a wise person.

One who truly bears the Dhamma

Elder Ekuddāna knew but one verse, which he recited on the fast-day, and all the deities applauded; when two learned monks, with their followings, came by they recited the Tipiṭaka, but received no applause; the Buddha explained that a monastic who knows one verse, and practised accordingly, is better than someone who knows the words but practices not.

259. Na tāvatā Dhammadharo yāvatā bahu bhāsati,
yo ca appam-pi sutvāna, Dhammaṁ kāyena passati,
sa ve Dhammadharo hoti, yo Dhammaṁ nappamajjati.

One is not a Dhamma-bearer
merely through speaking much, but the
one who, having heard a little,
sees Dhamma for himself, is one
who bears Dhamma, the one who is
not heedless regarding Dhamma.

The true elder

The young-looking dwarf Elder Lakuṇṭaka Bhaddiya one day went to attend to the duties for the Buddha; as he was leaving some thirty monks arrived and the Buddha asked them if they saw an elder on the way, they replied they only saw a young novice; then the Buddha gave this teaching.

260. Na tena thero hoti yenassa palitaṁ siro,
paripakko vayo tassa moghajiṇṇo ti vuccati.

One is not an elder because
one’s head has grey hair, for the one
who is only matured, aged,
is said to be grown old in vain.

261. Yamhi saccañ-ca Dhammo ca ahiṁsā saṁyamo damo,
sa ve vantamalo dhīro thero iti pavuccati.

In whom is truth, Dhamma, restraint,
non-violence, and good training,
the wise one who throws out the stain
is truly one called an elder.

The person to be honoured

Some learned monks, jealous of other monks having disciples who carried out their duties for them, went to the Buddha and asked for others to be forbidden to teach until they had undertaken training under their tutelage; the Buddha understood their intentions and taught them with this verse.

262.263. Na vākkaraṇamattena vaṇṇapokkharatāya vā
sādhurūpo naro hoti, issukī maccharī saṭho;
yassa cetaṁ samucchinnaṁ, mūlaghaccaṁ samūhataṁ,
sa vantadoso medhāvī sādhurūpo ti vuccati.

Not by eloquence only, or
by a beautiful complexion,
is a person honourable,
if jealous, selfish, deceitful;
the one in whom this is cut-off,
destroyed at the root and dug up,
that sage who has thrown out hatred
is said to be honourable.

The true ascetic

Elder Hatthaka defeated his opponents by lying about the time of the debate, making them late, and telling the people that they dare not face him; when the Buddha heard what he was doing he gave the teaching in these verses.

264. Na muṇḍakena samaṇo, abbato alikaṁ bhaṇaṁ,
icchālobhasamāpanno, samaṇo kiṁ bhavissati?

Not through a shaven head is one
an ascetic, if one lacks vows,
speaks lies, and has greed and desire,
how will one be an ascetic?

265. Yo ca sameti pāpāni, aṇuṁ-thūlāni sabbaso –
samitattā hi pāpānaṁ samaṇo ti pavuccati.

The one who quenches wicked deeds,
small and great, in every way –
through the quenching of wicked deeds
he’s said to be an ascetic.

The true monastic

A brahmin who ordained in an outside order collected his almsfood through begging; later he went to the Buddha and asked to be addressed as a bhikkhu, like the Buddha’s own disciples; but the Buddha explained with these verses that it is not the form that counts, but the cleansing of the mind.

266. Na tena bhikkhu hoti yāvatā bhikkhate pare,
vissaṁ Dhammaṁ samādāya bhikkhu hoti na tāvatā.

One is not a monastic merely through
eating others’ almsfood,
the one who undertakes a false Dhamma
to that extent is not a monastic.

267. Yodha puññañ-ca pāpañ-ca bāhetvā brahmacariyavā,
saṅkhāya loke carati sa ce, bhikkhū ti vuccati.

If he is one who lives the holy life,
warding off both merit and demerit,
and wanders round with discrimination,
that one is said to be a monastic.

The true sage

The Buddha gave an allowance for the monastics to give thanks after the meal they had received; the sectarians complained that the monastics talk too much, while they keep silence; the Buddha explained who is a true seer with these verses.

268. Na monena munī hoti mūḷharūpo aviddasu,
yo ca tulaṁ va paggayha, varam-ādāya paṇḍito.

Not through silence is a poor fool
considered to be a seer,
the wise one, like one holding the
balance, takes up what is noble.

269. Pāpāni parivajjeti sa munī tena so muni,
yo munāti ubho loke muni tena pavuccati.

The seer who rejects wicked deeds
through that is considered a seer;
whoever understands both worlds
because of that is called a seer.

The true noble one

A fisherman named Noble was going about his business one day when the Buddha and the monks walked by; the Buddha asked him his name, and on reply told him that only one who does not hurt other beings should be called noble.

270. Na tena ariyo hoti yena pāṇāni hiṁsati,
ahiṁsā sabbapāṇānaṁ ariyo ti pavuccati.

Through not hurting breathing beings
one is noble, the one who does
not hurt any breathing beings
is truly said to be noble.

How to attain full confidence

Some monks who had attained various stages of the holy life approached the Buddha declaring they could become Arahats at any moment, and have that confidence; the Buddha encouraged them to keep striving to the end with this verse.

271.272. Na sīlabbatamattena, bāhusaccena vā pana,
atha vā samādhilābhena, vivittasayanena vā,
phusāmi nekkhammasukhaṁ, aputhujjanasevitaṁ;
bhikkhu vissāsa’ māpādi appatto āsavakkhayaṁ.

Not merely through virtue or vows,
or through great learning, or through the
attainment of concentration,
or through a secluded dwelling,
do I attain the happiness
not practised by worldly people;
let a monk not be confident
as long as the destruction of
the pollutants is unattained.

Dhammaṭṭhavaggo Ekūnavīsatimo
The Chapter about the one who stands by Dhamma, the Nineteenth