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...

Commentary on the stanza on attachment (saṅga)

117. What is the origin of the stanza, beginning with Saṅgo eko? It is said that in Benares, there was a king by the name of Pādalola brahmadatta. That king, having eaten either rice-gruel or rice-meal even early in the morning, would see three kinds of dancing damsels in his three palaces. The three kinds, namely: the dancing damsels that arrived before the king, that arrived simultaneously with the king, and that rose up at its own time. The king, one day, went to the palace of young dancers even early in the morning. Those dancing damsels, saying to themselves; “Let us bemuse the king”, performed such exceedingly delightful dancing, singing and playing music as was similar to the celestial nymphs of Sakka, king of divine beings. The king was not contented saying: “This display of the young damsels is not astonishing”, and went to the palace of middle-aged dancing damsels. Those dancing damsels also did but likewise. The king was not contented even likewise there also, went to the palace of old dancing women. They also did but likewise. The king saw their dance resembling the sport of bones, due to their old age, as they passed round beyond two or three of his royal circles, heard their singing also which to him was not sweet, went but again to the palace of the young dancing girls and again to the palace of middle-age dancing ladies, wandered round in this way also, did not feel satisfied any and everywhere and thought thus: “These dancing ladies being desirous of bemusing me, similar to what the celestial nymphs no to Sakka, king of divine beings, perform their dancing, singing and playing music, with all their energy. But then, I have not been contented anywhere whatsoever but increased my greed. This, namely, greed again is subject to reaching purgatory (apāyagamanīyo dhammo). now, I am going to control my greed”. Having thought thus, the king abdicated his sovereignty, became a recluse, developed spiritual insight, visualised the silent buddhahood and recited this stanza of joyous utterance.

117.1. Its meaning is:- by the expression: Saṅgo eso, one's own enjoyment is pointed out. That, indeed, is (saṅga) attachment, where living creatures get attached like an elephant which had got into the mud. Parittamettha sokhyam (here, happiness is meagre) here at the time of enjoyment of the five strands of sensual pleasure, happiness is meagre because of its inferiority (or insignificance), either due to possibility of the arising of reversed perception or due to being included in the action of those belonging to the sphere of sense experiences (kāmāvacera dhamma). It is brief like the bliss of seeing the dance in the changing light flashed by lightning; the statement made is thus: “Temporary (or for the time being)”. Appasādo dukkhamevattha bhiyyo is to be explained here as this: “O monks! This bliss, indeed, that arises due to these five strands of sensual pleasures is pleasant;this is enjoyment or satisfaction of sensual pleasures”; thus, it has been said; that is this: “O monks! What, however, is the disadvantage of sensual pleasures? Here, O monks! a young man of good family earns his livelihood by such a craft as calculation”; thus, it is said to be misery here in such a manner as has begun in this way; in comparison with that, it is meagre to the extent of a drop of water; then, indeed, misery is but much more, like unto water; then, in the four great oceans. Therefore, this statement: “Affording little pleasure, but misery here is even much more”. Galo etc (this is a fish-hook) having shown the enjoyment or satisfaction, this is like a fish-hook by way of drawing away or pulling out, such are (or so are) these five strands of sensual pleasures. Iti ñatvā matimā, a wise man knowing thus, a person, who is wise and possessed of wisdom, having known in this way, eko care khaggavisāṇakappo, should wander alone like the horn of a rhinoceros having abandoned all this.

The Commentary on the stanza, beginning with saṅga, has ended.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: