Ja 69 The Story about the Poisonous Snake

In the present Ven. Sāriputta decides to give up meal-cakes and this gets voiced abroad, and the monks ask the Buddha to dissuade him. The Buddha explains that once Sāriputta has decided on an action nothing can deter him, and tells how he was once a snake who refused to take back the poison he had released, even though it might cost him his life (full story).

1. Dhi-r-atthu taṁ visaṁ vantaṁ, yam-ahaṁ jīvitakāraṇā
Vantaṁ paccāharissāmi? Mataṁ me jīvitā varan-ti.

Cursed be that poison I emitted, even for the sake of life will I take back that vomit? Better is death for me than life.

In this connection, cursed be, the particle has the meaning of reproach.

That poison means will I take back that poison I emitted even for the sake of life? That poison that was emitted be cursed.

Better is death for me than life, because of not taking back that poison, entering the fire, I thought: death is better for me than life, this is the meaning.