The Discourse concerning Vāseṭṭha
and its commentary (MN & MA 98)

A Pāli and English line by line (interlinear) version of this important doctrinal discourse and its commentary explaining why brahmins are no different from other castes and what a true brahmin is.

edited and translated by
Ānandajoti Bhikkhu




The Vāseṭṭhasutta is an important discourse of the Buddha which is found in two places in the Pāḷi canon, the first as part of the Chapter concerning Brahmins in the Majjhimanikāya (MN 98), and again as part of the Suttanipāta (Sn 3.9), which suggests to me that it may be part of the earlier strata of Buddhist texts that were brought together in that collection.

It deals ostensibly with the claims of the brahmins to be a people apart from all others, but in the course of the explanation, we are given what is basically a manifesto of human equality, which was indeed one of the main messages of the early teaching.

The discourse is also of interest for its use of scientific reasoning, albeit ancient, to prove its claims, which still has value and holds its appeal today, as the Buddha presents clearly defined arguments as to why we cannot deal with one lineage of people differently from any other.

In the classification of species we can see that they have distinguishing features by which we identify them as different kinds of plants, trees, insects, quadrupeds, reptiles, birds, fish, etc. But when we come to human beings they are not divided in this way. In fact there have been species of hominids, such as the Neanderthal and others. This information was not available at the time, and in fact does not affect the argument, as brahmins are no different from any other homo sapiens.

We can see that brahmins are born from their mother’s womb just like any other humans, and not in any other way; they are also not distinguished in any feature of their bodies, and it is only through human designation that they are set off from others, just as is the case with their names.

The Buddha then shows that people are distinguished, not by birth, but by occupation: someone who protects his cattle is a farmer, another is a craftsman, a trader, etc. A brahmin, according to the Buddha, is therefore someone who has earned the distinction by cutting off the fetters, and attaining liberation.

There is a long section of twenty-eight verses which then deals with the qualities of the true brahmin, and it is worth noticing that this section is repeated verbatim at the end of the Dhammapada (vv. 396-423), in the Chapter about Brahmins (Brāhmaṇavagga).

After this section we get a summary of the teaching when the Buddha declares that:

One is not a brahmin by birth, nor by birth is one not a brahmin,
by deeds one is a brahmin, by deeds one is not a brahmin.

We see here that in redefining what a brahmin is, the Buddha has traced the word back to its origins as the word etymologically derives from Pāḷi root brah, and means, not a particular caste of people, but someone who has become great, superior. This was a ploy the Buddha used on many occasions to avoid the reified meanings of words, and to reinvigorate them by pointing out their true significance.

The interlocutors are the students Vāseṭṭha and Bhāradvāja, two brahmin students who feature in a couple of other discourses in the canon. They appear in the Tevijjāsutta (DN 13), where they discuss right and wrong paths, and also in the Aggaññasutta (DN 27), where they are awaiting ordination, and where their questions lead the Buddha to give an alternative history of the world to that taught by the brahmins. This appears to be the first of the discussions they had with the Buddha; the Tevijjā records the second; and at the end of the third, according to the commentary, they are both given higher ordination.

Apart from the introduction and the conclusion, the main body of the discourse, which consists of the student Vāseṭṭha’s questions and the Buddha’s answers, is in verse, and it reminds one of other and similar exchanges with brahmins, such as the Way to the Beyond (Pārāyaṇavagga) which involves a discussion with sixteen brahmin meditation masters.

The discourse actually has two commentaries on it, the first is the commentary to the Majjhimanikāya, and the second to the discourse in Suttanipāta. As they differ from each other, I think this must call into question whether they were both written by Bhadanta Buddhaghosa, as is claimed by the tradition.

In any case I have translated the commentary as it is found in the Majjhima commentary, as it helps explain and clear up many matters which may otherwise have been doubtful in the text itself, and adds substantially to our understanding of the work. I believe this is the first English translation of the commentary.

I should add here that there is a very fine exposition of this discourse offered by the human rights activist Nalin Swaris in his book Buddhism, Human Rights and Social Renewal, which I have also published here: http://www.buddhasasana.net/nalin-swaris/buddhism-human-rights/buddhism-human-rights.htm.

I have divided the translation into two versions; the main one is the text and translation of both the discourse and its commentary, which is found in the texts and translation section of the website; in the English Only section is a translation of the discourse alone, but with a reading of the text to accompany it.

In the presentation that follows the discourse and its translation are marked up in dark blue and dark red:

Evaṁ me sutaṁ:
Thus I heard:

The commentary and its translation is marked up in purple and green:

‘Evaṁ me sutan,’-ti Vāseṭṭhasuttaṁ.
‘Thus I heard’, this is the Discourse concerning Vāseṭṭha.

Repetition text, that was abbreviated as …pe… in the text, has been filled in and is marked in black.

The translation of the commentary in particular posed many problems, and I once again record my great appreciation to Dr. Junko Matsumura who made many corrections and some very good suggestions for improvement which has greatly improved the translation. Any mistakes that remain, of course, are my own.

Ānandajoti Bhikkhu
February, 2016



BJT: Śrī Laṁkan edition, from the Buddha Jayanti Tripitaka Series, Volume XI (Colombo, 1973/2508, reprinted with corrections 2005). This is for the text of the discourse itself.

SHB: Śrī Laṁkan edition, from the Simon Hewavitarne Bequest Series, Volume XLVII (Colombo, 1947/2491). This is for the commentary, with small corrections to bring it into line with the text, which are recorded in the notes.

Vāseṭṭhasuttaṁ MN & MA 98.
The Discourse concerning Vāseṭṭha
and its commentary

The Setting

Evaṁ me sutaṁ:
Thus I heard:

‘Evaṁ me SHB: Evam-me. sutan,’-ti Vāseṭṭhasuttaṁ.
‘Thus I heard’, this is the Discourse concerning Vāseṭṭha.

ekaṁ samayaṁ Bhagavā Icchānaṅgale viharati,
at one time the Fortunate One was dwelling near Icchānaṅgala, This brahmin village was in Kosala, and it appears the Buddha stayed there on many occasions, see DN 3, SN 54.11, AN 5.30, An 6.42, AN 8.86, etc.

in the Icchānaṅgala jungle thicket.

Tattha, ‘Icchānaṅgalavanasaṇḍe’ ti SHB: Icchānaṅkala-, and similarly throughout.
Herein, ‘In the Icchānaṅgala jungle thicket’ means

Icchānaṅgalagāmassa avidūre vanasaṇḍe.
in the jungle thicket not too far from the village of Icchānaṅgala.

Tena kho pana samayena sambahulā abhiññātā
Then at that time many well-known

brāhmaṇamahāsālā Icchānaṅgale paṭivasanti, seyyathidaṁ:
wealthy brahmins were living in Icchānaṅgala, such as:

Caṅkī brāhmaṇo, Tārukkho brāhmaṇo, Pokkharasāti brāhmaṇo,
the brahmin Caṅkī, the brahmin Tārukkha, the brahmin Pokkharasāti,

Jānussoni brāhmaṇo, Todeyyo brāhmaṇo,
the brahmin Jānussoni, the brahmin Todeyya, This list of five brahmins is mentioned in other places in the canon, e.g. at the beginning of Tevijjasuttaṁ (DN 13).

‘Caṅkī’ ti ādayo pañca pi janā Rañño Pasenadissa Kosalassa purohitā eva.
‘Caṅkī’ and so on means the five people who were religious advisors to King Pasenadi of Kosala.

aññe ca abhiññātā abhiññātā brāhmaṇamahāsālā.
and other well-known brahmins.

‘Aññe ca abhiññātā’ ti aññe ca bahū abhiññātā brāhmaṇā.
‘Other well-known (brahmins)’ means many other well-known brahmins.

Te kira chaṭṭhe chaṭṭhe māse dvīsu ṭhānesu sannipatanti.
It seems every six months they would assemble in (one of) two places.

Yadā jātiṁ sodhetukāmā honti
When they desired to purify their caste They would probably have bathed while reciting certain prayers to re-establish their caste status.

tadā Pokkharasātissa santike jātisodhanatthaṁ ukkaṭṭhāyaṁ sannipatanti.
then they would assemble near Pokkharasāti especially to purify their caste.

Yadā mante sodhetukāmā honti,
When they desired to purify the (Vedic) mantras, Purifying here means reciting together so as to check for mistakes.

tadā Icchānaṅgale sannipatanti.
then they would assemble at Icchānaṅgala.

Imasmiṁ kāle mantasaṁsodhanatthaṁ tattha sannipatiṁsu.
At this time they had assembled there for the purpose of completely purifying the (Vedic) mantras.

Atha kho Vāseṭṭha-Bhāradvājānaṁ māṇavānaṁ,
Then to the students Vāseṭṭha and Bhāradvāja,

jaṅghāvihāraṁ anucaṅkamamānaṁ anuvicaramānānaṁ,
while wandering and strolling around on a walk,

ayam-antarākathā udapādi:
this discussion arose:

‘Ayam-antarākathā’ ti
‘This discussion’ means

yaṁ attano sahāyakabhāvānurūpaṁ kathaṁ kathento anuvicariṁsu,
they were discussing what was suitable in a friendly discussion as they strolled around,

tassā kathāya antarā ayam-aññā kathā udapādi:
and this topic for discussion arose amongst other topics:

“Kathaṁ, bho, brāhmaṇo hotī?” ti
“How, dear friend, is one a brahmin?”

Bhāradvājo māṇavo evam-āha:
The student Bhāradvāja said this:

“Yato kho, bho, ubhato sujāto hoti mātito ca pitito ca,
“When, dear friend, one is well-born on both the mother’s and father’s side,

saṁsuddhagahaṇiko yāva sattamā pitāmahayugā,
of pure descent as far as the seventh generation,

akkhitto anupakkuṭṭho jātivādena,
not despised and blameless with regard to the matter of one’s birth,

ettāvatā kho brāhmaṇo hotī.” ti
to that extent one is a brahmin.”

Vāseṭṭho māṇavo evam-āha:
The student Vāseṭṭha said this:

“Yato kho, bho, sīlavā ca hoti vattasampanno ca,
“When, dear friend, one is virtuous and endowed with good conduct,

ettāvatā kho brāhmaṇo hotī.” ti
to that extent one is a brahmin.”

‘Sīlavā’ ti guṇavā.
‘Virtuous’ means having good qualities.

‘Vattasampanno’ ti ācārasampanno.
‘Endowed with good conduct’ means endowed with good practices.

Neva kho asakkhi Bhāradvājo māṇavo Vāseṭṭhaṁ māṇavaṁ saññāpetuṁ,
But neither was the student Bhāradvāja able to convince the student Vāseṭṭha,

na pana asakkhi Vāseṭṭho māṇavo Bhāradvājaṁ māṇavañ-ca saññāpetuṁ.
and nor was the student Vāseṭṭha able to convince the student Bhāradvāja.

Atha kho Vāseṭṭho māṇavo Bhāradvājaṁ māṇavaṁ āmantesi:
Then the student Vāseṭṭha addressed the student Bhāradvāja, (saying):

“Ayaṁ kho, Bhāradvāja, samaṇo Gotamo Sakyaputto Sakyakulā pabbajito,
“This ascetic Gotama, Bhāradvāja, a son of the Sakyas, having gone forth from the Sakyan clan,

Icchānaṅgale viharati Icchānaṅgalavanasaṇḍe,
is dwelling near Icchānaṅgala in the Icchānaṅgala jungle thicket,

taṁ kho pana bhavantaṁ Gotamaṁ evaṁ kalyāṇo kittisaddo abbhuggato:
and about this dear Gotama this beautiful report has gone round:

‘Iti pi so, Bhagavā Arahaṁ Sammāsambuddho,
‘Such is he, the Fortunate One, the Worthy One, the Perfect Sambuddha,

vijjācaraṇasampanno Sugato lokavidū,
the one endowed with understanding and good conduct, the Happy One, the one who understands the worlds,

anuttaro purisadammasārathī,
the unsurpassed guide for those people who need taming,

Satthā devamanussānaṁ, Buddho Bhagavā.’
the Teacher of gods and men, the Buddha, the Fortunate One.’

Āyāma, bho Bhāradvāja, yena samaṇo Gotamo tenupasaṅkamissāma,
Come, dear Bhāradvāja, let us approach the ascetic Gotama,

upasaṅkamitvā samaṇaṁ Gotamaṁ etam-atthaṁ pucchissāma,
and having approached the ascetic Gotama let us ask him about this matter,

yathā no samaṇo Gotamo vyākarissati tathā naṁ dhāressāmā.” ti
and in whatever way this ascetic Gotama will explain it so we will bear it in mind.”

“Evaṁ, bho,” ti kho Bhāradvājo māṇavo Vāseṭṭhassa māṇavassa paccassosi.
“Just so, dear friend,” the student Bhāradvāja replied to the student Vāseṭṭha.

Atha kho Vāseṭṭha-Bhāradvājā māṇavā yena Bhagavā tenupasaṅkamiṁsu,
Then the students Vāseṭṭha and Bhāradvāja approached the Fortunate One,

upasaṅkamitvā Bhagavatā saddhiṁ sammodiṁsu,
and after approaching they exchanged greetings with the Fortunate One,

sammodanīyaṁ kathaṁ sāraṇīyaṁ vītisāretvā, ekamantaṁ nisīdiṁsu.
and after exchanging polite and courteous greetings, sat down on one side.

The Question

Ekamantaṁ nisinno kho Vāseṭṭho māṇavo
While sitting on one side the student Vāseṭṭha

Bhagavantaṁ gāthāhi ajjhabhāsi:
addressed the Fortunate One with a verse:

“Anuññātapaṭiññātā Tevijjā mayam-asmubho,
“We are both (of us) acknowledged, sanctioned as knowing the three Vedas,

ahaṁ Pokkharasātissa Tārukkhassāyaṁ māṇavo. [1]
I am Pokkharasāti’s and this one is Tārukkha’s student.

‘Anuññātapaṭiññātā’ ti sikkhitā tumhe ti evaṁ ācariyehi anuññātā:
‘Acknowledged, sanctioned’ means acknowledged as trained by their teachers, (saying):

“Āma ācariya sikkhitamhā,” ti evaṁ sayañ-ca paṭiññātā. SHB: paṭisaññātā.
“Yes, teacher, we have been trained,” thus they are sanctioned.

‘Asmā’ ti bhavāma.
‘We are’ means we are (alternative verb).

‘Ahaṁ Pokkharasātissa Tārukkhassāyaṁ māṇavo’ ti
‘I am Pokkharasāti’s and this one is Tārukkha’s student’ means

ahaṁ Pokkharasātissa jeṭṭhantevāsī aggasisso,
I am Pokkharasāti’s senior attendant, or chief pupil,

ayaṁ Tārukkhassā ti dīpeti.
this one is Tārukkha’s, so it is explained.

Tevijjānaṁ yad-akkhātaṁ, nanu kevalinosmase,
What is declared in the three Vedas, (in that) we are surely complete,

padakasma veyyākaraṇā, jappe ācariyasādisā. [2]
the words, the grammar, and in the chanting we are like our teachers.

‘Tevijjānan’-ti tivedānaṁ brāhmaṇānaṁ.
‘The three Vedas’ means (knowledge of) the brahmins’ three Vedas.

‘Yad-akkhātan’-ti yaṁ atthato ca byañjanato ca ekaṁ padam-pi akkhātaṁ.
‘What is declared’ means that which is declared in each word according to the meaning and syllables.

Tattha, ‘Kevalinosmase’ ti taṁ sakalaṁ jānanato, tattha niṭṭhāgatamhā ti attho.
Herein, ‘We are complete’, the meaning is knowing all this, we have come to completion.

Idāni taṁ kevalibhāvaṁ āvikaronto ‘Padakasmā...’ ti ādim-āha.
Now explaining completeness according to (the line) ‘The words...’ and so on, is what is said.

‘Tattha jappe ... ācariyasādisā’ ti kathanaṭṭhāne mayaṁ ācariyasadisā yeva.
‘Herein chanting ... like our teachers’ means we surely recite the same way as our teachers.

Tesaṁ no jātivādasmiṁ vivādo atthi Gotama,
Concerning the matter of birth there is a dispute between us, Gotama,

jātiyā brāhmaṇo hoti Bhāradvājo iti bhāsati,
Bhāradvāja says one is a brahmin (just) by birth,

ahañ-ca kammanā brūmi, evaṁ jānāhi, Cakkhuma. [3]
I say it is according to (good) deeds, understand it in this way, O Visionary one.

‘Kammanā’ ti dasakusalakammapathakammunā.
‘According to deeds’ means according to the ten types of wholesome deeds. Specifically ruling out bad, or unwholesome, deeds.

Ayaṁ hi pubbe, sattavidhaṁ kāyavacīkammaṁ sandhāya,
Because formerly, in reference to the seven ways of bodily and verbal deeds,

“Yato kho, bho, sīlavā hotī” ti āha,
this was said: “When, dear friend, one is virtuous”,

tividhaṁ manokammaṁ sandhāya “vattasampanno” ti.
in reference to the three ways of mental deeds “good conduct” (is said).

Tena samannāgato hi ācārasampanno hoti.
Endowed with this there is good practice.

‘Cakkhumā’ ti pañcahi cakkhūhi Cakkhumabhāvena,
‘Visionary’ means having the five eyes of the Visionary, 1. the physical eye (Maṁsacakkhu); 2. the divine-eye (dibbacakkhu); 3. the eye of wisdom (paññācakkhu); 4. the eye of a Buddha (Buddhacakkhu); 5. the all-seeing eye (samantacakkhu).

Bhagavantaṁ ālapati.
he is addressing the Fortunate One.

Te na sakkoma saññāpetuṁ aññamaññaṁ mayaṁ ubho,
We are unable to convince one another concerning this,

Bhagavantaṁ puṭṭhum-āgammā Sambuddhaṁ iti vissutaṁ. [4]
we came to ask the Fortunate One, famed as being Fully Awake.

Candaṁ yathā khayātītaṁ, pecca pañjalikā janā,
Just as when the moon is full, the people approach with their hands raised in salutation,

vandamānā namassanti evaṁ lokasmi’ Gotamaṁ. [5]
so, worshipping, they come to pay homage in the world to Gotama.

‘Khayātītan’-ti ūnabhāvaṁ atītaṁ, paripuṇṇan-ti attho.
‘Full’ means having a state of deficiency (only) in the past, full is the meaning.

‘Peccā’ ti upagantvā.
‘Approach’ means come close to.

‘Namassantī’ ti namo karonti.
‘Pay homage’ means make homage.

Cakkhuṁ loke samuppannaṁ, mayaṁ pucchāma Gotamaṁ,
The Eye has arisen in the world, (and therefore) we ask Gotama,

jātiyā brāhmaṇo hoti, udāhu bhavati kammanā?
is one a brahmin through birth, or is it through deeds?

Ajānataṁ no pabrūhi, yathā jānemu brāhmaṇaṁ.” [6]
Tell us, who are ones who do not know, so that we may know who is the (true) brahmin.”

‘Cakkhuṁ loke samuppannan’-ti
‘The Eye has arisen in the world’ means

avijjandhakāre loke taṁ andhakāraṁ vidhamitvā,
having destroyed the darkness of blind-ignorance in the world,

lokassa diṭṭhadhammikādi-atthadassanena Cakkhu hutvā sampannaṁ.
for showing the benefit of the world and what belongs to this world and so on he is endowed with the Eye.

The Classification of Species

“Tesaṁ vohaṁ vyakkhissaṁ,” Vāseṭṭhā ti Bhagavā,
“I will explain this to you,” said the Fortunate One to Vāseṭṭha,

“anupubbaṁ yathātathaṁ,
“in order, as it really is,

jātivibhāgaṁ pāṇānaṁ, aññamaññā hi jātiyo. [7]
a classification of the species of living beings, for the species are different.

Evaṁ, Vāseṭṭhena thometvā, yācito, Bhagavā,
Thus, having been praised by Vāseṭṭha, and being requested, the Fortunate One,

dve pi jane saṅgaṇhanto: ‘Tesaṁ vohaṁ vyakkhissan...’-ti ādim-āha.
treating the two people kindly, (said): ‘I will explain this to you...’ and so on is what is said.

Tattha, ‘Vyakkhissan’-ti vyākarissāmi.
Herein, ‘I will explain’ means I will explain (alternate form).

‘Anupubban’-ti tiṭṭhatu tāva brāhmaṇacintā,
‘In order’ means, let’s leave the ideas of the brahmins,

tiṇarukkhakīṭapaṭaṅgato paṭṭhāya anupaṭipāṭiyā ācikkhissāmī ti attho.
and I will explain to you successively beginning with plants, trees, arthropods and grasshoppers is the meaning.

‘Jātivibhaṅgan’-ti jātivitthāraṁ.
‘A classification of the species’ means an exposition of the species.

‘Aññamaññā hi jātiyo’ ti
‘For the species are different’ means

tesaṁ tesaṁ hi pāṇānaṁ jātiyo aññamaññā nānappakārā ti attho.
for the species of the various creatures are different, of many kinds, is the meaning.

Tiṇarukkhe pi jānātha, na cāpi paṭijānare,
Understand plants and trees, although they do not acknowledge it,

liṅgaṁ jātimayaṁ tesaṁ, aññamaññā hi jātiyo. [8]
their sign is of their own species, for the species are different.

‘Tiṇarukkhe’ ti, anupādiṇṇakajātiṁ kathetvā,
‘Plants and trees’ means, not having spoken about grasping another species,

pacchā upādiṇṇakajātiṁ kathessāmi,
(but) later grasping this species I will say,

“Evaṁ tassa SHB: Evam-assa. jātibhedo pākaṭo bhavissatī,” ti imaṁ desanaṁ ārabhi.
“This will be his natural species differentiation,” and so this teaching is begun.

Mahāsīvalitthero pana:
But the Elder Mahāsīvali says:

“Kiṁ, Bhante, anupādiṇṇakaṁ bījanānatāya nānaṁ,
“Why is there non-grasping, venerable Sir, with the diversity of seeds,

upādiṇṇakaṁ kammanānatāyā?” ti
(but there is) grasping with a diversity of action?”

“Evaṁ vattuṁ na vaṭṭatī.” ti
“What is said in this way is not right.”

Pucchito āma na vaṭṭati kammañ-hi yoniyaṁ khipati. SHB: khīpati.
When asked (thus) it is certainly not right because an intentional deed despatches one to a womb.

Yonisiddhā ime sattā nānāvaṇṇā hontī ti.
There are various types of beings that occur in the womb.

‘Tiṇarukkhe,’ ti ettha, antopheggū bahisāro antamaso,
‘Plants and trees,’ herein, at the very least having pith on the inside, and wood on the outside,

tālanāḷikerādayo pi tiṇāneva;
(such as) palms, coconut and so on (these) are plants;

antosārā pana bahipheggū, sabbe rukkhā nāma.
but having heartwood on the inside and pith on the outside (these) are all known as trees.

‘Na cāpi paṭijānare’ ti
‘Although they do not acknowledge it’ means

“Mayaṁ tiṇā mayaṁ rukkhā” ti vā,
saying: “We are plants, we are trees,” or

“Ahaṁ tiṇaṁ, ahaṁ rukkho,” ti vā evaṁ na jānanti.
“I am a plant, I am a tree,” they do not know it in this way.

‘Liṅgaṁ jātimayan’-ti ajānantānam-pi ca
‘Sign of their species’ means without knowing it

tesaṁ jātimayam-eva, saṇṭhānaṁ attano,
there is the sign of their species, their own form,

mūlabhūtatiṇādisadisam-eva hoti.
like the root and body of the plant and so on are the same.

Kiṁ kāraṇā?
Why is that?

‘Aññamaññā hi jātiyo.’
‘The species are different.’

Yasmā aññā tiṇajāti, aññā rukkhajāti.
Because plant species are one thing, tree species are another.

Tiṇesu pi aññā tālajāti, aññā nāḷikerajāti, evaṁ vitthāretabbaṁ.
In plants, palms are one species, and reeds are another species, thus it should be explained.

Iminā idaṁ dasseti yaṁ jātivasena nānā hoti,
Through this it is shown that on account of species there is diversity,

taṁ attano paṭiññaṁ, paresaṁ vā upadesaṁ vinā pi,
even without one’s own acknowledgment, or without another’s indication,

aññajātito visesena gayhati.
it is known See the Sanskrit dictionaries for this meaning of gayhati, s.v. grah. by a distinction from other species.

Yadi ca jātiyā brāhmaṇo bhaveyya,
If there would be a brahmin by species,

so pi attano paṭiññaṁ, paresaṁ vā upadesaṁ vinā,
even without one’s own acknowledgment, or without another’s indication,

khattiyato vessato suddato vā visesena gayheyya, na ca gayhati.
he would be known as distinct from nobles, traders and workers, (but) he is not known.

Tasmā na jātiyā brāhmaṇo ti.
Therefore he is not a brahmin by birth.

Parato pana, ‘Yathā etāsu jātīsū...’ ti
But further, ‘Just as in these species...’ See verse 14 below, where the argument is taken up again.

gāthāya etam-atthaṁ vacībhedeneva āvikarissati.
through the words in the verse (below) the meaning will be explained.

Tato kīṭe paṭaṅge ca, yāva kunthakipillike,
Then arthropods and grasshoppers, Many of the words for species in this section are hard to identify as they are very obscure, and seem sometimes to be generics. up to ants (and other) insects,

liṅgaṁ jātimayaṁ tesaṁ, aññamaññā hi jātiyo. [9]
their sign is of their own species, for the species are different.

Evaṁ anupādiṇṇakesu jātiṁ dassetvā,
Having thus shown the species without grasping,

upādiṇṇakesu dassento, ‘Tato kīṭe...’ ti ādim-āha.
showing those with grasping, ‘Then arthropods...’ and so on is said.

‘Yāva kunthakipillike’, ti kunthakipillikaṁ pariyantaṁ katvā ti attho.
‘Up to ants (and other) insects’, the meaning is having made ants (and other) insects the limit.

Ettha, ca ye uppatitvā gacchanti, te ‘paṭaṅgā’ nāma.
Herein, after jumping in the air they proceed, This is a so-called etymological definition, understanding the word as being pataṁ + ga. (therefore) they are called ‘grasshoppers’.

‘Aññamaññā hi jātiyo’ ti
‘For the species are different’ means

tesam-pi nīlarattādi vaṇṇavasena jātiyo nānappakārā va honti.
because their colour is blue, red and so on there are species of diverse kinds.

Catuppade pi jānātha, khuddake ca mahallake,
Understand also quadrupeds, the small and the large,

liṅgaṁ jātimayaṁ tesaṁ, aññamaññā hi jātiyo. [10]
their sign is of their own species, for the species are different.

‘Khuddake’ ti kālakādayo.
‘Small’ means squirrels and so on.

‘Mahallake’ ti biḷārādayo.
‘Large’ means cats and so on.

Pādudare pi jānātha, urage dīghapiṭṭhike,
Understand reptiles, snakes and pythons,

liṅgaṁ jātimayaṁ tesaṁ, aññamaññā hi jātiyo. [11]
their sign is of their own species, for the species are different.

‘Pādūdare’ ti udarapāde, udaraṁ yeva yesaṁ pādā ti vuttaṁ hoti.
‘Reptiles’ means (they use their) stomach as feet, those whose stomach is their feet is what is said.

‘Dīghapiṭṭhike’ ti sappānaṁ hi sīsato yāva naṅguṭṭhā piṭṭhi yeva hoti,
‘Pythons’ means because it is (like) snakes from its head as far as its back and tail,

tena te ‘dīghapiṭṭhikā’ ti vuccanti.
through that they say ‘pythons.’ Literally, long backs. The exact identification is unsure, Abhidhānappadīpaka places it in its lists of names for snakes.

Tato macche pi jānātha, odake vārigocare,
Then understand the fish also, aquatics and amphibians,

liṅgaṁ jātimayaṁ tesaṁ, aññamaññā hi jātiyo. [12]
their sign is of their own species, for the species are different.

‘Odake’ ti SHB: Udake ti. udake, udakamhi jāte.
‘Aquatics’ means belonging to water, born in the water.

Tato pakkhī pi jānātha, pattayāne vihaṅgame,
Then understand birds, flying creatures, those who go through the sky,

liṅgaṁ jātimayaṁ tesaṁ, aññamaññā hi jātiyo. [13]
their sign is of their own species, for the species are different.

‘Pakkhī’ ti sakuṇe.
‘Birds’ means birds (alternative word).

Te va pattehi yantī ti ‘pattayānā.’
They fly with their wings (therefore) they are ‘flying creatures.’

Vehāsaṁ gacchantī ti ‘vihaṅgamā.’
They go through the sky (therefore) they are ‘those who go through the sky.’

Yathā etāsu jātīsu liṅgaṁ jātimayaṁ puthu,
Just as in these species the sign of the species is various,

evaṁ natthi manussesu liṅgaṁ jātimayaṁ puthu, [14]
so in humans there is no sign that the species is various,

Evaṁ, thalajalākāsagocarānaṁ pāṇānaṁ jātibhedaṁ dassetvā,
Thus, having shown that there is a species differentiation of living beings on the ground, in the water and in the air,

idāni yenādhippāyena taṁ dasseti,
now with the intention of showing where,

taṁ āvikaronto, ‘Yathā etāsū...’ ti SHB: etāhū ti. gātham-āha.
explaining this the verse, ‘Just as in these...’ was spoken.

Tassattho saṅkhepena, vutto va.
That is the meaning in short, is what was said.

Vitthārato panettha yaṁ vattabbaṁ,
But here is what should be spoken about in extension,

taṁ sayam-eva dassento, ‘Na kesehī...’ ti ādim-āha.
showing it oneself, ‘Not with the hair...’ See the next verse below. and so on is said.

Tatrāyaṁ yojanā, yaṁ vuttaṁ,
Herein this is how to construe it, that which is said,

“Natthi manussesu liṅgajātimayaṁ SHB: liṅgaṁ jātimayaṁ. puthū,” ti
“In humans there is no sign that the species is various,”

“Taṁ evaṁ natthī,” ti veditabbaṁ.
should be known: “This is not so.”

In what way?

‘Na kesehī...’ ti
‘Not with the hair...’

Na hi: “Brāhmaṇānaṁ edisā kesā honti, khattiyānaṁ edisā” ti niyamo atthi,
There is no limitation (saying): “The hair of brahmins is such-like, of nobles is such-like,”

yathā hatthi-assamigādīnan-ti iminā nayena sabbaṁ yojetabbaṁ.
as it could be construed of all the elephants, horses, deer and so on in similar ways.

na kesehi na sīsena, na kaṇṇehi na akkhihi,
not with the hair, not with the head, not with the ears, not with the eyes,

na mukhena na nāsāya, na oṭṭhehi bhamūhi vā, [15]
not with the mouth, not with the nose, not with the lips, not with the brows,

na gīvāya na aṁsehi, na udarena na piṭṭhiyā,
not with the neck, not with the shoulders, not with the belly, not with the back,

na soniyā na urasā, na sambādhe na methune, [16]
not with the waist, not with the chest, not with the vagina, not with the testicles, This meaning is inferred from methuna meaning a pair; it is not recorded in the dictionaries, and the ṭīkā is no help.

na hatthehi na pādehi, nāṅgulīhi nakhehi vā,
not with the hands, not with the feet, not with fingers, not with the nails,

na jaṅghāhi na ūruhi, na vaṇṇena sarena vā,
not with the calves, not with the thighs, not with the complexion, not with the voice,

liṅgaṁ jātimayaṁ neva yathā aññāsu jātisu. [17]
there is no sign of a species as there is in other species.

‘Liṅgaṁ jātimayaṁ neva yathā aññāsu jātisū,’ ti
‘There is no sign of a species as there is in other species,’

idaṁ pana vuttassevatthassa nigamanan-ti veditabbaṁ.
it should be known that this is the explanation of what is said, it is the conclusion.

Tassa yojanā, evaṁ yasmā imehi kesādīhi natthi
This is how to construe it, because there is nothing through this hair and so on

manussesu liṅgaṁ jātimayaṁ puthu,
that is a different sign of species in humans,

tasmā veditabbam-etaṁ:
therefore this is to be known:

“Brāhmaṇādi bhedesu manussesu liṅgaṁ jātimayaṁ neva,
“There is no sign of a species that differentiates brahmins from (other) humans and so on,

yathā aññāsu jātisū.” ti
as there is in other species.”

Paccattaṁ ca sarīresu, manussesvetaṁ na vijjati,
There is divergence in bodies, but in humans this (divergence) is not found,

vokārañ-ca manussesu samaññāya pavuccati. [18]
the difference in humans is through designation it is said.

Idāni evaṁ jātibhede asati pi, brāhmaṇo, khattiyo,
Although now differentiation of species is not found, as brahmin, noble,

idaṁ nānattaṁ yathā jātaṁ,
this diversity is according to birth,

taṁ dassetuṁ ‘Paccattan...’-ti gātham-āha.
it is said this is to be shown in the ‘There is divergence...’ verse.

Tattha ‘Vokāran’-ti nānattaṁ.
Herein ‘Difference’ means diversity.

Ayaṁ panettha saṅkhepattho,
Herein, this is, however, the meaning in short,

yathā hi tiracchānānaṁ yonīnaṁ siddham-eva kesādi saṇṭhānena nānattaṁ,
because, for animals, diversity in the composition of hair and so on happens in the womb,

tathā brāhmaṇādīnaṁ attano attano sarīre taṁ natthi.
(but) for brahmins and so on there is no (such diversity) in their bodies.

Evaṁ sante pi, yad-etaṁ, “brāhmaṇo khattiyo” ti vokāraṁ,
Even this being so, with this designation of “brahmin, noble”,

taṁ vokārañ-ca manussesu samaññāya pavuccati,
the difference in humans is said to be through designation,

vohāramatteneva pavuccatī ti.
is said to be only through the designation.

The Classification of Humans

Yo hi koci manussesu gorakkhaṁ upajīvati,
Whoever amongst humans makes his living protecting cattle,

evaṁ Vāseṭṭha jānāhi: kassako so na brāhmaṇo. [19]
know it thus, Vāseṭṭha: he is a farmer and not a brahmin.

Ettāvatā Bhagavā Bhāradvājassa vādaṁ niggaṇhitvā,
Thus far the Fortunate One has censured Bhāradvāja’s view,

idāni yadi jātiyā brāhmaṇo bhaveyya,
now if one can be a brahmin by birth (only),

ājīvasīlācāravipanno pi brāhmaṇo bhaveyya.
one can be a brahmin even though lacking good livelihood, virtue and practices.

Yasmā pana porāṇā brāhmaṇā tassa brāhmaṇabhāvaṁ na icchanti,
Because the brahmins of old did not desire this brahmin status,

loke ca aññe pi paṇḍitamanussā tasmā Vāseṭṭhassa vādaṁ paggaṇhanto,
other wise humans in the world therefore were supporting Vāseṭṭha’s view,

‘Yo hi koci manussesū...’ ti aṭṭha gāthā āha.
and he spoke the eight verses (beginning): ‘Whoever amongst humans...’

Tattha, ‘Gorakkhan’-ti khettarakkhaṁ, “kasikamman”-ti vuttaṁ hoti.
Herein, ‘Protecting cattle’ means protecting the fields, “husbandry” is what is said.

‘Go’ ti hi pathaviyā nāmaṁ, tasmā evam-āha.
‘Cattle’ is a name for the earth, A meaning attested in the Sanskrit dictionaries, see e.g. SED, s.v. pthivī. therefore this was said.

Yo hi koci manussesu puthu sippena jīvati,
Whoever amongst humans lives by a craft of a certain kind,

evaṁ Vāseṭṭha jānāhi: sippiko so na brāhmaṇo. [20]
know it thus, Vāseṭṭha: he is a craftsman and not a brahmin.

‘Puthu sippenā’ ti tantavāyakammādi nānāsippena.
‘By a craft of a certain kind’ means by a craft such as weaving work and so on.

Yo hi koci manussesu vohāraṁ upajīvati,
Whoever amongst humans makes his livelihood through business,

evaṁ Vāseṭṭha jānāhi: vāṇijo so na brāhmaṇo. [21]
know it thus, Vāseṭṭha: he is a trader and not a brahmin.

‘Vohāran’-ti vaṇijjaṁ.
‘Business’ means trading.

Yo hi koci manussesu parapessena jīvati,
Whoever amongst humans lives by way of service to others,

evaṁ Vāseṭṭha jānāhi: pessiko so na brāhmaṇo. [22]
know it thus, Vāseṭṭha: he is a servant and not a brahmin.

‘Parapessenā’ ti paresaṁ veyyāvaccakammena.
‘By way of service to others’ means through being another’s agent.

Yo hi koci manussesu adinnaṁ upajīvati,
Whoever amongst humans makes his livelihood through thievery,

evaṁ Vāseṭṭha jānāhi: coro eso na brāhmaṇo. [23]
know it thus, Vāseṭṭha: he is a robber and not a brahmin.

Yo hi koci manussesu issatthaṁ upajīvati,
Whoever amongst humans makes his living as an archer,

evaṁ Vāseṭṭha jānāhi: yodhājīvo na brāhmaṇo. [24]
know it thus, Vāseṭṭha: he is a soldier and not a brahmin.

‘Issatthan’-ti āvudhajīvikaṁ, “usuñ-ca sattiñ-cā” ti vuttaṁ hoti.
‘Aa archer’ means a weapon-bearer, “an arrow or a spear” is what is said.

Yo hi koci manussesu porohiccena jīvati,
Whoever amongst humans makes his livelihood by advising,

evaṁ Vāseṭṭha jānāhi: yājako eso na brāhmaṇo. [25]
know it thus, Vāseṭṭha: he is a cleric and not a brahmin.

‘Porohiccenā’ ti purohitakammena.
‘By advising’ means by working as a religious advisor.

Yo hi koci manussesu gāmaṁ raṭṭhañ-ca bhuñjati,
Whoever amongst humans lives off a village or a kingdom,

evaṁ Vāseṭṭha jānāhi: rājā eso na brāhmaṇo. [26]
know it thus, Vāseṭṭha: he is a monarch and not a brahmin.

The True Brahmin

Na cāhaṁ brāhmaṇaṁ brūmi yonijaṁ mattisambhavaṁ,
I do not call one a brahmin simply because of being born from the womb of a (certain) mother,

bhovādī nāma so hoti sace hoti sakiñcano,
that is just one who says ‘bho’ It was a way for brahmins to address others, implying their inferiority. if he is attached,

akiñcanaṁ anādānaṁ, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [27]
having nothing and unattached, that one I say is a brahmin.

Evaṁ brāhmaṇasamayena ca lokavohārena ca
Thus through the brahmin view and through wordly usage

ājīvasīlācāravipannassa abrāhmaṇabhāvaṁ sādhetvā,
we have concluded that a brahmin lacking a good livelihood, virtue and practices, has no brahmin status,

evaṁ sante, na SHB: santena na; seeming haplography. jātiyā brāhmaṇo, guṇehi pana brāhmaṇo hoti.
as that is the case, one is not a brahmin by birth, but one is a brahmin through good qualities.

Tasmā, yattha katthaci kule jāto yo guṇavā,
Therefore, the one who is endowed with good qualities in whatever family,

so brāhmaṇo, ayam-ettha ñāyo, ti
he is a brahmin, herein this is the right method,

evam-etaṁ ñāyaṁ atthato āpādetvā,
thus this is the right method produced from the meaning,

idāni naṁ vacībhedena pakāsento:
now explaining the words:

‘Na cāhaṁ brāhmaṇan’-ti ādim-āha.
‘I do not (call) one a brahmin’ and so on was said.

The meaning of this is:

ahaṁ hi yvāyaṁ catunnaṁ yonīnaṁ yattha katthaci jāto,
from whichever of the four wombs he is born,

tatrāpi vā visesena yo brāhmaṇassa saṁvaṇṇitāya mātari sambhūto,
the one who has the distinction of being arisen in a mother who is praised as a brahmin,

taṁ: ‘Yonijaṁ mattisambhavaṁ,’
(but) he is: ‘Simply ... born from the womb of a (certain) mother,’

yā cāyaṁ ubhato sujāto ādinā nayena brāhmaṇehi,
whoever is well-born on both sides and so on through the brahmins’ method,

brāhmaṇassa parisuddha-uppattimaggasaṅkhātā yoni vuttaṁ,
it is said a brahmin’s womb is reckoned as a pure birth canal,

saṁsuddhagahaṇiko ti iminā ca mātisampatti,
and there is a pure gestation through the excellency of the mother,

tato pi jātasambhūtattā yonijo,
even so the fact is the birth has been produced in a womb,

mattisambhavo ti vuccati,
it is said he is simply born from a (certain) mother,

taṁ, ‘Yonijaṁ mattisambhavaṁ’
that, ‘Simply ... born from a (certain) mother’

iminā ca yonijamattisambhavamattena na brāhmaṇaṁ brūmi.
I say from simply being born through the womb of a (certain) mother one is not a brahmin.


Yasmā, “bho bho” ti, vacanamattena,
Because, saying “bho bho” is merely words,

aññehi sakiñcanehi pi visiṭṭhattā,
he has distinction through his other attachments,

‘Bhovādi nāma so hoti, sace hoti sakiñcano,’ sapalibodho.
‘That one is just one who says ‘bho’ if he is attached’, having impediments.

Yo panāyaṁ, yattha katthaci jāto pi,
But the one who, wherever he is born,

rāgādikiñcanābhāvena akiñcano,
having nothing through the state of not having passion and so on,

sabbagahaṇapaṭinissaggena anādāno,
unattached through the giving up of all graspings,

‘Akiñcanam-anādānaṁ, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ.’
‘Having nothing and unattached, that one I say is a brahmin.’


Yasmā bāhitapāpo ti.
Because he has removed bad things. This is an untranslatable play on words, as elsewhere it is said that a person is a brāhmaṇa from removing bad things: bāhitapāpa.

Sabbasaṁyojanaṁ chetvā yo ve na paritassati,
Whoever has cut off all the fetters surely does not tremble,

saṅgātigaṁ visaṁyuttaṁ, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [28]
surmounting attachments, detached, that one I say is a brahmin.

Kiñcabhiyyo, ‘Sabbasaṁyojanaṁ chetvā’ ti ādi sattavīsati gāthā.
Moreover, ‘(Whoever) has cut off all the fetters’ and so on (for) twenty-seven verses.

Tattha, ‘Sabbasaṁyojanan’-ti sabbaṁ dasavidham-pi saṁyojanaṁ.
Herein, ‘All the fetters’ means all the ten kinds of fetters. 1. embodiment view (sakkāyadiṭṭhi); 2. uncertainty (vicikicchā); (3) grasping at virtue and practices (sīlabbataparāmāsa); 4. passion for sense pleasures (kāmarāga); 5. ill-will (vyāpāda); 6. passion for form (rūparāga); 7. passion for the formless (arūparāga); 8. conceit (māna); 9. agitation (uddhacca); 10. ignorance (avijjā).

‘Na paritassatī’ ti taṇhāparitassanāya na paritassati.
‘Does not tremble’ means he does not tremble through the trembling caused by craving.

‘Saṅgātigan’-ti rāgasaṅgādayo atikkantaṁ.
‘Surmounting attachments’ means overcoming attachment to passion and so on.

‘Visaṁyuttan’-ti SHB: Visaññuttan-ti; spelling difference. catūhi yonīhi sabbakilesehi vā visaṁyuttaṁ.
‘Detached’ means detached from the four (lower) births Birth in hell (niraya), the animal realm (tiracchānayoni), the hungry ghosts (petayoni) and the world of the demons (asuraloka). or (detached) from all the defilements.

Chetvā naddhiṁ varattañ-ca, sandānaṁ sahanukkamaṁ,
(Whoever) has cut off the thong, the strap, the rope together with the bridle,

ukkhittapalighaṁ buddhaṁ, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [29]
who has thrown off the obstacle and is awakened, that one I say is a brahmin. The commentary to the Dhammapada interprets the meaning as follows: Whoever has cut off hatred, craving, the sixty-two views together with the latent tendencies, and thrown off ignorance, that one I say is a brahmin.

‘Naddhin’-ti upanāhaṁ.
‘Thong’ means enmity.

‘Varattan’-ti taṇhaṁ.
‘Strap’ means craving.

‘Sandānan’-ti yottapāsaṁ, diṭṭhipariyuṭṭhānassetaṁ adhivacanaṁ.
‘Rope’ means a yoke-sling, this is a designation for possession by views.

‘Sahanukkaman’-ti anukkamo vuccati, pāse pavesanagaṇṭhi,
‘Bridle’ means a rein it is said, the knot that enters over a sling,

diṭṭhānusayassetaṁ nāmaṁ.
this is a name for the underlying tendency to views.

‘Ukkhittapalighan’-ti ettha paligho ti avijjā.
‘Thrown off the obstacle’, herein, ignorance is an obstruction.

‘Buddhan’-ti catusaccabuddhaṁ.
‘Awakened’ means awakened to the four noble truths.

Akkosaṁ vadhabandhañ-ca aduṭṭho yo titikkhati,
Whoever, being pure, forebears with punishment, bondage and abuse,

khantībalaṁ balānīkaṁ, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [30]
having the strength of endurance, having the strength of might, that one I say is a brahmin.

‘Titikkhatī’ ti khamati.
‘Forebears’ means has patience.

‘Khantibalan’-ti adhivāsanakhantibalaṁ.
‘Strength of endurance’ means strength of endurance and perseverance.

Sā pana sakiṁ uppannā ‘balānīkaṁ’ SHB: balānīkan-; different sandhi. nāma na hoti,
But once arisen it is known as the ‘strength of might’,

punappunaṁ uppannā pana hoti.
it arises again and again.

Tassā atthitāya ‘balānīkaṁ’.
Because of the presence (of endurance) there is ‘strength of might’.

Akkodhanaṁ vatavantaṁ, sīlavantaṁ anussutaṁ,
(Whoever is) controlled of mind, dutiful, virtuous, taint-free,

dantaṁ antimasārīraṁ, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [31]
well-trained and in his last body, that one I say is a brahmin.

‘Vatavantan’-ti dhutaṅgavantaṁ.
‘Dutiful’ means endowed with the ascetic duties.

‘Sīlavantan’-ti guṇavantaṁ.
‘Virtuous’ means endowed with good qualities.

‘Anussadan’-ti rāgādi-ussadavirahitaṁ.
‘Taint-free’ means fully free of the taint of passion and so on.

“Anussutan”-ti pi pāṭho, anavassutan-ti attho.
“Lust-free” is another reading, the meaning is free of desire.

‘Dantan’-ti nibbisevanaṁ.
‘Well-trained’ means not being self-indulgent.

Vāri pokkharapatte va, āragge-r-iva sāsapo,
Like water on the lotus leaf, like a mustard seed on a needle,

yo na lippati kāmesu, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [32]
whoever is not smeared by sensual desires, that one I say is a brahmin.

‘Na lippatī’ ti na allīyati.
‘Not smeared’ means one isn’t clinging.

‘Kāmesū’ ti kilesakāmavatthukāmesu.
‘By sensual desires’ means by the defilement of sensual desires and sensual object. Kāma is traditionally divided into its subjective and objective states, sensual desire and sensual object.

Yo dukkhassa pajānāti idheva khayam-attano,
Whoever knows right here the destruction of his suffering,

pannabhāraṁ visaṁyuttaṁ, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [33]
putting down the burden, detached, that one I say is a brahmin.

‘Dukkhassa pajānāti idheva khayan,’-ti
‘Whoever knows right here the destruction of ... suffering’,

ettha, Arahattaphalaṁ, dukkhassa khayo ti adhippetaṁ.
herein, the fruit of Arahatship, the destruction of suffering is what is intended.

‘Pajānātī’ ti adhigamavasena jānāti.
‘Knows’ means he knows through attainment.

‘Pannabhāran’-ti ohitabhāraṁ,
‘Putting down the burden’ means laying down the burden,

khandhakilesa-abhisaṅkhārakāmaguṇabhāre otāretvā ṭhitaṁ.
standing (firm) after lowering the burden of the accumulated strands of sensual desire and the mass of defilements.

‘Visaṁyutta’-padaṁ vuttattham-eva.
The word ‘detached’ has the meaning already given (previously).

Gambhīrapaññaṁ medhāviṁ, maggāmaggassa kovidaṁ,
The deeply wise sagacious one, skilled in what is path and not path,

uttamatthaṁ anuppattaṁ, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [34]
who has reached the ultimate good, that one I say is a brahmin.

‘Gambhīrapaññan’-ti gambhīresu ārammaṇesu pavattapaññaṁ.
‘Deeply wise’ means being in a state of wisdom in regard to deep subjects.

‘Medhāvin’-ti pakatipaññāya paññavantaṁ.
‘Sagacious’ means endowed with wisdom regarding natural wisdom.

Asaṁsaṭṭhaṁ gahaṭṭhehi anāgārehi cūbhayaṁ,
(Whoever) doesn’t mix with either householders or the houseless,

anokasāriṁ appicchaṁ, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [35]
wandering homeless, with few desires, that one I say is a brahmin.

‘Anāgārehi cūbhayan’-ti anāgārehi ca visaṁsaṭṭhaṁ ubhayañ-ca,
‘With ... either the houseless’ means doesn’t mix with either (householders or) the houseless,

dvīhi pi cetehi visaṁsaṭṭham-evā ti attho.
doesn’t mix these two (kinds of people) is the meaning.

‘Anokasārin,’-ti okaṁ vuccati pañcakāmaguṇālayo,
‘Wandering homeless’, home it is said means clinging to the five strands of sense pleasure,

taṁ anallīyamānan-ti attho.
having a non-clinging mind is the meaning.

‘Appicchan’-ti anicchaṁ.
‘Few desires’ means without desire.

Nidhāya daṇḍaṁ bhūtesu tasesu thāvaresu ca,
(Whoever) has laid down the stick (used) against fearful and fearless beings,

yo na hanti na ghāteti, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [36]
who neither hurts nor kills, that one I say is a brahmin.

‘Tasesū’ ti sataṇhesu.
‘Against fearful’ means against those having craving.

‘Thāvaresū’ ti nittaṇhesu.
‘Against ... fearless’ means against those without craving.

Aviruddhaṁ viruddhesu, attadaṇḍesu nibbutaṁ,
Being friendly with the hostile, calm amongst those holding weapons,

ādānesu anādānaṁ, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [37]
not attached amongst those attached, that one I say is a brahmin.

‘Attadaṇḍesū’ ti gahitadaṇḍesu.
‘Amongst those holding weapons’ means amongst those with weapons held high.

‘Nibbutan’-ti kilesanibbānena nibbutaṁ.
‘Calm’ means calm through the emancipation from defilements.

‘Ādānesū’ ti sa-upādānesu.
‘Amongst those attached’ means amongst those still with attachments.

Yassa rāgo ca doso ca māno makkho ca pātito,
For whoever has thrown aside passion, hatred, conceit and anger,

sāsapo-r-iva āraggā, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [38]
like a mustard seed on a needle, that one I say is a brahmin.

Akakkasaṁ viññapaniṁ giraṁ saccaṁ udīraye,
(Whoever) speaks a word of truth that is informed and is not coarse,

yāya nābhisaje kañci, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [39]
through which no one will be angry, that one I say is a brahmin.

‘Akakkasan’-ti niddosaṁ.
‘Not coarse’ means without hatred.

Sadoso hi rukkho pi sakakkaso ti vuccati.
It is with hatred, (like) a tree is coarse it is said.

‘Viññāpanin’-ti atthaviññāpikaṁ apisuṇaṁ.
‘Informed’ means informed with meaning, and not slanderous.

‘Saccan’-ti avisaṁvādikaṁ.
‘Truth’ means actual.

‘Udīraye’ ti bhaṇati.
‘Speaks’ means says.

‘Yāya nābhisajje’ ti
‘Through which no one will be angry’ means

yāya girāya parassa sajjanaṁ vā lagganaṁ vā na karoti,
through another’s word no one has clinging or sticking,

tādisaṁ apharusaṁ giraṁ bhāsatī ti attho.
the one who speaks words that are not harsh is the meaning.

Yodha dīghaṁ va rassaṁ vā aṇuṁ-thūlaṁ subhāsubhaṁ,
* Whoever here in the world does not take what is not given, be it long or short,

loke adinnaṁ nādiyati, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [40]
small or large, attractive or unattractive, that one I say is a brahmin.

‘Dīghan’-ti suttāruḷhabhaṇḍaṁ.
‘Long’ means goods such as strings of ornaments. This appears to be a reference to the Vinaya Suttavibhaṅga, where we find that suttāruḷhaṁ, strings of ornaments, is listed as one of the things not to be stolen (PTS Vin III 47).

‘Rassan’-ti vippakiṇṇabhaṇḍaṁ.
‘Short’ means goods such as are strewn around. This may be a reference to the stealing of bindings of sticks that were strewn around (bandhane chinne kaṭṭhāni vippakiṇṇāni) that is mentioned in the Suttavibhaṅga (PTS Vin III 62).

‘Aṇun’-ti khuddakaṁ.
‘Small’ means minor.

‘Thūlan’-ti mahantaṁ.
‘Large’ means major.

‘Subhāsubhan’-ti sundarāsundaraṁ.
‘Attractive or unattractive’ means lovely or unlovely.

Dīghabhaṇḍañ-hi appaggham-pi hoti mahaggham-pi.
For long goods are valuable or not valuable.

Rassādīsu pi eseva nayo.
For short and so on this is also the method.

Iti ettāvatā na sabbaṁ pariyādiṇṇaṁ,
So far not all are overpowered,

‘subhāsubhan’-ti iminā pana pariyādiṇṇaṁ hoti.
but he is overpowered by this ‘attractive or unattractive’.

Āsā yassa na vijjanti asmiṁ loke paramhi ca,
For the one who has no longings in this world or in the next world,

nirāsasaṁ visaṁyuttaṁ, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [41]
being without longings, detached, that one I say is a brahmin.

‘Nirāsayan’-ti nittaṇhaṁ.
‘Without longings’ means without craving.

Yassālayā na vijjanti, aññāya akathaṅkathī,
For the one who has no desires, who, through knowledge, is without doubt,

amatogadhaṁ anuppattaṁ, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [42]
who has attained immersion in the deathless, that one I say is a brahmin.

‘Ālayā’ ti taṇhālayā.
‘Desires’ means desire because of craving,

‘Aññāyā’ ti jānitvā.
‘Through knowledge’ means having knowledge.

‘Amatogadhan’-ti amatabbhantaraṁ.
‘Immersion in the deathless’ means internally deathless.

‘Anuppattan’-ti anuppaviṭṭhaṁ.
‘Has attained’ means has reached.

Yodha puññañ-ca pāpañ-ca ubho saṅgaṁ upaccagā,
Whoever here has overcome clinging to both merit and demerit,

asokaṁ virajaṁ suddhaṁ, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [43]
who is griefless, dustless and pure, that one I say is a brahmin.

‘Ubho saṅgan’-ti ubhayam-petaṁ saṅgaṁ.
‘Clinging to both’ means clinging to both of these.

‘Puññaṁ’ hi sagge laggāpeti, apuññaṁ apāye,
‘Merit’ because of adhering to heaven, demerit (because of adhering) to the underworld,

tasmā ubhayam-petaṁ saṅgan-ti āha.
therefore clinging to both of these is said.

‘Upaccagā’ ti atīto.
‘Overcome’ means got past.

Candaṁ va vimalaṁ suddhaṁ, vippasannam-anāvilaṁ,
(Whoever) just like the moon is stainless, pure, clear and undisturbed,

nandibhavaparikkhīṇaṁ, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [44]
has destroyed joy in existence, that one I say is a brahmin.

‘Anāvilan’-ti āvilakārakakilesavirahitaṁ.
‘Undisturbed’ means being free from the disturbance caused by defilements.

‘Nandībhavaparikkhīṇan’-ti parikkhīṇanandiṁ, parikkhīṇabhavaṁ.
‘Has destroyed joy in existence’ has destroyed joy, has destroyed existence.

Yo imaṁ palipathaṁ duggaṁ saṁsāraṁ moham-accagā,
Whoever has crossed this difficult and dangerous path through births and deaths and delusion, The commentary to the Dhammapada says: Whoever has overcome the difficult path of passions and so forth, the inaccessible defilements, the round of saṁsāra, the delusion of not having penetrated the four noble truths.

tiṇṇo pāragato jhāyī, anejo akathaṅkathī,
the meditator who has crossed over to the further side, the one who is lust-free and doubt-free,

anupādāya nibbuto, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [45]
who is unattached, is cooled down, that one I say is a brahmin.

‘Yo iman,’-ti gāthāya avijjā yeva visaṁvādakaṭṭhena palipatho,
‘Whoever … this,’ in this verse ignorance is the dangerous path through being deceptive,

mahāviduggatāya ‘duggaṁ’,
the ‘dangerous path’ through the great and difficult passage,

saṁsaranaṭṭhena saṁsāro,
births and deaths through transmigrating,

mohanaṭṭhena moho ti vutto.
delusion is said because of being lost in delusion.

‘Tiṇṇo’ ti caturoghatiṇṇo.
‘Crossed over’ means crossed over the four floods.

