Apadana commentary (Atthakatha)

by U Lu Pe Win | 216,848 words

This is the English translation of the commentary on the Apadana (Atthakatha), also known as the Visuddhajana-Vilasini. The Buddhist stories known as apadanas refer to biographies of Buddhas, Buddhist monks and nuns. They are found in the Pali Canon (Khuddaka Nikaya), which is the primary canon of Theravada Buddhism. Alternative titles: Visuddhaja...

101.2. What is the origin of the stanza beginning with: sace labetha? It is said that formerly during the dispensation of the Glorious One Kassapa, two silent bodhisattas renounced the world, became recluses, fulfilled the duty of going and coming back for twenty thousand years and were reborn in the celestial world (devaloka). Passing away thence, the elder of the two because the son of king of Benares, the younger became the son of the private chaplain (purohita). They both took conception on one and the same day, came out of their mother's womb on one and the same day even, and became mutual associates playing earth together. The Chaplain's (purohita's) son possessed wisdom and knowledge; he said to the kind's son thus: “My friend! With the lapse of your father, you will inherit the sovereignty; I shall inherit the post of private chaplain (purohita); it is possible to administer the kingdom only by well-trained person; come, let us acquire learning”. Thereafter, both of them being honoured with sacrificial offering, went to a border-district village while wandering in villages, big and small and so on for collecting alms-food. That very village, five silent buddhas, entered at the time of going about for collecting alms-food. People there, saw the silent buddhas, became full of endeavour, prepared seats for them, brought to them and offered respectfully excellent hard and soft food. This idea struck to those two: “There is no one of high family like us; in spite of that, however, these people give us alms-food if they want, but do not offer us anything if they do not desire; to these monks, on the other hand, they make so much respectful offering; undoubtedly, these must know some sort of science; Come! Let us learn the science in their presence”. When people had made their departure, they obtained the opportunity and made their requests thus: “Venerable Sirs! Whatever science you know, please teach it to us.” The silent buddhas replied: It is not possible for one who is not a monk to learn. Those two asked for renunciation and became monks. Thereafter, the silent buddhas intimated to the two, the primary practice of good conduct in such a manner as: “You should wear your lower garment in this way;” and so on, and gave them a leaf-hut individually saying: “For the accomplishment of this science, there must be intense delight in being alone;therefore you should sit all alone; you should walk about alone; you should stand alone; you should sleep alone.” Later, subsequently, they entered their own leaf-hut respectively and sat themselves down. The chaplain's (purohita)) son, gaining the proper placing of his mind, starting from the time of his taking seat, accordingly obtained the jhāna. The king's son getting bored in a few moments only, came over to his presence. him, the chaplain's son asked: “Friend! What is the matter?” The reply was that he became bored. The chaplain's son advised him: “Well then, sit yourself down here”. The king's son sat himself down therefore a moment and said: “My friend! They say” “The accomplishment of this science is deep pleasure in being alone”. The chaplain's son replied: “It is so, my friend! Well then you go back to your own sitting place; I shall acquire the accomplishment of this science.” The king's son went back and again also got bored in a moment and went over to his friend three times in the same manner as before.

102.1. Thereupon, the chaplain's son likewise sent him back and when he had gone, thought thus:- “This one makes his own as well as my deed diminish; he comes here often and often”; went out of his own leaf-hut and entered the forest. The other who was seated in his own leaf-hut even, became bored again within a moment even, went over to his friend's presence, did not see him although he went to and fro, hither and thither, thought thus: “Such a person as he who, when he was a householder did not get the occasion of seeing me even if he had come bringing presents with him, that sort of man, when I came, being desirous of not giving me the chance of seeing him even, made his departure; ‘Alas! O mind! Are you not ashamed; that you brought me here for the fourth time? I shall not turn out according to that influence of yours, now; on the other hand, you rather will have to follow my desire’, entered his own dwelling abode, began to develop spiritual insight, visualised the silent buddhahood and went to the Nandamūla cave, through the sky. The other also, having entered the forest, began to develop spiritual insight visualised the silent buddhahood, and went there even. Both of them also sat themselves down and recited these stanzas of joyous utterance individually, each for each.

102.2. Nipaka (prudently wise) is naturally intelligent, wise, clever in such deeds as concentration on objects of meditation and so on. Sādhuvihāri (living well) is: to be endowed with either living with the attainment of mental fixity (jhāna appanā), or with access concentration (upacāra);dhīram (firmly wise) is: being endowed with firmness; there, on account of being prudent, the achievement of firmness is stated; thus, is the meaning. Firmness, namely, making effort unyieldingly. This is the terminology of the occurring of exertion in this way saying: “Willingly (kāmam); shall skin, sinews and (bones remain).” So also, one who condemns evil is a firmly wise man (dhīra). Rājāva raṭṭham vijitam pahāva (like the king who abdicated his conquered kingdom) is: “a conquered kingdom is conducive towards no benefit”, abandoned his kingdom and wandered alone; in this way, having abandoned the foolish companions, one should wander alone. In other words, rājā va taṭṭham is just as king Sutasoma, having abdicated his conquered kingdom and wandered alone; or else just as king Mahājanaka wandered alone in this way", thus; this also is the meaning of that expression. The rest is possible to be understood according as has already been said; no need to be said in extenso.

The Commentary on the stanza beginning with sahāya has ended.

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