‘Pāragato’ ti Nibbānaṁ gato.
‘To the further side’ means having gone to Nibbāna.

‘Jhāyī’ ti ārammaṇalakkhaṇūpanijjhānavasena jhāyī.
‘The meditator’ means the one who meditates on account of meditation on the objects and characteristics (of existence).

‘Anejo’ ti nittaṇho.
‘Lust-free’ means without craving.

‘Anupādāya nibbuto’ ti kiñci gahaṇaṁ agahetvā,
‘Who is unattached, is cooled down’ means not having grasped anything,

sabbakilesanibbānena nibbuto.
cooled down through emancipation from all defilements.

Yodha kāme pahatvāna anāgāro paribbaje,
Whoever would wander homeless here, giving up sensual desires,

kāmabhavaparikkhīṇaṁ, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [46]
destroying desires and existence, that one I say is a brahmin.

‘Kāme’ ti duvidhe pi kāme.
‘Sensual desires the two kinds of sensual desires. Objective and subjective.

‘Anāgāro’ ti anāgāro hutvā.
‘Homeless’ means having become homeless.

‘Paribbaje’ ti paribbajati.
‘Would wander’ means he wanders about.

‘Kāmabhavaparikkhīṇan’-ti khīṇakāmaṁ khīṇabhavaṁ.
‘Destroying pleasures and existence’ means having destroyed pleasures, having destroyed existence.

Yodha taṇhaṁ pahatvāna, anāgāro paribbaje,
Whoever would wander homeless here, giving up (all of his) craving,

taṇhābhavaparikkhīṇaṁ, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [47]
destroying craving and existence, that one I say is a brahmin.

Hitvā mānusakaṁ yogaṁ, dibbaṁ yogaṁ upaccagā,
Abandoning the human yoke, overcoming the divine yoke,

sabbayogavisaṁyuttaṁ, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [48]
being unattached to all yokes, that one I say is a brahmin.

‘Mānusakaṁ yogan’-ti mānusakaṁ pañcakāmaguṇayogaṁ.
‘The human yoke’ means the yoke of the five strands of human sense-pleasures.

‘Dibbaṁ yogan’-ti dibbaṁ pañcakāmaguṇayogaṁ.
‘Divine yoke’ means the yoke of the five strands of divine sense-pleasures.

‘Sabbayogavisaṁyuttan’-ti sabbakilesayogavisaṁyuttaṁ.
‘Being unattached to all yokes’ means being unattached to the yokes of all the defilements.

Hitvā ratiñ-ca aratiñ-ca, sītibhūtaṁ nirūpadhiṁ,
Abandoning delight and aversion, cooled off and free from (all) cleaving,

sabbalokābhibhuṁ vīraṁ, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [49]
a hero who vanquished the whole world, that one I say is a brahmin.

‘Ratin’-ti pañcakāmaguṇaratiṁ.
‘Delight’ means delight in the five strands of sense pleasure.

‘Aratin’-ti kusalabhāvanāya ukkaṇṭhitaṁ.
‘Aversion’ means dissatisfaction with the cultivation of the wholesome.

‘Vīran’-ti viriyavantaṁ.
‘A hero’ means one endowed with heroism.

Cutiṁ yo vedi sattānaṁ upapattiñ-ca sabbaso,
Whoever knows in every way the passing and rebirth of beings,

asattaṁ sugataṁ buddhaṁ, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [50]
unattached, fortunate, awake, that one I say is a brahmin.

‘Sugatan’-ti sundaraṁ ṭhānaṁ gataṁ, sundarāya vā paṭipattiyā gataṁ.
‘Fortunate’ means having gone to a lovely place, or having gone to a lovely practice.

Yassa gatiṁ na jānanti, devā gandhabbamānusā,
For the one whose destiny is unknown to gods, gandhabbas and men,

khīṇāsavaṁ arahantaṁ, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [51]
destroying pollutants, worthy, that one I say is a brahmin.

‘Gatin’-ti nipphattiṁ.
‘Destiny’ means the result.

Yassa pure ca pacchā ca majjhe ca natthi kiñcanaṁ,
For whom there is nothing in the past, the future or the present,

akiñcanaṁ anādānaṁ, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [52]
having nothing and unattached, that one I say is a brahmin.

‘Pure’ ti atīte.
‘In the past’ means in the former time.

‘Pacchā’ ti anāgate.
‘In the future’ means in the later time.

‘Majjhe’ ti paccuppanne.
‘In the present’ means in the present time.

‘Kiñcanan’-ti kiñcanakārako kileso.
‘Nothing’ means doing nothing defiled.

Usabhaṁ pavaraṁ vīraṁ, mahesiṁ vijitāvinaṁ,
A noble leader, heroic, a great seer, victorious,

anejaṁ nhātakaṁ buddhaṁ, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [53]
lust-free, cleansed, awakened, that one I say is a brahmin.

‘Mahesin’-ti mahante guṇe pariyesanaṭṭhena mahesiṁ.
‘A great seer’ means because of seeking great qualities he is a great seer.

‘Vijitāvinan’-ti vijitavijayaṁ.
‘Victorious’ means triumphant through victory.

Pubbenivāsaṁ yo vedī, saggāpāyañ-ca passati,
Whoever knows their former lives, and sees heaven and the lower worlds,

atho jātikkhayaṁ patto, tam-ahaṁ brūmi brāhmaṇaṁ. [54]
and has attained birth’s destruction, that one I say is a brahmin.

Summary of the Teaching

Samaññā hesā lokasmiṁ nāmagottaṁ pakappitaṁ,
These designations in the world have been made about name and clan,

sammuccā samudāgataṁ tattha tattha pakappitaṁ. [55]
arisen through common consent they have been made here and there.

Evaṁ Bhagavā, guṇato khīṇāsavaṁ yeva brāhmaṇaṁ dassetvā,
Thus the Fortunate One, having shown that the pollutant-free brahmin is (such) from good qualities,

ye jātito brāhmaṇo ti abhinivesaṁ karonti,
those who have adhered (to the idea) that a brahmin is from birth,

te idam-ajānantā, sā ca nesaṁ diṭṭhi duddiṭṭhī ti dassento,
not knowing this, and showing that their view is a wrong view,

‘samaññā hesā’ ti gāthādvayam-āha.
spoke the two verses, ‘these designations’.

The meaning of this is:

yad-idaṁ, brāhmaṇo khattiyo Bhāradvājo Vāseṭṭho, ti
that is, brahmin, noble, Bhāradvāja, Vāseṭṭha,

‘Nāmagottaṁ pakappitaṁ’ kataṁ abhisaṅkhataṁ,
‘Name and clan ... have been made’, made up and prepared,

‘Samaññā hesā lokasmiṁ’, vohāramattan-ti attho.
‘These designations in the world’, are only expressions is the meaning.


Yasmā ‘Samuccā samudāgataṁ’ SHB: Samuccasamudāgataṁ. samanuññāya āgataṁ.
Because ‘through common consent’ they have found approval.

Etaṁ hi ‘tattha tattha’ jātakāle yevassa ñātisālohitehi ‘pakappitaṁ’ kataṁ.
This ‘here and there’ means at the time of birth relatives and kin ‘have made’, have made it up.

No ce naṁ evaṁ pakappeyyuṁ,
If they hadn’t made them,

na koci kiñci disvā ayaṁ brāhmaṇo ti vā Bhāradvājo ti vā jāneyya.
no one seeing them would know this is a brahmin or this is Bhāradvāja.

Dīgharattam-anusayitaṁ, diṭṭhigatam-ajānataṁ,
Lying latent for a long time, this false view of the ignorant,

ajānantā no pabruvanti jātiyā hoti brāhmaṇo. [56]
indeed only the ignorant say one is a brahmin by birth.

Evaṁ, pakappitañ-cetaṁ ‘dīgharattam-anusayitaṁ, diṭṭhigatam-ajānataṁ’,
Thus, having made this ‘lying latent for a long time, this false view of the ignorant’,

pakappitaṁ nāmagottaṁ,
name and clan have been made,

“nāmagottamattam-etaṁ, saṁvohāratthaṁ pakappitan,” ti
“this is just his name and clan, it is only an designation that has been made up,”

ajānantānaṁ sattānaṁ hadaye dīgharattaṁ diṭṭhigatam-anusayitaṁ.
for ignorant beings this view has been lying latent for a long time in the heart.

Tassa anusayitattā taṁ nāmagottaṁ ajānantā no pabrunti,
For those who are ignorant in a latent state say to us about his name and lineage,

“jātiyā hoti brāhmaṇo,” ti
“one is a brahmin by birth,”

ajānantāva evaṁ vadantī, ti vuttaṁ hoti.
without knowing they say this, is what is said.

Na jaccā brāhmaṇo hoti, na jaccā hoti abrāhmaṇo,
One is not a brahmin by birth, nor by birth is one not a brahmin,

kammanā brāhmaṇo hoti, kammanā hoti abrāhmaṇo. [57]
by deeds one is a brahmin, by deeds one is not a brahmin.

Evaṁ, ye ‘jātito brāhmaṇo’ ti abhinivesaṁ karonti,
Thus, those who have adhered (to the idea) “a brahmin is from birth”,

te idaṁ vohāramattaṁ ajānantā,
are ignorant that this is only a designation,

sā ca nesaṁ diṭṭhi duddiṭṭhī, ti dassetvā,
and that their view is a wrong view, having shown this,

idāni nippariyāyam-eva jātivādaṁ paṭikkhipanto,
and now rejecting and making no distinction based on birth,

kammavādañ-ca patiṭṭhapento, ‘Na jaccā...’ ti ādim-āha.
but establishing the view of deeds, ‘Not ... by birth...’ and so on was said.

Kassako kammanā hoti, sippiko hoti kammanā,
It’s by deeds one is a farmer, and by deeds one is a craftsman,

vāṇijo kammanā hoti, pessiko hoti kammanā, [58]
and by deeds one is a trader, and by deeds one is a servant,

Tattha, “Kammanā,” ti upaḍḍhagāthāya vitthāraṇatthaṁ,
Herein, ‘By deeds’, in this half verse the meaning is explained,

‘Kassako kammanā’ ti ādi vuttaṁ.
‘By deeds one is a farmer’ and so on is said.

Tattha, ‘Kammanā’ ti
Herein, ‘By deeds’ means

paccuppannena kasikammādi nibbattakacetanā kammanā.
at the present time agriculture and so on is brought forth through intentional deeds.

coro pi kammanā hoti, yodhājīvo pi kammanā,
by deeds one is a robber, by deeds one is a soldier,

yājako kammanā hoti, rājā pi hoti kammanā. [59]
by deeds one is a cleric, by deeds one is a monarch.

Evam-etaṁ yathābhūtaṁ kammaṁ passanti paṇḍitā,
Thus the wise, seeing this deed as it really is,

paṭiccasamuppādadasā, kammavipākakovidā. [60]
seeing conditional origination, are skilled in deeds and results.

‘Paṭiccasamuppādadasā’ ti iminā paccayena evaṁ hotī ti
‘Seeing conditional origination’ it is through this condition thus,

evaṁ paṭiccasamuppādadassāvino.
that he is one seeing conditional origination.

‘Kammavipākakovidā’ ti
‘Skilled in deeds and results’

sammānāvamānārahe kule kammavasena uppatti hoti,
a family is worthy of respect and disrespect because of the production of deeds,

aññā pi hīnapaṇītatā hīnapaṇīte kamme vipaccamāne hotī ti.
through knowing what is despicable and excellent there is a ripening of despicable and excellent deeds.

Evaṁ kammavipākakusalā.
Thus there is skill in deeds and results.

Kammanā vattati loko, kammanā vattati pajā,
By deeds the world goes round, by deeds this generation goes round,

kammanibandhanā sattā, rathassāṇīva yāyato. [61]
beings are bound fast by deeds, as chariots roll on their linchpin.

‘Kammanā vattatī,’ ti
‘By deeds ... goes round,’

gāthāya pana ‘loko’ ti vā ‘pajā’ ti vā ‘sattā’ ti vā eko yevattho,
in this verse ‘the world’ and ‘this generation’ and ‘beings’ have one single meaning,

vacanamattabhedo. SHB: vacanamatte bhedo?
it is only the words that differ.

Purimapadena cettha, “atthi brahmā mahābrahmā ... seṭṭho sajitā,” ti SHB: sañjitā ti; here and below.
Herein, through the first foot, “this is brahmā, mahābrahmā, ... the highest, the creator,” This refers to a passage in Kevaṭṭhasutta (DN 11): Atthi kho, bhikkhu, brahmā mahābrahmā abhibhū anabhibhūto aññadatthudaso vasavattī issaro kattā nimmātā seṭṭho sajitā vasī pitā bhūtabhabyānaṁ; there is, monastics, brahmā, mahābrahmā, the conqueror, the unconquered, the all-seeing, who wields power, the master, the maker, the unborn, the controller, the father of the born and to be born.

diṭṭhiyā paṭisedho veditabbo.
it should be known as a warding off of these (sorts of) views.

Kammanā hi tāsu tāsu gatisu vattati loko, tassa ko sajitā? ti
Through deeds there are various destinies and the world goes round, (so) who is his creator?

Dutiyapadena, “evaṁ kammanā nibbatto pi ca,
Through the second foot, “there is thus rebirth through deeds,

pavatte pi atītapaccuppannabhedena kammanā vattati,
the circle of existence goes round by the different kinds of past and present deeds,

sukhadukkhāni paccanubhonto,
experiencing happiness and suffering,

hīnapaṇītādibhedañ-ca āpajjanto pavattatī” ti dasseti.
undergoing the different kinds of what is despicable and excellent and so on” is shown.

Tatiyena tam-evatthaṁ nigameti:
With the third (foot) this concludes the meaning:

“Evaṁ sabbathā pi ‘kammanibandhanā sattā’
“Thus in every way ‘beings are bound by deeds’

kammeneva baddhā hutvā pavattanti, na aññathā” ti.
they carry on, having been bound by deeds, and not otherwise.”

Catutthena tam-etthaṁ upamāya vibhāveti.
With the fourth (foot) the meaning is made clear with a simile.

Yathā hi rathassa yāyato āṇi nibandhanaṁ hoti,
As the chariots roll on bound by their linchpin,

na tāya anibandho yāti,
and do not go when not bound by it,

evaṁ lokassa nibbattato ca pavattato ca kammanibandhanaṁ,
so for the world there is rebirthing and existing (because of) the bondage of deeds,

tena anibaddho na nibbattati nappavattatī ti.
and without that bondage there is no rebirthing or existing.

Tapena brahmacariyena, saṁyamena damena ca,
Through austerity, celibacy, restraint and control,

etena brāhmaṇo hoti, etaṁ brāhmaṇam-uttamaṁ. [62]
through these one is a brahmin, this is the brahmin supreme.

Idāni yasmā evaṁ kammanibandhano loko,
Now because the world is bound by deeds in this way,

tasmā seṭṭhena kammanā seṭṭhabhāvaṁ dassento
therefore showing the state of excellence through excellent deeds

‘Tapenā’ ti gāthādvayam-āha.
the ‘Through austerity’ pair of verses were spoken.

Tattha, ‘Tapenā’ ti dhutaṅgatapena.
Herein, ‘Through austerity’ means through the austere practices.

‘Brahmacariyenā’ ti methunaviratiyā.
‘Through celibacy’ means through abstaining from sexual intercourse.

‘Saṁyamenā’ ti sīlena.
‘Through restraint’ means through virtue.

‘Damenā’ ti indriyadamanena.
‘Through control’ means through control of the sense faculties.

‘Etenā’ ti etena
‘Through these’

seṭṭhena parisuddhena brahmabhūtena kammanā brāhmaṇo hoti.
means through these best and pure and most excellent deeds one is a brahmin.


Yasmā ‘Etaṁ brāhmaṇam-uttamaṁ’,
Because ‘This is the brahmin supreme’,

yasmā etaṁ SHB: evaṁ. kammaṁ uttamo brāhmaṇaguṇo ti vuttaṁ hoti.
because this deed is said to be the supreme brahmin quality.

“Brahmānan”-ti pi pāṭho.
“Brahmās” is a reading also.

Ayaṁ panettha vacanattho:
However, this is the meaning of the words herein:

“brahmaṁ anatī” ti Brahmānaṁ,
“living the best” they are Brahmās,

“brāhmaṇabhāvaṁ āvahatī” ti vuttaṁ hoti.
“bringing about the state of brahmin” is what is said.

Tīhi vijjāhi sampanno, santo khīṇapunabbhavo,
Endowed with the three knowledges, peaceful and with rebirth destroyed,

evaṁ Vāseṭṭha jānāhi, Brahmā Sakko vijānatan.”-ti [63]
know thus, Vāseṭṭha, that one is Brahmā and Sakka to those who know.” I.e. that one is the highest of beings.

Dutiyagāthāya ‘santo’ ti santakileso.
In the second verse ‘peaceful’ means pacifying the defilements.

‘Brahmā Sakko’ ti Brahmā ca Sakko ca, yo evarūpo,
‘Brahmā and Sakka’ means Brahmā and Sakka, whoever is such,

so na kevalaṁ brāhmaṇo,
he is not only a brahmin,

atha kho Brahmā ca Sakko ca so ‘vijānataṁ’, paṇḍitānaṁ,
but he is also Brahmā and Sakka ‘to those who know’, to the wise ones,

‘evaṁ Vāseṭṭha, jānāhī’, ti vuttaṁ hoti.
‘know thus, Vāseṭṭha,’ is what is said.

Sesaṁ sabbattha uttānam-evā ti.
All the rest is clear.

The Conclusion

Evaṁ vutte, Vāseṭṭha-Bhāradvājā māṇavā
When this was said, the students Vāseṭṭha and Bhāradvāja

Bhagavantaṁ etad-avocuṁ:
said this to the Fortunate One:

“Abhikkantaṁ, bho Gotama! Abhikkantaṁ bho Gotama!
“Excellent, dear Gotama! Excellent, dear Gotama!

Seyyathā pi, bho Gotama, nikkujjitaṁ vā ukkujjeyya,
Just as, dear Gotama, one might set upright what has been overturned,

paṭicchannaṁ vā vivareyya, mūḷhassa vā maggaṁ ācikkheyya,
or open up what has been closed, or show a path to one who is lost,

andhakāre vā telappajjotaṁ dhāreyya: ‘cakkhumanto rūpāni dakkhintī’ ti,
or carry an oil lamp into the darkness, (thinking): ‘those with vision will see forms’,

evam-evaṁ bhotā Gotamena anekapariyāyena Dhammo pakāsito.
just so has the Dhamma been explained by the dear Gotama in countless ways.

Ete mayaṁ bhavantaṁ Gotamaṁ saraṇaṁ gacchāma,
We go to the dear Gotama for refuge,

Dhammañ-ca Bhikkhusaṅghañ-ca.
and to the Dhamma, and to the Community of monks.

Upāsike no, bhavaṁ Gotamo, dhāretu
Please bear it in mind, dear Gotama, that we are lay followers

ajjatagge pāṇupetaṁ saraṇaṁ gate.” ti
who have gone for refuge from today forward for as long as we have the breath of life.”

Vāseṭṭhasuttaṁ Niṭṭhitaṁ
The Discourse concerning Vāseṭṭha is Finished